One refuses to pledge himself not to listen without protest to any evil thing said of a brother -- as though Buddha our divine Lord -- or Jesus -- or any great initiate has ever condemned any one on hearsay. Ah, poor, poor, blind man, not to know the difference between condemning in words -- which is uncharitable -- and withdrawing in silent pity from the culprit and thus punishing him, but still giving him a chance to repent of his ways. No man will ever speak ill of his brother without cause and proof of the iniquity of that brother, and he will abstain from all backbiting, slandering, and gossip. No man should ever say behind a Brother's back what he would not say openly to his face. Insinuations against one's neighbor are often productive of more evil consequences than gross slander. Every Theosophist has to fight and battle against evil, -- but he must have the courage of his words and actions, and what he does must be done openly and honestly before all."
-- H.P. Blavatsky, from "She Being Death Yet Speaketh"
for the full article.]
By Reginald W. Machell
[From THE THEOSOPHICAL PATH, April 1918, pages 369-71.]
Duty, the watch-word of all honorable men, the guardian and comforter of faithful hearts, the 'bug-bear' of the hosts of restless mortals who live in their emotions, is to a few a star that eternally floats overhead high up in heaven, and which from that untroubled altitude looks down on earth to lead souls wandering in a wilderness of man-made misery up to a purer region, in which Law is rhythm, Order is Harmony, and Life the voluntary and spontaneous response of beings to the call of their own souls.
To such as these Duty is WHAT IS DUE. That which is necessary to be done on every plane of the universe. It is the voluntary recognition of Cosmic Law, which knows no limitation, being the impulse that inheres in every part or particle of the entire universe to manifest in its own form the cosmic energy with which it is ensouled.
Those who see Duty so are bound by obligation absolute, eternal, immediate, and inevitable. To them there is no question as to the possibility of evasion, for nothing can ever evade the law of its own being. To them Duty is the inevitable.
But this interior recognition of the essential character of Duty does not of necessity imply either cultivated reason or high intelligence. These faculties as yet are only partially developed in our race, and being so are just as liable to interfere with the exercise of right judgment as to establish it.
The intuition by means of which a man may recognize essential truth is different in character from the intellectual faculty of reason which men use in the interpretation of fundamental principles and for determining the right manner of their application to the practical problems of daily life.
Thus it may happen that the bitterest antagonism may arise between people inspired with the same high ideal. For them there is no possible, conceivable compromise with Duty. And it is hard to discriminate between Duty as an abstract principle and Duty in practice; as it is obviously difficult for any man to doubt the soundness of his own judgment until he can rise at will above the intellectual plane on which that judgment was pronounced.
As a man lives mostly in his intellect and his emotions, only occasionally rising to the plane of the higher mind where intuition operates and the soul sheds its light; so must it be most difficult for him to distinguish between the judgment of the mind and the intuition of the soul, holding his intellectual decision tentatively as subject to revision or alteration, while standing immovable upon a sure foothold won by intuitive perception of the essential principle involved. When that becomes possible to man then Wisdom is not far off.
But for the average man, Wisdom is inaccessible, her temple being hidden by the luxuriant and ancient growth of the dark forest of desires, in which he wanders aimlessly. Thus he is forced by his own blindness to rely on reason and opinions to guide him on his dubious way.
How true it is that man is a wanderer on earth. Some say he is a pilgrim, but the term is hardly applicable to the ordinary man, because it implies a definite goal to which the pilgrim travels consciously; whereas the life of the great mass of human beings is indeed a wandering in search of changing objects such as amusement or pleasure, excitement or repose, adventure or wealth, or merely a temporary shelter from the storms that devastate the shadow land through which he struggles in pursuit of a mere phantasy.
His life may appear to him a great adventure, or it may seem no better than a dull routine of necessary acts whose wearisome reiteration is made bearable by cautious avoidance of all other causes of discomfort. But in either case, it has no recognizable goal such as a pilgrim sets before him.
The average man lives aimlessly; the pilgrim travels towards a destination which is his goal; or else his pilgrimage consists in arduously following a definite route with fixed stopping-places and a return to the starting-place; which constitutes a definite plan, such as is lacking in the life of others.
The pilgrim looks forward to an ultimate attainment which is his goal of goals; some state of Bliss, pictured perhaps in his imagination as a celestial place of blessedness. In his own sight, he is no wanderer, although to the wise man, he may appear to be following a mere delusion born in his own imagination, which leads him eventually back to his starting-place to recommence his endless pilgrimage.
The ordinary man is like a squirrel in a cage, the faster he moves the faster spins his wheel, but he stays still in the same place. The human squirrel does not see that he is caged in his own body ceaselessly toiling in the whirling wheel of his own mentality. He thinks his prison is himself because he bears it with him and lives in it.
The pleasure of eating depends on appetite. The squirrel renews his appetite by the exercise he gets in turning his wheel, and one may imagine that his nuts have a new flavor after a good gallop in his revolving prison. So too the man, who seeks new pleasures with which to glut his appetite, may stimulate a satiated sense by strenuous wanderings in imaginary lands, in which he hopes to find new foods to tempt him to renewed exertions.
This is the illusion that makes his life seem to him worth living. Should he escape or break his worn-out cage, and find his way back to his native forest, he may become a wanderer in fact. The wandering or pilgrimage of life to most men is purely imaginary. They never get beyond the cage of their own mentality.
Truly the ordinary man may talk of Duty, but his idea of Duty is too much like the squirrel's wheel to be regarded seriously. The ideal that he follows is some dead formula, some little rule, some code or creed created by other men to serve some momentary purpose, or as a temporary symbol of some aspect of Eternal Law. Perhaps he may change his formula, but the change is generally a delusion, his nuts have a fresh flavor after a more than usually strenuous turning of the wheel which takes him nowhere.
So too the wanderer who has not found the Light goes round the base of a great mountain following the trail that other wanderers have made, and coming back again to pick up his own trail once more and follow it with undiminished hope.
And what is hope but a reflection of the Light that shines above the mountain, mirrored on earth to dazzle the eyes of men? Someday he will look up and see where the Light comes from. Then he will know that the Path lies upward. Then he will no longer mistake reflections for realities, he will abandon the pursuit of other men's ideals, and will be able to find in his own heart a mirror for the Light.
When he can find the Light of Truth reflected in his own heart, he will not need a guide; he will not need to trouble about his goal, nor will the desires and bodily appetites delude him any longer.
The Light that shines eternally, being itself the Soul of the entire Universe of which he is a part, will guide him all the time; and he knowing the truth will find in that Light the key to the Law of Laws that governs life and is the cause of the eternal 'fitness of all things.' Conformity with Natural Law (thus understood) is all that is due from the particular to the universal. This is Duty.
By Daniel H. Caldwell
[How the Missing 'Transactions'/Secret Doctrine Commentaries by H.P. Blavatsky were Discovered and A Partial Look Behind the Scenes Leading Up To Their Recent Publication]
The Theosophy Company on their website describes H.P. Blavatsky's book titled TRANSACTIONS OF THE BLAVATSKY LODGE as follows:
In 1889, when HPB was in London, the weekly meetings of the Blavatsky Lodge was devoted to the discussion of the archaic 'Stanzas' on which THE SECRET DOCTRINE is based. TRANSACTIONS provides ... HPB's answers to metaphysical and scientific questions, as stenographically reported, and afterwards revised by her for publication.
In an introductory note prefacing the original edition(s) of 1890/1891 of the TRANSACTIONS, we find the following information:
The ... transactions are compiled from shorthand notes taken at the meetings of the Blavatsky Lodge of the Theosophical Society, from January 10th to June 20th, 1889, being somewhat condensed from the original discussions.
... the members of the 'B.L. of the T.S.' agreed to devote the debates of the weekly [Thursday] meetings to each stanza and sundry other metaphysical subjects.
The questions were put by members ... The answers in all cases are based on the shorthand Reports, and are those ... as given by HPB herself.
HPB herself mentions these meetings and the TRANSACTIONS in a letter written to her sister Vera in Russia. She writes about:
... the receptions, the weekly meetings, accompanied by learned discussions, with a stenographer behind my back, and sometimes two or three reporters in the corners, -- all this, you can easily believe, takes some time. I must read up for every Thursday, because the people who come here are no ignoramuses from the street, but such people as the electrician K., Dr. William B. and the naturalist C.B. I must be prepared to defend the teachings of Occultism against the applied sciences, so that the reports of the stenographer may be printed, without correction, in our new monthly publication under the name of THE TRANSACTIONS OF THE BLAVATSKY LODGE. This alone, the stenographer and the printing -- cost my theosophists nearly L 40 a month ... Since your departure they have all gone mad here; they spend such a lot of money that my hair stands on end ... Don't you see, they have written a circular to all theosophists of all the wide world: 'HPB,' they say, 'is old and ill, HPB won't stay with us much longer. Suppose HPB died, then we might whistle for it! There will be no one to teach us manners and secret wisdom. So let us raise a subscription for the expenses, etc., etc ...' And so they have raised a subscription and now spend money. And 'HPB' sits with holes in her elbows, sweating for everybody and teaching them.
-- LETTERS OF H.P. BLAVATSKY TO HER FAMILY IN RUSSIA: PART XII -- ENGLAND 1887-89
In HPB's magazine LUCIFER, it was noted that the reports of the Transactions (covering THE MEETINGS OF JAN. 10 THROUGH JUNE 20, 1889) were transcribed in "twenty-four large longhand folios." LUCIFER, October 15th, 1890, p. 165.
Part I of the TRANSACTIONS was published as a book in London in March 1890 and consisted of material discussed by H.P. Blavatsky at the following meetings:
Appendix on Dreams
Part II of the TRANSACTIONS was published in January 1891 and included material discussed by H.P. Blavatsky at the following meetings:
The above material is available online in an easily accessible format at Theosophical University Press Online.
In February, 1891, Alice Leighton Cleather wrote:
The second part of the 'Transactions -- Blavatsky Lodge,' is now out, and THE THIRD [PART] WILL SHORTLY FOLLOW.
-- THEOSOPHIST, April 1891, p. 438. Italics added.
But H.P. Blavatsky died in May 1891 and Part III of the Transactions was NEVER published.
It should be emphasized that the discussions in the published Parts I and II cover only the first four stanzas of Volume I of THE SECRET DOCTRINE.
Part III and additional Parts, no doubt, would have contained HPB's additional insightful and valuable comments on the rest of the Stanzas in Volume I.
So what happened to the remaining UNPUBLISHED Blavatsky material that was contained in the "twenty-four large longhand folios?"
This unpublished material would have contained the discussions held with HPB at Blavatsky Lodge meetings FROM MARCH 21 TO JUNE 20, 1889. A TOTAL OF 14 MEETINGS!
About 15 years ago I discovered the whereabouts of the missing "large longhand folios" of HPB's unpublished Transactions. A few of the folios were missing but the majority survived.
I was allowed to peruse and read the extant folios or notebooks and discovered that H.P. Blavatsky's discussions and comments on Stanzas V, VI and VII survived after more than 100 years of being lost!
I vividly remember the first time I looked at all these manuscripts of HPB's unpublished transactions.
On a research trip to California I went to the home of T--- (a student of Madame Blavatsky's writings and teachings).
During our meeting, he brought out the manuscript notebooks of the transactions from his garage. I had asked him to show me the manuscripts based on our previous correspondence and phone conversations.
He told me that he thought all of this HPB material had already been published in 1890 and 1891 and there was nothing else to publish.
But from my own previous historical research and from crucial details T--- had told me over the phone, I knew that was NOT so and in about five minutes I was pointing out to him the various sections that had never been published.
The text of the meetings in the notebooks was very readable although they were all handwritten.
Go to the following link to see a photographic facsimile of one of the many pages I saw of the original:
I urged T--- then in "charge" of the manuscript to publish this remarkable literary treasure.
A day or so later when I met T--- again as well as a coworker of his, I spoke again about these unpublished Transactions mss that had been shown me and stressed the importance of these manuscripts and urged them to publish them.
Back in Tucson, Arizona, USA, I wrote them and urged them to publish them. They said they would.
Months passed and hearing nothing more from them, I wrote again but both of them said they were busy, etc. but would get to the publishing of this material
More time went by.
In later calls and correspondence with them, I even offered to type all the transcriptions so they could be published.
They said they would think about it.
More time passed.
I remember then calling T--- one morning to see what was going on and he said in the course of our conversation:
Well, if HPB was alive she could edit them. But since she is dead, to publish them without her supervision might be unwise.
At this point I realized we had a problem and I called John Cooper in Australia and told him about my discovery. Since he knew both of these Blavatsky students better than I did, I suggested he write to them and impress on them the importance of this find and also the importance of publishing this material for all Blavatsky and Theosophical students.
John did write them but to no avail.
Finally in 2002 after some seven years of waiting and seeing no progress whatsoever in publication of this HPB material, I decided to announce publicly that such a manuscript existed and wrote an article about it for the magazine THEOSOPHICAL HISTORY without revealing who actually had the manuscript. See the July 2002 issue, pp. 242-243, "Missing Material by H.P. Blavatsky Discovered."
Around this same time I decided to write to A--- another co-worker of these two students detailing my discovery of some 7 years before.
A--- replied and told me that he was totally unaware of the existence of this HPB manuscript. Apparently T--- and the other coworker had never told A---.
He agreed with me that this mss was valuable and should be published and said he would work on making their publication a reality.
I was definitely encouraged with A---'s response and his positive attitude about this matter and then I soon heard that plans were being made to publish it. A decision was made to have several different people transcribe various meetings of the manuscript.
One of the unforeseen but happy consequences later in 2002 was the publication of the material in one of these folio notebooks (i.e. the text for the meeting of April 25, 1889) as a supplement to THE AQUARIAN THEOSOPHIST. See the September 17, 2002 issue at
Over the next few years I would contact A--- from time to time to see how the project was going and he would write back saying it was progressing, etc.
But at some point he stopped responding to my emails and to this day has never contacted me again.
Then at some point several years ago I decided to also give a few other students more details about who had this manuscript but I asked them to keep this information confidential and not share it with anyone else.
At this point I was assuming that the original group was actually going to publish this material and I wanted to give them a chance to do that.
Unfortunately, as I found out through other persons related to the project, further delays and conflict regarding the publication of the entire manuscript occurred in the ensuing years.
BUT AT LONG LAST AS OF AUGUST 2010, the interested student of Theosophy as well as any interested member of the general public can now read this remarkable work.
This is the gist of my story although more of the story and many more details could be given.
Recently reflecting on the inside story of how the manuscript came to be published, I find it still amazing how the mss survived and ended up in India and how T--- and some of his colleagues discovered it at Ootacamund, India among the papers of B.P Wadia after he had died and how the manuscript was brought to California where it remained for some time.
And I am still amazed at how I stumbled accidentally onto it by a chance remark T--- made to me one time over the phone. Had I not realized its significance and if I had not been persistent in my subsequent actions, it is possible the manuscript would still be unknown and unpublished.
And I continue to be amazed that after so many delays, and seeming dead ends that HPB's Secret Doctrine Commentaries have now been published.
You can click on the link below to order directly from the publisher/webshop in the Netherlands:
(Scroll down to third listed title.)
By Ken Small
[This paper was written for the International Theosophical Conference in the Hague, the Netherlands, August 14, 2010.]
KATHERINE TINGLEY: HISTORICAL BACKGROUND, AND DEVELOPMENT
The basis of this education is the essential divinity of man, and the necessity for transmuting everything in his nature which is not divine. To do this no part must be neglected, and the physical nature must share to the full in the care and attention which are required. Neither can the most assiduous training of the intellect be passed over; it must be made subservient to the forces of the heart. The intellect must be the servant, not the master, if order and equilibrium are to be attained.
-- W. Emmett Small, editor, THE WISDOM OF THE HEART: KATHERINE TINGLEY SPEAKS, PAGES 93-94.
To understand the Raja Yoga system of education that developed under the guidance of Katherine Tingley, which developed at the Point Loma Theosophical community and educational center from 1898-1942, it is important to know a little of the context of her personal history and background prior to the establishing of Point Loma in 1898 and also before Theosophical ideas came directly into her life.
Katherine Tingley was born in 1847 in the heart of New England, in Newberry, Massachusetts. The first four decades of her life are obscure and little historical information is available. It was not until she was in her forties that any verifiable historical information appears about her.
In terms of her style and character, Tingley was, in her nature, more the inspirational and action type of personality, than analytical and ever the social reformer in her activity and view. Historian, Dwayne Little, places Katherine Tingley within the context of the progressive movement of the time.
A significant social reformer, part of the progressive movement, was the Free thought orator, humanist and agnostic Robert Ingersoll (1833-99) who was often quoted by Tingley and whom she held in high regard.
Bob Ingersoll wielded a tremendous power in his day. He was a man who loved humanity ... and ... did many things to clear the air and make way for truth.
-- Dwayne little, KATHERINE TINGLEY AND THE PROGRESSIVE MOVEMENT (Point Loma Archives) and Katherine Tingley, THE WINE OF LIFE, pages 111-12.
Not only was her view of social reform in the style of the progressive movement, but her style of oratory and speaking was clearly inspired by Robert Ingersoll and when she spoke or wrote it was always in a spiritually motivating manner that would engage the audience.
While there is no record that she met him, it is likely that she heard him speak in person given the time and location of Ingersoll's public speeches in the north east of the United States during the latter part of the nineteenth century, where Tingley also lived and was active.
It is a point of Theosophic inner 'coincidence' that Ingersoll was closely connected and read the literature of the progressive reformer D.M. Bennett, who published the 'Truthseeker' magazine. Theosophists would later learn of the close connection of Bennett to Blavatsky's own mysterious teachers.
Bennett is spoken as 'honest and earnest' and 'one of our agents [unknown to himself].' (See THE MAHATMA LETTERS TO A.P. SINNETT, 1923, pages 249 and 251.) Like Ingersoll, Tingley had cultivated an innate charisma that was transformational. People were frequently deeply moved and there are many anecdotes of her ability in this manner.
As Iverson Harris Sr. (1860-21), who later would serve as her legal council, writes about her after meeting Tingley in Nashville, Tennessee in the late 1890's,
She seemed to enter into our very nature. She seemed to give us something which before we did not possess. She set our hearts on fire, and she made our brains active.
-- THE NEW CENTURY, March 5, 1898, page 15.
WILLIAM Q. JUDGE: THE THEOSOPHICAL DOOR OPENS
By the early 1890's, she was in New York City, engaging in humanitarian and relief work in the prisons and amongst workers, establishing what she called a 'Do Good Mission' for the destitute and poor of the east side. She realized that,
It was plain to see that little could be done really and permanently to help them: what was needed was a new system of education for the prevention of the conditions I met. To reorganize human nature when it had already lost faith and become awry and twisted, skeptical and cynical, seemed almost or quite impossible: I saw that the only way was to mold the characters of the children, in the plastic first seven years of their lives.
-- Katherine Tingley, THE GODS AWAIT, pages 75-76.
Tingley relates how these 'thoughts and feelings had become acute one bitter winter when the East Side was seriously affected by a strike.' A baby had died in its mother's arms at the door of her 'Do-Good Mission' she had established for emergency relief where she had been providing soup and food on a daily basis. A large desperate crowd had gathered of more than six hundred people had in the midst of the snow storm and the old house she was using for the 'mission' had room for only fifty ... Beside herself she addressed the crowd, explaining the situation, attempting to keep everyone calm until soup and bread were distributed. Her eye suddenly was drawn to someone in the crowd:
It was that suddenly my attention was caught by a pale face on the outskirts of the crowd ... clearly not one of the strikers ... a face of fine features and noble expression.
When she turned to have someone seek this man out, he was suddenly gone, but two days later William Q. Judge, president of the Theosophical Society in America, returned saying he had read of her work with the poor.
[He had] divined my discontent with it, and my hunger that would go much deeper, -- removing the causes of misery, and not merely relieving the effect.
-- GODS AWAIT, page 79.
This was a pivotal point in Katherine Tingley's life. Deep intuitions that she had been feeling throughout her life, had now been presented to her, in this 1893 meeting with Mr. Judge and the opening through him of the Theosophical philosophy of life. She was profoundly moved by Judge:
I was face to face with a new type of human nature: with something akin to that which my inner consciousness had told me a perfect human being might be. The more I became acquainted with him and with his work, the more I felt assured that some of my old dreams and hopes might yet come true ... He [Judge] had made Theosophy the living power in his life; and none could be so bitter against him as to exhaust his tolerance or his compassion.
-- GODS AWAIT, page 80
Katherine Tingley continues,
It was he who first gave me glimpses of the power of thought, and made me realize what it will do to build or ruin the destiny of a human being; and in doing so, he showed me how to find in Theosophy solution of all the problems that had vexed me: how it points the way to the right treatment of the downtrodden and outcast of humanity, and to the real remedies for poverty, vice, and crime.
-- GODS AWAIT, pages 80-81
This seeming 'chance' meeting with Mr. Judge had been transformative both within her own life and also in how she would carry on her activities in the world. For Tingley a broad realization had become crystal clear: she had come to the view that karma, the 'law of eternal justice' was indeed 'unconquerable compassion.' The Theosophical philosophy combined with Judge's inspiration and direction quickly integrated with Katherine Tingley's life experience and intuition. Her life focus had taken a new energy and vision which became her mission to make Theosophy practical and 'active.'
Think of Theosophy not so much as a body of philosophic or other teaching, but as the highest law of conduct, which is the enacted expression of divine love or compassion.
-- WISDOM OF THE HEART, page 72
This was her directly inspired expression of the Mahayana Buddhist ideal of the way of the Bodhisattva path of compassion. It was certainly this great driving force in her life which brought her from an obscure unknown participant in the Theosophical world, to in just three short years the head of the Theosophical Society, after William Q. Judge's untimely death in 1896. (See H.P. BLAVATSKY AND THE THEOSOPHICAL MOVEMENT by Charles Ryan.)
This same motivational force would then lead her on a bold endeavor to the founding of a Theosophical center at Point Loma, with its focus on the transformative power of education based on implementing in a practical way the ideals of Theosophy.
Katherine Tingley would seek to implement what Blavatsky had envisioned when she wrote in 'The Key to Theosophy' in 1888:
If we had the money, we would found schools which would turn out something else than reading and writing candidates for starvation. Children should above all be taught self-reliance, love for all men, altruism mutual charity, and more than anything else, to think and reason for themselves.
-- H.P. Blavatsky, THE KEY TO THEOSOPHY, page 270
'RAJA YOGA' PRINCIPLES: TRANSFORMATION IN SOCIETY, CRIME, CAPITAL PUNISHMENT AND EDUCATION
In regard to crime, Tingley had come to see the hidden causes rooted deeper inside the human constitution as the result of ignorance and a lack of early childhood guidance and education. Here, she would make the distinction between the conditioned and limited 'brain-mind' and 'higher' transformative 'divine life.'
Later the historian Emmett Greenwalt would suggest that the common Indian philosophical source of Tingley's New England transcendentalism of her upbringing and converged with Theosophy to form her educational views. (See CALIFORNIA UTOPIA by Emmett Greenwalt, page 77.)
She became an advocate of education and prevention in relationship to crime, which she called the 'road of ignorance' requiring 'a large toleration for all, and a grand compassion for the erring.' (CALIFORNIA UTOPIA, page 83.) She condemned harsh punishment: "I would have the word crime erased from the dictionaries ... crime is a disease and calls not for punishment but for cure." She called for wisely administered 'educative and karmic' treatment of the causes of crime and 'not prisons, cells and scaffolds.'
Her advocacy against the death penalty was constant and impassioned. Perhaps the peak of her public success in this area of reform came during 1914, when she gave direct support to then Gov. Hunt of Arizona, touring the state herself with a group of 'Raja Yoga' students performing music along with her speeches countering the death penalty. Gov. Hunt also visited the Theosophical center at Point Loma as well.
Tingley was also involved in the advocacy of prison reform and Herbert Coryn, who had been in Blavatsky's esoteric 'Inner Group' edited a Theosophically based periodical called 'The New Way', that was printed monthly at Point Loma and distributed free to those in prison. Tingley's critique was emphatic:
Look at our prisons, those monuments of racial iniquity, and then say that our religion and our politics have lifted the standards of life ... Is it not obvious, a truism, that every house of correction should have within itself the means and power to correct and redeem? And yet of what avail are our legal systems and prison systems for the moral correction of the criminal? What feature in them is designed to lift him out of despair? Nothing; and it was never intended that there should be; all that is thought of is this utterly futile idea of punishment that can serve no good purpose in the world.
-- GODS AWAIT, pages 96-97
She would find and see the solution to the prevention of crime in early childhood education and upbringing and incorporate these ideals into her 'Raja Yoga' system unifying 'body, soul and spirit' in a curriculum of daily spiritual practice.
RAJA YOGA SCHOOL DEVELOPMENT, CURRICULUM AND DAY
After the founding of Point Loma in 1898, her Raja Yoga 'experiment' was begun. The first class began in 1900 with five students and there were 98 residents living, mostly in tents there at the time. Within two years the number of students had reached one hundred and by 1910 for its duration maintained an average of about three hundred students. This was about half of the number of residents living at Point Loma 1910 through 1920's where the number of residence fluctuated between five and six hundred. (See CALIFORNIA UTOPIA, page 79 and "Iverson Harris interview With Bob Wright" in "The Journal of San Diego History," Summer 1974, page 17.)
Additionally there were approximately one hundred students coming daily from San Diego. There were more than twenty nationalities represented in this international group.
To have a little overview of the activity of Point Loma community at this time, just during September 1915 between seven and eight thousand visitors came to see the Point Loma educational center and community. (SEE THE THEOSOPHICAL PATH, SEPTEMBER 1915, PAGE 227.)
Children were arranged into groups from six to twelve and within an age group of two or maximum three years difference. Each of these groups then lived in a group house with a teacher or what Greenwalt termed 'superparent.' (UTOPIA, page 80)
After class hours, students returned to their group homes and also engaged in various kinds of physical activity and work, including gardening, wood working, sports, art, as well as daily orchestral practice and periodic participation in dramatic productions.
The total faculty by 1906 numbered more than sixty, most of whom had degrees from various colleges and universities. (Iverson Harris Interview, page 17 and UTOPIA, page 79)
THE DAY OF A RAJA YOGA STUDENT
A typical student day began at 6 am, with the community gathering at the Greek Theater for a time of silent meditation at the Greek theater, where readings were made from 'The Voice of the Silence', 'Bhagavad Gita' and other inspirational and devotional classics of Theosophy. Breakfast was at 7 and in silence, much like Buddhist retreat centers of today and classes began by 8.
Class instruction alternated with work in the flower gardens for the younger children and work in the vegetable gardens, fruit orchards and forestry department for the older boys. The older girls involved themselves in sewing for what was called the Woman's Exchange and Mart.
After the mid-day lunch at noon, there was athletic sports, including baseball, tennis, basketball, volleyball and track etc. Also included was daily group musical practice with both instruments and chorus. The youngest children were in bed by seven and everyone else by nine-thirty.
An example of the Raja Yoga method in relationship to learning music is given as follows:
Mme. Tingley's originality was strikingly shown in the method of imparting musical instruction to children between the ages of two and a half and seven years. Each child carried a miniature piano keyboard, which showed the scale and the colors of the rainbow. The children, one by one, wrote on the blackboard on the stage each one of the seven notes of the scale in its proper place on the staff. Each note was written in a different color of chalk, and the class altogether did the following: Called the note by its name, corresponded it with a color, named and spelled and wrote the color, pointed out the note on the miniature keyboard, and while one played it on a real piano the rest sang it at a pitch to correspond. In this way the children were not being taught music in a separate watertight compartment, but were having their eyes, ears, voices, fingers and minds trained and attuned at one and the same time. It was explained that this was one of the essential characteristics of the Raja Yoga system ... where all branches are related to one another, but also to the physical, mental and moral life.
-- THE THEOSOPHICAL PATH, November 1915, page 377
Early on for the Lotus schools in New York in the late 1890s, Katherine Tingley would write: "Children of Light, let us go forth into the world and render noble service to all that live!" (WISDOM OF THE HEART, page 114 and MYSTERIES OF THE HEART DOCTRINE) This inspirational keynote was often recited by children at the Raja Yoga School.
It is a curious fact that this phrase was also used in the Pathfinder youth groups of the United Lodge of Theosophists, undoubtedly the inspirational phrase was printed without Tingley's name ascribed to it in the literature of early Lotus Circle Groups in New York and Boston in the late 1890's. This was during the time when the United Lodge founder, Robert Crosbie was living at Point Loma and still a member of the Point Loma group until 1904. (From verbal communications from various ULT members of Pathfinders and various documents on Robert Crosbie in the Point Loma Archives.)
RAJA YOGA: IDEALS AND PRACTICE
In the ideal of the Raja Yoga educational 'system,' there were core elements that Katherine Tingley viewed as essential. She would describe her educational 'system' as 'Raja Yoga,' 'royal union' or as she expressed it: "the perfect balance of all the faculties, physical, mental, and physical." (Katherine Tingley, THE VOICE OF THE SOUL, page 81.)
How this broad generalization was described, will be briefly outlined with some quotations from her own writings and those of some of the teachers at Point Loma:
Raja Yoga is an ancient term meaning simply 'royal' or 'kingly union.' I selected it as best expressing the aim and object of true education, namely, the perfect balance of all the faculties, physical, mental and spiritual -- in a word, CHARACTER.
-- WISDOM OF THE HEART, page 94.
Our work is distinctively international, and this has its effect upon the children. Students come here, both young and old, form all parts of the world, and each is encouraged to be, in the deeper sense, a national expression, standing for all that is best and highest in his own national life. Children are taught to regard themselves as integral and responsible parts of the nation to which they belong. They are taught to aspire to the position of national benefactors, teachers and helpers, and so to become exponents of the truest and wisest patriotism. In the nurseries and schools of the world the principle of selfishness seems often to be exalted into a virtue. 'Preparation for life' seems all too often to consist in the cultivation of those aspects of nature which have already done so much to create the misery which we see. The habit of self-interest, the 'duty' of competition, are taught from the earliest and most impressionable days ... and children so taught, being left in ignorance of their own nature, its complexities and its intricacies, are unable to discriminate between the Higher Self and the lower, between the true and the false in life.
-- WISDOM OF THE HEART, page 95
Discipline is always necessary; BUT it should always be made clear that the ultimate source of discipline is the child's own higher nature and will. The guardian and teacher simply interpret and guide. A child makes to his guardians a double appeal ... from the lower nature and from the higher. If the appeal of the lower nature alone is responded to, the indulgence ensues and the child's nature is spoilt and the seeds of future sorrow are sown. The teacher must be able to recognize the appeal of the child's higher nature and to respond to it; thus manifesting true kindness, earning real gratitude, and sowing the seeds of future weal. Such are some of the principle of Raja Yoga education.
-- Henry Travers Edge, THE THEOSOPHICAL PATH, January 1920, page 24.
We must teach the child that it is an immortal Soul incarnate in a body. We must who it the difference between selfish instincts and care for others. "Oh, if only I had been taught, as a child, to pass the plate around, instead of helping myself first, what a difference it would make to me now!" Raja Yoga children are taught to pass the plate around first. The problem in a nutshell again, and unromantically simple, as before. We commend the solution to all educational writers. But remember: unless there is behind this moral teaching the rational intellectual teaching, the result will probably be only a subtle hypocrisy ... Teach the child that the soul is his real self; that he is immortal; that he lived before he was born, and will continue to live after the change called death. Teach him the perfect and benign justice of the great law of Karma. Teach him these things, and you will give him a sure basis for moral training that will make him a self-disciplined man. And these sublime truths do not have to be taught like maxims out of a book or catechism. The intuition of the unspoilt child is able to perceive and grasp than to teach them. We have far more need to refrain from unteaching children than to teach them. All this is illustrated by the results obtained in the Raja Yoga teaching. It is this that will solve the problem of education, by producing self-disciplined people.
-- Henry Travers Edge, THE THEOSOPHICAL PATH, September 1919, page 228.
By Frank Knoche
[From THE THEOSOPHICAL PATH, February 1918, pages 134-47.]
The commonsense man at this point will say:
Obviously, the thing for me to do first is to make the acquaintance of myself -- in short, to study myself. If it is true that man is dual in nature -- and it must be so, for here and there I do see men calmly walking out of prisons while I stay in -- and if it is true that man possesses a wonderful equipment of spiritual power in his makeup, along with another sort of equipment of which he is not so very proud, it behooves me to get out these reserves of mine, look them over and take stock of what I have on hand.
He is right. The rational plan, when one has determined to discard old business methods and start in with new and better ones, is to make an inventory and see what there is in stock to go upon. That is exactly what Theosophy not only encourages one to do, but gives one the power to do. And, in this matter of an inventory of oneself, it turns on a flood of light.
Now light is just what old lumber-rooms need. No one can deny that the average, undisciplined human mind is not inaptly described as a lumber-room: wishes, desires, ideas, opinions, facts, and fancies, all bundled in together, good and bad alike, with the cobwebs of ignorance and obscuration binding long artistic lines over the whole.
The moment one begins to think, he realizes this fact, and then it is up to him, whether to allow the old accumulation to remain, with its waste and dirt or to clean it up.
If he brings in a light and decides that the cleaning process must go forward, the first thing that he discovers is that this collection of resources, equipment, treasure, and trash, this lumber-room, that is 'myself,' is Dual in its nature and make-up. This part is animal, that part, Divine; and then man begins to find his true dignity, and realizes that while he does have a physical heredity from the kingdoms of Nature, he has also a spiritual heredity from Deity.
He sees himself, as the old Stoics used to say, as a "portion of Deity." He sees that part of his equipment is of a permanent nature, infinitely valuable and only needing to be brought out and rid of dust and debris to make him richer than any Aladdin; and that another part is trumpery and mostly deserves the trashcan. Or perhaps it is misused material that at last, now that the light is turned on, he can find a way to make over, and render of service to the part that is permanent and not trash.
How plainly then he sees that all his life long, quite unconsciously most of the time, he has been adding to the accumulations in this lumber-room which he calls 'myself,' -- sometimes by things of priceless and permanent value, but mostly by trumpery-stuff.
A conquest over some weakness that has piled up the permanent gold for him: how clear it all is now! Weak compliance with something he knew was wrong, a yielding to impulse or desire, selfishness, criticism, cynicism, bitterness -- there these are, like ghosts rising up to frighten and shame him.
Without the Theosophical teaching of the Duality of Man, how would a person who seriously set out to understand himself ever be able to find his way? In despair he would exclaim with Pascal:
What a chimera is man! What a confused chaos, what a subject of contradiction! a professed judge of all things, and yet a feeble worm of the earth! the great depository and guardian of truth, and yet a mere huddle of uncertainty! the glory and the scandal of the Universe!
But Theosophy leaves one in no such dilemma as this. How rationally the subject is stated in the following words, from some writings by Katherine Tingley which, when originally issued, were for private instruction only but parts of which have been occasionally quoted publicly in recent years:
Have you thought who or what is this 'I'? ... What is 'myself,' and what 'my life'? Have you meditated on that Higher Self to which ... you aspire? This thought and meditation is the first step to an understanding of the real nature of the inner and outer man. It clarifies your whole being, unloading and separating from you much that you have hitherto thought to be yourself, helping you to an understanding of the valuelessness of much that you have hitherto desired and perhaps thought necessary to your welfare or peace of mind, separating the chaff from the wheat in consciousness, conferring added power of insight into human nature and discrimination in your dealings with men.
We all know that the inner man is true, eternal, strong, pure, compassionate, and just. The outer is too often weak, wavering, and selfish. Its energy arises out of desire and ambition. Yet it is the instrument which the soul, the inner, seeks to perfect in compassion. It is in this outer nature, usually physically dominated, that arises the common feeling of 'I,' and it is to the blending of this with the real 'I' within that evolution tends ...
From the time the Resolve is taken, the disciple has ever with him two forces. Two invisible companions formed of his own essence, one evil, one Divine, the secretion or objectivation of the opposite poles of his own self-consciousness. They represent his good and evil angels, the Augoeides and its counterpart, each seeking to absorb his being. One of these in the end must prevail over the other and one or the other is strengthened by every act and thought of his life.
They are his higher and lower potentialities passing slowly into potency as the energies (both good and evil, note) of the soul are awakened by the effect of the Resolve and the vibrations thereby called down or called out. AND IF THE RESOLVE BE KEPT, IF EFFORT BE CONTINUAL, IF NO FAILURES OR FALLS DISCOURAGE THE ASPIRANT AND ARE ALWAYS FOLLOWED "BY AS MANY UNDAUNTED STRUGGLES UPWARD," HE HAS ALWAYS THE HELP AND COUNSEL OF THE DIVINE 'DAIMON,' THE 'WARRIOR'; AND VICTORY, HOWEVER FAR AWAY, IS CERTAIN. For this is an unconquerable power, "eternal and sure," an actual presence and inspiration if you will but recognize it, having faith and faith and faith.
Why then it will be natural to ask, if this Warrior, fighting for us, is invincible, do we ever fail? It is lack of faith, unwontedness of resort to this place of energy, the habit of yielding to temptation without pause or thought, the non-recognition (by meditation) of the DUALITY OF OUR NATURE. ...
Do you understand what 'Theosophy' means, or have you sought out the definition of it given by H.P. Blavatsky and W.Q. Judge?
To make it a 'living power,' think of it not so much as a body of philosophic or other teaching, but as the highest law of conduct, which is the enacted expression of divine love or compassion. It is this which is to be made the guide of life as a whole and in each of its acts ... Do every act as an intent and loving service to the Divine Self of the World, putting your best into it in that way.
Is it commonsense, then, to possess resources that are infinite and yet go through life fearful and whining, or wicked and bold, as though one had no spiritual resources at all? We need not worry as much as we do. There is help for every emergency if we will look for it in the right place. We have only to make out a draft in the proper way: it will be honored. Never fear that.
And here we meet the next great problem, one that all men meet but of which the businessman sometimes feels that he has rather more than his share -- the problem of dealing with others.
There should not be the confusion and uncertainty that there is about this question of our relationship with our fellows. There should not be the endless suspicions and difficulties that only stultify our own power to give and to serve, and keep men separate and apart. And we know it.
In truth, most of us, upon reflection, are ashamed of the blindness we show in our relations with others, of our misjudgments, our ignorance of their nature, and the rest. To quote homely Epictetus:
Diogenes well said to one who asked from him letters of recommendation: That you are a man he will know as soon as he sees you; and he will know whether you are good or bad if he has, through experience, the knowledge to distinguish the good and the bad; but if he has not, he would not know though I were to write him a thousand times. For it is just the same as if a drachma asked to be recommended to a person. If he is skillful in testing silver, he will know you (the drachma) for what you are. We ought then in life to be able to have some such skill as in the case of the silver coin, that we may be able to say, like the judge of silver, "Bring me any drachma and I will test it."
Only we are not, and the terrible war in Europe is but part of the shameful result, Here again Theosophy turns on its saving light -- and, by the way, was any method ever invented more thoroughly commonsense than just THE TURNING ON OF A LIGHT, when you want to find your way in the dark? By the light of this ancient torch, Theosophy, we see that others are dual as we are ourselves.
Familiar with the keynotes of Duality in our own nature, we recognize them at once in the nature of another. Worry, suspicion, hatred, fear, discontent, restlessness, ambition, laziness, and the all too common railing at fate -- these we know at once as keynotes of the lower, animal nature in man; while joy, peace, brotherliness, discrimination, clear vision, love of work, desire to serve, willingness to sacrifice for a principle, delight in rendering service to others -- these show that the God in man is in the ascendency.
How the air clears!
We find the next questions almost answered in advance, for these relate to the point of contact with our brothers, and how we shall keep that sweet and unsoiled. Here again Theosophy shows us the commonsense way, so that others will be better for having met us, so that our home, our community, our city shall be better and the awful blots that now exist on our so-called civilization become a little less black. It is simply the white solvent of Sincerity, a quality so whole and so pure that we lose the taste for anything else.
I can do no better here than quote again from Madame Tingley, whose teachings on life and duty are so preeminently practical and sound:
Just as far as we give up trying to SEEM, and give our time to an honest attempt TO BE, will our eyes open to a true discernment in relation to those with whom we have to deal. The attempt to SEEM, the aping of virtues we know ourselves not to possess, is not only an act of self-poisoning, not only an utter stultification of the soul and intuition, but a poisoning of all those with whom we have to deal. Moreover, it makes us utterly negative, utterly the prey of others, utterly unable to judge them aright or to repel the touch of their lower natures. The first requirement, then, is PERSONAL SINCERITY, an unreserved owning-up to one's own soul of one's faults; and then, a steady fight to conquer them. Thus in time men become invulnerable, spiritually strong; and best of all, while we are making that honest fight, we cannot poison anybody else.
So much for the so-called smaller issues that affect the personal life. What about those greater ones that affect whole nations? It is the same. If I can live on amicable terms with my neighbor who has a different social status, a different religion, different ideas of duty and of life and who belongs to a different race, why cannot a nation do the same? Nations can, and they have done so, again and again.
On Point Loma today, as Students under Madame Katherine Tingley in the School of Antiquity of which she is Foundress and President, and as men and women playing their parts as active working factors in life, are representatives of many different nations; and there is an entire absence of the difficulties which beset the ordinary city of the world, and of which the newspapers keep us so thoroughly aware.
We who live here may be pardoned for believing that the right way is the commonsense way, and that selfishness and greed in the conduct of civic or national or international affairs is not only a travesty on commonsense, but is absolutely unnecessary and absurd.
So that, inevitably, when one looks at life and history from the viewpoint of Theosophy, one's ideas undergo an immense broadening, and the laws whose guidance we invoke in the smaller issues stand out in a clear light as the great guiding laws of the world, to break which means discord, suffering, and confusion, and to keep which, builds for harmony, justice, and peace.
There is Karma, the law of cause and effect, the law which Paul stated in the well-known words, "Whatsoever a man soweth that shall he also reap."
There is the Law of Cycles, by which one can study understandingly the rise and decline of nations, and can see how it is that a period of retrogression is only an arc or a smaller cycle in the Great Cycle of Universal Life, which moves on with a forward general trend all the time.
There is Reincarnation, which explains so many of the seemingly hopeless puzzles of life, and which is in reality a mighty key, unlocking vast treasuries of knowledge before the mind and opening the pages of history in a new way.
Brotherhood as a fact in Nature, which is admittedly the only commonsense basis for relations of a personal kind, becomes equally fundamental with regard to the wider and deeper relations that exist between state and state.
And so one might continue, for the great universal Laws which Theosophy enunciates, and which have guided whole nations in the far past through periods of unexampled glory, are by no means figments of the imagination. They are rules of action, not only for you and for me, but for the nations to which we belong. They are rules of guidance for the world.
We live in a world of material uses and demands, and we have to meet material issues; but because a man must put his feet on the dusty road to get to his journey's end, it does not follow that he must put his head there, too. The commonsense way is to keep one's head up in the sunshine and pure air and out of the dirt and dust; otherwise, how shall one see to guide his feet?
Theosophy, with its call to humanity to awaken to something finer and higher than material things, shows man how to stand erect and keep his head where it belongs; and however soiled or thorny may be the road under one's feet, there is always the clear sky of hope above and the pure air of Spiritual Knowledge. For Theosophy IS Spiritual Knowledge, glowing in the alembic of a perennial confidence and trust and transmuting the baser metals to gold.
By Johanna Vermeulen
[Entitled "Preserving the Future," this talk was given at the ITC Conference in The Hague, the Netherlands, on August 14, 2010. See
for more information and to order a copy of the book.]
This lecture was not planned. The program listed a lecture by Michael Gomes, well-known publicist, editor and historian, specializing in the history of Helena Petrovna Blavatsky and the Theosophical Movement.
Unfortunately, he was not able to be here during the conference, and his lecture, "Preserving the Future," is replaced by my lecture with the same title. That presents no difficulty since Michael Gomes worked for many years in T.S. Adyar in the Archives and Library, and he is Curator of a New York Library, while I am the archivist of the T.S. Point Loma Blavatskyhouse and work on the conservation of the Point Loma Archives. So preserving the future is a subject close to my heart.
Archivists very often have the reputation of living in the past. This lecture will show that a REAL archivist is concentrated on the future. What should be the aim on an archivist? Certainly not surrounding oneself with books and magazines safely hidden from the present -- that is, the turmoil and stress of daily life.
The task of an archivist, especially a theosophical archivist, is to make available the written products of the great inspirators of the Theosophical Movement to all. Books are not meant as interesting esoteric consumption products to enlarge only your knowledge, but rather to be study-material, training-material, for everyone who wants to train themselves to follow in the footsteps of these inspirators. To do the same work in the world as they did, albeit on a smaller, more modest scale.
To understand the KEYNOTE of this lecture, you have to be taken back in history: in the 1970s, when Herman and I became members of the T.S., we saw a rich variety of theosophical organizations. And to understand what seemed chaotic, I started as an archivist in embryo, to create order in this chaos by going back in history. I discovered a seed that grew into a theosophical tree with many branches. I hope that lifelong members still recall how confusing it is for newcomers.
How did I overcome this confusion? For my first White Lotus Day, I read a selection of fragments of Blavatsky's letters called "She Being Dead Yet Speaketh." William Q. Judge selected them to read on the first White Lotus Day in 1892, the day all friends of Blavatsky come together to concentrate on her life and on the continuation of her work.
One sentence, from one of those letters, struck me very positively. HPB says:
TO LIVE LIKE CATS AND DOGS IN THE T.S. IS POSITIVELY AGAINST ALL RULES AND WISHES OF THE MASTER, AS AGAINST OUR BROTHERHOOD, SO-CALLED, AND ALL ITS RULES. THEY ARE DISGUSTED. THEY LOOK ON, AND IN THAT LOOK (OH LORD! IF YOU COULD ONLY SEE IT AS I HAVE) THERE'S AN OCEAN OF DEEP AND SAD DISGUST, CONTEMPT, AND SORROW.
Now you perhaps wonder -- why so positively moved by this sad sentence? Because Blavatsky taught me in one tiny second that we always have to look at the theosophical tree FROM THE MASTERS' PERSPECTIVE. Not imagining that we are Masters, of course, that would be extremely arrogant, but observing our theosophical work and behavior, not from our branch or even twig of the theosophical tree, but from its stem and preferably from its roots. For the tree is rooted in the age-old Lodge of Wisdom and Compassion.
And then, at once, your task and the decisions you have to make become so much easier: you recognize that on all other branches there are birds, some singing, some twittering, but always some birds with that same broad Stem-and-Root view. All confusion vanishes when you simply forget the branches and concentrate on those roots that feed the whole tree. Branches can break, fruits can fall, but the roots will stay. And from the roots, other trees will grow in the future. And I think I am not alone in this experience; it is the eye-opener for many of us here.
Now having established the keynote, let us start with the CONTENTS of this lecture. For that, I want to take you again back in history, but now much further back to a period that is very important for the future of our work. Tomorrow, Will Windham will take you to the first ten years of the life of the T.S., but I take you now to the period of the last five years of the life of H.P. Blavatsky, especially the years 1886 to 1889. These are the most fruitful years of Blavatsky's life.
1. After she left India for good in 1885, she went to Europe where she continued writing the book that later proved to be her master- work, "The Secret Doctrine." She stayed in Wurzburg, Germany and in Ostende, Belgium while working on it.
In 1887, a small group of London Theosophists, led by the 27 year- old Bertram Keightley, visited her in Ostende and asked her to move to London and finish her "SD" there, with the help of the London members. A few days later, she moved to London and, three weeks later, she formed, with a small group of young members, the Blavatsky Lodge, which had its meetings weekly on Thursday evenings. Some of those young members helped her prepare "The Secret Doctrine."
To bring structure to the enormous amount of information in the book, they decided to take as the basis a number of Stanzas from the Book of Dzyan. Around these Stanzas they modeled, they built information: Seven Stanzas in the first volume on the origin and evolution of the Kosmos; Twelve Stanzas in the second volume on the origin and evolution of Humanity.
2. In 1887, she also started her second magazine, LUCIFER, THE LIGHTBRINGER. The first two volumes contain unforgettable, famous articles, forming a book of their own.
3. In 1888, the first volume of "The Secret Doctrine" was published and was immediately a worldwide success -- all copies sold out within one day.
4. In 1888, she also started her Esoteric School, meant for members who promised to themselves to dedicate their life to the spiritual growth of mankind, to have compassion, to be co-workers with the Masters of Wisdom and Compassion. And, in this Esoteric School, she gave her deeper teachings.
5. In 1889, she started a series of studies in the Blavatsky Lodge to give the young members the opportunity to ask her their questions on the Seven Stanzas of Volume One of "The Secret Doctrine."
6. In 1889, HPB wrote in a few weeks her most practical book, "The Key to Theosophy," for all who found "The Secret Doctrine" a little too difficult. In "The Key to Theosophy," she bundled all practical questions people asked her during many years, on everyday problems, plus her very useful answers.
7. Later, in 1889, she wrote her most mystical book, "The Voice of The Silence," dedicated "To the Few." In this little book, she explains the core, the basis, the soul of compassion and the seven paramitas, the seven noble character aspects we have to evolve to become a Master of Compassion ourselves.
Now, all of this is very well known to Theosophists all over the world: You can buy "The Secret Doctrine," "The Key to Theosophy," and "The Voice of The Silence." The Esoteric Instructions she gave in her Esoteric School you can read in volume 12 of her Collected Writings.
There is just one gap in her work that was never filled: the months that she studied the Stanzas of the SD with her young students in the Blavatsky Lodge. It is known there was a stenographer present at those meetings. It is also known that two small brochures with the very abridged text of the first ten meetings were published in 1890 and 1891, now known as "The Transactions of The Blavatsky Lodge," which you can find in volume 10 of her Collected Writings. But no one knew where the complete, unabridged stenographic notes were. The idea was that they were lost.
So the general idea among Theosophists was that the answers we have in "Transactions" are all the support we have from HPB when we study the "SD" and the Stanzas of Dzyan.
You can imagine how glad and surprised we were when, at the International Theosophical Conference last year in Los Angeles, Michael Gomes approached us with the request to print and publish the book he was preparing.
Years before, some staff members of the United Lodge of Theosophists had asked him to transcribe the original handwritten notes of the available 21 of 24 meetings of the Blavatsky Lodge. All these years, these notes were in the possession of Mr. Wadia, one of the important inspirators of the ULT. After his death, they were found and there were a few unsuccessful attempts to prepare the text for publication.
Michael Gomes than started the project, assisted by some ULT members. He and the ULT team worked on steadily, quietly, in silence. Why in silence? Because all great things are born in silence. Every Theosophist knows from experience that every important Theosophical project suffers unexplainable adversities when that project is made too broadly known. That is simply the Karma of our theosophical work.
So we were very glad to dedicate our time, money and work to this project. During one whole year we continued in this line of quiet work. And, together with Michael Gomes, our team of members prepared, printed and now present to all of you this book, "The Secret Doctrine Commentaries: The Unpublished 1889 Instructions."
What had been only some 90 pages published as "Transactions" in pamphlets in 1890 and 1891 proved to be some 650 pages of invaluable information? Michael wrote a very good and thorough Introduction and we added a very helpful Index.
One very positive detail is that this project rises above the Branch-level of the Theosophical tree to the Stem-and-Root level. For Michael has worked for many years in the T.S. Adyar; the manuscript and first efforts came from members of the ULT; and the last phase, the production of this book, happened in the Blavatskyhouse, the Point Loma T.S. Hopefully, this co-operation is a good start for the future of theosophical work.
And, in this whole project, all personal ambitions and reputations have been successfully neglected. What remains is the quality of the contents of this book.
What can we tell you about the book, about these "Secret Doctrine Commentaries" itself? The text was unpublished for so many years, so the first questions is,
Is it an esoteric book? Do we have to keep it uncirculated?
The answer is, No, certainly not. Blavatsky says in the book, on page 425,
'THE SECRET DOCTRINE' IS NOT AN OCCULT BOOK, AS I TOLD YOU, BUT A PRINTED WORK FOR THE PUBLIC."
and, on page 640,
THERE ARE ESOTERICISTS HERE, AND EXOTERICISTS. THE ESOTERICISTS WILL BE TERRIBLY CONFUSED IF WE SPEAK IN THIS WAY, AND THE EXOTERICISTS STILL MORE.
For the meetings of the Blavatsky Lodge and the Esoteric School were held in the same period.
And William Kingsland, the Blavatsky Lodge President, says in his article on "THE SECRET DOCTRINE," APPENDIX 3 OF THE BOOK: THOSE WHO ARE MEMBERS OF THE ESOTERIC SECTION OF THE T.S. HAVE A BETTER CHANCE OF UNDERSTANDING THE MATTER THAN THE ORDINARY READER, BUT SINCE NUMBERS WHO HAVE ATTENDED OUR THURSDAY EVENING MEETINGS ARE NOT ESOTERICISTS, IT HAS BEEN IMPOSSIBLE TO TREAT THE MATTER FROM ANY BUT AN EXOTERIC STANDPOINT."
Thus, we may conclude that this book could be published without any objection.
So, if this is not an esoteric book, then what makes this book unique? The uniqueness of this book is the fact that it is the only manuscript of Blavatsky where we can read her spoken words in their original form, unedited, unchanged, unpolished. The great advantage of this text over her other books and articles are that this text, just because of its relative rawness, has 100% retained the original inspirational power of the Teacher, a thing you will not find so strongly elsewhere in her publications.
The text is so lively that we may well imagine ourselves to be present at those meetings, to take part in those studies. For the questions that Bertram Keightley read to her could well be ours, and the answers she gives are often the answers we ourselves were looking for so many years. You are not just reading the notes of the meetings, you become part of them. And that makes this book unique and attractive.
Another unique thing is the method she uses to stimulate her students. She follows the age-old method of evoking the inner understanding of her students, in the form of questions and answers, a method you will also recognize in the dialogues of Plato and in the Raja Yoga method we discussed this morning.
A great advantage for us is the fact that her young students did not quite understand her answers immediately, so they asked her again and again on the same subject. And she answers and answers for many pages, until Archibald and Bertram Keightley, or Doctor Williams, or Alfred Sinnett, respond with a clear conclusion. This gives us ample time to build up our own clear view on the subject.
What makes the Blavatsky Lodge so special? The Blavatsky Lodge studies were attended by a small group, only 8 or 10 members, five of them around 30 years old: Bertram Keightley, 29; Archibald Keightley (his nephew), 30 years old; Walter Old, 25 years; George Mead, 26 years; and William Kingsland, 31 years and, for some time, the President of the Lodge.
Do you realize her wisdom? She did not look at their age or their relative lack of experience in life; she looked at their reincarnating part, the richness of the experience of their souls and the inner potency to play an important, inspiring role in the T.S. in the future.
This is what she said to Walter Old, and I quote page 643 of the book where Blavatsky asks him what made him what he is; and he answers, it is my Atma.
She corrects him and says that "his Atma" is not his, that he has no Atma distinct from others. No, she says.
IT IS YOUR EGO, AND YOUR INCARNATING EGO. IT IS THAT WHICH YOU WERE IN PAST LIVES THAT MAKES YOU WHAT YOU ARE, A YOUNG MAN OF 25 THAT HAS SUCH A WONDERFUL CAPACITY OF GRASPING ALL THESE THINGS.
Do you see the timeless way she looks at her students, the way she makes them look at themselves? And isn't that exactly what we have to learn when we chair a theosophical group-study, or even look for our own possibilities?
Indeed, Bertram Keightley became a lifelong, very important co-worker in the T.S. Adyar. Archibald Keightley was one of the strong supporters of William Q. Judge in his theosophical work in the United States. George Mead became Blavatsky's secretary and, after her death, a world-famous pioneer in the introduction, translation and explanation of Western mysticism -- the Gnostic, the Hermetic, the Orphic Wisdom; he was the first translator of the Pistis Sophia in English. In addition, William Kingsland and Walter Old both became famous writers.
What subjects were studied by the Blavatsky Lodge? It is not possible to discuss 650 pages; I can only give you the main themes.
First, all seven Stanzas and their commentaries in Volume One of "The Secret Doctrine" -- these seven Stanzas represent the seven stages in the evolution of the universe. So the first Stanza describes the most unexplainable first phase. And, page after page, you find information on the First Fundamental Proposition, the Omnipresent, Eternal Principle. Terms such as The Absolute, IT, the Sanskrit terms Parabrahman and SAT, the Hebrew term Ain-Soph -- she places them all in perspective; she shows what they are and what they are not. And, chapter after chapter, your vision will ripen.
And, after that, the same is done with later Stanzas where the birth of all living beings in the Universe is described, and the hierarchies of beings -- the Sanskrit Dhyan Chohans, the Hebrew Sephiroth, and the Gnostic Aeons. These later Stanzas are described in the Second and Third Fundamental Propositions: the great fullness of all living beings, constantly appearing and disappearing, born and dying.
She answers questions on the real nature of Consciousness, the seven states of Consciousness; on the infinitude of the Atom; on the sevenfold nature of Man; and many pages on the after-death state of man.
In addition, she explains to the scientist in her group the deeper meaning of terms like Life, Light, Fire, Fohat, Gravity and the universal forces of attraction and repulsion
After their study of the seven Stanzas, the situation changes because, in that period, Blavatsky was writing her book "The Key to Theosophy" and she asks the members of the Blavatsky Lodge to give ideas and advice on the way to formulate the subjects in the book, especially the chapters on the practical Theosophy, on how Theosophists think of Duty, Charity and Self-Sacrifice.
Together they train themselves to explain to the new readers of "The Key to Theosophy" three important subjects: Reincarnation, Karma and Devachan. During that training, she gives details on Karma and Devachan I have never found in her other writings.
"The Secret Doctrine Commentaries: The Unpublished 1889 Instructions" ends with the last recorded meeting of June 20, 1889, and to me this is the most remarkable meeting of all. The subject of study that evening seems to have nothing to do with the Stanzas of "The Secret Doctrine." But it contains the ultimate basis for understanding them. Blavatsky starts this meeting with the following words:
NOW YOU HAVE GOT TO STUDY FOR YOURSELVES. THE ONLY THING I CAN GIVE YOU IS JUST TO PUT THE "KEY" IN YOUR HANDS AND SAY: THIS OPENS THIS WAY, AND THIS THAT WAY, AND SO ON.
You see her hint to her students not to ask any more questions but to start searching for answers within themselves.
The first thing that then comes up in their discussion is:
HOW TO CONCEIVE OF THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN THESE CELESTIAL HIERARCHIES OF DHYANI CHOHANS AND THE PHYSICAL FORCES, OR WHAT WE CALL PHYSICAL FORCES WITH WHICH WE ARE ORDINARILY FAMILIAR.
In other words, how can we obtain knowledge of the highest spiritual beings; how can we form for ourselves an inner idea of the highest spiritual aspects of the universe and their relation with our ordinary daily life, with all the infinite forces, phenomena, and aspects of objective Nature?
And the training Blavatsky gave to them is not to give answers but to stimulate them to discover the fact that the main factor in this question is "BY USING OUR INTUITION."
For some 30 pages, she challenges them to tell her what intuition is and how to activate that intuition in yourself. And that is exactly what a teacher, or director of a theosophical study-group does -- awakening the inner Buddhic faculties.
Exactly what we ask ourselves: how can we see our highest inner wisdom and apply it in our daily life, with our relatives, our colleagues, our friends, our enemies? Therefore, this last chapter is a MUST for everyone who wants to contribute to a better future of humanity and our planet.
So, in conclusion, today we offer you this unique book, "The Secret Doctrine Commentaries," subtitled "The Unpublished 1889 Instructions," a book with which you can change the future of humanity.
And for this once -- and I hope you agree -- to make an exception and thank some Theosophists:
to the staff members of the ULT who guarded this manuscript for so many years and who initiated the whole project,
to Michael Gomes for preparing this book during many years, and
to the team members in the Blavatskyhouse who gave so much of their free time, canceled their holidays, to make it possible to present this book today to you all as well as the rest of the world.
And I hope I speak for all of you when we want to thank all of our speakers at this Conference as well as the strong motor behind the ITC activities, Sally and Jim Colbert, by giving all of them the first copies of this book.
And, for everyone in attendance, we have arranged a large table with many copies, here in the hall, so that you can have a first impression of the book, its content and its quality. We do hope you all will enjoy this unique book as much as we do.
By Reginald W. Machell
[From THE THEOSOPHICAL PATH, July 1918, pages 21-28.]
As knowledge increases the range of human sympathies, so should the more highly civilized become more liberal in their appreciation of the races formerly classified as savage or barbarian; because the advance of knowledge tends to make clear the fact that in all races, even in the most degraded, there are traditions as well as evidences of lost arts and sciences such as distinguish the civilized nations.
We are now beginning to see the weakness of the ape-ancestry theory, which held the field for about half a century in Europe and America, and we are forced to admit that all the evidences are in favor of the opposite theory, to wit, that the arts, sciences, religions, and philosophies have continually deteriorated, and often almost entirely disappeared, to be again revived, restored, revealed, or rejuvenated in a renaissance or rebirth that comes more as a revelation, through man as the active agent, than as a growth or gradual development.
The history of nearly all inventions is similar. Some one or more individuals have foreseen the new machine or the new scheme almost in its entirety, and have been laughed at as dreamers until the idea has taken root in the minds of practical men who gradually gave it form and brought it up to the level of the ideal as it first presented itself to the 'dreamer' who is seldom credited with its origination.
I imagine that as time goes on, we may recognize the fact that civilization is a product of evolution guided by Wisdom, or Superior Intelligence, which continually reveals to man the truths that he continually degrades and disfigures in his attempts to adapt them to his limited conceptions of what is necessary for the welfare of his kind.
The theory of revelation is complementary to that of evolution. The reason why it has been regarded as antagonistic is that the knowledge of the true nature of man has been lost, and that the source of revelation has been placed outside of him in an impossible kind of God who was both personal and absolute, which is of course unintelligible to the mind of man though capable of a metaphysical explanation that to most men would also be unintelligible.
But Theosophy explains intelligibly that man is in himself a kind of epitome of the Universe, linking up the highest and the lowest spheres of being the most spiritual and the most material in his own person, and thus is able to reveal the mysteries of his own inner life to the mind that is housed in his body and so to all other men. Man is himself the revealer, the recipient of Wisdom, and the mystery revealed.
The prime factors in civilization, as well as its chief attributes, are the arts and sciences, the religions and philosophies.
Tradition has it that in the Golden Age, all men were of one tongue, and religious intolerance was unknown. But the element of discord was introduced, according to exoteric tradition, and still works havoc in the world. The occult philosophy puts it differently, saying that the Human Monad left its state of pure spirituality to descend into Matter for the regeneration of the world and for the increase of its own experience. This was according to the Universal Law of evolution and involution, which must bring the human race through the region of chaos and conflict up again to the golden heights of Wisdom and peace.
So the old philosophy recognized the existence of discord as an element peculiar to this stage of evolution, a temporary experience, that can be at any time surmounted by the individual, who knows that the source of Wisdom and peace are in his own heart, and may shine through to illuminate his mind with true ideas, that may be made practically useful in his material evolution.
Civilization depends upon the periodic revelation of ideals from the spiritual world to the earth-bound souls of mortals. The arts, sciences, religions, and philosophies are means by which such ideals are brought forth from the inner world and made serviceable.
While we are taught that all men are thus potentially revealers and teachers, we are also reminded that the whole human race is here under the hypnotic spell of ignorance or chaos, and that only the elder brothers of the race succeed in bringing to earth the seed of divine wisdom. By Elder Brothers is meant Souls that in previous cycles of evolution have learned the lessons that they are now qualified to teach.
As we are all students in the school of life we must admit that we have much to learn, but we may avail ourselves of what our Teachers have given us to clarify our own ideas on the subject of these various branches of the tree of Wisdom, one of which is Art.
An artist is not always the best person to explain verbally the meaning and purpose of art. It is his mission to exemplify this in his work, and we do not generally give the name of artist to a speaker or writer, although it may be in every way fully as well applied in their case.
Painters are naturally inclined to express themselves in paint rather than in words, and it often happens that they pass through life without even formulating mentally any clearly defined explanation of the purpose and power of art.
Many of these producers of 'works of art' are hardly worthy of the honorable title 'artist,' but should rather be considered as servants of art or as apprentices (in the larger sense). For they have not mastered the principles of art, though they may have acquired more or less skill in the exercise of some artistic function.
As to who shall decide their right to the name of artist, that is a matter which is open to discussion, for it depends upon one's philosophy of life as to who may be considered entitled to speak authoritatively on any subject. In the meantime, in this democratic age, everybody is free to claim authority, and is entitled to all he can command.
On the other hand, no one need consider himself bound by any other authority than the law of the land, or such other law as he may have accepted, willingly or otherwise.
Obviously there is no general agreement on such matters. Else the world would now be at peace and might continue so. Fortunately, Art is not a cause of war; and that distinguishes it from religion. If the two were better understood, the difference between them would disappear along with the misunderstandings as to their true nature.
It would be safe to say that the vast majority of those who take some pleasure in art are entirely ignorant of the nature of aesthetics. Many, perhaps most, of these would say they know the meaning of the word religion, while they would surely break down utterly in any attempt to say what is the quality in a work of art that gives it aesthetic value.
The terrible ordeal through which our civilization is now passing will probably open people's eyes to the reality of spiritual forces in a material world, and will make them better able to appreciate the deeper nature of life and art.
It must surely already have prepared many to sympathize with that which appeals to the latent spirituality in themselves, and which indicates the spiritual nature of the world they live in.
I think that no longer will the world at large be content to be simply amused or distracted for a moment by work that can only appeal to their sensuous perceptions of material beauty. Nor will they be satisfied with that which may excite admiration for the skill of the executant. Skill is necessary, but it is a means to another end. That end is ecstasy, a word that will surely repel many who yet love art.
But the word is a good one and that which it expresses is of vital importance in life. One dictionary gives this:
[It is] a state in which the mind is carried away, as it were, from the body; a state in which the functions of the senses are suspended by the contemplation of some extraordinary or supernatural object; a kind of trance.
This, which is a familiar phenomenon in connection with certain forms of religion, is hardly recognized as a right and proper faculty of art, by the generality of those who flock to our art galleries or museums to get enjoyment and distraction.
Indeed, I think it would be true to say that ecstasy generally to the public suggests delusion; and that aesthetic ecstasy is another name for affectation in their vocabulary. The rise of materialism, with the decay of religion, and the loss of spirituality coupled with an excessive emotionalism, have made the rational world look askance on anything approaching mysticism or ecstasy.
The fact is that without some knowledge of the complex nature of man, the phenomenon of ecstasy cannot be explained so as to place it where it really belongs in the field of human experience.
To the Theosophist, man is a soul incarnate in a body, and connected therewith by means of a mind, which itself is dual, the lower mind being merely a function of the body, and the higher being the reflection of the spiritual intelligence of the soul or spiritual essence, which is the real and enduring self-overshadowing, if not inherent in, the living human being.
The term soul is loosely applied by various schools of religion and philosophy to describe any or all of the many conditions of man's consciousness above the purely animal.
Accepting the term soul as descriptive of a state intermediate between pure divinity or spirituality and pure animalism or materiality, we may call ecstasy a state in which the mind is closed to the animal and made to reflect the light of the divine.
Such a condition is an approach to union with the higher or spiritual self and is a state of infinite bliss.
Accepting again this rough sketch of man's complex nature, it will be easy to see that there must be many stages of ecstasy, or perhaps one should say that ecstasy has many IMITATIONS in lower states, which may be produced by use of drugs, as well as by excessive excitation of the lower emotions and passions.
Love and hate can produce a frenzy, that is a kind of diabolical parody of spiritual ecstasy, but which may appear elevated to one who is sunk in mere animalism. Ignorance of man's nature may cause one to mistake such intoxication for divine ecstasy.
The results of such mistakes are disastrous to the victims of these indulgences, as well as to those who mistake the utterances of such debauchees for revelations derived from truly spiritual sources.
It may be said that all keen enjoyment or intense pleasure is a phenomenon that in some sort reflects the state of ecstasy, but the difference is a difference in kind as well as in degree: for the plane of matter is separated from the plane of spirit, and man has in himself the bridge by which he may pass from one state to the other.
Pleasure, amusement, distraction, interest, and so on, are states of the lower mind: ecstasy is the passing over the bridge into conscious perception of the spiritual world. (I am using the words in their ordinary sense, for in truth, the condition of consciousness in the state of spiritual awakening, or ecstasy is one that cannot be correctly described in ordinary language.
All religious ceremonies aim at producing a state of ecstasy, and it has truly been said that one of the main differences between the religions of civilized and of savage races is that the ceremonies are abortive in civilized communities and effective in those of the primitive devotees, who more strictly adhere in practice to their ancient rituals.
In both cases, art and religion are used together for the same purpose, and while the process in civilized communities is generally an intellectual exercise resulting in intellectual exaltation at best, and in fatigue more usually, in the so-called savage ceremony, the evocation is aimed at planes of nature that are not intellectual, whether they be higher or lower, and from which results are definitely expected and probably received, though they may be highly undesirable from the point of view of civilized morality.
While the phenomenon of ecstasy is perhaps not altogether unknown to the general public, it is probably correct to say that it is almost invariably regarded as a state of delusion or dream caused by an abnormal condition of the mind.
It would be really much nearer the truth to say that mankind is in general only about five percent awake, and that his normal condition at present is one of semi-sleep or of partial intoxication in which both vision and understanding are clouded and distorted by ignorance and sensuality and that ecstasy is a momentary or partial awakening of the true man to a dim perception of his own inner possibilities and to a conception of bliss that may seem to him too beautiful to be true too pure to be possible.
The attainment of this intense joy is one of the aims of both religion and art, and in both cases the real aim is constantly obscured by the misuse of these high functions for the lower purpose of amusement or sense-gratification, which holds the mind down to the material plane.
Art, therefore, is a revealer of hidden truth, a bridge across the gulf that separates the illusions of earth-life from the realities of the spiritual spheres of consciousness. When it is employed as a means of increasing the pleasure of life on earth, it becomes indeed a deluder, for the earth is but a state of transition or of preparation for real life.
When speaking thus of earth-life as an illusion, it must be clearly understood that by 'earth-life' is meant a life wholly concerned with the pleasures and pursuits of material existence -- that is to say of animalism.
Here one must guard against the error of supposing that animals are degraded creatures because their state of evolution is different from that of man. What is proper to the animals is no longer proper to man, who is endowed with higher possibilities than the animals have yet evolved. For man to be content to live like an animal is retrogression, and therefore his animalism is unnatural to him and disgraceful. Nor are we in a position to say how far the animals may be spiritually illuminated in their unintelligence or the reverse.
It may be that man in evolving mentality and in cultivating his intellect has thereby temporarily obscured the light of the soul and so has brought himself into a state of materialism to which no animal could possibly attain.
It may well be that the mind of man has led him to plunge deeper into the abyss of matter, has caused him to "descend into hell," as said in the old mystery-drama, in order that he may be forced to free himself by his own effort from the delusion of the senses and so rise to true self-knowledge and spiritual self-consciousness.
So when we speak of animalism as a reproach to man, we do not impute degradation to the animals in general. Exception may be made in the case of the anthropoid apes, which in THE SECRET DOCTRINE are said to be the abnormal progeny of man, paying to nature the penalty of man's violation of her laws.
But man's mission is to evolve to higher states than those that he at present can command. For this he is equipped with the higher faculties of the mind which are his to use as he will. He can rise to great heights by its aid, or he can plunge far lower than the beasts in pursuit of gratifications that they dream not of; and in the exercise of his great powers, he can find joy that marks him out as a being distinct from them. They too recognize the difference.
So it is proper for man to aspire, and it is right for him to use the means he has evolved for that purpose. For this his imagination exists, not for his deception, not to blind him to unpleasant facts, but to reveal to him the truth that lies concealed within the illusions of material existence. By this high faculty, he comes to a perception of his own divinity, his god-like ancestry, and his relation to the Great Soul of Humanity. By this, he senses the reality of Universal Brotherhood.
And what if he deludes himself? Even so he learns to know his limitations, which must be understood along with his possibilities. But in fact, delusion does not come as a consequence of true aspiration; for aspiration is itself the turning of the mirror of the mind so that it may reflect the image of the divine. Delusion comes from looking down into the darkness of the magic mirror and seeing therein the lower sphere distorted images.
The mind is a mirror, but it must be controlled, or it will give distorted reflections. So the control of the mind is the first duty of man; on that his evolution must depend. That is the basis of all true morality, which is something more than a social convention adopted as a veil to conceal the ugliness of life.
Morality is self-discipline, which is control of the mind. Without this discipline no true knowledge can be attained, for the mirror in which the truth is reflected will not remain steady of its own accord; it must be controlled by Will: and Will is man's magic, which can accomplish miracles.
Therefore let those who are looking for some light beware of the false beacons that are raised by undisciplined seers of distorted truths. Test all ideals by the touchstone of your own heart; and if your aspiration is sincere, your own mind self-controlled, and your imagination free from vanity and passion, your heart will not deceive you.
To aid man in his evolution, the Teachers of humanity, those elder brothers who belong to an older race long since passed on to other spheres, and who remain with us to keep the link unbroken in the chain of evolution, have given us civilization, with our arts and sciences, our religions and philosophies, all which are means to the same end, the attainment of spiritual enlightenment, which we call Wisdom.
The history of the world is a long record of the efforts of these Teachers, and of the consequent rise of civilization and its subsequent relapse to be again revived by new efforts of the tireless Leaders who watch over man's evolution.
And all these arts, sciences, and religions aim at producing a state of ecstasy, not frenzy nor hysteria, but simply a higher state of consciousness such as is described in "the divine PYMANDER of Hermes Trismegistus."
The knowledge of IT is a divine silence and the rest of all the senses.
In that silence there is something that is more eloquent than speech, more musical than song. It is not instruction. It is direct perception.
The attainment of this state is difficult, and the means by which it may be accomplished are innumerable, as they must be, for humanity is composed of many different elements. And, as all nations do not now speak the same language, so all the individuals in a nation cannot understand or employ the same means of awakening themselves to a higher state.
It is said in the Book of the Golden Precepts that "the Path is one for all; the roads that lead thereto must vary with the pilgrim." So we have multitudinous religions and diverse arts, but the aim of all is to open a way to the Path. This opening of the way is ECSTASY.
When one realizes what these things really do mean, one is almost appalled at the distance from the truth to which we have wandered in our pursuit of false ideals of progress and prosperity. And when a Teacher returns to earth to carry on the work, it must be a hard task to gain a hearing. Such is in fact the experience of every True Teacher. But the work is done somehow, and a new age is started. The Teacher may not be recognized as such, but the new revelation of the old Truth is never quite fruitless.
There have been nations that responded readily to the appeal of art while others rose eagerly to the call of religion, but it would seem as if this were merely a question of temperament.
A nation appears to have an artistic, or a religious, or a scientific temperament, but, at the time of its periodic awakening or renaissance, there seems to come to birth in it a group of old Souls, who may not consciously cooperate in the work of revival, but who undoubtedly do work together, even though separated by circumstances, for the restoration of the old ideals, each in his own department.
Someone or other may attain to fame and the rest may be more or less unknown in their day; but the historian in time discovers them and shows that they were there at the right time doing their share, sowing seed perhaps for a later age to profit by.
Each Master has his own disciples; so it would be natural to find the birth of such a master-soul followed by the appearance of a number of lesser men of genius or of talent, who may not have come into direct contact with their Master in that lifetime, but who worked in the same direction, with more or less success, to raise the ideals of the people. The result was in each case a revival that was not the result of what went immediately before, but rather a cyclic consequence of the eternal ebb and flow that is the condition of all life.
It would seem that Great Souls can only come to birth at certain epochs, just as the flowers can only bloom at certain seasons of the year. But also it is true that flowers may be induced to bloom at other seasons by artificial means; and man can achieve great spiritual progress even in the dark ages of materialism; but then it must be by artificial means.
All civilization is artificial in a sense, and individual men can at all times free themselves from the limitations of their age, to some extent, and rise to a considerable height above the general level of their generation by artificial means. For men are to some extent individuals, not perhaps as much as their vanity may lead them to believe, but more than they generally realize. And each individual may at any moment find the open door through which to pass into the presence of his own soul and so attain self-knowledge.
As men and women, we are the slaves of Time, or perhaps I should say the fools of Time, but as souls, we are free from such limitations, and who shall say at what moment in time we may come to perception of eternal Truth? One thing is certain: we are passing through a time of great changes.
So much has been already destroyed that the work of reconstruction assumes more and more imposing scope as the days of disaster pass into years and as the institutions and traditions of yesterday pass from sight in the needs of the moment. But though all things pass, and all forms change, the principles of civilization remain the same, the arts and sciences, the religions and philosophies.
The forces of destruction are let loose and will do their work, but the forces of reconstruction must be assembled, and the plan of the new building must be understood. It already exists in the Universal Mind; we have to find it and fulfill it. Therefore I have ventured to put forward these thoughts from the teachings of Theosophy, as I have been able to understand them, in their application to the meaning and purpose of Art in the scheme of civilization and considered as a factor in evolution.