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THEOSOPHY WORLD ------------------------------------- March, 2000
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.)
"The Specialization of Theosophy," by Eldon Tucker
"Blavatsky Net Update," by Reed Carson
"Faith Versus Wisdom," by A. Trevor Barker
"Druidism and Its Connection With Ireland," Part II
from THE THEOSOPHICAL FORUM
"Questions on Evolution," Part I, by Henry T. Edge
"The 1999 Parliament of the World's Religions," Rodolfo Don
"On the Study of THE SECRET DOCTRINE," Part I, by Herbert Coryn
> Now all the gods of Olympus, as well as those of the Hindu
> Pantheon and the Rishis, were the septiform personations: (1) of
> the NOUMENA of the intelligent Powers of nature; (2) of Cosmic
> Forces; (3) of celestial bodies; (4) of gods or Dhyani-Chohans;
> (5) of psychic and spiritual powers; (6) of divine kings on earth
> (or the incartations of the gods); and (7) of terrestrial heroes
> or men. The knowledge how to discern among these seven forms the
> one that is meant, belonged at all times to the Initiates, whose
> earliest predecessors had created this symbolical and allegorical
> -- THE SECRET DOCTRINE, II, 765
THE SPECIALIZATION OF THEOSOPHY
by Eldon Tucker
[from the November/December 1999 issue of THE QUEST.]
With each new generation of members in the Theosophical Society,
we find the same questions being asked. New members wonder just
what this Theosophy is that they're being told about. Is it
true? Was it made up by Helena Petrovna Blavatsky and her
followers? What does it really say? With conflicting texts and a
diversity of dissenting views among members, newcomers can be
left bewildered, perhaps giving up and moving on to other groups
without finding spiritual satisfaction. How did we let them
The spiritual effort initiated by Blavatsky and her teachers
includes much more that just the Theosophical Society. There are
numerous theosophical and related groups that have branched off
from the initial Society. Countless individuals and
organizations have been affected for the better and may still
feel an influence. Looking into the future, perhaps a century or
two, we may find still other specializations of theosophical
work. Those specializations result from the many possible uses
for the theosophical treasury of ideas by groups with differing
One specialization is the formalization of Theosophy as a
well-defined system of thought, a philosophy, with distinctive
terminology. This Theosophy has become an intellectual tradition
that can be taught and understood by people regardless of their
backgrounds. It might be called tip-of-the-iceberg Theosophy,
since only the surface meanings can be studied and passed on.
The heart of Theosophy requires a spiritual awakening in an
individual in order to be understood, and so in this intellectual
Theosophy, it may be lost. There are several variations or
flavors of this formalized philosophy: (a) Blavatsky-Judge
Theosophy, (b) Purucker Theosophy, and (c) Besant-Leadbeater
Theosophy. The materials for any of those variations can be
carefully compiled and organized, as was done by A. E. Powell
for Besant and Leadbeater’s materials.
The second specialization is the combination of theosophical
ideas with popular thought in various ways. Huston Smith in his
books on world religions shows how various systems of thought
have arisen to meet the spiritual needs of their times, to revive
the heart-life and compassion and the quest for wisdom of a
complacent or even decadent people. When we take theosophical
ideas and combine them with other ideas, relating them to the way
of thinking of various peoples, we are making progress in this
It doesn't take a Krishna to appear and dramatically do all the
work for us. We can participate in this effort too, altering the
thought and life of those around us. New religions and
philosophies can arise either from an evolution of existing
systems of thought or from the creation of something completely
new. We can help with either of those developments. For such
use of the theosophical philosophy, "purity" of the ideas is not
important. The important thing is to make something new and
useful. The final product -- a belief system with a code of life
-- may not be "perfect" from our point of view, and may even be
inaccurate or wrong when considered in terms of the Mystery
Teachings, but it may still be a great boon to society. If the
effect of a new movement is to better the life of people, leading
them back to the path of compassion and the great spiritual
quest, then this second specialization of Theosophy has done
The third specialization of Theosophy is along the line of a
junior school to the Mysteries. It would be somewhat akin to the
various Esoteric Schools associated with the existing
theosophical groups. These future groups may evolve from the
existing ones or be newly founded at some point. With these
groups, the emphasis is on keeping the philosophy pure, on depth
of understanding, on a living oral tradition of learning and
study, by which advanced students train and pass on their
knowledge to each succeeding generation. Some groups may be akin
to spiritual colleges, training chelas, but not involved in
public work, like Theravada Buddhism, the Buddhism of the Elders.
Others may take on the trappings of exoteric religions, stress
public works, and be like Mahayana Buddhism, the Buddhism that
stresses extroverted compassion.
It may take a few generations for the theosophical movement to
differentiate or specialize into these different efforts to
improve the lot of humanity. Meanwhile, there may be growing
tension in theosophical groups over the future direction of the
groups. The existing groups appear already to have started on
these specializations. The United Lodge of Theosophists seems to
have made a good start at promoting a formalized intellectual
theosophical philosophy. The Adyar Theosophical Society (ours)
seems to have made a good start at melding theosophical ideas
with popular thought and thereby planting the seeds for future
religious directions. The Pasadena Theosophical Society seems to
have made a good start at being a spiritual-training group. All
of those groups are, to be sure, more complex and diverse than
A key idea with theosophical groups is the freedom of belief that
members enjoy. Because of that freedom, it is possible for the
membership to entertain many different ideas about the nature of
Theosophy and what should be done with it. This freedom is fine
for one's personal study, but it can create problems at the
organizational level. The way any organization operates and its
resources are used depends on the ideas one has about its nature
Can theosophical groups be democratic? Democratic procedures in
arriving at decisions can be healthy and good, just as freedom of
belief and expression is also desirable. But for both there must
be limits, as expressed in a mission statement, a purpose for the
Society. Some members may want to carry forward that purpose and
so become workers; other members not in accord with that purpose
can find other avenues of expression. As the theosophical
movement continues to develop specializations, the selection of
groups to belong to and the materials to study will multiply.
There will be places where we feel strongly “at home,” and other
places where we may feel like aliens or outsiders.
A theosophical group is not true to its mission if a surge of new
members can vote to throw overboard the old purpose and to do
something entirely different. There is plenty of opportunity to
found other groups and efforts, and to work side-by-side with
other groups, so redirecting existing groups is unnecessary and
counterproductive to the work.
This is not to say that existing groups are doing everything they
could or are doing things in the best way. There is room for
improvement, but that improvement should be evolutionary, not
What is it that is the purpose of our Theosophical Society? The
three objects -- brotherhood, study of comparative religions, and
investigation of the unexplained and latent -- fall somewhere
between the extremes of a pro-Krishnamurti anarchism where all
spiritual authorities (except himself) are rejected and a
dead-letter worship of the writings of Blavatsky that would make
fundamentalist Christians seem liberal by comparison.
If I could define Theosophy for the Theosophical Society, I'd say
that it is a distinct body of esoteric doctrines derived from the
Mahatmas, given to us by Blavatsky and perhaps a few other
initiates. These doctrines are subject to human error in
expression, but are more accurate than the ideas of the homegrown
philosophies of those who are uninitiated in the Mysteries. We
should teach, promote, and have as a significant goal the keeping
of these original fragments of Mystery teachings in their
pristine, untainted form. I'd want any theosophical group I join
and support to affirm this viewpoint.
The Theosophical Society in America has a large turnover in
membership. Is that because people are sampling it and deciding
it's not right for them, or because we're doing something wrong,
and need to change our approach? From the standpoint of the
specialization of the theosophical movement, I'd say that we just
need to find something good to do for the world, as a Society,
and do it the best we can, and leave it to others to serve the
many other needs that the world has.
The Internet is something new. People working with computers, or
in college, have had the opportunity to learn about and use it.
Others are left wondering what it's all about. It will be
helpful in the future to have show-and-tell presentations of
what's out there and how people can benefit from it. Even
without a computer of one's own, it's still possible to get free
e-mail and use a computer at many public libraries, if one is
aware of what's available.
There are a number of uses of the Internet that could be looked
into. There could be more online publications. There could be
an online news-only mailing list, perhaps moderated, with timely
information without the high volume of chat and less-nice traffic
of typical mailing lists that leads people to unsubscribe. There
could be online audio theosophical lectures (using the Real audio
encoder program). It's even possible to make online slide-show
presentations of Theosophy with associated sound tracks.
Any changes that are made in our Society, I think, should be
gradual, evolutionary, arising out of cooperative projects where
we all get together to promote Theosophy or better the world.
Increased communication among members would arise through a
day-to-day interaction, through doing things together, through
working for a common purpose. No grand plan, petition, document,
constitution, or finished product of thought will evolve the
organization. The coming together of members in mind and heart
would arise because everyone would be helping formulate,
organize, and carry out the work of the Society, rather than in
imposing their approach on others, requiring others to do work
someone else's way.
Do we want to change the Society? Do we want to work for the
philosophy in and through the Society? Then we need to start
doing our work, building bridges of cooperation between ourselves
and others in the Theosophical Society. There's bountiful work
to be done, both in and outside of the Society. Let's simply
find something good to do and get going!
BLAVATSKY NET UPDATE
by Reed Carson
Blavatsky Net has little news to report for February 2000. Six
more articles by William Q. Judge went online. Membership
continues to grow at a healthy pace.
Details are now avalable on the EZTV project. It's now found on
the "meetings" page with the schedule of topics for filming
through the January 2001 meeting. It's of interest to note that:
> The first Saturday in August was chosen to avoid a date similar
> to the Sixth Brookings [Oregon] Get-Together which ocurs August
> 11-13. That will be filmed also and many of us plan to attend.
FAITH VERSUS WISDOM
by A. Trevor Barker
[From THE HILL OF DISCERNMENT, Theosophical University Press,
1941, pages 246-54.]
If you search Theosophical literature you will come to realize
probably, as I have, that it is very difficult to find much
teaching or information upon the general question of Faith. In
fact one is rather astonished to discover that in the index to
ISIS UNVEILED, HPB describes Faith as one of the pillars of the
devil. It is rather that attitude to faith that seems to pervade
theosophical literature, for some reason. That is why we chose
for our evening's reading that wonderful discourse from Chapter
XII of THE BHAGAVAD GITA, "Devotion by means of Faith," from
which it is immediately clear that the most enlightened spiritual
instructors are quite agreed that faith in that spiritual sense
of the term is a sine qua non for the success of the Arjuna who
sets out toward the goal of reaching Yoga, or union with the
How are we to understand the Divine faith then from the
Theosophists' point of view, and just what are they getting at
when they throw cold water upon what the ordinary man and woman
are accustomed to regard as faith? Is it a great desire to hurt,
and to treat with contempt the religious views of other people?
Because if so it is a denial, right at the outset, of the
fundamental principle upon which our Movement is based. It may
appear to be so, but if we look a little deeper we see that all
the aspersions are cast, not upon Faith in its higher spiritual
meaning, but upon that shadow of real faith which in two words
may be summed up as blind belief, or credulity -- credulity, the
tendency to swallow open-mouthed any glamourous, marvelous idea
that passes for truth and philosophy. There is an abundance of
credulity in the world today. We all, I suppose, at some time in
our lives are unduly credulous. We place our faith and trust in
things and people that are not really worthy of it; but is that
true faith, or is it blind belief and credulity? Obviously the
latter. It is that looking outside of oneself with credulity
which is verily the "pillar of the devil" that HPB speaks of. It
takes from man his only hope of any illumination, because he is
all the time looking outward, looking for props to lean upon.
True faith must be something that is rooted in the eternal and
indestructible part of a man's being. It must be something which
is based upon recognition of the omnipotence of man's immortal
The whole of the Theosophical philosophy tends toward a greater
and greater understanding and realization of this higher nature
in man. I venture to say that there is no faith for an
individual in the sense in which Paul the Initiate uses the term,
except in so far as he has had at least a glimpse within himself
of the light of the higher nature. For all Truth, all Wisdom,
Love, and true Knowledge flow from the higher part of our being.
Faith is the knowledge that Truth exists; it is the knowledge
that there are men in the world who know that Truth; it is the
certainty that if we aspire rightly and live our lives in terms
of that search for the higher realities, we can know with a
knowledge which is beyond any possibility of doubt. That is why
I have sometimes described faith as knowledge based upon
experience -- experience, that is, of the higher truths and the
higher realities. If we take this view of faith, is it not
obvious that the title of our study tonight, "Faith versus
Wisdom," is a bit of an anomaly? I deny that Faith can ever be
set against Wisdom, for faith in the true sense of the word is an
indispensable part of Wisdom. Only those who have Wisdom will
have Faith, and vice versa to some extent.
Yet there is another aspect of this problem: there are many men
and women who may truly be said to possess faith; and yet from
the Theosophical point of view have they Wisdom? This is a more
difficult problem to answer. They have faith in the sense in
which I have been trying to speak of it, and this means
necessarily that they have a shadow of inner illumination; but on
the other hand they lack something, and that something it is
which the great Theosophical Movement has come into the world to
bring to men. There is nothing that is of more value to any
human soul than that inner feeling of quiet, the certitude that
there is a beneficent, protecting influence at the root of his
being, and overshadowing, as it were, all his effort on this
plane: that certainty, found in so many so-called ordinary men
and women of the world, which guides them on their life's
Pathway. It comes, as HPB described it, from the fact that in
these people the higher nature already predominates over the
lower. In fact, that is how she defined a Theosophist. Whether
he has ever heard the word or not, whether he has ever seen the
literature or not, if the higher nature in him predominates over
the lower, that man is a Theosophist.
We believe, however, that Wisdom is something more than this,
because it implies the completeness, the wholeness, of one who
has balanced his nature, who has achieved unity of spirit, soul,
and body; and brought them into such harmony and such union with
the higher pole of his being that he can at will identify himself
with the Universal Mind, the Universal Soul of nature itself.
But that is necessarily an exalted state of being. Wisdom, as
you will find in ISIS UNVEILED and elsewhere, from a Theosophical
point of view means the esoteric teaching as a whole. That
teaching, it is true, can be found in books; however, will you
have Wisdom if you know all that there is in the books? The
answer is No. Books are but a means to collect the fuel, as it
were, which, truly kindled by the fire of the Spirit, may one of
these days burst into the flame of Wisdom.
Wisdom is an interior quality, but it does imply knowledge, as
distinct from a kind of subjective certainty or faith. There are
many mystical people in the world who feel truth intuitively, and
yet who would be sorely put to it to explain the reason, the
laws, underlying the truth that they dimly perceive intuitively;
and this is what the Theosophist means when he distinguishes
between Faith and Wisdom. Picture a Mahatma, for example. You
cannot conceive of any instance in which he would not be able to
supply you with the reasons underlying the situation in which you
find yourself, and in which mankind finds itself at any moment in
time. He understands the laws -- spiritual, intellectual,
psychical, cosmical -- underlying the evolution of all the
kingdoms of nature, and man's relation to them, and to the planet
in which he lives. He understands these laws because of his
unveiled inner spiritual perception. Because of it he is able to
relate any part of his own consciousness with the corresponding
part of nature from which the essence of that principle was
originally drawn. But for all that, will the Mahatma be an
individual who because of his Wisdom is without Faith? On the
contrary, he is one who KNOWS with absolute certainty, and
therefore expectancy, that when he sets his will in motion with a
clear-cut picture in his mind, he will achieve that which he
wills to achieve. He has absolute faith, because he has absolute
knowledge in the unerring infallibility of the result that he
will bring about.
I will read you a passage from the Preface of ISIS UNVEILED, I,
vi, which rather sums up these ideas and shows the Theosophists'
> When, years ago, we first traveled over the East, exploring the
> penetralia of its deserted sanctuaries, two saddening and
> ever-recurring questions oppressed our thoughts: "Where, Who,
> What is GOD? Who ever saw the IMMORTAL SPIRIT of man, so as to be
> able to assure himself of man's immortality?"
> It was while most anxious to solve these perplexing problems that
> we came into contact with certain men, endowed with such
> mysterious powers and such profound knowledge that we may truly
> designate them as the sages of the Orient. To their instructions
> we lent a ready ear. They showed us that by combining science
> with religion, the existence of God and immortality of man's
> spirit may be demonstrated like a problem of Euclid. For the
> first time we received the assurance that the Oriental philosophy
> has room for no other faith than an absolute and immovable faith
> in the omnipotence of man's own immortal self. We were taught
> that this omnipotence comes from the kinship of man's spirit with
> the Universal Soul -- God! The latter, they said, can never be
> demonstrated but by the former. Man-spirit proves God-spirit, as
> the one drop of water proves a source from which it must have
> come.. Tell one who had never seen water, that there is an ocean
> of water, and he must accept it on faith or reject it altogether.
> But let one drop fall upon his hand, and he then has the fact
> from which all the rest may be inferred. After that he could by
> degrees understand that a boundless and fathomless ocean of water
> exists. Blind faith would no longer be necessary; he would have
> supplanted it with KNOWLEDGE. When one sees mortal man
> displaying tremendous capabilities, controlling the forces of
> nature and opening up to view the world of spirit, the reflective
> mind is overwhelmed with the conviction that if one man's
> spiritual Ego can do this much, the capabilities of the FATHER
> SPIRIT must be relatively as much vaster as the whole ocean
> surpasses the single drop in volume and potency. EX NIHILO NIHIL
> FIT; prove the soul of man by its wondrous powers -- you have
> proved God!
QUESTION: What can you say to a person who says, "I have no faith
I should like to suggest this: that such a person in almost every
case that I can think of, has almost certainly never come across
the literature of occultism and Theosophy; and it is possible to
arouse his interest and to stimulate his zeal to enter upon an
experimental research for himself. Look into this literature and
see if there is not a message for him there which will change
that negative and destructive point of view. To believe in
nothing and nobody spells ultimate death; it means that such an
individual has no sure hold upon the rudder of the boat of life.
But I suppose the thing that will help that person most is the
perception, in regard to the one who is trying to help him: "Here
is somebody who seems to have a certain inner peace, knowledge,
certainty, who has certain spiritual qualities of life." Then he
will necessarily begin to wonder where these things come from,
and how they can be gained for himself. Perhaps others can give
a more illuminating reply.
QUESTION: I have heard that if you want a thing very much and
have faith that it will come, and work for it, eventually it
comes. How far are we justified in wishing for a thing and
trusting that it will come -- because it may not be good for us?
Nevertheless it is this engine, this machinery, that makes the
world go round; it is this that we are doing every moment of the
day; it is this mechanism, or this law, which enables us, when we
so decide, to walk out of this room and down into the street.
How far are we justified in desiring, hoping, willing and having
faith that our objectives will one day be achieved? I say -- at
least I believe -- that we have every justification for the use
of this faculty and power. If I were to say the contrary it
might mean, for myself and for others, that we would lose the
ability to act at all. If we did not feel and believe and KNOW
that some day, somewhere, sooner or later we should achieve that
upon which we had set our heart's desire, we would never lift a
finger, we would never move a step; and therefore the problem is
not as to the means, but rather as to the MOTIVE, and the ends
that we have set our hearts upon. It is certain we shall achieve
what we want to achieve if we just concentrate enough on it.
We have all had proof of it in our own lives: that often the
thing that we thought desirable, and wished to achieve, did not
come to us perhaps for many years -- but it came! And when it
eventually came, you remembered how you set out to get that thing
many years ago. Is not this the meaning of that passage in THE
BHAGAVAD GITA, where it is pointed out that the ways and
objectives of worldly men are manifold, that they have hundreds
of objectives; and therefore they only reach these objectives in
a scattered kind of way? They achieve some of them, but not all
of them, probably because they do not put sufficient
concentration and energy into the pursuit of them. "But my
devotee," says Krishna, "has only one objective," and that is the
finding of union with Him; and in that pursuit, in that
concentrated upward aspiration, all other objectives and pursuits
eventually become merged. "For," as he says in one of the
Discourses, "when one is concentrated in devotion to me, I take
the responsibility for the happiness of that individual." It is
just a parallel of the other statement in the New Testament of
seeking the kingdom of Heaven, and all the other lower things
that one needs in life will be added to them. But the great
safeguard in the choice of the objectives that we pursue is
always and all the time to seek the light of the Inner Self upon
that which we wish to achieve. What is the meaning of the
Gayatri if not just that: praying that the fire of the Supreme
Will shall illumine our hearts and minds, that we may see the
direct Pathway before our feet: that it will show us the pitfalls
that we are about to stumble into if we set our wills upon
achieving such and such a thing. But if in truth we-are seeking
the spiritual things, then we are always prepared to renounce as
unimportant those things that do not fit in with the promoting of
the Spirit; for we find that the Spirit is always pushing us in
the direction where our true heart is set.
QUESTION: Is it true that when that position is reached, there is
no renunciation and no self-sacrifice, because one realizes that
one is doing just the thing one should do?
I think it is true; but at the same time the human nature of the
individual aspirant is often, in fact in many cases, probably
sufficiently active at times to feel the pull of having to give
up personal opinion to impersonal and Inner leading as it were.
There are many instances in the New Testament and elsewhere of
that struggle of the individual aspirant. Nevertheless the law
of it all is that if he receives the Inner guidance, then he has
at all costs to follow it lest he lose it; and once it is
experienced, then that is at once the most valuable and precious
of all possessions.
QUESTION: Is intellectual knowledge a hindrance towards gaining
We should say that it depends very largely upon the type of
individual concerned. You know there is the type sometimes
described as "stupid saint"; to such a one, some intellectual
knowledge would be very valuable, because it would round out and
supply the missing link in that individual! You would find that
he never thinks at all, that he lives in the realms of sentiment
and emotion largely -- "feeling" would be a better expression;
and some good, sound, healthy philosophy would be invaluable to
that individual. But to the type of person who readily reads
vast quantities of literature and who becomes the
armchair-philosopher, and never translates it into action, more
intellectual study becomes a hindrance; and to such a person the
more mystical and devotional kinds of Yoga, as set forth in such
a book as THE BHAGAVAD GITA would tend to round out the
QUESTION: While it is a good thing to have faith, to take what we
are told by a Teacher we trust, should we not always have a sort
of "divine discontent," and always an urge to get something more
-- a feeling that that is not the end?
I think we should be in a very happy situation, if we realized --
which I imagine we should -- if we felt we had a Teacher, any of
us individually, who had given us so much that it was impossible
to want any more. But I venture to say that there is no aspirant
or disciple who has not that feeling of what the questioner calls
"divine discontent," always urging him forward and upward, always
to seek and penetrate farther and farther into the depths of his
own being. It must be so, because if we become completely
satisfied, Nature won't let us stay there so very long. We have
to go forward and upward again. If we did not feel the need of
any further progress, we should stay where we are and not do very
much about it!
DRUIDISM AND ITS CONNECTION WITH IRELAND, Part II
from THE THEOSOPHICAL FORUM
[This first appeared in THE THEOSOPHICAL FORUM, September 1946,
pages 396-410, and is a reprint from THE PITH AND MARROW OF SOME
SACRED WRITINGS, Script No. 11.]
To speak of the Druids and not to refer to the cyclopean stone
monuments commonly associated with their name would be
impossible, but as far as we have any evidence -- or the lack of
it -- these were put up long before the few centuries B.C.
commonly called the Druidical period, and by Initiates of far
greater wisdom and power than the leaders of the Celtic tribes.
The origin of the "Druidic" remains is even a more puzzling
problem than that of the mysterious Irish Round Towers, of which
nothing certain is known. No doubt the Druids UTILIZED the stone
circles and other cyclopean monuments; but as similar remains are
found scattered over many other parts of the globe, the
presumption is against their Druidic origin, especially as the
Druids never appear to have claimed credit for building them. H.
P. Blavatsky gives a few sidelights upon the subject in THE
SECRET DOCTRINE, from which the following quotations are taken:
> And yet there are records which show Egyptian priests --
> Initiates -- journeying in a North-Westerly direction, BY LAND,
> VIA what became later the Straits of Gibraltar ... until
> reaching Carnac (Morbihan) they turned to the West again and
> arrived, STILL TRAVELING BY LAND, on the northwestern promontory
> of the New Continent.
> What was the object of their long journey? And how far back must
> we place the date of such visits? The archaic records show the
> Initiates of the Second Sub-race of the Aryan family moving from
> one land to the other for the purpose of supervising the building
> of MENHIRS and dolmens, of colossal Zodiacs in stone, and places
> of sepulcher to serve as receptacles for the ashes of generations
> to come. When was it? The fact of their crossing from France to
> Great Britain BY LAND may give an idea of the date when such a
> journey could have been performed on TERRA FIRMA ...
> The modern archaeologist, though speculating AD INFINITUM upon
> the dolmens and their builders, knows, in fact, nothing of them
> or their origin. Yet, these weird and often colossal monuments
> of unhewn stones -- which consist generally, of four or seven
> gigantic blocks placed together -- are strewn over Asia, Europe,
> America and Africa, in groups or rows ...
> There is no country from which they are absent ...
> It is with the so-called Druidical remains, such as Camac in
> Brittany and Stonehenge in Great Britain, that the traveling
> Initiates above alluded to had to do. And these gigantic
> monuments are all symbolic records of the World's history. They
> are NOT Druidical, but UNIVERSAL. Nor did the Druids build them,
> for they were only the heirs to the cyclopaean lore left to them,
> by generations of mighty builders and -- "magicians," both good
> and bad.
> -- THE SECRET DOCTRINE, II, 750-54
A type of monument consisting of twelve upright stones
surrounding a central one is common in Ireland, etc. At Magh
Slaght, the "Plain of Adoration" there was once a golden image,
probably of a Sun-god, surrounded by twelve stones. This reminds
us of the thirteen Snake or Wisdom gods of the ancient Mexicans,
particularly when we recollect that the serpent symbol was held
in particular respect among the Druids generally. They wore a
snake-stone amulet, and called themselves snakes, saying, "I am a
serpent, I am a Druid." It is clear what was meant by the legend
of Patrick driving the "snakes" out of Ireland. The existing
name of the village nearest to the most extraordinary collection
of prehistoric remains in Brittany is Carnac, which means the
Serpents' Mount, and which is identical with the greatest center
of Egyptian Temple ruins -- Karnak! The enormous Alligator and
Serpent Mounds in Ohio and the similar Serpent Mound in the
Scottish Hebrides are of immense interest in this connection.
Both the American and the Scottish serpents are represented
swallowing an egg. H.P. Blavatsky says:
> Why are they [the colossal monuments] all connected with Serpents
> and Dragons, with Alligators and Crocodiles? ...
> Like the Hindus, the Greeks and Romans (we speak of the
> Initiates), the Chaldees and the Egyptians, the Druids believed
> in the doctrine of a succession of worlds, as also in that of
> seven "creations" (of new continents) and transformations of the
> face of the earth, and a sevenfold night and day for each earth
> or globe. Wherever the Serpent with the egg is found, there this
> tenet was surely present. Their DRACONTIA are a proof of it.
> This belief was so universal that, if we seek for it in the
> esotericism of various religions, we will discover it in all.
> -- THE SECRET DOCTRINE, II, 756
> There was a time when the four parts of the world were covered
> with the temples sacred to the Sun and the Dragon inn ... In the
> gods of Stonehenge we recognize the divinities of Delphi and
> Babylon ...
> We find (a) the priests assuming the name of the gods they
> served; (b) the "Dragons" held throughout all antiquity as the
> symbols of Immortality and Wisdom, of secret Knowledge and of
> Eternity; and (c) the hierophants of Egypt, of Babylon, and
> India, styling themselves generally the "Sons of the Dragon" and'
> "Serpents"; thus the teachings of the Secret Doctrine are thereby
> corroborated ...
> It was there [in the Theban SERPENT's catacombs] that were
> performed the sacred mysteries of the KULOS ANAGKES, the
> "Unavoidable Cycle," more generally known as "the circle of
> necessity"; the inexorable doom imposed upon every soul after the
> bodily death, and when it has been judged in the Amenthian
> In de Bourbourg's book, VOTAN, the Mexican demigod, in narrating
> his expedition, describes a subterranean passage which ran
> underground and terminated at the root of the heavens, adding
> that this passage was a snake's hole, "un agujero de colubra";
> and that he was admitted to it because he was himself a "son of
> the snakes," or a serpent. (DIE PHONIZIER 70.)
> This is, indeed, very suggestive; for his description of the
> SNAKE'S HOLE is that of the ancient Egyptian crypt, as above
> mentioned. The hierophants, moreover, of Egypt, as of Babylon
> generally styled themselves the "Sons of the Serpent god," or
> "Sons of the Dragon," during the mysteries ...
> Furthermore, the "War in Heaven" is shown, in one of its
> significations, to have meant and referred to those terrible
> struggles in store for the candidate for adeptship, between
> himself and his (by magic) personified human passion, when the
> INNER enlightened man had to either slay them or fail. In the
> former case he became the "Dragon-Slayer," as having happily
> overcome all the temptations; and a "Son of the Serpent" and a
> Serpent himself, having cast off his old skin and being born in a
> NEW body, becoming a Son of Wisdom and Immortality in Eternity.
> -- THE SECRET DOCTRINE, II, 378-80
H.P. Blavatsky gives many pages to the full discussion of the
subject which is no mere outworn superstition. The exhortation
of Jesus, "Be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as
doves," shows that the meaning of the symbol was well understood
in his time and that he did not scorn to use it.
Stonehenge, the finest prehistoric monument in England and one of
the most remarkable in the world, is now calculated on
astronomical grounds to have been erected not later than B.C.
sixteen hundred or so, and to have been used for sun-worship long
before the time attributed to the Druids. But, like the great
great Pyramid, it may have been built one or two whole
precessional cycles before that date, and still retain the same
relative position to the sunrise at the summer solstice, so there
is at present no means known to science of fixing the date
accurately. Near Stonehenge there are the extensive stone
circles and avenues of Avebury which display a serpentine plan in
part, but whose individual stones are much smaller than the giant
monoliths of Stonehenge. Great Britain, Ireland, and Brittany
are extremely rich in the mysterious dolmens, some of which may
In connection with Druidism there have been many speculations as
to the age and utility of the tall Round Towers of which Ireland
possesses one hundred and eighteen and Scotland three, but
nothing has been conclusively proved. They are found near
churches, sometimes even attached to the edifice, but though
their style of architecture seldom, if ever, harmonizes with that
of the ecclesiastical buildings, the opinion of archaeologists is
generally in favor of their Christian origin. Some authorities
believe they were lookout towers from which warnings of danger
could be given. William Q. Judge suggests guardedly that this
theory contains a partial hint of the truth, but he distinctly
says that such towers were used in really ancient times by the
wise teachers for their own special purposes. A curious
suggestion is made by one archaeologist to the effect that some
of the towers bear traces of Buddhistic influence. It is
generally believed that Buddhist missionaries once reached
Ireland, and there is no impossibility in the suggestion that
some of the towers may have preceded Christianity while others
were built later, and used as refuges against the marauding
Danes. But as there is no documentary proof, and inscriptions
are wanting, the question is still an open one, and we cannot
connect them definitely with the Druids.
The peoples of Ireland, Scotland, and Wales, are temperamentally
different from the Anglo-Saxon type, and there are still many
persons in the so-called Celtic countries who bear witness to the
reality of an inner, and perhaps more real, world than this
material shadow. They say very little about their deeper
feelings and yearnings, but if the veil of cautious reticence be
lifted by a sympathetic hand, the conviction is found that a more
spiritual condition of living prevailed in simpler times before
the world was dominated by the selfish materialism of these days.
The poetical and musical gifts possessed by the Celtic peoples,
and the legendary lore of fairy and magic, still more than: half
believed, show that the old joyous spirit is not quite dead which
makes the Seer perceive more in a tree than a mere chemical
formula of oxygen, carbon, etc., combining and dissipating
according to mechanical laws. The fairy bells are still to be
heard chiming on the Irish hills, and stories of mysterious
jeweled queens dimly seen in the twilight are not all relegated
to the limbo of "scientific folklore": the Highlanders of
Scotland still possess the "second-sight" to some degree.
In connection with this indestructible ancient spirit it is worth
knowing that there was in Brittany, until lately at least, a
remarkable survival of the Druidic sentiment. Miss M.
Betham-Edwards, a most careful observer, says in her latest work
on France, that as recently as twenty-five years ago, she saw a
body of fine-looking women, alleged Druidesses, at Mass in a
church on the Ile de Batz, near St. Pol de Leon, Brittany, who,
while outwardly conforming to the rites of the Roman Church, were
supposed to hold to an older faith. Another writer speaks of
"Les Adeptes de la Religion Blanche," or modern Druids, a few of
which are said to be found in the Bourgogne department of
Saone-et-Loire as well as in Brittany. They are reputed to
celebrate simple and beautiful religious rites in the solemn
silence of the night, shrouded by the friendly trees, and are
supposed to be chiefly, but not entirely, of the peasant class.
They lead exemplary lives, and make no attempt to proselytize,
but regard other religions with respect as partial expositions of
the truth -- a truly Theosophical attitude.
Isolated and unexplained as the position of the Druids has been
generally regarded, to the student of Theosophy it takes a
natural place in the general scheme of the world's history. No
country has been without representatives of the ancient Wisdom
Religion we call Theosophy today, and the real Teachers who were
the inspiring force of Druidism had that inner perception of the
mysteries and that intuitive knowledge of human nature and its
needs, that marks the Master-builder. All who have reached a
plane higher than that of the ordinary egotistical mind, all who
have seen the gleam of the "Gates of Gold" leading out into
freedom from desire, have found evidence of that united Body,
which has, from time to time, revealed what was comprehensible to
the intellect and elevating to the life of the people of the day.
So we find in Ireland, as everywhere, that the bewildering
confusion of myth and legend which has come down in most
imperfect form, clears up considerably in the light of Theosophy.
For instance, the most noticeable thing in Irish folklore is the
familiar story of the "Golden Age," the reign of the gods -- the
Tuatha De Danann "the folk of the god whose mother is called
Dana" -- which was succeeded by darker times when the gods had to
withdraw and could only appear occasionally to help, and finally
by these latter days when absorption in material concerns has
become so intense that scarcely a vestige of the former beauty
and spirituality is left. The tricky little elemental "good
people," whatever they may be, alone are left to give a hint of
something behind the veil.
As we have no original documents or monumental inscriptions of
importance, the Druidic Mythology is very confusing, and a
complete unraveling seems an impossibility. Attempts were made
by the Romans to identify the Gaulish deities with their own. In
Ireland and in Wales the imagination of the people has modified
the characters of the gods of Continental mythology so much as to
render a parallelism difficult to draw. But we are on fairly
safe ground in a few cases, and the following extract from the
great work of the very careful scholar, M. de Jubainville,
Professor of Celtic at the College of France, will serve to show
students of Theosophy how much of the esoteric teachings must be
concealed within the strange legends which until lately have been
practically unknown to the educated world. Speaking of the
godlike race of the Tuatha De Danann he says:
> Dana ... is elsewhere called Brigit; she is the mother of the
> gods of art and literature ... Brigit, the goddess of the Pagan
> Irish, was supplanted in Christian times by St. Brigit, and the
> medieval Irish in some measure transferred to her the cult their
> pagan ancestors had rendered to the goddess Brigit.
> The cult of Brigit was not unknown in Great Britain. Four votive
> inscriptions dating back to the Roman occupation have been found
> there ... The name seems to be derived from the present
> participle of the root BARGH, in Sanskrit BRIGH, "to increase, to
> strengthen, to raise" ... The Irish adjective BRIG, "strong,
> powerful," comes from the same root ...
> In medieval Ireland Brigit had a second name, Dana, or Dona,
> genitive Dann, Donand. She is the daughter of the supreme head
> of the gods of Day, Light, and Life, and is herself the mother of
> three gods belonging to the same divine group who are called,
> after their mother, the gods of Dana. But in this triad we have
> in reality but three aspects of one god Brian, who is the first
> of the three, and of whom the other two are in some sort merely
> -- THE IRISH MYTHOLOGICAL CYCLE, 82
In the legends we find a confused account of early racial
development under various allegories of the struggles of the
Tuatha with the Fomorians, the "men from under the sea," and of
the latter with the Firbolgs, the Nemedians and others. De
Jubainville says of these:
> In Ireland, the Tuatha De Danann, together with Partholan and
> Nemed, who on some points are the counterparts of the Tuatha De
> Danann, have as their rivals the Fomorians. Dagda (DAGO-DEVO-S,
> "Good God") king of the Tuatha De Danann, is the Zeus, or Ormazd,
> of Irish Mythology; the Tuatha De Danann, or "folk of the god
> (DEVI) (son) of Dana," are none other than the Devas of India,
> the gods of Day, of Light, and of Life. The Fomore, or
> Fomorians, who are the adversaries of the Tuatha De Danann,
> represent in Ireland a mythical group corresponding to the Indian
> Asura, and the Greek Titans.
> -- THE IRISH MYTHOLOGICAL CYCLE, 9
After the tremendous struggles of these early periods, which
correspond to what in the Theosophical teachings are called the
First, Second, and Third periods of the evolutionary process,
things settled down, the earth itself -- which till then had not
been completely formed -- is finished, the Golden Age arrived and
all was peace and joy until the coming of the sons of Mile. The
tradition of this Golden Age is clearly a reminiscence of the
simple and pure condition of the early Aryan Races combined with
records of the state of humanity ages before the destruction of
the lost continent of Atlantis. As the cycle declined from the
spiritual towards the material, the Tuatha De Danann lost their
vigor, and were attacked by the Milesians from "Spain" or the
"Land of the Dead" oversea, who conquered them and reigned in
their stead. Mile, the ancestor of the modern Irish people,
otherwise known as the Goidels or Scots, was the son of Bile or
Belius, the god of Death, and his arrival is put at about one
thousand B.C. This may have been the time of the last invasion
of settlers and of the end of *A* Golden Age, but not of the
greater periods of peace and wisdom to which we have referred.
The vanquished Tuatha De Danann retired into the underworld and
the caves and have become invisible to most ordinary folk, but
they still exercise some power over the destiny of mortals and we
hear of them reappearing at critical times to help, and sometimes
to hinder. The Greeks had precisely the same conception of the
fate of the demigods of their Golden Race upon their departure.
> But when the earth had covered this race, they were transformed
> by almighty Zeus into beneficent daemons, whose dwelling is the
> earth; and they are the guardians of mortal men, whose actions,
> both good and bad, they observe. And they go to and fro over the
> earth, invisible in the air, which serves them for a vesture,
> distributing riches; for this is the kingly function to which
> they have attained.
> -- WORKS AND DAYS, 120-26
This is a plain allegory of the Higher Ego's experiences. It has
had to withdraw into the inner life-world during the present age
of materiality, leaving its shadow or representative, the lower
mind, usually dominated by passion and desire, in the outer
world. But the Higher Ego is ever vigilant and sleepless and
ready to answer the call of the Lower Emanation from itself. It
is willing to be the guide and warrior if we will have trust and
faith. H.P. Blavatsky (quoting in THE SECRET DOCTRINE from
Gerald Massey) says the Druids well knew the Theosophical
teaching of the Seven Principles of Man which is found more or
less plainly revealed in every ancient scripture. Some of the
ideographs of New Grange, etc., are almost conclusive proofs of
this to the well-informed Theosophist, and even the
archaeologists have pretty well decided that the great Tumuli on
the Boyne were built long before the coming of the Goidels or
Throughout all we know of Druidism there runs a wonderful spirit
of kinship between man and nature, a sense of space and unity
which is lacking in our townbred civilization of today.
Amairgen, the first philosopher who came to Ireland with the
Milesians, according to the legend, sings:
> I am the wind which blows over the sea;
> I am a wave of the Ocean;
> I am the murmur of the billows;
> I am the ox of the seven combats;
> I am the vulture upon the rock;
> I am a tear of the sun;
> I am the fairest of plants;
> I am a wild boar in valor;
> I am a salmon in the water;
> I am a lake in the plain;
> . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
> I am a word of science;
> I am the spear-point that gives battle;
> I am the god who creates or forms in the head the fire;
> Who is it that enlightens the assembly upon the mountains (if not
> Who telleth the ages of the moon (if not I)?
> Who showeth the place where the sun goes to rest (if not I)?
> -- From THE BOOKS OF LEINSTER, BALLYMOTE, etc.
A slight variation of the same poem is found in Wales, attributed
to Taliesin. To students of mystic symbolism there is a more
subtle meaning plainly concealed behind the superficial one,
something besides the identification of the singer with the soul
of the universe. The "assembly upon the mountain," for instance,
is an idea frequently used by mystical writers to convey a
suggestion of the sacramental union of the Higher and Lower
natures of man after the latter -- the ordinary personality --
has become absolutely purified in the fires of experience; and
there are other allusions in the poem whose significance can only
be understood by advanced students of Theosophy.
QUESTIONS ON EVOLUTION, PART I
by Henry T. Edge, MA
[From pages 1 to 7 of a booklet published by Theosophical
University Press in 1943, with materials based upon MAN IN
EVOLUTION by G. de Purucker.]
Question: Does Theosophy teach evolution?
Yes; Theosophy teaches that evolution is a universal process,
nay, that it is THE one universal process of change and growth.
Theosophy is at one with science in seeking to show the
uniformity of nature; but Theosophy extends this principle to a
far greater scope than that taken in by science.
Question: What is evolution, according to Theosophy?
It is that process of change whereby something that is latent and
sleeping is brought into manifestation and activity. To
understand this we must postulate two factors -- a spirit or soul
which is seeking expression, and a form or body wherein the
spirit or soul expresses itself. Or we may express the idea by
saying that growth is caused by the involution of spirit into
matter and the consequent evolution of matter into more elaborate
Question: Wherein has science in general failed in this respect?
In failing to make the necessary distinction between that which
is involving and that which is being evolved. Science has
regarded only the evolving forms of the creatures, and has made
no distinction between the creature itself and the body in which
it is clothed. But such a distinction is a logical necessity.
The attempt to evade it has resulted in a number of difficult
hypotheses which are in reality but subterfuges.
Question: Please explain this point further.
Science has usually studied evolution on the basis of the
materialistic or, as some have called it, the atomo-mechanical,
theory of the universe. By this theory, physical matter is made
the essential reality, and other things are regarded as
attributes of matter or as functions of the molecular movements
Question: What does this view of the universe entail as regards
That, in order to account for the changes and growing which
obviously take place in nature, we must posit some power or
intelligence to take the place of the spiritual or divine forces
which we have denied; and thus we have invented such ideas as
chance, inherent properties, laws of nature, affinity,
attraction, and the like. But these terms do not denote actual
causes but are merely expressions which generalize or formulate
Question: How does Theosophy overcome these difficulties?
By recognizing the universe for what it is -- a vast host of
living intelligent beings, each and all of whom are accomplishing
their own particular line of evolution, all on the same general
plan, at various stages of their journey, but all working in
harmony with each other and the whole.
Question: Do you mean to say that matter is alive and
I say that, if matter is analyzed to its ultimate basis, we will
find nothing else but living intelligent beings. The physical
universe is that part of nature which we can perceive with our
bodily senses and handle with our bodily organs. It is but a
small portion of the actual universe, and is like a screen which
at once hides and reveals nature. I may remind you that science
has recently probed deeply into the constitution of physical
matter, and has not been able to discover any fixed physical
basis, but, on the contrary, only manifestations of life and
Question: Is there, then, no such thing as matter or substance?
Force and matter are the same in essence, but different and
contrasted in aspect. They are two aspects of the same thing.
The universal life always presents itself to our apprehension as
a duality, of which one member is active, the other passive. The
active aspect of life is what we call force, energy, or some such
name; the passive aspect we call matter, or mass, or inertia.
But physical science now recognizes that the distinction between
energy and mass is relative, not fundamental.
Question: What do you mean by the Universal Life?
There is but one life pervading the whole universe; but, though
it is everywhere one and the same, it manifests itself in an
infinite variety of modes, according to the particular vehicle
through which it may be working, or, to use another expression,
according to the plane on which it is acting.
Question: What is this one universal life?
We cannot find words to define the ineffable, and must needs
content us with approximations. The one ultimate cause of all
things, the One Self, the Universal Spirit, or whatever name you
may choose to call it, must be thought of as consciousness, life,
spirit, matter, all in one. It pervades and energizes the whole
universe, being at once in relation to and the directing
intelligence of every part. We recognize it under the twin
aspects of spirit and matter, or force and matter, or will and
idea; these being more or less inadequate words by which we seek
to define the dual aspect of the universal spirit as manifested
on various planes of manifestation.
Question: What is the doctrine of the One and the Many?
The one universal Spirit-Life-Mind acts everywhere through what
we may call sparks of itself; and these sparks we call monads.
Question: What is a monad?
Monads are spiritual-substantial entities, self-motivated,
self-impelled, self-conscious, in infinitely varying degrees, the
ultimate elements of the universe. These monads engender other
monads as one seed will produce multitudes of other seeds; so up
from each such monad springs a host of living entities in the
course of illimitable time, each such monad being the
fountainhead or parent, in which all the others are involved, and
from which they spring.
Question: How are monads related to the Universal Life?
Each monad contains within itself the entire potentiality of its
parent source; each is a copy in miniature of its divine parent.
Question: What bearing has this fact on evolution?
Every monad is a seed, wherein the sum-total of powers
appertaining to its divine origin are latent, that is to say,
unmanifested. Evolution consists in the growth and
fructification of all these seeds or monads, whereby the
universal life expresses itself in innumerable beings.
Question: What is the end and purpose of this vast evolutionary
The attainment of self-conscious godhead. Each monad enters upon
its course of evolution as an unselfconscious god-spark, and,
passing on an agelong pilgrimage through all the different stages
and grades of living beings, it eventually attains to
self-consciousness in the human kingdom, and achieves full
self-conscious godhead in stages of evolution higher than man as
he is today.
Question: Then is the Darwinian hypothesis right in saying that
man has evolved from the animals and thus from the kingdoms below
We must answer, No; because an affirmative answer would commit us
to a serious error in regard to what is known as the Darwinian
theory. Yet an absolute negative would also be misleading.
Darwinians have confused the organism with the monad which
tenants it; they have supposed that the physical organisms have
sprung, the one from the other, in a single upward evolution.
This is not the case, nor do the facts observed by science
support it. It is the monads which evolve; and this they do by
inhabiting a series of organisms of increasing complexity, as a
climber might mount by ascending a series of steps. The climber
advances, but the steps remain fixed.
Question: What is meant by the evolution of worlds?
That not only living beings, but also the worlds which they
inhabit, are continually evolving. Yet even this expression is a
concession to conventional habits of thought; for the worlds
themselves are also living beings, both in their entirety and in
each of their innumerable parts. The observations and inferences
of astronomers and geologists have furnished us with considerable
evidence of the evolution of worlds; and have also familiarized
our minds with vast figures in the reckoning of time.
Question: Is it possible to assign any limits of duration to the
Our minds, though unable to conceive infinitude, refuse to
recognize any limits. The process of evolution is beginningless
and endless; yet, if we are to discuss it, we must do so within
the compass of certain chosen limits. The esoteric teachings
recognize certain periods called Globe-Rounds or Tidal Waves of
Life. Each such wave lasts on our earth for scores of millions
of years -- a figure that need cause no concern to geologists,
surely -- and, during the course of its activity, gives new birth
to numerous stocks of beings, ranging from those elemental
kingdoms that are below the mineral kingdom, up to man and the
quasi-divine beings beyond man.
Question: What preceded the Globe-Round or evolutionary cycle in
which we now are?
Other such cycles; and so the scale rises. Though we will
confine ourselves mainly to the present Globe-Round, it may be
necessary sometimes to mention preceding ones, since they were
the theater of events having a causal and precedent relation to
events taking place in the present Globe-Round.
Question: What is man?
Man is, like all other beings, down to the smallest atom, a
manifestation of the Universal Consciousness-Life-Spirit. For
purposes of mental comprehension it is necessary to adopt some
principle of analysis and classification, so that we may obtain
some conception of man as a group of interrelated parts composing
a whole. Neither Theosophist nor man of science would hamper his
ideas by attaching an absolute value to any system of
classification; the elements of any complex are subject to
different groupings, according to the aspect from which we regard
it, or the convenience of our temporary purpose. With this
reservation, we propose to consider man as a fivefold entity.
Question: What are these five divisions?
(1) The Divine Monad. It is (on its own plane) a self-conscious
god, a spark of the Universal Life.
(2) The spiritual soul, through which the Divine Monad manifests
itself. It was built by the Monad, is the child of the Monad,
and is itself destined, in the course of its evolution, to become
(3) The spiritual soul, together with its divinity, the Monad, in
its turn works through another sheath inferior to it, which is
its child. This is called the human soul.
(4) The human soul in its turn is enshrined within another sheath
still lower, but necessary in order that the human soul may work
on lower planes of nature. This sheath is called the
animal-soul, or the vital-astral soul.
(5) Still lower, and serving as a vehicle for the above, is the
physical body, an organism which the higher principles have built
up for themselves in order to be able to work in physical matter.
Question: What are the respective spheres of operation of these
The first has the range of our home-universe or galactic system;
the second, the solar system; the third, the earth-chain of
globes (which includes our physical earth and the other
nonphysical globes belonging to its chain); while numbers four
and five are concerned with the limitations of a single lifetime
Question: How does the above analysis of man apply to other
Each and all of them are similarly constituted; in each are all
the five factors enumerated above. The difference between the
various orders of beings lies in the extent to which the
constituent factors are either latent or active, unmanifest or
Question: What is an animal?
An animal is a manifestation of the Universal Life, standing a
stage farther back in evolution than man. Though there are
within the animal all the capacities which man has, and even
higher powers which are not yet manifest in the ordinary man of
today, yet some of these powers, which are active in man, are
latent in the animal. The animal has not the human
self-conscious mind; this faculty is yet latent. It will be
acquired at a later stage of evolution; in a following
Globe-Round, not in this. And again we say that this does not
imply anything like the Darwinian idea of an actual
transformation of a physical animal into a physical man.
Question: And what of the kingdoms lower than the animals?
These likewise contain all the potentialities of the original
Divine Monad which is the core of each of them. In the plant
these potentialities are less awakened than in the animal; and so
on through the lower kingdoms. The smallest atomic speck is a
seed containing all things in germ. Thus we can trace throughout
the universe a uniform plan of evolution and place all beings in
the same general category, while conceding to each its own
particular place in the scale.
Question: What is an Atom?
"Atoms are called 'Vibrations' in Occultism," says H. P.
Blavatsky (THE SECRET DOCTRINE, I, 633); a statement which will
be of interest to those who are seeking to reconcile the
undulatory and the emission theories of radiation. They are
omnipresent units of Life, which fill the immensity of space, and
their continuous vibration constitutes that omnipresent motion
which is the root of all force and life.
To quote from the same place:
> As described by Seers -- those who can see the motion of the
> interstellar shoals, and follow them in their evolution
> clairvoyantly -- they are dazzling, like specks of virgin snow in
> radiant sunlight. Their velocity is swifter than thought,
> quicker than any mortal physical eye could follow, and, as well
> as can be judged from the tremendous rapidity of their course,
> the motion is circular . . . Standing on an open plain, on a
> mountain summit especially, and gazing into the vast vault above
> and the spatial infinitude around, the whole atmosphere seems
> ablaze with them, the air soaked through with these dazzling
> coruscations. At times, the intensity of their motion produces
> flashes like the Northern lights during the Aurora Borealis. The
> sight is so marvelous that as the Seer gazes into this inner
> world, and feels the scintillating points shoot past him, he is
> filled with awe at the thought of other, still greater mysteries,
> that lie beyond, and within, this radiant ocean.
Question: State some further facts about the atoms.
Each atom is the vehicle of its own monad. Here we have a type
of the universal plan of a living spirit working through, or
clothed with, an organic form. Such a duality is essential to
our thinking upon any subject. Yet it must be borne in mind that
the form itself -- in this case the atom -- is itself built up of
other monads. This distinction which we make between force and
form, or between spirit and matter, or between the living entity
and its vehicle, is not absolute and fundamental, but dependent
on their relation to each other. The process of analysis into
spirit and matter can be carried on indefinitely; just as, in
geometry, we can go on indefinitely dividing a triangle into a
triangle and a quadrilateral.
THE 1999 PARLIAMENT OF THE WORLD'S RELIGIONS
by Rodolfo Don
Last December I had the privilege of attending the "Parliament of
the World's Religions" in the beautiful city of Cape Town, South
Africa. This is a summary of my trip to that city, and the trip
that immediately followed to Adyar, India.
I first heard about the 1999 Parliament in 1998 when I received a
newsletter from its office in Chicago. In that communication
they announced a 1999 Parliament in Cape Town. In the newsletter
they also invited all participants to present papers, gifts of
service, etc. Presenters to the Parliament didn't need to be
religious leaders in order to bring ideas and make a contribution
to the Parliament. I decided to attend.
I had attended the Parliament in Chicago in 1993, and when that
event closed I had my own idea of what it meant to me. It wasn't
that different from what the Theosophical Society was trying to
achieve: To form a nucleus of Universal Brotherhood of Humanity
without distinction of race, creed, sex, caste or color.
Even though the Parliament began for me in Chicago in 1993, it
began for the world in 1893. That was the first time in History
that all religions decided to meet together in harmony and
goodwill. That meeting that took place in Chicago was really
remarkable, considering world history with its record of
religious intolerance and wars.
Following the 1993 Parliament in Chicago the Directors decided
not to wait for another one hundred years to reconvene the
Parliament. But to meet sooner and more often and each time in a
different part of the world. They consulted the Dalai Lama to
see what he thought about the idea. Since he had been an
important endorser of the 1993 Parliament the organizers of the
next Parliament decided to go to him for advice. The answer from
the Dalai Lama was a short one: "Do it!." That was how the 1999
Parliament in Cape Town began.
Soon after that I started working on the paper that I had decided
to present. I knew what I decided to talk about, but I needed to
put it together. The idea that I was working on began to surface
in my mind in 1995 during my last visit to Adyar. It had to do
with Krishnamurti's writings and the concept of Truth, or rather,
the difference between Truth and belief.
The founders of the Theosophical Society had chosen as the motto
of the Society: "There is no religion higher than Truth." Did
that mean that all theosophical writings could be taken as Truth?
If that were the case, the road to immortality was very simple:
just become a member of the Theosophical Society, learn what it
teaches, and say with certainty that one possesses the Truth.
However, what about all the religions that claim the same thing,
that claim that they possess the Truth. Is there anything that
makes our theosophical beliefs any different from any other
religious beliefs? Is it possible for anybody or any group to
possess Truth? Those ideas were the core of my future
I began to put my ideas in writing and soon realized that I was
going to need somebody to help me put them together in a cohesive
way. I asked my friend Dallas TenBroeck for assistance. Soon we
were working together.
Finally, the date of the trip to the Parliament arrived. We flew
from San Francisco to Miami, and there we boarded a South African
Airways 747 and flew non-stop all the way to Cape Town.
Some of us had booked different types of accommodations. Gene
and I decided to stay at the UCT campus (University of Cape
Town). We never regretted it. Even though it was cheaper to
stay at UCT than at any of the hotels that were available, in my
opinion, staying at UCT was the best choice.
Every day we had breakfast in a beautiful and very traditional
dining room. There we met fellow parliamentarians that came from
every corner of the world, and soon we became friends. It was
during breakfast that we decided which Parliament sessions that
we were going to attend. On several occasions we heard from
somebody at our table that there was going to be a meeting on a
subject in which I was interested.
The breakfast menu every day consisted of fruit juice, coffee,
tea, milk, bread, cheese, yogurt. There were five or six
different kinds of cereal. Fresh fruit included oranges,
bananas, apples, different kinds of melon, papaya, pineapple --
as soon as we emptied a tray, a full tray replaced it. There
were also cooked items like eggs, bacon, fish, mushrooms,
potatoes, tomatoes, etc., anything you could think of. It was a
The first day of the Parliament we attended a gathering at a park
in Company Gardens in the Government district in central Cape
Town where they were showing the AIDS "Quilt". It was a
gathering to raise awareness about AIDS. HIV infection is wide
spread among South Africans, and a great deal of education is
needed to reduce the rate of infection. From the park we all
went in a parade for several blocks to the District Six section
of Cape Town. I noticed the South African theosophists holding a
banner, and we joined them in the parade. Included in the parade
were native Zulu dancers in their native customs and playing
drums. After walking in the hot sun we finally reached a museum
that is a historical landmark in the struggle against apartheid.
The parade dissolved at that point. That evening we attended the
Parliament opening ceremonies at "The Good Hope Center."
Work sessions for the Parliament were held in several places.
The majority of them were held at the Technikon. Every evening
we also had Plenary sessions that took place at "The Good Hope
Center," a large auditorium not far from the Technikon. The
organizers had arranged a line of shuttle busses available to all
of us. They transported us from our accommodations, to all the
Next to the Technikon there was a small Christian church which
was exhibiting a famous painting that was created during the
times of apartheid. It portrayed a black Christ on the cross.
The 2 Roman centurions had the faces of the South African
minister of justice, and the president of the country. When
government officials heard about the painting and saw it, they
had the artist who painted it arrested. They tried to convince
him to destroy his painting and when he refused, they put him in
prison. In the mean time, in order to protect and safeguard the
painting, brave South Africans hid it in a house and finally took
it out of the country. They transported it to Great Britain,
where they used it to raise funds to fight apartheid. Once the
political situation changed in South Africa, the black Christ was
returned to its original home in Cape Town.
Every morning we had breakfast at 7 AM. The bus picked us up at
eight and drove us to the Technikon. It was a very pleasant
drive, and some day, when we drove by an area very close to Table
Mountain, we could see zebras, buffaloes, ostriches and other
animals grazing very peacefully. Once at the Technikon, we were
in walking distance to all the events. Sessions began at 9 AM
and continued all day with a short break for lunch.
I gave my presentation at the Parliament on Saturday at 4 PM.
The title was: "There is no religion higher than Truth." There
were a few theosophists from the United States, from the Pasadena
Theosophical Society and a few South African theosophists.
After my presentation I invited the audience to ask questions or
make any comments. There were about twenty people in the room.
The first one to make a comment was a Sikh gentleman. He said
that in the Sikh scriptures it says that Truth is higher than
God, but still higher than Truth is "living the Truth". Then he
asked for my opinion of what I thought "living Truth" meant to
me. There were other opinions given by other individuals, and
they were not as supportive. They were defensive of their old
belief systems. But, overall I think it was a good meeting.
Later on I had the opportunity to bring up my ideas about Truth
and beliefs during another meeting. In that occasion several
individuals participated in the discussion, and the room became
very lively. Most of the participants seemed to support my
views. There was one exception. This was a man who began to
quote the scriptures of his religion to try to make a point and
prove that Truth was God. I said that God has a face. Every
time that somebody refers to God, he gives God not only a face,
but a number of attributes also, because "God" is a belief.
Every person has a different image and opinion of his God,
regardless of reality. Even if there is a large number of people
who believe in one God, that one God is different for each one of
them. Besides, you can either believe or not believe in the
existence of God. On the other hand, we know that there is
Truth. And as long as we keep "Truth" pure, uncontaminated by
any belief, prejudice, or assumption, we can relate to Truth.
The Parliament lasted eight days and we had an opportunity to
listen to many lectures, conferences, symposiums and video
presentations. It was a spiritual marathon. We were also able
to meet and talk to many South Africans who were serving as
volunteers at the Parliament, and listen to what that event meant
to them. They were very excited about receiving all the
participants in their beautiful city of Cape Town.
I'd like to invite readers to share in my trip. I've created a
web page for the Parliament with links to Mandela's speech at the
Parliament, and a summary of what the Dalai Lama said in the
ON THE STUDY OF "THE SECRET DOCTRINE," Part I
by Herbert Coryn
[Part I from THE THEOSOPHIC ISIS, February 1, 1896, pages 45-51,
then continued from March 15, 1896, pages 59-62]
Let us say at once that if THE SECRET DOCTRINE is to be studied
to profit, it must be regarded as a book of Divination in the
highest sense of that word. That is, it is a book which, in
supplying the intellectual consciousness a stream of pictures and
thoughts floating down from many a field, tempts, so to speak,
the upper synthesizing light of the soul to descend among and
make them live in one whole of knowledge.
As the dwelling upon some low mental picture lends to it
gradually and surely the life-light, so that it flames up in
conscious desire and prompts to act, to waste creative power and
its many forms of energy and potency, so the dwelling upon other
and higher pictures or thoughts, such as concern the composition
and destiny of the soul of man and the world, will waken these
pictures also into the fire of action, outer action and more
potent inner action.
Deep meditation is an intense creative activity. That which it
creates lives thereafter to some extent in every other man and
thing, elevating all the worlds in proportion to its power,
because it is an opening of a channel to the one power in its
In the upper regions of the soul of every man resides knowledge
(by reason of identity) of the great forces that have brought
forth, sustain, direct, and will one day destroy this mortal
universe. In the lower regions is the reflection of the flow of
matter and of the play of its properties under our human eyes.
In both regions are what might be called pictures. In the lower
there are pictures derived from association with the outer world
of nature, the growing of the tree, the roll of the waves, and so
only dead pictures. In the inner or upper soul is the picture of
the inner intense life in nature, the thoughts and powers of
nature's inherent soul, these latter symbolized by the planets,
stars, and gods of mythology.
The two regions may be almost unrelated, perhaps are quite so in
the unthinking man, though in him we see many blind efforts to
relate them. And even in some who think there is a need to
impress the fact that the two regions are not brought any the
more into relation (and thus no true knowledge obtained) because
through the study of "science" more of the properties of matter
are viewed in the flow of the river, for though more and ever
more, it is the same plane, the lowest, the plane of the husks.
Neither will their relation be the closer after the psychic
vision, pretending to aid the physical, has opened another plane.
They are husk-facts only, both of them.
We have read of a crude form of divination in which the words of
a question whose answer is sought are split into their composing
letters and the latter thrown into an unsorted heap. The
wandering eye presently constructs a sentence out of the
confusion and that sentence is taken somehow for the answer.
In THE SECRET DOCTRINE the eye wanders over the ruins of ancient
mythologies, the pattern-less heaps accumulated by the sciences,
scattered fragments of antique lore. Is there nothing else? We
FELT there was something else; we felt dimly that there was an
underlying order, an attempt to show it to us, to teach us, to
unveil great truths, to crack for us the crust of matter that
hems us in. And it seemed little reasonable that MASTERS should
write one more of the many books of mythology, one more of the
many criticisms of materialistic science.
So we awaited an Index. The index was to be the magician that
should bring an orderly cosmos out of this chaos. He arrived,
but with him came no cosmos. Chaos still reigned, and though
never so diligently we collated Capricorn on this page with
Capricorn on that, no light broke upon the troubled gloom. The
legends that the "fancy of mankind" had woven about those stars
remained but ghosts in a lampless vacuity.
True we had learned, or rather read, that the Pitris produced the
first humanity, and they the second, and these the third, and
that upon this third descended the "Lords of Mind"; from the
third came the fourth, followed by our fifth. But WHAT are the
Pitris, WHAT the "Lords of Mind"; what relation either of them to
us, living, vivid selves of today; of what nearer interest that
the story of how Hydrogen grew in the eons out of Protyle,
perchance grows yet? We can watch the actors on a stage, feeling
with them the parts they play; but this other? As it stands it is
but a shadow of a drama, dim, unreal, unhuman, unrealizable,
improbable, unprovable; it is like the history of a dead
language, a Barmecide feast wherefrom the guests go hungry for
the wisdom of life.
Well, then, either our ways of study need amendment, or some
other and more leisured lifetime will do for its commencement.
For about us are the pressure and strain of life, all men
searching for something to relieve and help; whilst we, who talk
of brotherhood, are speculating whether "man comes from the
monkeys," or whether, with THE SECRET DOCTRINE, it was the monkey
who came from man. Has that book been written to mock humanity?
But the volumes contain far more than this thin thread of human
evolution; about it is gathered a baffling tangle of mythologies
and legends, woven inextricably, beginningless, endless, making
the mind faint with fruitless attempts to find and follow some
clue. But there is something in common in all these mythologies,
and that common something affords a moment's rest, and in a sort
of objective way helps to a view of a pattern in the maze. The
sun, the moon, the planets, the zodiacal constellations, all
these under many names, singly and collectively, are presently
seen to be mutely moving in the mythological dance. All the
nations have spent their "youth" in symbolizing these, making
them strange names, humanizing them into heroes of epic tales,
asserting them to be the colleagues of man, to be man himself or
his rulers, his friends, his enemies; placing them in a thousand
relations to each other and to humanity, the sun, the planets,
the stars. Sometimes swayed by passions, sometimes the passions
themselves, sometimes they project the forces which in man become
passions. They are the winds, the ether, the water, earth, fire,
space; again they are process, the rising, the setting, creation,
They are even time, times, and eternity. Thus we have many
correspondent groups, corresponding downwards and sideways;
planets, the signs, the elements, cycles, the generations, human
races simultaneous and successive, the hierarchies, the powers of
man and nature, the human passions, faculties and consciousness.
And with it all, in all the nations, the "trees" and "serpents"
of mythology. This much we get in THE SECRET DOCTRINE; but it is
surely more than a book of comparative mythology, or else any
other of equal range would serve the same purpose. Where is its
secret? WHO is its secret? What can we divine from it?
There is a sort of dogma which is common to the scientific
student of mythology and to the Occultist, but the community ends
with the statement. This dogma is that all mythologies are
diverse expressions, in different times and peoples, of the same
fact or set of facts. What is that? To the scientific
mythologist, that is, to the man who regards the study of
mythology as the study of the workings of the futile -- because
infant -- mind of humanity, the root facts in all mythology are
the natural phenomena of the movement of the stars, the progress
of the seasons, the alteration of day to night and of night to
day, the gathering and the dispersing of storms; all these
personalized and tricked out with a mass of poetic imagery and
epic detail, and all moreover worked into further confusion by
the infusion of half-legendary reminiscences of human heroes and
But to the Occultist the study of mythology is of widely other
interest. For to him the myths are triple: nucleolus, nucleus,
body. The nucleolus, the hidden light in every myth, is a truth
concerning the consciousness of man and nature as a manifested
activity; the sheathing nucleus is a description of this under
the form of fable or epic incident, primarily constructed for the
teaching of the people by a man who knew the ultimate fact thus
expressed. About this gather the gross glosses and turgid
variants of the miscomprehending populace.
Is there any way of getting at this central truth concerning
consciousness? We seem to know ourselves pretty well; commonplace
men doing our business from day to day; yet in this book we are
quietly told that each of us is a sublime light, an incarnate
wisdom, a mind that has grown in depth and splendor and power
throughout uncounted ages past; that we are here in this
commonplace way for a few lifetimes to correct some little errors
and failures, and then forward once more into a delayed but
allworthy heritage. We were not aware of all that wisdom and
power; how shall we be made so?
THE SECRET DOCTRINE has been written by occultists who know the
central truth, and in one of its aspects it is a collation of the
myths of humanity, stripped of their nonessentials, paralleled,
and presented in such a form as to tempt the intuition (Buddhi)
of the student toward the apprehension of the truth concerning
the powers, history, and faculties of his conscious being, and
the relation of those to similar and parent qualities of
universal mind (Mahat) whilst his BRAIN is occupied with the garb
under which that truth is presented.
Thus it is a book for the training and exercise of the brooding
or intuitive faculties, properly in the highest sense a book of
divination. And it is a book of ethical training, since an
ethically lived life results from a blending of the upper and
lower lights of consciousness.
The lower light is our conscious mind on earth, which to itself
is commonplace and holds no mystery; neither, alone, can it have
any real knowledge of its own origin in the field of time (verbal
nor intellectual knowledge not being real or realized) nor,
ordinarily, any wish to partake of the greater forces. So to
itself it is a commonplace, aware of no mysteries, aware of no
life save the ordinary. It CAN penetrate, it CAN look into
itself and find a certain Path. If in brooding, self-searching,
it finds that, life is a new possession.
"Finding the Way." Much is said of that, and we read piously,
with an undersense of unreality. But let us remember the
keynotes that arise in the searching mind, the sense of
inexplicability, of mystery, of something beyond. That comes
first, the first message from the upper. After awhile the
message clears, and may even, if we strain attention, take
concrete form in words. "Thou hast not yet attuned thy heart,
chamber for chamber, unto mine" is the burden, and thereafter we
live strenuously, trying to affect that inner attunement.
That is the one task of the lower light. But the upper light --
from which the lower hangs as a spark from a flame -- is in and
of the central fire. If the mythologies of nations, stripped, as
in THE SECRET DOCTRINE, of their rind, are held in some aspect in
the mind, still, in "faith," brooding, something from the upper
light of consciousness will be let down, illuminating.
Take at first no wide area; begin with some one myth, as that of
Prometheus, some one deity, as Ra, the sun in all his aspects,
and take as many quotations as you can. And in the lower
consciousness the effect will be at first a sense of some mystery
therein contained, for the sense of mystery is the beginning of
illumination, the commencing responsiveness of the soul on earth
to its upper light, the dawn of wisdom, the perfecting of life.
In this brooding study the sense of mystery may suddenly dissolve
into a flash of knowledge, soon, or after many trials. Once that
has happened there is nothing for it, but to go on, for the way
to the way is found. For a single moment we have felt the
secret, felt something as a fact which as yet the brain cannot
That is a great thing; let the brain take care of itself, go on
with that feeling, keep searching to reproduce it. The brain
will slowly refine its texture, answer better and better to the
light above; in time it will learn to think REAL TRUTHS; in time
too, we will learn less and less to fear death, less and less to
identify ourselves with the perishing body; we will become less
and less personal, feel at last in high moments that we ARE that
higher light registering the history of a tremendous past. The
sense of powerless limitation will vanish bit by bit. Power will
come, as in degree it does come to every Theosophist, lining and
energizing our words and acts, so that when we speak of karma and
rebirth, it will carry more, and more the effect of shock and
conviction. We are really throughout this work learning to guide
the currents of general thought.
Our study of THE SECRET DOCTRINE then, if it is to be anything
but the emptiest intellectualism, must be something more than
study in the ordinary sense of that word; it IS an intellectual
study, but illuminated by intuition.
He who understands THE SECRET DOCTRINE the most, will not
necessarily have its lines and phrases most perfectly at his
tongue's end, nor have perhaps the most impressively weighty
notebooks. For the notebook is often the substitute for the
synthesizing flash of intuition. We are NOT therefore saying
that this magic energizing of our powers comes from study of THE
SECRET DOCTRINE, but from the higher brooding which that should
This brooding is a gathering silently together of all the powers
of the soul, a descent into the lower of the energy of the
higher, so that we act and speak with tenfold power. We call it
brooding, for it is a stopping by will of concrete reasoning from
fact to fact, and the holding of the mind onto one conception.
[At this point the text continues from THE THEOSOPHIC ISIS,
March 15, 1896, pages 59-62]
We read all about the mythological doings of the Sun, of Ra, of
Surya, of Marttanda, and now we pause. Who IS he, the Sun, that
does all these many things, that rises, that sets, that rules,
that throws forth energy, that knows himself, that shines at
first alone all resplendently in the egg of being, that creates
and destroys by fire, that nourishes, that is wise? We let the
mind hang over all that till we feel who in the mind's septenate
is the Sun, the Self. Thereafter we think ourselves no more the
mind, but the mind's Sun, becoming the drivers of force, but the
force driven, and we make each force energize through its
Every part of the consciousness of man presents a flashing stream
of eternally flowing activities. The discrete sparks of thought
stream up from below and take form about a center. The
understanding of THE SECRET DOCTRINE is the same as the final
understanding of life, and is birth into wisdom. It is the
synthesizing of all thoughts under one final truth, and that
thought is not something known as outside things are known, but
is the knowing of oneself by oneself.
Everything in THE SECRET DOCTRINE applies to us as living
persons, cycles, gods, and forces, and the study of it is a
finding of the Light, or one of the ways thereto. Whilst giving
the intellect matter to work on, the book arouses the higher
consciousness. And it is the higher consciousness alone that can
feel and know the needs of men and can emit the measured and
adapted force, to teach, heal, and convince, the force of the Sun
in the heart.
HPB said that in the next century THE SECRET DOCTRINE would be
studied as it is not in this one. That study we must not leave
for the general public to begin and carry on. We must help,
strike the keynotes of method, set flowing out from ourselves as
centers the currents that will stimulate.
But before we study we must get some clear ideas as to what will
come of it. As we study now, so will the public of the next
century. And as the public as yet know little or nothing, and as
they must learn front us of the very existence of the book, so
they must make their acquaintance with it at our hands not as a
mere criticism of scientific methods, not as a mere summary of
mythologies, not as a fantastic fable extracted from the vagaries
of the Puranas, but as the living history of the living soul, the
anatomy of its powers.
There is a method, oftener practiced than recognized, of
energizing words by a power effluent from the heart, started by
the will. That power, on the physiological plane we can make to
heal, on the mental plane we can make our ideas strong and
fruitful in others, on the spiritual plane we can use it to raise
men to high thought, emotion and action. It is creative power
and is attained by brooding, meditation, and abstracted "prayer."
But if that "prayer" is to be anything beyond emotional gush, or
anything beyond a mere set of statements or requests with the
eyes shut and the knees at a right angle, it must be a strong
search into the recesses of Self for the Light. And we will
UNDERSTAND AS WELL AS BE UPLIFTED by the Light when it comes, if
we have made an intellectual framework by the study of Occultism.
Many by strong search find the Light along the simplest path, and
finding, benefit themselves and many others, but to him who has
also the intellectual basis of Occultism, they are as the
untrained to the trained athlete.
Let us come closer to the matter and see what may be expected to
happen. We all know that in the course of reading the two
volumes, one fact or process in each volume stands out most
clearly, and as we read we will become aware that in ourselves a
third fact of a similar nature presently comes into
In the first volume is described the formation of a solar system.
In the second volume we see and try to realize the formation of
thinking humanity by the incarnation in each man of the ray from
the Kumaras. For ourselves, as the third volume, something
similar may happen. In all three, what happens which is
comparable to the influence of a magnet on a heap of iron
filings. Till that moment lying unsorted and without
arrangement, they take definite position in lines about the poles
of the magnet.
It is the same with our study of anything. Such casual facts as
we knew before fall into a clear arrangement about a principle.
But when the study is ourselves, and the facts are such few
casual things as we had observed in ourselves, the central
principle about which those few facts now arrange themselves is
the thinking and observing self of the student. He becomes a
sun, and attracts about himself into a closed and compact system
the wandering bodies which are henceforth defined planets.
In the study of THE SECRET DOCTRINE and in the study of
ourselves, when we undertake that study along the lines of most
current philosophy, we are apt to lose ourselves in the
objectivity of the description, and to forget the subjective
realization. We apply to both the same mental process -- a
process of mere picturing -- that we apply to ordinary science.
Let us take a closer grip and work it out within, for THE SECRET
DOCTRINE contains all the formulas of consciousness.
Nothing valuable can come from the study of that book unless from
line to line we try and refer it to ourselves, try to find out
how "the moon is the deity of the mind" and who the moon is. And
we must work with no discouragement, always searching about with
the inquiring consciousness, being always sure that, unobserved
by us, SOMETHING from what we read is getting into the inner
nature. The writers of it are saying three things and also only
one. There is the plain tale of the text; there is what they
would say, but must not openly in this age; there is what they
would say but cannot, for it will not go into any words.
Not much should be read at one time, is the first rule of study.
It is good to get by heart the stanzas and the italicized
extracts from the ancient commentaries and the letters quoted
verbatim. When this is done and the historical part of each
volume (the first third) lightly read, then settle to work on
real study. It is soon noted that not much is said of anything
in but one place: all that is said on any topic is scattered all
through both volumes, in text and footnotes. It is usually
necessary to stop frequently, sometimes every few lines, and feel
about in consciousness for the inner meaning.
That the moon ran away with Jupiter's wife and that war ensued is
a statement that does not glow with easy and immediate meaning.
Taken literally it is childish nonsense; it is less so childish
when we have found whom Jupiter is and who the moon. So a few
minutes reading provides us with food for much meditation, and at
every such attempt SOMETHING is gained, SOME sharpening of
intuition. In the end the somethings will cohere.
The mechanic sits in his study and ponders his problem. He
thinks from fact to fact and no light comes; one fact leads only
to another. He wants with gathered brow and hot brain to reach
some principle of construction, and the scattered facts do not
seem to help. He knew them all, this long while; it is something
else be wants.
Presently, tired with his thinking, he leaves off, and as he
rises from his seat like an unstrung bow, a light which is not in
the facts flashes in amongst them and his problem is solved. It
comes with a sense of effortlessness, following upon, by not
among the number of, his effort. Not itself a fact, it makes the
facts fall into a pattern. It comes when lie has taken off the
tension, for it is not HE that brought it but he who by his hot
thinking at once kept it back and prepared the way for it.
Whence comes it, and whose was the creative effort that threw it
out into the confusion? A sudden force has entered his
consciousness; he is more positive, more magnetic to others. He
can inspire others with enthusiasm for his scheme, so that they
will even lay their money at his disposal, and that too without
comprehension of what he is saying.
Dedicated to the Theosophical Philosophy and its Practical Application