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THEOSOPHY WORLD ----------------------------------- October, 2000

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

To submit papers or news items, subscribe, or unsubscribe, write
to theos-world@theosophy.com.

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

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CONTENTS

"The Real Christmas is Helping Humanity," by Sophia TenBroeck
"The Goal of the Theosophical Movement," by Katinka Hesselink
"The Tathagata Light," by B.P. Wadia
"New Theosophical Websites and News"
"The Mysteries of Death," by A. Trevor Barker
"The Principles of Natural Magic," by H.P. Blavatsky
"Creative Versus Vegatative Living," by Madeline Clark
"Yoga in Daily Life," by Ernest Wood
"Inner Awareness," Part II, by Boris de Zirkoff

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> An adept -- the highest as the lowest -- is one ONLY DURING THE
> EXERCISE OF HIS OCCULT POWERS ... Whenever these powers are
> needed, the sovereign will unlocks the dorr to the INNER man
> (the adept,) who can emerge and act freely but on condition that
> his jailor -- the OUTER man -- will be either completely or
> partially paralyzed as the case may require ...
>
> -- THE MAHATMA LETTERS, Letter 24-B, 3rd ed., Page 176

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THE REAL CHRISTMAS IS HELPING HUMANITY

by Sophia TenBroeck

[based upon a December 28, 1997 posting to theos-talk.]

Some may feel that doing one's duty and getting on with the job
is out-of-date, that it is backward, holding people from moving
forward with their dreams and practice. I would like to suggest
that it is not a nineteenth century thing. The ancient Aryans,
Zoroastrians, Chinese philosophers, and others have practiced it.
The Sermon on the Mount teaches this by implication.

To my mind, Theosophy has to do with the revival of the great
concepts of previous ages and people, those that make for great
civilizations. THE VOICE OF THE SILENCE says, "If sun thou canst
not be, then be the humble planet." If the great ideas seems far
above and away, let us practice duty in the way we see best, and
as we do so our horizons will expand and grow.

Rather than being "enslaving," this attention to duty is
paradoxically freeing. If our own good works binds us, as THE
BHAGAVAD GITA says, "looking for the fruit of our actions," we
cannot move on. When we do what we see is duty and needed
without looking for the results, we have the time and opportunity
of engaging in other good works, leaving the results to the Good
Law, that of Karma. Karma binds us by the bad we do, the good we
do, and the things left undone, which we ought to have done but
failed to do.

DUTY to humanity was the quotation I used. But this is still
limited. DUTY has even a wider scope -- that which is DUE TO ALL
LIVING THINGS. In Theosophy, this includes all of nature. Every
molecule or atom of nature is a living being.

Every religion practiced in the world today with all their faults
set aside have a practice of saying something akin to what is
called GRACE in Christianity. What did this really mean? When we
buy the food from a supermarket and pay cash, we may think that
we have paid what it is worth. What we have done is paid for the
work put in by the various long lines of people involved in the
production and supply of the food to the supermarket. We have
paid to the soil, the water, the sunshine, and the air and
natures forces for their contribution to the production of the
food. How we can do this, is a real problem, is it not? We stand
in a strange sort of debt to nature for the food we consume, and
have at hand very little means of paying this debt. Especially
these days when we are fast recognizing the great disturbances
humans are causing to nature's balance, and directly or
indirectly, we are contributing to an accumulation of greater
debts.

How can we settle this? We are not all farmers, tillers of the
soil. We live in great cities, and procure our food. The idea
of GRACE before eating was that people should remember this chain
of GIVING FREELY, which has brought the food to our tables.

One should in ones heart and mind, give THANKS to all the visible
and invisible beings which are the real participants in the food
production cycle. These THANKS should not be given as a matter
of course. Give THANKS with sincerity, a deep sense of
obligation, and a realization that the energy and sustenance thus
received should be utilized for benefiting others. Then in some
little way we contribute towards the payment of our DEBT.

Nature gives, and gives, and gives endlessly, supporting all
living beings on and in this earth. The least it seems to me we
can do is learn from her tireless giving to give too, without
expectation and freely. Economics, in its present all
encompassing form, was given birth to in the nineteenth and
twentieth centuries, and possibly its doctrines of buying goods
and services, and paying for them with money, has some defects.

Nature's way seems to be to give and give without expectation.

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THE GOAL OF THE THEOSOPHICAL MOVEMENT

By Katinka Hesselink

When we talk of the goal of the Theosophical Society, or of the
Theosophical Societies, often people express the opinion that to
spread the so-called theosophical teachings, is a primary goal.
In my lodge, it was seriously said that it would be better to
study a book that was published by the T.S., than it would be to
study Krishnamurti. Personally, I do not agree with this. If
studying Krishnamurti brings wisdom, then we should study his
books. That should be our only guide in deciding what is
important enough to spend lodge time on.

It seems that "theosophy" has come to mean, for many members,
that which is within the Theosophical Society. In the same way,
the word "theosophist" has come to mean a member of the T.S.
This is not the way the Mahatma's or H.P. Blavatsky used these
words. To them a theosophist was one who leads a practical
altruistic life and is an independent thinker. Theosophy is the
Wisdom Religion, in its non-sectarian form. The Wisdom Religion
is the religion of the wise. It is that knowledge and philosophy
that comes automatically to one who studies nature, with kindness
in the heart.

They meant the Theosophical Society to be a non-sectarian
movement. For instance in her COLLECTED WRITINGS, IX, page 8,
H.P. Blavatsky says:

> Free discussion, temperate, candid, undefiled by personalities
> and animosity, is, we think, the most efficacious means of
> getting rid of error and bringing out the underlying truth ...
> [of different religions, philosophies and opinions.]

And again, in the same volume on page 9:

> Precisely because LUCIFER is a theosophical magazine, it opens
> its columns to writers whose views of life and things may not
> only slightly differ from its own, but even be diametrically
> opposed to the opinions of the editors.

She proclaims this open policy that is not practiced by any of
the theosophical magazines I know of, except THE HIGH COUNTY
THEOSOPHIST, perhaps, by saying (page 10):

> One ever learns more from one's enemies than from one's friends.

About the definition of the word "Theosophist," BCW, II, page
102:

> Once a student abandons the old and trodden highway of routine,
> and enters upon the solitary path of independent thought --
> God-ward -- he is a Theosophist; an original thinker, a seeker
> after the universal truth with an inspiration of his own to solve
> the universal problems.

This definition makes it very clear that it does not take a
member of one of the Theosophical Societies to make a
theosophist. A theosophist is any independent seeker after
universal truth. The Theosophical Societies are only there for
seekers to meet and help each other. H.P. Blavatsky confirms
this opinion by saying (H.P. BLAVATSKY LETTERS TO SINNET, letter
C, page 221):

> Don't let us do as Christians do. Our society was established to
> bring together people as searchers after truth, independent
> thinkers, one having no right to force his opinion on the other:
> or meddle in his religious views.

I think it is very important, when looking at the Theosophical
Movement, that it was NOT meant as a new religion. It was meant
as the foundation stone of new religions, plural. That is a very
different thing.

Though the doctrines that H.P. Blavatsky brought forward
obviously play an important part in the work of the Theosophical
Society, the mere spreading of these doctrines was not, in my
opinion, the goal. When people merely replace one set of
doctrines by another, they are not changing the quality of their
consciousness.

It is not for nothing that Brotherhood was stressed so much by
the theosophical Mahatmas. The active practice of brotherhood
requires a consciousness that reaches beyond the self, to other
selves. In this practice, sometimes, thinking about the
doctrines of H.P. Blavatsky and the Mahatmas helps, but so does
contemplating Lao-tze, or what Sai Baba wrote.

There is no need to limit any theosophical society to the
literature of a century ago, or even, a bit more broadly, to the
literature of the different theosophical societies.

It is only when there is a difference of opinion that people
start examining their own minds. In that sense, we are very
stupid. We somehow need other people to point out our flaws.
Ideally, I suppose, we would not need that. But since we are not
ideal, we have to live with the reality of our incapability.

In order for us to have an open mind, we need to doubt. All
concepts in our mind should be loose and fragile enough to
shatter when evidence comes that these concepts do not function
very well. Unfortunately, this doubt is not easily kept alive.
We would all like to think that this, that, and the other, at
least are certainties. But even if, say, 'the Oneness of Life',
is a reality, that still does not mean that it is so real to me
personally that I can see all ramifications of the concept.

The question is how can the Theosophical Society help us in
seeing the different sides of each subject we might study. As
far as I am concerned, the answer is easy: we need people with
different views on the same subject. We need diversity in
membership. We need dialogue between people who do not
automatically agree. In order to have this, we need to say to
people, "You are welcome."

This is necessary, but not enough. We also need to also give
these people the same privileges that the people have who express
more conventionally theosophical opinions. In short, there
should be space in our theosophical magazines for those who
believe, for instance, in a personal God. Then the editors can
either publish their own opinion in another article, to show the
difference, or they can publish some article by someone else,
that gives an opposite meaning.

This was the editorial policy of H.P. Blavatsky and Damodar, and
it made their magazines (THE THEOSOPHIST and LUCIFER) lively and
unpredictable forums. These days this function is played by the
theosophical email discussion lists. With no editors, there is
no way for uniformity to eat up the liveliness of the
theosophical movement. In the same way, for individual lodges
and centers to function well, they too need to be seriously open
to diverse opinions.

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THE TATHAGATA LIGHT

by B.P. Wadia

[from THUS HAVE I HEARD, pages 128-30.]

> The light of the spirit is the eternal Sabbath of the mystic or
> the occultist. That which is meant by the allegorical sentence,
> FIAT LUX is -- when esoterically rendered -- "Let there be the
> 'Sons of Light.'"
>
> -- H. P. BLAVATSKY

Without spiritual afflatus -- the miraculous communication of
supernatural knowledge -- the mind remains the playground of the
senses and falls prey to the sweet-tongued voices of illusion.
The mind needs not only breadth and depth but also points to draw
it to the Supreme. To help aspiring minds, teachers of soul
wisdom have always presented simple but profound images that
awaken the mind, assisting it to assimilate one or more aspects
of the eternal verities.

There are images which energize us to high endeavor. The first
of the four, which Jesus used to exhort his admirers to right
practice, is "Ye are the Salt of the Earth." The next three bring
in the imagery of Light, which almost every teacher has used in
instructing the few elect or the many less ardent. The image of
Light is profound and may well be compared to the ocean, shallow
enough at the shore for a child to paddle in, but gradually
deepening until it may drown the most expert of swimmers. The
light of the eyes, the light of the mind, the light of the Soul,
are the phrases most commonly used. But there are philosophical
and mystical aspects to them, which make the understanding and
interpretation of the image of light most fascinating.

"Ye are the light of the world," exclaims Jesus and calls upon
his devotees not to hide the light within them, but to let it
shine so that some at least among the hoi polloi, struck by the
radiance, may be emboldened to kindle their own small lamps. Why
does he address his intimates thus? How did they come to possess
the Divine Light? In silence and secrecy, listening to his words,
reflecting upon his parables, perceiving the "miracles" he
wrought which drew their attention not only to the existence of
the worlds invisible but to the fact that the laws governing them
could be mastered by the humble yet persevering learner provided
his heart was pure.

The human tendency to hide the knowledge of such experiences,
lest they be doubted and scoffed at, prompts many who know to
hold their tongues, to compress their brain and slow down the
beats of the heart. How many men of today do we not know, who,
aware of the mystical urges of their mind, seek knowledge in
secret like the good Nicodemus? And again, how many are there who
keep mum about their quest, findings, and realizations of
spiritual things, lest they be laughed at by their colleagues of
the business world for "getting religion," or by their club
friends for "becoming odd!" The followers of Jesus had more
reason to "light a candle and put it under a bushel" -- the
suspicious, tyrannical Sanhedrin! Jesus demands that they let
their divine light shine so that all may know of their real Self,
the Christos, the Buddha, the Krishna within. And such showing
would not be out of egotism but as a sacrament which would give
an outward and visible sign of the grace of Light Supernal
within, ever ready to preside in the heart of the meek, the
humble, the aspiring lover of mankind. This is the Light of all
lights. (See THE BHAGAVAD GITA, XIII, 17)

The light of the mind is different from the light of the Spirit.
Even the light of the Thinker, the real man, does not shine
equally in all mortals. Ordinary education gives breadth and
depth to the mind and increases mind light. Extraordinary
instruction is necessary to make the Spirit Light manifest
through the human mind. It is the self-imposed task of the
divine AVATARAS and the real GURUS to offer special knowledge and
to light that which is named the TATHAGATA Light -- to create in
the mortal man a Son of Light by whose grace that mortal can
become immortal.

The Wisdom-Religion, Bodhi-Dharma, teaches a way of living
founded upon a moral philosophy. That philosophy is a very
definite body of knowledge, called in THE BHAGAVAD GITA the
Kingly Science and the Kingly Mystery. It is ageless. Ever does
it move silently and secretly in the midst of ignorance begotten
by false knowledge. The study of its doctrines stirs the depths
of the human mind. The application of them stirs the depths of
the heart, causing it to respond to the higher morality of the
Universal and the Impersonal. When the altruistic service of
teaching ignorant or proud minds and empty or depraved hearts is
undertaken, the glorification of "the Father which is in heaven"
takes place. In the process the Light of the Buddhas and the
Christs -- the great Sons of Light -- begins to glow in us -- the
Tathagata Light -- the Light of the Illustrious Predecessors. Of
such are the words of the image:

"A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid."

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NEW THEOSOPHICAL WEBSITES AND NEWS

The following annoucements have been received in the past month
about new or changed theosophical websites.

----

ESOTERIC STUDIES GUIDE

by Katinka Hesselink

    http://www.geocities.com/katinka_hesselink/estg.htm

There is a new website on theosophy. It is called the Esoteric
Studies Guide. It features articles and quotes from H.P.
Blavatsky and other classic theosophical writers on the subjects
practical wisdom, chelas, mahatmas, the theosophical society, and
other like subjects. The quotes and articles are organised
around these themes, so that the reader can brows effectively.
For those interested mainly in practical wisdom, these same
quotes have been organised in a pick-a-quote section.

----

THEOSOFIA - NEW WEBSITE IN DUTCH

by Katinka Hesselink

    http://www.geocities.com/katinka_hesselink/theosofie_nl/inhoud.html

This new site on theosophy is in the Dutch language and is called
after the Dutch theosophical magazine with the same name. As its
name suggests it features many articles which were first
published in the magazine. Articles are on subjects like inner
growth, metaphysics and ethics. There are also articles on
theosophy itself.

Short quotes can be picked in the section called "spreuken
trekken." These quotes are from diverse spiritual sources. There
are a few by HPB, Mohammed and also Sai Baba.

----

NEW "THEOSOPHICAL HISTORY" WEBSITE

by Daniel Caldwell

    http://calstate.fullerton.edu/santucci/th

The THEOSOPHICAL HISTORY website, now has a new address. It is
an online extension of the THEOSOPHICAL HISTORY JOURNAL founded
in 1985 by Leslie Price and edited since 1990 by James A.
Santucci.

THEOSOPHICAL HISTORY is now in its 15th year. Theosophical
History is the independent scholarly journal devoted to all
aspects of theosophy (with and without a capital "T").

The site is a collaborative effort of serious students of all
aspects of theosophy, with an emphasis on the wave of occultism,
spiritualism, New Age thought and Theosophy as it has developed
during the last 150 years. The web site is intended to be a
21st-century "Notes and Queries" clearing house for information
on original sources, archival material and recent work of
interest alike to scholars and all serious students of these
matters.

Dr Santucci welcome your comments and contributions.

The website is beginning to publish the full text of the back
issues of THEOSOPHICAL HISTORY and also original articles and
research material that has not been published in the journal.

Here is information on how to contact Dr. Santucci:

Professor James A. Santucci.
Department of Comparative Religion
P.O. Box 6868
California State University
Fullerton, CA 92834-6868
Phone: (714) 278-3727; Fax: (714) 693-0142
Email: jsantucci@fullerton.edu

----

A NEW HPB PHOTO GALLERY

by Daniel Caldwell

    http://www.blavatskyarchives.com/

Check out the new HPB Photo Gallery at Blavatsky Archives. There
are almost 30 photos of HPB and many of her co-workers.

Remember to click on the smaller version of the photo for the
larger version.

Photos are best viewed in Internet Explorer in the full screen
mode.

We plan to expand this section.

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THE MYSTERIES OF DEATH

by A. Trevor Barker

[From THE HILL OF DISCERNMENT, Theosophical University Press,
1941, pages 303-12]

I would like to begin by reading to you a short passage on one of
the great mysteries of man's inner nature: the mystery that all
of us are confronted with at the final stage of our lives; the
mystery that at certain times during the course of our earthly
pilgrimage we are brought face to face with when someone with
whom we have been closely connected -- dear to us possibly --
passes over the Great Divide and we are brought into living
consciousness with eternal realities.

Now the mysteries that surround the great subject of Death absorb
modern thought to a quite surprising degree. One of the biggest
Movements of our times is that which is called the Movement of
Spiritualism -- miscalled as we think because it has little to do
with Spirit, with the Divine; and it is my purpose tonight, after
reading this short passage, to try to elucidate some of the
thoughts that are contained therein.

These lines are from THE MAHATMA LETTERS TO A.P. SINNETT, pages
170-71. In the pages of that book you will find an at present
unexplored treasury of knowledge, a collection of information and
facts about all the problems of Death -- the problems with which
the Spiritualists concern themselves -- if you will examine them.
Now listen to this:

> Yet from the last pulsation, from and between the last throbbing
> of his heart and the moment when the last spark of animal heat
> leaves the body, the BRAIN THINKS and the EGO lives over in those
> few brief seconds his whole life over again. Speak in whispers,
> ye, who assist at a deathbed, and find yourselves in the solemn
> presence of Death. Especially have you to keep quiet just after
> Death has laid her clammy hand upon the body. Speak in whispers,
> I say, lest you disturb the quiet ripple of thought, and hinder
> the busy work of the Past casting on its reflection upon the Veil
> of the Future.

Is there any one of us who could hope to reach to such language
as that? If you have a literary sense you will realize that words
like that can come only out of the very heart of being itself,
from one of those High Beings -- a Mahatma, a Great Soul, one who
has learned to attune his mind and heart to great Universal Mind
itself, and is one with it. Being master of the forces of his
own being he can penetrate into the mysteries of Nature as a
conscious, fully intelligent, and potentially omniscient being.

BEINGS WHO KNOW TRUTH

The doctrines that we are going to discuss tonight are not the
vain speculations and theories of ancient or modern materialistic
scientists who use instruments of matter, instruments of
scientific precision; who reason from a collection of facts
observable by the external senses, and endeavor to deduce
therefrom some working hypothesis which for the time being they
will label "the laws of nature."

It is not about such so-called scientific facts that we wish to
speak, because it is our experience that, in a matter of two or
three centuries, such so-called scientific laws change. The
scientist discovers that what he thought was truth, was not; and
a new theory, a new hypothesis, has to be evolved. From such
sources as this we could get no inspiration or light for our
mind, and no food for our hearts; no relief for the perplexities
under which humanity suffers. Therefore, we have to find some
other avenue of information and of knowledge; otherwise, those
great problems that perplex the human heart will not be solved.

So the nature of these doctrines then must come from men who
know; and it is the statement of Theosophy -- and one of the most
helpful and illuminating statements that is to be found in the
whole of our philosophy -- that not only does Truth exist, being
the workings of Nature herself in all departments visible and
invisible, within and without and below -- but that there are
BEINGS WHO KNOW -- for something which exists merely in the
abstract is of no possible use for us; we cannot utilize it
unless there are Beings who know.

Our approach to knowledge must be directly or indirectly by an
approach to those who already have this knowledge: and those, in
a word, are the Ancient Teachers of the race who exist as a
living Brotherhood among men, sending their Messengers from time
to time out into the world -- always at work, mostly secretly but
nevertheless having witnesses on the scene to testify that Truth,
and knowledge of it, exist, and that there is a way by which man
may illumine this material brain of his, and learn the Truth if
he will.

The truths that we are going to study tonight, then, you can
expect will literally strip the veils from this vast Unknown
mystery, the mystery that the teachings enshrined -- and truly
enshrined -- in the Christian scriptures simply do not approach
at all. Go anywhere you like in any Christian church, and unless
by -- I was going to say by accident -- you happen to come across
a learned Kabbalist (and it is most unlikely because you would
not find him there) you will not get any knowledge whatsoever of
the mysteries of Death. You will be informed that the Almighty,
if he had meant you to understand these mysteries, would have
given you this information if it had been good for you, and the
fact that it is not given in the Christian Bible means that we
are to know nothing about it.

Theosophy begins with the statement that an Adept -- one who is
trained and skilled in Nature's mysteries -- can by the power of
his own Spirit know all that has been known, all that is known,
and all that ever will be known. Now that is a large statement,
but it is a necessary one if we are to have the right approach to
this problem of the mysteries of Death.

THE SPIRITUALISTIC MEDIUM

Take the Spiritualist position. Some scientists have joined the
ranks of the Spiritualist Movement hoping to gain illumination,
scientific facts, and data that will bring knowledge of a mystery
of which they are entitled to have information and experience if
it be possible, and those who began to investigate along these
lines in the beginning of the last quarter of the last century
found that in the majority of cases man has simply not got the
equipment to enable him to go behind the curtain of matter and
examine the process of what happens when a living intelligence
passes out of this world -- never to return, as far as he knows.

Therefore, we have the first fact that accounts for the existence
of a certain class of human beings who call themselves mediums,
i.e., persons who have a peculiar constitution -- a constitution
that is psychically sensitive, in exactly the same way as a cat
is. I do not wish to be offensive; do not think that for a
moment. A cat is part of the cat-family of nature, and its
mechanism is extremely psychically sensitive. Those of you who
have ridden on a horse on a dark night will know that horses also
are clairvoyant: they see. Cats see, dogs, most animals do; so
that these senses that the spiritualistic community imagine are
so highly spiritual, are shared, dear friends, by the animal
kingdom -- nothing more exalted than that; and the nervous
mechanism from which this vision functions is that of the
sympathetic nervous system, having its seat and controlling
factor in what in the human being we call the solar plexus.

Anybody who is physiologically instructed will know that this
mechanism is not under the control of our will at all. It is an
unconscious function; and therefore, as you would expect, the
capacities and so-called powers of a medium will not be under his
or her conscious control. On the contrary, a definition of
MEDIUM is one who is a passive instrument of forces that control
and guide him -- exterior forces. The medium imagines that
because some exterior force comes and as it were hypnotizes him,
and he surrenders the control of the divine temple of his body to
this extraneous force, therefore it must give wisdom, when he has
lost control of it and it begins, like the oracle in ancient
times, to give messages that are supposed to come from entities
beyond the veil of death.

When somebody loses one who is dear to him, and, not being
instructed perhaps in philosophical teachings, feels all the more
keenly the loss, it is this human feeling of loss that leads him
to be attracted to anyone within reason who declares that he is
able to communicate with the one he has lost -- a very natural
human feeling.

When such people hear that Theosophy challenges the position of
Spiritualism, they begin to feel perhaps we are going to take
something from them, and they perhaps for the time being give us
a wide berth. Then perhaps they examine into Spiritualism; they
attend seances -- and what do they find? This is the crux of the
situation. If they are patient enough and spend enough money:
note this, SPEND ENOUGH MONEY: they will see a variety of
phenomena. In fact the number of diverse phenomena that they
will see and perceive and learn about, and hear theories about,
to try to explain them, are simply legion. I could not begin to
tell you in an hour's talk more than the outer fringe of the
numbers that they deal with; but nevertheless the most common, in
whatever particular form of medium you are dealing with, is of
course a message of some kind from one who has passed over.

Now then, practically the whole of the Spiritualist Movement is
built up on one idea; and it is simply that they can communicate
with the dead through mediums. Mediums gain their living this
way: and there is roughly the whole thing in a nutshell.
Theosophy comes along and says: "But you don't have the
philosophy to explain your beliefs. We know you get messages; we
know that you get materializations of some entity that is made to
look like and assume the features and appearance of someone you
knew. That is possible." Then the Spiritualists answer: "But
this is evidence. Nobody ever looked like that but so and so,"
-- and for the time being you are convinced. They call it
evidential value; yet, it is in reality one of the things that go
to prove how our senses deceive us.

TWO ASPECTS OF THE AFTER-DEATH STATE

What are the facts underlying this matter? When the last particle
of animal soul, as we read from THE MAHATMA LETTERS TO A.P.
SINNETT, leaves the body what happens? What is the nature of the
being that is leaving its tenement of flesh? Whence did it come?
Whither has it gone? Can our Christianity explain it? It cannot;
it is only the knowledge of the ancient mystery teachings of
antiquity that gives you the answer for which men and women are
looking today. Who are you? What am I? Am I the body that is
endeavoring to utter words and phrases to convey certain ideas to
you tonight? Is it the body that is I? No.

When the tenement is cold, that inner flame of intelligence that
energizes all manifested lives, and especially human beings,
vanishes in a flash. The human consciousness, the inner Ego, the
true individuality of the man who is passing, in the last moments
before the body is completely cold, lives over again every
incident from death to birth: EVERY INCIDENT: nothing is left
out. So that he understands the long chain of causes that he has
set going, the meaning, in all their aggregate sequences, of
every incident of life, and these he gathers together in his
memory in a period of complete unconscious supervision. This is
the first step.

Then what happens? Check what I tell you tonight with what you
may have heard stated in the fields of Spiritualism. This inner
entity, if he has led a decent and spiritual kind of life, will
pass through those disturbing ghostlike regions of the
purgatorial and astral world; pass through them very much as a
child will pass through a den of vice and be unaffected by it;
and then that indwelling consciousness, the Real Man that has
shaken off his body, begins to divest itself of that clothing of
subtler matter through which he expresses the emotions, feelings,
desires, and lower thoughts.

This clothing of subtler matter you can think of as corresponding
to the physical body on earth; but though the body may be burnt,
this form of desire in the shape of the man that we know on earth
persists, and if you had the clairvoyant vision, you could see
the exact likeness of the man or woman that was. The form is the
same that in the East they call the kamarupa, "the body of
desire."

It is around the desire-body that the whole field of psychic
phenomena centers, for this cast-off spook, this mere simulacrum
of the man that was, has certain peculiar faculties. We cannot
call them powers but they are faculties, if you can use the term
thus, because these spooks of the dead are made up of matter that
is living, and this matter contains the impress and memory of
everything that happens to the entity or around the entity during
life.

The curious thing about the mediumistic function is that directly
such an entity is attracted to it, this dynamic force, this
mediumistic power, acts very much like the energy that revolves
the disc of the gramophone. The "gramophone" is set, and the
medium then repeats whatever incident is wanted out of the memory
of the individual that is gone.

Whoever goes to a Spiritualistic seance carries with him his own
memory of all the long history of his relationship with the one
that is lost. It is all there: the appearance of the one he
loved, and every incident, happy or unhappy, in the whole long
existence. We carry around with us from birth to death the whole
record of everything that we have done, thought, said, felt,
desired or willed, all that we have seen or heard even; and the
medium can read that record, for it can all be seen by one who
has the inner vision.

You will be asking: "Well, if all that is left of us after death
is a spook, what about our boasted immortality?" Aye, you may
well ask, for immortality is something that, according to the
Ancient Wisdom Teachings, we have to earn. I asked just now what
is the nature of the being that has gone into the Great Unknown.
Is it something essentially transitory and material; or is it
something divine and immortal, winging its way into the spaces of
space with the power and faculties of a god? And the answer to
the question is, at least in part, that the transitory or
"devilish" part of it cannot proceed; and yet that upon which the
Spiritualist bases his so-called evidence of survival, is the
most transitory part -- except the body.

Strange, isn't it, but it is a fact. That which does wing its
way into the inner spaces, cannot be reached by the ordinary
medium. If the entity who has passed on was a spiritual person
while on earth, one who had led a clean, religious, and ethical
life, he will not be held in the lower purgatorial regions at
all. He will have a slight discomfort, perhaps, in shaking
himself free of the lower vessels; but it will be in a kind of
dream state, and he will experience, later on, either after the
longer or shorter dream, something that is equivalent to the
passing from earth life: a struggle, a brief struggle, as he
frees himself finally from the last clinging bonds of matter.

That inner entity then enters into what in our technical language
we call a kind of gestation state -- that which precedes birth;
for Nature follows the same law everywhere, whether it is the
birth of a mosquito, a human being, a planet, a sun or a solar
system -- the same law operates. It enters into a gestation
period, and then very soon it enters into unspeakable peace and
bliss where it commences to live over and over again from birth
to death the spiritualized memory of the life it was living while
on earth, with a memory as vivid as the imagination of a child.
If you have watched a child, you know what that means.

To the entities in the heaven-world, there is no death: they have
lost nothing. In their spiritualized dream they are surrounded
by those they loved on earth, and they believe themselves to be
on earth, for the life there is lived in terms of the real
personality. I do not wish to dwell longer on this phase except
to say this: that it is possible for us to rise in spirit and
contact that entity in that state of unalloyed bliss, absorbed in
its dream as it is; but I beg leave to doubt whether any paid
medium is capable of doing it.

Because the medium cannot rise so high, what happens? You get
those puerile messages of mere repetition, containing perhaps
what you call evidential value because it quotes some peculiar
characteristic that you knew belonged to the entity that is gone.
But does it give you anything of real explanation? Does it give
you any more knowledge than the individual had in life? None
whatever, and generally less.

THE PRACTICAL APPLICATION

Now if these theories are true -- and you will find it very
difficult, and I dare suggest impossible, to explode or knock a
hole in them, because they are consistent with Nature: they hold
water and are true to the facts as we know them -- if these
theories are true, there must be a practical application to our
lives; for a great Master once said that he who possesses the
keys to the mysteries of death is possessed of the keys to life.

Why is that so? It means simply this: that if we know what is
going to happen to our inner soul nature when it passes into the
Great Beyond, we shall be extremely unwise if we do not order our
lives in accordance with that knowledge. If you know that to the
extent that you live a sensual, devilish kind of life, if you
know that a dwelling upon evil during physical life, in act and
thought, will so intensify and materialize that which you have to
meet face to face after death, if you know that you risk to have
no rebirth into the spiritual world at all; that your experience
after death will be one of intense suffering, and a suffering
that you can do nothing at all about: will you not consider that
it is time to do something about it now before it is too late?

Once we have passed over, our lives become dictated by the causes
that we have set going in life: our hatreds and passions and
desires are the things that will take possession in the
after-life and make existence a perfect hell, an evil nightmare
of unrequited desire for beings we loved, and which we cannot get
rid of. These will surround us in the after-life with all the
intensity of a horrible nightmare, and if this is multiplied and
intensified as in the most evil cases it is, it means the death
of all that is spiritual in us.

On the contrary and in the other pole of consciousness, if we
have lived in the ethical and spiritual side of our being, then
indeed we have a tremendous incentive and encouragement and hope,
for as we live life here, so it will be there; and if you want to
know what you are going to discover when you pass the portals of
death, study your own life now, and you will have a very good
clue to the nature of the experiences that you will then undergo.

------------------------------------------------------------------
THE PRINCIPLES OF NATURAL LAW

by H.P. Blavatsky

[From ISIS UNVEILED, II, pages 587-89.]

To comprehend the principles of natural law involved in the
several phenomena hereinafter described, the reader must keep in
mind the fundamental propositions of the Oriental philosophy
which we have successively elucidated. Let us recapitulate very
briefly:

1st. There is no miracle. Everything that happens is the result
of law -- eternal, immutable, ever active. Apparent miracle is
but the operation of forces antagonistic to what Dr. W. B.
Carpenter, F. R. S. -- a man of great learning but little
knowledge -- calls "the well-ascertained laws of nature." Like
many of his class, Dr. Carpenter ignores the fact that there may
be laws once "known," now unknown to science.

2nd. Nature is triune: there is a visible, objective nature; an
invisible, indwelling, energizing nature, the exact model of the
other, and its vital principle; and, above these two, SPIRIT,
source of all forces, alone eternal, and indestructible. The
lower two constantly change; the higher third does not.

3rd. Man is also triune: he has his objective, physical body;
his vitalizing astral body (or soul), the real man; and these two
are brooded over and illuminated by the third -- the sovereign,
the immortal spirit. When the real man succeeds in merging
himself with the latter, he becomes an immortal entity.

4th. Magic, as a science, is the knowledge of these principles,
and of the way by which the omniscience and omnipotence of the
spirit and its control over nature's forces may be acquired by
the individual while still in the body. Magic, as an art, is the
application of this knowledge in practice.

5th. Arcane knowledge misapplied, is sorcery; beneficently used,
true magic or WISDOM.

6th. Mediumship is the opposite of adeptship; the medium is the
passive instrument of foreign influences, the adept actively
controls himself and all inferior potencies.

7th. All things that ever were, that are, or that will be,
having their record upon the astral light, or tablet of the
unseen universe, the initiated adept, by using the vision of his
own spirit, can know all that has been known or can be known.

8th. Races of men differ in spiritual gifts as in color,
stature, or any other external quality; among some peoples
seership naturally prevails, among others mediumship. Some are
addicted to sorcery, and transmit its secret rules of practice
from generation to generation, with a range of psychical
phenomena, more or less wide, as the result.

9th. One phase of magical skill is the voluntary and conscious
withdrawal of the inner man (astral form) from the outer man
(physical body). In the cases of some mediums withdrawal occurs,
but it is unconscious and involuntary. With the latter the body
is more or less cataleptic at such times; but with the adept the
absence of the astral form would not be noticed, for the physical
senses are alert, and the individual appears only as though in a
fit of abstraction -- "a brown study," as some call it.

To the movements of the wandering astral form neither time nor
space offer obstacles. The thaumaturgist, thoroughly skilled in
occult science, can cause himself (that is, his physical body) to
SEEM to disappear, or to apparently take on any shape that he may
choose. He may make his astral form visible, or he may give it
protean appearances. In both cases these results will be
achieved by a mesmeric hallucination of the senses of all
witnesses, simultaneously brought on. This hallucination is so
perfect that the subject of it would stake his life that he saw a
reality, when it is but a picture in his own mind, impressed upon
his consciousness by the irresistible will of the mesmerizer.

But, while the astral form can go anywhere, penetrate any
obstacle, and be seen at any distance from the physical body, the
latter is dependent upon ordinary methods of transportation. It
may be levitated under prescribed magnetic conditions, but not
pass from one locality to another except in the usual way. Hence
we discredit all stories of the aerial flight of mediums in body,
for such would be miracle, and miracle we repudiate. Inert
matter may be, in certain cases and under certain conditions,
disintegrated, passed through walls, and recombined, but living
animal organisms cannot.

Swedenborgians believe and arcane science teaches that the
abandonment of the living body by the soul frequently occurs, and
that we encounter every day, in every condition of life, such
living corpses. Various causes, among them overpowering fright,
grief, despair, a violent attack of sickness, or excessive
sensuality may bring this about. The vacant carcass may be
entered and inhabited by the astral form of an adept sorcerer, or
an elementary (an earth-bound disembodied human soul), or, very
rarely, an elemental. Of course, an adept of white magic has the
same power, but unless some very exceptional and great object is
to be accomplished, he will never consent to pollute himself by
occupying the body of an impure person. In insanity, the
patient's astral being is either semi-paralyzed, bewildered, and
subject to the influence of every passing spirit of any sort, or
it has departed forever, and the body is taken possession of by
some vampirish entity near its own disintegration, and clinging
desperately to earth, whose sensual pleasures it may enjoy for a
brief season longer by this expedient.

10th. The corner-stone of MAGIC is an intimate practical
knowledge of magnetism and electricity, their qualities,
correlations, and potencies. Especially necessary is a
familiarity with their effects in and upon the animal kingdom and
man. There are occult properties in many other minerals, equally
strange with that in the lodestone, which all practitioners of
magic MUST know, and of which so-called exact science is wholly
ignorant. Plants also have like mystical properties in a most
wonderful degree, and the secrets of the herbs of dreams and
enchantments are only lost to European science, and useless to
say, too, are unknown to it, except in a few marked instances,
such as opium and hashish. Yet, the psychical effects of even
these few upon the human system are regarded as evidences of a
temporary mental disorder. The women of Thessaly and Epirus, the
female hierophants of the rites of Sabazius, did not carry their
secrets away with the downfall of their sanctuaries. They are
still preserved, and those who are aware of the nature of Soma,
know the properties of other plants as well.

To sum up all in a few words, MAGIC is spiritual WISDOM; nature,
the material ally, pupil and servant of the magician. One common
vital principle pervades all things, and this is controllable by
the perfected human will. The adept can stimulate the movements
of the natural forces in plants and animals in a preternatural
degree. Such experiments are not obstructions of nature, but
quickenings; the conditions of intenser vital action are given.

------------------------------------------------------------------
CREATIVE VERSUS VEGATATIVE LIVING

By Madeline Clark

[From THE THEOSOPHICAL FORUM, March 1948, pages 150-54.]

> We want the creative faculty to imagine that which we know; we
> want the generous impulse to act that which we imagine.
>
> -- Shelley

The divine inventive faculty is perhaps the most useful, as it is
the most elusive and the most courted, of all human attributes.
It is a sort of celestial lightning, a spark of Promethean fire,
difficult to snatch from the gods, but priceless and necessary to
all achievement. Without it, we would be hardly more than
graceless clods. When this spark leaps into flame, we have
genius; and works of art and beauty, works of universal
usefulness, are born -- but not without arduous toil. When the
flame burns less fiercely, we have all the lesser originalities,
without which daily life could not go forward.

It is in the intensity of creative effort that we live most
fully. No joy so supreme, no sense of freedom so unlimited, as
that felt at the moment of "going over the top" after
concentrated and sustained, often painful, effort. But the
period of effort is remembered afterwards as one of purest joy.
Dostoevsky has this idea when he makes one of his characters say:
"Oh, you may be perfectly sure that if Columbus was happy, it was
not after he had discovered America, but when he was discovering
it! . . . What is any 'discovery' whatever compared with the
incessant, eternal discovery of life?"

Two young children in a temporarily impoverished family were told
one bleak day in December: "There will be no Christmas for you
this year except what you can make for yourselves." With the help
of their father, an all-round artisan and artist, and of their
mother (mothers are always creative artists!) these children
gathered materials and made their own toys: usable bows and
arrows, a drum, Indian flutes, a kite, a fleet of small boats to
sail in the creek, surprises also for their parents. Never had
they known such Christmas joy, and never again would they go back
to the old way of being mere recipients of purchased Theosophical
Society member.

It seems to be demanded of us that this creative faculty should
remain aggressively active in us while life lasts. The gaining
of a livelihood is a natural spur to this end. Take note of two
extremes in this connection. There is on the one hand the
individual who launches out, like Perseus with the winged sandals
leaping from the cliff, to carve his own destiny, staking his
all, risking want and hunger, lean days. He makes his start,
drawing upon his ingenuity and creative imagination to the utmost
to build up his art or his business, and still does so ever
thereafter to keep it a going concern. At the other end we have
the individual engaged in directed employment, if his interest in
his work is entirely perfunctory, if he considers his
responsibility over when the five o'clock whistle blows, and that
he has no need for foresight and judgment beyond the limits of
his own person or family. Between these extremes is the great
body of men and women who, even in supervised employment, bring
to bear their creative talents on their jobs, just because it is
the normal and natural thing to do useful work in the most
worthwhile way.

The observation was made years ago, in the days when moving
pictures, the radio, and other substitutes for self-created
entertainment were only beginning to be prevalent. The
observation was that in a civilization in which such distractions
are brought within the reach of all, there is a danger that
character will become lax, with having no need to draw upon the
individual's own resources of native talent, perseverance, taste,
and judgment to this same end.

The psychological contrast between the negative, receptive
attitude, simply responding to stimuli, and the positive,
creative, effortful one, is here very sharply drawn. Every
teacher of children knows that these souls on their way to
maturity are at their best and happiest when they are busy with
work and play partly of their own devising. Behind every
creative idea as it goes into action lies Will, the soul of the
idea is Imagination, and both of these thrive with use.

Well has it been said that he who lives creatively helps to
create and re-create his portion of the World, while he who lives
vegetatively stands still rooted to the same spot until the day
of disintegration. Is it true, then, that an individual is
vegetating whenever he is not making efforts? Obviously, one
cannot be on tiptoe all the time. Nature demands her periods of
rest and recuperation. Therefore, the vegetative side has its
place. It is only when it is over-indulged that it begins to
express the evil, unprogressive aspect of things. Yet there is
no doubt that our civilization and the individuals composing it
could be set upon a path of spiritual improvement were the higher
creative powers made more use of, were there less mere drifting.

In the production of countless gadgets that contribute to our
comfort and convenience, our civilization has shown a magnificent
quality of inventiveness. But just as the general mentality in
our present Race has been stepped up to higher level,
intellectually speaking, with the swift development of Mind, so
the time has come for the inventive faculty to become active on a
higher plane, and to concern itself with ways of making life
kinder, more enlightened.

Perhaps this is happening already in a rudimentary way although
we cannot forget that selfishness and insincerity are still
prevalent. "Gracious living" is a phrase that has become almost
a household word, and relates not only to artistry in the use of
material things about the person, the home, or the office, but
also to human behavior. This means that we actually have a sort
of code that invokes the creative spirit in no small measure. In
every act that involves others beside ourselves, "gracious
living" demands that we put into it a little more effort and
thought, a little touch of originality, to give it grace and
charm.

All this, desirable though it may be, is not necessarily an
expression of the deeper aspect, the ultimate good, in human
nature. It may go no deeper than the psychological element in
us, which is far from being a stable and spiritual thing. On the
other hand, this gentle artistry may spring from that deep fount
of genuine altruism which is the spiritual and relatively
permanent aspect of us, and which finds its natural expression in
acts of considerateness and kindness.

Perhaps the creative idea is never more nobly conceived than when
it is invoked on behalf of others, in forgetfulness of self, as
when an Theosophical Society member, for example, employs his
quieter moments in devising new ways to help on the work of his
Lodge, or to approach those he meets with the message of
Theosophy. This is the beginning of occultism; and the advanced
occultist must be ever more fertile in resource as his work for
humanity advances. The life-stories of H.P. Blavatsky, W.Q.
Judge, and the successive Leaders of the Theosophical Society are
striking examples of this. HPB, ill, living on borrowed time,
labored unceasingly on her stupendous literary and other works,
almost to the day of her death. Judge was tireless in lecturing,
organizing, writing literally thousands of letters, editing and
carrying on almost single-handed his magazine THE PATH.

Every Leader of the Theosophical Society, upon coming into
office, must bring into play to a transcendent degree this
inventive faculty, this flame of creative genius. The broad
outline of what it is hoped he will accomplish are given to him
by the Brothers who founded the Society: it is for the Messenger
to work out the details, as we have often been told and have
seen.

The tremendous outpouring of spiritual energy that is felt by
every devoted Theosophical Society member as the "Lodge Force"
upon the advent of a new Teacher, has its rise in that creative
flame of divine will and imagination that is the heart of the
work for humanity of which the Theosophical Society is the outer
representative. The Teacher is the focus of this Force, and he
inspires in his pupils this WILL to inaugurate a new era of
achievement. Dr. de Purucker, in the first days of his
leadership called attention to the "creative individuality" that
each Fellow could exercise to help on the new effort; the present
Leader, when he took up the torch, called upon each member to
devote his "natural talents" to the furtherance of the Work.

H.P. Blavatsky refers to the "outpouring or upheaval of
spirituality." W.Q. Judge writes of "the large and affluent
streams" of "potentialities for good" that come from the Adept.
Katherine Tingley speaks of the "new energy" that is "being
liberated from the center of life." Their effort is to arouse us
to the realization of that creative fount from which our
inspiration comes.

Finding this, the aspirant concerns himself seriously with
finding ways and means to help the Messengers. He allies himself
with forces of light in the Universe. He is actually helping on
the work of the Divine Architects who, according to technical
Theosophical teaching, plan, inaugurate, and set in motion the
universal creative labor, which is carried out by the Builders,
the more or less vegetative forces in Nature.

------------------------------------------------------------------
YOGA IN DAILY LIFE

By Ernest Wood

[From THE THEOSOPHICAL FORUM, July 1947, pages 394-400.]

It is often thought that yoga, as expounded by the most famous
authority on the subject, namely Patanjali, is something to be
attempted only by highly privileged persons, either particularly
endowed mentally or favored by having the agreeable karma of a
pleasant existence in the countryside. This is not the fact.
Many of the old books touching on Yoga say to those who read them
that the reader, having had the good fortune to be born a man,
and especially a Brahmin (which really means a thinking man),
would be indeed a fool to miss the opportunity of taking
deliberate steps to reach the goal of life. To put this in
modern terms I would say that yoga is life in any environment
lived intelligently with a good knowledge of human psychology, as
contrasted with the same life lived according to the animal
instincts we have inherited. We make the most of our
intelligence, even to the point of the conscious enjoyment of
intuitions and ecstasies in a life.

The word yoga is to be taken in two senses: (1) as describing the
goal of life, which is "union with the one life" or "the
uncovering of the light" and (2) as describing the practical
steps which may be taken to accelerate our movement towards that
desirable end. Really, no one can escape that movement, because
do what we will we are bound to learn either by thought or by
experience.

If we follow what may be called the positive path of yoga pursued
by the man of intelligence and love and will, we shall learn by
intuition -- in other words, finer elements in our active being
will awaken and take hold of finer realities in our lives. But
even if we follow the other and common way, the path of material
enlargement -- the path of quantity of things, not the path of
quality of life -- we shall be taught by karma, and thus we shall
move towards the progressive uncovering of the light, though with
pain and trouble and difficulty, instead of with freedom and
ecstasy.

Now, turning to Patanjali, we find first his statement that the
practice of yoga is chitta -- vritti -- nirodha. Chitta is the
mind that deals with things. Vrittis are ideas. Nirodha means
control. So, yoga is control of the ideas in the mind.
Patanjali goes on to say that when this control is achieved the
man exists in his own true state, but otherwise he is the slave
of his ideas and that implies his circumstances also. Somewhere
else the uncontrolled man has been described as the slave of
Nature.

Students of Patanjali do not always realize that vrittis are
ideas and that ideas are objects in the mind. Ideas are not to
be confused with thought. Thought is an activity of the mind in
relation to objects or forms of the material world, and it uses
ideas in its thinking. It is not the same as mental drift or the
undirected flow of ideas.

It is quite necessary to make this clear distinction between
thinking and ideas. We know it well in the study of Geometry,
where first we have certain axioms, which are ideas, and then we
manipulate those in various ways when we deal with propositions.
In Geometry then, still further, we do our thinking on a certain
proposition. That becomes for us a definite result. In turn, it
becomes an idea upon which later on we may build with further
thought. That vrittis are ideas and not operations of thinking
becomes quite clear when Patanjali proceeds to give us a list of
the vrittis.

He enumerates them as in five classes. The first group is that
of right ideas, which he says can be arrived at by perception, or
by inference, or from the testimony of reliable witnesses. The
second division is the group of wrong ideas, as in the case when
at dusk we mistake a post for a man or a piece of rope for a
snake. The third group is fanciful ideas, such as the horns of a
rabbit. Fourthly comes sleep. We say in the morning that we
slept well last night. We mean not merely that we felt well when
we woke up, and therefore we infer that we slept well, but that
there was some sort of conscious experience, which can be
described by the expression "slept well."

Lastly, we come to memory. Memories, of which there are several
kinds, need not be described here.

Obviously, it is a good thing for every person, whatever he or
she may be doing in life, to use his or her brains in thinking,
not merely in mental drift. Mental drift occurs if, let us say,
at one moment I am thinking of a cat and a few moments later I
find myself thinking about a bridge which I have often admired
that spans the river Indus. Now, I could ask myself how I came
to think of that bridge soon after I started to think about a
cat. Upon looking into my mind I find that the idea of a cat
brought forth a picture of a cat lying on a hearth-rug, that then
this hearth-rug reminded me of a factory where I had seen such
rugs being made. That factory was near the banks of the river
Indus and further up the river was the bridge of which I found
myself thinking.

That was mental drift. If I had controlled my ideas, I might
have thought of something to more purpose. I might have
controlled my idea on the cat so that I would know a lot more
about it. I would have directed my thought by my will. As we do
in all study, I would first have concentrated and then meditated.
I would have concentrated on the cat and then I would have
expanded my knowledge of the cat without abandoning my
concentration upon that subject. That process of thinking is
what we call meditation when we apply it to spiritual, religious,
ethical, abstract, or philosophical thinking.

Next, Patanjali tells us that nirodha or control becomes steady
with practice and colorlessness.

Patanjali speaks of these two as abhyasa and vairagya. Abhyasa
is practice, and one need only say that it is helpful to practice
occasionally, when there is opportunity, the art of controlling
and directing our own ideas, in reference to anything that may
occur to us at the moment, or that may come up in the business of
life. We shall have to tear the word vairagya to pieces to get
the real meaning out of it. "Vai" means contrary to or against;
"raga" has to do with being red or colored, and the termination
"ya" is here equivalent to our "ness," thus converting the whole
thing into the abstract noun, colorlessness.

The idea is that just as you may put a block of glass on red
paper and it will look red, or on green paper it will look green,
so do persons have their thinking and feeling colored by their
environment and ideas. But the instruction here is that the
aspirant should stop, look, and listen every now and then to see
that he is not being carried away by external impulses, but is
using his own faculties in every business that he deals with.
This subject could be expanded, for multifarious are the ways
small and big in which we become slaves to Nature. But this much
should now be said -- that first we should complete an idea by
meditation, if we want to stop the mental process and derive some
intuition by some uncovering of the light.

I have described the first few sutras in Book I of Patanjali's
Yoga Sutras. Later in Book I, that author describes the final
practice of complete control, called samadhi. We can leave that
for the moment and jump to the beginning of Book II, where
Patanjali tells the student of yoga what he must do first in
practical life. I have heard of cases in which a would-be pupil
has come to a teacher of yoga and the teacher has sent him away,
telling him to come back after a number of years, and that in the
meantime he should live an ordinary life in the world and try to
practice certain things in that life.

Patanjali here gives us three things that are to be practiced in
the world as a kind of preparatory yoga, and in conjunction even
with more advanced yoga if that is being carried on in the world
of ordinary life. I must mention that these three practices are
intended to weaken five difficulties or obstacles, instincts that
arise in a man himself. These five are called the kleshas. They
are: (1) mistake, (2) I-am-ness, (3) liking, (4) disliking, (5)
clinging to form.

The first is the error of identifying oneself with the game of
life. It is as though a chess player were to forget that his
game is only a game. The yoga practice in this connection is to
observe the distinction between the self and not-self as often as
possible, to watch the business of life going on as a spectator
but not as a passing spectator, rather as one who is playing a
very important game with a very definite purpose, and yet is
playing that game outside himself. In this, one watches not only
the external activities but also the flow of one's own thought
and feeling. One sees the vrittis and becomes aware of the
kleshas that build and sustain them. One has no need to
pronounce sentence upon them. The mere viveka or perception
uncovers the light. There is nothing to be done or made.

The second klesha is self-personality. We know that our
personality is a definite compound, let us hope well coordinated
and useful in the world. There is a certain type of body with
certain abilities and accomplishments, accompanied by a
collection of ideas and habitual feelings. Such personality is a
definite thing. As long as we recognize it as such and use it as
our instrument in the business or game of life, it is well, but
as soon as we fall into thinking "I am this" we lose our true
character. For the character or core of a man is something
different, which expresses itself in certain powers of thought,
feeling and will.

The third klesha is akin to that coloredness which I mentioned
before. It is a strong desire to obtain something, or even more,
it is wishing. The implication is that we can become agitated
and enslaved because we cannot get the thing that we want, or we
cannot get enough of it, or, having obtained it, we are afraid of
losing it. It colors our life. If we have it not, it worries us
so that we do not employ our powers in dealing with other things
that are in our power, or in our possession.

The fourth of these kleshas is just the opposite of that. It is
the troubled condition, which arises when we want to get rid of
things, persons that we have, or conditions that we cannot get
away from. If we allow this desire to escape from undesired
conditions, to dominate our thinking and feeling, or to govern
our actions, again we lose our character and independence.

The fifth is clinging to things, even to the extent of fear of
death. Come to understanding that such possessions are simply
for use. Understand that they must come and go. Understand that
there is no such thing as static wealth. See that life can only
live on the wing. In brief, realize that there is not life but
only living, in which everything is to be used as a possession.
If we fail in this, it is a fact that we become possessed by our
so-called possessions. This applies to everything, even to the
body itself, about which there is such widespread and unnecessary
fear of death.

I do not want to dwell particularly on these kleshas now, but the
three practices enjoined on the novice will deal with them quite
effectively. These three practices are called tapas, swadhyaya,
and ishwara-pranidhana. They pertain to the three parts of our
nature -- body, thoughts, and feelings. Tapas means literally
ardor. It is from the root tap, which means to heat. It almost
means effort -- but not quite.

Some have exaggerated it into the idea of mortification of the
flesh, and there are instances in India of people doing very
absurd things, such as sitting on spikes or holding an arm up
until it withers, with the idea of practicing tapas. Those are
only superstitions for the real thing.

Put simply, tapas means that the novice must do for his body
whatever he knows to be best. If, for example, he thinks that it
is not good to take mineral salt with his food, then he will not
take it. If he thinks that a certain amount of exercise at a
certain time is good, he will do it. With regard to action or
abstention from action, he will live his bodily life in
accordance with his best understanding, in relation to its own
best functioning and his social environment, in which it should
be harmonious with others.

The second practice means self-study. It is just that a certain
amount of time should be given to studying the nature of man and
his relation to his environment.

The third klesha is bowing to the Divine. This means a feeling
of devotion with regard to everything. That religious life
includes both ethics and devotion. Everything has to be thought
of as providing the best opportunity for self-development. This
puts an end to a great many of the bad emotions in life, such as
resentment, envy, jealousy, greed, pride, anger, and fear. It
makes the aspirant look out upon the world very much as an
architect does, who takes all materials for exactly what they
are: wood, stone, etc. Stone is stone, iron is iron, glass is
glass, and he would be a very curious architect who would sit at
the roadside and weep because he could not bend a sheet of glass
as he would bend a sheet of iron.

There is, however, in this practice not a mere intellectual
acceptance of all things as useful. It is more than that. We
find ourselves in a glad and joyful devotional response to this
great fullness of life. It should carry with it all that intense
devotion which is sometimes found with very narrow outlooks in
religious circles, but it involves recognition of the highest in
everything.

I need not carry this idea of yoga in daily life much further.
It is quite open to all of us to spend part of our day in
concentration, meditation, and contemplation, and in that
contemplation to receive occasional inspirations and intuitions,
accompanied by a corresponding ecstasy. To be able to control
our thoughts, to expand them, and then to suspend them in an act
of contemplation of any thing or idea, is not outside our reach
and in fact should become easy when the three preliminary
practices are carried on in daily life. These three practices
weaken the kleshas. Later on, we may perform a "meditation" that
will destroy them.

Patanjali mentions certain siddhis or abnormal powers that arise
in a man as he progresses in the art of mind control or the
control of ideas. But he mentions also that these are not of
importance. If they become a source of pleasure or amusement,
the man will stop at that subject and go no further. They will
come, but he has merely to note them and pass them by. He can
use them as white magic for the benefit of mankind, or the
welfare of the world, but that will only be part of his
particular business in life, and in his yoga practice, they too
will have to become subject to nirodha. If he delights in them,
he comes within the sphere of the kleshas, and will fall into
black magic from which he will ultimately escape only by the
tuition of karma.

I have said enough, perhaps, to show that yoga is for all of us
and that there is no need to treat the subject with that kind of
false respect which would make us think that it is only for
uncommon people or people more advanced than ourselves.

------------------------------------------------------------------
INNER AWARENESS, Part II

By Boris de Zirkoff

[From a tape recording of a private class held on February 2,
1955.]

We have these ten groupings, levels, keynotes, or wavelengths, if
you like, in the Hierarchy of a system. There are three
subdivisions, modifications of the Elemental Kingdom. Then comes
the Mineral level, higher than the Elementals. Then we have the
Vegetable or Plant Kingdom, tremendously complex and multiform.
It is followed by the Animal Kingdom, TREMENDOUSLY complex when
you consider that even to our modern science there are over
400,000 different insects classified, insects alone. What a
tremendous realm the Animal Kingdom is! The Human Kingdom
follows. This includes anything from the Australian Bushman up
to what we consider the highest exponents of men that we know of
in history. There are men like Jesus, like Leonardo da Vinci and
others. Men with yet higher stages of spiritual illumination,
the Adepts of various degrees, Bodhisattvas, and rare and
infrequent Buddhas follow them. The three aspects, phases, or
subdivisions of the Dhyani-Chohans follow them. The Greeks had
names for the Dhyanis, so did the ancient Sanskrit language. We
have lost the ideas and lost the names. The Greeks had heroes,
demigods, and gods. In the Sanskrit, various adjectives denote
the types of Dhyani-Chohans. Also DEVAS is another term.

In the early development of the Christian world, we took from
Greeks a few terms. Some of the early Christian mystics like
Dionysius Areopagita wrote books on the doctrine of Hierarchies,
lost things these days. He used these terms profusely, and they
stuck in the church, but the church lost the meaning. They are
Angels, Archangels -- that is from Greece, ANGELOEAI, and
ARCHANGELOEAI, which mean MESSENGER, and GREATER or SUPREME
MESSENGER. That is all these words mean. Then we took from the
ancient Kabala of the Jews the words SERAPHIM and CHERUBIM.

Cherubs. These are beings at a high degree of spiritual
attainment. These are Dhyani-Chohans. Ask any priest, any
minister, with the exception of some of the highest theologians
of the Roman Church who know -- even if they do not tell you that
they know. Ask the average minister, clergyman, priest, can they
explain what these things are? Certainly not!

St. Paul brought into his writings several other things. He
spoke of Principalities, of Powers, of Thrones. These are
English words, translating certain Greek words, in the Greek
Epistles of Paul. There are other terms from the ancient Mystery
Schools of Greece. They are not abstractions. They are
divisions, aspects, and modifications. You could almost say
classes if you like. They are divisions of the higher Kingdoms
of life. They are entities, individualities, different from each
other, just as much different from each other as men of different
stages of consciousness differ from each other. Nobody is going
to confuse an Australian Bushman with Leonardo da Vinci, or the
average individual of any country with some of the great geniuses
that have enriched human life and have shown what a tremendous
height the human intellect and heart can attain.

Having lost the philosophy of it all, the occidental civilization
has always turned hopelessly confused. What is an Angel? What is
the difference from an Archangel? What are Cherubim? What are
Seraphim? What are Powers, Principalities, and Thrones? What do
these terms mean to people today? Absolutely nothing! You cannot
get one scrap of definition from anyone as to what these terms
mean today, and not for centuries past. They are the
Dhyani-Chohanic Kingdoms with its three main classes. And these
together with the others that we have mentioned -- human and
below -- are the ten classes of Monads in the ten different
stages of unfoldment from the elemental to the full-fledged
divinity.

We are only talking about this particular hierarchy. There are
hierarchies below. There are hierarchies above. There are
interpenetrating hierarchies crosswise, if you want to use that
simile.

Turn to the mythologies of the world. Every one has echoes of
that knowledge. Not just the great ones, known as the Greek, the
Hindu, or the Egyptian, had echoes. The lesser-known ones, the
Polynesian and many other mythologies, had their echoes too.
They have divisions, sometimes with peculiar names. There are
mythological stories, for instance, in which all of these
categories are described using different types of animals.

Q.: This symbolism is used in Egypt, with headdresses and all.

Yes, men with heads of hawks and heads of ibises! On the other
hand, you'll find the reflection of these teachings in the
Mystery Schools, where in Greece for instance, and Chaldea, the
various disciples were called pigs and wolves and sheep and
lions. There were degrees of them. These names symbolize their
specific relations to certain spiritual hierarchies and the
characteristics of their training.

What a holy mess the Occidental scholars have made of that! I say
"scholars" in quotation marks. They thought that this was due to
the superabundant imagination of the infant humanity. Such a
great and tremendously wise statement to make! Everybody was a
fool until Year One, or perhaps until the Eighteenth century, or
the Nineteenth. We are the only ones to know.

We are just beginning to discover how little we know and how much
time we have wasted thinking about how much we knew. Well, it is
about time for me to change the subject before I get hot under
the collar.

If you have the time and the inclination, read Cicero's work on
the nature of the gods. There are many good translations of the
Latin text. It is not a long book. You can read similar writing
by Plutarch, Plotinus, Lucien, or other Greek or Roman writers.
All of them have been translated. Try to get into the frame of
mind of these people. It was practically yesterday, just
yesterday. They represent merely 2000 years in the evolution of
humanity.

To the Greek or Roman writers, these gods existed. They worked.
They lived. They had a relation to men. Men could establish
closer relations with them. This was almost like certain animals
can establish certain closer relations to the human, and become
slightly humanized. Men can become slightly divinized by closer
relations to higher kingdoms.

What are the requirements? Is it worth the effort? How is it
done? There is a big realm there. It is not enough to say that
the ancients believed in gods, so they had Zeus and Jupiter and
Juno and Aphrodite. What were they doing? What do these names
stand for? What was meant by their supposed human interrelations,
by the battles they fought together and by the love they had and
by the hatred they had? These were symbols of certain events in
nature, and are not to be interpreted literally.

The ancients were not fools. If they were fools, believed in
non-entities, and imagined things that do not exist, why do we
today, 2000 years later, still go to the ancients for every
worthwhile thing that we have? There are very worthwhile things
that we have from the ancients: all of our mathematics, all of
our codes of laws, all of our mutual human interrelations, most
of our psychological ideas, most of our fundamental ideas about
astronomy, most of our code of measurements and proportions in
architecture, practically all of medicine. These have been
improved upon in various ways -- yes -- and dragged down.

There must be something worthwhile in what the ancients thought
about gods. That is not new to you. Heavens! What a big job
there exists to be done among the scholars of the west. There
are but a few now who are beginning to ask themselves some very
searching questions and changing their attitudes towards the
ancients!

When you throw a little light of Theosophy on this, remember that
some of us are the ancients! Some of us today, including some of
the professors in the universities and other institutions of
learning, may be those old Greeks and Egyptians and Chaldeans
come back. We are beginning to show interest in things that are
some of our own old baggage that we brought with us.

More power to scholars asking these searching questions! They
will leaven this dough from the inside, which is the only way to
do it.

Anybody has anything else on his or her minds?

Marge: Before you talked of Cicero, Boris, I was thinking of the
practical application that you mentioned. You said that we could
become divinized just as animals can become humanized. How is
this done? That is my question. I was wondering if you have any
suggestions. Is there a daily mental exercise that we could use
to attune ourselves to be more controlled, coming closer to the
divinity?

Thereby hangs the whole realm of ethics, which are not man-made
morals. They are not human, not national, and not worldly
conventions. They are not conventionalities, but rather are
ethics as principles of conduct rooted in the structure of the
universe itself. This is something altogether different from
mere man-made morals, here today and gone tomorrow, changing with
the various winds.

We are inspired as long as we recognize in ourselves a divine
self, an inner, divine companion that is our highest center of
consciousness. We are inspired as long as we recognize its
existence. We are inspired and closer to that center.

We can ascend from where we are today. Recognize that there is
that path. Attend that path in the direction of that inner
consciousness. Purify the intervening distance by a certain type
of life. Recognize these things. There is nothing else for us.
We are on the road. We are marching, however slowly.

There are a number of specific rules of conduct. These are
conducive to what my own teacher called "the ensouling of man."
This conduct leads to the growth of the soul-powers. From being
dormant, mostly inactive, the soul-powers, the powers of the
inner self, infuse themselves into the lower personality. The
personality becomes increasingly "ensouled," in the technical
sense of the word. That divinizes us to some extent.

What are some of these rules of conduct? There are many. We
could mention a few. One is detachment from concerns of the
world. A great many people have misunderstood that. They
mistakenly think that students of Theosophy are advising one to
retire from the world. No, we do not. You can be detached in
the worldly pursuits. You can become increasingly engrossed with
spiritual interests. This is without in the least affecting your
efficiency in the world where you have physical obligations and
duties to perform. "Be in the world but not of it." There are
things that tie, things that attach. They tie and bind human
emotions and mind to the outer world. Physical obligations mean
less and less to you as time goes on, without undermining your
efficiency in carrying out your duty in that world. It sounds
like a paradox. It is only a paradox, and not a contradiction.

Another rule of conduct is to try to conquer all emotions. It
does not matter which. One individual may have a wild temper.
That does not place him lower than another individual who is
always perfectly serene and quiet. That second person may
entertain quietly, without the slightest outside manifestation, a
bitter hatred for somebody. He may be worse off than the first,
who blows off his top every now and then. Try to control all
emotions. Some are hot. They are tempers. Others are cold,
unfeeling moods, which is another type of emotion. There are hot
emotions. There are cold emotions, too. There are also
spiritual emotions and psychic emotions as well.

Try to control the emotions of fear, anxiety, and worry. Some
have one. Some have another. Try to control the emotion of
gluttony in the people whose god is eating. There have been many
students of Theosophy. They knew THE SECRET DOCTRINE by heart.
They have not controlled the demon of gluttony. Well, it may not
apply to anyone in this room, but I know it applies to others.

Let us try to the best of our ability to control excitability of
any kind, so that what you hear, or what you see, or what
influences you, leaves you standing unshaken. That has been
misinterpreted as paying no attention to things, being as cold as
a fish, feeling nothing, and being completely indifferent to
everything. It is only a misinterpretation.

You may be deeply affected in sorrow. You may be in sympathy or
compassion. You may be in anxiety, in the sense of anxiety for
the welfare of that other person, feeling the impact of other
people's hatreds and dislikes and jealousies. You may be
powerfully affected inside from many influences. Do not show it.
Be calm outside. Take it as a part of your pattern. Deal with
it. Use it for growth. Use it as a stepping-stone, and not a
stumbling block. When it comes upon you, take it
philosophically. Say, "That's mine. I have brought it upon
myself, in some past. It's mine, it's part of me that has come
back." You cannot refuse taking back what is yours. You have
given it out, so it is coming back at you.

Take it philosophically. It is yours. Do not blame the other
fellow for not being a god yet. We are not gods. How can we
blame the other fellow for doing what he does? That is his
pattern. He will have to outgrow it. Our attitude of serenity
and peace might help him more than anything we might say or do.
He might say at first, "What a dumb fool this John Smith is! You
can't even excite him." After awhile he will begin to ask himself
the question, "What makes him tick? Why is he that way?" That is
good. It might help him find out something about a new
philosophy of life that we exemplify by our attitude of quiet.

There is yet another rule of conduct that is wonderful in that
direction of ensoulment. It is to try to forget about our
personal welfare. It is not easy. They say that the first and
foremost motive is self-preservation. This is true of the
animal. It is also true of the animal in the human, yes. It is
not true, though, of the human. The human being is above that.
The animal in the human is not, but the human is.

One wonderful exercise is to remember that every person's life
has a pattern. Nothing is ever going to happen in that person's
life that is not in that pattern. Let that pattern be worked
out. Do not put yourself against it. Do not become an obstacle
in it, in its working out. The pattern is what the Buddhists
called the dharma, the self-realization of this particular life.
Let us remember that nothing happens with us by chance, so let us
try to let that law work itself out. That law is part of us.
It's "we" in a higher sense.

Another exercise is to become less interested in personal
possessions, what we own, what we have. We can shuffle around
millions of dollars. The money will not matter if we just become
completely disinterested in any worldly power that it might
confer. We can be channels for the operations of all sorts of
things, financially and otherwise, and become completely detached
from it.

I do not mean to say to try to become as poor as you can. That
is not the idea. Have all you need and all you require to do a
certain work, but try to become increasingly detached from it.
If the karmic stage-setting changes and everything is taken away
from you, you stay just as happy. Nothing really has happened to
you. You are just as happy with the traveling stake and a bag on
your shoulders and perhaps not knowing where the next meal is
coming from.

I do not say that all this is easy. You have asked me a question
that involves principles of conduct towards divinizing yourself.
That is not an easy way of life.

Q. Is there some method that you could use to help yourself
concentrate? Say you try once a day, in the morning or evening,
so that during the day you would be able to attain one or two of
these attitudes. You could not possibly get them all every
single day. It might be a little easier for you if you were able
to learn to control your concentration, like in using the yogi
methods.

Yes. As an example, suppose you start the day by making a
clear-cut and powerful mental picture before your mind's eye.
Picture all men are divine. Picture that they are all
essentially but rays from the same self. There is no difference
between them except in the degree of manifestation. This is
followed by the thought that if that is so, all men are but part
of myself. That thought also shows that you are part of all of
them, rays from the same sun, atoms in the same organic
structure. Then see what happens when the other fellow piles
something on you, a stream of his selfish emotions or a
projection of his evil thought. See what happens. Many things
will happen, because your attitude will be different. It may not
shake you.

Take another example. You might start the day by thinking that
whatever happens to you in this day is from something that you
have done sometime to another. It is now, after a long cycling
journey, coming back to you. You originated it. It is all sorts
of things somewhere in a cycle. It is now back. It is yours.
What are you going to do with it? It is not evil. It lacks
goodness, but it is not evil. It can be elevated. It has to be
elevated! Otherwise, it will poison you, because it is less than
what your standard is today. You have grown since you sent out
this energy. You recognize it now for being relatively evil.

How can you elevate it? What can you do with it to transmute it,
to use it for constructive purposes? This is, granted, an
obstacle. Are you going to make a stepping-stone out of it? You
can. Try these two things. Try the clear-cut mental picture of
all men being divine. Try accepting what comes to you as your
karma, and elevate it. These two techniques work. For another,
a third, decide when you get up that under no circumstances will
you get excited about anything today.

Q. At one time, you mentioned seven words given us by Dr. de
Purucker. One is compassion. I had written them down, and then
carried the list around in my wallet for ages. I looked for it
the other day and it was gone. I just wish I could remember what
they were.

Do you mean this?

> Light for the mind.
> Love for the heart.
> Understanding for the intellect.
> All these must be satisfied before the man has peace.

Is that what you meant?

Q. It was just a list of seven words, like Compassion and
Understanding. These are seven qualities for you to keep in your
mind's eye.

There are many of these things. The best thing is to have a few
in your mind, just a few, and then make some of your own against
the background of broad ethical principles. Each of us knows
best our own weaknesses. We can devise our efforts according to
the line that will work best to overcome that particular weakness
or the next one that we will attack.

Q. Every now and then, we should discuss this and renew our
thoughts on it. We can get into a rut and lose our perspective
because we feel we have fallen down so far. At times, we should
start again to bring ourselves upward.

That is right.

Q. Where along the line is the choice made? Is it made about now
for most human beings? They are in grossness and materiality.
That grossness could simply be a manifestation that they will
slough off, and go upward. Do you go where your tendencies
direct you, or does there come a point where you make an
individual choice? I know it cannot be a cut-and-dried thing
where you say, "Right here."

No, there is no cut-and-dried point. However, the choice is
practically made in every action. The choice is made every time
we decide between selfishness and unselfishness, self-seeking and
self-abnegation. It is made in one direction when we are doing
something for ourselves to the sacrifice of another, the
sacrifice of another's spiritual interest or welfare. It is made
in another direction when we are doing something in forgetfulness
of ourselves and with a view to the spiritual interest and
welfare of another.

Every time an action is taken, there is a choice between these
two directions, however small it may be. The cumulative effect
of these little choices results at times in some drastic choice.

For society, a racial choice can result at times from the
cumulative effect of the individual human, from the effect of
individual human beings. In the evolution down the Descending
Arc to the bottom, and up again along the Ascending Arc, there is
a supreme choice for this particular cycle at the bottom-most
point of materiality, first in every Root Race, and then in every
Round.

While the supreme choice for this particular Round has been made
in the Atlantean Root Race, there will be a supreme choice for
the whole Manvantara of the Earth Chain in the next Round.

It is a combination of individual choices, daily, and cumulative
effects over time. That does not mean that individuals are evil
who fail to make the right choice and drop out of the pilgrimage
for a while. They just did not make the grade. Like in class,
they did not make the grade. They have other chances, but they
are behind. They are lagging. They are behind. They are not
evil. They are not black magicians. They are not individuals
without spirituality. Not at all, no more so than boys and girls
who flunk in the schools become evil human beings. Not at all!
They just did not make the grade, but they have other chances.
They will make the grade eventually, but they are behind.

There are kingdoms that inhabit the material spheres of being.
We have the hierarchy of light is on one side and the hierarchy
of darkness on the other side. There are only relative degrees
of perfectibility. The hierarchy of lesser-progressed Monads
inhabits and "inspirits," we might say, the matter side of
nature. This matter side of nature forms vehicles through which
the hierarchy of light works for its own purposes.

From one angle, you might look upon nature as being divided into
the two eternal sides of light and darkness. From another side,
you should agree that they are only two aspects of the same
reality. Even THE SECRET DOCTRINE says little regarding this
great mystery. It contains only hints and allusions as to the
real nature of this mystery. We will comprehend it later in our
development.

It is a very difficult subject. Yes, there are tremendously
powerful forces working through the matter side of nature. These
are powerful hierarchies of spiritual beings devoted to material
ends. It is a great mystery. How could there be spiritual
beings devoted to material ends? For they are an aspect, a
manifestation of cosmic life, spirituality gone wrong for a
while. They represent a twisted spirituality, which the powers
of light can use for the leavening of the material side of
nature. They are sleeping Monads, Monads that have not yet
awakened to spiritual light. This is a very difficult subject.

Q.: Boris, could a person make a choice such as that, if they did
it with understanding? Might it be more of a supreme sacrifice
than going along the light side?

In some instances, yes, it would. Those particular forces would
be working almost like Avataras in those lower kingdoms. That
would be a rarity.

The whole subject of Avataras is wound up in this. We have
Avataras that descend from spiritual realms into the material
realms. We have the mythological accounts of the great saviors
descending into hell, into Hades. There is a profound esoteric
meaning. It is not only mythology. It is not only theology. It
has a profound meaning. It refers to the redeeming powers
exercised by spiritual beings -- gods and demigods -- going down
into the world of matter, lower than anything we are in. These
beings descend there to lift and to magnetize spiritually, and to
redeem the lower hierarchies. These lower worlds are hell to
these lofty beings, but which are nevertheless part of the
sleeping spheres that must be lifted to a higher spiritual life.

It is a very profound subject. The subject is little understood,
one about which I do not know much myself.

Well, it is about time for us to wind up and quit, interesting as
it always is. Let us return for a moment to where we started,
and close the cycle, as it were. We come here. Other people
come to other places for similar studies. We engage for an hour
or two in a rather concentrated effort at understanding spiritual
truth. Each in his own way, we yearn to understand. We yearn to
express ourselves. We are able to occasionally break through our
various personal limitations. Doing so, we really give light to
our thoughts, scope to our minds, enlarge our heart
understanding, and commune with each other. Perhaps we distantly
commune with similar people scattered the world over -- very
probably so -- along inner lines. In a way, we shut out the
disturbing influences of the material world. We come to a
peaceful place where we commune together. We try to lift our
minds and hearts in aspiration towards a reality that we are
convinced is worthwhile, to which we aspire, and which we try to
understand.

In this effort, in this yearning, in this concentration -- in
terms of spirituality -- it is like a light. It is opposed to
darkness and ignorance. Therefore, that light -- which could
almost be seen, spiritually speaking -- is seen as a flame by
those who do. It may not be too steady, but it is a light. The
flame bursts from within our spiritual consciousness and is
registered as light upon that mystic stream.

This sort of gathering radiates into the surrounding darkness.
That darkness is of material concerns. It is a darkness of
ignorance, of selfishness, of frustration and negativity, and
soul-death. This gathering radiates the power of light, of
goodness, an elevating force. We hardly know, we do not know, we
have no way of knowing, how far that influence can extend. It
may touch other people's hearts next door, next town, or the next
continent. There is no space and time in such things. Somebody
in the darkest Africa may be powerfully assisted by the force
that comes from the two hours of the kind of work that we are
doing here. We may never know. Some individual may be attuned
to just this sort of vibratory rate and catch an assisting
thought. They may get an inspiring idea because of our
deliberations. It may be in the same city. Who knows?

Nothing is ever wasted. Nothing is ever lost. These ideas go
on. These vibratory rates continue. The meeting is adjourned,
but what we have done goes on. It will come back to us someday,
like those negative emotions we were talking about. It will come
back to us as a blessing. It returns not as a demon, but as an
angel, at a time when we may need it badly. I have no doubt
whatsoever that gatherings of this nature -- as we have had here
so many, many times, and elsewhere -- are welcome as an addition.
They are welcome as a contribution to the sum total of light that
helps and redeems our human race from its relatively low stage of
evolution.

If anything is welcome in these quarters, and it is, there must
be give-and-take. There must be assistance given along inner
lines from quarters we know but little about. There is a
persevering effort on our part to keep that light burning and
increase it, both individually and collectively. That effort in
itself is a guarantee that we will be helped ourselves. We will
be helped to attain a greater insight, a deeper understanding,
and a wider range of consciousness. Everything that we give is
received and registered in due quarters. If we carefully watch
our lives, particularly the little details in our lives, we will
eventually notice guidance. We will find that things do not
happen by chance. The people we meet are the right kind of
people that we should meet, in order that we learn. The people
we associate with are mirrors to ourselves, in whom we see a part
of us, good in some, bad in others.

Whatever happens to us is a part of a mystic pattern. Each man
has his own pattern, not to be confused with the pattern of
another. We have sown the seeds of the pattern. We have made
the blueprint for it. That pattern will work itself out. We can
be certain of that. Let the Good Law work its magic unhampered.
We can do this in earnestness and in deep understanding.

The Good Law is essentially the inner Self of each of us. We are
dependent upon it because we are like a pendant hanging from it.
We hang from the inner self. We are its radiation, its aspect,
one of its facets. As soon as we realize this, there grows in us
a profound reverence for all life, and a sense of the fitness of
all things, no matter how strange these things may be. Our feet
are traveling with a sure step upon that path which ascends from
ignorance into knowledge, and from darkness into an
ever-increasing light.

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