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THEOSOPHY WORLD ---------------------------------- December, 2004
An Internet Magazine Dedicated to the Theosophical Philosophy
And its Practical Application in the Modern World
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(Please note that the materials presented in THEOSOPHY WORLD are
the intellectual property of their respective authors and may not
be reposted or otherwise republished without prior permission.)
"The Greatest of All Wars," by B.P. Wadia
"The Weighing of the Heart," by G. de Purucker
"Review of 'The Laws of Life' and 'The Return of the Prodigal Son,'"
by Paul N. Rooke
"The Sphinx of Theosophy," Part I, by Annie Besant
"As Little Children," by James A Long
"Indo-Pacific Conference in Singapore," by John Vorstermans
"My Remembered Self: The Experience of An Astral Tramp,"
"Awaken the Soul," by Anonymous
> We are so prone to condemn others and let our own faults go by
> that sincere disciples are taught, as a discipline, to cultivate
> their moral sense by inspecting their own faults, and let others
> do the same for themselves, but when the occasion demands
> condemnation, that it shall be of the wrong act. This cannot
> apply to a judge, or any other proper inquisitor, teacher, or
> guide. It is meant solely for those who, believing that our span
> of life is so short that there will be no time left if we busy
> ourselves with faults of others, prefer to improve their
> opportunity by pruging themselves, by cleaning their own doorway,
> by taking the beam ouf ot their own eye.
> -- W.Q. Judge, "FORUM" ANSWERS, page 27.
THE GREATEST OF ALL WARS
By B.P. Wadia
[From LIVING THE LIFE, pages 17-22]
All family feuds, all class struggles, all national wars, and all
religious crusades are but reflected ramifications of the eternal
strife between the higher and the lower selves of man. For the
student of Occultism, one of the earliest lessons acquired is a
realization that battles in the outside world are but shadowy
replicas of those fought within us.
The meaning and import of wars, small and great, will ever be
missed as long as this great truth is not perceived.
International wars would not precipitate themselves if class
struggles, creed hatreds, and caste prejudices did not exist in
nations. Competition between youth and age or between man and
woman would not take place in a society if family relations of
the right order and kind subsisted. Thus, we reach the
individual who is at war with his neighbors and next of kin
because his hands war against his head, his mind against his
heart, or his pride against his principles.
A struggle between our material and spiritual selves is
constantly going on. Students of Theosophy learn of the nature
of this struggle, and the thoughtful among them acquire the
knowledge of the relative strength of the combatants and their
respective sources of recruitment and recuperation while the
battle lasts. We all know that the triumph of Spirit over
Matter, Wisdom over Nescience, and Love over Hate must ultimately
be. This theoretical understanding is of little avail while
hatred is consuming love, fanning the fire of lust in our own
Not only is there a constant struggle going on within us, but we
are recommended to maintain it until victory is won, until
Wisdom-Light streams forth from our hearts, dispelling the
darkness of ignorance, and until Love radiates its justice and
bliss from our minds, revealing the order in the midst of chaos.
An enlightened heart and a compassionate head are the marks of
the Spirit-Man, higher, greater, and nobler than the good man of
intelligent mind and of sympathetic heart is. It is necessary to
make this distinction between the good man and the spiritual man.
As earnest appliers of Theosophic teachings, we have left the
life of actual vice behind us and we distinguish between it and
the higher life. We are, however, apt to mistake the life of
negative goodness for the life of the spirit. "It is not enough
that you should set the example of a pure, virtuous life and a
tolerant spirit; this is but negative goodness -- and for
Chelaship will never do," wrote a Master once. Other and higher
than negative goodness is positive spirituality.
Our virtues and vices make us by turn good and bad. The
equipoise whereby these are controlled and resolved into
faculties of growth and service has to be attained if positive
spirituality is to be manifested. Just as human love is higher
than and superior to lust, and lust by constant feeding on itself
cannot become love, so also Divine Spirituality is of a quality
more profound and rare than is human goodness, which also, merely
augmented, does not give birth to Spirit-Wisdom. The difference
between good and bad is one of kind; the gulf between goodness
and spirituality is not one of mere degree.
A clear intellectual perception of this fact is helpful. A
soldier receives an added impetus for fighting if he
theoretically understands the inherently vicious nature of his
enemy; he fights with more heart if he assimilates that
understanding. This assimilation is a wonderful asset, without
which it is almost impossible to win the victory over our lower
nature. The constancy and steadfastness so necessary to maintain
the struggle come to birth in our hearts. Understanding our
philosophy by mind does not bring us the vitality that
understanding by heart bestows. Assimilation of teachings is a
phrase commonly used. Its psychological significance is not
generally sensed. Let us grasp by the power of the heart the
vital difference between the good man and the spiritual one.
The struggle between the good and the spiritual in the outer
world is represented in us by the conflict of duties. There are
those who do Duty's "work and know it not," for in them the
conflict of duties has not ever arisen. The good people of the
world though devoid of ideas about soul growth and spiritual
progress glimpse the verities of life better than the one in
whose own universe a conflict of duties takes place. Only then
do the perplexing questions arise. "What am I?" "What are my
relations to others?" A good mother will continue to be only good
until circumstances compel her to consider the wisdom or unwisdom
of her attitude to her own child, or the justice or injustice of
her attitude to others' children. Conflict of duties opens a
vista of the world of Spirit.
A proper balance struck and sustained between different and
conflicting duties transforms our goodness into spirituality.
The higher life consists in right adjustment of our different
duties into a harmonized Dharma, whereby the property of our Ego
becomes manifest. Everything and all beings have their
respective properties, some aspects of which have become patent,
other aspects of which are still in a condition of latency. As
latent aspects of our property manifest, they often clash with
those that have already found objective expression. Thus,
conflict of duties arises. Our dharma -- a great word on which
meditation is necessary -- is the means of our becoming. We are
what we are because of our dharma. By the fulfillment of dharma,
we grow. We become different from what we are. Herein the basis
of inner growth lies, the conflict between opposing and enduring
Spirit forces endure. These are superior to forces of evil as
well as goodness. The struggle against our lower nature is often
construed as a struggle against vicious tendencies. It is not
always recognized that we suffer from the defects of our
qualities -- a hard type of obstacle to overcome, because as a
rule we find and make excuses for it. Downright wrongdoing we
condemn even in ourselves. If by Karmic propensity or for other
reasons pertaining to the domain of the occult, evil
precipitations take place in our everyday life, we are able to
recognize them as such. We have enough decency left in us to
perceive that evil is evil and wrongdoing is wrong. There are
precipitations of exaggerated virtues and malformed habits. It
is difficult to see these exaggerations and malformations.
Conflict of Theosophic duties arises in reference to these. The
only power that can save us from erring is heart understanding of
In our eagerness to learn the various phases of the philosophy,
we sometimes forget that there is a practical method of
undertaking study itself. Of course, we must possess adequate
knowledge of our general principles and propositions. That ought
not to preclude our undertaking a close study of those specific
Theosophical teachings that form answers to our intimate and
personal problems. We have a personality that is learning the
ways of the Impersonal. It has tendencies that we desire to
demolish. It has modes of expression that we desire to change.
An earnest man who wants to live the life should learn to choose
from the vast body of our teachings those specific ones that will
help and enable him in his struggles against his lower self. All
our problems, be they of the Ego or of the personality, of the
Self of Spirit or of the self of matter, have their solutions in
our philosophy. The infinite complexities of mind and morals are
treated therein. Discriminatingly, we ought to search for those
that are medicine for our particular ailments.
The maintenance of a constant struggle against our lower nature
ought to be a scientific process. With many of us, it is a
matter of sentiment. A mere desire to keep the body in health
does not make it healthy. A scientific understanding and
application of bodily laws prove effective and so it is with
psychic and spiritual health. Special study from this personal
standpoint clears the obstacles that conflicting duties create.
Our lower nature is composed of lives of a lower grade of
evolution. Our higher nature organisms are built of
intelligences of a more-elevated type. Each is trying to
manifest its respective property-dharma, and hence the eternal
Our bodily and sensuous nature cries for its own life. Our
feelings crave their own self's expression. Our minds suffer the
torments of Tantalus when we curb and control their natural
thirsts. These constituents of our lower self have their own
properties. Among them, a war is raging as may be seen in the
dissatisfaction in full-blown personalities devoid of
spirit-energization. When the Fire of the Highest Self with its
Compassionate Reason, its Illuminating Intuition, and its
Creative Will-Power touches the lower, we feel grave discontent.
When the study and practice of Theosophy make the fight fiercer,
let us not surrender in confused depression. Let us not forget
the propositions involved in the ethical problem of the Conflict
THE WEIGHING OF THE HEART
By G. de Purucker
[From WIND OF THE SPIRIT, pages 87-92.]
Our lives, our human destinies, are not the flotsam and jetsam of
an arbitrary fate, but, as symbolized in the wonderful Egyptian
ceremony or rite of the Weighing of the Heart of the Defunct, all
that we think and all that we feel and all that we do is weighed
in the scales of destiny. These scales weigh two things, as this
wonderful Egyptian ritual so ably demonstrates. In one pan of
the balance is the life-center, the human heart of the man who
lived but now is dead. In the other pan of the balance is the
Feather of Truth, of Reality, that naught can bribe, that naught
can sway, that naught may persuade or induce. We therefore see
in this symbolic ritual a wonderful exemplification of what we
Theosophists call the doctrine of karma, inescapable destiny that
none and naught in infinity may change, for it is divine law
itself, which we call retribution when our evil-doings receive
it, and compensation when our goodness or good works receive it.
Under the majestic atmosphere around all this ritual, the man
attends no judge or sentence nor is there any pardon. He depends
on naught but the very laws of being themselves. Utter true the
balance weighs, naught sways it, naught causes it to rise, naught
to fall. He is weighed -- think now -- he is weighed against
Truth itself; and have you ever heard of Truth being bribed or
swayed or persuaded or changed or modified or influenced? This is
our Theosophical doctrine of compensation and of retribution that
we call karma: that what a man sows, that he reaps, not something
else; and he cannot escape the reaping of it, for he himself,
symbolized by his heart in the pan of the scales, is weighed
against Truth. When the heart and the feather of Truth have an
even balance, the heart is of the lightness and spirituality of
truth itself, akin to truth. When the heart is weighed down by
evil doing and attraction to the lower things of earth, it falls;
and the rising feather in the other scale is the witness, the
testimony, against the earth-charged heart that cannot rise to
make an even balance.
There is something truly majestic about this symbolic ritual. It
is filled with wonderful meanings, and I think the noblest is
this: its effect on us as human beings in our daily lives. What
ye sow, that shall ye reap. There is not a word about pardon.
If there were any pardon in the Universe, the Universe itself
would be thrown out of the gear of infinite justice. No mere man
can commit an infinite sin, for neither his spirit nor his soul
nor again is his strength infinite in compass. His sins are
human and therefore the weighing in the balance is human; and the
retribution is human in magnitude and the compensation is
likewise human in magnitude. This is the infinite justice of
Mother Nature, Nature that is Spirit, which is Divinity and the
nature around us, for they are one.
When a man is persuaded of this greatest of facts in human life,
his whole life as a man is thereafter changed. He begins to feel
concern for his acts; he begins to feel concern as to what his
thoughts may be. He feels concern as to how he allow his
feelings to run; for he, before his passing and what men call
death, is himself the holder of the scales, the balance. Into
his heart by his thoughts, and into his heart by his feelings,
and into his heart by the action, by the consequent actions,
following upon thought and feeling, he burdens his heart with
these weights. After death he is weighed in the scales, not by
any theatrical weighing such as is given in the symbolic picture,
but weighed in the scales of destiny. Those very same scales
bring me or you into this body or that, into this country or into
this land or that, strictly according to what each man in former
lives has built into himself in thought and feeling and
aspiration and all the other human feelings and emotions. These
things are not chance or haphazard.
Now then, is it not clear that when a man realizes these things,
and they begin to flow into his heart and work upon him, his
conduct thereby is of necessity changed? Precisely as the child
who puts in his infantile innocence the finger into the candle
flame -- does it not learn? It has learned. See the immense
moral import of this wonderful symbolic representation of a man's
heart, which is his selfhood, being weighed in the scales of
cosmic justice, which no prayers can sway, which is utterly true,
for the Feather of Truth is in the other pan of the balance. No
man is unjustly condemned ever, nor suffers a hair-weight that he
himself has not merited. No man is ever compensated unduly for
what he has not earned, for this would be ridiculous; and the
universe is incomparably sane and beautiful.
The weighing of the heart, which is the man's own self, in the
scale of destiny likewise shows us that we build our lives to
grandeur or to debasement strictly in accordance with our own
wish and will and aspiration. Our destiny lies in our own hands.
One man is not credited with the x power to succeed and the next
man credited with a y power to fail. We are all sparks of the
divine Heart, we all have an equal chance, and eternally have an
equal chance; and if we fail, it is we who fail and pay the
penalty; but once the penalty is paid, we begin anew with a new
hope, another chance: I have paid my debt, I am now free, I begin
again. See how manly this doctrine is, and what encouragement it
gives to us. It is a doctrine of hope, for there is no human
destiny so low or so base that cannot from this instant forward
be altered marvelously for the better, if you will. For the
heart, when you wish to order for the better, begins to work and
to work upon you, and to fill your mind with ideas nobler than
those do that have lived there, and feelings that are higher and
sweeter and purer by far than those you have passed through.
This is a wonderful symbolic picture of reality. What are these
scales, and how does Nature do her work? Why, we see it around us
all the time. How did I come into this body and incarnation?
Through many chambers of the Father, as the Avatar Jesus would
phrase it. I came from the heaven-world, from the devachan, into
this world through many planes of being, dropping downwards to
this material world because I am attracted here. Who is guide
and leader? Horus, the divine Spirit, the chief guide of my
footsteps, when I allow it -- following the Egyptian ritual. It
is all done as it were by the same forces that prevail in these
material spheres: that cause the suns to radiate and the
celestial orbs like our earth to rotate, and that cause all with
confluent motion to pass from one sphere of the cosmic planes of
destiny to some other plane. It all happens because it is all
within the law of Nature, the laws of Nature.
Thus, how do I find my way through this life? By attraction.
What I have made myself to be. I am attracted here, and that
attraction will not allow me to go elsewhere. I myself have
carved my own destiny, and I am carving it now, and in the next
life I shall carve it anew; and let us hope more symmetrically
than in this last life I carved this one.
What are these halls or chambers through which Anu, Every-man, of
the Egyptian ritual, has to pass before his heart is weighed
against the Feather of Truth -- light as a feather, yet holding
the universe in bonds that are never broken? What are these
chambers and halls through which the divine soul passes? They are
the various planes, the various worlds through which men after
death find their way. How does the defunct soul, when it comes
to a portal and knocks for entrance, know the proper word? It
does so by exactly the same instinctive knowledge and attraction
that the incarnate soul coming from the devachan finds its way
into its present family and into its present body. It cannot
lose its way.
What is represented by the knock of the defunct -- a beautiful
symbol again? It is simply, as it were, its approach to a new
plane, a new world, a new stage of its way on its peregrinational
pilgrimage, and it knows instinctively how to approach it, how to
enter, according to the Egyptian ritual, how to say the words of
power. They are in the soul itself. It is experience,
intuition, knowledge, the same thing we are using here now in
understanding each other, and speaking to each other and reading
together and studying together. We understand each other; but
how could you explain understanding to one who does not know what
it is? When I say words that knock at your mind, when a speaker
knocks at your heart, it is done with a thought, it is done with
feeling, it is done with knowledge; and the portals of
understanding fly open wide, and ideas and thoughts enter into
your minds, into your souls. The right knock has been given.
That is what is meant by the chambers or halls through which the
soul passes, comes to the different portals, gives the knock of
power, and when challenged gives the words of power that allow
him to pass. When you have built these words of power into
yourself, you pass unchallenged. If you have not evolved to the
point, or are unworthy, if you have not built them into your
soul, you are challenged, stopped, and sent back.
It is an old truism of our god-wisdom that from the human heart
come all the greatest issues of the world. They do not reside in
the brain-mind, for the brain-mind is the great separator of men,
the great deceiver. The heart is the unifier of men, because it
speaks a universal language that needs no words. But the
brain-mind speaks a language of words that have to be interpreted
from mind to mind. Therefore is the heart so much the greater.
You all know this as well as I. Out of the heart come the great
issues of life. In the heart are love, intuition,
discrimination, understanding, self-sacrifice, pity, compassion,
purity, goodness, truth, troth, and honor. Out of the mind of
man come disputes, wrangling, quarreling, a disinclination to
understand the other man, hatreds, and all the other foul brood
of man's lower nature, because it is about things out of the
brain that men are continually quarreling. They never quarrel
about the issues of the heart, for they are things of our common
Example: I love truth, so does every human being in this room.
That is a statement directly from the heart. The mind
immediately says, "Well, what kind of truth, what do you mean by
truth: Tim's truth or Charles' truth?" You see, it flops right
down and begins to argue and quarrel and spread around and to
dispute about mere details; but the heart simply says, "I worship
truth," and every other human heart in the audience understands.
The heart says, "I love it." The brain-mind immediately begins to
argue about it. All kinds of men and women have different ideas
about what love is and how far you should go and how far you
should not go, how much you should trust and how much you should
not trust, what kind of person I love and what kind I do not
love. The heart is infinitely beyond this. It simply says, "I
love," a universal language every human being understands. You
do not need to argue about it. You accept it. The brain-mind is
the former of arguments. The heart says truth is one of the most
beautiful of actions in human conduct, to be full of troth.
Where do we love this and admire it? With what part of us do we
give allegiance, pay homage? We do so with the heart. It speaks
a tongue universal; therefore, we say that out of the human heart
come all the great issues in human life.
I will go a little farther. I will tell you that the human heart
is the temple, dwelling, or tabernacle of a divinity; it is the
dwelling of Horus, to follow the Egyptian ritual. Let me tell
you something: Every time a man gives you his word and keeps it,
especially at loss to himself, that man is by so much acting as
an ensouled man. Every time a man gives you his word and breaks
it because it is convenient to him to break it, that man for the
time being is unensouled. His soul is asleep. Every time a man
takes advantage of a fellow human being, by so much his soul is
asleep within him, it is not working. He is not ensouled. Every
time a man does some deed or thinks some grand thought that is of
help to others, he is a man, for he is ensouled. When a man is
fully ensouled, as all men on this earth shall some day be, when
a man is free of soul, we no longer have a man, we have a god
living amongst us.
I think the most beautiful sight that we human beings can
perceive ever is the light of ensoulment that dawns in the eyes
of a fellow human being. If you have never seen that and never
understood it, it is because your own soul is asleep, for in
these things spirit calls to spirit, the spirit recognizes
spirit, divinity recognizes divinity, the man in me recognizes
the man in you, and this is ensouling. Oh that all men and all
women so lived that they might manifest the divinity within them,
and by so doing acknowledge the divine source of their own inner
REVIEW OF "THE LAWS OF LIFE" AND "THE RETURN OF THE PRODIGAL SON"
By Paul N. Rooke
[Roza and Margarita Riaikkenen, "THE LAWS OF LIFE" AND "THE
RETURN OF THE PRODIGAL SON," ed. Andrew Rooke (Canada: Trafford,
2004), http://www.trafford.com/robots/03-2170.html, also
With great interest, I read the compound book "THE LAWS OF LIFE"
AND "THE RETURN OF THE PRODIGAL SON" by Roza and Margarita
Riaikkenen. It employs a wide range of sources from different
spiritual traditions and the personal experience of the authors
in Russia and Australia.
The fundamental principles of the laws of life are based on the
teachings communicated by Alexander Naumkin, a young Russian
artist and spiritual teacher now resident in Siberia. In the
early 1990's, Naumkin spent many months in the harsh and deprived
environment of the Altai Mountains in central Russia. Insights
from his meditations high in the snowy wastes of the Altai were
set down in his epic work, KALAGIA, published in Moscow in 1993.
The word "Kalagia" derives from Sanskrit, referring to the call
from the Hierarchy of Light to "come to me." That is, for us
ordinary humans to aspire to the knowledge and mechanisms that
enable us to reach a higher state of consciousness to help
alleviate suffering in the world and for the sake of our own
self-development. This book had only been available in Russian
over the last decade, becoming a modern spiritual classic in some
Note the timeliness of these teachings. They came just after the
breakup of the Soviet Union in the late 1980's. Because atheism
was a central tenet of Communism, the Russian people have lived
in a metaphysical vacuum for most of the last century. The
teachings embodied in KALAGIA have come forward at a time in
which both Russia and the world at large greatly needs them. In
THE LAWS OF LIFE, the authors extensively refer to these
teachings, translating some sections of KALAGIA into English for
the very first time. Interestingly a large section of KALAGIA is
composed of meditational diagrams rather than text, and THE LAWS
OF LIFE follows this style by incorporating a wide range of
fascinating spiritual diagrams for those who learn visually as
well as through the text.
Through their work, the authors have offered us a lucid and
thought provoking analysis of the laws of life making extensive
quotes and comparisons with the works of theosophical teacher HP
Blavatsky, particularly her SECRET DOCTRINE. THE LAWS OF LIFE
begins by describing the process of creation, the manifestation
of all life from Spirit. Spirit is ultimately unknowable to us,
but it manifests in many forms and frequencies, some of which are
comprehensible. Our mission in life is to understand that we are
part of spirit and that spirit is part of us. Ultimately, we
must reunite with our spiritual source through a process of
co-creation with it. The laws of life govern this process and we
must endeavor to work at all times in harmony with these laws.
The authors expound the laws in a way that correlates with this
process of involution of spirit into matter and then of evolution
of matter back to spirit. They describe the laws from a number
of standpoints, often indicating the ways in which the laws
affect the individual searcher, the person earnestly attempting
to understand more of his or her spiritual roots.
The authors discuss the laws in six major categories. The first
explains the laws of unity. These proclaim that spirit and its
manifestation are the same, that spirit manifests in different
degrees of intensity in time and space, working through the
divine force of love. Endowed with free will, the life forms
through which spirit manifests work to resolve the competing
elements of their being back into harmony with spirit.
The second category discusses the enormous cycles in time over
which spirit manifests. It takes trillions of years to complete
the process of manifestation into matter and resumption to spirit
to be completed. The authors introduce these ideas of the
destiny of time and the differing vibrational rates of matter.
These ideas help explain how spirit separates the different forms
in which it takes shape and how these different forms govern the
direction of our search.
The remaining sections of the book detail laws that affect our
lives immediately. They explain the laws of the cosmic magnet
and the cosmic converter. These show how we attract to ourselves
the experiences we need for our spiritual growth and how we pass
these experiences to others falling behind us on their spiritual
A great deal is written about the law of karma and how it can be
applied in our daily lives. Particular emphasis is given to our
responsibility for our karma, and how we should accept it and
work positively with it. The authors emphasize that karma is the
tool through which our daily teachings are received and that it
should be embraced as such.
The final group of laws discussed is those governing our search
for harmony with spirit. These laws define the many ways in
which we can achieve harmony with spirit co-creating with it.
This is done in service and through sacrifice to develop the
selflessness needed to achieve the ultimate joy of rejoining the
The book is written in a mature and penetrating style. It will
appeal to readers with genuine thirst for spiritual knowledge and
understanding. It gives out the time-honored truth in an idiom
refreshing to the early twenty first century mind, in a way that
should keep the reader returning for further metaphysical
THE RETURN OF THE PRODIGAL SON is the second of the two books in
this compound volume. It is the sequel to THE LAWS OF LIFE. It
takes as its subject the "Prodigal Son," the soul who has strayed
from his spiritual source and who seeks to return to it. The
writers give us an engaging and challenging account of his
struggle to reunite with his creator. Explained and exemplified
in the first book, the laws of life provide a background against
which we can understand the Prodigal Son's struggle.
The second book begins with an outline of the Prodigal Son's
place in the universe. It tells us that he and the universe are
one. It points out that the dimensions of the universe in which
we have chosen to dwell define our concepts of time. We derive
our energy from the universe and return it. We are a creation of
the universe and we co-create with it. Once the Prodigal Son
realizes his integral identity with spirit and genuinely yearns
to return to his spiritual source, his search has begun and his
life takes on an entirely new meaning.
At this stage of his development, when he has been reborn
spiritually, he must take the next step. This is to assess his
state of spiritual health. The authors provide criteria for
doing this. In particular, these are the stage of life reached
and the way to evaluate his level of energetic health. This
section of the book hints at the theme that underlies the entire
writing. This theme is that of adopting a holistic or
spirit-centered view of the world and one's place in it. This
contrasts with the much more wide spread Ego-centric world view
that defines one's place in terms of a separation of the
individual from the universe surrounding him. The authors go on
to say this sense of separation is the cause of most of the
Prodigal Son's problems and confusion.
Once the Prodigal Son has come to understand his true place in
the universe, he then becomes capable of understanding the laws
so carefully explained in the first book. He comes to realize
the relevance, power, and potential for his spiritual growth. He
comes to accept them and work with them to help himself and those
with whom he comes into contact. He begins to co-create with
spirit and to work with it in a process of mutual growth.
Most of the reminder of the book is devoted to practical ways in
which the seeker can achieve spiritual reunion. It discusses
different methods of spiritual evolution at length. There is a
very interesting chapter on the different types of Yoga that can
be fruitfully pursued to this end. Methods of concentration and
meditation are suggested to help us focus our psychic energy and
ways of applying this in the everyday material world are
described. The importance of working with spirit and through the
universal laws to create greater harmony for all living things is
recurrent in all their suggestions.
The book is full of practical tips to assist and encourage the
searcher. Suggestions are given for purifying oneself and
maintaining faith whilst continuing the search. The authors
advise us on ways of coping with adversity and of developing
consistency and integrity in determining the path and adhering to
it. Many examples are given of the use of a spiritual value
system in addressing life's problems. Examples of these are the
temptation to take drugs or to rely extensively on others when
facing life's challenges. A great deal is written about working
with the law of karma to sensitively meet, learn from, and
overcome the difficulties we have created for ourselves, in order
to help us to achieve our spiritual reunion. The importance of
our thoughts and choices and the need to achieve balance between
all living things and ourselves is emphasized continually in this
part of the book. We are left with no doubt that we alone
determine the rate of our spiritual progress.
The final part of the book gives us a hint of what can be
expected when the search for spiritual reunion nears its
conclusion. We are told that the purpose of the Prodigal Son's
search is to break free of the ideological boundaries, or
cocoons, that he has built around himself. This must be done in
order to align his consciousness ever more closely with that of
the universe at large. His search will lead him through series
of initiations that ultimately allow him to shatter the shackles
of human existence and experience the freedom of reunion with
The authors write in a thorough, analytical style, which
associates with their training as scientists. This resonates
well with much of modern day western thinking. We find a helpful
intellectual framework for understanding the ideas of KALAGIA and
THE SECRET DOCTRINE upon which the book is based. When the book
emphasizes the personal search of the Prodigal Son, it does not
do so from a purely selfish point of view. Much is said of the
use of a Theo-centric viewpoint to improve the Self to help
others, and to develop the ideals of selflessness to better
channel the powers of the universe to assist those in need of
spiritual guidance. They take a series of highly abstract ideas
and express them at the personal level in a comprehensive and
comprehensible way. They succeed this in a book that can be read
repeatedly without failing to provide fresh inspiration and
insight. Much of it can be used as a tool of learning and later
for contemplation and continuing application in life.
I recommend both THE LAWS OF LIFE and THE RETURN OF THE PRODIGAL
SON to all earnest searchers.
THE SPHINX OF THEOSOPHY, Part I
By Annie Besant
[A lecture that appeared in LUCIFER, August 15, 1890, pages
The Egyptian Sphinx will be familiar to every one of you, either
by its pictured semblance, or possibly by the vision of its
actual form. To me, and I dare say to many of you, there has
always been a certain fascination in that mighty Sphinx, so
serene in its composure, so absolutely still, so impressive in
that stillness, with, as it were, the wisdom of ages sculptured
on its impassive face. Few I think can have looked at it without
feeling the fascination of the mystery of its wise eyes and
fast-locked lips; few can have seen it without dreaming
fantastically whether questions addressed to it might not
possibly win answer to many problems of the world.
I have thought sometimes about that creed, so strange to many.
Although it came from the East, it is of the thought of all
climes and ages. That thought of the world that we speak of now
as Theosophy, has in itself much likeness to that sculptured
Sphinx, so much promise of answer to mystery and so much silence
in face of the questionings of the world -- silence that has been
profound for centuries, but silence that more recently has been
broken. Tonight I am to try if it were possible to sketch for
you something of what that Sphinx has to say of the
world-questionings, to strive to give you in some fashion a rough
answer, as it comes to some of us from the lips of the thinkers
of the East.
Theosophy is a vast subject, embracing as the whole of human life
at once. It is a philosophy, a science, and a religion. In
dealing with it, one can but sketch it in roughest outline,
hoping that even the outline may stir some thinkers to enquiry,
and by their study, they may fill in details necessarily left
untouched in a lecture.
For many of us, in whom the habit of study has grown through a
lifetime given to it, to many of us it seems as though years of
careful thinking would only bring us as it were to the threshold
of the subject that I am to treat tonight. There are still many
problems left unanswered to those given so long to study. No
reply has come to many questions. In this mere one-hour lecture,
those of you new to the subject can expect many questions that
remain unanswered. Much may seem puzzling. Much may seem
impossible. It is only by years of study that you can hope to
grasp the explanation of even some of the problems that I set
Tonight, then, in sketching my outline, I propose to try to
present to you Theosophy first in what it says as to the
Universe; then in what it says as to man and his destiny; .and
lastly in what it says touching human duty. Under those three
heads, I shall have more than enough to say. In taking it in
this fashion, with a sketch of the philosophy of the Universe,
with a sketch of the destiny of the human race, with a sketch of
the ethical system that is based upon the philosophy -- in so
dealing with it, I hope to succeed in leaving at least some
coherent impress on your minds, something that perchance may win
one here and there to go further into that which I can unfold to
so small an extent.
And now first then, as to what Theosophy tells us as to the
Universe, the view of the Universe that it puts before us, the
line of thought along which it leads us when we face the vast
problems of existence. To the Theosophist, the Universe is but
the outbreathing of the eternal and universal life.
Has it ever struck you how we find rhythm throughout Nature
everywhere? Turn to the lowest forms of animate life, to those
small infusoria that only the microscope can enable you to study
and to scrutinize. Even as you watch that speck of animated
matter, you see the rhythm of the breathing -- outbreathing and
the inbreathing -- that is part of the very life of that lowly
form of existence.
Just as you find rhythm is the lowest, so right through the
universe similar rhythm is found: everywhere rising and falling,
everywhere expansion and contraction, everywhere the ebbing and
the flowing, whether you look at worlds, or whether you look at
atoms; and to the Theosophist, this Universe as a whole pulses
with the same rhythm that you find in its minutest portions. The
outbreathing of the universal life is the Universe; the
inbreathing is the disappearance of that Universe once again; and
so through the endless ages of eternal life, so through the whole
of that eternity that stretches behind us and before us, we see
the outbreathing and the inbreathing of the living, we see the
formation and the disappearance of the Universes.
While we can study the Universe, we cannot study the source of
its periodical life; we cannot use words regarding that center
and source of all existence that shall not in the very using be
self-contradictory and incomprehensible. We cannot speak of It
as life, for life is but one of Its aspects, and It is All. We
cannot speak of It as intelligence, for intelligence is but a
phase, and It is the essence of everything. Before that
Unknowable, human thought can only be silent.
Imagine some such infusorium, as I spoke of, trying to describe
to its fellow infusoria the thinking and the arguments of
intelligent man. You can guess how blind would be its groping;
you can imagine the follies and the self-contradictions that it
would utter. Further than it is below us are we below the Center
and the Essence of Life; and before that, the Universal, we can
but bow in silence, knowing that all our thought is but
impertinence, and that any word of ours would be but audacity and
not reality. From THAT, which in one of its aspects to us is
life, the Universe proceeds.
Think of this life, as for clearness you may imagine it, pulsing
outwards through infinite space. Imagine then this life
differentiating itself, as our Theosophical philosophy puts it,
into seven stages or planes of existence. Imagine it pulsing
outwards through these seven stages. It becomes more and more
"material," as we call it. It proceeds with the most ethereal of
spirit at the innermost, the most material of matter at the
outermost. Then you grasp the first fundamental thought of the
philosophy, the sevenfold plane of existence. With each
sevenfold plane of existence, there are sevenfold series of
organisms fitted to inhabit that plane, and sevenfold
consciousness existing in each of these planes.
Thus everywhere in your Universe you have this fundamental
conception: Seven stages of existence, uttermost spirit above and
uttermost matter below, and between those two poles of spirit and
of matter stretch every kind of form of animated existence, each
stage suitable to its inhabitants, each series of organisms
fitted for that plane of existence on which they live.
This notion of the sevenfold existence is not a mere dream. Has
it never struck you how strangely this "seven" meets you
everywhere? In light, which is one, you have seven colors, which
united make the whiteness of the light. In the sound that is
music, you have seven notes in your scale, and your eighth is but
a repetition of the first on a higher plane. Throughout Nature,
you have the suggestion of this seven-stepped existence, so to
speak; you have it in light and in color perceptible to the eye,
as in sound to the ear; and you have it, we are taught, through
the whole of the Universe, making one mighty unity with the
sevenfold diversity of existence.
When once you have grasped that fundamental notion, then simpler
before you will stretch the idea of the different beings, each
suitable to the plane of existence on which it lives. Then you
will begin to realize that there may be existence other than your
own. There may be intelligences under conditions that differ
from those that surround you. Each stage of being will be
suitable to its environment. Each will have a consciousness
fitted to its own surroundings. You are fitted to the world that
you are on, this terrestrial matter that is the third of the
planes that we know of. On other planes are lives in other
stages than yours, other forms of consciousness. Those other
lives and other forms of consciousness are not supernatural
although they are superhuman, for they are all as natural as your
own lives, living, thinking, as you live or think, but on a
different plane, on a different stage, of conscious existence.
Reaching then that point of thought, you will see the Universe
evolving along these different lines. You will see what you call
spirit gradually descending, as we phrase it, into matter and
climbing upwards through matter to self-consciousness, and so
reaching once more the goal from whence it came. So that to us
all existence is a cycle, and the very object of existence is the
gaining and the gathering of knowledge and of experience.
Spirit becomes self-conscious through its union with matter.
Spirit becomes self-conscious as it descends through matter and
climbs up from it once again. And so in treading that mighty
cycle, so in passing through these various stages, it gathers up
into one all knowledge and all experience, becoming perfect
through the experience through which it passes, and taking back
at the ending all that it has gained in the course of that
pilgrimage of millenniums.
When that view of the Universe has worked itself into your
thought, when you realize that you are part of this mighty whole,
that your individual self is a portion of that evolving life,
that your humanity is the very image in small of the Universe at
large, that the evolution of humanity is the great object of this
mighty cycling through eternity, then you have caught, as it
were, the first glimpse of this great philosophy of life, you
have taken your first steps on that path of knowledge that takes
us so far onwards into the future, as well as gathers up for us
all the treasures of the past.
From this rough outline of this cosmic view, this view of the
Universe as a mighty and evolving life through the seven stages,
turn from that to man, the microcosm. He reproduces, as it were,
in himself the very essence of this total evolution, the man
sevenfold as the Universe is sevenfold and each stage of the
human life corresponding to a stage of the Universe.
I need not weary you with the Sanskrit terms that we familiarly
use among us in dealing with the sevenfold aspect of man. I am
taking the thing rather than the name, and am trying to clear
your conceptions rather than to burden you with a difficult
Think, then, of man as sevenfold in his nature; think of each of
these aspects in man as corresponding to the aspects in the
Universe. Think of the highest, the seventh aspect of all, as
being the spark of the universal Spirit, as the very life of the
life of the Universe in man, a spark from the universal fire in
the very center of man's being, a pulse of the eternal life.
Then passing from that highest and most abstract part of man,
think of the human spirit that is its vehicle, as you might have
a lamp encircling the flame, the spirit that, in union with the
eternal spark that I spoke of, and in union also with the highest
mind in man, forms that upper triad of which the Theosophist so
The union of the divine element with the human spirit and with
the loftiest mind forms the true individuality of the man, which
existed in the past and will exist in the future. In conjunction
with that higher trinity in man is the fourfold aspect of his
lower life; the physical body that he has in common with the
brute, and its astral counterpart; the life that animates that
body, the mere animal life just as any brute may live; then the
passions and the emotions and the lower intellectual faculties
that you may find in your horse and your dog, as you find them in
the man, the same in essence although not in degree.
Thus you have this lower part of man; this physical life, with
his emotions, with his lower intellect, with his physical body.
There you get the lower and the transitory part of man, whose
life is of the earth from which it comes, and that goes back to
the earth and scatters when death at last touches him. It
scatters, not in a moment, but gradually disappearing, not at
once, but not any the less certainly. For that which is eternal
in man is not his physical body, is not his animal soul; it is
that higher trinity I spoke of: the spark of the eternal life,
the human spirit that is its vehicle, and that highest and
noblest intellectual portion that knits him to the divine, and
that cannot perish but must endure forever.
Looking thus at man, you have our Theosophical conception of the
human being. The higher trinity, the lower quaternary: and all
man's life upon the earth is the attempt to evolve, to render
perceptible, the Higher Self within him, and to conquer and hold
in subordination the lower life that comes from earth.
Here we come to that portion of our teaching that raises much of
opposition from those who do not think, but only deride or scoff
at what they cannot understand. The Theosophist says to every
one of you, "In you, whether you know it or not, there resides
this higher trinity that is part of your heritage as man. It is
for you to evolve it if you will, and to render active what in
most today is latent. You can render it active if you will.
Latent in you there is the glorious possibility, which belongs to
every child of man, of conquering the lower and of evolving the
higher, with all that that conquest and all that that evolution
These higher powers of what we call the Manas, or the mind in
man, those powers, though latent in the majority, are beginning
to show themselves in many of our own race and of our own time.
Not as yet is the highest showing itself; not that spark of the
everlasting life nor the very spirit in which it dwells; but the
lower, the third of the trinity of which I speak, this higher
mind of man is beginning to show itself in our present race, and
signs of it are not wanting that everyone of you may discover.
It is not in the normal that you must seek for information about
these awakening powers in man; it is in the abnormal and not the
normal that you must look for the further evolution. For it is
only in those who are a little way ahead in their evolution that
you will find these powers dawning, unless you can evoke them in
the ordinary man by using certain artificial means that, by
rendering the lower part of man quiescent and lethargic, will
enable the inner self to shine more brightly forth.
You may study, if you will, now as a recognized science the
phenomena of Clairvoyance, which you get in connection with the
mesmeric and hypnotic trance. In the trance, you will find some
of these powers partially evolved, suggesting to you what they
will be in the days to come, when their full development has been
Glance for a moment at some of the well-known hypnotic phenomena
where the body being thrown into a state of trance, the lower
quaternary is for a time paralyzed. Your bodily organ of vision
has been closed. Your ears are deaf to every outside sound. All
in you that is purely physical has been thrown to sleep, is
helpless and unconscious. It is when the physical is most
unconscious that the psychical can best testify of its real
existence and it is when all the organs of the mind are dulled
and helpless that the mind itself is able to manifest its
supremacy. Then you can get vision without organ of vision.
Then you can get hearing without the organ of hearing. You can
see hundreds of miles away. You can hear across a continent.
You can converse across an ocean, for the mind knows no barrier
of time or of space, and it can converse with other minds when
once the lower life is made quiescent and still.
In your hypnotic phenomena, you will find this vision, this
mental activity, without bodily organ. If you like, you may
exercise your mental perception under conditions where all bodily
vision is impossible, as in the diagnosis of obscure diseases,
the description of internal organs, as described before medical
men repeatedly, the postmortem examinations of the body
testifying to the reality of the vision of the Clairvoyant.
Here you are not dealing with what you may think merely fancies
of the Theosophist; you are dealing with the testimony of the
laboratory and of the dissecting room, that comes from men of
science revered wherever civilization has made its way. You can
go to Charcot or to Liebault. You can go to Heidenhain or to
many other scientists in France or Germany. They will give you
the evidence of this abnormal exercising of the human mind, of
this exercise of mental faculty without bodily organ, of this
seeing without eyes, when the mind sees, perceiving without
You can go yet further, and to a person under such conditions you
can project your own thought, so that the thought becomes visible
and audible to him. You can take a blank piece of paper and on
that paper throwing your own thought-image, the person you have
hypnotized will see what you desire. He shall see, and your
thought to him becomes material because he judges it mind to
mind. Remember what I said as to the seven states of
AS LITTLE CHILDREN
By James A Long
[From EXPANDING HORIZONS, pages 113-17.]
In the Christian Scriptures, we read that the Master Jesus said,
"Except ye become as little children ye shall not enter into the
kingdom of heaven." A statement so simple that for years and
years we have failed to give it the attention it merits.
To whom was he speaking? To little children? To boys and girls?
Not at all. He was speaking to adults, those who had problems
both material and spiritual, and who had come to the Master for
help. He knew their struggles, and he saw in their faces exactly
what anyone might see today in the faces of men and women
In times of crisis, we become so caught up with the current of
the moment that we lose sight of the fact that the immediate
situation is only one point in a long series of situations, the
culmination of years, perhaps lifetimes. Not recognizing that,
we lose perspective and cut ourselves off from the value of those
experiences that, if understood, would help us resolve our
dilemma. So, blinded by confusion, we think we are being imposed
upon, not only by others but by life itself. As a result, we
blame everybody else -- our neighbors, our business associates,
maybe even our family and close friends, or the government, the
world, anything -- but ourselves. Jesus must have seen that in
the eyes of those to whom he spoke those words. How clouded was
their consciousness, how many thick veils they had allowed to be
built between what they were when the Master saw them, and what
they were as children.
All of us have made our lives difficult beyond need. For
millennia, we have prided ourselves on our learning, our
erudition, our understanding of truth. Yet the teachers of the
race have ever reminded mankind that the heart-doctrine is to be
preferred to the eye-doctrine: the learning that is native to the
heart, the intuition, the spiritual will of man, rather than the
learning that is purely intellectual and motivated by the human
will. Can't we realize that the enigmas of life are solved not
by mere reason, but by intuition; not by sentimentality, but by
Those of us who love children are astounded at the pure intuition
they express, amazed at times at their clear perception.
Everyone knows that the hardest questions to answer are those
asked by the very little ones, who uncannily go right to the core
of the basic issues that often confound the world's philosophers.
And we will never satisfy our children by using reason or
sentiment alone; but how their eyes sparkle when we appeal to
their innate intuition and judgment.
Why then did the Master urge his followers to become as little
ones if they would attain the kingdom of heaven? Did he want them
to return to childish pranks, and to act and think literally as
children? Certainly not. He was appealing to that quality which
was like unto the child. Let us look at ourselves today. What
happens to us as we grow up? We go through school, perhaps
university if we are fortunate. We begin to feel as though we
are learning a great deal. But what do we do with that learning,
whether it is scholastic or practical, religious or scientific?
In many cases, we merely file it away in our minds for possible
later use. This process goes on for years and, as a result, when
we are confronted with real decisions, when we are plunged into
the maelstrom of life's vicissitudes, what do we do? In our
anxious state, and even after sober reflection, we attempt to
pull out of our mental filing cabinet those things that we think
will solve our problem, only to find that they do not solve it at
all, either to the satisfaction of ourselves or to others who may
Now why? If we had stored the value of each experience in our
heart, in the permanent part of our consciousness, then when we
are brought face to face with serious matters, instead of trying
to worry out the answers with our mind, we would discover that
the heart, having taken over, would quite naturally lead us to
the right solutions. The intuition then would have become our
guide and the mind its obedient servant, the implementer of its
directives -- not its master.
It might seem a most onerous task for those of us who are older
and have made many mistakes, perhaps even grave ones, to become
in a short time like a child. That is not the case. The Master
Jesus knew it was not too hard or he would not have admonished
the people of his day to do just that. And especially is it
possible once a man has determined to give his life in service.
Let us ask ourselves this simple question: what is the foundation
in the child's consciousness that allows his intuition and
judgment to operate so beautifully? He is freshly arrived from
another shore. And at his tender age he is unencumbered by an
awareness of his past or his future, so that he has a truly
virgin consciousness with which to prepare for the experiences
ahead. He has come into life, as Wordsworth so graphically
phrased it, "trailing clouds of glory."
What does the child bring with him most of all? It is trust --
that genuine foundation upon which the spiritual growth of the
world must be built. What human being who has any love in his
heart cannot recognize that implicit trust in the eyes of a child
who newly looks upon a world and his parents as greater than
himself, to whom he can always turn? But as he goes through life,
he finds less and less trust in the hearts of those with whom he
must associate. As a result, he becomes confused, maybe even
To become as little children! There is a simple way of doing this
which has been the same all down the ages: Man, know thyself!
That injunction was not new to those who worshiped at the temple
of Apollo, or who listened for and believed in the oracles of
ancient Greece. It is timeless, as potent today as when first
enunciated. The only way we can know ourselves is to search our
consciousness. If we can do this honestly, we will stop blaming
others for our trials. But we are so cluttered up with our
filing system of mental facts, which we are so fond of, that we
cannot break through to our hearts where intuition and help
reside. Once we determine to face ourselves and assume the full
responsibility of our circumstances, then the gods stoop down to
help, at unexpected times, through unexpected persons, and in
unexpected ways. This is an inviolable law and offers the
foundation in fact of the famous expression of Hercules to the
wagoner: "Put your shoulder to the wheel; the gods help those who
help themselves." Until we become as little children, we shall
never attain that state of consciousness where we feel the full
value and help of the spiritual forces that protect mankind.
INDO-PACIFIC CONFERENCE IN SINGAPORE
By John Vorstermans
[Based upon the November 14, 2004 posting to the
email@example.com theosophical mailing list.]
I have just returned from triennial conference of the
Indo-Pacific Federation of the Theosophical Society that was held
in Singapore from November 5-7.
Six New Zealand members attended the conference, including Vicki
Jerome, the incumbent Federation Secretary. At the business
meeting of the conference, which I attended in the capacity of
New Zealand delegate, Vicki was reappointed Secretary for the
next three years. Congratulations are due Vicki.
The Conference was a special experience where we met members from
Pakistan, India, Bangladesh, Myanmar (formerly Burma), Malaysia,
Indonesia, Singapore, the Philippines, and Australia. We also
met up with Joy Mills from the United States, Terrazine Kind from
Brazil (current President of the Central and South American
region), and Radha Burnier, International President, who was the
During the three days, we spent quite a bit of time exploring how
we could help the Indo-Pacific Sections in a practical way. Many
delegates spoke about what they were doing in their countries and
the struggles they encountered. Some countries, particularly
Bangladesh, Myanmar, and Indonesia, are struggling with getting
literature and support from the Society for speakers as well as
books in their own language. Japan, Ceylon, and Korea were not
represented at the conference, but in these countries, the
Theosophical Society is really finding it difficult because there
is little literature in the indigenous languages and little
For example, Indonesia has many books in Dutch, some translated
into Indonesian as much as forty years ago. The problem is that
the language has changed quite a bit since then, making the books
unreadable. A new lodge has been formed in Jakarta for young
people. They all speak English, so it is an English-speaking
lodge. They are translating books.
In addition, there was talk about getting material translated
into Mandarin for China, but we struggle to find members who
understand the literature well enough to translate the material.
Professional translators are not effective unless they have a
good understanding of the literature and are very expensive.
Pedro, Indo-Pacific Federation President, raised the idea that
perhaps we could hold regional seminars or workshops, getting
people from each region to attend. This might be in Bangladesh,
for example, or a neighboring Indian state that speaks the same
language (Bangala), and another perhaps in or close to Pakistan
and so on.
Perhaps better-off countries like New Zealand, Australia, and the
Philippines could help by providing funds to help locals travel
to these seminars or workshops. It would not require huge
funding in New Zealand dollars, but is one way we could help our
fellows in the spirit of our Objects and a service by our
I was quite humbled by the stories I heard during the conference.
We do not know how lucky we are in New Zealand with all our
resources. Compared to many of the Sections that were present,
we are swimming in abundance! I was impressed with what some
individuals are doing in some of Asia-Pacific countries to make a
We had some interesting workshops in which we looked at
essentially what we do as an organization. Although working with
different subject areas, all workshops seemed to come out with
similar thoughts. It came through strongly at the conference
that Theosophy is not about TEACHING people but rather about
EXPLORING together in groups what we understand as the timeless
wisdom. It was emphasized that Theosophy is about Meditation,
Study, and Service; it is about living a certain type of life.
Radha inspired us with her talk on Relationships, our
relationships to each other and the environment and the animal
Vic Hao Chin Jr. also gave a very interested talk. I was very
impressed with him and the work of The Philippines Section, which
focuses largely on Service. He said he has found that when
starting to work with Service, people just pop out of thin air to
Members who might at the beginning seem reluctant to help in
service, once they start, find it takes them over. His Section
is doing well, with no shortage of workers. One big thing they
do is starting primary and secondary schools. They train
teachers, run the appropriate curricula, and include theosophical
concepts of tolerance or acceptance, sharing, charity, and
mediation. (Note that the Pakistan Theosophical Order of Service
also trains teachers to educate and start small schools in
under-privileged areas.) This is helping to make a real
difference in the country.
I look forward to next year when Vic will be our guest at the
School of Theosophy in New Zealand.
Joy Mills also gave a great inspiring talk and facilitated a
discussion on the Essentials of Theosophy. She talked on the
theme of putting what we know into practice through living the
life about which we have learned. It is not until we make
practical what we know intellectually that we really begin to
know that which we seek.
The next step is how New Zealand can help to make Theosophy
stronger in the Indo-Pacific region. I know we have a lot of
work still to do in New Zealand, but that does not mean we cannot
lend a little support to our brothers and sisters overseas also.
We have to be careful not to become only inward looking.
This was a special time and I have been honored to be able to
attend the conference in the capacity of official delegate from
the New Zealand Section.
MY REMEMBERED SELF: THE EXPERIENCE OF AN ASTRAL TRAMP
[From LUCIFER, October 15, 1891, pages 113-20.]
The incidents upon which my story turns happened in the summer of
1886. I was then living in the northern suburb of one of our
large manufacturing towns. For some years past, my leisure time
had been entirely occupied with research in almost every phase of
Western occultism; in short, I had little taste for anything but
the mystical. I haunted the second-hand bookshops during the day
in search of curious literature, and when successful in finding
some old worm-eaten tome, fustier than a charnel house, my
homeward footsteps after the day's work were swift and airy as
these of Mercury when acting as special messenger to the gods in
Needless to say, I burned the candle pretty evenly at both ends,
frequently retiring to bed in the morning twilight with my mind
full of thoughts and my brain still at high pressure on the track
of some clue to the problem in hand. Under the abstracting
influence of this fascinating study, I rapidly developed a phase
of absence of mind that ran very close at times to hallucination
of an interesting character.
On one occasion, the servant being absent from the house, I had
been asked to go into one of the cellars and draw some ale from a
barrel for the use of a brother whom Paul might, in a lenient
mood, have counted among the "men of years" to whom strong drink
was allowed. I took a key from a basket and proceeded with jug
and candle in hand to the cellar. Placing the candle on the
barrel so that it gave me the light I needed, l drew a generous
jugful and returned to the room where supper was already in
process, placed the jug upon the table, and put the key into the
basket upon the sideboard. I took my place at the table in the
midst of a profound silence, and following the eyes of all those
present, I saw to my amazement the key-basket in the middle of
the table quietly discharging from its meshes what was undeniably
Amid much laughter from my friends, excited no doubt by my own
evident astonishment, I arose in confusion of mind to prove that
a trick had been somehow played upon me, but on looking at the
sideboard, I found only a dry jug with a key in it! To this day,
I do not understand how it was that I saw the jug filling under
my very eyes, or why it did not change into a key-basket sooner
than it did. Someone has suggested that it was a case of
temporary hallucination and that I covered the basket with the
thoughtform of the jug that I had in my mind.
On another occasion, I was undressing for bed, and when half way
through the process conceived the idea that I was getting up, and
unconsciously commenced dressing, only correcting my impressions
of time when I emerged from my room upon the darkness of the
house. I then discovered that I been deluded even as to the
nature of the light in my room, which, although gaslight, I had
been quite willing to regard as daylight when the idea of
dressing came to me.
These incidents, which were by no means the only ones of the kind
that occurred to me at the time of my narrative, will serve to
show that my researches in occultism were in active process, but
not yet completed! In fact, the more interesting my studies
became to me, the more interesting, as a subject of serious
study, did I become to those around me!
Let me introduce you to my den. There it is! It was a bedroom
and study in one, you see. The curtain and screen in the center
formed the necessary division that, in a normal case, might have
also served to divide the day and the night, the hours of labor
from those of rest -- but to me it was a mere arbitrary
distinction, a line that might easily be overstepped, and often
In the further half of the room, you will see, by drawing aside
the screen, my library on the right-hand side and my writing
table on the left. There in the corner is a celestial globe,
maps, and other paraphernalia of astral research. By the table
is my lamp-stove, at which I make my tea or coffee when the
nights are cold, or when I find I want a harmless stimulant.
That is all, I think. What are those things? Well, yes, I did
not intend you to see those, but they give me the opportunity to
tell the facts that follow.
On the night of Wednesday, August 4, 1886, I sat alone in my room
thinking of a hint I had received upon a problem then in my mind
night and day. I wondered why I could not get a clue that would
enable me to complete what would be proof of conclusions already
arrived at by intuition. I was convinced that S knew all about
it, and could have told me; indeed, might have done so, but that
my too evident eagerness defeated its own end.
I was thinking thus, when my younger brother entered the room and
said, "Are you disengaged now? I came a few minutes ago and saw
you talking to someone, so I waited until he had gone. Can you
tell me what this means?" He then handed me a book and marked a
I answered him somewhat briefly, saying I was busy and wishing
him goodnight, so he left the room. "Talking to someone," I
repeated. What could he mean? No one had been in my room during
the evening to my knowledge! I thought for some time, and then
let the matter drop. After all, it was comforting to know that I
was not the only dreamer in the house, and that if hallucinations
were bad things, certainly delusions were not much better! I
leaned back in my chair and resumed my thinking, until at last I
became feverish and restless. "Thinking, thinking, all day and
night; of what use is it? I have thought in every direction and
can find no clue; it is of no use; and yet what is there of any
use in a matter like this except thought?"
Thus, I ran on in my hopeless discontent, and my eyes rested for
a moment upon a crystal ball that stood upon a tripod at the back
of my table. Something in its form or brightness, or perhaps the
happy conjunction of both in perfection, caught my eye, so that I
remained watching it with critical appreciation for some moments.
A sudden thrill of joyful hope ran through my heart as the
thought flashed upon me -- "Try the crystal!" I had not used my
crystal for some time past, and the idea coming at the extremity
of my efforts seemed to open out another and possibly a
successful line of investigation.
Eagerly I reached down a planetary ephemeris and noted the course
of the moon. It was in the ninth house of my nativity, conjoined
to the planet Mars and in evil aspect to Saturn and Venus, which
were conjoined. "Bad, very bad," I thought, "and it does not
look much like success; but as the moon is increasing in light,
and in the House of visions and in an aerial sign, perhaps out of
this collision of contrary forces I may get the lightning flash
of truth. Who knows? At all events I'll try." In so thinking, I
laid down my book. Setting aside my papers, I took up the
crystal, dusted it, and set it upon the stand.
The night had advanced, and all in the house had retired to rest.
I lit my stove and made some tea, which I drank without milk or
sugar, my mind all the while running on the subject of my
research. I sat for some time thinking of my forthcoming
experiment, and then rose to make the necessary arrangements. I
brought out from its corner a stand some three feet high, to
which I fixed a circular top. Certain names and symbols were
inscribed in gold letters on its black enameled surface.
According to Trithemius and others, they were supposed to be
efficacious in the use of the crystal.
On the table thus prepared, I set the crystal with its stand, a
candle upon either side of it to equalize the light, and then,
everything being ready, I noted the time -- it was just past
midnight -- and turned out the gas. It was a curious thought
that then occurred to me. There was I, in the latter half of
this enlightened century, close upon the very heart of the most
prosaic center of mechanical industry in the world, calmly
turning out the gas and practically groping in the superstition
of the dark ages in search of truth! One thing at all events was
satisfactory; I had never persuaded anyone to follow me, and if I
went astray and got lost the fault would be my own. I was
willing to take the consequences.
Seated before the crystal, I continued gazing at it for some
minutes. Then it became clouded by a white mist, which slowly
disappeared, revealing what appeared to be a clear but starless
sky, from which flashed forth now and then small lights like
meteors or falling stars. A cool wind was playing over my face
and neck and seemed to stir my hair. Suddenly a peculiar sickly
sensation came over me. My brain grew hot and throbbed rapidly
beneath my temples. A cold shiver ran down my spine. My heart
jumped, faltered, and stopped. My sight failed. Nothing but
silence and darkness seemed to be, and I was somehow absorbed in
Ages seemed to roll by while I, an atom, wedged in between those
impenetrable walls, motionless and senseless, waited for
something to happen. My anguish of mind was indescribable!
At last, thought came to my rescue. Was I dead or alive? I did
not know. Where was I? I could not tell. Where did I come from?
Stars, meteors, cool breeze, dark sky, white clouds, crystal ball
-- ah! Nothing more? Crystal ball! Remember that! Crystal ball,
crystal ball! I clung to that idea as a child will cling to its
mother in the darkness. I followed it as a bloodhound will
follow the trail. It was as if my very being lay in that single
What was that? Something was giving way in the darkness! There
was a rushing like a terrible cyclone through a mountain forest,
and then a mighty crash as if the universe had fallen in upon
itself! Then came silence followed by the soughing of a warm and
gentle wind that fanned my cheeks and eyelids. I heard myself
moan, a long, low, weary moan, as if a winter wind were belated
and lost in a wilderness. Then a pale light seemed to penetrate
the darkness, and far away, I could see what appeared like the
breaking of the daylight. A few silvery streaks widened, united,
and grew until the light became all but brilliant. In the midst
of that broad belt of light, I saw the figure of a man apparently
in the act of devotion. Then a power seemed to catch me up and
carry me, with indescribable swiftness, towards that figure in
the light. As I came nearer, I saw and felt that the figure was
like me -- it was I -- and a cry of exultation escaped my lips.
A few minutes sufficed to assure me that I was in my room and
seated before the crystal as if no change had ever taken place.
The candles, from which I took my first measure of time, clearly
showed that I had not been long unconscious. My watch showed
seven minutes past midnight. I remembered that I had commenced
my sitting at midnight and knew that I had spent at least five
minutes in gazing at the crystal. Could it be possible that I
had passed through an eternity of mental torture in so brief a
time? It was so at all events, if the record of two burning
candles and that of an honest chronometer were acceptable as
Shaking off the chilly sensation that supervened, I was in the
act of rising from my chair when the thought came upon me that my
experiment had failed! I had not discovered the clue of which I
was in search; indeed, I had temporarily forgotten it, and had
suffered unexpected and all but unbearable experiences in the
attempt to find it. I resumed my seat with a sense of
disappointment and shame and for a time sat thinking. The more I
thought the more my courage returned, my determination to go
forward with the quest growing stronger. Should I try the
crystal again and perhaps suffer further agonies, or should I tax
my thought and cling to the idea in my mind until it yielded to
my importunity, and revealed that for which I searched?
I was deliberating on this point when the door of my room quietly
opened wide. I waited, but as no one entered, I rose, went to
the screen, and drew it aside. All was still, so still that I
could hear the chirping of the crickets in the kitchen below
stairs on the other side of the house. There was no wind
stirring, but what else could open the door thus, even if
imperfectly latched? I took a candle and went out into the
passage. Everything was quiet. The doors leading from the
passage to the bedrooms were all shut. I returned softly, closed
the door, and sat the candle on the table before which I sat
The events of the night filled my mind, and beneath them lay the
thought of a secret yet unearthed. My brain was abnormally
active, and the effort to isolate myself for a fresh spell of
thought upon the subject nearest my heart was repeatedly
obstructed by the sense of a dread darkness and silence that
seemed to hang around me like the memory of a nightmare. The
walls of my room seemed to press heavily upon me. My breathing
grew difficult. I felt that I needed fresh air and space in
which to breathe, think, and move. I looked at my watch, it was
after one o'clock. I decided to go out and walk off the
impressions that seemed to gather round me. With this purpose in
mind, I lapsed into a dreamy half-conscious state and may have
remained so for some minutes before recalling my intention, when
I immediately rose, and going quietly from the room, descended to
the hall, where in the darkness I felt for my hat. Then having
drawn the bolt and chain of the front door, I passed out, closing
the door behind me.
The night was cool, moist, and very still, while the far-off
stars blinked tearfully behind a veil of mist. I walked rapidly.
Passing the old church, the wood, and the open fields, I made my
way by a sharp descent to where the river bends to the service of
an old mill, and turned at last along a lane to the left that
crossed the river by means of a footbridge. I stopped there and
leaned against a tree whose branches overhung the water.
It was a moonless night, and only faint starlight diffused itself
upon the obscure scenery around me. How cool and refreshing it
was to stand there after my rapid walk and listen to the sipping
of the water at my feet! That river and I seemed to be the only
living creatures in the world; and I was the less happy of the
two, because the more uncertain and the more lonely. The river
knew its course and followed it, whether amid the secluded woods
or in the open fields, by quiet farms or through busy towns. By
day as by night, it flowed without ceasing. From the hillside
where it had its birth to the place where it joined the
commonwealth of waters on their journey to the sea, as brook and
stream and river, it stretched its full length along. It was
uninterruptedly one, could be traced from its beginning to its
end, and it could be understood. But could I be understood too?
I shivered, perhaps at the thought of my own inscrutability, or
perhaps I had cooled too rapidly.
I turned to continue my walk, and raising my eyes, saw close
before me the figure of a youth. Somehow, I was not surprised.
I did not start, nor did I wonder even for a moment how or why he
was there; but it was evident to me that he wished to speak. I
regarded him attentively. He was of my own height, rather tall,
and slender built. The obscure light made his features somewhat
indiscernible, though what could be seen of them was attractive
rather than otherwise; and his eyes, wherein the uncertain light
seemed to find a focus, were bright and penetrating.
"What do you want?" I asked, merely for the sake of opening a
conversation that, from our respective positions, appeared
"Nothing," he replied. "I have found you."
"Found me?" I questioned. "Why did you seek for me?"
"You called me," was the brief but amazing reply.
"Who are you then?" I asked.
"I am yourself, your unremembered self. I was in sleep when you
called me, but I heard you, and have come a long way, a very long
way to find you; and now I have found you, I am happy,
inexpressibly happy, and I will never leave you; oh let me stay
with you for ever!" He said this rapidly and leaned forward so
that our faces almost touched, and the fire of his eyes seemed to
burn into my own.
What had I heard? Was I dreaming? I stood for a moment almost
stunned, gazing into those eyes whose light seemed to penetrate
me through and through. Then the place seemed to whirl round me.
I felt myself lifted from my feet and thrown to the ground.
When I regained consciousness, I was lying upon the floor of my
room. My body, overspread by a clammy perspiration, was cold and
stiff, but with an effort, I partially raised myself and looked
around me to ascertain my position. I was lying with my head
towards the door. The cold twilight was creeping in through the
Venetian blind. The candles on the table were still burning, and
as I saw at once had not been burning long. The chair in which I
had sat -- it seemed only a moment since -- was overturned. The
door was shut. I felt dazed and giddy, but with an effort, I got
up, stumbled to the window, and hastily drew up the blind. The
hazy morning light filled the room. I looked at my watch and
found that it was nearly three o'clock. What had I been doing
and what brought me on the floor were questions that I asked
myself as I picked up the chair and flung myself into it.
Then the memory of all that I had passed through came back to me.
One fact after another would beat in swift succession upon my
brain. There was the awful silence, darkness, and agony of mind,
followed by the crashing thunder of some mighty devastation.
There was the far-off dawn and the strange aerial flight towards
the specter of myself and the fever of thought and feeling that
succeeded. Then I remembered the details of my passage from the
house, the swift walk through the night air to the lane by the
river, the rest beneath the willow, the reverie, and the
All passed through my mind with that distinctness that marks the
most wakeful impressions and with that consciousness that
distinguishes between such impressions and our most vivid dreams.
Again, those bright eyes seemed to look into mine through the
misty light. Involuntarily I leaned forward and blew out the
candles. "Yourself, your unremembered self" -- I seemed to hear
it all again -- "and I will never leave you!" A strange weird
feeling overcame me. I glanced nervously around. Yet, shall I
be understood if I say, I was deliriously happy!
It was quite evident to me that I should have to endure until the
morning had advanced some hours. No one would be astir until
then, and I longed to see some human being, something that could
move, think, and feel as I; an animal, anything that would give
me a sense of the world in which I was. But most of all, I
longed for the broad daylight, and the touch of some hand that
was familiar to me; and as I looked out of the window, watching
the growing of the day, I planned some excuse for going early to
my mother's room.
At last the morning came. I heard the servant descend the
stairs, and then began to prepare for my morning ablutions. When
I was dressed again, I went out and was about to enter my
mother's room when I heard the servant in the act of opening the
front door. An idea occurred to me. I went quickly downstairs,
and I watched as she released the chain and drew the bolt. As I
passed out into the garden-plot before the house, she looked at
me curiously. My appearance at that hour was an occurrence
without precedent in her experience.
When I had stood a minute watching the birds flying about in the
soft sunshine, I returned to the house and took the opportunity,
while passing through the hall, to note that my hat was in its
usual place upon the rail. Just then the servant came to sweep
the hall-floor, and I noticed that there were no dirty footprints
upon it; yet this was not curious perhaps, for certainly if I had
unconsciously taken the trouble to bolt and chain the door upon
my return, I should at least have wiped my feet, if only as a
matter of habit.
The further I pursued my enquiries, however, the more certain was
I that I had not left the house that night. Yet my walk to the
river was no dream. Every detail was fresh in my memory, and the
daylight only made them more certainly real to my consciousness.
Nevertheless, it was of all experiences the most mysterious I had
ever passed through. I was hopelessly perplexed as to the true
nature of the occurrence, and it seemed as if one mystery was
merely replaced by another.
I went to my room and occupied myself until breakfast time in
making a memorandum of the events of the night, and when I at
length joined the family at the breakfast-table, no one remarked
anything unusual, nor could they know how dream-like they all
appeared to me and yet how glad I was to be thus dreaming. I was
glad to find they were ignorant of anything that had happened,
and determined to keep the matter secret. I went to my business
as usual, but during the day, I felt ill and called upon the
doctor who told me I was suffering from a nervous affection of a
peculiar nature and prescribed entire rest and change of air.
On reaching home, I went to my room. The associations that were
called to my mind by everything around me were uncanny, and I
felt that I could not get any rest there until I had regained
health and strength in some degree; so I arranged to sleep in a
room on the other side of the house. While preparations were in
process for giving me some refreshment, I sat upon the edge of
the bed. The declining sun threw its golden light upon the wall
before me, and as I sat watching it, I remarked that it gave to
the simple design of the wallpaper a peculiar beauty.
I had remained thus for a few moments, I suppose, when all at
once, I felt a strange tingling sensation in the top of my head.
It increased and burned intensely. I put up my hand to still the
pain. Then, suddenly, it was as if my head had been split open
and hot sand poured into it that ran through my whole body and
out at my feet. I fell from the bed upon my knees and cried like
For two days, I suffered from violent hysteria and then excessive
nervous sensitivity developed. This affected my sight in a
peculiar manner. Everything I looked at was present to my sight
in all its detail with microscopic clearness, and the effect upon
my system was extremely irritating. But the most extraordinary
effect was that during the nighttime, when the room was dark, I
could see everything clearly as if each object stood in a light
of its own that blended with that of things adjacent, so that the
room appeared to be filled with a soft bluish phosphorescence. I
remained in this state for about a fortnight and then rapidly
When I look back at that period of my life, it seems at once the
most horrible and the happiest. It was horrible, because of the
insecurity that seemed to beset my sense of individual existence,
for somehow I seemed to have suffered a division of myself into
three separate beings, between which my consciousness wavered.
It was a happy period, for as I then felt and afterwards knew
most certainly, I had discovered the secret that I was in search
of, "myself, my unremembered self!" But today I am wiser because
of that experience, and I have found that happiness does not lie
in the memory of the past, but in the life that now is, with all
its golden possibilities, in our very hands.
AWAKEN THE SOUL
[From THE THEOSOPHICAL MOVEMENT, February 1958, pages 131-35.]
With the help of Theosophy, men and women can transform their
lives. Its "Universals" illumine the "particulars" of life, and
then the latter, gathered together in evidence, throw further
light on the whole of things. We can begin here with one such
proposition, that "the 'Manifested Universe' . . . is pervaded
by duality" as an interdependent polarity of Spirit-Matter.
Man's duality comprises the inner Being and its instrument, the
outer body. Body is again dual, inner and outer, but here we are
concerned with the duality of consciousness -- Spirit, the
immortal, infinite centre, and Soul, the vehicle of Spirit.
Soul is again dual: the higher Soul-Ego, rooted in Spirit, and
the lower soul, mortal like the body it inhabits. The Soul-Ego
is "awake" on its own plane, where its understanding and powers
are godlike, but it "sleeps" on the lower plane because the
personal soul in the ordinary man affords no instrument or field
through and in which the higher can work.
We can understand this better by analogy. Our personal
consciousness, however developed, is unable to perceive and act
in the physical world, unless the physical senses and organs are
in order. The personal ego of a man has no vision of physical
objects if the bodily eyes are damaged. He cannot speak, however
much he may know, if the vocal chords do not work. If so, the
Soul-Ego is impotent, "asleep" on the personal level, because of
the barrier imposed by the imperfect instrument there.
Similarly, the lower soul "sleeps" on the plane of the higher.
It is true that a current flows every night through the three
planes of awareness, but without coordination.
The personal self is more or less aware on Jagrat, the waking
plane, but it has little or no basis for functioning in Sushupti.
It is like a sick man, semi-consciously aware of people moving
about him, but remembering little or nothing afterwards. The
Soul-Ego, active in Sushupti, is hardly able, in most men, to
function in Jagrat, because the ignorance and delusions of the
personal soul drug it, so to say, at that level.
How shall one adjust this personal nature, so that the dual Soul,
acting as one in divinity, will be awake at both levels? The
process has been described in many ways, but we must always find
some fresh angle, otherwise we shall merely repeat, "Kill out
desire" or "The brain must be made porous to the Soul's
recollections" like a superficial churchgoer prattling about his
Let us look at the duality of birth and death, with its natural
transit from one to the other. There are also two false gates,
murder and suicide, which can be viewed as symbols of two false
attitudes, two ways of reacting to the duality of
satisfaction-frustration that life brings.
Observation shows two basic temperamental types, corresponding to
the two basic delusions mentioned. Both attitudes create equally
a false pattern in the personal man that makes him impervious to
the Soul-Ego, thus rendering it unable to act.
The first attitude can be symbolized by the word "murder." It is
the delusion of the person who, seeking for satisfaction in his
own scheme of order and fulfillment, thinks he can, by force and
violence, thrust any obstacle aside and get rid of it -- "murder"
it, in other words. Such a person fights back at evil, sorrow,
and trouble and tries to force circumstances to suit his will,
sweeping aside the natural rights of others who seem to stand in
the way of what appears desirable to him.
Those thus deluded range from the actual murderer who kills out
of fear or for some fancied benefit, down to the prejudiced
person who "murders" and violently rejects or distorts facts that
will not fit his own theories. This attitude breeds fanatics who
have "killed" everything except their object of devotion. It is
at the root of the heresy hunts of the Inquisition, of
McCarthyism, and of all intolerance of "something different." The
supporters of capital punishment take their stand on this false
platform. They say, "The murderer is a menace to society!
Destroy him!" Even the sentimentalism of euthanasia proposals
rest on the same delusion, saying, "Remove the pain and suffering
out of our sight!"
From it springs also the false idea in education and in social
politics, that one can condition people to a currently accepted
mold and eliminate the "outsider." It is behind the foolhardy
endeavors of agriculturists to "murder" Nature and ignore natural
law in order to make growing things fit a mass food-production
It reaches down to apparent trivialities and has to be tackled
there first. It shows in the attitude of grumbling and
indignation at anything that upsets our routine, our hold on
possessions, or our attempts at achievement. It shows in the
refusal to accept any fact or factor that upsets our ideas or our
judgment of another. It is responsible for remarks like "Why on
earth do you want that?" -- the implication being, "It's rubbish
to me! Throw it out!" This is the insensitive adult's reaction to
a child's treasures, as well as the "practical" man's reaction to
the work of the imaginative writer or artist. Furthermore, we
tread the path of "murder" when we try to push away the
responsibility for a faulty piece of work, or for a mistaken
action -- "The tools were bad." "The material was too poor." "It
was so-and-so's fault." Behind all the reasons lurks,
unrecognized, the demand -- "Shift the blame away from me! Murder
the link between it and my own self-made image of satisfaction!"
The smallest incidents show the same thing. A man thinks the
time is five o'clock and on being told that the clock says only
20 minutes to the hour promptly retorts, "The clock must be
wrong!" He automatically "murders" fact, for the sake of his
Now this delusion that we can get rid of anything is so contrary
to the vision and consciousness of the Soul-Ego that the latter
can only remain "asleep" on the lower planes. How can its divine
nature, with its universal, compassionate view, perceive and act
through a personality that has thus violently mutilated its own
capacity? In very truth, since the Universe is one, we can get
rid of nothing. Under the law of conservation of energy, the
thing "destroyed" will take other forms, and the greater the
violence of the attempted elimination and exclusion of the
unwanted object, the greater will be the "come-back." We can get
rid of nothing. We can only adjust and transform, so that
everything finally assimilates in the right way in the total
scheme. "Cast no one out of your heart."
The opposite delusions, symbolized by "suicide," equally render
the personal soul useless as a coherent vehicle for the Higher.
The first type tries to force obstacles and troubles out of its
closed circle; the second tries to flee from them. This has been
better analyzed under the name of "escapism" by those of the
opposite persuasion chiefly, since the "suicide" type is not
critical by nature. In this category also, we have a wide range.
There is the actual suicide that imagines that by doing away with
the physical body he can free himself from the ills of life that
he cannot face, or escape from the retribution for his sins.
There is the gentle "other-worldly" person who floats away from
harsh realities and from social evils demanding reform, into a
dreamland where everything is as he wishes it to be. There is
the scholar, aloof in his ivory tower. There is the dreamer who
finds over-Herculean the effort to work out his grand visions in
hard, unresponsive actuality, and who retreats back to the dream.
A child, over-taxed by adult demands, parental or scholastic,
will often refuse to make effort, taking refuge in some
"collecting" activity that compensates without fear of failure.
There are those who seek release through drugs, sedatives,
"tranquilizers," or who vainly endeavor to drown their sorrows
and worries in drink. The avid patrons of the "dope" type of
books, films, radio, television, or the chain smokers, the
dancers "sent" by the rhythms of "Rock and Roll," are all
treading the path of "suicide," of intoxication that deadens the
Thinker in themselves. But so also are those who fling
themselves into feverish activity -- business, pleasure, or "good
works" -- in order to avoid having to stop and think. Others fly
from their own tormenting, questioning mind into the bosom of a
blind faith, whether religious or political. Others, imbued with
the desire for freedom, feel space, time, matter, form, and the
demands of human relationships as fetters rather than supports or
means to power. They are, therefore, always in flight from one
thing or another.
We recognize the trend in many things. There is the tendency to
put off a specially difficult task, the omission of an unpleasant
duty for fear of hurting another's feelings, the acute revulsion
from the domination of others, the feeling of restriction at
routine, and the pliability that, when subjected to pressure or
persuasion, gives in, "suicides" its own will, in fact, for the
sake of peace.
But just as the "murderer" cannot destroy whatever threatens his
notions of self, so too the "suicide" cannot flee in reality from
the responsibility of self, or from the necessity of material
limitations. These will follow him as close as his shadow, and
eventually he must accept them. For how can the steady, constant
nature of the strong Soul-Ego find expression in an
ever-shifting, fluctuating personal field? We must transform the
shadow, to make it truly "the holder of the flame."
There is also a third group in yet more unhappy plight, which
seems to oscillate between the two delusions "fight" and "flight"
-- always torn between two points of view, two opposing objects
of desire. These also keep the Soul-Ego "dead asleep."
Yet at death, for everyone, there is a natural working out of the
energies. The being is able to get rid of all that it cannot
assimilate into its ideal self-portrait. The "shell" thus thrown
out undergoes progressive destruction on its own nightmare plane
(yet leaving seeds behind for future fights) while the surviving
personal consciousness flies away into its self-engendered
heavenly dream. This too must end, and the being once more
"accept the woes of birth." Death is only a breathing space.
In the word "accept" is the answer to the problem of transforming
both delusions into working powers for the Soul. For the
adjustment of the personal nature means:
ACCEPTANCE of whatever comes, of people, of events, of our own
faults, as of outside evils. It is not passivity -- which is
suicide -- but, until there is acceptance of a thing, how can one
begin to change it or find its right place? Indignation, shame,
pride, and fear distort the picture. Acceptance tranquilizes and
impersonalizes the feelings. But it depends on:
EQUANIMITY: is a state of mind poised in balance between two
poles. It arises from the realization of that truth that fuses
opposites. The personal nature always takes sides. The Soul
demands equilibrium. We must be able to see pleasure and pain,
success and failure, effort and rest, past and future, and
thought and action as ONE, before our heart can accept. Holding
the mind steady at this center requires:
WILL: is a spiritual force, steady, constant, distinct from the
fluctuations of personal desire. It cannot act except through
the forms created by:
IMAGINATION: is the power that sets the boundaries of
achievement. We cannot will what we cannot imagine. Thus,
imagination needs knowledge out of which to create its patterns,
and this demands:
STUDY: is the grasp of universal truths, of the nature of Soul
and Spirit, so that the images may have a sure foundation. So
that delusion does not enter once more, gather this knowledge
with pure motive. The motive for study that makes the mind pure
SERVICE: is the only end to be kept in view, "to be the better
able to help and teach others."
These six clear the field of the personal consciousness, but the
still lower bodily field also requires adjustment in the senses
and organs. The careful carrying out of everyday duties with
accuracy, timeliness, and disinterestedness brings these into
alignment. Then the awakened Soul can work in divine fashion at
all three levels. The purpose of reincarnation is achieved.
We can recognize this mentally, but the heart learns more easily
from the force of human example. So, if we consider such a
figure as William Q. Judge -- the exemplar for us of a Disciple
-- we can realize, in a living fashion, the powers enumerated.
He was "acceptance" personified, "the Friend of all Creatures,"
willing to work with friend or foe, meeting good and evil with
brave heart and humor. Practical man and mystic in one, he had
the true balance of equanimity, strength, and gentleness, and of
drive and calmness. He had a will that held fast and an
imagination that could equally conceive the profundities of the
teaching and the administrative planning that made him so great
an organizer. His study was devoted to the purpose of bringing
the teaching to ordinary men and women, and on the plane of
physical action, his meticulous attention to "the right way" of
doing things not only conserved energy, but as a means to the
greater expression of the Soul.
We have in him a wonderful practical example. May we find the
power to follow!
Dedicated to the Theosophical Philosophy and its Practical Application