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THEOSOPHY WORLD ------------------------------------- April, 2005

An Internet Magazine Dedicated to the Theosophical Philosophy
And its Practical Application in the Modern World

To submit papers or news items, subscribe, or unsubscribe, write
to theos-world@theosophy.com.

(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.)

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CONTENTS

"How to Reach Masters," by B.P. Wadia
"What Causes Natural Disasters," By Andrew Rooke
"The Narada Theosophical Society," by John F. Scott
"Giordano Bruno, A Martyr Theosophist," by Charles Johnston
"The World's Trouble and Its Cure," by G. de Purucker
"Simon Magus," by Geoffrey West
"The June Time of the Occultist," by Mary R. Shippey
"Teachers and Disciples," Part I, by G. de Purucker
"Winter Solstice 1955," Part IV, by Boris de Zirkoff

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> The Theosophical Movement is greater than any society or
> organization. The latter are but temporal, changing with the
> nature and understanding of those who constitute them and
> influence their policies and ideals; they correspond to our
> physical bodies, whereas the Movement corresponds to the Soul.
> There are many kinds of bodies, and work has to be done in each,
> in accordance with the possibilities afforded by its nature.
> Those who pin their faith to any body are choosing a transitory
> guide, a frail support; most of them are looking for "authority."
> The human weakness that makes priestly domination possible leads
> to spiritual darkness in course of time.
>
> -- Robert Crosbie, THE SPIRIT IN THE BODY, page 4, from
>    http://www.ford328.addr.com/sp1.htm

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HOW TO REACH MASTERS

By B.P. Wadia

[From LIVING THE LIFE, pages 39-42.]

The existence of Soul, which is, in fact, the Real Man, leads us
to accept the fact of its unfoldment. The growth of the Soul
naturally leads us to the fact of the existence of the
Masters-Mahatmas, Great Souls, who unveil the Glory of Greater
Souls in ever-ascending scale -- the ladder above, as also the
ladder of souls descending which has its base in the lower
kingdoms of nature. Then the realization of Brotherhood of all
Souls comes.

In the work-a-day world of commerce, business, profit, and pain,
many forget the Soul vision; a few earnestly materialize that
vision, and often they enquire about the Great Souls so that they
may feel Their nearness. Masters are essential facts in our
soul-evolution, and unless the conviction is born in us that
without Their aid and intermediation we as human souls cannot
realize our identity with the Universal Soul. We do not make
practical effort at hastening our evolution.

Many are the questions asked about the Masters. It is often
forgotten that we cannot find Them by merely asking about Them,
or by geographically traveling to where They live in Their
physical bodies. They must be found by an altogether different
process. Nor are They to be found by the comparative study of
philosophy, religion, and science, which takes us into the
intellectual world, for Their habitat is not the intellectual
world, either. We can purify our intellectual nature and control
our desires. If we consecrate our body to become a Temple of the
Living God that we are, then we shall be able to know the
Masters.

Complete self-abnegation is necessary -- the giving of ourselves
to the Masters who exist and who live in a world of Their own --
the world of Spirit. The method is that of SELF-REALIZATION.
Therefore, all our studies, all that we do, all our life must be
put in its entirety at the feet of the Masters that They may make
use of it, as They alone know how to do. Do not think that
because we have weaknesses and demerits we cannot be used.
Masters are great alchemists. They know how to transform seeming
evils into powers for good. We must offer Them not what we have
but -- all we are. People are willing to give part or the whole
of what they have, but there are very few who are courageous
enough to give THEMSELVES to the Masters. Fearlessness is
required. That fearlessness comes when we believe ourselves to
be immortal, and not mortal, not as people coming and going,
living and dying, but as gods in the making -- gods who are
unfolding their powers slowly and steadily, but -- surely.

When we have gained an unshakable belief in our own powers, then
we shall have that first necessary virtue -- fearlessness. Now,
mentally, morally, and physically, we are all afraid of what may
come to us from without. That is so because the warrior within
has not been recognized. When we see ourselves as gods, willing
to fight all evil, then we will not be afraid of what comes from
without, but remain steady in the midst of great storms.
Therefore, we must believe in OURSELVES, not in someone else; we
must know ourselves, and remember that knowledge comes from
within, that peace and power abide within. It is the Inner Power
that we need -- the Power that "fears no more the heat of the
sun, or the furious winter's rages."

Those who have lived according to the teachings of Theosophy have
realized some of the glories of the divine life of the Masters.
Living by the power of the Masters, they are able to bring others
the sunshine of peace, strength, and wisdom so that minds become
illuminated, hearts purified, and we know -- if only for a moment
-- that we are immortals of the world of souls.

We are to study the teachings of Theosophy while trying to live
the LIFE, thus making continuous, not spasmodic, effort at every
hour of the day to keep the Masters and Their Messengers alive in
our minds until we ourselves become disciples possessed of the
ardor of the Messenger. Such is the high destiny that awaits
every son of man. It means acting like a man, by the control of
our lower nature and the showing forth of the glory of the
higher. That serious attempt makes it possible for the Masters
to show Themselves to us; but They will come into our life on the
one condition -- that we fit ourselves to be able to reveal this
Life to others. For unless we have made ourselves channels for
Their Life in order to help others, we cannot touch that Life for
ourselves. One quality of the Masters' Life is its power of
motion, its capacity to move on. If we do not become channels
through which the Life can pass on to others, then that Life
cannot flow into us; if it did, it would break us. The Masters
are the Masters of Compassion, and They give the gift of Their
Life to enrich and not to disturb our existence. They speak to
us through all men; They also speak to others through us. As we
walk the streets, as we greet our friends, as we do our common
task and go our daily round, as we read, as we write, and as we
speak, They act through us, if we will only let Them.

The Masters Themselves are channels of Divine Power inherent in
that Sourceless Source named in Ancient India MAHA VISHNU. Our
own spiritual strength and bliss flow therefrom. They are Great
Souls as we are lesser souls -- but both are souls. To live as
souls, to help as souls, to toil as souls, to serve as souls
other souls, is to recognize the Soul of Souls in all places and
at all times. Thus, rivers, streams, and oceans reveal the
splendor of the Soul. Flowering shrub speaks its own message as
the giant mountain its. Small and great lose themselves in the
identity of the One Spirit. The peace and power of realization
arise in the knowledge that Masters live and work and help by the
Way of that Love which is Compassion.

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WHAT CAUSES NATURAL DISASTERS?

By Andrew Rooke

[For further information, see Fred Pruyn's article "The Enigma of
the Shifting Earth" SUNRISE, August/September 2004].

We have recently been witness to the awesome power of nature with
the Asian Tsunami and its devastating legacy of 300,000 dead,
cities destroyed, and lives changed forever throughout the world.
On the positive side, the tremendous outpouring of support and
giving to the victims gives us all heart for the compassion and
basic goodness of people of all countries moved to help fellow
human-beings suffering half a world away. A natural question
arises for sensitive people viewing images of innocent men,
women, and children swept away by the massive waves. Why?

Karma

Science has answers based on the mechanics of geology. The
generally accepted cause of earthquakes is the release of tension
built up between floating continental plates, colliding with each
other, propelled along by the hellish temperatures and convection
currents of rock deep beneath the earth's surface. Can a
mechanical explanation account for everything? Theosophy replies
with an emphatic no.

> There is a purpose in every important act of nature, whose acts are
> all cyclic and periodical. But spiritual Forces having been usually
> confused with the purely physical, the former are denied by, and
> therefore, have to remain unknown to Science, because left unexamined
> . . . There is a predestination in the geological life of our globe,
> as in the history, past and future, of races and nations. This is
> closely connected with what we call KARMA.
>
> -- H.P. Blavatsky, THE SECRET DOCTRINE, I, 640-41.

Human Factors

Theosophy affirms that the Universe, Solar System, Sun, and our
Earth are all living beings along with Humans and the other
kingdoms of life. All are part of one immense living organism
that like the human body is made up of organs, cells, atoms, etc.
all are related and interwoven in a webwork of life. Further,
Theosophy teaches that intelligence guides the Universe from
within outwards. Everywhere there is intelligence of different
grades guiding, building, and recycling the Universe and its
operations. Therefore, from a theosophical viewpoint, we can
expect the actions of Man to have profound affects on the Earth,
and for there to be hidden and interior causes for what we
witness in the outer world.

Disharmonies in human life build up on the inner planes of being
causing tensions in the Earth because we are part of the Earth's
constitution. These disharmonies can be anything from low
standards of moral and ethical behavior to wars and strife on a
global scale. These energies accumulate in the astral light
causing extreme tension that is reflected in the Earth's crust
and requires periodic release in earthquakes, volcanic eruptions,
and tsunamis. Although terrible to the people living or dying
through them, these events avoid greater disasters if such
energies built up any further in the Earth's crust.

People are like electrical generators; when you get enough
together, they can affect the energy balance of a whole region of
the Earth. The emotional atmosphere of cities, for example, is
stored in the astral light surrounding it, and from time to time
fed back in the form of natural disasters.

Finally and enigmatically, the ancients said that Earthquakes and
other natural disasters could accompany the birth and death of
great souls. One wonders just what happened in this regard as
the Asian tsunami occurred in the middle of this year's Sacred
Season (December 21, 2004 through January 4, 2005) when the
opportunity exists for great souls to be initiated into a higher
life.

Astronomical and Cyclical Factors

The movement of the Earth through the signs of the Zodiac brings
the Earth under different influences from the stars and affects
the alignment of the Earth's axis. These movements bring about
the cataclysms at the endings and beginning of the cyclic ages of
the Earth that we call root-races in Theosophy. This is
especially so during and at the end of Kali Yuga when there is a
build up of karma to an exploding point. We are currently 5,000
years into the cycle of 432,000 years of the Kali Yuga or Black
Age, when the forces of darkness have great power over Humanity.

Other cyclic factors affecting natural disasters include the
movement of the poles, various alignments of planets and the sun
within our solar system, the eccentricity of the Earth's orbit,
changes in the speed of the Earth's rotation towards the close of
the root-races, and the shifting and inversion of the Earth's
axis. Such movements have a profound effect on climate and on
the distribution of landmass over the Earth's surface.

> We are assured by Archaic Scientists that all such geological
> cataclysms -- from the upheaval of oceans, deluges, and shifting of
> continents, down to the present year's cyclones, hurricanes,
> earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, tidal waves, and even the
> extraordinary weather and seeming shifting of the seasons...are due
> to, and depend on the moon and planets; aye, that even the modest and
> neglected constellations have the greatest influence on the
> meteorological and cosmical changes, over, and within our earth.
>
> -- H.P. Blavatsky, THE SECRET DOCTRINE, II, 699

There has been a lot of speculation about the possibility of the
earth colliding with asteroids causing massive natural disasters
as has happened in the distant past, such as the destruction of
the dinosaurs 65 million years ago when a city-sized asteroid hit
the earth. Theosophy says the quality of Humanity's thoughts and
actions can have power over lesser celestial bodies like
asteroids. Celestial bodies are the instruments of karma at a
global level just as other human beings are the focus of karmic
workings for humans. The Earth is a type of "hell." It a place
for most people to work out karma and consequently suffer. The
conflict and stressful nature of human relations may well attract
asteroids to the earth as agents of global karma -- strange as
this may be to ordinary ways of thinking.

Currents of natural energy flow like rivers of magnetic force
over and through the Earth. This was well known in ancient times
and called by various names -- Ley Lines in England. We should
locate our cities in harmony with these energy currents, but we
do not know how to do that any more with consequent results in
terms upsetting natural energy flows causing natural disasters.

What about people caught in natural disasters?

Who can forget the pathetic pictures of people swept away by the
Boxing Day Tsunami whilst innocently walking along the beach,
maybe going about their business as fishermen or working in
restaurants serving the tourist trade? How can impersonal Nature
be said to be compassionate in all her actions, yet thousands of
innocent people are involved as victims of natural disasters each
year?

As H.P. Blavatsky said in the quote at the outset of this
article, natural disasters are caused by karmic factors working
on the inner planes of being expressing themselves when the
opportunity is ripe in the outer world. People with similar
karma are drawn or attracted together, so that an "accident" or
"natural disaster" can balance similar types of karma experienced
by large groups of people in former lives, harsh as this
statement may seem in view of the Tsunami pictures on our TV
news. Sometimes death is not the worst thing that can happen to
people if old negative karma needs to be resolved, if old karmic
patterns need to be broken so new ones can be introduced, or if
people are suffering, even unconsciously, and a new start needs
to be made by "wiping the slate clean." Nature is impartial in
this way, and natural law will affect everyone in the region of
the disaster if we are there by karma, or choose to be there.

Consider what theosophical teacher Dr. de Purucker says on this
matter of suffering because of natural disasters:

> We are in our great cyclical catastrophe now, though it is but
> beginning. How much worse is the agony of the heart, let us say, of
> one who is at the bedside of one whom he loves! Ah, there you have
> anguish! But sudden catastrophes, when they do occur, occur mostly on
> a relatively small scale. When the races near their end, the
> continents sink slowly. There are much worse things than merely losing
> the physical body for those whose destiny it is to be in a racial
> catastrophe. They will know the beautiful secrets of death. At the end
> of our race, we shall know it far better than the Atlanteans did. But
> not one so perishes individually, unless it is his personal karma. How
> about the tens of thousands who perish yearly in steamer, train,
> automobile, mine, and various other accidents? Pray reflect.
>
> -- G. de Purucker, FUNDAMENTALS OF THE ESOTERIC PHILOSOPHY, 354.

Who Will Save Us?

Essentially, it is up to us to save ourselves. We need to change
our values and behavior to become more harmonious. We must
become coworkers or co-creators with Nature and then we will have
the mighty force of evolving Nature behind us instead of against
us in various ways including the generation of many of our
"natural disasters."

Astronomical influences and dangers, are the realm of the Gods.
They safely guide and protect our Sun and the Solar System so we
lesser beings -- humans, animals, plants, minerals and their
equivalents on the other planets -- have the time and opportunity
to grow spiritually over countless lifetimes to one day perhaps
join the gods in their work of self-consciously "managing" the
operations of the Universe.

The Guardian Wall includes advanced human beings, Mahatmas,
Ascended Masters, Avataras, Christs, and Buddhas. As members of
the Hierarchy of Compassion, they have the job of guiding and
protecting humanity often from itself and its unconscious
transgressions of karma and natural law. They do this in many
unusual ways including by "singing," that is, the use of sound,
to protect us against asteroids and other dangerous influences in
space, and "damming back" our karma so it comes out over longer
periods of time than might otherwise destroy us. We owe them our
grateful thanks for this quiet and unrecognized work of ages, and
we should try at all times to manifest the god-like essence of
ourselves as we go about our daily lives.

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THE NARADA THEOSOPHICAL SOCIETY

By John F. Scott

[For more information, see the following website.

    http://www.naradatheosophicalsociety.org

You can also write "naradasociety@peoplepc.com". Bing Escudero,
director of studies at the Unisophia Research Study Institute,
started at the Narada Theosophical Society in 2000, and is
currently busy with his writings. He can also be reached at that
email.]

I am the president of the Narada Theosophical Society in Tacoma,
Washington. Our charter, dated January 7, 1890, is signed by the
William Quan Judge, Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, and Henry Steel
Olcott, the three founders of the Theosophical Society. Until
1911, we belonged to both societies (Adyar and Point Loma), then
we choose Adyar (with national headquarters at Wheaton,
Illinois).

We have had meetings since we began. During the split, we called
ourselves the Theosophical Club. On behalf of the Point Loma
Society, Katherine Tingley issued us a second charter on February
18, 1898. The Adyar Society also gave us a second charter on
January 19, 1899. We are missing most of our minutes from
January 1890 until January 1899. (If anyone knows where they
might be, please let us know.)

Professor Fred Gordon Plummer, a geologist and surveyor, founded
our branch. He was active in the Puget Sound area. He named all
the places in what is now Mt. Rainier National Park. In 1893,
he took the Lodge members up the mountain the heard the sound of
a waterfall they hiked to the falls and he named a waterfall
after our lodge in Tacoma, calling it Narada Falls.

Being as old as we are, organizational splits are not important
to us. However we are historically interested in such events.
We teach what the founders wanted. We try to rid ourselves of
ego problems and go forth seeking truth.

We have been in the same building for fifty years, tucked into a
neighborhood in Tacoma. As nobody seems to know of us, we
painted the name of our Lodge in large lettering across the porch
and the names of the founders inside its upper part. On the left
side, we painted, "There is no religion higher than Truth."
Leading from the sidewalk seven steps, on which the seven bodies
of man are painted.

We had a local shop close to downtown called, "One World, One
Love." The owner is now a member and helps with our Thursday
night book study.

For the past year, we have been in a state of reorganization.
Things are moving slowly but steadily. We have attracted a
larger audience and increased our membership.

Walking by, people now stop, wonder about us, and some come
inside to ask about Theosophy. I recently asked one girl what
she thought. She said she was interested, but did not think she
would be welcomed in our group. Asking her what would change her
mind, she replied that a sign saying "All Are Welcome" would
help. The next day, I painted one and hung it on the porch.
Since then, we have gained two new members.

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GIORDANO BRUNO, A MARTYR THEOSOPHIST

By Charles Johnston

[From LUCIFER, October 15, 1888, pages 110-13, quoting from THE
HEROIC ENTHUSIASTS by Giordano Bruno, translated by L. Williams;
London: George Redway, 1887.]

> My name is Giordano, of the family of Bruno, of the city of Nola,
> twelve miles from Naples. There I was born and brought up. My
> profession has been and is that of letters, and of all the
> sciences. My father's name was Giovanni, and my mother was
> Francesca Savolini; my father was a soldier. He is dead and my
> mother also. I am forty-four years old, having been born in
> 1548.

These were his words before the tribunal of the Inquisition in
Venice in 1592, on entering those dungeons that he only left for
the torture-chamber and the stake.

In Nola, where Bruno passed the early years of his life, still
lingered the atmosphere of the old occult school of Pythagoras.
The mantle of the Samian fell upon Giordano Bruno. His early
years were passed in a time of social and political
disorganization; all Italy was in disorder. The Inquisition
stood grimly firm, ready to play its part, through all turmoil
and devastation. In order to gain opportunities for study, Bruno
entered the Dominican convent in Naples when he was fifteen years
old. Under the friar's robe beat the heart of the indomitable
enthusiast and philosopher.

In Naples, he remained until his twenty-eighth year; until his
daring and unfettered spirit rousing the fear and hostility of
the monks, he was compelled to flee to Rome and thence to Genoa,
narrowly escaping the warrant for his arrest.

For some time, Bruno earned his bread by teaching the children in
the little town of Nola, but after five months, he was again
obliged to flee, taking refuge first at Turin and afterwards at
Venice. There he composed several works, but these, and
everything else he wrote in Italy, were destroyed by the
murderous Inquisition. Italy was no longer safe, and Bruno took
refuge in Geneva amongst the adherents of the new Reformed
Church. Their intolerance, however, was only second to that of
Rome; he crossed over into France, and for some time lectured in
Paris as Doctor of Philosophy. On the conversion of Henry III,
Bruno crossed to England, where he met many of the Elizabethan
worthies; Sir Philip Sydney, to whom he dedicated "Gli Eroici
Furori," Fulke Greville, Lord Brooke, and perhaps Shakespeare.
In 1585, Bruno returned to Paris, and then passed through Germany
and Austria, resting finally at Frankfort. While there, the
treacherous scheme that led up to his martyrdom was being devised
at Venice. Gregory XIV was then Pope. Mocenigo, the infamous
tool of the more infamous Inquisition, was the Judas who betrayed
him with a kiss. Inviting Bruno to Venice, he treated him with
every mark of esteem, while secretly plotting his betrayal and
murder. One morning, Mocenigo threw aside the veil, and Bruno
was cast into the dungeon of the Inquisition. Before the
Inquisitors, the full nobility and grandeur of his character came
out. Instead of weakly pleading for pardon, he boldly, and yet
calmly, faced his torturers in their tribunal.

> Being interrogated, he gave details of his life, and expositions
> of his philosophy. He spoke of the universe, of the infinite
> worlds in infinite space, of the divinity in all things, of the
> unity of all things, the dependence and inter-dependence of all
> things, and of the existence of God in all.

He was carried to Rome, and there he passed eight years in
dungeons and torture-chambers. On the 17th February, in the year
1600, the fiendish engine of the Inquisition finally struck its
victim. Hearing his sentence of death, Bruno said, "You, oh
judges, feel perchance, more terror in pronouncing this judgment,
than I do in hearing it."

Rome was full of pilgrims from all parts, come to celebrate the
jubilee of Pope Clement VIII. Bruno was hardly fifty years old
at this time; his face was thin and pale, with dark, fiery eyes;
the forehead luminous with thought, his body frail, and bearing
the signs of torture; his hands in chains, his feet bare, he
walked with slow steps in the early morning towards the funeral
pile. Brightly shone the sun, and the flames leaped upwards and
mingled with his ardent rays; Bruno stood in the midst with his
arms crossed, his head raised, and his eyes open. When all was
consumed, a monk took a handful of the ashes and scattered them
in the wind. A month later, the Bishop of Sidonia presented
himself at the treasury of the Pope and demanded two scudi in
payment for having degraded Fra Giordano the heretic!

Not less remarkable than the purity and heroism of his life was
the grandeur and nobleness of his philosophy.

> He taught that everything in Nature has a soul, one universal
> mind penetrates and moves all things; the world itself is a
> SACRUM ANIMAL. Nothing is lost, but all transmutes and becomes.
>
> The primal idea of Pythagoras, which Bruno worked out to a more
> distinct development, is this: numbers are the beginnings of
> things; numbers are the cause of the existence of material
> things; they are not final, but are always changing position and
> attributes; they are variable and relative. Beyond and above
> this mutability, there must be the Immutable, the All, the One.
>
> The Infinite must be one, as one is the absolute number; in the
> original One is contained all numbers; in the One is contained
> all the elements of the Universe.
>
> One is the perfect number; it is the primitive monad. As from
> the One proceeds the infinite series of numbers that again
> withdraw and are resolved into the One; so from Substance, which
> is one, proceed the myriads of worlds; from the worlds proceed
> myriads of living creatures; and from the union of one with the
> diverse is generated the Universe. Hence the progression from
> ascent to descent, from spirit to that which we call matter; from
> the cause to the origin, and the process of metaphysics, which,
> from the finite world of sense rises to the intelligent, passing
> through the intermediate numbers of infinite substance to active
> being and cosmic reason.
>
> From the absolute One, the sum of the sensible and intellectual
> world, millions of stars and suns are produced and developed.
> Each sun is the center of as many worlds that are distributed in
> as many distinct series, in an infinite number of concentric
> centers and systems. Each system is attracted, repelled, and
> moved by an infinite eternal passion or attraction; each turns
> round its own center, and moves in a spiral towards the center of
> the whole, towards which center they all tend with infinite
> passionate ardor. For in this center resides the sun of suns,
> the unity of unities, the temple, the altar of the universe, the
> sacred fire of Vesta, the vital principle of the Universe.
>
> That which occurs in the world of stars is reflected in the
> telluric world; everything has its center, towards which it is
> attracted with fervor. All is thought, passion, and aspiration.
>
> From this unity that governs variety, from this movement of every
> world around its sun, of every sun around its center sun -- the
> sun of suns -- that informs all with the rays of the spirit, with
> the light of thought -- is generated the perfect harmony of
> colors, sounds, and forms. That which in the heavens is harmony
> becomes, in the individual, morality, and in companies of human
> beings, law. That which is light in the spheres becomes
> intelligence and science in the world of spirit and of humanity.
>
> Through the revolution of the worlds through space around their
> suns, from their order, constancy, and measure, the mind
> comprehends the progress and conditions of men, and their duties
> towards each other, the Bible, the sacred book of man, is in the
> heavens; there does man find written the word of God.
>
> Human souls are lights, distinct from the universal soul, which
> is diffused over all, and penetrates everything. A purifying
> process guides them from one existence to another, from one form
> to another, from one world to another. The life of man is more
> than an experience or trial; it is an effort, a struggle to
> reproduce and represent upon earth some of that goodness, beauty,
> and truth, which are diffused over the universe and constitute
> its harmony. Long, slow, and full of opposition is this
> educational process of the soul. Through struggle is man
> educated, fortified, and raised.
>
> Through the midst of cataclysms and revolutions, humanity has one
> guiding star, a beacon that shows its light above the storms and
> tempests, a mystical thread running through the labyrinth of
> history -- the religion of philosophy and of thought. The vulgar
> creeds would not and have not dared to reveal the Truth in its
> purity and essence. They covered it with veils and allegories,
> with myths and mysteries, which they called sacred; they
> enshrouded thought with a double veil, and called it Revelation.
> Humanity, deceived by a seductive form, adored the veil, but did
> not lift itself up to the idea behind it; it saw the shadow, not
> the light.
>
> Speaking of the Immortality of the Soul, Bruno maintained that
> nothing in the universe is lost, but rather everything changes
> and transforms. The soul transmigrates, and drawing round itself
> atom to atom, it reconstructs for itself a new body. The spirit
> that moves all things is one; everything differentiates according
> to the different forms and bodies in which it operates.
>
> In place of the so-called Christian perfections (resignation,
> devotion, and ignorance), Bruno put intelligence and the progress
> of the intellect in the world of physics, metaphysics, and
> morals. The true aim was illumination, the true morality the
> practice of justice, the true redemption the liberation of the
> soul from error, its elevation and union with God upon the wings
> of thought.

This idea is fully developed in "Gli Eroici Furori," to which, in
the present translation, we refer our readers. In the works of
this noble philosopher and hero, we find all that is vital in the
Secret Doctrine of the ages; and more, we find a divine harmony
with the one truth, forever eternal in the heavens. When Bruno's
courage and dauntless bravery in the face of danger, torture, and
death are more clearly reflected in the present generation of
mystical thinkers, when they are more ready to emulate his
earnestness, sincerity, and unflinching resolution, then we shall
have less hesitation than at present in calling this martyr-hero
a "Theosophist."

------------------------------------------------------------------
THE WORLD'S TROUBLE AND ITS CURE

By G. de Purucker

[From WIND OF THE SPIRIT, pages 81-84.]

What is the trouble with the world today? It is this: the
desperate desires that men have to make other men accept their
views. That was and has been the trouble with the Occident since
the downfall of Paganism. It was the scandal of the Christian
Church -- and I say it with reverence for the many noble hearts
that have lived in and brightened that Church with their lives.
The great fault of men from the time of the downfall of Rome in
all the European countries, and in these two continents of ours,
has been the desperate effort of men to force other men to think
as they do -- in religion, in politics, in society, it matters
not what.

This has lighted the pyres of the martyrs. This has sent
murdering, marauding bands out for the killing of other men.
This has made and signed treaties, and imposed them on nations.
This troubles us today. You see it everywhere. You see it even
in countries at peace. You see it in our social relations among
us. Western men and women do not seem to be happy unless they
are trying with more or less success to impose their will upon
others, their thoughts, their ideas of what is right: the way the
world should be run, the way things should be done, and
especially the way other men should believe and feel. When you
realize how greatly we men value the sanctuary of our own hearts,
the freedom of our own lives, and our right to think freely, you
can see how tragic the consequences always are.

Why, I have seen the same evil strain running even through the
minds of Theosophists who seem to think other Theosophists are
all on the wrong path because they do not accept THEIR opinions.
Theosophically, this is simply repeating the same old evil desire
to make the other fellow think as you do.

Now, try as you may, you cannot completely succeed in this. You
can kill men. You can shackle their bodies. You can defile and
distort their minds and their hearts, but you cannot enchain the
human soul. It will break free. Then the same old tragedy
repeats. It is pathetic, and the pathos of it lies mainly not so
much in the great human suffering brought about but in the
immense loss to humankind of the treasures repressed and defeated
in the hearts and minds of others. Think! what is more beautiful
than for a man to study the mind of his friend or his fellow, to
bring out what is there, to see it grow, to see unfolded the
treasuries of thought? This is productive. The other is
destructive. The one enriches the treasuries of human thought
and human feeling; it brings about gentleness, peace, and
mildness in men's dealings with each other. The other brings
about hatred, suspicion, and a seething resentment and urge to
throw off the slavery of imposed beliefs, ideas, or forms.

Do you know why all this happens? It is simply because men, most
of them, are unensouled. I do not mean they have no souls; but
their souls are not active, working, nor productive. They are
asleep. Thus, men and women mostly live like human animals; in
fact, worse; because animals are governed more or less by an
instinct that holds some measure of respect for other animals;
but men have planning and tricky minds, and when planning and
tricky minds are endowed with reason, we have tyranny, religious,
social, political, any kind. We have, I say, tyranny: the
attempt by minority, or by majority, or the one upon the many, or
the many upon the one, to impose ideas and thoughts and modes of
conduct to which the others must submit, and we call that the
"freedom of the Occident!"

Freedom! One of heaven's most blessed gifts and the one that we
Occidentals have most outrageously abused, for we have considered
that to gain freedom is the causing of other men to accept our
beliefs, is the obliging of other men to accept our institutions
and our ways of doing things. The result is the crushing down of
the flowering of millions of human souls that otherwise would
have produced abundantly, brought forth nobly their contribution
to the enrichment of our common human treasury.

Am I revolutionary in these ideas? Never. For that would be just
myself trying to repeat the moral crimes I speak of, trying to
impose my views upon others. Evolutionary? Yes! Appealing to
human hearts and minds always to remember that they can never be
ultimately happy, produce their best, or allow their fellowmen to
produce their best, if they fight others. It never has worked.
It never will. It is against the laws of human nature. It is
against all the laws of psychology, both the higher and the
lower. It is a man's duty to obey the laws of his country. No
matter what country it is, no matter what laws it may have, as
long as he lives in it, he should be obedient to its laws. Let
him in his own life be an example of an ensouled man. If he dies
a martyr in the cause of justice, the world will hear of his
example and it will be, like the old Christian said, "the Seed of
the Church," for it is a curious fact in human psychological
thought, that even though a man die in a poor cause it is a seed
of propaganda.

The greatest wisdom in human life as taught by the Masters of
Wisdom is sympathy for the souls of men, and making your own life
an example of what you preach: justice, brotherly love, sympathy,
pity, compassion, helpfulness, and refraining from doing any
unjust act to whomsoever it may be. Others will follow your
example because you will stand out like a beacon light on a dark
night.

When I as Leader of the Theosophical Society first took office, I
said to myself, Power, great and far-reaching, is now in your
left hand. The chance to exercise compassion and wisdom in the
completion of what you believe to be your duty lies in your
right. Is your administration going to be such that when you are
called Home those who knew you and worked with you can say of you
honestly, "He tried to live in his own life what he is preaching
to us?"

That is the ideal; and I shall always hold it before me as an
ideal. For I have found, and I found it even in my boyhood, that
the most interesting thing in human association, in the human
relations, in the give and take of daily life, is the bringing
out of what the other man has within him, wants to show, and
wants to express. It is fascinating; and the quickest way to
kill that, to check its growth, is to impose your ideas on him.
For then you kill something wondrously beautiful; you bring about
the destruction of the noblest thing in human life, instead of
sympathetically aiding in its flowering. It is a crime to do
this. Contrariwise, if you can bring out what is within a man's
soul, you can enrich him and yourself, both. This is the essence
of real leadership. It means leading the hearts of men. It
means bringing out the best in others, so that they themselves
come to love the beauty thus brought forth, and become fired with
enthusiasm. To impose ideas on others is tyranny.

We are living under a rule of force; there are forcible
repressions everywhere. You know what that means in mechanics.
Similarly does the crushing of the aspirations of the human soul,
the forcing down of what must come out some day, produce
explosions. Can you wonder that the greatest men who have ever
lived have taught us that the way to peace and happiness and
growth and prosperity and riches and all the good things of life
is Love and Justice? Love for the souls of men, sympathy for the
souls of men; doing not unto others as you would not that they
should do unto you -- this negative form is the wiser one. Doing
unto others what you would they should do unto you -- "saving the
souls of men" -- is a rule that admits of the abuses of ignorance
and fanaticism.

Put it in the positive form if you like. Treat others as you
want others to treat YOU, and by and by, you will grow to see the
flowering of their and your ideals. A man who does this is an
ensouled man: one in whom the qualities of the soul predominate;
who loves because love is beautiful; one who, enriching the life
of his fellows, enriches his own life; one who treats others
generously and gives to others the first chance. This is not
only chivalrous, but it increases one's own power and strength,
for it requires willpower to do this continuously. It is a
process of ensouling oneself ever more. The greatest men in the
world have been the most ensouled in this sense. They are those
whose hearts have held the most love, whose minds have been the
keenest, the quickest, the strongest, the manliest; whose ethical
sense has been the most subtle, the most quick, the firmest.
They are those who have refused to impose their will upon others,
but instead have led forth the beauty in the souls of others.

Therefore, in my judgment if men and women would follow the
simple rule of ceasing to try to impose their views on other men,
ninety-nine percent of the world's misery, suffering, bloodshed,
crime, and would cease, for the rule runs through all human
relationships.

------------------------------------------------------------------
SIMON MAGUS

By Geoffrey West

[From THE ARYAN PATH, July 1932, pages 468-72.]

Apollonius had at least a biographer, and a friendly one; his
contemporary, Simon the Magician, had only discreditors,
controversial antagonists concerned to destroy his influence by
decrying his character and his creed. The Early Christian
Fathers named him the first heretic, sponsor of a powerful and
dangerous Gnosticism, and in an age of bitter rivalry, when
charge and counter-charge were the accepted missiles of
theological discussion, they excelled themselves to paint in him
the first lineaments of Antichrist. What we know of him, we know
in spite of his enemies, and in such a case we are bound to take
the man they give us, study him in his completeness, and then,
conscious of their prejudice, strip away the obvious intention,
the purely negative detraction, and estimate what remains, the
positive personality and teaching, at its worth.

Simon, we are told, was a native of Samaria, born in the village
of Gitta some score of miles from the city of Caesarea, probably
a few years before the commencement of the Christian era. He
studied in Alexandria, and there became so proficient in magic as
the favored pupil of a teacher of the Hemerobaptist school (a
sect of the Essenes much influenced by Gentile learning) that on
his master's death, he vindicated his claim to the vacant chair
by a marvelous display of his powers. Before 38 AD, he had
returned to Samaria and by demonic aid gained such notoriety as a
holy man and magician that it was said of him, "This man is that
power of God which is called Great."

About this time, came into Samaria, Philip the evangelist making
many converts. Simon himself saw no more in Christianity than
yet another sect with magic powers he might add to his own, and
to that end became Philip's disciple. Next came Peter and John,
bringing the Holy Ghost to the converted by the laying on of
hands, and Simon in his impatience offered them money to initiate
him to their full knowledge. Peter replied with righteous
indignation, "Thy silver perish with thee, because thou hast
thought to obtain this gift of God with money. Thou hast neither
part nor lot in this matter; for thy heart is not right before
God." Simon perceived his error and repented, begging, "Pray ye
for me to the Lord, that none of the things which ye have spoken
come upon me."

His repentance, if sincere, was short-lived. Mortification
followed; he "shed vain tears" and sought vengeance against the
faith that had rejected him. Very soon he had regained his
independent prestige in Samaria, and in the reign of Claudius was
winning fame and followers in Rome, so astonishing the citizens
by his marvelous powers that they too named him a god and set up
a golden pillar or statue in his honor.

He was now companioned by a Phoenician prostitute bought in a
brothel at Tyre, claiming divine honors for them both, in order,
it is alleged, to conceal from his own disciples the true nature
of their licentious relationship. Himself he declared to be the
power of God which had appeared in Samaria as the Father, to the
Jews as the Son (that is, in the person of Jesus), and to the
Gentiles as the Holy Spirit. His companion Helen he named "the
first conception of his Mind, the Mother of all, by whom in the
beginning he conceived in his Mind the making of the Angels and
Archangels," and who at his will had descended to the Lower
Regions to generate these Powers by whom the world was made;
whereupon they detained her there, unwilling to be thought "the
progeny of another," so that "she suffered every kind of
indignity at their hands to prevent her re-ascending to her
Father, even to being imprisoned in the human body and
transmigrating into other female bodies, as from one vessel into
another."

It was at once to save her and to bring knowledge to men that he
had come into the world. He claimed to speak with an authority
higher than that of the prophets, whose instructors were, he
said, the rebellious angels of the left-hand path. Evil was not
of God but of the world. Therefore, whosoever believed in him
and in Helen were freed from the laws of the prophets to follow
their own hearts -- wherefore he and his followers were charged
with witchcraft and immorality. They were idolaters who, it was
declared, gave foreign or "barbarous" names to their powers and
gods.

His final defeat was brought about by Peter at Rome in the reign
of Nero, despite his magic powers, which, demon-born, were
phenomenal. He could cast off prison chains, fly through the
air, change his form, cause statues to laugh and walk, and
perform acts of divination. Peter routed him by threatening to
question the soul of a murdered boy he had enslaved for magic
purposes, and he fled to Tyre and beyond. Again, they met in
Rome, and Simon boastfully erected a wooden tower from which to
ascend to heaven in a chariot of fire. At the critical moment,
Peter uttered a prayer so vehement that the terrified demons
abandoned their burden and incontinently fled, so that "the
miserable fellow fell down and died."

Another account, however, reveals him ending his career preaching
peacefully to his disciples from under a plane tree, and
displaying especial skill in the "artful misinterpretation" of
the Scriptures, presenting them not as revealed truth but an
allegory of dual-natured humanity struggling everlastingly toward
the Divine. Even here, presumption overcame him, for he
compelled his followers to bury him alive that he might rise on
the third day -- since when, as the commentator triumphantly
recorded, the world has seen him no more!

After his death, his followers were declared to worship him and
Helen in the form of statues of Zeus and Athene, but naming them
only Lord and Lady, and casting out any who addressed them
personally "as one ignorant of the mysteries."

Thus far the life presented by the Christians. How much of it
can we accept? The birth at Gitta, surely, for all that we can
gather of Simon's teaching shows him the pupil of the masters of
the oral tradition in Samaria, in those days notably the
meeting-ground of Jewish learning with Hellenic paganism and the
older faiths of Syria and Phoenicia. His Alexandrian sojourn
too, for he possessed that breadth of knowledge and
understanding, that cosmopolitan syncretism, those recurrent
hints of Hindu and Buddhist learning, which especially marked the
students of that great city of the Serapeum.

It is impossible to resist the conjecture, indeed, that whosoever
may have been his especial teacher, he also came powerfully under
the influence of the great Philo. That he had followers in Rome
as well as in Samaria is clear. Beyond these things, we fall
into conjecture and often into plain contradiction. Was a statue
ever set up to him in Rome? Did he claim to be a reembodiment of
Jesus? Was Helen an actual woman? We cannot say, but a study of
the last problem at least suggests a significant possibility.

Fortunately, we can discern the main outlines of his teaching,
thanks principally to the unknown author of the PHILOSOPHUMENA,
who evidently had before him as he wrote (in the early third
century) a copy of the works either of Simon or his immediate
followers. His quotations are in fact the only authentic
Simonian writings of which we have record, all else being burnt
by the victorious Christians. It is, to put it at its lowest, a
remarkable teaching, the system not only of a profound
philosopher but a man of wide knowledge, a synthesis of the
wisdom of East and West, strongly influenced by Jewish Kabbalism,
and absolutely theosophical in form, tenor, and implication.

> I say there are many gods, but one God of all these gods,
> incomprehensible and unknown to all . . . My belief is that
> there is a Power of immeasurable and ineffable Light, whose
> greatness is held to be incomprehensible, a Power that the maker
> of the world does not know." That is the Unmanifested Root, the
> Great Silence, which, "producing itself by itself, manifested to
> itself its own Thought.

Thus from the Silence the Word, the Spirit moving on the Waters,
and from this manifested Monad the active Duad: Mind which is the
Soul or male principle; and Thought, the Spirit or female
principle, descending to bring into being the Angels and Powers
that in turn are the makers of the world, sinking downward at
last to the lowest depths of material manifestation, thence again
to rise upward at the behest of beckoning Soul, retracing the
long pathway towards perfection.

This drama of descent and return is absolutely embodied in the
Simon-Helen relationship, as declared in the reported words of
Simon himself. Must we suppose that he deliberately invented or
adopted this profound aeonology merely to conceal a sensual
relationship with a wanton woman? His moral teachings accord with
no such hypothesis. To declare evil "not in nature but
institution," and thus set those who have found spiritual truth
above the law, is not to abrogate morality, as the Christians
ignorantly charged; it is but to proclaim the greater truth that
true morality springs not from exterior social compulsion but
from the inner nature, and that only such morality has spiritual
significance.

His doctrine of universal correlation by correspondence and
analogy, seeing Man as the Microcosm embodying the potentialities
of the all-inclusive Macrocosm, thus setting salvation in
self-knowledge and a certitude of unity with God, points to a
life of study and self-examination; while his insistence that the
way to so-called magical power must be by the right-hand path of
discipline and self-purification scarcely suggests the
personality of a necromancer intent upon material satisfactions.

Simon in his own day was noted for his allegorical interpretation
of the scriptures. Recalling this, and having regard for the
foregoing facts, may we not ask whether what confronts us here is
not a clear case of unimaginative, literal-minded critics blindly
or deliberately reading a purely personal meaning into what was
put forward as a figurative account of the nature and creation of
the world, making for their own ignoble purposes a woman from a
familiar symbol, and in a most literal sense prostituting a great
and universal truth to be a lie and a calumny?

If Simon indeed claimed godship, then why did his followers
thrust out from their communion, as "ignorant," those who
addressed his image by his name? Was it not that they consciously
approached divinity rather through than in him? Seize this truth,
and even the contradictory charge of Irenaeus that "he allowed
himself to be called by whatever name men pleased" glows with a
sudden unexpected significance as the word of a teacher who
behind the Many had discerned the One, and who must seek, as
Simon in fact did, to interpret the scriptures of all nations in
accordance with a timeless universal knowledge effective for all
men in every age.

Simon has been too often named the founder of Gnosticism -- a
view no longer tenable. Gnosticism, even in its special Jewish
form, dates back some centuries before the Christian era, and
even without Simon's Alexandrian additions, its fundamental
theosophical likeness is unmistakable. It is a very ancient
tradition we glimpse in the charge against his followers that
they gave "barbarous" names to the gods and powers -- a hint,
surely, of that untranslatable "sacred dialect" or "mystery
language" said to have been taught originally by the gods
themselves to the ancient Egyptians!

Take the recorded details of Simon's life and teaching, strip
away the evident or probable controversial additions,
distortions, and calumnies, and one is left with a teaching of
profundity, coherence, and theosophical content, with a man of
great learning, pure life, and spiritual understanding. Whether
he was a "magician," or even claimed to be, who can tell? The
feats attributed to him clearly do not sort with his teaching,
and may well be ignorant or malicious invention, designed to show
the greater powers of the apostles. It is doubtful whether we
can even believe the story related in the Acts. If Simon did
seek to buy spiritual powers with money, then he deserved all
condemnation. But the problem remains whether a man of such
evident spiritual knowledge as his teachings display could, under
any circumstances, make such an elementary error. It is
certainly sufficiently improbable to make us wonder whether it
can be regarded even as an open question.

------------------------------------------------------------------
THE JUNE TIME OF THE OCCULTIST

By Mary R. Shippey

[From LUCIFER, September 15, 1888, pages 41-44, from a paper read
before the Lotus Theosophical Society, Michigan, on June 12,
1888.]

Consider these three statements:

* The man or woman absorbed in the duties inseparable from family
  ties cannot become an Occultist.

* To become an Occultist, one must test all experiences and know
  them.

* To neglect any duty to family, home, friends, or country is to
  obstruct hopelessly one's progress at the very outset.

Such in essence are some of the most emphatic and explicit
teachings of those who speak with authority on matters pertaining
to Occultism; and while in each separate statement we
instinctively recognize truth, yet taken collectively there is
apparent conflict between them. Let us see whether the conflict
is more than apparent, or whether like with many seeming
contradictions, we might transmute and blend these statements may
be transmuted and blended into one harmonious truth by the
alchemy of intuition.

Does not the difficulty of reconciling these, as well as most of
the propositions of Occultism, arise from a tendency to regard
its teachings from one side only -- the blossom side of life? We
delight in the flower, and with the human short-sightedness that
prevents our seeing that with all its beauty and fragrance, it
is, after all, only a hint -- only a promise; held by the fear
that is almost conviction, that in the blossom as a blossom
merely, lies all of sweetness we shall ever realize, are we not
too often found clinging tenaciously to it long after its petals
should have been borne away on the wings of' aspiration? For,
before the fruit can begin to form, the blossom MUST fall.

And yet the blossom-stage of existence is not to be undervalued
in importance, or regarded as a mere idle playtime; for it is
here, amid sunshine and shower, soft breezes and tempests, that
the ego learns its most essential lessons; for who can doubt that
in order to rightly measure the heights and depths of that
miniature universe called "I," we must personally experience all
that the "I" is capable of experiencing. To understand the heart
of childhood, we must sometimes be children. To know all the
possibilities of manhood and womanhood, we must sometimes be men
and women. To realize all the depth and meaning of human love,
we must sometimes be lovers, husbands, wives, fathers, and
mothers.

Yet, valuable and necessary as we must admit this experiential
knowledge to be, is there anything to be gained by aimless and
indefinite repetition of our experiments? Because I have found it
profitable at certain stages of my evolution to be a child, a
man, a woman, a father, or a mother, must I perforce admit the
necessity or wisdom of being any one of these tomorrow, or ever
again? Of what value is an experience that is merely to be
repeated? Of what use was yesterday's lesson if from it we have
not gathered something that makes it possible for us to learn a
larger one today?

To TEST all experiences is not sufficient. We must test all
experiences and know them, i.e., we must test them
understandingly.

The actual trial of childhood is of no avail if I have not
learned out of it to exercise a child-like trust in the divine,
all-fostering love that watches protectively over me and provides
for all my needs.

Whither has vanished the essence of my childish lessons in
obedience, if I cannot unquestioningly and joyfully submit to
that Omnipotence that sweeps up and bears along my little human
will, as a great wind catches the baby breath that so confidently
thinks to blow its shining bubble up to the very clouds?

How am I wiser or better for being a man the other day, unless I
gathered up and made my own the knowledge to be acquired by the
use and understanding of manhood's highest gifts and powers?
Having so gathered up, and wisely appropriated, will it profit
the human race or me anything simply to become a man again and
prove what I have so well proved before?

Why should we become lovers and husbands except that we may be
led to cherish reverence and comprehend that other half of our
natures so difficult to grasp and solve; so fascinatingly
mysterious;—so provokingly elusive;—so like, yet so UNLIKE to the
selves we THINK we know. Or why wives, except that we may learn
deep heart-lessons of devotion, of divine patience, and
tenderness?

What other condition than that of womanhood with its physical
disability for active and positive expression of inherent power,
would afford such opportunity for the practical understanding and
demonstration of that silent negative force in nature that
produces such mighty results in the physical and psychical world?

If from the experience of fatherhood I have not learned to use
the power I wield for the protection and good instead of the
destruction and harm of every little helpless thing that appeals
to my care, what has the "Great Orphan -- Humanity" gained by my
individual trial of that phase of experience. Having so learned,
why should I go back and repeat the lesson all over again?

It is a beautiful thing to be a mother, to give of one's life to
a child, to nurture it from the very fountain of one's being, to
cradle, soothe, and reassure it in the first beginnings of life
in a strange environment; to watch over and so direct its
physical and intellectual unfoldment that it shall round out into
symmetrical maturity. Verily, it is a sacred thing to be even a
merely human mother.

What purpose does such an experience serve if from it we catch no
hint of the divine possibilities of motherhood? Instead of
exaggerating the importance of mere maternity; instead of
narrowing the circle of our devotion down to the little group of
beings we call OURS; with an intense if slightly extended
selfishness, -- serving our own because they ARE our own; -- is
it not a more beautiful thing -- aye, a more divinely NATURAL
thing -- to feel that tender, pitying mother-love for all created
things?

To reach out yearning arms, to cradle on our breasts, to brood
over, to comfort and encourage every weak, piteous, crying soul
that puts out helpless hands and appeals to our mother instinct.
Ah, this is motherhood indeed! Having attained to its sublime
expression, shall we go back and vainly repeat the little lessons
through the understanding of which our hearts were unfolded to
the first, faint conception of its meaning!

What conclusion can we draw from these truths, self-evident to an
aspirant for Occultism? It is that having made actual trial of
the various conditions pertaining to human life; having tested
each and all of them in the crucible of understanding, casting
away the residuum and appropriating only the pure essence of the
experience, the ego comes at last to a point where, for him,
experience of this kind is no longer necessary.

Let him beware lest he fall into a grievous error. Having gained
good from his experience, let him not be deceived into thinking
the good was IN the experience itself, and thereby tempted to
return and repeat the trials from which he can never again
extract anything of value. Here the watchword of life must
emphatically be, "Look forward and not back."

What, say you, are the signs by which the individual may know he
has reached this point in his development? They are many and
plain. When some day he awakens to an uneasy self-consciousness,
to discover himself out of harmony with his life and kind: when
the objects that engross the attention of others, excite but
slight interest in his mind: when he finds himself unable to
enter with zest upon the ordinary ventures of human life, because
he can so easily forecast the issue and feels that the gain is
not worth the effort: then let him pause and try if he can solve
the meaning of this strange unfitness to his environment.

If he but pause long enough, and listen deep enough, he will
catch the import of that small voice trying to impart to him the
first faint glimmering of knowledge beyond mere human ken. He is
ready now -- though he knows it not -- for the initial step in
Occultism. Here is the critical point in the evolution of the
ego; a point where he must make a decisive and voluntary choice
-- a choice involving a crucial test of the courage and the faith
acquired in his various life-ventures.

Courage of no ordinary kind or degree is required for us to
relinquish voluntarily our hold upon the beauty and sweetness we
know and love to enter upon the weary time of waiting between the
flower and the fruit. Only by the unwavering light of a fixed,
luminous faith can we detect all and more than the charm of the
blossom in the hard, colorless, scentless thing that follows
close upon its shedding.

It is not strange that here the disciple should shrink and
falter, perchance refusing to advance further until he is borne
along by the resistless rush of some mighty wave of progress. In
his hand are the blossoms whose sweetness he has tested. If he
lets them flutter from his grasp, there remains to his perception
nothing but the meaningless, unbeautiful things whose
possibilities he has yet to prove by long heart-breaking suspense
and waiting, with no ray from the light of previous experience to
cheer the darkness of this era. Be it remembered, this is the
beginning of a new cycle of existence. It is the entering upon a
new condition of being as much as the first essay of the ego into
human life.

The metal of the spirit is tried fairly now. Will the disciple,
having come so far, muster all his faith and courage, and
flinging the blossom from him, go forward into untried ways with
no familiar grace and enchanting fragrance to soothe and cheer
him, trusting the dim, far-off goal will be worth the daring and
the sacrifice? Or will he linger with the springtime of
existence, treading the well-worn pathways with their familiar
milestones and pleasant, shady resting-places; although from the
height to which he has climbed, the beginning and the end are at
once discernible?

If he dares to choose the new, who shall say what his reward
shall be? If he lingers with the old, what awaits him but final
weariness of sweets grown insipid by too oft-repeated tasting,
and at last despair at the inevitable discovery that human life
is an aimless round of vain repetitions, leading nowhere, and
coming to no conclusion?

Fellow disciples, let us not hesitate. Ours is the opportunity,
ours the goal. Let us bravely choose to forego for a while the
sweetness of the flower, firmly trusting that the day is
hastening to meet us wherein we shall realize all the fragrance,
all the sweetness, all the beauty of the blossom concentrated,
expanded, and glorified in the fully ripened fruit.

------------------------------------------------------------------
TEACHERS AND DISCIPLES, Part I

By G. de Purucker

[From THE ESOTERIC OR ORIENTAL SCHOOL: STEPS IN THE INITIATORY
CYCLE, pages 29-37.]

Communicating the Fire of the Spirit

No matter how high you stand on the ladder of evolution, even as
high as the gods, there is always one other just ahead of you,
one who knows more than you; and ahead of him there is a
constantly ascending range of entities progressively greater as
they expand into the distance of the abysses of cosmic
consciousness. Even the gods need leadership; the super-gods
also have leaders. Leadership is in accordance with the cosmic
law.

There is always a greater than the greatest we know of or that
can be conceived of at any time. Every planet has its Silent
Watcher, who is the spiritual chief, the supreme head, of that
spiritual hierarchy controlling that planet's destinies. The
hierarchical stream is Nature's basic framework. The
hierarchical structure exists also in out Holy Order because it
is copied after and upon Nature's basic structure. None of us is
without a Teacher. None of us is the highest over all others
with none above him, for there is the infinite Universe above
him.

The value of the Teacher is that he first destroys childish
self-confidence and in its place puts reverence for truth. The
Teacher instills lessons of truth. He awakens the hunger for
more light. He guides the weak and vacillating footsteps of the
Babes -- neophytes and aspirants whatever their degree -- who are
weak on the pathway leading to the Heart of the Universe. He is
the guardian and custodian of the Ancient Wisdom, sworn to
preserve it in secrecy and in silence, until someone knocks at
the portals of his heart with the right knock. He in turn
receives light from another higher than he; and so on along the
Golden Chain forever. Therefore is your philosophy rightly named
in the Occident, Theosophia -- the Wisdom of the Gods --
transmitted to you men along the Golden Chain of Mercury, the
interpreter, from high to low, from Gods to men.

In our Order, the rule is that we receive, and we are sworn to
give as we have received and not otherwise. We receive from One
who has sworn to give as he received, and not otherwise. This
line of teaching extends from the neophyte through the Sons of
the Sun along the Mercurial Chain to the neophyte's parent-star
-- and beyond.

No one can communicate a truth without loss. The Teacher gives
and loses, for such is Nature's rigid law. Not only does he stop
his own evolutionary progress; not only does he become
responsible to those and for those to whom he gives, for he sways
their life and therefore their destiny: but, understand it if ye
can and receive it if ye may: teaching is death. Strange
paradox! Yet, even the tree produces not its fruit except at the
expenditure of its own vitality; and some beings in Nature wear
themselves out with giving. Such is the law. The ultimate
results will be for the giver compensation beyond the reach of
human imagination; but it comes only after many ages. As ye have
received, ye too, when the time comes, must be prepared to give.

You remember what is said in the Christian New Testament,
referring to Jesus. The Jesus-story is a mystic legend, but it
is a legend embodying esoteric truths; and here is one of them:
that the communication of the fire of the spirit kills the one
who gives it and gives life to the one who receives. You should
know this: Imparting of instructions from a Teacher means death,
reward coming only after long ages. Very little indeed can be
said about it, for it involves a great mystery.

The little that I dare to tell you is this: It means first that
his life is a living death. Understand it as ye will and
interpret it as ye may or can. It refers also to the fact that
no esoteric teaching can ever be given by word of mouth or by the
written or printed character without causing a drain upon the
physical vitality of the teacher, which is but a copy of the
drain upon the intellectual part of his being.

The whole story of Jesus the Christ, as outlined in the Christian
Mystery-tale, is based upon the fact that the Teacher gives up
his life in order to save his brothers. Further, he renounces
all chances of individual progress for the time being. Here
again is another paradox. This is so because he puts himself
beyond the pale of the esoteric law that says that no teachings
shall leave the circle. Strange mystery!

Companions, mystery is piled upon mystery in these things. The
situation is tragic. The attempt to explain merely involves an
appeal to other mysteries; and yet it is no wonder that the rules
governing our teachings are so strict. For you cannot teach
these deep mysteries of the inner side of natural being and of
spiritual being without at least pointing to other doors and all
you can say is: There lies the key. Go, open the door yourself.
For none can enter except you -- that means each one of you. I
cannot enter for you. You cannot enter for a brother. You may
ask, "What has all this to do with the question that teaching
esotericism means death?" I tell you, it has everything to do
with it. Understand it if ye can. Thus have I received. Thus
must I give. It is true.

Katherine Tingley has compared the failure to give as we have
received to water that becomes stagnant when not carried off, and
that thus breeds death. Yes, it not only breeds death, but moral
disease. Ye who have received love and compassion, will you lock
it up in your own hearts and hold it fast, or will ye be like the
sun shedding its glory on all? It is the duty of the Teacher to
teach. He must teach; otherwise, he faces the stern Lipika of
Destiny.

Let not the waters of love and compassion stagnate in your heart.
But while ye teach, ye die. Think. Remember that the most
beautiful thing, the holiest thing, in the world, is love. Love
that is impersonal and encompasses all; for love gives life, love
brings wisdom. But while you give out the treasures of your
heart, all the lower part of you dissolves away. Oh, how blessed
is Nature's law! Death, beautiful death! For it is life eternal.
But not eternal life for you as you are.

Every time that a Teacher communicates a doctrine to you, his
life goes with it; otherwise, it would make no impression on you,
on account of its lack of force and newness. He uses willpower,
expends it from the stock of his own being, in order to carry it
over to you; because the communication of a new doctrine, as you
must yourselves realize from your worldly experiences, is always
difficultly received. It takes a long time for a new idea to
penetrate into men's minds and to become familiar, to find a seat
and a home in the minds of men; and in order to overcome this,
soul-force has to be used, spiritual force; and this can never be
used on the mental or psychological or even physical plane
without death to the communicator -- not necessarily sudden
death, but death is the reward the Teacher ultimately receives.
Gratitude is always given by those who seek to those who
communicate light.

It is not selfishness in the disciple to receive, because the
Messenger is here to give and to work and to die; furthermore to
live a living death; and he does this because his work, his
message, MUST BE CARRIED OVER; and it is the duty of the faithful
disciple to receive with open mind and earnest heart and eager
intellect and as far as he can with an unveiled spiritual
perception. As a matter of fact, it is the highest and most
impersonal unselfishness; for the true pupil receives only to
give, and in his turn, he gives up his life in order that others
may live.

The Life of an Esoteric Teacher

The life of an Esoteric Teacher is not only a very difficult one,
but one beset with perils of which you know naught. He is in
some ways helpless. He needs your surrounding strength, guard,
and watch. If you give it, you will receive in turn treasures
more precious than anything on earth; for you will receive the
secrets of the Universe. You will be taught how to bring
yourselves to see: in seeing to understand, and in understanding,
yourselves to teach.

The Teacher is literally held back, a prisoner; but it is
something that a Teacher gladly undertakes for the sake of doing
good and helping others. He gives up his own progress and turns
backward on the path with outstretched hand to those following.
The worst thing that a Teacher has to meet is to see failure in
his disciples. That is terrible. The Teacher is held a prisoner
-- a prisoner of almighty love. For in the Buddhic Order, in our
own Holy Order, from first to last, we are taught that the
pathway to divinity is along the pathway of self-forgetful love
-- love for others, for all that is. It is love itself that is
the comfort and sustaining power that keeps the Teacher on the
difficult path he has chosen. But, Companions, how his heart
longs for freedom, for freedom and peace! Night and day, there is
the pull upwards, higher; and night and day there comes the quiet
whispering that fills the spaces of his soul.

> Not yet, not yet, not yet! Only when the least of these, my
> children, has attained, shall I pass out; only when the least has
> become what I am, shall I turn my face homewards again.

The world little knows what it receives in the silences from
human hearts that form a guardian wall around humanity, working
unknown through endless time. That, when all is said, is the
pathway of the Buddhas, the path to the gods.

No Teacher would ever permit his Chela to carry the weight of the
Teacher's own karmic burden; but the faithful-hearted Chela can
help very, very greatly indeed by devotion, by unending and
inflexible loyalty, by devoted love: can guard as well as serve;
and therein lies one of the great beauties of the chela's life --
the self-sacrifice for his Teacher for the world, even as the
Teacher sacrifices self to the Self Universal.

It is impossible, according to our law, for anyone who has
attained a certain stage, to possess for his personal profit any
worldly goods whatsoever. Such is the case of a Messenger. He
has his duty to perform for humanity and for the Society, and
uses his intelligence to make such appeal to the world as will
most properly conform to the best interests of the Society that
he leads and guides, and for that purpose, he has need to hold a
certain position before the world; but for himself, he has no
right to possess anything. He can hold property, any amount of
it; can control millions in his own name, if occasion arises; but
it is all for his work, and not one penny goes to his own profit.

Another vow is, should occasion ever arise, in order to protect
his work to which he has pledged all that you have pledged and
much more that you know not of, that he must give up his life
without a thought; and it matters not to him how the giving be
done.

It is the bounden duty of the Teacher to be the buffer, to be the
shock-absorber. It is his duty to take into his own breast every
envenomed dart aimed at the Work, if he can direct its course to
himself: unquestioningly, uncomplainingly, without
self-justification, carrying always the spirit of forgiveness and
love. He thus must receive all that comes against the Society
unto himself, to himself. That is his duty. The disciple
imitates the example of his Teacher, which is one of the best
ways of learning. He does his best to protect the Teacher. As
the Teacher is the buckler against outside attack, sacrificing
himself, if necessary, so likewise does the disciple soon come to
see, and in seeing come to love the thought that he or she too,
in following that example, follows the example set in the life of
the Buddha, set in the life of the Christ.

An Esoteric School member is bound by honor, even in his personal
life, to act in conformity only with that which will uphold his
Teacher and his Teacher's Work. He has pledged himself without
appeal. Nevertheless, there is a door out of the situation for
those who fail, and it is an honest and an open door; but it is
the back door. As regards members of the Theosophical Society, I
imagine, Companions, that you will feel as I have always felt,
when our beloved Katherine Tingley lived, and when our beloved
Judge lived, that a member of the Theosophical Society is in
honor bound to conduct himself or herself as a gentleman or as a
gentlewoman in following the ordinary and universally accepted
rules of honorable conduct, plus, perhaps, an affectionate regard
for the Leader of the Theosophical Society, whom, even although
the student be not a member of the Esoteric School, he must know
to have given up much for his work and therefore to be worthy at
least of whole-hearted, full-hearted, support and help.

But here let me utter a word of warning, please. So far as an
Esoteric School member is concerned, your pledges are taken on
your own most sacred word of honor. The appeal is made to the
Higher Self, who is your inner god; and it is really to this
inner god that you have pledged yourself -- to your Teacher also
as the representative Esoteric School official of our Chiefs.

In addition (and this to me is the most beautiful part of it
all), you have pledged yourself without appeal and forever to
stand by your Teacher and through him to stand by the Order of
the Masters of Wisdom and Compassion. To me, that pledge has
always been absolute.

While vitality can, in a certain sense of the word, be returned
by devotion and unquestioning love, there is perhaps a better
way, and that is to do your utmost to prevent the calling forth
of the strength of those whom you love. Every unnecessary call
upon the vitality -- spiritual, intellectual, or physical -- of
those we love, is unfair; particularly when, as in the case of
your Teachers, the entire life is gladly given for you; and more
than you know is given. You see but the garment of things, and
you know not what takes place on the other side of this garment,
which is but a veil. For this, none is to blame.

Thus, you see that you can greatly help your Teacher by
impersonal love, impersonal affection, a constant spirit of
kindliness towards him, and a desire to help impersonally. You
actually thus make a very powerful auric atmosphere around your
Teacher. It is a great help. Were it more impersonal, it were
better; it would be stronger. I should not say that any Esoteric
School Comrade is too weak to help in this. Everyone can help.
It is possible to surround a human being with an atmosphere of
gentle kindliness, thoughtfulness, and impersonal devotion, so
that this atmosphere will act, work, and in fact be a very wall
of protection against the insidious powers of the inner realms,
and these insidious powers are many.

A great part of the vitality of the Teachers whom you have had,
Companions, has been employed in protecting themselves against
the attacks from outside. This is very true. There is nothing
weird about it. It is simply a protection against the currents
of hatred and misunderstanding, and so forth, which flow from
human being to human being constantly in everyday life. This
goes on all the time. A kindly thought sent out towards some
other human being is a protection to that other, and it is a
beautiful thing to do. It is a human thing, a truly human thing,
and one that every normal human being loves to do. I suppose
that there are few things so satisfying to both heart and mind as
the feeling that today, at least, we have not been unkind in our
feelings or thoughts towards others, but have been helpful,
kindly, considerate, and impersonal. The same thoughts directed
to your Leader and Teacher are very helpful to him -- indeed
more, perhaps, than is realized by some.

In the Oriental School, the Chela understands, without ever being
taught it, that it is his duty to sacrifice everything for his
Teacher. Nothing wrong, nothing dishonorable, and nothing that
is not strictly upright and clean, honest and straightforward.
Every Chela understands that even as the Teacher is shielding him
against dangers the Chela knows not of, so do they, the Chelas,
shield the Teacher, and must do so, against dangers perhaps that
they themselves know not of. It is a very beautiful relationship
between Teacher and Disciple. An Oriental Disciple would
sacrifice his life without an instant's thought for his Teacher,
and yet never cast his life willfully or rashly away -- never.

More keenly than do those who love life with a passionate love --
far more so even than the sensualist, wretched human -- does the
Chela know that it is his duty to live and to work. There is a
higher duty. It is the unbreakable law of our Holy Order, and
that law is founded on the very fabric and structure of the
Universe, that everything lives for everything else and gives
itself for everything else ultimately. Those who know this truth
advance rapidly; and only those who have this impersonal
devotion, this devotion to the Teacher, understand even in small
degree what is called in our Order the shining of the Buddhic
Light, the shining of the Buddhic Splendor.

There is such a thing as iconolatry, the worship of images; and a
human image can be made just as much an idol as one of stone or a
graven one. Our Judge told you: Think of your Teacher as an
ideal for yourself to follow; and if your imagination is weak,
then try and find authentic statements about one or the other of
the Teachers given by one or the other of the Messengers; and
from these statements collated together and studied figurate to
yourself a mental picture rather than a physical one, a mental
picture of the Mahatma. Don't worship it, whether it be a
physical idol, a human idol, or a mental one.

Companions, look within. Learn to find the immortal god within
yourself. There is no Teacher so sublime. It is the pathway of
Chelaship. It is the pathway of initiation. It is the pathway
of evolution. It is the pathway to truth and unutterable peace
always.

Let me say here that hero-worship in itself is an ennobling
thing; therefore never kill it. Far better is it for a young man
so to revere his Teacher that his Teacher in his eyes seems
almost an incarnate god, than it is for him to cultivate the
spirit of skepticism and criticism, verging, if you will, into
the cheap witticisms of the witlings. Far nobler is the former.
Do you not see that true, impersonal love is clairvoyant,
wonderfully helpful, and wonderfully protective? Even if there be
the worship of the hero-heart, the hero-worship of the Teacher in
the mind, even that is not an evil thing. Cleanse it of all
personality; let it be impersonal and devoted. Then no harm is
done.

Our Holy Order is not a school for those that will not work. It
is unquestionably true that help, aid, and assistance is given
and received by teacher and pupil respectively among us; but the
very first lesson that you have to learn is that you come to
give, not to receive. It is more blessed to give than to
receive. Fill your heart with this thought. Let your mind grasp
its meaning, and you will soon discover unknown fountains of
strength in your own being.

She, he, who asks for help, knows not his own powers. Find them
and give. It is your teachers' duty to help. They live but to
help; but to help men to help themselves. The whole purpose of
initiation in our Order is to teach men to know themselves, to
develop their latent spiritual and intellectual powers, so that
they shall be givers, Sons of the Sun, instead of intellectual
and moral weaklings, constantly craving help like little
children.

Think less of receiving help; think more of helping others; and
you will forget yourself and be stronger than you ever realized
you could be. Oh! don't you know the strength that comes from
self-forgetfulness; for it is the very essence of impersonal
love; and when your heart is filled with this, you will need no
help; for the very god within you will manifest its sublime
splendor and transcendent power.

There are strange and wonderful things in the world, which only
the blindness and egoism of men prevent them from seeing and
learning about, and indeed knowing at first hand. There is no
bar to knowledge as great as that of the conviction that a thing
does not exist. Isn't this a paradoxical condition of the
Occidental mind! Men want to know things. They have an intuition
that certain things are true; and yet they are prevented from
seeing, and from knowing, and from learning, because the poor
brain-mind will not accept them.

If a man will not open his eyes, how can he expect to see?
Consider the world around us, how beautiful, how wonderful, it
is! Replete with mysteries at every turn! And all the researches
of modern science are but one attempt after another attempt to
penetrate behind the veil, not of outside Nature, but of one's
own consciousness, in order to know something of the wonderful
mysteries that exist, surrounding us constantly.

Look into the bosom of a flower; look into its heart, and tell me
how much you see there. I will know you from what you tell me.
Thus do men judge themselves, and place themselves where they
belong.

------------------------------------------------------------------
WINTER SOLSTICE 1955, Part IV

By Boris de Zirkoff

[This talk comes from the second part of the tape recording
entitled "Winter Solstice 2/2" made of a private class on
FUNDAMENTALS OF THE ESOTERIC PHILOSOPHY held on January 4, 1956.]

As you study the mystic teachings, you become aware of your place
in the universe. Even with all the humility you desire to
practice, you realize that you are immensely important in the
universe. The reverse is true. No matter how important you feel
yourself to be, you are immensely humble. The two feelings offer
a paradox. No matter how insignificant you are from one angle,
you are as important as anything else is. You cannot remove a
single atom from the cosmic scheme without the whole thing
collapsing. Yet, some argue over which is best. Importance and
humility are but two sides of the same coin. You realize your
place in the universe as a human being and its importance. The
more you genuinely realize it, the more you are humbled, facing
the immensity of the unknown.

I do not think that we choose what tests we go through during
initiation. I do not think so, but those with personal knowledge
of these things do not say much. Even so, there are some ideas
that any student, even without personal experience, can express.
One is that these tests consist of our penetrating the inner
structure of the planetary chain and solar system. In our
consciousness for the time being, we become completely at one
with the conditions and entities therein.

The only way to know something truly is to become that which one
wants to know. From what I understand, a neophyte's act of
becoming involves enormous risks. Even though declared ready by
competent teachers, one is a free individual. Not even his
teacher knows how his consciousness will react to these
conditions. We hope that he is far enough ahead to succeed.
Nevertheless, when he actually meets the entities inhabiting the
inner spheres, some spheres more material than ours, his
consciousness is affected. Tradition says some return mad.
There is no guarantee of success, but the chance of going mad is
rare.

The neophyte's risk depends upon the effect on his consciousness
of what he encounters. If we say he encounters nothing but
progressively more wonderful spiritual worlds, obviously there
would be no dangerous reaction. We would be wrong. Even in our
distorted Christianity, there is the legend that after his
resurrection, Jesus descended into the netherworlds to liberate
those enslaved therein. The Christians have forgotten the
esoteric truth behind the story. At a certain stage of
initiation, every neophyte has to penetrate in full consciousness
worlds more material than ours. Being far more material, these
spheres are just as nonexistent to our senses as the more
spiritual world are. In these lower worlds, the neophyte faces
danger single-handedly, armed with spiritual knowledge. It is
not a pleasant trip.

By analogy, we share in these trials in small degree. Imagine a
spiritually minded individual who is intent on social work. He
goes into horrible places where criminals, drunkards, and whatnot
live, trying to help them. Although some people spend a lifetime
doing that, we students may not endure even an hour. Some spend
a lifetime in that work uncontaminated, working as saviors of
those in need. This social work is an example of earthly
experiences we have that are analogous to the great trials the
neophyte undergoes.

Say a man spends his life helping the illiterate in South
America, but ends up thinking his life a waste and going mad.
Even so, his karmic recompense might be great. People often go
into bad conditions with little spiritual knowledge, only having
a great desire to help. The neophyte is safer, entering bad
conditions with both desire to help and great spiritual
knowledge. Even so, HPB and the Masters have told us that anyone
can fail.

Even a Mahatma can fail, unless he has attained a certain degree
of Mahatmaship. That is what you have with Cagliostro, for
instance, an advanced occultist and messenger from the Lodge. To
us, he was a man of great achievement, tremendous purity of life,
great knowledge, and power used selflessly. Yet, there was
enough personal ambition awakened in him for the Lodge to
withdraw him. It could not continue using him. Even though we
say he failed, he did nothing wrong. He just did not live up to
a tremendous standard and do his work. He was withdrawn,
replaced by Count de St. Germain, who HPB called the greatest
occultist Europe has ever seen. She also said that he would
reappear at the next reign of terror, which will affect the whole
of Europe when it comes. We can only wonder when that will
happen.

Most great initiates do not want recognition, so they work
silently and are unknown in their lifetimes. If recognized, they
become martyrs. They are greatly handicapped since everyone
attacks them in some way. Even so, the Lodge orders some to
declare themselves, becoming martyrs for the remainder of their
incarnation. Most work quietly, known to few or none. Jacob
Boeme, for instance, was unknown in the middle ages. After a
long time elapsed, we knew who he was, a Nirmanakaya in the form
of a humble shoemaker. When Paracelsus lived, we knew little of
him. Gradually, we knew him better through his writings until we
now understand him.

There have certainly been illumined men and women in all
countries who spoke, wrote, or silently exercised a wonderful
influence upon others. They pass through life unknown. We
rarely speak of them. Of the different types of agents the
Teachers send, they are unknown as such. Even so, they have
their work.

We know of some agents as unusual people, and we adore or
persecute them. The Lodge has ordered others to declare
themselves openly as its direct Messengers. One was H.P.
Blavatsky. They have different work to do in this difficult
cycle. The Masters sends out agents ordered to face persecution.
These individuals are strong enough to overcome the persecution
and do good work. We know that Blavatsky was one. There are all
kinds of agents.

The Lodge of Masters has its agents everywhere. Even though the
evidence for this is great, prove it to yourself in your own way.
They are the Hierarchy of Teachers, the custodians of Wisdom
throughout the ages. Although we call them Masters, they do not.
They call themselves Brothers. They have agents and a center in
every country in the world, even in so-called civilized lands.
By center, I do not mean a building, but rather a small body of
disciples or a few individuals linking their land to the Lodge.
They are usually native, because they act as a sounding board
between the Teachers and the mental and psychic mold of their
race or nation. If it were not for them, the work would desert
their part of the world, and that can never be.

The Lodge has agents of various degrees of inner knowledge. Some
are beginners, some advanced, and others very advanced. Most are
unknown. These agents utilize every open channel to nurture
human spiritual freedom. They instill noble ideas and sow seeds
of spiritual thought into open minds.

That is why we see ideas popping up in the world. A breakthrough
in science appears, a movement starts, or a politician or priest
expresses an idea of which you never dreamt them possible.
Someone was an open channel. Say one is giving a talk. The
watchful eye of an agent finds one's internal readiness to
receive truth, a channel forms, the Lodge uses it for the
utterance of a thought, and people in the audience respond. That
is the chief work of the Masters. They sow seeds of thought
through every open channel, sometimes simultaneously through
several channels, hoping for helpful reactions.

An Adept never forces anything. If someone is imposing his ideas
upon others, you can be dead sure he does not work in our
tradition. No genuine occultist forces a thought upon the minds
of others. He draws a picture, observes the reaction, leads
their thought processes towards a greater vision, and lets it
stand at that. If others ask more, more is given. Beware if you
find anywhere, including in the theosophical world, anyone
forcing his ideas upon a so-called following. He will lead you
astray.

One in the genuine esoteric tradition simply says, "Here are the
facts as I have understood them. Consider them. You might find
in them lots more than I have. It is worth considering. It will
make your life richer if you take it. If it does not appeal to
you, then leave it alone, for you are not ready."

Keep clear the distinction between conscious agents of the
Brotherhood and individuals who are touched by their thought.
Some are touched, like perhaps Schweitzer or Einstein; they may
have never heard of Theosophy or occultism. Others are conscious
agents and know what they do. There is a vast distance between
the two. Knowing Theosophy or not, everyone occupies his or her
rightful place in a hierarchy that reaches up to the Great Ones.
We are all on a pilgrimage, constantly progressing upwards.

From what little I know, I would say that although the initiates
are gone for two weeks from our standpoint, they could be gone
any length of subjective time depending upon where they go. As
defined by HPB in THE SECRET DOCTRINE, time is a succession of
states of consciousness. We have no idea how fast the succession
takes place in inner worlds. Although they have to come back
into their bodies within 14 days, the time might be much longer
from their standpoint.

In Christian language that still exists, a great soul from
another sphere descends into its hell, which is our world. To
us, hell is an even more physical sphere than ours is. That
happens with an Avatara. One of the many divinities of the solar
system descends into this world. That descent is a part of his
supreme initiation. What takes place between our world and the
netherworld below it also takes place between higher spheres and
this one.

The Theosophist uses the word "hell," but not in the Christian
sense. It means a material world as contrasted with a spiritual
world. The Earth's sphere is hell since it is more material than
the spiritual realms. Even so, it is not a world of utter evil
and no beauty. It is a wonderful and beautiful world. Higher
entities such as the Avataras undergo trials because of their
descent to earth. They come in initiation and in the process
redeem some of us. By the great inspiration they provide, they
give an impetus for millennia to come.

Every time we incarnate, we dip temporarily into a lower world
for experience, which is an initiation in a way. With some, it
is more conscious than with others. We return later to our real
home through the after-death conditions. Then we dip again,
continuing the process until we have learned everything worth
learning here, and our reembodiment take place somewhere else.

Some leave this sphere by choice; others wait for the cycle to
complete and the less advanced to move on. Nature has no law
standing in complete opposition to our free choice. Whether we
make a bad choice or a good one, we reap the consequences. The
great ones depend upon the progress of the rest. Not knowing the
extent to which this applies, we should keep our thinking
flexible. We do not know when they have to stop and wait for the
procession to catch up, since another law allows some to go ahead
irrespective of other conditions. I could not give a full answer
because I do not know.

What happens to those coming back before 14 days? They have
undergone a lesser initiation, going so far and not further.
They are neophytes ready for the initiation, but not in its
fullness, so they experience lesser conditions. That is all I
know. I suppose the position of the planetary bodies affects the
time they peregrinate the inner spheres and the degree of
initiation they achieve.

When will the planets next be in conjunction for a great
initiation? Not for a long time, but without looking it up, I
cannot say when. First is a New Moon at the Winter Solstice,
which happens every 19 years. Second is the conjunction of
Mercury with the Sun. Third is the conjunction of Mercury and
Venus. All have to coincide at the Winter Solstice, which is
rare. The dates can be determined with precision mathematically,
although our tables of planetary motion are imperfect, with a
limit of two or three thousand years, beyond which they are
useless.

For those in the southern hemisphere, the Winter Solstice happens
in their summertime. We may have snow. This Solstice is not
determined by the season, but rather by the position of the Sun
against the constellations of the zodiac.

Go back to where we started. We know little of the facts of
nature. HPB and others have worked wonderfully to open doors to
them. Consider the teachings in their true light to the best of
your understanding.

One thought emerges that a careful student can never overlook.
There is a gentle guiding influence exercised constantly upon the
human race. It comes from those who have advanced beyond us,
whose knowledge and wisdom enables them to be custodians of a
still greater light.

None of us should ever consider ourselves alone. Although
humanly speaking we may feel so, we have an enduring
companionship with those who lift our hearts and minds to where
they stand, when we let them. We may feel frustration or deep
personal sorrow. Our earthly task may be difficult. We may
encounter enmity. A feeling of emptiness may assail us.
Regardless of any of this, we know that somebody is watching us.
He is not some spook or ghost, but rather a human being, someone
connected to our inner life. Having achieved some degree of
inner greatness, he watches over those who are like his own
family, consisting of men and women whose hearts attune to his
own. We can rely upon that companionship anytime we call upon
it. It is not distinct from the companionship of our inner self.
The two are not the same, but are interconnected. Our inner life
is truly a mystery.

In these confusing times, we students of the Ancient Wisdom
derive immense courage, profound relief, and inner security by
realizing the Great Ones are always active in the world. Their
hearts attune to ours whether we know it or not. They watch and
encourage our every effort to rise above everyday human
consciousness into the spiritual, their home and someday ours.

As the ancient tale has it, the human heart is like a mystic tomb
wherein a god lies buried. A heavy stone is up against the tomb,
representing our personal selfhood. We have to remove it. Even
if we move it a little, we penetrate the sacred inner sanctuary.
Lo and behold, we find therein the mystic companionship of our
inner self, akin to all other selves.

Behold the light of that inner realization and ever-increasing
vision of reality. Even in lonely places, life suffuses with
some degree of its mystic glow. A spiritual warmth streams
profusely and generously from those who have reached great
pinnacles of wisdom, those whose lives are wholly dedicated to
the service of all that lives.

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