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THEOSOPHY WORLD --------------------------------------- May, 1999
An Internet Magazine Dedicated to the Theosophical Philosophy
And its Practical Application in the Modern World
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(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.)
"Creation Myths and Occult Cosmogony," by Joy Mills
"Blavatsky Net Update," by Reed Carson
"The Guru-Chela Relationship," by Katinka Hesselink
"Man After Death," by G. Cardinal Le Gros
"Some Ideas and Thoughts on Devotion, by Dallas TenBroeck
"Why I'm Not Interested," by Perry Spiller
"Two Beloved Attributes," by Rose Winkler, MD
"The Sight of the Radiant Mind," by Eldon B. Tucker
> There is something so inexpressibly comforting in the thought
> that the Masters ARE watching over us, and as your Master has
> said to me that EVERY INDIVIDUAL ACT TO HELP THE CAUSE IS NOTED
> AND RECORDED, so you may feel sure that every effort on your
> part meets with HIS APPROVAL and that you will surely some day
> get your reward.
> -- Letter by C. Wachtmeister to A.P. Sinnett, THE LETTERS OF
> H.P. BLAVATSKY TO A.P. SINNETT, page 296.
CREATION MYTHS AND OCCULT COSMOGONY
by Joy Mills
[Chapter Three in LIVING IN WISDOM: LECTURES ON "THE SECRET
DOCTRINE," copyright 1989, Theosofische Vereniging in
Nederland / Amsterdam. Reprinted with permission. The booklet
was transcribed from a class given at the August 1988 Summer
School of the Dutch Section of the Theosophical Society.]
Not only may we read THE SECRET DOCTRINE to discover universal
principles, those universal principles that govern all existence,
but, I would like to suggest, we can look at THE SECRET DOCTRINE
as the primary myth of our being. By looking at THE SECRET
DOCTRINE as the great cosmological and anthropological myth, we
may bring about a transformation of consciousness. MYTH does not
mean that what is presented is not true, but myth gives us, or is
expressed in, the language of allegory and metaphor -- therefore
it concerns consciousness. As we know, in the esoteric
philosophy consciousness is primary. It is the foundation of all
existence, all appearances.
The entire manifested system is what we call a cosmos. That
means that it is an appearance. The process is said to be from
chaos to cosmos. Now, chaos is not confusion or disorder. We
often speak of a chaotic condition, and we think that is a
disordered condition. The original meaning of CHAOS is that it
is an abyss, a void -- a void which is a plenum. In German the
word CHAOS becomes GAHNEN. This is the Greek word CHAOS as
it came into other European languages; in English it is YAWN.
Now when you yawn, there is a breathing out and all sounds are
possible. When those elements within the mechanism of the human
body are brought to bear on that out-breathing, then sounds
become articulated. That articulation is a formation of the
breath into particularized sound, and so we have words. That
however is always a limitation of the original out-breathing, and
does not ever fully express the totality of the out-breathing.
So we may say that chaos is pre-order. It contains all the
possibilities of ordering. The ordering is a limitation on the
original Breath, and therefore that limitation is called COSMOS.
The word COSMOS in Greek is related to the word "cosmetic." So
when one applies, what most women do, cosmetics, one is covering
the original face, so to speak, and perhaps revealing only
certain features of the original face. And so it is an
appearance that is presented, an appearance which is never the
What we are going to look at are those principles -- or what we
may call "archetypal motives" -- by which the original face
expresses itself in manifestation. And that is the function of
myth, the function that we, through myth, come to an appreciation
of the original unity. It has been said that a myth has four
primary functions. First, the RELIGIOUS function. That is, that
myth evokes awe, a sense of wonder, what is called the "mysterium
tremendum," the tremendous mystery of existence. It also has a
SCIENTIFIC function, because it reads the cosmic image of the
universe. Actually the language of science is our myth today!
Because science is not reality, science is a mode of describing
how reality works. And so, we must not confuse the map with the
territory. We may think that science tells us what reality is,
but we are so accustomed to this language of science that we
mistake the purpose for which science exists. Science is merely
a description of reality or the way reality works; it is not
reality itself. Now a third function of myth is SOCIOLOGICAL.
Myth helps to affirm the order created by man as the natural
order. And so it maintains the social order. It helps us to see
how we should relate to each other. And finally, myth has a
psychological function. And I hope that in suggesting the
primary archetypes, the patterns of creation myths, I will
encourage in you the awakening of this PSYCHOLOGICAL function.
For it shows how the individual can become the "hero." Actually
each one of us is the hero of at least one story. You are the
hero of your own story! You may at times appear the villain in
someone else's story, but in your story you are the hero.
So I suggest that when we consider THE SECRET DOCTRINE as myth,
it makes the presentation less frightening. For one does not
really have to worry about what we may call its "facticity,"
whether it is a fact. Did this happen or did that happen? When
did it occur? Is the report accurate in every detail? For here
one is concerned with ARCHETYPES, with patterns, and with their
images in human consciousness, so we may look at the fact that
myth is a psychic reality, an interior reality, and it enables us
to approach reality itself in an experiential manner. Remember,
it is only one way of viewing reality, and there are other ways,
equally valid. But because I am concerned with the central
intent of THE SECRET DOCTRINE -- which, I repeat, is to transform
consciousness from within, so that the cosmos will more
accurately reflect the ordering principles of chaos -- I am
concerned with how myth may awaken in us that aspect of reality
which will enable us to become cocreators in that process. There
are an increasing number of scientists today which speaks of "a
cocreative universe," in which we play a central role.
Now let us look at some of the great principles in the creation
myths. Creation myths are the deepest and most important of all
mythological statements. You may not realize it, but our myths
reflect what we think of ourselves. They shape our world view.
And while many of the elements found in the creation myths may
seem rather weird and abstract, sometimes even rather alien for
us who are so proud of our rational minds, we can point to
certain archetypal patterns that can be found in those myths. In
suggest that there are twelve such patterns. Perhaps these
correspond to that remarkable number twelve, that every
astrologer will recognize.
First, creation myths always deal with the unknown, a MYSTERY in
the true sense of the word. The word MYSTERY and the word MYTH
come from the same Greek verb. The Greek verb is MUO and that
means "to close eyes, ears, and lips." When these are closed to
any external impact or movement, there is an interior silence.
And it is in that sense too, that the doctrine is unknowable and
secret. That is to say, it is both knowable inwardly, and
unknowable from any external sense. And this unknowability seems
to be fundamental. One of the great questions that science poses
us today is: "When did the universe begin?" And as we know, this
is an unanswerable question, because time was not, so there can
be no "when." Space-time came into existence following what is
called the "big bang." How this occurred is something unknowable.
Hence, almost all creation myths begin with some words like this:
"Once upon a time..." Which could be anytime, no time, and all
time! The great Jewish theologian Martin Buber suggested that the
opening words of Genesis, "In the beginning," should really be
translated as: "For the sake of a beginning." We have to start
somewhere, but it does not really matter where that starting
point is. There is always the unknown.
Now in nearly all creation myths, there is what we can only call
a "mirror principle" at work. There is a repeatability at level
after level. And what happens at the highest level, in universal
Mind, MAHAT, is reflected in all subsequent stages of manifested
existence. This mirror principle we may see in many external
rituals. When one lays the foundation for a house or a building,
one is re-creating the whole world. When a town or a city is
established, we recreate the cosmogonical pattern. A center is
established, which is the navel of the world around which
everything is concentrated. And the town symbolizes a new
cosmos. In have been interested to see some cities which have
been artificially established as capitals of their countries. In
my own country for example, Washington, D.C., in the District of
Columbia, is the capital. It was a created city; it started from
a center where the seat of the government is located, and it
moves in circles with radial lines. In more recent years,
Canberra in Australia was established as the capital city, and
there was a lake, a body of water, which became the center of the
city. And in the center of the lake is a fountain. A very
symbolic structure, that is the constant return of water. It is
a fluid movement, and there was the feeling of a need for that
kind of center. And nearby, around this, are the government
buildings. Some years ago I visited Brasilia, in the nation of
Brazil. And Brasilia is also a "made" city. When I first
visited there, I noticed that there was no center; there were
rectangular blocks, each block contained apartments and stores,
and these were self-contained units. When I visited Brasilia a
few months ago on a tour of South America, I was interested to
see that they have established now a center with a circular body
of water with a fountain. And the government buildings are now
brought together around that water. The need for a center became
apparent. So in every culture, rituals or ceremonies are found
which MIRROR the cosmic order. In every culture there is a New
Year. It may occur at different times of the calendar year, but
it is always a celebration in mirror form of the origin of the
world itself. If you consider the matter, there is not much
difference between December 31 and January 1. There may be the
same kind of weather on both days. You eat the same number of
meals on both days. There really is not a great difference. But
you create a difference! You say, "We do not go to work on
January 1." Sometimes you do not go to work on December 31
either. But there is a sense of a new beginning. When I lived
in India, at Adyar, as the vice-president of the Society, I was
responsible for coordinating the holidays of the various
departments, because every department at our Headquarters is
entitled to fifteen holidays a year. And I was always interested
to see that they all began with a New Year. But the Tamil New
Year is not the same as the Telegu New Year. And neither of
those is the same as the New Year to which I was accustomed! And
so it seemed to me that for several months, we were all
celebrating different New Years. And I had to keep in mind which
department is dosed on which New Year. So, the point is, that
there is always a New Year, reflecting the concept of a new
Closely associated with this mirror-motif, is another kind of
reflection-motif: creation FROM ABOVE DOWNWARDS is matched by
creation FROM BELOW UPWARDS. Sometimes this is seen as a kind of
opposition, but in many creation myths, everything is created in
heaven and then images are projected on earth. One could give a
number of such examples. Among certain North-American Indian
groups, particularly the Navaho and the Hopi Indians, there are
creation myths that say the entire process begins below and in
moving upward, attracts forces from above. If you read the
STANZAS or the SLOKAS of "Antropogenesis," you will note that the
earth attempts to create forms. And a great deal is said about
these forms that the earth attempts to create. There is the
statement that the earth must work itself to a certain limit, as
it were, and then it will attract, as it were, magnetically or by
resonance, living, conscious, creative beings from above, that
there is a certain point against which it must move in order to
attract the greater energies that will bring about what we call
"the human condition." You may recognize that there are times
when you feel you have a problem to be solved and it appears that
you do all in your power to bring about a solution, when suddenly
you can let go, and it is as though the solution comes from
another artisan, can be too hasty. In one of the great Islamic
texts on the creation of Adam, it is said that when Adam was
created he lay around as a lump of clay for eighty years. One of
the leading theories among biologists today concerning the origin
of life on earth is known as the "clay theory." Very interesting,
you can read about this in some contemporary biological works,
that in clay exist all the microorganisms that ultimately produce
living organisms. In any event, according to this Islamic text,
Allah gave this lump of clay human shape, but a soul was still
lacking. So he lay around for another hundred and twenty years!
After which Allah breathed the breath of life into him, but the
breath did not completely fill the form so that when Adam wanted
to stand up, there was not enough breath and he fell down again.
There is a very interesting statement in the Koran: "Man was
created in a hasty manner." And in a text in the sacred books of
the Jews, the Midrash, there is a story that Isaac approached God
on an occasion, and he said:
> Look here [they were on good speaking terms, you see] when you
> created the firmament, you pronounced it good. And when you
> created all the creatures of the field, you said they were good.
> When you created the forests and the trees and the plants, you
> said they were good. But when you created man you did not say
> "this is good." Wherefore, 0 Lord?
And it is recorded that God answered Isaac and said "Because when
I created man, I gave him my laws by which he would perfect
himself." Consequently, we become cocreators.
Now the seventh motif, the seventh archetype of creation, is that
the creative act is a SACRIFICE. It is as though something has
to die for the new to be created. Perhaps this is why
Krishnamurti used to say that meditation is death -- because only
when there is a death can there be a rebirth. In the Chinese
mythology, creation is a kind of murder. And in the Norse
mythology, we have the giant Emer, from whose body the world was
shaped. In THE SECRET DOCTRINE we have the concept of the
Heavenly Man. In Hindu mythology it is Purusha who must be in
some manner divided up; he is cut up as a sacrificial act. Each
part becomes a part of the universe. In certain Jewish
traditions it is said that the first man reached from one end of
the world to the other. We have the myth of Osiris, cut into
fourteen parts which have to be reassembled. In Greek mythology,
Dionysus is fragmented into fourteen parts. In Hindu mythology,
Prajapati is cut into one hundred parts. And in the esoteric
tradition of Christianity, the body and blood of Jesus become the
sacrificial elements of the Mass. And in the Christian Mass we
have the beautiful words "As oft as you partake of these
elements, you do it in remembrance," putting together the members
of that Christ consciousness. So it is a reassembling of that
which has been scattered through the universe.
The eighth of the archetypal patterns has to do with the mood,
thought, or emotion which leads to creation. It may be a DESIRE
that is represented as a kind of sexual union. It is often
spoken of as hunger, as thirst. And so we have the image as it
is present in occult cosmogony. The concept of "tapas," which we
find in the yogic tradition, and of course TAPAS really means "to
brood, to give warmth to an inner seed or being," is a
concentration of energy. We have this in many of the gnostic
texts, as well as in the yogic texts. And perhaps it can even be
seen as similar to the current scientific model of creation.
There is an explosion from within outwards -- the "big bang"
theory. And so that desire creates an intensity of focus.
So in connection with this motif of desire, there is another
archetype of the germ or the EGG. In some of the Upanishads this
is very clearly presented. Creation is a mighty concentration of
thought that hatches the world-egg. And the egg, as we know, is
a tremendous archetypal image that we found in all cultures. In
the Chandogya Upanishad it says: "In the beginning this was
nonexistent. It turned into an egg. The egg broke open." And so
on -- one can read this in many Upanishads. In the Chinese text,
the I CHING, hexagram 61 identifies the egg as the sign for inner
truth. So that there is brooding, self-reflection, a bending
back upon oneself. It is warming through the concentration of
energy, which then bursts into truth. The truthfulness arises
Now closely associated with this archetype of the egg or the germ
is the tenth of our motifs, the motif of SEPARATION. It is a
division in the primal unity. The egg is split open, usually
into two parts with a space in between. Sometimes it becomes a
fourfold division and we see this repeated at many, many levels.
In biology, for example, we have the original union of ovum and
sperm locked in a very close embrace, and then dividing and
dividing again -- the process is known as "mitosis." Now this
leads us to numeric symbolism; this is all part of the tenth of
separation, numeric symbolism. And one has to be very careful in
this matter of division or separation which involves numeric
symbolism. H.P.B. says number is a sacred science important in
the study of occultism. And she adds "It is on the hierarchies
and the correct number of these beings that the mystery of the
whole universe is built." Now this is a very interesting
statement, because there are different ways of counting. The way
with which we are most familiar is the splitting of the original
unit and adding other units, so that if I ask you to count, you
would say "one," and the next person would say "two," and the
next "three." But in the occult cosmogony, it is not addition but
multiplication so that it is not one plus one plus one, but it is
one times one times one times one. The answer is always one, and
so there is a numeric symbolism that proceeds in a different
manner: it is by reconstructing the original unit. You do not
add a number but you recognize that all subsequent separations
are indeed all aspects of the original One. There are indeed
cultures in which it is said, that two is the "two-ness of one,"
three is the "three-ness of one," four is the "four-ness of one."
So we have this wonderful concept, given to us by Sri Krishna in
THE BHAGAVAD GITA: "With one portion of myself I pervade the
universe, but I remain." There is a continuum in which we are
rooted. The One always there, no matter what the division. So
separation is only a "cosmetic" on cosmos.
But at the same time with that opening of the original Unity, the
egg, the images of multiplicity arise, and with that, sequence or
time becomes the mode of knowing. If you have ever had a
profound experience in which consciousness seemed for a moment to
be total, or a genuine mystical experience, you will know that
there was a sense of the "all-at-one-ness" of being. And later
one began to see its parts. And so the eleventh of the
archetypal symbols we can call the motif of CHAINS or
generations. For example, in our theosophical studies we often
list in some kind of order the principles of the human
constitution. We often diagram the field of existence which we
refer to as the "planes." We see a kind of layer-cake formation,
with the original Source as a kind of frosting around the cake,
and we always want to eat the frosting first! So we picture the
planetary chains as, you know, one globe after another. But if
one is very careful in this matter of number, one recognizes that
while there is sequence, that there is the all-at-one-ness that
embraces the total. So numerous myths list lengthy chains of
generations. In the Old Testament we have an endless list of
"begets" -- you know, "Noah begets..." all the way down.
In THE SECRET DOCTRINE, we come upon such terms as "the army of
the voice", H.P.B. speaking of "the host of the Logos," writes:
> The esoteric cosmogony begins with the one, the one manifested,
> not eternal in its presence and being, if eternal in its essence.
> > The number of the numbers and numbered.
And so she says that it is from the number ten or creative
Nature, the Mother, that the whole universe proceeded. Now if
you look for example at the complex nature of protoplasm, or the
complex structure of the DNA-molecule, you know that in both
cases the formula is a very long one. It is an extension of one
primary substance in a number of permutations of the One. It is
the fact that one has moved -- if one can use that term, and it
is a movement -- from a condition of Be-ness to Becoming. And
this is why the entire nature of consciousness must be changed
from awareness of separate things to awareness of process. I
have already mentioned that western thought has been so trained
in the objective thing-ness of the universe that we have missed
what a writer like Fritjof Capra has called "the dance of Shiva."
This is why I suggest that language is always related to our
world view. For example, in the Navaho language -- the Navaho's
are a native American group in the southwestern part of the
States -- there are a vast number of conjugations for the verb
"to go." There are only three conjugations for the verb "to be."
The Navaho never speak of anything without describing its
movement. Isn't that incredible? We speak of things as being,
their position, as static. In the Navaho language, nothing is
static, hence this incredible number of conjugations of the verb
"to go." So we must recognize that this archetype of chains or
generations is a mode of perceiving that there is a kind of veil
cast over the original face of reality. We have become
accustomed to calling that veil MAYA, but MAYA is an energy that
both conceal and reveals Reality. One could pursue this to great
Finally there is a motif, the twelfth one, which is found in many
of the mythological texts and which, I think, cannot be
overlooked. It is the archetype or principle of what I call the
motif of FAILURE. There are abortive attempts at creation. We
have this portrayed in THE SECRET DOCTRINE in "Anthropogenesis."
There were many early attempts to produce man. You may remember
some of them: "the water-men, terrible and bad," "the goat-men"
and "the dog-headed men" and "the men with fishes-bodies." Now
you may laugh at these but they are still present within us. One
of the great stories of initiation -- a tremendous myth -- is
written in the second century of our era by an initiate in the
mysteries of Eleusis and Dionysius, Lucius Apuleius, and his work
is known as "The Transformations of Lucius," otherwise known as
"The Golden Ass." The story, very briefly -- and I will not go
into it fully -- is of Lucius (whose very name means "light") who
sets out to return to his mother's home. That is, he sets out to
regain wisdom, Sophia, his mother. There are many adventures he
meets on the way. If you can read English do read the story, it
is translated by Robert Graves. It is available in a paperback
in the English version. In any event, one of the major
adventures is that he comes to a home of some people where he
stays, in which the woman is named Panphila, which means "all
love," "all embracing." And she is versed in the occult arts, but
she knows how to use them, because she is love or compassion.
But she has a servant-girl, whose name is Psyche -- the
reflection, you see, on a lower level -- who has watched her
mistress and thinks she knows all of these arts. Psyche assures
Lucius that she knows the proper ointment to apply in order to
gain him his goal quickly. However, by accident or through
ignorance, she applies the wrong ointment, and he is instantly
transformed into an ass. He is now a man with an ass's head and
can only say "hee, haw!" Psyche does not know the remedy, and so
poor Lucius is led off to the stables. Not only is there the
failure of Psyche to recognize her own ignorance, but there is
also the failure on the part of Lucius to know that a spiritual
goal cannot be attained without effort. Lucius, now an ass,
undergoes a number of adventures which cannot be recounted here,
and which are not really relevant to our theme, the motif or
archetype of failure. He is told, though, that to regain his
human condition, he must eat of fresh roses, a powerful symbol of
the suffering and sacrifice that must be endured when one has
lost his humanity. We can only add that after many tests and
trials, all very humbling, Lucius does eat of the roses, accepts
the necessary sacrifice, and embraces a higher love which leads
him onto initiation. Its love for Psyche, which led him to
failure, was a love for the lower elements in his being, leading
to his own failure; the higher love is represented in the story
by another girl named Charity, symbol of the caring and
compassion which must characterize the one who would succeed.
Here we have then the twelve great archetypal motifs found in all
creation myths, and which we can see represented in our own
lives. Each one tells us something about ourselves, for the
cosmogonic processes are repeated in the anthropogonic, as we
will see as we proceed in this series.
BLAVATSKY NET UPDATE
by Reed Carson
It is with pleasure that we have -- following the suggestions of
Daniel Caldwell -- added eight more books on Madame Blavatsky to
the bookstore, in addition to the two already there. They are
biographies or reminiscences and collectively bring to life, with
fullsome detail, her life and the events and people surrounding
her. Inevitably, in reading these biographical details, one
comes away with a better appreciation of Theosophy itself.
We might mention that we are pleased to include in that eight,
Daniel's book, THE OCCULT WORLD OF MADAME BLAVATSKY, subtitled
"Reminiscences and Impressions by Those Who Knew Her." This book
gives more than fifty personal reminiscences by her
contemporaries, giving in total, a vivid portrayal of Madame
This month, from three more issues, we have added the "In the
Light of Theosophy" section of the magazine THEOSOPHICAL
MOVEMENT. This section of that magazine follows current
developments in the world and relates them to Theosophy. For
those who haven't noted it, you may like to see this relevant,
high quality work coming out of Bombay. We now have a total of
six back issues online and will presumably be adding them
I think the most significant change at BN during this month is a
change at the bn-study group. It gives me great pleasure to
announce that Peter Merriott has volunteered to assume the
responsibility of "chief moderator" for the talk group. I think
all of us on the talk group are very pleased with the result.
The other two moderators, David Grossman and Dallas TenBroeck,
will be continuing to offer their services as co-moderators.
For personal reasons I absolutely had to ask for another person
to assume this responsibility in order for me to have adequate
time to meet personal responsibilities. For the purposes of the
site, the time required to manage the list had become so
extensive that the Blavatsky Net site had not been able to move
forward. Now I should have a little more chance at work in that
I have greatly appreciated Peter's content and style at all
times. So I think the list is fortunate. I am also pleased at
this turn of events for Blavatsky Net as a whole. Peter adds yet
more manpower to a growing team that appears to be making a
difference in the Theosophical community. (The list is now at
265 participants, up from 210 on March 1.)
Peter's name has now been added to the help desk on the home
page. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. A new address
of email@example.com is also directed to Peter. At all
times please feel free to send thoughts, questions, or
suggestions on the conduct of the course to Peter. He will
Peter, David, and Dallas, are currently reconsidering the course
syllabus to aim for the best possible course. So in particular
if you have any thoughts on the course syllabus, they are extra
appropriate to pass on to Peter at this time.
(For more information on Blavatsky Net, go to
THE GURU-CHELA RELATIONSHIP
by Katinka Hesselink
I write this article, because I think the issue is highly
important. The subject of secrecy should, in my opinion, not be
viewed seperately from the Guru-Chela relationship.
In this article I will share some of the statements by HPB and
Subba Row that I have found and also a statement by someone
initiated in Tibetan Buddhism.
As most of you know, H.P. Blavatsky considered Subba Row to be
equal to herself in insight and knowledge. I have two reasons
for that: 1) the understanding of the Guru-chela relationship has
implications (indirectly of course) for the E.S. and 2) this
subject goes to the heart of the question of authority in
Anyone acquainted even superficially with Krishnamurti knows that
he felt very strongly that there should be no authorities. This
coincides with H.P. Blavatsky's idea's in so far as that she
> It is this pernicious doctrine of ever relying upon extraneous
> help that leads to the collapse -- physical, mental, moral and
> spiritual -- of well-meaning, but weak and unbalanced minds.
> -- BLAVATSKY COLLECTED WRITINGS, X, 96
and again in the same place:
> Neither success nor safety can be found outside self-development.
So, we are told to think for ourselves and check everything we
read against our common sense and intuition. This does not, as
far as I am concerned, deny the fact that there are people in
this world who know more than we do, who are more saintly than we
are. These people can guide us, if they are willing and think us
Why should we ignore the probability of them having capacities
and knowledge that we do not? It is as though a child in
kindergarten would ignore the knowledge of a mathematics
professor, simply because the professor has no way of informing
the child of his science.
To stay with this simile, to be able to learn mathematics to a
high degree, we have to practice first arithmetic, later
elementary mathematics and geometry, and if we would become
mathematicians at a scientific level, we must not only practice,
but ponder, be creative and be highly motivated. Understanding
the theory of mathematics is directly linked to the ability to
practice it. The same is true with occultism. What use is it to
know that the law of karma exists, if we cannot point out its
place in our lives? HPB in her writings repeatedly showed where
she saw the law acting to her disadvantage.
HPB also pointed to a few facts she saw as having originated in
the actions of the T.S. membership at large. She knew to a
large extent how to observe the law of karma in daily life.
The next step is to learn how to work with that law. Once one
tries that, one has to go beyond the superficial facts to causes
of those facts. This also means, every once in a while that a
chela acts contrary to what society expects from them. This also
can be very clearly seen in HPB's life.
Spiritual life is like that, because it has to do not only with
our mental development, but also with our moral development. And
contrary to mathematics, the basics are not taught in every
school. None the less a few of the basics were taught by H.P.
Blavatsky and other teachers. In my opinion Krishnamurti was one
of them. Both emphasized thinking for ourselves and observing.
In many discussions, I've seen people argue that spiritual
experience comes from within and the knowledge attached to it,
does likewise. That is probably true, but that does not, change
the fact that
> ... the office of Guru or guide is to adjust the disciple in his
> progress, and not to drag or push him forward.
> -- BLAVATSKY COLLECTED WRITINGS, XII, 496
In fact, without a mentor we are left being mystics, with
mystical experiences and perhaps a bit more self-knowledge and
therefore wisdom than our neighbours.
Mystical experiences in themselves do not open the door to the
kind of knowledge that helps us to help others more effectively.
And that should be our goal, if we would follow in H.P.
> The secrecy preserved by these sub-lodges, as well as by the one
> and supreme great lodge, has ever been proportionate to the
> activity of religious persecutions; and now, in the face of the
> growing materalism, their very existence is becoming a mystery.
> -- ISIS UNVEILED, II, 307.
This suggests that at least part of the secrecy is not needed in
this century due to lack of religious persecution. On the other
hand, with wars raging in Europe, Afrika and Asia, very often on
religious grounds, perhaps this reason for secrecy is still
relevant. As to growing materialism, this tendency has obviously
> Chelaship has nothing WHATEVER to do with means of subsistence or
> anything of the kind, for a man can isolate his mind entirely
> from his body and its surroundings. Chelaship is a STATE OF
> MIND, rather than a life according to hard and fast rules on the
> physical plane. This applies especially to the earlier
> probationary period ... It should never be forgotten that
> Occultism is concerned with the INNER MAN, who must be
> strengthened and freed from the dominion of the physical body and
> its surroundings, which must become his servants. Hence the
> FIRST and chief necessity of Chelaship is a spirit of absolute
> unselfishness and devotion to Truth; then follow self-knowledge
> and self-mastery. These are all-important; while outward
> observance of fixed rules of life is a matter of secondary
> -- BLAVATSKY COLLECTED WRITINGS, XI, 300-01.
> The powers of Chelas vary with their progress; and every one
> should know that if a chela has any "powers," he is not permitted
> to use them save in rare and exceptional cases, and never may he
> boast of their possession. So it must follow that those who are
> only beginners have no more or greater power than an ordinary
> -- BLAVATSKY COLLECTED WRITINGS, VI, 286
There are various powers that are talked about abundantly in new
age-circles in this century. Clairvoyance, i.e. aura reading
has even its training schools. As is also known, these powers
can be trained. Groups are formed here in the Netherlands at
least, where people help each other to distinguish between their
own projections and their clairvoyant sight. We must keep in
mind that only a moral training involving every aspect of our
life can safegaurd against unconscious misuse of powers. On the
other hand: one who has eyes, has to learn how to see and know
some of the difficulties and limitations that eyes have. It is
often said that chelaship is a speeding up of natural evolution.
About this, Subba Row has the following to say, explaining the
philosophy of Southern India, which is an area known for its
> This philosophy recognizes two paths, both having the same end, a
> glorified immortality. The one is a steady natural path of
> progress through moral effort, and practice of the virtues. A
> natural, coherent and sure growth of the soul is the result, a
> position of firm equilibrium is reached and maintained, which
> cannot be overthrown or shaken by any unexpected assault. It is
> the normal method followed by the vast mass of humanity, and this
> is the course Sankaracharya recommended to all his Sanyasis and
> successors. The other road is the precipitous path of occultism,
> through a series of INITIATIONS. Only a few specially organized
> and peculiar natures are fit for this path.
> Occult progress, growth along this path, is effected by the adept
> directing through the chela various occult forces, which enable
> him to obtain prematurely, so to speak, a knowledge of his
> spiritual nature: and to obtain powers to which he is not morally
> entitled by degree of his progress. Under these circumstances it
> may happen that the chela loses his moral balance, and falls into
> the dugpa path. From this it must not be concluded that the
> Southern Indian School of occultism regards adeptship and
> initiation as a mistake...
> -- ESOTERIC WRITINGS OF T. SUBBA ROW, 112-13, "Occultism in
> Southern India."
This is a very interesting article which throws light on other
interesting issue's as well.
Again it is made clear that though not relevant for most people,
there is a training for chela's and that this training is not
accessible to just anybody. This automatically includes
SECRETS. Subba Row goes on to explain the function of this
school of occultism:
> ... the adept hierarchy ... has a definite and indispensible
> purpose and function in the development of the human race. This
> function is to keep open the upward path, through which descend
> the light and leading without which our race would require to
> make each step by the wearisome, never-ending method of trial and
> failure in every direction, until chance showed the right way.
> In fact the function of the adept hierarchy is to provide
> religious teachers for the stumbling masses of mankind.
To sum it all up, I think there is plenty of evidence that the
fact that we should all grow as independent upon outside
authority as we can, does not at all exclude the fact that there
are teachers and they do keep things secret. These teachers
should perhaps be called guides or mentors, in order to not
suggest to western minds the relationship that a traditional
priest had to his congregation. I conclude that they existe,
though obviously still very hard to find. I close with a
quotation from a book on Tibetan Buddhism. Contrary to what has
been suggested on the list in question the Dalai Lama still keeps
secrets from us and leaves stuff till after initiation. I will
quote from the book ESSENTIAL TIBETAN BUDDHISM by Robert A.F.
Thurman, who is a student of Tibetan Buddhism and the Dalai Lama
is a personal mentor of his. In theosophical wordings we would
probably say that Robert is a chela to the Dalai Lama himself.
Here goes from page 45 about chapter 7 and 8 of his book:
> These materials are usually not for presentation to an
> uninitiated audience. I have nevertheless decided to present
> them in this case, following the green light given by my personal
> mentor, His Holiness the Dalai Lama, who has himself published
> initiation ceremonies, considering it now necessary to present at
> least the general outlines of these sublime visions and yogas in
> order to disarm those who, for various propaganda reasons, have
> misrepresented Tibetan Buddhism as corrupt. I have also left out
> enough detail so that a person who wanted to go beyond reading to
> actual meditation on the "Esoteric Communion" would have to seek
> a teacher, accomplish the prerequisites, and receive initiation
> to do so.
This makes it clear that the Dalai Lama has not given more than a
general outline of the texts in his books. My conclusion from
the above: initiation and the secrets that are kept are as real
now as they have been since the beginning of Kali Yuga.
MAN AFTER DEATH
by G. Cardinal Le Gros
[A paper read at the Fifth International Inter-Theosophical
Convention, held at Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada, June 14-15,
1937, and reprinted in THE THEOSOPHICAL FORUM, November 1937,
Let us begin this subject of Man after Death by remembering that
he is a Divine being, an eternal pilgrim, now journeying Homeward
through the labyrinths of matter, learning in pain and sorrow,
and sometimes in joy, the truth about himself and the universe,
learning to obey the Law of laws, Compassion, realizing that he
must become a coworker with Nature's supreme laws.
I do not think that this can be repeated too often: man is in his
heart of hearts a God, a Divine Being. This is his Rock, against
which nothing in the universe can prevail, because it implies his
own eternal oneness with the Heart of the universe, his oneness
with Harmony, Compassion, and the imperishable Life of all
We may live in suffering and misfortune: -- "the Karmic progeny
of all our former thoughts and deeds" -- but always with us is
the fearless, mighty Inner God, whose Peace we can share. He is
ever-present. In the deepest darkness he abides with us. Even
in death he lives with us. What illusions are the so-called
securities of the world compared to him! The wheel turns, and
they are gone, and we wander, empty-handed; but indestructible
and constant endures this Divinity in our hearts.
By impersonal love and forgiveness Man opens himself to the
beneficent influences streaming from the Cosmic Heart, and thus
steps into, partakes of, the Eternal Peace.
The Masters of Wisdom and Compassion are individuals who have
become more at one with the Inner God than we, who have unfolded
into vital manifestation the powers and faculties latent in us
all. They feel keenly the pulsing of the great Universal Heart.
They gave this wisdom we call Theosophy, a fragment of which will
be considered in this paper.
The seven principles of man are seven aspects, expressions,
reflections, manifestations, of the consciousness-life-substance
which is, in its totality, the Boundless. The man whom we know
at present is but a reflection -- a sorry one -- of his "only
abiding principles," Atman and Buddhi. He is a stream of
consciousness flowing down from above, a radiance, a ray of
Spirit-Mind, incarnated in matter, pulled this way and that by
But here let us pause and think. These seven principles are not
the last word regarding the teaching of man's constitution.
According to the Esoteric Wisdom, there are, besides these seven
principles, three more, belonging to the higher, unmanifested
planes of Nature. And moreover, since the part contains
everything that the whole has, each of these seven principles,
considering man as a sevenfold being, is itself septenary.
But here we will consider man in his sevenfold division because
this is relatively simple, and because it harmonizes with the
septenary manifestations that we observe throughout all Nature.
The seven principles that go to make up the constitution of man
are as follows: the physical body or Sthula-Sharira, the astral,
model-body or Linga-Sharira, the life principle or Prana, the
element of desire or Kama, mind or Manas, the Spiritual Soul or
Buddhi, and Spirit or Atman.
The physical body is a gross, dense form, itself without moral
responsibility as an entity, serving man as a vehicle or garment
on the terrestrial plane.
The astral body is composed of substance more attenuated than the
physical, but still material. It is the pattern for the physical
body, is formed before birth, and acts as a link of communication
between the mind and physical body.
The life principle or Prana is physical vitality, drawn from the
ocean of life for the specialized use of forms, after the
disintegration of which it returns to the ocean of life.
The element of desire or Kama is the fourth principle, aspect, of
the consciousness-life-substance. It is that in us which
desires, moving into action the will. Without some kind of
desire we should stagnate and cease to be. Desire is the driving
power in life. It permeates the universe.
Mind or Manas is the thinking principle, a spark of the universal
Mind, in the beginning unselfconscious, which to obtain
self-consciousness must undergo experience in matter. Manas is
the link between the god and animal in man because it has two
aspects: the first is the Higher Manas, aspiring upward to its
source, which is Buddhi the Spiritual Soul. The second aspect is
the mortal, Lower Manas, a ray from the Higher Manas, "working
through the physical brain and senses." This lower part of Manas,
informing the perishable quaternary: physical body, astral body,
life, and desire, constitutes the terrestrial personality
enduring from birth to death. This personality is the mask of
the Higher Self. This Lower Manas is really a false
consciousness, an entity that goes to pieces, disintegrates,
after the passing of the body, giving up to its source only that
of it which is worthy of survival, its pure, self-conscious,
spiritual essence or aroma: the high dreams of beauty and
harmony, the aspirations lofty and sublime. But if during
incarnation on earth it was gross, materialistic, and a denier of
soul and immortality, it will then have nothing in it to rise,
after death, to the spiritual plane from which it came. In such
a case there will be no Devachan for it, and the Higher Nature
will draw from it nothing at all.
Regarding the majestic themes of Buddhi and Atman, little can be
said. However, in THE BHAGAVAD-GITA we read the following which
> The senses and organs are esteemed great, but the thinking self
> is greater than they. The discriminating principle is greater
> than the thinking self, and that which is greater than the
> discriminating principle is He.
He is Atman, the Supreme Spirit, the Divine Monad or Ego, the
Inner God. The discriminating principle is Buddhi, the Spiritual
Soul or Monad, the Inner Buddha. The thinking self is Manas or
mind, the Reincarnating Ego, the Human Monad or Soul.
At death the physical body is deserted, and the life principle or
Prana returns to the ocean of life from which it came. This
reduces the number of man's principles from seven to five. They
are: Atman, Buddhi, Manas, Kama, and the Linga-Sharira or astral
body. The entity man is now in the region of Kamaloka, or place
of desire, a locality in and about the earth, in a vehicle or
vesture called the Kamarupa, or body of desire. Perhaps here we
should consider what the Kamarupa is. On earth during
incarnation man's desires fill his being; they are not
independent of him; indeed he is their master because he decides
what desires to encourage and follow. But after death and the
abandonment of the physical body, the desires coalesce with the
astral body, forming the Kamarupa, or body of desire.
This Kamarupa is made up of all the lower desires and selfish
impulses that the liberated soul leaves behind, and is therefore
wholly bad, being an evil influence to living persons who
unwisely permit themselves to become mentally negative, thus
making possible the invasion of astral forces. A good man, after
death, leaves behind him a relatively weak Kamarupa which soon
goes to pieces, and becomes no menace to the living. But a bad
man will leave a strong, coherent Kamarupa which will hold
together for a long time and cause untold trouble in the world.
There is a great moral implication here, because the soul is
always responsible for whatever evil its abandoned Kamarupa may
do, even if the soul be in Devachan.
The separation of the heaven-bound soul from the Kamarupa is
called the 'second death,' an event quite painless to the good
man, but a period of great suffering for those who in life
persistently identified themselves with the lower nature.
Devachan is not a place or location like Kamaloka, but a state of
spiritual consciousness. And it is Karma -- spiritual Karma --
which leads the individual soul to Devachan. While on earth in
the body man aspires to noble things, thinks sublime thoughts,
and dreams lofty dreams, few of which can be realized here. But
they have to come to fruition somewhere, because every cause must
produce its effect. And that 'somewhere' is Devachan.
Each man's Devachan is of his own making: it is his own spiritual
creation: an ideal world of happiness and peace wherein the tired
soul takes rest and assimilates the purified aroma of mortal
experience. Devachan is really a dream, but less of a dream than
terrestrial life because it is closer to the Heart of Things.
Devachan is over when the spiritual causes which led the soul
there are exhausted. The soul is brought back to reincarnation
on earth by causes, initiated in past lives, which require
earthly conditions in which to manifest.
At the time of death the soul sees the complete panorama of the
incarnation just ended, and before birth the conditions that will
have to be faced in the coming life are revealed to its inner
To summarize: Devachan is a spiritual state, the efflorescence of
spiritual forces engendered by the individual during incarnation.
If there was in the life of a man much aspiration to the nobler
side of things, hopes for the betterment of the world, efforts in
the direction of the "Good, the True, the Beautiful," then the
Devachan will be long, rich, and full. On the other hand, if he
lived mostly for the material aspects of life, giving little
attention to the Real, his Devachan will be brief and almost
colorless. And in some cases, as mentioned before, there may be
no Devachan at all.
Now it has been said that Atman and Buddhi are the "only abiding
principles" in man; but although abiding, permanent, and
imperishable, they are not changeless in an absolute sense.
Everything is growing, evolving, changing: atoms and stones,
worlds and men, universes and galaxies. The highest pinnacle of
perfection that we can visualize is but one more horizon against
the eternal skies. The farthest range of harmony and perfection
attainable in this our present manvantara will be overreached in
our next manvantara; and so on forever, "sublime ultimate after
sublime ultimate" attained and surpassed, in Boundless Infinity,
which is our Home.
Much has been omitted in this study of Man after Death, and all
that has been said is very fragmentary. We should not permit our
minds to crystallize around any aspect of these teachings because
they are always subject to enlargement, and as we evolve
intellectually, morally, spiritually, we will see and understand
more than we do now. There is an old saying: "Stand ready to
abandon all thou hast learned." And this is good advice to the
Theosophist. Theosophy is the Eternal Truth of man and universe,
but it has no final bourn, no absolute ultimate. How could it?
Everything is growing, advancing, and as we follow the turning
wheel of time, striving to realize more and more of our essential
Divinity, we will come into the possession of greater powers and
faculties, and an ever-widening perception. We will gradually
become more at home in our universe, more familiar with its
sublime mysteries, more serviceable to our fellows.
When we are studying these magnificent teachings and appreciating
them with our intellects, let us not forget, even for an instant,
the Source of them, the Eternal Foundation from which they
spring! Let us not close our hearts for one moment to the
ever-abiding Spirit that moves in the Silence, bringing peace to
our hearts and illumination to our minds. For this is the great
thing: the Spirit behind it all, and the glorious vision that we
see when we hold to this Spirit. The Spirit it is that must stir
and motivate us in our Theosophical life. For Spirit is the
Heart of it all, the Essence, the Light, the Power, and the
Guide. With the Spirit and the Vision within and before us we
will follow the Ancient Path with certain feet. Indeed, there is
no other way we can tread it, for the Path is the Spirit, and the
Goal the Vision!
The aim of evolution is the bringing forth in man of his
essential Divinity; that he may become it, that he may live and
actually be the god that he is in his Inmost. The Messengers of
the Great Ones have all brought one Message, which is: "Man, know
Thyself. Know Thyself for what Thou truly art: A Divine
Splendor, a Deathless God." Be this inner Glory, they have
taught, and all that the boundless universe contains will be
yours because you yourself will have awakened to the sublime
realization that you are the universe, and the universe you! "As
above so below."
The everlasting Divine Life flows through all things, holding all
things in eternal keeping. The Divine Life is the same in one as
it is in another. The selfsame identical Essence that makes us
brothers verily makes us ONE. For the whole human race is one
grand unit, an organism electrified and driven by Compassion
which is, as THE VOICE OF THE SILENCE states: "no attribute" but
the Law of laws, Eternal Harmony. We have only to open our
hearts and minds to this holy verity, and let the Power that
moves behind and within all things stream in, and we shall be
transformed, lifted to heights where we shall breathe the air of
The destiny of the human race is to become a race of gods. It is
a wonderful, glorious picture that rises in the mind when we
think of this: when we gaze on through the centuries at those
grand days when all men will be as brothers, each self-forgetful,
each living and striving for the good of the rest, with
selfishness dead, and pity and compassion filling the heart. I
think that one of the finest things that we can do is to hold
steadfastly in our minds this picture of Tomorrow.
SOME IDEAS AND THOUGHTS ON DEVOTION
by Dallas TenBroeck
In THE BHAGAVAD GITA, Krishna speaks of devotion at the beginning
of the third chapter and of the two schools of philosophy that
consider it. There is, he says, the Sankhya, the contemplative
and speculative School; and, as a contrast, the Yoga School
wherein devotion is performed through action.
Krishna states that no being in the Universe is ever totally
inactive. Wisdom, or right thought, ought to govern and produce
righteous acts. Such a wisdom would include the whole of Nature.
Nature he holds is composed of three cooperative and interactive
qualities, and, to be devoted, one has to understand and then
control these. These three are truth or purity, action or
desire, and indifference or inertia.
The Spirit of Life, Light, and Truth stands at one end, and
matter, or a form animated by the power of desire is at the
other. These two are united centrally by consciousness. This is
also called intelligence or understanding, and has, by way of a
contrast desire and passion. It may be noted that there is in us
a power of perception which is always detached and separate from
either of these extremes. It sees them both as objective to it,
and although they are intimately associated, they can be
In every human there is seen to reside a Perceiver, a Witness.
It, detached, sees these contrasts, and remains as a Spectator,
unmoved by the action of either of them. Devotion is the
employment of right motive, which is based on a knowledge of
Nature's laws and program. The wise individual is never hopeful
of any specific result arising from his unselfish acts.
Therefore devotion is that thought and action which is directed
at providing for the needs of others. It is unselfishness and
benevolence. It is also a knowledge of those laws that apply at
that time and that place and to the specific individuals
Mr. Judge states that the devotee to progress has "to become
devoted." (p. 64, NOTES ON THE BHAGAVAD GITA) In his LETTERS
THAT HAVE HELPED ME we find him writing:
> Devotion and aspiration will ... help to bring about a proper
> attitude of mind, and to raise the student to a higher plane;
> also they secure ... help which is unseen by him, for devotion
> and aspiration put the student into a condition in which aid can
> be given to him, though he may, as yet, be unconscious of it.
> -- WQJ LETTERS, 111, see also page 38 on devotion
This hints at a matter of attention, telling us to consider more
carefully the events around us. In our lives is such aid already
being received? Are others being helped? Are we able to help
In 1888, from Ostende, HPB sent to some of her students in
London, a letter where she indicates that Adept influence and
presence could be noticed by those attentive to unusual
coincidences, and curious, or subtle events in the students' life
Mr. Judge draws our attention to the relationship between
heedlessness and attention in strong words. He says "I call
freedom from heedlessness immortality." This attention can be
developed so that we remain aware and attentive regardless of the
condition of the physical body, whether it is awake, or asleep.
It is a condition of continuous consciousness. (See NOTES ON THE
BHAGAVAD GITA, 77.)
Later on (p.98-100), he uses the phrase "the One Consciousness."
And, quoting from an ancient text, he adds "it pierces up and
down through all the states or planes of Being, and serves to
uphold the memory -- whether complete or incomplete -- of each
Bringing these two ideas together, we find from HPB in THE SECRET
> ... the evolution of Spirit into matter could never have been
> achieved; nor would it have received its first impulse, had not
> the bright Spirits sacrificed their own respective super-ethereal
> essences to animate the man of clay, by endowing each of his
> inner principles with a portion, or rather a reflection of that
> -- SD, II, 273 with additional references I, 210, II, 79-80, 281,
> TRANSACTIONS OF THE BLAVATSKY LODGE, 23-24, and BCW, X
These concepts may also serve as a key to understanding the
> Unveil, O Pushan, the face of the True Sun, now concealed in a
> golden vase, that I may see my whole duty on my way back to the
> Sacred Seat.
> -- WQJ ARTICLES, I. 583
Viewing these, we may perhaps, grasp with greater certainty the
concept of the "god (Atman, the Higher Self) within."
It is but a step, to perceive that every one of our fellows, and
in fact all beings have the same animating ray from the one
spirit at the core of their being. They too, are innately bright
Spirits. Thence, we may further extend our vision, to secure and
exercise clear vision (true clairvoyance). This is shielded from
our use at present by the gross matter of our physical bodies,
and the focus of our waking consciousness being continually and
voluntarily fixed on the separateness of our psycho-physical
It may be for this reason that Mr. Judge indicates that the true
Yogi acts on behalf of his brother when he sees in his mind the
need for actions that are necessary to be done. True
clairvoyance provides for this. The power of the need brings
forth (under the laws of Karma) right assistance.
We are told that the Spirit -- Atman -- needs as vehicle, Buddhi
-- wisdom -- in order to act through Manas -- Higher Mind. HPB
states in THE SECRET DOCTRINE, II, p. 79-80, that some of the
Egos now working through humanity are returning Nirvanees from
earlier Manvantaras. These are exemplars of the higher, the
moral Mind in action, that which lives and works with karma. It
has elected, because of a vow it took to assist all beings, to
live, work and view life's efforts through the agency of the
embodied mind, the Lower Manas. Thus we have before us a key to
the mystery of the two Egos in man. The immortal God, and the
developing god. (See also SD, I, 225, 573-74, II.)
When operating through the psychic nature, this mind faculty is
sometimes referred to as Kama-Manas, when it allows itself to
become involved in the toils of passion and desire. It then
becomes clear that for the perception of any spiritual truth, the
lower Manas needs to thoroughly understand all motives, and be an
In ISIS UNVEILED, I, 92-3, H.P.B. speaks of the PTR or petroma
as such an interpreter -- in the Mysteries -- between the
Hierophant and the aspirant. There she indicates that this
condition prevails everywhere in Nature where the more advanced
serve the lesser as instructors, and assist them in their
developing of their own self-consciousness. [See ISIS, I,
xxxiii, II 92-3, 392.] This self-consciousness may be understood
as the direct relationship in conscious communication between the
purified Lower Mind and the resident HIGHER SELF within.
The Bhakti path of devotion is in the outer world pursued by many
with a heart entirely devoted to righteousness. But some seem to
have elected to do this without much thought. Such a pure inner
urge will eventually lead to the great Goal. But the time can be
shortened if, to right motive, knowledge is added and applied
with diligence. This is the right use of the Mind.
In our way of life, we find that the use of the devotional Path
to the Goal can abridge the time to reach the goal of perfection,
as we add the active mental faculty of purified understanding and
attention to our heart-devotion. Further, should these not be
augmented by discrimination tutored by spiritual intuition? Is
this not one of the reasons why a sincere student may spend some
time daily, in examining his nature, his capacities, the action
of the three qualities within himself; and finally, his own
motives? Would this not be, possibly, an active daily time spent
in communion with his Higher Self? Universal and spiritual ideas,
as Krishna observes, can then be seen springing up spontaneously
from within, when we act to quiet the lower mind and the thousand
chords of desire.
Should this not be considered a further proof of the indivisible,
fundamental and universal SELF within? If we have the capacity to
examine our minds, our hearts, our feelings and desires, then we
are none of those. We are the unmoved Spectator, the Perceiver,
the Examiner, and all the rest are our perceptions and
inclinations. We observe them and can decide to alter and change
them. It is this individual spiritual power, the will, that
enables us to progress.
Certain ceremonies, rites and rules were at one time designed and
instituted to assist those who became aware of the nature and
power of their inner spiritual selves. These were originally
designed to take advantage of the power of the vow, of the
devotional method, which kept the vision of the aspirant focused
on the universal and Supreme Self of all creatures, the Krishna
within his own heart, and the law of the cycles whereby the
impressions of his previous thoughts and actions (karmic
skandhas) returned to him.
Would the results produced not depend on the quality of the
motive? Cyclic energies would seem to play a part in this. And,
this is what organized, and authoritarian sects take advantage
of, as they depend on most of their adherents not inquiring too
closely into the real nature of their own being and inquiring
into the timing of these facts.
If we view the Three Qualities [Sattva, Rajas and Tamas] and
consider them to be each polarized, or dual, then we have the six
vehicles + one Principle, the Atma, giving the seven principles
of Nature. We see that the Real Man -- the One Consciousness --
being the seventh and the synthesis, unites all together (See
GITA NOTES, 98-100).
The physical body is based on the astral body. In that astral
form, circulates the individual Prana, the life principle. And
this, in turn, serves as a basis for the continued residence of
instinct, the Kamic nature, which in Man is transformed by
contact with Manas, into a personal entity, the passions and
We could say that all these are basically aspects of fields of
force, each fulfilling their own function in that aggregate of
the personality which we name the Man, or, our present embodied
reality. And to this Theosophy gives the appellation: the Lower
Self. Looking then at the Individuality, the permanent Man, we
may see that the Manas serves as a base for wisdom: Buddhi. And
Atman, the imperishable ray of, and impartite oneness with the
SPIRIT, presides over all. In reality it is the only principle
-- ATMA, and the rest are its various vehicles.
Over these 7, which constitute the actor in the field of matter,
may we not see brooding the primal Trinity, the One-in-Three
reflection of the ABSOLUTE ONE. The totality is thus 10, the
perfect number of Pythagoras. [The 3 Qualities, are described
and detailed in GITA, Chapters 14 and 18, pp 100-4, 115-118.]
Applying the fact that the Real WE is able to refine every aspect
of the lower nature, we find in the 18th Chapter (p. 129) that
> ... abandoning egotism, arrogance, violence, vanity, desire,
> anger, pride and possession, with calmness ever present, a man is
> fitted to be the Supreme Being.
Should we not understand from these words that Krishna means: a
Mahatma, a purified individuality -- a Great Soul, which, as a
being-unit, is for ever a conscious and responsible active part
of the UNIVERSAL BEING? This implies that there are further
stages of growth and responsibility for all Mahatmas in the
general progressive and infinite scheme of development.
Historically, HPB writes of the period when, from Central Asia
the early Aryans invaded India (about a million years ago), and
those became the pupils of the Raja-Rishis, the Kingly-Sages,
individuals who ruled as wise, and spiritual Kshatriyas. Of
these Janaka was one, and Krishna himself, belonged to this
Our present mind is not the ultimate We. The power of mind and
the real meaning of meditation are to be understood (GITA, 65-6)
and used if we are to rediscover the real root of [our] being.
If we use the mind to meditate, we are other than the mind.
Should we not say that we use as a primary correlation, the will?
We set it in motion and direct it to work with the tools of this
plane of living. This includes the brain-mind which is able to
effect this work for and within its own nature -- that which we
call our personality. This work seems ideally designed, to
assist those tools of our psychic, mental and physical nature in
widening and deepening their intelligence and perception. This
sensitivity leads us to perceive the true nature of brotherhood.
Mr. Judge gives us a wide and complete view of this in the Ocean
of Theosophy, Chapter 8, beginning on p. 60.
Aspiring to improve our understanding, and approaching this from
the point of view of embodied experience, the highest out-post of
which is in our lower Manas (embodied mind), would this not be
what Krishna means by asking Arjuna to invoke the "mysterious
power of meditation" (GITA, Chapter 9, p. 66), which, when first
seen in operation, is often assumed, passively, to be the power
of the Karma of our past? Is it not this that we are to work in
and on, so that we may adjust and purify it ? If we are able to
direct and modify it, then we are on the path to become,
eventually, a Master of Meditation and of Devotion.
This cannot be done without strain and reaction generated by the
habits set up us in the past of this life and of earlier lives:
> ... for the whole load of ancient sin rushes to the front and
> the events succeed each other rapidly; the strain is terrific,
> and the whole life fabric groans and rocks.
> -- LETTERS THAT HAVE HELPED ME, p. 21
This situation is that which enables us to clear up the old karma
of unfinished business. It is natural that in our embodied mind
consciousness we find we become fearful, and may seek to avoid
the trials and changes needed. But if these are not met and
mastered, it is only natural to anticipate that they may return
later in a more terrible form. We cannot escape our choices and
the effects we started. But we can balance and adjust them.
Most of this past Karma cannot be adjusted in one life, so there
is a hold-over to the next, when the bodily apparatus is reformed
in which much of that which has been lying in wait can be
balanced. This involves for us, the need to develop and exercise
patience, calmness and a willingness to accept all that comes
with a minimum of strain or anxiety -- these are ideas Mr. Judge
develops in many places in Letters That Have Helped Me.
To withstand this assault (which comes in the form of a battle
from, and in, his own lower nature), Krishna advises Arjuna to
practice dispassion, non-attachment, and never to be anxious, or
hope for a reward. As we progress, have we not noticed that we
have been helped by old companionships, and we often assist one
another, or find ourselves assisted with ideas and views,
sometimes in mysterious ways that evoke an increased appreciation
of their worth ?
If abnegation (a surrender of self-interest) is difficult to
understand, some thought and meditation on these concepts may
make it easier. It is the embodied mind, us, as kama-manasic
natures, that have by reasoning to assure ourselves of our
continuity and base in immortality. We, alone, can immortalize
our selves through altruism.
The next concept to grasp and hold is brotherhood. Every being
in the universe around us, supports us -- our food, the air and
water, the earth, our friends and the whole environment is part
of this support, which, often unrecognized, is taken for granted,
and whether we live lives of value, or the reverse.
Life and living are evidence of the cooperative nature of all
Nature and Life. No one can be an island unto himself, since
without this cooperation we could not exist in a body. Is this
realization not part of our life's meditation ? This is universal
brother-hood in action. This is the universal significance of
It is putting into practice in our personal lives the motto of
the Theosophical Movement: There is no religion higher than
WHY I'M NOT INTERESTED
by Perry Spiller
When I'm asked if I'm interested in online Theosophy, I find it
to be a kind offer, but have to answer, "Thanks, but no thanks."
I used to be a Theosophical Society member, in Napier, New
Zealand. I still live nearby, but have long since lapsed my
membership, but not my interest. I even had John Coats at home
for dinner with us, when he was T.S. president on a New Zealand
tour. Then we later met up with his widow, Betsan (from
Australia at that time) when we were on the soil reminerisation
At the risk of being overly forthright, I generally found
Theosophy -- and theosophists -- too theosophically-minded to be
of any earthly value. Well, more-or-less so. And mostly so.
However, I did learn a lot from them before moving on.
My personal spiritual development finds little that's edifying in
abstract and sometimes abstruse concepts. I have an urgent need
for wisdom that deals with (and helps me deal with) the
I consider myself an exoteric heretic, a student of mystical and
esoteric Christianity and spirituality, a bit of a pantheist, and
sorely tired by the burden this all imposes on what I do today
Among the changes wrought by this quest of mine, I became a
vegetarian about 30 years ago, then an organic farmer (practical
husbandry and stewardship) and I've been at it ever since.
More recently, after 15-20 years absence from academic pursuits,
I'm gradually picking up on it again. But still with a very
contemporary and boringly practical emphasis.
I looked through the posts and decided it was not for me, yet. A
friend sent me your way. I do appreciate being welcome by online
Theosophy, but it's just not for me.
TWO BELOVED ATTRIBUTES
by Rose Winker, MD
[From THE THEOSOPHICAL FORUM, April 1936, pages 306-9.]
> The condition which high friendship demands is the ability to do
> without it. To be capable of that high office requires great and
> sublime parts. There must be very two, before there can be very
> -- Emerson, on "Friendship"
One cannot study Emerson's ESSAYS without becoming deeply
impressed with the fact that two very essential attributes of his
character were his profound conception of friendship and his
lofty ideal of what the noblest expression of love should be. To
him, evidently, they were spiritual, transmuting powers insulated
against the revival of past weaknesses which, in the arduous
labor of overcoming personality, had passed through
fire-cleansing experiences. Having become alchemically purified,
the truest and most sacred in the heart-life could venture to
bare itself to them in faith, and absolute confidence.
How I have pondered over the following words: "the condition
which high friendship demands is the ability to do without it."
Is it not so, for truly, personal desire once transmuted into
impersonal love, that noble attribute beneath which still lurk
disparities, desires nothing for itself, but relatively
contributes the stalwart ability to do without it. Verily, each
must find himself before he can find the other! But longing to
unfold this thought to a more satisfactory conclusion, I looked
to Mother Nature to help and inspire me, as she did in my earlier
years. Then, enwrapped in the gentle folds of her soothing
harmony she would clarify my understanding, and thenceforth I
never was quite able to deny myself her ready and unfailing
response. Notwithstanding this, she and I appeared to be 'very
two,' and yet, how was it when she and I at heart were 'very
Seating myself in one of her lovely sanctuaries, templed by the
filtered shade of gleaming leafy boughs, the clear cool
atmosphere reflected a rare mystical azure, a harmonious blend of
the distant manasic-blue mountains, the smiling blue sky and the
marine-blue auric veil floating over the sea, which seemed to
palpitate with some consecrated message. The perfume-laden
breeze, like honeyed sweetness, diffused the fragrance of
aromatic herbs distilled in Nature's laboratory, linking her
impersonal consciousness to mine for holier communion.
Thereafter, portals opened into shining chambers beyond, and the
glory glimmering in each human heart, reacting to a spark of the
awakening spirit, burst into lovely flame. It was thus I learned
that the higher never acts directly on the lower; it requires an
intermediate transmitting agent to intervene everywhere, and the
eye of the lower, as the spiritual soul or Buddhi-Manas does
through the visualizing power of Manas, the Higher Ego or
All our Leaders have taught that there is a mystic alliance
between man and Nature, that man is a child of the universe, that
the forces and powers that comprise the one are inseparable and
identical with those that comprise and construct the other.
Although we must learn to walk alone, the solitude imposing
itself for further self-acquaintance is but a temporary necessity
to spiritual growth. Again I learned, that although man and
Nature appeared to be 'very two,' they were, indeed, 'very one.'
When we realize that man in his dual nature is mortal and
immortal, an animal man and a god-man within his corporeal body,
we further learn that androgynous man in the Third Root-Race
separated into sexes, one positive and the other negative. Each,
like spirit and matter, knew itself not, both being the opposite
aspects of Reality, and through incalculable ages each evolved
the dual aspects of itself -- the spiritual and the corporeal.
Truly, in the spiritual sense, true friendship and impersonal
love, ever expanding in the consciousness of oneness with the
Universe, under the fire of heroic experiences, blossom forth to
glorify true manhood and womanhood by their perennial beauty,
strength, and lofty aspirations. In their higher unfoldment,
each guards the other as his counterpart, and like progressive
spiritual entities, gains the ability to do without the other,
and in acquiring and recognizing these majestic attributes in the
other, the rarified virtues forge a closer bond and each blends
more intimately and becomes at one with the other. These two
beloved attributes, like towering, glistening, snowy peaks, rise
majestically heavenward out of the deep bosom of divine
Compassion, and in their compelling mysterious power they pulsate
rhythmically and elevate the ideals in the core of the inner god
and in every human heart.
Their beauty, strength, and nobility, inspire and shield, and
ever stimulated by loftier ideals, these expanding attributes
soar onward with extending gold-tipped wings, flashing ever more
brilliantly in the dazzling rays of the divine Monad or Higher
Self. The happiest mortals are they who no longer crave the
gratification of the desires and senses, for the unerring law
brings evidence that true friends are self-elected. Besides,
these loved qualities have a lustrous power to disperse the
shadows of life and metamorphose the lower traits into the
higher. Thus by irradiating their magnanimity to exalt the eager
soul, it follows the magnetic channel and finds the way to open
the portals to the Vision Sublime -- at-one-ment with the All.
Therefore, all personal desires, like the stone of matter, must
be banished, rolled away, not to hinder, but to aid the pursuit
of the long-sought ideal of infinite beauty and universal
compassion concealed in the heart of every human being. Dr. G.
de Purucker says:
> You yourself must awaken in your own soul the holy flame; and it
> is the same with every other step in spiritual and intellectual
> progress that you make. You yourself must experience the
> unspeakable delight of Compassion -- the ineffable feeling of
> being at one with the ALL. You yourself must be the vehicle of
> the inner light, must gain it. It is both in you and above you,
> invigorating you and inspiring you. Be it.
> -- GOLDEN PRECEPTS OF ESOTERICISM, p. 133
Since there are as many different orders of friendship and love
as there are individuals, some general but brief definitions
contrasting them might be helpful. Whereas friendship is
tempered by reason it lacks the ardor of love, while ordinarily,
love is more selfish and involved with the passional nature, so
that, as commonly said, love is blind to the faults of the loved
one. But not so with impersonal love. It seeks nothing for
itself nor temporizes with the personal weaknesses, but if
necessary, prefers gently, wisely, and patiently to transmute a
fault into a virtue, thereby extinguishing the baser, in order to
conserve the highest welfare of the beloved. True friendship and
impersonal love act in harmony with the Voice of Divinity within,
thrilling every motive to vibrate as unselfish action which draws
souls to each other.
Neither stoops to affect a glamorous charm. Both seek virtue and
wisdom, hence scorn to envy or supplant the well-merited position
of either the loved one or the true and tried friend. With
unfaltering confidence and trust, each unquestioningly supports
the other through any failure or trial. When love is impersonal,
it lacks the desire for self-advantage; and friendship, its twin
sister, becomes its backbone, as it were, stimulating love's holy
desire gladly to sacrifice life itself, if need be, for the
welfare of the loved one. These beloved attributes, functioning
as twin-sisters, have their root in the eternal god-spark or
Monad, and operate as electromagnetic forces drawing all similar
things to themselves like a magnet. Their standard may be gauged
by the indissoluble strength of the links forged in the purifying
trial of fire. The heart-force augmented by boundless sympathy
distinguishes an exemplary character. May not the ideal
relationship of Michael Angelo and Vittoria Colonna approximate
more or less this latter type?
> Love is peace; love is harmony; love is self-forgetfulness; love
> is strength; it is power; it is vision; it is evolution. Its
> power so expands the inner nature that slowly you become
> sympathetic, because you become at one with the entire
> home-universe in which you live and move and have your being; and
> you become at one with the divinity in the heart of all things.
> -- GOLDEN PRECEPTS OF ESOTERICISM, pp. 118-19
The Messengers and Teachers, in their all-inclusive and Almighty
Love, express the most inspiring, beautiful, and enduring
friendships. I wonder whether anything in human life surpasses
the beauty of such an ideal devotion. THEY never unclasp the
hand of friendship and love with their disciples. The more
changeless, loyal, and enduring is the unselfish devotion of the
disciple, the more beautiful and unbreakable the bond. Through
incarnations the golden link of spiritual brotherhood enlivens
and glows in the endless acts of altruistic service evoked in the
one and the other. Such a bond of love and friendship is an
unspoken covenant with the Divine and makes of the 'very two,'
the 'very one.' These great and sublime qualities distinguish the
mighty and heroic characters of the highly evolved Messengers,
inspiring by their all-permeant love all high-minded and
spiritually inclined men and women for incarnations to come.
An endless trail of grades of evolving entities are attracted to
them not only by their electromagnetic and spiritual power, but
by their unfolding oneness with the All. Their energizing
radiations help them to mount from height to height, and on
reaching the human stage to advance from men to heroes, from
quasi-divine beings to gods and supergods, progressively evolving
to at-one-ment with the Boundless All. They, having passed
through unspeakable trials and heart-searing experiences, are
through their compassion cemented indissolubly in a mystical
sense, through the very blood of their hearts, becoming 'very
one' with the Guardian Wall which protects Humanity from yet
greater suffering and despair!
THE SIGHT OF THE RADIANT MIND
by Eldon B. Tucker
[reprinted from THE QUEST, Spring 1996, 12-14.]
It is a warm, sunny afternoon. The young woman sits on the
hilltop overlooking the pacific ocean. Sitting cross legged,
with a handful of flowers in her lap, she gazes off into space.
Occasionally a seagull flies by. She hears the distant sound of
surf breaking on the rocks at the shoreline. She is enjoying
life, yet somehow connected to things in a way that is not
In a makeshift wooden shack in a remote hillside in central
Africa, the elderly gentleman sits at a table. He is reading a
book on spiritual philosophy. His fingers trace the words across
each line as he reads the page before him. The man is almost
motionless, but there is a sense of excitement about him that is
easily sensed upon approaching. The slight smile on his face is
replaced by laughter as he reaches some words that he finds
The librarian has put his family to bed for the night. Soon he
too will have to go to sleep. There is a few minutes that he can
have to himself. Connecting to the Internet, he checks his
email, and finds several messages of interest. Pulling his
favorite books off the shelves, he quickly locates some choice
quotations, then sits down to start writing. As he starts typing
on his computer keyboard, he finds himself almost in another
world, and he is not just writing his ideas, but learning much as
Throughout life, we can see examples of where a special faculty
of knowing makes itself known. This faculty could be called
RADIANT MIND. It is more than intuition, more than imagination,
more than the results of reason and logic. The faculty
represents a different use of the mind for understanding life.
There is a story of a number of blind men that come across an
elephant. One feels the trunk, and says the elephant is like a
snake. Another feels a leg and says the elephant is like a tree.
A third might feel a tusk, and say the elephant is like a curved
spear. Each of them is accurately describing what they know BY
PERSONAL EXPERIENCE of the elephant. But their experience is
based upon the sense of touch; it is a certain kind of experience
that has its particular limitations.
Theosophy teaches of another kind of experience, one that is
analogous to the sense of sight. With this form of experience,
we could see the entire elephant at a glance, and know more about
it than we could by touching any part of the elephant.
With one type of experience, we learn things by doing them in a
literal sense. We learn that fire burns by putting our hand in
the flame and getting burned. We learn that it is wrong to lie
to people by lying and suffering the painful consequences. We
learn of the moon by looking at it in the sky. This form of
experience corresponds to TOUCH, since we need to bring ourselves
into direct contact with something in order to know it.
There is another type of experience that corresponds to the sense
of sight. With it, we can comprehend experiences in life without
actually having to go through them. We gaze upon something, and
with a different power of mind, we UNDERSTAND BY EXPERIENCE,
although this sense of EXPERIENCE is different from what is
ordinarily understood by the term.
To KNOW BY SIGHT requires an unobstructed field of view. The
farther removed from personal experience the SMALLER the object
will appear. When we are far enough away from an experience, we
can comprehend the big picture, seeing an entire situation at
once, a perspective that we don't have if we are too-close to
things, or simply in the midst of them.
This faculty of knowing is not more real than the other. It is
just different. It is not more perfect. All faculties of
consciousness are finite, limited, and subject to error. We can
make mistakes and misunderstand things with either manner of
knowing, by direct experience or the experience that arises from
the directed action of the mind.
What is a type of problem that can arise? For objects that are
FAR AWAY, or distant from our immediate personal experience, we
lose a depth of field to our vision. Visual cues disappear that
help us distinguish the big and far away objects from the small
and close-to-one objects. We can confuse small experiences and
insights that are close to our lives with far away, cosmic
experiences. It is possible to confuse personal and divine
experiences and lose a sense of perspective on life.
This second mode of experience and knowing life is open to anyone
with the proper preparation. It is not reserved for the elect of
humanity. Having and using the faculty is not a rare,
exceptional thing, that should appeal to our vanity. It is just
something that we can do, if we would become aware of it and
The panoramic views of life are breathtaking. They represent a
form of spiritual experience that may not be possible to talk
about to those who do not see. But the faculty is fallible, it
is subject to mistake and to error like any other type of
perception. We cannot take anything we arrive at as unerring
As we read, study, and contemplate deep spiritual truths -- as
found in such great works as THE SECRET DOCTRINE by H.P.
Blavatsky -- we eventually reach a point where it all falls in
place, and we feel connected in a special way. This feeling is
similar to when learning to touch type, we suddenly find that we
can stop thinking about the individual letters that our fingers
are reaching for, and concentrate on the words that we are trying
to type. We have moved to a new form of study and understanding.
At this point, we are connected to the materials in a special
way. We almost know what will be said on the next page of the
book, before turning the page and reading it. We are connected
to the THOUGHT-CURRENT behind the book, and in touch with the
source of the ideas that the book attempted to express.
Exploring this source is a form of learning, discovery, and
teaching for us that is as real in its own right as the study of
the printed page.
This is somewhat akin to brainstorming, or writing in a receptive
state of mind when new ideas almost magically appear in our
minds. It is not a dialog with ANOTHER, with a different being
or complex in our psyche, but more akin to tapping a source of
What we are in touch with could be called an inner teacher, but
it is not a being, not an entity external to ourselves. Rather,
it is a fount of ideas, insights, inspirations, and EXPERIENCES!
What we arrive at through this inner source is not authoritative
and not without error, not more so than what we arrive at from
reading a book. We can err in anything that we do.
Our inner teacher is a form of perception, a form of knowing.
With it, we can look and learn. We can gaze onto the ocean, read
a book, or be writing email, and tapping this fount of knowledge
This faculty does not represent disconnecting from the external
world, just another way to relate to it. There is still a need
for constant reality checks, to keep our beliefs, ideas, and
behavior in harmony with the external world. We need all forms
of experience, both inner and outer, in order to be firmly rooted
in life. Neglect any aspect of our nature, and we get out of
harmony with life.
One aspect of the theosophical movement in the world is to
provide a spiritual practice where this inner awakening can
occur. The practice is not spelled out nor explained to the
student of Theosophy. It is simply the result or effect of a
deep study of the Esoteric Philosophy.
For the student of Theosophy, there is not just value in study of
the deepest literature for the intellect, for the acquisition of
specific metaphysical facts and information. There is also the
proper setting for a spiritual awakening. As we study the
content of the theosophical books, we are also engaged in a
process, engaged in a form of training that naturally leads to
spiritual awakenings. This does not need to be told to us in
advance. In fact, it might be counterproductive to talk too much
about it to the new student, because we don't want to encourage
the desire for personal acquisition, which would get in the way
of the unfolding spiritual process.
We study the theosophical books for the value of the content,
certainly, but also for the PROCESS, a special form of training.
There is a definite path to spiritual development in that study,
even though it may not be apparent in the initial stages, and may
be flatly denied by some who have not experienced it. The books
are studied like a Zen koan, a puzzle with a paradox that forces
new, different, and direct insights to arise. We GO BEYOND THE
WORDS, and arrive at their source. The intellectual study and
use of reason are a necessary foundation for this, but are not in
themselves sufficient. Without an intellectual basis for our
GOING BEYOND, we are not awakening a new power of mind, but only
having a mystical experience that stands apart from our
understanding of life.
Will this process work with any book? Could we go into a
bookstore and take any work of religion or philosophy and engage
this practice? We could try, but are not guaranteed results for
our efforts. The process requires both PROCESS and CONTENT, and
the key theosophical books contain CONTENT derived from the
Mahatmas, from spiritually advanced souls that have far exceeded
us in knowledge, wisdom, and spiritual unfoldment. Their words
and ideas heavily tie in with our higher faculties. Behind their
words is a THOUGHT-CURRENT that links the student to their
wisdom. The words of more common writers do not have this
connection, or the connection is weak and tenuous. Anyone can
think up an idea. What makes theirs special? Because the ideas
have been tried and proven by countless generations of adepts,
and have over time become more accurate in pointing to the living
realities of life than other ideas.
Some ideas are deeply rooted in nature, in life itself. We hear
that over countless generations, the Masters have learned and
studied the deepest secrets of life. They pass on their
knowledge to their peers, generation to generation, as a living
tradition. The knowledge is passed on by teaching and training,
since it far transcends the power of the written word to preserve
Over time, they have arrived at various key concepts, central
ideas that contain a wealth of wisdom. These truths, we find, in
our studies, are like onions. They have level after level of
meaning, each level taking us a bit deeper in our understanding,
like peeling one skin after another off that onion. The ideas
include reincarnation and karma. In our study, we don't bounce
back and forth, with the first insight accepting karma, with the
next rejecting it, and with the following insight accepting it
again. Rather with each deeper insight that we have, we find a
new, fuller, more comprehensive appreciation of the essential
truth of karma.
The faculty of directly knowing things is something that we DO,
and no one should feel that it implies a claim for being special.
It does not require special occult or spiritual status to engage
the process. Any of us can take the necessary steps to open it
up. It is useful to teach and encourage the practice of opening
up in this way, as long as we are careful about when and how we
talk about it to others.
For those of us unfamiliar with this faculty of understanding, it
is possible to come to Theosophy and study the books without
having to "believe in it." It is not spoken of plainly nor
stressed as important in the literature. It is easy to confuse
the imagination with it, when we haven't actually done it. It
is, though, more than imagination, because it as an element of
direct knowledge and ACTUAL EXPERIENCE that is not readily
apparent at first. And we don't have to be particularly aware of
it as we study the great literature, since it will open up of its
own accord, in due time.
In our study of the great philosophies of the world, we are
taught to keep our minds plastic, fluidic, ever-renewing. As we
revisit great truths, we rethink them freshly each time, rather
than simply repeating the same old words. And with each
revisitation, we keep ourselves totally open, at-risk, vulnerable
to rethinking things in a different way than before. This
fluidity and flexibility of mind are necessary in order to
express the higher understanding.
As we gaze on the vast panoramas of life, with our mind's eye,
life is beheld as radiant, luminous. There is the glow of the
spiritual behind all things. We are filled with a sense of
excitement, of a living, solid connection with an inner reality
that ennobles and warms our experience of outer life.
There is no need to validate our insights and experiences through
convincing others and winning converts to our viewpoint. We are
in a sense self-contained and self-sufficient, although
definitely not self-centered! What we are filled with is
treasured and felt to be so valuable that we must express it
tangibly in the world in some manner, and often the spoken or
written word is the only means afforded us for that expression.
We communicate TO SHARE, not TO CONVERT, since we realized that
the words which we speak are only expressive of what we enjoy,
and are not that joy itself.
The experience is mystical in a sense, since we may grasp things
that cannot readily be put into words. And it is occult in the
sense that it deals directly with the living reality of things,
though they often are hidden from the untrained eye. What we
learn may seem impractical in the sense of not directly relating
to the external needs of food, clothing, shelter, companionship,
but immensely practical in our appreciation of life. Our living
awareness of life is awakened, and transcends the filtering done
by mental images, the filtering through words and concepts, that
now become expressive rather than attempting to describe
before-the-fact what we perceive.
We have a reverence, a feeling that we are holding, in the
presence of, or in interaction with something precious,
tremendously valuable, even divine in nature. This sense of
specialness is not related to how powerful, strong, or better we
may be or act than another. It is as illusive and immeasurable
as a baby's smile, yet tangible, real, powerful enough to affect
There is a living presence in our lives that is not a person or
being, and is not exactly outside or inside oneself. It is just
that TO US life is different now, we are, in a way, operating on
a higher spiritual plane, while yet alive on earth.
We may sit down to a book, or to think about a subject, and will
find answers to our questions, just as though we were consulting
a book or talking to a teacher. But we are now engaging an
INTERNAL PROCESS rather than consulting an external source of
knowledge. Does this preclude external teachers and learning?
No. It is in addition to the external, and really needs a strong
intellectual foundation of learning and study to remain a faculty
of mind, rather than simply a mystical appreciation of life.
Attempts to describe the EXPERIENCES BY SIGHT faculty of mind may
be made in many different words. This article is one such
attempt, but cannot be considered to be authoritative, nor
considered as more than just an attempt to explain the elephant
by how it feels to the touch. Much is lost in putting a
description into words. Many different ways of writing about the
spiritual awakening could be taken.
Perhaps we could just say: Look within. Let's approach that
inner voice that speaks wisdom. Search out that sense of
fundamental reality that is deep in our hearts, a connection to
life that is never lost, however long we may have forgotten it.
Loosen up the rigid hold of the mind, and bring a freshness of
insight to it by rethinking things anew each time. Fill our
hearts with loving kindness, with a calm, gentle appreciation of
the joy of being alive! And most important, honor our divine
impulses, give tangible expression in the world to the beauties
that we behold with our inner eye, beauties that long for
expression in the world!
Dedicated to the Theosophical Philosophy and its Practical Application