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THEOSOPHY WORLD ------------------------------------ August, 2004
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And its Practical Application in the Modern World
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(Please note that the materials presented in THEOSOPHY WORLD are
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"True Democracy," by B.P. Wadia
"What is the Soul," by C.E.M. Joad
"HPB At the Lamasery," by H.S. Olcott
"Theosophy and Its Evidences," Part II, by Annie Besant
"The Passing of a Bird," by H.S. Olcott
"My Soul Does Quest," by James Sterling
"Thomas Paine -- Servant of Humanity," by Frederic J. Gould
"ULT Day Letter," by the United Lodge of Theosophists
"The Esoteric and Esoteric HPB," by G. de Purucker
> It should be distinctly understood by all interested in the
> teachings of genuine Theosophy, which is the Ancient Wisdom,
> that the members of the Universal Brotherhood and Theosophical
> Society are not fanatics; neither are they extermists; they are
> absolutely practical and believe that their duty is not to
> convert the masses, but rather to give to those who are
> interested information concerning the basic teachings of
> Theosophy, which hold the key to man's true evolution.
> -- Katherine Tingley, THE TRAVAIL OF THE SOUL, page 151.
By B.P. Wadia
[From THUS HAVE I HEARD, pages 409-12.]
In these days, all States call themselves democratic. Some are
capitalistic; others are totalitarian; and others still are
welfare States. Consider the true meaning of Democracy.
Although people talk much of freedom and democracy, no nation in
the world today is truly democratic. In our concern for the mere
political implications of the term, we overlook its inner,
spiritual significance. In a true democracy, the people give
foremost thought not to rights and privileges but rather to
duties and responsibilities. Until and unless we change our
basis of thinking and of acting and regard humanity as one great
family and strive together for the enlightened freedom of each
unit of that family, we shall continue to have counterfeit
What is it that makes democracy successful? Universal franchise,
it may be said. Even in countries where universal franchise
obtains, the will of the people does not prevail. What is "the
rule of the people?" We can find no better words to enshrine the
ideal of true democracy than the noble words of Lincoln:
"government of the people, by the people, for the people." It is
easy enough to repeat these words. It is not as easy to grasp
the great sentiments they enshrine.
The word "democracy" (derived from the Greek terms "demos,"
people, and "kratos," strength) means the strength or power of
the people. It does not mean the rule of the people only in the
political sense. It means the strength of the people to express
their will in action -- wise action. It implies that supreme
power is vested in the people that compose the State.
The three factors involved in Lincoln's definition must all be
present if democracy is to succeed. In so-called democratic
countries, there are governments of the people, i.e., the people
themselves elect the rulers, but the prevailing discontent and
discord bear testimony to the fact that they are not governments
for the people. Democracy has failed because only the good of a
few is taken into account, without regard to the good of other
The first and foremost requisite for true democracy is
self-sacrifice. In our age when the idea of One World and World
Government is gaining ground, we must take into account the good
of the whole of mankind. True democracy begins with fraternity.
Only when it is accepted can there be freedom. It is through
fraternity that people rule their State and aid others to rule
True democracy is rooted in equal opportunity for all souls,
leading to the freedom of individual souls. The aim of a truly
democratic government is to give its people opportunities to
receive real self-education -- the State educates its citizen for
the State. It should educate him for cultivating his own
Such ideal democracy does not prevail today. In ancient times in
both the East and in the West, it was successful under great
spiritually inclined rulers and statesmen. This was because they
considered its spiritual basis. The people were happy and
prosperous for their governments were truly of the people, by the
people, and above all for the people. For democracy to be
successful, those at the helm of affairs in a State have to be
sincere men, spiritually inclined, and democrats in their own
individual lives. The power of individual example is tremendous.
What part can each play in building a truly democratic State? Let
one practice true democracy in the primary unit where it can be
practiced, i.e., in the home or the family. The home is a
miniature State. The State and family are so closely linked that
when the institution of the family degrades the State will fall.
The family is the sphere where qualities like affection, love,
harmony, and reverence for elders, protection of the young, and
so forth have full scope for development. This enables people to
participate in building larger democracies. Besides, in the
home, rights and duties or privileges and responsibilities go
hand in hand.
The importance of the individual as the builder of democracy has
to be recognized. In order to make the task successful, each has
to control his thoughts, purify his passions, uproot his
prejudices, and radiate forth the light of the Soul.
Confucius says that, "the ancients who wished to illustrate
illustrious virtue throughout the kingdom" in order to govern
well their States, took as the starting point "the investigation
of things" or "knowing the root."
> Things being investigated, knowledge became complete.
> Their knowledge being complete, their thoughts were sincere.
> Their thoughts being sincere, their hearts were then rectified.
> Their hearts being rectified, their persons were cultivated.
> Their persons being cultivated, their families were regulated.
> Their families being regulated, their States were rightly
> governed; the whole kingdom was made tranquil and happy.
WHAT IS THE SOUL?
By C.E.M. Joad
[From THE ARYAN PATH, May 1937, pages 199-203.]
It is, of course, easy to deny the existence of a soul.
Scientists, for example, complain that they have never been able,
even with the most delicate instruments, to detect the presence
of such an entity. Not only the soul, but also the mind, escapes
their observation. Therefore, they say, in effect, there cannot
be one. The assumption upon which this denial founds is that in
order to be real and to exist, a thing must be something that we
can see or touch, or be at least of the same nature as what we
can see or touch. If it is not, then, according to science, it
must be a figment. For science limits itself by the nature of
its method to investigation only of those things that we can see
and touch. Hence, when it comes to consider the soul or even the
mind, both of which are presumably beyond sight or touch, science
denies them; they are, it holds, mere functions or emanations of
Science represents consciousness as a byproduct of bodily
processes, a sort of glow that illumines the brain, rather like
the halo round the head of a saint. Events occur in the brain as
a result of messages that have reached it along the neural paths
that lead from the sense organs, and when the events are lighted
up by the glow, we are said to be conscious of them. Since,
however, consciousness is a mere byproduct of the brain whose
function is to illuminate it, and since it cannot illuminate what
is not there, nothing can happen in consciousness unless it has
first happened in the brain. Hence science leads us to a
completely determinist conclusion.
The foundation of this whole way of reasoning that under the name
of materialism dominates the western world seems mistaken. It is
a mere assumption that only the things that we can see and touch
are real, and it is a mere assumption, therefore, that the
scientific method is the only method at our disposal for
investigating the nature of reality. The vision of the saint,
the moral intuition of the good man, the aesthetic inspiration of
the artist may all be just as revelatory of reality as the
measuring rods and test tubes of the scientist. Once we agree
that reality may contain non-physical factors, deity, goodness,
or beauty, for example, are real.
Take, for example, our knowledge of a human being. For a true
account of a human being, we must go not to the scientist, but to
the friend. For the sciences that tell us of his bodily
constitution, his heredity, his psychological disposition, and
his training, do not give us the whole truth about him. They
only accumulate information about particular aspects of him,
e.g., his bodily system, gene constitution, or unconscious
memories. The sum of all these aspects does not constitute a
man, for a man is more than the aspects of him that science
catalogues, and he is more, just in so far as he has a soul, or,
as I should prefer to call it, a personality. Science, then, can
give no account of personality.
There is, further, a well-known philosophical criticism of the
soul or self. The philosopher, Hume, states this in its
classical form. It rests upon a denial of the existence of any
introspective evidence for the soul or self. The commonsense
view is, I suppose, that the soul is a kind of continuing entity
in and to which there occur a number of events that are
psychological states; for example, I am angry and then I am
remorseful. It is the same I, the same soul that, as we should
normally say, passes through the two states of consciousness.
The effect of Hume's criticism is to assert the states of
consciousness, but to deny the continuing element. However
keenly I introspect myself, I never, he pointed out, in fact come
across myself. What I do come across is a desiring something, a
hoping something, a fearing something, a thinking something, or
in the case in question a something that is wondering whether
there is a self; but never do I meet with the I who desires,
hopes, fears, thinks, or wonders. If we think of the ordinary
conception of the self as a string along which is strung a number
of beads -- the beads being our psychological states -- the
effect of Hume's criticism is to assert the beads, but to deny
The method adopted by Kant for meeting this criticism is to make
a distinction between two parts of the self, or rather between
two selves, which he called respectively the empirical self and
the transcendental self. The empirical self is that of which in
everyday life I am conscious. To it, Hume's criticisms apply,
for it is, indeed, nothing but a bundle or series of
By a variety of subtle arguments, Kant sought to show that this
bundle or series of events cannot be all that we mean when we
talk of the I. There is also, he held, a continuing self that
underlies and links them together, although of this continuing
self, we are not normally conscious. By virtue of this
continuing self, we belong, he taught, to the world of reality,
and escape from the everyday world of appearance of which the
empirical self is a member.
The teaching of Madame Blavatsky is on similar lines. She, too,
postulates two souls or selves broadly defined as follows. The
first is body-dependent, that is to say, the events in it are
determined by prior events taking place in the body; it is known
as the "Lower Self," or as "psychic activity." "It manifests
itself, through our organic system" and "from its lowest to its
highest manifestations, it is nothing but motion."
The second self, known as the "Higher Self," is self-conscious,
active, and freely willing. Instead of being a mere bundle of
psychological events, like the first self, it is a unity, or
rather a unifying principle. It has no special organ as its
counterpart in the body. How can a specific organ determine the
motions of something that unifies all organs? We cannot correlate
it with bodily movements. It is not, therefore, located in the
brain. It has no counterpart in brain movements.
Its activity, described as "Noetic" as opposed to the "psychic"
activity of the first self, derives from the "Universal Mind."
Impulses spring from this Universal Mind, which is also called
"the Wisdom above," which act upon and motivate the Higher Self
that is an aspect of it.
Our actions are the result either of the impulses that inspire
the Higher or Noetic Self, or of the motions that determine the
Lower or Psychic Self. If the former, we shall by virtue of them
advance to a realization of the "Individuality" of our higher
natures, which are also our true natures. If the latter, our
behavior will be nearly that of automata driven by appetites that
are nothing more nor less than our responses to the stimuli that
reach our bodies from without.
Finally, the Higher Self is identical and continuing in and
through different lives. This permanent element runs like a
thread through the different existences, strung like beads along
its length. The Lower Self, being a reflection of the body that
determines the events that occur in it, is different from life to
life, as the body is different from life to life. As Madame
Blavatsky puts it, "The all-conscious Self, that which
reincarnates periodically -- verily the Word made flesh! -- and
that is always the same, while its reflected 'Double,' changing
with every new incarnation and personality, is, therefore,
conscious but for a life period."
Madame Blavatsky applies the distinction between the two selves
with great ingenuity, countering some of the difficulties raised
for any spiritualized philosophy by scientific materialism.
There is, for example, the scientific doctrine of the
conservation of energy. People hold it incompatible with the
notion of free will. Movements of a molecular character take
place in our bodies; they have effects upon what Madame Blavatsky
calls "the sensory centers" in the brain. These movements and
their effects take place in accordance with the law of cause and
What, one wishes to know, succeeds the last of these bodily
movements, those, namely, that have occurred in the brain? This
form of psychical activity occurs in the mind. If it follows the
brain activity as the effect follows its cause, the brain
activity determines it and we are not free. If it does not
follow it and the brain activity does not determine it, what
happens to the energy set going by the brain activity?
Presumably, it disappears or is lost, but if it is lost, the
doctrine of conservation of energy is infringed.
Madame Blavatsky meets this difficulty simply in terms of her
distinction between the selves. That there are movements in the
body is obvious, and they are, indeed, molecular motions; also,
as science asserts, they produce their appropriate reactions in
the mind. Thus, the doctrine of the conservation of energy is
not infringed. It is only upon the lower mind that they produce
effects. "Psychic activity from its lowest to its highest
manifestations" is, indeed, as I have already quoted, "nothing
Madame Blavatsky is careful to point out, it does not therefore
follow that bodily movements do not govern the Higher Self.
Since the Higher Self has no correlative organ in the body, the
body cannot determine it. "If instead of 'psychic' we call it
the higher Self-conscious Will, then having been shown by the
science of psycho-physiology itself that will has no special
organ, how will the materialists connect it with 'molecular'
motion at all?"
Madame Blavatsky again invokes the conception of the whole as
more than the sum of its aspects or parts, to which I have
already referred. (It is interesting, by the way, to note how
many of the novelties that have been put forward by philosophers
in the twentieth century appear in her work. This is
particularly true of the modern philosophical criticism of
For example, what account, asks Madame Blavatsky, does the
physicist give of sound? "He decomposes sound into its compound
elements of vibrations." In these, he inevitably fails to
discover either harmony or melody. Does he, then, deny the
reality of harmony and melody? Not if he is wise, for harmony,
the fact is obvious, exists; harmony is real. Yet certain
combinations "of the motion of vibrations" produce harmony. We
may properly regard the vibrations as constituent parts of the
What follows? That the method of science that is to analyze, to
split up, to take to bits, is neither final nor exhaustive for,
in the process of splitting up, certain characters of the whole
with which we started are lost. For, given that there are
certain characters of the whole that are not also characters of
the parts, for example, harmony that belongs to the music but not
to the vibrations, and it will follow that scientific method,
which deals with wholes by splitting them into parts, will fail
to provide us with any account of these characters. Thus, it has
nothing to say of harmony; it can only tell us of vibrations.
Its account of a violin sonata would be that the tail of a horse
had been dragged on a number of occasions with specified
velocities and calculable pressure over the entrails of a cat.
Similarly, says Madame Blavatsky, science can tell us nothing of
the self, of the Higher Self, that is to say. It can only
analyze the physiological and psychological components upon whose
combinations the Higher Self manifests.
These arguments are valid. In the light of them, I agree that
the materialists are wrong in treating of the mind, soul, or self
as a function of bodily processes. (If it is so, any argument to
prove it, being the product of mental activity must itself be a
function of bodily processes and cannot prove anything about
anything). I also agree that the soul, mind, or self cannot
legitimately be taken to pieces and described in terms of its
I do not feel confident, however, that Madame Blavatsky's
division of the soul into two is wholly without difficulty; for
how, we want to know, do the two souls interact? Presumably, they
do interact, since, if there was no point of contact between
them, we should no longer be dealing with an entity or person
possessing two souls, but simply with two different entities or
persons, and the problem would not arise.
If, however, they do interact, what is the mode of this
interaction? The Lower or psychic Self is, we are conceding to
the materialist, a mere reflex of the body; the events that occur
in it are therefore due to prior events in the body that
determine their occurrence. The Lower Self is, therefore, a
determined self. The Higher Self is the vehicle of impulses that
reach it from "the Wisdom above." How, then, does the Higher Self
make contact with the Lower and vice versa? To make contact with
something is to produce an effect upon it. If, then, the Higher
Self produces an effect upon the Lower, the Lower is not always
determined by the body and is not, therefore, wholly Lower.
If the Lower Self produces an effect upon the Higher, the Higher
is not always the vehicle of the impulses of the Higher Wisdom;
is not, that is to say, always Higher. In fact, the distinction
between the two selves seems on analysis to become blurred. In
spite of this difficulty, a difficulty that, in my case, would
lead to the postulation of only one self, it is impossible not to
feel the greatest respect for Madame Blavatsky's writings on this
subject; of respect and, if the word may be permitted, of
admiration. Writing when she did, she anticipated many ideas
that, familiar today, were in the highest degree novel fifty
HPB AT THE LAMASERY
By H.S. Olcott
[From OLD DIARY LEAVES, I, pages 409-14.]
The routine of our life at the "Lamasery" was the following. We
breakfasted at about eight, dined at six, and retired at some
small hour in the morning, according to our work and its
interruption by visitors. HPB lunched at home and I in town
somewhere near my law office.
When we first met, I was a active member of the Lotos Club, but
the writing of ISIS put an end, once for all, to my connection
with clubs and worldly entanglements in general. After
breakfast, I left for my office and HPB set herself for work at
the desk. At dinner, more often than not, we had guests, and we
had few evenings alone. Even if no visitors dropped in, we
usually had somebody stopping with us in our apartment.
Our housekeeping was of the simplest. We drank no wine or
spirits and ate but plain food. We had one maid-of-all-work, or
rather a procession of them coming and going, for we did not keep
one very long. The girl went to her home after clearing away the
dinner things, and thenceforward we had to answer the door
That was not much, but a more serious affair was to supply tea,
with milk and sugar, for a roomful of guests at, say, one A.M.,
when HPB, with lofty disregard of domestic possibilities, would
invite herself to take a cup, and in a large way exclaim, "Let's
all have some. What do you say?" It was useless for me to make
gestures of dissent. She would pay no attention. After sundry
fruitless midnight searches for milk or sugar in the
neighborhood, the worm turned, and I put up a notice to this
> Guests will find boiling water and tea in the kitchen, perhaps
> milk and sugar, and will kindly help themselves.
This was so akin to the Bohemian tone of the whole establishment
that nothing was thought of it. It was most amusing later on to
see the habitues getting up quietly and going off to the kitchen
to brew tea for themselves. Fine ladies, learned professors,
famous artists and journalists, all jocosely became members of
our "Kitchen Cabinet," as we called it.
HPB had not even a rudimentary notion of housekeeping. Once,
wishing boiled eggs, she laid the raw eggs on the live coals!
Sometimes our maid would walk off on a Saturday evening and leave
us to shift as we might for the day's meals. Did HPB cater and
cook? Nay, verily, but her poor colleague. She would either sit
and write and smoke cigarettes or come into the kitchen and
In my Diary for 1878, I find this in the entry for April 12, "The
servant 'vamoosed the ranch' without preparing dinner; so the
Countess L.P. turned in and helped me by making an excellent
salad. Besides her, we had O'Donovan to dinner."
He was a rare chap, that Irishman; a sculptor of marked talent,
an excellent companion with a dry humor that was irresistible.
HPB was very fond of him and him of her. He modeled her portrait
from life in a medallion, which was cast in bronze and which is
in my possession.
What he may be now I know not, but at that time he was fond of a
glass of good whiskey (if any whiskey may be called good), and
once made a roomful roar with laughter by a repartee he gave to
one of the company present. They were drinking together, and the
person in question after tasting his glass, put it down with the
exclamation, "Pah! What bad whiskey that is!" O'Donovan, turning
to him with solemn gravity, laid a hand upon his arm and said,
"Don't, don't say that. There is no BAD whiskey, but some is
better than other."
He was a Roman Catholic by birth, though nothing in particular,
it appeared, in actual belief. But, seeing how hot and angry HPB
would always get when Roman Catholicism was mentioned, he used to
pretend that he believed that that creed would eventually sweep
Buddhism, Hinduism, and Zoroastrianism from the face of the
Although he played this trick on her twenty times, HPB was
invariably caught again in the trap whenever O'Donovan set it for
her. She would fume and swear and call him an incurable idiot
and other pet names but to no purpose. He would sit and smoke in
dignified silence, without changing face, as if he were listening
to a dramatic recitation in which the speaker's own feelings had
When she had talked and shouted herself out of breath, he would
slowly turn his head towards some neighbor and say, "She speaks
well, doesn't she, but she does not believe that. It is only her
repartee. She will be a good Catholic some day." Then when HPB
exploded at this crowning audacity and made as if to throw
something at him, he would slip away to the kitchen and make
himself a cup of tea!
I have known him bring friends there just to enjoy this species
of bear baiting, but HPB never nourished malice and after
relieving herself of a certain number of severe scoldings, would
be as friendly as ever with her inveterate teaser.
One of our frequent and most appreciated visitors was Prof.
Alexander Wilder, a quaint personality, the type of the very
large class of self-educated American yeomanry; men of the
forceful quality of the Puritan Fathers; men of brain and
thought, intensely independent, very versatile, very honest, very
plucky, and patriotic.
Prof. Wilder and I have been friends since before the Rebellion,
and I have always held him in the highest esteem. His head is
full of knowledge, which he readily imparts to appreciative
listeners. He is not a college-bred or city-bred man, I fancy,
but if one wants sound ideas upon the migration of races and
symbols, the esoteric meaning of Greek philosophy, the value of
Hebrew or Greek texts, or the merits and demerits of various
schools of medicine, he can give them as well as the most
A tall, lank man of the Lincoln type, with a noble, dome-like
head, thin jaws, grey hair, and language filled with quaint
Saxon-Americanisms. He used to come and talk by the hour with
HPB, often lying recumbent on the sofa, with, as she used to say,
"One long leg resting on the chandelier, the other on the
mantelpiece." She, as stout as he was thin, as voluble as he was
sententious and epigrammatic, smoking innumerable cigarettes, and
brilliantly sustaining her share of the conversation.
She got him to write out many of his ideas to use in ISIS
UNVEILED and they will be found there quoted. The hours would
slip by without notice until he sometimes found himself too late
for the last train to Newark and would have to stop in town all
I think that, of all our visitors, he cared about the least of
all for HPB's psychical phenomena. He believed in their
scientific possibility and did not doubt her possession of them,
but philosophy was his idol, and the wonders of mediumship and
adeptship interested him only in the abstract.
THEOSOPHY AND ITS EVIDENCES, Part II
By Annie Besant
[From LUCIFER, February 15, 1891, pages 481-89.]
Taking up our investigation at the point at which we left it last
month, we have to seek evidence for the statement that a body of
doctrine exists, which has been secretly handed down from
generation to generation, and has been the basis of the great
philosophies and religions of the world.
As to the existence of such a Secret Doctrine, the ancient world
no doubt felt. What were the famous "Mysteries," whether in
India, Egypt, Greece, or elsewhere, but the unveiling to the
selected few of the doctrines so carefully hidden from the outer
world? As said Voltaire, "In the chaos of popular superstitions,
there existed an institution that has ever prevented man from
falling into absolute barbarity: it was that of the Mysteries."
Dr. Warburton also, "The wisest and best men in the Pagan world
are unanimous in this, that the Mysteries were instituted pure,
and proposed the noblest ends by the worthiest means." These
Mysteries, we learn from Cicero, were open only to the upright
and the good, "An Initiate must practice all the virtues in his
power: justice, fidelity, liberality, modesty, and temperance."
Originating in India in pre-Vedic times, the Mysteries were
reserved as the reward of virtue and wisdom. Such were the
virtues exacted from all candidates for initiation:
> Resignation; the act of rendering good for evil; temperance;
> probity; chastity; repression of the physical senses; the
> knowledge of the Holy Scriptures; that of the superior soul
> (spirit); worship of truth; abstinence from anger.
Later in the Institutes of Manu:
> No one who has not practiced, during his whole life, the ten
> virtues that the divine Manu makes incumbent as a duty, can be
> initiated into the Mysteries of the Council.
In Egypt, the same strict rules of conduct were inculcated. Ere
the neophyte could become a "Khristophoros" and receive the
sacred cross, the Tau, he must know and observe the rules.
> Never to desire or seek revenge; to be always ready to help a
> brother in danger, even to the risk of his own life; to bury
> every dead body; to honor his parents above all; to respect old
> age and protect those weaker than himself: to ever bear in mind
> the hour of death, and that of resurrection in a new and
> imperishable body.
The very names of the great Initiates of Greece are eloquent as
to the intellectual and moral heights attained by these mighty
men of the elder world: Pythagoras, Thales, Democritus, Euclid,
Solon, Plato, and Archytas. With others like Apollonius of
Tyana, Iamblichus, and Porphyry, these names give us some idea of
the stature of the Initiate of old.
Now, it is beyond doubt that in ancient time the distinction
between exoteric and esoteric teaching was strictly observed.
In Buddhism we find the "doctrine of the Eye" and the "doctrine
of the Heart." We read how Gautama, the Buddha, entrusted the
secret teaching to his disciple Kasiapa, and how Ananda preached
abroad the doctrine of the Eye, while the "Heart" was left in the
possession of the Arhats -- the Masters of the Hidden Wisdom.
Pythagoras divided his students into two classes, for the
reception of his doctrines thus classified. Ammonius Saccas had
his "higher doctrines," and those who received them were bound by
oath not to divulge them to the outer world. The "Books of
Thoth," in the keeping of the Initiates of Memphis, were the
treasury from which Pythagoras and Plato gathered their
intellectual riches, and Thales and Democritus culled their
knowledge. At Sais, Lycurgus and Solon were trained in the
principles of legislation, going back to their own land as
Initiates, to lay the legislative foundations of ancient Greece.
In the Hebrew nation are manifold traces of the same traditional
hidden wisdom. Abraham, its founder, was a great astronomer and
arithmetician, according to Josephus, who also claims as a
reference to him the passage in Berosus about a Chaldean
"skillful in the celestial science." The great Jewish scholar
Maimonides claims that the true meaning of the Hebrew Scriptures
> Whoever shall find out the true meaning of the Book of Genesis
> ought to take care not to divulge it. This is a maxim that all
> our sages repeat to us, and above all respecting the work of the
> six days. If a person should discover the true meaning of it by
> himself, or by the aid of another, then he ought to be silent; or
> if he speaks, he ought to speak of it but obscurely, in an
> enigmatical manner, as I do myself, leaving the rest to be
> guessed by those who can understand me.
Origen deals with the Old Testament in similar fashion.
> If we hold to the letter, and must understand what is written in
> the law after the manner of the Jews and common people, then I
> should blush to confess aloud that it is God who has given these
> laws; then the laws of men appear more excellent and reasonable.
> What man of sense will agree with the statement that the first,
> second, and third days, in which the evening is named and the
> morning, were without sun, moon, and stars, and the first day
> without a heaven? What man is such an idiot as to suppose that
> God planted trees in paradise, like a husbandman? . . . I
> believe that every man must hold these things for images, under
> which a hidden sense lies concealed.
Paul speaks in like manner, saying of the two sons of Abraham,
"which things are an allegory: for these are the two covenants."
He goes on to show that Hagar was Mount Sinai and Sarah
"Jerusalem, which is above."
The Zohar denounces those who read the sacred writings in their
> Woe be to the man who says that the Doctrine delivers common
> stories and daily words . . . Therefore we must believe that
> every word of the Doctrine contains in it a loftier sense and a
> higher meaning. The narratives of the Doctrine are its cloak.
> The simple look only at the garment, that is, upon the narrative
> of the Doctrine; more they know not. The instructed, however,
> see not merely the cloak, but also see what the cloak covers.
The Essenes, we learn from Josephus, only admitted candidates
into their order after a prolonged probation, and then bound the
successful neophyte by "tremendous oaths" that he would not
(among other things) "discover any of their doctrines to others,
no, not though any one should compel him so to do at the hazard
of his life." Jesus is said to have reserved his special teaching
for his chosen disciples, "Unto you it is given to know the
mystery of the kingdom of God; but unto them that are without,
all these things are done in parables."
Paul, who, using a well-known metaphor, calls himself a "a wise
master builder," says that he and his fellows "speak wisdom among
them that are perfect," i.e., that are fully initiated, and
describes this wisdom as "the wisdom of God in a mystery, even
the hidden wisdom." Clemens Alexandrinus says, "The mysteries of
the faith are not to be divulged to all," and speaks of hiding
"in a mystery the wisdom spoken, which the Son of God [the
Mme. Blavatsky says in ISIS UNVEILED,
> Among the venerable sect of the Tanaim, or rather the Tananim,
> the wise men, there were those who taught the secrets practically
> and initiated some disciples into the grand and final mystery.
> The MISHNA HAGIGA, second section, says that the table of
> contents of the MERCABA "must only be delivered to wise old
> ones." The GEMARA is still more emphatic. "The more important
> secrets of the Mysteries were not even revealed to all priests.
> Alone the Initiates had them divulged."
It would be easy to multiply testimonies to the existence of this
body of doctrine, at least down to the fourth century A.D. The
triumph of the illiterate exoteric side of Christianity then
swamped it, as far as Europe was concerned, and we only catch
glimpses of its continued transmission by the occasional
divulging of secrets of nature -- "great discoveries" -- by wise
and learned men who, by the ruthless persecution of the Churches,
were compelled to hide their lights carefully under bushels.
In the Middle Ages, we hear of "alchemists," "magicians,"
"atheists," and "learned heretics," from whom impulses came
towards rational learning, towards the investigation of nature.
We generally find, on investigation, that they have some
connection with the East, whither had retreated for safety, under
the tolerant rule of Buddhism, the guardians of the Hidden
Wisdom, to be in security until the storm of Christian
persecution had exhausted itself by its own fury.
The knowledge of physical nature was indeed part of the
instruction received during preparation for the higher
initiations. The wonderful astronomical calculations of the
Hindus, their zodiacs, and their cycles are matters of common
knowledge. In the fifth degree of the Egyptian neophyte, he was
instructed in chemistry, including alchemy; in the sixth, he was
taught astronomy. The knowledge of Pythagoras on the globular
form of the earth and on the heliocentric system was imparted to
him during his preparation for full initiation. So were the
secrets of alchemy to Democritus of Abider.
The extraordinary life of Apollonius of Tyana, called the Pagan
Christ, is familiar to all students. He also passed through the
discipline of the Mysteries, the supposed "journey to India,"
related by Philostratus, being but an allegorical account of the
neophyte's experience as he treads "the Path." As "Master," he
was at once teacher and healer, like others of the Brotherhood.
It is curious to find Justin Martyr, in the second century,
> How is it that the talismans of Apollonius have power in certain
> members of creation, for they prevent, as we see, the fury of the
> waves, the violence of the winds, and the attacks of wild beasts?
> How is it that while tradition alone preserves our Lord's
> miracles, those of Apollonius are most numerous, and actually
> manifested in present facts, to lead astray all beholders?
This was a strange testimony from an opponent, although
Apollonius worked no "miracles," but only utilized purely natural
powers, which he understood, but that were unknown to the people
Is it without significance that the disappearance of the
Mysteries coincides with the beginning of the intellectual
darkness that spread over Europe and deepened into the night of
ignorance of the eighth, ninth, and tenth centuries? Is there
nothing strange in the contrast between the literary, scientific,
and philosophic eminence of Hindustan, Persia, Chaldea, Egypt,
and Greece with the arid waste of the early Middle Ages?
The dead letter triumphed over the living spirit. The crust of
dogmatic religion hardened over philosophy and science. The
exoteric symbol took the place of the esoteric truth. The latter
-- though hidden unregarded as is its image, the heart in the
human body -- the very Heart of civilization and of knowledge,
whose unfelt beatings alone circulated the life-blood in the
veins of human society, that Heart was paralyzed in Europe. The
paralysis spread to every limb of the body politic and social.
From time to time, a throb was felt. There was Roger Bacon, the
marvelous monk who mastered mathematics and astounded Europe by
his chemical discoveries. He made gunpowder and predicted the
use of steam as a motor, drawing his knowledge from his study of
Paracelsus came back from his captivity in Tartary a learned
physician and "magician," curing, as at Nuremberg, "incurable"
cases of elephantiasis, laying in Europe the foundations of the
practical use of magnetism in curing disease, writing on
medicine, botany, anatomy, chemistry, astronomy, as well as on
philosophical doctrines and "magic." He was the "discoverer" in
Europe of hydrogen, and it is asserted that knowledge of oxygen
is also shown in his writings. Van Helmont, his follower and
disciple, is described by Deleuze as creating "epochs in the
histories of medicine and physiology." From Paracelsus, the great
impulse came that started medicine, chemistry, and the study of
electricity and magnetism on the lines along which such triumphs
have been won in modern times.
Closely interwoven with his wonderfully suggestive theories on
these sciences were his philosophic teachings, teachings
fundamentally identical with Theosophy. His language and
terminology, adapted to the conditions of his times, may often
mislead and disconcert. If his ideas are studied, rather than
the dialect in which he clothes them, it will be found that he
was in possession of true knowledge and had been instructed by
the wise, passing, as Madame Blavatsky says, in ISIS UNVEILED,
"through the true initiation."
Some say the proof of the existence of a great body of
philosophic and scientific doctrine in the past demonstrate
nothing as to its existence in the present. Say it once existed.
Say schools held in temples taught it and handed down for
thousands of years from generation to generation of hierophants.
Say we can catch glimpses of its continued existence in Mediaeval
Europe. If so, it is not reasonable to suppose that it
disappeared wholly in the course of a few centuries after
enduring through millenniums. It is not reasonable to suppose
that the long succession of faithful men suddenly ended leaving
no inheritors, and that the vast mass of accumulated knowledge,
so loyally guarded, so carefully cherished, suddenly went down
into nothingness, all the garnered experience of humanity
vanishing like the "baseless vision of a dream."
This body of doctrine in the hands of the Masters of Wisdom,
heirs of the great Hierophants of the Past, is still reachable by
those who are strong enough to take on themselves the old
obligation of the Neophyte: TO KNOW; TO DARE; TO WILL; AND TO
The study of comparative mythology has done much to prove the
assertion of the Theosophist that the great world religions have,
as basis, the same occult truths. The Kosmic Trinity, the
"Father-Mother-Son," with its correspondence, the human trinity,
Atma-Buddhi-Manas, and its reflection on the material plane -- so
brutalized in the comparatively modern degradations of phallic
worship -- is the "Church's one foundation," by whatever name the
"Church" may be called. As Dr. Hartmann puts it:
> The doctrine of the Trinity is found in all the principal
> religious systems: in the Christian religion, as Father, Son, and
> Spirit; among the Hindus as Brahma, Vishnu, and Siva; the
> Buddhists (Vedantins) call it Mulaprakriti, Prakriti, and Purush;
> the Persians teach that Ormuzd produced light out of himself by
> the power of his word. The Egyptians called the first cause
> Ammon, out of which all things were created by the power of its
> own will. In Chinese, Kwan-shai-yin is the universally
> manifested Word, coming from the unmanifested Absolute by the
> power of its own will, and being identical with the former. The
> Greeks called it Zeus (Power), Minerva (Wisdom), and Apollo
> (Beauty). The Germans, Wodan (the Supreme Cause), Thor (Power),
> and Freia (Beauty). Jehovah and Allah are Trinities of Will,
> Knowledge, and Power. Even the Materialist believes in
> Causation, Matter, and Energy.
The subject is too familiar to enlarge upon. It is the stock in
trade, these myriad trinities, of every student of religion.
Note further how these trinities always spring from ONE, and
mystically continue One. The Persian Trinity has as its
forerunner Boundless Time-and-Space. The Hindu trinity is but
aspects of the supreme Brahma. The Vedantin has Parabrahm, the
Absolute, whereof Mulaprakriti is as a veil. The Greeks had
Kronos, greater than was Zeus.
The trinity is ever the creative aspect of the ONE. Even in
Christianity, with its uncompromising anthropomorphism, the Son
"begotten" by the Spirit "proceeds" from the "Father." Although
outside of time and space relations, there is yet a gleam of the
idea of the original undifferentiated One.
Again, in all religions "God" incarnates. Theosophy teaches of
the "Pilgrim" incarnating throughout countless cycles, the divine
entity that is the human Self, learning its lessons of experience
in the school of the universe. This Self was the Khristos,
crucified in matter, and by its voluntary sacrifice redeeming the
lower selves from animality, saving such part of the
personalities as could assimilate themselves to it, and weaving
these into its own immortality.
In the Mysteries, this pilgrimage was dramatically shown in the
person of the neophyte passing his initiations, until at last,
stretched cruciform on floor or altar of stone, he lay as dead,
to rise as the Hierophant, the Sun-Initiate, the "risen Khristos"
or Christ. In many a form, this story has been related as
religious dogma, but whether Mithra, Krishna, Bacchus, Osiris, or
Christ, the varying name has been but another new label for old
truth. Whom they ignorantly worship, him declare we.
The symbols of the creeds are but esoteric glyphs, used in modern
times without understanding. The tau, or cross; the waters of
baptism; the ringed light round head of saint; the serpent,
whether of light or darkness, image of God or devil; the virgin
Mother, clothed in the sun and the moon about her feet; the
archangels and angels; the recording angels and the book of life.
From the Hidden Wisdom of the Sacred College, they are all
legible in their entirety only to the trained eye of the Seer.
Whence arises all this similarity if there is no identity of
origin? The Theosophist finds the ancient symbols decorating the
sacred places of antagonizing modern creeds, each claiming them
as exclusively its own. It is wonderful that he sees in all the
creeds branches from a common stem, that stem being the truths
taught in the Mysteries, known to have been once established and
revered in all the countries now possessed by the rival faiths.
The evidence by experiment is chiefly valuable to those who have
conducted or seen the experiments, but there is an accumulating
mass of this evidence available second-hand to those who have no
opportunity of carrying out direct personal investigations.
There is the power of conveying a thought from one brain to
another at a distance, without any of the ordinary means of
communication. One might obtain knowledge by clairvoyance or
clairaudience, which others can verify afterwards. Another power
permits one making an object appear and disappear at will, as far
as onlookers are concerned. There is the power of projecting a
simulacrum to a distance, seen and heard by persons there
present. One brings back information that subsequently found
correct. One might move articles without contact. Another might
render an object immovable. There are other powers, in well-nigh
More easily accessible are the phenomena obtainable by the use of
mesmerism and hypnotism, with the separation of consciousness
from brain-action, the immense stimulation of mental faculties
under conditions that would a priori negate any exercise of them,
the reducing of brain-activity correlated to the augmenting of
Experiments of this sort are useful as helping to establish the
independent existence of the Intellectual and Spiritual Self, as
an entity joined to, but not the mere outcome of, the physical
body. They are useful also as demonstrating that the
consciousness of the individual is far wider and fuller than the
ordinary consciousness of everyday life, that memory covers a far
larger field than the remembered of our usual active mind.
The result of pursuing this line of study, the consideration of
these obscure and little understood phenomena, will be a growing
desire to find some theory that will draw them into rational
relationship with the rest of a universe of law, which will
correlate them, and present them as the normal working of natural
causes. Theosophy does this great service to the intelligence.
Accepted as a working hypothesis or temporary guide in
experimentation, it will be speedily justify its acceptance,
easily verified by its alignment with facts.
The evidence from analogy needs, of course, to be worked out in
detail, step by step. It is impossible to do more here than hint
at the use to which this tool may be put. Let us take as example
the seven-fold planes of the universe and the doctrine of
In studying the material world of which we are a part, we find
the constant emergence of the number seven. Split up a beam of
white light, and we find the seven colors of the spectrum. Take
the musical scale, and we have seven distinct notes in
progression, and then the octave. Take the periods of gestation,
and we find them occupying set numbers of lunar months, i.e., of
multiples of seven. Take fevers that run a definite course and
we find that course to be a multiple of seven. Crises of madness
show this recurring seven. The moon marks its stages in sevens,
and has served as the basis for our seven-day week.
All these sevenfold periods can scarcely be matters of mere
chance, mere coincidence. In a universe of law, they are surely
likely to be the outcome of some deeply seated principle in
nature. Reasoning by analogy, the seven-fold division is likely
to exist in the universe as a whole, even as in its parts.
Beyond this, for the moment, we may not be able to go, for the
bearing out of the analogy by the observation of facts on the
cosmic planes is beyond the faculties of the ordinary man as at
present developed. There are men so highly evolved that they can
observe on the higher planes as we on the lower, but we are not
now concerned with proofs only obtainable by years, nay by lives,
of patient endurance and study.
Once again, in studying the material world, we note the frequent
correlation of the relatively permanent and the transitory. A
tree will last for a century, putting forth yearly its crop of
leaves, leaves that wither as the finger of autumn touches them.
The leaves pass, but the tree endures. So the fern stem or the
bulb will send up year by year its seasonal growth of frond or
flowers. The seasonal growth perishes with the season, but the
plant dies not.
Tree and plant live through their periods of manifestation,
giving birth to innumerable lives, the outcome of the central
individual. So is it, Theosophy teaches, with man. As an
individual, he endures throughout his period of manifestation,
putting forth the leaf-crop of innumerable personalities, which
die while he remains. The leaves perish. They do not revive
when the breath of the spring tide awakens nature. They are
rotting in the ground, and it is their successors, not they, that
cover the tree with its glory.
So is it with the personalities. They perish, and for them there
is no resurrection. The leaves, living their life through spring
and summer and autumn, gather from air and draw up from soil
substances that they fashion into materials for the growth of the
parent-tree from which they spring. The parent draws these
elaborated materials from them. The virtue and the use of them
are over ere the keen knife of winter's frost cuts them off.
Likewise, the personality gathers knowledge and experience from
its contact with the world, transmuting them into forms that the
enduring individual can draw from it. When the knife of death
severs it from the parent trunk, all that it has gathered of true
materials for the growth of the Ego shall have passed over into
its keeping, each life ere it perishes thus adding its quota of
nutriment for the Man who does not die.
In this fashion, would time and space permit, I might continue,
gathering hints of the unseen from the seen, catching whispers of
the Eternal Mother, musical with the truths hidden beneath her
veil. This paper intends to incite to study rather than to teach
the student, to suggest rather than to convince, to win audience
for Theosophy rather than to expound its doctrines.
Science tells us how a myriad cords may be stretched and mute, as
a note of music comes pulsing through the empty air, making
motion where there was stillness, sound where silence reigned.
Here and there as if in answer, the music swells past the many
silent unheeded, sounding out a note in harmony, in rhythmic
responsive to the master-tone. It comes from those few cords
that have the same vibration-frequency, and are therefore set
throbbing as the note peals by them, giving it back in music deep
and melodious as its own. It is not the fault of the note as
struck that some fail to answer, but rather in the incapacity of
the strings to vibrate in unison.
Among human souls in every generation, many will remain dumb as
the organ-note of Theosophy thrills out into the silence. For
them, it will die away unheeded into empty air. One, here and
there, will feel the throb of the music, and give back in clear
full resonance the chanted tone. For such the note is sounded,
the call is given. Let those who can hear, respond.
THE PASSING OF A BIRD
by H.S. Olcott
[From OLD DIARY LEAVES, I, pages 429-31.]
The elemental messenger of HPB once rang the fairy bell with
pathetic effect, at the moment when her pet canary died. It is
fixed indelibly in my memory from the fact that it is associated
with the recollection of HPB's felling of genuine sorrow.
It was just an ordinary little hen canary, not much to look at
for beauty ... I forgot where we got her, but think HPB brought
her from Philadelphia and that I bought her mate ... in New York
... We had them a long time and they came to be almost like
... All went well with us and the birds for many months, but at
last our quartette was broken up by the death of Jenny. She was
found lying at her last gasp on her back in her cage. I took her
out and placed her in HPB's hand, and we mourned together over
our pet. HPB kissed her, gently stroked her plumage, tried to
restore her vitality by magnetic breathing, but nothing availed;
the bird's gasps grew feebler and feebler, until we saw it could
only be a question of minutes.
Then the stern, granite-faced HPB melted into tenderness, opened
her dress, and laid little Jenny in her bosom; as if to give her
life by placing her near the heart that was beating in pity for
her. But it was useless; there came a last gasp, a last flutter
of the birdie's heart, and then? Then sharp and sweet and clear
in the Akasha near us, rang out a fairy bell, the requiem of the
passing life; and HPB wept for her dead bird.
MY SOUL DOES QUEST
By James Sterling
My soul does quest to reach that immortal bliss
Of Nirvana, that fountainhead of Initiation Crowns
That led to the first coronation of immortal kings,
Which instructed the early race of Mankind.
But this Nirvanic Bliss is hidden like a perfumed
Rose amongst painful thorns: there is a state of
Hell before we get to Heaven.
Ineffable glory before those majestic Gates of Gold!
The highest of heights, the pureness of the mind,
The patience to swim in that blissful Nirvanic sea.
It waits for me; it waits for all of us.
Spiritual Lhas of another plane, what are my chances,
What are my odds, my hopes, my silly dreams
Of reaching you in this short, mortal life?
Am I doomed to perish and return as the grass
And the flowers in the early Spring?
My quest is to be with you, the Holy Lamas hidden in Tibet,
The Mahatmas of the Himalayas, to spend future
Centuries serving those that have watched over
Me in my mistakes of youthful innocence, to bring
Relief to a ignorant, frightened world, where the
Dark Powers of Evil appear to have accomplished
It is you who hold the secret knowledge for those
Who are purified to undergo the dreaded trials
Of Secret Initiations.
Without the knowledge of White Magic, there is little
Hope for the suffering souls of the human race,
Without light and hope of reincarnation, we are all
Beggars in the darkness of the night, living nightmares
Of Karma in the duration of our time.
Oh Lha, Oh Holy Lamas, Great Teachers of the
Snowy Range beyond Tibet,
In the Isolation of the Himalayas,
Listen to the cries in the world, and allow me
To send forth your word, your White Magic,
And your Great Power.
Teach me the Law for I have paid the price for it,
Struggled for it, yearned for it, cried in total
Compassion and desperation for it, and almost prayed for it.
What do you require of me, Elohim, Flames of
Eternity, am I worthy of such an honor?
Is my heart and soul pure?
Is my mind strong and firm?
Have I resisted all the luring temptations of Mara?
And my devotion to you, isn't it the highest of lay
Chelas on the Path?
Is this my Calling and Chosen Duty, then perhaps
Just a simple sign from you will tell me of my Destiny?
From where I come from I know not, and my
Final outcome is beyond my finite mind.
Release your blaze and fire of enlightenment;
Torch my innocent soul;
And bring a little happiness to a Chela who only
Waits patiently to serve.
THOMAS PAINE -- SERVANT OF HUMANITY
By Frederic J Gould
[From THE ARYAN PATH, January 1937, pages 5-8.]
The man who said "My country is the world and my religion is to
do good," was a man who vitally and amazingly influenced the
souls of England, France, and America, and when he died in 1809,
left a memory cursed by dull Christian bishops and admired by
democrats and progressives. Born (January 1737) in a serene
little English country town, his life and utterances thundered
east and west of the Atlantic. Son of Quaker parents who
reverenced the divine Inner Light and recoiled from weapons of
war, he flung himself into the crimson glare of the French
Revolution and eagerly marched in the ranks of George
Washington's republican army.
He worshipped God in philosophic manliness, but scorned the
miracle-legends of the Jewish-Christian Bible as a hindrance to
the expansion of man's mind and the healthy advance of politics,
economics, and world peace. Under the presidency of Edouard
Herriot, former premier of France, an International Committee
erects a monument to Thomas Paine in Paris this month. Though
Paine's Deism was strong and sincere, he has always been a
shining hero in the eyes of English, French, and American
Like his father, Paine made women's "stays." Then he measured
wine barrels as an excise officer. Then he married, but
discovered himself physically and temperamentally unsuited to
marriage, so he peaceably and courteously separated from his
wife. Had he been in harmony with the Roman Catholic faith this
man -- smooth-faced, brilliant-eyed, and broad-shouldered --
would have traveled as a dynamic celibate missionary.
His spirit was otherwise shaped, and he strode the wide world
platform, not as an orator (though he was a bright
conversationalist), but as an evangelist whose pamphlets and
books spread republican thunder among the so-called "lower
classes" and the political liberals. The shrewd scientist and
statesman, Benjamin Franklin, perceived the young man's genius
for clarity of ideas and vigor in reform, and encouraged him to
voyage west. Paine spent an astonishing thrill of thirteen years
I have walked the streets of forty cities in the United States
and looked musingly at many American landscapes, and it seems to
me natural that the spontaneous urge of self-reliance, such as we
witness in so many lands today, explains the breakaway of the
American Colonies from Britain. To Franklin and Washington,
however, and to the eighteenth century Colonials, the one brutal
cause lay in the British aristocracy and monarchy; and assuredly,
in a superficial sense, the Colonials had ample reason for
resentment. Paine gave the resentment a tremendous voice.
In a vigorous pamphlet (1776), he upbraided the English King as a
"Royal Brute," and called upon the Americans to elect a Congress
to govern "The Free and Independent States of America." A storm
of cheers greeted the Declaration of Independence six months
later. Paine faced a soldier's hardships for awhile, but his
truly solid help was rendered in print. When wintry conditions
appalled not a few of the rebel people, Paine burst into flame
> These are the times that try men's souls. The summer soldier and
> the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the
> service of their country; but he that stands it now deserves the
> love and thanks of man and woman. Tyranny, like hell, is not
> easily conquered; yet we have this consolation with us, that the
> harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph.
Through a tempest of vicissitudes and adventures -- defeats,
quarrels, and money troubles -- Paine incessantly printed
appeals, and loyally maintained the note of confidence. Once he
risked a voyage to France and back in order to provide
Washington's treasury with a load of French silver. After the
acknowledgment by England of the United States of America's
independence, the republicans gratefully gave Paine a stone-built
mansion, a farm, and bags of dollars. In leisure hours, he --
not without a touch of engineering talent -- framed designs for
novel iron bridges.
His ears seemed to catch significant murmurs and pulsations from
the passionate spirit of Europe. He found his way to Paris and
then to London. Around 1791 to 1792 he shocked the so-called
"upper classes" by publishing a book on THE RIGHTS OF MAN. Sold
cheap, it warmed the hearts of the working classes who could
read, or the poor wretches who could not read but eagerly
listened to its pages recited aloud. Paine scorned monarchy and
disdained a hereditary peerage. He wanted civilization to shape
itself into a "Pacific Republic" or Confederation (and in so
doing, he was forecasting the League of Nations). He spoke in
words of fire on behalf of what were essentially the Depressed
Classes of England, and demanded, first, heavy taxation of the
rich, and then child-allowances at birth and for education,
labor-houses, good meals for all willing workers, old age
pensions, and freedom for wage earners to make their own bargains
with employers as to their pay. In a country thus economically
born again, "The poor, as well as the rich, will then be
interested in the support of government, and the cause and
apprehension of riots and tumults will cease."
The tumults did not cease in England or in Europe. The English
ruling classes and their lackeys tumbled into tumults of the
soul. Up and down the land, crowds of people took the
constructive pioneer Paine for a mere iconoclast made and burned
images of him. The pompous figure of Law raised its menacing
fist and summoned him as "a wicked, malicious, seditious, and
ill-disposed person." Some say that the visionary William Blake,
who penned the lines often sung today:
> Nor shall my sword sleep in my hand,
> Till we have built Jerusalem
> In England's green and pleasant land,
put his hand on Paine's shoulder, warned him of the coming
constables, and advised him to go over the water.
Paine rushed to Dover and never saw his motherland again. Calais
crowds roared, "Long live Thomas Paine!" Soon he sat as a member
in the revolutionary Convention at Paris. Though he spent ten
years in France, his enthusiasm for its gospel of "Liberty,
Equality, and Fraternity" faded out. He had opposed the
condemnation of King Louis to the guillotine.
He had been thrust into prison for nearly a year as a man of
ideas too moderate for a pure democracy. Napoleon flattered him,
and then frowned. Paine was suspected, perhaps rightly, of
sympathy with the Negro rebels against French rule in Haiti. At
last, he murmured to a transatlantic friend, "I know of no
republic in the world except America, which is the only country
for such men as you and I," and to the United States, he eagerly
fled in 1802.
During those ten years in France, however, he expressed both
intellect and heart in two achievements, -- one in smashing dull
and useless images in eighteenth-century Christianity, the other
in outlining a noble Humanist religion. The iconoclastic work
was the publication of a blunt, scathing, and dynamic criticism
of Bible "miracles" in his book entitled THE AGE OF REASON.
Whether in the legends of Moses, Solomon, or Jesus, Paine poured
burning contempt on miracle-tales that diverted men's thought
from the central values of religion and ethics. His fiery
assaults ended in a serene Deism thus:
> I believe in one God and no more, and I hope for happiness beyond
> this life. I believe in the equality of man, and I believe that
> religious duties consist in doing justice, loving mercy, and
> endeavoring to make our fellow-creatures happy.
To the judgment of 1937, it is clear that Paine desired, with his
whole heart, to help in building a world-unity, and to inspire
the universal republic with a rational ethic and faith. The
slow-witted English priests looked out at him from their castle
of vested interests, howling at his AGE OF REASON as devilish
In a modest chamber in Paris, Paine and a small group of comrades
often assembled in the Society of Theophilanthropists, known as
the "Adorers of God and Friends of Man." Their ethical aspiration
was associated with ample respect for the sciences as aids of
human welfare. The Theophilanthropic church (if so it may be
termed) issued a volume containing a summary of the lectures and
musical exercises, with readings from Chinese, Hindu, and Greek
classic scriptures. The Society, in genial memorial
celebrations, gave honor to the work and ideals of Washington,
St. Vincent de Paul the Roman Catholic, Rousseau, and Socrates.
I may here note that, some years later, Paine became acquainted
with the researches of Sir William Jones the Sanskrit scholar (d.
1794), and he alertly recognized the value of such learning when
> A Society for inquiring into the ancient state of the world, and
> the state of ancient history, so far as history is connected with
> systems of religion ancient and modern, may become a useful and
> instructive institution.
Such societies have since accomplished a vast work that would
have cheered Paine's liberal heart, in uniting the moral
sympathies of East and West.
Paine passed to the United States, dined with the Deistic-minded
President Jefferson, and pursued his mission of encouraging
America in its young republican career. In a shrewd and concise
phrase, he indicated the United States of America as "now the
parent of the Western World," and thus foreshadowed the Monroe
Doctrine (1823) that warned Europe against laying intrusive hands
on American territories. He spent most of his time until his
death in June 1809 on his farm at New Rochelle in the State of
New York. Old-fashioned pietists and worshippers of Bible-texts
reviled him, and a dwindling number of such weaklings snarl at
his name even in 1937, but students of social evolution
increasingly respect Paine as a powerful constructive agent in
the unfolding of modern democracy, or Sociocracy, if we use the
preferable term coined by Auguste Comte.
In recent years, I have ventured to define the difficult
conception of "Religion" as "Obedience and enthusiasm toward the
Best in nature without and human nature within." All noble
personalities have ever combined the two spiritual dynamics of
enthusiasm and obedience. About this, I may employ simple Indian
symbols. I see the obedience typified in the poor and solitary
Dharwar Hindu woman whom I saw lighting, gracefully and
reverently, a little lamp under a tree in homage to some divine
spirit. For enthusiasm, I point to my friend Dhondo Keshav Karve
of Poona and his travel round the globe on behalf of the Indian
Women's University. On the largest possible scale, I behold a
magnificent obedience, all through the long ages of history, in
the honest daily toil and service of untold millions of peasants,
coolies, miners, seamen, craftsmen, traders, artists, scientists,
organizers, administrators, educators, and, above all, of the
housewives of all races. I behold a glorious and inspiring
enthusiasm in the heroic quests and attempts and achievements of
saints, poets, pioneers, breakers of outworn images and creeds,
self-sacrificing rebels, unyielding reformers, geniuses of
rebirth and renewal and development, sons and daughters of the
invincible religion of Humanity. Among the sons, I honor Thomas
ULT DAY LETTER
By the United Lodge of Theosophists
[Following is a letter to friends and associates of the United
Lodge of Theosophists. This voluntary association of students of
Theosophy exists "to spread broadcast the Teachings of Theosophy
as recorded in the writings of H.P. Blavatsky and W.Q. Judge."
The ULT issued the letter June 21-25, 2004 under the letterhead
of the Los Angeles Lodge (245 West 33rd Street, Los Angeles CA
90007). The letter is signed, "with best wishes to those who
work for that central human essence, we call "The Lodge."]
The Annual Greeting sent by the United Lodge of Theosophists, as
was noted in 1949, is "an attempt to symbolize the identity of
aim, purpose, and teaching which exists wherever ULT Associations
grow." While much that is external has changed in the 55 years
since those words were written, it is still true that thinking
about ULT works best when we "read between the lines" and reflect
that the "aim, purpose, and teaching" remain the same -- all
else, finally, becoming "side issues."
From time to time, students ask, "What constitutes a 'Lodge'? Are
we doing this the 'right way'?" Such inquiry is especially common
among newcomers, as well as those who are geographically
isolated, and may wonder, "Are we big enough to be called a Lodge
or are we 'only' a study group?"
A Lodge, as envisioned by the founders of ULT, is not in a
special place or a specific building, nor does it even exist in
time itself. Students who come together to study the original
teachings of Theosophy, "wherever and however situated,"
automatically become active participants in a community of
thought, idea, aspiration, and service: a community as old as
time itself, and as far-reaching as humans will allow the heart
and mind to stretch.
Comments sent in from Toronto express this spirit quite well:
> We are just a small study class meeting one day a week at a
> rental room in a city library . . . The Declaration and Texts
> for Theosophical Meetings have met our needs most adequately;
> their inspired structure and principles have been an on-going
> base for our meetings, and new and old students agree that its
> renaissance in November 1909 was an inspired one and indeed the
> most careful statement of what a Lodge should be according to the
> advice of the Masters.
> We ever join in the ULT effort and although small in numbers we
> are large in certain hope for the future. Robert Crosbie's
> advice on page 96 of THE FRIENDLY PHILOSOPHER to continue and
> continue is indeed our outlook and has been for the 40 or so
> years we have been meeting as a study class -- we simply have to
> give what help we can.
ULT -- in whatever form -- is at its heart a SUBJECTIVE
experience. While it relies on individual commitment and effort,
its work is not based on personal desire, but on an impersonal
vision of the nature and future of humanity -- the creation of a
strong nucleus. The truly radical nature of ULT needs to be
remembered and acknowledged -- the launching in 1909 of an
association of volunteer students was the result of observing and
understanding the common difficulties faced by all who approach
the Great Teachings of Theosophy.
This "community" was founded by workers who honored H.P.
Blavatsky and William Q. Judge. In the twenty-first century,
the plethora of other books and material has not altered the fact
that a recognition of the Nature of the Teachers links us to the
Greater Work pointed out by Them as the responsibility of the
Companions -- of those who have allied themselves with the idea
of spiritual evolution as a conscious act in nature.
The mandate of ULT has never been to fill halls and encourage an
ever-increasing "membership," but to function as a "way station"
for those souls who, tired of the repetitive message of
"self-fulfillment" and individual salvation supported by the
social world, find themselves at the gate of a different and
wiser arena. This gathering place where thought, study, and
mutual service are shared is the true "Lodge" -- a place where we
realize the journey of the Soul is not done in isolation, but
that autonomy requires Brotherhood -- the often unseen but
utterly real fact of the Oneness of all. When study and work for
others leads us to that place, we identify "side issues" so they
can be pared away, leaving the essential -- the Real Lodge -- at
the core. It is then, as said by WQJ, that we become "members of
that Universal Lodge of Free and Independent Theosophists that
embraces every friend of the human race."
On the objective plane, Associates consider how to develop
appropriate methods of work in response to new technologies.
Efforts grow in India, Europe, and elsewhere to translate texts
for local use, as Spanish translations of the teachings continue
to receive wide support. While many are surrounded by external
challenge and change, the growth of the Lodge in Haiti during
especially troubling political times should be noted.
THE EXOTERIC AND ESOTERIC HPB
By G. de Purucker
[From WIND OF THE SPIRIT, pages 122-33.]
Instead of talking to you about what our beloved HPB's work was,
and what she has done, it might be interesting to try to give you
a few important thoughts regarding HPB herself: who she was, what
she was, and why she came; and I shall try briefly to do this.
First, then, I shall talk to you on the exoteric HPB. There were
two in one in that great woman -- an outside that met the world
and had to face the conditions of the world into which she came
to work; and an inside, a living flame of love and intelligence,
a flame of inspiration and holy light, and this latter was the
esoteric side of HPB.
As you look at her face and study it, and consider the Russian
features -- the lineaments that proclaim the steppes of Great
Russia. If you pause on these alone, you will see little but a
face in which there is not much of merely human beauty. Yet
those who have eyes to see and who look behind, as it were, the
veil of the physical personality, indeed can see something else.
They can see beauty, they can see an intense pathos and a great
sadness -- not the sadness, not the pathos, of one who had a
great work to do and who could not or did not do it, but the
yearning, the pathos, and the sorrow that have always been
connected with the figure called in the Occident the 'Christ.' It
was just so!
Behind the outer lineaments that some artists have actually
called ugly, we see an ethereal beauty that no human words will
easily describe, but that every human heart can sense, and that
every human eye that is spiritually opened can see. There is
inspiration in that face that is beautiful to look upon; there is
self-dedication; there are thoughts divine because there is
truth, and truth is Nature's own divine heart. These spiritual
qualities shine out of the face of our beloved HPB when we look
at her picture. They proclaim to us that behind the outer person
there was the inner living esoteric fire.
Does any Theosophist who has studied the wonderful Wisdom
Religion of Antiquity imagine for a moment that HPB came to the
Occidental world by chance, outside of Nature's laws and rigid
concatenation of cause and effect that produce everything in due
order? Does anyone imagine therefore that whatever that exists
has not an ordered and concerted place in the cosmic harmony? Of
course not! This therefore means that HPB came in obedience to a
law, one of Nature's laws about which the ignorant West knows all
too little, and therefore doubts, and because of doubting is
blind -- for doubt always veils the inner vision.
HPB came because it was time for her to come. She was one of the
series of Teachers that human history shows us to come at certain
stated periods throughout the ages, one Teacher after the other,
and always when the time is right and ripe, never by chance. She
was one of the links in what the ancient Greek Initiates called
the Living Chain of Hermes, the Golden Chain, in connection with
the passing on of mystic and esoteric light and truth.
She came in regular serial succession to the Teachers who had
preceded her, each one of them sent forth from the great
association of Sages and Seers, variously called the Mahatmas,
the Elder Brothers of mankind, and by other names. These
Teachers, these Leaders and Guides of mankind, come and teach
according to law, esoteric and natural law, when the time calls
for their coming; otherwise how could we logically explain their
The ages pass. Each age has a new generation of men and each
generation receives light from the generations that preceded it,
from its fathers. Generations rise and fall, physically in
civilization as well as spiritually in light, and in the
intellectual, ethical, and mental courses that men follow in
producing the civilizing influences of human life. In these
generations that follow each other, there is always need for
guiding minds, for a light given anew from age to age, for a new
lighting, phoenix-like, of the old fires. These passers-on of
the Light compose the Golden Chain of Hermes.
What do these Teachers bring to mankind? Are they doctrines
contrary and antagonistic and opposite to the doctrines and
teachings of those who had preceded them? It is never so when
their teachings are properly understood. Examine the teachings
of all the Great Sages and Seers of the ages who have appeared
among men. You will find them essentially one, fundamentally
one, although expressed in different languages, expressed in
different forms and formulations of thought appropriate to the
ages, the respective ages, in which each of the Messengers
appeared. Although clad in various garments, clothed in
differing habiliments, the body of truth that they taught and
teach is one.
Now what these Sages brought to men our HPB also brought.
Examine, test, and prove this statement for yourselves. The
literatures of the world lie before you enabling you to do this.
If she taught anything that the Great Seers who preceded her did
not teach, it will be to me a wonder if you can find it, and I
believe that you cannot. You remember what Confucius said, "I
teach nothing new. I teach what my predecessors have taught. I
love the ancients; therefore I teach what they taught." Details
of the teaching differ, the clothing of the teaching varies of
necessity, but the teaching itself is the truth of and about
Nature, about Nature's own being, its structure, operations,
carpentry, characteristics, and laws.
When the Theosophist says 'Nature' as a word without further
qualification, he never limits it to the physical world alone.
He means universal Being, including divine Nature, spiritual
Nature, intellectual Nature, physical Nature, astral Nature --
all the spiritual and ethereal realms and spheres and worlds and
planes that compose what the great thinkers of the Occident, as
well as of the Orient, have called the spirit and soul and body
of the Universe.
That is what she taught. That is what the Great Sages and Seers
of the ages taught: an open or outer teaching and an inner or hid
teaching: an exoteric doctrine for the public, and an esoteric
doctrine for those who had proved themselves capable of
understanding it and ready in their understanding to hold it
secret and sacred. Were it proper to give this esoteric teaching
to the public, the Sages and Seers would do so.
Remember that the archaic Wisdom-Religion of the ages is man's
natural heritage, belonging to him by right. You as individuals
have no right to your heritage until you come of age, until you
become major of mind and are no longer spiritual and intellectual
infants, ready to abuse what is indeed yours by right. Nature,
the gods, and the Masters in compassion and love and wisdom
withhold this heritage from erring men, until men shall have
learned to control themselves. Then men will be able to control
what belongs to them by natural right. There will then no longer
be a danger of misapplication or of misuse.
Grand and sublime ethics were the basis of what this noble
Messenger of the Masters, our HPB, taught. She showed us that
ethics or morals are based on the very structure and laws of
Nature herself. Ethics and morals are no mere human convention.
Right is eternally right no matter how men may argue about the
details and wrong is eternally wrong. Right is harmony, and
wrong is disharmony. Harmony is Nature's heart of love and music
and peace, for it is equilibrium. Disharmony is discord, lack of
peace, unmusical discords in Nature and throughout human life.
All Nature is ensouled just as man is.
This doctrine of ethics is one of the noblest of the teachings
that she brought. She taught us -- and listen, my Brothers, to
this -- she taught us of our inseparable oneness, of our unity,
with the heart of Being, so that death, that grizzly phantom of
the Occident, no longer exists as a fearsome object for the
Theosophist. The genuine Theosophist who understands his
philosophy looks upon death as the grandest Adventure is possible
for a human to undertake, a sublime and magnificent initiation
into other worlds, into nobler, grander, and greater life.
One of a serial succession of Teachers, she came in the
rhythmical order of the laws that control our planet. She came
indeed at the beginning of one Messianic Cycle of 2160 years and
at the end of the preceding cycle of the same term. She was the
Messenger for her age, that is, for the age to come -- the one
who was to sound a new keynote, which yet, mystically speaking,
is as old as the ages. In a certain very true but little known
sense, she was an Avatara -- an Avatara of a certain type or
kind, for there are different kinds of Avataras.
This is one truth concerning HPB that we must be careful and
watchful as regards teaching it to the world. The world has no
conception of the many recondite meanings of the
Avatara-doctrine. Every Teacher who comes to teach man comprises
not only his or her body and an unusually received psychological
apparatus, but is likewise at times infilled with the holy fire
of a greater Soul, and therefore is de facto an Avatara of a
kind. Just as Jesus called the Christ was an Avatara of one kind
for his age, so was she, our beloved HPB, an Avatara of another
kind for her age.
It is usual among modern Occidentals, especially artists, to
portray Jesus called of Nazareth as a man of wonderful physical
beauty, of outstanding manliness, and of fascinating appearance;
but was he really so? Is this Occidental picture true to fact? It
is an Occidental idea or ideal of the Middle Ages and of our own
times. Do you not know that the Christian Church Fathers often
took pride in proclaiming the idea aloud to the world that Jesus
called of Nazareth was a man of mean appearance? Do you indeed
know this? They sometimes described him as a man of mean person,
insignificant in body and in physical form. Yet what has that,
true or false, to do with the flame within, the flame of the
spirit that shines through the mortal clay, so that the latter
like a lamp becomes luminous, glows, and gives light to those
around? That is where the true spiritual entity is -- within.
I will tell you the reason why HPB, the present Avatara of the
particular kind I speak of, had the form of one whose physical
appearance is unhandsome. With her, the reason has thus far
succeeded wonderfully. With Jesus, the Syrian Avatara, the
reason failed in succeeding ages. What was this reason? It was
an endeavor was made by the Teachers, is indeed made at each new
appearance of a Messenger, to have that Messenger make his
spiritual and intellectual mark on the world. This is done
solely by the fire of the genius or divinity within to prevent
later generations from falling down and worshiping, through
instinctive love of beauty, the physical body.
It is against the instincts of the human heart to adore ugliness,
to pray to that which is unhandsome. In the case of Jesus in
later times, blind faith and foolish adoration prevailed. In the
case of our beloved HPB, the woman unhandsome has saved her and
us thus far from that fate. No man or woman is drawn to worship
ugliness, and this in itself is right, in a sense. It is not
wrong, because it is an instinct of the human soul to know that
inner beauty will produce outer beauty, perhaps not so much in
form, but in appearance. There will be the beauty of manly and
womanly dignity, the beauty of the inner light shining forth in
love and wisdom, kindliness and gentleness. I do hope that you
understand what I mean in making these few short observations.
2160 years before HPB's birth, the particular Messianic Cycle
began that, as its centuries followed one the other, plunged
European countries into the darkness of the Middle Ages. Today,
more or less 2160 years afterwards, a new cycle opened when she
was born, a rising cycle that should bring light, peace,
knowledge, and wisdom to men.
Whether of the Point Loma Society, Adyar, ULT, or other so-called
Independent Societies, we are Brother Theosophists, common
members of the Theosophical Movement. As such, our duty is to
see that the Message that she brought to us, and gave into our
hands as a holy charge, shall be kept pure and unadulterated, and
shall be passed on to our descendants of succeeding generations
just as we have received it. "As I have received it, thus must I
pass it on, not otherwise -- ITI MAYA SHRUTAM -- thus have I
I think that the greatest tribute that our hearts and minds can
give to our beloved HPB is to know her exactly as she was,
exactly as she was in truth, not according to what anybody says
about her. The best way to see her as she was is to study her,
and her books that indeed are she. Then you will know the real
HPB. You will use your intelligence and your heart to judge her
by what she herself was and by what she produced, not by what
someone else may say about her. Let us carry on the torch of
light that she gave into our hands.
HPB came to a world that was in the throes of a veritable Dance
of Death, a Danse Macabre, in which might be heard, according to
this medieval idea, the clattering of the bones of the dead, the
hooting of the owls of despair. It was a world where one might
sense dank, evil-smelling odors of the graveyard wherein men had
buried their hopes. HPB came and spoke in that world and time.
It was a time when men had lost virtually all faith in
recognizing that there could be knowledge of spiritual things, a
time that considered even speaking of divinity, of a lasting
hope, and of things spiritual as a mark of intellectual
imbecility. The very word 'soul' was taboo.
Single-handed, that Mighty Woman wrought a change in human
thinking by the power of her spiritual knowledge that enabled her
to work on human spirits and human souls. In so doing, she cast
seeds of thought into human minds, which seeds swept like sparks
of flame through human understanding. By the tremendous energy
of her intellect, she taught men to think of life and Nature in a
new way. She showed to them that the doctrines of the dying
materialism, which were then so fashionable and to which men had
given the confidence of their hearts, were hollow-sounding brass
and tinkling cymbals. She showed to them that men were not only
foolishly burying their noblest hopes in the graveyard of
material existence, but likewise were fashioning themselves
inwardly to become like unto the graveyard, towards which their
feet were carrying them.
A mighty power came into the world, worked, and wrought. The
weaving of the web that she wrought has played a great part in
producing the better conditions we find among us today. The
world is beginning to think theosophically. Hence, the Macabre
Dance of HPB's time has been stopped, that giddy, soulless, and
thoughtless dance of death in the graveyard of human hopes has
There is a psychological wonder, a mystery, in HPB. She was a
mystery. Since she came and taught, what do we find our greatest
modern scientific researchers and thinkers telling us today? They
teach sketchy outlines of many of the doctrines that she taught.
Their knowledge is based upon deductions made from scientific
research into physical nature. Before the scientist found the
facts, she taught these facts. She taught them in the face of
ridicule, scorn, and opposition from the Church on the one hand
and from Science on the other hand, and from the established
privileges and prerogatives of all kinds -- social, religious,
philosophical, scientific, what not -- that surrounded her.
In her, there was spiritual strength, for she set men's souls
aflame. In her, there was intellectual power, for she taught men
to think and to have a new vision. In her also, there was
psychological power, for she smashed the illusory psychological
wall that man in his folly had built around his consciousness.
Now reflect upon what all this means. Could you have done it?
Would you have had the courage to dare it? Could you,
single-handed, face the world in a similar manner today? There is
a cause and a reason for the work that she wrought. We today see
the effects. We know the historical phenomenon of her life and
work. What was the noumenal cause? It was the living spiritual
and intellectual fires within her. The esoteric side of H.P.
Blavatsky enabled her to do what she did.
Do you think for a moment that HPB was only an ordinary woman? Do
you think that the stories told about her, such as Mr. Sinnett's
INCIDENTS IN THE LIFE OF H.P. BLAVATSKY, contain all the real
facts about her life? Do you suppose that even the statements
that are therein narrated contain in themselves a full
explanation of her? Do not believe it! The facts in themselves
are against such a belief.
Such a woman as Sinnett describes in his INCIDENTS could never
have moved the world as HPB did. Do you think that the Russian
girl that he describes, and that the Russian priestess that
Solovyoff, her former friend and later bitter foe, tried to
portray, could have done it? Do you think that a hypocrite, a
false heart joined with an ordinary mind, could have gathered
about herself the intellectual and often highly ethical people
whom she gathered around her? Of course not!
Take into consideration the facts of HPB's life. Do not let the
tales sway your mind. Think them over for yourself, because
thoughtful reflection is one of the first duties of a
Theosophist, and then draw your own conclusions. Indeed, the
stories told about HPB interest us simply as a psychological
phenomenon of the weakness of human thinking. They also interest
us, not because they accurately describe HPB, for they do not,
but simply because they describe the incapacities of the men and
women who try to explain her. You might as well try to put the
ocean into a teacup as to encompass the character, the
constitution, of HPB in the yarns professing to be biographical
that have been written about her. At the best they contain
certain facts gathered in random fashion from her own family --
who understood her perhaps less than her Theosophical friends
did, and who said so -- gathered and strung along a certain
thread of narrative. Is the reading of such tales the pathway to
understanding one who did what she did?
HPB was a woman in body; remember that; and invigorating and
inflaming this body with its brain-mind was the inner divine Sun,
the 'inner Buddha,' the living 'Christ within' as the mystical
Christians of today say. Between this divine fire and the
receptive and mystically trained and educated brain of the woman,
there was a psychological apparatus, commonly spoken of in
western parlance as the 'human soul.' In her case as an Initiate
of the Order of the Buddhas of Compassion and Peace, she could at
times step aside and allow the entrance into the vacancy thus
left of a 'human soul' loftier by far than even hers.
Thus was she an Avatara of her kind. It was this Buddhic
Splendor that thus infilled the vacancy that she so gladly left
for use, which in large part wrought the works of wonder that HPB
wrought. You may remember that in her writings she often makes a
distinction between what she calls 'HPB' and 'H.P. Blavatsky.'
'H.P. Blavatsky' was the woman, the Chela, the woman-Chela, the
aspiring, learning, splendid, noble, courageous Chela. 'HPB' was
the Master's mind speaking through her. Body and spirit were one
entity and the intermediate psychological apparatus, commonly
called the 'soul,' was temporarily removable at will.
Let me tell you the truth. When our HPB was sent as the
Messenger, she largely left behind that psychological apparatus.
Think! This fact accounts for the so-called contradictions of her
character that the people who attempted to write about her saw --
and saw very plainly, because they could not help seeing -- but
that they did not understand, and by which they often
misunderstood and misjudged her. When the holy flame had
infilled this vacancy, there was HPB THE TEACHER. There was the
Sage, the Seer, the Teacher of great natural scientific truths
that modern science today is but beginning to show to be true,
the Teacher of a great hope to mankind, the giver of a Vision to
men, the formulator of a new Philosophy-Religion-Science for men.
Shall we look upon H.P. Blavatsky merely as a Russian
gentlewoman? If so, a most marvelous gentlewoman was she! The
simple theory will not fit the facts -- a Russian woman who had
no education, technically speaking. She had no education in
science, no education in religion, no education to speak of in
philosophy, but who was educated in mystical lines. The HPB who
lived and taught was an Adept, and in her teachings was a Master
in all these lines of human knowledge!
Shall we look upon her as an incarnate Mahatma? The facts are
against that, all against it, just as they are all against the
former theory. Let us take our beloved HPB exactly as she was,
not take her as some misrepresent. Take HPB as we know her, as
we find her in her books. Let us take the facts and no man's
theories about her. If you are wise enough, you will understand
who and what she was.
There were times in her social life when she was the charming
hostess, a Grande Dame. There were other times when she was a
pianist of admirable and most exceptional ability. Again, at
other times, she charmed people with her brilliant conversational
powers. She would fascinate a whole room, holding her audience
spellbound. Men of learning, the laborer, the noble, prince and
peasant, gathered to hear her. There were still other times, in
her home, when things were quiet and her disciples gathered
around her, when she taught some truths drawn from the Great
Mysteries of the Wisdom Religion of the past. There were other
times when she sat at her desk, and wrote and wrote and wrote
from morning until night, and then would lie down, and, as she
herself said, for a little while went 'Home.' She then had rest!
There were other times when she would hold her 'at homes,' her
receptions, during which she would receive scientists,
philosophers, thinkers, controversialists of various kinds,
philosophical, scientific, religious; chat with them; and they
would leave her in amazement. "Whence comes to this woman," they
said, "her marvelous understanding? How is it that she can tell
me secrets of my own profession that I knew not before? Whence
comes to her the ability to show me that this is so?"
All these moods, these sides of her character, were indeed there.
We must consider every one. Only the explanation of the facts
themselves will enable you to understand her. At times, she was
the woman, and was tender and compassionate, with a woman's love
of rings, of sweet perfumes, and of kindly friends. At another
time, she was the Teacher and Sage. At another time, she was
strong and virile, so that, as her friends said, it seemed verily
as if man incarnate were manifesting through her -- not any one
man, but Man.
Now you have it. There was the body, the woman, the gentlewoman,
well trained, well bred, and ill educated. There was the divine
flame within her that occasionally seized her brain as it were --
and then she spoke like a pythoness, like a prophetess, like an
oracle at Delphi. At other times when she was infilled as the
Avatara, there was the holy flame of one of the Great Ones. Then
she was the Sage and Seer, and wrote her books, foreshadowing in
these books what later passed, pointing out to men the dangers of
a belief divorced from ethical rules.
Let us recognize HPB for what she was. Mind you, friends, this
thought. We who have studied HPB love her, are faithful to her
in heart and mind, yet we shall set our faces like flint, like
stone, against any attempt to worship her, to make a new Jesus
out of her.
You know what the Great Ones have told us: More than anything
else do we desire a Brotherhood among men, a Brotherhood that
will save mankind from the catastrophes that are facing it,
brought about by mankind's own folly. The catastrophes, the
cataclysms, moral and even physical, which are even now facing
us, will surely come upon us unless men change their habits of
thought and, in consequence, their acts, their conduct.
We shall set our faces like stone against any attempt to
introduce a new religion among men, which our Great Teachers have
already pointed out to be, and that is, one of the greatest
curses and banes afflicting mankind now. That is belief in an
outside Savior instead of fidelity to the divine spirit within.
For there within indeed lie all truth, all harmony, all wisdom,
all love, all peace. The inner god within each one of you as an
individual is of the very heart of the heart of the Universe, and
concerning that heart of the Universe, each one of you is It.
HPB was indeed a mystery, but while she was a mystery, this does
not mean a mystery in the sense in which this word is commonly
used in the Occident. I mean a mystery in the sense of the
ancient Greeks, when they spoke of the ancient Mysteries and the
ancient Mystery Schools -- something that is hid, but can be
known, something that is occult and holy, but that can be
We can understand HPB. When we understand her, we love her the
more. The more we understand her, the greater grows our love,
our veneration, for her. Let it never happen, therefore, that we
Theosophists become so false to the trust that she gave to us
that we should turn our backs to the Mystic East, towards which
she always pointed, and worship the Avatara instead.
Let us be faithful to our trust. We can love, we can venerate,
and we can copy the example of magnificent courage and sublime
hope that she gave to us. We can try to become like unto this
great Woman, and unto many others like her who have appeared in
the past or will appear in the future, others far greater than
she was. Never set her on a pinnacle as was done in the case of
one of the Teachers in the early years of Christianity.
No greater tribute could we render to our beloved HPB than by
continuing faithfully, in our love of her, the work that she so
Dedicated to the Theosophical Philosophy and its Practical Application