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THEOSOPHY WORLD ----------------------------------- October, 1999

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

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to theos-world@theosophy.com.

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

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

"Tribute to L. Gordon Plummer," by Dara Eklund
"Gottfried de Purucker: A Biographical Sketch,"
    by Boris de Zirkoff
"On Monads, Rounds, and Astral Molds," by G. de Purucker
"The Karma of Addiction and Obsession," by Dallas TenBroeck
"A Backyard Meditation," by Walter Eugene Kent
"Spirit in Crisis: Preface," by H. Groot
"Spirit in Crisis: Introduction," by H. Oosterink
"Blavasky Net Update," by Reed Carson
"Self-Directed Evolution," by James Neil Feinstein
"Theosophy and Christian Science," by A. Trevor Barker

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

> The ever-unknowable and incognizable KARANA alone, the CAUSELESS
> Cause of all causes, should have its shrine and altar on the
> holy and ever untrodden ground of our heart -- invisible,
> intangible, unmentioned, save through "the still small voice" of
> our spiritual consciousness. Those who worship before it ought
> to do so in the silence and the sanctified solitude of their
> Souls; making their spirit the sole mediator between them and
> the UNIVERSAL SPIRIT, their good actions the only priests, and
> their sinful intentions the only vsible and objective
> sacrificial victims to the PRESENCE.
>
> H.P. Blavatsky, THE SECRET DOCTRINE, II, 280.

------------------------------------------------------------------
TRIBUTE TO L. GORDON PLUMMER

by Dara Eklund

[L. Gordon Plummer, August 8, 1904 -- September 10, 1999.]

Like a journey to an enchanted isle it was, to have encountered
Gordon Plummer. Known to some as an "Instructor in Symbolic
Mathematics", brimming with wit and inquisitiveness, he conjured
the world of Space and Number for young and old alike.

I first met Gordon at mountain camp for sixth grade children in
the Cuyamaca Range east of San Diego. As a teacher trainee
chaperoning several classes, I admired his sense of humor as he
regaled the kids with magic tricks, accordion playing and
astronomical tidbits. Later in the evening we discussed
philosophical ideas, and I said to him, "you sound like a
Theosophist." From this encounter grew a lifelong friendship, as
he would come up to Los Angeles to visit his twin sister Gertrude
and Boris de Zirkoff.

Gordon's wife Esther had taught with him at a private school in
Topanga Canyon (near Malibu, California) where they met. She was
his guiding light in later years as he lost the sight in his one
good eye. Sympathetic to Theosophy, she lived the life of a
Theosophist, although more inclined to the Unity movement.

Countless children of the San Diego Unified School District
shared Gordon's enthusiasm over the decades. Nurtured by
Theosophy, this enthusiasm conveyed his certainty that we are
innate Gods, evolving towards our true Divine stature, just as
the stars are evolving suns. One of Mr. Plummer's last titles,
The Way to the Mysteries, reflects all the wonderful thoughts he
shared with us during the Solstice and Equinox gatherings from
the early 1980's onwards, until his eyesight prevented his long
bus trip to Los Angeles. Earlier he had travelled on lectures
tours, not only in the United States and Canada, but also as far
afield as Holland and Finland. In his declining years he used a
huge magnifying glass to construct his intricate geometric
figures comprised of string and doweling. These greater and
lesser mazes were used to tutor students, who still trekked up to
his retirement home, into his late eighties. By one mobile of a
dodecahedron which enclosed all the other geometric shapes he
taught the concept of interpenetrating worlds. Photographs and
drawings of these shapes as well as the Platonic solids are found
in his books. Even after totally losing his sight he fashioned
moebius strips, scribbled with his beloved number sequences.

Gordon had ventured beyond these teaching aides by the invention
of a universal self-correcting sundial, dedicated by the San
Diego Hall of Science in November of 1975. As son of the noted
American geographer, whose name is borne by Plummer Peak in the
state of Washington, Gordon certainly made his mark upon the
world, both inner and outer. We are deeply indebted to him, and
wish him a restful sojourn within the Devachan of his celestial
imagination.

Gordon's first book was FROM ATOM TO KOSMOS, followed by STAR
HABITS AND ORBITS, ASTRONOMY FOR THEOSOPHICAL STUDENTS (with
Charles J. Ryan; Theosophical University Press, 1944). In this
latter book you find him unfolding the occult interpretation of
nebular evolution and sharing his boyish delight in the celestial
orbs which never left him. His most popular book MATHEMATICS OF
THE COSMIC MIND (Theosophical Publishing House, 1966; rev. ed.
1970), was followed by three Point Loma Publications: BY THE HOLY
TETRAKTYS! (1982), THE WAY TO THE MYSTERIES, INSIGHTS ON THE
SEVEN JEWELS OF WISDOM (1991), and THREE STEPS TO INFINITY
(1993).

------------------------------------------------------------------
GOTTFRIED DE PURUCKER: A BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH

by Boris de Zirkoff

[from THEOSOPHIA, Winter 1973-74, pages 3-5.]

Hobart Lorentz Gottfried de Purucker was born at Suffern,
Rockland County, New York, January 15, 1874. His father, Gustaf
Adolf H.E.F. von Purucker of Bavarian and Franconian ancestry,
as an ordained minister, was for some years chaplain of the
American Church in Geneva, Switzerland, and later served in the
same capacity in Rome and in Strassburg. His mother was Juliana
Smyth of Anglo-Irish descent, who was born in Philadelphia,
Pennsylvania, and belonged to a New England family of
distinction.

Gottfried was one of seven children and received somewhat severe
training in his youth. In 1881-82, when his father was a young
clergyman in Texarkana, Texas, he barely survived typhoid fever.
Though declared dead by his physician on one occasion he slowly
recovered. Later the family lived for a time in St. Joseph,
Missouri, and in Rome, New York, and Gottfried was expected to
follow his father's footsteps in the service of the Church.
After they moved to Geneva, he studied in various schools
including the College de Geneve, and was taught Greek and Hebrew
by his father. He specialized under private tutors in ancient
and modern languages such as Latin, Anglo-Saxon, Sanskrit,
Italian, and Spanish. French and German were spoken in the
family. In 1888 he translated the entire Greek NEW TESTAMENT as
a Christmas gift for his father, and a couple of years later made
a translation of Genesis from the Hebrew.

At eighteen, he returned to the United States where, after a few
months sojourn in New York State, lie settled for several years
in California, spending some time for experience on different
ranches, among these Old Fort El Tejon, near Tejon Pass in the
Tehachapi Mountains. He then moved to San Diego, where in 1892
he joined the "Point Loma Lodge" of The Theosophical Society
(chartered in April 1888) then under the national jurisdiction of
William Quan Judge, and at nineteen conducted therein a class in
THE SECRET DOCTRINE. In 1894 he met Mr. Judge in San Diego
while the latter was on a lecture tour of the Pacific Coast. A
year later, Gottfried returned to Geneva to live for a time with
his people. It was in that city that he first met Katherine
Tingley, on September 2, 1896. She was on her first world tour
as successor to William Quan Judge, who had died March 21, 1896.
During this brief meeting, he was able to provide her with
specific information about land available for purchase on the
Point Loma Promontory, near San Diego, and drew for her a pencil
sketch of the area, thus enabling her to secure for her intended
"White City in the Golden Land of the West" acreage which she had
felt was there but which her agent in San Diego was unable to
locate.

In the years 1897-98, Dr. de Purucker traveled extensively in
South America, and in 1899 returned to Geneva via New York.

He then spent several years in Paris where he was for a while
associated with Ralph Lane (later Sir Norman Angell, M.P.) on the
editorial staff of the PARIS DAILY MESSENGER, an old and famous
continental paper published in English, founded by Galignani in
1814 and originally known as GALIGNANI'S MESSENGER. A year after
his father's death in 1902 he came back to the United States and
after some weeks of travel took up permanent residence on August
4, 1903, at the International Theosophical Headquarters, Point
Loma, California.

During the years 1903-1929, the period between his arrival at
Point Loma and the death of Katherine Tingley, Dr. de Purucker
was engaged in many and varied activities, acting as Private
Secretary to Katherine Tingley in the early years, as member of
her Cabinet in later years, and as Editor of THE THEOSOPHICAL
PATH after its initial publication in 1911. He supervised the
publishing of successive editions of H. P. Blavatsky's works,
and utilized to full advantage his great scholarship in this
field of endeavor. He engaged in many administrative activities
under the direction of Katherine Tingley, and soon became one of
the most trusted members of her staff. He accompanied her on her
world tour of 1903-1904, and on her European tours of 1908, 1912
and 1926. A great deal of his work was done in the quiet of his
office and on the whole he lived a somewhat retired life, and was
never married.

When Katherine Tingley died on July 11, 1929, while on a trip to
Europe, Gottfried de Purucker succeeded her as Leader of the
Point Loma Theosophical Society. He inaugurated many new
activities for the expansion of the work, one of which was a
worldwide Theosophical Fraternization Movement, with the object
of bringing all Theosophical groups into closer friendly
relationship one with the other.

In 1931, he went on a lecture tour in the United States and
Europe; in 1932-33, he established for a year a temporary
Headquarters at Oakley House, Bromley Common, Kent, England; and
in 1937 made another short trip to Europe.

Soon after taking over the administration of the Society, Dr. de
Purucker started publication of THE THEOSOPHICAL FORUM, the first
issue appearing in September 1929, in this manner reviving the
name of a small organ inaugurated many years previously by W. Q.
Judge. In 1936, THE THEOSOPHICAL PATH was combined with THE
FORUM.

Through the years of his administration, Dr. de Purucker
delivered a great number of public lectures, mostly in the Temple
of Peace at Point Loma, and conducted members' and private
meetings for the deeper study of the Esoteric Philosophy. Some
of his works have been compiled from these lectures, while others
were dictated by him as independent texts.

In June 1942, Dr. de Purucker moved the Headquarters to a new
location near Covina, California, and died soon after very
suddenly on September 27, 1942.

Dr. de Purucker's literary output throughout his lifetime was
very considerable in extent and unique in character. His
profound knowledge of the recondite teachings of the Esoteric
Philosophy, his great mastery of HPB's writings, and the results
of his own scholastic studies, especially of the Classics and the
literature pertaining to the origins of Christianity and its
early Mystical Schools, as well as his linguistic achievements,
combined, one and all, in making him an outstanding expounder of
the Occult Doctrines. This he did in complete harmony with the
original installments of that doctrine given by HPB and her own
Teachers, elucidating and clarifying many obscure points of the
teachings opening up new vistas and disclosing still deeper
levels of the Wisdom-Religion. He had a special aptitude for
answering questions in a manner which disclosed the qualities of
a born teacher attempting to lead the student to a greater grasp
of the subject by arousing in his own intuition and reasoning
capacities.

------------------------------------------------------------------
ON MONADS, ROUNDS, AND ASTRAL MOLDS

by G. de Purucker

[A private letter in answer to questions submitted, reprinted in
THEOSOPHIA, Winter 1973-74, pages 10-12]

Boldly stated, it is perfectly correct that man, not any one man,
but the human kingdom, i.e., the class of human monads, are the
parents so to speak of the monads below them. In fact, every
such hierarchical class leads every class beneath it, and is in
fact not only the inspirer of that lower class, but emits or
emanates or throws off the lower class during the unfolding
process, and this occurs especially on the downward part of the
rounds.

Thus a cosmos is brought into being in the same manner, the
highest plane unrolling the next lower, and so forth down to the
bottom of that hierarchy from the original cosmic plane, and then
upwards again. So it is with every Kingdom or Class of Monads,
the human included. Most of HPB's teaching has been concerning
the Fourth Round, with only relatively few sidelights on
preceding rounds. Thus in this Fourth Round the Human Kingdom
preceded the mammals, which came into being shortly after man had
developed the mammal stage. Please remember next in order that
it is the monads that explain the evolutionary processes of these
kingdoms, and that the bodies are merely the results of the urges
or impulses originating in the evolving monads. It is the monads
which make the classes of monads or the kingdoms which evolve.
The bodies are merely their vehicles. Please keep this strongly
in mind.

On the other hand, it is equally true that every individual
monad, which means of course every class of monads in the larger
scale, must pass through every plane of nature, and every other
kingdom, in order to gain universal experience. It is the monads
that do this passing through the different kingdoms. These two
rules, the one just described above, and the one I am now
referring to, occur even today in the human kingdom, as evidenced
by embryology. The human germ is cast off by a human being, and
yet that human germ, before it can grow into another human being,
must pass through every kingdom, the Mineral Kingdom as a germ,
the Vegetable Kingdom, the Animal Kingdom, and then by evolution
as a child in the Human Kingdom. The monad is behind the growing
embryo, developing its body to, become human.

Keep this fact of embryology in mind, and you will have a key to
the other statement, that all monads must pass through all the
kingdoms. As this embryological illustration shows, even a human
being or monad enters incarnation in any life through the lower
kingdoms, as just described, indeed from the elemental to the
human inclusive. The difficulty here of course is to puzzle out
these two processes or procedures; but this can be done by
keeping in mind constantly that it is the monads which are the
Ariadne's thread, and not merely the bodies.

On the moon, for instance, the human kingdom, or what is now on
earth the human kingdom, was then the higher part of the beast
kingdom there, and the lowest part of the then moon human
kingdom.

The elemental begins its long evolutionary pilgrimage by
emanating from the bosom of the Divine its godhood, its own
monadship in other words, already in itself, but it must attain
self-conscious realization of this divine monadship. This comes
through the "descent" or "fall" through all the lower kingdoms of
nature already existing from previous manvantaras. Thus the
monad passes slowly through every kingdom according to, the
Cabalistic saying: the stone, i.e., the monad in the stone
becomes a plant; the plant a beast; the beast a man, the man a
god. The reference here is not to bodies, but evolving,
ascending, developing monads.

So with our own human monads. During the first Round on this
globe, and in fact on this chain, the highest and lowest, to wit
the Dhyani-Chohans and the elementals, were the first to appear,
and they gradually laid the foundations, giving bodies for the
other intermediate classes to manifest themselves. At the end of
the first Round the procedure changes in the respect that
beginning with the second Round and thereafter the kingdoms have:
been established as foundations, and each class thereafter
embodies in its own kingdom. Thus we have both procedures
working in a sense, at least for a time, simultaneously and
coordinately, rising upwards through the kingdoms. Yet each
higher kingdom preceding the kingdom beneath it, or guiding the
kingdom beneath it, and throwing off as it evolves the kingdom
beneath it . . .

During the second Round, recapitulation begins on every globe of
the chain and for every class. Taking one kingdom: beginning
with the second Round, it is a brief recapitulation of its
monad's descent through all the lower kingdoms, until they attain
their own monadic kingdom or status, our human kingdom.
Thereafter they continue in the human kingdom because they have
not yet evolved to become the lowest Dhyani-Chohanic kingdom; but
continuing in their own human kingdom in this recapitulation,
they throw off and help the lower kingdom beneath them. Indeed,
as stated above, every kingdom does just this.

Thus, during the fourth Round on globe D, our human kingdom --
leaving aside the shishtas here in order not to complicate things
-- the incoming monads of the human kingdom have a very brief
recapitulation of their monad's descent through the lower
kingdoms, but rapidly as the human infant does in the womb. But
once this recapitulation is ended, and they have attained their
own kingdom, then they begin to evolve as human monads on this
fourth globe during this fourth Round. They lead all the other
lower kingdoms, helping these lower kingdoms, and throwing out
from themselves molds as it were, or germs which are passing
through their bodies. If these germs are viable, i.e., fit to
live and evolve, they continue as a new branch of the lower
kingdom. I am thinking of the mammals as an instance. Man in
his kingdom was in this fourth Round before the mammals from his
own rapidly changing types of bodies, before man or the human
kingdom attained the distinct human form that now he has. There
were many early mammals which died out because they proved
themselves unfit to continue. These mammal monads will have to
wait till the next chain embodiment. But once the human mammal
form was established for its own period of evolution, then the
human bodies became more or less continuous. But during the
Sixth and Seventh Root-Races ahead of us, the mammal form will
change into something else, I mean of human beings . . .

2) The astral molds left behind man are not merely astral
pictures in the Astral Light. They are more than pictures. They
are, as it were, forms, living entities, vegetating in the Astral
Light until they are awakened by animal monads finding them fit
vehicles to begin evolution in the lowest part of the human
kingdom. If you have never seen or understood an astral mold, I
fear it is very difficult to explain just what these astral molds
are. They are more than astral pictures, more than mere
impressions. They are in fact just what they are called, "astral
molds," and I cannot think of a better term. It is these astral
molds, abandoned in the Astral Light by humans who have finished
with them, which remain for ages before they disintegrate and
become, if needed, the vehicles or astral bodies of the monads of
the highest animal kingdom, which then seize or possess these
human astral molds which thus give them the pattern to follow
after the human kingdom, and become as it were the humanized
animals of the animal kingdom, to develop into true human beings
at a later age.

3) It is, however, not quite true to call the human stock, "the
most primitive stock on this planet," because the three kingdoms
of the Dhyani-Chohans are higher than the human; what is meant is
that the human stock is more primitive, during the fourth Round,
then the mammals are during the fourth Round on this globe.

4) The globes are not the principles of *a* chain, but they have
a close correspondence, interestingly enough, and this is merely
because nature works analogically, having her one set of laws
throughout all her being. Indeed, each single globe of any chain
is an entity in itself, having its seven principles. Here the
analogy of the globes in a human constitution is again seen. Our
earth, for instance, globe four in our chain, following HPB's
seven-globe chain, has its seven principles. Furthermore, the
gross body of our earth which we know, which is the sthula
sharira of our globe, following analogy again, has its own
corresponding seven principles. This is alluded to by the Master
in THE MAHATMA LETTERS, page 94.

We should not consider the seven classes of evolving life-waves
on each globe as being the principles of that globe. The
evolving life-waves pass through the globes much as the
life-atoms pass through the physical body of a man. They are not
the seven principles of man's physical body, although indeed
seven classes of life-atoms can and do pass through every human
being's constitution. Therefore again I say that the seven
classes of life-waves or monads are NOT the principles of any
globe. They are merely entities passing through the globes and
evolving on the globes, as the life-atoms on the seven planes of
a human constitution pass through those seven planes.

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THE KARMA OF ADDICTION AND OBSESSION

by Dallas Tenbroeck

[A question was asked recently of a Psychologist that used
Theosophy as a base for his work if a good definition of
addiction and its cure could be offered. The following is
extracted from the tape of the conversation, and is useful to
consider. -- Dallas]

The quotations that you have advanced deal with the MORAL
UNIVERSE that we all live in. It is that which reacts and is
impressed when we make any choice. And, that attracts KARMA. It
is of course unseen, and so far never well described in our
western descriptions. It is of course unseen and in our present
condition is largely UNRECOGNIZED.

That it has not been a subject for education or general talk, as
one of the effects of the Western Theological imposition for the
past 2,000 years, has been to keep the masses ignorant of their
own inner potential - and of the HIGHER SELF that is
fundamentally the essential reality in each of us.

As I have understood it, Theosophy seeks to awaken us to this
interior fact that restores control to our own perception and
will. The struggle to do this engages us all at various
self-chosen levels. Most of the articles in the early
Theosophical magazines like THEOSOPHIST and LUCIFER and
especially those by HPB address themselves to the effort that is
needed to get us to see ourselves AS WE ARE.

If one is ADDICTED it means that one is OBSESSED or even
POSSESSED (which is rare -- in this last case -- by an evil
entity from the Astral Plane for which a connection may have been
established in a past life or, earlier in this life through the
use of drugs that temporarily remove the ever-DIRECT control over
one's personality by the HIGHER SELF).

At such times it is possible for the link between the two minds
-- the Higher and the Lower -- to be partially obscured or even
diverted and in rare cases entirely broken. And the result could
be OBSESSION, ADDICTION and POSSESSION.

One ought to look into the literature of the occult and the
abnormal, of the past century. there we will find for instance,
that Bulwer Lytton wrote on this subject in one of his novels : A
STRANGE STORY. It is written in the older English style of last
century and with a lot of description that in our modern days we
would consider a wading through extravagance of description -- we
all want the "action" today. The psychological prizes are in the
book if one looks for them.

ZANONI, by the same author is one that all of us students of
Theosophy ought to read at least once. It deals with the trials
of chelaship and Adeptship.

To cure an addiction requires first the honesty of recognizing
it. Next the feeling that something is wrong, needs to be
carefully analyzed Following that one ought to adopt an attitude
of constant ATTENTION and never allowing the WILL consciousness,
while awake, to become PASSIVE.

Once in any incarnation that one has become subject to such
bifurcation, the effort to restore FULL CONTROL over the personal
mind and consciousness is a vast struggle.

But strangely, we are presently all engaged in such a struggle.
HPB speaks of it, we deliberately may avoid those statements as
they hurt us too much were it counts - our personal pride in our
personality -- as separate from any other. It also reveals that
we (the embodied mind) are rarely "in full control." If you want
to see how this is described, read carefully the pages of THE
TRANSACTIONS OF THE BLAVATSKY LODGE, Theosophy company in Los
Angeles has gathered those into a handy volume.

From pages 66 to 76 you will find that there is a description of
the way in which the HIGHER SELF seeks to be able to secure the
active assistance of the Lower Self to heal and improve itself --
I mean the Lower Self, as the HIGHER SELF is a perfected Dhyani
who has given itself (under karma and by a voluntary decision)
the task of being a "tutor" to us (as the embodied Lower Self)
for the present Manvantara. One ought to consult that which HPB
has written in SD II 79-80, 93-4, 167, 254-5. Her expressions on
this point, I believe, ought to be considered important for us to
realize.

Additionally, as all good students we ought to do our research
and proving for ourselves. There is always danger in accepting
"authority" that the "authority" is wrong. The proof can be
found in careful thought and meditation on our powers and
potentials. This will also enhance our powers of concentration
and attention.

If you wish you can look on our present universal condition,
where we have made of vice and evil reasoning our constant (lower
mind) companions -- we have allowed ourselves to sink -- all of
us -- to a very low moral/ethical level indeed. Fortunately
there is in each of us the HIGHER SELF.

The VOICE OF CONSCIENCE is ITS voice speaking and warning us. We
have to listen to it carefully and attentively -- I mean the kind
of attention that we develop through "meditation" of the
spiritual type that is concentration and will. I would further
draw your attention to Mr. W.Q. Judge's articles on MEDITATION,
CONCENTRATION WILL, and also THE CULTURE OF CONCENTRATION.

We are at a very impatient juncture of our lives -- all of us --
we are an IMPATIENT society and we desire to get things done in a
hurry, to put them behind us, and to GO ON. Where we want to GO
ON to, we don't really define very well. You will find that a
good deal of the goals we really desire consist in "relaxing" and
"doing nothing -- if we can "afford it." Hence the very mistaken
and misleading idea in the East that the goal of Perfection is
"Moksha" or "Nirvana" -- where one spends an immense time dong
nothing and having no responsibilities -- till the rest of the
world (our brother Souls) catches up with us, and we find that we
are again at the tail-end of the procession. Then back to work
and all the lost time to be made up.

[I have read about this in THE SECRET DOCTRINE, II, 79-80,
regarding "returning Nirvanees." -- Dallas]

On analysis, addiction and obsession are a part of the present
psychological cycle. Importantly, HPB warned us all about that
in the FIVE MESSAGES -- there she says that this cycle will find
this kind of general psychic illusion descending like a fog to
obscure the minds and progress of many in the World, and America
in particular. Part of our obsession with speed, and "doing
things" is this same obsessive fog that demands our forgetting
that individual progress requires that we "go slow" and think out
our own choices carefully before jumping into "new" things.

It is truly amazing how credulous people are when it comes to
trying to secure something for nothing. Those who are sly bank
on their greed, and for a fee they seek to provide a "course"
using mystical jargon and "old" manuscripts said to be "secret"
and "occult" that will enable a student to "progress." and even
to receive "powers" and to perceive other planes. But on advance
examination they will rarely provide any evidence of their
personal success.

Sometimes we do not want to make decisions, we hope that there is
"someone else" who will be able to make them for us, and very
foolishly, we abandon the struggle to learn and to know (and to
make those crucial but difficult personal decisions for
self-guidance and independence that we ought to be learning to
make) and we put our RELIANCE on this selected (usually with
complete ignorance) other person or program.

Ultimately Karma acts and sets a situation up to awaken us: We
are then confronted with a problem that DEMANDS our full
attention. This is why it is impossible to buy lessons in
Occultism, or to pay for Yoga to help us to escape the annoying
burden of our decision making. It is well to recognize that
these attitudes are generated by our own self-molded personal
habits of the past - now making change difficult. No one can BUY
progress and wisdom. We have to earn it through hard work of the
most subtle an demanding type. But, how else would we learn to
truly value it ?

In other words, part of our universal addiction is the false idea
that we do not really need to pay close and strict attention to
EVERYTHING that we FEEL, THINK and DO.

Theosophy says otherwise. Therefore the Theosophical psychology
of attention is so important for all of us to use to CURE
OURSELVES. For instance: an employee who rents his time and
brains for money to an employer, does not thereby give up the
power of his own independent decision making faculty.

The boss may say: "I am not paying you to think, I am paying you
to do what I tell you to do." Sorry. The Theosophist cannot
agree to that. If he, or she adopts the attitude that they are
placing their time and work in the hands of this "boss," and if
they conceive the idea that "he will bear the karma of it." they
err.

They will bear the Karma of conniving actively with the "boss's"
evil intentions, and an increment in their own development of a "
passive acceptance," for they fear being "fired," or, losing some
position they value.

Interiorly, they scorn the ways and methods of such a "boss." As
honest and true Theosophists they have no business being there at
all. The sooner they terminate such an employment, the better.
In doing so there is always an improvement in karmic situations,
and even the "boss" may learn to approve of their honesty.

What we call ADDICTION, OBSESSION, POSSESSION today are the more
blatant, exaggerated and obvious aspects of this abnormal but
general condition. One must also take note of the general
attitude of "modern psychology." It deals almost entirely with
the consideration of making the "personality" HAPPY, and AVERAGE.
It rarely takes into account as a primary fact that all progress
is always self-developed and self-applied. In many cases it
seeks to relieve a sense of personal guilt by diverting the
attention to the acts and training of early youth by parents and
teachers -- and one frequently hears "They are to blame for what
I am at present."

Our attitude towards our early school lessons is symptomatic of
our natures -- we either accepted and worked at them, employing
our power of concentration to lean all we could, or we did not do
that. This attitude which inclines towards close attention is to
be found being established in successful efforts made in prior
lives, and continued in this one. But the reason that I mention
this is because when we identify a character gap in ourselves, we
ought to set to work and fill it. Right now. This gets us out
of the ADDICTION to laziness and self-indulgence that we may find
we have developed -- even unconsciously. We, are the only one
that can do that work.

HPB and Judge constantly draw our attention to this. But, we
have blunted our own perceptions to the point where it is very
difficult, almost impossible to see the terrible and universal
situation we are all in. HOW DO WE CHANGE AND TAKE CHARGE,
really TAKE CHARGE of our own lives? One is tempted to indicate
that the great Buddha is one of the worlds master psychologists
and all his teachings were directed at illustrating the power of
our own innate Higher Self. One needs only read through the
DHAMMAPADA -- which consists of his direct sayings, to assure
ourselves of this crucial fact.

First we are confronted on the psychological side of our lives
with the immediate reaction of our close family and loved ones
who may not understand the change that we are making -- we no
longer follow or participate in all their "pleasures," "family
gatherings," and "use of leisure."

If we are wise, we tailor our "abstention" gradually, and
gracefully, tactfully, so as not to confront them with a complete
"BREAK" -- that they may interpret as a "lack of love" -- and
they may accuse us of that. Such a situation adds to our
problems and we ought to avoid that.

If we wish their cooperation we need to take time to offer
explanations. The attempt to get them to understand will
reinforce our own ability to understand and make those changes we
decided were essential to our well-being. We will need to
develop a number of analogies as pictures to offer -- "possible"
situations to depict, beginning with "What if...."

We have to recognize that as the power of habit (in both them and
us) to keep the illusion of our present deluded state going --
until some new crisis forces us all to take steps to revalue
things and make those important decisions that lead to control
and true SANITY.

The "pain" is always "personal," because it is the personality
that has to change and restore in itself the needed spiritual
perception and honesty. In our "heart of hearts" we all know
this (the Voice of Conscience always nags at us on this theme) --
we hope that it will "go away," and let us "enjoy in peace what
we have always done and have learned to like." That is the
"Personality" which we have constructed because we were
inattentive to the needs of the "Spirit Within" speaking.

Please: do not think that I am preaching in any way, nor do I
intend to act as a "teacher." I only state things bluntly as I
see them -- and it has taken most of my life to be able to do
this, and I have to fight almost every moment (like every one
else) to prevent a relapse into the "complacency of the average."

------------------------------------------------------------------
A BACKYARD MEDITATION

by Walter Eugene Kent

A cool, quiet, silent, starlit night is entered. The fresh air
is both gentle and yet vibrantly full of life. The brilliant
stars shine forth in all their might. And the silence speaks
with such a sweet voice that one's heart cannot but melt in love,
engulfed in the peace. On a night like this majestic, treasured,
precious spiritual events and possibilities sing forth their
wondrous song. And one is filled with such a joyous, bright,
happy, yet serene calm that one can merely look at life in awe.
To think on things and to take any action is simply too
irreverent, One's heart is simply filled with a love for all that
is, a love that cares not for anything in return. And one's mind
quietly, slowly, reverently approaches the omnipresent beauty and
draws religious symbols, holy grails to hold this wine of the
spirit. One bathes in the spiritual waters of unselfish love and
reverence for life and is for the moment washed clean of all the
petty and selfish passions and habits. For the moment, one has
touched the divinity within things, and has found a breath of
cool, fresh, vibrant air. And in one's reverent reflections, he
builds thought-images filled with the beauty and majesty of this
wondrous moment. And it is these images that carry over into
one's everyday life and uplift and inspire it with a taste of the
joy of the spirit. May the pure waters of unselfish love and
devotion to truth felt tonight forever cleanse and ennoble your
life.

------------------------------------------------------------------
SPIRIT IN CRISIS: PREFACE

by H. Groot

[Theosophical University Press, Covina, California, 1946, pages
ix-xi.]

The author of this book, who asked me to introduce this work to
the reader, knows that I comply with his request not only on
account of the sincere friendship that binds us, but especially
because I, just like him, hold the view that the thoughts
developed in this book are of the greatest importance to our
disabled world, which is looking for guidance in its restoration
and reconstruction.

The book places before its readers a curious paradox.

It was begun as an almost desperate attempt of the individual to
keep his foothold in the sudden rapid flow of the events of time,
which dragged with it so many reliable and seemingly well-founded
certainties. The author who saw the world totter about him,
wondered whether nothing that was really valuable and full of
sense would remain. In the whirligig of the outward facts and
events of the horrible war-years he turned toward his own inward
self, and tried to ascertain if there perhaps the stability and
certainty were to be found which had appeared to be a delusion in
outward life. So the plan of the book might be called subjective
and personal.

Moreover, there was no small danger that the book might
degenerate into a flight from reality to a dream world which
would have few or no points of contact with daily life.

However, this danger was always distinctly present to the
author's mind, and he immediately declares: "This book is no
flight from reality."

No, its object, on the contrary, is to make use of reality --
however hideously it might present itself -- as of a fixed point
of support, on which the ladder of a higher spiritual
consciousness can safely rest.

The author does not want to disguise or ignore the world picture,
but to grow above it by fixing his eyes upon that which is the
timeless background of the eternal circle of creation, existence,
decay -- a circle which forms the only reality with which our
senses can bring us into contact.

However, how many people know and acknowledge the existence of
this timeless background?

Large is the number of those who regard as an idle game of fancy,
a beautiful but unreal dream, everything that is beyond sensory
perception and not limited by time, space and mechanistic
causality. To them the author says: "I do not write about unreal
things. They are not far or strange." And indeed, he who allows
the ever rising flight of thoughts to act upon him, will come to
the conclusion that this book deals not with unrealities, but
with the most essential core of man.

And this is the paradox: the subjective, personal plan leads to
views in which all personal experiences are raised to the level
of the intimate union of man and man, nay, even of man and
cosmos. Thus, the book ends in an emancipating statement, devoid
of any personal sorrow or personal struggle, but which breathes
quietude, and the certainty of him in whom sorrow as well as
happiness have been transformed into a higher insight:

> Though we seem separate beings, we form together the tissue of
> the universal consciousness; it pervades us, it raises us, it
> binds us. We are the facets through which the light shines in
> various colors and shades, in variegated diversity.

May this book, which comes straight from the author's heart, come
into the hands of many searching, tired and mourning people, who
have lost their way in the chaos of conflicting experiences in
which the often cruel reality placed them; they will be able to
find in it what is more than the opiate of consolation --
emancipating insight.

------------------------------------------------------------------
SPIRIT IN CRISIS: INTRODUCTION

by H. Oosterink

[Theosophical University Press, Covina, California, 1946, pages
1-7.]

In the treasure chamber of our life we find images, mind-images,
ideas born in quiet hours of meditation.

Consciousness directed to the invisible worlds of a higher,
spiritual existence has attracted these images like a magnet:
images still clothed in the splendor native to these worlds. The
artist who calls forth these images in our minds, the sculptor
who conjures them up, is the Spirit. From the formless and
wordless beauty of the soul they take shape within us, as the
fruit of golden hours passed in quiet meditation, which raised us
above the grievous experiences of our everyday life.

We all have such a wealth of images hidden within us. In this
book I give you mine for contemplation. Perhaps one of these
images will strike you and you will take it aside and consider it
with greater attention.

What remained speechless in me may then penetrate into your mind,
and things for which I found no words may become clear to you.

----

This book was written during the war. I have set down my
thoughts in it as they came to me and took shape in a time when
our resistance and power, more than ever before, had to be found
in us and not in the world about us. In fact, the losses
sustained made it necessary for me to express my spiritual
possessions in words, and I wanted to test their value in these
disturbed years. Therefore I wrote, as one who keeps a diary,
until my thoughts began to mature and raised me above the
gripping events of those stirring times.

That's why this book does not contain abstract reflections, as if
the author, standing outside life itself, wanted to escape
reality.

The circumstances gave little opportunity for this. But while
writing I kept in mind that life has not only an outward form,
but also a soul, a background from which outward life rises, from
which it originates and matures. He who penetrates into the soul
of life, sees life in its entirety.

I mentioned the events of the war only in passing -- how much
happened in those days! -- but the greater part of what I wrote
down counterbalanced the fear and sorrow that fell to our share.

Though the war-events and the terror that attended them were
cruel and horrible, however hard the facts might be that we had
to accept -- I had to look further -- to look behind the facts,
for the source from which they sprang, to find the solution of
all contradictions which bewildered me, in the UNITY AND THE
HARMONY of the passing and the everlasting. I could only find
this solution by looking at the facts around me in the light of
our boundless existence.

HARMONY -- not the attitude of the man who, in isolation, shrinks
into himself and leaves the world as it is. He who isolates
himself does not understand that life flows from one source, that
the great life reflects itself in each creature and in all
creatures, and that this fact ties us more firmly together than
we accept as a rule.

No seclusion, but on the contrary, a stronger unity with our
suffering fellow-men, when we find each other again and recognize
each other in the unity of the spirit from which we all originate
and which we are. This thought -- the unity of life -- defines
the sphere of our hearts and our love from man to man.

It is as if the facts and events looked upon in this light take
on another meaning, as if they dissolve and lose their cruelty
because we have thus traced them to their starting-point.

In this way my thoughts deepened and matured into the pages of
this book. It raised a spiritual power and certainty within me,
which widely surpassed the influence of the chaotic world around
me, bent on self-destruction. It gave me the power to rise above
it.

It freed me from a burden which otherwise I should not have been
able to bear, and it did more: it kept my heart open for the love
of humanity, which I did not want to lose at any price.

----

That which is human in us protests against an attitude of
resignation, and justly so, for he who accepts unthinkingly has
adopted a negative attitude toward life. But he who adopts this
attitude of resignation coupled with the idea of an eternal
absolute existence -- an insight into the substance and essence
of all things -- will view life from a different angle.

He sees and sees through the interconnection of the things that
take place around him -- and the causes from which they spring.
This idea leads him to the realization that all is well.

He who sees life in this way, does not escape from reality; on
the contrary, he lives in the midst of life as it is, but a life
that rises above the level of him who cannot see beyond the
appearance of things.

Many people are so much fascinated by everything which takes
place around them that they forget the connection between the
temporary and the eternal. The stream of life carries them along
and they do not find in themselves any power for reflection and
rest.

The endless misery that surrounds us every day, the interminable
sorrow we meet wherever we go, have filled the hearts of many
with bitterness. They ask themselves passionately why all these
things happen. They want to know why people treat each other so
cruelly.

Airplanes roar along the night sky bent on devastation and death.
Tanks and flamethrowers, guns and submarines do their destructive
work. People delight in torturing each other psychically and
physically; prisons and concentration camps are crowded, and the
horrible persecution of innocent citizens continues.

Reproachfully they say: you speak of higher spheres in which our
spirit is invulnerable, of vast fields of consciousness and of
the justice of cosmic laws.

But we want to know how we can live in peace on earth, we want to
build a better community here below.

To them I would say: "What else is society but a reflection of
our inner self, a projection of what we really are?" We built up
this community together. We unchained this storm. The outbursts
of hatred were caused by tensions of our own making, which
culminated in war and revolution. The atrocities we see about us
are only their results.

If our economic systems are wrong, their injustice originates
from us.

If man wants to create a better world, man must change himself,
and he changes only through self-directed growth.

And this growth begins when man realizes whom and what he is,
when he allows himself to be affected by the powers of his soul,
when he awakens himself and manifests what we call the beauty of
the spirit. This is done by focusing all our thoughts on the
spiritual splendor within us, in other words by meditation.

A meditative life, a contemplative frame of mind does not lead us
to a dreamworld, nor does it mean an escape into other worlds;
meditation may open up a real world, a world from which we can
draw the power and certainty to overcome the difficulties of
outward life that threaten to crush us.

Like the sunbeams which, touching the unruffled surface of a
mountain-lake, penetrate to the bottom, the light of the spirit
illuminates the mind and heart of the man who sees life from a
quiet and reflective standpoint.

When the storms of life rouse our emotions, carry us off and get
a hold on us, we live helplessly in the shadows of a lightless
existence.

The efforts to become conscious of our highest essence involve a
continuous contact with the spiritual side of life; the raising
of our consciousness, an escape from the psycho-magnetic
attraction that originates from the sphere of low desires and
strife, of hatred and false notions in which we daily live. Then
we begin to experience an unassailable peace in ourselves, in
spite of the influences that daily life exercises upon us. And
thus, if people could only be induced to adopt this reflective
attitude toward life, a new community, a spiritual brotherhood
would be the result, binding all people together in love -- love
of mankind -- an expression that is hardly ever heard nowadays.

People lack love. It is a spiritual poverty that is worse than
material misery. Material poverty is its outcome.

There is a spiritual injustice that is worse than any social
injustice. Social injustice results from it. It is secondary.
Let us then look for the primary causes and open our eyes to the
world of the spirit by introspection. When our eyes have opened,
let us go to meet outward life with a word of love and
understanding, ready to give a reply to the vital questions that
are tormenting mankind, and to soften their grief.

Lao-tse as well as Jesus lived in a time that was as dark as the
days in which we are living, and yet at their appearance a
spiritual light was diffused in the hearts of men, and their
lofty conception of life brought to millions a consolation they
badly needed in their worst afflictions.

Forms disappear, life passes and destroys them, but above this
passing life is the immortal eternal spirit, immutable, embracing
and inspiring all alike, a light that shines forever.

Brotherhood, love of man for man -- in spite of social, cultural
or spiritual differences, in spite of all sectarianism -- is the
only basis for a just community.

We see a community of all sorts of living entities engaged in a
struggle among themselves, with an urge to self-preservation,
including those people who regard only their outward appearance
as the "man" and want to maintain it. But according as one
increasingly realizes that man is more than his form, and as this
realization finally leads him to the conviction that behind the
outward life there lives the spirit from which the world of
phenomena originates and by which it is inspired, all antitheses
and divisions will find a solution in the recognition of one
powerful unity of life, in which there is no place for
separateness. He who realizes this knows the all-embracing love
which makes us see ourselves in any other creature.

Religion is a form in which religious man expresses his devotion
to the supreme; what I have been looking for and have committed
to paper is not the form, but the essence, the continuously
renewed discovery of spiritual life, the holy joy flaming up from
a growing realization of what man really is, an approach to, a
closer contact with our true Self -- a penetration into the
Kingdom of God, within us.

A few words must be added to this introduction: This book is not
written in a simple form. But if the reader will take the
trouble himself, or together with others -- to think about what I
have tried to express, the reading of this book may give him the
same joy that I experienced when writing it; perhaps it will
raise him above the grief that befell him, just as the writing of
it helped me, in finding myself again and gave me the power to
rise above this world of hatred and sorrow.

------------------------------------------------------------------
BLAVATSKY NET UPDATE

by Reed Carson

[For more information, see http://www.blavatsky.net.]

We have made a major technical decision.  After studying the
matter for some time, Blavatsky Net has decided to install its
own dedicated server.  The dedicated server will provide faster
response times for visitors to the site and will allow us more
freedom in exactly what we can offer.  One of the advantages is
that we will be able to offer any number of discussion lists with
the same smoothness of operation as we currently experience with
the BN-study discussion list.  I will be installing the upgrade
during October.

For a long time I have regretted not being able to offer a
discussion list in Spanish.  We have found a recurring demand for
it.  With these new capabilities we will be launching a Spanish
talk list to be called BN-esp.  Anyone can sign up for it
starting now and the first message will go out November 1.

Due to the effort this change will require, the two other lists
will also be postponed to start on November 1.

During this past month the syllabus for BN-basic, prepared by
David, Stella, and Amedeo as an introductory agenda, has been
finalized and placed online.  I think they have produced a real
work of value that should show the relevance and depth of
Theosophy to participants.  You can see it by clicking on "talk"
and then on "BN-basic syllabus".  Let me say generally here -- I
do hope some of the long-time students will join this list and
help out.  But please remember the intended audience --
newcommers to the philosophy and those desiring a refresher
course -- and aim the remarks appropriately.

Finding the proper subject matter for continuation of BN-study
has been a vexing problem for some time.  It should not be
presumed to be an "advanced" form of BN-basic.  It should not
conflict with BN-basic and perhaps, even, it should allow scope
for different individuals who have a wide range of exposure to
the subject and simultaneously be a subject of great interest.
And it should bring out Theosophy.  After thinking about it more,
it occurred to me that the best choice I could come up with to
meet these characteristics (and others) is a course syllabus that
I had created for the United Lodge of Theosophists for their
seminar-style class in New York City in 1985.  This course was
entitled "The Bible in the light of Theosophy".  As it stands it
has 36 topics.  Exactly how this might work as an online
discussion list is, of course, quite unknown.  It depends on all
of us.

You can find that syllabus also by clicking on "talk" and then
"BN-study syllabus".  Any thoughts are welcome.

On other fronts, two new study classes were added to the
"meetings" page this month.  Bob Waxman has moved to Sarasota
Florida and started a class there.  He reports it is "moving
along well" and extends a cordial invitation to all.

Another group, calling itself "The Long Beach Theosophy Center",
is becomming increasingly active in Long Beach California.  It
appears that a number of long-time students are adding impetus
there.  On Oct 18 they are holding an open house.  Just a few
days ago word of the upcoming study of the bible at BN reached
Long Beach and we received back a very interesting clarification
of a new bible class there (quite coincidentally having
similarities to the proposed BN-study topic).  We were told the
following (which also appears on the "meetings" page):

> A 2 year class called "The Christian Scheme", studying and
> collating H.  P.  Blavatsky's works with the Bible on the 1st and
> 3rd Tuesday of month.  (First class Oct 5th, 1999 7-9pm.).  The
> course will also include Gnostic gospels, Huston Smith videos,
> etc.  It is designed to capture the esoteric meaning of
> Christianity, by tracking its essential core through various
> religions, symbols and myth.  Study will be somewhat structured
> and includes syllabus.

There is the possibility that we may be exchanging various forms
of helpful information with that class.  Perhaps we will add some
material online for accessory reading for everyone on this
subject of a bible class (not a normal "bible class" lest there
be any confusion).  This in turn suggests another possibility.
If other people have material they would propose for online
placement I would be glad to consider it.  In its fullness, this
is a vast field.

In passing let me mention again that the new study class in
Manhattan is starting on Oct 3.  Details are on the meetings
page.

We are very pleased to report that the first portion of the paper
by Rich Taylor, a step toward his PhD, is now available online
under "scholarship forum" on the homepage.  To be fair to
everyone, in places his views are expressed in a way that BN
would have expressed differently.  Please bear in mind it is
aimed at a professorial audience.  I think that whatever the
details of one's views, his paper contains much material that is
very useful to have assembled.  In some cases it contains notable
insights and we are aware that when that work is completed it
will contain descriptions of some of his discoveries from
research that we think will help the movement.  I agree with an
underlying premise of Rich, that where we can, and while
respecting the occult nature of our subject matter, we should
bring to bear the tool of research.  (Hope I didn't put too many
words in your mouth, Rich.)

I wish to particularly thank Jim Stratos.  There is constant
routine work to do behind the scenes at Blavatsky Net to keep it
operating and at the standards expected on the internet.  Jim has
volunteered to help with these matters and that will be a
constant invisible aid to this whole effort.

We wanted to make reference in this newsletter to Blavatsky
Archives Online, maintained by Daniel Caldwell.  (Can be found
through the "roadmap" click on homepage.) For some time now he
has been placing online original source material relating to
Theosophy and the movement.  The site presents reprints that are
rare and hard-to-find source documents on the life, writings and
teachings of Madame Blavatsky.  We extend our thanks to him for
this ongoing selfless effort and look forward to the constantly
increasing value of his site.

A software error was found a few days ago that I need to confess
to.  The feature for sending email on the member profile was not
working for September and perhaps a little longer.  If you sent
mail the recipient did not get it, though the resulting message
was contradictory.  The error got fixed quickly once we knew of
it.  (The error message was: "No recipient addresses found in
header".)

The Weathervane click on the homepage is intended to describe
changes in the underlying thought of our times.  This month we
found an interesting article on Hell.  Officialdom now views Hell
less in the image offered by Dante and more philosophically.
Hell has become a state not a place.  You might find the article
interesting reading.  Hell hasn't frozen over yet but it no
longer smells of sulfur.

There are now 1306 members including 59 who joined last month.
Of all those, 692 are visible in the profile report.

------------------------------------------------------------------
SELF-DIRECTED EVOLUTION

by James Neil Feinstein

[Written June 7, 1989. Says the author: Due to the impractically
of specifically referring to both male and female in this
article, the use of the masculine gender has been used to refer
to both sexes.]

Self-directed evolution is the high-minded pursuit of taking
control of your own destiny, i.e., taking destiny into your own
hands. It means evolving from imperfection to less imperfection
until the royal crowns of perfection are finally achieved and
culminated. Step by step we can take that magical evolutionary
staircase to the stars.

Courageous souls in the past have taken on this challenge to
purify their lives. Aspiring souls have taken on the challenge
to better themselves and the world around them. Presently, they
stand at the pinnacle of the human race in their own evolution,
sending their love and compassion back to us . . . calling us
to take up that sacred path and duty unto ourselves.

"Climb higher," they call to us. You can hear the mystical
whispers of the Bodhisattvas in the breeze through the rustling
trees. "Climb to your golden destiny. Spiritual knowledge is
for all souls who have earned the privilege."

From one viewpoint, man's inner nature is essentially divided
into a spiritual dichotomy -- his higher nature, called his
Higher Self; and the lower nature, his own personal, selfish ego.
In each human being, there is a general blend of both the lower
and Higher Self together.

From man's Higher Self, his inner divinity, his "Father in
Heaven," comes all his noblest aspirations. The Higher Self is
from where man receives his notions of impersonal love,
forgiveness, compassion, sympathy, pity for others, or
unselfishness.

The lower self is intrinsically egotistical, self-centered,
petty, unforgiving, wrathful, or fearful. The Higher Self
constantly influences the lower self; yet the lower self
absolutely never influences the higher. The Higher Self is the
eternal flame of deathless spirit burning with divine
inspirations in a man's heart. The lower self desires things for
itself without regard to the needs of others. It exists only for
its own selfish needs.

One of the first steps of self-directed evolution is to aspire to
live in the higher part of your constitution or being. Be
gentle, be just, be forgiving, be charitable, be compassionate --
the great spiritual teachers of antiquity have taught us. If
this is done successfully over a period of time, the spiritual
growth within will be greatly enhanced. You'll feel yourself
growing toward the good, then even better, and leave behind the
selfish desires of the lower self.

Learn to live to assist and benefit others around you. Help your
family, friends, coworkers, neighbors, relatives, etc. in
whatever capabilities you possess. The splendid attitude of
helping others will be a positive force within you. And as you
help others, you help yourself! By unselfishly looking out for
the needs and concerns of your fellow man, you're making
tremendous karma that will help you progress in your own
evolution. Self-sacrifice is the sublime service and duty for
promoting spiritual growth. It benefits everyone.

Another crucial step in the journey on the evolutionary path is
purification. Purification is the grand process of eliminating
impurities from the mind and body. (Naturally, the inner man
benefits greatly from this process). Called KATHARSIS by the
ancient Greek philosophers, purification is the cleansing process
that promotes self-discipline, self-abnegation, and
self-forgetfulness.

All vices, both mental and physical, must be conquered. As the
old allegorical adage tells us: "Only the pure of mind can see
God." The human soul must be pure in order to move forward in its
spiritual evolution.

The body is considered to be the "Temple of the Living God." As
stated in the New Testament, 1 Corinthians, 3:16, "Do you not
know that you are a temple of God, and that the Spirit of God
dwells in you?" Verily, there is more than meets the eye of what
constitutes the inner man of the human being. For truly, man
possesses divinity within himself.

The body is not just a physical apparatus and nothing more. It
houses the human soul and other significant principles.
Therefore, the body must be kept clean and be considered holy so
that what lies within is also healthy and strong. Pollute the
body with too much weight from overeating, too much alcohol or
drugs, too much smoking, i.e., vices of anything toxic, and this
has a direct effect on hindering spiritual progress.

The human body must be fit and strong to deal with the rigors of
the evolutionary path of life. Only the purest of foods should
be eaten to keep the body healthy. Vegetarianism is recommended
but must be the natural decision and personal commitment of the
aspirant. There are many factors involved in becoming a
vegetarian and the reader is urged to investigate the possibility
for himself. What may be right to eat for one person may not be
right for another. Research and discretion are highly advised.

As physical purification is most important to self-directed
evolution, mental purification is just as significant if not more
so. Mental purification is the vital cleansing of the mind.
This aspect of purification lies within the depths of ourselves.
The inner thoughts we possess shape our actions and destiny. We
are the sum total of all of our previous thoughts up to this
point in our lives and evolution. Purify the thought process,
and we purify a critical portion of our nature. A Buddhist
thought dictates: "We are what we think."

All personal, psychological difficulties must be eliminated in
order to succeed. Negative thoughts such as black hatred,
burning revenge, fierce anger, intimidating fear, blinding
jealousy, or other deep-seated feelings only poison the mind.
When we can free ourselves of these troublesome thoughts, we take
a major step forward in our evolution.

The Delphi Oracle of ancient Greece stated majestically: MAN:
KNOW THYSELF. This succinct statement has a deeper pregnant
meaning than at first glance. However, in order to achieve
mental purity, you must truly begin to know yourself. You must
study your strengths and weaknesses. When self-analysis occurs,
and a subjective inventory has been taken of your good and bad
characteristics, an attempt must be made to turn weaknesses into
strengths.

For example, the weak-willed man needs to develop will power and
strength; the shy needs to develop friendliness; the angry needs
to be calm; the strong must learn gentleness; and the rushed
should cultivate patience.

There is an old Sanskrit maxim appertaining to this theme.
"Yadyad devata kamayate tattad devata bhavati." Which says,
"Whatever a divine being desires, that very thing the divine
being becomes."

Thoughts need to be pure as sunshine. But trying to pacify an
unruly mind is no easy task. With each negative thought that
enters into our minds, we must diligently contradict these
thoughts with purer thoughts of goodness. The more this task is
accomplished, the more we begin to think with a more positive
attitude, thus eliminating grooves of bad thinking. Remember
that thoughts always precede words and actions. Purify the
thought and, therefore, purify the deed.

For more severe psychological difficulties, perhaps professional
counseling may be required. This is a personal decision and
should be regarded with deliberation and care. Work with a
professional with whom you feel comfortable. Go with a
definitive purpose of solving a particular problem. Channel your
thought energies toward solving the problem; in time, with will
power and persistence, you'll solve it. Once you conquer one
problem, it will easier to "jump over the next hurdle" in the
future. You'd be surprised to ascertain how much you will grow
and develop, channeling your energies toward a specific spiritual
goal. In time, you'll find you'll have more confidence in
yourself.

Also, if you pay close attention to the circumstances of your
life, you will discover Nature assisting you in very distinct and
subtle ways to help you achieve your goals. For example, certain
obstacles may be put in your path that will force you to develop
certain positive traits. A woman having fearful thoughts might
find herself confronted with circumstances that will help her
develop courage. Suddenly, she is given more challenging
responsibility at her job. Over a period of time, she has the
wonderful opportunity to overcome her fear if she meets her
challenge successfully. As a result of her success at work,
other situations that were once very fearful were not quite so
intimidating. She had taken a major step forward in her
evolution.

Examples of evolutionary challenges like this one can be found
throughout a myriad of human experiences. The reader is urged to
study the events of his life in order to make self-directed
evolution work for him. Once he begins to do this, he can begin
to quicken his growth by lessening or conquering his weaknesses.

The rewards of purification will pay spiritual dividends in the
future. There is nothing like a peaceful mind without nagging
negative thoughts to trouble it constantly. You become more
effective in work and any kind of concentration.

Mental purity is well worth the effort, no matter what the
obstacles and the amount of endurance necessary. Self-directed
evolution, once applied assiduously to one's life, becomes a
lifelong process. The spiritual progress made is joy and
satisfaction well worth the initial effort.

Another pertinent factor that affects spiritual growth is the
ability to control emotions. Emotions are elusive and slippery,
and can be most difficult to control when we are confronted with
stressing circumstances. However, learning to control emotions
is highly emphasized for successful self-directed evolution. In
order to achieve this, EVEN-MINDEDNESS may be recommended to keep
the mind balanced and in equilibrium.

Even-mindedness is the noble practice of keeping the mind from
going to extremes, either in elation or despair, depending on the
particular external event. The goal is to keep the mind in one
place at all times -- even -- in between the pair of opposites,
joy and pain. This is identical to the fourth Buddhist Paramita,
Virag, indifference to pleasure and to pain.

Once you begin to practice this valuable mental technique, you
will eventually experience the difference between the
overreaction of emotions and staying balanced, thus even-minded.
Even mindedness is the perfect antidote for the petty, annoying
nuisances that plaque us all in our daily affairs and routines.
It will promote peace of mind and valuable self-control -- prizes
within themselves!

It is the Bodhisattva conquering his lower, personal emotions who
practices keeping his mind even. He knows the wisdom of
controlling his emotions, thus keeping his mind fixed, and
therefore, concentrated in any proper direction that he chooses.

Self-directed evolution can become a daily joy if you believe
that there is more to life than the nine-to-five consciousness.
Self-directed evolution combined with our daily work and family
duties presents us with a worthwhile healthy challenge to make
our lives better, even more productive and harmonious.

Perhaps the great poet Tennyson illustrates these ideas
succinctly when he pens:

> "That men may rise on stepping stones
> Of their dead selves to higher things."

The secret of self-directed evolution lies within the soul of the
reader. He can strengthen and purify his life, thus quickening
his spiritual growth and evolution. If the road seems difficult
in the beginning, it's because this new aspect of discipline and
self-control has not yet been exercised to a greater extent in
the past. Don't be discouraged if you fail. The Great Souls who
have traversed the spiritual path before us fell many times. The
great difference is that they got up, brushed themselves off, and
kept moving. They are perfected because of their noble
persistence.

Life is like a dusty trail; but the real pioneer is the one who
keeps moving forward when the fierce wind blows dust into his
face. He just squints into the hot sun and rides on.

------------------------------------------------------------------
THEOSOPHY AND CHRISTIAN SCIENCE

by A. Trevor Barker

[From THE HILL OF DISCERNMENT, Theosophical University Press,
1941, p. 346-59.]

In the Theosophical Society we make it a practice to hold out the
hand of friendship to every religious body, to every body of
students who are working along lines, different though they may
be from our own, which nevertheless have ultimately for their aim
and purpose the spiritual elevation of mankind, to some degree at
any rate. It is this very attitude we hold to the movement known
as Christian Science, and also to the individuals in that great
movement, including in its ranks, as it does, some millions of
people. Therefore anybody who comes to hear what Theosophy has
to say about the particular doctrines which are believed in and
practiced to a very large extent by Christian Scientists, will
please understand that we examine these views very impersonally,
very sympathetically, and purely with the object of trying to
understand what the ancient Wisdom Religion of mankind that today
we call Theosophy has to teach about the particular science which
Christian Scientists claim to practice.

As a matter of fact I have personally had many conversations with
Christian Scientists, and it has been my experience that in many
ways they are an extraordinarily open-minded body of people. I
think it is just to say that for those who take it seriously the
spiritual life is for them the main thing. The sincere among
them are seeking the religious life, and the way they go about it
certainly brings results to some degree. At any rate they are
decidedly not a materialistic body; they do care for the things
of the spirit, and what we are going to examine tonight is how
their ideas and their philosophy and their so-called metaphysics
work out in practice.

The ideas of Theosophy, the ideas of the Wisdom Religion, upon
the whole question of metaphysical healing, as indeed upon other
questions, are not the ideas and speculations of any single
individual, but they are the great Truths that have been stated
and restated by all the great Sages and Seers of antiquity. You
will find them in the teachings of the great Buddha; you will
find them in the teachings of Confucius and Lao-tse; you will
find them in the teaching of Plato and Plotinus; and in the
teachings of the Syrian Sage Jesus. Therefore do not think that
these ideas have sprung from any limited personal viewpoint. Not
at all. They are a statement of the very laws and fundamentals
not only of our own nature, but of the relationship of man to the
Universe of which he is a part. Understand that to be in brief
what the great doctrines of Theosophy are. Therefore the first
thing that we have to grasp in connection with Theosophical
teaching is this: that it is primarily a metaphysical and ethical
system which is designed, by bringing about a purification of the
lower nature of man, to inculcate right thought, right living,
and, as a consequence, that correctness of action which
ultimately results in liberation from not only all physical
disease, but from all suffering.

WHAT IS TRUE IN CHRISTIAN SCIENCE

We may well ask ourselves: Is there anything of real spiritual
value in the teachings of Christian Science? Well,
unhesitatingly, as a Theosophical student I would say decidedly
there is. Its adherents have many of the great Theosophical
truths, which they not only believe in but which they practice to
a considerable extent. As said, it is always one of our
objectives, not merely to seek differences between the
Theosophical viewpoint and the viewpoint of other people, but by
comparative study to strive to see what there is of truth
underlying the ideas of other religions. We strive to apply the
principle of the Buddha as declared by the Emperor Ashoka, the
great Buddhist Emperor of India: that there shall be no decrying
of other sects, no depreciation of others without a cause, but a
rendering of honor to whatever in other sects is worthy of honor.
It is in this spirit that we shall approach our subject of study.

In asking ourselves what there is of value, let us apply the old
Christian teaching "By their fruits shall ye know them." It is a
fact that today many of our most efficient business executives in
England and America are Christian Scientists. There are many
people all over the world in high positions who, without saying
much about it, actually believe in the doctrines of Christian
Science and practice them. It is a curious but interesting fact
which I have myself observed, that in the lives of these men
there are certain spiritual factors. I have noticed that they
believe first of all that the great life of commerce and business
is not something which should operate on the principle of an eye
for an eye and a tooth for a tooth -- not at all. They believe
that the life of commerce and business is primarily an activity
of service on the part of each business organization to the whole
as a unit. They believe that in the conduct of their business
affairs, if they do not treat those with whom they are entering
into business relationships in the same manner in which they
would like to be treated themselves, they realize, I say, that
one day it will come back to them. They realize the wonderful
truth of the Sermon on the Mount: that if you would have men act
toward you in a certain way, you must act in that way toward
them. They practice it in their business, and they will tell you
that as a result they are phenomenally successful. The accounts
they give of their success are absolutely amazing. They will
succeed where another man will starve.

I have often heard from them similar stories to this one: "Yes,
you know, I was finished, down and out. My business had gone to
pot, and I had no religion. I had had a big business and I held
a big position; but I always believed (and I took a pride in it)
that if I could put the other fellow out of business -- well, I
should be doing something. I put many of my opponents out of
business, and finally I was put out of business myself. That was
the result. When I was finally down and completely out, somehow
the great ideas of Christian Science came to the rescue, and I
got up and I began to apply those principles in my business.
Then a great change came over my attitude, and I gained a certain
faith, a certain strength, a certain security of outlook; and the
result was that little by little those men I had fought in
commerce became my friends; we worked together, and I found
business where previously I had found nothing." Thus, they built
up little by little even their material business without injuring
anybody; conducting honorably and fairly all their enterprises,
and the results were good in every way.

I think if Christian Science produces that profound effect in
people's minds, there must be a certain amount of good in it.
That same good is to be found in the lives of those who really
practice the great truths of Theosophy; for remember, the ethics
in every religion are practically identical. They are presented
in a different form, but that is the only main difference. I
have related that story simply to illustrate to you that we do
not look upon this problem from an unsympathetic point of view.

WHERE THEOSOPHISTS DIFFER FROM CHRISTIAN SCIENTISTS

Now I want to turn to our understanding in the light of Theosophy
of this whole problem of metaphysical healing; for we do differ
from the Christian Scientists upon certain rather fundamental
things. We agree with them in many things, but we differ from
them in others. It is absolutely essential (and we should not be
doing our duty if we did not do so), from time to time to make it
quite clear what those differences are. I do believe this: that
Christian Scientists would be probably the first to have an open
mind and to listen to the ideas of the Wisdom Religion upon this
subject. Certainly one Christian Scientist friend of mine said
to me: "By Jove! What wonderful ideas there are in Theosophy;
there are beautiful things in it; I wish I knew more about it."
And he said: "You know, if you could show the Christian
Scientists a better way to do what they are doing now, they would
be the first to take it up."

We differ from them upon the question of the application of the
mind to the healing of the diseases of the body; upon the whole
question of affirmation and denial; and to some extent on their
attitude to money and the taking of money in connection with
healing processes that they claim to be spiritual. What is the
teaching of Theosophy upon the cure of diseases of the body by
the influence of one mind upon another? First of all we must
consider the cause, according to the ancient teachings, of the
diseases of the body. Primarily, they are rooted in the mind,
they are rooted in wrong thinking, they are rooted in wrong
action, because wrong action is always the result of wrong
thinking.

Immediately I can hear my Christian Scientist friends saying:
"Well, but that is exactly what we say." It is true. They do say
it. Wherein then is the difference? First of all, just think for
one moment and, you will probably be able without any difficulty
to remember many cases of invalids who have been born with mortal
or chronic diseases; at least they have acquired them so early in
life that there cannot be the slightest doubt that these
individuals, as children, did not do any wrong thing to bring
upon them such diseases. Moreover often they cannot be traced to
the parents, because there are many cases on record of physically
sound and particularly high-minded and good parents who produced
such an unfortunate child. Here you have one example where the
Christian Scientist's idea of all physical disease being caused
by wrong thinking is not explicable by their science, but is
nonetheless explicable in the light of Theosophy. We say that
the disease of the baby IS caused in the long past by wrong
thinking, and the truth is that so-called right thinking, even
spiritual thinking and spiritual living here and now, is quite
incapable of wiping out the more serious physical effects of
wrong thinking and living in past lives. In other words our
present physical diseases, --

[For the sake of completeness it should be emphasized here that
modern psychological research has demonstrated that many real
physical diseases such as the common cold, lumbago, rheumatism,
pneumonia, etc., can be the result of a deep psychological
neurosis. Such manifestations are an exception to the general
rule above mentioned. Cure the neurosis and the recurrence of
these physical symptoms disappears.]

-- and in particular the malignant ones, are not amenable to
treatment by altering any thinking process here and now; because
the roots, the seeds, of thought which have eventually come to
fruition in the disease of the body actually were planted or sown
in the long past, in preceding lives. Theosophy, remember,
teaches the evolution of the soul through a long series of
reincarnations, from body to body: that is the way that the soul
gradually learns the lessons of life, rising step by step to
perfection.

You will see that once you get the idea that the joys and sorrows
of our present life are the fruits very largely -- not entirely
but very largely -- of the thoughts and actions of a previous
birth, it immediately throws a different light upon the cure of
physical disease, because the Theosophical teaching is that those
physical diseases that we see manifested in our own bodies here
and now, are the results of this wrong thinking working downward
and out of our system for ever. It is the final demand and
retribution of the karmic law: "As ye sow, so shall ye reap."
Those actions of disharmony or wrong are evil, and inevitably
they will work out, not only in disease but in other ways.
Therefore when they reach the final stage, which is the physical,
they are in the nature of a purgation and you will get rid of
them. The actual pain, the suffering, and the discomfort, are
all things that to the man with the spiritual point of view can
in a very real sense be accepted and welcomed in a truly
Theosophical spirit, because he knows he is getting rid of the
evils; they are on their way out; he is clearing a debt to
himself and nature.

THE OTHER SIDE OF THE PICTURE

Now then, let us look at the other side of the picture: What
happens and what is the effect of the practice of so-called
mental healing upon the diseases of the physical body? We may put
ourselves in the bands of the Christian Science practitioner, or
one who practices mind cure, or mental healing, or hypnotism:
whatever the different categories may be, they all come back to
the same main method and principle. First of all, then, we have
to consider the effect upon ourselves of treatment by another --
a practitioner -- and then the application of the same principles
to ourselves. When we put ourselves in the hands of a so-called
mental healer, what happens? He applies his psychological power
of suggestion and will to the mind of the patient, and to the
inner or astral body of the man, which is an exceedingly
sensitive mechanism, the farmwork upon which the body itself is
built. This astral body retains its structure and remains
throughout the whole of the life with practically no change at
all, whereas the physical body is constantly changing and in a
state of flux. It is through the astral body that impressions
and thought are actually conveyed to the human brain. In it and
through it play the life currents and nerve forces which feed the
physical body with life and heat and energy.

It is upon that astral body, by the action of thought, that the
Christian Science practitioner, unknown to himself, begins to
work; and the first thing that happens is that by conversation
and by his own mental practice, which is called I believe "absent
treatment," and by similar methods, he actually teaches the
patient to deny the reality of the diseased condition of his
mechanism; and not only for some particular disease, but he
teaches him to deny the reality of the material element of his
being altogether. The practitioner says that matter has no
existence at all; that it is pure illusion of our senses and is
therefore evil; that the only reality is Spirit, which he calls
God or Good; and he quotes and interprets many passages of the
Christian Science scriptures to show that all bodily ills and all
the ills of the flesh were never meant to be at all, that they
are all resolvable by simply identifying us with this principle
of good, and denying the existence of what we all know to be a
fact.

We have bodies; there is not the slightest doubt about it. Look
out in the solar system and you see the great planets and stars,
and you know that there is a material Universe. It is built of
matter. The great Theosophical teaching is that matter and
spirit are one substance; they are only different in their
different degrees of manifestation, and only during
manifestation. The ultimate root substance is one; but during
the whole period of a manifested universe there are three
factors, three principles, that we cannot get rid of. One is
Spirit, another is matter, and the third factor, friends, is
consciousness or intelligence. Remember that consciousness or
intelligence would be unable to function and to know itself as
I-am-I without that same despised matter, which the Christian
Scientist denies.

This statement of fact which you will find in the great religions
of antiquity is one that carries with it a corollary, namely,
that the mind or consciousness in man is dual in character and
nature. It can identify itself with the material pole of its
being, or it can identify itself with the spiritual pole. As it
identifies itself with the higher, the lower is transformed and
raised into divinity. As it identifies itself with the lower,
man becomes more brutal, more animal, more selfish, more
separate. Matter is a fact; and in every atom, in every point of
boundless space, matter exists, even though you cannot see it;
and in every point of that boundless infinitude pulses the great
rhythm of life, the Great Breath as it is called in the esoteric
philosophy. That Great Breath, that Spirit of Life, which pulses
in the heart of you and of every created thing, pulses likewise
in the very core of every atom of this vast Universe: even
so-called dead matter is radiant with life.

Therefore, good and evil are purely relative terms. They are
purely relative to our consciousness. That which we call evil is
merely the activity, the pull, of the material pole of our being:
that material substance which is absolutely necessary to the
divine consciousness as a means of expressing itself in this
material world. In order to contact this material universe we
have to have a body of flesh and blood through which to act, and
that body is composed of lives and atoms which have not been
raised to the level of conscious thinkers as we have ourselves.
They have their own nature, their own existence; but while
recognizing that the animal nature is good and right and proper
and necessary for our activities here, we can identify ourselves
with the spiritual nature in us, and shall thus be able to
separate ourselves in consciousness from that material thing in
us so that it has no power over us.

That is the truth that the Christian Scientist is trying to get
at. He denies all power to what he calls mortal mind, or the
material aspect of his being, and he strives to identify himself
with the spiritual pole of his being. To the extent that he is
successful in merging his intellectual consciousness with his own
Divine Spirit, he is living in terms of the Theosophical
philosophy; he is living in terms of the highest ethics that have
been taught by the Sages and Seers, but -- and here is where the
rub comes -- in striving to perfect himself spiritually and
physically he says to himself, "Well, it may be that my body is
an illusion, but I have a very diseased body, and it does not
suit me. I am not going to endure it; it is all wrong. God is
good; I am trying to live a spiritual life, and I am going to get
rid of this disease." So what does he do? He gets to work with
his mind -- or the practitioner does for him! -- and he denies the
diseased condition. He says that it is no longer there, and he
goes on denying it, and any manifestation of pain he denies. He
says: "No! Away! This body is perfectly sound; it has no reality
at all really, and I am going to be well right here and now." And
he continues this in such a concentrated fashion that if he has a
successful mental practitioner, and if he is determined himself,
the result is, friends, that even a malignant disease may
disappear.

Now you may say: "But, surely, that is what we want." Well, now,
is it? This is the secret of the great attraction of Christian
Science for humanity. What do we want out of life? We want
health and the material needs of existence to make life
worthwhile. Therefore if someone will come along and say, "This
is the very thing, you will get all the money you want and lose
all the disease that you have," it must be a very attractive
proposition if you have never heard of any other teaching -- most
attractive. That is the secret of its success. But what happens
in this process of mental healing? The mind actually seizes upon
that inner sensitive mechanism upon which the body is built, the
inner mind of man, and the actual physical effect is forced back
-- so strong is that mental force -- it is forced back where it
came from. It is forced back to the germ of thought from which
it originated and it is replanted in the mind as a thought of
evil, as a thought of disharmony, of disruption, carrying with it
also the evil and selfish intention of the individuals concerned
therein. Now that is a mighty serious matter.

On the other hand, a little patience and the original disease,
with the help and assistance of a competent physician, would
probably have eventually worked out of the body. Do Theosophists
believe in doctors or medicine, shall we say? Why, if good
physicians, decidedly yes; in a good system of medicine, yes; and
in fact we advocate most decidedly that the diseases of the flesh
should be treated by physical means; and the object of every good
physician should be to find a means to guide and help the body to
throw off the poisons which are the root of the disease. It has
reached its last stage; the cause of it has already left the mind
and is present in the body.

THREE TYPES OF HEALING

You may say to me, "It is all very well, but healings do occur."
It is quite true that they do; and they occur in three
categories. The first is by means of this process of inhibition
or damming back, which is a replanting of the diseased condition
for future births -- and remember that those seeds of thought
will come to fruition in this or a succeeding birth plus compound
interest of course. It is very like putting your finger upon the
end of a garden hosepipe with the water turned on: you know how
the pressure gets greater and greater, and eventually the water
comes out with added force. That is what happens in the case of
damming back the disease.

There is another way that healings do take place, and we must say
this in justice to the Christian Scientists. There are many
diseases which are actually caused in this present life very
largely by imagination. So powerful is human imagination in its
effect upon the human body that it can and does actually cause
the derangement of the life forces; and many ills, many nervous
troubles, can actually be cured by directing the thought of the
patient to higher things, by the practice of the ethics of all
the great religions, by a forgetting of self in the practice of
kindness, tolerance, brotherly love, sympathy, compassion. Any
good physician will tell you that the effect for good upon the
bodies of his patients of these human qualities is enormous. If
you can get people's thoughts off themselves, and get them to
study the great Theosophical philosophy, you will immediately
begin to do something for them. Healings do occur in that way,
and it is a perfectly legitimate healing -- there is no damming
back. Take yourselves: you may have all sorts of ailments --
dyspeptic and general derangement, that you suddenly begin to
find mysteriously leave you when your mind becomes energized with
spiritual things. Now actually do you think about your body
under those conditions? No, you don't. You forget yourselves in
the service of the human race. You raise the mind to its
spiritual pole; you study the great teachings of all the great
Sages; and little by little you find that this mortal self of
yours becomes purified and translucent, and the many troubles
that you had disappear. Your whole being and mind begin to open,
begin to expand; you begin to widen your sympathies, and the
result is enormously beneficial. But don't confuse that method
of healing with the other one of deliberately denying and damming
back the cause of the disease -- that is a different matter.

The third category which we must mention is that of the healing
that took place by the agency of the great Saints -- a Buddha or
a Christ. There are records in the New Testament of how Jesus,
for example, did heal many diseases, many sick people. Do you
ask how that is possible if these other things spoken of are
true? Well, friends, many things are possible to a great Sage
that are not possible even -- shall we say -- to a Christian
Science practitioner? Show me anybody today of the stature of
Jesus of Nazareth, and show me his healings, and I will believe
when I see. Actually a great Master of Wisdom is alone capable
of knowing the inner causes that have led to any particular
condition of any individual. He is a knower of the law of Karma;
therefore where he has in authenticated cases completely healed
one who was blind from his birth, where he has raised the sick,
cured the lame, and so on, there are two things to bear in mind.
One is that he can know when that original cause has reached its
final stage, and then he can by the application of his own
knowledge of the laws of nature hasten that process; and you will
find in the Theosophical philosophy that it is nearly always by
physical means that he does it; by a transference of physical
energy. You remember the case -- I think it was a woman -- in
the New Testament, who tried to get near to the Christ, and
finally touched the hem of his robe, and he knew that something
had happened, because he perceived that virtue had gone out of
him, as he said. Well, it is merely a transference of the
physical life energies, and no interference with the mind at all.

Those are the three categories of healing. So you see it is both
true that "healings" occur and it is not true. It is true that
there is something that looks like a healing, but actually is
something which is more potent for evil than the original disease
--in fact the last stage of the man who is healed by the damming
back process is far worse than the first.

THE MESSAGE OF THEOSOPHY

And so we come now finally to the message of Theosophy to those
who, whether by disease, whether by poverty, whether by any of
the circumstances of life, need help, who feel that they have
reached the end of their tether and that there is nothing to be
done. Well, friends, Christian Scientists would say that the
condition of anybody is not hopeless. Theosophy says exactly the
same thing. Both have remedies and they are very similar in some
respects. Both appeal to the spiritual nature of the individual;
but you will probably find that ultimately the Theosophical
appeal is the nobler one, because it is founded upon an absolute
knowledge of the laws of every man's own being. It is founded
upon a knowledge of the laws of the relation of man to the
Universe, and therefore we would expect that Theosophy would be
able to give something vital, give something practical, to
everybody under all conditions of life: that it would have a
solution, in other words, for every problem; and, friends, it
has. There is not the slightest doubt that if you go about it in
the right way, if you look for the light of the Universe, the
light that lighteth every man who cometh into the world; if you
look for it where Christ the Galilean Sage told us to look,
namely within our own hearts, you will find something.

You remember that marvelous Sermon on the Mount. You remember
how Christ drew attention to the facts of Nature: to the birds,
to the growing things, to the beasts of the field, and so on; and
he pointed out how their needs were supplied by nature; and then
he said, "Ye of little faith, do ye imagine that your Father in
Heaven [your own spiritual higher nature] does not know that ye
have need of these things?"

Theosophy first of all is the quintessence of duty, and the
living of the spiritual life is first and foremost the
performance of duty in your own place, the doing of that task
which lies next to the hand of every individual in the sphere of
life in which he was born -- not the neglect of it, not the
running away from it, but the effort to perform every aspect of
duty that he finds before him simply from day to day in the light
of the spiritual nature within him. I will venture to say that
the man so living never will find himself "down and out." I would
say to the man who is down and out: let him get the spiritual
point of view; let him get a new mind; let him turn his material
mind toward the Higher Nature within himself. He will be amazed
at the result. He will set forth in the morning with that
complete confidence that having performed every known duty that
he has to the very best of his ability, that which he needs will
undoubtedly be forthcoming; but he has to work for it -- it won't
come miraculously. He has to do the simple things in the
simplest way with that faith in his own higher nature that will
illumine every step of the Path he takes in his day's work.
Friends, it is a simple thing, but it is a profoundly true one.
It is possible of practice to each one of us. It works as a
living benediction in the lives of those who practice it and it
can be brought about by invoking the aid of the Higher Self, that
Spiritual Self in us.

Theosophy World: Dedicated to the Theosophical Philosophy and its Practical Application