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THEOSOPHY WORLD --------------------------------------- May, 2005

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

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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

"The Path of Woe," by B.P. Wadia
"The Ensouling of Man," by G. de Purucker
"The Spirit of Things," by Claude Falls Wright
"Mahatmas," by J.H. Connelly
"Pertinent Reflections," by Auriga P. Starr
"The Historical Jesus and the Cosmic Christ," by William Kingsland
"Probation," by Lily A. Long
"Teachers and Disciples," Part II, by G. de Purucker

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> All of us have made our lives difficult beyond need. For
> millennia we have prided ourselves on our learning, our
> erudition, our understanding of truth. And yet the teachers of
> the race have ever reminded mankind that the heart-doctrine is
> to be preferred to the eye-doctrine: the learning that is native
> to the heart, the intuition, the spiritual will of man, rather
> than the learning that is purely intellectual and motivated by
> the human will. Can't we realize that the enigmas of life are
> solved not by mere reason, but by intuition; not by
> sentimentality, but by judgment?
>
> -- James A. Long, EXPANDING HORIZONS, page 114

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THE PATH OF WOE

By B.P. Wadia

[From LIVING THE LIFE, pages 45-47.]

Students of Theosophy, having grasped the tenets of
Reincarnation, Karma, and the Path to the Masters, naturally
endeavor to make practical application in their own lives and
circumstances. They want to live. Earnestly they attempt to
manifest in their daily actions the results of their mental
acquisitions of the great teachings. Seeing the sweet
reasonableness and merciful justice of the laws of manifested
Nature, they desire to cooperate with the Divine Will in
evolution. Let us apply Theosophy, they say, and forthwith they
begin.

A dozen things instantly overpower their budding enthusiasm. A
hundred small things of life conspire to defeat their earnest
purpose. Girding their loins and more determined than ever they
stand up, Arjuna-like, resolute to fight. Between petty triumphs
and many failures, blaming their own Karma and doing what they
can, most of them spend their days hugging small satisfactions
and hoping that something sure will happen some day -- and they
add, if not in this life, then in the next.

Long experience and continued observation of such Theosophic
efforts of earnest and devoted individuals enable us to answer,
albeit partially, the question that is sometimes asked, "What is
wrong with us?"

Let us try to find an adequate reply.

That the Spiritual Path is uphill and steep, that it is the Path
of Woe, and that the gateway to it is strait and narrow, that it
is sharp as the razor's edge and can shave human natures all too
fine, is not fully comprehended by the enthusiastic neophyte.
All have read these statements but each one of us thinks that by
some special decree of Providence "it will be different with me."

We profess belief in brotherhood, but with most it is profession
and not life; for in this, too, as in all else, we are brothers
and the Path of Woe is for ALL; the razor will shave ALL. When
the Buddha instituted shaving the head for his mendicants, he did
not make himself an exception, nor say to his favorite disciple,
"Ananda, thou mayst retain thy lovely locks." The Law of
Brotherhood manifests everywhere at all times, but more than at
any other place does it work its miracle in the heart of the
would-be aspirant to Perfection and Wisdom and Sacrifice and
Service.

That great Law is at once the expression and the gauge of
spiritual unfoldment. It sings its perfect song in the Hearts of
Compassion of the Great Ones. Next, naturally, it envelops men
and women who desire to be Their disciples and servants. We who
are resolved to tread that Path must expect not to be exceptions;
if our path is always smooth for us, then it is NOT the Path of
Woe. Each one on the Path gets his share of woe, and it is an
equal share; for all those who are aspirants to Wisdom, who have
resolved to tread the Path, have to learn the initial lesson that
there is but one melting-pot of Karma in which all the Karma,
good, bad, and indifferent of every true aspirant is thrown. To
"stand alone and isolated" but at the same time to "kill out all
sense of separateness" is a truth to be PRACTICED, and this is
not grasped.

If at the very beginning the above is understood, many
unnecessary heart-burnings will be avoided. The way IS difficult
-- the Path is the Path of Woe. We need not take it if we do not
desire. "None else compels." Each one in his freedom of choice
elects to tread it, and it would be the part of wisdom to
recognize that henceforth woes are our lot, that when we have
conquered our own woes, we have got to help others to conquer
theirs, and that under the Law of Brotherhood the individual weal
is dependent on the common weal and in proportion as we overcome
our woes others are helped to overcome theirs.

Thus, we learn so to behave that the quantity and quality of
Karma in the great melting pot of aspirant-ship may react to the
benefit and advantage of all, including ourselves. In this
connection let us remember the admonition in the Gospel of St.
Matthew (xviii: 7), "Woe unto the world because of offences! for
it must needs be that offences come; but woe to that man by whom
the offence cometh!" We often approach the problem of Karma from
an individualistic point of view and find it an appalling
prospect. We gain a new confidence when we see that there is a
common woe and a common weal, that we affect and are affected by
comrades as weak as ourselves and as virtuous, too. We are
united by the bonds of brotherhood and the woes are our common
property.

Thus, spiritual life begins at once to unfold its basic Law --
Brotherhood. As we practice yoga, union, with the energy and
activity of that Law we succeed. The moment we give up the
practice, we are thrown out of the Occult world into the visible
world. "Come out of your world into ours," said a Master once.
Here is the first step -- Recognition of the Law of Brotherhood
as it touches the woes of devotees, sacrificers, warriors for the
Kingdom of the Spirit.

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THE ENSOULING OF MAN

By G. de Purucker

[From WIND OF THE SPIRIT, pages 93-95.]

On many occasions, I have spoken of those Great Ones who are
fully ensouled men, and spoken of the majority of men and women
who are yet soulless. By this latter term, I do not mean lost
souls. When you understand what ensouling is, you understand the
Chela path. A Chela is one who is ensouling himself. The Master
is a fully ensouled man. The Buddha is a Master with the light
of the Spirit illuminating his soul, one in whom the Spirit with
its refulgent glory increases the already great splendor of the
ensouled man.

The path of Chelaship is a process of ensouling soulless people.
Such soulless people fill our cities, towns, hamlets, and homes.
Every one of us, in those moments when no longer a "soul" but
rather only living in the four lower principles of his being, is
for the time soulless. That is the meaning of it. The Human
Monad is no longer active in him. A lost soul, on the other
hand, is one who no longer has even the possibility of reunion
with the divine, the Spirit, the Buddha, or the Christ within
himself. A lost soul drops to the Pit.

When the great Syrian Sage Jesus said, "He who gives up his life
for my sake" -- for the sake of the Buddha, the Christ, within
himself, within each of us -- "shall find his life," he meant
that even in the most ordinary, feebly in the beginning, lives
the Christ within, continuing to live as an inmost being. As
time passes and the man draws nearer to the inmost center of his
being, he becomes gradually ensouled, a leader, and then a
Buddha. Upon the Buddhas shines the light of eternity. It is as
simple as that.

Soulless people are not wicked. They are just drifting,
sleeping, and unawakened. They live more or less in the four
lower principles of the constitution. The Chela is the man who
begins by will, effort, thought, devotion, and love for all that
is, great and small, to ensoul himself. He rises along the Chela
path precisely in the ratio in which he ensouls himself ever more
greatly.

I use the term "ensouling" because it is simple and amenable to
understanding. I have deliberately avoided using a term that
might require lengthy explanatory comment. The desire is to
suggest rather than to give an explicit teaching.

I will try to give you what to me at least seems to be a graphic
illustration of what ensouling means. We human beings are
composite entities. We have a divine, spiritual, human, and
beastly side to us, as well as the wretched physical body that
suffers so often unjustly because of the crimes committed upon it
by our erratic, vagrant, wandering, passionate, lower human
aspect: the lower emotional and mental principles in us. These
four lower principles are the HUMAN animal.

Pause a moment in thought. Being a HUMAN animal, it is superior
to the beast-animal, because throughout the former there is an
instinct of humanity. Nevertheless, this human animal, when the
man lives as a man, should be ensouled by the humanity of the
man. When a man lives solely in his four lower principles, he is
less than a true man. He merely vegetates. He exists. He has
no chance for immortality, none whatsoever, because there is
nothing immortal in the four lower principles of us. The Human
Monad, the vehicle of the Spiritual Monad, or to put it
otherwise, the Human Soul, the vehicle of the Spiritual Soul, has
a great chance for conscious immortality.

When a man lives in his Human Monad, the four lower principles
are ensouled. Then he is a full man, consciously living and
happily living in such fashion as to bring no bitter regrets.
There is the test. It does not mean a man who is perfect, or
that the man has no temptations. This is certainly not true. We
are all human. The four-principled man succumbs to temptation
usually because he is not ensouled by the humanity of himself.
The human part of us, to use easily understood language, the
Human Monad, HAS MORE CHANCE OF CONQUERING TEMPTATION THAN OF
SUCCUMBING TO IT; and when I say temptation, I do not mean
physical passion only; I mean all kinds of temptation.
Overweening ambition, only to be gratified at others' cost, is
one common vice today; selfishness in any of its manifold forms;
egoism, a hydra-headed thing; uncontrolled anger -- all these
things are less than human, but are the lower human; less than
the higher human, less than the truly human.

So then, ensouling means living those things that we intuitively
and instinctively sense belong to the better part of us. That is
all there is to it: living in the Human Soul instead of in the
human animal soul: to speak technically, living in the
Buddhi-Manas instead of in the Kama-Manas.

Our streets are packed with soulless beings in this sense,
vacillating in character like the winds of heaven, without
firmness of will, without even convictions, moral convictions
especially, changeable as weather-cocks, pulled hither and yon by
every passing gust of temptation of any kind. They are less than
human. They are soulless -- which does not mean that they have
no soul; but it means that the soul within them is not operative;
it is not active; it does not manifest itself. Look into the
eyes of these people: there lacks the wonderful shine of the soul
that, once seen, you will always recognize.

Every kindly act you do mark you as by that much ensouled, if
springing from the heart and not merely an egoistic wish to show
off. Every time you conquer a temptation, which if yielded to
you know perfectly well will debase you in your own eyes, even if
your fellows do not know of your fall: every time you CONQUER it,
you live in the human soul, you are by so much ensouling
yourself. Every time you conquer an impulse to do a selfish act,
a deed with selfish thought for your own benefit, then you are by
so much ensouling yourself.

We shall be fully human, fully ensouled, in the Fifth Round. At
the present time, we can be so by effort and aspiration. The
vast majority of humanity is soulless in the technical sense that
we understand. The soul is there but they will not live in it;
they will not make it themselves. They prefer to live in the
animal. Mark you, the animal does not only mean sex. That is
only one side of it and a relatively unimportant side. The
animal means the grasping, acquisitive, selfish, appetitive, and
indulgent part of us, running after this and running after that,
without stability of character, in other words without soul.

Set about ensouling yourself with the soul that is YOU; that is
the Chela path. The man who succeeds in doing so is a Chela.
The path is the same for all men, yet distinctive for each
individual. Find it.

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THE SPIRIT OF THINGS

By Claude Falls Wright

[From THE PATH, November 1894, pages 250-53.]

"Ideas rule the world," quoted one of those whose influence in
the Theosophical Society is not the less felt because its source
is unperceived by most members. Yet there are many, even among
our own Theosophists, who hold tightly to the notion that the
world is held and even advanced by forms and words. From the
ritualism and ceremonies of the Priesthood to the carefully
rounded phrases of a Chesterfield, there is scarcely a step.
Both are equally useless to the development of the real man. The
effort of each leads men away from the contemplation of the
Spirit to the adoration of matter.

Humanity has ever been led away from its freedom and recognition
of the eternal principle of Life, to make obeisance to the god of
form -- and matter! Those in the past who said that all
objectivity was Maya or illusion spoke a truth that must vibrate
throughout all time, reverberating through the hearts of all who
develop to the life of independence and power. For assuredly
none can limit the changes in the Great Breath, whose perpetual
motions in the unseen world make the varieties in this.

It is worthwhile to recognize this as a philosophy, and so
prevent many mistakes. The world pulls this way and that,
seeking her freedom in legislature and habit, oblivious to the
fact that precisely these things forge her chains. Belief in the
necessity for Custom and Convention, sovereigns and saviors,
style and good usage, is really born of the soulless: for these
all limit freedom of the Spirit and propose to chain it to one
idea. Hence arise disputations, and from them warfare.

Yet even recognizing this, the philosopher will not rebel against
them nor seek their immediate destruction. Emancipated, in the
world though not of it, he will see that the world being held by
forms, through them, it must be aided and advanced to freedom.

Some will think it is going too far to say that the spirit of
evil and stagnation is in form. It is easy to demonstrate this
truth. Every great leader, every genius, has thrown off the yoke
of form-slavery, drawing his principles of action from the free
source of things. Though often disregarding and destroying
things men have long believed dear and sacred, yet while he
lives, men follow him and love him; recognizing something of the
heavenly power about him, they find strength in his freedom and
delight to be in his presence and to know his thoughts.

Who has not seen the spirit of life in a child? None among us
upset customs more than children do. Buddha, Jesus, and the true
religious founders destroyed all forms. Even though we see in
them the great originators of present religious forms, it is not
because they desired that that should be so, but because their
ideas and wisdom were clothed in matter by their followers, who,
possessing little recognition of the Spirit, were incapable of
drawing life from anything but externals.

Poets and painters, musicians, geniuses of all kinds, are noted
for their eccentricities, yet no one can doubt that they see
deeper into the divinity of things than do the Philistines.
Strange as it may seem, the power of originality is indicative of
progress in any human being. Without this, the nature is in
darkness, there are no light in it and no creative power.

The Theosophical Society was established on such a basis that
should prevent, if possible, it ever being tied by forms. Yet
how many are there who want to make it a respectable institution
-- will not help a brother unless he be of the same rank as
themselves! How many, indeed, wish that HPB had not had
eccentricities, or had not done so much outwardly to vibrate and
shock conventional shells; or that fewer uneducated persons were
in the ranks and more of those who are book-learned and well
placed in Society!

Others are so caught in the web of form that they think it
impossible for anyone to possess wisdom or light outside the
Society's ranks. Let such know that there are many persons all
over the world, outside the Theosophical Society, who have caught
something of the Spirit of Wisdom just now lighting up the whole
earth, and these as well as Theosophical Society members are
surely being helped by the Great Brotherhood behind.

The Theosophical Society has its own work to do. It was the
originator of these thoughts in the West, and through its
members, they must be given to the world. If taken up and used
by others outside, a part here and a part there, sometimes
imperfectly, generally unacknowledged, it is no harm, but always
unconsciously an aiding the world. There are no forms here, no
priesthood; each one has his wisdom and should hasten to let the
world know of it.

We do not only work for the Theosophical Society as a Society.
This is a great danger to be avoided. It is for the Society only
as a useful vehicle of ideas that we labor. It will fade and
fall to pieces sometime -- and let us trust it may be destroyed
long before it approaches the possibility of becoming priesthood
-- but the ideas the world and our race have received through it
will live and will have molded the thought of the people almost
without their knowing it. We shall be forgotten, but the
thoughts we have passed on will live. Members should recollect
they are not building an institution, but only erecting a
temporary structure in which a little wisdom has been stored.

Many in the Society are just now used by those behind the scenes
to become vehicles of truth. They are intended to hand it on.
Once the brain has opened to the Light, only one thing can again
close it, that is, the keeping back of wisdom from others. Yet
many receive knowledge in a flash of intuition, and instead of
giving it out at some Branch meeting or to someone who may need
it, they keep it hid away to burst it forth later in a
carefully-written paper or lecture, so that they may receive
credit for their ideas and not have them stolen by others
beforehand. Their ideas will then find no ground in which to
take root: they should have been given out when received. If
this habit were kept up, such persons will lose the spiritual
power they now possess in time.

The setting free of ideas in the world at the right moment has a
great deal to do with the development of occult powers, however
little connection between these two matters there may seem to be.
It is pure personality and selfishness that make one hold back
and wait until the thoughts can be given out with greater credit
to him.

Madame Blavatsky launched her wisdom into the world without any
consideration of herself. Probably her thought was something of
this nature:

> I know my English is faulty, I know my science is not of the
> best, but my wisdom is true, and it must be sent forth. Others
> will steal my ideas and knowledge for their own glorification,
> but it does not matter, that is their own loss; they are also
> helping me in my labor.

The work must be done speedily lest we lose the knowledge ere we
have pinned it. Let loose the ideas among the people; do not
hold them until you can get glory by them. Do not wait until you
can understand Sanskrit, can write classical English, and have
made a name for yourself in the world before you become a worker.
This is all fear of form. To be sure, the better the instrument
the better the work, but the means must not be mistaken for the
end.

The time is short; only a few more years exist for active work.
Let the ideas loose in the world at all costs, no matter what
loss of fame to yourself. After all, on your deathbed, you will
know that it is the IDEA -- spiritual or otherwise -- of life
that you have had, and your virtue, that are the important
things, not how much you have known of other men's thoughts, or
how correctly you have dressed.

The Ideas live and rule, not the words that clothed them nor the
imagery used for their expression. It is well known that he who
thus impersonally acts comes more and more directly in
relationship with the Brotherhood of Light.

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MAHATMAS

By J.H. Connelly

[From THE PATH, September 1894, pages 169-74.]

Many Theosophists are accustomed to accept as authoritative such
instruction as they believe has been imparted by the beings known
as Mahatmas, in whose existence they have good reason for belief,
and whom they regard as the teachers and guides of our race in
all that tends toward its evolution from the material plane to
spirituality.

This confidence is not shared by those whose habits of life and
education have trained them to look only upon the materialistic
side of everything -- generally with the dominant, if not the
sole, idea of seeing "how much there is in it" in the way of
financial profit.

Pseudo-scientists, whose mental vision is bounded by the
limitations of the microscope and spectroscope, deny the
existence of the Mahatmas; and shallow, indifferent ignorance
echoes, with added jibes and jeers, their interested repudiation.
Of course, when "science" and "religion" agree upon anything, the
majority of mankind -- too much "civilized" to do any thinking
for themselves -- contentedly accept such conclusion as right,
without taking the trouble of independent consideration as to
whether both "science" and "religion" may not both be wrong.

But there really are very good reasons for confidence in the
existence of the Mahatmas, reasons not at all based upon
sentiment or fancy, but upon sound philosophy. It is perfectly
well understood that they are not another order of beings, but
have been, and are, simply men. That does not necessarily imply
that they have corporeal bodies. The real man is not the form
that was born, is liable to cold, hunger, sickness, wounds, and
death.

It is the immortal spiritual soul, with such associate principles
as are necessary to establish its individuality, which
constitutes the man, even during normal earth-life. The strength
and worth of that soul are what determine the true value of the
man, not the density of his body. And the power he exercises
over his fellowman, upon material things, and in shaping his own
destiny, lies in the forces of his soul, not in the energy with
which he can strike a physical blow or the distance he can kick.

The Mahatmas are simply "Great Souls" ("maha" meaning great and
"atma" soul) who have become great by their wondrous attainments
of higher knowledge than is possessed by other men. Command over
all the secrets of matter is but a small part of their wisdom.
They have gained mastery over the mighty mystery of death, and
that yet greater mystery, life; and in so doing have learned how,
in their own persons, to rise superior to the laws of matter
bounding the existence of our race.

Capable of carrying their consciousness to planes of being
infinitely beyond the material, they have won clear perception of
the tremendous scheme of evolution that is the sustaining
principle of the universe and all it contains, attained
comprehension of its laws, and become possessors of the power to
follow its course, with lucid apprehension of all its details,
not only through ages past, and with all-comprehending knowledge
of the present, but through eons yet to come made themselves
partakers of the divine consciousness. Yet, with all this, they
have not ceased to be men, "the elder brothers" of our race, as
they have been well characterized by those privileged to know
them.

Whether they temporarily assume corporeal bodies, or clothe their
individualities with less gross matter, is wholly dependent upon
their own will; but in neither case would their presence
necessarily challenge the observation of any except those to whom
they might choose to reveal themselves, since as corporeal men
they would appear just like other men, and if embodied in more
tenuous matter would be invisible.

Though their influence is constantly felt in every upward
movement of humanity, they rarely mingle among men. Keenly
susceptible as they have become to the high vibrations of the
mental plane, the life of the 1890's, thrilling with selfishness
and sensuality, full of base ambitions, vicious impulses, and
material energies, would be not only offensive but positively
painful to them.

One may imagine with what disgust and distressful pity a man
would be filled who, in moving amid a throng of his
fellow-creatures, should be intensely conscious of their
respective real physical conditions, their disorders, pains,
defects, and rottenness, the secrets they carefully hide from all
eyes but their own and the doctor's. Well, carry that fancy from
the physical to the mental plane, and, in so doing, intensify it
an hundredfold, and it will afford some idea of what a being
gifted with the Mahatma's powers would experience in personal
contact with the naked minds of men engaged in the "struggle for
survival of the fittest."

It is well for men that the Mahatmas are not in more familiar
association and contact with them, for those beings are centers
and transmitters of tremendous forces belonging to other planes
than ours, liable to impel exceedingly dangerous vibrations in
human organisms, except under the rare conditions when an "elder
brother" voluntarily undergoes the martyrdom of another
reincarnation that he may move among men as one of them, the more
effectively to act directly as their teacher and spiritual guide
or "Savior" at a cyclic period when such manifestation is the
most practicable aid that may be given.

In all races and in all ages since recorded time began, the
knowledge has existed that there lived and moved upon this earth
such beings as the Mahatmas. They have been variously known as
wise men, Adepts, serpents of wisdom, magicians, prophets,
masters, Rishis, demigods, Avatars, elder brothers, Christs, and
by many other titles, all expressive of super-human greatness.
And the same characteristics and powers have always been ascribed
to them.

They possessed what was regarded as supernatural command over the
forces of nature, and were able to hold communion with
disembodied spirits, angels, and demons, exercising control over
the latter; generally they secluded themselves from their
fellowmen, living lives of isolation and indifference to what
other men regarded as the desirable things of life; at the same
time, they were ever ready and powerful, when sought, to bestow
benefits, and their influence was always exerted for good. They
knew the future, and recognized personalities among them were
known to have been unchanged by lapse of time long as even
tradition ran through ages past, in many instances.

There were understood to be gradations among them, he who was
wisest and best ranking highest. They were at once loved and
feared. Sometimes they were known to lay down the burden of
mortal life, but more often they simply suddenly disappeared,
and, in either case, superstitious folks said the devil had no
doubt taken them.

This consensus of belief respecting those beings, so agreeing in
all its essentials, cannot be intelligently regarded as merely a
common delusion. It is cumulative testimony to a fact that
cannot be gainsaid and that only the unwise will undervalue.
More, it speaks an inherent recognition by man of the
perfectibility of being, of the evolution of humanity from the
low level of its animal life, and the not much higher standpoint
of the hedonist, step by step upward to divinity.

We cannot help seeing about us personalities whom -- without any
egotism -- we must recognize as lower in mind and morals than
ourselves; and others to whom we cannot in justice deny
attainments far beyond us, mental and spiritual. No two human
beings, indeed, stand upon exactly the same level, and is it
reasonably supposable that these gradations stop at a certain
point within the limit of acquirement in a single human lie, even
under the best imaginable auspices? Certainly not. Huxley
pronounced it impertinent to assume that human beings do not
exist as much higher in intellectuality than the most cultured
minds of Europe as those are above a black beetle.

By those to whom the Mahatmas are personally known -- and there
are such today in India, Europe, and America -- it is recognized
that there is not an equality of development among those exalted
beings, the greater wisdom and spirituality of some elevating
them to higher planes and endowing them with greater powers than
those attained by others, and that such progression extends far
beyond the range of normal human comprehension to where the most
advanced mingle with orders of beings yet higher who are their
"elder brothers," and even beyond those to who can say what -- to
us unimaginable -- heights, ever approaching yet without
attaining to the perfect wisdom of the inscrutable and
inconceivable "Source and Container of All."

Our race would be infinitely richer than it is today, even in the
domain of material science, had it not rejected the wisdom freely
offered many centuries ago by these "elder brothers," who taught
in full much that modern scientists are now pluming themselves
upon suspecting. The atomic theory, the genesis of worlds, the
impermanence yet indestructibility of matter, a true astronomy,
the septenary composition of man, the powers of mind and will --
with their demonstrations now known under the names of hypnotism,
telepathy, etc. -- the control of natural forces (some of them
still unknown to our modern science), were all set forth in the
ancient books of the Masters thousands of years before Atlantis
sank beneath the sea, together with infinitely much more, the
least of which the Inquisition would have burned a man for
knowing, or would today make a scientist famous by its supposed
discovery.

At a time so remote that the records were written in a language
not the common speech of men anywhere within profane historic
knowledge, the Mahatmas of that period predicted accurately, for
this present time, the conditions existent in the world today.
Looking with clear vision down the long vista of coming
centuries, they beheld the collective Karma the human race would
make for itself and saw when and how the awful debt would have to
be paid.

The psychic disturbances and mental perturbations now agitating
the world; the mighty achievements of material science; the
culmination of man's long-continued oppression of his fellowman
in unjust legislation, unequal and injurious class conditions of
society, contending interests between the powerful few and the
suffering many, and the consequent poverty, recklessness,
aggression, violent reprisals, savage acts of authoritative
repression, and the alarming increase of insanity and crime at
this point of the Kali Yuga, all were foretold by the Masters.

They also predicted, at the same time, that which in the light of
their sublime philosophy is seen as a direct product of the
operation of such evil mental forces among the sons of men
effecting reactive vibrations on the material plane of Nature,
however modern science may now rail at the idea of such
connection or relation. They foresaw the tremendous
meteorological and seismic disturbances that, during several
years past, have been steadily increasing in numbers, magnitude,
and terrible effects, and are destined to become still more
appalling until the end of the cycle.

Even if it be contended that those prophecies were not by men,
but by higher intelligences that used particular men as their
messengers, it must still be admitted that such intermediaries
certainly possessed qualifications other than those common to
their race, which brought them nearer to those intelligences and
more directly under their influence. Such specialization could
not have been by accident. The one thing that does not exist in
the entire vast universe and is not even within the power of the
highest gods to cause is chance.

Men who rise to the sublime height of the Mahatmas do so by their
own "Will and Endeavor." Only by many successive lives entirely
devoted to cultivation of the higher powers of the soul and
renunciation of Self is the goal attained. The soul so prepared
has to reach a point where it has by proven merit conquered the
right to enter at once an eternity of rest and ineffable bliss,
and must there possess the strength of self-sacrifice to
voluntarily renounce that boon in order to devote itself to the
advancement of the human race, encouraging and aiding humanity to
follow the path that leads eventually to liberation from the
bonds of sorrow and death.

At stated times these self-sacrificing ones, wearing mortal
forms, appear among men as leaders and teachers, in such
characters leaving their impress upon succeeding ages, as have
Gautama Buddha and Jesus Christ, and other "Saviors" who preceded
them, teaching the same lessons they taught. More often they
apply their energy and power, unseen, to the control of forces
that, in harmony with Karmic influence, sway the mental and moral
energies and consequently the destiny of the race. In so
operating they do not necessarily come into contact with human
beings, except such as have by their self-advancement upon the
path raised to capability of service as their immediate
messengers or agents.

The spread of the Theosophic movement, all over the world, in a
few years, with such depth of interest as it has evoked, such
responsive welcome as it has won from the hearts of men, and such
powerful influence as it has already exerted upon thought and
literature, is the latest evidence of the continued application
of the forces at command of the Masters -- or Mahatmas -- for the
benefit of humanity.

-----------------------------------------------------------------
PERTINENT REFLECTIONS

By Auriga P. Starr

[From THE PATH, May 1892, pages 33-36.]

It has been my good or evil fortune to hear some members of the
Society say on this wise:

QUOTE

If the Masters who are said to have founded the Society and now
watch over it also engage in other works and movements among men,
why do Theosophists oppose other developments of thought, such,
for instance, as Metaphysical Healing, Christianity, and so on?

The question at the end is a misconception.

Some accuse H.P. Blavatsky of great violence against
Christianity, but a careful reader of her books knows that her
opposition was directed to dogmatism and not to the true
teachings of the founder of that now extinct religion. She tried
to explain, to revive the truth, since, as she declared, it was
her opinion that but one truth lies under all religions. Indeed,
the series of papers that gained for her the Subba Row medal in
India was entitled "The Esotericism of the, Gospels." This is
also true with the writers in THE PATH whom I have read on
Metaphysical Healing. They deal with explanations in the course
of which some unwarranted assumptions are demolished.

This is not opposition, although sometimes if you disagree with
the Metaphysical Healer or dogmatic Christian on points of logic
and history, you are said to oppose.

In the sense that one is not on exactly the same side, he might
be said to be in opposition, just as the moon is often in
opposition to the sun. But some devotees of the various Mind
Cures, holding up before themselves the optimism that first
declares all things are good, making a weak play on the English
word "God," and then decides that a continually flourishing
health is the most important of the good, dislike logical
explanations or the pointing out of disagreeable facts, and call
it opposition.

Theosophy opposes nothing but dogmatism, cant, and evil action.
It is a foe, open or declared, to the dogmatism that has chased
Christianity away, but it explains to the sincere where the truth
is hidden. So it points out in the Old and New Testaments the
same truths taught by other religions that borrowed naught from
us. Thus while it may in that process dispose of the claim for
exclusive revelation asserted for the Christian books, it shows
all nations as not deserted by a jealous God, but all alike
possessing several forms of the one thing. It is not Jewish,
Presbyterian, Hindu, nor Mohammedan, but simply the one system of
scientific religion called Theosophy.

Theosophy, then, draws all philosophical and religious ideas to a
focus by its synthesis of all. Embracing all, it throws the
concentrated light obtained by thus bringing all together, upon
the many cherished forms and rituals that obscure reality
beneath.

The Theosophical Society should never have a creed. It is only
within the pale of a creedless body that investigation of
religions will reveal the truth. If it were a Buddhist or Hindu
Society, then every effort of its members would run on those
lines. The former would only seek revivals of Buddhism; the
later would only spread present-day Hinduism.

If even it had adopted Reincarnation as its creed, to cause us
all to be called "Reincarnationists," no right progress could
ensue. As Reincarnationists, we could not all fully agree with
Karma, and, indeed, many varieties of reincarnation would be
insisted on. Our body being without a creed, any man who is not
a fierce dogmatist may join to help the work that cooperation
always enlarges and accentuates.

So our history and present composition declare against a creed.
We had Brahmins from the first, with several Parsees. Mr. Judge
told me that among the first diplomas he sent to foreign lands in
the early days were several to Parsecs in Bombay and to Hindus
elsewhere, with a few to some Greeks in Europe. Today the rolls
in the different sections disclose the names of Hindus,
Buddhists, Mohammedans, Christians, and agnostics.

Some entertain the desire for a large membership. A few years
ago, a member, in changing the rules to have no dues, thought
thereby to call in everybody, but soon found that small fees
bring no one in and large dues keep few out.

We are a leavening movement, and, like leaven, we act silently
but surely upon the whole mass. Human nature will not permit us
to hope that men will abandon the fame of a congregation and an
expensive church to become members of a Society whose ideals
necessarily destroy separate distinction and increase general
good by rooting out selfishness. The small speck of leaven
disturbs the whole mass of dough, and the tiny fungus can lift
the heavy stone. In the same way, the small band of devoted
Theosophists, though never growing much in numbers, has power to
keep the thought of the day turned in such a direction that the
prospect of causing a union in the search for truth increases.

The mind of this and next century is evolving more and more,
demanding answers to the questions that present theology fails to
solve, and in Theosophy only is the final solution. If, then,
the small band of true devotees ever persists, and each hour
increases the ability of each to explain the simple theosophic
system, our Society can be content to remain a force that is
mighty for effect though small in appearance.

Some ask if there is idolatry of HPB. The intense respect some
have for the words of our deceased friend comes within the
charge. Such people generally do not think for themselves. They
live on the thoughts of others. As a whole, it is otherwise.
More members can be found who do not make an idol of HPB than the
other kind.

Especially about occult subjects, HPB's words command respect.
This is in the same way that a student of astronomy would give
room in his thoughts for the views of a great astronomer when the
vague opinions of an unlettered person ought to be rejected.
This is not idolatry. HPB herself spoke against such worship,
yet that does not mean we are to give no attention to her
writings or to listen to her detractors.

I have heard much eulogy of her wonderful work, learning,
research, and occult insight, but little up of idolatry. The
charge seems to arise from the known love, respect, and
admiration entertained for our departed leader by several
well-known Theosophists. Repeatedly, I have myself heard these
same persons assert the right of others to reject HPB if they
please on questions of theosophic interest.

Is one to give up his respect, admiration, and love for HPB
merely because other people fear that idolatry among weak
brethren will result? I think not. As the fear has been
expressed, all we have to do is to continue to use HPB as guide
and friend, seeing to it meanwhile that idolatry does not creep
in. It can be kept out by commonsense.

-----------------------------------------------------------------
THE HISTORICAL JESUS AND THE COSMIC CHRIST

By William Kingsland

[From THE ARYAN PATH, July 1931, pages 438-43.]

For the student of Theosophy -- the Ancient Wisdom, not the
modern psychic perversions -- both the Old and the New Testament
writings bear on their face the hallmark of their origin in the
carefully guarded secrets of the Hierarchy of Initiates who have
preserved the esoteric or Gnostic teachings from time immemorial.
Thus, Philo writes in the first century A.D.:

> Most excellent contemplators of nature and all things therein,
> they [the ancient sages] scrutinize earth and sea, and air and
> heaven, and the natures therein. . . . They have their
> bodies, indeed, planted on earth below; but for their souls, they
> have made them wings, so that they speed through ether and gaze
> on every side upon the powers above, as though they were the true
> world-citizens, most excellent, who dwell in cosmos as their
> city; such citizens as Wisdom hath as her associates, inscribed
> upon the roll of Virtue, who hath in charge the supervising of
> the common weal. . . . Such men, though (in comparison) few
> in number, keep alive the covered spark of Wisdom secretly,
> throughout the cities (of the world), in order that Virtue may
> not be absolutely quenched and vanish from our human kind.

Philo expounded the Logos doctrine, and even uses the term "Only
Begotten Son." (See Max Muller, THEOSOPHY OR PSYCHOLOGICAL
RELIGION, page 412.) He makes no mention of Jesus with whom he
was contemporary.

The Old and the New Testament documents as we have them today
also bear on their face sad evidences of mutilation, perversions,
and additions. This happened at the hands of those who never had
the key to their inner esoteric interpretation. They endeavored
to historicize the narrative and materialize the doctrine. Their
success is evident in the darkness, superstition, and cruelty in
the name of "Christianity" that closed in on the Western World
after the second and third centuries, surviving even today in
numberless "Christian" communities.

The fanaticism of the early Christians is well known. The
ancient monuments of Egypt bear sad witness to the effort to
destroy every trace of the origin of the Christian doctrines in
the earlier religions and myths, whilst the destruction of
thousands of documents that would have given us the now much
desired evidence in that direction is also on record.

The student of Theosophy is not so much concerned with historical
evidences as are some of our scholars and apologists. The
evidences for the derivation of the Biblical records from earlier
sources are gradually emerging, and may be left to take care of
themselves. Possibly their complete disclosure would be too
great a shock for the many sincere and devout Christians whose
whole outlook on life, both here and hereafter, is bound up with
the literal historical narrative and the traditional doctrines.

Origen wrote:

> The narratives of the Doctrine are its cloak. The simple look
> only at the garment, that is, upon the narratives of the
> Doctrine; more they know not. The instructed, however, see not
> merely the cloak, but what the cloak covers.

Note that only the "instructed" recognize the inner esoteric
meaning of the narrative. Who are the instructed? Where and how
did they obtain that instruction? Obviously not from the Church,
unless in those times the Church had a real "Esoteric Section;"
for the traditional doctrines of the Church are based on the
literal narrative. The history of the Christian Church, indeed,
is one long record of the persecution of those who endeavored to
teach the inner doctrine. These were the "heretics," and we all
know the cruel record of the Church in its dealings with them.
We all know how bitter even today is the feeling of the upholders
of the literal narrative against those who in any way dispute its
veracity.

Is there then none today who can instruct us in the inner
doctrine? Assuredly there are; but the individual must have cast
aside all his prepossessions as to the narrative before their
instruction can appeal to him; and he must seek, and seek
earnestly, before he can obtain "the pearl of great price," the
pearl of spiritual truth.

It is hardly possible to recognize "what the cloak covers" by a
mere examination of the "cloak," however closely it may be
studied. We must interpret the narrative in the light of a wider
and deeper knowledge derived from other sources. Take for
example the first two chapters of Genesis. Suppose that we had
nothing else than this narrative to instruct us as to the origin
of the material world and of humanity. Suppose that we knew of
no other similar narratives of an earlier date than that of
Genesis. Suppose that we had no scientific evidence as to the
processes of nature, or the age of Man on the Earth: -- how then
could we interpret the narrative otherwise than literally? But
such was practically the state of affairs up to the commencement
of the nineteenth century, when geology began to challenge the
Genesis narrative. It was only in the middle of that century
that biology also issued its challenge as to the origin of Man.

Even so, the challenge was only in relation to physical facts,
and hardly touched the spiritual aspects of the question apart
from theological dogmas.

We find humanity imperfect, debased, evil, and sinful, yet it
struggles and aspires to reach a spiritual perfection. We may
use the term "spiritual" to cover the effort to achieve
perfection of truth, goodness, and beauty, and not in any special
theological sense. Man is conscious of his imperfection;
conscious also of a possibility of perfection; and, indeed, is
not without historical examples of those who have attained to it
in a marked degree. Among such was Jesus of Nazareth.

Here in fact is the great problem of Humanity. It lies in the
vast difference in the degree of attainment of a spiritual
quality of life between individuals or between races or
communities. Why is one individual an ignorant savage, another a
Confucius or a Plato, a Buddha or a Christ?

For Christianity, which only grants to the individual one life on
earth, and no pre-existence -- although an eternity of
post-existence -- the problem is insoluble. It must necessarily
fall back on "the Will of God." The only teaching that offers any
solution is that of Reincarnation and Karma; or briefly the
evolution of the individual through a natural law of cause and
effect operating in the spiritual as well as in the material
world, and the interaction of the two.

For evolution, we must have a driving power; and we are
undoubtedly conscious that that driving power is within
ourselves. We are conscious of a power within ourselves that is
a potentiality for a higher and still higher degree of attainment
in truth, goodness, and beauty.

These are spiritual qualities; moreover, they are, insofar as
they are desired in and for themselves, absolute values; that is
to say, being desired solely for themselves, they have no
relational value. We consider that they are impure if we give
them any relational value. The man who only tells the truth
because it is expedient to do so, has no spiritual quality of
truth in him. The man who is "good," i.e., moral, merely because
the community demands it of him, has not necessarily any
spiritual quality of goodness in him. Christian teaching is
sadly lacking in this matter. It countenances killing for
"sport." The man who goes out to kill for sport may be a good man
in the Christian conventional sense, but he is not a good man
spiritually. He has not taken to heart the maxim, "Thou shalt
not hinder the meanest creature upon its upward path." Probably
he never heard of such a maxim, for it belongs to a higher code
than that of conventional Christian ethics.

There is confusion in the Christian Church between morality,
expediency, and the spiritual quality of goodness, illustrated in
the conditional countenancing of contraception by the late
Lambeth Congress of Bishops.

As regards beauty, it is more clearly recognized that our
aesthetic sense has an absolute value. Although "art for art's
sake" may possibly sometimes degenerate into a shibboleth, at
root it is recognition of the spiritual and absolute quality of
beauty.

What, then, is the source and origin of this spiritual quality in
our nature that is ever seeking a fuller expression? We may
consider it quite apart from any theological speculations or
teachings. We undoubtedly, as individuals, have this spiritual
quality in greater or lesser degree. It is a constant inner urge
to attain to a higher and still higher perfection, unless,
indeed, we "quench the spirit." Is it not evident that we seek a
realization of ourselves? We are seeking self-knowledge,
self-expansion, and self-expression, being urged to that, not by
force of outward circumstances, but rather by an inner urge that
exceeds mere expediency.

This is not to deny the pressure that environment undoubtedly
exercises; and of which, in the earlier stages, it is possibly
the predominant factor. To be compelled to do right because of
community values, has at least a restraining as well as a
directing influence towards the higher values of truth, goodness,
and beauty for their own sakes; but they can never in themselves
give the motive for the pure and absolute value of the thing in
itself.

This inner impulse towards a realization of spiritual values
lies, then, in the impulse of our own higher spiritual nature.
We strive to realize ourselves in an ever-increasing degree of
perfection.

To realize ourselves thus is to realize our oneness with God --
if we must use that term for the Root and Source of All. The
ancient writers of the Upanishads realized it when they wrote:

> What that subtle Being is, of which this whole Universe is
> composed, that is the Real, that is the Soul, "That art Thou."

Gautama the Buddha (the Enlightened) realized it when he preached
the liberation of Nirvana -- the full return in consciousness to
that spiritual Source from which we went out, but from which we
have never separated. Jesus the Christ (the Anointed) realized
it when he claimed his divine Sonship -- and ours.

If man has a physical body, it is because there is a cosmic
physical world. If man has a mental nature, it is because there
is a Cosmic Mind; though this is not so clearly or universally
recognized. Professor Eddington has recently made some approach
to it in his work THE NATURE OF THE PHYSICAL WORLD by suggesting
that the ultimate Substance of the Universe may be "Mind-Stuff."
Possibly "Mind-Stuff" may be the ultimate Substance considered as
possibility of object or phenomenon as distinguished from subject
or Self; but it cannot be that subject or Self, for Mind is just
as clearly an instrument of the Self as is the physical body.
That Cosmic Self we do not call Mind, but Spirit -- or God
considered as the Absolute.

If Man, then, has a spiritual nature, it is because there is a
Cosmic Spirit. The root fact is that nothing can appear or
manifest in the individual that is not in the first instance
cosmic in its nature. The individual is only a particular
example of the universal.

The Gnostic and mystical character of the Fourth Gospel can
hardly be disputed. In that Gospel, Jesus speaks as the Logos,
just as Krishna does in the Hindu Gospel, the Bhagavad Gita.
Theology would have us believe that the claim of Jesus to be the
"Son" of God was a unique claim; not even recognizing that the
use of the terms "Father" and "Son" are concessions to the
poverty of human conceptions. They are purely anthropomorphic
conceptions. Moreover, it leaves out the "Mother" of the divine
Trinity, Father-Mother-Son; but to make up for this, it
introduces the "Holy Ghost" and deifies the earthly physical
Mother of Jesus.

As regards the oneness of Jesus with that Cosmic Spiritual
Principle of the Universe commonly called "God," we have seen
that the writers of the Upanishads had already arrived at the
conception of that oneness, and it is contained in many other
pre-Christian documents.

If for weaker minds the conception of a heavenly Father who
personally superintends every detail of their lives is necessary,
it was perhaps part of the method of Jesus to supply that need,
even as Paul found it necessary.

> And I, brethren, could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but
> as unto carnal, as unto babes in Christ . . . Howbeit we speak
> wisdom among the full-grown. . . . God's Wisdom in a mystery.

Paul's central doctrine was the indwelling Christ, the Cosmic
spiritual principle, even as it has been the teaching of the
Initiates of all ages. "Christ in you," the Cosmic Logos, the
"divine spark," the "light that lighteth every man coming into
the world," if the man would but fan it into a divine flame. It
is the innermost divine nature of every individual -- nay, of
every atom; for in its ultimate nature -- or shall we not rather
say, in reality -- there is nothing that is not the very
Substance of "that Subtle Being of which this whole Universe is
composed."

In appearance, i.e., in our consciousness, things appear to be
individual and separate. The trouble with man is that he has
lost the consciousness of his spiritual divine nature, albeit he
is painfully struggling back to that consciousness. It is a
consciousness that he possessed before his "Fall." It is the loss
of it that constitutes the "Fall." As that fine Theosophist Jacob
Bohme says, it has "faded" with his fall into physical
generation. Thereby hangs an esoteric anthropology that is far
beyond anything that modern science can disclose, or that
traditional theology can accept. Yet it is plainly there in the
Bible when you are "instructed." It is not in the Bible merely,
but in the writings and sayings of mystics and initiates in all
ages. It is the ancient Wisdom Religion or Theosophy.

The historical Jesus, then, we say, was a man like us, but one
who had realized his divine nature in a supreme degree. So for
us, if we call ourselves Christians, it would be in the sense
that we endeavor to do the same thing, and take Christ as our
example. Religion is not the worship of or dependence on a
manmade concept of a transcendental personal Being, but it is the
effort to attain to an ever-increasing consciousness of our own
inner and essentially divine nature in its unity, with the
ultimate Cosmic Principle -- about which human speculation in
terms of the formal mind is futile. As we attain to that fuller
consciousness of unity, our powers for action in this world
increase, even to the extent of so-called miracle; though
anything of that nature consciously performed is merely a deeper
knowledge of natural law. Spirit is omnipotent, and can
accomplish "miracles" of healing as well as in other directions.

How immensely it would simplify all our "Christianity" if this
were universally recognized. Is it not in fact the Gospel of the
future: "Christ in you?" But theology stands in the way with its
doctrines of the Trinity, the Virgin Birth, the Atonement on the
Cross, the physical Resurrection, and what not: all derived from
the acceptance of the literal narrative from Genesis to
Revelation.

All these theological concepts were formulated at a time and in a
community when knowledge and concepts of the Cosmos and of Man's
nature were exceedingly primitive. They survive today, but are
exceedingly in question, and, indeed, are rapidly being
overpassed. They certainly cannot survive for many more
generations notwithstanding our modern "Fundamentalists."

With a reformed Christianity, there may possibly be the chance of
a reformed world and an end to crime and war.

Finally, and as regards other religions, we may take to heart the
words of Krishna in the Bhagavad Gita, where he speaks also as
the Logos, the universal or cosmic active spiritual principle.

"In whatever form a devotee desires with faith to worship, it is
I alone who inspire him with constancy therein."

Call it Christ or Krishna, which you will; but it is the Cosmic
Spiritual Principle that is the innermost nature of every one of
us -- did we but realize it in some practical degree.

A general recognition of this would mean an end to all religious
strife and hatred.

-----------------------------------------------------------------
PROBATION

By Lily A. Long

[From THE PATH, May 1892, pages 40-43 and June 1892, pages
82-86.]

In a certain country there once lived a youth whose name was
Ernest. The mountains closed about the little village that was
his home, and the beauty and mystery that dwell on the mountains
had folded him in from his childhood. When the sun rose, he knew
it first by the pale gleam that grew into light on the highest
peaks, and when it set at the day's end, it wrapped those peaks
again in purple and violet mists through which the level rays
pierced like spears of gold.

Far below lay the valley, where the herdsmen took their droves in
wintertime and beyond that again laid the great world of cities,
ships, and palaces. Sometimes travelers, crossing the mountain,
would bring some word of how life went in that other world. Now
it was a war, now it was a famine, and now it was a great
rejoicing or a wonderful triumph.

Ernest listened and wondered, until wild longings came into his
heart to share in that keener life, and then the rock-bound
steeps of his home seemed like prison walls to him. Chiefly he
loved to hear the tales that came with others of how some man had
arisen to right the wrongs of the people or to sacrifice himself
for the salvation of his country.

"Who was the man? What is his name?"

The answer was always the same.

"He was one of the Brothers of the Silence. We did not know his
name."

"But who are the Brothers of the Silence? Tell me more of them."

The answer was always:

"No one knows who they are unless he is one of them. They keep
their secret bond. It is said that men about the king, in the
very heart of the court, belong to the Brotherhood, but no one
knows who they may be. It is certain that humble artisans are of
the Brotherhood also, and are scholars, travelers, artists, and
men who toil with their hands. They work together for a common
end, but they work in secret and each in his own way. Only this
marks them all, that they work not for themselves. They have
vast wealth, but it is used for the furtherance of their common
aim; and great learning, but no display is made of it; and power
greater than a monarch's, yet it is never shown save when there
is need."

"But why are they unknown, and why do they work in secret?"

"Because they work against the king," was the guarded answer.
"The king does not rule righteously. Evil is done and suffered,
and wrong is uppermost. Those who serve the king seek to break
their power. Therefore, they have banded themselves together in
secret and do their work so no man knows it. A time will come
when the king will learn his weakness and the people will learn
their friends. They can wait as well as work.''

Ernest would wander off into the solitary places of the mountains
and look out over the level land that stretched away before him.
His heart was so full of passionate ardor to share the work of
those unknown men that he could not put it into words.

The travelers came less often with their tales, for the mountain
pass was dangerous and most chose to take the long way leading
past the foothills. In the gorge above, the village ran a swift
stream that had never been bridged. More than one adventurer,
essaying the passage in the rude skiffs of the mountaineers, had
been caught in the fierce current and carried down helplessly
over the precipice below. Often the villagers talked together of
throwing a bridge across the torrent, but they were men of many
little cares, and each season was too full of its own work to
leave room for a larger task.

One spring, when the melting fields of snow upon the mountains
had made the gorge impassable for weeks, they agreed that they
should no longer delay the work. Each man must bring his share
of timber, and Ernest, who was skilful and strong, would construe
the bridge. Soon tall trees were hewn to solid beams and lay
ready piled on either bank. Pins for fastening, planks, and
framework were made ready. One day, as Ernest worked, a stranger
stood beside him. It was long since he had seen a man from the
outer world, and he questioned him eagerly.

"What of the king? Does evil still have power in his kingdom?"

"It still has power, alas."

"Tell me of the Brotherhood, the men who live for the good of
their fellows. Do they still work?"

"Yes, and ever will while there is need."

"I dreamed once of joining them," Ernest said wistfully.

The stranger gave him a kindly glance.

"Well, why not?"

"Could I?"

"Why not?"

"But no one knows where to find them."

The stranger smiled oddly.

"They are never far. One of them was even today at the foot of
this mountain of yours."

He waved his hand in farewell, but long after he had passed out
of sight, the youth sat pondering over his words. One of the
Brothers had been at the foot of the mountain that day! Then he
could not yet be far away. Ernest flung his axe to the ground
and took the path towards the valley from which the stranger had
come.

----

He wandered far and long. Wherever he went, there were rumors of
the men he sought, but nothing more. One who might have been of
the Brotherhood was here a fortnight since. It was said another
was even now in the next village. Nay, they had all gone to the
war on the borders, or the king had discovered their secret
meeting places, and they had all been scattered or buried in
dungeons. Well, it was not so certain that they had ever
existed. There had been much talk, but who could make proof? The
rumors flew, and Ernest's seal blew hot and cold as he listened.

It would have been well worth living, truly, if one might have
lived and worked as one of such a brotherhood, but if the
Brotherhood were chimerical, -- why, it was worth living still in
a world that held such wonders as the palaces, pageants, and
festivals he saw. The months came and went, and ever as he
traveled, some new wonder put the last out of mind. The first
object of his search had almost been forgotten when one day a
stranger accosted him in the streets of a city.

"You have traveled far."

"I do not recollect you," Ernest said.

"A year ago you were building a bridge over a dangerous gorge in
the mountains. You asked about the Silent Brothers then."

"True. And I left the mountains to seek them."

"Have you found them?"

"No. Tales fly about, but many are idle, some are false, and all
are fugitive. It is impossible to find the Brothers."

"It is not impossible," said the stranger, with a searching
glance, "but vague desires bear no fruit unless they grow into
will and blossom into action." He lingered a moment as though he
would have added more, then turned and was lost in the crowd.

----

But his words had vividly recalled to Ernest the hopes and
purposes with which he had left his home, and in a rush of
passionate self-reproach, he blamed himself for losing sight of
that aim in the allurements of novelty. Faithless and
vacillating, how could he hope to be trusted with the work of
those who first were faithful and steadfast?

Someone touched him on the shoulder.

"Well, will you join us?"

"Who are you," Ernest asked, drawing back in astonishment.

"Do you not know? We know you. We are men who work to overthrow
the power of the king. Will you join us?"

"Are you then the Brothers of Silence," Ernest demanded eagerly.

"Who knows anything of them? Have you found them?"

"No."

"Yet you have been seeking a whole year! You are a fool if you
trust such shadows. There must be a revolution. It will be a
thousand years before the Brothers bring it about with their
cautious measures. We know a shorter way. We shall bring it to
pass ourselves, and then we shall govern instead. Come, are you
with us?"

"Yes," cried Ernest. "Why should I wait?"

He plunged at once into a labyrinth of plots and conspiracies
that grew day by day more inextricable. There were secret
meetings and goings back and forth and mysterious ambassadors on
mysterious errands, all of which at first seemed the signs of a
most ardent activity in the cause he had at heart.

Gradually, as he became more familiar with the details, an
uncomfortable doubt came into his mind and lodged there. It was
a revolution they contemplated, -- true; and the government was
evil. Was the object of the conspirators to establish a better
rule? Little by little, he came to see with fatal clearness that
they only sought to overthrow the established order to place
themselves in power. Not for the sake of their country, not for
the sake of better laws or for the good of the oppressed people
were they banded together, but only that they might drain their
country of wealth for themselves and make laws that would protect
them in their rapine and oppress the people still more bitterly.

It grew upon him like a horror, and as he came to feel himself
bound with them, entangled in their plots, and smirched with
their baseness, he loathed himself and hated all who had had part
in leading him into these underground ways. A year had gone by
when one day the stranger whom he had met twice before sought him
out.

"You have allowed yourself to be deluded," the stranger said with
grave directness. "You must free yourself once and forever from
these entanglements if you hope to ever share in the work pursued
by the Brothers of the Silence."

"The Brothers of the Silence," Ernest exclaimed bitterly. "It is
because I sought them that I am where I am now."

"No, it is because you sought them in the wrong way."

"Tell me, then, do they exist?"

"Yes. I am one of them."

"Then why did you not set me right?"

"Because each member must earn his own entrance."

"I may be misled again."

"Why? The test is a very simple one. The Brothers do not work
for self-interest, but for the good of humanity. That is the
beginning and the end of their mission. Yet each one has a task
of his own to perform, and each must find it by searching his own
heart. Use your clearest judgment, your highest ideals, and the
best of your faculties, for the work deserves all. In a year, I
will seek you again."

The year went by. Ernest had cut himself free from his old
associations and joined the army that was fighting on the
frontier. He had fought bravely, for the words of his unknown
guide remained with him, and the thought that in serving his
country he was surely doing the work of the Brothers gave him
courage. He had a hope too that his probation might at last be
done, for had he not won distinction as a soldier and more than
once saved the field from disaster? All the land was ringing with
his praise. He waited impatiently for the day when his friend
had promised to return. It came.

"Have I won entrance yet," Ernest demanded confidently. He could
hardly credit the gravely spoken answer.

"No."

"Why? Is not the work I have done good?"

"It is good work and deserves a reward. You will have it, but
you have not won entrance to the Brotherhood. That does not come
to those who seek it for themselves, even though they seek it by
the path of service. There may be selfish ambition even in
self-sacrifice, and the Brothers, remember always, are not
concerned with the advancement of themselves, but with the good
of the whole. Yet, take courage for another trial!"

----

The reward came, for the king was graciously pleased to recognize
Ernest's heroism on the battlefield by making him governor over a
small province. He entered upon his duties with high hopes.
Here at last was a fitting opportunity! He would govern his
people so well that poverty, ignorance, and wrongdoing should be
banished from his province, and the Brothers should know that in
one corner of the country at least there was no need for their
oversight.

He found that the task was harder than he had thought. There had
been bad governors before him, and the abuses could not all be
corrected at once. The people were ignorant and cunning, and
thwarted his efforts for their own welfare. He was
inexperienced, and measures that he designed for good sometimes
proved so ill advised that their effect was worse than the old
were. When the end of the year came, he looked back at the great
things he had planned and the small things he had accomplished.
It seemed to him that his work had been all a failure. He stood
with downcast eyes when the stranger who had grown his watchful
friend found him again.

"What of the year past," the Brother asked, his voice kinder than
before.

"You know," said Ernest moodily. "At least you know what I have
done. You cannot know what I meant to do."

"Why have you failed?"

Ernest paused.

"Because of my own ignorance, largely," he said at last. "I did
not know how to deal with the conditions I had to meet. I see it
now."

"Then do you see, too, why you have not yet gained entrance to
the Brotherhood," he asked gently. "In their work, a mistake may
be fatal. Well-intentioned effort is not enough. It must be
wisely directed."

"Yes, I see" Ernest said patiently. "Well, I will study and
wait."

His friend smiled as though well content.

----

Ernest gave up the governorship of his province to plunge into
study. With a mind disciplined and strengthened by the work of
the last ardent years, he applied himself to assimilating the
knowledge that is stored in the wise books of the world. He
studied with humility, for his errors had revealed to him his own
lack of wisdom, and he worked with ardor, for he felt that a
greater undertaking awaited him when he should be fit. In the
outside world, the old throbbing life beat on, and ever and anon
calls came to him to join in it as before. Some upbraided him
with indifference in thus shutting himself apart, but he knew the
scope of the task before him and followed it without pause or
faltering.

One morning, when the first rays of the sun put out the light of
his lamp, he lifted his eyes from his books and remembered that
the year of study he had set for himself had gone by. What had
he gained? He now had new ideas of life in many ways, new ideals,
firmer judgment, and deeper reverence for the men who in the past
had thought their way into the deep places of nature. It was
strange that so few should come to share it! Strange that the
world should go on and men live and die as though this legacy of
wisdom from the greatest of earth's sons had been forgotten of
all!

"Knowledge stored away and unused is like grain sealed in a
granary," said his friend, who, unseen, had come to stand beside
him. "The millions on the plain outside may starve for lack of
it, and the grain itself will mildew -- if it be not unsealed."

"I understand," said Ernest with a smile. "That, then, shall be
my further task."

----

He shut up his books, left his room, and returned to the world,
this time as a teacher. Here a disappointment awaited him at the
outset, for the people, busy with their own interests and quite
content with their own ideas, were not as eager to listen as he
to teach. Some laughed and some doubted, and of all that heard,
few heeded, but the burden of speech was laid upon him and he
dared not keep silence. Sometimes the children listened, and in
their earnest eyes, he read a reassurance that the coming years
might see the fruit from the seed he planted. Sometimes a youth
who reminded him of what he had been in earlier years came,
listened, and went away with a new purpose. Sometimes old eyes,
ready to close wearily upon a world that had yielded many cares
and little content, brightened with a gleam of comprehension as
he spoke. "Ah, that then was the meaning of the riddle!"

When the year had gone by the results seemed meager.

"I had hoped to bring to all men the truths I had found," he said
to the friend who came as before, "but they do not heed them."

"They will in time, and your efforts will bring the time nearer,"
was the serene answer. "One who works for humanity must never
lose faith in the ultimate triumph of good. Yet he may not cease
to work as though the salvation of all rested with him alone."

"Am I fitted yet to do the work of the Brothers," Ernest asked
after a pause.

The other gave him a kindly look.

"One task remains. I leave you to find it."

----

Six years had gone by since, an eager boy, he left his home in
the mountains, and a yearning came into his man's heart to rest
again in the high, pure solitudes where he had dreamed as a
child. All places are alike to him who holds himself ready for
service, so he turned toward the mountains. Steadfast and
tranquil as of old, the white peaks lifted themselves above the
purple mists as he had always seen them in memory. The dawn
softened but could not melt them; the sunset illumined but could
not stain them. Down the gorge as of old, the mountain torrent
tumbled in foamy wrath, and the little village beside it was no
older than on the day he had turned his back upon it to seek the
world.

He went to the pass above where the bridge was to have been. The
hewn timbers lay heaped on either bank just as he had left them,
only that a creeping vine with gay blossoms had twined about the
beams that were gray with the weather and green with moss. His
unfinished work reproached him, and with a blush for the
impatient boy that he had been, he set himself to complete it.
Since the villagers were busy as of old, he worked alone.

Through fair weather and foul, he kept to the task, planting the
foundations deep and making each part strong and true. The
summer went by while the work was yet unfinished. The winter
fettered the wild stream, and on the ice, he crossed from shore
to shore, still carrying the work forward. The spring came, and
he had finished. When the freshets came down from the ice fields
above, the bridge stood firm and unshaken above the whirlpool.
In the absorption of his work, he had forgotten what day it was
until all at once he saw the stranger of that old spring morning
standing on the bank, the guide and friend of all the years
between.

"You found the task."

"This?"

"It was yours. No other could do it."

They stood in silence a moment gazing at it, and then the Brother
spoke again.

"Do you see now how the way has led through all the years? First,
steadfastness came, for without that no effort can avail. Then
was clearness of vision, to prove all things and hold to the
good. Then came the conquering of passion, and the devotion of
all faculties to the service of man and the training of self to
the end that others may be enlightened. Lastly, to crown all,
the simple duty that lay at your hand at the beginning."

"Is it done," asked Ernest, doubtingly? "Am I worthy to become
one of you?"

The smile of the other was an illumination.

"You ARE one of us."

-----------------------------------------------------------------
TEACHERS AND DISCIPLES, Part II

By G. de Purucker

[From THE ESOTERIC OR ORIENTAL SCHOOL: STEPS IN THE INITIATORY
CYCLE, pages 37-46.]

Anyone at any time can be a Chela. It matters not the stage of
his progress. Whether he can remain Chela is another question
entirely, for the path of Chelaship is a very serious matter
indeed both for the disciple and for the Teacher. As HPB wrote
in 1888, the year in which she inaugurated our present E. S.:

> It is easy to become a Theosophist. Any person of average
> intellectual capacities, and a leaning toward the metaphysical;
> of pure, unselfish life, who finds more joy in helping his
> neighbor than in receiving help himself; one who is ever ready to
> sacrifice his own pleasures for the sake of other people; and who
> loves Truth, Goodness, and Wisdom for their own sake, not for the
> benefit they may confer -- is a Theosophist.
>
> But it is quite another matter to put oneself upon the path that
> leads to the knowledge of what is good to do, as to the right
> discrimination of good from evil; a path that also leads a man to
> that power through which he can do the good he desires, often
> without even apparently lifting a finger.
>
> Moreover, there is one important fact with which the student
> should be made acquainted. Namely, the enormous, almost
> limitless, responsibility assumed by the teacher for the sake of
> the pupil. . . . From the moment they begin REALLY to teach,
> from the instant they confer ANY power -- whether psychic,
> mental, or physical -- on their pupils, they take upon themselves
> ALL the sins of that pupil, in connection with the Occult
> Sciences, whether of omission or commission, until the moment
> when initiation makes the pupil a Master and responsible in his
> turn. . . . Thus it is clear why the "Teachers" are so
> reticent, and why "Chelas" are required to serve a seven years
> probation to prove their fitness, and develop the qualities
> necessary to the security of both Master and pupil.
>
> -- H.P. Blavatsky, "Practical Occultism," LUCIFER, April 1888.

I tell you, Companions, that when a deliberate, loyal, and actual
choice is made with all the strength of your being, you kindle a
light within, and this is the Buddhic Splendor; and it is sensed
understandingly, watched, and cared for by the Teachers, and thus
you are an accepted Chela. How long will you remain one? There
are no perambulating magicians wandering the world, selecting
whom they may think to be proper material.

The choice is in you; you choose your path; you make your
resolve; and if the Buddhic Light is seen, be it even so much as
a spark of it, you are accepted, although it may be unknown to
yourself for the time being. You have made the choice, and
thereafter all depends upon you, whether you succeed or fail --
fall by the wayside.

Chelaship is self-renunciation for all, the renunciation of self
in order to gain the Self, the renunciation of the limited,
small, and particular for the general and the universal. You
attain Chelaship at any instant by your own choice. Whether you
remain one depends upon your own will. A certain stage of
progression is of course necessary before one can make such a
choice; but every normal human being can make such a choice,
because in him spirit and matter have attained a more or less
stable equilibrium.

Chelaship may be undertaken at any stage by anyone who can arouse
the Buddhic Splendor or the Buddhic Light, called in your
Occident the Christ-light, in his mind and heart. It matters
little at what stage of human evolution he may stand. If he can
make the choice; if he can concentrate his will and his
consciousness on the one point of Chelaship -- of succeeding as a
disciple -- he is by so much a Chela de facto and will be
accepted as such. In the beginning, he often does not know of
his acceptance. Even so, he is accepted. His resignation of the
lower selfhood on the altar of truth it is that counts; and I
tell you, Companions, no human cry for help ever passes unheard,
if that cry be impersonal for light, more light. The test is
impersonality.

No Teacher would even think of refusing to impart light, when he
sees the spark of the Buddhic Splendor. Why should he? It is a
duty to live to benefit humanity; and the noblest benefit that
humanity can receive is spiritual teaching; for such teaching
changes men's hearts; it ameliorates their minds and thereby
changes their destiny, and in smaller degree, therefore, the
destiny of all surrounding the one so changed. To live to
benefit humanity has as its very first obligation to teach
others.

One naturally follows the school of the Teacher that one has
chosen. But likewise, at any instant of time, the Chela, the
neophyte, has the power of choosing, has choice, whether he will,
or whether he nill, longer follow his teacher, his guru. In the
higher degrees, each neophyte must discover his own especial
Teacher. In the lower degrees, this is very much less important,
for the teachings are general rather than specific.

In future eons, the disciple must choose whether he will become
one of the Buddhas of Compassion or one of the Pratyeka-Buddhas.
Companions, mark you, when the choice comes, it will come as the
karmic resultant of lives previously lived. It results from the
bent of your character, the spiritual faculties aroused, the will
made to be alert, ready, responsive to command: all these things
will govern the choice and in fact make the choice when the time
for choosing comes. Therefore, the training of the Chela, of the
disciple, begins at the beginning. Becoming great in small
things, he learns to become great in great things.

The relation between Teacher and pupil is a holy one. It is the
Teacher's duty to penetrate behind the veils of selfhood of his
pupil. The pupil offers himself for this, otherwise the Teacher
would have no right to study him, to penetrate behind the veil of
reserve, would have no right to sound his character so intimately
or gaze into and past the outermost delimitations of the Auric
Egg. It is the Teacher's duty to study his pupil, so that he may
know, not merely to what degree that pupil belongs, but what that
pupil's soul is. He has no right to teach him otherwise. Man is
something more than a brain-mind, receiving knowledge by words or
by figures or otherwise.

Of course, a Teacher would need to be an incarnate god, one of
the highest of the Buddhas, to be able to tell at a glance just
where a pupil stood in his karmic evolution, as signified by
characteristics of conduct and appearances arising out of the
mental deposits; for Man is a Mystery. Under the surface and
behind the veil there is a mystery, the mystery of selfhood, of
individuality, a career stretching into distant eternity.

Man is essentially a god-like energy; and the Teacher senses this
when in the presence of his pupil. He realizes that he is
confabulating with a god enshrouded by veils. However thick
these enshrouding veils may be, no Teacher looks merely to the
aura. That is mere child's play. It is too risky. Too much is
involved.

The Teacher needs to study his pupil; for the mere coloring of
the aura, its scintillations and crisping nuances of shadow and
of light, are expressive merely of the passing phases of thought
and of emotion; and it is only the subtle background of tinted
harmony that to the trained eye gives the general and permanent
character.

I fancy no true Teacher would attempt to judge of a fellow-human
being at first sight. Such knowledge is possible; it may come in
a flash to the Teacher, intuitively, if you like; but very few
Teachers even then would act permanently upon such quick
recognition because it would be but recognition of the outermost
veil of the student.

It is true that the Teacher with his experience, with his
training, with his trained intuition and his trained insight, can
make a very good average judgment off-hand of what a pupil is
capable of and of the position, mystically speaking, where he
stands; but no true Teacher would depend in his judgment solely
upon this. He is bound to know his pupil before he attempts even
to teach him; because teaching -- and pray, pray, remember this
-- in our Holy Order is not merely the passing of intelligence by
words, which is comparatively easy; but in the higher degrees is
the directing of the life of the pupil, guiding his feet.

Although the pupil must himself walk and choose his direction at
every instant, forever, there is the Teacher standing pointing,
as it were in silence, in the direction that the pupil should
follow. It remains with the pupil to look and to go ahead or to
fail. Pupils differ among themselves, just as all other men
differ among themselves in intelligence, character, and kind of
evolution. It becomes clear that the duties of a Teacher are
very onerous and responsible. Pointing the direction in which
lies the destiny of an immortal spirit-soul is no light and easy
labor.

In our exoteric literature, I have written extensively of the
Kosmic Picture Gallery, i.e., the records in the astral light
wherein are preserved an indelible imprint or impression of every
thing, of every entity, that ever has been, is now, or -- as
human beings say -- ever will be. (See THE ESOTERIC TRADITION,
pages 1012 et seq. and OCCULT GLOSSARY, pages 20-21.) They exist
in the eternal present. For Parabrahman or the Boundless
Infinitude knows neither past nor future; for it ever IS.

In a more restricted sense, and turning to individuals, there is
what might be described as a picture-gallery, not referring to a
building in particular, but to a state or to a condition in the
astral light, in which the Teacher may see, as in a passing
panoramic show, every condition or state of the Chelas or pupils
under him. He can watch as one might watch a cinematographic
picture, see every passing phase of thought, emotion, and
consciousness. This record, however, no Teacher ever desires to
refer to at length.

Every pupil is very intimately connected with his Teacher. There
are channels, currents, and streams that continuously pass
backwards and forwards between Teacher and pupil, and pupil and
Teacher. In fact, the Teacher, by throwing one aspect of his
consciousness into such a stream or current, flowing between
himself and any one Chela, or pupil, can sense instantly by
repercussion upon his own consciousness, the exact emotional or
mental status or state or temporary condition in which the pupil
happens to be. He is also able to judge there from just about
what evolutionary stage or progress to which the pupil has gained
or attained.

The imprint or impression will not become distinctly individual
until a member becomes an accepted Chela. Then the status of
individual and concentrated attention and consideration is given
to the accepted Chela. He deserves it in such case. He has
gained it. There is no favoritism about it. He has proved
himself, standing at the door and knocking. "Behold," as the
Syrian Sage said, "I stand at the door and knock," for just as
the pupil knocks at the doors of the Teacher's heart, so does the
Teacher knock at the doors of the pupil's heart.

Under ordinary circumstances, the quickest and best way by which
to know another man is by letting him have his way. This is the
greatest test that a man can undergo and come successfully
through it. A reader of the hearts of men never imposes orders
upon them, unless it is in E. S. work. He lets him show his
own heart and mind in his actions; "gives him rope," to use the
common phrasing; and it is thus that a man shows himself, or a
woman declares herself.

Now, why does the present Leader do this? Is it merely in order
to know his devoted men and women? No; that is not the point; for
he knows them pretty well and he loves them; but it is to teach
esotericism in the outward ranks of the Society by exoteric
methods with an esoteric objective. The policy is the same old
policy, which Katherine Tingley kept in our heart of hearts. Our
methods change, but the policy changes not.

It is to enable you, in part at least, to have the privilege of
taking, in time to come, direct esoteric orders. Do you think
your Leader, your Teacher, your Outer Head, would give such an
order unless he had tested as far as he humanly could, every
fiber in the being of the one in whom he confides? The test
comes, not by probing, not by spying, not by ungenerously
catching one's students off guard and unawares -- all of which is
horrible: but by telling or allowing them to understand:

> Here is a certain situation. This is what I suggest. Now, what
> do you think? Do you think thus and so? Do you like that way --
> your way -- better than my suggestion? Very well, Brother, then
> follow your own way. Take the responsibility upon your own
> shoulders. Develop your own powers as you will.

Thus does a student learn and thus does a man or woman show his
heart, in other words what is in him. This is no secret but is
an esoteric way of acting. I have voiced it openly repeatedly,
and thus have given you fair warning.

Mark you, mark you well; there is no similarity between bringing
to the attention and knowledge of the disciple his faults, the
evil side of his nature, in order that he may overcome them, and
the bringing out of these faults for self-indulgence: there is no
similarity at all between these two. Let no one twist my
statement. Let no one distort it. The truth is, the disciple
must win in the battle with his lower nature, must prevail, or
fail. He must kill these things in himself, or they will kill
him. This is literally true.

You have read somewhat of what takes place in two of the
mysteries of initiation, in two of the initiatory-ceremonies.
You have read in symbolic speech, in image-phraseology, somewhat
of what the disciple must undergo; and all that is more or less
true. The trouble is that these suggestions and hints that you
have probably read in literature of trials to face and overcome
are not imaginary exactly, but are usually statements symbolic in
form of what the disciple has to face; and they should not be
construed too literally.

Do not you know that thoughts actually are mental things, mental
entities: that, being things, they therefore have form; that,
being entities, they have form and therefore have strength and
power of their own even as you have? Do you realize yourself that
you yourself are the thought of your inner god? You are a poor,
an imperfect reflection of that inner splendor, a child of the
thoughts so to say of your own inner god, even as thoughts of
evolving human beings are entities, living entities, embryo-souls
developing and marching forward on the pathway of evolutionary
growth.

I dare go no farther in this degree, in explanation, Companions,
with regard to these matters. I have given to you the necessary
hint; and all I can now say is this: that the disciple's duty is
to follow his Teacher's suggestions, and the disciple's own will
should be with these suggestions. If not, the disciple either is
dropped by the Teacher or pursues his own path with at best the
Teacher's good wishes. A part of the Teacher's duty is to show
the disciple the evil in the latter's nature: to show him how to
overcome that evil, how to transmute it after it is overcome.
How can you transmute something that you have not mastered? Again
I say to you, overcome the evil side of your nature or it will
overcome you.

Whatever happens is the resultant or effect of the strongest of
the many karmic elements or energies working to find expression
in a life, the strongest finding egress or ingress, as you will.
The strongest come into manifestation in your life -- first; and
the less strong are not prevented or turned aside but are dammed
back, so to say, and await their turn. Everything is like this
in life: growth, learning, whatever it may be; it is always the
strongest energy that appears first.

In certain very rare conditions and circumstances, it is
possible, however, for a Teacher with the full consent of his
pupil to prevent the appearance of the strongest karmic energy
first, or so to smooth its action that other karmic energies or
elements can appear almost simultaneously. These rare cases or
instances are always for the benefit either of the pupil or for
some great and impersonal work for humanity, and actually can
only take place in circumstances and in conditions that are
actually within a higher karma of the one so submitting him to
the destiny as thus modified. Even here, the karma so modified
will find its expression just the same and with its exactly
normal condition of power and with precisely normal results.

All pain and suffering are due to karma; everything is karmic.
Evolution is not a painful process; evolution is growth. Is
growth painful? Is expansion of faculty painful? Is growth in
understanding painful? Is growth in the ability to love, to be,
to know, and to recognize? Are these things painful? It is human
folly, human stupidity, human selfishness, which inject the
so-called pain into human life. Nature provides for it even
there, so merciful and kindly is she in her operations; for her
heart is compassion and she arranges things automatically. It is
Nature's law that pain and suffering are our own doing, and are
actually our greatest teachers. Forget yourself!

One reservation, however, you should make here. In our own
esoteric training, a rapidly accelerated growth -- in other words
esoteric training done under a wise teacher -- is often painful,
for it means doing rapidly and vigorously what in Nature's
ordinary courses would take many, many tens of thousands of
years, millions, perhaps. It is painful because, instead of
slowly growing to see the beauty and harmony of life everywhere,
you must learn to conquer yourself with an iron will, learn to
forget yourself, learn to serve in self-forgetfulness, seeing the
beauty, happiness, and peace of these. You must learn to give up
yourself for the Universal Self. You must learn to die daily, so
that you can live the cosmic life. Do you understand? This
evolution through training in a way is painful; but oh, how
beneficent a blessing it is!

Consider the difference between the refining, purifying, and
calming influences of the spirit, and the hot, physical, animal
impulses of the lower man. The one, the former, is always
selfless, kindly, gentle, loving, forgiving, and impersonal above
all else. The other, the latter, is always for the lower self,
selfish, egoistic, self-seeking, limited, and mean.

Examine the quality of these influences. Whatever leads you to
self-forgetful service for others is always holy, always from the
inner swabhava of the monadic essence; whatever is impersonal is
always holy; an evil thing cannot be impersonal, no matter how
general and wide reaching it may be. Does this then mean that
everything that is personal is evil? No, but it means that the
personal belongs to the personal sphere, and that fact should be
enough for anybody. It is not high. It is not rooted in the
Light of Eternity. As you have been often told and urged to do,
follow the god within rather than your human and animal impulses.
The former method is incomparably easier than the latter. Its
fruits are always lasting. They decay not, nor do they poison.

Do not kill the personality; use it; elevate it; change the
direction of its evolutionary tendencies; make it become from a
personality into individuality. Train the "I am I" so that its
whole tendency of thought and the currents of its vitality flow
into the "I am." If suppression of the personality is this, then
it is a highly commendable thing to do, and it is the training of
our School, the main object of this Degree of our Holy Order:
self-forgetfulness in service for others, which is the method of
attaining the consciousness universal. This path leads to light
and peace that endure forever.

It is a very marvelous thing, a fascinating thing to think over,
to ponder upon, that just in proportion as individuality
increases and personality decreases, do we rise on the Ladder of
Life, towards a more intimate individual union with the cosmic
divinity at the heart of our own solar system. This applies to
all the vast multitude of the human host. Why to the human host
only? Any other entity of equivalent evolutionary advancement,
any other host of entities possessing self-consciousness, and the
other attributes that make man, man, belong to the same category.

We human beings are personal, precisely in the degree that we are
not our Self -- strange paradox! Just in proportion as the
spiritual individuality is frittered away in rays, so to speak --
in the rays of the lower and lowest part of the human
constitution -- just by so much are we not our Self. When we
lose personality, it means loosing the hold that these lower
parts of us have upon our essential being. It means a gathering
together of the hitherto scattered and frittered rays -- the rays
dissipated into the various atomic entities of our lower
constitution. It means gathering them together into the sheaf of
Selfhood, and thus becoming again our essential Self. You see,
thus, the explanation of this wonderful paradox, that just in
proportion as our personality vanishes, does our individuality
increase, and vice versa.

Strive at every moment to be self-forgetful, which means
forgetting personal wants. The needed things it is a duty to
attend to, but these usually are not personally crippling to the
spirit. Also, strive to become impersonal at every moment of
your life, for this means entering into the universal
consciousness. How grand, how glorious, that is! Also, learn how
to love, which means self-forgetfulness, because the first step
in loving is to learn how to forgive. There, in these few
sentences, you have the entire secret and the essence of the
esoteric training in Chelaship.

Practice these and the holy presence will be in your every moment
of life. It will be with you day and night, the shining
Companion of your silent hours, and the Warrior Invincible always
fighting within you and for you in your hours of activity.
Cultivating these glorious virtues means success, it means peace,
it means happiness, it means perfecting yourself in all great and
noble things -- and this is evolution. I tell you that ethics or
morals are not conventions; they are founded in the very heart of
Nature.

The Masters are watching always for the first sign of the Buddhic
Splendor. A ray of it is even now in every one of you, otherwise
you would not rightfully be disciples in the Oriental School.
When they see this first faint glimmer of the Buddhic Splendor,
when they sense it within you, then they foster it. Unknown to
you, they watch over you and protect you; stimulate the growth of
this tiny flame of the inner divinity. Oh my Brothers, why not
help them in their sublime labor?

Carry with you the realization that although you may have taken
only the first step on that Pathway that you have heard me speak
of, and that I have so often written of, yet you can pursue that
Pathway to its glorious culmination, and that even now you are in
training for that end. Consider yourselves, each one of you, a
disciple of our blessed Masters, for such in truth every genuine
E. S. student is. Live a life in accordance therewith, and
there in the distance of time, over the peaks of the Mystic East,
you will see the rising Sun of spiritual splendor. It will shine
directly into your lives, illuminate your minds, and inflame your
hearts. There is no recompense in human life equal to the
feeling that a man has become cognizant of his kinship with the
gods, and that the gods are working with him.

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