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THEOSOPHY WORLD ----------------------------------- October, 1998

An Internet Magazine Dedicated to the Theosophical Philosophy
And its Practical Application in the Modern World

To submit papers or news items, subscribe, or unsubscribe, write
to theos-world@theosophy.com.

(Please note that the materials presented in THEOSOPHY WORLD are 
the intellectual property of their respective authors and may not 
be reposted or otherwise republished without prior permission.)

==================================================================
CONTENTS

"Magical Equilibrium," by Eliphas Levi
"Thoughts on the Masters," by Eldon Tucker
"The Future," by John R. Crocker
"Using Habit Force," by Jake Jaqua
"Rumors and Reality," by Eldon Tucker
"The Messianic Force," by Grace F. Knocke
"Fundamental Beliefs of Buddhism, by H. S. Olcott
"More News From Blavatsky.Net," by Reed Carson
"Book on Mahatma Letters Now Online," by Alan Donant
"Why Does Katherine Tingley Oppose Hypnotism," by A Student
"Masters and Hierarchies," by Sy Ginsburg

==================================================================

> Everybody thinks of changing humanity and nobody thinks of 
> changing himself.

-- Leo Tolstoy

------------------------------------------------------------------
MAGICAL EQUILIBRIUM

by Eliphas Levi

[From TRANSCENDENTAL MAGIC: ITS DOCTRINES AND RITUAL, London,
1896, pages 200-06.]

Equilibrium is the consequence of two forces. If two forces are
absolutely and invariably equal, the equilibrium will be
immobility, and therefore the negation of life. Movement is the
result of an alternate preponderance. The impulsion given to one
of the sides of a balance necessarily determines the motion of
the other. Thus contraries act on one another, throughout all
nature, by correspondence and analogical connection. All life is
composed of an aspiration and a respiration; creation is the
assumption of a shadow to serve as a bound to light, of a void to
serve as space for the plenitude, of a passive fructified
principle to sustain and realize the power of the active
generating principle. All nature is bisexual, and the movement
which produces the appearances of death and life is a continual
generation. God loves the void which he made in order to fill
it; science loves the ignorance which it enlightens; strength
loves the weakness which it supports; good loves the apparent
evil which glorifies it; day is desirous of night, and pursues it
unceasingly round the world; love is at once a thirst and a
plenitude which must diffuse itself. H who gives receives, and
be who receives gives; movement is a continual interchange. To
know the law of this change, to be acquainted with the
alternative or simultaneous proportion of these forces, is to
possess the first principles of the great magical arcanum, which
constitutes true human divinity. Scientifically, we can
appreciate the various manifestations of the universal movement
through electric or magnetic phenomena. Electrical apparatuses
above all materially and positively reveal the affinities and
antipathies of certain substances. The marriage of copper with
zinc, the action of all metals in the galvanic pile, are
perpetual and unmistakable revelations. Let physicists seek and
find out; ever will the kabbalists explain the discoveries of
science!

The human body is subject, like the earth, to a dual law; it
attracts and it radiates; it is magnetized by an androgyne
magnetism, and reacts on the two powers of the soul, the
intellectual and the sensitive, inversely, but in proportion to
the alternating preponderance of the two sexes in their physical
organism. The art of the magnetizer consists wholly in the
knowledge and use of this law. To polarize the action and impart
to the agent a bisexual and alternated force is the method still
unknown and sought vainly for directing the phenomena of
magnetism at will, but tact most experienced and great precision
in the interior movements are required to prevent the confusion
of the signs of magnetic aspiration with those of respiration; we
must also be perfectly acquainted with occult anatomy and the
special temperament of the persons on whom we are operating. Bad
faith and bad will in subjects constitute the gravest hindrance
to the direction of magnetism. Women above all -- who are
essentially and invariably actresses, who take pleasure in
impressing others so that they may impress themselves, and are
themselves the first to be deceived when playing their neurotic
melodramas -- are the true black magic of magnetism. So is it
forever impossible that magnetizers who are uninitiated in the
supreme secrets, and unassisted by the lights of the Kabbalah,
should govern this refractory and fugitive element. To be master
of a woman, we must distract and deceive her skillfully by
allowing her to suppose that it is she who is deceiving us. This
advice, which we offer chiefly to magnetizing physicians, might
also find its place and application in conjugal polity.

Man can produce two breaths at his pleasure, one warm and the
other cold; he can also project either the active or passive
light at will. But he must acquire the consciousness of this
power by habitually dwelling thereon. The same manual gesture
may alternately aspire and respire what we are accustomed to
calling the fluid, and the magnetizer will himself be warned of
the result of his intention by alternative sensation of warmth
and cold in the hand, or in both hands when both are being used,
which sensation the subject should experience at the same time,
but in a contrary sense, that is, with a wholly opposed
alternative.

The pentagram, or sign of the microcosmos, represents, among
other magical mysteries, the double sympathy of the human
extremities with each other and with the circulation of the
astral light in the human body. Thus, when a man is represented
in the star of the pentagram, as may be seen in the "Occult
Philosophy" of Agrippa, it should be observed that the head
corresponds in masculine sympathy with the right foot and in
feminine sympathy with the left foot; that the right hand
corresponds in the same way with the left hand and left foot, and
reciprocally of the other hand. This must be borne in mind when
making magnetic passes, if we seek to govern the whole organism
and bind all members by their proper chains of analogy and
natural sympathy. The same knowledge is necessary for the use of
the pentagram in the conjuration of spirits, and in the evocation
of errant spirits in the astral light, vulgarly called
necromancy, as we shall explain in the fifth chapter of this
Ritual. But it is well to observe here that every action
promotes a reaction, and that in magnetizing others, or
influencing them magically, we establish between them and
ourselves a current of contrary but analogous influence which may
subject us to them instead of subjecting them to us, as happens
frequently enough in those operations which have the sympathy of
love for their object. Hence it is highly essential to be on our
defense while we are attacking, so as not to aspire on the left
while we respire on the right. The magical androgyne depleted in
the frontispiece of the Ritual has SOLVE inscribed upon the right
and COGULA on the left arm, which corresponds to the symbolical
figure of the architects of the second temple, who bore their
sword in one hand and their trowel in the other. While building
they had also to defend their work and disperse their enemies;
nature herself does likewise, destroying and regenerating at the
same time. Now, according to the allegory of Duchentau's Magical
Calendar, man, that is to say, the initiate, is the ape of
nature, who confines him by a chain, but makes him act
unceasingly, imitating the proceedings and works of his divine
mistress and imperishable model.

The alternate use of contrary forces, warmth after cold, mildness
after severity, love after anger, etc., is the secret of
perpetual motion and the permanence of power; coquettes feel this
instinctively, and hence they make their admirers pass from hope
to fear, from joy to despondency. To operate always on the same
side and in the same manner is to overweight one plate of the
balance, and the complete destruction of equilibrium is the
speedy result. Continual caresses beget satiety, disgust, and
antipathy, just as constant coldness and severity in the long run
alienate and discourage affection. An unvarying and ardent fire
in alchemy calcines the first matter, and not seldom explodes the
hermetic vessel; the heat of lime and mineral manure must be
substituted at regular intervals for the heat of flame. And so
also in magic: the works of wrath or severity must be tempered by
those of beneficence and love, and if the will of the operator be
always at the same tension and directed along the same line,
great weariness will ensue, together with a species of moral
impotence.

Thus, the magus should not live altogether in his laboratory,
among his athanor, elixirs, and pantacles. However devouring is
the glance of that Circe who is called occult power, we must know
how to confront her on occasion with the sword of Ulysses, and
how to withdraw our lips for a time from the chalice which she
offers us. A magical operation should always be followed by a
rest of equal length and a distraction analogous but contrary in
its object. To strive continually against nature in order to her
rule and conquest is to risk reason and life. Paracelsus dared
to do so, but even in the warfare itself he employed equilibrated
forces and opposed the intoxication of wine to that of
intelligence. So was Paracelsus a man of inspiration and
miracles; yet his life was exhausted by this devouring activity,
or rather its vestment was rapidly rent and worn out; but men
like Paracelsus can use and abuse fearlessly; they well know that
they can no more die than grow old here below.

Nothing induces us toward joy so effectually as sorrow; nothing
is nearer to sorrow than joy. Hence the uninstructed operator is
astounded by attaining the very opposite of his proposed results,
because he does not know how to cross or alternate his action; he
seeks to bewitch his enemy, and he becomes ill and miserable; he
desires to make himself loved, and he consumes himself for women
who deride him; he endeavors to make gold, and he exhausts all
his resources; his torture is that of Tantalus eternally; ever
does the water flow back when he stoops down to drink. The
ancients in their symbols and magical operations multiplied the
signs of the duad, so that its law of equilibrium might be
remembered. In their evocations they invariably constructed two
altars, and immolated two victims, one white and one black; the
operator, whether male or female, holding a sword in one hand and
a wand in the other, had one foot shod and the other bared. At
the same time, either one or three persons were required for
magical works, because the duad would be immobility or death in
the absence of the equilibrating motor; and when a man and a woman
participated in the ceremony, the operator was either a virgin, a
hermaphrodite, or a child. I shall be asked whether the
eccentricity of these rites is arbitrary, and whether its one end
is the exercise of the will by the mere multiplication of
difficulties in magical work? I answer that in magic there is
nothing arbitrary, because everything is ruled and predetermined
by the one and universal dogma of Hermes, that of analogy in the
three worlds. Each sign corresponds to an idea, and to the
special form of an idea; each act expresses a volition
corresponding to a thought, and formulates the analogies of that
thought and that will. The rites are, therefore, prearranged by
the science itself. The uninstructed person who is not
acquainted with the three powers is subject to their mysterious
fascination; the sage understands those powers, and makes them
the instrument of his will, but when they are accomplished with
exactitude and faith, they are never ineffectual.

All magical instruments must be duplicated; there must be two
swords, two wands, two cups, two chafing-dishes, two pantacles,
and two lamps; two vestments must be worn, one over the other,
and they must be of contrary colors, a rule still followed by
Catholic priests; and either no metal, or two at the least, must
be worn. The crowns of laurel, rue, mugwort, or vervain must, in
like manner, be double; one of them is used in evocations, while
the other is burnt, the crackling which it makes and the curls of
the smoke which it produces being observed like an augury. Nor
is the observance vain, for in the magical work all the
instruments of art are magnetized by the operator; the air is
charged with his perfumes, the fire which he has consecrated is
subject to his will, the forces of nature seem to hear and answer
him; be reads in all forms the modifications and complements of
his thought. He perceives the water agitated, and, as it were,
bubbling of itself, the fire blazing up or extinguishing
suddenly, the leaves of the garlands rustling, the. magical rod
moving spontaneously, and strange, unknown voices passing through
the air. It was in such evocations that Julian beheld the
beloved phantoms of his dethroned gods, and was appalled at their
decrepitude and pallor.

I am aware that Christianity has forever suppressed ceremonial
magic, and that it severely proscribes the evocations and
sacrifices of the old world. It is not, therefore, our intention
to give a new ground for their existence by revealing the antique
mysteries after the lapse of so many centuries. Even in this
very order of phenomena, our experiences have been scholarly
researches and nothing more. We have confirmed facts that we
might appreciate causes, and it has never been our pretension to
restore rites which are forever destroyed. The orthodoxy of
Israel, that religion which is so rational, so divine, and so ill
known, condemns, no less than Christianity, the mysteries of
ceremonial magic. From the standpoint of the tribe of Levi, the
exercise of transcendent magic must be considered as a usurpation
of the priesthood; and the same reason has caused the
proscription of operative magic by every official cultus. To
demonstrate the natural foundation of the marvelous, and to
produce it at will, is to annihilate for the vulgar mind that
conclusive evidence from miracles which is claimed by each
religion as its exclusive property and its final argument. 
Respect for established religions, but room also for science! We
have passed, thank God, the days of inquisitions and pyres;
unhappy men of learning are no longer murdered on the faith of a
few distraught fanatics or hysterical girls. For the rest, let
it be clearly understood that our undertaking is concerned with
studies of the curious, and not with an impossible propaganda. 
Those who may blame us for daring to term ourselves magician have
nothing to fear from the example, it being wholly improbable that
they will ever become sorcerers. 

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THOUGHTS ON THE MASTERS

by Eldon Tucker

[from a March 21, 1995 posting to theos-l@vnet.net.]

There is much speculation about the nature of the Masters, and
even upon their very existence. They fill a certain place on the
evolutionary scale, in advance of the ordinary man, but trailing
behind the highest flowers of humanity, the Buddhas. Who are
they? What are their lives like? How do they relate to us?

Our study of Theosophy provides us with the groundwork from which
we can build up an understanding of them. Thinking about the
Teachings, applying some common sense, and looking deep within,
we can come up with a reasonable understanding of the nature of
the Mahatmas.

When we attempt to study something new to us, we first explain
the unknown by analogy to what we know. When we learn a new
word, we first define it in terms of words that we already know;
as we grow to appreciate the word, it takes on a meaning of its
own, apart from those definitions. In a study of the Masters, we
may consider what they do in terms of activities that we know,
and we may consider how they relate to us in terms of
relationships we find in our lives. These comparisons are
analogies, that are initial aids in our understanding, but are
later left behind.

The Masters are frequently described as authority figures. Why
is this? We are looking outside ourselves for guidance, and are
seekers. We have not yet found that what we are really looking
for is an active, living relationship with our Inner Teacher,
whom is not an external person. The goal of an external Guru is
to awaken that relationship in us, not to act in its stead. We
may mistakenly look to Masters as greater beings to tell us what
to do, or to give us lessons to train ourselves. But our
individual karma, and life itself, is the greatest Teacher. We
can evoke from life lessons and training far in advance of
anything that a mere human, even a Master, could devise!

We may consider a Master to be a PARENT, to watch over and take
care of us. We may consider one a LAW MAKER, as someone making
rules for us to live by. We may consider one a BOSS, as our
direct supervisor in an organization, giving us work assignments
and evaluating our work. All these are analogies, but are
incomplete and still put us in the role of a subordinate, a
junior helper, an underling. Although life on Globe D has an
element of dog-eat-dog mentality, with big animals eating littler
ones, size -- and physical might -- have little to do with the
importance of our roles in live. A flower in a meadow,
blossoming according to schedule, and adding its beauty to the
environment, is as important a contributor to life as a writer of
a grand book, as a Mother that gives her life to protect her
children, or as an Avatara returning to brighten our dark world. 
The highest value is in giving full expression to what is within,
to the beauty in our inner natures, regardless of its apparent
affects in the outer world.

How do we know about the Masters? We have some descriptions of
them in our literature. We have some Teachings about them. And
when we take the core concepts, and GO DEEPER, we can sometimes
learn more that appears on the written page.

We hear that they do not want to tell us what to do. They do not
want followers. They do not want irrefutable public evidence of
their existence.

What work do the Masters do? Well, what work do WE do? They are
more advanced people than us. They are more advanced because
they have spend more time in inner growth than we have; they are
not intrinsically different than us. If we spend a few years
learning to ice skate, we would be more advanced ice skaters than
other people; we would not be better than them, just more
experienced in a particular way because of having spent the time
to learn and grow.

The Masters have certain heightened faculties of consciousness. 
They have a greater ability to know and understand; they have
flowered their manasic principle.

So what do they do? They have as many different things to do and
as much a freedom of choice as we do! We can become dancers, ice
skaters, bums, great writers, hermits, accomplished musicians --
almost a countless number of different things. So can they.

Because of their special development, they are naturally the
carriers of the wisdom of humanity. They carry on the deepest
knowledge, as LEARNED TRADITION. What they study and pass on
cannot be simply put into writing, but has to be trained and
individually instructed. There is a passing on, from generation
to generation, of the precious body of Wisdom given to humanity
in its infancy.

The Masters are not puppets in some rigid world plan. They are
not predestined to do things, to act out certain events according
to prophesy. They are not rigidly locked into some
pseudo-Christian or Tibetan hierarchy of angels or deities,
following out a plan according to some hard-and-fast outline in
some religious text.

The Mahatmas are just people, but able to appreciate and
understand things that we cannot. And perhaps they exist on the
other Globes (Planes) at times, when not living on earth as an
apparently ordinary person.

Some may choose to train Chelas. If they do so, it is because
they have taken it up as their vocation, as what they choose to
do in life. Some may do so, but this is not universal. There is
no rigid organizational hierarchy that we and they must join and
work our way up, progressing from one level to the next.

We may read that they intended the Theosophical Society for
certain purposes. That may be so, but it was what a few of them
planned at that time. As circumstances change, so do plans. 
There is a general work of pulling the west out of materialism. 
The current usefulness of theosophical groups in this work
depends on their current membership, and not upon any claims
regarding being "the true society", having some succession from
HPB, or having the largest membership.

Not all Masters are with Chelas, or acting as Gurus. They do not
work in a business-like hierarchical organization, with everyone
a manager of underlings, and having a boss. In normal
circumstances, they are born on earth as regular men, and
function according to the conditions of Fourth Round human life,
even if they are INTERIORLY Fifth Rounders.

They can suspend their ordinary personalities, stepping aside and
functioning on other Globes, or on earth in a self-made
Mayavi-Rupa; but this is not the normal course of life. They are
still people, and live as such, although many of them may be
seeking embodiment on the other Globes, rather than our Globe D
earth, since the experiences that they need for their hastened
evolution may not be available here.

How do we relate to them? We do not need a Master as a personal
trainer, we do not need one to progress on the Path. They are
self-made, and we also must progress by our own self- devised
efforts.

When we do come into relationship with the Masters, the type of
relationship is as varied and individual as any relationship that
we might have with other people that we may know. There is no
one, special, solitary way of knowing a Mahatma.

We could have a reverence for one as a Teacher to us, living out
the parent-to-young-child relationship. Consider a four-
month-old baby, wide-eyed, looking with unconditional love and
trust at the parent holding him.

But we could also relate to a Mahatma in the apparent role of
enemy, where the Master seems to block what we would do in life,
bringing us continual pain and frustration.

There are many ways to relate to a Mahatma, and the simplest may
be as friend and equal. The Masters are just as human as the
rest of us. A Master has no need to be in a superior role, and
can be simply a kind, helpful person in our lives. 

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THE FUTURE

By John R. Crocker

[based upon a January 5, 1995 posting to theos-l@vnet.net.]
 
I have hesitated saying much of anything about the current
controversies in which virtually all of the strange gloomies
existing in the basement of every Theosophical Society seem to
have been brought to the surface. Perhaps what I've been wanting
to express will be appreciated, perhaps not, but it seems now
worth a shot.
 
I am now 37, and joined the Theosophical Society (out of Wheaton)
when I was around 25. I did not join because of any relatives,
or friends, but simply because I was experiencing access to
worlds of perception that I could find no explanation for, and
had no cognitive configuration within which to give these
perceptions order. I was looking, in short, for people to talk
to and a worldview that at least vaguely could explain my
perceptual reality.

As I joined and participated in many of the discussions, and came
to appreciate the scintillating brilliance of the Objects --
especially the First Object, which to this day I consider to be
one of the most concise, magnificent statements of not only the
personal spiritual path, but of a balm for today's bloody and
selfish society -- my thoughts naturally turned towards the
possibilities of arriving at a formulation of theosophy tuned to
the generation of which I am a part. If the founders, different
as they were, and the Master's (different as THEY were), had
anything in common, it was that they were deeply attuned to the
most current thinking of their age.

These were not abstract mystics -- or rather, they had adjusted
abstract mysticism in such a way as to make it continually and
exceedingly practical. Even further, they were not simply
following in the mainstream thinking of their era, but were aware
at the most cutting edge of the sciences, arts, social movements,
spiritual movements and etc.; and if there was controversy, well
that simply goes with the territory, in the crest of the wave is
always more turmoil than in the peace of the trough.
 
I did go through a phase of reading large quantities of the
writers of the first generation, and understood many of the
controversies, but at the same time kept attempting to understand
a larger point: How would the awe-inspiring intentions embedded
in the Objects look if adjusted to the cutting edge of THESE
TIMES? I meet, in day to day living, many of my age and even much
younger -- who stun me with the spiritual development their lives
have made present.

There are children being born today who are almost magical. Is
this perhaps the first real wave of "sixth sub-race"
incarnations? I talk to teenagers who speak in terms that show an
understanding of emotional complexity that is not achieved by
many 60 year olds I know. I meet truly powerful, loving men and
women who simply have cleared the vast majority of petty
bickering out of their energy fields, they don't deliberate about
it, it just would not even OCCUR to them to engage in it.

I see these people and wish they could appreciate theosophy, wish
that the Theosophical Society could become a place where they
could combine their magnificent traits in mutual service. BUT, I
can rarely talk them into joining or becoming involved. As I
attempted to analyze this, most objections would probably fall
into one of three categories.
 
1. Process.

In this, I would include CURRENT controversies as being highly
relevant topics for discussion. There has been, for as long as
I've been involved, a tight circle of people controlling (at
least the Wheaton) Theosophical Society -- most of them
first/second generation -- who control discourse, control the
national publications, control who is cultivated for leadership
roles, and engage in really ridiculous power struggles between
themselves.

From the point of view of many of the dynamic ones of my
generation ... those who would lead theosophy into a 21st
century formulation ... my concern is with regard to the
politics of control exercised by the theosophical leadership.

Tell me why a thirty year old who had spent ten years very
deliberately, with intense spiritual effort, cleaning large
amounts of that kind of garbage out of their personal
energy-systems -- and reaching the understanding that such a
clearing leads to, that service to the larger world is where
their life lies -- tell me why would they want to join an
organization in which power is held tightly to the chest, in
which the PROCESS of struggling itself seems to belong to a past
era.

As a friend said to me, after dropping out of the Theosophical
Society after the first year:

> I feel like any energy I give the Theosophical Society just
> disappears down a black hole ... that serving the Theosophical
> Society is NOT a way of serving the WORLD.

With increasing numbers of people the commitment to service is no
longer a question, it is core to who they have become -- to these
people the dominant question is which of the many avenues of
service claiming their attention will do the most good.
 
The current leadership certainly has the tools and ability to
control the structure of the Theosophical Society, but if it
continues to control process in the way it has it will become
increasingly irrelevant to the dynamic spiritual entities we wish
(I wish, anyway) to attract.

2. Topics.

The spiritual issues of HPB's time are NOT those of our time. 
The language of our time is not that of HPB's time.

A friend of mine is fond of saying that every generation
incarnates with a bag of rocks and a bag of seeds, and has done
its part if it dumps the rocks and plants the seeds.

In my opinion (again, shared by many in my peer group) one of the
most profound SPIRITUAL projects of this age is the fundamental
re-balancing of the masculine and feminine principles, considered
both metaphysically and in the most down to earth, day to day
socio-economic terms.

The Theosophical Society has not even bothered to update the
wording of its objects. Again, it is not that we still call the
intention of our creation a "Brotherhood" which in these times
SOUNDS like it has both sexist and elitist overtones, or that
arguments go on about it, which the current leadership has won
(saying that if people don't like it they should have its
original intention explained to them) -- it is that it is even
still a topic of argument.

Perhaps the older Theosophists cannot understand why it would be
such a big deal. I simply want to convey to anyone who wants to
listen that I know a good number of truly spiritual women of my
generation. These women are POWERFUL in a way that has not been
seen on this planet for a long, long time. Language MATTERS to
them. Many will not only not join a "Brotherhood", they will
simply laugh at it as an anachronism, and ignore it in favor of
organizations that welcome them and the fullness of their power,
not only with words, but with topics, with language.

This gender topic, by the way, is not the point, only an
illustration. A transformation of the nature of spiritual
education is going on If I could sum up something so large, it
would be to say that for growing numbers of people, education is
not about the impersonal conveying of information, as we now have
a positive Glut of information, but rather has to do with
MODELLING the truths one purports to hold.

The Theosophical Society leadership may not like it, but society
has changed, and to NOT change the wording of our Objects is
perceived as a POSITIVE STATEMENT OF ORIENTATION. That is, the
STATEMENT expressed in the First Object -- a statement that seems
to imply gender equality -- is now being contradicted by the
wording of the Object itself.

We are speaking in terms of equality, but we are MODELLING
something that looks like a Christian fundamentalist
organization. This point applies to many other arguments in the
current Theosophical Society.

I stand between the two extremes of viewing theosophical history. 
I think that for people whom things like the Leadbeater
controversies still contain large emotional charges it is right
and proper, even a spiritual duty, to process and release those
densities. But for every intense conversation about the PAST on
an open forum (such as this list) my personal desire would be to
then see an equally intense conversation about the application of
theosophy to the cutting edge of this world's issues. The group
equivalent of the injunction to "retreat within, advance without"
might be phrased "clean up the past, animate the future".

3. "Just do it". 

This phrase, almost the motto of younger American generations,
contains much that is disturbing. It often connotes a
fundamental lack of any reflection. But, in it is also a
remarkable contribution to planetary spirituality: This
generation lives on Earth, and much of its spirituality is
action-orientated in whole new ways.

Much of today's youth are powerfully attached to the life-side,
and have no use for the endless disputes of the form-side -- a
certificate-granting "Institute of Theosophy" for goodness sake!
Geez, can we squeeze the living spirit of Theosophy into a shell
any tighter than THAT? -- Give youth a structure and they'll
knock it down. Give them a hierarchy and they'll toss it out the
window. Tell them to sit quietly and listen to their elders
deliver long, ponderous discourses on the nuances of a model
whose very language sounds quaint and archaic, and they're
likely, if they stay around at all, to say upsetting and
sometimes obscene things. And these are the SPIRITUAL people.
 
There are growing numbers who don't want to be "educated" about
spiritual entities by those quoting books. They already work
with these beings on a day to day basis. (And I'm not talking
about those who selfishly think "angels" care about their
personal lives.) I'm talking about people developing types of
interior communication and co-working abilities that simply do
not fit within the rigid structures of 19th century formulations
of inner abilities or inner beings).

There are growing numbers to whom thought is irrelevant unless
matched with experience. Growing numbers who are rightly cynical
about organizations that have global visions of peace and harmony
but that in action are tiny, self-involved, functionally closed
(despite words about being "open"), and not turning the vision
into actual achievement in the world. There are, in fact, large
numbers of such organizations all over the place these days.
 
Is the Theosophical Society one of them?
 
Many currently in the Theosophical Society organizations would
say "no!", but, is this an empirical truth? And, if it is not,
then why do so many of the most dynamic young spiritual humans,
people whose fire and passion match HPB's and whose wisdom, in
time, might, why do they not agree?

Well, this has gone on probably too long. I need, however, to
end with some words to wrap this into context:
 
I do not mean this to be an indictment of older Theosophists. 
While I've been critical of the current leadership, I know that
some on this list are connected to it and honor it and agree with
what it does, and I mean no disrespect or invalidation of that
perspective.

It is a definite comfort zone, but it is far from mine, and many
of my generation. I am simply concerned about the
end-of-the-century "wave" now sweeping the planet, a wave of
dissolution, of the freeing up of over-structured forms. And
this is sweeping everything from politics to economics to
academics to cultures, religions, social institutions etc., etc.

I believe there are spiritual reasons for this, but be that as it
may, the past few years seem to indicate that those organizations
that voluntarily loosen their structures and control enough to
allow transformation are surviving, and those that tighten
control, in response to this disturbing current, are being
fractured, cracked, and often destroyed.
 
Not only do I wish this post to be construed as an "attack" on
anyone, I don't even think it is "correct" in any absolute sense
of the word. It is probably partially motivated by intense
frustration, because I have tried over the years to expand
theosophy into my generation, to my closest friends, to my
co-workers in service, and wind up all too often defending the
Theosophical Society against charges that, I must ultimately
admit, are indefensible.
 
I wrestle daily with the decision to even remain connected to the
TS. I've gone for one or two years at a time ignoring it
altogether (as there ARE a lot of dynamic organizations where
service seems to manifest as good in the larger world).

I have tried to articulate not only my own frustration, but that
of many of my generation and the generation younger than myself. 
I may be wrong about a lot of things, and many on this list may
take exception to some of what I've said, but there are two
separate issues.

First, the relative truth of these sentiments.

Second, if they are not true, why would a good number of younger
Americans possibly agree with them? Why would so many of the few
who have even heard of us simply group us into the category of
just another self-involved cult obsessed with our own internal
quibbling, a category now containing literally hundreds, if not
thousands of groups in our current world?

I fully expect to be nailed for much of what I've said. Most of
those I've tried to engage in theosophy don't bother to
articulate why they leave, they just leave. The only real reason
I've bothered is because I still hold in my heart a sense of a
remarkable possibility hidden in this small, quiet society, buried
deep within the First Object, and if unleashed, I still believe
the Theosophical Society could have as profound effect on society
as it did when HPB stomped the terra.

An sociologist once noticed that spiritual organizations seem to
have almost predictable life-cycles. Most are begun by one or
two people of huge magnetism generating the organization. The
followers that outlive them then tend to formalize the
organization.

Then another generation that still personally knew the first then
fights a lot over interpretation and formalizes a "history."

But the organization then reaches a crisis point where MOST die:
The last of those who knew those of the founding impulse die and
the fundamental test is then to see whether the ideas of the
organization are more powerful than the magnetism of the
founders. Either the organizations re-opens its arms to the
world, and begins to adjust the presentation of its ideas to
harmonize with the times, or it remains in "formalization" mode,
thinking and talking of the glory days of the past, the
philosophy of the past, while it quietly dies, though often the
outer structure will remain for some years after the life has
gone out of it.

The Theosophical Society now stands at that crucial juncture. I
feel passionate about this because I am one of the transitional
generation. When I joined many who actually knew the historic
figures like Leadbeater were still alive.

If I belong for my whole life and die as a Theosophist no such
personal link will be left and the Theosophical Society will
still be alive because it transformed into something truly
effective and relevant to the times. I fear at this point I do
not see the alterations in attitude or orientation required to
make that transformation, but I would absolutely love it if
anyone wished to compel me to believe otherwise! 

------------------------------------------------------------------
USING HABIT FORCE

by Jake Jaqua

[Article first appeared in TAT JOURNAL in 1978, reprinted with
author's permission.]

The initial reaction to mention of the word habit is usually
negative. Actually, habit is a neutral phenomenon inherent in
the nature of the world. The habit of everyday life blends
imperceptibly into the habits of natural law and the movements of
electrons and planets. The writer G. de Purucker states that
the so-called laws of nature are actually in the most abstract
sense, habits of great beings of which we are a part. Indeed, if
we were not surrounded with predictable processes, the world
could not exist as we know it and our universe could be nothing
other than uncreate chaos.

Man is a creature of habit in innumerable ways, from the manner
in which he ties his shoes to the more subtle psychological
habits of attitude and interpersonal reaction. Habit is
paradoxical, it both aids us and hinders us. In many ways it
saves us much energy and attention, and can be consciously used
an indefinite amount in this direction. Can you imagine learning
anew each time to drive a car or to use a typewriter? On the
other hand, becoming entrenched in habits and not being
consciously aware and discriminating towards them can tend to put
one to sleep and make a person mechanical and unconscious.

You can use the tendency toward habit to your own advantage by
consciously discriminating what habits you wish to establish in
your daily life and applying energy to do so. This can be a way
to vastly improve efficiency in daily life and also a way to
spiritual becoming. Whatever your occupation may be, you become
more efficient at it when you continually refine and develop
habits that apply. If you wish to become ingenious and
efficient, then apply energy in numerous tasks during the day to
find a better way of performing them. In time, this approach or
attitude will become habitual and you will become ingenious and
efficient.

If you wish to become a discriminate thinker, then search out
habitually the different sides and angles of the issues and
questions you encounter. By constant attempt at this, in time
there will be a change in your character and you will have become
a discriminating thinker, to the degree of energy applied and
strength of habit established.

This is one of the secrets of ascetics and yogis. It might seem
harshly painful to wear a hair shirt and live in a cave (and such
body- punishing asceticism may just be another type of
sensualism,) but once the ascetic has become used to or
accustomed to his situation, it requires very little pain and
energy to maintain himself there. Admittedly, it would require a
great deal of pain and effort to accustom himself initially. The
yogi who can meditate for four or five hours at a sitting could
not do so when he first attempted it. By a great deal of effort
he formulated a habit, or trained himself, so that he is able to
perform the feat now with little effort. The energy and
determination are required primarily in forming the habit, and
not as much in maintaining it. Of course, there is always the
possibility of continually applying energy to increase capacity
and quality in whatever area the habit process is applied.

Although most of our apparent and superficial life can be claimed
to be composed of various habit processes, there seems to be a
separate and observing part of the psyche that can view,
discriminate and give direction to this superficial aspect of our
make-up. The observing part of the psyche can be trained to
objectively view and discriminate what changes need to be made in
one's life and to provide the motivation to make those changes. 
The real "us" is not the habit-machine. 

------------------------------------------------------------------
RUMORS AND REALITY

by Eldon Tucker

[based upon a February 6, 1995 posting to theos-l@vnet.net.]

Depending upon the source of our information, its accuracy
varies. We are faced with the task of separating truth from
fiction in all walks of life. We can hear, and if not careful,
pass on rumors, hearsay, slander, and white- washing. How does
this happen?

With hearsay, we hear and repeat someone else's story as though
it were factual. That story is presented as "common knowledge,"
and has nothing with it to allow its verification. Untrue or
inaccurate depictions of people and groups are passed on, perhaps
with a bit of elaboration, added by a memory that changes over
time.

I read a study a few years ago that was based upon rumors. It
concluded that rumors cannot be denied. A public denial was
perceived by some as additional proof of guilt. The only way
that a rumor could be contained was by giving a twist to it, by
giving it a new meaning or slant that changed what it said. A
story, once circulated, cannot be recalled, but only altered or
reinterpreted. This may be why the public relations agents of
politicians are called "spin doctors," since they work to give a
spin or twist to public opinion favorable to their candidates.

With rumors, there are two kinds. There is the type that is
whispered, passed on in secret, perpetuating underground stories. 
Then there is the type that is given public expression. It is
better to air out the rumors, to let them see the light of day,
to make them subject to challenge and correction. A rumor cannot
be suppressed by never allowing it a public airing. There is no
way to counteract something, even if it be to give it a different
"spin," if it stays in hiding.

Coming back to the subject of truth, of reality, of the validity
of what we think we know, let's consider what "hearsay" is. With
hearsay, we have second-hand information, information that is not
an eye-witness, or first-hand account of something. There is at
least one person between us and the actual experiencer of the
event, one retelling of a story, subject to reinterpretation or
misunderstanding.

The statement "Sally said she heard they hold seances at the
Blacksprings Lodge" would be hearsay, since it appeals to "common
knowledge," but fails to cite a source. The statement "I heard
her tell people at the public lecture to never read HPB" is
first-hand, from the person that experienced hearing the lecture,
and is not hearsay. If another of us repeated that statement,
without giving the name of the person hearing the lecture, our
statement would then become hearsay.

A similar desire for accuracy drives historians to always seek
source documentation, rather than settle for second- hand
accounts, since there is always the danger of misunderstanding or
inaccuracy in the later writers.

With a rumor, the truth of a person or organization can be lost. 
That loss can be for better or worse. Not all stories that arise
are critical. Some stories are uncritical, unreasonably
flattering, and tend to whitewash undesirable aspects of people. 
Compare the nice way that HPB may be depicted at times, as
compared to her actual outlandish personality! Or consider the
failings of other historical characters that we have discussed in
the past.

With our study of Theosophy, we are faced with a similar obstacle
in our search for the Truth. Some writers are "source" in the
sense of being direct agents of the Masters, with their writings
sanctioned, if not actually overseen and subject to correction of
the Masters. (HPB's "The Secret Doctrine," for instance, would
have corrections and additional notes added to it overnight, by
the Mahatmas, while she slept.) Other writers are interpreters or
sought to digest and simplify the deeper materials; they are
secondary-sources, and need to be read with additional care,
subject to comparison and review against the authoritative works.

When we seek the source materials, though, there are two kinds of
source. First is eyewitness statements or accounts of something. 
The authoritative theosophical texts fall in this category. 
Second, but also of considerable importance, is personal
experiences. We need to have direct experiences of the
theosophical thought-current, from a deep study of the
literature, as our own first-hand experience of the Teachings. 
Both approaches allow us to bypass the rumors, half-truths, and
watered-down speculative literature of the world and approach
Wisdom directly. 

------------------------------------------------------------------
THE MESSIANIC FORCE

by Grace F. Knoche

[From THE THEOSOPHICAL FORUM, June 1949, pages 323-331.]

"Neither do men put new wine into old skins, lest the skins be
burst, and the wine is poured out, and the skins will be
destroyed; but men cast new wine into new skins, and both are
preserved together" -- thus did Matthew, publican and scribe,
record his Master's teaching: that the power and strength
(dunamis) of a new Messianic force will not be poured into the
musty 'skins' of formalism, but will seek fresh vessels of
interpretation. (Note the word in Greek is ASKOS, meaning
'skin,' into which wine is poured, and not 'bottle,' as usually
translated.)

Today, after some 2000 years of straining after the preservation
of the wine-skins of Truth, we are beginning to recognize that it
is the wine, and not the vessel, that is the Message; and that
unless the vehicle of interpretation is constantly renewed by
spiritual experience, the force of Truth will burst the vessel,
and both 'wine' and 'skin' be destroyed.

There is no lack of earnestness in contemporary religionists, but
there is indeed a lack of confidence in their ability to solve
what one Presbyterian minister, Dr. Kenneth Miller of the New
York City Mission Society, calls the "unprecedented needs of
today." With not a little insight he questions:

> How else may one explain the many attempts made this year to
> interpret afresh the life and works of the great souls of the
> past such as Thomas a Kempis, Francis de Sales, John Woolman,
> Soren Kierkegaard, as well as Luther, Calvin, Thomas Aquinas?
> Water for the revival of the soul must come from deep wells.
> 
> -- THE SATURDAY REVIEW OF LITERATURE, February 19, 1949

We echo: water for the revival of the soul, and of the spirit,
must come from the wellspring of Truth -- and not suffer taint by
its passage through literalism. But where the wellspring? How
find that pure stream of Truth unpolluted by dogma, creed,
hypocrisy, or priestcraft? Book after book on religious themes
has appeared for generations, and religion today is by no means a
"dead issue" we are assured, with the Bible continuing to be a
"best seller." But organized religion has not yielded the answer
as casual glance at the quality of religious output confirms. A
grave insecurity of the spirit plagues the ministerial world,
whose resources are badly strained to make religion a MUST in
everyday affairs: in education, politics, social conditions,
morals, psychology, as well as in international relations. 
Perhaps never before in recorded history has the search for
religion played so prominent a role in Western psychology. 
Despite the avowed atheism in the modern (often but skin-deep,
because born of contempt for the sham of pretended faith), there
is sensed a deep yearning for religion per se, for the RE-LIGIO
or "leading back" towards spiritual foundations. The World
Council of Churches which met last year at Amsterdam, Holland,
where broad-scaled clergy from all parts of the world frankly
discussed the problems facing them, was dubbed the "greatest
church meeting since the Reformation." Still the problems remain
unsolved, this exchange but serving to emphasize the spiritual
inadequacy of existing religious formulas. The age-old
circumstance rears its ugly head: old skins, cracked and withered
by literalism, cannot retain fresh wine; aged formulas of faith,
crystallized and degraded by priestly observance, cannot produce
the vital solvent. Is there, then, no answer?

For seventy-five years the theosophist has studied and absorbed
the Oriental atmosphere of thinking, leaving in large measure the
Christian Scriptures to follow their well-grooved lines of
procedure. There was ample justification in this, for H. P. 
Blavatsky could no more have poured the wine of her new spiritual
Message into the already dried skins of credal Churchianity, than
could Jesus 2000 years ago have utilized the dying formulas of
thinking of his day. The present upheaval in priestly circles,
however, and the insistent demand by both clergy and layman for A
NEW AND LIVING INTERPRETATION of the Message of Jesus, produces
its call, and theosophists are challenged once again to open
their Bibles and with fresh vision untrammeled by dogma search
out the UNIVERSALISM of the Christ teaching.

In the words of A. L. Conger, students should attempt to:

> ... decode and make intelligible to the Christian adherents in
> the West the true value and meaning of the so-called Christian
> scriptures, and to develop the philosophy in the New Testament in
> the light of Theosophy, which will ultimately draw out an
> exposition of the Western conception of the SELF.

Armed with this incentive, we have opened our Bible, and in the
light of the Greek original stand amazed at the pristine beauty
of the Master's teaching: for within its pages, hidden here, and
in places widely open, is the purity of a great Occult force. 
Rules of training, so simply stated, that their profundity is
lost in miracle, allegory, or symbol.

And yet, even with the Sermon on the Mount, the Lord's Prayer,
and the story of the Great Passion -- may we not better say
Compassion? -- the searching question arises: how is it that the
record of these teachings made so long after the passing of their
Lord could have wielded so powerful an influence on Western
civilization? Who was Jesus? To aver that he was indeed the Son
of God, an incarnation of the Logos, born of the Virgin, one with
the Father, either speaks volumes IF UNDERSTOOD -- or says
nothing at all. To recognize that here a spiritual-divine Force
incarnated for the world's redemption at a balancing point in
racial cycles is to come nearer the truth: one more effort of The
Lodge had been tried.

It is the Messianic force that concerns us, not the intellectual
depth of philosophy, for truth to tell, one ventures to suggest
that had it not been for the BACKING OF THE LODGE AT THIS
PARTICULAR JUNCTION POINT IN RACIAL HISTORY, the entire episode
of the coming of Jesus might well have been lost in the shuffle
of evolution. How remarkable that not a single historian of the
period even notices his existence, much less his dramatic death!
And yet, is it indeed so strange to a theosophist, who
considering present day history will observe that not a single
text book, either of religion or philosophy, ever mentions
Blavatsky, much less Theosophy; and when she is mentioned in
literature it is more often than not as some strange weird
phenomenon, or a charlatan to boot!

What, then, is the theosophical concept of Jesus? For answer we
could hardly do better than quote from ISIS UNVEILED, the first
theosophical work of Blavatsky, published in 1877:

> ... all the civilized portion of the Pagans who knew of Jesus
> honored him as a philosopher, an ADEPT whom they placed on the
> same level with Pythagoras and Apollonius. Whence such a
> veneration on their part for a man, were he simply, as
> represented by the Synoptics, a poor, unknown Jewish carpenter
> from Nazareth? As an incarnated God there is no single record of
> him on this earth capable of withstanding the critical
> examination of science; as one of the greatest reformers, an
> inveterate enemy of every theological dogmatism, a persecutor of
> bigotry, a teacher of one of the most sublime codes of ethics,
> Jesus is one of the grandest and most clearly-defined figures on
> the panorama of human history. His age may, with every day, be
> receding farther and farther back into the gloomy and hazy mists
> of the past; and his theology -- based on human fancy and
> supported by untenable dogmas may, nay, must with every day lose
> more of its unmerited prestige; alone the grand figure of the
> philosopher and moral reformer instead of growing paler will
> become with every century more pronounced and more clearly
> defined. It will reign supreme and universal only on that day
> when the whole of humanity recognizes but one father -- the
> UNKNOWN ONE above -- and one brother -- the whole of mankind
> below.
> 
> -- ISIS UNVEILED, II, 150-1

Before opening our Bibles, however, we should well understand
that the first problem in contacting the Christian mind is the
following: the entire structure of Christian psychology is one
built on "faith." Now faith per se is one of the most beautiful
and cherished qualities of discipleship; but it must be a true
PISTIS -- to use the old Greek and Gnostic term -- a PISTIS or
'faith' born of knowledge, of inner conviction, of absolute trust
in the LAW. When the PISTIS or faith becomes merely a blind
unreasoning following of some one else's say-so, without the
spirit meeting with the mind in knowledge, then the faith becomes
sterile, and at worst a deterrent. No matter how released the
individual Christian adherent may be from the dominance of the
RULE OF FAITH: faith in the blood of Jesus, in the Christ as the
only begotten Son of God; in the Immaculate Conception as such,
in the Crucifixion and Resurrection AS SUCH -- no matter, we
repeat, how emancipated he may be from the overlordship of the
Creed, there is still the psychology of the entire Christian
belief, which is founded on, supported by, and expands today on,
the FAITH IN THE SUPERNATURAL AND UNIQUE APPEARANCE OR
MANIFESTATION of the Christ, as the Son of the Father. For
despite the preponderance of evidence that Jesus, the Christ, was
but one of a "long line of Wise Men," Saviors of the Race, who
come at appointed times, despite the vast array of Teachers, who
have been born of an Immaculate Virgin, who have suffered
Crucifixion, Descent into Hades, Resurrection and Ascension on
the third day, there are still those who cling tenaciously to the
theory propounded by embarrassed Church Fathers in the first and
second centuries of the Christian Era, that the "Devil has his
Christs," and that, as Tertullian and St. Justin explained, "a
long time before there were Christians in existence, the devil
had taken pleasure to have their future mysteries and ceremonies
copied by his worshipers"! The promised Savior -- Jesus the
Christ -- was, in their view, the culmination of the groping of
former periods, the "Desire of all Nations."

But with Church history we have no immediate concern. Those who
are interested in the development of the Church during the first
three centuries are strongly recommended to study F. C. Baur's
CHURCH HISTORY, published in English translation in 1878, the
culmination of years of intensive labor to divest the
supernatural and unique from the elements of Christianity, and
with reverence yet powerful scholarship to interpret all the
phenomena surrounding the appearance of Jesus, the coming of
Christ, as "part of the great historical development." It is
refreshing to realize that always there are pioneers, independent
investigators, who despite the overbearing theological atmosphere
of their surroundings, yet have courage, intuition, and the
tenacity of purpose to search for Truth, and finding it declare
it boldly.

It may seem strange to some today, who ungrounded in Christian
belief, and to whom at best the Christian scriptures are but good
literature, to make so "much ado about nothing." But it must be
remembered that we live in a Christian land, where millions of
earnest men and women are spiritually starving, hungering for
just that sound philosophy which can be found in Christian
thought. However much the concept of Tertullian has become
broadened by time and scholarship, however much we may feel that
the Christian world as a whole has advanced beyond the narrowness
of such a belief, there is still that closed-door attitude of
faith first, inquiry second. We say, faith yes, but
strengthened, illumined by 'inquiry,' the investigative spirit,
for as Plato truly said, "Life for man without inquiry is not
worth living."

A study of the present illumines the past; research into the past
makes clear the present. A glance at the spiritual unrest of
2000 years ago should give courage and a new hope. What happened
then is taking place now. Physically, politically, morally,
educationally, socially, to say nothing of the spiritual turmoil
of the period, the nations surrounding the Mediterranean basin
were in a flux of change, unrest, of spiritual and psychic
ferment. The old forms of the spirit had cracked, yet the
religious yearning was deep, insistent, tempestuous in its demand
for expression. The Greek mysteries had become but orgies of a
degraded type; the old gods and goddesses of Classic mythology
were but a mockery of a once deific communion; the rites of Isis
in Alexandrian Egypt, while retaining much of the splendor of
ancient days, were despoiled of the Spirit. Zoroastrianism had
become a form, a mere shadow of a vanished glory. The Hebrews no
longer produced their Jeremiahs whose integrity and courage
marked the high point of Jewish power; even the heroic defiance
and benevolent rule of the first Maccabees had gone, and the Jews
once again had become a dominated people -- their religion
formalized.

What was the secret of this decadence -- the three once potent
religious streams, Hellenism, Judaism, and Zoroastrianism, now
but empty sepulchers, the living spirit long since fled? Was it
the influx of the new Christian force that shattered and crumbled
the old? Should the decay of Paganism in all its forms be laid at
the door of Christianity? Not at all. Was it not rather that the
turbulence of the time was utilized by Those who watch over the
destinies of nations to sow the new seed in the fresh turned soil
of inquiry? Was it not that the new cycle then aborning had
slowly, but surely, been in seeding for generations, and that
only then at that particular convergence of cycles when the Sun
slipped into the new zodiacal influence, the Piscean, it could
manifest? For suggestive answer we quote from Professor Baur of
the Tubingen School, whose indefatigable researches into
primitive Christian origins have earned him the gratitude of
scholars and thinkers the world over:

> Decay and dissolution ... had completely seized on the old
> religions ... But what had so thoroughly broken up the old
> faiths? They were crumbling into ruins before Christianity came
> to touch them. Some other power must have been at work on them
> which was stronger than they. It is a mistake to think that ages
> of transition, like that immediately preceding the appearance of
> Christianity, are simply times of decay and disintegration, when
> all spiritual and religious life is completely moribund. At such
> a time the old forms in which religion used to move do indeed
> decay. What used to fill them with life and reality departs from
> them, till the hollow forms alone are left. But the very cause
> of this process is, that the SPIRIT, WHOSE RELIGIOUS FEELINGS THE
> FORMS ONCE SERVED TO EXPRESS, HAS EXPANDED AND RISEN BEYOND THEM.
> 
> -- F. C. Baur, CHURCH HISTORY, I, 9-10 (emphasis added)

Some "other power" had indeed been at work. For The Lodge wastes
not its force on dying forms, on departmentalized religious
expression. The once wide-sweeping UNIVERSALISM of the old
philosophies and religions, of Hellenic, Persian and Hebraic
thought -- a universalism of SPIRITUAL concept, not of material
power, had given way to particularism, so that the spirit of
Truth had "expanded and risen beyond them." Professor Baur
continues:

> Where an old system decays we may be sure it is because the new
> truth which is to succeed it is already there; the old would not
> decay if the new had not arrived, be it but in germ, and been
> long laboring to undermine and eat away the existing structure.
> 
> -- CHURCH HISTORY, I, 9-10

We can be assured that the "balance of power" in spiritual things
is maintained: where it retreats in one sphere, the spirit is
sure to pour forth in a new and ready vehicle. Constantly is The
Lodge alerted to the great cyclic turnings of the wheel of
destiny, so that not only do human and divine cycles conjoin, but
the convergence of terrestrial with solar cycles is well
observed. Is it so strange, then, that when the Sun slips from
one sign of the Zodiac to another (in its precessional cycle)
that the forces then released should be utilized for a special
outpouring of Spiritual force; that the solar power magnetically
generated by the transfer of zodiacal emphasis from one mansion
to another should not be accompanied by a SPIRITUAL release
through some 'angelos' or messenger from the Sun? This thought is
not unnatural to the Orient, for every child there is taught at
its mother's knee of the ten 'incarnations' of the Vishnu Avatara
-- nine of which have already appeared, the tenth to come serving
as the prototype in fact of the Christian Messiah still to
appear, the "second coming" of the Lord. Nor is this concept so
foreign to the emancipated West to whom the GITA has become a
companion and guide, for Krishna addresses Arjuna his disciple,
as follows:

> Even though myself unborn, of changeless essence, and the lord of
> all existence, yet in presiding over nature -- which is mine -- I
> am born but through my own MAYA, the mystic power of
> self-ideation, the eternal thought in the eternal mind. I
> PRODUCE MYSELF AMONG CREATURES, O son of Bharata, whenever there
> is a decline of virtue and an insurrection of vice and injustice
> in the world; and thus I INCARNATE FROM AGE TO AGE for the
> preservation of the just, the destruction of the wicked, and the
> establishment of righteousness.
> 						
> -- THE BHAGAVAD-GITA, ch. iv (emphasis added)

But what of the present cycle of tortuous upheaval? The Age of
Pisces is closing, the Aquarian Age is arriving. Is it not
marked by unrest, disintegration and decay, and a thorough
breaking up of old ideologies, so that the world hungers for a
new Messiah, a new revelation, a new dispensation? Strange that
"the Light shineth in darkness, but the darkness comprehendeth it
not" remains as true today as when John first wrote those
immortal words. The light of Theosophy is clear and strong, but
the darkness of credal thinking is still too comfortable for
religionists and the world-at-large to welcome the light of
Truth. Yet this is not remarkable, nor is it unique in history,
whether spiritual or profane. Always the borning time of new
growths is slow, taking centuries perhaps before the fruitage is
seen. The pregnant words of Baur come again to mind, which
though applying to the advent of the Christian Messianic force of
2000 years ago, are equally applicable to the reception of
Theosophy since the coming of H. P. Blavatsky in 1875:

> It may be long before a new kind of spiritual life takes such
> shape as to arrest the notice of the world. But the plastic
> spirit is active all the while, though unobserved; the leaven is
> working deep out of sight, and the unresting vital process cannot
> be stayed, but goes evenly and regularly forward, in its
> successive stages, until it has produced a new creation.
> 
> -- CHURCH HISTORY, I, 10

Slow though the reception of theosophic ideas may appear, we have
no quarrel with the speed of transition. The emancipation of
thought during the last 75 years has been gargantuan, and needs
no defense. The important point is to draw the parallel sharp
and clear between the movement of 2000 years ago which Jesus
initiated, and the Theosophical movement of today. Both
shattered and thundered at hypocrisy, at sham, at the vanity of
selfish prayer. Where Jesus scorned the Scribes and Pharisees of
his day, who represented all that was constricted and formalized
(though be it noted that the Pharisees embraced far more
liberalism in spiritual thinking than the Sadducees, being used
by Christ merely as an example), H. P. Blavatsky scourged and
lashed at the hypocrites and pretenders of her day. Liberalism
in Christian thought in the 19th century was a thing to be
dreaded. Originality of belief some three or four centuries ago
meant burning at the Stake. And as for the Inquisition and the
cruelties it has perpetrated in the "name of religion," one
wonders that there is yet left an atom of strength in the
Christian faith. So great, however, is the force and power
(dunamis) of the original Messianic expression of Jesus, that
even today, with its worn out formalisms, it brings a message of
strength to many in need. It is not enough, however, to satisfy
the present demand for more light, more hope, more sound
philosophy.

Where then is the wine of the spirit belonging to this age, to
this Messianic cycle? In the vehicle established by Those who
sent forth the new 'angelos' or messenger to establish a fresh
vessel of Truth that men might once again feel the freedom of a
universalism of teaching, instead of the narrow particularism of
a crystallized faith. In other words -- in that movement started
by H. P. Blavatsky who was the vehicle of that titanic
Messianic force that was to pour into new vessels of the spirit a
new wine from The Lodge. She might have called it anything --
she called it Theosophy -- a most appropriate term, it being the
secret name among the occultists of the past fifteen or more
centuries, kept alive in crypt and cave through those dark
terrible Ages in Europe when the few, tired of the dregs of
literalism, thirsted and found a draught of true wine. 

------------------------------------------------------------------
FUNDAMENTAL BELIEFS OF BUDDHISM

by H. S. Olcott

[written at Adyar, India, January 8, 1891]

Buddhists are taught to show the same tolerance, forbearance, and
brotherly love to all men, without distinction; and an unswerving
kindness toward the members of the animal kingdom.

The Universe was evolved, not created. It functions according to
law, not according to the caprice of any God.

The truths upon which Buddhism is founded are natural. They
have, we believe, been taught in successive kalpas, or
world-periods, by certain illuminated beings called Buddhas, the
name Buddha meaning "Enlightened."

The fourth Teacher in the present Kalpa was Shakyamuni, or
Gautama-Buddha, who was born in a royal family in India about
2,500 years ago. He is a historical personage and his name was
Siddhartha Gautama.
												
Shakyamuni taught that ignorance produces desire, unsatisfied
desire is the cause of rebirth, and rebirth, the cause of sorrow. 
To get rid of sorrow, therefore, it is necessary to escape
rebirth; to escape rebirth, it is necessary to extinguish desire;
and to extinguish desire, it is necessary to destroy ignorance.

Ignorance fosters the belief that rebirth is a necessary thing. 
When ignorance is destroyed the worthlessness of every such
rebirth, considered as an end in itself, is perceived, as well as
the paramount need of adopting a course of life by which the
necessity for such repeated rebirths can be abolished. Ignorance
also begets the illusive and illogical idea that there is only
one existence for man, and the other illusion that this one life
is followed by states of unchangeable pleasure or torment.

The dispersion of all this ignorance can be attained by the
persevering practice of an all-embracing altruism in conduct,
development of intelligence, wisdom in thought, and destruction
of desire for the lower personal pleasures.

The desire to live being the cause of rebirth, when that is
extinguished rebirths cease and the perfected individual attains
by meditation that highest state of peace called Nirvana.

Shakyamuni taught that ignorance can be dispelled and sorrow
removed by the knowledge of the four Noble Truths, namely: (1)
The miseries of existence; (2) The cause productive of misery,
which is the desire ever renewed of satisfying oneself without
being able ever to secure that end; (3) The destruction of that
desire, or the estranging of oneself from it; (4) The means of
obtaining this destruction of desire. The means which he pointed
out is called the Noble Eightfold Path, viz., Right Belief; Right
Thought; Right Speech; Right Action; Right Means of Livelihood;
Right Exertion; Right Remembrance; Right Meditation.

Right Meditation leads to spiritual enlightenment, or the
development of that Buddha-like faculty which is latent in every
man.

The essence of Buddhism, as summed up by the Tathagatha (Buddha)
himself, is: "To cease from all sin, To get virtue, To purify the
heart."

The universe is subject to a natural causation known as "karma."
The merits and demerits of a being in past existences determine
his condition in the present one. Each man, therefore, has
prepared the causes of the effects which he now experiences.

The obstacles to the attainment of good karma may be removed by
the observance of the following precepts, are embraced in the
moral code of Buddhism, namely: (1) Kill not; (2) Steal not; (3)
Indulge in no forbidden sexual pleasure; (4) Lie not; (5) Take no
intoxicating or stupefying drug or liquor. Five other precepts
which need not be here enumerated should be observed by those who
would attain, more quickly than the average layman, the release
from misery and rebirth.
								
Buddhism discourages superstitious credulity. Gautama-Buddha
taught it to be the duty of a parent to have his child educated
in science and literature. He also taught that no one should
believe what is spoken by any sage, written in any book, or
affirmed by tradition, unless it accords with reason.

------------------------------------------------------------------
MORE NEWS FROM BLAVATSKY.NET

by Reed Carson

[writing for http://www.blavatsky.org .]

1. The first real world event of Blavatsky Net -- an open house
with discussion -- was held on September 26. Twenty people were
present. Judging by how late people stayed and how much they
ate, everyone had a good time -- and learned more about the
internet and Blavatsky Net Foundation.

2. The next event will be a talk/discussion on Saturday December
5. "Doors open" at 4:30pm, talk starts promptly at 5:15, and
will be followed by buffet. (Please RSVP 914-428-8588) The topic
will be some specific area of modern scientific evidence
supporting Theosophy. At this point we are thinking of a close
review of the book "Of pandas and people". (It is available in
BN's bookstore as one of our favorite books.) This book gives
positive reasonable readings to the "intelligent design" theory
for the origin of the species and is so well presented that it
has become acceptable to teach from, in high schools today.

3. Last month we expressed hope to announce at this time a talk
group (list) in Espanol. Happily it is now ready. For
instructions on how to join, quit, and use it, see
www.blavatsky.net/espanol/platicar.htm. (You can always find
this info by clicking on "Spanish" on the home page of BN and
going from there.) This list is unmoderated. Participation in
the list is a benefit of membership in BN. Because it is only
open to members, we expect a tone of decent respect for Blavatsky
to prevail. If a participant violates this standard, he or she
may be removed from the list.

4. The Letters to the Editor page has been replaced with a BBS
(Bulletin Board System). This means that now a visitor to the
site can leave a comment in that section with some typing and
mouse clicking and no intervention required from me. The visitor
gets instant gratification (though they may have to refresh their
browser cache to get it.) It is also now easy to leave comments
on comments. Have a look and you'll see.

5. The Letters to the Editor contains new letters (one of them
mine) as a new kind of topic is introduced.

6. It was revealed that a Korean student had translated the
home study course into Korean as part of the study class that he
is leading. His group was added to the "meetings" page.

7. Two more "pebbles" were added. These are supposed to be
light "confirmations" of Theosophy that fall short of full blown
"proof". One is on a cover-up of the true results of the Michael
Morley experiments and followups. This has been called by one
researcher the "scandal of the century" in physics. I believe
this material is quite significant and in my opinion it will
someday impact on Theosophy. Another pebble deals with an
observatory older than Stonehenge.

8. An item in Weathervane should prove of general interest. 
Over the last 10 years "private" charity has been making progress
as a new institution in the former Soviet Union -- birthplace of
HPB. 

------------------------------------------------------------------
BOOK ON MAHATMA LETTERS NOW ONLINE

by Alan Donant

Another book by Theosophical University Press is now online. 
Initially printed in 1997, this book by Vernon Harrison discusses
the production of THE MAHATMA LETTERS TO A. P. SINNETT. 
Entitled H. P. BLAVATSKY AND THE SPR: AN EXAMINATION OF THE
HODGSON REPORT OF 1885, it's full text is available at:

    http://www.theosociety.org/pasadena/hpb-spr/hpbspr-h.htm 

Dr. Harrison is a leading counterfeit and forgery expert. He
describes the book:

> This book is divided into two parts. Part 1 reprints my earlier
> paper entitled "J'Accuse," published in the Journal of the
> Society for Psychical Research, Vol. 53, No. 803 (April 1986),
> pp. 286-310, plus a few footnotes for clarity's sake. This is,
> in the main, a study of the Hodgson Report itself, supplemented
> by as detailed a study of the Mahatma Letters as time and
> opportunity to visit the British Library permitted. It is
> reproduced here because the Journal of the Society for Psychical
> Research does not circulate widely outside the SPR and some
> libraries.
> 
> Part 2 describes work done after 1986 and records the findings of
> a line-by-line microscopical examination of each and every one of
> the 1,323 color slides in the British Library set. Several pages
> of these documents are reproduced in this book. Hodgson gave no
> illustration whatever of the alleged incriminating
> Blavatsky-Coulomb letters, of which he made much; and the only
> illustrations of the Mahatma Letters given in his Report are
> fragments, mostly isolated characters torn from their context and
> from documents which, for the most part, can neither be
> identified nor accurately dated ...
> 
> My conclusions from this examination are:
> 
> FIRST: The Hodgson Report is not a scientific study. It is more
> like the address of a counsel for the prosecution who is
> interested only in evidence, however dubious, which can be made
> to support his views. Hodgson shows that he was either ignorant
> or contemptuous of the basic principles of English justice -- and
> the rest of the Committee seemed little better. As said, he
> quotes verbal and uncorroborated statements of unnamed witnesses;
> he cites documents which are neither reproduced in his report nor
> identifiable; he advances conjecture as established fact; and he
> makes his handwriting experts change their minds until they give
> him the answers he wants. The possibility that someone other
> than HPB could have written the Mahatma Letters was never
> considered. This list of misdemeanors alone would render the
> Hodgson Report inadmissible in a court of law.
> 
> SECOND: In cases where it has been possible to check Hodgson's
> statements against the direct testimony of the Letters preserved
> in the British Library, his statements are found to be either
> false or of no significance in the context. He makes three
> cardinal statements on which hangs his whole contention that
> Madame Blavatsky wrote the Mahatma Letters herself with intent to
> deceive. These I summarize as follows:
> 
> (i) That there are clear signs of development in the KH
> handwriting, various strong resemblances to Madame Blavatsky's
> ordinary handwriting having been gradually eliminated;
> 
> (ii) That special forms of letters proper to Madame Blavatsky's
> ordinary writing, and not proper to the KH writing, occasionally
> appear in the latter;
> 
> (iii) That there are certain very marked peculiarities of Madame
> Blavatsky's ordinary writing which appear throughout the KH
> writing.
> 
> The first two are demonstrably false; the third could apply to
> many other writers and does not pinpoint HPB as the writer to the
> exclusion of all other possible writers. These downright
> falsities coupled with the procedural errors, make it impossible
> for me to accept as a fair, impartial statement of fact those
> parts of the Hodgson Report that I can verify from primary
> evidence. This being so, I may perhaps be pardoned for regarding
> with suspicion the remainder of the Hodgson Report for which
> supporting firsthand evidence is no longer extant ...
> 
> LAST: I find no evidence of common origin of the KH and M scripts
> and HPB's ordinary, consciously-made handwriting. That is to
> say, I find no evidence that the Mahatma Letters were written by
> Madame Blavatsky in a disguised form of her ordinary writing made
> for fraudulent purposes. What may have come through her hand in
> trance, dislocation, or other forms of altered consciousness is
> another matter; but writing so made cannot be classed as either
> fraud or imposture.
 
The book includes 13 color plates of the Mahatma Letters. 

------------------------------------------------------------------
WHY DOES KATHERINE TINGLEY OPPOSE HYPNOTISM?

By A Student

[From NEW CENTURY PATH, Oct. 28, 1906.]

This subject has been selected by Katherine Tingley as most
appropriate at this time. So many questions are received by her
that it is impossible for her to answer them all individually. 
The opportunity is therefore taken of answering collectively,
answering those related to this special subject.

The reason why Katherine Tingley opposes hypnotism is because it
is a practice fraught with grave danger to the human race. The
Leaders of the Theosophical Society, H. P. Blavatsky, W. Q. 
Judge and now Katherine Tingley, have always opposed such
practices; especially when, as in this case, they come under the
head of what is miscalled "occultism." The more obvious dangers
of hypnotism are well known to all. It is evident that an
unscrupulous person could use it as a means of compelling other
people to do his will and commit murder and other crimes. Now,
as we have at present no just laws adequately to meet such cases,
and no machinery in our civilization for the control of
evil-disposed persons and the prevention of crime, it is evident
that the diffusion of a knowledge of hypnotism is a grave danger
to society; for who is to prevent unscrupulous persons from
availing themselves of it? And it is certainly true that modern
society is very largely made up of such persons, and of those who
without any bad motive are yet ignorant; but even if they were in
the minority it would still be dangerous, so long as they are
allowed to remain uncontrolled as at present. In addition to the
actual criminals, there are large numbers of people not usually
guilty of actual crimes, but yet sufficiently selfish and
unthinking to be altogether unsafe for the use of such a power as
hypnotism.
												
Under these circumstances we may well ask: Is it wise to permit
public exhibitions of hypnotism to be given for everyone to see
and imitate? Would a government be likely to allow public
instruction in the art of making infernal machines to be given,
or a lecture on the art of poisoning? Yet these would not be so
dangerous as an exhibition of hypnotism, for the one injures only
the body, while the other injures also the mind, the will and the
sanity. We repeat that the tolerance of public exhibitions of
hypnotism is a most foolish and culpable neglect of duty on the
part of those who are responsible for the maintenance of public
order and welfare. Besides, it entails a very serious moral
responsibility on those who give and assist at the exhibition;
for, however harmless or even beneficent the operator's own
motives may be, he is responsible in large measure for any harm
that may be done by anybody who uses the knowledge which he so
recklessly displays.

If the knowledge of hypnotism should spread, it is likely to
become a very serious menace to society, and will have to be
taken in hand by the authorities and suppressed. A difficult
task they will have before them -- for what governmental
machinery that we have now will be able to cope with a power so
subtle, so adapted to private and secret abuse? When the
knowledge has once been diffused, the mischief will have been
done and, as Katherine Tingley says, it will be too late to try
to stop it. It is such dangers as these that the Theosophical
Leaders have foreseen. They foresee other dangers arising from
the abuse of human powers, such as have not yet been incurred,
but which may be incurred if the progress of knowledge is not
guided and directed by the teaching of brotherhood and purity of
life. When H. P. Blavatsky first gave her message to the
world, she announced herself as the agent of a movement destined
to save the human race from falling into an abyss on whose brink
it was hovering. The awakening of man's inner faculties was
threatening to take place in the midst of a miasma of selfishness
and spiritual darkness. It was necessary for strenuous efforts
to be made to inculcate a higher standard of morality and a
deeper knowledge of the spiritual nature.

But, granted that public exhibitions of hypnotism are dangerous,
is it safe for ANYBODY to use the power -- say doctors or those
specially licensed by the authorities? Is it safe to use it for
curative purposes, whether for bodily diseases or for mental
infirmities and habits? Can hypnotism be used for the reform of
criminals and the morally weak?

A Theosophist must answer emphatically that UNDER NO
CIRCUMSTANCES WHATEVER is it safe for ANYONE to use hypnotism. 
It matters not how good his intentions may be, how beneficent his
motives. All experience tells us that good motives and
intentions are not sufficient to insure good results. Hell, they
say, is paved with good intentions. A monkey with a razor may
have good intentions, but we would scarcely permit him to try to
carry them out by submitting to be shaved by him. Children often
have good intentions, but we do not usually regard the fact as
sufficient warrant for giving them the run of medicine chests or
tool shops, or a powder magazine or dynamite. And in the matter
of such forces as hypnotism, everybody is a child. For in this
Western civilization, great as has been the progress in many
things, men have absolutely no knowledge of psychology except in
the teachings that Theosophy gives, Except for this knowledge the
mysteries of man's inner nature are utterly dark to the men of
today. Religion has always remained silent on that subject,
giving only dogmas and moral injunctions, and even representing
the desire for knowledge as sinful presumption. Modern science
has either ignored or openly scoffed at such inquiries. The
result has been a state of profound ignorance on the whole
question.

Would we allow a man who was confessedly ignorant of surgery and
who proclaimed himself to be only an experimenter and inquirer,
to cut off our leg or operate on our brain? Would we allow our
children to be dosed with some powerful medicine of the nature of
which there were general ignorance and doubt? Yet these things
are not half so risky as hypnotism. They can injure the body
alone, but hypnotism may paralyze the will and unseat the reason.

There are many, many instances on record to prove that hypnotism,
even when used for beneficent purposes, has turned out
disastrously for operator or subject or both. There are cases
where the operator has succumbed to the bad influences which he
was trying to drive out of his subjects, and has himself become a
moral or physical wreck. There are cases where the nervous
system of the subject has been thrown out of gear, rendering him
a victim of disease or insanity. Operators admit that the
effects of hypnotism are altogether incalculable and uncertain.

Let us consider what happens when a person submits himself to the
treatment of a hypnotist. He first of all voluntarily surrenders
the control of his own body, mind and nervous system -- in itself
a sufficiently rash proceeding, and one likely to render him weak
and susceptible to influences. But to this folly he adds the
inconceivable fatuity of allowing an unknown person to assume
control of the temple he has vacated and seize the reins of
government which he has laid down. If this person is a public
entertainer, whose objects are those usual to public
entertainers, and whose credentials are simply his own assertions
and his paid advertisements in the papers, then the folly of the
subject amounts to positive insanity. What should we think of a
person who would take all his money out of the bank and
deliberately hand it over to the trusteeship of a public
entertainer without security? What should we think if he then
took his house and his wife and children and handed them over
likewise? When we have answered these questions, we can perhaps
answer the further one as to what should be thought of a man who
hands over his body, mind, will, judgment and every last thing
that goes to make up his very self. In old times gamblers have
pledged their clothes, then their person and finally their soul. 
They are ready to do it still.

Every time we surrender control of our faculties we loosen the
power of our will over our mind and organism. This is the great
danger of all such practices. The organism, left without its
guide and protection, becomes liable to all kinds of influences
emanating from the minds of other people; for the unseen thought
atmosphere of civilization is teeming with forces generated by
the passions and thoughts of its denizens. This is the
explanation of cases of obsession and irresponsible action. 
Every time we subject ourselves to any so-called psychic
practice, we make progress on the path that leads to moral and
mental unsoundness. When a subject awakes from the hypnotic
trance, he may feel quite normal. Yet something has been done to
him which cannot now be ever undone. A door has been opened that
cannot be shut. Through that open door may rush influences from
which he has hitherto been mercifully shielded. He can never be
the same again. He has acquired a new susceptibility; an
influence not his own has been allowed to assert itself over his
will. He has been put permanently under the influence of another
mind and, through that, of other minds.

The practice is fraught with equal danger to the operator. He
connects himself up with a lot of people and, any time when he
happens to be weak or negative, the influence may flow back from
them to him, and transfer to him the weaknesses he has been
combating. But morally the burden he assumes is even more
weighty. For he is responsible, under eternal Law, for
everything which any of his subjects may do as a consequence of
his influence. He has assumed the responsibility for their
actions, and in so far as they are irresponsible, he is
responsible.

Hypnotism is only a particular case of what goes on all the time
in everyday life. We all influence each other, consciously and
unconsciously. One person may impress his will on another by
persuasion or by silent thought and make him do things which he
would not otherwise have done. It will always be so until men
have learned enough about their own nature to know the secret of
self-control. As it is, men allow their thoughts, emotions and
impulses to run riot, and suffer themselves to drift about
casually in the vortices of thought and desire. Men know nothing
of the existence of the Higher Self, which is the eternal and
controlling factor in man's nature. Neither religion nor science
teaches anything about that. But under the beneficent light of
Theosophy, we students learn not only that the Higher Self
exists, but how we may invoke its aid and learn to recognize its
will as our own and to live by its light. All sins, weaknesses,
diseases, infirmities and trouble of every kind can be healed by
a reliance on the divinity of our own nature and by working on
lines of least resistance in harmony with Nature's laws physical
and moral. We may sacrifice our personal selfish will to the
dictates of compassion and brotherhood, and this will be the true
Occultism. A person who is self-controlled and relies on the
strength of the good in him needs fear no foreign influences. He
will never surrender his will or ever call in the aid of the
hypnotist. And he will allow his own pure thoughts and
beneficent purposes to act unconsciously on the minds of people
around him, and not try any violent experiments on them.

IS THE PRACTICE OF HYPNOTISM A GOOD WAY OF CURING BAD HABITS? NO,
IT IS NOT. In this case the subject's will is entirely removed
from the scene and the operator assumes the control. The subject
has gained no self-control; in fact his chances of gaining it
have been postponed by the interference of the other man. But
some day he will have to gain control for himself -- if not in
this life, then in a future incarnation. Meanwhile he is reduced
to a mere machine, run by an extraneous power. In training
children, it is not enough to COMPEL them to obey; we must train
them to behave of their own free will. If we COMPEL a person to
do a thing, we are practically doing it ourselves. Therefore the
proper way to cure a person afflicted with an infirmity is to
help him to find and use his own will. This is a matter of
careful training. He should be placed in an institution where
such cases are treated on rational lines. When people come to
see the necessity of Theosophy in daily life, and when Katherine
Tingley is enabled to accomplish some more of her beneficent
purposes, we shall have such institutions, and they will be
conducted according to the light shed by the Theosophical
teachings as to man's nature. People will be shown how to live
healthy lives and how to arouse their own will to overcome their
weaknesses.

A good deal of the influence which the self-styled teachers and
pseudo-Theosophists have is due to the desire for higher
knowledge which the public feels. This desire is natural and
commendable in its essence, but what mistaken directions it
takes! There is more to be learned in one day by a person who has
recognized and devoted himself to the true Wisdom than can be
gained from these so-called sciences in a lifetime. As the
Theosophical Leaders have so often pointed out, there are oceans
of knowledge -- unfathomable, undreamed of -- awaiting him who
shows himself trustworthy. This knowledge is not dependent on
books and teachers of "psychism." For the inner faculties of man,
which are aroused by a purification of the nature, are capable of
gaining knowledge by intuition. The amount of knowledge that can
be gained by the pursuit of psychism is altogether insignificant
and always misleading, and the dangers are great and real. But,
for him who follows the path of true Wisdom, whose password is
purity of life, there is that knowledge which dispels all
illusions and vexations; there is the priceless comfort of a
clean conscience; there is the power to help and serve. 

------------------------------------------------------------------
MASTERS AND HIERARCHIES

by Sy Ginsburg

[based upon a February 28, 1995 posting to theos-l@vnet.net.]

We each have our own story of how we got to the path. Some find
synchronous events drawing them into the process. Whether you
see it as evidence of an intelligence that guided you is not
clear, although you say you have the feeling at times of being
guided by something in the right direction.

For me the synchronicity abound and have changed me over the
years from a cynical business type who would have none of this,
to one who is open to the concept of guiding intelligence that
comes to our aid when we ask for it. If one wants to call this
intelligence Masters does not seem terribly important, except
that they, in hierarchical order, represent a kind of road map. 
We could just as easily call this intelligence: my deva or my ku
or my guardian angel. And studying about them is not the same as
trodding the path, it is more like examining the map. It seems
to be that it is in trodding the path, that we actually encounter
the Masters (or whatever name we choose to call them).

Here is a story of help from "above" not given to a person, but
to a group. In this case the Miami, Florida branch of the
Theosophical Society in America. Those of us who lived through
the past 2 years of experience at the branch are hard pressed not
to acknowledge some kind of help.

The branch had fallen on difficult times over the years,
principally because the location of the meeting hall was in a
Miami neighborhood that, over a 30 year period, had turned into a
slum. Membership had fallen to a low of 28 in the spring of 1993
when the then president, announced her departure from Florida to
California, consequently having to resign the presidency. The
treasury had been depleted over several years as one effort after
another to revive the branch failed, and there was very little
money left with which to run the branch or to finance a move. 
The other 6 officers were dejected and wanted to quit.

But we decided to try once more, agreeing that we would not
reopen the branch at the then location in Miami in the autumn of
1993. We would either move somehow, or pack it in.

No sooner was the decision made to somehow move, than things
began to happen. A friend of the Theosophical Society who was
not a member, located a retail store building in a shopping
center, in Deerfield Beach, a prosperous suburb of Miami. It was
a well lighted location with plenty of parking. He contracted
with the seller to buy the building, putting up a substantial
deposit, and gave our TS branch a 6 month option to buy it from
him. Meanwhile, we could rent it for 6 months, while trying to
sell the old branch building in the Miami slum. This was a great
opportunity, but why did this fellow enter into such a
transaction?

We decided to take a chance. We did not have a really good
business plan because there was no way to know when or if we
could sell the old branch building. We just gambled that somehow
things would work out. So we closed the old branch building,
putting it up for sale, and moved to the new location. We opened
a Quest bookstore, began offering a number of study groups, and
people began to come, and they began to join the T.S. Our
moribund branch began to grow again. Old members were reinspired
and we began to attract new members. (The branch as of now has
110 members and continues to grow.)

Meanwhile the summer of 1993 rolled into autumn, and our six
month option was gradually coming to a close. There had been no
viable offers on our old building. Across the street from it was
a Catholic High School, and we had approached them as possible
buyers, but they seemed uninterested. We were getting very
nervous as our option was running out.

Then, suddenly in November 1993 with barely a month remaining on
our option to buy the new building, the Archdiocese of Miami made
us a viable offer to purchase the old building. When we saw the
Archbishop's signature on the offer to purchase, we just knew
that we were getting help. We closed the transaction to sell the
old building within two weeks of the required closing date to buy
the new building. The cash received from the sale of the old
building was used to close the purchase of the new building. If
this had not happened, if the Roman Catholic Church had not come
along to buy our old building and just in time, I don't know what
would have happened, but the odds were very high that it would
have been the end of the Miami branch that had been founded in
1919.

There are those who will say that what happened to our branch was
the result of just plain hard work or dumb luck. Certainly the
Church got a property for its money, and at a fair price, but
there were no other viable buyers. Why did they buy it just in
time, so that our branch could continue? Some of us close to the
transaction are convinced that we got help, just the help we
needed, and just in time. Some of us would call it a "miracle."
Is this the same kind of "miracle" as the manifesting of tea cups
or the precipitation of writing? It seems to me to be a more
important kind of "miracle".

The real estate deals were made in 1993. So the Catholic church
has owned the old lodge building since then. At least through
1997, the last time I passed by the old building, it was still
sitting empty and unused by the church. So the question remains:
why did the church buy that building and just in time for us to
be able to complete the option for purchase of the new building?
Help from above?

So, to those who seem to have doubts about the reality of the
Masters as a guiding intelligence for us, I suggest that it is
worthwhile pay close attention to the synchronicity in your own
life, and that abound throughout life. Sometimes they are not as
dramatic as a book falling off a shelf and hitting you on the
head. Often, it is someone who comes into our life at just the
right moment and lends us a book. But we have likely made the
first effort. We are open to read that book, or we are looking
for some new avenue of study, or in the case of our TS branch, we
made the effort to finally move it. 

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