Yet in and throughout all the ages these Mystery-Schools, whether secret or partially secret, or more or less commonly known, were the sources or foci out of which went into the multitudes of men the impulses and guiding light which build up the civilizations of the different epochs. Out of these Schools went into the world everything that was of permanent value. Out from the arcana of these Mystery-Schools, in the different ages and in the different parts of the globe, went the teachings, went to men embodying and illustrating those teachings, that made the great brilliance of the ancient civilizations; and so it was from the remotest epochs of the self-conscious human race, down ever to fairly recent times in human history.
-- G. de Purucker, THE ESOTERIC TRADITION, II, 1049-50.
By Eldon B. Tucker
Those seemingly chance encounters in life may not be as accidental as you may think. There is a plan and purpose to your life that may not always be apparent, but a deeper part of you is looking out for you. Your higher self sees the bigger picture, and will nudge you in the right direction at times, when it's truly important for you to encounter opportunities to grow and flower.
Even so, those opportunities are rare, special, and should be taken advantage of. It is paramount that you're alert for them and respond when the right moment has arisen. How can you know that now's the time to act, to do or say something that changes your life forever? There's a foreshadowing, a general awareness that this is a special day, that unique things are happening. You may have a sudden impulse to change your daily routine, to do something out of the ordinary. Perhaps you ignore it, and it happens again, stronger this time, and it keeps insisting until you give in. And then, later, you find you were in the right place and time for a key change in your life.
There are many lost opportunities. How much better your life would be if you'd only recognize more and respond when the moment is right? One such rare event is when you have a chance to know again loved ones from the distant past, from distant times and places in other, previous lifetimes.
When such an opportunity happens, you should reach out, be yourself, and see what happens. Perhaps there will be no response of remembered kinship, no recognition of a connection waiting to be reawakened. But there are rare times when something clicks and there is a renewed connection with a kindred soul.
Special friendships that last a lifetime are treasures to be sought out and cultivated. Good friends endure through all the changes that life brings your way, and continue despite long periods of absence. In having friends who understand you, care about what happens in your life, who are sympathetic and accepting, you are enriched.
Which such friends, you do not have to put up appearances. They genuinely love you as a person and want you to have a happy and fulfilled life. They're fun to talk to, a joy to share with, and leave you at ease, free to share what you truly feel.
With them, you have deep connections that tie your destinies together. There are strong bonds of love and companionship that many have taken many lifetimes to forge.
You recognized yourself, a big part of your life, in the other. The friend may be of either sex, of any age, from any background in life. The bond is not based on external appearances. He or she is a dearly loved one, someone you truly know.
There are many such people in the world, most of whom you may never know. You could be around one for years, never speak, never know a connection, then serendipitous circumstances bring you together and the bond is renewed. Why is this? How you get to know someone is a dynamic process. Friendship and love are like a dance, a growing together, a connecting on different levels. How it happens affects how it becomes this time, how you relate in this lifetime.
Who do you turn to when troubled? Who can share your joys in life with, feeling appreciated and loved? Who, when you share with, makes you happier in your joys and comforted in your pain, just by having shared with the friend?
You may own a house, have a job and career, have a spouse or loved one, and have fascinating hobbies. But these all may come and go in life. Things change. But true friends are always there, for life, a source of love and comfort regardless of what life throws your way.
With good friends, there are no strings attached. There is nothing in your career, employment, marriage, blood ties, or other commitments that hold you and the friend together. The only bond is one forged by a kinship of soul and mutual caring. It's like two birds that choose to fly together in the sky, rather than a pair of hamsters kept together because locked in a small cage. It is mutual caring, not external circumstances, that is the draw.
The ultimate evolution of humanity is not to a disconnected impersonal caring for others, like a person who smiles at everyone and everything without any reaction to the differing states of others. Rather, it is found in deep ties of love with many, many people.
There's a difference between impersonality and unselfishness. Impersonal love may be described as not caring who the recipient is, being indifferent, without any bond or tie, transient, readily able to walk away and never see the other again, not caring for the person, only interested in that one moment when he or she is before you. But that isn't quite right.
Being unselfish is wanting the best for you and the other, neither being greedy for yourself nor giving too much unnecessarily. You give just what is right, allowing neither greed for what you keep for yourself nor greed on the other's behalf to control the giving. All you both have is shared with a sense of fairness.
When you learn non-attachment to pleasure and pain, that doesn't mean that you adopt a cold indifference to the needs of yourself or others. You may love an experience, and want to repeat it to get the same pleasure. It can become addictive. But each experience, taken anew, with no expectations nor demands upon the outcome -- that's true non-attachment. Give each experience in life a chance to be fresh and new, not constrained to follow the previous ways that it has gone before.
The same is true with friends, true friends. Seeing them is always a joy, when done without any expectations. It is a chance to share yourself without having to put up any pretenses.
As with ordinary friends, there may be a give and take, an ongoing exchange of inspirations, ideas, feelings, and most importantly of our time. The love and caring shown us evokes more from our hearts, and our connection deepens. With true friends, though, we cannot help wanting to share, regardless of the response. The other's happiness and welfare is too deeply connected to our own. We know it and touch it too intimately to need any external reward for showing new kindness.
Humanity is bettered when we've all forged many strong bonds of love, caring, and closeness to others. This is not achieved when we've all come to some impersonal caring for others that forges no bonds and leaves people so loosely connected that we could all go off on our own ways and not miss a single person.
It is because of the deep connections that we forge with others that we have depth to our lovingness and the ability to brighten the lives of others. Each such bond ties us to our external humanity, to true compassion for others lives, and inwardly to our higher self, as deeper parts of us become engaged in our lives and in connections to the outer world.
By Sidney Hamilton
[From THE THEOSOPHICAL PATH, April 1927, pages 376-78.]
The subject, Practical Theosophy, implies a doubt in some minds that Theosophy is practical. It must be my effort, therefore, to make it clear that Theosophy is essentially practical. The word 'practical' has been applied for so long a time to the merely material expressions of man's life, that to use it in some very different connection might arouse disagreement at first. An instance or two of my meaning, however, will prove the contrary.
The guidance and control of an ocean liner, for instance, is a practical man's job; but he can do this only through his knowledge of purely theoretic lines; lines, however, which are fundamental to the laws of navigation. If we stop to think we shall see that all of our 'practical jobs' are based, just as in this instance, upon unseen laws and forces. The food we eat is material, but it is the unseen life in the food that we make use of in our bodies. The unseen ether holds sounds which would be forever unheard by us if it were not for the practical use of the radio and wireless receiving-instruments. The sounds are caught again from this unseen container.
The heat- and light-rays from the sun are immaterial things to us, yet they support all existing life on earth. The sun has always been where it is, shedding its light and heat into space. Electric and other forces have been always coming to us from it, but man has as yet put only very little of these unseen forces to practical use. One knows that in far antiquity, man was using these energies more than we can dream of doing nowadays, as many discoveries tend to prove.
As all the real practical issues of material existence are based on the application of powerful and invisible forces, so the much greater issues of the moral life of man and his soul-life are based on influences much more subtle and effective than those behind the gross material world. The essential divinity, the Soul in man, is the unseen power behind his life. The knowledge of this power, and of how to bring it into practical expression, Theosophy gives to man. It has always been his, but like the sun or the ocean of ether, it is waiting for man to open it up, to discover what is there.
The study of Theosophy will show any one that he is more than just his body. It is because of living and feeling entirely in his body and lower passions, that man commits the crimes we are so familiar with today, crimes that make us wonder whither humanity is drifting. We see every day the results of the animal nature of man running wild. Nothing, social position nor wealth, can stem the tide of crime till something more than man's animal impulses rules his life. Families are broken up, individual lives are wrecked. What, then, could be more practical than the application of a knowledge that will ultimately stem this tide of disintegration? The knowledge that will do this is Theosophy.
Theosophy gives an adequate and satisfying answer to any question or problem that weighs upon the mind or heart. If any one doubts this, let him study and find out for himself. This effort will be not only of great benefit to himself, but for the State as well, for then he will never sanction such a law as that legalizing capital punishment, a law which shows complete ignorance of how to deal with the problem.
It would be a mistake to think, however, that the Theosophist has no problems to solve in himself. He has as many as anyone else, but he knows where to turn in order to try to solve them. His lower nature is ready for a fight too, when attacked; but herein there is an incentive to put up a brave fight against himself, and win. Once one has decided to direct his life from impulses other than those of his lower nature and its body, his steps are directed on a worthwhile path, a path which once he has glimpsed it, he never fully turns away from again. He may wander for a while on side-tracks, but will be glad when the 'main-road' is seen again.
Then, too, his sincere efforts will be a help to those around him who perhaps fall into side-tracks more often than he does. We help each other in ways we little dream of, in our own efforts at self-conquest, and it is these unseen links that bind humanity in one Brotherhood. It is on this unseen plane that our efforts become of value and support to others.
To be able to arouse even one individual to the realization of the common spiritual origin of man, to make him see that Brotherhood is an actual fact in the soul-life of everyone, so that he will realize that he is a link in an actual brotherhood of humanity, would be of greater practical value in healing the nations' wounds, than any number of peace-treaties.
When our higher nature is neglected, we hardly realize its presence. It has to be nourished, not neglected, just as the body must be nourished in order to keep its health, if it is to be of any practical value to us. The sun is as necessary to the life of the earth, as is the soul to the life of man, for that soul-force sustains him through all pain and sorrow and suffering, with the hope it gives of another chance even though he has to wait a lifetime. It gives him fortitude to endure. It inspires him to acts of heroism that the body would shrink from. In fact, the essential divinity of man shares its origin with the power which lies behind the light of the sun.
Every one of the facts mentioned are based on a knowledge which Theosophy gives. It explains our everyday existence and therefore is most useful to us. If it is so valuable to us in our everyday life, can one still doubt that it is practical? Theosophy is, in fact, not only the most serious movement of the age, but also the most practical movement.
By Erica L. Georgiades
[A lecture at the International Convention of the Theosophical Society, Adyar, Chenresi, India December 29, 2008.]
A few days ago I arrived from Greece, where there was much tension. We lived through many days of savage vandalism in Athens, where hundreds of shops, cars, and properties were burned and destroyed. India, which is mourning the victims of the terrorist attack in Mumbai, is filled with tension from trying to find ways to prevent future terrorist attacks. These situations show the chaos that grows all over the world, and remind me of the prophecy in the VISHNU PURANA about the Kalki Avatar that among other things says:
There will be rulers reigning over the Earth who will think of themselves as modern and superior; they shall rule through leaders of nations, and these leaders shall be men of vulgar, corrupt disposition, having a violent temper, and ever addicted to falsehood and evil. They will inflict death on women, children, and animals ... The people of various countries, influenced by propaganda of their leaders, will follow the example of their leaders, and the Barbarians of materialism. In all nations, wealth and spirituality will decrease day by day until the entire world will be corrupt, crooked, and depraved.
We are witnessing day by day the prophecy of the VISHNU PURANA becoming true. We know we are only in the beginning of Kali Yuga and things will get worse. The winter humanity is entering promises to be a dark and cold one. But we Theosophists have a mission, which we must try to carry on from generation to generation, and this is to try to keep the SPIRITUAL TRUTHS alive. To stand against materialism, to stand against barbarism, to stand against violence is part of our work. But how can we do this?
The promotion of our three Objects is a step in this direction, but not the major one. The major one is to make Theosophy a living force in our everyday life. There is nothing that can cause more impact in the world than becoming a living example of the force of Theosophy. We Theosophists should work towards this. This implies an inner commitment, which is to begin treading a certain path: THE PATH OF GOODNESS. Here we may ask: what is the nature of goodness and how can we express it in our everyday life? How can we become a living and inspiring example of the force of Theosophy?
In order to reply to this question, we must first look at the definition of the Hellenic word THEOSOPHY. It has two compounds: "Theos" (God-Divine) and "Sophia" (Wisdom). In ancient Greece, "Sophia" was one of Plato's four cardinal Virtues. According to Plato, Wisdom was an inner condition which is an expression of the energy of the soul.
When we talk about Theosophy, we refer to the energy of the soul. Consequently, we refer to something that can be known only from within. Theosophy is truth, and there are no words in any language to express the great truth of Theosophy, which is Divine Wisdom. You may learn by heart all the system presented in the works of H.P. Blavatsky and in the works of others; you may write, debate, teach, and affirm this knowledge is Theosophy, but you will be still trapped by intellect, and consequently unable to know what Theosophy is. In order to become a living example of Theosophy, we must look not only at books and to those things that are outside us, but also to that which is closest to us, our inner self.
Our search for truth is the search for our real nature, our divine nature. It is the longing for a conscious union with the divine. The divine that we long for is in fact so close to us, that we cannot see it. We keep searching for it in everyone else, except there where we have to look. Plato once said there is nothing closer to us than our soul, and if we do not know that which is so close, what is the meaning of knowing things that are far? The one, who truly focuses on knowing his own self and truly comprehends it, is the one who will have the ability to tread the Path of Goodness. He, and only he, is a real THEOSOPHOS (a wise one).
A question still remains open: what is the nature of goodness? We may say good actions are the result of actions without attachment, actions without attachment to ideas, to things, to the GREAT HERESY which is the attachment to our illusory and transitory personality. The major lesson taught in Hellenic Mythology is that THE TEMPLE OF VIRTUE IS WITHIN US. The virtues we express depend on the virtues we have cultivated within us, for we know the mind is to be found where we have sent it. Pythagoras taught this to his disciples when he advised them to reflect upon the virtues they wanted to acquire. Because when reflecting upon the virtues that one aspires to acquire, such virtues will gradually become a reality in the life of the aspirant. What better definition of virtue than the one Lao Tzu gave us: "I am good to people who are good. I am also good to people who are not good, because virtue is goodness." Virtue is goodness. And the nature of goodness is selfless action, action without attachment.
The path of goodness is not a lethargic path, but a path of action. To act with goodness we need to act without attachment; only the fruit of such actions can bring great goodness to humanity. In THE BAGHAVAD GITA (III.25), we read the following
As the ignorant act from attachment to action, so should the wise act without attachment desiring the welfare of the world.
There is nothing that justifies suffering except our own ignorance. Attachment is born out of ignorance. By performing actions without attachment we reach the Divine as Lord Krishna said in THE BAGHAVAD GITA (III.19):
Therefore without attachment, always perform action which should be done; for by performing action without attachment, man reaches the Supreme.
We must also remember that even if opportunities for great deeds should never come our way, opportunities for good deeds can be renewed day by day. The thing for us to long for is goodness, not glory. There is a saying that goes: Yesterday is history, tomorrow is mystery, and today is a gift. Let us realize that today's 'gift' is a DIVINE GIFT. Let us keep in mind that we are united here today, in the Theosophical Society, for we all have a common interest, the good of mankind, to maintain the spiritual truths alive, to stand against materialism, violence, barbarism, and fanaticism. And what is the better way to do it? What is the noblest way to do it? It is by transforming our everyday life into an example of goodness. In this process, we discover the real nature of Theosophy. Voltaire once said: "Every man is guilty of all the good he did not do." Let us not be guilty of the good we did not do.
By Dara Eklund
[From THEOSOPHIA, Fall 1979, pages 11-13.]
Throughout known history we have records of nations, tribes and individuals that have become characterized as the Exiled. Even the Great "Silent Watcher," heralding from before the dawn of civilization, has a Self-imposed Manvantaric Exile, so that future mankind may become as He is. Exiles of races and tribes, either voluntary or forced have produced new languages and proliferated old ones. Has the "Wandering Jew" found his real origin, or is he indeed an exile from ancient Hindu roots? (ISIS UNVEILED, II, 438-39) Once 2,000 tribes of American Indians dotted the continent, to be uprooted, swept away or confined to reservations, when not absorbed by the immigrating European stocks. The exile of Tibetan monks after the Communist take-over has given impetus to the spread of Buddhism in the West.
In one sense all men are exiles until their bond with the higher Self is reestablished. In the material world of sorrows, in the emotional world of transient joys and stress, man can find no permanent home. Now that the Third Eye is dormant we have become exiled from the spiritual vision we once had. Our heads have exiled our hearts. Yet even in our flights of imagination and mental conjecture we still thirst for that precise vision which only a seer can win. The SEER himself is an exile if no one heeds his cry.
Yet man, we vow, is not alone. The Adepts and teachers of mankind still now and then issue from their sanctuaries to become exiles among fellow suffering mortals, even as Prometheus endured being chained to his rock to be picked by vultures for the sake of earthly brothers. Great philosophers such as Plato have even assumed ugly visages, or startling temperaments, so that the Ideas they promulgate be pedestaled, rather than their personalities.
Fruitful use has been made of exile. We read in THE LIFE OF PYTHAGORAS (IAMBLICHUS, translated from the Greek by Thomas Taylor) that several times "the long-haired Samian" was carried captive to the very lands where he could best pursue knowledge; first to Egypt where sailors intending to sell him into slavery became convinced by his mildness and intelligence to release him instead; later to Babylon as a captive of Cambysian soldiers. In this way he became exposed to the teaching of the Magi, at last being welcomed home to Samos until his method no longer appealed to his countrymen. When he left there, it was with only one pupil who so desperately wanted truth he was willing to migrate with Pythagoras to more fertile soil. Yet, even where he was welcomed for his advanced ideas and reforms it is written that the crowds became suspicious when they observed that certain disciples were circled off for secret teachings.
In this envy and suspicion we can see why the devotional books warn the disciple to seek that power which "shall make him appear as nothing in the eyes of men." (Mabel Collins, LIGHT ON THE PATH, I, 16) It is training for the time when one must stand alone. It is also the screen behind which much good can be accomplished, where one may walk unrecognized among his fellows, while benefiting, it may seem, but a handful. The seeding on the inner planes must in some way prepare courageous and selfless ones for the exile-hood of a Bodhisattva, or the sacrifice of a Buddha.
One might rhapsodize forever upon the great mystics such as Lao Tzu, poets and patriots such as Byron, Thomas Paine, or even Solzhenitsyn who have had a message for citizens often on foreign soil. But closer to home, at least to those students of Theosophy who read their journals, isn't it time Theosophists paid tribute to one of "The Greatest of All Exiles"? Is it enough to say: "It is all in the past; let bygones be bygones," and promptly sweep under the carpet the warnings that greatly suffering being gave us? The psychism rampant today needs his sound teachings on practical occultism more than ever before. The mission of William Quan Judge is not accomplished until we can see those warnings brought to the public eye in every conceivable form. How can we deserve new teachers and teachings unless we faithfully promulgate along the lines set out by our Theosophical founders and their several main supporters into this century? We must not let true and sound teachings be exiled by a proliferation of palatable "occult" pulp literature at large in the bookstalls of today!
If indeed any offender of that just and gentle man, W. Q. Judge, were reborn into our current century he would do all in his power to rectify that error. He would be dismayed that in some quarters there is still much misunderstanding with regard to this man. Let us note, in closing, such a sin of omission, as we might gather from Mr. G. Hijo's tribute to Judge in the PATH magazine of May, 1896:
It seems so strange to me, who has known Mr. Judge for years, to think that any Theosophist could honestly doubt that he was in constant communication with the Masters, or that he himself was not an advanced occultist, for his whole life proved both these things ... In the summer of 1894 we were privileged to have him stay at our home for several weeks, and since then he spent at least an evening a week with us until his illness forced him to leave New York. Of the "Row" itself I cannot speak, but one result of it I know and that is the effect the bitterness and strife had upon the health and vitality of Mr. Judge. Day after day he would come back from the office utterly exhausted in mind and body, and night after night he would lay awake fighting the arrows of suspicion and doubt that would come at him from all over the world. He said they were like shafts of fire piercing him; and in the morning he would come downstairs wan and pale and unrested, and one step nearer the limit of his strength; but still with the same gentle forgiving spirit. Truly they knew not what they did.
Thus we have had an intimate glance, through Mr. Hijo, of the sufferings of an Exile. May our boundless pity for mankind, and awareness of our own shortcomings prevent us from recreating the blindness and ignorance as to our true destiny in that vanguard of the current day: the Theosophical Movement. May we never experience an exile from the teachings of those fortunate enough to pass on the message of the Masters.
By K. Paul Johnson
[A book review for Amazon.com.]
Mitch Horowitz rescues many colorful characters from obscurity in this entertaining tour through the byways of American religious history. My favorite sections of the book were those describing individuals whose teachings flourished in the early twentieth century but are almost forgotten today. Psychiana was a successful mail-order religion that did not long survive the death of its founder Frank Robinson. Baird Spaulding concocted tall tales about encounters with Oriental spiritual Masters in books that were widely read in the 1930s and 40s. The Moorish Science Temple is a fascinating amalgamation of occult doctrines with Black Nationalism, whose founder Noble Drew Ali has been little studied by historians. Manly P. Hall authored an occult classics, THE SECRET TEACHINGS OF ALL AGES, in his twenties and led an organization that epitomized southern California eclecticism through most of the twentieth century. Benjamin Williams popularized astrology and Tarot under his pen name C.C. Zain, but like Hall was famous mainly in the Los Angeles area. All these individuals are given their place in the American religious landscape as pioneers of a movement Horowitz calls occultism or "the occult" which he concludes "resulted in a vast reworking of arcane practices and beliefs from the Old World and the creation of a new spiritual culture." The obscure characters are placed into historical context with exploration of occult ideas in better known movements like Mormonism and New Thought, which contributed to a new spiritual culture. Familiar but little-understood topics like Hoodoo and the history of the Ouija board are illuminated in new ways by Horowitz's groundbreaking research.
While amusing and entertaining, OCCULT AMERICA is grounded in years of scholarship and depicts its subjects with a mixture of respect and detachment that might be called "sympathetic objectivity." The final chapter about Edgar Cayce is the most thoughtful, balanced account of the "sleeping prophet" seen in years, appreciative without being credulous. On Theosophy, Horowitz is well-informed and wise, recognizing its contribution to religious pluralism along with its penchant for fantastic claims and scandal. Andrew Jackson Davis was far more the founder of Spiritualism than the Fox sisters, and Horowitz gives him the attention he deserves as an American original. Having written on those subjects I can endorse the author's scholarship as thorough and his commentary as insightful; in areas less familiar to me the book gives every indication of consistent reliability. I have been reading books on what might be called "occult history" for thirty years, and cannot recall one that is more enjoyable to read, or more informative about a diverse cast of characters, than OCCULT AMERICA.
By W. Emmett Small
[From THE THEOSOPHICAL PATH, April 1927, pages 379-82, from a paper read before the William Quan Judge Theosophical Club, January 21, 1927.]
"What then is the royal talisman, the panacea finally? It is Duty, Selflessness." We pledge ourselves to unite in the superb effort of our Theosophical pioneers and to work at all times for eternal peace.
-- The motto of the William Quan Judge Theosophical Club
What is beyond turmoil, beyond war, beyond chaos? There is no end, you say, no beginning. Yet in the great spiral of existence, what is first and what is last? You cannot conceive of nothing. Beyond the mud is the lotus-bloom. Beyond the bloom is the seed. What is beyond the seed? It is that which is at the very Heart of your own nature, within yet greater than yourself. Is it not Space? And is not Space, Peace? And is not Peace a "flame-white secret" that lies at the Shrine of the Innermost in all things?
And so despite war, at the Heart of the World is Peace. War is unbalance; Peace is equilibrium. War is insanity; Peace is sanity. The world we live in is composed of millions and millions of individuals. Look into the lives of each one of them! Look into your own selves! Is it a wonder that war is rife? Whatever we see about us is but the manifestation of the eternal struggle waged within our own natures between desire, impulse, sensation, and self-control.
Realizing this, there is only one way in which to look upon war. Ask any man, and if he is a MAN, he will say, War is damnable. That is the inevitable answer. And what is the cure for war? Let him think. Let him free himself of the ghost-thoughts of conventionality. Let him stand naked before the tribunal of his Soul. And let there be Silence. And listening to the Oracle within him, he will interpret: When I have taken the first step towards controlling myself, the possibility of war is lessened; when I shall have conquered myself, war shall cease.
And this too is the inevitable answer. It is the truth, for the Oracle cannot lie. This is the real cause of all war: the failure of the Higher Nature in man to hold in leash at all times the Lower Nature. And every man knows this; but it is only when the soul-light is shining in that they awake to an awareness of it and allow their minds to admit it. Faced with such a serious question, in honor to themselves, they MUST hearken to that so rarely-summoned Judge -- the Divinity within, and they MUST realize that war is but on a larger plane the picture of the struggles within themselves.
And before long the realization must come upon them -- and when it comes, it is as a mighty breath of everlasting Spring -- that all the conquests of Alexander, of Cyrus or Shalmaneser, Tamerlane, Pizarro, Cortez, of Caesar or Ptolemy, are nothing compared to the conquest of self. Some there are would say, Are not these great names in the world's history; do not their exploits surely justify war? Never. That is a pitiably limited outlook.
We cannot delve into history in these few lines. Enough that the world as an entity lives its life, must meet the results of its past actions under the Law of Cause and Effect, just as must man as an individual; and also must choose its instruments for working out its Karma from the great mass of Humanity.
One with enough wisdom could explain the cause of all these wars. Nature is always at work and the Great Law is always in force. But that some noble men have been connected with war, in no way lessens its dastardliness. The greater men -- and there have been many of them -- have never resorted to arms; and I would not mention one for fear of leaving out a hundred of equal importance. But -- one hears of the attainment of Buddhahood as the height of spiritual aspiration, not of the attainment of Alexanderhood.
And so the first duty of man is to himself. He can find within himself hordes of barbarians for the hero within him to discipline; New-World countries unending, for the Pizarro and Cortez within him to subjugate; Persias a-plenty to conquer and sons of Scythia to aim his arrows at, for the Alexander within him; but ever he must beware the dagger-thrust that felled the Caesar, beware the glitter that glazed the conscience of the Conquistador, beware the snake of ambition that poisoned the youthful Macedonian. Man has enough within himself! In him too, let him remember, is the same spark that fired the Buddha to perfection.
And so I cannot for a moment believe that any man needs or conscientiously asks for proof to show that war is rotten, once he turns his eyes within and becomes alive to his own harboring of God and Devil; for men know the Devil, which is war, must be conquered: there is not a particle of good in him.
There may be and no doubt are many who are fooled into imagining that war is great. But that is just it: they are fooled into it; they are dupes of their own immoderate craving for sensation; they are temporarily insane. And the war-propaganda which fills the air around them excites them
... Like drums in Carnarvon streets That they use when they want to cheat folk into thinking That death is a handsome trade.
And the war-wine rushes to their heads and they are blind to Truth, and in the bloody reign of abomination and lawlessness and strife, they hail all that which in their sane moments would send shudder after shudder sickening the imprisoned Soul within.
And they wake up -- sometimes -- when the horror of war is brought to their door with the loss of brother, husband, or son, or father, or some pitiful maiming of them that makes life a hell and death a craving and a temptation. That brings it home; and they wake up, and they will never again speak about "the glory of war."
And yet war is unnecessary, and permanent peace is eventual. But who is going to make this possible? Not Locarno-pacts or League-of-Nation treaties as they now exist; for they lack what is most essential: the unification of every individual in devotion to the principles of universal brotherhood. Those at the helm of affairs now have not got the necessary perspective.
It is this nation or that nation, with always some personal gain to be had behind the wave of this suave hand or the seemingly friendly smile of that eye. The Soul of a Nation, the Soul of the World, the Soul of Man -- does not count. The foundations on which they build are infirm, and an earthquake shakes the world and knocks them over before they can even fool themselves with the dignity of their structures. Better for them, if build they must, to put up light bamboo shacks like the wise children of Nippon in their country, and have them knocked over. They are not pretentious and do not hurt when they land on your head.
No, it is not to such as these that the world must eventually turn. But it is bodies such as this Club that shall claim their respect and their admiration and to whose hands they will designate their willingness to leave the sad tangle of world affairs. Because this Club, as founded by our Teacher Katherine Tingley, is built on a basis true as steel, because built on the unity of each member's devotion to the highest principles of life.
Each one is individually campaigning the inwardnesses of his own nature, and by this very fact uniting himself closer with his fellows as a body; throwing off the littleness of personality and working in harmony for a great cause, the cause of universal brotherhood and universal peace; because believing and knowing that that is the only true basis for progress. Differences of opinion are naturally bound to occur, and they need not interfere with the unity. Rather does it strengthen each one individually and the Body as a whole, so long as every thought, every deed, and every wish or desire is laid as an offering on the Altar; for there all our hands meet.
And so in all seriousness I say that in time to come it is from these ranks and others like these that those must be chosen that shall institute the treaties that will prove effective; from these ranks those must be chosen that shall forever work for the abolishment of war. For it is in this body, and in bodies such as this -- which under the guidance of our Leader will multiply -- the sooner and more rapidly the more loyal and strong we prove ourselves -- in bodies such as this that lies the salvation of the world. And that is a big statement, and true, and something to think on.
But this Theosophical Movement is the most serious movement of the age, and we must remember that we through our karma, through our own efforts, are privileged as a Club and individually to be connected with its great life. Eventually its chain of work will encircle the globe. Every link is important. Having put our trust in the Teacher, it is ours to obey. We have our keynotes, the panacea for the abolishment of all war, within and without: our motto -- Duty, Selflessness; and we have our pledge, "to work at all times for eternal peace." Working for that ideal is the most glorious happiness any man can have.
By Pedro Oliveira
We are at war. No, it is not the "war on terror" nor the other fratricidal wars happening in Africa and in the Middle-East. It is not also the drug wars which have engulfed Rio de Janeiro and Colombia, nor the silent wars in many cities and countries of the world, in which women and children are abused, sexually exploited, and treated as second-class citizens. There is a much more pervasive war than all these, and it started, according to the Indian tradition, on 18 February 3102 BCE, and it will last for 432,000 years. It is the war at the heart of Kali Yuga.
Kali Yuga is said to be "the last and worst of the four Yugas or ages, the present age, age of vice." The Sanskrit word "kali" also means strife, discord, quarrel, contention. (A SANSKRIT-ENGLISH DICTIONARY by M. Monier-Williams) In THE SECRET DOCTRINE, while explaining the esotericism of the Rig-Veda, HPB says:
Diti, we repeat, is the sixth principle of METAPHYSICAL nature, the BUDDHI of Akasa. Diti, the mother of the Maruts, is one of her terrestrial forms, made to represent, at one and the same time, the divine Soul in the ascetic, and the divine aspirations of mystic Humanity toward deliverance from the webs of Maya, and final bliss in consequence. Indra, now degraded, because of the Kali Yuga, when such aspirations are no more general but have become abnormal through a general spread of AHAMKARA (the feeling of Egotism, SELF, or I-AM-NESS) and ignorance -- was, in the beginning, one of the greatest gods of the Hindu Pantheon, as the Rig-Veda shows.
-- SECRET DOCTRINE, II, 614
In Kali Yuga, the sense of self-centeredness and selfishness becomes widespread, which contributes to the strife, discord, quarrel and contention that predominate during this cycle, for all of these originate and are nourished by a strong sense of individual separateness -- egotism -- which prevents spiritual discernment to unfold in human consciousness. Behind every war, every atrocity, every conflict, and every persecution stands a mind darkened by self-interest, by greed, and by the desire to dominate, to enslave, to exploit for its own benefit. The battlefield of the Kali Yuga is in the human mind, and that makes it all-pervasive, devastating, and tremendous. This may help to explain why the Kali Yuga is also called the age of darkness. The influences operating in this cycle cause millions of human beings to be constantly imprisoned in a state of unawareness of their true nature and of their relationship with the vast creation around them.
But, surprising as it may seem, every crisis, although it involves danger, also brings with it opportunities for growth.
All causes now bring about their effects much more rapidly than in any other or better age. A sincere lover of the race can accomplish more in three incarnations under KALI YUGA'S reign than he could in a much greater number in any other age. Thus by bearing all the manifold troubles of this Age and steadily triumphing, the object of his efforts will be more quickly realized, for, while the obstacles seem great, the powers to be invoked can be reached more quickly.
-- BLAVATSKY COLLECTED WRITINGS, IX, 102
Because of the information revolution brought about by worldwide electronic communications, facts which in the past were kept from public knowledge can now be almost instantaneously scrutinized. The degree of public accountability of people in public offices, for example, has also increased, although sometimes vested interests continue to try to protect those involved in mal-practices from being exposed to the public eye. CEOs of some powerful corporations and their associates sometimes behave as if they would never be found out, while diverting obscene amounts of money to secret bank accounts in illegal business practices and transactions. But it only takes one investigative journalist or reporter to make it known to the whole world.
Tyrannical political regimes can now also be exposed and brought down almost overnight. In October 1989, during the process of erosion of the former Soviet Union in the short space of one week, several decades-old Eastern European dictatorships collapsed in an almost unimaginable way. Did it happen only because the Soviet regime was eroding from within, or because people in their hundreds of thousands took to the streets to uphold their right to freedom and to democratic values?
But, alas, violence has also reached undreamt of proportions in this age. It is also beyond description in its senselessness, brutality and gratuitous nature. Is this because the energies operating during Kali Yuga activate much more promptly every content existing in the human mind, making violence a response to situations and persons which is not mediated by reason and intellect, but by the irrational desire to lash back and destroy, what Sigmund Freud called 'death instinct' (THANATOS)?
How can the Theosophical Society help to bring clarity, sanity, and light to the world in this Dark Age? The following reflections by HPB seem quite relevant to the prevailing situation in the third millennium, although she wrote them in the nineteenth century.
We must prepare and study truth under every aspect, endeavouring to ignore nothing, if we do not wish to fall into the abyss of the unknown when the hour shall strike. It is useless to leave it to chance and await the intellectual and psychic crisis which is preparing, with indifference, if not with crass disbelief, saying that at the worst the rising tide will carry us naturally towards the shore; for it is very likely that the tidal wave will cast up nothing but a corpse. The strife will be terrible in any case between brutal materialism and blind fanaticism on the one hand, and philosophy and mysticism on the other -- mysticism, that veil of more or less translucency which hides the eternal Truth.
-- BLAVATSKY COLLECTED WRITINGS, XI, "The New Cycle"
But you -- Occultists, Kabbalists and Theosophists -- well know that a Word, old as the world, though new to you, has been sounded at the beginning of this cycle, and the potentiality of which, unperceived by others, lies hidden in the sum of the digits of the years 1 8 8 9; you well know that a note has just been struck which has never been heard by mankind of this era, and that a New Idea is revealed, ripened by the forces of evolution. This Idea differs from everything that has been produced in the nineteenth century. It is identical, however, with the thought that has been the dominant tone and the keynote of every century, especially the last -- absolute freedom of thought for humanity.
For of all the past centuries, our nineteenth has been the most criminal. It is criminal in its frightful selfishness in its skepticism which grimaces at the very idea of anything beyond the material and in its idiotic indifference to all that does not pertain to the personal self. It is more criminal than any of the previous centuries of ignorant barbarism and intellectual darkness. Our century must be saved from itself before its last hour strikes. For all those who see the sterility and folly of an existence blinded by materialism and ferociously indifferent to the fate of their neighbor, this is the moment to act. Now is the time for them to devote all their energies, all their courage and all their efforts to a great intellectual reform. This reform can only be accomplished by Theosophy, and, let us add, by Occultism or the wisdom of the Orient. The paths that lead to it are many, but the wisdom is one.
The criticism has been made many times that "theosophists do not do anything!" Action, some say, is what is needed, not talks, lectures, seminars, etc. This criticism is very often superficial for it fails to perceive the real nature of the work of the Theosophical Society. In the above quotation, HPB speaks about the need for a "great intellectual reform." Is not this an implicit recognition that the battleground in this age is the human mind itself, and that if it does not change, we will not see any real and lasting change in the world?
She goes on to say that "this reform can only be accomplished by Theosophy." No amount of ideology, of belief, or of "coaching" can achieve this. Only wisdom can, and wisdom is completely different from knowledge and its derivatives, like ideology and belief. While the latter normally involve the acceptance of second-hand ideas, wisdom implies an awakened perception of things as they are. It leads to a clear, undistorted relationship with life as a whole.
The study and assimilation, by oneself, of the fundamental principles of Theosophy, the Timeless Tradition, can pave the way for a deep and irreversible change in the way the human mind works, for as we delve deeper and deeper into the theosophical teaching our very perception is transformed, the strong grip of self-centeredness and self-importance is loosened and we begin to see life as a vast field of learning and of relationships based on cooperation and harmony. The T.S. does not only encourage individual study, but group study as well, wherein we have the opportunity to learn from others and share our own understanding in an atmosphere of freedom of thought and mutual appreciation. Such study can have a DIRECT effect on the thought-atmosphere of the world and can help to create invisible avenues of understanding, peace and spiritual aspiration that will touch many people in their own way and in their own time.
Theosophy has a fundamental role to play in the war at the heart of Kali Yuga, which is fiercely raging within the human mind today. It can point out to those who are interested that knowledge without compassion can be a lethal weapon, for it hardens the heart and destroys understanding. And that in a universe ruled by an Eternal Law, self-responsibility is a moral and ethical imperative, which applies to the physical, emotional and mental dimensions of human life. Compassion and self-responsibility are indeed a mighty 'army' in the war at the heart of Kali Yuga.
By Andrew Rooke
the December 2009 issue of THEOSOPHY DOWNUNDER.]
This year we celebrate the fortieth anniversary of man's first known landing on the moon. What does Theosophy say about the Moon and its special relationship with our Earth?
What if the moon did not exist? Astrophysicist Neil F, Comins of the University of Maine attempted to answer this question recently by examining the close relationship between the earth and the moon and found that the very conditions for life on our beautiful planet are only possible because of the existence of our moon.
If the Earth had no moon, our day would be only eight hours long due to the increased speed of its rotation. The rapid rotation of our planet without the moon to slow it down would continually subject us to hurricane-force winds, and because there would be no appreciable tides mixing the building blocks of life in our oceans, life itself might not exist yet, and when life did arrive it would have a very different biology than what we are familiar with today. (See WHAT IF THE MOON DID NOT EXIST! VOYAGES TO EARTHS THAT MIGHT HAVE BEEN.)
If we are so dependent on the moon for our physical environment, how much more so must this dynamic relationship be on the inner levels of being?
Theosophy confirms that indeed this is the case, with one theosophical writer stating:
The relationship of the moon and the earth is so close, so far-reaching, that it affects every atom of the entire body of the earth: more, of every globe of the earth planetary chain as well as of the lunar chain.
-- G de Purucker THE FOUNTAIN-SOURCE OF OCCULTISM, 345
Scientific writers often refer to the earth and moon as 'companion planets' as the moon is one quarter the size of the Earth. Most other planets' moons, with the exception of Pluto's moon Charon, are only tiny in comparison to their planet. Whereas the contemporary scientific view of the moon's formation is that it was formed as the result of the earth being hit by a Mars-sized object (called 'Theia' by some scientists) early in its history, spewing out molten rock as a result of the collision into space which quickly congealed into what we now know as the Moon.
Theosophy prefers to call the earth/moon system 'parent and child' as it teaches that it is rather the earth that is an outgrowth on many planes of being of the energies once manifest on the moon when it was a vibrant, living world -- the former incarnation of our planet. Now the moon is a dead world, a planetary corpse, ghostly 'kamarupa', or sinister 'Dweller on the Threshold' circling around its child, our earth, once every month. It gradually transfers its energies and life waves including humanity to our home planet.
According to theosophy, the physical remains of our once parent planet have long since disintegrated into cosmic dust. What we see as the moon in our sky at night is the astral remains of our parent planet, which we can see as a material body because we now exist on the 'child' earth, one cosmic sub-plane higher than we did when we lived on the moon chain of globes.
We witness the moon's immense influence on the physical earth with the regular high tides in our oceans twice each day, the precession of the equinoxes, and the transfer of rotational energy from the earth to the moon meaning that the earth slows down 1.5 milliseconds each century and the moon speeds its rotation and moves 3.8 centimeters further away from the earth each year!
A series of spacecraft and manned landings have added immeasurably to our understanding of our moon since the Soviet Luna 3 spacecraft gave us our first view of the 'dark side' of the moon in 1959, We refer to the 'dark' side of the Moon only because it was completely unknown until recently. Actually both sides of the moon receive equal amounts of sunlight and darkness, except for the depths of a few craters at the poles which are in permanent darkness.
The first manned landing to the moon was 40 years ago on July 20, 1969 when US astronaut, Neil Armstrong, guided his tiny 'Eagle' lander to the desolate surface of the Sea of Tranquility on the nearside of the moon. The last manned landing was in December 1972. During these manned landings, astronauts collected samples of moon rocks and dust so that the moon is the only extra-terrestrial body from which samples have been successfully collected and returned to the earth. Earthlings now have no less than 382 kilograms of rock and dust samples from the moon dated to 3 to 4.6 billion years old giving invaluable insights into the early history of the earth and the solar system.
In the summer of 1994, the moon was extensively mapped by the US Clementine spacecraft that successfully orbited the moon for 71 days. Clementine made a topographical map of the entire moon for the first time, giving us a more complete such map than we have for the earth! Intriguingly, Clementine included an improvised radar experiment which uncovered evidence that perhaps as much as 10 billion tons of water ice exists in the permanently shadowed areas near the lunar South Pole.
NASA spacecraft Lunar Prospector went into polar orbit of the moon in 1998 confirming the detection of water ice near the south pole of the moon and additional deposits deep in the craters of the North Pole.
Since then a variety of spacecraft have found evidence that there may be as much as 32 ounces per one ton of top layer of the Moon's surface, though we do not know this for certain. These potential reservoirs of water may be useful to future manned expeditions for drinking water, production of fuel and insulation of living quarters from harmful radiation from the sun.
Though water ice may exist on the moon in isolated pockets at the poles, modern science confirms the moon is a desolate environment from a human perspective -- truly a dead world. The moon has no atmosphere and no global magnetic field, and unlike the earth, the moon's interior is no longer active.
The pictures from the Apollo landers show a mostly cold, desert-like gray landscape of heavily cratered highlands and relatively smooth and younger 'maria' or plains. These are the dark (basaltic maria) and bright areas (highlands) that you can see making up the face of the 'Man in the Moon' when you look up at the moon from your backyard.
The maria or plains areas, which comprise about 16 percent of the moon's surface, are, from a scientific point of view, actually the remains of huge impact craters where meteors have struck the moon with terrific force. Later these craters were flooded with molten rock created by the force of the explosive impacts.
For some reason that is unknown, there are more maria, and the moon's crust is much thinner on the side of the moon facing the earth, but the largest crater in the entire solar system at 2,600 km diameter and 12 km deep, the South Pole Aitken Basin, is on the dark side. Most of the surface of the moon is covered with 'regolith', a mixture of fine dust and rocky debris resulting from the continuous meteor and meteorite impacts over billions of years as the moon has no atmosphere to absorb the shock of such 'shooting stars' as we call them on the earth.
Theosophy has a different view of the function of these craters which typify our picture of the surface of the moon. We are taught that the moon is the corpse, 'kamarupa', or even the earth's dread 'Dweller on the Threshold', once a living planet, the parent of our earth. Being a dead body, similar on a massive scale to any dead animal body we can think of on earth, the moon has been undergoing decay and disintegration for billions of years.
Some of the appearances on the surface, particularly the craters, may be due to the gradual disintegration of the body of the moon with internal decay welling up to the surface through craters like pustules on a decaying animal body, but escaping earthward in the case of the moon.
We are further taught that the moon will disintegrate into the 'blue ether' by the time of the earth's seventh planetary round. (We are currently just over half way through the fourth.) This will be billions of years into the future. Interestingly enough, modern science has found the crust of the moon facing the earth is much thinner than on the dark side, and that the moon's center of gravity is displaced 2 km towards the earth indicating the tremendous gravitational and 'psycho-magnetic' attraction of the child-earth feeding on the remains of its parent world.
Theosophical teacher G de Purucker in 1934 speculated that the surface of the moon would prevent easy travel because it is disintegrating into dust. (FOUNTAIN SOURCE, 342) In fact, one of the greatest hazards to past and future manned expeditions to the moon is the ubiquitous finely ground, glassy, sharp-edged moon dust which makes it difficult for astronauts to move around on the surface, penetrates into clothing and habitats, and even has given some astronauts a moon version of hay fever, though apparently according to Gene Cernan, Apollo 17 astronaut, it has a nice taste and a smell not unlike gunpowder!!
What is the nature of this influence that streams forth from the moon to the earth every nanosecond? In religious traditions around the world, the moon is called the Lord and Giver of Life, and paradoxically, also the producer of death. In many cultures it is pictured as a nurturing feminine deity governing both birth and growth -- the Queen of the Night in Celtic culture. Selene, Artemis, Diana, Juna, Hecate, or Isis in the Mediterranean.
Some cultures, such as the Hindu and Scandinavian, view the lunar influence as masculine, however, all lunar deities have two aspects -- supernal and infernal, spiritual and maternal, good and evil. The influences flowing from the moon have ever been known and utilized by magicians and sorcerers, from the familiar Disney portrayal of the 'sorcerer's apprentice' with stars and moons on his pointed hat, to the witchdoctors or 'nganga' of central Africa whose very name means 'the moon!'
Of this dual life-giving and death dealing influence of the moon on the earth and its inhabitants, G de Purucker says:
As the giver of both physical and astral life, the moon is also the transmitter of the lower material and psychical vitality. But it is full of the energies of death as well. It is a decaying body. Every atom that leaves the moon rushes earthwards, impregnated with lunar influences. The effect of the moon in these respects is deleterious and even death-dealing ... The lunar vitality not only stimulates the grosser forms of our physical existence, but can likewise by that very action cause decay and disease in other parts of the human constitution.
-- FOUNTAIN SOURCE OF OCCULTISM, 341
The moon is injurious to earthlings because it is the astral dregs of our former home planet which was then at a lower stage of spiritual evolution than we now enjoy. The lunar chain of globes "was not a good chain of life; it was a vicious chain, and we humans were amongst those who made it so." (FOUNTAIN SOURCE, 343) Hence the moon is the 'Dweller on the Threshold' of the earth, infilled with the, to us now, evil magnetism which both holds the moon together, but is continually attracted to the earth "by reason of its affinity it continues to haunt our globe and its inhabitants." (FOUNTAIN SOURCE, 342)
The moon is therefore the giver or transmitter of life and mind of a lower form to the earth and its inhabitants, whereas the sun is the giver or transmitter of life in general to the solar system and of the higher aspects of mind. In this dual character of the Lord of Life and Death, the moon is closely associated with the initiatory cycle, regular occasions when suitable candidates ware subjected to tests on the inner planes of being to awaken their potentials of mind and spirit. Such initiations ware only conducted when the moon is waxing or growing in strength. It is considered a generally necessary principle only to begin a new major undertaking, journey, marriage, etc. when the moon is waxing as Nature is then expanding, or growing with you, though, of course, there are occasions when this cannot be done and one should act regardless of the phase of the moon. This lunar influence or 'soma drink' as it was referred to in India, has a dual influence, one of darkness and decay, and the other of light and life. Of the heady 'soma drink' of the genuine initiation ceremonies, HP Blavatsky has to say:
A 'soma drinker' attains the power of placing himself in direct RAPPORT with the bright side of the moon, thus deriving inspiration from THE CONCENTRATED INTELLECTUAL ENERGY OF THE BLESSED ANCESTORS. This 'concentration', and the moon being a store-house of the Energy, is the secret, the meaning of which must not be revealed, beyond the mere fact of mentioning the continuous pouring out upon the earth from the bright side of the orb of a certain influence. This which seems to be one stream (to the ignorant) is a dual nature -- one giving life and wisdom, the other being lethal. He WHO CAN SEPARATE THE FORMER FROM THE LATTER, AS KALAHAMSA SEPARATED THE MILK FROM THE WATER, WHICH WAS MIXED WITH IT, THUS SHOWING GREAT WISDOM -- WILL HAVE HIS REWARD.
-- H.P. Blavatsky, Thoughts on Elementals, LUCIFER, May 1890, 187
There are times in the solar universe, generally outside of the context of the initiatory cycle, when humanity is subjected to greater concentrations of the moon's energies. Eclipses of the moon and the sun are such times when we are subject to the combined effect of the sun and moon, or earth and moon pulling together upon the earth or moon. This gravitational and 'psycho-magnetic' pull produces great surges of vital energy between the respective bodies at those times. One theosophical writer said of eclipses:
Eclipses can be quite unhealthy for the human race, because at such times there is often an added stimulus to man's emotional and passional nature.
-- L. Gordon Plummer and Charles J. Ryan, STAR HABITS AND ORBITS: ASTRONOMY FOR THEOSOPHICAL STUDENTS, 89
Ancient cultures knew of this connection and used to consider eclipses as a bad omen, a sign of catastrophes to come. For example in Japan, they used to cover wells and potteries thinking that the weather would be poisoned. Indians used to shut down their houses in fear of harmful moonlight. Scandinavians thought that diseases would float in the air during the solar eclipse. Babylonians assumed that catastrophes and diseases would come under a solar or lunar eclipse, so they made sure to lie down with their faces to the ground to avoid foul influences if caught out of doors.
Each nation faced this phenomenon in its own way. Eskimos used to sacrifice animals to satisfy their gods. Mexican Aztec Indians sacrificed human beings to convince the moon to return and the sun to appear. In Korea, Japan and China, where they thought that dragons eat the moon during eclipses, people used to gather to make loud noises to scare the dragons and stop them from eating their meal! All these bizarre customs are faint remembrances of actual facts of nature to which theosophical writers refer.
The beautiful but desolate landscapes transmitted to earth by spacecraft sweeping over the surface of the moon bring to mind the teachings of the ancient wisdom regarding the seven or twelve sacred planets. Theosophical writers affirm that the solar system is alive with many more planets, moons, and suns than are visible currently to science.
The seven planets with which the destiny of our earth is most closely connected are called the seven sacred planets. (FOUNTAIN SOURCE, "The Twelve Sacred Planets, 317-325)
One of these 'planets' was said to be the moon symbolically representing an invisible planet standing close to the physical moon we can see. This invisible sacred planet is sometimes called in theosophical literature, the 'Eighth Sphere', or 'Planet of Death'.
Orbiting close to the moon, this planet is too dense materially for us to see, it is currently in retrograde motion compared to most of the other bodies in the solar system, and it is in its seventh or final round of planetary life. Its function in the universal economy of the solar system is to serve as a receptacle of negative influences or, in the case of humanity, irretrievably evil individuals from earth who are there given the environment for a new beginning in their spiritual evolutionary journey.
Theosophical writers indicate that this world operates for the solar system something like a sewerage or drainage system does for our great cities, removing poisonous influences from the proximity of the general population. (FOUNTAIN SOURCE, "The Planet of Death," 346-49)
The sacred planets, including this, to us, terrible place, are 'sacred' to us because they, as conscious entities, cooperate in the building and subsequent evolutionary history of the earth.
Curiously enough, theosophical teachers tell us that, although the dread plant of death is more grossly material than the earth, as a conscious entity it oversees the building of Globe 'G', or the most spiritually advanced of the seven 'rupa' globes of the earth chain of globes, we at present being on Globe D, our beautiful earth. (FUNDAMENTALS OF THE ESOTERIC PHILOSOPHY, 548.)
In the far distant future when Globe G is our home, the moon and its influences will have disintegrated into atomic stellar dust, and this secret planet will then become the satellite of the earth in place of the moon, but that planet will not be a true moon, but a mere satellite. (FOUNTAIN SOURCE OF OCCULTISM, 526)
Theosophy confirms that each planet in our solar system has but only one true moon in the inner sense, and those planets with many moons, such as Jupiter with 63 known moons and Saturn with 34, have gravitationally captured the others from the greater environment of the solar system.
Walk out into the backyard tonight and stare up in wonder at the great and timeless works of universal nature circling above you. Bathing in the starlight, ponder upon the inner significance of the great orbs shining in the tapestry of the living universe which is the night sky. We can then appreciate what HP Blavatsky says of the brightest of these orbs -- the Moon, Queen of the Night:
The cold chaste moon ... stands in closer relations to the Earth than any other sidereal orb. The Sun is the giver of life to the whole planetary system; the moon is the giver of life to our globe; and the early races understood and knew it, even in their infancy. She is the Queen and she is the King, and was King Soma before she became transformed into Phoebe and the chaste Diana.
-- H.P. Blavatsky, THE SECRET DOCTRINE, I, 386
By Quintus Reynolds
[From THE THEOSOPHICAL PATH, June 1915, pages 393-98.]
Chang Seng-yu was to be the artist; that was why the crowds were so immense. The courts of the Temple of Peace and Joy had been full since dawn; although the sun would undoubtedly be well in heaven before the great Chang would mount the scaffolding and begin to work.
All Nankin had been agog since the word had gone forth that the Emperor desired a dragon painted on either of the two vast wall-surfaces of the Temple; and when it was reported further that Chang Seng-yu was to be the artist, then, indeed, the rejoicing was great. For the grand strokes of his brush were known; and his colors were delicate like the mists of evening on the Yangtze, or clear and lovely like the colors of flowers.
Whenever he painted in public, the crowds would gather to watch; and from time to time to applaud the master-strokes, the flashes of daring imagination, the moments when the sparks of creation most visibly flew. And they KNEW, did those crowds of the Chinese Renaissance -- some fourteen centuries ago.
They loved Chang Seng-yu for another reason, too, besides his genius and mastery of the brush. He was at least half a Sennin (adept). Many held that he had drunk the Elixir; that he could rein the flying Dragon, and visit the extremities of the earth, and bestride the hoary crane, to soar above the nine degrees of heaven. Such things were done, in those days. There was a certain power about Chang Seng-yu that suggested infinite possibilities. One could never tell what might happen, with any picture he might be painting.
A hush in the temple court; the artist has arrived, and with him a little band of disciples, bearing the brushes and pots of color. He is a quiet, gentle old man, who bows profoundly to the people as he comes in; and greets them with courteous formalities, not unaffectionately, while passing to the door of the Temple. With courteous formalities those spoken to respond, proud of the signal honor done them; for this is a popular hero, be it understood.
The tailor and the cobbler have arranged in advance a holiday, and have come now with their families to spend the day in the Temple of Peace and Joy, watching the Master paint; the butcher's apprentice, sent on an errand, cannot resist the temptation; the porter, calculating possibilities to a nicety, deems that he may go in, watch so much wall-space covered with sudden life, and then, by hurrying, still arrive in time with his load. For with all these people, painting is poetry made visible, the mysteries of Tao indicated, Magic, the topmost wonder and delight of life. And this being by Chang Seng-yu, will be no ordinary painting.
"Ah, in that honorable brush-sweep, one saw the effect of the Elixir!" cried the butcher's apprentice, radiant.
Day by day the crowds gathered in the court, and followed Chang Seng-yu, when he arrived, into the Vast Temple. Day by day the intent silence was broken ever and anon into murmurs, and the murmurs into rippling exclamation. A sweep of the brush, and lo, the jaws of a dragon; and from that the wonderful form grew, perfect at each touch, scale by scale through all the windings of the vast body to the very end of the tail. All in shining yellow that might have been distilled out of the sunset, it gleamed across the great wall: a thing of exquisite curves, noble lines; flowing, grand, and harmonious; wherein all parts seemed cognate to, and expressive of, the highest perceptions and aspirations of man.
To behold it was like hearing the sudden crash of a glorious and awe-inspiring music: the soul of every upright man would at once both bow down and be exalted. The crowd, watching, expected at any moment to see motion quiver through its length; to see it writhe, shake out mighty pinions, break forth from the wall and through the roof, and cleave a way into the blue ether. A little fear mingled with their intense delight: the Master, surely, was dealing in magic.
"Sir," said Lu Chao. "For what reason have you omitted to paint in the honorable eye?"
"Could this sacred Dragon see," answered Chang Seng-yu, "nothing would content his lordship but to seek his home in the playground of the lightning."
"How is it possible?" said Lu Chao. "The Dragon is beautiful, but it is only a semblance wrought in pigment. How could such a semblance soar into the heavens? The Master is pleased to indulge in humor at the expense of this miserable one."
"Not so, Lu Chao," said the Master. "You have little understanding, as yet, of the mysteries of art."
But Lu Chao doubted, and it was a sorrow to him that Chang Seng-yu should leave his creation incomplete.
The Yellow Dragon was finished, its glorious form covering the upper part of the south wall. The people could hardly forbear to worship; they saw in it Divine Power, the essence of Light-Bringing, the perfect symbol of inspiration, of holy and quickening thought from heaven.
"If the Master had not left his creation eyeless," they said, "his lordship would never be content to dwell on earth. Heaven is the right abiding-place for such a one."
Lu Chao went on doubting.
He did not refer to the matter again; but when it came to his turn to hand the brush, newly dipped in the color pot, to Chang Seng-yu, the latter as he looked down would shake his head, and a shadow would pass over his face.
"Although of a good disposition, Lu Chao will never be a painter," he thought, sighing.
The scaffolding was removed to the opposite wall, and there, facing the other, a Purple Dragon began to grow. Occasionally the Son of Heaven himself, the Emperor Wu-ti, would visit the temple to inspect the growing work. Then the artist would descend to make obeisance; but Wu-ti, holy man, would have none from the creator of those dragons.
"Make your obeisance with me, to these two lordly Messengers of Heaven," said he. "But for what reason has the honorable Master left the eyes to be painted last?"
"Sire," said Chang Seng-yu. "The divine eyes of their lordships will not be painted. There is danger that they would be ill contented with the earth, if they could see to soar into their native empyrean. No man could paint into their eyes such compassion, that they would desire to remain here."
"It is well," said the emperor. "Their soaring aspiration is evident. Let them remain to be the guardians of the Peace and Joy of my People."
Lu Chao heard, but even the Son of Heaven's belief failed to convince him. "It may be as the Master says," he thought. "But such matters are beyond my understanding. How could a semblance wrought of pigment feel aspiration or a desire for the ethereal spaces? It appears to me that the venerable Chang is indulging in humor, when he speaks of painting compassion into their eyes."
The work was drawing to a close, and more and more Lu Chao doubted. It is true that he made progress in painting; and the skill shown in his work was applauded by many. For the day of the Consecration of the Dragons had been appointed in advance; and there was time to spare; and on certain days now the Temple would be closed, and the Master and his disciples would work in the studio. Then Chang Seng-yu, going from one to another, and commenting on the work of each, would shake his head a little sadly over Lu Chao's pictures. "You have skill and perseverance," he would say, "but faith is lacking."
Lu Chao pondered on this, but not with desire to acquire the faith. "Many say that I am making progress," thought he, "and it appears so to me also. The Master, truly, is harsh in his judgments. If I could show him that he is mistaken ..." He considered the matter, and thought out his plans.
The Day of Consecration came; the great work was completed. Priests and augurs, sennins and doctors, gathered from all Liang, and from the kingdoms beyond the Yangtze and the Western Mountains. All day long there were sacrifices in the Temple of Peace and Joy, and processions passed through, doing joyful obeisance to the Dragons. At last night came, and the great hall and courts were silent.
The time had come for Lu Chao; now he would prove that the Master had been mistaken: that painted semblances could not shake themselves free from the walls whereon they were painted, and that he himself was making progress unhindered by lack of faith. "It may be that there is Magic," said he, "although I have never seen it. But reason forbids me to believe this."
He took a lantern, a small brush, and such paint as would be needed, and went down through the dark streets towards the Temple. There would be no trouble about obtaining entrance, he knew: should anyone question him, Chang Seng-yu had forgotten something, and had sent him for it. But it was unlikely that he would meet anyone, and he hoped to pass in unseen. "No one will know that I did it," thought he. "It will be understood that the spirits painted in the eyes, displeased that the Master left the work unfinished."
He met no one; succeeded in climbing the gate; found a ladder in the court; placed it against the south wall by the head of the Yellow Dragon; climbed, and prepared to begin. It had been a dark night, but calm, as he came through the city; now, with the first touch of his brush, a peal of thunder, a lightning flash. In his sudden perturbation, the brush dropped, and he must go down after it.
Were the genii offended? He hesitated, and had some thought of going home. "But no," said he. "This is fear. This is arrant superstition." He mounted the ladder again. The lantern, hung from a rung close to the dragon's head, just threw light on that: a little disk of warm brightness fading into the gloom. It was enough for Lu Chao's purpose, a few brush-strokes; that would be all.
The first and he was aware of fear. The second and the wall seemed to him to be taken with unsteadiness. The third and the sweat broke from his forehead and back, and his hand was trembling violently. He gathered his mind, reasoning with himself; steadied his hand, and put in the last stroke. The Yellow Dragon's eye was painted.
Lu Chao clung to the ladder. By the small light of the lantern he saw the wonderful head turn until it was looking out into the Temple, full face instead of profile. It was the left eye that he had painted; now the two were there, glancing out hither and yonder, proudly, uneasily; flashing fiery rays through the empty darkness. The ladder was shaking, swaying.
Suddenly the two amazing eyes were turned full on him, on Lu Chao. A shadow of disgust flitted over them; then they were filled with immeasurable sadness, sorrow deeper than might be borne. The neck drew back; by a supernatural light from the Dragon's eyes, Lu Chao saw it, drawn back and clear out of the wall. A crash and he saw the immense pinions shaken forth. A horrible swaying of the world; a rending noise, a tearing and a crashing; a blinding flame ...
All Nankin was awake and out in the streets. What the people saw was a Golden Wonder soaring up into the sky: a comet-like glory ascending, till it was lost in the darkness of Heaven.
In the morning, the emperor visited the ruins of the Temple of Peace and Joy, and with him went Chang Seng-yu the Master. The north wall alone was standing. The roof had gone up in a single blaze where the fiery wings cleaved it. Of the south wall, only the lower part remained; the rest had fallen. Under the debris they found the ladder, charred and broken, and the crushed body of Lu Chao.
"Ah," said Chang Seng-yu sadly. "He would never have made an artist."
By Mikhail Naimy
[From THE ARYAN PATH, October 1961, pages 440-44.]
Rare, indeed, are the persons who are really fond of mist. The greatest bulk of people detests it and speaks evil things of it. If they tolerate it at all, it is as reluctantly as they tolerate such natural phenomena as cyclones and earthquakes; or such pests as flies and mosquitoes and those noxious busybodies who are ever trying to reform the world before reforming themselves.
As to those who navigate the air and the high seas, and those who drive trains and carriages on land, mist to them is anathema, a dreadful enemy whom they are called upon to fight with all the weapons at their disposal and all the tricks of which their ingenuity is capable. Unable to blot it out from the face of the earth, they have been, from times immemorial, seeking ways and means "to contain" it and to reduce its mischief to a minimum. So far they have won some secondary bouts in their fight with it. But the decisive battle is yet to be fought. Who knows? Perhaps they shall come out victorious in the end.
I think I can -- or imagine I can -- understand the reasons for people's impatience with mist. Although but a phenomenon of Nature, it does not seem to us worthy of Nature's fine taste and surpassing artistry, let alone her motherly love. Who can deny that Nature is a magician and the acme of good taste and affection when, out of the vapors in air, she molds a cloud and sets it assail in the boundless blue, changing all the while its shapes, its colors, and its course? It is as if that cloud were a rare painting which Nature delighted in exhibiting to all of her children who had eyes to see; or as if it were a reservoir of a life-giving elixir which she set on high as a promise of relief to all the parched lands and souls beneath. "Do not despair," she seems to say to them, "for in my seas is water enough for all the thirsty of the earth."
But when that same Nature takes out of the same air similar vapors and makes of them a queer, milky paste; then commands the wind to take that paste and smudge with it the beauteous countenance of the earth -- streams, lakes, seas, woods, plains, canyons, mountains and all; when Nature does that, she readily invites our doubt of her taste, her art, and her affection. No longer is she to us the super-artist, but rather the super-smudger. Nor is she that tender mother worthy of adoration; rather is she a surly stepmother whose breath and presence chill the blood in us. Particularly is she tasteless, tactless, and ill-humored when she chooses to deploy her mist during the day, thus turning it into a night whose face is deathly ashen, whose breath is foul and sticky, whose pulse is slow and uneven, and whose eyes are tired and heavily bandaged.
Most curious, indeed, is that night that mist imposes on us sometimes in broad daylight. Dressed in a damp, fluffy gown of pearly hues, it sprawls about with no apparent effort, and with surprising speed, spreading darkness wherever it may chance to pass. Like an accomplished magician, it effaces with one stroke of its wand all things visible on earth and in the sky until the earth is no longer the earth and the sky no longer the sky. All seems to have passed through an invisible forge and to have evaporated into mist. All forms and colors of creation have been swallowed up by the fluid, indefinite form, and color of the mist.
Yet much as we malign and detest mist, we must admit that it is not without its peculiar charms and distinctive inspiration. I, for one, will avow that rarely have I seen a sight more impressive and gripping than that of clean-swept skies, dreaming mountains, smiling meadows, and a sea cloaked in light and breathing peacefully and contentedly in the sun, its breath slowly and imperceptibly coagulating into something resembling clouds which suddenly dash towards the land like a well-drilled, well-disciplined army when ordered to go into attack. Quickly the serried ranks of that army rush forward and spread out fan-like, reducing all obstacles in their way. Nor woods, nor rivers, nor gorges and lofty peaks are able to check its victorious march. In a few minutes mist emerges as the sole and unquestioned master of the field. Of all visible things, it is the only thing visible. Of all realities, it is the sole reality. Everything has vanished excepting it.
Perhaps the most surprising thing about mist, that craftiest of warriors, is that it goes into battle entirely weaponless, yet wins against all weapons; and being the softest of all fighters, it proves the hardest in the fight; and being stone-blind, it carries the day by simply submitting blindly to the great Will that leads it on.
Once, while on the top of a mountain covered with spruce, fir, and pine, I was overtaken by mist. Like one in a trance, I watched its vanguards rushing at me from all directions. When striking a tree, they would momentarily halt and scatter, only to gather themselves in an instant later and to swallow up that tree, branches, trunk and all, then to move forward in their irresistible march. Presently all the trees, one clump after another, were hid from my sight, and I found me standing all alone as if the sole survivor of my race. Were it not for a few feet of the earth I was still able to discern in front of me and for the air I was still breathing, I should have thought me detached from everything in earth and sky.
It is at once a strange and an awesome sensation, that of feeling oneself cut off entirely from the world of visible things with nothing to remind one of it save certain images previously captured and preserved in some dark recesses of one's brain. The skies with the myriad celestial bodies gracing them are nothing but a memory. So is the earth with all the fascinating things dotting its glorious surface. All is drowned in a whitish, formless, shoreless sea. You alone have not been sucked up by that awful sea. You alone have not changed in the midst of that breath-taking change. The rest of creation, whose presence stirred up in you so many wonderful, though often conflicting, thoughts and emotions, has vanished into nothing as if it never were anything but a dream, a phantom, a sweet hallucination. Is it possible that you, the puny biped standing still erect in the face of that mist which has swallowed everything, are mightier than mist? Are you perchance the only reality out of which grows every other reality in the world?
Quite unconsciously on your part, your imagination drifts so readily with the mist until you begin to feel yourself as one with it. You, too, are made up of innumerable fine particles sprayed over all things and into all things. You, too, are a boundless expanse with neither bars nor boundaries; neither a beginning nor an end. In that expanse there is no birth or death; no effort and no struggle; no joy or sorrow; no fear of punishment and no hope of reward. You are a shoreless ocean unlashed by storm and stress, and free of driftwood and foam.
Yet no matter how far you may be carried by your imagination, you KNOW in your deepest depths that mist is mist, and must sooner or later lift and be dissipated. You know that Nature, the greatest magician and the mother of all magicians, has provided an amulet for every kind of her tricks of magic. By a sleight of hand, she spreads the immense sheet of mist over the earth; and by a similar sleight of hand, she gathers up that sheet a while later, crumples it, tears it into shreds, and scatters it to the four winds of heaven.
And lo! The mist has vanished as if it had never been. The earth is still the earth, and the blue vault overhead is still blue and still overhead. The creatures filling the earth and sky are still the same in their habitat, and the ties that bound you to them are still unbroken. You are you -- that very strange, incomprehensible wanderer ever adrift on the face of the earth without realizing in the least the great similarity between himself and the earth, and between its mist and his mist.
Mist in the earth is the dampness disengaged by the heat of the sun from seas and marshy places, and spread by the wind over all visible things rendering them invisible. In Man it is a similar dampness disengaged by the heat of Life from the marshy corners of the soul and made to shroud all the high lights of the soul.
Thus sorrow is mist effused by the swamps of fear, uncertainty, unbelief, and made to enfold the soul so completely as to blind it to all the serenity, the certainty, and the faith with which Life abounds.
Mist also is that exuberant joy which is drunk with the wine of lowly animal passions, which wine is usually extracted from putrid carcasses in the human heart.
Likewise is anger a mist raised by ignorance from the bogs of the misguided ego which insists on being obeyed by all, yet itself remaining most disobedient.
Mist is doubt. Mist is despondence. Mist is the grin of the victor and the growl of the vanquished. Mist is this intellectual, moral, political, economical, and spiritual anarchy which saturates today the atmosphere of the whole earth.
What people need at present more than at any time in the past is a mighty, ringing voice to remind them that mist is mist. What they actually have is this noisy chorus of panic-stricken owls and ravens who are constantly stirring up in their souls the stinking swamps of distrust, hatred, vindictiveness, and greed in an attempt to bludgeon them into believing that the mist effused by these swamps is not only real, but the sole reality; and that all else is but a delusion.
The ears of the present-day world are dreadfully a-buzz with the clamour of war-lords, politicians, lawmakers, men of business and finance, and REFORMERS of all sorts. What these ears long for is the voice that shall sing for them the valour of Man in his war against the best in him, not against his brother-man; and his greatness as a world wherein all worlds converge, and not as a "great patriot," or a prominent citizen of this or that parcel of this globe so insignificant among the myriad globes swinging in the space; and the majesty of Man as the true image and likeness of the Power from whom he issued forth, rather than man the butcher, the trickster, and the moneymaker.
The eyes of the world of today, weary of that world's mist and blinded thereby, are devoutly praying for the hand that shall brush away the mist and enable them to see the unutterable beauty and grandeur of Man -- that beauty and that grandeur which, if hid from the myopic, have never been and shall never be just mist.
Perhaps the day in which we shall hear that voice and behold that hand is not far in the distance.
By L. Gordon Plummer
[From THE THEOSOPHICAL PATH, April 1927, pages 382-83, from a paper read before the William Quan Judge Theosophical Club, February 18, 1927.]
I was feeling rather blue -- out of sorts with the world in general. The trouble was that everybody went about selfishly enjoying himself, and I was left alone to get over my worries as best I could. I felt so badly about it that I went to a friend of mine and told him my tale of woe. I had known him for many years, and he seemed to take a particular interest in me, but on this occasion he merely said: "Open the windows that are shutting out the sunlight; a little fresh air will quickly blow the clouds away."
This seemed rather abstruse; but my friend was well deserving of my confidence in him. He had helped me out of many a difficulty, had helped me to see myself as I was, so to speak. And so, in this instance, I knew that if I went about my affairs, and forgot my worries, the meaning of his words would dawn upon me in time.
Now, this friend of whom I speak was a jeweler. He had set up his establishment a few doors from mine, and some days later he invited me over to see him at work. His workshop was a neat little room with a workbench in the center, a machine of his own device on the right, and a small furnace at the far end. The place was well lighted by a large window on each side of the room.
When he had shown me around, he carefully locked the door (against possible intruders, I supposed), and drew the blinds over the windows. There was an air of expectancy about his proceedings, and I watched him anxiously as he fed great chunks of coal into his hungry furnace. He placed some bars of gold in the crucible, and while they were melting, he busied himself with putting his machine in working order and arranging his tools.
As soon as the gold was melted, he threw into the pot a quantity of cleaner, a greasy substance containing certain chemicals, which set the molten gold in violent agitation, causing it to throw off great quantities of thick black smoke. The room was soon filled, so that I could no longer see the furnace or the gold. The heat became intense, and when I could stand it no longer, I begged him to open the windows and let in some fresh air. Within a few minutes the room was cleared. The sunlight, streaming in, fell on the gold, and it shone as I have never seen gold shine before.
I saw that he had called me in to teach me a lesson that I needed to learn. I felt great humility and, on expressing my thanks for his kindness, was preparing to leave, when he asked me to stay. He had something interesting to show me.
He raised the heat of the furnace until it glowed red, and applied more cleaner to the gold. Again the smoke rose, but it was dispelled by the fresh breeze blowing in, before it had time to form a cloud and obscure the gold from my sight. When the smoke ceased to rise, and the dross had been skimmed off, my friend made the third and final test. He raised the heat of the furnace until I thought it too would melt, and put in a double dose of cleaner. It had no effect, but rose to the surface to be skimmed off again. My friend merely said: "True gold fears no fire. Look within!"
I gazed into the shining lake of gold. It was a most beautiful sight. Colors played about the surface and shone with dazzling light. As I watched, my friend took from a shelf a small ivory box which, when opened, was seen to contain a large diamond. I have never seen a gem to compare with it for size, purity, and brilliance. It sparkled and flashed with light of its own.
My friend placed it in my hand, bidding me throw it into the gold. When the ripples had subsided, the diamond floated in the center of the lake of gold. I watched it, and suddenly it broke in two. Each part then divided, and again and again till there were a myriad of twinkling points.
No longer saw I the surface of the gold, but seemed to look down, down, and all around me were these twinkling sparks. And they were all moving. Here and there they whizzed past. Now a comet trailed silver across the sky. Far, far away, great suns glowed, and gave life to solar systems. And as they moved on, wonderful music filled the space around me. And the notes came from the stars themselves as they sped on their appointed courses. It was so wonderful that my head grew giddy. I clutched at flying particles till my senses left me, and I fell on the floor of the workshop.
When I was able to regain my feet, my friend bade me look again into the molten gold. I did so, holding his hand, feeling a sense of security in his grasp. This time, the diamond again floated on the surface of the gold, but around it was a strange design. It was like a seven-pointed star. And all about it were strange symbols and figures.
After a few moments my friend drew the diamond from the golden lake and set it in an ivory slab about six inches on a side. He then poured the gold into a container which formed a part of the machine to the right of the doorway of his workshop. He set this machine in motion and soon had seven fine strands of pure gold. Then with the strands, he wove around the diamond on the ivory slab the same seven-pointed figure I had seen in the crucible. His deft fingers moved rapidly, and it was like a work of magic when he had finished. He placed the whole in my hands, saying: "Take it: a gift from a friend."
When I had recovered from my amazement, I asked him to explain the meaning of the symbols.
He said: "There is little I could tell you, and that would but confirm what you already know. All knowledge comes from within. The universe was brought into being for the evolution of man, and there is nothing to be hidden from him. But we cannot know the universe until we know ourselves. And this knowledge can come only when the nature of man, like the gold in the pot, has become so pure that no trials or adverse circumstances can ruffle it or cause bad thoughts to arise. Then man can see within himself, as you saw in the gold, the workings of the universe, and hear the music which underlies all nature."
He then told me about the Kings of old, great men who understood the ways of Mother Nature and who came to rule and instruct humanity. But now they are obliged to guard these secrets to save men from using them to their own destruction. But they are not lost. Every now and then Messengers from the Gods come to earth to remind men that there is much to know.
"The day will come" he told me, "for humanity when the glory of civilization -- true civilization -- will exceed that of any in the past; but this can come only through the efforts of man to purify the hidden gold and learn to know the Higher Self."