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THEOSOPHY WORLD -------------------------------------- June, 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.)
"Reincarnation Explains," by B.P. Wadia
"Great Faith is Necessary," by Gerald Schueler
"Is Our Universe Mad," by W. Emmett Small
"The Narrow Gorge," by Victor Endersby
"Alone I Came," by Galina K. Tucker
"Theosophy: Its Beneficent Potentialities," Part II,
by Geoffrey A. Farthing
"Take That Book, It Will be Useful on Your Journey,"
by the Countess Constance Wachtmeister
"Gottfried de Purucker and the Theosophical Society," Part III
"The Secret of Power," by George William Russell
"HBP Highlights," Part II, by Boris de Zirkoff
> The reader has to bear in mind that the Stanzas given treat only
> of the Cosmogony of our own planetary System and what is visible
> around it, after a Solar Pralaya. The secret teachings with
> regard to the Evolution of the Universal Kosmos cannot be given,
> since they could not be understood by the highest minds in this
> age, and there seem to be very few Initiates, even among the
> greatest, who are allowed to speculate upon this subject.
> H.P. Blavatsky, THE SECRET DOCTRINE, I, page 13.
By B.P. Wadia
[From THUS HAVE I HEARD, pages 200-3.]
> The mistakes and the sufferings of human life make me think
> sometimes that those ancient seers, or interpreters of the
> secrets of heaven and the counsels of the Divine Mind, had some
> glimpses of the truth, when they said that men are born in order
> to suffer the penalty for some sins committed in a former life.
> -- Cicero.
Successive lives on earth in human bodies for the unfolding
Mind-Soul of man is a reasonable and satisfying doctrine. It
solves problems and answers questions that no other doctrine
does. It is logical and our minds are satisfied if we examine
its basis and principles. It not only engenders hope in the
heart but also brings it the contentment born of understanding
and the dauntless energy to press forward on the road to
self-improvement leading to Self-realization.
Cicero speaks of "ancient seers." In the modern world, they are
not revered because their ideas are not studied. No era has been
without seers, however few or however exotic. Mystics and
Occultists down the ages have uniformly asserted the truth of
Reincarnation. Transmigration, Metempsychosis, and other terms
are also used. The main and central idea is that the human soul
is immortal and unfolding. Its growth takes place in the soil of
the body and its sensorium. The nature, as the genesis of the
Soul, need not remain matters of conjecture and speculation.
There is knowledge. It is not sought earnestly and sincerely
because modern knowledge has pronounced the soul as mortal and
the minds of large numbers are lazy, unquestioning, and charged
with blind belief. There are other minds not influenced by
materialistic science but by illogical theologies.
> Were an Asiatic to ask me for a definition of Europe, I should be
> forced to answer him: It is that part of the world which is
> haunted by the incredible delusion that man was created out of
> nothing, and that his present birth is his first entrance into
Since the days of this German, Asiatics have also become
"civilized" and reject the immortality of the Soul. The tide has
been turning and there have been not only mystics and poets but
also scientists and men of affairs who hold fast to their own
intimations of Reincarnation. The Law of Cycles, by which the
processes of Nature take place, compels a logical mind to arrive
at the conclusion that Reincarnation represents the cycle of
human evolution. Man is born and dies as the universe is making
the vast cycles of the days and nights of Brahma. Voltaire saw
this when he said that "It is not more surprising to be born
twice than once; everything in Nature is resurrection."
One whole issue of this magazine would not suffice to present the
intuitive expressions of poets, ancient or modern. They are in a
class by themselves and are not bothered by the strictures of
science or the syllogisms of logic. Relying on their own
intuitions they have sung in China, India, Persia, and in Europe
-- from Virgil and Ovid to Masefield, the Poet-laureate of
> One argument against a serious consideration of Reincarnation is
> its supposed impracticability. It is taken to be a teaching that
> stresses other-worldliness. This, once again, is a hasty
> deduction. It has been recommended that Reincarnation may be
> taken as a working hypothesis not only for the purposes of
> solving our personal problems, but also national and social ones.
> If Reincarnation were true what a vast change, a revolution, must
> take place in educating the young. If children's bodies enshrine
> immortal souls, who have been here before and who are here once
> again to pick up the thread of learning and experience, then the
> system of education and the methods of teaching would have to be
> transformed. Is there an idea more significant than this, which
> favors and ought to compel a sincere and unprejudiced enquiry
> into the principles and details of Reincarnation? Take penal
> reform. Are not delinquent boys or habitual criminals evolving
> intelligences? Is it right to deprive them of individual
> responsibility by saying society makes criminals? We do not deny
> the truth implicit in the statement that all of us are in a
> measure responsible for the crimes and sins committed by our
> brothers. They are young souls, or sick souls, who need schools
> and clinics run on the principles of a spiritual philosophy. Is
> there such a philosophy, which can sustain its consistency,
> without the teaching of Reincarnation?
Men of modern knowledge accept numerous aspects of Reincarnation.
Recurrence and resurrection create the spiral of progress
everywhere. Death and Regeneration are to be seen everywhere.
Why should it be otherwise with man's body which dies but which
must refashion itself with the Will to Live which every human
soul possesses and holds to with a superb tenacity? No, the great
American, Benjamin Franklin was right in penning his own Epitaph
when he was only 23 years old: --
> The Body of Benjamin Franklin, Printer,
> Like the cover of an old book,
> Its contents worn out,
> And stripped of its lettering and gilding,
> Lies here, food for worms.
> But the work shall not be lost,
> For it will, as he believed, appear once more,
> In a new and more elegant edition,
> Revised and corrected by The Author.
GREAT FAITH IS NECESSARY
By Gerald Schueler
The traditional relationship of a guru and chela is changing
today, especially in the west. The chela had to obey the guru in
all things without question. Beginning as a piece of crap, the
chela had to earn respect. The method produced results. If the
chela's ego were too big to assume the role, he or she would quit
or be told to leave.
The guru did not explain in a classroom-like manner that the ego
was unreal. He did not write it on a chalkboard or assign it as
homework. He acted as if there was no ego. This role-playing is
a powerful psychological tool in spiritual development. Today,
Theosophists study that the ego is unreal, but keep going as if
they had one. You cannot transcend Manas by using Manas!
This relationship is not like a good marriage. That would not
work. The guru and chela can never be on the same footing. When
the chela finally equals the guru, the guru will send him or her
The inner divinity is the best guru. Just saying that will not
help. We have to contact it. How do we do that? Theosophists
believe we all have an inner core of divine essence. How many
communicate with and learn from it?
The esoteric is beyond words. A true guru will teach with
action. Consider the example of Zen. There are gurus hitting
chelas with sticks, talking nonsense, answering with a smile, or
acting irrationally. These are attempts to live as if already
spiritual and perfect. The guru works to get the chela to rise
A problem with Theosophy is that it has no valid gurus. The
Theosophical Path has degenerated. It is now one of reading and
study, keeping students stuck in Manas. How would a guru change
this? First, get people to realize their condition, perhaps
hammering on them until they stop conceptualizing. Doing this
with one or two chelas is hard work. It is impossible to do this
with the many theosophical organizations.
Enlightenment is the goal of the guru-chela relationship. It is
not a career or hobby. It requires a major shift in worldview
and self-image, two organs of the psyche resistant to change.
The job of the guru is to get the chela into communication with
his or her inner divinity. That is all a guru can do. This
sounds easy enough, but it is extremely difficult, requiring
major personality and worldview changes.
What does a chela do when the guru says something completely
contradicting their worldview? We all know what Manas would have
us do. Suppose a guru says Atma is mayavic. The chela might
challenge the guru for proof and quote scripture proving Atma an
eternal pilgrim. The guru might find the student in continual
self-defense when faced with such challenges. Over time, the
guru becomes frustrated, and asks the chela to leave. In going
away, the chela continues thinking that Atma is an eternal
pilgrim, now convinced that the guru is a quack.
A relationship with a guru will not work if it is on an equal
basis. The chela has to believe in the guru totally. One needs
great faith and devotion to change one's worldview. The
relationship cannot be simply Manasic, which cannot work.
IS OUR UNIVERSE MAD?
By W. Emmett Small
[From a lecture given at Point Loma, taken from THE THEOSOPHICAL
FORUM, March 1941, pages 177-83.]
I do not like the title of this talk. It is patently absurd.
Do you honestly think our universe mad? Then you belong to those
unfortunates who have no purpose in life. They see no reason for
it, no majesty, no dignity, and no grandeur in universal nature.
Such a person is an unhappy egoist, himself the center of all his
immature and essentially emotional thinking.
If the universe is mad, we are also mad as part of that universe.
Not one could remain sane. Such sanity would be foreign to this
universe. The less partakes of the whole. It cannot be
something the whole is not. With no plan or purpose, we would be
drifters in cosmic space. Coming into existence by chance, we
would drift along, doomed to some chance ending. It is absurd.
Perhaps you belong to the unawakened that see an erratic
obedience to the decrees of God in all that happens. Outside our
universe, he sits in judgment on us. In his own whimsical,
wayward, or cruel way, he metes out penalty or recompense to the
children of earth.
Such a person is dead in his intuitions. He is dead in his
ability to draw direct and conclusive deductions from the facts
of nature staring him in the face. Were such a hideous Supreme
Being true, this universe would be a madhouse inhabited by raving
lunatics. They would have to be maniacs. There could be no
sanity. Again, the part must share in the whole. It cannot have
something the whole does not have. That would be absurd.
There is an Ancient Wisdom at the heart of all religions. It
tells us that Law, Order, and Cosmic justice guide our lives.
Along with its decent thinking students, maybe you believe this.
Is not it obvious?
Look around and see the orderly procedures of nature. A single
individual falls ill and experiences suffering. From this, can
we say there is no law in life? Closely observing, we see it an
exemplification of Law. The people of the world are busy cutting
each other's throats now. A riot of senseless war is sweeping
the world. Even so, this is no sensible reason to say the
universe is mad.
The world is sick. It is temporarily mad, if you will, because
the people in it are temporarily mad. That is because of Law and
Order in universal life. We cannot transgress Nature's laws for
long without retribution. We make that retribution for
ourselves. The adjustments we witness today are attempts to
restore the disturbed equilibrium.
In these times, suffering is rife. Sorrow and heartache are more
nearly universal. Perhaps because of this, we think harder on
Why are we here? Where are we going? Who are we? What is the
meaning of it all? The philosophic rationale is plain. Did
something kill a single individual meaninglessly? Do a million
individuals suffer such a fate? Regardless, the rationale remains
unchanged if such were haphazard or cruel whimsy of an
extra-cosmic God. This is true whether one suffers from lack of
milk and bread or a million suffer. It would be atrocious even
were but one to suffer so. That would reflect the reign of
Universal Haphazard or Universal Cruelty.
It is absurd!
Law and Order prevail throughout universal unending Nature.
We need grand cosmic ideas to sweep clear from our brains the
cobwebs of musty hand-me-down thoughts from past generations.
Then the sunlight of truth can pour through the windows of our
souls. Its warmth shall give us spiritual energy so that we
revive and accomplish worthy things.
The average man views life too parochially. He still hugs the
outmoded. He is not sufficiently daring or selfless. He must
learn to view himself as immortal. He is an eternal pilgrim
wending his cyclic way from invisible world to visible world as
what we call birth or death periodically claims him. He must
view man as rooted in the universe, not alone as a child of
Man is a little universe. He partakes of all the substance and
energy of the universe. He is fundamentally at one with it, a
vital factor that can cooperate with Nature and work
constructively with her, or destructively against her.
We have touched on three points of doctrine as old as there has
been thinking man. There are The Law of Analogy, Cyclic Law, and
Here is an analogy: The physical body is itself a cosmos in
miniature, where law and order abide, and action and reaction are
the fundamental law.
Here are examples of cyclic law: the expansion and contraction of
the human heart, the turning of the wheel of the year bringing
winter, spring, summer, and autumn, and the ebb and flow of
Karma means action and reaction. It is the law of consequences,
saying that what a man sows he reaps.
The sun is the beating heart of the solar system. The sunspot
cycle of about eleven years corresponds to the contraction and
expansion, systole and diastole, of the human heart. The little
universe of Man and the larger Universe of Nature follow the same
Cyclic law governs the evolution of great races, called
root-races in Theosophy. There are four distinct cycles: (1) a
Golden Age, of 1,728,000 human years, (2) a Silver Age, 1,296,000
years, (3) a Bronze Age, 864,000 years, and (4) an Iron Age,
"black with horror," 432,000 years.
There is a sequence in these cycles of the digits four, three,
and two that runs through esoteric numerology. The sun takes
25,920 years to make a complete revolution, called a precessional
cycle. We breathe 25,920 times in 24 hours, figuring 18 breaths
to a minute. The human heart beats 72 times a minute. It takes
the sun 72 years to pass one degree along the zodiac. In one
hour, the heart beats 4,320 times. The same digits refer to the
great races of mankind. From these few examples, we see the
cosmos permeated by One Law. One of the keys to understanding
this is Analogy, which H.P. Blavatsky speaks of in THE SECRET
DOCTRINE as "the guiding law in Nature."
We do not believe in a soulless mechanistic universe,
fortuitously put together. We believe in an intelligently guided
universe in which there is no dead matter. We believe that
varying degrees of consciousness ensoul every celestial body.
We do not believe in what scientists today call entropy. The
cosmos is not running down to a state of stagnation without the
ability to rewind itself. It is not "pointlessly grinding its
way towards ultimate stagnation and death," to borrow words of
Aldous Huxley, making a picture that he for one does not believe.
We believe in the birth and death of a planet and in its rebirth.
It reembodies as a planet again, a more evolved house of life.
What we conceive of as our visible universe is only one of
innumerable universes in endless succession and advancement,
wherein law, order, and harmony prevail.
You have your choice. You have either a lunatic universe or an
ordered universe. If you cannot picture the latter in cold
reason, can you not at least dream toward what your own
commonsense, if not your inner intuition, must tell you are sane
and purposive? Then perhaps with your daring, knowledge will
Perhaps when you stop centering thought on your ego and its
all-importance, understanding will come of grander vistas in
life. There are happier and brighter destinies for all. A
feeling of that ineffable mystery of our oneness with the very
Heart of Being can steal into your soul, enlightening it with
this deathless message of hope.
Confidence and peace comes. Knowing something of life, someone
has a certain sphere of influence. It draws you. He is a
seasoned and experienced man. You have confidence in him. He is
one whom you instinctively rely and intuitively trust. Theosophy
brings you this same confidence and knowledge. Theosophy brings
it in greater abundance than what a man can offer, unless he is
an Initiate of the Mysteries.
Through study and practice of the Ageless Wisdom, you become wise
in life. Why is this? Because you gain a vision of the travel
that life unreels for every pilgrim. In your hand, you hold a
map that is guide to some intricacies of the soul's journey. You
discern plan, order, and pattern. You recognize what we can best
call The Path. This is not madness. This is not whimsy, nor
erratic favoritism. It is Purpose. It is not Chaos. It is
Order. It is not Chance. It is Law. It is Justice.
I know many throughout the world with such an understanding of
life. They have found it through the help of Theosophy. They
are of all walks of life. They occupy various social stations.
Far from all outer madness, they have an inmost center with a
degree of peace, confidence, strength, and spiritual
illumination. Each of you can have what they have. Because you
are one with the universe, you share it, though perhaps not
Madness allies your best energies with your mean and ignoble
side. Free yourself from identification with it. Rise within
and awake your inner possibility of accomplishment. Recognize
yourself as a living god and your body as the temple of that
living god. Abandon the petty and the parochial. Embrace the
Thus, we grow. In our individual human universes, our own
selves, we keep order. Thus, we cooperate with Nature, working
constructively with her. We can purposefully direct this active
cooperation. A vision of the future destiny of mankind can
enlightened us. Then we become the Seers who are the Pillars
that support the world.
Again, we ask, "Is our Universe mad?"
Great disturbances are opportunities. We can show balance,
sanity, firmness, vision, action moderated by purposive vision, a
lack of wastefulness, and economy of mere gesture. We have a
challenge. Who and what are we? For what are we here? What is
our duty? Is there any duty? Why did we get here? Where are we
Some say Echo mocks in haunting ricochet of imitative sounds
taunting, "What, Why, Where?"
The old, old Wisdom says the inner recesses of one's nature
awaken if one is self-forgetful and sympathetic for the welfare
of others. Expand your thought. Seek to learn the fundamental
lesson of the ancient sages. Man and the Universe are one,
Man is a reduced universe, quantitatively, if you wish, but not
qualitatively. The potentialities of both are the same. The
underlying laws are the same. The only difference is in degree
of inner expression and unfoldment but not in kind. You are
spirit of the Spirit of the Universe, soul of its Soul, body of
its Body. Divinity, Spirit, Intelligence, Love, Power, breathe
Power lies in restraint as well as in release. Action withheld
is as strong, if not more potent at times, than action delivered.
Power lies in kindliness, warmth of understanding, purity of
motive, and determination to be just. Riot is unleashed,
uncontrolled power. The latter sweeps like an epidemic over the
"moon-stirred multitude." The former derives from the sun whose
beneficent rays kindle spiritual life and fructify all things.
What happens is the just desert of actions. This is karma. Evil
actions have brought evil results and will bring evil results.
Good actions have brought beneficent results and will bring
beneficent results. Cleave to that fundamental idea, and apply
it in scale to individual, nation, and humanity. We reap what we
sow, just what we sow, eventually. This is not a sign of
madness. It is the steady signal-light of Order.
Let that thought act as a deterrent in our thoughtless escapade
of life, our mad careening from one alluring though unsubstantial
excitement to another. That path leads to insanity, imbalance,
moral degradation, rottenness, and disintegration. The other
path leads to peace, honor, and fruitful growth along moral and
uplifting lines. It brings integration and balance.
Presently there is a violent inversion of normal conditions in
the world. It is a transition time from one era into another,
the birth of something new. Pain always accompanies birth.
There is often destruction and an upset of normal conditions.
With the intense longing of our hearts, let us hope that
something constructively grand, sane, balanced, and beautiful
will emerge from the awful conflict.
Now turn eyes to the stars. Stretch our thought outward to the
stellar sweeps of Rigel, and Orion, and Betelgeuse. Those bright
spheres were once but inexperienced globes, electrons in
comparison with their present attainment. Eons and eons ago,
they had locked up within them those qualities that now appear as
Rigel, Orion, and Betelgeuse.
Within the inner sanctuary of the human heart lie the powers thus
to expand. Some day, you and I shall live, breathe, and move to
the immense sweep of stellar magnitude. We shall hold
intercourse in high dignity with the galaxies.
THE NARROW GORGE
By Victor Endersby
[CHRONICLES ON THE PATH, Part XVIII. This 18 -- part series
appeared in THEOSOPHICAL NOTES from September 1951 through
The young neophyte, having taken the Great Vow, duly meditated
before retiring for the night. He thought to fall into a sleep
that might bring new knowledge upon awaking. Perhaps he might
awaken in the night to see one of Their forms, and hear the
soundless voice of high instruction. Unreined images, released
aspirations, and dreams from years past took charge of the
chariot of the mind, dragging it hither and yon. Excited and
tense, the boy strove in vain to sleep, which finally overtook
him in the small hours of the night.
He was gloomy and not refreshed in the morning. He took himself
to a companion he had confidence in, and spoke of his difficult
"You had no useful recollection?" said the one.
"Indeed I had a recollection. It makes my bones ache to think of
"And its nature?"
"After I lost sight of the moonlight on the mountains, there was
a time of indescribable duration. Then I found myself in a
lonely, desolate place. It was a narrow pass. There were
disorderly piles of stones with sharp edges and spikes.
Sometimes the piles met overhead. Sometimes they opened to give
glimpses of dark clouds before daunting peaks."
"You saw no one?"
"Not a person. There was no sign of man but for tracks in the
dust worn from the stone."
"Nor any sound?"
"Yes. There were the lonely skirl of a bird, the deep rumble of
distant thunder, and the sound of avalanche or earthquake. There
were dark sounds to match the somber heaven that brooded
"What way did these tracks lead?"
"Upward. Ever and wearily upward."
"Not one. Always upward."
"And your direction?"
"I do not know. I suppose because, becoming aware, I found
myself facing that direction. Perhaps the others went that way.
I remember an urge to overtake them."
"These tracks, were they few or many?"
"Many indeed. Uncountable."
"So there were countless tracks always upward. What do you make
The boy thought, frowning, then replied, "I think it means that
there is a vast space beyond for standing. On the path itself
was hardly room for one alone."
"What else do you make of no one returning?"
"There may be contentment beyond, or perhaps death!"
The friend, chin in hand, considered the youth for a moment. "If
it were death, would you pioneer a backward path?"
"I do not understand. We talk about but a dream, a dream that is
past. Yet were it real, I would say I could not turn upon my
tracks. I have to know what lies ahead, come what might."
("And that is well, poor lad," thought the other.) "Well," he
continued aloud, "let us pursue this."
"You are not bored with my foolish dream?"
"You might be surprised at how little I am bored. Tell more."
"Well, I was exasperated, realizing my wasted effort. Along this
twisted, tortuous route, I repeatedly gazed over boulders to
observe where I had passed many weary hours before. I knew that
if more alert, with a hard scramble, I might have been far ahead,
and with limbs less weary."
"And how did you missed these points?"
"I plodded in the dust with eyes too tired. Too often, I looked
with longing toward the shrouded peak, seeking signs of my
destination. I also thought that since so many went this way, I
must have been taking the only way."
("So he does as all do," thought again the companion. "Too low,
too high, too fixed ahead was his gaze. He was too observant of
the path worn by others, and too blind to the breadth of
Nature.") He said aloud, "What other details might you recall?
Were there comforts or relaxations in your trek?"
"There were little indeed. I was grateful when the sharp stones
had been beaten into dust that was soft to the feet. Otherwise,
it was not pleasant. The stones were sharp, offering cuts and
bruises. I often bumped my head or scraped my brow on hanging
stones. My shoulders were gouged in the narrow ways."
"No doubt at such narrow corners you thought of others. Did you
seek to better the way for those coming after you?"
The boy looked up, startled, and then hung his head. "I am
ashamed. I had no thought of others. It seemed all I could do
to keep going. Thinking now, I realize that the worn pathway,
which indicated numberless feet ahead, meant countless others
tread behind me."
"Then having gone through the passage, you did not leave it
easier to pass for those that followed?"
"Not entirely. I remember that at times, for my own ease, I took
a stone and pounded down a corner, or tore loose a threatening
spike. This possibly saved some unknown traveler a bump. With
so many passing this way, why would not the whole passage be as
smooth as glass by now? Ah well! Why expect reason of a dream?"
("Or such dream, like events as the roughness growing ever back
again," thought the friend.) "What other scenery caught your
"There was a branching path that tempted me, until I closely
looked at it."
"Because it was wide, and sloped a bit downward. It seemed
straight. It showed a tinge of rose glow. It seemed happier,
and did not have the gloom overhead as did the path I had been
"Then why did you not follow it?"
"On either side was a stone column. On each pillar were signs
that led me to examine them closely. Each was topped with a
vulture. At the each base were skulls sitting in the dust."
"Ah! And these signs?"
"On one was an inverted triangle, with two points up and one
point down. On the other was the Jod. In the dream, I remember
that the Wisdom indicated that these signs are unhealthy. Thus I
"And who may have carved these signs?"
"Some of our own, perhaps? Some who returned thus far, leaking
their mark above and their bones below?"
"You have an excellent memory, considering this was a dream."
"Will you then interpret it for me?"
"It needs interpretation?"
"But I understand nothing of it!"
"You will in time. "
A brazen bell clanged, echoing through temple corridors. A
priest parted the curtains.
"Neophyte, the High Priest awaits thee to begin thy instruction.
It is a high honor. Make haste!"
The friend and the messenger met eyes, glazing over the
neophyte's head. There was something cold, without love, in
The boy stood to follow. The priest turned, revealing his high
beaked profile. The boy recalled a vivid image from his dream, a
pillared vulture against a somber sky. A chill crept over his
frame. He turned to his calm, alert, unsmiling friend. His
friend said with his eyes, "I wait here."
As the curtain fell, hiding the Priest and boy neophyte, the
friend walked to the casement. He gazed across the valley with
his hands clasped behind his back.
"Darkest under the lamp," he whispered. "The boy makes a good
beginning. There is promise of one more in the Wall some day."
ALONE I CAME
by Galina K. Tucker
Lake face glimmers
The hooting owls
The lupine howls
Fern plants sleep
Little bugs creep
My spirits lifting
Alone I came
I leave the same
By my human soul.
THEOSOPHY: ITS BENEFICENT POTENTIALITIES, Part II
By Geoffrey A. Farthing
[This was the 2001 Blavatsky Lecture, given July 29, 2001 at the
Summer School of the Theosophical Society in England. Slightly
edited, it appears now with permission of the speaker and the
Potentiality Three: DIVINE LAW
All of us are born at a certain time to certain parents living in
a certain place in a certain country. We are of a certain
nationality and religion and come into the world endowed with
certain personal gifts or deficiencies, as a male or a female,
born into a house of riches or poverty, to parents of culture and
refinement or the very opposite. The place we are born into is
somewhere on the surface of the planet.
When we are old enough, we will look into the heavens and see
something there of the endless spaces and something of the
multitudes of stars. When we are even older, maybe we will
discover the enormity of those spaces. We will learn that the
whole vast scheme of things has been going for unimaginable ages
in terms of earth years. But there it all is, now; in some
miraculous way the whole boundless plane, periodically "the
playground of numberless Universes incessantly manifesting and
disappearing . . . [has survived.]" (See THE SECRET DOCTRINE,
The Ancient Wisdom teaching is that both our private individual
affairs and those of the boundless universe are all ordered
according to universal or divine law. When the law is applied to
human beings particularly it is referred to as the Law of Karma,
but it is nevertheless always an aspect of the universal Divine
Law, of which HPB has this to say:
> We consider it as the Ultimate Law of the Universe, the source,
> origin and fount of all other laws which exist throughout Nature.
> Karma is the unerring law that adjusts effect to cause, on the
> physical, mental and spiritual planes of being. As no cause
> remains without its due effect from greatest to least, from a
> cosmic disturbance down to the movement of your hand, and as like
> produces like, Karma is that unseen and unknown law which adjusts
> wisely, intelligently and equitably each effect to its cause,
> tracing the latter back to its producer. Though itself
> unknowable, its action is perceivable.
> -- H.P. Blavatsky, THE KEY TO THEOSOPHY, page 201, Original
Its action is the endless flow of events through time, with
everything in that flow determined by what went before. In this
sense, the law is that of causation, of action and of effect.
Everything in the Cosmos, including ourselves, is an effect of
causes generated in the past. All our actions become causes for
Just as the universe and everything in it persists for periods
long enough for everything in it to perform its function in the
total process, so men, animals, and plants live long enough to
fulfill their part in the scheme of things. In the case of man
this period is variable depending on many factors, such as state
of health and so on, but those factors themselves are the effects
of causes set up in the past.
The teaching says quite unequivocally that according to law we
and our circumstances are all determined as a comprehensive
result of what we have done in the past. What we have done
includes our relationships with other people: our immediate
families, our relations, our religious group, our nation, our
race. All of these in themselves generate their own Karma to
which to an extent we are all heirs.
Although we are all responsible for what befalls us in life, this
is not wholly dependent on our own doings but on those of the
groups to which we belong. Again, according to the Law, the
circumstances of our birth and our parents are all predetermined,
so is our physical constitution with a tendency to, or immunity
from, certain diseases.
We might consider all that befalls us in life as fate,
providence, even chance or luck, which some over-ruling Power
arbitrarily dispenses, but the grand teaching tells us quite
otherwise. It tells us that, whether we are aware of it or not,
all that befalls us is the result of what we have done. The
'doing' involves even thinking and feeling.
The law is one of perfect justice. We get our deserts no more
and no less. As we said earlier, however, these desserts can to
a degree be modified both by ourselves in our present actions and
by the groups that we have belonged to. We cannot escape that
group Karma but as a member of that group, we contribute towards
The beneficent aspect of this potentiality is its perfect
justice. The law takes account of the degree of our immaturity
and of our motives for whatever we do. The Karmic effects of a
child's actions will be different from those of similar acts
performed by a responsible adult.
This may be difficult to understand as it is said that the Law
adjusts wisely, intelligently and equitably each effect to its
cause. How can a universal law be wise or intelligent? The
answer is in the livingness of everything, be it the life of a
sub-atomic particle or of a great being. The essential beingness
of all things is not in their objective but in their interior
state, in the subjective worlds.
The great beings who operate, so to speak, the Law are collective
beings, aggregates in terms of consciousness, knowledge and
experience of many, many lives at all levels of development.
They do, however, manifest a unit intelligence or a single
consciousness, at a level commensurate with their development.
These great beings function through subordinate entities on lower
hierarchical levels that in their turn constitute the ordering
principle of the universe. Their aggregate action is the Law in
operation, but they are themselves subject to it. By the
continuous cycle of Nature's processes, these beings are heirs to
a vast experience extending back into unimaginable epochs of
time. This accumulated experience conditions or regulates their
action in ordering of things. They are the agents of the Law, or
of the laws to which Nature in all its collective activities
The certain operations of the Law, in which we are inescapably
involved, give us an unshakeable assurance that in the end all
will be well. As an old hymn says, "God is working his purpose
out," and according to the Ancient Wisdom that purpose is the
evolutionary process for everything, a journey to perfection by
stages. We are part of that process.
Again, an immediate aspect of the Law for each of us is not only
the confidence that all will be well but it bestows self-reliance
and responsibility on each of us. In the light of it, insofar as
we can accept it, we become mature beings, knowingly playing our
part in Nature's endless progressive journey.
A significant insight applying the Law to the human condition is
> Nor would the ways of Karma be inscrutable were men to work in
> union and harmony, instead of disunion and strife. For our
> ignorance of those ways -- which one portion of mankind calls the
> ways of Providence, dark and intricate, while another sees in
> them the action of blind Fatalism, and a third, simple chance,
> with neither gods nor devils to guide them -- would surely
> disappear, if we would but attribute all these to their correct
> cause. With right knowledge, or at any rate with a confident
> conviction that our neighbors will no more work to hurt us than
> we would think of harming them, the two-thirds of the World's
> evil would vanish into thin air. Were no man to hurt his
> brother, Karma-Nemesis would have neither cause to work for, nor
> weapons to act through. It is the constant presence in our midst
> of every element of strife and opposition, and the division of
> races, nations, tribes, societies, and individuals into Cains and
> Abels, wolves and lambs, that is the chief cause of the "ways of
> -- THE SECRET DOCTRINE, I, 643
Potentiality Four: EVOLUTION, LIFE EVER-BECOMING
> The whole order of nature evinces a progressive march towards a
> higher life. There is design in the action of the seemingly
> blindest forces. The whole process of evolution with its endless
> adaptation is a proof of this. The immutable laws that weed out
> the weak and feeble species, to make room for the strong, and
> which ensure the "survival of the fittest," though so cruel in
> their immediate action -- all are working toward the grand end.
> The very fact that adaptations do occur, that the fittest do
> survive in the struggle for existence, shows that what is called
> "unconscious Nature" is in reality an aggregate of forces
> manipulated by semi-intelligent beings (Elementals) guided by
> High Planetary Spirits (Dhyani-Chohans), whose collective
> aggregate forms the manifested verbum of the unmanifested LOGOS,
> and constitutes at one and the same time the MIND of the Universe
> and its immutable LAW.
> -- THE SECRET DOCTRINE, I, pages 277-78
In the spiritual realms of being the life process is continuous
and virtually everlasting but all the forms that life uses or
inhabits, from mineral up to human, are only temporary and must
necessarily have an end. Beginnings always follow ends, however,
in the continuous but cyclic process.
In Potentiality Two, we saw man in a direct relationship with the
universe. His existence, as is that of every thing, is subject
to law, and an aspect of the Law is the evolutionary process.
The process has many aspects, all-beneficent in their way. They
work in their own time and involve factors relating to the inner
worlds not yet recognized in modern philosophies. The problems
of evil involve universal balance and the Law's cause and effect
aspect. Every thing in existence is as it is as a result of what
went before. Always there are antecedents to everything.
The human lifespan is variable. It is a cycle within a greater
cycle in the graded evolutionary process. The progress of the
whole human kingdom depends, in the aggregate, on the efforts
made by, and the achievements of, its members. These are of
infinite variety: they include, for example, a wide range of
mental processes at one level, down to the most humdrum physical
work, all of which are necessary for the survival of the race.
These activities result in rich experience, the fruit of living.
The aggregate of individual experience is that of the race. As
the race persists, so is this experience on going. It is
accumulated and stored in the cosmic memory.
Much experience is in terms of relationships, either between
individuals or between the individual and the environment. In
theosophical terms, both kinds are complex because of their
effects in the inner worlds, in man particularly on his inner
principles, all of which are modified by experience. Everything
in Nature also has its inner principles, more or less developed
and active, or dormant.
Evolution is the process of the ever-improvement of life forms to
fit themselves to express more and more of the potentialities of
spirit. Improving forms are in effect the development of the
Monad. By its nature the Monad, reflecting the absolute in
existence, or as the One Manifest, does not change or grow. It
is the forms that it energizes or animates, and through which it
expresses or manifests its own unlimited characteristics or
qualities, that have to grow or expand in both size and
complexity. All Nature has its 'form' aspect; its spirit is
The mere exigencies of existence ensure that in the long run, in
due season, forms do grow, expand, develop, in all the ways that
are necessary. This growth in accomplished by accumulating
experience on the one hand, and 'effort' on the other. Living
forms develop by effort; muscles grow thereby, so do minds. Both
In our opening paragraph to this Potentiality the phrase,
"survival of the fittest" is used. It is significant and
contains a lesson for us all. It is by survival that the process
of adaptations can work. This process applies to us all. The
moral is that we are here in earth life, life after life, to
learn, passively by experience and often suffering but actively
by making effort in the circumstances in which we find ourselves.
Easy lives are unproductive in the evolutionary sense. Having
had this pointed out to us, the rest is up to us.
Potentiality Five: REINCARNATION
The immortal spiritual Egoic principle in the occult constitution
of man is a key factor in the understanding of reincarnation:
however, this is not generally recognized. Reincarnation is
commonly understood to mean a return to earth of a deceased
personality, a rebirth of that same person, a kind of
resurrection. The theosophical teachings correct and amplify
this popular view. H.P. Blavatsky dealt with Reincarnation and
its associated Law of Karma in one of her essays.
> If Theosophy prevailing in the struggle, its all-embracing
> philosophy strikes deep root into the minds and hearts of men, if
> its doctrines of Reincarnation and Karma, in other words, of Hope
> and Responsibility, find a home in the lives of the new
> generations, then, indeed, will dawn the day of joy and gladness
> for all who now suffer and are outcast. For real Theosophy is
> ALTRUISM, and we cannot repeat it too often. It is brotherly
> love, mutual help, unswerving devotion to Truth. If once men do
> but realize that in these alone can true happiness be found, and
> never in wealth, possession, or any selfish gratification, then
> the dark clouds will roll away, and a new humanity will be born
> upon earth. Then, the GOLDEN AGE will be there indeed.
> -- COLLECTED WRITINGS OF H.P. BLAVATSKY, XI, page 202
This passage refers to Reincarnation and Karma as doctrines of
Hope and Responsibility. Elsewhere HPB refers to them as the
twin doctrines. The one cannot be properly understood without
the other. We dealt with Karma under Potentiality Three, the
Law, which has a number of aspects all more or less relating to
that of cause and effect. Successive personalities are the
effects of causes set up by their immediate predecessors and
possibly those before that.
But what is the process of reincarnation? It is the flow of
'Life' through a series of successive temporary forms. The
process is continuous but alternately passive and active. It
applies to the largest of manifest things, e.g. universes, down
to the very smallest, e.g., sub-atomic particles. Everything has
a period of existence and a period of withdrawal, but there is
THAT which continues through both states, LIFE itself,
everlasting Essence, or Spirit.
Man is regarded as essentially a unit of the Universal Spirit,
regarded as an Ego or Individuality. At intervals of a few
millennia of earth time (variable with circumstances) this
Spiritual Entity projects into the physical world by a
complicated process of rebirth a new personality. Each
personality is linked to its predecessor by a number of
"hereditary" factors that condition the new one from birth, and
each personality has an allotted life span of a relatively short
duration (commonly 70 to 80 years).
During each life, the personality is subject to Karma, even to
his/her inherited characteristics. In a lifetime, the
personality gains many experiences and then eventually dies.
Life experience is said to be of two kinds, personal and
spiritual. The purely personal becomes a hereditary factor in
the conditioning of later personalities. The spiritual is
separated out after death and is assimilated by the spiritual
Individuality during a very long inter-life period in an
unalloyed blissful subjective state.
The importance of a person's realization of his or her essential
divine nature is much stressed in theosophical literature. If it
can become a consciously recognized fact in our lives, it affects
every aspect of our behavior for the better. As HPB has
expressed it, it humanizes the otherwise animal man.
Reincarnation, as far as man is concerned, is the modus operandi
of the vast evolutionary journey that we are all engaged in.
Against background knowledge of the reincarnation process, death
can be seen in perspective. This can reflect into the making of
very different decisions. For example, in the case of
brain-damaged patients on life-support machines, what is the
purpose of our striving to keep physical bodies alive beyond
their useful conscious lifespan? Similarly, we are casting doubt
on the usefulness of much vivisection research and other
cruelties inflicted on animals to produce medicines. Our bodies
may be kept alive for a period longer than if we did not take
animal-tested drugs, but in the light of reincarnation and Karma
is such a practice justified?
The teaching tells us of a virtually endless progressive
unfoldment of the potentialities of spirit. These reflect into
the personalities that are also progressively developing,
manifesting as they do more and more of the qualities of the
divine Essence. Personalities are also on a journey to
perfection, by stages, culminating in their complete spiritual
These stages are marked by the progressive unfoldment of proper
human faculties with their expression on one hand in the
personality's living, its relationships, attitudes, and actions
and on the other in an expanding consciousness. The person
becomes increasingly sensible of the spiritual powers. As he
grows, so he becomes aware of the fact that he is inseverable
linked with whatever beings there are at those high levels.
All these great ideas must surely give us a vision or a hope for
our future that we could never otherwise have had. Our
responsibility is to discover the ways and means, according to
the Law, of realizing them.
TAKE THAT BOOK, IT WILL BE USEFUL ON YOUR JOURNEY
by the Countess Constance Wachtmeister
[From REMINISCENCES OF H.P. BLAVATSKY AND THE SECRET DOCTRINE.
Some material has been silently deleted and explanatory words
have been added within brackets by Daniel Caldwell.]
In the autumn of 1885, I was making preparations to leave my home
in Sweden to spend the winter with some friends in Italy, and
incidentally, en route to pay Madame Gebhard a promised visit at
her residence in Elberfeld [Germany].
It was while I was engaged in putting my affairs in order, in
view of my long absence, that an incident occurred, not indeed
singular in my experience, but out of the normal. I was
arranging and laying aside the articles I intended to take with
me to Italy when I heard a voice saying, "Take that book, it will
be useful to you on your journey." I may as well say at once that
I have the faculties of clairvoyance and clairaudience rather
strongly developed. I turned my eyes on a manuscript volume I
had placed among the heap of things to be locked away until my
return. Certainly it seemed a singular inappropriate vade mecum
for a holiday, being a collection of notes on the Tarot and
passages in the Kabbalah that had been compiled for me by a
friend. However, I decided to take it with me, and laid the book
in the bottom of one of my traveling trunks.
At last the day came for me to leave Sweden, in October 1885, and
I arrived at Elberfeld, where I met with a cordial and
affectionate greeting from Madame Gebhard. However, the time was
drawing near for me to pass on into Italy. My friends never
ceased pressing me to join them there, and at last the date of my
departure was fixed.
When I told Madame Gebhard that I must leave her in a few days,
she spoke to me of a letter she had received from HPB . . .
she was ill in body and depressed in mind. Her sole companions
were her servant and an Indian gentleman.
"Go to her," said Madame Gebhard, "she needs sympathy, and you
can cheer her up."
I thought the matter over. Madame Gebhard was genuinely pleased
when I made known my decision to her and showed her a letter I
had written to "the old lady" in Wurzburg suggesting that if she
cared to receive me I would spend a few weeks with her. The
letter was dispatched, and we waited eagerly for the reply. When
at last it lay upon the breakfast table, there was much
excitement in regard to its contents, but anticipation soon
turned into consternation on Madame Gebhard's part and
disappointment on mine, when we found nothing more nor less than
a polite refusal. Madame Blavatsky was sorry, but she had no
room for me; besides, she was so occupied in writing her Secret
Doctrine that she had no time to entertain visitors, but hoped we
might meet on my return from Italy. After the first natural
disappointment, I set my eyes hopefully southward.
My luggage was soon ready, and a cab was actually waiting for me
at the door when a telegram was put into my hands containing
these words, "Come to Wurzburg at once, wanted immediately --
It may easily be imagined that this message took me by surprise.
There was no resisting and instead of taking my ticket to Rome I
took one to Wurzburg.
It was evening when I reached Madame Blavatsky’s lodgings, and as
I mounted the stairs my pulse was a little hurried while I
speculated upon the reception which awaited me.
Madame Blavatsky's welcome was a warm one, and after the first
few words of greeting, she remarked, "I have to apologize to you
for behaving so strangely. I will tell you the truth, which is,
that I did not want you. I have only one bedroom here, and I
thought that you might be a fine lady and not care to share it
with me. My ways are probably not your ways. If you came to me
I knew that you would have to put up with many things that might
seem to you intolerable discomforts. That is why I decided to
decline your offer, and I wrote to you in that sense; but after
my letter was posted Master spoke to me and said that I was to
tell you to come. I never disobey a word from Master, and I
telegraphed at once. Since then I have been trying to make the
bedroom more habitable. I have bought a large screen which will
divide the room, so that you can have one side and I, the other,
and I hope you will not be too uncomfortable."
I replied that whatever the surroundings to which I had been
accustomed might have been, I would willingly relinquish them all
for the pleasure of her companionship.
I remember very well that it was then, on going into the dining
room together to take some tea, that she said to me abruptly, as
of something that had been dwelling on her mind.
"Master says you have a book for me of which I am much in need."
"No, indeed," I replied, "I have no books with me."
"Think again," she said, "Master says you were told in Sweden to
bring a book on the Tarot and the Kabbalah."
Then I recollected the circumstances that I have related before.
From the time I had placed the volume in the bottom of my box it
had been out of my sight and out of my mind. Now, when I hurried
to the bedroom, unlocked the trunk, and dived to the bottom, I
found it in the same corner I had left it when packing in Sweden,
undisturbed from that moment to this. But this was not all.
When I returned to the dining room with it in my hand, Madame
Blavatsky made a gesture and cried, "Stay, do not open it yet.
Now turn to page ten and on the sixth line you will find the
words . . . ." And she quoted a passage.
I opened the book which, let it be remembered, was no printed
volume of which there might be a copy in HPB's possession, but a
manuscript album in which had been written notes and excerpts by
a friend of mine for my own use; yet, on the page and at the line
she had indicated, I found the very words she had uttered.
When I handed her the book I ventured to ask her why she wanted
"Oh," she replied, "for THE SECRET DOCTRINE. That is my new work
that I am so busily engaged in writing. Master is collecting
material for me. He knew you had the book and told you to bring
it that it might be at hand for reference."
GOTTFRIED DE PURUCKER AND THE THEOSOPHICAL SOCIETY, Part III
[From a booklet that appeared when G. de Purucker became head
of the Theosophical Society with International Headquarters
at Point Loma, California.]
QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS
> What is to be your policy as the new Leader and Official Head of
> the Theosophical Society as regards the conduct of that
This is a big question to answer: "What is your policy?" I have a
very definite policy -- a clear-cut one, which is not my own, in
a sense, but which has been put upon me as a sacred trust to
carry out, and which I have taken into my heart and mind and will
carry out; and therefore in that sense it is my own. Who put it
upon me? Katherine Tingley did.
You may know that we have a line of successorship in the
Theosophical Society that is different perhaps from anything else
in the world. Christianity in its early years had somewhat the
same idea, which it called and still calls the Apostolic
Succession, that is to say, that Teacher succeeded Teacher, or
Leader succeeded Leader; but the SPIRITUAL aspect of this true
system died out very quickly in the Christian Church and in the
very early centuries of the history of that ecclesiastical
It has not died out among us, and may the immortal gods prevent
that it ever die out, because it is based on a spiritual fact or
operation of Nature. Messenger to messenger transmit the light
of the holy Sages down the ages. Certain ones, certain human
beings, can be trained to transmit that light in purity and in
fullness, and it is their duty and their joy to transmit it.
This chain of succession in Teachers is what is often spoken of
in Greek historical tradition as the Hermetic Chain or the Golden
Chain as it is sometimes called, and was considered among Greek
philosophical mystics as reaching from Father Zeus through a
series of spiritual and then noble human beings down to ordinary
men. This was a teaching of the Mysteries where it was fully
explained. I may tell you here and now that it is a true
teaching because it represents distinctly and clearly a true
operation of Nature.
More or less faint copies of this Hermetic Chain or Golden Chain
or Succession of Teachers were taken over by various later formal
and esoteric sects such as the Christian Church, wherein it was
called the Apostolic Succession.
As it actually took place in the Christian Church, the Apostolic
Succession became a mere form, a mere matter of election to the
office of Teacher, or mere appointment. What there was of the
Divine Light was gone. Consequently, the Apostolic Succession in
the Christian Church is but a whitened sepulcher filled with the
ideals of men long dead. These ideals have left but their aroma
in the whitened sepulcher. This is no criticism of the good
people of the Christian Church. I am simply stating a historical
and an esoteric, or as we Theosophists sometimes say, an occult
In all the great Mystery Schools of antiquity, there was this
succession of teacher following teacher. As the world puts it,
it was a succession of Leader following Leader. Each one passed
on the light to his successor as he himself had received it from
his Predecessor. As long as this transmission of light was a
reality, it was a spiritual thing. Therefore, all such movements
lived, flourished, and did great good in the world.
These Teachers were the messengers to men from what we
Theosophists call the Great White Lodge of the Masters of Wisdom.
It is time that the public knew something of these things, knew
the truth about them. People have already distorted our ancient
Theosophical teachings. There are some fantastic ideas abroad
about what we believe and do not believe.
The cornerstone of my policy is the handing on of the light
undimmed, pure, and as brilliant as I have received it. As I
have received it, I shall likewise pass it on.
As regards the details of my policy, I will let you into a little
secret, which only recently I have communicated to my trusted
officials here; and it is this: my great Predecessor, Katherine
Tingley, hid in her heart the policy that she told me to carry
out after she had gone. She said,
> G. de P., you must do what I have been unable to do, because
> none was ready; but you can do it; you can work with trained
> helpers and officials, whom I did not have to work with in the
> beginning. I have spent my life, I have given all I am and all I
> have, to train the membership of the Society to understand, so
> that understanding they might receive, and in receiving, they
> could give in turn.
That was Katherine Tingley's dearest wish. The direction this
policy follows is a return to the original lines of thought and
teaching which H.P. Blavatsky, the main founder of the
Theosophical Society in modern times, lay down. Why was this not
done before? They could not be. They were too esoteric and
difficult for the membership even of the Theosophical Movement to
understand and follow. Therefore, my great Predecessor give up
all her life in her leadership to training, teaching, raising the
thought and understanding of the membership of the Society so
that when the time came for the deliverance into their hearts and
minds of some of the most sacred truths of the esoteric teachings
of the Ancient Wisdom, they could receive them because then they
would be enabled to understand them.
You see what I mean when I state that the keystone of my policy
is such-and-such, and that to me it is a sacred trust. In
telling you this I can let out my heart to you, talk to you
frankly -- to those of you who are interested, and even to those
of you who have come merely to hear what a Theosophical lecturer
could have to say.
Realize, friends, that all such movements as the Theosophical
Society are historical movements. Those of you who understand
some of our teachings and of the history of the Theosophical
Movement likewise know that it is in no wise different from
similar movements in the past. Considered as bodies, all these
different movements have one common teaching, one core of
doctrine. That heart-doctrine is the ancient Wisdom Religion of
the ages, transmitted in ancient times, for instance, in
countries bordering the Inland Sea of Europe, through what were
there called the Mystery Schools.
The teachings given in these Schools of the Ancient Mysteries lay
at the foundation of all the great religions and philosophies of
the past. From them, all these great religions and philosophies
have today more or less degenerated. I may indeed make one
single exception, however, an exception that I make with one
single reservation, and this exception is the great Buddhist
religion. I make this exception simply in justice. We
Theosophists are not Buddhists, but that great religion, founded
by the noblest Seer and Sage that the earth has seen for
thousands of centuries -- not years -- has the least degenerated
from the original teachings of the Ancient Wisdom.
Here is in the reservation of which I speak. The above exception
does not mean that the Buddhist teachings as they exist today in
the Buddhist scriptures are technically Theosophical. For this
reason, even the great Founder of Buddhism framed those noble
teachings in enigmatic form. They are in the form of parables so
that to understand even Buddhism, you must understand Theosophy
which is the master key opening the secret meaning of all these
ancient religions and philosophies.
The sacred trust that I have received is to bring back to the
hearts of men hope, the promise of a bright future, by delivering
into their hearts and minds the doctrines, tenets, and teachings
of the ancient Wisdom Religion of mankind. What the nature of my
policy is I shall answer more fully in answering another question
that I have before me.
> Is it your intention to work exactly as your Predecessor
> Katherine Tingley worked? Are you going to make changes which she
> would not herself have made? In other words, is the conduct of
> the Society under your direction to be the same as hers, or
> different from hers?
I cannot answer that question by a simple yes or a simple no. If
I said it was to be different, I would not be telling you truth.
If I said it was the same, I would not be telling you truth
either. That very remarkable genius, Katherine Tingley, hid her
policy, the secret objective, the aim, of all her Theosophical
work, deep in her heart and communicated it only to a select
group and in full only to me.
She pursued different methods from those it is now my bounden
duty to pursue. The secret policy that she, our two great
Predecessors, and I aimed at is precisely the same. The policy
in its essentials, in the heart of it, has not varied and will
not vary an iota. The methods of necessity must vary with
changed times. The time has come for drawing the curtain, for
showing some of the ancient arcane. For that, Katherine Tingley
worked. She prepared the foundations sure and everlasting for
the superstructure that is now in building, of which the building
has now begun.
Which is the more important -- the everlasting foundation or the
superstructure? Neither. One cannot exist without the other.
Therefore, the policy that is the secret policy of Katherine
Tingley is mine. These methods of teaching or propaganda are
what Katherine Tingley most earnestly desired to carry out, the
wish of her very heart. I shall carry them out. This wish was
what she called a return to the methods of the great founder of
the Theosophical Society, Helena Petrovna Blavatsky.
Is this the so-called Back to Blavatsky Movement? Not on your
life! Excuse the vernacular. Actually, that idea signifies that
the Theosophical Movement has wandered from H.P. Blavatsky,
first Messenger in modern times of the great Masters of Wisdom to
men. As far as those people who belong to the Back to Blavatsky
Movement are concerned, they no doubt tell the truth when they
say they want to go back to Blavatsky because they have wandered
from her, but such is not the case with us. We admit not that
the Theosophical Society has ever swerved from that direct line
originating in H.P. Blavatsky and running, as to the Pole Star,
up to the present day.
Does it mean that our membership has been trained and can now
carry on the work which H.P. Blavatsky herself could not fully
carry on because the times were not ripe and the members were
even less ready to receive than they were ready to receive the
wish of Katherine Tingley's heart, and the heart of her
Predecessor Mr. Judge?
Had H.P. Blavatsky taught what she wanted to teach and what she
knew in time would be taught, it would have been a sowing of seed
in stony places. The hot sun would have come up, scorched, and
killed the seed. The whole Theosophical Movement would have been
a futile effort. She trained and taught her members. So did
Katherine Tingley. Please understand that I am the Servant of
the Law. My duty is clear-cut. I shall follow it to the end.
For me, it is a happy and a joyful duty.
> Are Theosophy and Occultism the same thing, or different things?
Some of these questions are difficult to answer. I know just
what I should say, but I am so afraid of giving an answer that
will in turn give to you a misleading impression. I am not a
gifted speaker and the consequence is, as I have said before,
that I feel on occasions a positive alarm when I try to answer
these questions; and all that I can do is to take my courage in
my hands and go to it.
In one sense, Theosophy and Occultism are the same. In another
sense, they are different. Let me try to illustrate. Do not the
Christians for instance say that the teachings of Christ and the
Christian theology are the same, yet different? They claim that
the theological doctrines originated in the teachings of Jesus
Christ, but that the actual teachings which Jesus Christ gave in
his day were not -- and it is true -- the theological doctrines
of later times.
Theosophy is the ancient Wisdom Religion in an all-inclusive
sense. Spiritual beings from other spheres originally gave these
wonderful and sublime doctrines to mankind on this planet. They
were gods among men. The doctrines have descended in the care of
this great Association of the Masters of Wisdom down to us even
unto this day. They are given out from time to time, from age to
age, when the world needs a spiritual rejuvenation. That body of
teachings or doctrine is Theosophy, the wisdom of the gods, the
master key to all the great religions, sciences, and philosophies
of the past.
Occultism is that part of Theosophy that treats of the deeper,
hid, mystic, and esoteric side of nature and of man. It is
Theosophy indeed, but that part of Theosophy that the average man
cannot "eat" -- to use the figure of the New Testament, the
metaphor of the Christian Scripture -- because he is still a
little child. He needs must be fed the milk -- to use again the
figure of the New Testament -- that is to say, to begin with the
Discipline, as we Theosophists say, precedes the Mysteries.
Occultism, therefore, is that branch of the general Theosophical
philosophy that treats of these operations of Nature and the
secret laws of Nature and of man. These two are the same
fundamentally, and yet that same thing, as it were, is two
branches: one for the esoteric; and the other is the
all-inclusive source from which streams the current of the
teachings for the exoteric.
Friends, these two divisions are not arbitrary. It all depends
upon the applicant. You cannot keep a good man down, is an old
saying; and the man who comes to our doors and knocks and gives
the right knock -- we know what the right knock is -- enters.
> Is your Society something new in the history of the world, or is
> it in the same line of teachings that the Ancient Mysteries of
> Antiquity followed? Do you believe in the necessity of having a
> Teacher whose main duty it is to teach natural truths? Is it
> possible for a Society to live and exist without a teacher, with
> members trying to get what natural facts they can?
Well, after what I have just been telling you, it seems to me
that this question allows me to make a very ready and appropriate
answer. Most emphatically, our Society is not new in the history
of the world. It has always existed. At intervals, it has
disappeared as a public organization and been preserved in the
secret places of the earth. Our Society follows precisely the
same line of teaching that the Ancient Mysteries followed, not
merely of Greece and of Rome and of ancient Hindustan and the
ancient countries of the Americas, for the same Wisdom Religion
of the archaic ages was and is identical in all.
We Theosophists believe not as some people who merely call
themselves Theosophists believe; but we of the original Society,
accepting the teachings of our Predecessors: the teachings of the
Masters of Wisdom: believe that to have a true Teacher is the
best and simplest way of learning, and the quickest. Do not
accept any Teacher, however, in whom you have not trust. Refuse!
When you do give your trust, are you man enough or woman enough
to accept that Teacher honestly and courageously and to follow
him? I am, for I have learned the wisdom of it. We Theosophists
most certainly believe in Teachers. We most certainly believe in
the successorship of which I spoke in the beginning of my talk
I myself have been a faithful servant and disciple under my
Predecessors. I gave them my heart-trust and all my life. I put
all that I had and all that I am in their spiritual keeping, and
I have never regretted it. I have learned, and I have a peace in
my heart and happiness in my mind that are beyond all
understanding of anyone but myself; because I know.
THE SECRET OF POWER
By George William Russell [1867-1935]
[From THE IRISH THEOSOPHIST, May 1893.]
This story is extraordinary. That is not why I wish to tell you
it. I think mere weirdness, grotesque or unusual character, are
not sufficient reasons for making public incidents in which there
is an element of the superhuman. The world, in spite of its
desire to understand the nature of the occult, is sick of and
refuses to listen to stories of apparitions that betray no
spiritual character or reveal no spiritual law.
The incident here related is burned into my mind and life, not
because of its dramatic intensity or personal character, but
because it was a revelation of the SECRET OF POWER, a secret
which the wise in good and the wise in evil alike have knowledge
My friend Felix was strangely disturbed. Not only were his
material affairs unsettled, but he was also passing through a
crisis in his spiritual life. Two paths were open before him.
On one side lay the dazzling mystery of passion. On the other,
"the small old path" held out its secret and spiritual
allurements. I had hope that he would choose the latter, and as
I was keenly interested in his decision, I invested the struggle
going on in his mind with something of universal significance,
seeing in it a symbol of the strife between "light and darkness
that are the world's eternal ways."
Felix came in late one evening. I saw at once by the dim light
that there was something strange in his manner. I spoke to him
in enquiry. He answered me in a harsh dry voice foreign to his
usual manner. "Oh, I am not going to trouble myself anymore, I
will let things take their course." This seemed the one idea in
his mind. The one thing he understood clearly was that things
were to take their own course.
He failed to grasp the significance of any other idea or its
relative importance. He answered "Aye, indeed," with every
appearance of interest and eagerness to some trivial remark about
the weather, and was quite unconcerned about another and most
important matter which should have interested him deeply.
I soon saw what had happened. The forces were evenly balanced in
his mind. They had fought strenuously. His mind had become so
utterly wearied out that it could work no longer. A flash of old
intuition illumined it at last. It was not wise to strive with
such bitterness over life. Therefore, he said to me in memory of
this intuition, "I am going to let things take their course." A
larger tribunal would decide. He had appealed unto Caesar. I
sent him up to his room and tried to quiet his fever by
magnetization with some success. He fell asleep. As I was
rather weary myself, I retired soon after.
This was the vision of the night. It was surely in the room I
lay on my bed, and yet space opened on every side with pale,
clear light. A slight wavering figure caught my eye, a figure
that swayed back and forth. I was struck with its utter
feebleness, yet I understood it was its own will or some quality
of its nature that determined that palpitating movement towards
the poles between which it swung. What were they? I became
silent as night and thought no more.
Two figures awful in their power opposed each other. The frail
being wavering between them could by putting out its arms have
touched them both. It alone wavered, for they were silent,
resolute, and knit in the conflict of will. They stirred not a
hand nor a foot. There was only a still quivering now and then
as of intense effort, but they made no other movement. Their
heads were bent forward slightly. Their arms were folded. Their
bodies were straight, rigid, and inclined slightly backwards from
each other like two spokes of a gigantic wheel.
What were they, these figures? I knew not, and yet gazing upon
them, thought that took no words to clothe itself mutely read
their meaning. Here were the culminations of the human, towering
images of the good and evil man may aspire to.
I looked at the face of the evil adept. His bright red-brown
eyes burned with a strange radiance of power. I felt an
answering emotion of pride, of personal intoxication, of psychic
richness rise up within me gazing upon him.
His face was archetypal. The abstract passion that eluded me in
the features of many people I knew was here declared, exultant,
defiant, and gigantic. It seemed to leap like fire, to be free.
In this face, I was close to the legendary past, to the hopeless
worlds where men were martyred by stony kings, where prayer was
hopeless, where pity was none. I traced a resemblance to many of
the great Destroyers in history whose features have been
preserved, Napoleon, Ramases, and a hundred others, named and
nameless, the long line of those who were crowned in cruelty.
His strength was in human weakness. I saw this, for space and
the hearts of men were bare before me. Out of space, there
flowed to him a stream half invisible of red. It nourished that
rich radiant energy of passion. It flowed from men as they
walked and brooded in loneliness, or as they tossed in sleep.
I withdrew my gaze from the face that awoke in me a lurid sense
accompaniment, and turned it on the other. An aura of pale soft
blue was around this figure, through which gleamed an underlight
as of universal gold.
The vision was already dim and departing, but I caught a glimpse
of a face godlike in its calm, terrible in the beauty of a life
we know only in dreams, with strength which is the end of the
hero's toil, which belongs to the many times martyred soul. Yet,
not far away, nor in the past was its power. It was the might of
life that exists eternally.
I understood how easy it would have been for this one to end the
conflict, to have gained a material victory by its power, but
this would not have touched on or furthered its spiritual ends.
Only its real being had force to attract that real being which
was shrouded in the wavering figure.
This truth the adept of darkness knew also and therefore he
intensified within the sense of pride and passionate personality.
Therefore, they stirred not a hand nor a foot while under the
stimulus of their presence culminated the good and evil in the
life that had appealed to a higher tribunal to decide.
Then this figure wavering between the two moved forward and
touched with its hand the Son of Light. All at once, the scene
and actors vanished, and the eye that saw them was closed. I was
alone with darkness and a hurricane of thoughts.
Strange and powerful figures! I knew your secret of strength. It
is only TO BE. Nature quickened by your presence leaps up in
response. I knew no less the freedom of that human soul, for
your power only revealed its unmanifest nature. It merely
precipitated experience. I knew that although the gods and
cosmic powers may war over us forever, it is we alone declare
them victors or vanquished.
For the rest, the vision of that night was prophetic, and the
feet of my friend are now set on that way which was the innermost
impulse of his soul.
HPB HIGHLIGHTS, Part II
By Boris de Zirkoff
[This talk comes from the second part of a tape recording
entitled "HPB Highlights" made of a private class held on January
9, 1955. Some spots on the tape were hard to make out so there
may be a few inaccuracies in the edited version of the talk.]
It is curious that HPB and Colonel Olcott should have had to open
the Theosophical Society's Headquarters in India. Why would they
have to go there?
Over 2,000 years, India has gone downhill gradually. She has
forgotten the wealth of spirituality in her scriptures, the
message of her great sages and seers. Building up psychologies
by the dozens, including Brahmanical, Hindu, and Jain, India got
in the solid grip of a temporal priesthood. In the west, the
priesthood of the Roman Church did the same. There were the same
influences, types of people, and objectives. The aim was to have
power over people and get money out of them. India went down,
down, and down.
The Teachers explained that India was paying a heavy karmic debt
for her past wrongs. They wanted an effort to reawaken the
consciousness of the people, those sensitive enough. There was a
possibility to reawaken their memory of their spiritual potential
as a nation. Largely done in India, the effort included Ceylon,
the Buddhist part of the country.
There is practically no Buddhism in India. A Hindu, Gautama the
Buddha, started it there. Buddhism rooted in Tibet, Burma, and
Nepal, but the priesthood drove it out of India. The priests did
not want reform. What little of Buddhism that remained
crystallized. Olcott worked indefatigably amongst Buddhists of
Ceylon, where they considered him almost a saint.
In the West, there were trends of spirituality and metaphysics
good for the Teachers to reseed India. My teacher, Dr. de
Purucker, pointed out an interesting fact. It was the karmic
destiny of the Occident, both Europe and America, to reintroduce
the appreciation of spiritual things into India. It had sunken,
having forgotten the message and precepts of its past.
Thousands of years ago, India was a great spiritual country. In
the future, it is destined to become so again. In this era, we
have an interesting interchange between the Orient and the
Occident. We benefit by receiving the wealth of Indian
philosophy in translation, adapting it to our Occidental
thinking. This has taken place since the founding of the
Theosophical Movement, carrying out one of its objectives.
Without being Theosophists necessarily, people take hold of our
ideas and carry out our cause in the outer rim of the Movement.
You might ask if it were significant that HPB was never the
President of the Theosophical Society. She served as
Corresponding Secretary. As the brains behind the organization,
she was never its nominal head. Her position was unique.
Out of respect for her, the Society abolished the office of
Corresponding Secretary when she died. There is a letter with
instructions from her Teachers. The original exists. Colonel
Olcott was to do the executive work as organizer, lecturer,
contact man, and public relations man. He would support the
facade of the Society. While Corresponding Secretary, HPB would
deal with occult teachings, training, and the policies of the
Movement unseen from the outside. She would have everything to
do with esoteric work.
In 1888, she founded the Esoteric School of Theosophy for the
occult training of would-be disciples. We also know it as the
Eastern School of Theosophy. They are two names for the same
thing. Olcott had nothing to do with it. That was completely
HPB's jurisdiction. At that time, Olcott had been a direct
disciple of Master M for several years. In later years, he met
his Teacher more than once. HPB entirely conducted the Esoteric
That arrangement paralleled Tibetan Lamaism. It has an outer or
exoteric head, the Dalai Lama, and an inner or esoteric head, the
Tashi Lama. The Dalai Lama resided in Lhasa and the Tashi Lama
in Shigatse. The ancient Mystery Schools used this arrangement.
They had their outer work and inner work, like a two-horse
carriage, each with its own jurisdiction. It existed in the
Greek School, the Egyptian School, and the Babylonian School.
The modern Theosophical Movement has tried it, but I cannot say
that it is so now. It was successful during HPB's time, but not
perfect. It has not worked well since then.
Each School is an experiment. Some work and others do not.
Human weaknesses arise. The Teachers are not dictators. Having
no right to, they will not do anything against the karmic trend.
Failing in many things, yet they succeed at times. They do not
impose, but only lead or suggest. Today, we live up to the
standards or fail.
Garibaldi founded the Italian form of democracy. Someone might
consider him the George Washington or Simon Bolivar of Italy.
How did HPB participate? We know little of this obscure period of
her life. Under pressure from two or three contemporaneous
students who wanted to know more of what she did, she gave a
specific statement. "Yes," she said, "I was at the Battle of
Mentana, November 3, 1867. I was there with Garibaldi, fought
the Frenchmen, the Austrians, and the armies of the states of the
pope. Garibaldi was beaten." She added it was nobody's business
what she was doing there.
As a woman apparently in men's dress, why did she fight in the
battle of Garibaldi? She told Olcott she was there in an ordinary
Garibaldian red shirt, like they all wore. Wounded possibly more
than once, she found herself left there, taken for dead. What
was she doing there? She never fully disclosed it. There was a
veil thrown over this period of her life. She was there under
order of her Teacher. There was something to do.
The lives of advanced occultists are mysterious. Look at the
lives of Count de St. Germain or of Cagliostro. They are even
more mysteries than Blavatsky. They found themselves in curious
places. They did strange things, which made no sense from the
worldly standpoint. They never explained.
That is all we know about the Battle of Mentana. HPB said nobody
knows about it except the Garibaldis. A few years ago, there
were still several Garibaldis alive, the grandsons. I tried to
get information from one. He knew nothing. Did the family know
anything about it? Perhaps they decided not to say anything.
This one, though, knew nothing. The family is still alive in
HPB was in other strange and curious places for unknown reasons.
Look at HPB's horoscope. Note that around 1875 the progressed
chart shows a conjunction of the moon with the sun. Ordinarily
in a woman's chart, this signifies the birth of a child. The
Theosophical Society was her child.
St. Germain was highly cultured, polished, and with courtly
manners. Immensely wealthy, he revolved in high circles all his
life. Heaven only knows what he did. He was a Messenger from
the Lodge and his work was mysterious. Some occultists work in
such circles, others work among the very poor, and others work in
between. The circle depends upon the mission he or she is to
Can you believe the movies depicting Cagliostro as the worst
possible character? We have much work to rehabilitate some
characters. We see others like Attila the Hun or Genghis Khan
shown as decent men. Misrepresentation of anyone is possible.
Strange people get hold of a few facts and twist them. Some even
show Blavatsky as a shady character! Great people have the
destiny of finding themselves misrepresented at times.
Eventually, truth will win out.
Wanting to keep church doctrine alive, members of orthodox
churches rose against great occult students. They were strongly
against truth coming out. Books against HPB come from them. The
same with anti-Cagliostro propaganda from Catholics, trying to
strengthen their church against truth others offered of the Laws
of Nature. This opposition is almost unavoidable. Was
Cagliostro ultimately martyred? Did they burn him at the stake or
imprison him in Italy? Nobody knows. He went where he wanted, so
I doubt they could hold him in handcuffs.
In a book by a psychologist at the United States Department of
Health, we read about a convict at Leavenworth. No prison could
hold him. One time they put him in solitary confinement and he
showed up in a theater in Kansas City. No one had an idea how he
got there. He never broke through the bars. He would vanish and
reappear in theaters hundreds of miles away. He must have had
some powers. Perhaps it was a case of materialization and
The Spiritualist Movement has diminished in potency and type of
followers. With many psychic things, it has more people. Having
become a church, it is less significant spiritually. The
Spiritualist Church even has its ordained ministers. In HPB's
days, it was not scientific. It brought a revival of interest in
the psychic, which the West had completely denied for centuries.
It was a useful tool to break through into a greater field.
That worked in the 1870's. The opportunity was limited to
American Spiritualism, not to a different type of people in
France, Germany, and England. The Teachers saw possibility with
the Americans, who really had some remarkable people among their
millions looking for deeper things.
The Spiritualists did not want to know more. HPB wrote in
defense of genuine psychic phenomena for two years. She defended
the reputation of some of the best mediums in America. The
materialists attacked them, denying they were genuine and there
was anything to their claims. While HPB defended them, they were
HPB's Teachers ordered her to write articles about the real
causes of these phenomena. From that moment, the Spiritualists
threw her overboard. She was not a Spiritualist and did not
believe as they did. Because they would never defend their
beliefs, they just dropped her like a hot potato. They were
becoming a church. The Spiritualists ignored the tremendous
spiritual knowledge that she offered. At that time, she
continued her by forming an organization completely independent
of the Spiritualist Movement.
In those days, there were remarkable men in the Spiritualistic
Movement, qualified for higher training. They were high-class
mediums who did not believe in Spiritualistic explanations.
Their internal nature was good material for advanced occultists
to train. Some received guidance from the Masters, including
C.C. Massey and Stainton Moses (a pseudonym for M.A. Oxon).
They were intuitive people.
In her early articles, HPB pointed out that ordinary Spiritualism
is no good, since it is just hunger after psychism.
Nevertheless, she said, it has a higher aspect. If one wants to
find out the real operation of universal law behind the
phenomena, he or she will have to undergo severe occult training.
Few people want to do that.
Spiritualism broke through materialism allowing people to see
that matter is not concrete, that there was something more than
the physical. Remember the depth of ignorance in those days. We
speak about materialism rampant today. True, materialism has
invaded many new domains of our lives, but it was stronger then.
There was nothing but churches or materialism, no recognition of
anything existing outside of matter.
Spiritualistic manifestations began to take place in Europe and
America on a large scale. They were like a hole driven into the
wall of materialism. They acted like a pointed finger, directing
people to look to another domain open to investigation. The
Masters used Spiritualism as a wedge in the wall of unbelief and
denial. Although it proved insufficient, it served a purpose.
Someday we will be able to write the true story. We need facts
from more perspectives. It is too soon to write something.
We will see the big picture in the proper cycle in the receding
distance of time. In my last issue of THEOSOPHIA, there is an
article on cycles. It discusses the relation of cosmic cycles to
breathing and the pulsations of the heart. We could spend an
entire evening on that.
Sometimes a subject apart from ordinary life helps people. They
may not consider something written on their problem. You simply
take them away to another realm of thought.
The present Dalai Lama of Tibet is quite young, perhaps 22 years
old. I do not think that he is just a figurehead. I believe
that both the Dalai and Tashi Lama are men of profound spiritual
insight. They are both Initiates. To what degree, I do not
One of the finest books on Tibet is by Colonel Bell. He was a
commissioner there some years ago. He was not writing on the
current Dalai Lama, but the one preceding him. The Dalai Lama
was a man of unusual spirituality. There is a testimonial of an
Englishman that when he came into his presence, something special
The Buddhist reformer, Tsongkhapa, was a great initiate. He
established the succession of Dalai Lamas, which has gone on
since the fifteenth century. The Dalai and Tashi Lamas are
genuine successions of spiritual teachers. A prophecy in Tibet
said there would be thirteen Dalai and Tashi Lamas. Is the term
up? I do not know if the present Dalai Lama is a real successor.
Perhaps he is just a nice boy. Even so, he is still highly
Do not be confused about politics. The communists came in and
led the Dalai Lama somewhere. They took the Tashi Lama to China
and then brought him back. We know little of the intricacies of
Oriental politics. Some are deceptive to mislead others. The
high Lamaistic officials of genuine spirituality have nothing to
do with politics. They might play a difficult game to make
people think everything is all right. We know little of what
they do, little of what is really taking place.
Could the Tibetans run the communists out of their country? It is
possible. There is still a great spiritual force in the
Lamaistic church, even with its lower form degraded, perhaps
forcibly. It has a nucleus.
Even with the strange doings of the Catholic Church through the
centuries, it still has a nucleus of spirituality. It may be
small, but it still exists somewhere. Inside the church, there
are people of real spirituality playing a game to keep it alive.
We had enough evidence to say that within the structure of the
Lamaistic church are Initiates of real knowledge and high degree.
Because of this, we can say that true, Northern Buddhism has much
more of a nucleus of spirituality.
The Tibetans are jealous of what we have. Suspicious of
westerners, they put up a false front. Can you blame them?
Everywhere we go, we try to introduce our ways. If we can, we
laugh down, criticize, and destroy the ways of other people. We
deny their aspirations, trying to impose our European or American
system. We cannot blame them for being suspicious and not
wanting to open up their country.
Our information about them is fragmentary. We find in public
libraries books on Tibet written by westerners having been there
recently. With genuine spirit, cordiality, and open-heartedness,
their have won trust. The Tibetans opened up to them and showed
more of what is going on.
Ten years ago, a young Frenchman wrote a good book. He went
there and gained their trust. He found a true spiritual teacher.
The latter part of this book is amazing. He tells of their real
spiritual knowledge and control of natural forces. It is
inspiring to reading what that old lama told him.
Another book is THE PEAKS AND LAMAS by Marco Pallis, a Greek. It
gives a splendid account of Tibet. Every time a fine man goes
there, he sees finer things. Every time an ordinary materialist
goes there, he sees the outside show, next to nothing. He cannot
fool a Tibetan hierarchy of spiritual, enlightened men. They
will know who he is and what he can do.
A westerner goes into the world as missionary or diplomat. One
gets results with respect and gratitude. Acting like a teenager,
another does not get results. Even if the people do not
understand one's words, the attitude is explanatory. Apart from
being intelligent, this keen understanding is essential.
A person may live in a hovel. Someone else lives is something
better, but lacking western refinement. Neither person's home
describes them as an individual. Either could be a highly
spiritual man with great wisdom and a background of culture that
we will not reach in a thousand years. We judge the world by our
standards: the Englishman have theirs, Frenchman another,
Americans a third. The Emily Post standard, for instance, is no
Lowell Thomas in OUT OF THIS WORLD TO FORBIDDEN TIBET describes
Tibetans as shoddy, bearded, with long hair, and wearing ragged
clothes thrown one on top of the other to keep warm. He
describes them as horrible. One held a dog, and Thomas asked
which looked the shaggier. He clearly was not interested in the
Ponder the idea, an important thought. Aspiring to truth, we
students of the spiritual constantly work to avoid misjudging of
people or events by their outward appearance. We are
self-deceived a million different ways, looking upon habits,
customs, dress, outward circumstance, and even another's speech
as showing what they are. No, these do not reflect their soul
Another's soul life may be rich. One sentence of his may contain
quite a message! He may look shabby. He may come from the North
Pole and not talk our language. He may have bad table manners.
He may be our next-door neighbor. We imagine him rather coarse.
Even so, he has a philosophy better than ours. With no facility
of language to express it, he may say a word or two worth
listening to, giving us a new insight on life.
Avoid the misjudging of people. Outward appearances are ok, but
too important to shallow people. As students, we follow people's
souls, the workings of their minds, and the keynote of their
heart-life. We consider what they are, not how they appear.
What they are radiates independent of what suit they wear. The
akasha radiates through them whether they be in a bus, a theater,
or our drawing room. What they are simply IS. It radiates. We
get it. We attune ourselves to it. They cannot hide it.
We do not attune ourselves to another intellectually. If we
remove our intellect for a while, it will be easier to catch the
undertone. Full of ideas, we make a barrier between another and
us. Cultivate a desire to know, sympathy towards the heart and
soul of the other, and a yearning to help if possible. Open
oneself to the fine in him. Then we can attune to them. This is
not merely an intellectual process. There is sympathetic
intercourse, a willingness to learn, and a willingness to listen.
Everyone is our teacher. They have something to teach us.
Our duty is to put ourselves in their souls, thereby building
links of great mutual importance for the future. Is there an
attitude of superiority or self-righteousness? Do we have the
feeling we sure have got it all, whether as an individual, group,
or nation? If so, we live a teenage psychology. This is the same
as a schoolboy anywhere in the world may do. They think they
know it all.
I heard the great Dr. Merrill once say in a lecture on
astronomy, "Fifty years ago, we knew all about these things. We
do not know so much now!" He was aware. He had a sense of humor.
One may understand the complexities of life. He knows that he
knows little. In his humility, that man is greater than the
self-righteous. As students of Theosophy, we cultivate that
genuine humility. We do not grovel in the dust, but rather are
humble in recognition of the greatness of life. We see our
potential greatness, stand in awe before the unknown, and feel
deep reverence to all that is.
Dedicated to the Theosophical Philosophy and its Practical Application