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THEOSOPHY WORLD ------------------------------------- April, 2002
An Internet Magazine Dedicated to the Theosophical Philosophy
And its Practical Application in the Modern World
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(Please note that the materials presented in THEOSOPHY WORLD are
the intellectual property of their respective authors and may not
be reposted or otherwise republished without prior permission.)
"Human Judgement and Divine Compensation," by B.P. Wadia
"The Canon of Theosophic Research," by A.L. Conger
"Karma is Fulfillment," by Madeline Clark
"Ways and Means," by Victor Endersby
"Chaucer and the "Knight's Tale," Part I, by Isabel B. Clemeshaw
"Gottfried de Purucker and the Theosophical Society," Part I
"In the Beginning Was the Word," by J.H. Calmeyer
"The Mask of Apollo," by George William Russell
"Death and After-Death States," Part IV, by Boris de Zirkoff
> If tomorrow the continent of Europe were to disappear and other
> lands to reemerge instead; and if the African tribes were to
> separate and scatter on the face of the earth, it is they who, in
> about a hundred thousand years hence, would form the bulk of the
> civilized nations. And it is the descendants of those of our
> highly cultured nations, who might have survived on some one
> island, without any means of crossing the new seas, that would
> fall back into a state of relative savagery. Thus the reason
> given for dividing humanity into SUPERIOR and INFERIOR races
> falls to the ground and becomes a fallacy.
> -- THE SECRET DOCTRINE, II, page 425.
HUMAN JUDGMENT AND DIVINE COMPENSATION
By B.P. Wadia
[From THUS HAVE I HEARD, pages 192-96.]
> Let the sins of the whole world fall upon me, that I may relieve
> man's misery and suffering.
Thus spake the Enlightened Buddha, the Compassionate One, the
Sage of high heart and philosophic mind. Destiny, suffering, and
sins confuse mortal minds. Even students of logic, metaphysics,
and moral philosophy are often bowled over when face to face with
the work of Nemesis.
Joseph Addison is not only a master of English prose, but at
times proves himself a practical philosopher of mystic insight.
In THE SPECTATOR, September 13, 1712, he writes an essay full of
wise thoughts founded upon these words of Horace: --
> Nec deus intersit, nisi dignus vindice nodus Inciderit
(Neither should a god intervene, unless a knot befalls worthy of
> We cannot be guilty of a greater Act of Uncharitableness, than to
> interpret the Afflictions that befall our Neighbors, as
> PUNISHMENTS and JUDGMENTS. It aggravates the Evil to him who
> suffers, when he looks upon himself as the Mark of Divine
> Vengeance, and abates the Compassion of those towards him, who
> regard him in so dreadful a Light. This Humor of turning every
> Misfortune into a Judgment, proceeds from wrong Notions of
> Religion, which in its own Nature produces Goodwill towards Men,
> and puts the mildest Construction upon every Accident that
> befalls them. In this Case, therefore, it is not Religion that
> sours a Man's Temper, but it is his Temper that sours his
Among church-going persons, there are hard-hearted and
narrow-minded unjust men and women whose arbitrary
self-righteousness is riveted on the misdemeanors of others.
They are unfaithful to their Master, who demanded:
> Why behold thou the mote that is in thy brother's eye, but
> consider not the beam that is in thine own eye?
Similarly, in the minds of many Indians who believe in the Law of
Karma, suffering and error, justice and mercy, and acts of men
and curses or blessings of God and Gods, are so mixed up that
confusion worse confounded results.
The first expression of man's real religion is in his belief in
Karma or Nemesis -- the nature of fate and the function of human
free will. Whence suffering and what is its source? Kismet?
Whence "accident" and "chance?" To what result is taken the
active man? Where do his pleasures take him? Have they lessons to
teach? Is learning only from affliction and agony? Can one be the
maker of one's destiny and the master of one's fate? How can we
rise above "this place of wrath and tears?" How many of our race
and our civilization can assert with Henley:
> It matters not how strait the gate,
> How charged with punishments the scroll,
> I am the master of my fate:
> I am the captain of my soul.
Addison in his essay castigates, and rightly, the habit of
judging our neighbor, acquaintance, or friend in the language of
faultfinding and condemnation. He instances the gentlewoman who
"is so good a Christian that whatever happens to her self is a
Trial, and whatever happens to her Neighbor is a Judgment." He
goes on to say:
> I cannot but look upon this Manner of judging upon Misfortunes,
> not only to be uncharitable, about the Person whom they befall,
> but presumptuous about Him who is supposed to inflict them.
He refers in passing to God and Judgment Day from the then
prevailing theological notions, but he lights perforce on a great
fact of spiritual philosophy:
> We are all involved in the same Calamities, and subject to the
> same Accidents. When we see any one of the Species under any
> particular Oppression, we should look upon it as arising from the
> common Lot of humane Nature, rather than from the Guilt of the
> Person who suffers.
In the course of his discussion he gropes after an answer to the
question: "What are Calamities and what are Blessings?"
> If we could look into the Effects of every Thing, we might be
> allowed to pronounce boldly upon Blessings and Judgments; but for
> a Man to give his Opinion of what he sees but in Part, and in its
> Beginnings, is an unjustifiable Piece of Rashness and Folly.
Karma is merciful. It brings to the unjust judge the nemesis of
revealing to him his own weaknesses and folly. Our inner faith
is shaken by the test of our own Karmic precipitations. We
commit offences that we have not intended or planned. We omit to
do the good that we have planned to do. The Wisdom of Karma, the
Law which ever compensates, is a shield that has justice for its
one side and Mercy for its other. It protects us against "the
bludgeoning of chance," and it takes the offensive against "the
Horror of the shade" and "the menace of the years."
The trials of the neophyte are the test of his faith. He may
fail, as in the story told by Rabindranath Tagore: --
> There has been related in one of our Bengali epics the legend of
> a merchant who was a devout worshipper of Shiva the Good, the
> Pure, -- Shiva who represents the principle of renunciation and
> the power of self-control. This man was perpetually persecuted
> by a deity, the fierce snake-goddess, who in order to divert his
> allegiance to herself inflicted the endless power of her
> malignance upon her victim. Through a series of failures,
> deaths, and disasters, he was at last compelled to acknowledge
> the superior merit of the divinity of frightfulness. The tragedy
> does not lie in the external fact of the transfer of homage from
> one shrine to the other, but in the moral defeat implied in the
> ascribing of a higher value of truth to the goddess of success --
> the personification of unscrupulous egotism -- rather than to the
> god of moral perfection.
On the other hand, the great drama of job's bodily leprosy and
soul-suffering reveals a lesson in Resignation leading to
Redemption -- "My redeemer liveth."
Judge not. Condemn not. It is added, "Forgive and ye shall be
forgiven." The final way of paying Karmic debts to individual
fellow men or to collective influences, national, racial, and
even cosmic, is enshrined in the word "Forgiveness." In the "Vana
Parva" of THE MAHABHARATA, this is said:
> Strength might be vanquished by forgiveness; weakness might be
> vanquished by forgiveness; there is nothing which forgiveness
> cannot accomplish; therefore, forgiveness is truly the strongest.
THE CANON OF THEOSOPHIC RESEARCH
By A.L. Conger
[This lecture was given September 7, 1947 at Covina, California.
It originally appeared on pages 7-10 of THE THEOSOPHICAL FORUM.]
Companions, we need to study the early history of the Society
(which as we all know began in the year 1875 in New York). It is
especially important that members of our Society understand the
basis on which one writes true history.
Consider who Madame Blavatsky was, the woman who founded the
Society and dominated it until her death in 1891. How do we know
she existed, where she came from, and what were her acts which
have borne so important a message? The canons of good history
writing are simple to state but difficult to fulfill. We hear
about source-history, which is important to understand if we are
to avoid letting incapable writers mislead us.
What is the source that a historian should accept as a basis? One
who presents evidence must be an eyewitness to the fact he
adduces. There is more. How did he communicate his observation
and contribution to history, if we accept it? What were his
facilities for observation of what he relates?
Is he a good observer? Is he in a position to testify to what he
adduces? Even more, was he attentive when history happened before
him? We must ask about the fact that he adduces. Did the witness
write it down when it was happening? Time plays strange antics on
memory for specific events or statements.
Next, inquire into the mental attitude of the witness. It may
affect the reliability of his testimony. Has he animus against
the parties? Do his party affiliations have a bearing on his
making this or that statement? Is there reason to doubt whether
the direct statement is a fact? It may be a joke, an
understatement, or written to serve some ulterior purpose.
Having satisfied ourselves about this source in a technical
sense, we have not proven the fact yet. An independent source
must confirm the fact.
Examine the histories we see in bookstores. On all sorts of
topics, they often represent an attempt to produce a best seller.
The writer is seeking some financial profit. How does one write
the average historical book? One takes what he thinks is a
standard history. Putting it on a reading desk in front of him,
he gets a second book, and if possible a third book on the
subject. This is done without thought as to whether these
histories are witnesses concerning the events they are on. It is
likely that the books selected derive from secondary rather than
primary sources. The true scholar would not permit materials to
be his source unless their authors indicated their sources.
Take an example of how a scholar writes history as contrasted
with a faker of history. A friend of mine, Professor Justin H.
Smith, spent ten years traveling through Mexico and studying the
records of the Mexican Government in its various departments. He
finally accumulated more than a bushel of priceless documents and
copies of others he could not obtain.
Professor Smith attended a meeting of the American Historical
Association, whose magazine does so much to maintain a high
standard of the printing if not the writing of history. He said
to me following the lecture, "I wish you would tell me the name
of someone whom I can consult regarding the military background
of the history of Mexico, which I am writing, because I am
convinced after today's lecture that no book worth reading can be
written unless guided by one with such military knowledge."
Consider books on Theosophy such as PRIESTESS OF THE OCCULT.
People like Mrs. Williams cannot write such a book well.
Someone ignorant of Theosophy cannot write a historic book on the
subject with sound scholarship.
What has this discussion of history to do with the early history
of the Theosophical Society? In the last number of THE
THEOSOPHICAL FORUM appeared the PREAMBLE adopted by the Society
with the sanction of H.P. Blavatsky. In the forthcoming issue,
the article on "Our Directives" will follow, covering the period
from the founding of the Society in 1875 down to the death of
Madame Blavatsky in 1891. Further publications of source and key
material will follow next month's message, establishing facts
important for members to understand.
Theosophists like to build up for themselves and their associates
a Theosophical library. Among other things, the Press is turning
out a reprint of G. de Purucker's book of classical
conversations known as QUESTIONS WE ALL ASK. There is no
pleasure keener than to take hot from the press the latest
Theosophic thriller. This is not to expect new material to lead
us straight to Nirvana.
Considering the nature and methods of true historical writing,
our interest in studying these documents as they become available
should grow. Our literature is the most potent factor in
obtaining new recruits for the Movement. A long-term member may
go stale on theosophical reading. Reflecting on the early
history of our Society with its many trials and tribulations, he
enables himself to face the future both for himself and for the
Society with renewed interest. This sets his feet on a new path
that will lead him to his proper place inside the walls of the
Temple of Shambala.
KARMA IS FULFILLMENT
By Madeline Clark
[From THE THEOSOPHICAL FORUM, March 1950, pages 160-64.]
Oddly, but undeniably, when we think of karma, we generally
consider it in its immediate relation to ourselves, and associate
it in our minds with the idea of punishment or retaliation for
acts committed or omitted. Tacitly, it comes to be a sort of
Nemesis, or agent of divine retribution. This is only as our
consciousness is touched by the ever-immanent mystery surrounding
this most recondite, most mysterious doctrine of the theosophical
philosophy. Let us once begin to broaden the idea of karma to
universal proportions, and we see it as one of the majestic
rhythms of the universe, protective even in its most awesome
Protean in its forms, it appears variously to our imagination.
It is divine justice. It is compassion. It is an energy of the
Hierarch of which we all are parts, continually rectifying
itself, just as we in our smaller way continually bring ourselves
into line. It is the music of the universe ever developing its
themes and arriving at its resolutions. It is the activities of
all beings of whatever kind, moving on to their respective
culminations. It preserves and restores proportion, balance, and
equilibrium throughout the cosmos. We ourselves share in its
mighty rhythms, and we are just one of the armies of beings
hastening on to the fulfillment of our destinies.
Karma is fulfillment. It is a rhythmic interaction between
beginnings and endings, between acts initiated and acts
completed, between causes and results, which are in reality one,
because they are inseparable.
According to the dictionary, fulfillment is to bring to
completion or consummation, to carry out the purport of, to bring
out or manifest fully -- though this last meaning is given as
rare. We add that it is significant. We have fulfillment of
hopes, of desires, of expectations, of promises, of prayers, of
prophecies, and of duties and obligations. All of these are
In the light of this teaching, fulfillment is a flowering, the
crowning reward of effort, the consummation of a long series of
efforts, an ending, a completion, of any related series of
actions. It is not stationary. It is forever coming into being,
ever moving towards an ending, which is at the same time another
Fulfillment presupposes a promise. We could not be discussing
this aspect now, were it not that in the past such a promise,
fundamental and spiritually binding, had been born at the inmost
center of our consciousness. This goes back to the time, in the
beginnings of our planet, when as a host of souls, of
spirit-monads coming over from an older world, we began our
evolution on this new sphere.
In these beginnings was registered a purpose -- not of words, but
sounded in the atmosphere itself of the subjective worlds -- to
fulfill the destiny for which this planet was to furnish the
setting. Thereafter a series of actions began, which has
proceeded even to the present day, in fulfillment of that early
promise. The present human race, whatever may be its present
status, and into whatever byways it may have strayed, is in
reality deep in its struggle to win out to the light and peace of
spiritual maturity, forecast for itself in that early and
In the same way, our birth into any one earth-life is a promise.
There has been, before the birth of the soul, a contact, a
connection, with that same godlike part of our nature that
started us off in the beginning, in which resides wisdom and the
prophetic faculty. There has been a moment of vision, when our
human self, the self that is going to be conscious during this
life, sees in perspective the life to come, and what needs to be
accomplished in that life in terms of character and essential
achievement. We can picture the human self, like the
knight-errant of old, full of the energy of hope, embarking on
the journey of life, soon forgetting, perhaps, the promise of
that vision; or perhaps it does not utterly forget, and then we
have an individual with a sense beyond the present moment, a
sense of the hidden significance of his existence.
In the training of children, the teacher, whether consciously or
not, is striving to keep that memory alive in the child. If the
child is responsive, it establishes habits that lead in the end
to the fulfillment of its spiritual aspirations. It gravitates
towards ESSENTIAL actions, heeding those impulses that always
urge it to act creatively. Then, as deeper understanding dawns,
the soul will recognize what is its appointed work in life, and
move forward to maturity where peace of mind is possible. The
old motto: "Do well the smallest duty, and when the day is done,
there will be no regrets, no time wasted -- then joy will come,"
takes on a poignant meaning when applied to a lifetime rather
than to a single day.
Many causes keep us from fulfilling all we might do in a
lifetime. One such cause, undoubtedly, is the failure to act in
close harmony with the essentials of our destiny, the neglecting
to make sufficient use of the faculties we possess. As Krishna
says in THE BHAGAVAD-GITA: "He who doth not cause this wheel thus
already set in motion to continue revolving liveth in vain, 0 son
Directly connected with the doctrine of fulfillment, certainly,
is the teaching that at the end of life there is an accounting to
be given. We might say that the Higher Self has set the human
self a task to be performed. Yet its decrees are not arbitrary.
Its energies are attracted to the weak points in our
character-fabric, as air rushes into empty spaces, and we are
impelled toward the fulfillment of our own profound purposes.
We can rarely trace this thread of consequence from life to life.
One instance is found in the marvelous story "Karmic Visions,"
found in an old volume of HPB's LUCIFER, and probably written by
H.P. Blavatsky herself. The first vision is of Clovis, king of
the Franks in the Fifth Century A.D. He was a great warrior,
conqueror of the Romans and of the Visigoths, powerful and
clever, but unscrupulous and ruthless when his warlike spirit is
Clovis is called in the story a heartless despot, and is shown
refusing mercy to the aged prophetess of the German barbarians,
whom he has just conquered. As she dies by the hand of Clovis
himself, the prophetess makes the following prediction: "Clovis,
thou shalt be reborn among thy present enemies, and suffer the
tortures thou hast inflicted upon thy victims. All the combined
power and glory thou hast deprived them of shall be thine in
prospect, yet thou shalt never reach it!"
We next see that same Ego-soul, in another incarnation -- the
next but one, perhaps, as hinted -- as the unfortunate Frederick
III, king of Prussia and later Emperor of Germany, at first
victorious in war (in the Austro-Prussian conflict of 1866, and
the Franco-Prussian war of 1870). As Emperor, he lived but a few
short months, all the time suffering intensely with an incurable
and agonizing disease. The story of his life is well known.
Frederick rests in his villa on the Mediterranean. He is a prey
to unbearable thoughts, to a sense of frustration. He has a deep
desire to carry out needed reforms and humanitarian works among
his people, yet is powerless to fulfill these hopes, know that he
will never in this life be able to serve his people as he so
longs to do. The prolonged months of agony transforms and
spiritually awakens him. In his turn, he exclaims, "Why, oh why,
thou mocking Nemesis, hast thou thus purified and enlightened,
among all the sovereigns on this earth, him whom thou hast made
helpless, speechless, and powerless?"
W.Q. Judge, in THE OCEAN OF THEOSOPHY, in naming a few such
possible reincarnations, confirms this one of Clovis and
Frederick III. As historical curiosities and examples, these
instances are of interest, and serve to bring home to us the
drama of karma as it plays itself out from life to life.
From one great Race to the next, the same law applies. Our
present Fifth-Race civilization struggles with evils that had
their origin in the less evolved, grossly material days of
Fourth-Race Atlantis, our Atlantean Karma holding us back,
slowing our progress toward our racial fulfillment.
Even from one great cycle of planetary activity, geologically
speaking, to the next, there are still consequences, unfinished
beginnings to be completed and fulfilled. Take such a little
thing as our lead pencil. The graphite in that pencil was once a
part of the luxuriant foliage that waved in the lush forests of
the pre-Cambrian jungle. Take the uses of coal, and its various
derivatives, or the changes in our way of life since the
discovery of the great oil-deposits, and right there we have an
object lesson showing how the activities of one cycle or epoch
can affect the conditions of a later one.
The same is true of still greater cycles -- even the lifespan of
universes. When a great universal embodiment ends, whatever
causes are still not worked out are held over and will come to
fulfillment in the next great embodiment. In fact, as the
ancient Hindus teach, each manvantara is a karma. The new one
could not come into being but for the karmic causes left
unfinished by the actions of entities in the former one.
Human beings all, at times, are subject to a sense of doom, of an
impending fate, of prophecies about to be fulfilled, of destiny,
kismet, "the twilight of the gods," expressed in the god
Krishna's somber words, "I am Time matured, come hither for the
destruction of these creatures." Perhaps this is especially true
in this age, when as a race we are at a crucial point in the
endings (and therefore in the beginnings) of several important
Whatever the age has brought about by its actions, the
fulfillment is at hand. "The old order changeth, giving place to
new, and God fulfils himself in many ways." Yet, the new is being
born amid the husks of the old. Certain phases of a great
civilization, let us say, dissolve before our eyes. The overall
For the individual human beings who have been involved in that
change, a new era has begun. The field of experience is as rich
as ever, only different. Old orders fulfill their destiny and
pass away as such, but new institutions come into being because
they have not yet developed their possibilities. It is with
individual lives. There are episodes. A phase of experience
begins, gathers momentum, reaches its peak, declines, and comes
to an end. At about the midpoint of that phase, a different one
has begun, and is on the way up towards its climax.
Life, evolution, is full of endings as well as of beginnings.
The thing is done. It is of the past. It is the Nitya-pralaya
that the ancient Hindu philosophy speaks of, the moment-by-moment
continuous dissolution of all things, their karma having been
fulfilled. Yet there is also, moment by moment, something new
It is the destiny of the races of men, as of all other beings
below man, to reach at some time conscious godhood. There are
two ways of arriving at this point: one, the long, long way
appointed by nature for the mass of humanity who drift and as it
were simply respond to the stimulus of events, driven by their
karma; the other, conscious altruistic effort, sustained
creatively and in harmony with the trends towards a sublime
fulfillment. That fulfillment, that consummation, brings with it
the greatest of all rewards: "the power to bless and serve
WAYS AND MEANS
By Victor Endersby
[CHRONICLES ON THE PATH, Part XVII. This 18-part series appeared
in THEOSOPHICAL NOTES from September 1951 through November 1954.]
In 1790, the Great Master had fallen into the King's disfavor.
This followed an incident involving a diamond necklace, cunningly
arranged by the Master's enemies. The Master was now beyond the
Italian border. He found himself in the hands of the
Inquisition. His fate was uncertain. His name was to go down
the centuries as an imposter. His erstwhile friends had been
among the great. At one time, they had stood numerous as the
wheat stalks in the field. Now they vanished as mice seeking
cover when the hawk swoops.
Behind the Master's power, riches, and fame, a secret work had
grown through the hands of smaller and quieter folk. He had set
this work in motion to teach the knowledge of man. They built a
brotherhood that would have its day in the future.
The bloody French Revolution was coming. Operating under cover
and helped by the example of the Americans, this folk worked to
leaven the revolution. The light of brotherhood that was to
emerge would be dim and red-smeared, but still for the good. In
a final struggle for power, King and Church began to infiltrate
the highways and byways.
A friend came by night to warn Arnaud Bonpays, mentioning an
English smuggling ship off the mouth of the Seine. As a tailor,
Arnaud was notoriously slowly paid, so he had to hastily collect
a few small debts as travel money. Then Arnaud secretly
departed. In due time, he breathed the foggy freedom of England
on the Thames.
George III, King of England, did not trouble himself about
obscure philosophers. His people profited by the example of
their erstwhile rebellious colonists. Arnaud and his ideas might
be laughed at in England, but he would meet neither guillotine
nor Inquisitorial dungeon.
Arnaud found free speech in England, but not a people free with
money. It took time to regain enough trade to begin anew
teaching the Wisdom. Those who came were intrigued as much by
the novelty of listening to a "Frenchie" dispense philosophy as
by the philosophy itself. After listening, a few stayed to
Arnaud did not despair. He was a little man with a big mission.
The Great Master said that a few must continue in the secret
wisdom. The coming of a greater one in the distant time of 1875
depended upon this. A few must continue to ensure the survival
of all that France and England knew as civilization.
Back in France, the Great Master had sometimes spoken in detail,
but Arnaud had never grasped it competently. The Master had
admitted that no words existed in the West for the powers,
weapons, and perils of the future. Arnaud had grasped little.
He became convinced that someone's life, happiness, or prosperity
counted little. Such counted no more than a grain's weight
compared to the bettering of people's minds toward each other.
Arnaud struggled on undaunted. He closed his mind to sorrow over
his sacrifice and over the seemingly small results of his
One evening, among the dozen sat someone different. Here was a
fellow stocky, sturdy, of rosy complexion, and well-cut clothing.
This individual asked a question. Arnaud's heart leaped as he
heard the familiar accent of his homeland. The stranger put
other questions. All were well framed. The stranger ever made
comments that put Arnaud's arguments in clearer light, in better
words. Flushing with pleasure, Arnaud said to himself, "Have I
at last found a companion and helper?"
As the group dispersed, the stranger introduced himself.
"I am Charles Delaville," he said, "formerly of St. Aignan. It
is easy to recognize in you a countryman."
"Arnaud Bonpays, yes. I am of extreme happiness to greet you."
Over coffee, Delaville enlarged.
"This Wisdom of yours, it is not altogether new to me. I too
have listened to the Great Master, and have seen that there is
more to this muddy world than the outward seeming. Even so, a
balance is needed. One must keep the things of the world and of
the next in equilibrium, lest both be lost. The Master of ours
was great indeed. Yet, it must be recognized that he was not
wise in all things. Otherwise, there would not have been the
affair of the necklace and the Inquisition for him."
Arnaud bristled inwardly. "You recognize this unwisdom?"
"I may say so. I foresaw the fall of the Master and avoided
losses for myself. I converted my holdings into English
securities, preserving that which is necessary for good works in
this world. This was doubly wise, because my kind was finished
in France. In a few years, blood will run from border to border.
Then my life would be worth little, perhaps priced a dozen for a
copper coin. If I may say so without offense, your attire
bespeaks one more behindhand than beforehand. Is this not so?"
"So indeed. I never was one to look far down the coming road. I
always had enough trouble with the cobblestones under my feet."
"It need not be thus, with friendly advice from one who knows the
world enough to cope well."
"And what you would advise?"
"For one thing, try handling these shop-keeping English
differently. You have to admit that the showing has not been
great at present. Yet, we both recognize that the Wisdom is
truly great. Look you! These fellows are set in boring ways in
dingy streets. They are hungry for life, color, and imagination,
even though they scoff at such outwardly. Give them these things
and a hundred will follow you eagerly for each one that now
listens with caution and doubt."
"I am not a fine talker. I can only say one word at a time, as I
see its truth. What would you say?"
"With a proper teacher, one may learn. You set forth the
mysteries as one might add up a ledger! You say, 'Behold friends,
there are two on this side and another two here. Set them
together and observe four.' They see that everyday. What they
desire is a two that when added to itself comes out something
more, perhaps five."
"But the Great Master taught that the Law always renders a four
for two twos. It does not no matter in what region of life."
"That is true, but gently leaven the grimness with fancy and
imagination. It is not enough to show one reaps exactly as sown.
For those not ready, leave room for a belief in exceptions.
Leave room for the belief that each good deed was sown well, so
there need be no anxiety over the reaping."
"Pardon me, but that is not honest. I present the problem of
life as it is."
"What is honesty? It is in the sought-after end, not in the
means. You seek naught for yourself, all for others. This is
your aim? It matters not if there be a devious route if a good
end is gained by all."
"So! In what other respects might my method improve?"
"Well, you have an unused asset in our incurable French accent.
You try to suppress it. That is a vain hope. You are conscious
of it as a defect. You do not use it."
"This had never occurred to me. How do I use it?"
"It really should help. It smacks of the exotic, the strange,
and the mysterious. These stodgy English manifest a scorn for
such things. This covers a hunger for them. Deeply scratch a
skeptical Englishman with the right pin, and you will find a true
believer. Exhibit your accent. Add to it a hint at times that
you have seen wonders and might teach of them to those deserving.
You will carry the field. The Englishmen will be intrigued, and
the English women will be completely captivated."
"I have seen no wonders. I have no powers, nor can I teach
others to gain powers."
"You need not do so. You should not make claims so plainly.
People hear what they want. Knowing this, one learns to slant
phrases toward a preconceiving ear. What is wrong if a temporary
misconception forms a steppingstone on the path? This is all for
the final good, mind you."
"Your philosophy is interesting."
"And it is sincere. I mean it. Endowed with the wherewithal of
living, I still am of a mind to help mankind. I would like to
work successfully, fortified by a practical knowledge of the ways
of men. Were you to amendment your presentation, I would assume
the rent of this place and other expenses. To be frank, I have
neither gained my fortune nor saved it and my skin by supporting
those whom do not have due knowledge of practicalities."
"You may be assured that your advice is well understood. I shall
think it over seriously." ("What a damned liar he has already
made of me," thought Arnaud. "I have thought this approach over
already, not just now, but years ago.")
After further conversation, they parted at the tavern door.
"As a parting word," said Delaville, "I say again to ponder what
I have said."
"Quite so. And my parting word is RETRO ME SATHANAS." ("This
meant," Arnaud thought, "Get thee behind me, Satan!"
Delaville frowned. "Latin? I fear that I do not follow you. You
do not wish to translate? You do not have to, but remember what I
have said. Adieu!")
Arnaud turned out of the muddy street into his dim hallway. He
enjoyed the offer of help, finding it amusing.
CHAUCER AND THE "KNIGHT'S TALE," PART I
By Isabel B. Clemeshaw
[From THE THEOSOPHICAL FORUM, March 1951, pages 166-75.]
In Chaucer's time, a poet could not read Latin classics without
Platonism imbuing them. Plato's PHAEDO and MENO reached the
Oxford Library in Aristippus' Latin translation as early as the
twelfth century. Roger Bacon was familiar with these.
Earlier than this, Englishmen wrote Latin poetry in the seventh
century. The APOLLONIUS OF TYRE fiction belonged to the ninth
century, showing a feeling for expansion and a curiosity for
something more instinct and possible of development than faith
alone offered. The ANKRON RULE was composed of passages from
Seneca, who, like Boethius, was a lover of Plato's philosophy.
Alfred the Great translated Boethius' CONSOLATIONE in the ninth
century, but his language was scarcely understandable to
England had since become familiar with the French romance
literature. It carried the Platonic tradition too. Augustine
brought Platonism to the early English Church and fused it with
Christianity. He converted from Manichaeism due to reading
Plotinus's ENNEADS and Porphyry.
More specifically, to Pelagius (c. 360-420) of Briton goes the
honor of teaching the ancient Wisdom once known to all early
Races. He taught the doctrines of reincarnation and karma as
well as discoursed on the freedom of the will. Man has the
choice of good or evil.
Early British monasteries connected with the Orient and held
views on philosophy recognized by the Eastern Church Fathers and
Neo-Platonists. Different aspects of indirect Platonism
permeated the early English Church, English philosophy, and
Dante carried this tradition on. Chaucer had much to gain from
him and Petrarch, but Chaucer doubtless learned more from his own
translation of Boethius' CONSOLATIONE. It was for his
assimilation of a mystic Neo-Platonism that he earned the honor
of people calling him the Father of English literature. This
universal element outlives even historic pictures, and caused
Deschamps to say of him, "O Socrates, plain de philosophie."
When we have dismantled the story of the soul's battle for life
over the passions, as told in the "Knight's Tale" of THE
CANTERBURY TALES, we find that the theme is based on Platonic
duality, the duality of mind or soul. In the Middle Ages, people
called this theme Platonic Love. The capacity of various poets
to merge philosophy with their religion and experience gave great
variety to the narrative, and range to the quality of Latin and
early English literature.
It is a spiritual-intellectual love that abounds in Platonism, a
logical or reasoned ascent from this shadowy Earth through the
contemplation of the Divine Reality. Western literature
personalized Platonic Love in the form of Woman as the link
between man and the Divine, as in Dante's Beatrice, a purely
spiritual concept. This symbol of a separated Prince and
Princess, or distraught lover for his mate, is common to ancient
Sanskrit literature, as in the Nala and Damayanti tale. It
antedates Plato and the Greeks.
The occult mystery of the theme is concealed through the
centuries from the dogmatic casual reader and the urgent teacher
by the splendor of romance in high places, and by academic
learning and importance of language. Concentration upon prosody,
syntax, and memorizing to keep alive a sense of rhythm is
important for intellection. This, plus the study of allusions,
topography, and comments in an exhaustive array of Notes affords
an excellent screen.
Consider an ancient battle. Herodotus describes the onslaught of
the Persians when they met King Leonidas of Sparta at the Pass of
Thermopylae. There were Indians in cotton garments, Assyrians
with bronze helmets, Caspians in goatskins, and Ethiopians
wearing leopard and lion skins. The Persians and Medes were the
best soldiers, for they had conquered all the others. They wore
coats of mail and trousers, and armed themselves with spears,
bows, and wicker shields. On the March, the Great King, Xerxes,
rode in his chariot in the center of the army, just behind the
image of his god, carried on a wagon drawn by eight milk-white
King Leonidas was defeated in his famous heroic stand. The altar
tomb of his three-hundred fallen soldiers tells the story:
> Tell them in Lakedaimon, passer-by
> That here obedient to their word we lie.
The battles fought by the souls of Greeks are more elaborate and
ancient in description. You cannot find them in history books.
They belong to literature. Chaucer recognized the hidden truth.
He dutifully passed it on in the following tale.
The story is well known. It tells of Palamon and Arcite, and the
great sage Duke Theseus, lord and ruler of Athens, as well as of
the Beautiful Lady, Emily, with whom the two Princes fall in
As the Lord Theseus rode forth with a compassionate heart, he met
a group of weeping ladies, all of whom were queens or duchesses
who were captive slaves of Thebes, and their husbands denied
To avenge their sorrow, the great Duke forthwith turned his steed
to Thebes, and the red image of Mars with spear and breastplate
shone out from his banner so that it illumined the meadows for a
When you recall that the Lord Theseus had slain the Minotaur in
Crete, you will be able better to imagine how dazzling was his
gold pennant, with the image of the Minotaur stamped into its
metal. Only the elite of knighthood were worthy of his company
that day. Followed by his host, he cantered into Thebes. He
straightway slew King Creon and disorganized his foul
In the astounding heaps of debris resulting from the demolition
of the city of Thebes, the conquerors found two royal Princes
wounded almost to death. By their nobility of brow and by their
escutcheon, they were recognized and dragged to the tent of the
Lord Theseus. He sent them to Athens as prisoners of war to
remain behind bars for life. The Greek bard gives this semblance
of historic fact to ground his story. He then leads us into a
world of romantic beauty and pageantry that our imaginations
become so active in picturing the events that we lose sight of
the will-and-conscience struggle of everyday life.
Ever interested in man and the Planets, Chaucer reminds us
several times that the events happen in the month of May when
Mars is powerful. It was on a May morning that the angelic Emily
arose early and went to her garden to pick red and white flowers.
Such a vision of beauty the two princes in the tower had never
seen. Both instantly fell in love with one whose form could be
only that of a goddess.
Palamon had the higher emotion. This personification of beauty
carried him into an ecstasy of delight. Arcite claimed that he
had the best right to possess her for he loved her as a creature
while Palamon's love was that of a holy sentiment.
One day, Duke Pirothous visited Lord Theseus in Athens. Loving
Arcite as a brother, he begged his greatest friend, the Duke, for
Arcite's release. This Theseus granted. There was a condition.
Arcite would lose his head if someone ever found him in a realm
Prince Arcite wanders now. His very freedom denies him the sight
of the Beautiful Lady. In his worldly diversions -- the objects
of sense -- he becomes lonely and longs for a hope now lost.
Soon, he returns in disguise and seeks the discipline of service
to the Sage, Theseus. He serves honorably for seven long years.
During this time, the imprisoned Palamon had almost a daily
vision of the Beautiful Emily. He suffered from the newness of
prison life, i.e., the difficulty of overcoming the lower desires
for the spiritual purpose. In his agony he demanded the gods
answer many questions concerning why they punish the innocent
while the irresponsible are often free as the animals.
Chaucer interrupts his story here to ask the reader who is in the
worse plight, the one who rides where he lists but shall never
see his Lady, or the one who may see his Lady daily though
himself in prison. The poet felt loneliness in both conditions.
GOTTFRIED DE PURUCKER AND THE THEOSOPHICAL SOCIETY, Part I
[From a booklet that appeared when G. de Purucker became head
of the Theosophical Society with International Headquarters
at Point Loma, California.]
This brochure appears on Dr. de Purucker's first appearance in
England since he assumed the Leadership of The Theosophical
Society. The interested inquirer will find in these pages a
brief but authoritative account of his birth, education, and
connection with the Theosophical Movement from his first meeting
with William Q. Judge in 1896, down to July 1929, when he became
Leader in succession to Katherine Tingley. The brochure gives
the general policy he is pursuing and the broad outline of his
message in the form of answers to questions put to him in 1929.
The student of Theosophy recognizes that to the inquirer,
reliable information about the Leadership of any particular
Theosophical organization is of vital, if not paramount,
importance. This statement is made without fear of
contradiction, because it is evident that the life force of any
Society (Theosophical or otherwise). In greater or less degree,
THE SPIRIT WHICH ENERGIZES THE MAJORITY OF THE MEMBERS is the
same as energizes the responsible Leader. This is true
irrespective of whether the members acknowledge the leadership
openly or prefer an attempt to conceal it.
For those who may not be familiar with the qualities that from
immemorial antiquity have been characteristic of genuine
Theosophical Teachers, the following summary may help.
(1) He has brotherliness for all, whether friend or foe,
consistently applied in public and private.
(2) He has had personal contact and instruction from the
preceding Teacher, so that the Teacher could hand on the Light to
(3) He possesses a comprehensive knowledge of the Archaic
Teachings of the Wisdom Religion.
(4) Both written and oral, the Teachings he gives bear impartial
examination and comparison with those of his predecessors. We
find them consistent.
No one who is qualified to express an opinion can deny the
remarkable consistency on these points in the lives and writings
of H.P. Blavatsky, William Q. Judge, Katherine Tingley, and
Gottfried de Purucker. It is for individual inquirers to go to
work and prove to their satisfaction that the statements here
made are facts that anyone who takes the trouble to do so can
There are many sincere students of Theosophy who exhibit a
certain confusion of thought in these matters, due to their
inability to distinguish between the METHODS that vary with every
Teacher and the unchanging ethical principles exemplified by them
all. Regard only the principles as essential. The differences
of method are relatively unimportant. In fact, the methods
employed by all the above-mentioned Teachers were as radically
different as their writings are different in literary form.
To possess the true faculty of discrimination is to have
something that is beyond price. Words can tell its value. Those
who strive to make Theosophy a LIVING POWER in their lives
develop it. By self-directed effort, they grow nearer to the
ideal hidden in the heart of each. They will they find springing
up within them as facts of their own conscious knowledge, the
sign, the password, and the symbols by which the Teacher can be
A. TREVOR BARKER, President.
The Theosophical Society, English Section.
INTERVIEW WITH KATHERINE TINGLEY'S SUCCESSOR.
[From THE SAN DIEGO UNION, August 3, 1929]
The nation and the world will know more of Theosophy, its aims
and ideals, under a program of international expansion outlined
yesterday at Point Loma by Dr. Gottfried de Purucker, new Leader
of the Universal Brotherhood and Theosophical Society, who has
taken up the work that death forced Madame Katherine Tingley to
Coupled with the expansion will be a decided effort to bring the
methods of teaching Theosophy back to the original lines laid
down by its Founder, H.P. Blavatsky in 1875. This, however,
will be only a change of method, as the Society has not swerved
from the original ideals, the Leader said.
Sitting in the study from which he directs the international
Society that has its fountainhead on Point Loma, Dr. de Purucker
made it clear that he feels the time has come for a slight change
in the method of administering the order. The expansion plans,
which he hopes will bring many to the teachings of the Society,
will make it almost necessary to organize branches at various
places. Hitherto there has been no such thing as set meetings of
Theosophists in the various cities and communities.
"I've been thinking of making a change," he said. "I feel that
the time has come when the members should know what it means to
represent the Society before the world."
The Leader himself will head Theosophy's new crusade. Throughout
the world, lectures, members of the Society, and various
publications will carry it out. Dr. de Purucker expects to
leave in about two months on a lecture-tour of the world, on one
of which Madame Tingley engaged herself when death overtook her.
Tall and slender, with the eyes and forehead of the deep thinker,
Dr. de Purucker has the happy faculty of making his callers at
ease. Frankly and freely, he answered questions relating to the
Society, and, when the queries stopped, he volunteered additional
facts. No questions were too personal for frank answers.
A man of great scholastic attainment, Dr. de Purucker had no
hesitation in employing what purists might term slang when he
felt that such would make his meanings clearer. He was, in fact,
rather of a revelation to one who had thought Theosophy and its
principles a closely guarded citadel of silence.
Clad in a gray suit, with brown oxfords and brown socks,
pinstriped shirt and semi-soft collar, Dr. de Purucker looked
far different from what one might imagine a Theosophical Leader
would appear. Iron gray hair fences the wide brow of the scholar
and the blue eyes, while alive with intelligence, did not
yesterday appear to be the eyes of anyone but a man keenly
interested in his work and eager that the world know more of it.
Clean-shaven, his face has the stamp of determination, softened
by the thoughtful expression of the scholar. Over all he was the
host, eager that his visitor be pleased and satisfied. He even
lighted and smoked a cigarette as he talked, to remove any
feeling of restraint that might exist.
He went on:
> She was very much misunderstood. She had character, energy,
> idealism, and the practical sense. As a man, I will feel freer
> to carry out the changes than my predecessor did, though it was
> her hidden wish to do so. Certain circumstances that made it
> impossible for her to do so have now changed. I do not mean to
> say that a woman does not have the same chances as a man in the
> world. In fact, I think a man does not have the same chance as a
> woman has, but he can take steps that a woman cannot.
> We will lay special emphasis on the esoteric branch of the work,
> which is really the heart of Theosophy.
> There is so much of the beautiful in Theosophy to tell people and
> to show them. Is the membership behind the plans to expand?
> Within twenty-four hours after they learned of the plans, there
> were contributions of more than $100,000 to carry on the work.
> This is just a beginning.
> What are the requisites to becoming a Theosophist? What would you
> say the requisites were to become a Christian? Very simple, you
> say? It is so with Theosophy. A decent life, an aspiring mind, a
> desire to do good to others, and a belief in universal
> The Society is not in politics. Some politicians have come with
> the request that the vote of the membership be turned to them.
> This has been declined.
> The human race has one common spiritual aspiration, one common
> destiny. If all were Theosophists, there would be no call for
> disarmament conferences.
> Does a person have to give up his religion to become a
> Theosophist? No, the Society does not require this. Of his own
> volition, he would put aside the dogma of the creeds.
> The home life of the member of the Society is his own, and into
> this the Society does not intrude. Universal brotherhood does
> not extend to advocating miscegenation.
> Funds for carrying on the work of the Society come largely from
> donations. There is the small amount from membership dues and
> the publications of the Society.
The Theosophical Leader was enthusiastic about the children
attending the school maintained by the order. Mental, physical,
and spiritual supervision is exercised. Coming from small
classes, individual attention makes this possible. The work lies
largely in bringing out the sense of honor in the children, the
beauty of idealism is stressed and has been wonderfully
effective, the Leader feels.
"Not all the children in the Theosophical University, which
embraces teaching of Theosophy, letters, arts, and music, are the
offspring of Theosophists," Dr. de Purucker explained. "It is
much easier to go out than it is to come in," he added.
Everyone at the International Headquarters of the Theosophical
Society is on his toes, to use the idiom, the Leader said, and
all are keenly desirous that the world at large know more about
the teachings of Theosophy and universal brotherhood that all may
enjoy a larger life.
Then the interview was over, an interview of surprises and one
that seemed far shorter than the span of time indicated.
THE THEOSOPHICAL SOCIETY Founded at New York City in 1875
G. DE PURUCKER, LEADER.
H.P. BLAVATSKY 1875-1891
WILLIAM Q. JUDGE 1891-1896
KATHERINE TINGLEY 1896-1929
International Headquarters, Point Loma, California, USA
The Theosophical Society is part of a universal, spiritual,
intellectual, and ethical movement, which has been active in all
ages. This movement bases itself on the Reality of Spiritual
Brotherhood. That Brotherhood is of the very essence of Being.
The Society represents no particular creed and it is entirely
The objects of the Theosophical Society are:
> To diffuse among men a knowledge of the laws inherent in the
> To promulgate the knowledge of the essential unity of all that
> is, and to demonstrate that this unity is fundamental in Nature.
> To form an active brotherhood among men.
> To study ancient and modern religion, science, and philosophy.
> To investigate the powers innate in man.
The single prerequisite to affiliation with The Theosophical
Society is an acceptance of the principle of Universal
Brotherhood; and to every sincere advocate of this fundamental
principle, the Society extends a cordial invitation to
Fellowship. To those desirous of receiving instruction in the
deeper Archaic Esoteric Wisdom, and who give the right knock, the
door will be opened.
> Ask, and ye shall receive.
> Knock, and it shall be opened unto you.
The exoteric authority for the conduct of The Theosophical
Society as an International Organization or Spiritual Federation
is vested in its Leader. In respect to local and sectional
affairs, all Lodges and National Sections are autonomous within
the provisions of the Constitution.
As all Lodges are bound by unbreakable bonds to their own
National Section, spiritually and as far as humanly possible in
the conduct of their affairs, so equally are all National
Sections bound together, each with every other Section of this
Spiritual Federation, by the bonds of union that find outward
expression in the Constitution of The Theosophical Society.
Fellowship in The Theosophical Society may be either in a Lodge
or "at large," and applications should be addressed to the
nearest Lodge or direct to the Headquarters of the National
Section. For further information, apply to:
A TREVOR BARKER,
President, English Section,
The Theosophical Society, 62 Baker Street, London
KENNETH MORRIS, D.LITT.,
President, Welsh Section,
The Theosophical Society, Gwalia House, Fitzalan Road, Cardiff
[From the Report of the First Convention of the Theosophical
Society in America, session of April 29, 1895.]
The Theosophical Society in America by its delegates and members
in first Convention assembled, does hereby proclaim fraternal
good will and kindly feeling toward all students of Theosophy and
members of theosophical societies wherever and however situated.
It further proclaims and avers its hearty sympathy and
association with such persons and organizations in all
theosophical matters except those of government and
administration, and invites their correspondence and cooperation.
To all men and women of whatever caste, creed, race, or religious
belief, whose intentions aim at the fostering of peace,
gentleness, and unselfish regard one for another, and the
acquisition of such knowledge of man and Nature as shall tend to
the elevation and advancement of the human race, it sends most
friendly greeting and freely proffers its services.
It joins hands with all religions and religious bodies that
direct their effort to the purification of men's thoughts and the
bettering of their ways, and avows its harmony therewith. To all
scientific societies and individual searchers after wisdom upon
whatever plane and by whatever righteous means pursued, it is and
will be grateful for such discovery and unfoldment of Truth as
shall serve to announce and confirm a SCIENTIFIC BASIS FOR
Lastly, it invites to is membership all those who, seeking a
higher life hereafter, would learn to know the Path to tread in
BRIEF HISTORICAL SKETCH
[This sketch has reference only to the Theosophical Society, not
to the Esoteric Section.]
The Theosophical Society was founded at New York in 1875 by H.P.
Blavatsky, H.S. Olcott, William Q. Judge, and others. The New
York Society was the parent Society, so designated as late as
1882. As it expanded to other countries, in order the better to
carry on its work the different groups in different parts of the
world were organized into National Sections, the original
American Theosophical Society being known thereafter as the
In 1895 at its annual Convention at Boston because of differences
that had arisen within the ranks of the Theosophical Society and
in order that it might continue its work along the original lines
free from all dissensions, the American Section, as the original
American Theosophical Society, by a vote of 191 delegates to 10,
assumed and declared its complete autonomy as "The Theosophical
Society in America," with William Q. Judge, President for life,
with power to nominate his successor. The American Section was
by far the largest of the Sections then existing, and this vote
represented a majority of the active members throughout the
world, which members still further increased by taking similar
action in other parts of the world.
In 1898, The Theosophical Society in America, at its convention
held at Chicago, by an almost unanimous vote, over ninety percent
of the delegates present, accepted the Constitution of the
Universal Brotherhood Organization, and adopted the name "The
Universal Brotherhood and Theosophical Society," of which
Katherine Tingley was Leader and Official Head for life, with
power to appoint her successor. Again, affiliated Societies took
similar action in other parts of the world.
In 1929, at the passing of Katherine Tingley, the direction of
the work was taken over by her successor, Gottfried de Purucker,
and at the Convention of the Society held at Point Loma on
December 5, 1929, it was decided to resume the original name of
the parent Society, to wit, The Theosophical Society.
On February 17, 1930, the Leader again reiterated the policy of
The Theosophical Society to be one of fraternal good will and
kindly feeling towards all students of Theosophy, inviting all
other Theosophical Societies and individual students of Theosophy
to cooperate with us and unite in forming one Spiritual
Brotherhood which shall ultimately include all who seek the
spiritual welfare of mankind.
It is to this end that the above printed Proclamation, first
issued in 1895, is again sent forth.
IN THE BEGINNING WAS THE WORD
By J.H. Calmeyer
[From THE THEOSOPHICAL FORUM, May 1950, pages 276-80.]
One of the main points of dissension that led to the Reformation,
and caused Christians to split up into Protestants and Catholics,
was the contention that it should not be the exclusive privilege
of the priesthood to interpret the Bible to the faithful. The
Holy Book should be the common property of every son and daughter
of the Church and all should diligently read.
This dissension must have arisen as the result of one of two
assumptions. One is that the Bible may be plain sailing and
holds a clear and simple message for everybody to understand,
needing no interpretation. The other is that the priest is not
the ideal and rightful interpreter (having failed in his task or
his title thereto being denied), and it is rather the divine
heritage of every individual believer to gain, through study and
introspection, a measure of understanding. Thus is presumably a
greater measure than could be his through any vicarious
interpretation and one better suited to the particular
limitations of his comprehension.
It must be obvious to anybody who has read the Bible and has
seriously tried to understand its meaning that people cannot
conscientiously uphold the contention that the Bible contains
nothing but plain narrative and a straightforward message.
Whatever the merits may be of the dispute as to the means whereby
textual enlightenment should be obtained, the need for
enlightenment itself can scarcely be denied.
One of the most cryptic statements and one that must be
meaningless to many people is in the well-known opening phrases
of the Gospel according to St. John:
> In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the
> Word was God.
What was the mysterious Word whereby all things were made and
without which was not any thing made that was made?
When we think of a beginning, we think of an all-embracing
Omnipotence, a Cause without cause, in which all the
potentialities of the manifested world hide. We cannot think of
a beginning out of nothingness, mainly because we cannot think of
nothingness. This is quite rightly so. For nothingness is a
meaningless word. Derived from "not something," it is extended
to "not anything," but this is a logical absurdity, for the full
meaning of "not something" is of course "not something, but
something else." That which precedes a beginning cannot be
nothingness, but must hold in its womb the seeds of all things to
When do these seeds spring to life? Obviously, they do so when
they consciously known that they do. In other words, their
coming to life is in the consciousness thereof. Prior to the
beginning of all things, i.e. the beginning of existence as we
know it, there was no such consciousness. We cannot conceive of
the great Cause of all causes being conscious of Itself.
Consciousness means appreciation, appraisal, whether praise or
criticism. This again postulates intelligence outside of the
thing it appraises, an observer on a level of its own. This
would imply a duality that runs counter to our conception of a
beginning. There must be one before there can be two.
If there is no consciousness at the beginning of all things of
whatever there is supposed to exist, then we may reasonably
assert that it does not in effect exist in the sense we apply to
that word. Therefore, for there to be any effective existence
something must issue out of this seeming state of nothingness,
something that, because of its being part of the whole, will have
a recollection of the whole.
When we think, therefore, of a beginning, we can only think of
something that we know to be a secondary phenomenon, an effect of
that Cause without cause, which must needs be produced to enable
that First Cause to manifest itself, in other words to gain
Why it should be necessary for that First Cause to have an
existence at all is something that we simply cannot answer.
Presumably, the question is irrational because based on our
conception of things in dealing with matters that are entirely
beyond our limited, poor, three-dimensional comprehension. We
know that there are certain things of which our mind cannot
conceive, like infinity and eternity. In mathematics, we have a
language that goes on from the point where our mental images fail
us, and which proves to us that there must be conceptions that we
cannot at present grasp. "There is nothing covered, that shall
not be revealed, neither hid, that shall not be known," and it is
our divine heritage to attain in due course to the knowledge of
all these things.
On the basis of the duality inherent in consciousness, we must
assume that the conscious part is less perfect than that of which
it is conscious, because the former has issued from the latter
and can, therefore, never in any sense be more. Neither can it
be equal, as in that case there would be no duality.
Manifestation then becomes an aspect of loss of perfection and
the essence of the Divine Origin reflects in the Manifested World
as consciousness. Consciousness is a yardstick: the part applied
to the whole. We are equally justified in saying that every
emanation from the whole, by being of its substance, must have a
consciousness of the whole, as in saying that being part of the
whole is in having this consciousness.
There is nothing in the Universe that the researches of man have
found to be stationary. Neither can we reasonably impute to this
secondary phenomenon a state of absolute immobility. In analogy
of all that nature has taught us, we can only think of the
issuing of the manifested world from a state of non-manifestation
as a kind of vibration. In order to manifest itself, the Divine
Source must externalize itself. Looking at it as we would at a
physical phenomenon, we would say that this would set up a
tension. The source irresistibly draws its externalized part,
like a string that pulls away from the bow. On the outward
swing, it loses some of its perfection. Adhering to this
scientific analogy, we might say that some of the energy of this
perfection converts into the power required for the outward
movement. On the inward swing, it gains perfection, until it
identifies itself again with its source, thus completing one
Of course, we should beware of taking this literally. An image
helps us visualize a difficult concept. It helps building a
bridge to cross the gap between the beginning of all things,
which our logic tells us can have no effective existence, and our
conception of a world that surely must have had its origin in a
material manifestation of some sort. The duality of an
oscillatory movement -- in-and-out, wave, and node -- makes this
easier for us to understand: a going-out-of-itself for the
purpose of manifestation, to gain existence, yet a constant
returning to itself to retain the essence of its indivisible
It may be mentioned in passing that this idea of the manifested
part, i.e. the created world, being of necessity the product of
a loss of perfection, may be at the bottom of the notion of
Manifestation then means existence and a higher or lesser degree
of consciousness. Existence -- or consciousness -- implies
substance. For we cannot think of any kind of existence, without
thinking at the same time of substance, of something observable
outside the self -- be it physical or mental matter, such as
dreams are made of.
Looking at it again as we would at a physical phenomenon, it is
easy to understand that the primary pulsations of manifestation
will propagate themselves in this externalized substance. Just
as a pebble thrown into the water will not cause an isolated ring
to open and close again around the point of impact, but send
ripples all over the surface of the water, so will cosmic
ripples, pulsations of energy, be sent out in all directions.
There is consciousness. There is matter. There is pulsation. A
new world has come into being.
These ripples, as the new world grows and unfolds itself on the
breath of Brahma, may travel a long way from their source. They
may, on the same principle as has been applied to the first
pulsation, lose perfection and gain lesser manifestations of
power. They may, as it were, lose spirit and gain matter. They
cannot go on in the outward direction forever. In common
parlance we would say that in that direction there is nowhere for
them to go. Their only fulfillment is in their ultimate return
to their Source. We all instinctively know this. It is all we
ever can know of the purpose of God's Creation.
Let us now go back to John, the Apostle.
In his days, it was not the custom to write long and explicit
philosophic dissertations. Certain records were kept in a
cryptic style for those who had ears to hear. For those who had
not, explanations were given orally by the initiated.
Now if you had to express in a short and cryptic message what we
have so ponderously tried to explain, what image would you think
of? How would you convey the idea of Nothingness fraught with the
potentialities of a completely new world, the throbbing pulsation
of the birth of this world, its existence -- separate yet
inalienably related to its Source? It is a nothingness that is
the Ultimate Perfection and that is so complete, so all
encompassing, that it is beyond the sphere of conscious
"The Word," says the Apostle, "was with God, and the Word was
A void, therefore, which holds in its womb everything that ever
is or will be. For it holds the Word.
Try to visualize what this means. Here we have the larynx,
connected with the lungs as with a pair of bellows. Lungs and
windpipe fill with air. Can we think of anything less
substantial than air? The bellows begin to work and still nothing
happens. Some particles of air are displaced. For the rest:
Air presses upward through the larynx. This time larynx, tongue,
and lips assume certain positions, make certain movements -- and
lo! -- there is suddenly not only sound, but also meaning: a
word. Materially, we can hardly trace what has happened.
Vibrations have been set up with such tremendous consequences!
Just think of the prisoner in the dock; of the youth to whom Life
holds out a glorious promise; of those who are laden.
> To be hanged by the neck.
> Until death do us part.
> I am the Resurrection and the Life.
These are just words, vibrations out of the nothingness of thin
air. To those who hear the words, reality is created. They hear
the reality of the ransom of a wasted life, the reality of
blissful adventure, and the reality of the solace of eternal life
because of eternal love.
Out of No-thing-ness new worlds are created.
> In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the
> Word was God.
For those who have ears to hear, could we have chosen a better
THE MASK OF APOLLO
By George William Russell [1867-1935]
[From THE IRISH THEOSOPHIST, April 1893.]
A tradition rises within me of quiet, unspoken of years, ages
before the demigods and heroes toiled at the making of Greece,
long ages before the building of the temples and sparkling
palaces of her day of glory. The land was pastoral, and over all
the woods hung stillness as of dawn and of unawakened beauty deep
breathing in rest.
Here and there little villages sent up their smoke and a dreamy
people moved about. They grew up, toiled a little at their
fields, followed their sheep and goats, wedded, and gray age
overtook them, but they never ceased to be children. They
worshipped the gods in little wooden temples, with ancient rites
forgotten in later years.
Near one of these shrines lived a priest -- an old man -- who was
held in reverence by all for his simple and kindly nature.
Sitting one summer evening before his hut, a stranger came to him
whom he invited to share his meal. The stranger seated himself
and began to tell the priest many wonderful things. He told
stories of the magic of the sun and of the bright beings that
move at the gateways of the day. The old man grew drowsy in the
warm sunlight and fell asleep. Then the stranger, who was
Apollo, arose, and in the guise of the priest entered the little
temple, and the people came in unto him one after the other.
Agathon, the husbandman, entered the temple first He said,
"Father, as I bend over the fields or fasten up the vines I
sometimes remember that you said the gods can be worshipped by
doing these things as by sacrifice. How is it, father, that the
pouring of cold water over roots or training up the vines can
nourish Zeus? How can the sacrifice appear before his throne when
it is not carried up in the fire and vapor?"
To him, Apollo appeared in the guise of the old man and replied,
"Agathon, the father omnipotent does not live only in the ether.
He runs invisibly within the sun and stars, as they whirl round
and round and break out into streams, woods, and flowers. The
clouds are shaken away from them as the leaves from off the
roses. Great, strange, and bright, he busies himself within, and
at the end of time his light shall shine through, and men shall
see it moving in a world of flame. Think then, as you bend over
your fields, of what you nourish and what rises up within them.
Know that every flower as it droops in the quiet of the woodland
feels within and far away the approach of an unutterable life and
is glad. They reflect that life as the little pools the light of
the stars. Agathon, Zeus is no greater in the ether than he is
in the leaf of grass, and the hymns of men are no sweeter to him
than a little water poured over one of his flowers."
Agathon, the husbandman, went away, and he bent tenderly in
dreams over his fruits and his vines, and he loved them more than
before. He grew wise as he watched them and was happy working
for the gods.
Then spake Damon, the shepherd, "Father, while the flocks are
browsing, dreams rise up within me. They make the heart sick
with longing. The forests vanish, and I hear no more the lambs'
bleat or the rustling of the fleeces. Voices from a thousand
depths call me. They whisper, they beseech me. Lovelier than
earth's children, the shadows make music. This music is not for
me, though I faint while I listen. Father, why do I hear the
things others hear not, voices calling to unknown hunters of wide
fields, or to herdsmen, shepherds of the starry flocks?"
Apollo answered the shepherd, "Damon, a song stole from the
silence while the gods were not yet, and a thousand ages passed
ere they came, called forth by the music. A thousand ages they
listened, and then joined in the song. Then the worlds began to
glimmer shadowy about them, and bright beings to bow before them.
These, their children, began in their turn to sing the song that
calls forth and awakens life. He is master of all things who has
learned their music. Damon, heed not the shadows, but the
voices. The voices have a message to thee from beyond the gods.
Learn their song and sing it over again to the people until their
hearts, too, grow sick with longing, and they can hear the song
within themselves. Oh, my son, I see far off how the nations
shall join in it as in a chorus, and hearing it, the rushing
planets shall cease from their speed and be steadfast. Men shall
hold starry sway."
The face of the god shone through the face of the old man. It
was so full of secretness that, filled with awe, Damon, the
herdsman, passed from the presence, and a strange fire was
kindled in his heart. The songs that he sang thereafter caused
childhood and peace to pass from the dwellers in the woods.
Then the two lovers, Dion and Neaera, came in and stood before
Apollo, and Dion spake, "Father, you who are so wise can tell us
what love is, so that we shall never miss it. Old Tithonus nods
his gray head at us as we pass. He says only with the changeless
gods has love endurance, and for men the loving time is short,
and its sweetness is soon over."
Neaera added, "But it is not true, father, for his drowsy eyes
light when he remembers the old days, when he was happy and proud
in love as we are."
Apollo answered, "My children, I will tell you the legend how
love came into the world, and how it may endure. On high
Olympus, the gods held council at the making of man, each had
brought a gift, and each gave to man something of their own
nature. Aphrodite, the loveliest and sweetest, paused, and was
about to add a new grace to his person, but Eros cried, 'Let them
not be so lovely without; let them be lovelier within. Put your
own soul in, Oh mother.' The mighty mother smiled, and so it was.
And now, whenever love is like hers, which asks not return, but
shines on all because it must, within that love Aphrodite dwells,
and it becomes immortal by her presence."
Then Dion and Neaera went out, and as they walked home through
the forest, purple and vaporous in the evening light, they drew
closer together. Dion, looking into the eyes of Neaera, saw
there a new gleam, violet, magical, shining -- there was the
presence of Aphrodite. There was her shrine.
After came in unto Apollo the two grandchildren of old Tithonus,
and they cried, "See the flowers we have brought you! We gathered
them for you in the valley where they grow best!" Apollo said,
"What wisdom shall we give to children that they may remember?
Let us give them our most beautiful!" As he stood and looked at
them, the mask of age and secretness vanished. He appeared
radiant in light. They laughed in joy at his beauty. Bending
down, he kissed each upon the forehead. Then he faded away into
the light that is his home.
As the sun sank down amid the blue hills, the old priest awoke
with a sigh, and cried out, "Oh, that we could talk wisely as we
do in our dreams!"
DEATH AND AFTER-DEATH STATES, Part IV
By Boris de Zirkoff
[From the second part of a tape recording entitled "Death and
After-Death States, Part II" made of a private class held on
November 10, 1954.]
Consider one Reembodying Ego. It belongs to a planetary chain
such as the Earth. It issues forth twelve rays or souls. To
make a distinction, we shall call these rays Reincarnating Egos
instead of Reembodying Egos. Each ray belongs to one of the
twelve globes of the planetary chain. We are Reincarnating Egos
for Globe D, our geographical Earth. That is our human
consciousness. Each of us has a Reembodying Ego of the Earth
Chain, containing eleven other rays, each ray belonging to one of
the other globes of the chain.
The center of gravity is on our lowest globe for a long time to
come. Any activity on the other globes is brief and passive,
except for adepts and initiates. They are becoming
self-conscious in other portions of their inner constitution.
They are learning to visit the other globes of the chain with
conscious awareness. That is a big story in itself.
Our subject involves Esoteric Astrology, utterly unknown in the
Occident. Many write books and lecture on Esoteric Astrology.
They know no more about it than they know about Theosophy. Few
know Esoteric Astrology. It is hardly touched upon except by the
chief theosophical writers. Esoteric Astrology deals with the
intimate connection of the planets of the solar system and the
so-called zodiacal signs with the evolution of Spiritual Monads
and their respective rays and sub-divisions of rays.
The Spiritual Monad is free of enslavement to anything more
material than it is. The relatively insignificant personality
has not pinned it down to this earth, holding it back from its
peregrinations until the release of death.
On its journey through the Outer Rounds, the Spiritual Monad
pauses at each planetary chain. At present, its stop on the
earth chain is longer. That is all. Nothing impedes its
progress. At times in its evolutionary journey, it stays longer
in a particular chain. In this case, the stop is on earth. The
same will happen on another chain when we find the focus of human
Prior to the Earth on the Outer Rounds, the planetary chain on
which the human hosts evolved was Venus. After the Earth, the
chain on which humanity will evolve is Mercury. Understand that
this is in terms of the Outer Rounds. Today, the Earth chain is
the station where this host of monads evolves. All others are
only briefly touched. In its Outer Rounds, this host of evolving
entities will move to the next chain, as it had moved to this one
from another chain previously.
Are there human kingdoms evolving now on other planets of the
solar system? Asking specifically about Mercury and Venus, we
would say yes. There families of human egos are different from
the family that is on the Earth chain. They are different bodily
and even spiritually.
Picture a family of people native to Los Angeles. They
constitute the bulk of its population. They rarely go out. They
pass their lives there. They are distinct from the family native
to Chicago, tied to that locality, staying there, and not going
anywhere else. Their evolutionary experiences magnetically
connect to Los Angeles. Some people may travel. Most will never
leave the city.
The same principle applies on a larger scale to the inhabitants
of a land. They rarely transfer by the millions to another land.
They stay in their country for centuries or perhaps thousands of
On a larger scale yet, there are families of human egos going
through their evolutionary experiences on a particular planetary
chain. Meanwhile, other human families have their experiences on
There are circulations through the seven or twelve principles of
the human constitution. There are others through the twelve
globes of the planetary chain. There are yet more through the
twelve chains of the solar system. There are even circulations
through chains of solar systems and galaxies. We have the same
pattern throughout nature.
There is not a place in nature -- visible or invisible -- where
the pattern breaks. There is one fundamental law. Everything
ties together. Everything is a child of something greater and
has its progeny. It is impossible for one law to operate here
and another there. Consider a melon. It is not like an apple
there, an orange in another part, and over there a berry. It is
all melon. Nature is fundamentally the same. The principle is
that the nature operates the same way in one part as in all else.
During the after-death conditions, does someone evolving on
another planet, like Venus, Jupiter, or Mars, visit the Earth?
Yes, because even the Earth is a sacred planet. They go through
seven planetary chains that are sacred to their planet, that bear
a special relation to it. Say they evolve on Mars. Is the Earth
Chain one of Mars's seven sacred planets? I cannot say. If it
were, they will visit the Earth.
There are more planets in the solar system than we know. There
is some multiple of twelve. The Earth is a nursling of the seven
sacred planets. It may also be nursing another planet. That
planet's egos will visit us too.
Everything is interrelated. The numerous planetary bodies
belonging to a solar system are not all visible. Some are on
other planes. They subdivide themselves into clusters of twelve
naturally. Astronomy knows only the husk of the solar system,
just its physical part. That is all. Even then, they discover
new planets, such as Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto. They suspect
another nearer the Sun than Mercury. They are not through with
From the occult standpoint, there are many dozens of planets,
most on non-physical planes. They are sacred to each other in
bunches of seven or twelve. I cannot tell you how the
subdivisions happen. I can give the general principle, but not
the detail of it. I do not know how it works.
While in devachan, we, the human egos, visit the seven sacred
planets on the Outer Rounds. We continue our sleep, not knowing
anything about the journey. The devachanic state of
consciousness remains unbroken. We live in our world of
spiritual consciousness. In unalloyed bliss, we weave a dream
about ourselves until coming back to Earth.
From within, the Spiritual Monad issues a ray or ego on each
planetary chain, something appropriate. The ray represents the
human stage that belongs to a particular planet magnetically and
by ancient karmic ties.
The Spiritual Monad will touch the evolutionary conditions of
each chain that it passes through with the corresponding ray.
These embodiments are unlike our 80-year life on earth. They are
brief. I may be wrong, but I suggest that the embodiments are as
life-atoms. They are for gathering certain forces and creation
of nuclei of forces. This is not necessarily as human, animal,
or any other entity. Perhaps it is only as life-atoms. Use
embodiment in quotation marks. There will be a brief embodiment
of a kind.
Everything is analogy. The same fundamental law is behind
everything. Wash the mind free of the conception of human time.
There is only one deduction that we can make about sleep and
death. Death is the greater analogy of sleep. Marvel of
marvels, these processes take place briefly when we sleep. In
the brief interval of daily sleep, part of our consciousness
flashes from planet to planet. Sleep, death, and conscious death
or initiation hangs together, since they are exactly the same
When we go to bed and have a profound sleep, how do we have the
time to go through the inner worlds? Obviously, the human ego
does not go through the worlds! It is not dead! It is only
asleep! Potencies, magnetic rays, and forces within the higher
human consciousness go. They flash from center to center. Human
time is not involved. Remember that everything is present
everywhere at the same time. There is no separation.
It does not take time for the spiritual consciousness to pass
from Earth to Venus. Completely give up the human conception of
space and time. Venus is not where we see it in the sky.
Jupiter is not where we see it in the sky. The things we see in
the sky are physical counterparts of the planets. Where are the
inner worlds of Venus and Jupiter? Perhaps they touch us here.
Is the Sun here? Yes, it is throughout the entire solar system.
Are we here? Yes, part of us is decidedly here.
We cannot take that part with us. The moment that we die, it is
finished. That part of us will be nothing but ashes. That is
all. Is it the real entity? No. How far do we extend? Our
intermediate principles are at home throughout the planetary
chain. Our spiritual part extends throughout the solar system.
Devise new terms and ideas. Without this, we cannot express the
teachings adequately. In a lame way, we might convey some ideas
to sensitive people. We might have conceptions satisfactory to
us, but without good words. We will not clearly understand the
Conceive of the possibilities that exist. Widen the
consciousness. The universe will appear differently. The
growing child sees the surrounding universe differently than when
an infant. It has widened for him. He realizes things he never
understood before. Even with all our human understanding, we
fail to understanding the spiritual side yet, without a similar
widening of consciousness.
Consider the people who might walk in here and call us a bunch of
lunatics. In our evening meetings, the ideas we exchange show a
tremendous growth of understanding compared to where they are.
In review, consider the panoramic visions that happen in the
after-death states. The first takes place when someone has
withdrawn from all the body except the brain. The brain is the
last to die. Before leaving, the inner man centers in the pineal
gland and the pituitary body. Then he enters the panoramic
vision of the life just passed. When the vision finishes, the
light in the brain goes out. The higher part of the man
withdraws then. This is usually through the upper portion of the
The human body may or may not be disintegrating. That is
completely immaterial. The first panoramic vision does not use
the cells of the physical brain. It uses the astral brain. It
primarily concerns the record of the life just passed. It
includes but a glimpse into the future incarnation, because the
life now ending has an influence on it. The more spiritual a
man, the more he sees that future. Right this moment, I know
somebody probably undergoing that condition. That individual
will probably pass out tonight.
The second panoramic vision takes place at the second death.
This is when the individual is leaving kamaloka and entering
devachan. It repeats the life just passed, but with greater
emphasis on future incarnations.
The third panoramic vision takes place just before incarnation,
when one enters into definite magnetic touch with the physical
plane. In these last stages before coming into rebirth, the
human ego sees the panoramic vision of its last life in reverse.
The vision must run in reverse, since one is coming into birth,
not going out. Coming in now, the flow is the reverse of what it
was when the man was going out. When does the vision happen? The
exact time may be near when conception is about to take place, or
perhaps has already happened.
This process takes him from old age to childhood again. He has
to start as an old man and run up into childhood. For him, it is
up, although it is down for us. As he reaches the earliest
pictures of his last childhood, he becomes a child again.
Consider the utter logic of it! The panoramic vision helps him to
think himself into childhood.
In that third vision, he has a considerable glimpse of the
incarnation about to begin. He realizes the justice of the
events, their karma based upon his past. When the vision
finishes, there comes complete unconsciousness or oblivion. The
ancient Greeks called this crossing the river of Lethe.
When the child is born, there is no memory in the brain. If
spiritual, someone may remember a bit sometime during life. For
most, there will be no memory of the past until their dying
moment. When more evolved, we will know more about our past
lives and more about the pattern of the future. There is no
predestination. Our past creates the future pattern.
Can hypnotism surface memories of a past existence? Yes. Are the
hypnotists just experimenting? Are they men or women of impure
life? If so, it is dangerous to work with them. We must warn
There are also men and women of pure life. Their motives are
unselfish. They search for the truth for its own sake. Say they
have the hypnotic power developed. They can induce in one's
hypnotic sleep states stages of spiritual lucidity. In such
states, one can talk about events that took place before physical
embodiment, possibly from other lives. When awakening from
hypnotic sleep, one does not remember.
This regression is possible. People have experimented with it a
great deal. There is a tremendous science there. I am not
absolutely down on hypnotism, but because of the type of people
practicing it, ninety percent of it is dangerous.
No matter what you do, you establish profound magnetic
connections. You forge karmic bonds between you and the
hypnotist. If he is noble-minded, good, and inwardly pure, the
karmic connection is perfectly fine. Nevertheless, you are
bound. He has invaded your consciousness. You have submitted to
it. Now, you have karmic ties that might endure more than a
lifetime. Consider this. Particularly with the ins and outs of
human consciousness, you cannot play with another without
establishing profound and lasting karmic ties. They might not be
bad, but there are ties, responsibilities to one another.
How can someone remember what happened when they were in
devachan? Through hypnosis, one can reach the particular state of
consciousness that experienced the devachan. Although there was
neither brain nor nervous system, one can remember.
There are many types of memory. One type is the memory of the
soul. This memory is inherent in the Reincarnating Ego,
independent of the brain. There is also a brain memory, but it
is the lowest kind of memory. The hypnotist frees the individual
from the brain. Outside the brain, the individual functions
through the astral constitution. Even so, with the help of the
hypnotist, one still can use the body to speak.
Coming into incarnation, most have little choice of parents and
little choice of which karma they will face. They do not care to
choose. They drift. The more spiritual one is the more choice
he has. One chooses before the panoramic vision of the future
incarnation. In the majority of cases, the glimpse of a future
life in the panoramic vision only shows possibilities. There may
be many possible futures. It is not set. It is complicated, and
I am not clear about it myself. The future incarnation depends
largely upon the one that has just closed.
You cannot choose much. How much is in the balance? To a small
extent, the future life depends upon how one goes through the
intermediate spheres in kamaloka. While in the process of going
out of life, one's reactions have a minor influence on the
future. It is minor, but not to be disregarded.
The child has some choice in picking its parents. There is an
automatic choice. It is not self-conscious. There is no emotion
involved, which is an essential point. The choice is from
within. Others cannot interfere. Even our Spiritual Monad
cannot do much. It is too far away. The guiding spirit is our
Reembodying Ego, the intellectual monad within us.
Others help the child. In the higher part of the astral world,
there are beings helping people in their peregrinations from
sphere to sphere. They include Teachers, spiritual beings, and
Consider all the subjects that we have covered. There is justice
in them. There is a set of consecutive values hanging together
by cause and effect. We see beauty in the arrangement and
functioning of universal laws.
From another viewpoint, we find great solemnity and awe in the
teachings. They are grand. There is nothing small about them.
They pacify. They broaden our consciousness, widen our outlook,
and deepen our feelings. They induce peace and goodwill. They
induce a sense of the fitness of things. They help create within
our consciousness a wide, sweeping horizon of thought. If we
will that it be so, upon this is projected pictures of grandeur,
pictures of ever-receding vistas of human spiritual possibility.
The teachings bring us closer to reality. Within our mind and
soul, they deepen our perception and comprehension. Without
breaking any ties with the everyday world, they take us out,
placing us at a high vantage point. For the time, we see life in
a different perspective.
Understand that life and so-called death are but phases of cosmic
life. Both phases are of equal importance. There is no death
because there is no separation. We are constantly within the
same family of being. Whatever part of nature we may be in
throughout the solar system, we are at home. We are at home
everywhere. We go here and there many times, and then back
again, but we can never step outside of the spheres to which we
belong. There is a part in us that belongs to them all.
Even if people understand only the elementary teachings, they
achieve a radical change to their conception of life and death.
What used to be sorrowful is clothed with sunshine. The shadowy
side of life becomes gloriously radiant with spiritual
possibility. That result alone is sufficient reward for the
Unity forms the basis of life. Life has constancy. There is an
unbreakable continuity throughout its many phases. As one
studies the teachings, the heart fills with an ever-strengthening
awareness of all this.
Someone passes on into glorious spheres of spiritual realization.
As students of the teachings, we witness the transition with a
different attitude. We can help others realize that they may use
the experience of human parting as an opportunity for spiritual
You can help someone who is passing. With your attitude, you can
contribute to a happy and harmonious after-death. Show utter
peace. Maintain compassionate sympathy, understanding, and
vision. Any show of human emotion drags the spiritual glory into
the mire of human life.
The so-called death is spiritual birth. As students of the
ancient wisdom, we maintain calm reverence and quiet solemnity in
those brief moments before someone's death. While present at
their deathbed, never forget that there takes place a solemn
communion between the human soul and the spiritual self.
Every time one passes out, he meets the tribunal of his spiritual
selfhood for a moment. Only it can pronounce a final and
irrevocable judgment upon the incarnation just ending. There is
no appeal from that judgment.
Within us is a spiritual selfhood or demigod. It is present in
the solemn moments of physical death and the moments following
it. It is closer than at any other time during life. The
demigod enters and identifies with the human consciousness and
the human identifies with the demigod. In that momentary
identification, the spiritual self pronounces final judgment and
closes the books upon the record of that life.
In that final closing of the books at the deathbed, your attitude
can give added strength to the individual. The collective love,
sympathy, and understanding of those intimately related to him
play a role. In future lifetimes, they will all meet together
again, as they have in the past.
The passing of a human from incarnation into the inner worlds is
like going home. At that transition, one rises in consciousness
temporarily. Normally, one's consciousness ascends through the
seven grades of the inner constitution to touch the Spiritual
Monad. It then goes down the levels again to touch the brain.
Reviewing its future pathway, it ascends a second time through
the inner principles, touches the inner self, and returns to the
Pure, clean people are so happy before they die! They see things.
They are at peace. It is beautiful. It is wonderful what they
see. It is lovely. They have no words to express it. Their
human consciousness has risen twice. When they touch it the
second time, the threads of their pranic fluids completely
withdraw from all but the brain. Then the panoramic vision takes
place. Finally, they rise a third time touching the inner
Even with the little we understanding of these things, we take
part in nature's mysteries. We cooperate with nature in its
marvelous functions. We become a creator, working towards
ultimate peace, light, and truth forever.
Dedicated to the Theosophical Philosophy and its Practical Application