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THEOSOPHY WORLD ------------------------------------ August, 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.)
"Gratification of Passions," by B.P. Wadia
"Theosophy: Its Beneficient Potentialities," Part IV,
by Geoffrey A. Farthing
"Nature and the Butterfly," by James Neil Feinstein
"Sri Aurobindo on 'The Life Divine,'" by Grace Knoche
"Missing Material by H.P. Blavatsky Discovered,"
by Daniel H. Caldwell
"What Theosophy and Its Society Should Be," Part I
by Madame Camille Lemaitre
"Kundalini Rising and Spiritual Enlightenment," Part I
by Rick Nurrie-Stearns
"Ananda -- River of Bliss," by Robert Airlie
"The Earth Breath," by George William Russell
"A Discussion on Truth," Part II, by Boris de Zirkoff
> There is a theory which states that if ever anybody discovers
> exactly what the Universe is for and why it is here, it will
> instantly disappear and be replaced by something even more
> bizarre and inexplicable. There is another theory which states
> that this has already happened.
> -- Douglas Adams
GRATIFICATION OF PASSIONS
by B.P. Wadia
[From THUS HAVE I HEARD, pages 254-56.]
> There is no satisfying lusts even by a shower of gold pieces. He
> who knows that lusts have a short taste and bring suffering in
> their train is wise.
So says the Master Gautama, He who followed in the footprints of
His Illustrious Predecessors. This Verse 186 of THE DHAMMAPADA
contains a principle of conduct that modern Psychology ignores.
Lust carries within itself the force of greed. Lust is ever
avaricious. It craves fulfillment repeatedly, for its pleasure
THE BHAGAVAD-GITA describes the ordinary kind of lust as rajasic
(chapter 18). It is mobile, seeking satisfaction of a craving.
As soon as it is satisfied, it asks for more.
> [Its pleasure arises] from the connection of the senses with
> their objects which in the beginning is sweet as the waters of
> life but at the end like poison.
Furthermore, repeated indulgence tends to draw it downward to a
grosser materiality. It becomes increasingly dull and dark and
tends "both in the beginning and the end to stupefy the soul."
Of whatever school, the modern psychotherapist does not knowing
what lust is, whence it arises, or how it can be controlled.
Sometimes he tends to the dangerous belief that indulgence will
cure by producing satiety. Modern Psychology knows that man is
dual: human and animal. It traces the origins of the human and
animal qualities to the wrong source, the mind. Once again, that
mind has remained terra incognita because psychology does not
adequately understand its nature and its powers.
Above all, psychology does not comprehend the part played by the
emotions. There is the relation of the emotions with the senses
and the organs, There is the relation of the emotions with the
mind, the sixth sense and therefore material. Then there is the
relation between the functions of this combination and the higher
mind, Man, the real Thinker. Unless these relations are
recognized, one will not discover the true prescription for the
control of lust.
The Mahayana tradition presents a profound teaching in simple
> Do not believe that one can ever kill out lust by gratifying or
> satiating it. This is an abomination inspired by Mara. It is by
> feeding vice that it expands and waxes strong, like to the worm
> that fattens on the blossom's heart.
How, then, is man to control the force of lust, which, satisfied,
develops greed and grosser types of concupiscence, and, when
opposed, becomes irritated and wrathful? From passion proceed
anger and avarice and thus in this world men and women are ever
face to face with the three gates of hell. (See THE
BHAGAVAD-GITA, Chapter 16).
The person desirous of controlling his animal tendencies has to
clear his consciousness and fix in his understanding the truth
that it is not by gratification or by satiety that he will be
able to rise above those tendencies. He must also gain the
conviction, born of knowledge, that he need not and should not
remain a prey to his animalism -- whatever its name and form.
Next, he must gain the conviction that the Controller is within
him, nay, is himself. Conducting one or two experiments in
perceiving that he himself is other than and superior to his
animal tendencies, he brings himself real confidence. Once a man
gains the faith, rooted in knowledge, that he is the master and
controller of his animalism, the rest will be easy. Of course,
he must exert himself to control the enemy seen and to gain final
victory. But well begun is half done, and the initial perception
of his own superior nature as the controller is the preliminary
There is one more thing that he who is afflicted with animalism
must learn, if he wants to conquer it. Western Psychology
classifies the mental states that join with emotional ones. The
Psychology of the Gita and the ancient Sages also classify moral
states, treating mental states as effects produced by moral
The old-world Psychology lays bare unsuspected bases of error.
It discloses subtle self-delusion. It marks out the true course
so painstakingly that the dullest mind cannot fail to gain a
clear perception of the way to gain the victory over animalism.
The Will to fight and to succeed will open the ways to knowledge.
With this Will as bow and arrow, a person can successfully take
aim and hit the mark.
What if one were to do otherwise? What happens to the mentally
lazy and morally blind? Says the Master Gautama:
> As rust springing from iron eats into its own source, so do their
> own deeds bring transgressors to an evil end.
> -- THE DHAMMAPADA, Verse 240
THEOSOPHY: ITS BENEFICENT POTENTIALITIES, Part IV
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 Ten: EDUCATION
Theosophy would not have much to say about the content of secular
education but it would about the development in young people of
character, unselfishness, helpfulness, self-control,
truthfulness, and competence. It would tend to discourage all
nationalistic propaganda and any religious education of a
particular denominational character. It would be concerned,
however, to teach the laws of Karma and reincarnation and their
effects in our lives. It would also teach the 'Humanities.'
It would enlighten pupils as to their inherent spiritual nature,
making them aware that they share their spirituality with
everybody else, with all living things and even the earth itself,
the solar system and the outer universe. They thereby have a
direct relationship with everything in Cosmos. By it, they are
under an obligation to seek to further the happiness and
well-being of all their fellow creatures. Here we enter into the
basics of a common ethic of caring, cooperation, and sharing.
This is all out of real regard for others and with mutual respect
and even affection for them.
In THE KEY TO THEOSOPHY, HPB stresses the importance of
cooperation as against competition, of which the system of
competitive examinations is an example. It is an easy step to
extend this regard for other individuals to other groups, to
other nationalities and members of other races, to inculcate
ideas of inclusiveness rather than exclusiveness towards all.
Regard for local traditions, habits and customs, and even
patriotism, are worthy. Belligerent nationalism, religious
intolerance, and exclusiveness are certainly not.
In expounding the Law of Karma to children, its aspect of "do as
you would be done by" is understandable. The Law in its other
aspects of cause and effect and the maintenance of equilibrium
and harmony is something to which every child can respond. It
might be a truism to say that a good teacher is better than many
books, or even a computer! A living communication makes learning
an exciting process. Talent of every sort, whether physical by
way of manual ability or artistic, emotional, or mental skills,
is obviously recognized and encouraged.
In this age of computing, virtually all basic data are available
at the touch of a button, so too are many aspects of calculation.
These are tools perhaps useful in modern ultra-dollar efficient
society but they do not develop mental faculty, memory, sound
logic, and judgment. They demand no initiative. They encourage
no real adventure or courage, so much in demand in the 'real'
world. Ideas on the progressive evolution of all things give
purpose to existence. Apart from the absorbing immediate
concerns of school life children would then acquire ideas about
the long-term purpose of being in incarnation.
Parents and teachers, brothers and sisters, playmates: all are
worthy of respect for what they are in their particular
relationships to each child. They are factors in their
upbringing, forming a background, each in his or her own way, to
the child's life, having repercussions by way of conditioning for
years to come.
The inculcation of the need for effort is an educational
necessity. Very few children are so gifted that they can perform
their scholastic tasks or exercises without effort. The truth is
that it is by effort that they develop their faculties or even
the strength for doing anything. The making of effort can also
be enjoyable and stimulating; it is not necessarily wearisome or
In THE KEY TO THEOSOPHY, amongst much else on education, HPB has
this to say:
> Children should above all be taught self-reliance, love for all
> men, altruism, mutual charity, and more than anything else to
> think and reason for themselves. We would reduce the purely
> mechanical work of the memory to an absolute minimum and devote
> the time to the development and training of the inner senses,
> faculties, and latent capacities. We would endeavor to deal with
> each child as a unit, and to educate it to produce the most
> harmonious and equal unfoldment of its powers, in order that its
> special aptitudes should find their full natural development. We
> should aim at creating free men and women, free intellectually,
> free morally, unprejudiced in all respects, and above all things,
> unselfish. And we believe that much if not all of this could be
> obtained by proper and truly theosophical education.
> THE KEY TO THEOSOPHY, page 270, Original Edition
She also said,
> A proper and sane system of education should produce the most
> vigorous and liberal mind, strictly trained in logical and
> accurate thought, and not in blind faith.
Potentiality Eleven: SCIENCE
The word Science is derived from the Latin sciens, present
participle of scire, to know. It has latterly become applied to
a specific aspect of 'knowing,' a particular discipline or way of
knowing, but properly it is unspecific. Theosophy has been
referred to as the Science of Sciences; it includes all knowledge
of a 'real' nature.
One of the Masters of the Wisdom said that "Modern science is our
best ally . . . " (Mahatma Letter Number 11). He said this at
the end of the 19th century when science was establishing itself
as the fearless enquirer into all natural phenomena. It was
making rapid progress in exploring outer space, in discovering
the nature of matter, the composition, and function of living
cells and the part they play in living organisms, and so on.
Darwin had just propounded his Origin of the Species and his
theory of the survival of the fittest.
This growing understanding of the natural world was challenging
the views of religion on Divine Creation. Science encouraged the
asking of many questions about dogmatic assertions previously
believed to be unquestionable. The Masters were encouraging this
liberalization of thought and fearless enquiry into the
actualities of existence regardless of the many existing
longstanding accepted views.
Science may not nowadays be quite as sure of itself as it was at
the end of the 19th century. Its views are more lightly held,
its foundations are not as secure as they were only a few years
ago. Discoveries and theories are rapidly and continuously
changing. Science has consequently become more flexible, and
willing to look into areas that were previously 'no-go' areas,
principally those of subjectivity as opposed to the accustomed
pure objectivity. Quantum physics with its ideas of non-locality
has opened up new fields.
Some scientists are beginning to pose questions that suggest the
possibility of non-physical realms of being. Near-death
experiences, for example, have forced attention away from the
strictly material. Now there is also an increasing view that
paranormal phenomena like thought reading or transference,
psychokinesis, materializations at spiritualistic seances,
distant healing and so on, ought to be acknowledged and
investigated. Current models of scientific thought cannot
accommodate such happenings.
Theosophy provides ready-made models to explain many of these
phenomena but so far they have been ignored. These answers
include explanatory material on the nature of space and time, the
existence and characteristics of various non-physical planes of
As an example, the one next to the physical, the formative plane
(the Astral), has several functions. To a theosophist these
correspond to the various sub-planes of that plane. It is where
memory resides; where vitality, the universal life force, is
stored for suffusion into the physical. From this plane
'subjective' forms are projected into physical, objective
HPB makes an important statement in THE SECRET DOCTRINE:
> Now the Occultists, who trace every atom in the small universe,
> whether an aggregate or single, to One Unity, or Universal Life;
> who do not recognize that anything in Nature can be inorganic;
> who know of no such thing as dead matter -- the Occultists are
> consistent with their doctrine of Spirit and Soul when speaking
> of memory in every atom, of will and sensation.
> -- THE SECRET DOCTRINE, II, page 672
The relatively recent idea in the scientific world that the
observer affects the results of experiments at the sub-atomic
levels is beginning to suggest that the observer is a
participator in the experimental process. According to
Theosophy, this is so because of the nature of the inner
subjective planes, particularly the mental plane wherein
incidentally, it is said, space has no dimension (in the physical
sense) and time as ordinarily understood does not apply. In
subjective space, therefore, the square law relating to affects
and distance does not apply.
There is another current scientific speculation on non-locality.
Sub-atomic particles can affect one another at distances such
that changes in one in any given place affect immediately another
in another place. So far, there is no scientific explanation for
this but in the matter of non-locality, students are reminded of
"the Point which is everywhere and the circumference nowhere,"
supplemented by the part of the Hermetic Axiom "Nothing is great,
nothing is small."
Similarly, the Occultist could ask, "Where is a thought?"
The scientist might answer, "In the brain," but a thought is
immaterial and the brain is something material.
How does the material give rise to the immaterial? Again, the
answer to this can be by way of the inner nature of matter, which
has its subjective principles and sub-principles. The
theosophist also sees that, as any particle of matter is a living
entity, its own inherent energy is life, the One Universal Life.
A comprehensive metaphysical view of non-locality becomes very
complex. The interweaving of causes and effects in these
non-physical fields becomes extraordinarily complicated,
especially because what happens in them can be reflected into,
and therefore affect, the physical plane. In Occultism the
existence of Elemental beings, has some relevance to this. They
constitute a modus operandi for most phenomena. The Elementals
are regarded as semi-intelligent entities and act as the forces
Modern science still lacks a model of the structured universe
such as that provided by Theosophy with its seven planes of
being, each with its own main characteristics. It also lacks the
idea, and all that stems from it, that there is no such thing as
'dead' matter. The two concomitants of consciousness and memory,
and matter as living, reflect into an understanding of the grand
process of evolution. Everything is building on what went
before. This is the basis for Rupert Sheldrake's considerable
work The Presence of the Past.
Science has sub-disciplines. One is biology, the science of
living things. Theosophy extends this by its notion that there
is no dead matter, nothing is inorganic, and by furthering the
idea that everything manifests an aspect of the One Life. This
One Life shows two inseparable aspects: form (matter) on the one
hand, and energy as dynamism (life or spirit) on the other.
Consciousness, memory, and will are inherent in the combination.
'Volition' is therefore an attribute in all things. These are
elements of basic data not yet fully appreciated by science but
clearly enunciated by Theosophy.
> Once Theosophy and its principles are known, it will be
> demonstrated that our philosophy is not only a "close relative of
> modern science," but also its forbear, though greatly
> transcending it in logic; and that its "metaphysics" is vaster,
> more beautiful, and more powerful than any emanating from a
> dogmatic cult. It is the metaphysics of Nature in her chaste
> nakedness, physical, moral, and spiritual, alone capable of
> explaining the apparent miracle by means of natural and psychic
> laws, and of completing the mere physiological and pathological
> notions of Science, and of killing forever the anthropomorphic
> Gods and the Devils of dualistic religions. No one believes more
> firmly in the Unity of the eternal laws than do the Theosophists.
> -- COLLECTED WRITINGS OF H.P. BLAVATSKY, VIII, page 76
Potentiality Twelve: ART, HEALTH, PSYCHOLOGY and PARAPSYCHOLOGY
With the advent of Theosophy, a whole set of new concepts arise
in the field of art, primarily from the occult view of the nature
of the artist. Theosophy teaches that every human being is a
microscopic but unique reflection of the macrocosm, the universal
whole. Each of his faculties derives ultimately from great
Beings who have progressed in the eons of evolutionary time far
above him in the scale of being.
These are collective entities, aggregates of many lesser living
beings, each with its intelligence and memories. These together
constitute a vast accumulated experience acquired by multitudes
of 'Lives' as they have moved up the evolutionary ladder.
Life in this context, known as the Monad, has passed through all
the kingdoms of Nature and thence into the human kingdom where it
becomes individualized and proceeds through the sub-Races and
Races, in which it sequentially develops human faculties.
Ultimately, its vehicles are fitted to proceed as entities into
the super-human kingdoms.
Nature provides all that constitutes not only the physical being
of man but also his non-physical principles. Each cell, even of
his body, has its own inner principles, through which that cell
is in touch with the corresponding cosmic plane. It thereby
reflects something of that plane's characteristics. All the time
the whole man is resonating in the various aspects of his being
to what takes place in the universe, to the extent that they have
been developed and attuned.
The artist responds to the harmonies in Nature whether by sound,
color, form, or feeling. He sees something of the grand cosmic
pattern in symmetrical patterns, facial expressions, in movement,
in rhythm and the lilt of language and sound.
Musicians hear with their inner ears the celestial music; they
can set it down in writing, and with the instruments and
techniques at their disposal, can express what they hear of the
melody and harmony.
The dancer and the singer too in their way interpret and bring
forth something of these unheard rhythms and harmonies. Their
responsive souls can speak to us but we have to be able to
We need eyes to see and ears to hear. Without these, we cannot
respond and without our response any art form is a mere shadow, a
presentation without meaning. A response to any art form, by
vision or sight, involves our soul; but further, insofar as it
responds, it is itself quickened.
There is sanctity and holiness in this appreciation, leading us
into the spiritual realms. Our characters are modified. The
highest emotions of devotion, courage, perseverance, sympathy,
love, and compassion are all evoked. Real art will do this for
us if we give it our attention and can see and hear. We all have
the necessary internal instrument but maybe it needs tuning.
Quoting the Master K. H., "the melomanic knows of no higher
state of bliss and happiness than music -- the most divine and
spiritual of arts." Whereas this is specific to one art form, we
have the expression that Divinity is expressed in, "goodness,
truth, and beauty." There is also the expression that "beauty is
in the eye of the beholder." Without that 'eye,' there is no
beauty. It could also be said that Theosophy is in the eye -- or
soul response -- of the student; without that, it does not exist
for him or her.
We dealt with some aspects of spiritualistic phenomena and
psychism in Potentiality Seven. The main criterion in the
theosophical explanation of them is the planes of Nature and the
occult constitution of man by principles (see Appendix). In
either case, there is a significant division in them -- at the
midpoint in the 5th plane or 5th principle of Manas of mind.
The dividing line is referred to as a barrier or bridge, the
Antahkarana. Nature above this line is regarded as 'formless'
and subjective, and below it objective. In terms of planes, in
terms of principles it is spiritual (Egoic) at high levels, or
manifestly material, personal at lower levels (but matter can be
non-physical). This information is essential to an understanding
of psychology and parapsychology.
Some psychologists have recognized a distinction between the
personal ego (id) and a super-ego. Their ego has been relatively
well studied and much therapeutic practice developed from
The super-ego, however, -- the theosophical spiritual Ego or
Individuality -- so rarely manifests that very little is known of
its true nature, its real potentialities. It is still largely a
postulate but there is evidence of its existence by way of its
reflection into the upper three sub-principles of the kamic or
emotional main (fourth) principle. Even those reflections,
although still colored by egotism, demonstrate some of the higher
spiritual aspects of the personality.
Parapsychology was mentioned briefly in Potentiality Seven.
Theosophy enriches this field of activity again by way of the
characteristics and qualities of the planes and principles. The
mental plane and mind play a large part in 'spirit' messages,
'automatic' writing and obviously in thought transference. In
other phenomena, the astral (third) plane and the Astral Body are
involved, sometimes with the aid of Elementals, e.g.
materializations, apports, precipitation of pictures and letters.
Psychological phenomena include split personality, obsession, and
possession. Again, a knowledge of the after-death processes
helps towards an understanding of what is happening. A man is
his spiritual Ego, or Individuality, but associated with a
personality during earth life.
In cases of obsession, the personality can be taken over by one
or more powerful Elementals, often but not always of its own
creation, by prolonged habits for example. Possession proper
occurs when the personal principles are taken over completely, or
partly and temporarily, by an 'Elementary.'
An Elementary is the persisting psychic remains of a deceased
person, from which the spiritual Ego has been separated during
the normal death process. The 'Elementary' as long as it
persists can remain powerful. It can seek 'life' to fulfill its
urges in the physical body of a living person. It is motivated
by intense craving for carnal satisfaction, such as sexual
perversions, drunkenness, often-fiendish cruelty, etc. It is
completely without conscience or decent restraint because of its
separation from its spiritual soul. (Regarding examples of and
cures for obsession, see the Index to the COLLECTED WRITINGS OF
H.P. BLAVATSKY, and volume II, page 399.)
Theosophy has something significant to say about health. The
following quotation may appear superficial but it has wide
repercussions: Every individual is making Karma either good or
bad in each action and thought of his daily round, and is at the
same time working out in this life the Karma brought about by the
acts and desires of the last.
> When we see people afflicted by congenital ailments, it may be
> safely assumed that these ailments are the inevitable results of
> causes started by them in a previous birth. It may be argued
> that, as these afflictions are hereditary, they can have nothing
> to do with a past incarnation; but it must be remembered that the
> Ego, the real man, the individuality, has no spiritual origin in
> the parentage by which it is re-embodied, but is drawn by the
> affinities which its previous mode of life attracted round it
> into the current that carries it, when the time comes for
> rebirth, to the home best fitted for the development of those
> tendencies . . .
> -- THE KEY TO THEOSOPHY, page 212, Original Edition
The potentialities of Theosophy can only become actualities and
their benefit to humanity be felt as they are known. It is over
one hundred years since they were made available in the writings
of H.P. Blavatsky and her Initiate Masters. For various reasons
however, notably opposition by self-interested parties, they have
been suppressed or ignored.
It was envisaged that the Theosophical Society, as it was
originally founded, would be the means of letting it be known
that all these potentialities were available to the world in
general. It is our duty, as members of that Society, to
familiarize ourselves with all aspects of the theosophical
teachings, particularly these potentialities, so that we can
broadcast them, making them available widely as was originally
The advent of Theosophy was a unique world event, ranking even
above that of Christianity. The founders of the great religions
in history have been Initiates of high order in the occult
Hierarchy (with its several branches).
The Masters of the Wisdom who inspired the founding of the
Theosophical Society were members of that Brotherhood. They not
only made available to the world in general the expansive and
very deep theosophical teachings but also committed them, via
H.P. Blavatsky and to some extent directly themselves, into
writing. No other Teacher previously had done that. Even though
now we do not have the Masters with us, we do have that
incomparably valuable literature -- and that for all time, or for
as long as it shall be preserved.
We have to acknowledge HPB's great self-sacrificing work in this,
with all the sincere appreciation it deserves. We owe her an
immense debt of gratitude not only for this 'actualizing' of the
potentiality of Theosophy as far as she could in writing, but for
her direct association with some of the Masters, and the evidence
of their existence that this provided. They became 'realities'
and thereby an inspiration to many. As witness we have what she
said about them in her account of the writing of ISIS UNVEILED
and what they themselves said about their part in the writing of
THE SECRET DOCTRINE.
THE ULTIMATE POTENTIALITY:
> Practical Theosophy is not one Science, but embraces every
> science in life, moral and physical. It may, in short, be justly
> regarded as the universal coach, a tutor of world-wide knowledge
> and experience, and of an erudition which not only assists and
> guides his pupils toward a successful examination for every
> scientific or moral service in earthly life, but fits them for
> the lives to come, if those pupils will only study the universe
> and its mysteries within themselves.
> -- COLLECTED WRITINGS OF H.P. BLAVATSKY, X, page 165
NATURE AND THE BUTTERFLY
By James Neil Feinstein
[Written January 15, 2002]
Within the warm darkness of her protecting cocoon,
Lies the sleeping caterpillar dead to the world,
Or so it seems to the unsuspecting eye.
But Nature never rests in her sublime journeys.
Even in the dead of the coldest winter, beings
Sleep patiently, waiting for that magical sign,
That secret yearning for the love and power of
Growth and rebirth.
When the time arrives, the snows from the icy,
Distant mountains begin to melt, the sun shines
With renewed enthusiasm, and birds whistle in a
Harmonious symphony as the dark forest shakes
Herself from her long winter's slumber.
When love stirs the caterpillar ever so gently,
She awakes and climbs out of her winter dwelling.
Behold the metamorphosis! Bright are her colors --
The golden hues of the rainbow! Graceful are her
Wings, reflecting in the pale sunlight of the early
Fear not youthfull butterfly. Spread your wings
Toward the bright sun. Open yourself to the beauty
Of the world. Fly to the heavens; rest on a
We, ourselves, are caterpillars trapped in our own
Cocoons. Release yourselves! Feel love and
Compassion for all beings around you. Cast away
Your winter cocoon for the spiritual light of
Fly with the spirit of the butterfly.
SRI AUROBINDO ON "THE LIFE DIVINE"
By Grace Knoche
[This book review of the 1949 edition of THE LIFE DIVINE by Sri
Aurobindo appeared in THE THEOSOPHICAL FORUM, March 1950, pages
155-59. The book and its review are half a century old, but
serve to show how a student of Theosophy may look upon Eastern
This book of 1040 pages could not be ticked off and assigned to
its place in an hour or two by any reviewer, whether posted or
not on the subject. It is not only a very long book, but it
challenges some long thinking. It has challenged us.
The writer is a Hindu scholar of the present day. People greatly
respect and widely know him as writer, poet, scientist, linguist,
grammarian, and head of his own School of Philosophy the trend of
which he largely developed. Harvard, Cornell, Syracuse, and
Stanford Universities have already taken the book as a textbook.
The book fills a need especially felt by scientists and
professors of psychology. All to the good, for the schism
between science and philosophy, and the schism, still wider,
between science and the potpourri of several hundred systems that
for want of definitive appraisal we call religions, has been
widening ever since Ernst Haeckel and disciples, with their
up-from-the-ape-and-animal theory and the now discredited
Bathybius Haeckelii, seized the world's waiting ear.
H.P. Blavatsky warned us 75 years ago of the wave of rank
materialism that was rising and was going to wash over us to our
despair. It came, but thanks to the brave forerunners and the
cycling march of time, many are now thinking about the Divine
Beyond. Many are beginning to suspect that something lofty and
real must be beckoning to us finally to come up higher.
Inevitably, too, for however mental clouds may hide the dawn,
when the cosmic clock strikes the hour white gleams break like
waves upon the sky, the sun peeps over the horizon, and we know
that Day is here.
A spiritual day it is which our split and cockeyed world now sees
dawning. So that many who once tied their faith to materialistic
science, or so-called philosophy, or to the muddle of
misunderstood religions, are waking to the conviction that
materialism has nothing for them, that as a vogue it is passing,
and that something that is able to answer a few simple questions,
is surely due.
As to the Live Divine, what is it? What does this book argue or
declare? It is built around the Seven Principles of Man and the
Universe, with mention of an essential duality at the source of
things. It includes an opposition between these dual principles,
which the author holds cannot be reconciled. There is also an
opposition between knowledge and ignorance also, and thus between
the struggling, suffering many, and their God (page 434); and
man's one aim, an escape out of life into a heaven either of gods
or of God (page 367).
Sri Aurobindo, who has added to the richness of his work by
interpolating here and there Sanskrit words, phrases, and even
sentences, has omitted, for reasons we cannot fathom but
certainly respect, the Sanskrit equivalents of these Seven
Principles as a unitary combination, namely, Atma, Buddhi, Manas,
Kama, Prana, Linga-Sharira and Sthula-Sharira.
Instead of these clear-cut yet comprehensive terms, so familiar
now to the theosophist, the reader finds a considerable list of
English terms, clumsy at best, such as infra-mental, super-mental
and super-mind, the over-mind, supra-terrestrial, supra-physical,
physical-mental, supra-cosmic, etc. With persistence, we can get
the author's version of the Sevenfold Principles, but it is very
unlike the version of the great teachers of old India (now so
significantly bearing its ancient name: Bharat).
The book does lack clarity, and there are times when a simple,
even skeletal review of basic teaching, would help mightily to
keep the reader on the track.
Written almost entirely in dialectic, THE LIFE DIVINE rises and
falls and rises again like a cautious wave; perhaps because the
author, educated at Oxford and Cambridge, was a student in the
latter University before the heyday of its fever for dialectic
had spent itself. Now, retired from active work in the school of
his own creation, and with a goodly shelf of books to his credit,
he writes with almost the confident serenity of Plato, but with a
A Brahman, some of his conclusions -- or shall we call them
teachings? -- are NOT those of the great Brahmanical teachers of
the past. For the Buddha, who in his own strength -- no Avatara
was the Buddha Gautama, but a man among men who found and
followed the Path of Compassion -- he seems to feel only
irritation. He will have none of him, this blameless, this
heroic Hindu Prince, who could find no promise for the world, no
solace, in a hierarchy whose altars ran with blood, whose tables
groaned with food while millions starved. No wonder the Buddha
"disturbed the balance of the old Aryan world."
The book has passages that shine out like jewels. Sometimes they
sit in a setting that now hides their beauty, but again wakes it
into radiance by a long shaft from the bow of Father Sun.
Throughout the book, the author is not only logician and teacher,
but interlocutor as well. He patiently frames multitudinous
questions that invite argument, yet like Touchstone, wisely
places first and highest the Retort Courteous.
A beautiful feature of this volume is the little sheaf of
quotations that introduce most of the chapters. They are from
THE RIG-VEDA and THE UPANISHADS for the most part, with some from
THE BHAGAVAD-GITA. God is mentioned hundreds of times --
billions if one takes in devas or little gods. One wishes for
something on the manifold degrees of the Divine Hierarchy, but in
To Sri Aurobindo, as to all of us, there are two paths. One is
the Path of Compassion, trod by the Buddhas of the world and
those who intuitively follow. The other is the Path of those
whose aim is to reach perfection in respect to their individual
selves that they may rise into a Nirvana of their own, where they
will remain in bliss, as they believe, forever, thus escaping the
pain and sorrow of incarnation in a world that seems to spare
none. There they would remain forever. Their final garb, while
climbing this ladder of self, the author tells us, is the garb of
the ascetic. He claims that renunciation of the world and all
contact with the world is the only path to Knowledge, while the
acceptance of physical life is the act of the ignorant. Well!
Renunciation is a tricky word. It shifts its meaning as a
chameleon its color, according to the bias of its user. Right
here we find the difference between those who renounce the world
as does the Sannyasin, thoughtless of the suffering of his
fellows, unconcerned as to their welfare, his one idea Escape --
out of the world and into a blissful Nirvana. And the daily
renunciation of everything that would hinder heroic and
whole-souled and sincerely tender interest in the unfortunate,
the sick, the weak, the illiterate, the discouraged, the
bewildered, and the stricken.
This brings us to the single difference between the Buddhas of
Compassion and the Pratyeka Buddhas. The later have won through,
admittedly, but only that THEY may escape the world and its fears
and disappointments. Pronounced "prati-eka," Pratyeka means for
one, just one, I! The difference is one of motive, for it is not
the bald action that counts, but the motive behind that action.
Was the action motivated by an inner selfishness, or by the
self-LESS-ness of the Saviors of the world?
The Sannyasin follows the Path of each for himself -- he may be
spiritual, learned, a scholar, perhaps, but he is wholly wrapped
up in himself, with no concern for the destitute millions at his
very door who, if a monsoon fails, expect to die like flies --
and do so die. The sole aim of the Sannyasin is
self-purification, self-advancement, entailing often-great effort
and rigorous self-control but solely that HE may climb, ahead of
the multitude, the steep ladder that admits, as he believes, to a
Nirvana of his own, never to return.
Perhaps we should say that the law of Cycles, with the words
Pralaya, Manvantara, and others that we should naturally look for
in a work of this kind, are not included.
We have honestly tried to do this book full justice, and although
it contains debatable theses, major and minor both, we have taken
no advantage. We might have asked why the reversal of the normal
order of the Seven Principles? Why picture man as evolving from
the animal upwards -- a procedure that science itself is now
beginning to consider suspect? Why does the author define Karma
"a system of rewards and punishments," which debases the ethical
values of the good, replaces right motive by a baser motive, and
"turns virtue into selfishness, a commercial bargain of self
interest?" Why does the author consider Karma "irreconcilable
with a supreme moral and personal Deity?"
The emphasis, we repeat, is not on self-forgetfulness, the
keynote of the teachings that most appeals to the compassionate
soul, but always on the opposite -- the supra-mental being who
will have "no need to acquire a universal sympathy."
Analyze it how you will, beauty of diction is not enough, as
almost casually we reach again to pick up a tiny book, translated
by HPB from the Tibetan, and immensely old: THE VOICE OF THE
SILENCE, and turn to the precious summation at the end: "Shall
there be bliss when all that lives must suffer? Wilt thou be
saved and hear the whole world cry?" As we read, there come the
echoing words of the Master: "We are PHILANTHROPISTS above all"
(THE MAHATMA LETTERS). It may not be the final choice, but it is
MISSING MATERIAL BY H.P. BLAVATSKY DISCOVERED
By Daniel H. Caldwell
The Theosophy Company on their website describes H.P.
Blavatsky's book titled TRANSACTIONS OF THE BLAVATSKY LODGE as
> In 1889, when HPB was in London, the weekly meetings of the
> Blavatsky Lodge was devoted to the discussion of the archaic
> "Stanzas" on which THE SECRET DOCTRINE is based. Transactions
> provides ... HPB's answers to metaphysical and scientific
> questions, as stenographically reported, and afterwards revised
> by her for publication ...
In an introductory note prefacing the original edition(s) of
1890/1891 of the Transactions, we find the following information:
> The ... transactions are compiled from shorthand notes taken at
> the meetings of the Blavatsky Lodge of the Theosophical Society,
> from January 10th to June 20th, 1889, being somewhat condensed
> from the original discussions.
> ... the members of the "B.L. of the T. S." agreed to devote
> the debates of the weekly [Thursday] meetings to each stanza and
> sundry other metaphysical subjects.
> The questions were put by members ...The answers in all cases are
> based on the shorthand Reports, and are those ... as given by
> H.P.B. herself.
In HPB's magazine LUCIFER, it was noted that the reports of the
Transactions [covering the meetings of January 10 through June
20, 1889] were transcribed in "twenty-four large longhand
folios." (LUCIFER, October 15th, 1890, p. 165)
Part I of the Transactions was published as a book in London in
March 1890 and consisted of material discussed by H.P. Blavatsky
at the following meetings:
Meeting 1. January 10, 1889 [Stanza I, Slokas 1-2]
Meeting 2. January 17, 1889 [Stanza I, Slokas 3-4]
Meeting 3. January 24, 1889 [Stanza I, Slokas 5-8]
Meeting 4. January 31, 1889 [Stanza I, Slokas 6-9;
Stanza II, Slokas 1-2]
Appendix on Dreams
Part II of the Transactions was published in January 1891 and
consisted of material discussed by Mme. Blavatsky at the
Meeting 5. February 7, 1889 [Stanza II, Slokas 3-4]
Meeting 6. February 14, 1889 [Stanza III, Sloka 1]
Meeting 7. February 21, 1889 [Stanza III, Slokas 2-4]
Meeting 8. February 28, 1889 [Stanza III, Slokas 5-8]
Meeting 9. March 7, 1889 [Stanza III, Slokas 10-11]
Meeting 10. March 14, 1889 [Stanza IV, Slokas 1-6]
In February 1891, Alice Leighton Cleather wrote:
> The second part of the "Transactions -- Blavatsky Lodge," is now
> out, and the third [part] will shortly follow.
> -- THEOSOPHIST, April 1891, p. 438.
H.P. Blavatsky died in May 1891 and Part III of the Transactions
was NEVER published.
It should be emphasized that the discussions in the published
Parts I and II cover only the first four Stanzas of Volume I of
THE SECRET DOCTRINE.
Part III would, no doubt, have contained HPB's additional
insightful and valuable comments on Stanza V and possibly even on
Stanzas VI and VII.
What happened to the remaining unpublished Blavatsky material
that was contained in the "twenty-four large longhand folios?"
This unpublished material would have contained the discussions
held with HPB at Blavatsky Lodge meetings from March 21 to June
20, 1889, a total of 14 meetings!
Several years ago I discovered the whereabouts of the missing
"large longhand folios." Several of the folios are still missing
but the majority survives. At one point I was allowed to peruse
the extant folios and discovered that H.P. Blavatsky's
discussions and comments on Stanzas V and VI survive.
Unfortunately, the folio containing HPB's comments on Stanza VII
did NOT survive the ravages of time and is still lost.
It is my sincere hope that the current keeper of the folios will
soon permit HPB's unpublished valuable comments on Stanzas V and
VI to be published for the benefit of all Blavatsky and
Theosophical students throughout the world.
[For more information on this and other matters of theosophical
history, see the Blavatsky Archives at the following website.]
WHAT THEOSOPHY AND ITS SOCIETY SHOULD BE, Part I
By Madame Camille Lemaitre
[From a section entitled "Theosophical Activities" in the January
15, 1889 issue of LUCIFER, pages 429-435. H.P. Blavatsky and
Mabel Collins co-edited the magazine.]
> Following is from a letter never meant for publication. Madame
> Camille Lemaitre recently addressed it to one of the Editors.
> She is the friend of our late brother Louis Dramard and a most
> worthy member of the Theosophical Society in France. The tone
> and spirit of the writer's remarks are so eminently noble,
> theosophical, and altruistic, and the suggestions made so
> desirable, that we obtained permission from the lady for their
> translation and publication. We hope the seed thus sown will
> bear fruit in the minds of our readers.
> -- Editor of LUCIFER
Dramard and I shared precisely the same ideas regarding the
theosophical movement in France. In our view, the Theosophical
Society is too fine and delicate a plant to thrive in the
surroundings among which it was first planted. In its glory and
strength, it flourishes and bears fruit upon the highest
tablelands of the earth, its birthplace.
It can never take root in the strong soil of plains fattened and
watered with the sweat of the poor, or on those sterile tufa
rocks called respectively the bourgeoisie or middleclass, and an
aristocracy learned or ignorant, lazy or active. It could only
fade and wither in the hothouse drawing rooms and boudoirs, where
women of the world, gay, foolish, capricious, see in it only an
exotic novelty of a special kind.
This plant of life needs pure air, blazing sunshine, and fresh
dew. Where can this divine plant find the elements that it needs
for its first development? It finds it in the heart of a man
purified by suffering in the daily battle for life. It is in the
heart of him who is paying his debt to Karma by unheard-of
sufferings that our civilization of steel and iron, with its sham
airs of equality and philanthropy, imposes on the disinherited of
life. It is in the heart of him who, in spite of the
difficulties of all kinds amidst which he struggles, thinks more
of others than of himself, forgetting self in the thought of
those who suffer more than he does. It is in such hearts.
That plant can never take root among us, nor doubtless elsewhere,
unless it finds congenial soil where men desire to know and to
learn from pure love of the truth and not of the honor, glory,
and riches that its truths can bring them. However astonishing
it may seem at first sight to many, the soil exists in the French
people. I answer for it! I do not speak in a narrow national
spirit. By temperament, I have no country or family, and strive
daily to have no "self."
Father, mother, and husband all disappear before the great
questions of general welfare. An integral part of the great
whole, my center, like its center, is everywhere in the thought
of my future harmonious unity. For the moment, I must act in one
small special corner of earth whither in the course of my
evolution my previous affinities have brought me. I speak of
this little corner simply because I know it best.
"The French nation is frivolous," the other nations say of it.
Well, yes, it is frivolous! It forgets from one day to the next
its injuries and insults. Under the influence of one kind word,
it puts itself back entirely into the hands of its most terrible
enemy and allows itself to be deceived like a baby. Yes, it is
frivolous, for to obtain for its dear ones, for its neighbors,
for all, the smallest liberty of action and thought, it goes to
meet death -- singing.
Find the proof in its love for the Revolution Bourgeoisie of
1789. What has that revolution done for the proletariat, for the
penniless, for the daily laborer who possesses nothing whatsoever
on the face of this our planet? By a violent transformation of
social conditions, it has done nothing but increase the intensity
of his sufferings, of his physical and moral anxieties. The
middleclass ousted the aristocracy, taking its place in
possession of honors and fortune in guidance of the classes it
exploits. It has no thought of the poor than to batten on their
The French masses worship "their revolution" and those defending
its spirit. The poor owe absolutely nothing to others on the
plane of material gratification. The middleclass inexorably
deprives and ransoms them more than before. Even so, the poor
revere the revolution, because it has given freedom to the spirit
and some liberty to thought. The revolution certainly did more
than Luther's Reformation, which left our people mostly
Seldom mistaken in judging an enemy, the Catholic Church knows
this. It considers the French Revolution as one of the hardest
blows that have struck it since its establishment. It is right.
Thanks to the breach opened in its ramparts by the light
artillery of 1789, the Theosophical Society can today penetrate
to the very heart of the stronghold. The Church feels that it
will irrevocably perish by the hand of that doctrine.
We have people that have raised themselves from the material
plane unconsciously. They consider it as nothing and attach
themselves to the spirit. Are they not ploughed and ready to
receive the divine seed?
To accomplish anything lasting in Theosophy, we must leave the
dead and dying, those who slumber in the comfort of the flesh.
Gorged with material and intellectual riches, they see, hear,
understand, desire, and do nothing. We must address those who
live, think, suffer, aspire, desire, and hunger physically,
intellectually, morally, and even spiritually. We must go to the
people who know they need more.
How is the true to be distinguished from the false? There are the
satisfied, the possessors, those who are in power. One may have
the same gross needs, the same selfish desires, longings,
brutality, and cruelty as them. Under a simple exterior, one may
hide this. How do we tell the good man from him? If such a bad
person came into power tomorrow, he as oppressive of the feeble
as those he seek to overthrow today.
In this difficulty, we have only to imitate nature. We cast
myriads of seeds on the wind to obtain one plant. According to
the ancient parable of esoteric wisdom, re-edited like so many
other things by our relatively modern evangelists, "one third
will be trodden under foot, one third will be eaten by the birds,
and the third part will sprout and bear fruit an hundred fold."
> This is just the policy of the Theosophical Society from its
> beginning. Its visible leaders are unable to always distinguish
> the good from the bad, to see still dormant evil in the hearts of
> those who apply to join our Society, and the REAL Founders --
> those behind the screen -- will denounce or accuse no living man.
> ALL ARE GIVEN A CHANCE.
> Gladly would our Society abolish even the small entrance fee, had
> it any funds, however small, to carry on the work which increases
> daily, and many branches have already done so. For several
> years, no initiation fees were paid; but we found our scanty and
> even joint means insufficient to maintain the Headquarters, pay
> the stationery, the ever-increasing postage, and feed and lodge
> all those who volunteered to work gratis for theosophy. Thus,
> the fees were reestablished.
> Other Societies beg for and are given large sums of money, but
> the Theosophical Society never does. Nevertheless, the taunt
> that the Founders SELL THEOSOPHY, creating theosophists for One
> Pound Sterling or twenty shillings a head, is being repeatedly
> thrust into our faces! And yet, the poor are never made to pay
> anything. If those who have the means will refuse to help to do
> good to the disinherited and the suffering, what are those who
> have given all they had, and have nothing now to give but their
> services, to do?
> -- Editor of LUCIFER
The Protestants imitated this example. They have cast the seed
of their foolish ideas to the four corners of the earth and have
made the weeds of their folly and ineptness to spring up
everywhere. You will say that the soil for such a harvest is not
scarce. True; but it is also true that, in their hunger, many
souls have thrown themselves upon this poor and insipid food,
hoping it would give them strength, moral health, and spiritual
If to such is given true bread and a fish, instead of a serpent,
to use the language of their New Testament, they will surely know
how to distinguish between them. If a real doctor, an expert in
the healing art, is brought to them instead of a charlatan who
adds to their sufferings, they will know how to leave one for the
Beauty is always beauty, justice always justice, truth will be
ever truth. Every soul to which is shown the pure gold of truth
will of itself turn away from the base imitation, from the false
in religion. The hollowness of much of our scientific data will
be perceived by one who, in the eyes of the world, is the
simplest and most ignorant of men.
Thus, in order to naturalize in France, and even anywhere, in
Europe as in America, the divine plant of Theosophy, WE SHOULD
SOW BROADCAST THE SEED of the eastern esoteric teachings.
How shall we sow the seed? How shall we bring these precious
teachings within reach of the many that have neither the means
nor the leisure? How? How? It is of the solution of this question
only that I have been thinking, since I have had the happiness to
find food to renew my life by their reception and assimilation.
The following was Dramard's idea: Form a closed nucleus of
attraction, however small, of tried theosophists, and accept
ANYONE who, whether from idleness, curiosity, or any other vain
feeling comes to ask anything. That which is of importance in
this open group is to bring together the largest possible number
of adherents, in view of their clubbing together as means for
propagandizing in the way we desire.
> We are glad, however, to hear on the testimony of our
> correspondent, an old and trusted friend of M. Louis Dramard,
> the late President of our Theosophical Society in Paris, that
> such were his ideas, as we had been assured of the contrary. We
> may have something to say of this at some future time.
> -- Editor of LUCIFER
This propaganda should not have for its object to make
Theosophists literally, as the Catholics seek to make Catholics
or people ready to declare themselves as such, but to spread the
theosophical teachings effectively and make their meaning reach
hearts ready to welcome it, and which it cannot reach from want
of an inlet.
Dig canals through which a large part of what has for years past
been filtering into the world from a sacred fountain can reach
the fertile soil that is ready for it, a soil that is only
waiting for such an irrigation to produce abundant harvests.
We must thus select among all that has been written since the
foundation of the Theosophical Society without commentary or
explanation of the why and wherefore. Let us sow pamphlets
broadcast, like the Biblical fanatics who thrust everywhere their
little tracts, in which they beseech us to save our souls from
Hell, to come to Jesus, to believe in Jesus, to fear a personal
devil cunning and wise, and a god no less personal, but more
foolish and more ignorant than his devil.
Think that for centuries past it is with such "rubbish" that men
feed souls, and seek to edify human beings! One cannot help
wondering at the moral and physical weakness of poor humanity.
Blessings be upon the beings who have worked for their own
divinity, and praise be to those through whom they have sent to
us their work. It is not the materials for edification that are
wanting, but the means of turning them to account. At one with
Dramard, my husband and I would have considered ourselves the
greatest wretches and egoists on earth had we remained quietly
contemplating the splendid treasure we held in our hands, without
thinking of spreading it abroad and sharing it with others.
How then! There is such a fortune in the hands of some thousands
of Theosophists. Of these, three fourths are indifferent to the
blessing granted to them or think only how to profit by it
themselves. What! Of these only a few have air, light, and food,
while the masses beside them agonize in the shadow and die of
starvation on the spiritual plane! The matter is a grave one and
must have the most terrible consequences for all of us!
KUNDALINI RISING AND SPIRITUAL ENLIGHTENMENT, Part I
By Rick Nurrie-Stearns (email@example.com)
[This article first appeared on PERSONAL TRANSFORMATION magazine's
web site after the periodical had ceased publication. For more
The author is a long-time student of Theosophy and past publisher
of that magazine. He is also the editor of the book SOULFUL
LIVING and had published the magazines THEOSOPHICAL NETWORK and
LOTUS: JOURNAL FOR PERSONAL TRANSFORMATION.]
In each issue of PERSONAL TRANSFORMATION magazine, we printed two
or three stories from individuals about a powerful personal
transformation they experienced.
In the years I spent editing and sifting through others stories,
I never dreamed that I would be writing a personal transformation
story about my life. Nor did I ever dream that my personal
transformation would end the magazine that I had founded nine
years earlier. Yet, that is exactly what happened. Here is my
story of transformation.
It has been over two years since I closed the doors to our
publishing office. On my last day at the office, we held a
liquidation sale of all of our office equipment. A pile of books
and boxes of records remained, which I crammed into my car.
As I drove home that day after the sale, it struck me that I was
not grieving the end of the magazine that I had worked so many
years to create. I was experiencing a lightness and joy that was
unaffected by the external drama of ending a business. The joy
stemmed from an internal stillness and presence, an acceptance of
what is, unaffected by expectation of future or memory of past.
I simply was.
I had started my spiritual seeking twenty-four years earlier. I
practiced meditation for many years but stopped seven years prior
to the events I am about to tell you. I quit sitting meditation
because while meditating I started to experience an overwhelming
energy near the base of my spine.
I was confused about the energy and did not know if I was doing
something wrong. I consulted with friends who meditated and a
couple of meditation teachers. No one really knew what was going
on and their suggestions did not help.
I decided to quit sitting meditation and focus on doing
psychological work. I did continue my practice of walking
meditation each day along with a practice of trying to stay one
pointed and mindful of what I was doing during the day.
I started going to personal growth workshops and seminars with my
wife. Being a licensed psychotherapist, she had to attend
several trainings a years to maintain her state license.
Fortunately, during those years there were plenty of quality
workshops and seminars offered.
We attended several intensives and seminars every year
experiencing several gifted teachers and authors on personal and
spiritual growth. Some of the most helpful workshops for me
focused on integrating the unconscious parts of self. I learned
how different aspects of me, different personas, often undermined
one another causing me a lot of unneeded stress, anxiety, and
wasted energy. We also attended workshops on body-centered
psychotherapy that helped me get into touch with myself
I started going to talk therapy and after some shopping around
with different therapists, I found someone with whom I could
connect. I was able to see some movement and integration with
parts of myself that were somewhat frozen and rigid. I also
started journaling my dreams and joined a dream work group.
I continued to experience a powerful energy at the base of my
spine but it only occurred in the middle of the night after I had
been asleep for a couple of hours. I would awake suddenly and
feel energy expanding and rising from my hips to my lower lumbar
area. At the time, I was both curious and afraid of the energy.
I tried letting go into it but when I did the energy would
radically increase and my body would shake uncontrollably while I
felt an odd stiffness in my muscles.
I mentioned my experience to a friend that told me it could be a
spirit trying to possess me. I became concerned and fearful.
For months, I would try different purification and protection
schemes in an effort to push away the experience. Nothing seemed
to work to quell the experience. After some contemplation on it,
I felt it was internal to me. After months, I got used to the
experience of waking in the overwhelming energy and did not think
about it much.
The energy shifted after a year. When I woke in the middle of
the night, I started to experience it as sexual energy. It was
much more pleasant to experience the energy sexually than to
experience the body shaking and muscle tension. Still, there was
discomfort. It was uncontrollable and scary to experience
something so intense.
The sexual energy became increasingly intense over the years and
at times, it started to manifest during the day. When the energy
came forth, I would feel sexually charged to the point that a
raging fire of lust consumed me. The energy was intensely
primal, being completely beyond all thought. There was no ethic
or moral discrimination to it.
I became concerned. If this energy manifested while I was away
at one of the many seminars, workshops, or conference that I
attended, I might sexually act it out with someone other than my
wife. Being in a committed relationship and wanting to stay that
way, I was distressed.
Returning from a ten-day personal-growth intensive, I realized
that if I did not address what was happening, I could easily
become a victim of the arising energy. I called a spiritual
teacher I knew and told him the story of the arising energy. He
suggested that I have a sexual affair with another woman as a way
to explore the energy. He said that if I did not engage the
energy I would never realize in life the true, full embodiment of
myself. Yet, if I did engage it, I might bring huge suffering to
my relationship with Mary.
It made sense for me to engage the energy, but not to have a
sexual affair. I felt conflict. Why would he give me such
advice when he knew it would be so devastating to my relationship
with Mary? I pondered this for several days. I knew I had to
engage the energy to move on in life but to sacrifice my
relationship with Mary felt wrong. My contemplation of engaging
the energy became an intense personal dilemma gripping me. It
was like an unanswerable Zen koan with no logical solution.
While driving to work one morning, I contemplated how to engage
this energy fully and yet remain in my relationship with
integrity. I felt that if I engaged it fully I would be sexually
out of control. It seemed like an irresolvable dilemma.
While in deep brooding over this question, a powerful erotic
sensuality immersed me. It was as if my body and being were
merging with a dynamic, vast, and electric feminine energy. My
vision intensified with recognition of immense spaciousness along
with an almost microscopic awareness that everything was alive
with energy. My awareness expanded and sharpened. I felt as if
on fire. The experience engulfed my whole being, far more
energetically powerful and blissful than anything I had ever
I was barely able to drive the last few miles to work. At work,
I could do nothing but lay on the floor. I made an effort to
write something of my experience. The best I could do was to
write a few lines of poetry. Although I was mentally lucid, my
writing, reading, and speech skills were greatly impaired. The
energy was blissful sweet. I was mentally distressed, being on a
tight production schedule for my magazine but unable to work.
After several days, my experience of the energy shifted. The
energy seemed to be an impersonal current of bliss, no longer
having a sensual sexual edge to it. The energy was completely
overwhelming. When I would let go and surrendered, it would
completely incapacitated me with awe and blissful energy for the
Driving, computer work, and conversation were difficult. The
experience was so overpowering! After several days, I became
distressed, since I was still unable to work. I called a couple
of spiritual teachers I knew to get their take on what was going
on. One gave me a list of things I could do to stifle the
experience. Another said it sounded like I was resisting and
afraid and perhaps the arising energy was a part of me that was
trying to come forward. That made sense to me as I had tried
every possible way to control or to convert the energy and
nothing had worked.
A couple of nights later, I stayed up late in an effort to
organize my work for the magazine. I used every ounce of energy
I had to focus on getting my work done. I was having an
extremely difficult time. The energy was profoundly strong that
Exhausted, I laid down to rest. The energy magnified to the
point that it felt like a huge tidal wave just about to engulf
me. The surge was so completely overwhelming that no matter what
I did, I could not stop it. The surging energy felt like it was
about to annihilate me. I thought I was entering into the death
Curious about witnessing my death, I resolved to remain open,
conscious and not recoil from what was happening. I surrendered
fully, unconditionally accepting my death.
The wave of energy washed me into absolute light. I was not in
the light, but rather the light itself. Words fail to describe
it. The energy is infinite beingness, consciousness, and energy
in one. It is beyond thought and description. I had lucid
consciousness without any notion of "I," no notion of subject and
object. The experience of being "that" was ecstatically blissful
My awareness withdrew and figuratively hovered at the edge of
"it." I saw that nothingness or voidness surrounded the absolute
beingness. I allowed my awareness to move back into being
When my awareness withdrew again, I became aware that even at the
very edge of this infinite beingness I could not retain the
completeness of "it" in my consciousness. Only by being "it"
could I totally grasp "it."
Again I allowed awareness to move back into "it" and tried to
look deeper but the effort moved me away from being "that." I
surrendered all effort and again merged deeper with "that."
When my awareness emerged, I tried to hold onto the awareness of
"it." I consciously moved back toward my brain-mind
self-consciousness. I felt as if I was settling deeper and
deeper into heaviness, into the thickness of my egoic
personality. I saw that the memories and the preferences
identified as Rick were based upon a false notion and perception
I felt disappointment upon experiencing the weight of
personality. Who Rick had been seemed hollow, empty, meaningless
and heavy. I sat up and looked at the clock. Almost two hours
That morning I was utterly thunderstruck. Experiencing
consciousness without subject or object obliterated the ground
and foundation for belief in personal identity. The experience
was cataclysmic to who I thought I was. Seeing the personal self
as imaginary and devoid of substance left me in shock and
I felt completely overwhelmed and was unable to attend to
business duties. Just being alive was intense, immediate,
blissful, and incredibly joyful.
ANANDA -- RIVER OF BLISS
By Robert Airlie
[From THE THEOSOPHICAL FORUM, January 1948, pages 55-58.]
The setting sun lit a little lake like a silvered mirror high in
the hills. Its slanting rays probed the dark profile of a narrow
valley leading east, casting a crimson glow on the surface of the
stream feeding the lake. A brooding hush hovered over the
forest, bringing a benediction to the mind of the man who
surveyed the scene.
Standing in his cabin door, Nelson Graham breathed in the scent
of balsam and sweet gum. After four years of war, here was
peace. He desired naught else. There was no need to work in the
years ahead. His father and mother had passed on while he was
gone. No ties held him to any task. It appeared pointless to
return to the routine of teaching philosophy when his chosen
field was so unrelated to the harsh realities of life.
Stepping down to his canoe, he pushed it out on the placid
stream. The sun was just disappearing behind a distant ridge.
He drifted as the darkness deepened. His ears caught a faint
sound, like that of an indrawn breath. It was the rustle of the
evening breeze among the trees as the warm air rose eastward up
the valley. Soon, he knew, the sound would change to "ha-a" as a
cooler current descended along the Sierra slopes. Then, a gray
and ghostly mist would rise from the lake to shroud it for the
The mountains were breathing, as must all that lives. A spell
fell upon him at the thought. He remembered the beloved Sanskrit
texts that he had learned to read. They held philosophy deep
into the heart of human life, into universal life itself. How
could he bring those sublime truths home to the skeptical minds
of western youth? Of what avail was it to struggle single-handed
against the inertia of a system that sought only for scientific
Suddenly, clarity of perception came over him. In his mind's
eye, he could see the books, the pages, the paragraphs of
treatises that he had read years before. The sentences stood out
word for word, with a lucid sense of what the writers meant when
they wrote them.
This breathing of the mountains, of the forest, of himself, was
but the whispering echo of the Great Breath, the living essence
of the Universe of universes. The treatise on that was not mere
metaphysical philosophy that his fellow professors derided. It
was scientific. The Science of Breath was as true as anything
the west had written.
The Sanskrit letters were there before his eyes in the dialogue
between the god Shiva and his goddess, Shakti. They were the
same as Ishvara, Soul of souls, and Pawarti, who was but the
negative phase of his positive aspect. Let the physicists call
them positive and negative poles and deal with the dialogue as an
exposition of electromagnetic phenomena. It would remain equally
The impression was so strong that he repeated Shakti's question
to Shiva aloud. "Lord Mahadeva, god of gods, be kind to me, and
tell me the wisdom that comprehends everything."
Ere the words left his lips, he felt a great elation, a veritable
Úlan that lifted him out of the little circle of his sensory
consciousness. Literally, it seemed to levitate his very soul.
Looking down, he could see his body resting in the canoe. The
Earth sank away beneath him as his perspective widened. He could
see the cities of his own land and, with telescopic vision, the
people themselves. A murmur arose from them in a Babel of
tongues that was not their voices but the queer confusion of
their inner thoughts. It rent him with a depth of compassion
that he had never felt before. Could he not descend and tell
them what he had heard and how they erred, tell them in words
that they must understand?
"Nay!" said a Voice that was not a voice but was Sige, the
silence, speaking into an earless ear, "Look and listen!" There
was no sound, but strange shapes began to take form around him.
A few were very beautiful. Others were horrible and menacing.
He recognized them as phantasmal forms created by the thoughts
that he had heard. The stuff that they were made of rose from
mankind en masse like a miasma, like the smog that dimmed the
lights of the cities, like the mist that, now, hid from him his
own person drifting in a canoe far below. Yet, these phantasms
were very real. They were as real as enemy soldiers with whom he
had contended in battle.
He felt the need to hold fast to his courage, even though the
beautiful forms gathered about as though to protect him. Were
they real? He began to hope so, for they were leading him up
through the stratosphere to a dreamland of iridescent splendor.
"Empty, all empty," said the Voice, and he knew that he was in
the psychic realm.
Instantly, there was naught around him but an utter void, a
stygian negation. This was far more terrifying than the menace
of the shapes. He felt congealed, crystallized, and
disintegrating in an atmosphere of absolute zero. His soul held
her breath and the Void became a scintillated kaleidoscope of
comets, nebulae, suns, galaxies, and meta-galaxies whirling with
Was this cosmic consciousness? Here was the universe laid out
before him. He was one with it and knew that he could watch,
analyze, and predict the space-time relations of this entire vast
"Look again," said the Voice. He looked and saw this time that
these stellar orbs were also naught but the shadows cast by
glorious Beings who beckoned him still higher, welcoming him as
one of them with a paean of praise. Audition had returned. This
was what he had been listening for. It was the Music of the
Spheres, the Empyrean of Gods and Goddesses. Surely, this was
the highest heaven!
"You may go one step farther, one plane higher," said the Voice.
"Ananda resides there and his River of Bliss cannot be crossed,
not even by these Gods. Now, your spiritual eyes have opened.
You may look, once, a little way into what lies beyond. It is
the abode of Ishvara."
With the same sensation that his body felt as it lay drifting in
the canoe, a river of light, which circled all that he had seen,
carried his soul along. From his solar boat, he could witness
every detail encompassed within the immensity of Brahma's Egg.
This flowing stream of living luminescence on which he rode
Beyond its outer shore was a sky filled with the rainbow colors
of the spectrum in incessant movement. The colors met and merged
in a brilliant aurora that rotated or whirled with every hue and
tint. There was music that kept pace with the changing play of
gorgeous colors, exquisite chords that echoed with overtones.
Likewise, a thundering dissonance followed each consonant chord.
Then, the next notes drew from that discord harmonies that were
higher and grander still, as though to silence all harsh tones in
one sublime chorus of hallelujah.
From the Science of Breath, he recognized what he saw as the
operation of the subtle ethers in the outer veil of the vehicle
of Ishvara. The ancient teaching came back to him. When the
power of will controls the five senses, "the Tattwas begin to
take their rise before the eyes."
Through these Tattvic ethers, his senses received their five
separate sensations. In one indescribably enlightening instant,
he realized that he was seeing, hearing, touching, tasting, and
smelling them. "He who knows their color, their motion, their
taste, their places, and their sign becomes in this world equal
to the god, Rudra," stated the verse.
Here was the foundation of all the sciences, the five
modifications of the Great Breath acting upon Prakriti as
undifferentiated energy-substance or force and matter conjoined.
It was the body of the Shakti herself. In and upon it Shiva
produced the thrilling vibratory motions of all manifested life.
Infinitely variant, every aspect of Parabrahman's evolution was
formed thus from the same substance. The atoms, minerals,
vegetation, animals, men, and gods were of the self-same nature,
embodied in the great galactic organisms.
"This is what you were brought thither to see," said the Voice.
"It is the philosophy which should bind scientific progress to
the stability of true religion. Return now to your body, and 'By
your works ye will be known.'"
A heavy fog enshrouded the canoe in which his body lay upon the
little stream in the valley. As by a miracle, he floated within
a few feet of the landing where the lantern light from his cabin
beckoned him ashore.
Mechanically, he prepared and ate his supper. Then, before the
logs in the fireplace, he came to his decision. He would return
to the college that had been his Alma Mater, where the chair of
philosophy awaited him. Before he resumed his seat therein, he
would major in physics and earn a doctor's degree in science.
Then, in the terminology of the scientific Philistines
themselves, he would seek to bridge the gap between mathematical
physics and the metaphysical beatitudes that alone could save
them from the abyss of materialism.
In the hearts and souls of the young men and women who came to
him as students, he would sow the seeds of truth. In some of
them, surely, these would find fertile soil and grow to come to
blossom in flowers of cosmic consciousness, free from being
choked by the weeds of the wayside.
THE EARTH BREATH
By George William Russell
[From THE CANDLE OF VISION, Chapter II, pages 10-14.]
After that awakening, the earth began more and more to bewitch
me, and to lure me to her heart with honeyed entreaty. I could
not escape from it even in that busy office where I sat during
weekdays with little heaps of paper mounting up before me moment
by frenzied moment. An interval of inactivity and I would be
aware of that sweet eternal presence overshadowing me.
I was an exile from living nature, but she visited me yet. Her
ambassadors were visions that made me part of themselves.
Through the hot fetid air of the gas-lit room, I could see the
feverish faces, the quick people flitting about, and hear the
voices. Then room, faces, and voices would be gone, and I would
be living in the Mother's being in some pure, remote, and
elemental region of hers.
Instead of the dingy office, there would be a sky of rarest
amethyst, a snow-cold bloom of cloud, and high up in the divine
wilderness, solitary, a star. All were rapt, breathless, and
still. Rapt were the seraph princes of wind, wave, and fire. It
was the hour when the King, an invisible presence, moved through
His dominions. Nature knew and was hushed at the presence of her
Once, suddenly, I found myself on some remote plain or steppe and
heard unearthly chimes pealing passionately from I know not what
far steeples. The earth-breath streamed from the furrows to the
glowing heavens. Overhead, the birds flew round and round crying
their incomprehensible cries, as if they were maddened, knew not
where to nestle, and had dreams of some more enraptured rest in a
diviner home. I saw a ploughman lifting himself from his obscure
toil. He stood with lit eyes as if he too had been fire-smitten
and caught into heaven like me, knowing for that moment that he
was a god.
Then I would lapse out of vision and ecstasy, hear the voices,
see again through the quivering of the hot air the feverish
faces, and seem to myself cast out of the spirit. I could hardly
bear thinking of these things afterwards. I felt trapped in some
obscure hell. You were trapped with me too, dear kindly people,
who never said a harsh word to the forgetful boy. You too, I
knew, had your revelations.
There was a clerk with wrinkled face, blinking eyes, and grizzly
beard. Apart from his work, he never seemed to have interests
other than his pipe and paper. I remember one day that he
surprised me. He mentioned that the previous midnight he awaked
from his sleep. Some self of him was striding back and forth in
the moonlight in an avenue mighty with gigantic images. That
dream self he had surprised had seemed to him unearthly in wisdom
and power. What had he done to be so high in one sphere and so
petty in another?
There were others I could you tell that had their moment of awe
when the spirit made its ancient claim on them. There was none
as happy or unhappy as I was.
At times, I was happy because the divine world that had meant
nothing to my childhood was becoming a reality to manhood. I
knew it was not a dream. Comrades in vision soon came to me,
they who could see as I saw and hear as I heard. Some had gone
deeper into that being than I have ever traveled.
I was more miserable than my work-a-day companions were. The
very intensity of vision made the recoil more unendurable. It
was an agony of darkness and oblivion. I seemed like those in
nightmare, buried in caverns so deep beneath the roots of the
world that there is no hope of escape. The way out is unknown.
The way to them is forgotten by those who walk in light.
In those black hours, the universe, a gigantic presence, seemed
at war with me. I thought I was condemned to be this speck of
minute life because of some sin committed in remote ages. All of
us were so condemned. We were all lost children of the stars.
I would see a shaft of glory from the far fire in the heavens
spearing the gloom of the office, the blue twilight deepening
through the panes until it was rich with starry dust, or the
sunny clouds careering high over the city. Suggesting our high
original being, these things would stir pangs of painful
remembrance. My eyes would suddenly grow blind and wet.
Sometimes, I would rebel. Plotting in my obscurity, I would
remember moments when the will in me seemed to be a titanic
power. My spirit would brood upon ways of escape. I would
contemplate its ascent to its native regions, as those fallen
angels in Milton's tremendous narrative rose up from torture, and
conspired to tear the throne from Him. Then all that would
appear to me to be futile as a speck of dust trying to stay
itself against the typhoon. The last door would close upon me
and leave me more hopeless than before.
A DISCUSSION ON TRUTH, Part II
By Boris de Zirkoff
[This talk comes from the second part of a tape recording
entitled "A Discussion on Truth" made of a private class held on
May 11, 1955.]
How do we search for truth? Can we know if we are near it? Let me
ask you a question, Marge. Do you think you are nearer to truth
than you were three years ago? How did you do it?
> These classes and discussions with others have helped me. I do
> not feel I could have done it myself.
How did you get help? You must have done something. You may
think you do not know what you did, but that means you do not
know how to define it. You have done something. Dig into your
consciousness. You do not need to answer me. Answer yourself.
How did you acquire what you already know? If you can define what
you have done, then you can say, "I am going to keep on doing
it." You can acquire ten times more knowledge the same way.
You say you received help. To receive help, you must have made
yourself ready to receive it. How did you make yourself
receptive? Answer that question to yourself. How did you make
yourself receptive? Know what you have done. Know what you
thought and felt to open up to truth. Then make yourself
receptive at ten times that and you will receive ten times more
truth from another source. You do not know where that source is,
but you will receive.
It is a process of constant digging and studying your own
consciousness. If you recognize that you know more and have
greater spiritual surety than three years ago, you are on the
road. Keep moving.
> I see what you mean. You come to a dead end. You may have
> progressed and have come a little closer to truth. Even so, how
> far can you go in helping others or speaking out the truth? You
> face a closed door. I am especially thinking of helping others
> in the field of medicine.
Maybe your helpfulness lies elsewhere. Why should you think you
could help in that way? You may want to heal someone. In the
healing arts, you think an approach is true, so you go no
further. You may not go further because of opposition, a closed
door. Is it possible that you are stopped, not knowing if you
are at the truth? No, I do not accept that.
May I point out something? It is not secret, but we have come to
a personal point. You have acquired some truth and
understanding. You were definitely able to take your sister a
few steps ahead. You probably achieved with her more than any
doctor could have done, and you know it. You did help somebody,
because you had knowledge to help with. You knew something of
true medicine and could help more than someone only versed in
Why butt your head against a closed door? When you cannot do
anything in one direction, look at other directions. In your
life, how many times have come when you can convey knowledge to
another, to pacify, calm, redeem, help, and uplift him or her?
You have done it. You know it better than I do.
You are anxious to help a certain way. I would not be, because
it is hopeless. Think of all the other directions! The field is
wide open! I have tried to introduce theosophical truths in
certain ways and found myself bloodied and bruised all over.
Then I found myself to be just a fool. In the meantime, I
disregarded many other channels where I could give and receive
When there is a concerted opposition or crystallization, that
channel is not for me. I recognize that someone else might break
through with just the right kind of dynamite and inside knowledge
about worldly affairs. Having no dynamite, I use my strength
along channels more open. That is why I point out your personal
problem where you did not do so well.
A problem should not make you doubt truth. It should make you
change direction. That is all. Seek out somebody else to help,
one in trouble or knowing less than you do. It may be anybody at
any time. It may be in a field where you do not usually work, in
unsuspected places and strange circumstances.
This suggestion applies to all of us. Perhaps I sit in my office
writing letters and think, "Oh, by Jove! This is the best letter
I ever wrote. This one certainly is going to turn the trick!"
The letter is practically useless. A man walks into the office
that day, disturbing my letter writing. I have to put everything
aside to listen to him. That is the man I was able to help the
best in years.
Be ready for anything. Our minds suggest all kinds of
half-worthless things. The unusual happens. We recognize that
it might be a chance to help. Out we go with all we have, with
all the guns. You may acquire a new friend, a new channel for
the work, or a new co-worker. Try anything you please, as long
as you stay alert.
The priest is not an integral part of the competitive, commercial
world. Many of us have to be. We have families to support. We
have undertaken duties. If we do not push ourselves, we achieve
How do we act and not be involved, staying completely detached
from the action? This is the essence of Zen. One typically Zen
statement is the shadow moving across the walk but disturbing no
dust. Can you do that "with the television blaring, the doorbell
ringing, the Good Humor man going down the street, and two kids
flopping over in the bathtub?"
We have a big opportunity because we have so many difficulties.
That is the essence of THE BHAGAVAD-GITA. There is inaction in
action and action in inaction. The mind can vaguely discern it.
Only the spiritual self can realize it. Oh, the same idea exists
in Christian writings, "To be in the world but not of it."
Many occultists have handled tens of millions of dollars, staying
unattached. If you give the average individual a possession, he
attaches himself. He cannot look upon it as if it were pebbles
on the beach. We might tell him to carry a million pebbles in a
truck, but he will not become attached to them the same way he
would to a million dollars.
Unattached, you can handle anything. This is not just
possessions, but also states of mind too. We cannot be happy
without building an attachment to it and becoming unhappy when it
ceases. We cannot feel happy in so-called unhappy situations,
remaining attached to the idea of past or possible happiness.
Many remain so confoundedly attached to trouble, misery, sorrow,
and ill health that if you take it away, they will be unhappy.
We are in the world but not of the world. Go through the day.
The physical body performs automatically. At times, you may be
over here watching it, judging to a certain extent, and analyzing
your actions. It is as if you stand watching yourself. It would
be helpful to develop this objectivity, so it does not come
intermittently. That is one goal.
What is happening? There are two levels of your mind operating at
the same time. You are completely aware of what you do. You are
aware with the lower mind, that part of mind housed in the brain
and nervous system. Part of your lower mind is in every cell of
the body. Your higher mind occupies itself with higher things,
with principles of truth and philosophical subjects. The lower
mind feels, thinks, and acts. At that time, the higher mind may
be creating something or solving some philosophical problem.
Does that make you absent-minded in what you do? No. The
absent-minded individual just dreams all the time. He is not
fully aware of what he does with his hands. I speak of the
opposite. You have trained your lower mentality to take care of
what it should. Meanwhile, your higher mind is free to roam in
it is own field. This has nothing to do with the astral. The
higher mind is way beyond that. It is not another division of
consciousness. It is simply two levels of consciousness
operating at the same time.
Each of us can do this to some small extent. We sit in the bus
and think out important problems. We do not miss the street. We
are aware of what is going on around us. We catch the things
happening on the sidewalk and the funny things that people are
saying to each other. On the trip, our mind occupies itself in
solving important problems. It is possible for the two levels of
mind to operate at the same time. Even we can do it.
With training, we will be surprised how many things we can do.
We waste time and energy immersing ourselves in daily routines so
completely that the higher mind is unoccupied or enters into the
routines! We can accomplish the routines without the higher mind.
Once habitual, they are automatic. Do you think that people
driving cars always think of the gears and machinery? The driving
An apt illustration is someone like me, not knowing how to touch
type. I do not know how I type. If I look at what I do, I
cannot do it. I sit at the typewriter. That part of the lower
mind in the fingers knows what to do. I type with a combination
of fingers of my own. I do not know which combination, because I
can never reproduce it at will. I type as fast as anybody else
does. Through 25 years of typing, I have my own system. My
lower mind does it. Any touch typist is free to laugh at me. To
me, it is practical, not laughable.
This illustrates the two levels of mind. You see the higher mind
at work writing the letter. Meanwhile, another part of the
mentality controls a system of mechanical operation. Of this,
the higher mind knows nothing.
Do something routine. Concentrating, you catch yourself so
engrossed in the problem that you had become completely unaware
of your surroundings. People may walk into the room and you
might not have noticed them unless they were to touch you.
In this case, much of your higher mind backs the lower. The two
perform the work on parallel lines. Probably the work requires
it. Many things require the help of the higher mind, but they
are not ordinary and routine. If work is important and requires
creativity, best bring the higher mind to bear.
When they want to think out something thoroughly, some sit down,
become quiet, and start thinking. That is one type of people.
Another has to be active with their hands. They dig in the
garden, take a walk, or play tennis. They have to do something
while the creative mind works out things. They cannot
concentrate if sitting down and excluding everything else. That
is two different types of people. I suppose everybody in this
room is different. One does one thing and another something
else. Each has to establish his pattern for himself.
A Zen monk was worried about his meals and clothing. He had to
put on his clothes when he got up. That and eating took too much
time, he thought. He said to his Master, "I would like to know
how I could get away from eating and putting on my clothes." The
Master answered, "Eat, and put on your clothes!" The monk did not
Another monk was disturbed because he had a room exposed to the
weather. "How can I get away from the heat in the summer and the
cold in the winter?" The Master replied, "Sweat in the summer and
shiver in the winter."
In THE BHAGAVAD-GITA, one precept is action in inaction and
inaction in action. What happens when the positive and the
negative come together? Is our ultimate goal to attain that
point? Would that be a void? What would we call it?
The positive and negative are not balanced in nature, although
they tend towards balance constantly. They do not disappear or
cancel out each other leaving nothing. In nature, a karmic law
is in constant operation. It tends to balance opposites.
Opposites get unbalanced all the time by the evolution, growth,
and unfoldment of entities. There is a constant urge to balance
before there is more unbalance. That constitutes forward motion.
You might say this is the constant unbalance of balance.
THE MAHATMA LETTERS says that disharmony is the harmony of
nature. In the fugues of Bach as an illustration, there is a
race of disharmonies at times, producing a magnificent harmony.
It is a profound subject, the contest of conflict, of
disharmonious notes producing an overall cosmic harmony.
What can we say about the centerless balance? Paradoxically, it
is never balanced, yet it is balanced. You might say it is the
basis of Judo. Whatever positions a fighter is in, even in the
worst, he maintains this balance and remains in control of
himself. It is profound.
Some people are in the worst circumstances. Perhaps we could
alleviate their uncertainty if we could introduce a sense of that
balance into their lives. Think about this. No circumstance is
too unfortunate. That is a practical keynote. Some people get
into a tangle, under tension or pressure thinking everything is
at an end. They cannot stand it any longer. They must realize
that if they can find a balance in the existing circumstances the
pressure will cease, no matter what the circumstances may be.
That is another case of being in the world but not of it.
Today, our lives are full of pressures of all kinds. We fret
over them, restless when they occur. Yet, life calls upon us to
find the point of balance where the existing circumstances become
tolerable. It may not become harmonious, but it can be
tolerable. Call it an unbalanced balance.
Although nature seeks a balance, we can have both balance and
imbalance at the same time. It is like two different pictures of
what takes place, taken at different scales of our vision. On
the small scale, we see unbalances and conflicts. On the large
scale with higher vision, it merges into great harmony and
You see that in many ways. One simple way has impressed me
particularly. You go out on the beach and see the tide come in.
There is great confusion. There is tremendous roar and noise.
There are tons of water falling over, spilling onto the beach.
It is conflict, a picture of opposing forces. The picture
suggests chaos, but we know it is periodic.
When you see it from an airplane, you see hardly any motion at
all because you are too far away. There is just something
lapping at the beach quietly, without noise. It is a scene of
perfect calm. What impressed you at one scale produced the
opposite impression at a greater scale.
Contemplating circumstances in today's world, we say it is
chaotic. There is no great conflict. It only seems so from our
standpoint. Seeing with the vision of a higher mind, we find
apparent conflict is simply concerted motion by certain
operations of nature. It restores the disturbed equilibrium.
There is a pattern to it and laws involved. There is nothing
chaotic at all. How we see it depends upon the scale of our
Consider the same idea in another form, using certain mechanical
laws rather than philosophy. Some physicists also illustrate the
different scales of picturing things. Take white powder and
black powder, made up of microscopic grains. Mix them you get
gray powder. If you did not see someone mix it, you just think
it was always that gray powder. You did not know it came from
white and black powders that someone mixed.
The gray powder does not exist. It is a perfect illusion. Seen
through a microscope, there are infinitesimal points of white
powder and black powder. There is no such thing as gray powder.
A microbe in that powder moves from a white grain to a black
grain, then another white, and another black again. To it, the
gray powder does not exist. For us, the gray powder exists, a
According to your scale of vision, the nature of a thing differs.
The physical illustration is applicable on other planes. We see
various illusory appearances. We say the world is in a terrible
condition. What do we really know about it? Why should it be
terrible? We say, "Look here! Here is a place where they killed a
million people! Is not that terrible?"
As Theosophists, we are not going to kill. We did not do it.
When the people died, what of them did someone kill? Many
physical bodies ceased to exist for a while. These people have
been incarnating here thousands of times. They are going to
incarnate thousands of times more. Is anything lost? Nothing
was. Probably, they have gained a great deal.
Our minds are so attach to the destinies of our little physical
body that when it perishes, perhaps killed by something, we say
it is terrible. If it is a million people killed, it is doubly
terrible. The soul or incarnating entity does not look upon the
destiny of one of its many bodies that way.
The moment you realize this, many think you crazy. This
knowledge is not for everyone. Beginning to think along these
lines, everything in nature acquires a different perspective.
The small merges into great, the great into something still
greater. Eventually, you begin to feel yourself as an actor in a
great drama. The drama has many comical aspects. It is tragic
in spots and funny in other spots.
The objective of the universal drama is endless growth,
unfoldment, and spiritual realization. Either take the greater
viewpoint or forget the whole thing.
Life does not make sense on the small scale. It continues to
puzzle us and everybody else. As students of the Ancient Wisdom,
we can take larger viewpoints. We cannot talk about them to
others that are not ready. At least, we entertain these thoughts
ourselves. Growing in perspective thereby, we become better able
to help others on the verge of stepping into the greater life.
We enlarge our vision, broaden our horizons, and increasingly
ensoul ourselves. In other words, we embody greater degrees of
inner spiritual knowledge through the vehicle that we call man,
the human entity.
Our existence seems like the gray coming from combining the white
and black powders. That gray is Maya, not true existence. The
interplay between the real or true existence and the negative or
non-existence creates Maya or the universe. This is a
semi-oriental way to put it.
Learning to transcend the illusory appearances of things, we
enter into less illusive conditions. This is in stages,
gradually. We progress from one illusion to the next, which is
less illusive and truer than the previous one. We approach the
perception of relative truth.
Complete transcending of illusions comes in entering into the
nirvana. Be not discouraged. We can transcend a million
different illusions in daily life. Here and now, we pierce them
with the sword, the weapon of spiritual discrimination.
Dedicated to the Theosophical Philosophy and its Practical Application