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THEOSOPHY WORLD ---------------------------------- November, 1999
An Internet Magazine Dedicated to the Theosophical Philosophy
And its Practical Application in the Modern World
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(Please note that the materials presented in THEOSOPHY WORLD are
the intellectual property of their respective authors and may not
be reposted or otherwise republished without prior permission.)
"Spirit in Crisis: Chapter I: The Antithesis," by H. Oosterink
"Promoting the Wisdom Religion in Modern Times," by Martin Euser
"Nature: The Mighty Mother," by Katherine Tingley
"Lightbulb on the Path," by Bart Lidofsky
"How I Came to Join the Theosophical Society," by Christine Hanson
"Blavatsky Net Update," by Reed Carson
"The Land of Magical Poetry," by James Neil Feinstein
"In Support of Genuine Theosophy," Part I,
by Grigor Vahan Ananikian
"There Were Such Great Men," by G. de Purucker
"Visit the Blavatsky Archives Online," by Daniel H. Caldwell
"The Creative Power of Thought," by A. Trevor Barker
> The attempt to render in a European tongue the grand panorama of
> the ever-periodically recurring LAW -- impressed upon the
> plastic minds of the first races endowed with Consciousness by
> those who reflected the same from the Universal Mind -- is
> daring, for no human language, save the Sanskrit -- which is
> that OF THE GODS -- can do so with any degree of adequacy. But
> the failures in this work must be forgiven for the sake of the
> THE SECRET DOCTRINE, I, 269
SPIRIT IN CRISIS: CHAPTER I: THE ANTITHESIS
by H. Oosterink
[Theosophical University Press, Covina, California, 1946, pages
In these days of unrest and confusion, of human misery and
smarting pain, my thoughts often return to the day that suddenly
brought us to the threshold of a new world of experience.
I shall never forget the evening following the day on which
Holland was compelled to lay down arms. A few bright spring days
had gone by, unreal through the events of the war, bewildering by
the sudden change from a country at peace to a country at war --
and then the capitulation followed.
We wondered fearfully what the immediate consequences of the
capitulation would be.
In the morning we learned that our country had ceased further
resistance and that the German troops were to enter our town.
The day passed in great suspense, but nothing happened. We
remained in our houses and waited. It was very quiet, no one
appeared in the streets. Nature breathed peace and quiet, as
contrasted with our unrest, but toward the evening it became
unbearable to remain indoors any longer.
Then my wife and I went outside and walked along woodland paths
leading to the wide, deserted heath. It was an exceedingly
beautiful and peaceful evening. We went on in silence and
gradually our minds relaxed.
The events of the previous days fell into the background. Nature
is good and lenient. It possesses a magic power that speaks to
the soul. It brings peace to a restless heart. On this peaceful
evening I conquered my oncoming fear. Though the future looked
gloomy, though all sorts of things could happen to us, that we
could not yet imagine, I asked myself why I should worry
unnecessarily. In my life I had always found the power to
overcome difficulties. My inner experience, my philosophy of
life, my deep-most faith had always raised me above oncoming
feelings of weakness. So why should not I be able to stand this
ordeal -- together with those who were dear to me? Even if
everything should change, and the storms of war and misery that
had risen so suddenly should assail us vigorously, a strong man
ought not to go down before it. He ought to collect all his
strength for the fight against fear and anxiety.
While I thus meditated, the thought struck me to write down my
reminiscences, to inform others of that which would give me
strength, to help them in word and writing. I thought: what I
gain in faith and insight may be an encouragement to others.
I shall free myself but also others; I shall write down whatever
is valuable and I shall string my thoughts and connect them with
the golden thread of my soul.
Alternately I shall write about the events that follow -- and,
moreover, about that which I feel in my soul.
Thinking thus, my mind calmed down. When I came home, I was
prepared for the things to come, whatever they might be.
Life may hurry us, hurt and wound us, terrify us or make us
desperate, but only when we forget whom and what we are. Behind
the part of us that receives these impressions for digestion,
there lies in the stillness of our being that which has no name,
the Nameless, the Boundless, which we are. This is the
background of our life, an unassailable world where we are safe
from whatever may happen to us and into the quiet of which the
din of this world does not penetrate.
From this invisible and nameless world of our own comes the
strength on which we live, whatever name may be given to it.
What, as a rule, penetrates to our consciousness are the daily
occurrences that influence our feelings and thoughts. Without
knowledge of the invisible worlds which form the background of
his life, man is helpless, at the mercy of any storm which may
drive him hither and thither.
In days of trial he falters.
Well, we, the part of us which has a name, our personality, which
lives in the midst of these world-shaking events, we have to pass
through this time. But with the knowledge of the boundless
background of our being and the certainty of the unassailable
peace of the spirit we shall try to be ourselves; that is, to be
conscious in our highest Self.
We can find the way to it within ourselves and follow the still
path which leads to the highest contemplation.
I want to work out this thought. I want to ask myself why life
underwent this sudden change. Though people are startled and
driven on by a sudden storm and life is still confused, these
thoughts of the higher laws of life and the confidence in them
will give us rest. We do not want to perish in a world of war,
in a revolution.
Now that life suddenly has assumed vivid colors and people do not
want to understand and love any longer, it is now that we must
try to rise above it.
The first few days depressed by excitement and fear of the things
that are to come, go by. Social life, which for a moment gets
out of joint, recovers quickly. Soon the tumult of war fades
away, or rather, is farther off. We do hear of much sorrow that
has been suffered in our country, and realize that farther south,
in Belgium and France, people are enduring the same. Will fate
take a turn for the better, after all?
And yet, in spite of all these occurrences higher thoughts again
occur to me, thoughts which I write down as in a diary, by the
side of the events of the day, collected as a whole, a collection
of images that fill my life, give substance to it.
The Germans have come and have occupied our country. Unrest
reigns among the Dutch people. They see the change and try to
understand what this occupation means. Outwardly life has
remained the same. The baker brings bread, the butcher meat, the
milkman milk, and yet our hearts are aching throughout these
days. In our minds there is a feeling of indignation at the
wrong done to us, which determines our attitude and makes us
immune to slogans and propaganda.
Strange soldiers march through our streets, singing. They are
unobtrusive in their behavior, but we ignore them; they do not
belong here. We, civilians, are compelled to perform all sorts
of services in the A.R.P.
The war is raging in Belgium and France. Deeper and deeper the
German armies penetrate into these countries and we feel that the
situation there is leading to a catastrophe; in the night, trains
go to Germany; the rails run behind our house and during the
night heavy goods trains go to the East; we realize that our
stocks are running short; the press is beginning to change its
tone; pamphlets about the new times appear. The NSB [National
Socialistische Beweging, the Dutch Quisling Party] shows its
head; the first regulations are published. The Dutch people wait
and see. They feel that the pressure will become stronger, and
they take a firm stand against the things that will come.
Convinced that no harm will be done, true-hearted, they fill out
the forms that are sent to them, in which they register their
possessions, their cars, their stock of gold and foreign
currency. They try to keep up their old standards, their
societies, associations and parties. It becomes increasingly
clear that an inevitable change is being enacted in social life.
Many thoughts occur to me. Above all I want to remain conscious
of the immutability of the great background of life, whatever the
norms may be that the occupying power will apply to life,
whatever the social changes which they want us to get used to,
whether good or bad. In reality all events only disturb the
surface of life.
Although a hurricane may rage on the ocean, tossing the waves,
the deep sea remains unperturbed. Thus it is in human life.
In spite of all the tumult which surrounds us, Creation works on
in silence. And in this creation Man lives, partly mortal,
We see the existing form, the personality, which has a name in
life, but we do not see behind it, the nameless world of Man,
from which he rises, from which he originates and derives his
essence, a nameless world, the background of which is the whole
creation, the Boundless Self. In the spaceless depth of the core
of his soul, Man is eternal. Spaceless because it does not
occupy space, deep because it embraces everything. In it is
rooted the force on which Man lives and this force pushes
humanity along irresistibly. There reign the eternal laws which
no man infringes with impunity. He who looks into this nameless,
boundless world of himself sees everything clearly and knows --
in all peace -- that all is well.
This world is unassailable, and it is the foundation of the
outward life which changes and passes away.
There, where silence reigns, Nature builds a temple of living
bricks; all entities that are created are used in it; their
consciousness grows and reflects with increasing clearness the
light that shines eternally.
This is the essence of life itself. The divine forces inherent
in Man and Cosmos drive Man along with irresistible power. The
forces of eternal laws that no man can escape, control Man's
growth from inside. The evil that happens to Man is of his own
making; it results from the infringement of these laws. So why
should we worry? Who is able to come into touch with this
deep-most life within ourselves? Who can penetrate into the
silence and peace that reign there?
When these days or years of trial have gone by, we shall have
gained in inward strength. The stream of life will flow with
greater force, because it had to flow narrowly between the rocks
of our sorrow.
Ordinances to surrender foreign currency. Declaration of Aryan
descent. Action of W.A. [a group of armed Dutch Quislings,
corresponding to the German S.A.] detachments. Persecution of
Strikes, fines, hostages, new ordinances. The National
Socialistic system is applied with increasing rigor and begins to
influence social life.
Shops sell out. Display-windows are filled with dummies;
purchases rationed, prices fixed.
Now that people begin to realize the uncertainty and unsafeness
of their existence, they are going to look for other ways. Many
of them become contemplative. It is not so much the social
problems that confront them, but rather the vital questions of
life and death. The furrows of life are ploughed in the field
where later on the seed of new norms of life will be sown. A new
time is coming, but it is different from that which we are made
to believe in now.
Not a time in which people aim only at solving economic problems,
but one that will build a new life out of ruined existence, one
in which the inspiring strength and beauty of the spirit will
Life is a wonderful mystery. The outward phase is full of noise,
the inward phase invisible, silent, but always active. It is as
if a great vital project is materializing, conducted from within,
which infuses every human being. No haphazard destiny is man's;
the soul drives him through many experiences, and humanity,
living and learning, laboriously grows into a better future. I
want to look upon this time in its new significance.
The accidental events like the arresting of innocent people, the
imprisonment of hostages, the infliction of punishments, the
stiffening of the anti-Jew laws, all these events which lay hold
of a man -- and which agonize the victims involved -- are in fact
only of minor importance in the great perspective of cosmic time.
We must trace the ways of the destiny and evolution of humanity
to receive an answer to the question why these calamities befall
When our thoughts wander back to prewar days, we remember hours
of relative peace and rest, of legal security and safety. In
reality we lacked every feeling of enthusiasm, of inward
contemplation, of spiritual edification or consideration. People
were obsessed by a craving for wealth or distraction, or by a
passion for material benefit. There was no figure, no leader, no
reformer to whom they listened. We did have spiritual movements
which aimed at renewal, but they obtained no hearing. It was as
if life prepared humanity for an even deeper fall to bring it
back to itself, to its deepest Self. People had strayed far from
the things that are of real value, and the form in which this
value found expression was old and worn.
New movements hardly excited interest. What could be expected by
a world that lived in this way? The river of life flowed
sluggishly and became muddy. Such was the world which preceded
the second world-war. The "mene tekel" was written in large
letters on the wall of life and everybody saw it.
This community headed for a catastrophe; it was drawn to it
When people are guided by a vision which calls up what is best in
them, when they live with their eyes fixed on the real inner
beauty of their essence, when they see the relation between the
temporary and its eternal background, they live in peace,
supported by the strength of their souls.
An old Hebrew expression says: "Where the people have no vision,
they will perish." Humanity had no spiritual vision, no inner
life, no inspiration and strength to elevate life.
They had ceased to know the beauty of the soul which may
illuminate a whole epoch. This was the real cause of the
catastrophe. People did not ask for a catastrophe. It befell
humanity like an ordeal.
If people have no vision, they are liable to be guided by
slogans; if there are no real spiritual leaders the demagogues
get their chance.
True spiritual leaders lead people back to spiritual heights.
They appeal to man's higher consciousness. They make him realize
the true essence of his being. When their voices are heard and
people's eyes are opened again, when their doctrines find
acceptance in the hearts of the people, then a new community
gradually arises, guided from within.
The Sun of their Eternal thoughts drives away the clouds of
sorrow, decline and chaos in which people roam about, and a new
era of hope and joy has come.
For all injustices and calamities, war, unemployment and terror,
result from the incapability of seeing the truth that man is a
spiritual being with a boundless background of life, which may
extend and deepen itself indefinitely and which is inexhaustible
in its possibilities to reveal higher truths IN HIMSELF.
The cause of decline and chaos, of which life shows such a sad
picture, is to be found in the great contrast between a community
guided by the thought explained in the last paragraphs, and a
world without vision, in which people are unconscious of their
greatness, of their lofty parentage and ultimate destination, a
world without hope and spiritual light.
This may suddenly be realized when we call up the picture of a
world as it might have been and compare it with the picture
afforded by a soulless and materialistic era.
Thus, this chaos arose. Thus, terror and war could rage, this
self-destruction that could not be averted.
But behind the sorrow of this life the compassionate forces of
the soul are preparing a new future of spiritual growth that will
come when a new feeling will touch the hearts of suffering
humanity. Compassionate, because all the sorrow that is suffered
brings us closer to the true, inner life. No sorrow is
purposeless, every painful experience softens our hearts and
makes us sensitive to the sorrow of our fellow men, who are our
other selves. They compel us to look for a solution that will
bring us peace and the strength to accept our fate; thus
germinates the seed of life and starts a new period of growth.
PROMOTING THE WISDOM RELIGION IN MODERN TIMES
by Martin Euser
In February this year I opened my own domain euser.net. It hosts
some of my theosophical articles I've written during the last
five years, and, it hosts some real-audio lectures of Vitvan, an
American teacher of the Gnosis. Lately I've been adding
search-capabilities to my domain in order to help spiritually
interested people locate those pieces of text that they're most
interested in. It is an ongoing effort, especially directed at
offering a diverse approach to "small t" theosophy and "big T"
Theosophy as well. One thing is certain: the books-archive is
growing larger and larger!
Those interested in my work will have noticed a slight shift in
my approach towards matters of the spirit. Instead of staying on
the old tracks of promoting the known Theosophical works, which
has its merits of course, I have moved towards a more scientific
approach, including elements of such seemingly different fields
as psychology, general semantics and physics. This leaves me
some room to incorporate some ideas, experiences and insights of
myself into my articles, more than I allowed myself to do so
Speaking about theosophical activities: in my country there are
dozens and dozens of study groups, opportunities to acquaint
oneself with the Wisdom-religion offered by the many Theosophical
groups that are active here.
The group I'm participating in, Via Theosofia, is also very
active. Some of its members have three or more study groups
going on through the year. I myself have just started a
study-group somewhat near the East of my country. As you might
have expected, I have chosen to incorporate some ideas of general
semantics into this course as an additional tool for conscious
Those who have gotten curious can have a look at my site, where
some of these developments have taken shape in articles and
NATURE: THE MIGHTY MOTHER
by Katherine Tingley
[From THE WINE OF LIFE, Woman's International Theosophical
League, Point Loma, California, 1925, pages 5-9.]
I have looked over the blue waters of the Pacific; and watched
the sun rise above the mountains and listened to mockingbirds
singing; and the beauty of the awakening world grew marvelous for
me with suggestions of the hidden harmonies of life. Then I
thought of humanity, and wondered what would happen could the
veil of external things fall from before our eyes and reveal the
glory of the Law. . . . We should stand in silence
motionless, thrilled through with the grace and plenitude of its
Long ago there was a time when men lived in purity of thought and
act, and knew little of selfishness, and moved through the
experiences of their incarnations not bound down or interfered
with as the human mind is today. Better than we do they
understood how to conduct their lives: there was not the rush and
whirl of things; they lived more inwardly, in communion with what
is best and noblest; -- the splendor of spiritual life was
manifest, and through all human consciousness shone deepest
reverence for Nature and truth. Better than we do, too, they
knew how to work with Nature; and found in her something the
people of modern times have never discovered.
How many today are satisfied with their lives, or sure that they
possess the truth, or know whence they came when they were born,
or, after death, whither they are going? Yet there is a promise
in our hearts and in the Divine Law that all that mankind has
been, it shall be again. All that we have forgone we shall
We lost touch ages ago with the Mighty Mother, Nature; and now
need to go to her again, for the most part, in her forests or on
her hilltops or by the seashore, to find our own souls in her
quiet places, and to learn that all matter responds to the
spiritual touch. Out beyond hearing and seeing and thinking are
infinite Laws that control our lives: divine Laws hold us in
their keeping; and immediately behind the veil of visible things,
and but a little way from the consciousness of our mortal selves,
are Higher Forces at work for our good.
They speak to the soul to make the way broad and beautiful; they
speak to us at all times through the sunlit sky and the
starlight; the shining silences of Nature proclaim to us always
the greatness of the world and the hidden grandeur of man; so
that in the desert, in the deep caverns of the earth, under the
heaviest weight of sorrow, "he that hath ears to hear" is never
alone; and were he lost in the great waste places, or in a
rudderless boat on the open sea, or were he on the brink of
created things and far from the world of men: he would carry
within him still the Kingdom of Heaven, and might find in his
heart all the revelations for which humanity is longing.
It is the Spiritual Message that the world is crying for: a
baptism of the spirit of the Divinity of Man, whereby we should
be made to realize that the heavens are opening to our needs;
that the light is breaking and new stars are shining; that the
things we do not see are greater than the things we see -- what
the heart yearns for more than we know; that Nature is supremely
just, and in all this grand universal Scheme of Being not a
thought, not an aspiration, not the smallest effort is lost or
You who are despairing, who have little faith in yourselves or
hope of tomorrow, or belief that you can control your conditions,
-- seek aid here of the Great Mother: look up into the blue sky
or the stars; catch in the air the feeling of her universal life;
and then examine yourselves, and discover that many of your
sorrows have come to you because you have not been willing to
I find treasures of experience in suffering. Any real attainment
must come through discipline; and no matter how it may be
outwardly, we can meet it as that which will call forth the
stronger side of us, until it becomes at last the pride and joy
of our lives and we love it as we love the sunshine and the aroma
We cannot succeed unless we work with Nature: who will not accept
half-hearted service. We receive no answer when we call to her
only in moments of dilemma or disappointment, and then turn again
and desert her. She has no word for the insincere or
indifferent; she responds only to those whose minds are awake to
the highest aims.
It is as we reach out in thought to the best and noblest that her
answer comes back to us, and out of the great dark surroundings
of life dawns the enlightenment of the Inner Man, when the Soul
of Man shall speak, and we who were under the shadow of our
affairs and difficulties become aware that this is indeed the
Gods' universe which Divine Laws do govern, and that Nature is
all friendly and humanity need not be otherwise, -- for there is
no need for all this human quarreling and fighting and doubting:
could we trust ourselves, we should trust our neighbors; could we
trust our neighbors, we should trust the Divine Law; then we
should know that life is beautiful and true.
Fear is the basis of all discouragement. Only cultivate
fearlessness in meeting the trials from without and the
weaknesses within, and you cease to be alone; you attain
discernment of a grand companionship ever present with you, and
become aware of the God "that is within you and yet without you,"
-- the Everywhere-existing whose voice you may hear, listening
for it, in your own spirit, and no less in the murmur of the
brooks and in the birds' chorusing: for the Mystery in the heart
of Nature is also the Mystery in the heart of Man; and the same
wonderful powers are in both.
The secret of life is impersonal love. It is impersonality that
is our great need today; impersonality wins her secrets from the
Mystic Mother. If we dismiss the idea of a personal god, and
dismiss our own personalities with all their limitations and
misgivings; if we carry our minds beyond self into the limitless,
our thought into the universal order; and from the inmost
recesses of our consciousness regard the universe in its
magnificence, until, lifted out of ourselves, we recognize within
ourselves greater things than ever we have dreamed of, and draw
near to inspirations unendingly beautiful and rich; and make
question then as to the interpretation of it, and the meaning of
all these limitless rhythms of law and order that throng the
immensity of space: her answer will come back to us, and we shall
behold the universe as the outgrowth, the expression, of an
infinite scheme proceeding from an Inmost Source beyond our
comprehension -- the Fountain, the Center, the Unknowable
Absolute Light: flowing out from Which, following the plan of
evolutionary law, passing through the many lives ordained for our
growth towards perfection -- we are here to work out the purposes
LIGHTBULB ON THE PATH
by Bart Lidofsky
[I have decided that there is far too little humor in Theosophy.
I plan to remedy this by writing humorous Theosophical articles.
The first, I think, is a little controversial, but may yet help
bring some smiles to to many faces.]
There was a general Theosophical Conference last month. All
groups calling themselves Theosophical were invited (as the
organizers felt that they could not claim a definition of "true"
Theosophy). The conference started out with surprisingly little
fighting. That is, until a lightbulb burned out. At that point,
the various groups started an argument as to the proper way to
change the lightbulb.
"You cannot force evolution", said the traditionalists. "It
should be allowed to express its current level of development,
and change itself, over time!"
The followers of Annie Besant did not agree. "Sometimes, one
must force a lightbulb to change so that it can continue its
"If we allowed ourselves to become sufficiently evolved", replied
the followers of Leadbeater, "we would all shed our own light (in
the color of our own ray, of course), and would have no need of
The Alice Bailey group said, "It doesn't matter that the
lightbulb burned out. We have a much more advanced lightbulb
with which to replace it, anyway!"
The Esoteric Section appeared with a lightbulb which they tried
to keep hidden, although everybody was sure that they had already
The representative from the Krishnamurti non-group said, "We
cannot, of course, tell you the proper way to change a lightbulb.
But we do have some suggestions that you might want to try out."
The Pasadena group said that the lighting was much better in the
western end of the room, and everybody should simply move over
there. Point Loma, on the other hand, didn't really care much
how the light bulb was changed, as long as they got the
A man representing the Church Universal and Triumphant, said, "We
have the One True Light Bulb, but we can only use it if it is
properly protected against the coming of the Armageddon."
A member of the Thule Society stated that any lightbulb could be
used, provided that it was of European origin. The Cult of
Annoyed Theosophists agreed that any lightbulb would do, provided
that it was not the same brand as the previous one. The ULT
members, in the meantime, also agreed that any lightbulb would be
OK, as long as the person who changed it remained anonymous.
The followers of Benjamin Creme declared, "With our light bulb,
you will never need another light bulb again. It will reveal
itself when you are all ready for it; as a matter of fact, it
appeared in Istanbul last May!"
The followers of Sai Baba were silently attempting to materialize
a light bulb out of thin air. The Therapeutic Touch group, in
the meantime attempted to meditate until they could find an
The proceedings grew hotter and hotter, until they were about to
reach a decidedly untheosophical pitch when a member of the
Theosophical Order of Service caused an abrupt halt in the
arguing by pointing out that the Henry S. Olcott Fan Club had
just gone ahead and replaced the lightbulb.
HOW I CAME TO JOIN THE THEOSOPHICAL SOCIETY
by Christine Hanson
[based upon an October 8, 1999 posting to email@example.com.]
What attracted me to the Theosophical Society in the first place
was my grandmother, Virginia Hanson, who never waved banners
about her membership. She simply was about the only person
capable of communicating with me in a deep way about my spiritual
experiences, mostly through letters (she lived far away), and I
responded to that, and she sent me books, and I asked questions,
and one thing led to another, and that's why I'm a member,
I found a great feeling of peace and truth in reading the books
she sent, and loved my visit to Ojai (Krotona). I was impressed
that she never proselytized or preached, but simply shared
"that's how it seems to me" information, for me to agree or
disagree with as I saw fit. In fact, she bent over backwards NOT
to try to persuade me in any particular direction, probably
mainly because my parents would have had a fit and she desired
not to cause any trouble in the family.
She also told me that many people will agree with the IDEAS of
theosophy, but once you put a label on it, they get nervous.
(Kind of like vegetarian food...)
My grandmother was anything but nameless, faceless, or bland --
what she did have was a marvelous sense of judgment and dignity,
which informed her choices about what to reveal of herself and
what was better left for some other time.
Her wonderful housemate and dear friend, who was at Grandmother's
bedside when she died, said that she read aloud my last letter to
Grandmother; in it, I told her that I had joined the T.S. My
grandmother reportedly said, "Tell Christine I am thrilled." And
those were her last words to me.
Amazing to me that I felt a sudden urgency to join about two
weeks earlier, and a need to tell her that I had joined, even
though I had been "flirting" with the idea for years.
BLAVATSKY NET UPDATE
by Reed Carson
This month we can celebrate. The total "hit count" of visitors
to Blavatsky Net passed the 100,000 mark. We put up a special
click (with music) on the home page for those who would like to
join the celebration.
We thought this to be an appropriate time to share with you some
of the numbers that measure the progress of this site and the
message it seeks to spread. The visitor counter was installed on
August 25, 1996. Sounds long ago doesn't it? Measured in
internet time, it was. A year later in September 1997 the hit
count was 10,000. In September 1998 the count was 40,000. This
past September the count was over 90,000. And on the 22nd of
October the 100,000 mark was crossed. With this rate of increase
in growth -- more than doubling the cummulative total every year
-- we are looking forward to the impact this site will help make
in bringing this message to the world.
Some other numbers: There are now 424 "participants" in the
bn-study discussion list. A significant percentage of them
(maybe 25 percent but I don't know at all exactly) do not receive
daily email -- just have access to the archives. That's a lot of
lurkers. And a lot of value. (Every so often a letter of real
thanks to all the contributors gets sent to my desk.)
At this point, 735 people receive the quote of the day as we
"tour" the Secret Doctrine. I think that is amazing especially
considering that these are "heavy" quotes. HPB's own words
traveling around the world in such a format, imagine! Regularly
people unsubscribe and signup for that list with the net number
I do not have an exact total for the number of people who have
subscribed to the automatic 10 week home study course. Roughly
two people a day sign up. That means about 1,000 people have
subscribed to that course since it started in June 1998.
The number of members is technically over 1,300 -- as specified
more accurately at the bottom of this message -- since membership
was offered in May of 1998. However, that does include emails
that are now obsolete and not yet purged from the system.
(Sometime we will get that number more accurately.) These members
include those who are also active members of all the other
Theosophical groups, from prominent to hardly known, and of
course includes individuals independent, and otherwise
unclassified. What a gratifying thing to see that level of
interest in these teachings -- and, may I say it, without having
to heed the otherwise understandable divisions that sometimes
separate us. Rather just studying Blavatsky's material directly.
And of these members, over 700 have made their information
available to other members on the membership page!
While all these numbers, I think, are impressive, there is one
lesson that struck me repeatedly at the outset and still does.
There are many of us out there! We just don't know about each
other and don't have easy contact with each other. And one other
point - the message of Theosophy is alive, and, I say based on
these numbers, growing!
Well now, back to this month's progress.
Technical news: I have been very hard at work in switching the
site to the new dedicated server. It has taken a great deal of
my time. Less than a week ago I had to throw out all the
progress made and start over due to a technical snafu and the
need to have a clean solid foundation without lurking mysterious
problems. So at this moment I have only a "foothold" on the new
system. But some is actually operating there now, and in
computers a foothold is a lot. Without doubt it will all get
moved over in November. Because of these delays the Lyris
mailing list software is not yet installed. Also it does not
peacefully coexist with the native procedures in the server for
handling email. They conflict. That must be solved at low
levels of technical complexity that routinely stun even hardened
programmers. I am hoping I can plow through these problems in a
week -- I am aiming for less time but won't know for sure till
Discussion lists: The bn-study list will definitely start its new
subject "Bible in the light of Theosophy" on November 1. I have
the opening comment ready to send out to the list on the 1st. I
am really looking forward to this -- it has the potential to be
very valuable for all -- depending in the end, of course, on the
collective effort of the participants.
On the home page there is a new click called "Bible" in the
"Topics" section. It contains HPB and Judge articles on the
Bible with some other articles. It connects to the Bible study
syllabus. There may be all kinds of other material you might
like to suggest for this page. That's an open invitation for you
to suggest material. That syllabus has some "free" time added
for other Bible related issues.
The BN-basic list is high on my own desire list. I am working
hard to start it on Nov 7. As I have said before its syllabus
has been designed from scratch by David, Stella, and Amedeo who
are currently handling a live discussion of that syllabus in
Manhattan. I think it is particularly effective and if you
haven't seen how well it has been put together you might want to
visit it by starting a click on "talk" on the homepage. (A
starting place for all this discussion-list info.) It is aimed at
newcommers and those who would like a "refresher" course in the
basic teaching. We will be trying hard to aim the discussion at
that audience -- whatever that means. I am delighted to announce
that Wesley Amerman and Adelasie will be moderating that list.
David Grossman will be joining in the beginning to lend
continuity and Estela Piscope will be helping as well to keep up
the timely flow of email. I will be sending out an email to
those on the list to get it started. Meanwhile those three
working in Manhattan have sent me background material from HPB
and Judge that goes along with the course. I may have it online
by the time you read this.
On the Portuguese page: Marly Winckler has now placed online
Judge's Epitome. Also she has reported to me that Marina Sisson,
is producing a report on H.P.B., which will come out more or less
regularly. (We are avoiding the pressure of implied deadlines
here.) She is a student of H.P.B.'s life and works for many
years, and now intends to share the result of her studies and
research. Her reports will be placed in Portuguese on that page.
Perhaps later they will be translated into English and placed on
the English part of the site also.
San Diego California has added another set of regularly scheduled
meetings. They are also offering internet time for Theosophical
studies -- of course not to be abused. Many readers of this
newsletter are in California. Maybe you will want to check the
"meetings" page and look them up.
So end-of-letter. (That's computer lingo.) I will be back
pushing hard to start the bn-basic course and looking forward to
hearing all of you on the discussion lists and in your private
email. Thanks to you.
THE LAND OF MAGICAL POETRY
by James Neil Feinstein
In the Land of Magical Poetry, there exists a world of bliss.
Nature is silent and majestic in all her peaceful doings -- as if
she moves in a mystical prayer of wonder. Flowers speak in a
colorful rhyme; trees kiss the mothering sky; and clouds feel the
serene movements of the land below.
The Land of Magical Poetry is love, and love lives in this
enchanted land. There is never any strife, hatred, or disharmony
-- for these things simply do not exist.
This place is peace; peace is harmony; and harmony is the spirit
of universal love.
The birds know nothing but harmony -- the sounds echo through the
canyons as they whistle. The grass is always pure green as the
blades stand at attention under the pureness of the golden sun.
The Land of Magical Poetry exists with the depths of all souls.
If we look deep enough within ourselves, we'll see something that
brings all people together -- laughter, calmness, and peace. The
feeling of comradery that leaves you thinking that in its truest
sense all men are truly brothers.
The Land of Magical Poetry lives on. The rivers flow in rhythm
and wind slowly to the sea where the wind carves its symmetry on
the crystal sand. In our brightest moments, perhaps we will
remember to search for the Land of Magical Poetry. It lives
within all of us.
IN SUPPORT OF GENUINE THEOSOPHY
by Grigor Vahan Ananikian
[based upon a September 22, 1999 posting to
What is theosophia? And what is the condition of the relation of
the Theosophical Society to Theosophia, today? I suggest that, to
the extent that there is a need for the first question, the
answer to the second question is that the relation is poor.
Part of the strength and color of HPB, that made her a formidable
woman who could endure the harsh conditions of travel in Central
Asia, who could find and get into hidden places that usually
forbade the admittance of women, is that she was raised in the
Here, in the nineteenth century, the conditions of daily life
were harsh and not for the meek at heart. Here, spirituality was
that which was superior, stronger, and more real than those harsh
conditions and there was little time or luxury or tolerance for
any parlor-room neurosis parading as spirituality.
Here was a rich confluence of hardy peoples and tribes,
Armenians, Georgians, Turks, Aisors, Kalmucks, Cossacks, and
Russians. With them we find Zoroastrianism, Judaism, various
forms of Eastern Orthodox Christianity, the strong tradition of
Naqshibandhi Sufism of Daghestan, Yezidis, Buddhists, and the
legacy of nameless religious traditions found in remote valleys
hidden in the mountainous regions of the Caucasus.
Here their various religious traditions, whose authenticity and
viability were constantly tested by their ability to effectively
transform human nature and human existence under the harsh
conditions of a region that was the frontier and crossroads of
many peoples, were challenged by their exposure to other
religious, other perspectives, other ways of life, and by their
constant exposure to conditions within which they had to prove
their transformative mettle.
Ideas, beliefs, and practices had to pass the acid test of being
exposed to other ideas, beliefs and practices, and finally, the
acid test of being found valid by a people whose life and
survival did not allow them either the luxury nor tolerance for
spiritual bunk, bogus guides, parlor tricks, or anything that
encouraged a retreat from the realities of life.
If spirituality was to prove itself a real dimension of human
life, if it was to prove itself the superior power operating in
human life, if it is was real, then it had to show itself to be
more real, more important, more powerful, more valuable, and
superior to the harsh conditions and hard priorities of earthly
life in the Caucasus. It had to make a real difference and
transmute strong characters and rugged personalities whose lives
gave them a discerning sobriety of what was authentic and what
In this author's opinion, we need to recapture a little bit of
what the conditions of the Caucasus gives to its children and
gave to HPB in light of the current condition of the Theosophical
As the illimitable Shaykh Sharafuddin ad-Daghestani put it,
commenting on the westerners' (Russians) fascination with
Spiritualism and Mesmerism, "they have no sense of smell, so they
can't avoid stepping in it."
So, what is theosophia? There are three things it is not but
which some mistakenly have come to believe that it is.
First, theosophy is not something apart from morality. In fact,
it is the process of how to become a truly moral person. Yet,
few years back some people interested in theosophical ideas were
surprised when they heard a quote from HPB's THE KEY TO THEOSOPHY
that said practical theosophy was a transformative process of
higher moral development.
Some were surprised, some shocked, that theosophy had anything to
do with morals because of what had been taught, and because of
what had not been taught in some current theosophical
publications and in some publications partly derived from
theosophical sources and from other New Age, Channeling, and New
Thought sources (which this author suggests, HPB would regard as
the contemporary forms of Spiritualism and Mesmerism that she
criticized as forms of pseudo-spirituality and carefully sought
to distinguish true Theosophia from).
They correctly thought theosophy was about the soul, higher
bodies, evolution, and the meaning of life but mistakenly assumed
all this was apart from morals.
Second, theosophy is not about cultivating a process of
self-hypnosis that brings about dreamy positive states of feeling
and positive moods.
Theosophy is not about feeling good through a process of
self-hypnosis but being good. Rather it is about morally waking
up as the terms bodhi and buddhi both convey.
Theosophy is about cultivating buddhi which is the faculty that
is the precise opposite of hypnosis. We might make it almost a
mathematical equation: buddhi is the wakeful capacity to not be
hypnotized and the susceptibility to be hypnotized,
suggestibility, is precisely the lack of buddhi.
Again some people were surprised some years back when they
learned that the techniques of positive thought, of leaving
positive thoughts and resolutions to oneself by some device that
would play them to you as you awoke, and all such techniques of
self-hypnosis was not, in HPB's opinion, spiritual development.
It was hypnosis and she had a low opinion of hypnosis.
The spiritual life, according to her, is precisely the overcoming
of our inner susceptibility to be hypnotized. In our ordinary
state, we are mass man, a product of the anonymous "they,"
hypnotized all the time by the world, our emotions, attractions,
thoughts, need for esteem and status, and by our own inner
self-evasions and hypocrisies.
Because we are not awake (fully), we are inner forms of
suggestibility by which the forces of our lower natures, the
world, and others have power over us, pull our strings, and push
our buttons. As long as suggestibility exists within us, we are
neither fully awakened (buddified?) nor free from our inner
slavery to every little way the world irritates us and pushes our
For example, take anger, while anger feels like a powerful thing,
it really is an inner form of weakness. Anger is the state where
the world disrupts me. It is the state of being negatively
overcomed by and mastered by the world. It is a sign of the lack
of true and complete self-mastery. The result feels powerful,
but then, so does the rush of blood out of an artery.
Anger is when we have lost control and the world controls us.
But to move on, third, theosophy is not about celibacy and
vegetarianism, contrary to what some writers and leaders in the
Theosophical Society have postulated. These are not
ends-in-themselves but mere means, useful at certain phases of
spiritual development and not useful at other phases (and even
possibly harmful), to the real goal of becoming responsible
higher beings assuming our destined roles in a moral universe of
immense scale and responsibility.
Given these deplorable conditions, that is, since, for some,
these three points about what theosophy is and is not have been
forgotten, and since theosophy has also become too much a thing
of reading and discussing books, some publications have come out
on the path and perils of the spiritual process of transformation
by individuals who have not trend the path nor the competence of
a life of tried and tested practical theosophy.
Such authors don't know its nature or goal. They synthesize
their "map" and "how to guide" from all sorts of sources of mixed
and dubious quality without the accomplished and experienced
ability to discriminate between the junk and the jewels. Then
new aspiring authors, wishing to see their name on a book with a
chance to play the lecture and seminar circuit, come out with a
new rehash of these earlier and questionable "how to guides"
leading to a progressively worsening situation of blind guides
inspiring blinder guides to further mislead the blind.
Thankfully, since for many, theosophy has unfortunately become a
bookish pastime of vicariously reading about the spiritual life
rather than living it, the damaging effect of these blind guides
has been minimal.
Interestingly enough, we take great care that our physician is
fully qualified, and often, cautiously get a second expert
opinion if a procedure is recommended yet we listen to anyone or
read anything that, well, looks interesting when it comes to our
Of course, we have standard methods by which a medical expert is
trained, qualified, and recognized. And the fact of the matter
is, most of us are not qualified to determine whether a physician
is a competent doctor or not, let alone, a real one. We depend
on other experts who are qualified to recognize a fake or
There are cultures that had the same sort of thing set up for
spiritual experts. Alas, our culture has no such means, and yet,
instead of realistically recognizing our plight, we take upon
ourselves the task of discerning who is a competent spiritual
expert or we experiment as "do it yourselfers."
But consider. We wouldn't study a few books, listen to a few
inspiring quacks, and then go out to a buy a "do it yourself"
surgical kit to operate on ourselves. We even take better care
of our cars than we do our spiritual life. We make damn sure the
mechanic is competent and honest. Maybe we do this because one
is more tangible and more real to us than the other. Maybe we do
this because we really believe in the physical world more than we
believe in the spiritual world and higher bodies.
Solovyev once commented that "with that which is important or of
known value, a man is always cautious. Those matters in which a
man devotes great care are those matters he really believes in
and values as matters worth his efforts and esteem."
With things spiritual, we are not cautious nor devote great care.
Intellectually, we may wistfully believe in higher bodies and
cosmic cycles but in our hearts, habits, and cavalier attitudes
towards spiritual things, we don't believe. Intellectually, we
have become, perhaps, book-wormish believing theosophists but
emotionally we are atheists because experientially we are
inexperienced in really following the spiritual path of
Let us consider some of these points a little more. Turning now
to our first point, namely that theosophy is about our higher
moral development, let us briefly examine the theosophy within
some older traditions and religions.
Practical theosophy, according to the teachings of these
traditions, is a path from our moral sleep, inner hypocrisy, and
evasive self-hypnosis, by which we become inwardly divided
against ourselves and the higher I is refracted into many forms
of identification, into integrally whole Selves, in which all our
inner parts are in clear and distinct contact with each other, in
which no part is out of touch, so that we have no moral
Integrity, as the Sufis say, is to have no part or aspect of
ourselves or our lives be a form of moral unconsciousness. To
have such inner sincerity, as the Sufis call it, to be a state
where nothing in me hides from the truth or from other parts of
me, a state where all my inner parts know all my other inner
parts in an experiential state of lived self-honesty, is to begin
to progress in the way of conscience.
Conscience is the embryonic form of the Sophia in us. Conscience
is the blueprint, the compass, for all spiritual development that
has as its goal Sophia. Note that Sophia is the celestial
In the theosophical teachings of Jacob Boehme, from whose circle
many, such as Walther Balthazar, traveled east to regain this
wisdom, we are creatures of contraries which are united by the
fire of awakening the soul's power of awareness and uniting it to
the inner Divine Sophia. Within this fire, the hellish within
us, becomes transmuted in the light of higher wakefulness, to
become the energy and vitality of the fully illumined soul united
In earlier Latin alchemical traditions that preserve something of
theosophia, this is the development of conscientia into scientia
by inwardly integrating and awakening the fallen intellectus
(intellectus is buddhi, while ratio is manas) in its union with
conscientia by which the anima (soul) is transmuted, and as the
early Christian medieval philosopher put it, the body of light is
In the Greek traditions as preserved in Eastern Orthodox
Christianity, intellectus or buddhi is called the nous. The
spiritual process of transformation, called in Eastern forms of
Christianity "theosis" (deification) or "theopoesis"
(god-making), begins as a process of awakening the inwardly
fragmented (hypocritical) and fallen nous from its
hypnotized-sleep (hypnos, in Greek, means both sleep and
hypnosis), which is also a inner separation of the true inner I
(eso ego, or eso anthropos) from all its identifications.
A beginning phase of this process involves an inner separation of
nous (buddhi) from the rationalizing and conceptualizing lower
mind (dianoia, manas) by inwardly concentrating nous upon itself
(enstasis, samadhi) and connecting nous to syneidesis
(conscience) so that together the gaining of self-knowledge and
experiential skill to remain illumined in all situations and
under all conditions, or gnosis, turns nous, syneidesis, and
gnosis into Sophia. Syneidesis (conscience) in Orthodox
Christianity is the seed of the divine wisdom within us. It is
to develop into our inner deification as the Hagia Sophia or Holy
Wisdom is fully developed conscience plus higher consciousness.
Contrary to what some have written, higher consciousness is not a
trance state, a high, nor an altered state. Rather, it is an
intensification of being awake or being conscious.
Trances and altered states are just higher forms of hypnosis that
are distorting higher aspects of being awake fully or
enlightened. Trances and altered states are distorted
experiences of higher powers without buddhi.
In Zoroastrianism, practical theosophy is likewise the process of
awakening the khirid (buddhi) and connecting the mortal soul
(urvan) to the higher conscience and wisdom (den, the Daena or
feminine higher twin of the soul). This Daena, at the postmortem
Judgment, appears as either a beautiful maiden or an evil old hag
depending upon one's deeds. She is the higher part of the self
that is, at first, the implanted seed of wisdom, conscience, that
develops into our inner participation in and inner contact with
the divine wisdom, the Daena of Ahura Mazda.
As the mortal soul (urvan) in Zoroastrianism becomes inwardly
married to the conscience (Den, Daena), it becomes immortalized
by the energetic spiritedness of immortal life, the fravashi or
fravahr, by which a new immortal diamond body is grown called the
"kes i tan."
This same motif appears in Tantric Buddhism, where the faculty of
awakening, buddhi (Buddha means awakened), the seed of Buddhahood
or conscience (bodhi) are two aspects of the same relation found
The five Buddhas of the Mandala are the fully awakened forms of
the five key dimensions of human existence according to Buddhism
(or five aspects of the Adi Buddha, Samanabhadra). Each have a
higher consort. She is their wisdom or Prajna (and each of the
five Prajna's are aspects of the one Prajna of Samanabhadra).
Prajna grows out of conscience or bodhi.
To further show that this is the same motif that we find in
Zoroastrianism and Orthodox Christianity, we can refer our
readers to the Judgment Scene in Yama's Court in the Bardo
Theodol (TIBETAN BOOK OF THE DEAD). Here the individual is
confronted with his conscience (and potential Prajna) in the form
of two female figures, bad conscience and good conscience.
To become a Buddha is to become so one with one's conscience
(Bodhi now transmuted into Prajna, the Consort of a Buddha) that
it is represented as a sexual union.
For those who think they have even begun to trend the spiritual
path, it is well if they ask themselves, in honest
self-evaluation, which attraction is stronger in their life, sex
To have the sexual force alchemically unite you irreversibly to
one's conscience so that conscience is the strongest force in
one's life is the meaning of those Tantric images where a Buddha
is in sexual union with his Prajna.
Yet, how far are we from that high state if we confronted with a
difficult moral dilemma between doing what we know we should do
in opposition to doing what we want to do and the temptation is
experientially felt as a stronger force than the inner call of
conscience. How far are we from that high state if doing the
right thing inwardly feels like a cost we would rather not have
to pay? For a Buddha compassionately doing the right thing for
all sentient beings is the ONLY impulse without this inner
TO BE CONCLUDED
THERE WERE SUCH GREAT MEN
by G. de Purucker
[INTRODUCTION from THE MAHATMAS AND GENUINE OCCULTISM.]
> Oh my Brothers, unlock the divine in your own being! It is very
> easy to begin this effort. Aspire, forgive, love impersonally,
> control yourself, exercise your spiritual faculties, cultivate
> your intellectual powers, do good to others. But always learn to
> love, to love more, to love still more greatly, to love more
> grandly still. Let your compassion reach even to the stars in
> thought and in feeling. Then you are indeed on the Pathway to
> the gods. You are becoming a genuine Occultist, and some day
> great powers will be yours and you will see the Vision Sublime --
> that vision which will enable you even while yet in the physical
> body to look within and beyond, and to see Truth face to face.
There is a hunger in the human heart for beauty; there is a
longing in the human soul for harmony and for peace; there is an
unceasing aspiration in the human mind for an understanding of
the problems of the Universe; and all these qualities of heart
and soul and mind are fundamentally one, arising out of that
amazing spiritual fire which dwells in the inmost of every human
being, and which is a reflection in his human character of the
Divine Flame which is fundamentally the Spiritual Man; and this
flame is the core of his being.
Men yearn for truth; they yearn for light; they yearn for peace
and happiness; and alas, in how slight a degree is this divine
hunger satisfied! It is unsatisfied because men will not
self-consciously realize who they are, what they are, in the core
of themselves; their human consciousness refuses to recognize the
living existence in them of this Divine Flame of the spirit.
Nevertheless, there is through the ages a pressure toward this
realization, and when recognition comes, then indeed breaks the
splendor of the spirit on the mind and illuminates it divinely.
The man's soul is then moved: and the very depths of his being
are stirred, for he recognizes not only his kinship but his
oneness with the Universe of which he is a child, an inseparable
There is light to be had, because there is system and order in
the Universe, the results of flaming intelligences and cosmic
compassion, and anyone whose heart impels him to carry on the
search indefatigably and with a mental refusal to take
discouragement at any time, but to carry on, will receive that
When this recognition of his inner spiritual grandeur comes to
him, he knows that there is spiritual grandeur in other human
beings. Then he recognizes the kinship of other human spirits
with his own. Thus the man who is spiritually awakened,
recognizes that other men also can be grand and great, and that
their hearts are filled, as is his, with an innate and
instinctive spiritual nobility; that the divine is working in
them. A man then realizes that he may find others higher than
himself: one or more who have become more or less at one with the
inner flame of divinity, with the inner God, with the divine
spirit stirring within.
Such intimations or intuitions of the living divinity within
persuade us beyond cavil or argument that our noblest aspirations
are true, are based on fact; that indeed there are such wondrous
men in the world who have evolved to the point where the divine
flame within, the inner God of them, is expressing itself more or
less fully and according to the evolutionary stage of advancement
of the individual.
Such Great Men it has been customary from immemorial time to
speak of as Saviors of their fellows. They are the spiritual
Saviors of men, the great and outstanding human spiritual
geniuses of the human race; they have shaken men's hearts by the
magic of their teaching and by the example of their lives, and by
their power to explain life's mysteries to inquiring minds
hungering for truth and light.
Look at history. See the Great Men that the human race has
produced: Gautama the Buddha, the very embodiment of wisdom and
love; Jesus the Avatara, another embodiment of love and wisdom;
and others of these Great Ones, whose names perhaps are less well
known; and we realize as we survey these human embodiments of
spiritual light that our intuitions and intimations are true.
Then, as all men know, beneath these genii of the spirit and of
the intellect there are, and have been, and there will be in the
future, other men whom we call geniuses, men of wondrous ability,
men of high and vaulting talent, whose souls commune with the
very stars, and pluck from heaven heaven's own flame of truth,
and tell it in phrase and in teaching to their fellows. We know
that these men exist: that records of them are written in living
flame across the pages of history. Where then shall we pause and
say that human genius cannot go higher than this level, or than
that level, or than the mediocre plane which average mankind
already has attained in its evolution?
It is our Theosophical teaching that greater men even than those
geniuses exist in the world at the present time and existed in
past times; and they have lived and taught and guided their
fellow men; and these Great Ones compose a spiritual Brotherhood
of the Great Sages and Seers of the human race. These are what
are called the Theosophical Mahatmas. They are the Elder
Brothers of mankind. They are men, not spirits. They are men
who have evolved through self-devised efforts in individual
evolution, always advancing forwards and upwards until they
attained the lofty supremacy that now they hold. They were not
so created by any extra-cosmic Deity, but they are men who have
become what they are by means of inward spiritual striving, by
spiritual and intellectual yearning, by aspiration to be greater
and better, nobler and higher. They are not what they are by any
favoritism either of a god or of Fate, but are what they are
because they have run ahead of the great multitude of men. There
they stand; they are Helpers, they are Seers, they are Sages.
All that they have -- which means all that they are -- all that
they have evolved to, all that they have become, they have gained
by self-devised efforts in individual evolutionary growth.
VISIT THE BLAVATSKY ARCHIVES ONLINE
by Daniel H. Caldwell (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Blavatsky Archives Online
This web site publishes material (including rare and hard-to-find
source documents) on the life, writings and teachings of Madame
H.P. Blavatsky (1831-91), the founder of modern Theosophy.
For the last thirty-one years I've collected several thousand
books, articles and unpublished documents on every aspect of
Madame Blavatsky's life and teachings. A selection of some of
this material consisting of primary source accounts on H.P.B.'s
life, her occult phenomena, and encounters with her Masters can
be found in the forthcoming edition of my book THE ESOTERIC WORLD
OF MADAME BLAVATSKY (Wheaton, Illinois, The Theosophical
Publishing House). See the web edition of this book at
It is my intent to publish hundreds of other accounts and
articles (both positive and negative) on the Blavatsky Archives
Online website. Almost two hundred items are currently being
processed for web publication by Spring 2000. More than 60 rare
items have already been published in the online archives.
Titles of the most recent additions to the archives follow.
THE THEOSOPHICAL SOCIETY: The Lamasery at New York. Interviews
with Madame Blavatsky -- The Wonderful Author of the Book of
Wonders, "Isis Unveiled" [Reprinted from the Hartford Daily Times
(Connecticut), December 2, 1878, p. 1.]
From Hinduism to Hinduism by Parbati Churn Roy. In this
extremely rare work Parbati Churn Roy devotes three chapters (pp.
36-58) to his personal reminiscences of H.P.Blavatsky, H.S.
Olcott, the Mahatmas and The Theosophical Society.
Portrait of the Master Morya by J.D. Buck A brief description by
Buck about this portrait and an accompanying photographic
A Letter from Mahatma Koot Hoomi to Gustav Gebhard This letter
from the Master K.H. was received August 25, 1884 in the house
of Gustav and Mary Gebhard of Elberfeld, Germany. It was
addressed to Mr. Gebhard. This letter has never been published
The Book of Dzyan Research Reports by David Reigle The Book of
Dzyan is the name given by H.P. Blavatsky to the secret source
of the stanzas given in her book The Secret Doctrine. David
Reigle's research on the Book of Dzyan attempts to trace its
ideas to known sources. Four of his articles on this subject are
now available through Blavatsky Archives Online. Information is
also given on how to order Reigle's new book Blavatsky's Secret
Books published by Wizards Bookshelf.
Theosophy in Calcutta by Norendra Nath Sen. [Reprinted from The
Indian Mirror (Calcutta), Vol. XXII, April 14, 1882.]
How a Hindu of Madras Interviewed a Mahatma at Sikkim by R.
Casava Pillai. [Reprinted from The Indian Mirror (Calcutta),
Vol. XXV, March 3, 1885 and March 7, 1885.]
The Himalayan Brothers by Henry S. Olcott [Reprinted from Light
(London), March 4, 1882.]
The Theosophical Society: Russian Intrigue or Religious
Evolution? by Richard Hodgson. [Reprinted from The Melbourne Age
(Australia), September 12, 1885.]
H.P. Blavatsky's Adieux: The Ci-Devant Countess Ready to Depart
for the East. [Reprinted from The Daily Graphic (New York),
December 10, 1878.]
Citizen Helen P. Blavatsky: That Newly Naturalized Personage
Explains Some Interesting Matters. [From The Daily Graphic (New
York), July 9, 1878.]
The Kiddle Incident More than 20 original articles and letters
from the 1883-1884 controversy concerning charges of plagiarism
against the Master Koot Hoomi.
The Truth About Madame Blavatsky by Walter A. Carrithers, Jr.
(Published by the Blavatsky Foundation.)
Letters of H.P. Blavatsky to Her Family in Russia. More than 60
pages of text with scores of HPB's letters written to her
Interested students should be aware that in early November of
this year the web edition of Obituary: The "Hodgson Report" on
Madame Blavatsky by Walter A. Carrithers, Jr. (published by The
Blavatsky Foundation.) will be available on our site.
THE CREATIVE POWER OF THOUGHT
by A. Trevor Barker
[From THE HILL OF DISCERNMENT, Theosophical University Press,
1941, pages 235-45.]
The subject of the Creative Power of Thought is intimately
related with the first principle in which our Theosophical
Movement is rooted. You cannot consider the dynamic and creative
effects of the thinking power of the human mind without
immediately being struck by the fact that all nations and all men
are in reality interconnected to such an extent that they are
affected morally and physically by the thoughts and actions of
each other. In other words, if there is a nation which is bent
upon a vicious, destructive, downward and degenerate course, that
nation will inevitably poison the very thought atmosphere of this
globe. Then by means of the inner constitution of the planet
upon which we live, there is conveyed to all other nations of the
earth that main current of thought and destructive energy that
such a nation -- or if we choose to make the application, such an
individual -- chooses to generate.
If that is true, there is fortunately a more cheerful side to the
picture, and that is, that just as we are affected morally and
physically to our detriment if we are negative and weak enough to
be so affected, so also, even unconsciously and against our will,
we benefit by those nations and men of goodwill, those
individuals of high spiritual nature, who are pouring forth their
beneficent thought upon the world. Because of the inescapable
unity in which we are all rooted, it benefits with its creative
power in the same way that the other, destructive kind of energy
pulls the whole fabric of universal life downward -- or shall I
say slows it somewhat in its upward progress.
This is a very fundamental thought, as I see it, from which to
commence our whole study of the subject. In that rather famous
book called THE IDYLL OF THE WHITE LOTUS, there are stated three
great Truths, and one of them is to the effect that man has it in
his own hands to create his own weal or woe, his own future life
and future destiny. It is done without any doubt at all by means
of the dynamic, creative force of his own desire, his
aspirations, his thought, and his will. These are the tools
which the Theosophist, the occultist, the disciple, the Mahatma,
and the man of the world, have at their disposal.
The Theosophical philosophy, therefore, at the very outset of our
study ennobles man, and shows him that he has within a godlike
and creative power to make for himself the very conditions for
which his heart most yearns, most secretly aspires toward. We
have all, I have no doubt, tried to experiment with these laws in
greater or less degree, in an endeavor to apply them to
ourselves. But as a practical example: what should we do if we
find ourselves surrounded by conditions we do not want? First of
all it is necessary to create the clear mental picture of that
which you individually want to achieve, the particular objective
that you have set yourself; and immediately very powerful forces
are set in motion, for which you individually have a great
responsibility. Everything that we desire, especially when the
desire is very strong, immediately sets up a current along
magnetic lines of force to those layers of space which contain
that which we seek; thus creating lines of magnetic attraction
with other human beings or spiritual entities who have the
capacity to bring to it that which we have set our minds upon.
Directly you begin to desire a thing, immediately you are
beginning to create for yourself opportunity, and the opportunity
will come inevitably to work out that which you yourself, for
good or ill, have set your creative forces in motion to bring
about. Therefore is it necessary to emphasize the tremendous
importance of submitting every such determination, aspiration,
desire, to the dictates of the Higher Self in each one of us, to
the Silent Witness of all our endeavors. For otherwise, if we
are not willing to take the position that was taken two thousand
years ago by those who created for us the New Testament; if we
have not the point of view "Not my will but Thine," then we may
risk creating something of a personal effect or result which will
hang around our necks like milestones: for the forces that we set
in motion are real -- they will bring to us that which we want
them to bring. Fix your mind, and your will, and your desire to
bring evil to another, and you will be destroyed yourself by the
reaction that such kind of work brings about.
These forces -- we are talking about occultism -- are creative
and destructive: hence the very thorough drilling that those who
study the genuine teachings of Theosophy receive in the moral and
ethical basis of the Theosophical philosophy. For if that is not
rooted in the student's and aspirant's mind, it is more than
likely he will make an application of these laws, when he begins
to understand them, that will not only wreck or bring evil (and
untold evil) to others with whom he is associated, but still more
will he wreck himself.
Now a word as to the means by which the thoughts of other
individuals and other nations affect us. It is by means of that
which Eliphas Levi called the Astral Light, that part of the
Cosmic Ether which is actually the lowest part of that universal
Cosmic principle which in the East they call AKASHA. That astral
light interpenetrates our whole Globe just as it does every other
planet in the Solar system. It is imponderable, tenuous, and
contains the picture, the impress, the record, and therefore the
memory, of every thought and every act that has ever been
performed on this Globe. It is because thought travels, that
when we emit or permit to pass through our minds a thought, which
is a living intelligence, a thing full of life, we are setting in
motion a force which goes to the farthest confines of space.
Think of all the creative ideas for good along constructive and
healthy lines: great inventions, wonderful ideas dreamed by
inventors, by poets, by Adepts, by Mahatmas, which are stored up
as it were in the Akasha, in the Astral Light, waiting for that
man or woman who is high-minded enough to give them expression in
action. This is the explanation why, when an inventive mind is
concentrated upon a particular problem, the complete solution
will often come into his mind, although he has not worked out all
the logical steps to the solution that is eventually arrived at.
In other words it is possible, if we learn how to do it, to call
to our aid the thoughts of the past, and those of the mighty,
spiritual thinkers of our own era, to help us, to encourage us,
in any worthy purpose that we may have, or may be engaged upon.
Conversely, to the extent that we are living under the control of
the sense life, of the personality, of negative states of mind
and thought -- to that extent we are calling to -- I won't say
our aid, but we are attracting, setting in motion, a
reinforcement of the very negative, sensual, destructive or evil
states of mind in which we may be at any moment of time.
So what does it amount to? It amounts to this: since our mind and
consciousness are always busy with something, even when we are
almost in a state of inertia, there is some thought, some idea,
some aspiration, and some desire, coloring the whole kama-manasic
consciousness. Whatever it is that is in our mind is being
reinforced, strengthened, by all past thinking along the same
line that is stored in the astral light. See how important this
is. Without any volition on our part, if we are living at a
consistently low level, we are inviting all the same forces of a
low level to strengthen us in that negative and weak attitude
that we are adopting. See, therefore, what tremendous powers and
implication and hope the spreading of the Theosophical philosophy
and teaching has for mankind. Why? Because you are giving them
something in the way of food for their minds that lets the whole
Inner Soul of the man rise and take in its comprehension the vast
sweep of the Universal Mind, letting in the sunlight of the
spiritual life, giving it food, attracting the human soul and the
human mind upward.
Directly you link to these teachings on the Creative Power of
Thought, the doctrine of Karma, and the doctrine of
Reincarnation, you begin to see where we are being led: what
happens to a man before birth, and what happens to him after
death. What he believes about those two stages -- antenatal and
after-death -- will necessarily govern his thinking here and now.
Therefore, these great subjects which have occupied the greatest
minds and intellects that the world has ever known, and on which
we have a very rich collection of teaching, are necessarily of
the greatest importance, just because they do influence our
thought, and therefore our action.
There is a very telling page in William Q. Judge's EPITOME OF
THEOSOPHY, which deals with the mechanism by which thought really
works, and it shows how, if we fix our mind in disapproval or
judgment upon another human being, we attract to ourselves
elemental entities of the very nature of the fault that we are
condemning, and then we proceed to build into ourselves the very
condition that we wish to eradicate in somebody else. So the
fault goes backwards and forwards, intensifying the
characteristics in both. The obligation and the remedy are
obvious in this case. Exactly the reverse is true if we dwell
upon thoughts of beautiful qualities that we would like to see,
and do see around us in many cases; for then we are strengthening
by our approval, and our goodwill, these characteristics in
ourselves and others.
I would like, in connection with this subject of thought, just to
touch very briefly upon the relation of the Theosophical
classification of man's constitution, with that of modern
psychology. What is the connection between the conscious mind of
the modern psychologist and the Theosophical classification? What
is meant by the modern psychologist's subjective mind, and where
does it fit into the scheme of occult science?
I venture to suggest that the objective, or conscious mind of the
modern psychologist is the lower manas, which is responsible for
our ordinary everyday objective thinking; but the unconscious or
subjective mind is another matter. The psychologists mix up,
from lack of knowledge, the two parts of the mind -- the
Spiritual, that which inheres in Buddhi: that power of direct
cognition and discrimination: the higher part of man; and the
force inherent in what we may term the instinctive mind, the mind
that is connected with kama-manas. We share this instinctive
mind with all kingdoms of nature below us, and in particular the
animal kingdom. Here we have nascent thought in the higher
exemplars of the animal kingdom; and in that instinctive mind are
many of the characteristics that modern psychologists attribute
to the subjective mind. But they leave out of account, or are
unable to account for, the source of all those higher, nobler
ideas of the human mind, which really come from the Divine part
of his nature, and which they just classify as the unconscious.
These things are very important for us because the Theosophical
classification gives a clue as to what we must do in order to use
our mental and creative faculties to the highest end.
There is one aspect of this problem that is particularly
interesting and very helpful. I have no doubt that many of us
have at times been -- afflicted, shall I say, with a problem
which seems at times beyond our individual capacity to solve: a
problem of such difficulty that the advantages and disadvantages
of each course are almost equally balanced; and the mind becomes
weary, the capacity to think and to solve apparently so
inefficient that the person is in a very difficult position. It
happens every day for many people. If we apply the laws that are
behind this practical application of occult and scientific
principles, it is quite possible to relegate the solution of the
problem to the right department of the mind, and cease to worry.
What do you think is the origin of the useful old practice of not
making a decision until you have slept on it, until you have
given time for this higher part of what the psychologist calls
the Unconscious, or subjective mind, to get to work? It is
capable of providing the solution of any problem. Read what HPB
has to say in ISIS UNVEILED about the power of the Adept to rise
into the higher consciousness, and know all that ever was, is, or
can be known about any subject in the Universe. Why? Simply
because the higher part of us, the Divine part of us, is actually
omniscient: therefore all we have to do is to find the means of
opening ourselves to the inflow of this knowledge -- and it can
be done by asking for it, by aspiring toward it, by opening our
minds to it, by presenting the problem in a good and orderly
fashion, and leaving it to that higher part of the mind to find
the solution; and if you have a sufficiently strong desire, and a
sufficiently developed will, and enough confident expectation
(which you may, if you wish, call faith), the result is quite
certain, and you find within the requisite time the solution of
the problem. This, of course, is a law which is constantly used
by all of us all the time -- generally perhaps more or less
unconsciously; but nevertheless it is a law which works, and it
is an extremely creative law. There are many illustrations of
the working of it which you have probably read about and know
> Can thoughts be seen in the Astral Light?
Yes, if we have the necessary power of psychic vision, of course
they are very easy to see; but if you have not this psychic
vision opened you won't see them -- you will see just what is
before your eyes as usual.
> In what form would they be seen or colored?
It just depends upon the person who has created the thought --
whether he is able to think with precision and clarity, in which
case the thought will achieve a very definite form, and will be
imbued with pranic life and color in accordance with the quality
of thought, emotion, aspiration, desire, that the person injected
into it at the time the thought was emitted. It might be said
that the kind of thought which is sent forth with the most
powerful type of will is usually the most evil and material.
Thoughts that are sent out with passion and hatred are very
powerful, because they are energized with a tremendous amount of
pranic vitality. Stronger still, of course, are thoughts sent
out by a highly spiritual entity. Such a thought will actually
have the power, when projected into the aura of an individual, or
into a room full of people such as this, of producing a peaceful
and beneficent influence almost as great as if a Mahatma were
present in the very room. These are some of the different
effects of thought, but of course the subject is a big one.
> The laws of desire and thought -- ought they to be used for any
> practical purpose in one's own life, or used merely for spiritual
I have been trying to give illustrations of the way we can use
them in our daily lives. It just depends: if our lives are
selfish then our desires and thoughts will necessarily be
selfish; but probably you are attaching too low a value, and too
much significance, and at the same time too little significance,
to our personal and everyday needs. I think it is a profound
mistake to try to divorce the everyday demands of life that we
all experience from the spiritual part of our being. Man should
be looked upon, and we should look upon ourselves, as complete
entities, not chopped up into little parts. If we have spiritual
ideals and objectives, we shall also have personal duties in life
to perform, and thus the laws that we learn and study in
Theosophical teaching are properly applied to the regeneration of
our personal lives, desires, thoughts, feelings and all the rest.
Certainly we should use them.
> In what sense did you use the words "creation of a thought?"
The thought itself is not created, but we are janitors of the
temple so to speak, and we can permit or refuse the entrance into
the temple of the mind whatever thought we like. In that sense I
have been using the idea of creative thought, because we are
arbiters of our destiny, and therefore in a true sense creators.
Though we do not create thought, we nevertheless create those
causes for which we are responsible for good or ill.
> How is thought affected by Karma? If a man's thoughts are
> negative and evil and he suddenly changes.
If people have for years or lives thought negatively, that is
because that is the state of their own inner being. Once the
reaction, which must be extremely painful, as all negative states
are not only painful but also destructive -- when the suffering
caused by such reaction has reached sufficient intensity, and
gone on long enough, the man will be compelled by nature's
beneficent and compassionate law, to turn inward upon himself and
seek the cause of this negative condition, and then he will
realize that he has placed himself in a prison of his own making.
You will find that his course has been downward into matter all
these years or lives, and he will say, "Well, I have put myself
in this box, I will get out of it." By aspiring upwards and
making a good strong effort of his spiritual will, he begins to
create real thoughts, living messengers of good for himself and
his fellows. Certainly he can begin right now. He has no need
to wait. We have it in our hands to do these things.
> Would you say that the thoughts fade out of the Astral Light as
> the effects of them are worked out, or do they remain just as
They tend to dissipate as they are translated into action.
Assuming that powerful thoughts are generated, they are not
necessarily translated into action. There are plenty of people
who are very good at dreaming and inventing clever things, but
who are not really men of action; and these thoughts will remain
in the astral light until eventually they find a responsive mind,
and their energy is dissipated by being worked out in action; but
then they are created thereby still more powerful. For example,
you think of an invention that nobody knows anything about except
the inventor; then somebody takes it up, translates it, and all
the world knows about this new invention. Well then the Astral
Light is more impregnated by this idea than it was before. If
the thoughts are weak then they tend to dissipate more quickly,
but if spiritually vital or destructively powerful they last
quite a long time.
> At that rate there may be cases where there is no record left
> at all of certain thoughts?
There is actually a record, permanent and indelible, in the
higher parts of Akasha. It is so for thought in the same way as
there is a permanent and indelible record of all past history.
It is there, but there is this difference: that a record may be
there, but there is no dynamic force in a record per se. It is
like a page of a book, which is nothing unless someone reads it
and is affected by it; but thought force, creative thought,
energy, which is of course an elemental creature -- actually
comes into being around an idea or a powerful desire, and is a
creative energy in the Universe; and then, when it has worked out
its destiny -- fulfilled its karmic destiny -- then only the
record remains as distinct from the undischarged charged and
vital energy. It is like the record that we leave behind us when
we depart from this earth. It is not the same thing as having
the man here in life. He is the vital entity who can do things.
The record can do nothing.
Dedicated to the Theosophical Philosophy and its Practical Application