Please realize the fact that so long as men doubt there will be curiosity and enquiry, and that enquiry stimulates reflection which begets effort; but let our secret be once thoroughly vulgarized and not only will sceptical society derive no great good but our privacy would be constantly endangered and have to be continually guarded at an unreasonable cost of power.
-- Mahatma Morya, THE MAHATMA LETTERS TO A.P. SINNETT, Letter 29, page 224.
[From THE THEOSOPHICAL PATH, October 1924, pages 361-63.]
One of the most misleading words in our vocabulary is surely the very plain word REALISM, simply because we have no generally acceptable standard of reality. Perhaps it would be more accurate to say because our generally accepted standards are too various. Of these the most popular no doubt would be that of the senses: it being generally conceded that nothing is real that is not perceptible to the senses.
But sight is a most important sense, and the air we breathe is surely a reality; and yet it is not visible. Light and Darkness: are they unrealities because neither audible nor sensible to touch or taste? Are our emotions unrealities? If so we pass the greater part of our existence in a world that is not real. And if the world we live in is so largely made of unreality what is to be our standard of reality?
Material objects are endowed with weight, which is not visible, nor audible, nor can it be smelled nor tasted, no, nor even seen; yet surely it is real. How can we say that the reality of things depends upon the testimony of one or more of the senses, seeing the general disagreement of these witnesses?
If we rely upon our dictionaries we shall say things that are real are not imaginary, but actually exist quite independent of the senses that perceive them. But how can we test their actual existence except by use of the imagination? It is by the imagination that we coordinate the experience of the senses and then draw our conclusions. It is the mind that weighs the evidence for or against the reality of things; and while that reality may be entirely independent and self-supporting, yet it can only be known to us by the assistance of our senses or our mind.
So when we speak of realism we are talking about a mode of mind, a system of thought, a manner of expression, and a literary or artistic style that deals with concepts of reality not with reality itself. All that we ever know about reality is an IDEA, a mental concept; and so our realism after all is not so very far removed from its apparent opposite IDEALISM.
The ordinary man conceives of idealism as dealing with abstractions, fancies, fictions, or pure imagination; while realism deals with facts. But the idealist thinks otherwise: to him reality is not material; far from it. To him the ideal is the revelation of the real. Ideas to him are concepts of reality, and the entire universe is an expression of ideas conceived in the eternal mind of Nature, the Great Mother.
The fact that we are all children of one universal mother is the key to all the baffling problems presented by our social system, which ignores this fact, and has for its foundation the popular fallacy of materialism with its twin error "the great dire heresy of separateness." From these two errors spring "all the ills that flesh are heir to." From materialism comes the delusion of death as the end of life, which is a practical denial of the possibility of evolution or the continuity of consciousness. And from the fallacy of separateness arises that justification of human selfishness which finds its ultimate expression in war as the crown of competition and the last word in the great nightmare of our so-called civilization.
A civilization based on selfishness can be no better than a nightmare. Peace cannot be maintained in a society that founds its life and laws upon the perverted principle known as 'the struggle for existence.' The Law of Life, the Law of Laws, is BROTHERHOOD. That is the only possible foundation on which to build a civilization worthy of the name. The 'struggle for existence' is a fallacy, a theory invented to excuse the selfishness of man's lower nature, which is the only troublemaker in the world. The only struggle is that made by man in his attempts to get for his own personal enjoyment a greater share of this world's goods than other men receive. The struggle that ensues makes life a veritable nightmare.
The world is dreaming a bad dream. Let man awake, and find the SELF, and end the dream. This is the aim of the idealist, to stand in presence of reality and know no fear; to see beyond the illusive forms and appearances of the material world and recognize the presence and power of spiritual principles at work behind the veil of matter: to perceive the ideal as the soul of things, and know that the ideal is the mental image of reality.
When a man understands how very fallible his senses are, how easily deceived, how subject to suggestion, surely he must admit that their report amounts to little more than partial evidence of the external appearance of a reality which lies beyond, a principle that escapes the clumsy grasp of these uncertain instruments.
Truly the materialist is utterly incapable of realism. The Real must be approached through the Ideal. And no one is blinder to the reality of things than is the self-styled realist who takes appearance for reality; being deluded by the glamour of the material plane on which he lives. The attitude of mind of a materialist who pins his faith to sense-impressions and is content to look no further for reality is quite unlike that of the man caught in a fog, sees the fog, and knows that he is lost. The materialist sees clearly and is quite sure of his position, but, like a sleepwalker, he is deceived by his own mind and does not understand that which he sees. So, like a lunatic, he is convinced of his own sanity, and satisfied that what he sees is real and what he cannot see nor measure with his senses has no material existence, and must be therefore a product of imagination, an unreality. Thus the materialist repudiates the ideal as delusion or fantasy.
Not so the idealist, the seeker for reality. He would not dare to call himself a realist, knowing that he as an individual would lose his individuality if once he touched the flame of Truth and was absorbed into Reality. He is content to bathe in the sunshine and to see it everywhere reflected and to know that his own spark of individuality is but a ray from that same spiritual Sun. To the true Idealist life is intensely real in spite of its delusions, for each delusion testifies according to its might to the Reality that lies behind. THAT is the unspeakable. Only the VOICE cries "Know thyself!" "Find thou but thyself; thou art I."
By Boris de Zirkoff
[From THE THEOSOPHICAL PATH, October 1924, pages 364-68.]
What are the fundamental conceptions upon which the whole enormous edifice of science rests? They are clearly evident. Let us review the different chapters of modern physics, and we shall immediately find that its field could be divided up into two quite different parts: one, including questions of mechanics, of hydrostatics, etc. -- and a multitude of complements referring to them; the second embracing the phenomena of heat, light, and electricity; and acoustics, which, strictly speaking, could be placed in almost any domain of physics.
The principal notions of the first section are: matter with which we work, and energy which is represented to us as the cause of the movements of matter.
The second section rests in the same way on the two above-mentioned bases, but the explanation of these phenomena necessitates further the introduction of a new conception which rounds out the theories -- the ether. As a matter of fact, in order to explain the transmission of undulatory (calorific, luminous, electric, etc.,) vibrations, a carrier or support was necessary; also, in order to fill up the interplanetary void with something, it was necessary to imagine an imponderable agent with which this void should be full, in order to transmit the luminous vibrations at least, not to mention others. If we turn to chemistry, matter and energy meet us everywhere; so that we are able to say from now on that science is based upon three fundamental conceptions: (1) Matter, (2) Energy, and (3) Ether.
Let us remember that scientists not satisfied with their experiments in matter have tried to discover its innermost structure, to find the laws which the innumerable atoms obey, which constitute it; they have wished to see, observe, and scrutinize to the very ultimate depths the secret of its mysterious origin and the equilibriums which support its marvelous structures. We shall not occupy ourselves here with the hypotheses without number which have been raised in order to solve this mystery; suffice it to say that the primordial atom formerly held to be indivisible and indestructible during the last century was divided, and transformed (as is generally known) into a solar system with a central mass and very small particles called electrons, which according to certain rules turn round a central nucleus with a speed of the order of that of light.
The theory about the electron could not satisfy the indefatigable spirit of the investigators, and hence we have new hypotheses formulated regarding the structure of the electron itself; it is conceived of as a whirlwind, a vortex, a cyclone of ether, -- of this almost immaterial substance, which nevertheless is of a rigidity greater than that of the hardest steel. All matter has thus been brought back to this hypothetic ether which is more indefinite than any other scientific conception.
What then is matter? A whirlwind of ether! It is marvelous! Is matter then nothing but ether? Certainly, though condensed, it is after all just ether.
Strange, indeed! In the attempt to prove the inner structure of matter, which was thought to be the web of the universe, people came to a quite different conclusion, namely, that matter does not exist! The object of our reasoning has thus been shown to be unreal, an illusion, deceptive in the highest degree.
What is matter? But it does not exist! But heavens, replies the profane, everything that I see, you yourself, Mr. Investigator, are you not yourself made of matter? I was told yesterday that everything in the Universe was merely matter and atoms in movement. -- No. We have just discovered that all is nothing but condensed ether ruled by 'forces,' and since matter has lost its individual existence, ether has inherited its attributes.
Marvelous! This is called the deductive method. The hypothesis is clear and simple, and especially is its principal merit EXPERIMENTALLY PROVED. Could a more negative conclusion than this one be arrived at? Let us hear then what a scholar of the first rank said of this same matter some years ago of this matter which has just been so ignominiously driven from its throne.
What is matter? In perfect strictness it is true that chemical investigation can tell us nothing directly of the composition of living matter, and it is also in strictness true that we know nothing about the composition of any material body whatever it is.
-- LECTURE ON PROTOPLASM, by Mr. Huxley
And now of late the tendency seems to be to disregard these most true words of Huxley's. He answered that we did not have any positive knowledge about matter, and today a thousand scientists are telling us that it is nothing but condensed ether. Good! If the thing is as simple as that, let them show us this primordial substance which fills up everything, the interstellar void as well as the interstices between the atoms of a body. Let us try to get some information from men who are competent along these lines, in order to have a more precise idea of this universally known and respected agent.
The answer to our question will not keep us waiting; I can already hear it: Ether is imponderable and cannot, as such, be perceived by any means at our disposal; you want to see it? Impossible! Nobody has seen it, nobody has felt it; it is an invisible fluid, like air, by the way, which also is invisible; the proofs of its existence are so many that no doubt is possible as to its reality. -- Ah, yes, we reply with some regret; but can you at least give the definitions of its physical properties, its attributes, fix the mode of its exact vibration, and describe it to us with at least some precision?
This is the answer of S. Laing, a writer of some years ago, in his book entitled MODERN SCIENCE AND MODERN THOUGHT:
What is ether? Ether is not actually known to us by any test of which the senses can take cognizance, but it is a sort of mathematical substance which we are compelled to assume in order to account for the phenomena of light and heat.
Here we have the ether in all its simplicity: a pure abstraction and nothing more. From now on we can employ a resume taken from science itself: Matter is composed of atoms; the atom of the vortex produced in the ether; hence matter is ether. Ether, on the other hand, is nothing but a "mathematical substance," something on which to base calculations -- a pure abstraction; hence matter is itself an abstraction. In order to explain the structure of one fiction -- matter -- another is created a thousand times more abstract -- ether; the result of which is really marvelous: two abstractions which explain and complement each other, and which, after all, certainly do not give us a positive and experimentally proved answer to the question: What is the primordial atom?
Science uses facts only and by no means merely abstract notions; but is it perhaps an irony of the centuries that its deepest base, its principle axis of rotation, is found to be precisely an abstraction and one of the most abstract?
Thus the two hypostases of the scientific trinity are established; their ultra-metaphysical appearance is too obvious to necessitate any more profound analysis.
Let us turn to energy. Open any manual of physics, especially one on mechanics, and read the ingenious definitions which you will find of that mysterious entity called 'energy.' The inevitable answer to our question, what is energy, is the same monotonous phrase, which can only make a thinker smile -- that energy is the cause of movement. Energy is known to us only by its effects.
Cause or effect define with very little precision the idea of energy; it is evident that the manuals cannot tell us anything whatsoever about its essence, still less about its origin. Let us then turn to the classics of contemporary science; we shall perhaps there find some interesting passages. In order to quote only one of them, let us take the course of physics by Ganot; we shall find there on page 68:
In mechanics there is actual and potential energy: work actually performed and the capacity of performing it. As to the nature of molecular energy or forces, the various phenomena which bodies present show that their molecules are under the influence of two contrary forces -- one which tends to bring them together, the other to separate them. The first is molecular attraction; the second force is due to the vis viva, or moving force.
Let us then try to find the definition of this vis viva, of which Ganot speaks. Here we have the brave Huxley who once more pulls us out of this swamp in which we find ourselves entangled. This truth-loving man answers us with precision and clarity:
What is this vis viva? It is an empty shadow, a product of my imagination.
-- PHYSICAL BASIS OF LIFE
And here we have the scientific trinity defined in a rather original manner. It is true, attested by the most faithful sons of science:
I do not know what matter is. I do not know what the ether is. I have no notion whatsoever about energy.
And now we have the right to estimate the value of this theoretic foundation, of this basis which resists all external attacks and which the scientists of the time make it a point of honor to defend. Contemplate then for a moment this strange metaphysic, this absolute ignorance out of which they at any price want to form a system and build a lasting edifice. These are the refractory bricks with whose help they intend to shelter themselves against the inclemency of ages to come.
What does this so-called solidity consist of? With its ephemeral basis, might a sudden puff of wind carry it away? Who then can show us, in these abstractions which are more abstract than any others, more nescient than any doctrine previously formulated, and an authority worthy of our worship?
Men swear all too often by the irrevocably demonstrated postulates of science; but they fail to notice their fragility, their artificial vitality, their nullity from the experimental point of view; they do not see that they are founded on a pure fiction, on a negation.
By what means do scientists try to explain the universe to us? The idea of an organic life, or the conception of a living and animated substance are far away; nothing exists but dead atoms, material corpuscles which no breath animates, nor any thought renders fertile, nor any spirit directs; nothing but myriads and myriads of these mute and withered beings, condemned to turn, to revolve during the eternity of the ages round an imaginary center. No life, no soul, in these elements; nothing but matter darker than ever, more dead than ever; matter governed by fictitious forces, whose cause is unknown.
Would one say that the whole of the universe wells up from these overheated alembics, from these tubes curved and re-curved in a thousand ways, out of these putrefied solutions -- a universe full of charm, youth, and hope for the future? Would one say that this marvelous nature, temple of the Supreme Life, is organized within the four walls of narrow laboratories, among fetid odors, under the vigilant eye of a rusty chemist? Would one say that man himself, like the homunculus of Faust, suddenly emerges out of these colored salts, of these condensed liquids, of these clouds of vapor, by the imperial gesture of the scientist? Is it dead matter which creates life, activity, and progressive evolution? Is it the logic of deductions, three-storied formulae, and chemical reactions that create intuition? It seems as if spontaneity itself ought to spring in full vigor from the bosom of mathematical calculations!
They who prostrate themselves before the grandeur of exact science, do they not see that they adore a holy trinity consisting of dead matter, inanimate force, and pure chance?
Exact science, that science which denies the existence of abstractions within the heart of its own being, that science, finally, which does not and will not recognize anything but certain and known quantities, is itself found to rest on such a fantastic basis, such a legendary foundation. Very singular indeed! Listen then to these few words, the truth of which is only too evident:
The whole structure of modern science is built on a kind of 'mathematical abstraction,' on a Protean substance which eludes the senses, and on EFFECTS, the shadows of a SOMETHING entirely unknown to and beyond the reach of science; self-moving atoms! Self-moving suns, planets, and stars!
-- The Secret Doctrine, by H. P. Blavatsky
This is pure truth. Noble-minded scientific researchers yearn to know and hope to know, but, what a prodigious distance yet separates them from the final and sublime knowledge of the law of Eternal Nature!
What an unnecessary postulate to start from, this 'mystery of existence'! Why all this 'mystery'? There is none; all is there, manifested and calculated.
However, in spite of the 'mystery' which surrounds it, in spite of the incertitude which it seems to meet at every step, in spite of the futility and the incoherence of most of its hypotheses, the science of our days finds itself closer than ever to the eternal truth, revealed in days of old by the wise men of antiquity. The consistency with which it has constantly rejected the idea of a living principle, pulsating in every atom, now ends only in this: to show that MATTER, ENERGY, AND ETHER ARE ONLY DIFFERENT MANIFESTATIONS OF THE SAME PRIMORDIAL ESSENCE, WHICH FORMS THE WEB OF THE UNIVERSE.
For science today tries to formulate Theosophical doctrines; it whispers already the words of the Archaic Wisdom. Only a few more steps and it will penetrate to the outer arcana of the universe, where the breath of the spirit is felt; and then endlessly step after step towards wider and deeper knowledge of the Great ALL, origin and end of the stellar evolutions, in which depths there hides the mystery of life.
By Kenneth Morris
[From THE THEOSOPHICAL PATH, October 1924, page 321, captioned "International Theosophical Headquarters, Point Loma, California."]
Whether proceeding from the luminance of the Evening Star, Or arisen from the blossom of God's blue rose the Sea, Innumerable and very noble the Princes of Beauty are, In whose hearts we are held unfallen, in whose will we are free.
Some plumy willowy spirit, accustomed to thrill Wingless from Canopus to the Dragon that guards the Pole, Fluted thee into being, O my lady the daffodil, -- Or kindled the flame thy bloom with the star her Soul.
And there is no pansy, but Aeons aglow in the gloom Of purple and ink-dark skies, and their wings on fire, Sang: -- no iris, nor rose nor hyacinth bloom But was born of a gust of song from the Starry Choir.
If I go up into the mountains, to the blue crags, I shall find The ancient healing beauty in the ways untrod; If I rise from the worn tracks of the heart and mind Shall I not commune with the Dragon Hosts of God?
By Shri O.K. Ghosh
[From THE ARYAN PATH, September 1962, pages 391-97.]
Little is generally known in India of the intellectual effect of the impact of the West on China in the nineteenth century. With a sudden sharpness, the Chinese were forced to accept the fact, as the noted Chinese philosopher Fung Yu-Lan has observed, that their country was neither the whole world, nor even indeed the center of the world, but simply one among many different nations. The intellectual challenge was of a fundamental nature, and K'ang Yu-Wei was one of the greatest of the Chinese men of thought to respond to the challenge. He did it by trying to modify Confucius to suit the needs of the time, and by using Western ideas for new and daring speculations. This is best shown in his TA T'UNG SHU or "One World Book." Let us, then, have a glimpse of the man and of his ideas.
Our knowledge of K'ang Yu-Wei has been largely gleaned, at least for his first forty years, from his autobiography SELF-COMPILED CHRONOLOGY OF THE GENTLEMAN FROM NAN-HAI. K'ang Yu-Wei was born on March 19, 1858 at a place slightly south-west of Canton. His father was well-to-do, but he died when K'ang was eleven. K'ang was brought up by his grandfather, a mandarin, and he spent his early life mainly in studying. In this his work was facilitated by his great-grandfather's huge library.
His early studies were in the classical Chinese tradition. At the age of twenty-one, however, he had a great vision when he saw that "the ten thousand creatures of Heaven and Earth" and he himself "were all of the same body." He received great enlightenment and laughed with joy; then he perceived the sufferings of life and cried with melancholy.
This mystic vision had a great effect on him. He gave up his classical studies, and retired to the mountains to study Buddhism and Taoism. But he came back to the world, visited Hong Kong in 1879, and read works on foreign lands and foreign history. He was deeply affected. He was convinced that the West had much to teach China and that a reform of Chinese society was essential if China was to take her place among the leading peoples of the world.
In 1883, when only 25, he founded an Anti-Footbinding Society in his native place, soon to be followed by the South China Anti-Footbinding Society. His studies also continued. And by 1885 he had prepared the first draft of TA T'UNG SHU. In 1889 he became a mandarin. His studies, however, did not abate. In 1891 he brought out a book trying to prove that many works attributed to Confucius were really forgeries. He was attacked and his book burnt.
In 1896 K'ang participated in politics. The Japanese had defeated the Chinese and a humiliating treaty was being negotiated. The officials in Peking were highly agitated. K'ang and his disciple, Liang Ch'i-ch'ao, organized mass meetings which resulted in a petition to the Emperor asking for the rejection of the peace terms (which involved a loss of territory) and for a general reform of the laws. But this came to nothing. K'ang consoled himself by studying Western culture, largely through translations from the Japanese made by his eldest daughter. He also became concerned with the problem of over-population in China and sponsored a scheme of emigration to Brazil.
His days of glory came in 1898. His writings had influenced many young Chinese, including the heir to the throne, Kuang-hsu. In 1898 Kuang-hsu became Emperor, and K'ang became his chief mentor. The result was the famous "Hundred Days of Reform" (June 11th -- September 20th, 1898). Kuang-hsu issued a series of decrees aimed at modernizing (Westernizing) China militarily and industrially while revitalizing Confucianism.
But the time was not yet ripe. The forces of reaction, led by the old Dowager Empress, Tzu Hsi, struck back; Kuang-hsu was deposed and imprisoned, and Tzu Hsi resumed her former position as regent. Six of Kuang-hsu's chief counselors were executed. K'ang, however, fled to Japan.
Thence, up to 1913, he led a wandering life; visiting many places and countries including Hong Kong, Japan, United States, England, Germany, Penang, Singapore, India, Burma, and Java. In 1912 he was allowed to return to China. From then to 1927, his life consisted of a series of private sorrows and constant failures from attempts to reform and to modernize Chinese society. But through all sufferings and sorrows, he remained constant to his high principles and ideals, a "peak of peaks, deep and clear," as one admirer put it.
His most important work, TA T'UNG SHU, was first thought out when he was but a youth of twenty-six. Its main principles were discussed with his students, including the famous Ch'en T'ung-fu and Liang Ch'i-ch'ao, in his school: the "Thatched Hall in Ten Thousand Trees," near Canton. But the draft was finally completed only in 1902, when K'ang was in Darjeeling. K'ang was now forty-four years old.
The influence of Buddhism, Taoism, Confucianism, and the West on TA T'UNG SHU is clear. K'ang's starting point was the thesis of Mencius that "men have compassionate natures." Mencius had observed that if a child fell into a well the observers at once felt alarm and distress. Why? Not because they wanted to gain the favors of the child's parents, or the praises of their neighbors and friends, or for any other ulterior reason; but because, by nature, they had "compassionate feelings." And why? K'ang traced this to the very origin of the universe.
K'ang postulated that in the beginning there was a vast primal energy-stuff, the creator of Heaven and Earth. This energy-stuff, essentially spiritual, is electricity possessed of consciousness. It activates everything and to whoever possesses consciousness it gives the power of attraction, like that of the magnet. The inability of men to see, unmoved, the sufferings of others is a manifestation of this force of attraction. The existence of this spiritual substance in everyone is the reason why both all-embracing love (jen) and wisdom are stored in the mind. The doctrine of "brotherly love" or jen is an old Chinese one and similar to such teachings elsewhere in the world. What K'ang added was the speculation about electricity as the primal matter-spirit energy.
But if the nature of man is compassionate and directed towards jen, why is the world so imperfect? This is because of various sufferings which form part and parcel of Life itself. K'ang here is thoroughly Buddhist. He classifies and enumerates the sufferings.
The sufferings associated with man's physical life are seven: (1) being implanted in the womb, (2) suffering premature death, (3) suffering loss of a limb, (4) being a barbarian, (5) living outside China, (6) being a slave, and (7) being a woman.
The sufferings associated with natural disasters are eight: (1) famine resulting from flood or drought, (2) epidemic, (3) conflagration, (4) flood, (5) volcanic eruptions, (6) collapse of buildings, (7) shipwreck, and (8) locust plagues.
The sufferings associated with the human relationship are five: (1) to be a widower or widow, (2) to be orphaned or childless, (3) to be ill and have no one to provide medical care, (4) to suffer poverty, and (5) to have a low and mean station in life.
The sufferings associated with human institutions are seven: (1) corporal punishment and imprisonment, (2) unjust taxation, (3) military conscription, (4) social stratifications, (5) oppressive institutions, (6) the existence of the state, and (7) the existence of the family.
The human feelings which cause sufferings are six: (1) brutish stupidity, (2) hatred, (3) fatigue, (4) lust, (5) attachment to things, and (6) desire
The things which cause suffering because of the esteem in which they are held by men are five: (1) wealth, (2) eminent position, (3) longevity, (4) being a ruler, and (5) being a god, sage, immortal, or Buddha.
How can mankind get out of this morass of suffering into a world of jen? And what can this world of jen be? What is the ideal world? K'ang here makes use of another concept about human nature. The nerves of the brain react favorably to those objects which suit it, unfavorably to those which do not. In more popular terms, men try to get pleasure and avoid pain in all their actions. Even the painful activities carried out by ascetics or self-sacrificing heroes are for the purpose of obtaining greater pleasure through lesser pain. This pleasure-pain concept leads to the principle: "Whatever is injurious (painful) to man is wrong; whatever is not injurious is right." This gives us the objectives of a world ruled by jen. We can now draw the picture of an ideal world and see how best it can be attained.
We come back to the sufferings. According to K'ang they can be classified into nine groups; and the world of jen can be established by abolishing these nine groups of suffering, having always in mind the underlying principle of "whatever is injurious to man is wrong, whatever is not injurious is right," in working out the detailed objectives. The first of the nine groups of sufferings is that of the nation -- the political divisions between lands and peoples; the second, that of class; the third, of race; the fourth, of sex; the fifth, of family -- father, son, husband, wife, etc.; the sixth, of occupation; the seventh, of unjust institution; the eighth, of species -- the demarcation between men, birds, beasts insects, and fish; the ninth is that of the fact of suffering itself, the suffering which begets further suffering!
K'ang finds the solution to the problem of human happiness in abolishing the nine groups of suffering. First is the abolishing of national boundaries and uniting the world. Second is the abolition of class boundaries and equalization of all peoples. Third are the elimination of racial boundaries and the amalgamation of different races of mankind. Fourth are the abolition of sex boundaries and the establishment of absolutely equal rights between men and women. Fifth are the abolition of family boundaries and the becoming of "Heaven's people." Sixth is the abolition of livelihood boundaries and making occupations public. Seventh is the abolition of political disorder and administrative boundaries. Eighth is the elimination of differing species or boundaries of kind and the extension of love to all living things. And finally is the abolition of boundaries of suffering and the attainment of utmost happiness.
K'ang was certain that the world of jen could be achieved. In this belief he was fortified by his interpretation of Confucius, especially of the Spring and Autumn Annals. In this book Confucius preached the "Doctrine of the Three Ages." First there is the Age of Disorder, then of Approaching Peace, and finally of Universal Peace. Confucius himself lived, according to K'ang, in the Age of Disorder. In K'ang's own time he saw Europe and America, through vast changes, evolving towards the Age of Approaching Peace. And he saw the vision of the Age of Universal Peace, when there will be no longer any nation, no racial distinction, and customs everywhere will be the same. K'ang did not confine himself to vague dreams. He gave a concrete picture of this world, a world to be brought about by following his program of the abolition of the nine groups of sufferings.
What does the ideal world of K'ang look like? K'ang postulated that in two hundred to three hundred years' time a world state would emerge, the final result of a series of amalgamations of states, themselves the outcome of wars and disarmament conferences. There would be no "nation" then. The whole world would be divided into 3,000 administrative squares or "degree governments," each bounded by degrees of latitude and longitude. The degree governments would have assemblies elected through universal suffrage. These assemblies would rule the degree regions but there would be no political parties or political leaders. The actual local self-governing units would consist of farms, factories, and stores. There would be a world parliament, also elected by universal suffrage. The world parliament and the degree parliaments would exist only to ensure equality and efficient planning on a worldwide scale. Otherwise power would be decentralized.
Anti-social behavior would be treated by "dishonoring the name." Only if one plotted to revive the State, or military forces, would there be punishment by imprisonment.
Throughout the world there would be a universal language, a universal calendar, and a universal system of weights and measures.
Through migration and intermarriage there would be only one race throughout the world. Class distinctions would disappear. Women would enjoy the same rights as men, perform the same tasks, and even wear the same dress. Marriages would be for one-year periods only initially, renewable for as long as the partners choose to agree. The family will disappear. The functions of the family would be performed by state-operated nurseries, schools, hospitals, old-age homes, etc. People would live in huge air-conditioned public apartments and eat in common dining halls seating thousands of persons. K'ang is in favor of vegetarianism. But at the same time he is not unsympathetic to man-made synthetic foods.
Employment would be assured to everyone. All enterprises -- agriculture, industrial production, and commerce -- will be "commonized." Honors will go to those who help to advance the arts and the sciences and to those who are outstanding for their jen (goodness) in every sphere of life. The competitive instincts of man will be channelized into constructive action.
In this world the most important people will be the doctors. This will be so as the maintenance of health and hygiene would be the really weighty tasks. Everyone would be examined daily.
K'ang postulates that in a world full of jen, institutional religions would wither away: first Christianity and Islam and then Confucianism. K'ang was a Confucian but held that in his world the historic work of Confucianism would have been completed. Men would then turn to Taoism and after this to the "higher wisdom" of Buddhism. This will also give place to a state of things where minds will "roam in Heaven."
Such is the remarkable world of K'ang sketched in very bald outline indeed. It is significant that K'ang used the same word, Kung ch'an, for "common production" as the rulers of China today do for "communism."
K'ang's philosophizing is remarkable for its mixture of Chinese and Western Utopian thinking. He believes in Confucius' Three Ages, in Mencius' view of human nature, in Taoism, etc. At the same time he is a fervent believer in science, technology, and universal progress. His TA T'UNG SHU differs from Plato's REPUBLIC or More's UTOPIA or Butler's EREWHON by giving a much more detailed blueprint of future human society.
Along with much astuteness and liberality of views, K'ang combines strange naivete and pride of race. He seems to believe, for instance, that the ultimate universal language will be Chinese. He also seems to have a sense of color, lumping the white and yellow races as superior to the brown and black ones. He visualizes the latter two being swept away from the earth. He seriously advocates the wholesale movement of black races to Canada, Sweden, Norway, etc. -- so that they might become fairer! His ideas about the removal of all distinctions between men, birds, and beasts are obscure. So are his speculations about the abolition of the very concept of suffering and the "roaming in Heaven."
But after everything has been taken into account no unbiased person will refuse to admit that the book TA T'UNG SHU is of fundamental importance. Not only as an example of China's intellectual response to the challenge of the West, but, much more important, as a freeing and liberating work which widens our horizons and makes us think on an altogether higher level of historical consciousness than is common even today.
By G. de Purucker
[From STUDIES IN OCCULT PHILOSOPHY, pages 361-64.]
Once separated from the common influences of Society, NOTHING draws us to any outsider save his evolving spirituality. He may be a Bacon or an Aristotle in knowledge, and still not even make his current felt a feather's weight by us, if his power is confined to the Manas. The supreme energy resides in the Buddhi; latent -- when wedded to Atman alone, active and irresistible when galvanized by the essence of 'Manas' and when none of the dross of the latter commingles with that pure ESSENCE to weigh it down by its finite nature. Manas, pure and simple, is of a lower degree, and of the earth earthly: and so your greatest men count but as nonentities in the arena where greatness is measured by the standard of spiritual development.
-- THE MAHATMA LETTERS TO A.P. Sinnett, Letter LXI, page 341
Passages out of these wonderful communications from our beloved Teachers are so filled with not only truth but beauty, that one's mind is held in the enchantment of the thoughts aroused by reading these communications or by hearing them summarized. It is amazing -- and yet why should it be so, but it is to us inferior folk -- to sense how the majesty of truth and the greatness of soul accompanying such majesty affect us so deeply as to move the inmost core of our being. And I for one know no experience more exalting, no experience more penetrating than this. How vain some of the things of the world when we discern the glory of Reality.
I venture to say that no man or woman living, no matter how simple-minded he or she may be, is unsusceptible, is insensible, to such feelings -- dare we call them that? -- at any rate to such consequences of having received the touch of supernal beauty. It is an experience which in itself is worth lifetimes of ordinary garnering of life's impressions. I think that this spiritual and intellectual consequence of having these teachings in our inmost must be indeed almighty influences not only on our own characters, but on our future destiny. I am assured from my own observation and from what I feel within myself that a man's whole future lives can be changed because of change occurring here and now within him.
We see the compelling power of the beauty born within us when studying these great Teachers' communications, for Truth indeed is thus compelling when its exposition is directed by Master Minds; and it is thus compelling not because it is enslaved, but because it gives us freedom, the freedom of brotherhood, the freedom of fellowship, fellowship in understanding, fellowship in fellow-feeling.
The statement has been made that Buddhi is negative unless it has the Manas or mind to work through, and of course this is true. But don't imagine for a moment that this means that the Buddhi is negative on its own plane, quite the contrary. It is as active on its own plane as the supreme truth within us, the atman, is forever active on its own plane. The meaning is that the Buddhi is negative on this our human plane of experience and action, without the transmitting principle to step it down to us, which is the mind and the psychical elements within us. Then, if the mind be pellucid as the mountain lake, crystal clear, so that it cannot transmit the non-divine, then we have indeed a man who for the time being is like unto a god, for he speaks with power, with the voice of authority; and none who listens unto him, in his heart can say Nay.
Our minds are taken captive, mightily persuaded. And why? Because the Buddhi in the Teacher speaks to the Buddhi within us. Voice as it were calls to voice. Thought evokes correspondential thought. Truth awakens, by its impact on our minds, the spark of truth within us; and it compels us, compels us because our own best is awakened, and we know thereafter that that is freedom, that is truth, that is reality; and no man wants aught else than freedom, truth, love, reality. That is why truth is so compatible. That is why its authority over our hearts and minds is supreme, for it awakens within us itself. Strange paradox and yet so simple.
What is this Buddhic principle? It is so difficult in our awkward European tongues to give to this almost mystical Sanskrit word a proper translation. It is discrimination. It is intuition. It is the organ of direct knowledge. It is the clothing of the divine spark within us which instantly not only knows truth but communicates it, if indeed the barriers be not too thick and heavy between it and our receptive minds. Ay, reception, that is the point. Can our minds receive? If not, it is our own fault for we have enshrouded ourselves with the veils of the lower selfhood so strongly that the light from above, or from the Master mind, cannot reach our own higher mind and descend into the physical brain and into the physical heart where truth abides for all. For mystical fact it is, that although we know it not, the truth is already within us, here in heart, and here in mind; and we are like those spoken of by the Avatara Jesus in the Christian Bible, having ears they hear not, having eyes they see not, having minds they apprehend and comprehend not.
I want to point out one more thought, that the inner God works within its own vehicle, and this vehicle is the Buddhi principle, and it is just as easy to come into sympathetic relationship, into companionship with the Buddhi as it is with the Kama-Manas within us. In other words, it is just as easy to yearn for the inspiration of the highest within you as it is to look for the heat and fevers of the lower part of our being.
Now whereas in the old religions and philosophies the God within has always been called a Divinity or God -- masculine; the Consort, the Buddhi of the Atman, has always been looked upon as feminine. The German poet Goethe meant more than mere poetry when he uttered that remarkably telling phrase, Das Ewig-Weibliche zieht uns hinan. The eternal feminine draweth us ever onward and inward. It does not mean woman; it means that part of our natures to which and in which the god within works.
Our own individual Buddhi is that which gives us intuition and insight and sensitiveness and delicacy and the ability in quick response to feel the suffering, the sorrow of others. It is the god within which does this, but it is what in common language we call the feminine side of us which receives it, the sensitized part of us, and carries the thought to the place where dwelleth the Atman. It has naught to do with physical woman or physical man.
There is a great and wonderful mystery here, and I may add in closing that one more small and minor phase of this mystery is alluded to by HPB in THE KEY TO THEOSOPHY where she speaks of the Buddhi as being the root and the key itself of individuality. There is the remote source why on this low physical plane some of our lifetimes are passed as men and some as women. By each we learn, if we have the wit.
It always vexes me when I hear people talk, as I sometimes hear, about which is greater, man or woman. Which really is greater? It is the uttermost poppycock. Where would you be without your mothers? Where would you be without your fathers? Sex of course is but a passing phase. It did not exist some 18 or 19 million years ago, and some eight million years from now it will again vanish. Its place will be taken by kriyasakti.
At present the most complete men are the men who have a healthy dash of the feminine in them; and the most perfect women are they who have a touch of the masculine. The most courageous man is always the man who feels the tenderest towards the weak and helpless. If a man has not a touch of the mother-instinct in him, look out, you cannot trust him! If a woman has not a touch of the father-instinct in her, in my judgment she is incomplete.
By William Q. Judge
[From THE PATH, March 1892, page 397, appearing later in ECHOES OF THE ORIENT, I, pages 229-30.]
A correspondent asks: "Will you kindly explain why, if you think it wrong to kill a water bug that you should consider it right to slay larger animals for food?"
I do not remember having said it was wrong to kill a water bug; hence there is no conclusion to be made from that to the question of feeding on animals insofar as I am concerned.
The questions of right and wrong are somewhat mixed on this subject. If one says it is morally wrong to kill a water bug then it follows that it is wrong to live at all, inasmuch as in the air we breathe and the water imbibed there are many millions of animals in structure more complicated than bugs. Though these are called infusoria and animalcule, yet they are living, moving beings as much as are bugs. We draw them in and at once they are destroyed, slain to the last one. Shall we therefore stop living?
The whole of life is a battle, destruction and a compromise as long as we are on this material plane. As human beings we have to keep on living, while in our destructive path millions of beings are hourly put to death. Even by living and earning a living each one of us is preventing someone else from doing the same, who, if we were dead, might step into our shoes. But if we abandoned the fight -- were we, indeed, able to so do -- then the ends of evolution could not be attained. Hence we have to stay and endure what Karma falls from the necessary death we occasion.
So the true position seems to me to be this, that in certain environments, at certain stages of evolution, we have to do an amount of injury to others that we cannot avoid. So while we thus live we must eat, some of flesh and others of the vegetable. Neither class is wholly right or wrong. It becomes a wrong when we deliberately without actual need destroy the lives of animals or insects. So the man who was born in a family and generation of meat-eaters and eats the meat of slaughtered animals does less wrong than the woman who, though a vegetarian, wears the feathers of slaughtered birds in her hats, since it was not necessary to her life that such decoration should be indulged in. So the epicure who tickles his palate with many dishes of meats not necessary for sustentation is in the same case as the woman who wears bird's feathers.
Again as to shoes, saddles, bridles, pocketbooks, and what not, of leather. These are all procured from the skins of slain animals. Shall they be abolished? Are the users of them in the wrong? Anyone can answer. Or did we live near the North Pole we would be compelled to live on bears' and wolves' meat and fat. Man, like all material beings, lives at the expense of some others. Even our death is brought about by the defeat of one party of microbes who are devoured by the others, who then themselves turn round and devour each other.
But the real man is a spirit-mind, neither destructible nor destroying; and the kingdom of heaven is neither of meat nor of drink: it cometh neither from eating nor refraining -- it cometh of itself.
By Talbot Mundy
[From THE THEOSOPHICAL PATH, August 1924, pages 112-18.]
A certain sort of modern scientist is fond of describing the human race as animals, and from his own point of view, which is as circumscribed by material limitations as a frog's at the bottom of a well, he may be right; but he might just as well, and just as logically, describe animals as men. In fact, the animals might be the better for it -- might receive a more intelligent consideration and more mercy from homo sapiens, who is seldom as wise as the pandits of materialism flatter themselves that he is.
From the viewpoint of the sheer materialist, who weighs a dying man to prove that life has no weight whatever and therefore that soul does not exist, there IS no soul and evolution is a blind, mechanical procession of events that follows undiscoverable laws with no comprehensible purpose except to develop what must ultimately be destroyed. And if we accept that view there remains but one mystery: why should anyone trouble himself to continue living, or -- if we cannot quite force ourselves to such flat depths of cynicism -- why not eat, drink, and be immoral since tomorrow or the next day we must disintegrate into unthinking atoms?
There are strange inconsistencies in human nature, and particularly in scientific human nature, which are easy to recognize but very difficult to understand. For instance, one and the same intensely educated biologist will speak of the 'blind laws' of nature with as fanatical conviction as the out-of-date enthusiast's who used to speak of everlasting hell-fire; but almost in the same breath he will boast of his own will that differentiates him from the common run of men and makes it possible for him to force his tired brain and his exhausted body in the search after new discoveries. He is willing to divide his neighbors into classes and to publish statistics, which are alleged to prove that about nine-tenths of the human race are his mental inferiors; but he denies that there is any spiritual basis for his theory, and he shuts his eyes deliberately to that very "will" and "will not," which in practice have made his life-work possible.
The average nature-lover, much better than the most expert analytical naturalist, knows what an animal will or will not do in given circumstances. The differences between the species and genera are much more evident in their behavior than in conformation or in structural anatomy; they have evolved up to a certain point, and at that point they function, always in the same way, always in obedience to the law of their kind. Their will, -- which is their state of consciousness -- obliges them to respond in certain ways to given circumstances. When one animal -- as a dog, for instance, or an elephant -- evolves a disposition to act differently from the rest, that individual's state of consciousness is changing, usually to a slightly higher level. Then, there being no exception possible to law, it follows that exception must become law; the level to which one member of the species has attained becomes possible to that entire species, and evolution takes one step forward. Thenceforward the "I will" and "I will not" of that entire species has one less limitation. Example being more contagious than disease, it is only a matter of time before the ability of the one becomes the law -- the will -- the state of consciousness of the entire species.
It is so with men, but with the difference that men have reached the stage of evolution in which it is possible for them to become aware of it and consciously to direct its progress. Animals evolve unconsciously, the lower species hardly more aware of what compels them than the trees are, or the rocks and rivers. The higher mammals very often are aware of spiritual forces, although only for short periods, amid surroundings and in circumstances that provide the necessary stimulus; and although they give evidence then to a discerning observer of being conscious of unseen powers whose presence thrills them, they rarely, if ever, appear to change in character in consequence.
My own observation suggests, in fact, the contrary. A lion is never so much a lion as when he has stood for a few minutes staring into infinity, motionless, absorbed in contemplation of the unseen. At such moments his normally keen senses appear to be in a state of suspended function; he can neither hear the sounds that usually alarm him, smell the scents that normally enrage him, nor see what should make him suspicious were his purely animal consciousness alert. He is alert to something else, and in another way. For a moment he seems aware of the divinity of everything that lives and breathes and of his own place in the universe.
On many such occasions, I have had the opportunity to watch lions in the open, when the weather, his own vitality, and every other circumstance was in the lion's favor, giving him nothing to think about but the satisfaction of being alive. In such moments the very spirit of pantheism seems expressed, and that wonderful old psalm comes to mind in which the singer adjures: "O all ye beasts, praise ye the Lord; praise him and magnify him forever."
The moment passes, and the lion always roars -- roars as if a glimpse of the reality of things has thrilled him to the marrow -- roars and roars -- and then reasserts the animal. He is dangerous then. It is as if, in the words of the Bible, the flesh lusteth against the spirit. He reverts to blind laws and the lion's will, which is to go in search of what he may devour and to slay because he can.
It is the same with wolves. Sometimes, particularly toward evening in fine weather, when they have eaten and slept and played so that they feel in the pink of condition and their senses are in harmony, they seem to grow conscious of another element. Usually one wolf feels it first and howls, but the howl is an entirely different note from the hunting-call. Each wolf in turn takes it up until they all howl in chorus, putting all their heart into the music. No observer then, unless afraid, or so prejudiced that he is incapable of recognizing anything except what he has been told he should expect, could mistake that chorus for the usual wolf-cry. It is more like an evening hymn. They throw up their throats and take extraordinary pains to pitch on exactly the right quarter-tone. They are doing something they enjoy, and for the sake of doing it -- something that is neither play nor work -- an ecstasy.
They are not wolves while they are doing that, but a conscious part of Nature, one with all the rocks and trees and rivers, one with the wind and the twilight, one with Life itself. But it is only for short moments that they can hold to that realization; then they are wolves again, and dangerous, asserting their condition and the fang and claw with which they hold such sway in the forest as is theirs by right of evolution.
It is only man who can explain to himself what such ecstatic moments mean and can direct himself in order consciously to profit by them. And that is why it is unfair and ignorant to label man an animal, and why, the less a man regards himself as animal, the swifter his advancement to the higher planes of consciousness. We all are spiritual -- rocks and trees and rivers, wind and weather, and stars, birds, reptiles, and beasts. We all evolve. We all work out our destiny exactly from the point at which we stand, but the dividing chasm between man and animal is greater than that between animal and tree, because man alone is able to be conscious of the Soul that guides him.
The animal's "I will" is obedience to the law of his existence that he heeds but does not understand. He is a lion or a sheep, a wolf or a hyena; evolution is directed for him and he spends his life in being what he is, without a discernible trace of will to become something higher. Unless compelled, as a few rare individuals know how to compel, he shows no disposition to imitate anything higher than himself, or even to recognize that there is any higher condition than his own. His will is to be wolf or sheep or lion and to make the most of that, adapting himself as best he can to changing conditions. His "I will not" is his unwillingness to change himself -- his inability to do it.
Man's "I will" is all too often no more than the animal's expression of desire. His "I will not" descends too often, and particularly when the individual surrenders to the mean massed instinct of the mob, to the plane on which all consciousness of self-direction ceases and, in common with the vegetables, he exists within his senses and self-rooted to the earth. In such moods, men are not superior to animals, but worse, and for this reason: that whoever once has felt within himself and recognized the working of the Higher Law, thereafter is responsible; and he who lets that feeling of responsibility escape him or be crowded out by swinishness and greed commits sin. It is impossible to sin without a consciousness of what sin means.
Accordingly, a man's "I will," if he shall have the right to call himself a man and to enjoy man's heritage, must entail some higher object than the mere expression of his appetite or his ambition to impose his own desires on others, As an animal, man is a weakling so inferior in strength and obstinacy to the ass, for instance, that no comparison is possible between them. Man's intelligence, if set to perform the asses' labor in the asses' way, still leaves him so inferior to the beast that mere economy would give the ass a higher market value. It is in a Man's unwillingness to be an ass, to be described as one, to be made to work as one, that the hint of his way of salvation lies.
The meanest man, at intervals at any rate, is conscious of his manhood and aware of a compelling force within himself (he calls it 'conscience' oftener than not) that drives him to remorse, and through remorse to self-improvement. Then his "I will" strikes a nobler key, no longer flatted by disgusting appetite but thrilling with authority. He has accepted man's responsibility -- the privilege of self-direction. Self-control and self-improvement follow, and the "I will not" falls like a sword into his right hand -- a sword that points every way.
And "I will not" is equally important with "I will." The animal within a man is stirred by evidence of strengthened will. The "I will not" restrains it, and converts the animal emotion into higher forms of energy. No latter-day condition is more noticeable and productive of bewilderment than that increasing education and intelligence bring with them an increasing animality and cleverness in crime; but that is because "thou shalt not" has been allowed to substitute for "I will not," paternalism (of a sad, short-sighted kind) stalking stupidly where individual responsibility should be the first law of the land and the first concern of educators.
Any man who has responded to the Soul-note in himself (his conscience, if you will) and has deliberately set his face toward the future and the light, has felt -- perhaps instantly -- in some degree increasing influence upon his fellow-men. They begin to regard his word and to accord him the beginnings of authority, most often without knowing why they do it, because few men pause to analyze and to dissect their own reasons for this and that attitude. And if the truth could be set down in cold statistics (we are fortunate, perhaps, to be spared that mathematical indictment of a whole race!) we might be staggered by the revelation of what follows; our belief in human nature would need readjusting drastically before we could resume that buoyant optimism that we need in daily life.
Let each man analyze himself. Let each discover for himself the need for constant watchfulness. Our memories are not for nothing. There are few of us who need to look back more than one day down the line of zigzag and sporadic evolution to discover that each time we have been conscious of a forward step, however short, our lower nature instantly has sought to take advantage of it, causing us, subtly perhaps, to use the opportunity for self-aggrandizement.
I remember a black man -- ebony-black -- who set himself deliberately to improve his moral status. The effort was easy to recognize, and the result was obvious, although only he knew what extremes of self-denial it had cost him. He had left his native village, as he told me. (He was born in a village of thieves, where murder was considered bravery, and it was a Sikh skin-trader who first suggested to him higher standards of morality.)
In course of time he came to the attention of a high government official, who employed him and, finding him diligent, caused him to be enlisted in the police force, in which he began with such a splendid record in his favor that he was placed in positions of trust much sooner than was usual with recruits. His "I will" was as ready as the knife he used to wield in the old days in his native village; discipline seemed second nature to him, and his influence among the raw recruits enlisted later than himself was excellent. His "I will not," however, had not kept pace, and the feel of the new-found influence went like wine to his head. He became a bully, and from that went on to mutiny; and the last I knew of him he was a member of the chain-gang, cleaning township streets.
Now human nature varies only in degree. As long as we are humans, we are subject to the laws that govern human life and conduct. What is possible to one is possible to everyone, and the degree of our advancement can be measured solely by the strength or weakness of our individual self-control. Unlike the animals, we have the power of self-direction; we may exercise our will in the deliberate judgment of ourselves by spiritual standards, steadfastly aspiring to new levels of discretion, sturdily rejecting all inducements to descend again on to the lower plane on which the animal controls us.
The secret of success is balance. We are all familiar with characters that shine with a resplendent genius and lack, nevertheless, that moral stamina that challenges respect. The jails are full of them. The most of them lack balance -- lack the "I will not" to serve as counterweight and regulator to "I will." Without "I will" we never may attain to that self-government that is our goal, nor ever may evolve into such consciousness as can conceive self-government throughout a universe. Without the "I will not" we never can escape from the attraction of the lower nature, which provides us with an infinite variety of opportunities to resubmerge ourselves into its depths for every forward spiritual step we take.
The Middle Way -- Theosophy -- is found midway between animal ambition and the subtler maze of spiritual pride. A man needs balance more than any other faculty, if he would keep the true course, and the surest aid to learning balance is a sense of humor that enables one to laugh at his own erratic judgment and, instead of pitying himself, to pity others whom his own mistakes may have misled. There is no more certain prelude to a fall than self-approval; self-condemnation and self-pity are such dead-weights as the strongest cannot bear upward; but a sense of humor is no burden. The ability to laugh at one's own floundering, and above all to laugh at one's own claims to superiority above his fellowmen, is a magic talisman that costs nothing, weighs nothing, and occupies no space. Unlike those patent medicines that they used to sell to travelers, it really cures all ills and is available in every accident.
It is the lack of any sense of humor that has darkened all religion until men fight and go to law about past participles and the dull, dead letter of a printed creed. Paul the Apostle, who did more than any man to compose and formulate the religion since called Christianity, was no apostle of self-righteousness and gloom. One can imagine how he laughed and how he tapped his own breast when he voiced that famous phrase "the evil which I would not, that I do!" And doubtless he would laugh (and at himself) if he could hear the din of the debates over his phrases that have kept men quarreling among themselves for nineteen hundred years. Paul had sufficient sense of humor to preserve himself from bishoprics and too much praise; he earned his own living as a tentmaker; he laid no claim to be immune from limitations and obsessions that beset the rest of us, and he foresaw the evil that he might do while attempting the great benefit he would.
So, whether we agree with the Apostle Paul in all his teachings, or agree to disagree with him, we may admire the manliness that made him recognize his own humanity and saved him from the mire of self-esteem into which too many of the world's would-be reformers have slid headlong. Thus far we all may follow him, conceding our intention to do well by all the world but laying no claim to infallibility, our sense of humor coming to our aid to save us from self-praise -- such heady stuff that, balance we like Blondin, we should nevertheless lose footing if the least whiff of it were allowed to poison the immediate air.
"I will" and "I will not" are grand assertions. They include the whole of man's prerogatives; and neither is complete without the other. The infinite immensity of will, forever broadening as man ascends by purifying and controlling his own character, reveals such realms to revel in as blind and dazzle or bewilder at the first glimpse. Power not subject to restraint -- power even over oneself, without the sanity that shall restrain and guide it -- is madness; it is self-destroying and destructive of all else that meets it while its short-lived frenzy lasts.
Power over oneself can be attained, and must be, before progress becomes possible. But it is power held in trust and the least abuse of it is treason to the Soul -- rank sacrilege. "I will" is an expression of the consciousness of power. "I will not" is born of the determination never to betray the trust that power imposes.
So the two go hand in hand, the will to become one with our Higher Nature and the Higher Law being balanced and restrained by will not to offend or injure. Therein lies the difference between man and animal -- man, if he is worthy of the name of man, evolving character and race, and laying down his destiny, by serving others first, himself last -- the animal unconsciously obeying laws that seem to him to legalize the theory of self first.
Animals, in fact, are far from selfish, because their very instinct to protect themselves is based on laws beyond their comprehension that oblige them to protect their offspring and the herd and, consequently, all their ways are suitably conditioned to the state of consciousness at which they have arrived. Nature guides them.
Man is his own guide. He has attained to spiritual consciousness and may, and can, if he sees fit, take cognizance of spiritual laws and by their aid advance to higher spiritual knowledge, benefiting all humanity and all life less advanced than he is, not by self-assertion but by vigilant self-government that requires each thought and act to be unselfish and constructive. Man, if he will be man, not a major animal, will -- must -- live, and alone may live by spiritual service.
By Jack Common
[From THE ARYAN PATH, September 1937, pages 411-14]
Nowadays it has become the fashion in some circles to regard the growth of Communism as a negation of Christianity, and in others, as a fulfillment of the Christian vision. This situation is not new. Western thinking has developed from a basis of Christian belief, which has been its permanent background, and naturally every development is apt to be compared to that background. Some find the differences then seen as calamitous; to others the resemblances are a reassurance. And the process is made confusing because the people who are making the comparison are using as a measure something they cannot be fully aware of: Christianity is to them something half-buried in their unconscious; they acquired it as children, and often give enormous value to special parts of the creed simply because those parts penetrated deepest and have the greatest emotional significance.
In its first statement Christianity was a wholly anarchic faith. It appealed to the individual man to take care of his soul's salvation, and think little of his place in the world's affairs. The State (or the World, as it was called) could go to ruin, and all would be well if individual men had achieved grace. The World duly went to ruin, and of all the civilized institutions of that day the only one left standing was the Christian church. Hence, willy-nilly and for its own preservation, it had to develop a care for the traffic of a temporal world which by its postulates it had declared fundamentally unreal and illusory.
The cynical Romans of the governing class who had struggled against this anarchism when it first appeared might have had their laugh now, if there were any of them alive to look on. For essentially the hard material facts of the situation were not very different from those the Empire had wrestled with. Still, the most efficient method of wealth-production was slavery, and slavery necessitates the organization of classes whose material privileges must excite just that kind of ambition which Christianity ceaselessly denounced. It was not possible to recognize in the temporal world the spiritual principle of the equal value of individual souls. Nor was it thinkable that that principle could be abandoned. This was a dilemma which only a compromise could solve. And the Church solved it by creating a mystical hierarchy of rank, which allotted degrees of power to different orders of men purposely for the organization of material matters, while insisting that in the real world, the world of spiritual reality, and every man had an equal chance of Heaven.
This inevitably involved giving special emphasis to such parts of the creed as condoned the compromise. Therefore, for many centuries it was the Fatherhood of God which was celebrated in every hierarchical institution; and that same aspect of God was insisted on by artists who expressed its feminine mode, in the splendid figure of the Madonna. The Church, which had been from the beginning a free community of souls, now became in addition a hierarchy of rank governed and guided through the temporal pilgrimage by the beneficent Father-God, from whom all authority derived. Secular organizations were made to the same plan and in the same hope of achieving divine protection. Thus there could be built up a State no less efficient than the Roman but avoiding the Roman vices and ambitions.
In it every man had his rank, his place; he was honored for his office, not for himself. Rank was much more than the guinea-stamp molding the common gold of men. It was mystical, a sign of God's governance on earth to be accepted and respected as something 'given.' It appeared equally in religious and civil institutions so that everyone took his place in a kind of animated heraldry which seems very picturesque to us when we look back on it from our tradesmen's streets and democratic dwelling-places.
Now, once it was set up, no one expected this universal order of Christendom to be seriously disturbed. It was not something which could be added to or improved to any great extent. It was merely designed as a temporal shelter for the millions of souls in their difficult earthly pilgrimage between the Eternities. In theory, at least, the efforts of every Christian were bent heavenward. You were supposed to pursue grace, and if in the course of it you happened to occupy many decorative and lucrative offices they were not the prime object of ambition. In this way the fine anarchy of early Christian principle was made to fit in with the practical necessities of the day. You cared nothing for earthly distinction; it was impossible to run cities or nations without those distinctions; therefore they were given a semi-divine sanction and kept as far as possible out of the lists of ambition. So the whole system of rank was meant to stand as a sort of incubator protecting the Christian virtues as they evolved in the individual souls beneath.
But in time the fledgling grew. No one recognized him as virtue, Christian or pagan. On the contrary Christendom seemed to be faced with a general revolt of its members, an era of impious anarchy. At first it was a negative, a negating, revolt; it looked like sin, and was so denounced. Abbots and bishops, kings and nobles, most of all merchants, began to act without respect to the worthiness of their calling; it became less and less important that a man had such-and-such a rank, and more and more that he was so-and-so; it became less noticeable that people were Christians and more that they were English, Dutch, or Spanish. This looked like disintegration, and the wise men of that long bad period were concerned to check the decay before it wrecked Christendom. They could not check it, however, for it spread with the speed of a general realization and came to all in some way.
Then other men of wisdom, who were also men of vision, discovered that this negation of rank was powerful because it contained a positive affirmation. It could upset the old Church and all the derivative orders because it proclaimed a veritable God -- if not God the Father, then God the Son. God was in the old hierarchies as long as He was really reverenced there; no less is He in the individual, and if He is properly reverenced THERE, individuals can act with hitherto unknown freedom and come to no harm. That was a fine consecrating vision. It turned a vast oppressive disintegrating force into a freedom for a great many people, though, of course, they paid for that freedom in the way you have to by having to learn a personal discipline known as Puritanism by which the individual is protected from his own excesses.
It took some seeing, that did, and it was worth the effort. An authentic glimpse of God this awareness of the worth of the individual. But never let us believe that such a vision can be final: in their nature they are fragmentary, and because of what they exclude, the element of denial in them soon begins to bulk larger than the initial revelation. So it is now with this Protestant proclamation of God-in-the-Individual. God is not in the individual now, not in any meaningful way. We should recognize that easily but for the still lingering habits of the last revelation. So, though the social landscape is plainly littered with empty shrines, there are many who go on quarrying into themselves hoping to turn up something if they dig deep enough. And many too, who realize the barrenness of that but are apt to think, if not here, nowhere; or if not nowhere, then back in some dream of the past which is the poetic equivalent of nowhere.
That despair is simply a failure to apprehend the multiform nature of divinity. If God is not in man-as-individual perhaps He is in the common humanity of man; if He is not in us, then perhaps He is in the other fellow, especially in all the other fellows taken together. The Protestant worship of Jesus the Son of God vividly revealed a quality which had become overlaid in the formalized medieval societies. Yet finally it insists on one aspect, one revelation, and to do that for too long is to lose the vision altogether in the end. So it happens now that the great majority of our people cease to exist in the social consciousness as individuals: they are 'mass,' the 'masses.' You and I are individuals to our friends still, but when we walk in the street, or buy in the shops, or read in newspapers, we are 'masses' -- a new and horrible aspect for us.
Probably if we could look back on this period from some distance in time, we should see that practically all the efforts of our statesmen and ideologues were bent towards accommodating the alien growth in the confines of an individualist economy, handling it, you see, without sympathy or understanding. We are all unwilling servants of these masses, and what we give them we grudge. They must have clothes and houses and fun. It is an accursed necessity. So the houses and fun and clothes they get do not publish anybody's joy in the giving: they are ugly and unblessed. Look how contemptuous of its readers the mass newspaper is, for instance! It is compiled by captured individualists who think they shame themselves in this service, because they serve no God that they can discern.
The masses are men too; men in a new, though up till now, a negative unity. Suppose now, that they suddenly see a consecration in that, and are glad they are no longer English, Dutch, Spanish, quaintly divided under geographical totems, nor that they are any longer little-gents-to-be; suppose that they begin to rejoice in their common humanity, which may yet prove the richest thing; that they see how their united host has possibilities before it which could never exist for the petty insecure fractions which previously have stood as symbol of the human destinies. Such a discovery would be a genuine revelation of God -- of God the Wholly Ghost, the third phase of the Christian Trinity, the one which is most universal and least likely to be coffined up in the worship of a sect.
Somehow, by some such miracle of response, we have to learn to value men even when they don't look like men, when they are a mob or a headline in a newspaper. If we fail in this, it is destruction. Consider how terribly easy it is to deal slaughter from the air on the crowds beneath. We cannot defend them -- why? Because it is possible to defend only what you hold precious, and we value these people only as individuals, not as the mass they look from above. That is the most obvious symbol of the problem by which we are faced. We have to become vitally aware of the human masses into which the bulk of every population has now been turned.
So far the necessity for that awareness has been stated chiefly in the terms of various challenging political creeds, and is therefore often diminished in narrow debates. These obscure our judgment of the greatness of the issue. We see it mixed up with material interests and ambitions, more often as a negative and destructive phenomenon. That is how these things come. They put the fear of death into us first, before we realize that here is a challenge calling upon us to have more life. We are asked to live so vividly in our common humanity that common humanity everywhere becomes fully human -- that is the challenge which in the next few lifetimes perhaps, must be accepted or refused.
By G. de Purucker
[From STUDIES IN OCCULT PHILOSOPHY, pages 129-33.]
I have listened with deep interest to the remarks on the Jewish Christian Bible made this evening. Let me say first that I have been astonished at the remarkable way in which much light has been thrown upon some of the meanings of the Hebrew Scripture called 'The Book of the Beginnings.'
It is true that the original word translated as 'God' in the English version, used in the opening verses of the BOOK OF GENESIS, is Elohim. It is a Hebrew plural meaning 'gods,' 'divine beings.' The monotheistic Hebrews, and the monotheistic Christians who took over the scriptures, in other words the Hebrew Bible, of the Jews, say that this Hebrew plural is a 'plural of majesty,' used in somewhat the same sense in which crowned heads sometimes will speak of themselves: 'We, by the Grace of God,' so-and-so -- John, Peter, James, William, or what not. But there is no proof whatsoever in the writings themselves that the word Elohim is merely a 'plural of majesty.' Grammatically speaking it is a distinct, clear, Hebrew plural.
In a moment or two I shall recite to you a few verses, at least the first two verses, of the original Hebrew, and will then tell you a little something about it; but before doing so, I want to call your attention to one or two interesting facts. You speak of the Hebrew Bible as the Old Testament or Old Covenant. Do you realize that this last phrase is an original Jewish expression, simply meaning that certain writings, some of them religious, some of them quasi-historic, some of them poetic, which were the property of a small Semitic people, were supposed to evidence an ancient covenant made between this people and their tribal deity? Other peoples in the world have similar writings, similar scriptures, which are just as sacred and true to these other peoples, just as highly cherished, and considered by these other peoples of as great worth to themselves, as these particular writings were to the Hebrews. In other words, the Hebrew writings are not the only sacred scriptures of the world cherished by the people among whom they arose.
In the second place, the only scripture of the Hebrew Old Testament which, from our Theosophical standpoint, is truly occult, esoteric, is the first book, as these books now stand in their printed order -- 'the Book of the Beginnings;' and indeed, only a few chapters in the beginning of this first book, are fully esoteric. This does not mean that some of the other books have no mystical meaning, such as the BOOK OF JOB. That exclusive idea is not what I mean. The PSALMS of David, so called, for instance, were written by a poet-heart; and every poet-heart is a seer more or less. But the true universal wisdom of the 'Oriental Qabbalah' is found most fully only in the first few chapters of the BOOK OF GENESIS.
Now, the phrase 'Oriental Qabbalah' means the 'Oriental Tradition,' because this word 'Qabbalah' is a noun derived from the Hebrew verbal root qabal, which means 'to receive,' 'to take,' 'to hand down.' Thus the 'Oriental Qabbalah' means the universal 'Oriental Tradition'; and the Hebrew Qabbalah is the Hebrew form of this body of the Oriental doctrine often called Traditional Wisdom, handed down from generation to generation of human Seers. In other words, the Jewish Qabbalah is the Theosophy of the Jews; and it is one rather restricted phase, or rather one minor national representation, of the Universal Qabbalah or universal Tradition of the World.
Here is the Hebrew as the original Hebrew text has been in modern times divided into words, and so printed:
(1) Bereshith barei' 'Elohim 'eth hash-shamayim we-'eth ha-'arets.
(2) We-ha-'arets hayethah thohu wa-bohu we-hhoshech 'al-pnei thehom we-ruahh 'Elohim merahhepheth 'al pnei ham-mayim.
In the very first word you are confronted with a difficulty: How is this word to be divided? Let me explain what I mean. In writing ancient Hebrew, the letters of the words followed each other without break, precisely as if you were to take a paragraph in a modern newspaper, remove all the spaces or divisions between the words, remove all the marks of punctuation, and thus have the letters run along in a solid line or file, one after the other.
Furthermore -- and this is very important -- there are no characters for vowels in the Hebrew alphabet, so in order to make our illustration clear and exact, all the vowels in the modern newspaper paragraph would have to be removed, and only the consonants following each other in a solid, steady file would remain. This is the picture of how ancient Hebrew was written.
Obviously then, having this series of solid lines before you, you can divide, perhaps successfully, a single such line into different and differing words; and these first two words in the Hebrew that I have quoted for you, to wit: bere'shithbara', can be divided differently from the manner commonly used, for instance: Bere'sh yithbare', which translated, gives an entirely different meaning.
The common division: Bereshith bara' 'Elohim means: "In the beginning 'Elohim carved (or cut or shaped)" -- the two heavens and the earth. The other division of the Hebrew letters: Bere'sh yithbare', changes the meaning entirely. Re'sh or ro'sh means head, wisdom, knowledge, the higher part, the first in a series; and the word yithbare' is a reflexive form of the verb bara', thus signifying 'making itself' or 'making themselves' -- to be the two heavens and the earth. In other words, the meaning with the two first words thus divided is that the gods or cosmic spirits, through wisdom, through knowledge, through being the chief or first formative forces, made themselves to become the heavens and the material sphere.
'Heavens' -- shamayim -- dual, plural, not one, a series; 'erets or 'arets -- the 'world,' translated 'earth' which Christians think is this little earth of ours, and later extended to the universe when they learned that the stars were no longer little points of light caught up there, but dazzling glorious suns, many of them larger than ours. 'Arets means the body-sphere, the material sphere.
You see what an utterly different interpretation can be gained by dividing the file or row of Hebrew letters in this second way.
Furthermore, the English translation called the Authorized Version, while it is dear to English people on account of the religious memories of childhood, and because also perhaps the English language of King James's day seems to Englishmen of today more virile than the current English of our own era, yet lacks entirely the proper spirit of the mystical Hebrew original; and the very fact that Englishmen love their King James's version so much distracts their attention away from the original mystical sense of the Hebrew scripture. Go then to the original tongue and ask those who really know just what the essential meaning of the Hebrew is.
When I hear some of these dear good people who talk so much about 'numerology,' as they imagine it to exist in the Hebrew scriptures, and who think that by counting the number of words in the English translation and the number of chapters in one of the scriptures, or the number of phrases in a chapter, or the number of words in a phrase, they can arrive at solutions of wonderful mysteries or discover the secret of occult truths, I always feel impelled and compelled to say that they forget that they are using a translation, and a very imperfect translation at that, of what is something quite different from their supposition in the original tongue: for there were no chapters, and no verses, and no marks of punctuation such as commas, periods, semi-colons, or capital letters -- in the body of the original Hebrew -- naught but solid lines or files of letters crossing the pages of the original books.
Now, which translation do you prefer, the usual and I may say mistaken version of the English translation: "In the beginning God made the heaven and the earth," or the other translation equally authorized by the original Hebrew, and which has the further advantage of being on all fours with the Universal Tradition, to wit: "In wisdom (or in multitude, in company, as a host) the gods carved (or shaped, or formed)" out of already preexistent material (for the original Hebrew verbal root bara' means 'to cut,' 'to carve,' not 'to create') "the heavens and the material sphere;" which, when understood, means the following: "In the beginning of the Manvantara the gods became the spiritual realms and the material."
The meaning, therefore, very briefly given, of the Hebrew account of Creation so-called is rather an account of evolving forth from seeds, cosmic seeds, preexistent in space, by the power of the indwelling spiritual fires. You have a strict analogy of that in the way a human being is born from a microscopic human seed, a cell, and grows into a six-foot man by powers derived from within itself.
That is the way worlds came into being. I wonder why so many have never realized what must have been before, according to their theory, God Almighty created the universe, the world. God is not a carpenter, or, as the Greeks put it, a Demiurge, a Builder. Divinity is the indwelling spirit of fire and love and intelligence and consciousness -- the fountain of everything: atom and man, sun and beast, flower and stone. All can be traced back to the divine source, to their growth from within.
Thus it was that according to the Hebrew account of Creation, the gods, the spiritual beings, the children of the divine, were embryo-gods, not yet grown up, baby-gods as it were, unevolved; but the gods of our world, or our galaxy for instance, were the guiding, inspiriting fire of life and intelligence that brought our galaxy into being, our earth into being. There is the whole story, and the Hebrew does not say one word about an extra-cosmic god creating the world. This word, mistranslated 'god' in the Hebrew, let me emphasize, is plural: 'Elohim, which means gods, divine beings, spiritual beings, creatures of love and flaming thought, children of the Incomprehensible Divine, which is the fountain of the universe out of which they come, and, after their evolutionary course is run, into the immeasurable deeps of which they again sink into unutterable peace, later to reissue again and to become through evolving eons first men, then gods, and then super-gods, to be followed by another period of divine rest, after which a new issuing forth into cosmic activity; but ever growing endlessly.
In the two or three first chapters of 'the Book of the Beginnings,' commonly spoken of in European countries as the BOOK OF GENESIS (a Greek word meaning Beginning or Becoming), you will find the Ancient Wisdom of the human race. All the rest of the Bible, all the other parts of the Hebrew Old Testament, are simply local, national, traditional, records, without much or any esoteric meaning whatsoever.
The Christian New Testament, which is the second part of the Christian Bible, read literally, with its thirty-six thousand and some odd hundreds of mistranslations from the Greek original, as existing in the King James's or Authorized Version, contains no more of the ancient and esoteric wisdom than do the books of the Old Testament. What it does contain of the Ancient Wisdom-Religion of Mankind is the story, when esoterically understood, of a cycle of initiation, with the great Syrian Initiate, Jesus, as the central type-figure.
By William Q. Judge
[From THE PATH, March 1893, pages 374-77, reprinted in ECHOES OF THE ORIENT, I, pages 318-21.]
A visitor from one of the other planets of the solar system who might learn the term Mahatma after arriving here would certainly suppose that the etymology of the word undoubtedly inspired the believers in Mahatmas with the devotion, fearlessness, hope, and energy which such an ideal should arouse in those who have the welfare of the human race at heart. Such a supposition would be correct in respect to some, but the heavenly visitor after examining all the members of the Theosophical Society could not fail to meet disappointment when the fact was clear to him that many of the believers were afraid of their own ideals, hesitated to proclaim them, were slothful in finding arguments to give reasons for their hope, and all because the wicked and scoffing materialistic world might laugh at such a belief.
The whole sweep, meaning, and possibility of evolution are contained in the word Mahatma. Maha is "great," Atma is "soul," and both compounded into one mean those great souls who have triumphed before us not because they are made of different stuff and are of some strange family, but just because they are of the human race. Reincarnation, karma, the sevenfold division, retribution, reward, struggle, failure, success, illumination, power, and a vast embracing love for man, all these lie in that single word.
The soul emerges from the unknown, begins to work in and with matter, is reborn again and again, makes karma, developer the six vehicles for itself, meets retribution for sin and punishment for mistake, grows strong by suffering, succeeds in bursting through the gloom, is enlightened by the true illumination, grasps power, retains charity, expands with love for orphaned humanity, and thenceforth helps all others who remain in darkness until all may be raised up to the place with the "Father in Heaven" who is the Higher Self. This would be the argument of the visitor from the distant planet, and he in it would describe a great ideal for all members of a Society such as ours which had its first impulse from some of these very Mahatmas.
Without going into any argument further than to say that evolution demands that such beings should exist or there is a gap in the chain -- and this position is even held by a man of science like Prof. Huxley, who in his latest essays puts it in almost as definite language as mine -- this article is meant for those who believe in the existence of the Mahatmas, whether that faith has arisen of itself or is the result of argument. It is meant also for all classes of the believers, for they are of several varieties. Some believe without wavering; others believe unwaveringly but are afraid to tell of their belief; a few believe, yet are always thinking that they must be able to say they have set eyes on an Adept before they can infuse their belief into others; and a certain number deliberately hide the belief as a sort of individual possession which separates them from the profane mortals who have never heard of the Adepts or who having heard scoff at the notion. To all these I wish to speak. Those unfortunate persons who are ever trying to measure exalted men and sages by the conventional rules of a transition civilization, or who are seemingly afraid of a vast possibility for man and therefore deny, may be well left to themselves and to time, for it is more than likely they will fall into the general belief when it is formed, as it surely will be in the course of no long time. For a belief in Mahatmas -- whatever name you give the idea -- is a common property of the whole race, and all the efforts of all the men of empirical science and dogmatic religion can never kill out the soul's own memory of its past.
We should declare our belief in the Adepts, while at the same time we demand no one's adherence. It is not necessary to give the names of any of the Adepts, for a name is an invention of a family, and but few persons ever think of themselves by name but by the phrase "I am myself." To name these beings, then, is no proof, and to seek for mystery names is to invite condemnation for profanation. The ideal without the name is large and grand enough for all purposes.
Some years ago the Adepts wrote and said to HPB and to several persons that more help could be given to the movement in America because the fact of their existence was not concealed from motives of either fear or doubt. This statement of course carries with it by contradistinction the conclusion that where, from fear of schools of science or of religion, the members had not referred much to the belief in Mahatmas, the power to help was for some reason inhibited. This is the interesting point, and brings up the question "Can the power to help of the Mahatmas be for any cause inhibited?" The answer is that it can -- but why?
All effects on every plane are the result of forces set in motion, and cannot be the result of nothing, but must ever flow from causes in which they are wrapped up. If the channel through which water is meant to flow is stopped up, the water will not run there, but if a clear channel is provided the current will pass forward. Occult help from Masters requires a channel just as much as any other help does, and the fact that the currents to be used are occult makes the need for a channel greater. The persons to be acted on must take part in making the channel or line for the force to act, for if we will not have it, they cannot give.
Now as we are dealing with the mind and nature of man, we have to throw out the words which will arouse the ideas connected with the forces we desire to have employed. In this case the words are those which bring up the doctrine of the existence of Adepts, Mahatmas, and Masters of Wisdom and hence the value of the declaration of our belief. It arouses dormant ideas in others; it opens up a channel in the mind; it serves to make the conducting lines for the forces to use which the Mahatmas wish to give out. Many a young man who could never hope to see great modern professors of science like Huxley and Tyndall and Darwin has been excited to action, moved to self-help, and impelled to seek for knowledge by having heard that such men actually exist and are human beings. Without stopping to ask if the proof of their living in Europe is complete, men have sought to follow their example. Shall we not take advantage of the same law of the human mind and let the vast power of the Lodge work with our assistance and not against our opposition or doubt or fear? Those who are devoted know how they have had unseen help which showed itself in results. Those who fear may take courage, for they will find that not all their fellow beings are devoid of an underlying belief in the possibilities outlined by the doctrine of the existence of the Adepts.
And if we look over the work of the Society, we find wherever the members boldly avow their belief and are not afraid to speak of this high ideal that the interest in Theosophy is awake, the work goes on, and the people are benefited. To the contrary, where there are constant doubt, ceaseless asking for material proof, incessant fear of what the world or science or friends will think, there the work is dead, the field is not cultivated, and the town or city receives no benefit from the efforts of those who while formally in a universal brotherhood are not living out the great ideal.
Very wisely and as an occultist, Jesus said his followers must give up all and follow him. We must give up the desire to save ourselves and acquire the opposite, the wish to save others. Let us remember the story in ancient writ of Yudhishthira, who -- entering heaven and finding that his dog was not admitted and some of his friends in hell -- refused to remain and said that while one creature was out of heaven he would not enter it. This is true devotion, and this joined to an intelligent declaration of belief in the great initiation of the human race will lead to results of magnitude, will call out the forces that are now behind, will prevail against hell itself and all the minions of hell striving to retard the progress of the human soul.