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THEOSOPHY WORLD --------------------------------------- May, 2004
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.)
"Gandhiji on the Simple Life," by B.P. Wadia
"Carmen Helena Small: July 6, 1918 to April 21, 2004,"
by Kenneth Robert Small
"The Adyar View," by Pedro Oliveira
"Some Conservative Aspects of Theosophy," by Isabel Cooper-Oakley
"Apollonius of Tyanna, Part XVIII, by Phillip A Malpas
"The Inner Journey," by Erica Letzerich
"The Jesus Story: Some Little-Known Facts of History,"
by Philip A. Malpas
"The Theosophy of Iamblichus of Syria," by Margaret Smith
"Meditation in a Bluebell Wood," by J.S. Collis
"The Magic Crystal," by Arland Ussher
"The Architects and the Builders," by G. de Purucker
> This subject of Planetary Chains is a special case ... of the
> general Doctrine of the Spheres; this subject has always been
> one of the most carefully guarded, considered as one of the most
> sacred and occult, because it leads us, in its ultimate reaches,
> directly to the Heart of Being. In order to reach that Heart of
> Being, we have to pass through many secret chambers of Mother
> Nature, chambers which have been held secret from all but
> members of our own Order, from immemorial time; and the Arcana
> of which have been guarded as one of the most sacred possessions
> of the Chiefs, the Guardians, of this our hold Order.
> -- G. de Purucker, FUNDAMENTALS OF THE ESOTERIC PHILOSOPHY,
> page 448
GANDHIJI ON THE SIMPLE LIFE
By B.P. Wadia
[From THUS HAVE I HEARD, pages 389-92.]
We specially remember and speak of Gandhiji. The roots of his
life and the tree of his being bear the name Simplicity. How
many among us are endeavoring sincerely to live a simple life of
self-discipline? In this age, sensual pleasures and their
continuous enjoyment are the be-all and end-all of life. It
looks upon the artificial stimulation and multiplication of wants
as the sign of progress. Its highest worship is of Mammon.
History shows that living the simple life in accordance with
Truth and Love has been difficult in any cycle. It is more
difficult today. It entails penance and suffering. In the
Gandhian philosophy, the ideal man has definite moral and social
principles of asceticism.
What kind of asceticism did Gandhiji practice and advocate? He
was not a Hatha-yogi. He saw "no inherent merit in the
mortification of the flesh."
> Mortification of the flesh is necessary when the flesh rebels
> against one. It is a sin when the flesh has already come under
> subjection as an instrument of service.
He did not believe in running away from the disturbances of life.
His asceticism consisted in the regulation of desire for the
purposes of the soul, in disciplining the body and the mind in
the light of reason and intuition. His principle of simplicity
made him avoid the two extremes -- indulging the senses and
forcefully suppressing them.
Objection has often been taken to Gandhiji's love and praise of
poverty and suffering. Being voluntary, they are endowed with
deep soul-significance. No one has fought more valiantly than
Gandhiji against the enforced poverty and misery of the Indian
masses. He pleaded for the deliberate and voluntary restriction
of wants. This promotes inner contentment and happiness in one's
environment and increases the capacity for service. His aim was
to identify himself with the poorest and the lowliest and thus
> Non-possession is allied to non-stealing. A thing not originally
> stolen must nevertheless be classified stolen property if one
> possesses it without needing it. Possession implies provision
> for the future. A seeker after Truth, a follower of a Law of
> Love, cannot hold anything against tomorrow . . . If each
> retained possession only of what he needed, no one would be in
> want, and all would live in contentment . . . "Take no thought
> for the morrow" is an injunction that finds an echo in almost all
> the religious scriptures of the world.
Gandhiji held non-possession applicable not only to things but
also to thoughts. He who harbors impure and selfish thoughts,
and craves power or possession, violates simplicity. "A man is
the product of his thoughts; what he thinks, he becomes."
Throwing away possessions without the eradication of desires is
not the way. Lust of every type is the womb of evil.
> The conquest of lust is the highest endeavor of a man or woman's
> existence. Without overcoming lust, man cannot hope to rule over
> self. Without rule over self, there can be no Swaraj or Ram Raj
> . . . No worker who has not overcome lust can hope to render
> any genuine service to the cause of Harijans, communal unity,
> Khadi, cow-protection, or village reconstruction . . .
> Brahmacharya must be observed in thought, word, and deed . . .
> Its root meaning may be given thus: that conduct that puts one in
> touch with God.
We can sum up Gandhiji's conception of real living as "That
conduct that puts one in touch with God." He wrote in his
> What I want to achieve -- what I have been striving and pining to
> achieve these thirty years -- is self-realization, to see God
> face to face, to attain Moksha. I live, move, and have my being
> in pursuit of this goal. All that I do by way of speaking and
> writing and all my ventures in the political field are directed
> to this same end.
He translated this devotion to God, to the Ishwara-Allah seated
in the hearts of all, and zeal for union with Him into love and
active service of his fellowmen. Service of the suppressed
classes is the essence of the simple life according to Gandhiji.
He describes his gospel of selfless action thus:
> It is wrong to call me an ascetic. The ideals that regulate my
> life are presented for acceptance by mankind in general. I have
> arrived at them by gradual evolution. Every step was thought
> out, well considered, and taken with the greatest deliberation.
> Both my continence and non-violence were derived from personal
> experience and became necessary in response to the calls of
> public duty . . . I have not the shadow of a doubt that any
> man or woman can achieve what I have, if he or she would make the
> same effort and cultivate the same hope and faith.
CARMEN HELENA SMALL: July 6, 1918 to April 21, 2004
By Kenneth Robert Small
Carmen Helena Small was born in a small house at the Point Loma
Theosophical Community July 6, 1918. Her parents Axel and Gerda
Fick had come from Sweden. Her mother and uncle were drawn to
the United States to study naturopathic medicine and Theosophy
and her father drawn to Point Loma's Theosophical practice and
Carmen's birth was an auspicious event for the community as it
was on Katherine Tingley's birthday, which was suitably delayed
awaiting her afternoon arrival. A few years later, the Welsh
fantasy-fiction writer, poet, and essayist Kenneth Morris who
resided at the community would dedicate his 'Dragon Path'
stone/garden pathway with exotic and native plants to Carmen.
She grew up through all the years of Raja Yoga schooling with its
broad and all encompassing education, excelling in piano and
chorus. Many years later, she would teach music as her vocation,
working in the public elementary schools in San Diego for 25
She attended high school in Sweden, quickly becoming fluent in
Swedish. On tour in Europe in 1937, G. de Purucker advised her
to "not wait too long" to return to Point Loma. She followed
his prescient view of the coming European war and returning to
the Point Loma Community, marrying Emmett Small in 1939.
The forties brought radical changes, the dispersal of the
wondrous community from Point Loma and then further internal
conflicts within the Theosophical Society that would by the early
fifties bring Emmett, his Mother, Carmen, her Mother, and their
three children to settle back in San Diego, entering the
conventional working world.
Raising family and later elementary school teaching filled her
years, followed by retirement and volunteer work with The San
Diego Natural History Museum, The Point Loma Assembly, and many
With Emmett's advancing age, she became President of Point Loma
Publications, managing all aspects of publishing and distributing
during the nineties.
In her final year, she had the wonderful support of friends and
family. She always enthusiastically shared her cheerful optimism
and practical view with all. In the end, she was grateful to
have hospice care. After five days of entering the San Diego
Hospice, she passed away peacefully on April 21, 2004.
There will be a memorial gathering at Point Loma. Its date will
be announced in the next few weeks.
Send donations in Carmen's name to Point Loma Publication, Inc.
or to the San Diego Hospice.
Send all communications care of:
Point Loma Publications, Inc.
Post Office Box 6507
San Diego, CA 92166
THE ADYAR VIEW
By Pedro Oliveira
I have read mention of something called "the Adyar view" in
online theosophical discussions. Even so, the Theosophical
Society with International Headquarters at Adyar does not hold
corporate or official views.
Freedom of thought has been a long-standing policy of the Adyar
Society for the past eighty years. Consider the resolution of
the General Council of the Society in 1924:
> As the Theosophical Society has spread far and wide over the
> world, and as members of all religions have become members of it
> without surrendering the special dogmas, teachings and beliefs of
> their respective faiths, it is thought desirable to emphasize the
> fact that there is no doctrine, no opinion, by whomsoever taught
> or held, that is in any way binding on any member of the Society,
> none which any member is not free to accept or reject. Approval
> of its three Objects is the sole condition of membership.
> No teacher, or writer, from H.P. Blavatsky onwards, has any
> authority to impose his or her teachings or opinions on members.
> Every member has an equal right to follow any school of thought,
> but has no right to force the choice on any other. Neither a
> candidate for any office nor any voter can be rendered ineligible
> to stand or to vote, because of any opinion held, or because of
> membership in any school of thought. Opinions or beliefs neither
> bestow privileges nor inflict penalties.
> The Members of the General Council earnestly request every member
> of the Theosophical Society to maintain, defend and act upon
> these fundamental principles of the Society, and also fearlessly
> to exercise the right of liberty of thought and of expression
> thereof, within the limits of courtesy and consideration for
As early as 1913, Annie Besant wrote along similar lines. See
her 1913 article at
Obviously, neither the resolution nor her article prevented
various disastrous statements like those about initiations at
Ommen in August 1925.
The Adyar Theosophical Society lost approximately 15,000 out of
its 45,000 members between August and December 1929. This
followed the "Truth is a Pathless Land" speech by Krishnamurti in
which he dissolved the Order of the Star. How did it survive the
1920's? It was because of the policy of freedom of thought and
the courage of Krishmaurti of refusing to play a role that he had
In 1996, Geoffrey Farthing issued his Manifesto, calling for the
Adyar Theosophical Society to recognize H.P. Blavatsky's
writings and the Mahatma Letters as its foundational teachings.
The General Council, in its 1996 Annual Report responded:
> The consensus was that freedom of thought necessarily implies a
> wide horizon of thought and perception. Belief that the writings
> of H.P.B. and the Mahatma Letters constitute the only source of
> the message the T.S. should promulgate cannot be imposed on the
> members, as such limitation goes against the grain of that
> freedom of thought. Each one must have the freedom to decide
> what best helps understanding of oneself and provides inspiration
> to work for the ideal of human progression and perfection.
There are views held by Adyar Theosophical Society members on
many issues, but not to my knowledge any official Adyar view.
SOME CONSERVATIVE ASPECTS OF THEOSOPHY
By Isabel Cooper-Oakley
[From LUCIFER, September 15, 1890, pages 62-65.]
Standing, as we do, at the junction of many varied lines of
thought, let us for a short while travel mentally along the
conservative line, and see what lessons may be learned on our
path. For much stress having been laid on the social aspect of
the Theosophical Society, i.e., the "Brotherhood" of Man, an idea
seems taking root that our Society is mainly Socialistic in its
teaching. As it is contrary to the Spirit of Theosophy to have
any particular form emphasized, it may not be out of place to
compare its other lines and aspects in order to understand
rightly the real meaning of this term in Theosophy.
If Theosophy is, as we believe it to be, the unity underlying all
outward forms of thought and religion, then must it necessarily
have its conservative, as well as its liberal and socialistic
aspect. Moreover Theosophy, as such, must of necessity be
markedly conservative, or it could not fulfill its function, that
of handing down to the "few" of each race and generation the same
Truths and Principles, carefully guarded, and shielded from the
knowledge and gaze of the "many."
On the surface, the principle of "Universal Brotherhood,"
advocated by the Theosophical Society, would seem to be in
contradiction with the idea of strict conservatism, if we examine
a little more closely we find a fundamental difference between
the idea of "Brotherhood," Theosophical and Occult, and the idea
of Brotherhood as put forward by many leaders of Socialistic
Brotherhood does not necessarily imply equality of position, nor
equal division of property, but something more stable and
unchanging, viz., equality, mental and spiritual. The former,
while recognizing these differences, enforces kindliness and
consideration to all men without distinction of race or sex; but
it acknowledges as Brother, in the full sense of the term, only
that man or woman whose mental and spiritual aspirations are the
same; it postulates certain attributes, certain qualities, as an
absolute necessity; without them, there can be no bond, but,
given these qualities, there is perfect Brotherhood between
prince and peasant, employer and employed, rich and poor.
By the latter, it is taught that Brotherhood will come when wages
are high, property equally divided, and a general dead level of
class is reached. We are distinctly told that until physical
good and material comfort are within reach of all men and women,
it is useless to talk of, or aim at, higher mental and spiritual
developments. Therefore, we are face to face with a distinct
incompatibility and contradiction of doctrine, and it is
essential that for right action we should arrive at some clear
definition of the term Brotherhood, as used from the Theosophical
standpoint and as one of the objects of the Theosophical Society.
At present, we run some danger of the public labeling our Society
as Socialistic in its tendencies. The term Brotherhood is often
used for selfish ends, and though we know some few disinterested
leaders of those principles, whose sole desire is to benefit
humanity, still they are the "few" while the "many" seek only
their own good and personal advancement. When the storm cloud
breaks and the evil day of revolution is upon us with all its
attendant horrors, the few disinterested leaders will be swept
away in the flood-tide of men's selfish desires and passions that
they, with the best and noblest intentions, have helped to stir.
The Brotherhood of Theosophy and that taught by Socialism connote
totally different meanings, and as members of the Society, we
must define clearly which Brotherhood is meant, whether that of
this life and its material goods, or that of all the lives to
come, and after thus discriminating we must take heed not to use
the term lightly, so that the general political interpretation
shall be dragged in, hut point out where, when, and how, for us,
begins the Brotherhood.
A perfect equality of caste, birth, wealth, and even education
might be reached, but the most complete socialistic system could
never ensure mental and spiritual equality, and this alone would
always cause many class distinctions. The elect in spirit must
ever be far above those that are dull of mind, material and
sensual in their tastes and desires.
This conservative element of distinction in spiritual classes is
strongly marked in ancient religions and even in the teachings of
Christ, which contain in some ways the most socialistic elements
of any religion (except Buddhism) the world has known. Yet, this
Christianity is markedly conservative as to whom the spiritual
gifts and knowledge should be imparted. "To you," said Jesus to
his disciples, "it is given to know the mysteries of the Kingdom
of God, to them it is not given . . . therefore speak I to
them in parables (or allegories) because they seeing, see not;
and hearing, they hear not; neither do they understand."
If this were the basis, not only of the Christian, but the
Egyptian and many other ancient religions, and above all the
Pythagorean philosophy, ought we, who stand, so to speak, as a
nucleus of recipients of the Esoteric Truths of the Ancient
Wisdom Religion, ought we, nay dare we, say that we can give all,
share all? Is not it true to say that we are all Brothers,
connoting in that term absolute equality and equal rights,
knowing, as we Theosophists know, far better than many others,
the reason why not all men are, nor in the ordinary sense will
they ever be -- Brothers -- during our Manvantara?
From the Theosophical and above all the Occult standpoint, we
find distinct limitations; for if our lives here are the outcome
of our past lives, then are we reaping the fruits of our own
deeds. Therefore, logically, it is not the grasping wickedness
of all hereditary landowners, which has produced the present sad
differences, but they must be the result of our past actions; and
given that the slums do exist, would they be so thickly inhabited
were there no Karmic tendencies and no beings forced to inhabit
We hold that we are reborn in exactly that set of conditions
which we have ourselves produced; hence those who are poor and
suffering have been so reborn for some Karmic purpose; and those
who hold the responsible positions of landowners and governors
are also working out a Karmic law. Therefore if all these
fundamental existing distinctions and differences which range
from pauper to prince. are the results of Karmic relations and
arrangements, have we the right to judge them as all wrong, and
tear them violently to pieces, trying by main force to share and
share alike, when these very differences are the necessary
accompaniments of slow growth and gradual evolution?
We are bound to ameliorate to the utmost of our power all
sufferings and anomalies, entailed by the inevitable degradation
of life under such conditions. We shall find that something
equivalent to slums will surely exist for those whose Karma
necessitates such conditions. If not, Karma cannot be the
unfailing law we are taught it is; and in these fundamental
teachings of Theosophy we find nothing Socialistic or
revolutionary, but from first to last, all is law and all is
order, arising out of inequality and diversity, the keynote of
which was struck in those far-off ages when some beings were
endowed with the full mind, and some had only a spark given to
them. Looking along the uphill road that stretches before us, we
see that these differences necessarily continue through the
duration of our Manvantara.
May we not conclude that while every effort should be made to
ameliorate and soften bad conditions, to help those who are
suffering, and brighten all dark and sorrowful lives; yet,
believing in Karma, it is impossible to accede to, or sympathize
with, violent remedies, or sudden changes, for the sufferers are
not struggling with blind Fate's cruel decree, but they are where
they are, by the order of Nature's immutable laws; their
sufferings being the resultant of their past lives. Let us take
heed that our remedy not be worse than the disease, and that we
do not start causes and become responsible for effects that may
enhance the difficulties of subsequent evolution.
We are nearing an all-important era in our world's history, both
exoterically and esoterically. The timepiece of the ages records
the hour that reminds us it is the exact cycle since the French
Revolution convulsed Europe with its horrors. It was a sad
lesson to those who prematurely force the gradual change and
growth of existing conditions and a warning that we may not
lightly stir the passions of the masses without entailing
terrible dangers. We set in motion forces with which we may not
know how to deal or pacify, and what real benefit has accrued to
the French nation by that awful upheaval? And again the lesser
one of '71?
In each of these sad tragedies, we find the originators were the
first martyrs, for they were devoured by that insatiable sphinx,
a mob of howling bloodthirsty beings blind with their fury and
passions, by whom more was wanted than their leaders could give,
and failing to answer their insatiable demands, death was the
penalty they paid for their temerity. What is the practical
result to the French people of that terrible revolution in which
they worked their will? We see before us a nation fast falling to
pieces -- rotten to the core, immoral in life and literature, and
their cycle will close, its page deeply marked with bloodshed,
torture, and suffering; a page where the mass of the guilty went
free and the innocent suffered. Are there not slums today in
Paris that exceed in crime and horror any that London can
produce? Truly, Whitechapel is a pale shadow beside Menilmontant
and other environs of Paris.
Surely if those teachers, Gautama and Jesus, being aware of the
great danger of furnishing an uncultivated populace with the
double-edge weapon of KNOWLEDGE THAT GIVES POWER, if they, left
the inner corner of the sanctuary in the profoundest shade, who
that is acquainted with human nature, can blame them? Looking
back at these two epochs, does it not make us feel sorrowful when
we see a people rushing in all good faith to their doom, as in
our England today?
Turn we to the esoteric cycle, one that to us as Theosophy is
all-important, and surely, we shall understand that the utmost
caution is necessary. Are we not taught that the present time is
a crucial one for Humanity? Once in every century for us also a
"Cactus flower blooms" and to some little nucleus of mankind a
precious opportunity is offered of working with and for those,
who, working ever for Humanity, yet keep themselves aloof from
the sweeping currents engendered by the rush and maelstrom force
of men's passions let loose. If we are submerged in those
currents (living as Karma decrees in the very center of a coming
battle) and let the precious time pass by, then against us also
will the door of another century close, and we shall find
ourselves stranded, scattered, and broken up, like the leaders of
the French Revolution were wrecked in the storm of their own
Let us learn this lesson from those whom we desire to serve. Let
us stand, little band that we are, watchfully waiting the
material course of events, ready to help and to serve -- but not
to lead -- and not wasting the valuable time yet left us, careful
only that we shall not let our work be swept away in the coming
APOLLONIUS OF TYANNA, Part XXI
By Phillip A Malpas
[The following comes from a series that appeared in THE
THEOSOPHICAL PATH, under Katherine Tingley as Editor and
published at the Point Loma Theosophical Community. It later
appeared in book form under the title TRUE MESSIAH: THE STORY AND
WISDOM OF APOLLONIUS OF TYANA 3 B.C. -- 96 A.D., published by
Point Loma Publications.]
FREEDOM, "RESURRECTION," AND ON TO GREECE
After Apollonius had departed from the tribunal, the Emperor
behaved like one under a divine influence, and in a way not easy
to explain, because it was very different from the general
expectation of those who were best acquainted with him. They
expected him to burst out into violent exclamations, and to have
issued orders throughout the whole empire to discover and
prosecute Apollonius wherever found. Whatever the cause, the
event was the very reverse and he did nothing in the matter.
He even heard another case the same day concerning a will.
Domitian not only forgot the names of the parties but the
arguments used in the case while it was proceeding. He asked
meaningless questions and gave answers that had no bearing on the
case. The flatterers around him made him believe that nothing
had escaped his recollection.
All this happened before midday.
Damis had arrived at Puteoli the day before and had told
Demetrius all that had happened to the moment of his leaving
Rome. Damis ought not to have feared and it was unworthy of a
philosopher such as Demetrius to have doubts, but both were
uneasy about Apollonius. They wanted to do as he had told them,
but they knew they would never see him again, for who ever
escaped from Domitian?
They walked by the shore near Calypso's Isle as he had told them,
but their hearts were heavy. They rested in a nymphaeum where
statues of nymphs surrounded a pool bordered with white marble.
They talked of the water that never overflowed and never
diminished when drawn from. They failed to make any show of
interest and got to talking of the last hours of Damis with the
Damis could hold his grief in no longer. He cried aloud in an
agony of grief, "Oh Gods! Are we never more to see our good and
"You shall see him, or rather you have seen him," said the
beloved voice of their dear Teacher, the peerless philosopher of
"What, alive," said Demetrius, carried out of himself. "If he is
dead we shall never cease lamenting him."
Apollonius stretched out his hand and said, "Take it, and if I
escape you, regard me as an apparition just arrived from the
kingdom of Proserpine, like those which the terrestrial gods
present to the eyes of afflicted mortals. If I bear being
touched, I wish you would persuade Damis to think I am alive, and
have not yet laid aside the body."
Demetrius and Damis, doubting no longer, ran to him and kissed
him. After a while, they asked if he had made any defense. In
their forlorn talk they had argued, anything to keep down the
gnawing grief of their hearts. Demetrius had thought he had made
no defense because he knew he must die, though innocent. Damis
thought he had made one, but sooner than expected. Neither of
them thought he had made it that very day, a few hours before, in
Rome, at a distance of three days' journey!
"My friends, I have made a defense," he said. "I did so a few
hours ago, and we are victorious. That was just on noon."
"How have you made so long a journey in so short a time," asked
"Think what you like about it," he replied. "Do not imagine I
made use of the ram of Phryxus, nor the wings of Daedalus. Put
it down to a God."
Damis remembered how Apollonius had said that he was going on a
very strange journey. They had wondered if he meant to some far
country on the arrow of Abaris the Hyperborean, who made the
circuit of the earth on an arrow, without food. They wondered
about any fanciful explanation but the right one, which was that
he was going to Rome to face the Emperor.
Demetrius asked a hundred questions about the trial. He said he
saw a God was interested in all Apollonius did or said and made
his every action prosper. He wanted to hear every detail to tell
Telesinus, who a fortnight before had dreamed he saw a river of
fire overwhelming everything except Apollonius, who went through
safely as it divided giving him passage. Telesinus knew it was a
"I am not surprised that Telesinus should think of me in his
dream," said Apollonius, "for I know he has long thought of me
when awake." Then on the way to the city, he told them all about
Then they were in despair once more. There was no doubt that the
Emperor would send all over the Empire for him and capture him
somehow. He calmed their fears. Even Damis said he was at last
convinced there was something exceptional, something divine about
him, and that it would be all right in the end if he said so.
He told Demetrius about the unfettered leg in the prison as the
incident that had made him think there was something superior in
the wisdom of Apollonius. So they agreed, since it was
evening-time, to go to the nearest tavern and care for their
beloved master. He said he needed nothing more than sleep, which
he promptly took, after repeating some verses of Homer in place
of his evening hymn. He insisted that they should have a good
LEAVES FOR GREECE
In the morning, Demetrius went to ask what Apollonius was going
to do. He could hear in imagination the hoof beats of the horses
sent posthaste with swift riders to take the Tyanean. He hardly
dared look out on the road to Rome. Apollonius again assured him
that none should follow him where he went. The next thing was to
go to Greece. Did Damis know of a vessel?
"We are at the sea," said Damis. "The crier is at the door, and
I hear the shouting of the sailors and the noise of the anchor as
they prepare to weigh."
"We will go in her to Sicily, and then to the Peloponnesus," said
Then they took leave of Demetrius, who was sorrowful at their
going. They bid him be of good cheer and keep up his courage as
a man who has the interests of his friends at heart. They set
sail with a fair wind and came to Sicily. Oh! The sorrow of that
day for the brave old Demetrius! The sorrow and sadness of
Rumor said in Greece that Apollonius had been burnt alive. He
was alive, but had his back stuck full of little hooks. He was
cast into a deep pit. He was drowned in a well. All might be
true. The only thing humanly certain was that his end had come.
Even the suggestion that he was alive under perpetual torture
seemed extravagant. How was it possible that he or anyone else
could escape the homicidal clutches of Domitian?
Then, a voice ran, a little undercurrent, a murmur, a rumor, a
buzzing of tongues that grew to a torrent of passionate assertion
passed through Greece that he was not only alive and well but
also no farther away than the temple at Olympia! It was
incredible, but it was true.
All Greece flocked to the Olympic Games. They were the world's
festival, being unrivaled and unchallenged as an attraction. Now
the whole country flocked to Olympia, from Elis, Sparta, and
Corinth. Athens was not in their territory, but the flower and
cream of Athens came to the temple for the chance of a sight or a
word of Apollonius. The entire world went to Athens to college,
Boeotians, Argives, Thessalians, people from Phocis, and
undergraduates from the known world. These joined in the exodus
to Olympia, whether they had seen him before or not. Those who
had not heard him thought it shame not to have done so; those who
had, wished to extend their knowledge, if even by a crumb, a
golden word from his divine lips. Even the magicians came, those
who degrade divine things for money.
They asked him how he escaped. The old man's reply was very
"I pleaded my cause and came off safe." That was all he said.
This only made matters the more intense. For when those who now
came from Italy told the truth and the wonder of that most
wonderful trial at Rome, the people of Greece proceeded almost to
the point of adoration. His modesty and refusal to exalt himself
above others was a powerful proof of his divine quality.
The priests needed no proof. Had they not seen him in their holy
of holies? It was not for them to explain their household affairs
to the public, but one thing was certain, Apollonius never took
one penny for his teachings. Still, there were personal funds
ever at his disposition. All the treasures of Babylon he had
rejected except a bit of bread and onion, "which make an
excellent repast." All the treasures of Vespasian and Rome were
naught to him. Damis found their funds mighty low. The purse he
carried was no great burden on their journey.
He told his old Teacher and Master. "I will remedy it tomorrow,"
said the latter. Damis said no more. He had said it was all
right, and so it would be.
The next day Apollonius entered the temple and asked the priest
for a thousand drachmas out of the treasury, "if the God would
not think such a sum displeasing."
"A thousand drachmas! It is a matter of no consequence to the
God, but I fear he will be displeased that you ask for such a
trifle instead of more!" The priest gave it to him.
Apollonius stayed forty days at Olympia after his "resurrection."
(The people thought it was little less than that. He explained a
variety of matters with great wisdom. Then he departed to
converse with Trophonius, whose temple he had formerly visited,
though without seeing the God. He promised to return and
discourse in the towns, and assemblies, "in your sacred
processions, mysteries, and sacrifices, and libations, for all
these things require the assistance and advice of a good man."
Thus, he left for Arcadia attended by his real admirers, of whom
not one was left behind.
The oracle of Trophonius was a peculiar one. It was consulted by
entering a narrow underground cave, much resembling the entrance
to the Inferno of the later Dante. The priests refused to allow
Apollonius to go down as it was only for the wicked and impure to
consult the oracle, not such as he. This oracle was the only one
that spoke direct to the suppliant without answers passing
through any intermediary. This Trophonius was a son of Apollo.
Refused entrance by the priests, Apollonius sat down and
discoursed of the oracle and the manner of consulting it. Those
who entered the cave went down in a crouching position, clad in
white garments and holding cakes of honey in the hand to appease
the serpents that might be in the cave. After consulting the
oracle they emerged, some in one place and some in another at a
greater distance. The whole place and ceremony appeared like
some labyrinthine mysteries of the afterlife of the dead.
Apollonius had little use for such mysteries; rather it might be
said, in modern terms, that he himself was capable of preaching
to and instructing the dead.
At evening-time, he wrapped his cloak about him and prepared to
descend. The God himself was so pleased with his conduct that he
rebuked the priests for their treatment of Apollonius and ordered
them to expect his reappearance at Aulis. Here they waited seven
days. At the end of that time, Apollonius reappeared by a way
untrodden by any before who had ever consulted the oracle. With
him, he brought a little book, like the Sibylline oracles,
"fitted for answering all questions." He had asked Trophonius
what philosophy he considered most pure, and the book contained
the opinions of Pythagoras, to which the oracle gave full
"This book is kept at Antium, which on this account, is visited
by the curious traveler," says Philostratus a hundred years
later. "It was carried to the Emperor Hadrian along with some
letters written by Apollonius (for all did not reach him), and
was left in his palace at Antium."
All his followers, whom the Greeks named Apollonians, came to him
out of Ionia, and with them the young men from the country round
about, a vast multitude full of philosophical zeal and worthy of
admiration. Great crowds went to hear the philosophy of
Apollonius, which fell from his lips like the wealth of Gyges and
Croesus, free to all who asked. He spoke from the heart and the
Apollonians paid little or no attention to the professional
He would not allow his young men to accept magisterial offices,
nor would he let them have anything to do with lawyers, but drove
away his flock when he saw them approach, "I do it through fear
of the wolves coming and attacking the fold," he said, in the
imagery of the prophet Enoch. Some thought this was because he
had seen such bitter suffering, privations, and death in the
Roman prisons arising out of the wrangling of the lawyers who
fattened on the misfortunes of others.
Two years he stayed in Greece and then sailed into Ionia with his
whole company. He philosophized at Smyrna and Ephesus, not
overlooking other towns. Everywhere, he was received worthily.
THE INNER JOURNEY
By Erica Letzerich
> If that is clear, the next point is, in observing there is always
> the observer. The observer who, with his prejudices, with his
> conditionings, with his fear and guilt and all the rest of it, he
> is the observer, the censor, and through his eyes he looks, and
> therefore he is really not looking at all, he is merely coming to
> conclusions based upon his past experiences and knowledge. The
> past experiences, conclusions, and knowledge prevent actually
> -- Krishnamurti
The observer is the personality, the conjunction of our emotions
and thoughts, and therefore cannot really see. Krishnamurti
mentions that there is no observer or observed because the two
are one. The Mahatma KH also describes this state of mind:
> The Real Knowledge here spoken of is not a mental but a spiritual
> state, implying full union between the Knower and the Known.
> -- THE MAHATMA LETTERS, Letter 69
No spirituality can be reached no awareness can be present into
the mind of a person that is not able to investigate the depths
of the soul. The process of self-knowledge based on deep
inquires and inner changes are the most basic step into the path
of theosophy and occultism. Jesus reminds us that too:
> Truly, I tell you, unless you change and become like children,
> you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Whoever becomes
> humble like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.
> Whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me.
> -- Matthew 18:1-5
A mind not enlightened by Buddhi will not express wisdom but only
intellect. It will lead, the aspirant, to face the great dragon,
arrogance. If you refuse to face it, the dragon will trap you in
the future. Should you believe you have won, it has already
Humbleness is an inner state open to the possibility of mistakes
in intellectual conclusions, always open for the new. The wise
man knows how ignorant he is.
In this sense, a mind that inquires expectantly is not humble.
It is not simple. It is subject to prior conditioning, unable to
grasp truth, being unable to inquire truly. The very process of
searching for the truth requires a mind free of conditioning.
How else can the eternal express itself through the non-eternal?
How else can the real express itself through the unreal? How else
can the unreal even suspect the real exists?
What causes attachments to the personality, physical life, loved
ones, and teachings or belief? They are all projections of a mind
seeking answers to please the inner ego. They seek to comfort
the fearful mind immersed in illusion and subterfuge. Such a
mind cannot inquire about truth.
David Bohn says that scientific theories are only models of
reality, a way to see and to interpret nature. The theories are
not reality itself. He goes on to say experimental results are
answers to questions formulated by scientists and the nature of
such an answer bases itself upon the nature of the question.
Because of this, a fragmented question will have a fragmented
What is the greatest illusion, according to the light of
Theosophy? It is separation or division. The greatest challenge
of the real aspirant is not to merely realize Oneness
theoretically, but also to do so practically. Consider it not
necessarily a challenge but rather a step that one will climb
eventually. This requires inner change, regeneration.
Our reflexes, reactions, and thoughts connect to every previous
experience we have had. If inquiry does not raise the mind
beyond its conditioning, one's expectations impose a filter and
the inquiry is not be real.
Many philosophers, students, sages, and poets have undertaken the
task to search for truth. The process of inquiry requires a mind
that is completely free from expectation, the search for comfort,
and answers to satisfy the ego. In this sense only when the mind
is free of desire to achieve something to get a result,
consequently free of fear can reach a state of awareness.
One finds the truth in following a path covered with stones, a
course few can tread. It requires no hypocrisy, no attachments
to religion, cult, creed, believe, or system. It is a process
the starts from within.
Near the beginning of THE VOICE OF THE SILENCE, Blavatsky says:
> Having become indifferent to objects of perception, the pupil
> must seek out the rajah of the senses, the Thought-Producer, he
> who awakes illusion.
This refers to the illusion of an individual existence, the
illusion of the "me." Unfortunately, one cannot reach such a
stage simply by a practice of some technique, say of meditation.
If so, as a Mahatma mentioned, the whole of India would be
enlightened by now.
For many, the journey within oneself starts with inner crisis and
ego conflicts. For others, the soul can hear high tones of the
eternal sound faintly, abruptly becoming aware of its miserable
state. With that awareness, one's inner journey starts. It
begins with some trigger, one of a million different causes. The
neophyte will face his inner demons. Lost in the labyrinths of
his soul, he will wander, seeking light in ultimate loneliness.
One can do nothing now. The inner battle has started and it is
out of his control. This is the dark night of the soul, which
can endure the entire lifetime for many. For others, it can end
up in tragedy, in the loss of equilibrium and balance. For yet
others, it results in enlightenment. Everybody will eventually
face this step at the right point in his or her evolutionary
How do we become indifferent to the object of perception? How do
we locate the thought producer when we identify with it? It is
necessary to transcend the ego. It is necessary to break every
inner barrier, every conditioning, and every belief. The sand
castles built by thought and emotion must go down.
If we do not undertake the inner journey, every discussion,
inquiry, and observation of ours will fragment and only express
intellectual speculation. A real understanding follows real
effort by a clean mind and a pure heart, untrammeled by chains of
THE JESUS STORY: SOME LITTLE-KNOWN FACTS OF HISTORY
By Philip A Malpas
[From THE THEOSOPHICAL FORUM, June 1948, pages 321-27.]
In the following pages, I give certain facts, information, and
suggestions to enable the serious inquirer to form a
better-balanced knowledge of the subject. Hitherto, all written
about this great man is by Christians or anti-Christians with a
few in between, none knowing the history with any accuracy. The
literature of the early ages such as the Gospels was not intended
to be history. It was written for a purpose that was not public.
It was not a myth, but was and is a mythos, a story with definite
symbolical meaning, an allegory that included many ethical and
One reason for such a manner of writing is that the teachings
often cannot be fully expressed in terms of ordinary intellectual
language. Another was that according to archaic tradition and
experience, there was danger in teaching some high doctrines to
people who had not been prepared by long training. If any are
sufficiently unthinking to question this idea that knowledge
without self-control is dangerous, we may point to hypnotism,
atomic power, and germ warfare. If they cannot see that these
are more dangerous to humanity than most dare admit, then they
are hardly ready to learn more until they have learned to think.
In any case, secret societies have studied such teachings for
ages, observing the rule of privacy.
Insofar as the writer knows, not much stress has ever been laid
upon the fact that the very earliest Christianity was the work of
a secret society or societies in the Near East. It was so, and
this accounts for much of the mystery and secrecy surrounding the
life and work of the man known as Jesus. The question arises,
"Do secret societies exist today that existed two thousand years
ago?" The answer is undoubtedly yes.
We may name at least two of them. One is the Christian Church
itself, which however changed and transformed is still a
descendant of one or more of the secret societies of the Near
East of those days. Another is the society of the man known as
John the Baptist. Poor and seemingly unlearned, there is still
reason to believe that some among them preserve their ancient
records. They are said to be centered today in the district
round Basra in Persia. It would be hopeless to expect them to
talk about these things.
In the East, other societies of great antiquity are known. Among
them are some who know who "Jesus" was, what really happened in
connection with him, and why.
One who spent her life in investigating truth in its many forms
was Madame H. P. Blavatsky. In so doing, she contacted many
guardians of the old wisdom and keepers of the records. We may
glean much from her colossal labors expressed in several
well-known volumes. She died in 1891 and, as she said at the
time, we would only begin to understand her work in this century.
We were not ready for it then.
Since her time, the work has been expanded and explained by Dr.
Gottfried de Purucker, who died in 1942. His works are also
available. Among them is a very small book, small like a
diamond, named "The Story of Jesus." He restricts himself so much
to a few facts that it occurred to this writer to attempt, so to
say, to frame the picture, or to use the former metaphor, to give
the diamond a setting.
There is no pretension to fine writing. All we have endeavored
to do is to give information and hints as to where information
may be found by those who take an interest in the subject. Not a
sentimental interest, not a political or partisan interest,
nothing doctrinal, nothing dogmatic, just something for the
everyday man who wants to know.
Strange as it may seem at first glance, the most just, the most
fair and beautiful, and the most purposeful sketch of what is
known of Jesus can only be given by one who is not orthodox
Christian. If a man is so labeled, his spectacles are bound to
be colored. On the other hand, realize that not all who are not
members of the Christian community are antagonistic to Jesus.
Quite the contrary.
It is not going too far to say that no man who has labeled
himself a Christian has ever honored Jesus more than the sober
genuine Theosophists have done. They and others like them have
dedicated themselves to immense research and effort to find out
the truth wherever it might lie hidden.
It is true that some rather superficial dogmatists from time to
time have seemed to condemn the Christian Church as evil from the
beginning. Certainly soon after the passing of Jesus and
possibly even during his lifetime, there may have been some who
could not stand the strain of self-control and who may have done
things involving moral turpitude and yet called themselves
Christians. Even the Gospel story tells in figurative language
of one such, named Judas. The man who came to be called Paul
also tells of questionable characters who attached themselves to
his lodges, but that does not alter the fact that the Christian
Church started with the most sublime objects in view. All down
the ages there have been men and women in it whose unselfish
lives were exemplary. Most would have been such under any form
of outer observance.
Put shortly, the greatest honor possibly paid Jesus by Christian
or not is to attempt to put his genuine teachings into practice
in life. Even so, some teachings, given to an occult
brotherhood, are beyond the capacities of the everyday man in an
age like ours. They are points of training for occult students.
Do not forget that an enormous amount of corruption has crept
into what we have received as the teachings of Jesus. This
corruption goes so far back that even in the fourth century A.D.
we find the Church Father Jerome completely puzzled by it. We
have said a good deal about him to show how difficult it was for
him to distinguish between fact and dogma. He does one thing
that helps us. He shows that from the very first there was a
secret and an open doctrine of the gospel, that there was an
esoteric and an exoteric teaching.
The significance of this for the ordinary man who wants to know
can hardly be overrated. Students may be perfectly aware of the
fact, but the man in the street looks upon them as specialists
and possibly theorists and is not always ready to accept what
they have to say. In the case of experts -- those who have, in
some degree, experienced the things related in symbolic form --
there is the extra difficulty that they are often unwilling to
talk to others who have not been trained.
They wish neither to dogmatize nor to give advanced knowledge to
amateurs. They are not sure that they would be welcomed if they
gave details that are not orthodox. Nor, if they are genuine
wise men, have they any desire to interfere with the beliefs of
others, however erroneous, unless they are asked, and not always
then. Ancient tradition may have taught them that there are
times for giving out knowledge and other times for keeping
silence or veiling it. Even more, there have been times when
death was the penalty for revealing in plain language the secrets
of the sanctuary. Socrates died for doing so, but since they
were secrets, his executioners did not give that reason for
Nevertheless, for some reason unspecified, Jerome was given
access at least to some part of the esoteric gospel that the
original Jewish Christians, the Ebionites, the Poor Men on Mount
Carmel and in Aleppo, had carefully preserved in the handwriting
of "Matthew" himself. He plainly tells us so. Is it not natural
therefore to suppose that there were a certain number, whether
large or small, who knew both the exoteric and the esoteric
tradition, either badly or well, either partially or wholly, and
that these men freely taught the exoteric story while perfectly
aware that the esoteric doctrine was different.
Even as late as the time of Irenaeus, the Bishop of Lyons in
Gaul, about 180 A.D., we find the Gnostics, a very learned
esoteric body, so tangling him up in his exoteric statements
about Jesus that he is forced to say at least a little of the
truth. He said that Jesus lived about fifty years and taught for
the best part of twenty years. Not that the confession availed
him much, because as some then pointed out, if Jesus at about the
age of thirty in the fifteenth year of the Emperor "Tiberius"
began to preach at Kafar-Num, and lived until he was over fifty,
then "Pilate" had long ago left Palestine before his death.
All sorts of things could be brought forward to escape from the
dilemma, the easiest being that Jesus taught twenty years after
his resurrection, in which case much of the force of that event
AS HISTORY would be lost. At the same time, as in so many of
these things, there was a grain of sense even in this idea,
because that is exactly what happened to Gautama the Buddha in
one way of looking at it. AS THE BUDDHA, he "died" and then
continued teaching as the Bodhisattva for just twenty years, in a
lower degree, so to say. There is quite a history yet to know
about this incident of Irenaeus. It is doubtless preserved in
the occult records, but is unknown to official history of either
church or state. Irenaeus is one of the first great
heresy-hunters and dogmatists of the long list of those who
gradually crystallized the whole thing into a fixed system.
It may be an interesting hint to note that he appears on the
stage at much the same time as the great Ammonius Saccas, the
founder of the Neo-Platonist philosophy, as it came to be called.
This Ammonius Saccas was the agent for his time of the unknown
custodians of the esoteric tradition, just as Jesus was for his
time, and Plato and others were for their time. In other words,
just as Jesus was for his day the founder and head of his
Theosophical Society, so was Ammonius Saccas, towards the end of
the second century A.D., about 186, the founder and head for his
Insofar as the writer knows, there is nothing new, there is no
new theory in what he has written, and if there is anything
incorrect, it is due to his being an ordinary research student.
On the other hand, what H. P. Blavatsky and G. de Purucker say
is reliable. Neither of them can be called students. They were
learned experts. Unfortunately, HPB was forced to work under
terrific difficulties and it is perfectly possible that here and
there misprints may have crept into her printed work as certainly
did happen in her first great work, ISIS UNVEILED. This applies
especially to figures and therefore it is just possible that a
date she gives for the birth of Jesus may be a few years out, but
nothing like so much as the whole of Christian history, which is
no less than one hundred years out. We mention this because
several interesting details depend upon the point that at times,
small details point to big conclusions, as exemplified in the
question of the personal appearance of Jesus that we have
discussed in its own place.
A question is likely to be asked. "What is this story of Jesus,
if it is not that of a historical man?" The answer is simple if
one can understand. It is the story, symbolically expressed, of
MAN in his evolution from the human to the divine, the human that
he is actually, to the divine that he is potentially, the divine
that he is but does not express. Jesus, the historical man, was
taken as a good example of such a man who had attained such
expression even when living in a body. The name is convenient
because, with a negligible alteration, the word "Jesus" in the
Hebrew simply means "Man" and not any one man in particular.
Such a story was suitable enough for the appropriate lodge,
secret society, or occult group of students but had little to do
with the outside public, not even trained in the first shadow of
a degree leading to the understanding of the whole. When
misguided half-trained members made it public as far as they knew
how, it was well that the language was disguised. On the other
hand, there seems to have come a time when some who were better
aware of what they were doing decided to make the system public
for the sake of the little or great good it might do in the
approaching dark ages of Europe. The line between legitimate and
illegitimate publication is difficult to draw. Although those
who wrote the gospels were using age-old materials, they were men
of extraordinary intellect, which explains the astonishingly
ingenious symbolism they often used.
Here is one instance that gave rise to much confusion among the
first users of the gospels. One system of symbology used for the
gospel story of Jesus is purely solar, blending with many others.
As describing the birth, rise, decline, death, and rebirth of the
human being, the path of the Sun through the annual sky is used.
Whatever other explanations there may be, this is one of the
suggestions contained in the quotation "to preach the acceptable
year of the Lord (the Sun)."
The purely exoteric interpreters mixed this up with the story of
the preaching of the historical Jesus in such a way as to assert
that he lived only one year after he began his mission. Others
found this too short a time and said three years based on other
symbolic statements that looked historical and are not. Then, as
said, we have Irenaeus calling for twenty years.
This example shows the confusion that comes from taking symbolism
literally. It is one of many.
From the information on the Avataras, it must be clear that those
good folk who cannot rise above personality and expect the
personal Jesus to come again, just as did hundreds and thousands
of "early Christians," have not interpreted the story correctly.
They need to interpret it in a spiritual, not physical, sense.
This seems to have been indicated by the warnings given in the
gospels themselves against looking for a personal Jesus.
Though Jesus himself cannot come again bodily, others can and
will. Unfortunately, there have been and are many illusioned
claimants. To those who are puzzled it may be well to quote the
Theosophical teaching that the best way to understand the gods is
to be like them.
THE THEOSOPHY OF IAMBLICHUS OF SYRIA: AN EARLY MYSTIC OF THE
By Margaret Smith
Iamblichus (Jamblichus), the chief representative of Syrian
Neo-Platonism, was born about 280, at Chalcis, in Coele-Syria and
died about 330. He belonged to a wealthy and illustrious family
and studied under Anatolus, and afterwards under Porphyry, the
pupil and editor of Plotinus, at Rome. He then settled down as a
teacher at Chalcis and gathered round him a considerable group of
disciples drawn from different countries and nationalities, who
were attracted by his reputation for sanctity and for knowledge
of the Divine mysteries. Of him, one of his biographers writes:
> Iamblichus shared in an eminent degree the Divine favor, because
> of his cultivation of justice, and he obtained a numerous
> multitude of associates and disciples, who came from all parts of
> the world, for participating in the streams of wisdom, which so
> plentifully flowed from the sacred fountain of his wonderful
He was a man of genial disposition, socially accessible and
living on familiar terms with his many disciples, in whose
company he used to pay an annual visit to the baths of Gadara.
He lived the life of an ascetic, contenting himself with a diet
of extreme frugality and simplicity, but during his repast, we
are told, he "exhilarated those who were present by his behavior
and filled them, as with nectar, by the sweetness of his
discourse." In his lifetime, he was accredited with miraculous
powers, though he himself repudiated the suggestion.
His disciples included men who afterwards became famous as
teachers of Neo-Platonism -- Sopater of Syria, who succeeded
Plotinus in his school of philosophy, Aedisius, Eustathius the
Cappadocian, the Greeks Theodore and Euphrasius, Priscus, and
Sallust. His influence upon those who came after him was great.
Such writers as Chrysanthius and Maximus, as well as Proclus
(412-485), regarded him with the greatest respect. Of Proclus,
it was written:
> He was illustrious as a mathematician and as an astronomer. He
> was the first among existing philologers. He had so comprehended
> all religions in his mind and paid them such equal reverence,
> that he was as it were the priest of the whole universe: nor was
> it wonderful that a man possessing such a high knowledge of
> nature and science should have this initiation into all sacred
> mysteries. Such a man was Proclus in whom are combined and from
> whom shine forth in no irregular and uncertain rays all the
> philosophical lights which have illustrated Greece in various
> times; to wit, Orpheus, Pythagoras, Plato, Aristotle, Zeno,
> Plotinus, Porphyry, and Iamblichus.
> -- F.D. Maurice, MORAL AND METAPHYSICAL PHILOSOPHY, I, 117
The famous Bulialdus speaks of Iamblichus as a man of the
greatest genius, while the Platonists who succeeded him gave him
the epithet of "divine." The Emperor Julian, who reigned from 361
to 363, went so far as to say of Iamblichus that "he was
posterior indeed in time, but not in genius, to Plato."
Iamblichus was, in fact, a learned scholar and a considerable
philosopher, though his bent lay rather in the direction of
speculative and mystical theology than of philosophy proper, and
he evolved theosophy of the Gnostic type. He was the exponent of
Platonic and Aristotelian conceptions, and his doctrines, in
addition, show plainly the influence of Oriental ideas.
He was a copious writer, his works including commentaries on the
PARMENIDES, TIMAEUS, and PHAEDO of Plato, and the ANALYTICA of
Aristotle, a treatise on the Chaldean theology, and treatises on
the Soul and on Nature, all of which have been lost. Those of
his writings that are extant originally formed part of a great
work entitled, "Treatise on the Pythagorean Philosophy," and
include a life of Pythagoras, an exhortation to the study of
Philosophy (the PROTREPTICUS) and three mathematical treatises.
To Iamblichus also was ascribed the celebrated book DE MYSTERIIS,
the Mysteries of the Egyptians, Chaldeans, and Assyrians, which
is the refutation by "Abammon" the Master, of the arguments
contained in an epistle of Porphyry to the Egyptian priest Anebo.
It is unlikely that this BOOK OF MYSTERIES is the actual work of
Iamblichus, though Proclus held it to be his, but it certainly
emanated from his school, representing the views and aims that
his disciples had derived from him. It may therefore be taken to
represent the teaching and doctrine of Iamblichus.
The teaching of Iamblichus and his school on the nature of the
Ultimate Reality is based on that of Plotinus. That Reality is
the One, transcendent and incommunicable, unmoved and immutable,
alone in His Unicity, supremely perfect, Absolute Goodness, the
Primordial Cause, and the Sole Source of all things. Though God
is thus transcendent and Absolute, and no limitations or
divisions are consistent with the Divine Nature, yet He is also
immanent. All things, says "Abammon" are full of divinity, for
"God illuminates heaven and earth, holy cities and places, divine
shrines, just as the sun illuminates all the corners of the
universe which he looks upon."
-- BOOK OF MYSTERIES, I, 8
The One is the Godhead, unlimited, infinite, above all principles
of being and intelligence. Between the One and the many,
Iamblichus places a second super-existent unity, God manifest in
action, the Demiurge or world-creating potency, the light
communicating itself, "a monad from the One," which is prior to
essence and the principle of essence, a Mediator between the
Absolute Reality and the universe. From this God of gods, the
King, entity and essence are derived, and He is the principle of
intelligibles; below him, again, are many gods, intellectual,
supramundane, and mundane, and various orders of archangels,
angels, demons, and heroes, distinguished in nature, power, and
The human soul, in the teaching of Iamblichus, stands midway
between the supernatural and the natural and has a twofold
relation, one to God and one to the body. It is possessed of
reason, a Divine attribute not possessed by the lower creatures,
and it can therefore behold the Divine Beauty, and has within
itself a consciousness of God and a desire to ascend unto Him.
The soul in itself is ingenerable and incorruptible; and though,
when it joins to a body, it must be involved in the suffering of
existence, being "complicated with the indefiniteness and
diversity of matter," yet the soul itself is immutable and
essentially more excellent than that which suffers. The soul is
the real Self, and therefore knowledge of the soul is knowledge
of oneself. The highest part of the soul and the best is the
intellectual principle, that part which is Divine and "for the
sake of this and of the thoughts which it energizes, all else
exists." Knowledge of the Self will enable man to make use of the
good things in life that, without the wisdom to know how to use
them, are not goods but evils. So the body is to be cared for
and controlled for the sake of the soul and its ruling powers.
In the BOOK OF MYSTERIES, the Master Abammon asserts that man has
fallen from the Vision of God, that he can only be blessed by
returning to that Vision, and therefore in this book he wishes to
show the gradual steps by which man can be led onward and upward
until the soul, freed from the complications and hindrances of
matter, can enter into communion with the Divine. "The perfect
good is God Himself: the good of man is unity with Him." That
which is merely natural is determined, "bound by the indissoluble
chains of necessity which men call Fate," as distinguished from
the supernatural, the Divine, which is bound by no such laws.
Yet even the natural, which has itself been ultimately derived
from the supernatural, can be affected by it. So that Iamblichus
maintains that from the supernatural "a continual stream of
elevating influence flows" to the natural, interfering with the
laws of necessity, and turning to good ends what is imperfect and
evil. Evil he holds to have been generated accidentally, by a
The soul, in its unregenerate state, is subject to the law of
necessity, by which it descends periodically into a body and
reascends; and until it has reached complete purification, it is
subject to rebirth in a new body, and descends wholly, becoming a
composite nature once more. Being immortal, it can find no
escape from ills and no salvation except by acquiring as much
goodness and insight as possible, until it shall at last ascend
in purity and escape from the necessity of rebirth.
The Way of Salvation, then, which leads to that union with the
Divine that is the goal of the soul, is to be found in the soul's
surrender to that which is Divine within itself. This can be
attained by a twofold purification, that of discipline, which
purifies from outward evil, and knowledge, that philosophy which
purifies from the evil within. Iamblichus writes:
> A temple, indeed, should be adorned with gifts, but the soul with
> discipline and as the lesser mysteries are to be delivered before
> the greater, thus also discipline must precede philosophy.
> -- PROTREPTICUS
Pythagoras had said, "It is proper to sacrifice and to adore,
unshod," and this exhortation Iamblichus holds is to be
> Sacrifice and adoration should be performed not only in the body,
> but also in the energies of the soul: so that these energies may
> be detained neither by passion, nor by the imbecility of the
> body, nor by generation, with which we are externally surrounded.
> Everything pertaining to us should be properly liberated and
> prepared for our participation in the Divine.
> -- PROPTREPTICUS, 21
This is liberation from the oppressive power of Nature, for by
this purification the soul withdraws from connection with the
sensuous world and dependence on Nature and Destiny.
In addition to the discipline of body and its activities, there
is also the discipline of mind and spirit that comes through
philosophy, for philosophy has for its aim that insight which is
gnosis, and enables the soul to attain to its final good.
Philosophizing, says Iamblichus, is a kind of dying, in order to
live, death being nothing but the separation of the soul from the
body in order that it may live a life by itself. The soul can
never perceive truth in all its purity until it has attained to
In order that the soul may be prepared for that perfect knowledge
-- when it shall know as it is known -- and be prepared to
approach as near as possible to that knowledge here and now, it
must be purified from all that arises from the body, from common
desires and fears, from all anxiety about earthly needs, from the
hindrances to progress which arise from what is external and
natural. It is by the insight reached through philosophic
purification that the soul acquires the virtues of courage,
temperance, and justice.
Philosophy not only purifies the soul from the evils within,
replacing the vices by virtues, but it thereby purifies its
relations with other souls, for justice implies the giving to
others of what is their due. Of all kinds of knowledge,
Iamblichus holds, philosophy alone is free from envy and does not
rejoice in the ills of others, for it shows that men are all akin
and of like affections and all are subject alike to unforeseen
changes of fortune. Therefore, philosophy exhorts men to human
fellowship and mutual love. (See PROPTREPTICUS, 21.)
Those who are truly "initiated" when they reascend, so that they
are no longer under the law of necessity and rebirth, are those
who have become purified thus, through philosophy. The special
function, then, of philosophy, is to set the soul free from the
evil accretions which are the result of birth and rebirth, and to
liberate that energy within it which is Divine, that principle
which is superior to all nature and generation, "through which we
are capable of being united to God, of transcending the mundane
order and of participating in eternal life, and the energy of
that which is super-celestial."
> Through this principle, therefore, we are able to liberate
> ourselves from Fate. For when the more excellent parts of us
> energize and the soul is elevated to that which is better than
> itself, then it is entirely separated from things that detain it
> in generation, departs from subordinate natures, exchanges the
> present for another life, and gives itself to another order of
> things, entirely abandoning the former order with which it was
> -- BOOK OF MYSTERIES, VIII
This indwelling of God imparts health of body, virtue of soul,
purity of intellect, and elevates everything to its proper
principle. It annihilates that within the soul that is cold and
destructive; that which is hot, it increases and renders more
powerful and predominant, and it causes all things to accord with
soul and intellect and gives light and "intelligible harmony."
(BOOK OF MYSTERIES, II, 6)
In connection with this latter idea, the Master Abammon holds
that sounds as such can have no influence in bringing about a
state that is so entirely Divine, but the soul, before it was
combined with the body, was an auditor of divine harmony. The
sounds of music indicate the inner harmony between the soul and
God. In them, it recognizes this harmony and recollects that
heavenly music, and so by earthly music may be enabled to ascend
towards that harmony and be prepared to receive full inspiration.
Consider al-Ghazali speaking of those who live the unitive life
> If sweet music breaks upon their ears, they pass from it to (the
> thought of) the Beloved -- for from Him is all that they hear and
> He hath made them deaf to all words save His.
> -- BOOK OF MYSTERIES, III, 9
In this ascent towards its Source, the soul is helped by prayer,
not the prayer of supplication, but the prayer of contemplation.
Of this, the writer of the BOOK OF MYSTERIES states:
> The continual exercise of prayer nourishes the vigor of our
> intellect and renders the receptacles of the soul far more
> capacious for the communications of God. It likewise is the
> divine key, which opens to men the Holy of Holies; accustoms us
> to the splendid rivers of supernal light: in a short time
> perfects our inmost selves and disposes them for the ineffable
> embrace and contact of the Divine: and does not desist until it
> raises us to the summit of all. It also gradually and silently
> draws up all that is within our soul, by divesting it of
> everything that is foreign to a Divine nature, and clothes it
> with the perfections of the Supremely Perfect. Besides this, it
> produces an indissoluble communion and friendship with the
> Divine, nourishes a Divine love, and inflames the divine part of
> the soul. It expiates and purifies whatever is of an opposing
> and contrary nature in the soul. It expels whatever is prone to
> generation and retains anything of mortality in its ethereal and
> splendid spirit. It perfects a good hope and faith concerning
> the reception of Divine light.
So this contemplative prayer becomes the seal of that ineffable
union with God, whereby the soul is irradiated with the Divine
Fire. (BOOK OF MYSTERIES, V, 26)
Only thus can the soul attain to felicity, to salvation and
release from the bonds of necessity and fate, to the essence and
perfection of all good that is found only in God. Only so can
the human soul hope to participate in the Divine life and become
united with God, the Giver of all good. "There is a time,"
writes Abammon, "when we become wholly soul, are out of the body
and sublimely revolve on high, in union with the immaterial
Divinity." Such a soul has obtained the Divine life instead of a
human life: it is wholly possessed by God. It has entered the
ranks of the "initiated," those released from the law of
Necessity, who are no more subject to rebirth. This is the end
of the Path, of the ascent of the soul to God.
So the writer of the BOOK OF MYSTERIES closes with the prayer
that he and those for whom he writes may hold fast all right
thoughts, that they may ever be granted a knowledge of the truth,
may be vouchsafed a more perfect participation in that Divine
gnosis wherein consists the blessed attainment of all good, and
finally may be granted the enjoyment of sympathy and fellowship
one with another.
The mode of thought represented by Iamblichus and his immediate
disciples dominated Neo-Platonism from this time onwards and,
after his death, his school dispersed itself over the whole Roman
Empire. His followers were the associates and teachers of the
Roman Emperors. Under the two of them, Maximus and Chrysanthius,
the Emperor Julian pursued his philosophical studies, and some of
his disciples committed their teaching to writing, notably
Sallust and Theodore.
In the revival of Neo-Platonism in the fifth century at the
Alexandrian School, of which the authorized exponent was Hypatia,
it was the tradition of Iamblichus that she followed and
expounded, until her brilliant career was brought to an end by
the fanaticism of the Alexandrian mob in 415. It was by means of
the teaching of Iamblichus and its dissemination in such a
Christian center as Alexandria, as well as in his own native land
of Syria, that the Christian church became indoctrinated with
Neo-Platonic mysticism. This was conspicuously so in the
writings of the famous mystic of the end of the fifth century,
Dionysius, the pseudo-Areopagite, probably a monk of Syria. His
works contain a doctrine of gnosis based on the teachings of
Iamblichus and Proclus, so that through him Iamblichus may be
said to have had a profound influence on later Christian thought
in the direction of mysticism and pantheism.
MEDITATION IN A BLUEBELL WOOD
By J.S. Collis
The countryside dies in the winter. When autumn is over and
before spring has begun to approach, during December and January,
everything really does die; there is no life, all is dreary and
We human beings do not die every year in this manner, and in
order that we shall not feel the deadly hand, we have made cities
into which we can escape and thus defeat the rhythm and deny the
Sometimes, walking outside my cottage in the winter, cast down by
the casting down of life around, chilled by the cold unsmiling
bitterness of so much lifelessness, I have thought that perhaps
we likewise should die in some sense every year -- so that we
also might rise again.
We do not do so. We refuse the natural. We turn our back on the
rhythm of life, even declining to recognize when the new year
starts, and fixing it for January instead of April. When it
really does begin, when the whiff of spring which is the odor of
resurrection rises from deep down in the earth, when that which
was dead is alive again, and that which was lost is found --
there are few of us who are so joined with Nature as to rise also
with renewed vitality in the radiance of another birth.
It is a pity. For we pay dearly for losing touch with Nature.
We thus lose touch with reality. We see no meaning in life. We
go mad. I use words carefully. There is no genuine health or
sanity in the man who, given brain, eye, and common sensation,
employs only the first of those instruments when attempting to
answer the fundamental questions that vex his soul. Yet that is
the approved method. We do not EXPERIENCE the world. We puzzle
over it by lamplight. But experience must come first, otherwise
our thoughts are without value, they have no validity, no
foundation. Thought, we must have -- certainly. There is no
anti-thought movement. We can never have enough good Reason.
There is a vast difference between Reason and REASONING in the
You know all this. I am preaching to the converted. The point
of this essay is not to make abstract truisms, but to witness
concretely to their practice, on however humble a scale. There
is a flower called the bluebell. It has done much for me -- more
than any reasoning IN VACUO, and more even than books or articles
on the danger and futility of such reasoning. It has provided me
over and over again with the most far-reaching experiences; there
have been occasions when, standing amongst the bells, I have felt
the walls of the imprisoning intellectual consciousness cracking,
fields of vision opening before me, and waves of sanity passing
I live close to a bluebell wood that is likely to remain as the
most remarkable I have ever known (specialist though I am in this
matter), owing not only to its oceanic dimensions but to the
number of angles at which a fresh surprise is possible. There
are not only lakes of bluebells, but also a few rivers as broad
as the Avon, and some streams with high banks and overhanging
On a May morning last year, rising at six, I went into the wood.
The gate, as usual, opened upon a path that led immediately to
where heaven had been established upon earth. Then I made for
one of the narrow streams, waiting for a special corner. On
arriving, I stood still -- with the authentic spell. I will not
call it a long thin stream of blue water, for it was so much more
exciting than water, being composed only of bells. Besides there
was a GREEN footpath in the center -- and the whole was arched by
greenery. The sun was rising, and chanced at that moment to
throw down some pink and vermilion tinted rays upon an open space
of blue, at the far end of the tunnel. And many birds sang.
Then straightway Shakespeare's phrase rose before me, "Ripeness
is all." It is all. Life has no other goal. There is no other
aim in life save that each separate thing may unfold itself
perfectly. As I stood there in the bluebell wood, I SAW that so
clearly. I knew that Creation was perfect and that it could
never be more perfect at one time than at another time. As I
stood there, I was absolved from the idea of Evolution Upwards.
I was liberated from the problem of progress. The goal of life
was not going to be attained tomorrow -- for lo! -- it had been
attained already here. It would be attained again.
When anything unfolds and ripens completely, perfection has been
achieved. Never can there be any more potentiality of perfection
at one time than at another. The Flame of life burns at the same
temperature forever, and evolution only means that God fulfils
Himself in many ways. Today is not a preparation for tomorrow,
nor this for that. Each thing IS in its own right, and not
subject to comparison. It should not be the conscious goal of
anything to evolve slowly throughout centuries from something LOW
into something HIGH. Rather it should seek to unfold perfectly
in the life permitted -- each in its own way, each in its own
There may be a certain mystic evolution beyond our understanding,
but we should not intellectualize the idea and cast our
present-unloving eyes into the beaming future; but strive for
immediate perfection. Beauty does not evolve, joy does not
evolve. This was clear to me as I gazed at this piece of
perfection, this complete unfolding, where to conceive anything
better along those lines would be fantastic. As I stood there, I
could feel how the potentialities of life at the moment were
exactly the same as they were in the Middle or Dark Ages when the
sun also shone and the flowers also unfolded.
I had realized this before in the same dynamic way, but I am
always grateful when a fresh revelation comes; it is the kind of
capital that I like to replenish. It is a particular realization
that needs constant restating, and will always return because it
is a truth and not a concept. It is the ancient vision of
Heraclitus who saw life as the sustained upleaping of a Fountain
of Fire -- "the Ever-living Flame, kindled in due measure, and in
like measure extinguished."
That was in May. During the following August, I was sitting in
the wood one day. The bluebells had dried into seeds. Every
stalk was now hung with a rattling belfry of seed-pouches. Those
green stalks were now dry, yellow, and weightless. Each bell was
a hard-closed pouch of seeds. I plucked a whole stalk and opened
up one of these pouches. I found an average of fifty seeds in
each. (I must check that again this year.) On each stalk, there
was an average of eight pouches. 8 x 50 = 400. There were 10
stalks in every area of, say, my shoe's width and length: that
is, room for 4,000 seeds.
I looked round at the ocean of seeds; and, I like Eddington who
has to invent a new word when he gets past trillions in his
astronomical calculations, I tried to think of a numeral that
would do justice to such a mass of possible new bluebells. And I
thought of the trillions that were already rooted and waiting for
the next spring. I wondered how many of the new ones would be
successful in their battle to be born.
And as I sat there examining these things carefully, I was as
happy in this analysis as earlier in my synthesis. In whatever
way one regarded it, the spectacle was equally inspiring. I felt
the sweep of nature's vitality. The idea of death could receive
no emphasis -- for everlasting creation and not destruction was
what I plainly saw. It was as much a revelation to me as the
earlier garment of blue; it was as truly a sign of righteousness;
there was in it as great a promise.
"I love to see that Nature is so rife with life that myriads can
be afforded to be sacrificed and suffered to prey on one
another," said Thoreau. "The impression made on a wise man is
that of universal innocence." In that same mood, in that "blessed
mood" as Wordsworth called it, I felt no need to RECONCILE myself
to the scene. I was in the presence of Nature, experiencing it
in the simplest manner, and therefore not puzzling over it in a
study, nor trying to "work out" the problem of evil and reconcile
science with religion. My thoughts followed in the wake of my
experience -- and I still do not see what other validity thoughts
Then I thought of Man. I saw so clearly his nobility. He alone
in Nature tried to lessen the destructive element, incessantly
endeavoring to minimize the cruelty of life, to succor the
unfortunate, to heal the sick, to raise up those who fall. I
thought of his mistakes and backward slidings, but they seemed
little compared with the new idea of goodness that he had brought
into the world. I thought of his endless inventions and how in
spite of his inevitable command over destruction he used those
weapons for scarcely more than four years of strife out of every
Some may think that had I not been sitting in that spot,
surrounded by the realities of life, in the midst of holy dying
and holy living, hemmed in on every side by the signs of
ceaseless preparation for everlasting resurrection from the dead
-- that I might have failed to achieve so just a perspective.
That is true. Nothing can ever really take the place of contact
with Nature. We may conquer her, as we say. We may fly from
her. We do both those things. But hers is always the ultimate
conquest. For without her guidance, we cannot see, we cannot
understand -- that is, we have no philosophy or religion built
upon truth. Again, the city man may say that does not matter,
for just as we have said goodbye to Nature, so we have learnt to
do quite well without religion or philosophy. That is true.
The mob can do without philosophy and without religion. But a
whole nation cannot -- unless the people are joined in some great
crusade. There must be a nucleus of those who have faith in
life. There must be a central core of wise men in a nation from
whom the mob may take its counsel and pursue its course.
Otherwise, the nation cannot hold together, and degenerates. So
let us try to keep in touch with Nature even in the winter. She
never did betray the hand that loved her -- nor the mind and
THE MAGIC CRYSTAL
By Arland Ussher
[From THE ARYAN PATH, February 1952, pages 51-54.]
What is the real significance of the Stepmother, that
ever-recurring personage in folktales, always depicted as fair
without and foul within? There is evidently more here than the
natural dislike of the interloper, the rival in the father's
affections. The position of real stepmothers is delicate, but
they are not necessarily beautiful or wicked. Moreover, a man
making a second marriage is generally at an age of mature
judgment, and presumably not without some care for providing a
good mother for his children. Into the Sophoclean dooms of the
Freudian incest-patterns, one forbears from entering beyond
suggesting that we see and dislike in the Stepmother the image of
the Parent cut loose from custom and consanguinity and (as it
were) objectified. We vent upon her the resentment of the
Undivided Principle in us against this world of division and
suffering into which we are flung.
It will be preferable to follow tracks less trodden by the dismal
psychological determinism of today. Is there perhaps danger and
fallacy lurking in that "mature and considered choice" of the
father? Does not human "freewill" begin by oppressing and
tormenting the children-instincts? That rational will is a
portion of the eternal order inserted in the temporal. Until it
has learned a divine acceptance, it can only be a demoniacal
destroyer, a literal thorn in the living flesh.
Is the Stepmother the archetypal example of the Second Thought,
often fallaciously held to be the best? Is it the Second Chance,
supposed to correct the first, the esprit de l'escalier, usually
too perfect to be "right"? Adam, according to the Cabbalistic
tradition, had two wives. There was Eve, who ate of the
Forbidden Fruit and became a human sinner, and Lilith, who did
NOT eat of it, refusing childbearing, and becoming a demon.
Though Lilith in the legend was Adam's FIRST wife, the pattern is
Every man who comes into the world is wived by these two women,
the productive and the sterile one, the sinner through love and
the sinner through pride, the body and the brain. They are the
pair that reappears in the figures of Martha and Mary, raised to
a new innocence, with the order of higher and lower inverted.
This lengthy preamble was necessary if we are to understand the
story of SNEEWITTCHEN, pursued by the unrelenting hate of the
Stepmother-Queen, as was Virgil's Aeneas by that of the Queen of
the Gods. At the outset, we see two contrasting pictures. There
is a Mother who looks out of a window, and a little later, a
Stepmother who looks into a mirror. The Mother pricked her
finger in sewing, the usual THREE blood-drops fall on the snow,
and she wishes for a daughter as white as the snow, as red as the
blood, as black as the window-frame. These are the very colors
of a new Dawn on the margin of Night and Day.
Her wish is granted, but as generally happens with wishes, it is
at a price. The Mother loses her life, and the Stepmother soon
after reigns in her stead. The spirit of Night continues to make
itself felt, but now banefully, as it were on the other side of
reality, like a mental image from which vital meaning has
departed. The King, in remarrying, calls on the Past, which was
a true mother to the Present. Like all who attempt to fix what
should be fugitive, he succeeds only in calling up a vampire-like
The Princess reaches that climacteric of childhood, the seventh
year, and is "fair as the day" when the Stepmother, who has the
habit of asking questions of her mirror (as if to suggest that
her existence is only a mental or an "ideal" one) receives the
disturbing reply that Snow-White is a thousand times fairer than
she. The Queen orders a huntsman to take the child away and
destroy her, but to bring back the lungs and the liver. The
huntsman, however, being smitten with pity, lets her go free in
the forest, hoodwinking the Queen by bringing her the liver and
lungs of a beast, which the wicked woman greedily devours.
This suggests that in trying to draw posthumous life from the
Present, the forms of the Past can only absorb bestial and
bestializing elements, as we see in various regressive or
reactionary movements of our time. Their communion, or
community-spirit, is that of the Black Mass, always parodying the
White, often doing so in "good faith."
Snow-White, wandering in the labyrinthine ways of her threatened
but growing life, happens upon a hut owned by seven dwarfs.
These diggers for gold and metals receive her kindly. It is the
Flight into Egypt, that land of mystery and gold, where all
treasures are delved after and guarded for the future. Now
begins a series of renewed attempts on her life by the wicked
Queen. The mirror of the rational self -- of the abstract mind's
"speculation" -- reveals to the Queen that the young Princess is
alive and where she hides. With the patience of blind and narrow
wills, the Queen comes to the door of the hut in the garb of a
peddler three times.
The first time, she comes selling laces. Offering to lace
Snow-White's bodice for her, she tightens it until the girl falls
as if dead. On the second occasion, she sells her a poisoned
comb. The Queen insists on combing her hair. The poison works
upon the Princess, who again falls in a deep swoon. After both
attempts, the seven dwarfs, who return like the seven planets in
the sky at every sundown, revive Snow-White. The Queen, whose
malice is as persistent as the Princess's simplicity, comes a
third time. Now she sells her an apple of which one-half is
poisoned. Being tempted, with the rosy half, the girl eats and
Note the manner of the three temptations. The Princess's
emotional self is assaulted through the constriction of the
ribbon, her cerebral self through the comb, and her volitional
self -- traditionally seated in the belly -- through the apple.
Only the apple is fatal, as it was to Eve. Only the
falsification of instinct and will can work deep change or injury
in the human being.
Now, indeed, the ministrations of the good dwarfs are unavailing.
The kindly genii of Nature cannot help one in whom the poison of
the "Stepmother" has entered, one in whom self-will has been
planted. Because they are loath to consign her body to the
earth, they preserve it in a glass coffin on the hillside.
Thereon they watch by SNEEWITTCHEN in turn. The owl, the raven,
and the dove -- the symbolic birds of antiquity – mourn her.
A king's son, passing by, espies the fair tenant of the glass
coffin, instantly falls in love, and by his entreaties obtains it
from the dwarfs. The same crystal of mental consciousness that
betrayed the Beauty of the Present to the false Stepmother, the
ghost of the Past, now reveals her to the true lover, the genius
of the Future. The coffin is transported to the palace. En
route, the fatal apple's core is jolted from Snow-White's throat.
Miracle -- she returns to life! It is the Redemption and
Resurrection of the Spring. The winter-curse of the eaten
Eden-apple is lifted.
The wedding follows with the customary celerity. The wicked
Queen, "forgetting nothing and learning nothing," cannot keep
away. She comes to the festivity to meet her doom. She must
dance in red-hot slippers till she falls, for so-called "free
agency" cannot escape from Action's own pitiless logic.
The seven good dwarfs seem to have been forgotten in the general
rejoicing, but it could not be otherwise, for the seven-day round
of the week must continue, though it carries all man's holidays.
In the pride of the mature culture, when the Mind has found and
espoused its Image, the rude ancestral shapes that piety saw
around the cradle fade from sight. Beauty, however, remains
eternally disquieting, like a temptation, like a Second Marriage
of the World that cannot be thought of without the magic glass.
The kindly shadows of unselfconscious things have but retreated a
little from human glare and heat, to return at sundown.
THE ARCHITECTS AND THE BUILDERS
By G. de Purucker
[From HIERARCHIES AND THE DOCTRINE OF EMANATION, pages 83-86.]
How true is the statement, so frequently made in our Theosophical
writings, that man is more than microcosm or a copy in the small
of the Macrocosm or Universe itself! Because man is an integral
and inseparable part of his Great Mother, the Universe, we have
in him an infallible key, a true master key, by which we may
unlock the most secret, the most hid, the utmost recondite
mysteries of Space and Time! This rule can apply in reverse.
Once we understand the nature, characteristics, and structure of
the Universe, we have the cosmic master key to unlock the
mysteries in Man himself.
If we relate the teaching concerning these two fundamental
hierarchies to the seven or twelve Classes of Monads, we see that
seven of the twelve make man, build him, and complete him. Leave
aside for the present the uppermost five classes. These seven
consist of two kinds of Monads. The lower four are Builders,
Masons, or Workers. The three higher classes are Architects and
Planners, the Evolvers of the Idea that the Builders follow.
These two divisions of the seven, as they work within the human
being, give him the two main divisions of his constitution. The
three highest of the seven give his spiritual and intellectual
principles, while the psychical, vital, astral, and physical
parts come to him from the four corporeal classes of Pitris,
commonly called the Lunar Pitris.
The three higher classes are spiritual and intellectual. They
are Divine Architects, Evolvers of the Ideas. The four lower
classes, under the general name of Barhishad Pitris or Barhishad
Fathers, work in the more material realms of existence, following
automatically the life-plans or the ideas that the spiritual or
higher classes have cast upon them in vital waves.
At the birth of a planetary chain, these world-builders build the
different globes thereof. They are those who had attained their
spiritual and intellectual development in the preceding
The inner god is the architect of the building of the human
vehicles through which it works. From another aspect, these
world-builders are of two general classes. First, there are the
inner gods, looked upon collectively as a host of ten classes of
monads at work in building a planetary chain. Second, there are
the spiritual influences coming to build this planetary chain
from the other planets and the sun.
Higher than the world-builders, there is what the ancients called
the architects, the thinkers, the planners, the designers, they
who scheme the things to be. In so scheming, they use thoughts,
and these thoughts are the spiritual elemental energies and hence
are workmen. These thoughts comprise the hierarchies of the
lower deities or gods and comprise the hierarchies of those
beneath the gods such as the demigods, human beings, animals, the
vegetable world, the mineral world, and so forth.
Thus, the building of a planetary chain is like the building by
ants of an ant-heap such as one sees in certain countries --
partly built of mud, partly built of their own excreta, partly
built of their own dead bodies -- in short partly built of their
own lives. So is even the physical body built, compact of life
and similar infinitesimal entities flowing forth from the
reincarnating ego, from the Auric Egg of the individual. Just
so, mutatis mutandis, is a planetary chain built, or any globe,
sun, or star. Just so does the oak build itself from its seed,
the acorn. First, there is the tiny green blade. The next step
is the stalk with its leaves. Then there is the tender young
plant. The latter grows, increasing in size, until it becomes
adult or mature. In turn, it gives birth to other acorns that
produce other oak-trees. What a picture for your meditative
hours, for your hours of quiet thought and reflection!
It will be obvious, therefore, that the Dhyani-Chohans make the
workshops from themselves, much as the snail lives in its own
shell, the product of its own being. This is much as a human
being lives in his physical body, largely the product or flowing
forth of the energies and substances within. The inner astral
entity of the human constitution fills the physical human body,
and this astral entity is the ultimate flowing forth from the
spiritual body of the Dhyani-Chohan, being composed of the
streams of life-atoms. It is the matters and energies that flow
forth from within, which build the worlds or indeed build any
There are many classes of these builders, of these
world-builders. There are many classes of the architects, of the
world-architects. Above the architects, there are other entities
still higher, still more evolved, still more fully expressing the
inexhaustible energies, powers, faculties, of the inner god.
Space is boundless. Duration has neither beginning nor end.
Time is but a fantasy of the human imagination cast on the
background of eternal duration. In endless time and through
endless space -- inner and outer -- passes the vast and endless
procession of the worlds and gods, demigods, spirits, men,
beasts, and what not. There is movement always, with occasional
breaks when sections of the procession vanish as it were for a
rest. They drop out to the side, repose, and when the repose is
ended, they take their place in the procession again, now behind.
I trust you understand the teaching. The mind of man evolves an
idea, forms a plan, and makes a picture. Then he uses his will
to corporealize this picture in certain material creations, such
as a building. In like manner, the life forces, the will powers,
and the spiritual and intellectual energies of the three higher
classes permeate, penetrate, and stimulate the four inferior
classes of the Pitris, setting them to work.
Automatically, instinctively, they begin to work according to the
general cosmic plan. Thus, you see strange phenomena that puzzle
scientists. Why, for instance, does an ant or bee follow its own
line marvelously, building so symmetrically? What are these
marvelous instincts in lower creatures? Undoubtedly, they spring
forth from within the lower creature. What is that wonderful
intelligence that guides the instinct itself? It is the dominant
thought of the spiritual Planner as contrasted with the activity
of the vital Builder.
Remember that the four lower classes are evolving forwards. In
due time, they will become members of the three higher classes.
They will have left the schoolroom of Building, and will have
become Architects and Planners in their turn. We humans are now
Builders, Masons, and Laborers.
In another sense of the word, the three higher classes are
Builders, receiving in turn a Plan from entities still higher
than they are. This exemplifies the Mercurial Chain or Golden
Chain, which stretches from the most Sublime Architect of the
Universe, the Cosmic Hierarch, to reach as a vital flame down
through inferior entities to the lowest range of a Hierarchical
system. There is One Cosmic Plan, one Cosmic Life, one Cosmic
Direction, and one Cosmic Law.
Reflect, however, in conclusion, that such Universes are
numberless in Infinitude. There is always a greater scheme that
includes the great one, which includes the smaller. This greater
cosmic scheme is itself included in one still greater, and so
Finally, I repeat what I have hereinbefore said. The Light-side,
spiritual side, or divine side of Nature is composed of the
Hierarchies of Light and Compassion. These Hierarchies are
Monads that have unfolded through evolution into expressing more
and more latent power, faculty, and attribute so that they have
become the self-conscious Architects or true Gods of the
Universe. Whereas, the countless hosts and armies forming the
matter-side of the Universe, the vehicular side, or the Class of
the Builders, in all the various ranges of this latter, are
Monads less awakened than are the other general Class of the Gods
or Architects. By comparison with these last, the Monads forming
the Matter-side of the Universe are asleep, although "asleep"
covers ranges of consciousness from the highest of the Builders,
who are almost Architects, running downwards through all the
ranges of the Builders to the relatively completely spiritually
dormant life-atoms and atoms of the Universe.
Dedicated to the Theosophical Philosophy and its Practical Application