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THEOSOPHY WORLD ---------------------------------- December, 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
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be reposted or otherwise republished without prior permission.)

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CONTENTS

"Spirit in Crisis: The Boundless and the Self," by H. Oosterink
"Remembering HPB," by the Countess Constance Wachtmeister
"Blavatsky Net Update," by Reed Carson
"In Support of Genuine Theosophy," Part II
 by Grigor Vahan Ananikian
"Theosophical Society Outreach," by Suzanna Kenline
"What I Owe to a Book," by Captain P.G.B. Bowen
"Theosophy -- A Universal Inspiration," by Kenneth Morris

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> ... there are other chelas of other Masters ... they love your
> "Western Metaphysicians" still less than they do Orthodox
> Brahmins ... They are CHELAS after all, and there is much of
> the mortal man in them yet ... they are great friends with the
> native Peruvian, Mexcian and Red Indian Adepts and chelas.
>
> THE LETTERS OF H.P. BLAVATSKY TO A.P. SINNETT, p. 85.

------------------------------------------------------------------
SPIRIT IN CRISIS: THE BOUNDLESS AND THE SELF

by H. Oosterink

[Theosophical University Press, Covina, California, 1946, pages
19-37.]

When people have passed through this phase of suffering, only a
new insight in life can help them to find the strength to
straighten themselves, an insight which comes to them as a
revelation and inspires them to begin a new and happier life, a
vision that frees them from the psycho-magnetic power of the
world of desire. The absence of this insight and the lack of
inspiration, a life devoid of the splendor of spiritual beauty,
brought them to ruin.

Men long for possession, for the satisfaction of their desires,
whatever they may be, but in many lives also they feel the nobler
and loftier aspiration to truth and light.

The problems of life ask for a solution; unsatisfied desires lead
to disappointment; fulfilled wishes only bring new ones in their
train.

The price which life demands of those who are immersed in
selfishness and desire is unrest and sorrow.

They find rest and peace in whose hearts there arises a longing
to search for truth and light behind the veil of life in order to
serve their fellow men. I do not say "The Truth," for this
transcends all human thinking, but a search for truth, for ways
that will advance them a step in their inner growth, that will
help them forward a little on the path leading to enlightenment.

This path is trodden by every man who has become conscious,
however little, of the spiritual splendor which shines from the
core of his being, and which incites him to investigation.

Many have already gone before us who have followed this path.
They have been the leaders and guides of humanity throughout the
ages.

Alas, people do not ask themselves what may have induced a sage
or teacher to promulgate his doctrines; they do not follow him on
his path to enlightenment to become enlightened themselves. They
quote his statements and formulate them into a religion, while
the living fire which kindled the teacher is extinguished. That
is why there is no sense in asking what religion a man professes;
for him his religion is the right one. But what internal light
has been kindled in him, to what extent has his consciousness
become alive to the great mystery, in other words what has the
doctrine made of him?

Some chosen people have access to the realm of the spirit. It is
especially in these confusing and hard times that we realize how
much humanity owes to them. In the core of their being, they
have discovered the background of life, each of them to an extent
corresponding with his state of consciousness, and they have
brought us their messages. They are for all times. One who
wants to remain himself, who wants to hold the bond with the life
of his highest consciousness, derives his consolation and
understanding from their experiences.

The times rush on, life throws us hither and thither, fear tries
to get hold of us.

However, our highest Self is unperturbed.

This is the problem before us: to remain our highest Self, never
to lose sight of the background of life, to feel keenly that
nothing can harm us because -- however much our personal feelings
may be hurt -- we can never be touched in the essence of our
selves. The fear loses its grip on us, unrest disappears and
peace takes its place.

This does not mean a flight from life, but a continuous contact
with, and a constant drawing on, the source of our being, in
order that we may become in this life what we are, the boundless
and infinite Self. The task which life sets us is devotion to
the higher Self.

Life produces from itself numerous forms, all of which show a
certain degree of consciousness. The inspiriting forces of
Creation descend into the beings they create and drive them
along, and among all these beings is also "man."

I will talk now only about man, though I believe that Creation
pursued a definite object in ensouling also the other entities
that issued from nature's womb. If there is any sense behind
life, the great vital principle arranges itself through all
creatures, and the Nameless, the Sublime, surpassing all
understanding and thinking, unfolds itself as "Creation." Let us
therefore try to build a bridge that will connect men with the
sublime background of the Creation of Life, which animates not
only man but all living creatures, in order that we may
understand its purpose and consciously cooperate with it.

----

Every man is a center of consciousness. His perceptions, his
emotions, his thoughts, in short all his reactions to the outer
world, are focused into one central point, the "I." This
invisible vital center is the pivot of our existence. So many
men, so many beings who can say "I." Thus every man forms a world
in himself. So long as people do not have a more profound
insight into themselves, and live on as separated units, live on
blind to the endless possibilities of the development of their
spiritual consciousness, these separate lives will keep colliding
and there will be strife, either on a large or on a small scale.

Preservation of the personal self is based on a broken picture of
life. This small world draws the limit within which the average
man lives "his workaday life," a secluded existence, blind to the
splendid beauty of his real self.

If I may give an example from ordinary life, I should like to
compare human consciousness to a wireless set that can be tuned
into various wavelengths. If the center of our consciousness can
be shifted, this center receives impressions from other spheres
of life. Unconscious of this possibility, most people live in
one sphere, which is determined by their emotions and thoughts.

Yet our consciousness is open to endless perspectives of
spiritual growth, and people possess many powers which are not
active in this phase of their evolution, but which may be
stimulated to action. There is away of self-directed evolution
and growth by which searching man may travel, a way which opens
his consciousness to other worlds of existence; which may bring
him wisdom and experience as yet unknown to him.

The center of his consciousness, which now receives the
impressions of the personal, earthly man, is infinitely
susceptible to perceptions.

If we manage to withdraw our attention from this life outside
ourselves, which, as it were, holds humanity in its forcible
grip, and calmly turn our thoughts to the higher worlds of life,
we enter fields of consciousness which we had not touched, where
we never had left a trace so far.

This is no faith; it cannot be imparted to any person. Everyone
has to discover it for himself. The way we have to go may only
be pointed out; our hearts' craving for enlightenment and
emancipation induces us to follow it.

All humanity is irresistibly urged on to follow this path of
voluntary spiritual growth, as in spring the fermenting, rising
sap swells and bursts the buds. He who remains blind to the
power that sustains life, exposes himself continuously to a
source of disappointment and unfulfilled desires; even if he is
unconscious of their cause. He is liable to all sorts of grief
to which life subjects him, because his desires make him attached
to the object toward which his thoughts and desires are directed.
This object causes him eternal sorrow. He who wants to raise
himself above it, finds a possibility in himself, by devotion to,
by absorption in, that which is above the temporal and passing.

I can only for a moment call forth the vision which leads to an
escape from this sphere of life, a vision on which our thoughts
must be continuously bent. Our thoughts must become
contemplative so that we can, as it were, see the sublime beauty
of the spirit shining in the mirror of a quiet mind.

Many generations have attempted to record their experiences on
this point in a special form, they wanted their devotion to this
higher life made clear to others. Many religions and many
quarrels have resulted from it. It does not matter in what form
man gives expression to it, if only he lives and moves and has
his being in "it." Deep within himself every man is divine; his
being is anchored in, and is a part of, a more sublime
consciousness. At last the separate centers of consciousness
unite and dissolve in the cosmic consciousness from which they
sprang.

If we could look into the long distant past and into the far
future, we should discover that our descent is just as glorious
and sublime as our future; that this phase of our existence is
only a period of darkness on our journey to the boundless. Life
is a fragment, a part of a larger arc, of consciousness, from
which we will one day draw our strength.

----

If I say: man is essentially divine, I do not mean that at this
stage of his evolution, in this phase of his life, he can give
expression to this divine power.

Light shines through many and different veils more or less
vaguely, more or less clearly, into creatures that are all
without exception on their way to a higher form of existence. In
fact, our whole life is a hierarchy of different creatures,
closely connected, all in different phases of development,
unfolding or growing, coming from and going back to the source of
life from which it resulted. There is no death, there is only
life, there is a continuous metamorphosis and development of
consciousness, an ever extending growth, an eternal waking up of
consciousness to self-consciousness, to divine
self-consciousness. Life is the mirror in which the Unknowable
learns to know itself.

Our life is a pilgrimage, our past extends into infinity and
there never was a time when we were not; our future is the
infinite, the boundless. Nay, even more: We are the Boundless
Infinite Self. We have always been and shall always be it. He
who dwells and reflects in silence on this sublime truth, learns
more than can be found in all books.

----

In a very old and sacred work I read these words:

> Look about you, 0 pupil, observe this infinite, boundless
> Creation -- and now -- look into yourself: "You are it."

----

Man is a center of consciousness. His sensations converge in an
invisible center, his "Self." This "Self," the pivot of his
consciousness, extends from the one river bank of life to the
other, from the boundless to the boundless, it is eternal,
indestructible. It embraces everything: "This am I."

----

These things about which I am writing, "the Self-discovery of
Man," are very sacred. They are doctrines that make us see the
essence of life; they tower high above the life, as we see it,
they give an answer to our most vital questions. No system of
social reformation can give an answer to it -- these throw no
light on the questions life asks us: "Why was I born, why must I
die, what is the purpose of life?"

These doctrines are like a rock in the surf of life, firm and
immutable, they are like "a lamp unto our feet, a light unto our
path."

----

People who are only absorbed in everyday life have forgotten
their divine parentage and have no vision of their sublime
future; they are dead people. The cords of their consciousness
vibrate only to the gross tones of their lower emotions, the
divine harp-player within them is heard no longer.

It is the tragedy in the lives of many people that they live on,
consumed with unrest, driven by a desire which is never
satisfied, while they possess everything and do not realize it.

----

Great consternation prevails among the people: the first hostages
have been shot. The injustice done to their fellow men is felt
deeply by the people. How much fear they must have gone through!
What was their attitude toward the problem of death? In my most
profound conviction there is no reason to await death with fear.
Life itself, in the dark spheres of the earth, is the only place
of suffering. In the brief space of time between birth and death
-- one single day of life in our boundless existence -- the soul
leads a sad, wretched life, limited in its expression by human
inadequacy.

When a man dies, his soul is freed, and the consciousness of
spiritual beauty, for which our eyes were closed, is released.

Why then do people fear death? Why do they set so much value on
life? If it is not love for those who are dear to them, what
binds them so much that they do everything to forget that they do
not live here, and that their souls are hardly able to breathe
here?

When a man is born, THE LIGHT OF HIS HIGHER CONSCIOUSNESS IS
EXTINGUISHED, his spiritual world closes itself to the trials of
their being which has to orient itself in this underworld.

And when a man dies he gets back the splendor of his higher
consciousness, unhampered by the restrictions of the earthly
existence. When a man dies, he looks back on the life he has
passed through. This narrow existence, full of disappointments
and uncertainties, this blindfold groping was "his life," his
home. Without understanding the great miracle which is about to
happen in himself now that he gets back the light of a higher
consciousness, he leaves this life which only at a few definite
moments was enlightened by the heavenly splendor of the spirit.
Let us not fear death. Owing to a Fear of death many people
hardly live.

They are unconscious of the fact that they have a task: they do
not know that the powers of the soul want to manifest in them.

So, how could they be induced to cooperate in the great plan of
life: the growth, the raising of man? They do not know who they
are, they do not listen to the inspiration of their souls; they
do not know the vision of him who, within himself, has discovered
the light that shines in the darkness. So let us not fear death,
it brings us peace and light. This is what I would have liked to
say to the hostages.

----

When we look about us in these days, now that many pronounced
injustices manifest themselves, we wonder: does justice exist? Of
course, in peaceful times there is also injustice. The personal
interests of people devoid of vision induce them continuously to
cause each other sorrow and to commit injustice on a large or
small scale. Now that the interests of nations and groups of
people are wronged, the injustice is all the more conspicuous.

What must we tell these injured people when they see an injustice
in the bitterness of their fate, and when the hatred which is
growing in their hearts is the only weapon for self-defense? Are
they able to understand that we cannot speak of injustice or
justice in the case of all the things that happen, that
compassionate powers guide the fate of humanity and that nothing
befalls them which they themselves have not called forth?

Let us try to look more closely at these acute questions, and
search the essence of life to find an answer.

----

The growth from limitation -- in which we live now -- to the
Boundless, briefly called evolution, does not occur at random.
The awakening to a super-sensual life, the development of
consciousness, the continuous growth, take place under fixed
immutable laws. We see the same phenomenon in the material
worlds; the growth of plants, animals and men, of constellations
and the Cosmos, occurs along lines which we call laws. These
laws are, as it were, the lines of action of a Regulating
Principle: if these laws did not exist, chaos would reign
supreme. The development, the unfolding of the invisible cosmic
life and consciousness, is the work of the same Regulating
Principle.

Before a material object is made, it exists as an idea in the
brain of him who gives expression to it. A composer who produces
a piece of music, a poet who lays down his inspiration in the
form of a poem, an architect who constructs his edifice, have the
abstract form within them as an idea, an idea which gradually
takes shape in their consciousness before their thoughts or their
hands give expression to it.

The seed of this idea lies much deeper; it springs from the
fields of the higher consciousness where the thought has not yet
taken shape, but announces itself as an inspiration. The germ is
boundless life, boundless consciousness, the source of our being,
the Spirit. It compares with the creation of the Cosmos.

The germ is the Boundless. This germ springs from the fields of
the highest cosmic consciousness and impresses itself on it as a
cosmic idea.

----

The lines of growth are divine laws which rule these invisible
worlds. Our life is also subject to these laws. They guide the
evolution of all that lives.

Thus man fights against himself, his highest self, when he
infringes these laws; he owes his sad experiences to himself.
They may appear to him as an injustice, and cause his mind to
rebel, or fill his heart with bitterness; in reality all painful
experiences are the fault of him who has passed through them. He
has drawn them toward himself by his own actions. Life is a
magic art; we conjure up our fate and it leads us to wisdom and
insight. In this way the forces of the soul drive man through
experiences that are necessary to his growth. He who sees life
thus, does not grumble at fate, neither does he allow himself to
be cast down. He accepts life as willed by himself, in the
conviction that nobody can wrong him, and he follows the path
that leads to perfection, knowing that he takes an active part in
a great plan of life.

----

When we want to rise above this dark time, our thoughts must be
raised toward a height which endures for all time.

Thoughts that centuries ago brought people happiness and gave
substance and depth to their lives, are of the same importance in
these days. There are such great differences among thoughts that
we really must linger here for a moment. There are eternal
thoughts and there are temporary thoughts; valuable thoughts,
which withstand the ages, and worthless thoughts, which form the
rubble of life; vigorous and powerless, creative and purposeless
thoughts; contemplative thoughts which reflect themselves in the
light of the spirit, and dark thoughts. If a thought is to be of
any value, it must raise us and open prospects to us.

The highest knowledge is that which we cannot put into words, or
that which we can hardly define. Sometimes it is still and clear
before us, indescribable in its grandeur and beauty. How are we
to give expression to it?

When I say every man contains the Boundless -- nay, more: he IS
the Boundless -- then it is quite clear to me, but much of what I
say in these words remains unspoken between you and me. Again
and again I am looking for another way to approach this highest
thought that lives in me.

When I analyze man, when I try to define the essence of man, not
a single fixed point remains of which I can say: this is man.

His body, his feelings, his intellectual life, his reason, his
soul, they are as many expedients or aspects of perception of his
consciousness. The body causes the consciousness, of which the
invisible center is the "I," to react to physical vibrations, the
emotions to psychical, and the thoughts to mental vibrations; the
spiritual rouses higher reactions.

But time and again the body, the feelings, the thoughts or the
soul find a consciousness that absorbs these perceptions. The
consciousness itself is unfathomably deep, it is started into
motion and the "I" concentrates the perceptions in itself.

I must add something. Man has another wonderful capacity:
memory. Just as on a photographic plate which fixes the image
after it has been taken, the image absorbed registers itself in
the memory of the "Self," no matter by which organ (the body with
the senses, the feelings, the intellect, reason, intuition) it
has been received. As a matter of course, we come to the
conclusion that some medium of a very ethereal nature is
necessary to transmit the reactions of the "I" to the
consciousness. If we had no memory, our reactions would
volatilize like vapor and leave no lasting impression. The "I"
is lasting and it is infinite.

I can imagine a man who is completely immune to any impression
outside himself; his senses are at rest and inactive, his
feelings, his intellect -- all that connects him with the outer
world -- are completely shut off, but all the same the "I"
absorbs impressions, experiences that rise high above those which
ordinary life gives him.

Indeed, the fields of our consciousness extend to infinity, and
man makes one discovery after another in proportion as he raises
himself.

These fields extend behind the intellect; untrodden by those who
are unable to raise themselves above the mind, whose intuition
has not yet been awakened; they are of a heavenly beauty and very
real to those who succeed in gaining admittance to them.

Where is the limit?

Nowhere. On this earth we are only passing through a phase of
Creation which is enacted within us, A FRAGMENT OF THE COSMIC
EVOLUTION OF THE UNIVERSAL I.

As a matter of fact, we have not started it on Earth -- that
which is now temporary man, is eternal. That which forms the
source of his existence has always been. What We call life on
this earth is only a short period in which becomes active our
human sphere of consciousness, which is a part of the boundless
sphere of consciousness, of which our "I" is the center.

He who thinks about this experiences the unspeakable beauty of
the temple of life and Creation, which is built in silence, and
gets an insight into what he himself really is. He gets an idea
of the infinite background of his existence.

In the Boundless our desire for life is extinguished; there we
only exist; it is in the original cause of our existence, it is
the beginning and the end, absorbed in the complete stillness of
our being.

----

We can also try to approach in another way the thought that we
are the Boundless.

Our material body is built up from the elements of the earth,
from the substance by which it is surrounded. Thus my feelings
and my intellect are an individualization of a world of feelings
and a world of thoughts by which I am surrounded. There are
numerous minds, each one in a different phase of development.

Mind is only a center of consciousness, abstracted or withdrawn
from the great cosmic Mind.

It is the same with every power I possess, whether it is
intuition or the soul life, or what not. We always see beside
and about us separate lives, separate beings who have the same
faculties.

All these beings, even if they are separated by a different phase
of growth or development, spring from one source of life, which
has, as it were, divided itself into the various beings to whom
it gave separate lives. Every being has been abstracted from the
Cosmos. If I should break the chains of my individualization, if
I could remove the restrictions of my human existence and
unfetter myself completely, my consciousness would be absorbed by
the cosmic consciousness from which I arose, from which I sprang.

The limitations would cease to exist, my self-consciousness would
be lost because it would dissolve in a consciousness of a higher
Self -- a cosmic consciousness.

Finally the I, which now defines my essence, would dissolve in
the Boundless.

----

When we have gained this wonderful insight -- a discovery greater
than any -- and pay full attention to it, think of it devotedly,
we surround ourselves with a protecting power.

For this higher and highest consciousness which is our being,
which we are -- guides our life. It is the driving power of our
development. It defines the lines of our growth; in other words,
the will of this higher consciousness reveals itself in the form
of divine laws to which our life is subjected and which we cannot
infringe with impunity. The pattern of life is printed there.
The life we see there is the canvas on which the weird sisters
embroider life, the pattern of which is but vaguely visible.

----

This great idea that man is the absolute, the boundless, is the
only Truth that all great Teachers of Religion -- each of them in
the form that was most suitable for their time -- have brought
their followers. Jesus founded his doctrine on the expression:
"The Kingdom of God is within you -- or about you."

Gautama the Buddha preached: "Aim at liberation, raise yourself
above your personal existence, follow the internal path that
leads to Nirvana to be absorbed by a new existence beyond any
understanding."

Krishna taught that man should practice Yoga and should gain his
liberation, that is, by becoming one with the Highest Self.

Lao-tzu spoke of the path, the Tao which leads to the endless.

What does it matter which direction we go? They all lead to the
same goal -- the acknowledgment of the highest essence of
boundless man. This is the torch of the light which the most
prominent people throughout generations have handed to each
other.

----

Whatever direction man may take, whatever his faith or conception
of life, it is of no value to him so long as he does not devote
himself to it fully. A religion without a continued inspiring
urge, without a prospect of ever-increasing perspective, without
a means to make man grow steadily, does not possess living power.
When man really discovers that he is the Endless and the
Boundless, then this single acknowledgment is of no value. His
vision suddenly revives when he goes through this experience and
so reaches a height which he is unable to express in words. For
a single moment he becomes a Seer.

But when he does nothing else, and lives with the conviction just
gained as if no revelation had taken place in himself, he has
achieved nothing. Every day anew this recognition must be
experienced by him, so that he learns to live as in a sphere of
eternity. He must learn to turn the searchlights of his spirit
on the highest fields of his consciousness and to illuminate all
perspectives of it, so that day in and day out he fills his life
with it and steadily grows to a greater height.

------------------------------------------------------------------
REMEMBERING HPB

by the Countess Constance Wachtmeister

[Chapter VII from REMINISCENCES OF H.P. BLAVATSKY AND "THE
SECRET DOCTRINE," Theosophical Publishing Society, London,
England, 1893.]

Living in such close and familiar intercourse with HPB as I did
at this time, it naturally happened that I was a witness of many
of the "phenomena" which took place in her vicinity.

There was one occurrence, continuously repeated over a long
period, which impressed me very strongly with the conviction that
she was watched and cared for by unseen guardians. From the
first night that I passed in her room, until the last that
preceded our departure from Wurzburg, I heard a regularly
intermittent series of raps on the table by her bedside. They
would begin at ten o'clock each evening, and would continue, at
intervals of ten minutes, until six o'clock in the morning. They
were sharp, clear raps, such as I never heard at any other time.
Sometimes I held my watch in my hand for an hour at a stretch,
and always as the ten minute interval ticked itself out, the rap
would come with the utmost regularity. Whether HPB was awake or
asleep mattered nothing to the occurrence of the phenomenon, nor
to its uniformity.

When I asked for an explanation of these raps I was told that it
was an effect of what might be called a sort of psychic
telegraph, which placed her in communication with her Teachers,
and that the chelas might watch her body while her astral left
it.

In this connection I may mention another incident that proved to
me that there were agencies at work in her neighborhood whose
nature and action were inexplicable on generally accepted
theories of the constitution and laws of matter.

As I have already remarked, HPB was accustomed to reading her
Russian newspapers at night after retiring, and it was rarely
that she extinguished her lamp before midnight. There was a
screen between my bed and this lamp, but, nevertheless, its
powerful rays, reflected from the ceiling and walls, often
disturbed my rest. One night this lamp was burning after the
clock had struck one. I could not sleep, and, as I heard by
HPB's regular breathing that' she slept, I rose, gently walked
round to the lamp, and turned it out. There was always a dim
light pervading the bedroom, which came from a night-light
burning in the study, the door between that room and the bedroom
being kept open. I had extinguished the lamp, and was going
back, when it flamed up again, and the room was brightly
illuminated. I thought to myself -- what a strange lamp, I
suppose the spring does not act, so I put my hand again on the
spring, and watched until every vestige of flame was extinct,
and, even then, held down the spring for a minute. Then I
released it and stood for a moment longer watching, when, to my
surprise, the flame reappeared and the lamp was burning as
brightly as ever. This puzzled me considerably, and I determined
to stand there by that lamp and put it out all through the night,
if necessary, until I discovered the why and wherefore of its
eccentricities. For the third time I pressed the spring and
turned it down until the lamp was quite out, and then released
it, watching eagerly to see what would take place. For the third
time the lamp burned up, and this time I saw a brown hand slowly
and gently turning the knob of the lamp. Familiar as I was with
the action of astral forces and astral entities on the physical
plane, I had no difficulty in coming to the conclusion that it
was the hand of a chela, and, surmising that there was some
reason why the lamp should remain alight, I returned to my couch.
But a spirit of perversity and curiosity dwelt within me that
night. I wanted to know more, so I called out, "Madame
Blavatsky!" then, louder, "Madame Blavatsky!" and again "Madame
Blavatsky!" Suddenly I heard an answering cry -- "Oh, my heart!
My heart! Countess, you have nearly killed me"; and then again,
"My heart! My heart!" I flew to HPB's bedside. "I was with
Master," she murmured, "why did you call me back?" I was
thoroughly alarmed, for her heart fluttered under my hand with
wild palpitation.

I gave her a dose of digitalis, and sat beside her until the
symptoms had abated and she had become calmer. Then she told me
how Col. Olcott had once nearly killed her in the same way, by
calling her back suddenly when her astral form was absent from
her body. She made me promise that I would never try experiments
with her again, and this promise I readily gave, out of the
fullness of my grief and contrition for having caused her such
suffering.

But why, it will be asked, did she continue to suffer with powers
at her command which could relieve suffering? Why, when she was
laboring at so important a task through long hours of every day
-- a task that needed a mind untroubled and a sound body -- why
did she never stretch out a finger to amend the conditions and to
banish weakness and pain that would have prostrated any ordinary
person completely?

The question is a natural one, and it did not fail to occur to
me, knowing as I did the healing powers she possessed, and her
capacity to alleviate the pains of others. When the question was
put to her, her answer was invariably the same.

"In Occultism," she said, "a most solemn vow has to be taken
never to use any powers acquired or conferred for the benefit of
one's own personal self, for to do so would be to set foot on the
steep and treacherous slope that ends in the abyss of Black
Magic. I have taken that vow, and I am not one to break a pledge
the sanctity of which cannot be brought within the comprehension
of the profane. I would rather suffer any tortures than be
untrue to my pledge. As for securing more favorable conditions
for the execution of my task: -- it is not with us that the end
is held to justify the means, nor is it we who are permitted to
do evil that good may come. "And," she went on, "it is not only
bodily pain and weakness, and the ravages of disease that I am to
suffer with what patience I may, subduing them by my will for the
sake of the work, but mental pain, ignominy, opprobrium and
ridicule."

All this was no exaggeration, no mere form of emotional
expression. It was true and remained true until her death, both
in fact and in the history of the society. Upon her, standing in
the forefront of the ranks of the Theosophical Society, fell the
poisoned darts of reprobation and misrepresentation, as upon a
living sensitive shield or bulwark, behind which the real
culprits, the weak and erring ones, were concealed and protected.

She was, as it were, a sacrificial victim accepting a long
martyrdom, and upon her agony, and the shame which she bore so
undeservedly and bravely, was. built up the prosperity of the
Theosophical Society.

Very few members of the Theosophical Society are in a position to
realize this. It is only those who have lived with her day by
day, who have seen her hourly sufferings, and the tortures she
endured from slanders and insults, and have, at the same time,
watched the growth and prosperity of the Society in the
comparative calm and genial atmosphere secured to it by the
shelter her conspicuous personality afforded, who can judge of
the greatness of the debt they owe her, while too many do not
even suspect their indebtedness.

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

by Reed Carson

[Following is news from a related theosophical site. See

 http://www.blavatsky.net

for more information.]

In a gratifying tribute to Madame Blavatsky, in the next few days
we will be expecting to implement the beginning of a new
Blavatsky-centered discussion list in Russian. It will be called
bn-russian. As a starting subject matter it will be following
the agenda of the bn-basic introduction to Theosophy. It will be
possible to signup for the list on the member application on the
homepage and it will be mentioned on the "talk" page and on the
Russian homepage.

Galena Antonova, at antonova@isea.irk.ru, whose name and email
are also listed on the contributor page for maintaining the
Russian page, will be managing the talk group. George Bondarev,
who suggested this list, has already translated the welcome page
into Russian. Thanks and best wishes are extended to you Galena
and to George and everyone else who will be participating.

In the next few days (maybe tomorrow) the database will start
accepting participants. Sometime in about a month all
participants will be notified and the course will begin. This
month-long delay will allow some number of participants time to
join. We will be taking into account Russian holidays in picking
the actual start date.

This new list will be made possible technically by all the
troubles we have been wading through in moving to the new server,
and for a little while now has been one of my several driving
motives.

Also some people have been making contributions toward the
Spanish page and we have been delinquent in moving in that
direction, but we very much want to. Demands on our time have
been crushing. As we gather our efforts together once again in
that direction, squeezing our time again, please feel free to
email estela@blavatsky.net. She will need your help and we very
much want bn-espanol to also be functioning usefully and serving
the Spanish community.

On another new item, we have, from time to time, received
requests of various forms to supply the back quotes of the day.
So now, right under the quote of the day from HPB, is a click
called "back quotes". It leads to the accumulated quotes of the
day since they started this February. As you can imagine they
make a striking tour through the Secret Doctrine, her magnum
opus.

Most of my time this month on this site has been spent working
toward moving this site to the new server and starting bn-basic.
Today, mostly all of the site has been moved to the new server.
The bookstore has not yet been moved because it uses secure
transactions that are a special consideration but not necessary
to move at this time. A few items are temporarily
non-functioning but we hope will be working more or less
immediately. For me, this has meant conquering the new operating
system, Linux, that is making waves in the industry, and also
Apache, the web server that is doing the same.

The discussion list that we have been waiting for, bn-basic
covering the basic teachings of Theosophy, now has to await my
further conquering Lyris, the superb software that handles
discussion lists. That process has begun and has a little more
to go. But I certainly expect the new list to be able to begin
this month. I will pick some time relative to the new year and
every person subscribed [at Blavatsky Net] and waiting for it
will receive an email when it does start.

------------------------------------------------------------------
IN SUPPORT OF GENUINE THEOSOPHY, PART II

by Grigor Vahan Ananikian

[based upon a September 22, 1999 posting to
theos-l@list.vnet.net.]

[Many are the traditions that embody the esoteric philosophy,
including the Sufi, alchemical, Greek, Zoroastrian, Tantric
Buddhism, and even Orthodox Christianity...]

All these traditions describe the first step as one involving
separating buddhi from the lower manas, or rather, of awakening
buddhi to itself in distinction from manas.

But today, some in the Theosophical Society don't even have a
clear and distinct inner experiential sense of the difference
between buddhi and manas. Yet, since many do not know how to
experientially distinguish between these two faculties, much
confusion and erroneous conceptions arise when some speak of the
buddhi being this, or that, or the other thing without knowing
what they are talking about.

To have an amateur at golf try to pass himself off as a golf-pro
in conversation with (unknown to him) a real golf-pro quickly
becomes a rather amusing but embarrassing experience for the
golf-pro who has to witness another person make a buffoon of
themselves.

It is similar to when the young man seeks to conceal the fact of
his virginity by posing as an experienced man of the world to an
older and wiser woman.

Yet, such situations happen more in the Theosophical Society when
someone begins to speak of practical theosophy. The conceptual
distinction is only a provisional map of a real distinction that
has to be repeatedly explored experientially in order to be
known.

Buddhi and manas have a flowing dynamic relation except in some
intense degrees of samadhi that are not really useful states to
work in.

To practice a martial art as a way in practical theosophy is to
have a degree of concentration of the buddhi but not to such a
degree that it is altogether withdrawn from the manas or the
manas have stopped all function. Rather, it is to keep them
distinct in the thick of things, movement, response, timing, blow
and countermove.

Sitting meditation is only preparation. Just as being able to
stand on a surf board (buddhi) in a still pond (manas and lower
faculties in life) is not surfing, neither is sitting meditation
the great work of spiritual transformation. Surfing and true
spiritual work is where buddhi and manas and the lower faculties
in life are in a dynamic situation just like the ability to stay
on the board is a dynamic one of staying with the surf.

The ability to be illumined has to become an ability to remain
such in the hustle and bustle of life. The distinction between
buddhi and manas has to become as experientially clear as the
equally experienced difference is between seeing through the eyes
and hearing through the ears or between a sensation, emotion, or
thought.

Without knowing the difference, experientially, between buddhi
and manas, how does one know or have any hope of knowing what to
separate from what, since it is commonly accepted that separation
of buddhi from manas is one of the key steps in practical
theosophy.

Yet, it has been mistakenly suggested by some that buddhi is some
kind of high produced by autosuggestion. These writers confuse
buddhi with a state that is the exact opposite of buddhi when
they associate it with different kinds of trance states which
are, again, nothing but specially induced forms of suggestibility
and sleep. But not much more can be said on this first point as
long as many choose to remain bookworms of theosophy.

Not knowing the nature or purpose of the spiritual path, some
theosophical writers have postulated, and brought many after them
to believe, that vegetarianism and celibacy are important, if one
wanted to progress spiritually, and sometimes, have given the
impression that such things are the substance of spirituality
itself.

And that is a problem.

The Theosophical Society has become a opiate for spiritual couch
potatoes and some want to control the drug and the proceeds from
it.

Perhaps, in order that the drug is not discovered to be the
counterfeit it is offered by blind guides, authentic practical
theosophy has become something it is encouraged to have be
forgotten. And the various techniques and forms of askesis
(tapas) that are periodically deployed in practical theosophy, as
tools for overcoming inner weaknesses and incapacities, as
medicines applied to develop spiritual strength, in this
situation, have become themselves the goal or a status.

By forgetting the true ends that these tools were to serve and by
making these tools themselves the goal, they have become the
trappings by which inner weakness, the retreat from life,
autosuggestion giving repeated doses of feeling good, and the
addiction to these symptoms of malaise dress up as authentic
spirituality.

And here returns our thoughts towards HPB and her spirituality
forged from life in the Caucasus.

Generally, from Caucasian perspective, to be celibate is the
precondition for no progress in self-knowledge or spirituality.
The firm and steady foundation of self-knowledge is knowledge of
oneself in light of conscience in the thick of it. One must have
had the chance to be wrong, tested, and learn one's limitations
and moral mistakes and regrets as well as concretely encountering
one's talents, strengths, and triumphs.

We take our heroes straight, including, lumps, warts, foul
breath, farts, and fleas. We don't emaciate them by turning
Arjunas of the Gita or Kay Khusrow of the Shahnama into glorified
sissies after image of wimps like some second-generation
theosophists. Nor do we turn our angels into fat little babies
or whispy little girls in Victorian nighties. Nor is
spirituality the faded blue lodge atmosphere of an old maid aunt
society that would faint with apoplexy over an HPB walking in
cussing because the atmosphere was one of perfumed death such as
one finds on cancer ward of old hospitals (Hemingway's
description of the smell of death is actually the smell of
cancer).

Spirit is spiritedness. It is a fierce and vigorous concept and
reality. We still speak of a horse that has spirit or of esprit
de corp. Spirit is that strong vital bond of life overcoming
death.

The word BRAHMAN comes from the old ksatriya word for a powerful
true boast that works up others into a readiness to do battle by
overcoming fears through collective elan and esprit de corp. It
is cognate to the English word BRAG and Norse word for poetry,
riddles, and divine power.

Brahman is the boast of the vigor of Being (sat) over the
impotence of non-Being (asat). Next, it was applied by Vedic
priests to those mantras in the Rig Veda that were particularly
potent pieces. Its verbal root means "to swell".

Ever see the super-vigor of a pregnant woman almost smug with the
degree of life and health radiating from her? That is the
swelling that Brahman is. In Persian, it is fravahr and is
cognate to the English word FIERCE. It is the joyful
overabundance of life's immortal defeat of death. Thumos in
Greek means the same thing. Thumos is cognate to English
enthusiasm.

What the meek of heart types call "spiritual" is Victorian
weakness, repression, and de-spirited depression laced with
autosuggestion (the very opposite of buddhi). It is the false
"joy" of the opiate addict or hypochondriac (doctor to
hypochondriac: I have bad news and good news. You are a
hypochondriac and I can't cure you of it. Doctor to normal
mortal patient: I have good news and bad news. You are not a
hypochondriac.").

What some fainting lilies, poor specimens of the human race, call
"spiritual" is their own glorified incapacity, hypocrisy, and
stench of the spiritually dying. They can only faint at the
sight of a steak, become sick at the smell of a cigar, swoon or
become tipsy after a shot of whiskey or vodka or retsina, or pale
at a colorful comment from HPB.

Like the ephemeral mood music that blends with their lilac or
lavender incense to create a heard and smelt haze that suits
their faded "spirituality," which is actually their de-spirited
stupor, and who make lodges smell and feel like a hospital ward
for the terminally nostalgic, they recommend celibacy.

Why?

Because they are undersexed, under-spirited, and perhaps, will
only enjoy, vicariously, rumors of reincarnation and immortality,
what's left in them to withstand the shock of death? What of
substance has been gathered in this life that is of immortal
value? Do they forget there is spiritual death according to HPB?

As the Naqshibandi Imam Shamil of Daghestan is credited as
saying, "if a man looses all spiritual composure at seeing a
military field surgery, what makes you think that the spiritual
composition that was once him will survive when the angel of
death takes the body that was really what held him together for
inwardly he is nothing?"

Fasting, celibacy, and other such askesis was to overcome and a
sign of growing strength, not of the incapacity of the
meek-hearted in life.

Judaism, Sufis of Islam, Zoroastrianism, for example, forbid the
monkish life as a permanent lifestyle. For them, a monastic
retreat is not a retreat from life but an intensified
confrontation with it under carefully controlled and monitored
conditions under the watchful eye of a Spiritual Director.

For these traditions, a monastery is a laboratory. But, to test
the knowledge and strength gained, one most again leave the
laboratory and field test it in life. Such forms of askesis are
temporary. Being celibate for 90 days by one who enjoys sex
frequently is both more difficult and more productive than of one
who hasn't developed the capacity for it, the taste for it and
enthusiasm for it. Fasting from cognac by one who has never
savored it regularly is worthless. Because these are
supplementary means to strengthen your mettle for the real test.

For a real man (I do not presume to speak for women on this
matter), to fast from the sex and cognac that he dearly loves,
while an exercising and development of real spiritual strength,
is only preparing for the real battle that is also being set up
in the process.

Fasting, as all ancient sources teach, is to do spiritual battle
with the emotions. The meek of heart will agree, and then,
mistakenly add, fasting quells strong emotions.

But the purpose of fasting as a means to do spiritual battle with
the emotions is not to quell them but self-knowledge. And in the
early stages, self-knowledge is the gaining of an accurate
knowledge of one's angelic aspirations and one's habit of being
an s-o-b.

We are very complicated entities. Self-mastery requires
self-knowledge. Self-knowledge has to see how we inwardly
function and malfunction. It must confront the good and bad in
us. Fasting, whether from food or sex, is ultimately to see
(buddhi).

Fasting for a while from something one dearly loves brings out
one's irritability, bad temper, foul mood, and anger very
effectively. That is the setting up of the inner battle.

THE REAL TEST IS THEN TO USE AND DEVELOP THE INNER STRENGTH
GAINED IN FOREGOING SEX AND COGNAC TO NOT IDENTIFY THE BUDDHI
WITH THESE EMOTIONS BUT SEE THEM AND OVERCOME THE RESULTING
IRRITABILITY, BAD TEMPER, FOUL MOOD, AND ANGER that invariably
results in one not yet perfect. But the real test, fasting
inwardly from all the negativity that arises from fasting
outwardly from a cherished desire, is still only a test.

The reality is to learn to use this new inner ability, strength,
and knowledge (esoteric knowledge, gnosis, jnana, is more like
"know how" skill or competence that conceptual information) in
the thick of things, in life, where things evoke hurt, anger, and
bad temper.

The meek-hearted fast, vegetate, and celibate in order to avoid
this process in the first place. No real loves, no real
passions, no real angers and animosities, no real addictions, no
real lusts, then nothing real to overcome. Self-mastery becomes
mistakenly identified by the meek at heart with the composure of
not having a life.

Fasting, vegetarianism, and celibacy are limited tools for
limited times serving other ends than auto-pacification. Some
think they are the end-in-themselves, and thus, stick in their
thumb and pull out their shriveled plum, and say how spiritual
are we when all they are is full of prunes (those shriveled
plums).

No one is born perfect. But to become perfect one must have
lived a real life, with real defeats, regrets, real mistakes,
blood or dirt on ones hands, while trying to do good, help,
contribute - all that is to learn from as a picture of who you
are and where you are aiming really. (Are you really aiming at
perfecting evolution or use it as a fancy label to mask your
nefarious goals?)

Self-knowledge for the imperfect (us) is of the bad and the good
we are. We are angels and wolves. We have to be looking not
only when our angelic pious Sunday best is in charge (so we can
thrill to our piousness) but also catch ourselves in the act when
the wolf is in control.

To look at the wolf in us takes courage, some spirit that is
strong enough to bear seeing in us what we don't like to see and
sometimes have built-up a lifetime of habits to avoid seeing.

We are deluded if we only look at ourselves when we are angels
and don't allow ourselves to see the wolf and we are mistaken if
we think purpose of seeing the wolf is to eliminate it.

Does this mean we should allow the wolf in us free-rein? Should
we increase in our wolfishness? No, we have done that too much
already. We are inwardly in our daily routines the wolf most of
the time. But to tame the wolf, to reclaim the energies it
represents, we need to first know that it is there and what its
habits are.

The meek of heart deceive themselves if they believe that their
methods of auto-pacification and autosuggestion have eliminated
the wolf in them. Rather, what happens is the wolf under these
conditions becomes more devious and malicious. It becomes one
that is submissive in a face to face confrontation but attacks
the hind quarters as soon as the other has turned.

The dirtiest underhanded dealings have come from the polite
society of those clothed as innocent lambs who can't admit to
themselves that they are repressed, and therefore, more dangerous
wolves.

We must not deny the wolf but find its proper role and place
within the larger moral, spiritual, and cosmic scheme. So, we
must study both wolf and angel in us. To do that takes courage,
tenacity, and dogged stubbornness that we will know the truth of
ourselves. That is spirit, the ability to overcome ourselves.

The meek-spirited armchair theosophists mistakenly took the route
of weakening ourselves, starving the wolf, killing the spiritual
muscle, and deludedly called it spiritual evolution or spiritual
self-mastery. Bull!

To truly be a character, one must be an outrageous character. By
that I mean we need to see we are all notorious characters of a
questionable past and dubious worth as well as angels in training
to become a tried and tested character, refined through the fire
of life, to become a character that is truly a self-mastered
moral character.

Our imperfections, our impulses, our angel and our wolf, is the
leaden raw material and prima materia for our transmutation. Yet
some misguided theosophists wish to beat the lead into a soft
plaint powder whose poisonous effect on the mind they mistakenly
laud as a higher state. Bah!

In middle east, the best medium of testing and refining one's
mettle is family and sex and money and death. As angel and wolf,
how does one deal with these dimensions of life is thing first to
find out as gauge to one's spiritual worth. Marriage is good for
that. As it is said in Caucasus, a man is not a man worth his
salt if he hasn't been salted, assaulted, and insulted in holy
wedlock.

Of course, marriage is not an exclusive measure nor is it merely
the same as sex. But it is a mixed blessing where, like any
mixed blessing, the spiritual task is to learn how to turn the
obstacles and disappointments in life into opportunities for
spiritual development. It is the immensely difficult task to
learn how to live the theosophical life as one capable, in one
life or many, of taking good times and bad times, opportunities
and obstacles, duties and temptations, as lessons.

Ibn Ata'illah, the great Sufi, writes in his Hikam, "when God
gives to you the object of your desire, he deprives you of the
freedom from being tempted, and when God deprives you, he is
giving you an opportunity. Whether God gives or deprives, he
makes the way available to you to learn."

But the meek and timid who use some of the methods of practical
theosophy to evade involvement in key areas of life have no grist
for their mill. It's like trying to become world traveler,
veteran of adventures and wars, by watching TV and playing video
war games. At bottom, it is a fear of who one is and is supposed
to become.

In cattle-raising countries, such types are called "male-cows."
They are cut out of herd and killed to insure health of herd.
The Theosophical Society seems to collect them. Precepts for
practice have become "read the books and live a vicarious
spiritual path."

When the fare of even the original books becomes too strong as
they progress towards nonexistence, the precept becomes "feed
them the pabulum of even a less nourishing vicarious state of
"feeling good vaguely about something I didn't experience or live
through myself".

The T.S. might as well advertise itself as cross between a New
Thought lecture and a Christian Science Reading room offering as
fare the spiritual equivalent of the invariable pick stuff found
in many nursing home cafeterias, and named, "jello surprise," the
sole purpose of which appears to be to make the poor inmates
sicker and incapable of ever leaving (thus, procuring a steady
income from those rendered helpless to have any say about their
treatment) and repel any healthy types who might disrupt things.

------------------------------------------------------------------
THEOSOPHICAL SOCIETY OUTREACH

by Suzanna Kenline

[This report to the members of The Theosophical Society, Wheaton,
Illinois, USA, appeared in THE MESSENGER, October 1999.]

Recently a questionnaire was mailed to all members to elicit
active dialog and input from you so we can gain a better
understanding of the composition of the organization, how you
feel about your membership, your expectations, hopes, and ideas
for the future of the organization, and how we can serve you
better.

A committee of staff members was formed (balanced by age, gender,
and areas of responsibility) to develop the contents of the
questionnaire. Many questions were intentionally phrased in an
open-ended manner so that you could use the opportunity to be as
expansive in your responses as you wanted to be.

Responses requiring a personal or immediate response and those
pertaining to members expressing interest in contributing
particular skills to the Society were pulled and distributed to
the appropriate department heads. All responses were recorded
verbatim and circulated to the project committee, administrative
committee, and department supervisors for their review and
consideration. An abbreviated report was presented to your Board
of Directors at their July meeting.

* A 16.5 percent return rate was realized by the June 1 deadline,
 which is considered a good response for any bulk mailing.

* 50 percent of the respondents were members-at-large, 89 percent
 were over 54 years of age, and 81 percent were with a degree
 beyond high school.

* 83 percent of the respondents first heard about the Society
 through (1) word of mouth, (2) books, (3) Theosophical
 programs, or (4) the Quest magazine.

* The top four resources named as the most beneficial were (1)
 meetings and programs, (2) library services, and (3) THE QUEST
 magazine and Quest Books (tied).

* 64 percent of the respondents have at some time during their
 membership participated in a Theosophical Society activity,
 such as local group meetings and programs, camp sessions, and
 national center gatherings. 23 percent stated they had not
 participated in any activity. 39 percent of the respondents
 expressed interest in meeting with other members (this question
 was addressed to individuals not currently members of a local
 group, but percentage ratios suggest that some local group
 members answered this question also).

* 65 percent of respondents stated they had a positive experience
 when they contacted national headquarters, 2 percent reported a
 negative experience, and 15 percent have had no contact.

The open-ended questions produced, in many cases, voluminous
responses, too long to be included in full here, but of value to
the staff for their openness and candor. Here 10 responses from
each of the questions are extrapolated:

WHAT PROMPTED YOU TO JOIN THE SOCIETY?

1. I am a non-religious seeker and find myself in accord with
 Theosophical tenets.

2. Interest in the subjects and freedom of thought. The lack of
 dogma, open-mindedness.

3. To be able to interact and communicate with like-minded
 individuals.

4. Willingness to allow diversity.

5. Started reading THE QUEST and was very impressed. It
 reflects my core beliefs while enriching my spiritual
 understanding.

6. I am searching and was led to believe that the Society would
 be a help to me in understanding God, the world, my neighbor,
 and myself.

7. It just happened as a very natural, effortless, spontaneous,
 steadfast continuum of "coming home," so to speak. It was my
 place, and something deep within recognized it and moved my
 whole being to just embrace it, settle into it, study, learn,
 grow, practice, and serve as part of my human experience.

8. I visited the center in Wheaton, felt the space was truly
 beautiful, the library filled with magnificent books, and the
 programs were fascinating. The whole place stretched my mind
 and spirit.

9. To learn more about the Theosophical worldview of the
 universe and to have the opportunity to meet and talk with
 other individuals who were pursuing the ageless wisdom.

10. After reading several books by various authors and thinking
 about the three Objects and principles the Society represented
 and offered, I decided to join.

WHAT DO YOU HOPE TO ACHIEVE FROM MEMBERSHIP?

1. To share personal spiritual insights without the burden of
 imposition and rigidity of organized religions.

2. Greater depth of knowledge and understanding of the workings
 of the world and my place in it. Also, camaraderie with
 like-minded searchers from the across the country and around
 the world.

3. Personal, psychological, and spiritual growth.

4. The ability to express my spirituality with greater clarity.

5. Association with other Theosophists. Guidance on the path
 through recommended study and good examples.

6. I hope to enhance my ability as a father and a member of the
 community and the world.

7. Peace of mind.

8. A greater awareness of others' beliefs, thoughts, and
 opinions as a labyrinth of intellectual stimulation and a
 kaleidoscope of other cultures and better understanding of
 universal tolerance.

9. Ability to cope with a stressful society by the realization
 through reading, learning, discussion groups, and programs to
 see beyond the obvious to the infinite possibilities of the
 human spirit.

10. Greater understanding of the three Objects and increased
 ability to incorporate them into my daily life.

WHAT DO YOU LIKE MOST ABOUT BEING A MEMBER?

1. Being a part of a family of like-minded people traveling the
 path together without prejudice -- with a common goal of
 oneness.

2. Being connected to an organization that supports the study of
 all religions without judgment.

3. I love the books and other written materials.

4. Being able to discuss with other members questions I may have
 or to clear up a concept that is blurry.

5. Being part of a study group that provides an opportunity to
 investigate and explore together.

6. It's given me a sense of being in the right place. The
 Olcott Library has been an inspiration to me with its wonderful
 books that are wonderful teachers! As a member, I feel a deep
 sense of gratitude, a unique and better perspective about
 things in general.

7. Even though I know of no one in my area, it makes me feel a
 part of the whole and I'm not alone in my thinking.

8. I like contributing to the YOUNG THEOSOPHISTS' NEWSLETTER,
 and having met a pen pal. The mere idea that such an
 organization exists is a comfort in today's chaotic and hostile
 world.

9. I feel that my own spirituality has deepened and broadened
 over the years.

10. This member questionnaire is a great idea and I am happy to
 fill it out. It gives inactive members such as myself an
 opportunity to express some points and hopefully an opportunity
 to contact other members.

WHAT WOULD YOU LIKE TO SEE THE SOCIETY DOING NOW, AS AN
ORGANIZATION, THAT WE ARE NOT CURRENTLY DOING?

1. Perhaps the Theosophical message needs to be reviewed and the
 purpose of the Society in the world of 2000 and beyond. Focus
 groups, surveys such as this and brainstorming sessions would
 be beneficial in my opinion -- on an ongoing basis.

2. The two areas I see as the weakest are programs for youth and
 the public speakers programs. I brought back valuable
 information about the latter from the Olcott Experience, but I
 see a need for greater involvement at the local level. Is
 there any chance that someone from National could present a
 workshop on public speaking?

3. It would be helpful if members could take new members "under
 wing." Personal contact is essential.

4. Sponsoring more conferences, especially regional ones and
 those that address/include multi-faith and inter-faith
 traditions, practices, perspectives.

5. More retreats and meetings (regional). I think we need to
 develop a deeper sense of community with one another. We need
 retreats and meetings that are organized, but rely on the
 resources of the individuals participating. Only through group
 participation does our sense of community develop and deepen.

6. Would like the Society to organize lectures on videotape with
 syllabus and make available for rental (3-6 months). Busy
 schedule restricts my opportunity to travel to Wheaton or other
 events. Would like the opportunity to take extended Theosophy
 courses at home on video.

7. I think that perhaps fieldwork could be expanded, especially
 to develop branches in places where they do not presently
 exist. And perhaps workers' training programs at headquarters
 could be introduced. I would also like to see some of the
 classics (THE SECRET DOCTRINE and THE MAHATMA LETTERS) issued
 on compact disks for computer use.

8. Offer a structured work-study program.

9. I don't know what we're doing on the Internet, but a site
 with a Theosophy chat room would be great -- with well-versed
 members offering to host an hour or two. Bulletin boards
 discussing topics of wide interest.

10. I would like to see more effort into putting Theosophy into
 everyday life. Would like to have more discussion on applied
 Theosophy. Would love to share with others on this.

Thanks to all of you who were able to take the time to complete
the questionnaire.

------------------------------------------------------------------
WHAT I OWE TO A BOOK

by Captain P.G.B. Bowen

[From THE THEOSOPHICAL FORUM, September 15, 1932, pages 9-13.
Note that this book is available in Adobe Acrobat format, as a
.PDF file, from the following site:

 http://www.theosophy.net/ebooks/fund.pdf

The 3.08 MB file contains the entire 602 page ebook, including
all its charts and figures.]

I have completed three months' study of a book, and it is borne
in upon me that I owe a duty to the many whose position is more
or less similar, to that which was mine to indicate what my study
has done for me.

The book of which I speak is FUNDAMENTALS OF THE ESOTERIC
PHILOSOPHY, by G. de Purucker, M.A., D. LITT.

I began my study of Dr. de Purucker's work with, I regret to
say, by no means an open mind. Since my first contact with
organized Theosophy, which occurred half-a-dozen years ago I have
observed with pain how the message which H. P. Blavatsky left
to the world has been garbled and corrupted by persons who
profess to be its interpreters, and who ought to be its
preservers and guardians. Like hundreds -- perhaps thousands of
others who observed what I observed, and who thought, more or
less as I thought, I grew into feeling acting that those who
represent Theosophical organizations must, almost inevitably,
become corrupters of the pure teachings, or fabricators of
artificial parodies, either because of lack of knowledge, or
because some form of self-interest urged them thereto.
Notwithstanding this feeling, something deeper -- inner hope
fighting against outer pessimism -- sent me continually
searching, not merely throughout the British Isles but also in
America, for a School of Theosophy which existed but to preserve
the Message of The Masters which H. P. Blavatsky brought to the
West, and for a Teacher whose teaching would manifest the Spirit
which lives in the Blavatsky teachings, and would not be a mere
"Thought Form," the creation of an unregenerate human mind.
Strange to say, though I encountered in my search a score or more
of societies each claiming some variant of the title
Theosophical, it was not until less than a year ago that I heard
of Dr. de Purucker. I confess that what I learned about him did
nothing toward killing my prejudices. I looked upon certain
statements which he had made as evidences of unwisdom, and was
much inclined to regard him as of one class with other, better
known, "revealers." Then, three months ago, as already said, a
copy of FUNDAMENTALS OF THE ESOTERIC PHILOSOPHY came into my
hands.

To show the impression which this book has produced upon me, and
the change in my attitude toward its author which it has
effected, I will pass in review a few of the more outstanding
features of the teachings it contains. The items I select for
comment are those which I anticipate will provoke adverse
criticism -- and have, to my knowledge already provoked it from
students who otherwise might be expected to be in sympathy with
the author and his aims and objects.

The FORM in which the teachings are presented will provoke
adverse criticism. The book (it will be said) is chaotic,
formless, filled with unnecessary repetitions, and irritating
asides such as references to the "Teacher," to The Chair, all of
which may be quite in place or readily excusable in a lecture,
but not in a book.

In regard to the references to "The Chair," I agree with the
critics. Such things offend the student's aesthetic sense and
serve no purpose in teaching him anything. They should be
deleted from later editions.

The lack of form, etc., which the critic finds is -- to my seeing
-- purely a surface appearance. True, the book is devoid of
anything resembling LITERARY form, but this is not to say that it
does not possess a form which has been carefully planned. The
rules of literary construction must be observed when presenting
ordinary exoteric teaching in book form, because the aim in such
teaching is to leave the reader with a clear-cut conception such
as will satisfy his mind -- for the time being at least. But in
giving esoteric teachings, no such rules apply, for the aim is
not to give the student a cut-and-dried conception, but in fact
to prevent him from forming anything of the kind. The esoteric
teacher seeks to keep the minds of those he instructs in what may
be termed a fluidic state, and while inducing them to flow on
through constantly expanding conceptions, to prevent them from
crystallizing in anyone. The form in which Dr. de Purucker
presents his teachings has exactly the effect I describe. His
methods seem to me to be practically identical with those of the
Jnana Yoga Gurus, and of other non-European teachers of whom I
have had some experience.

The teaching concerning The Absolute will be severely criticized.
A friend, devoted to the Blavatsky teachings writes:

QUOTE

HPB teaches of an Absolute Principle from which all proceeds, and
into which all is absorbed at the end of the Maha-Manvantara . .
. Dr. de Purucker seems to talk about every cycle of
manifestation whether of an atom, or a universe, as having its
own Absolute, out of which it emerges, and into which it returns
. . . This is a meaningless absurdity.

I appreciate my friend's difficulty, but it is really only a
difficulty to the finite human mind which faints before the
thought of an "endless endlessness." Dr. de Purucker as I
understand him, is wholly right, and he has done a great service
to those who are anxious to become genuine esoteric students by
putting the matter as he has done.

Let us consider this matter of the Absolute a little. The
average student, if he directs his mind toward the subject at
all, thinks of The Absolute as some THING filling all Space, and
pervading everything. But get to the bottom of his thought and
it will be found that the 'Space' he conceives is DIMENSIONAL
space, and not at all that which is meant by the word in THE
SECRET DOCTRINE. Thinking of Space in this way, his conception
of The Absolute narrows down, absurdly, into something which to
all intents and purposes is identical with the scientist's
conception of an Ether of Space. He visualizes the universe,
vaguely perhaps, as the manifestation of this 'Absolute' of his.
But all lesser entities he will think of but as manifestations of
some 'sparks,' that is, PORTIONS of 'the Absolute,' which of
course is another absurdity. The student who has allowed an idea
of this kind to possess him will naturally kick violently at Dr.
de Purucker's teaching, which, if considered at all, will do what
the author constantly advises us to do, "break up the molds of
the mind."

The Absolute cannot, of course, be anything greater or lesser
than absoluteness. But is there, or is there not some
metaphysical difference between the Absolute which manifests in
the Life-cycle of an atom, and that which manifests in the
Life-cycle of a man, and that again which manifests in the
Life-cycle of a Universe? Let us consider the matter. The
Life-cycle of each of these entities begins in absoluteness, and
ends by returning into the same state. The apotheosis of
consciousness arrived at through a complete Life-cycle of
self-experience represents a return to and absorption in
absoluteness. But the apotheosis of consciousness achieved
through a Life-cycle of self-experience by the atomic entity
cannot be conceived to be the same as that which the human, or
the universal entity achieves. Yet each is absolute. If not,
then Life is not rooted in absoluteness, and the whole fabric of
our philosophy collapses. To my seeing, Dr. de Purucker's
teaching is wholly right. It leads the true esoteric student
onward into clearer and wider conceptions, and that seems to be
its purpose, not to provide 'Guidebook' information. Failure to
understand that to which it leads does not justify the critic in
saying that the teaching is wrong.

The question of Nirvana arises naturally from that which has been
discussed. Nirvana is the apotheosis of consciousness the man
reaches (speaking now of the human entity) through his complete
Life-cycle of self-experience. It is absorption into
absoluteness, or attainment of absolute self-consciousness. Is
it the end of all our endeavors, the ultimate goal, eternal rest
and bliss? The average student turns with loathing from any
suggestion that it is not. Even the Yogi who claims to have
experienced Samadhi scorns the idea that it is not. But Dr. de
Purucker teaches, quite calmly and clearly that it is not the
end. Who is right? Is Dr. de Purucker, as the critic declares,
a corrupter and exaggerator of THE SECRET DOCTRINE, letting his
imagination run riot, and hurling words about in insane
profusion?

Let's see whether THE SECRET DOCTRINE -- the work which has been
corrupted and exaggerated! -- can help us in the matter. We do
not have to go far to find something apposite. On page 2, Volume
I, we find these words, in reference to The Absolute:

QUOTE

It is the ONE LIFE, eternal, invisible, yet Omnipresent, without
beginning or end, yet periodical in its regular manifestations .
. . unconscious, yet absolute Consciousness . . . Its one
ABSOLUTE ATTRIBUTE, which is ITSELF, eternal, ceaseless Motion,
is called the GREAT BREATH, which is the perpetual motion of the
Universe."

Now what does this "eternal, ceaseless motion" mean. It cannot
mean purposeless motion round and round a barren circle,
therefore it must mean (there is no alternative) "eternal,
ceaseless PROGRESS." If there is this eternal progress, how can
man escape from sharing it? If he RESTS forever in the absolute
consciousness of Nirvana he ceases to be a sharer in that
"ceaseless, eternal PROGRESS WHICH IS ABSOLUTENESS ITSELF." Which
is absurd. QUOD ERAT DEMONSTRANDUM.

It is, again, the finite mind which can conceive a goal only as
the end of effort. Yet the teaching of all true Teachers,
whether they deal with the philosophy or with its practical
application is different. "Desire the PATH, not the end of the
Path." The goal is PROGRESS, not the state of having progressed!

The teachings of Dr. de Purucker concerning the Hierarchies, and
his (apparent) multiplication of "The ONE, the summit or SELF of
the Hierarchy" will also incur criticism as exaggerations or
corruptions, and yet of course he is right if only the reader has
the vision to follow the LEADING which the teaching gives. It
would be merely multiplying words and filling more space than an
indulgent editor may be inclined to give me to set forth my own
interpretation; because understanding of what I have tried to
convey concerning The Absolute will lead to understanding of
these matters also.

A critic says lightly that there is nothing new in the 'Seven
Keys' to understanding of the Esoteric Philosophy, which the
author sets forth. Admittedly there is nothing unfamiliar in the
enumeration of the doctrines but does the critic really
understand the full import of this teaching?

The Seven Keys are (1) Reincarnation. (2) Karma. (3)
Hierarchies. (4) Swabhava. (5) Evolution. (6) Individual
Self-knowledge. (7) Atma-Vidya, or knowledge of the Selfless
Self.

(I express (6) and (7) in my own way, but think my meaning is the
same as that of Dr. de Purucker.)

Now how do these doctrines constitute 'Keys' to the esoteric
philosophy? This is how I see the matter. Each one of those
doctrines, or 'Keys' has to be studied separately and severally,
and fully comprehended. That done the knowledge or wisdom gained
from the study must be combined and held in the background of the
mind as the basis of all further studies. Understanding of the
working of Reincarnation, Karma, etc., will not constitute
knowledge of the Esoteric Philosophy. It will mean only that one
holds so many 'Keys' in one's hand. Not until one begins to
apply the Keys to the opening of the secret doors does one begin
to penetrate into the hidden Arcanum.

The same critic finds another contradiction of THE SECRET
DOCTRINE in the author's remarks concerning Pralaya (page 181).
He contends that HPB taught that Pralaya was a complete cessation
of activity. But Dr. de Purucker implies that it is merely
another form of activity. Now let us see what HPB really did
teach: On page 55, Volume I, THE SECRET DOCTRINE, (b) we read:

"This Breath, as seen, CAN NEVER CEASE, NOT EVEN DURING THE
PRALAYIC ETERNITIES."

There is a reference to the Chapter on "Chaos, Theos, Cosmos."
Study of this is recommended to the Critic.

One could go on to the extent of a decent sized volume indicating
points which are sure to cause numerous worthy READERS of THE
SECRET DOCTRINE to rise in wrath and denounce them as
"exaggerations or corruptions." The answers I have already given
are however sufficient indication of the manner in which, I
think, all such criticisms may be dealt with. It is a fact,
which I discovered during my five years wandering in the
Wilderness that a very large number of most worthy people,
genuinely wedded to the teachings of H. P. Blavatsky are not
really students of THE SECRET DOCTRINE at all. At best they are
STUDENTS of certain portions of this great work, and merely
readers of the rest. The result of all such partial study is to
congeal the mind into rigid conceptions. Partial study will
never lead to understanding of THE SECRET DOCTRINE. Those who
criticize in the way I have illustrated, and they will be many,
do not, as I hope I have shown, understand THE SECRET DOCTRINE.
One must have some COMPREHENSIVE view of THE SECRET DOCTRINE
before one can venture to criticize a work like FUNDAMENTALS OF
THE ESOTERIC PHILOSOPHY.

The simple fact to be noted about Dr. de Purucker's book is that
it is a presentation of ESOTERIC Instructions and is specifically
addressed to esoteric students. Its object is assuredly not to
give additional information of the 'Guidebook' kind, but to help
to roll up another inch or so the veil which hangs before the
plan of existence. HPB tells us that all that THE SECRET
DOCTRINE does is to lift a corner of the veil. If we study her
work comprehensively, we will find that it does just that. We
glimpse a corner of a wonderful landscape. We see roads and
tracks leading on beyond the edge of the upturned corner of the
veil. "We see a picture of incompleteness" as a friend aptly put
it. Now the test to apply to Dr. de Purucker's work is, does
that which be reveals to us, or rather that which be helps us to
uncover for us FIT ONTO AND EXTEND THE "INCOMPLETENESS" ALREADY
UNCOVERED BY THE S. D.?

This is a question which each student must answer for himself.
For myself I can answer very definitely in the affirmative. In
very many directions it has extended my vision, and these
extensions fit accurately onto the view which I already
possessed. In saying this I do not for a moment imply that I
have grasped more than a fraction of all that the book contains.
There is much, very much which eludes me in the book, but more
which, though it brings no clear vision yet sets shadowy pictures
moving in the upper reaches of my mind. But I note that many
things are deliberately veiled from those who are not members of
Dr. de Purucker's School, and I am grateful for what I have got,
all the more so as it was wholly unexpected.

The greatest debt I owe to this book is not however the
additional enlightenment which it has led me to, but is the fact
which it has revealed to me that there is in existence a genuine
Esoteric School in which the Spirit of the Masters' teachings
survives. Therefore I need no longer be a wanderer in the
Wilderness.

------------------------------------------------------------------
THEOSOPHY -- A UNIVERSAL INSPIRATION

by Kenneth Morris

[from THE THEOSOPHICAL FORUM, July 1946, pages 289-96. This
article was based upon an informal talk given to a group of coal
miners in the Rhonddha Valley, Wales in 1933.]

In ancient times there were no churches, as we have now the
Christian, Buddhist or Mohammedan Churches. Each tribe or race
had its own god or gods about whom many stories were told, and in
whose honor various festivals were held at different times of the
year. These stories and festivals all had an inner meaning and
were meant to suggest something of hidden truth to the enquiring
mind. Some such stories come down to us from the ancient Welsh
in THE MABINOGION, and there would be some earnest natures who
would ask, what is the meaning of it? Why am I here? What is the
meaning of life and death? How can I acquire such knowledge of
these things as the gods have?

An inquirer of those days went to the Druids who were the
custodians of wisdom and said, "Teach me! I want to understand
the Mysteries of the Universe." And the Druids would answer:
"Discipline comes before Philosophy. He who would know the
doctrine, let him do the Will." And there must be a pledge of
secrecy never to reveal what was learned.

So the candidate pledged himself, and underwent training for
years until his spiritual nature and perceptions were thoroughly
awakened, and he came to understand, in varying degree, the truth
about himself and life and death and the universe.

Now that was the method all over the world. Whether you look at
Greece or India, Egypt or China, Wales or Mexico or Peru, you
find the same general method: a simple religion, with stories
about the gods and festivals in their honor, for the people;
schools pledged to secrecy in which candidates for wisdom could
receive training and initiation.

But all human institutions suffer the same fate: they grow old in
time and die. The Schools of the Mysteries grew old, and became
ineffectual as a link between the world and the Spirit. In and
about the Sixth Century before Christ a tremendously significant
thing happened. Remember that in those days if a man traveled
from Greece to Egypt he was a very great traveler; that few
Greeks had traveled as far as to Persia; that they had but
vaguely heard of India; that Hindus hardly knew there was such a
country as China, or Chinese that there was such a country as
India; still less did people in the Old World know of America.
And yet at that one time seven great men appeared in the world:
two in China, two in India, one in Persia, one in Greece, and one
in Mexico -- Lao-tse and Confucius, the Buddha and the Founder of
what is called the Jain religion, Zoroaster, Pythagoras and the
Mexican Emperor Quetzalcoatl. These all turned their backs on
the official Mysteries of their countries and started a new
epoch, a new phase of history: the Age of the great World
Religions. They all lived at the same time and the teachings of
each were suited to his own country, but they all had a great
body of ideas in common, and nowhere do they contradict each
other. And when, five or six centuries later, another Great
Teacher arose in Galilee, we find him giving out the same
teachings that his glorious predecessors had given out: that
there was a Right Way to Live, a right path to follow by which
one might come to know the secrets of life and death.

The Founders of all the Great Religions were at one in this way:
they all claimed that they taught nothing new. "I preach the
Law, the Doctrine of all the Buddhas my predecessors," said the
great Indian Prince, Gautama Siddhartha, who, moved by infinite
compassion for the woes of mankind, gave up his wealth and power
and wandered the world seeking until he found the cure for human
sorrow. "I preach the Tao, the Way of the Universe," said Great
Lao-tse of China, "which would seem to be older than God." "I
originate nothing," said Home Secretary Confucius, who had wiped
out evil-doing in his country simply by the example he set. "I
love the Ancients, and therefore I teach the doctrine of the
Ancients."

That is to say that what they had to teach had always been in the
world and only needed restating and being given new authority and
published abroad. There were two sides of it: the Will and the
Doctrine, the Ethics and the Philosophy. They all gave out the
ethics such as are contained in the Sermon on the Mount, and they
all gave out more or less of the Doctrine and the Philosophy; the
Buddha most of all. The Philosophy was the very heart of the
Mysteries and contained the basic ideas about life and the
importance of ethics as the reason why right is right and could
be no other way.

Let us explain these basic ideas and how they affected human
history. Consider history as a road and the Mysteries the light
illuminating that road, and streaming forth in many directions,
shedding its beams on the activities of man all down the ages.

History from books gives only the skeleton, and to get flesh on
those bones and the breath of life into the body it is necessary
to read the literature of the period you wish to study. And so
with religion -- if you want to know the religion of any people
or age study their art; it will give you their vital spiritual
inspiration. So now the streams of light along the dark, wet
road will be the art of some of the ancient and modern
civilizations. Let us look at Egyptian art and see in the
gigantic bust of Rameses II eternity calm and unmoved. In its
remote humanity there is the suggestion that such a being would
be unaffected if the universe crumbled in ruin. It is typical of
all the statues of the Egyptian kings. In his art the sculptor
said, "The Pharoah was as other men when living but what we are
to carve in stone is the eternal part, the godlike part that is
eternal." It is man that is the manifestation here of the Divine
Principle which ensouls eternity.

The same tale is told in thousands of statues of the Pharoahs; in
the great statue of the Vocal Memnon which sits beside the Nile
forever gazing out into its kindred eternity; in the ancient
Sphinx coeval with the desert sands, coeval with the Soul of Man,
typical of its grandeur.

The Gods are what scientific Europe imagine to be dead, soulless
things; or in the future will call the Forces of Nature. But we
know that the Sun is a living being, that Nature is a living
being, and also Electricity is a living being: like unto
ourselves as being living and conscious but with a great
unlikeness to ourselves too. And so the statues of the Gods are
symbolical, suggesting the spiritual qualities of the soul as
being different and above the human. Thus Horns, the Sun-god, is
shown with a hawk's head, because that bird, sailing aloft,
sitting calm in the blue of heaven on its outstretched wings,
reminds us of our Lord the Sun. Thus we shall be reminded that
the Gods, though living beings, are not personalities like
ourselves in the lower aspect of our nature. And we shall also
be reminded that Man is God: that the inmost self is Divine,
ancient, constant and eternal.

Turn now to the art of China: perhaps the greatest the world has
ever seen. Among the mountains of the province of Che-kiang and
up the valley of the Yangtse-kiang -- the Son-of-the-Ocean River
-- they built their temples and monasteries. Visualize the
jagged sky line of the peaks and mountain-shoulders above; the
slopes clad in pine forests; the still waters of the lake below;
the cliffs and crags soaring above, and up there, looking as if
Nature herself in her loveliest mood had blossomed out into it,
the temple with its intricately carved pillars, its tilted eaves,
its glazed tile roofs shining yellow, or azure or richest purple;
right at the top of the precipice yonder, or there snuggling into
the cleft; looking as if nothing could have had the skill, the
sheer artistry, to build it but that which put the blossom on the
rose and on the daffodil. Right here we see in the heart of
Nature the loveliest work of Man -- who is a part of Nature
inseparable from the universe, the child of Nature, of the
universe; divine as they are: the divine fruitage of a divine
Tree of Being.

A Chinese painting tells the same story. A square foot of silk
and a thousand miles of space. More than that, for the fine
Chinese landscape always manages to suggest infinity. Looking
into such pictures, one's mood is uplifted, carried out beyond
the show of things, of petty griefs and vanities, into Tao, the
Way of the Universe.

And now turning to Greek art, selecting first their architecture,
the same note appears. Put a Greek temple in its right
surroundings, and you have it again on the mountainside -- a
thing of white marble pillars chaste among the dark green of
pines, reflected on the still blue waters below. The same tale
is told by it: Man's work in the midst of Nature's, perfect as if
Nature had made it and not man; Man one with Nature; Man and
Nature divine.

But unfortunately that is not all Greece has to tell us. When
the Great Teachers were founding the religions; when Prince
Gautama left his palace to find the truth and to become the
Buddha; when Confucius left his Home-Secretary's office to wander
the world in search of a king, a young man left Greece to find
truth somewhere in the world. His name was Pythagoras, and he
journeyed to India, Persia and Egypt, and perhaps to Britain to
study under the Druids. He returned to Greece, or rather to
Italy, which was then dotted with Greek colonies, and there at
the town of Krotona he founded a school and started his new
religion -- the same religion that all the others started. But
the Greeks of Krotona arose and destroyed the school, and
scattered the Pythagoreans. The effort failed. And we see the
consequences. Greek sculpture began by taking a leaf from the
Egyptian sculptors' book; the early statues have some of the
majesty and grandeur of the Egyptian, some of the majesty and
grandeur of the Human Soul, the Deathless. But then they
obtained greater and greater technique, greater and greater
mastery over their medium; and with it more and more an eye to
physical, and less and less an eye to spiritual beauty. In
Pheidias, the greatest of the Greek sculptors, you see still some
touch of Egyptian dignity, but far more sense than the Egyptians
ever had of the attractive beauty of human flesh and form. And
then when you get to Praxiteles about a century later you get
such a work as his Apollo Suroktonos -- Apollo the Lizard-killer
-- a pretty lackadaisical effeminate youth for sentimental
maidens to fall in love with: the Sun-god, among the most sublime
conceptions the human mind has ever risen to, reduced to that!
The Greeks as they progressed steadily went on losing sight of
the spirit, and becoming more and more interested in the flesh.
And we have suffered for it ever since.

For Greco-Roman civilization went down, and night fell on the
western world. Caesar had smashed Druidism, the one branch of
the ancient Mysteries that remained pure, and where was light to
be found to inspire the new civilization that was to rise in
Europe? It began to rise: day dawned, after eight centuries of
barbarism, in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries. Then once
again there was a grand flowering of the human spirit, a
triumphant outburst of human genius, in western Europe. But
where was its Buddha, its Lao-tse or Confucius, its Pythagoras,
Zoroaster or Quetzalcoatl? The answer is not in Christian
civilization for it has never been inspired by the ideas of
Jesus, and was not founded on them.

The next great flowering of genius in Europe after the era of the
magnificent Gothic cathedrals was through the art that comes next
above sculpture and architecture in the non-materiality of its
medium: painting; the painting of the Italian Renaissance, in the
fifteenth and sixteenth century. Here again, for one who knows
the spirituality of the Chinese painting, is a sad story to read.
There are endless pictures of Christ, the Virgin and child, and
the saints. Read the Gospel story and derive anew for yourself a
conception of what sort of Man the hero of that story is. The
Lion of Nazareth, a denouncer of threats, who made the
dignitaries of the church tremble: was that not he?

And what do we get in the pictures of him? A piteous man, eyes
turned up to heaven in impotent supplication! Any learned and
honest Hebrew scholar will tell you that the Cry on the Cross
rightly translated runs: "My God, my God, how thou dost glorify
me!" That, and not the other, is the man to compare to the Buddha
himself in grandeur. "Ye are Gods in the innermost of your
being"; not "Ye are worms and sinners." So the great painting of
European civilization missed carrying any spiritual message, and
misinterpreted the Great One whom it professed to honor.

But next that creative force, having exhausted the art of
painting, flowed into the art next above it in non-materiality of
medium, literature. It would take too long to look into the
great literary figures of the sixteenth and seventeenth century,
or you would see how the divine Soul of Man was coming back into
its own: into the signs you could read in Cervantes and
Shakespeare, for example. I will just mention Milton who sets
out to write an orthodox theological poem, and somehow the divine
soul steps in and thwarts his purpose. He paints Satan and his
angels hurled out of Paradise into bottomless perdition, but
through all the picture another shines through, that of the Soul
of Man divine, cast down into incarnation into the hell of
material life on earth, but divine still. And Milton shows how
"In our proper motion," we ascend up to our native godhood.

And now to music, most divine of the arts. In the eighteenth
century the great age of European literature was coming to an
end; its last appearance was in Germany through the voice of
Goethe. But already in music there had been a Bach, opener of a
Great Age, and Mozart, like a pure spirit descended from heaven
to tell the world of unearthly and unutterable beauty. He was to
be followed by the summit figure of European genius, that of the
tremendous Beethoven with the wings of thunder. What has he to
tell us? Eternally that the soul of man is divine. Master of the
lower forces of his nature, with every ringing note of music he
proclaimed and accentuated the message of Jesus and Buddha and
Confucius; of the Egyptian sculptors and the Chinese architects
and painters and poets -- ETERNALLY THAT THE SOUL OF MAN IS
DIVINE.

And then came H. P. Blavatsky to explain things, to teach once
more the Doctrine, the Philosophy of the Mysteries, of the
Buddha, Lao-tse, Confucius, Pythagoras, Quetzalcoatl and Jesus;
and to found the Theosophical Society. Man is divine, she taught
us; and she taught us how and why. He is immortal; the master
and maker of his own destiny. He lives many lives on earth, and
shall, until he has learned all that life on earth can teach him
-- until he has made the kingdom come on earth as it is in
heaven. Study Theosophy. There is no problem in life that it
cannot help you to solve. By your own efforts you shall save
yourselves. By your own efforts make this earth, your home, into
a paradise. For the universe exists for the purposes of the
Soul; everything, every existence in it, is learning by
experience, is on the upward path. You can find the God within
yourself, that is the inner core of your being. You are the
child of the universe, part and parcel of it, of Nature
universal. You may win to the Heart of it. You may acquire
transcendental wisdom and become even as the Christ and the
Buddha, God-Men, Men Gods. There is knowledge to attain. There
is divinity. And there is a way to attain it. We suffer from
ourselves. There is no injustice. We have made our present
lives; and we are what we have made ourselves. We are at the
mercy of none but ourselves, and can make our tomorrow glorious.
That is the message of Theosophy, as far as I can put it in a few
words: the Divinity of Man -- of you, of me, of all of us.

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