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THEOSOPHY WORLD -------------------------------------- July, 2005
An Internet Magazine Dedicated to the Theosophical Philosophy
And its Practical Application in the Modern World
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(Please note that the materials presented in THEOSOPHY WORLD are
the intellectual property of their respective authors and may not
be reposted or otherwise republished without prior permission.)
"The Tests," by B.P. Wadia
"Theosophical Conference in Santa Barbara"
"The Cross of Initiation," by G. de Purucker
"Challenges of Transformation in the New Cycle," by Ken Small
"One of Many," by Alexander Fullerton
"ULT Day Letter," by the United Lodge of Theosophists
"Contrasting Theosophical Writing Styles," by Jerry Hejka-Ekins
"What is Theosophy," by G. de Purucker
"Will and Wish," by J.D. Beresfordo
"The Dark Side of Light," by John Algeo
> If the future and the past do exist I want to know where they
> are. I may not yet be capable of such knowledge, but at least I
> know that, wherever they are, they are not there as future or
> past, but as present. For if, wherever they are, they are
> future, they do not yet exist; if past, they no longer exist. So
> wherever they are and whatever they are, it is only by being
> present that they ARE.
> -- St. Augustine, CONFESSIONS, Bk 11, Ch. 14, No. 18
By B.P. Wadia
[From LIVING THE LIFE, pages 52-54.]
Our fitness or otherwise to enter the Occult World and maintain
our position therein is tested definitely at an early stage of
our Inner Life. The test comes from the Great Law, Sifter of
man's Dharma, on the Path of Woe. The significance of this
process can be understood by a correct reading of a few verses in
the Gospel of St. Luke (Chapter 9). To different types of
aspirants, Jesus gives different answers. He rejects one eager
to "follow thee whithersoever thou goest" by a diplomatic answer
that "the Son of man hath not where to lay his head." To a
second, he advises, "Let the dead bury their dead; but go thou
and preach the kingdom of God." To the third he says, "No man
having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for
the kingdom of God." Here are three definite situations and all
of us should enquire if we belong to any of them. Are we only
lip-professors, and is our earnestness rooted in selfishness or
egotism, and our devotion energized by personal ends and personal
motives? For us, then, there is no place in the Occult World. Or
are we half-hearted, yet desirous of trafficking in the shades of
the shadow world of the dead? Have we very definitely come out
from among them? Or do we belong to the third type -- having
abandoned earthly possessions we regret our step and yet are
attracted by the Ideal, possess a desire to be like Them, so that
we might help Them?
This test has to be passed.
Occultism speaks of the neophyte passing the tests of the
elementals of earth, water, air, and fire when he enters the
world of the Spirit. The correct understanding of this mystery
emblem is naturally beyond most of us. But let us try to
understand as best we can what it implies.
In the composition of our being are the four elemental forces
that, on their material side, are spoken of by the Ancients as
Elements of Earth, Water, Air, and Fire. The four temperaments,
phlegmatic, sanguine, choleric, and melancholic; the four types
of Nature-spirits, gnomes, undines, sylphs, and salamanders; and
several other quartets are related to and correspond with each
other. For the purposes of our study, it will suffice for us to
honestly ask and find answers in full and stern justice to these
questions: Are we of the earth earthy, so full of worldly
belongings that we are thrown out by ourselves from the Occult
Are we like unto that young man who "went away sorrowful" (note,
he was not sent away) "for he had great possessions?" Or are we
watery people, sentimental, goody-goody, wishy-washy, desirous of
observing customs and manners of the world of the dead? Or are we
self-opinionated folk who must air our views in season and out of
season and tell the world what we are doing or going to do, what
we think and feel and who, like unto the third aspirant of Jesus,
"first go to bid them farewell, which are at home, at my house,"
and incidentally tell them what we are going to do, righteously
and virtuously follow the Lord, and air our views on the subject,
and other matters besides? Or are we the fiery type -- who can
burn up earth and dry up water, and whose only enemy is the gale
of fury which sometimes overpowers the weak flame and the young
There are fires which cannot be extinguished and there is the
Spiritual Fire, which so subdues the breeze and gale of Ahamkara,
that it burns steady and bright. This Fire is the controller; it
too is the manifester and expresser of its nature.
Young aspirants sometimes forget that self-control and
self-expression are not two processes but two phases of but one
process. The coordination of these two has to be achieved. To
eliminate the earthy-rigidity of the senses, the watery-mobility
of the emotions, the airy-velocity of the thoughts by proper,
adequate and all-round control, and to use them as channels of
the Fiery Soul which is our real Self, so that it can express
itself in its true grandeur and glory, is the double work of
every aspirant. To make our body of senses and limbs the stately
mansion which puts forth the majesty and tenderness of Mother
Earth; to make our emotions start from the spring of Love, glide
forth in the river of gentleness, and empty themselves in the
Ocean of Compassion; to make our thoughts harbingers of goodwill
and like birds rise in the Aether of Space, singing their songs
-- joyous and clear and fresh; to transform ourselves into the
steady-burning Flame of Nachiketas's Fire -- symbol of the
Disciple; that is the task that lies before us.
Self-made is the Path; Self-determined is the effort to tread it.
Treading the Path, we realize the Self. In Self-realization, we
become the Path. Thus, the Truth, the Way, and the Life are one.
THEOSOPHICAL CONFERENCE IN SANTA BARBARA
An announcement has been received of a theosophical gathering to
be held August 12 to 14 in Santa Barbara. The theme is "Renewing
Ancient Wisdom in a Global Community." The following information
comes from that announcement.
The format will contain a mixture of talks, workshops, and
dialogues. The program is not yet finalized, but the confirmed
* "Recovering the Forgotten Truth: HPB's Legacy," by Nadini Iyer
* "Envisioning a Theosophical Future: Paradoxes and Paradigms,"
by Robert Ellwood
* "Meditation or Medication: Controlling the Mind in a Chaotic
Age," by Gene Jennings
* "Can the Good, the True, and the Beautiful Survive into the
Twenty-first Century," by Judy Saltzman and Will Thackara
* "Conceptual Breakthroughs in Theoretical Physics: A
Theosophist's Perspective," by Kim Miller
* "Traditions of Sacred Architecture: The Temple Between Heaven
and Earth," by Kirk Gradin and Russ Lewin
* "Responding to Globalization With Ethics and Activism," by
Philip Grant and others
Other possible presentations include a workshop on responding to
bestsellers and courses in "miracles." On Saturday night, the
program will include a musical performance. By popular demand,
the Theosophy School players will return with this year's play,
"Sinbara das Mahout."
Send names, addresses and e-mails or any questions to:
A copy of the flyer and registration form is available at the
There will be time for adjustments of number's of meals and
nights up until the first week of August, but it will be helpful
to receive everyone's basic reservation soon. If anyone needs
transportation from the airport to the retreat center, please ask
The retreat center, Casa de Maria is located in a lovely
location, and the facilities are comfortable, clean,
regenerative, and inexpensive. Unfortunately, the center has
been sold. This will be one of the last conferences held there.
Anyone wishing to make an additional donation to help cover
expenses, please send it to:
Attn: Carolyn Dorrance
Post Office Box 91105
Santa Barbara, CA 93190
THE CROSS OF INITIATION
By G. de Purucker
[From a July 14, 1936 supplement to THE DIALOGUES OF G. DE P.,
II, pages 261-67.]
The matter of the TRAINED human ego's having to go through
initiation unaided and unprotected by its higher parts is one of
great importance, and in the atmosphere of the thought that has
been aroused by the various observations made, I want to add
something of my own. It is perfectly true that we can receive
help from others, for love is always permissible, and it is the
sustaining power because it is like health and like fresh air.
When the test comes, we have to take it alone. The initiate is
in the universe, a part of it, the pulses of the universe are
pulsing through him. He has the help of the universe precisely
because it is a part of him. But no one helps him by holding him
up, or wiping the sweat or dew from his forehead, or giving him
The soul must stand naked before the test, and conquer by its own
inner powers. If it succeeds, it succeeds, and we have an adept.
If it fails, there are other chances, BUT HE GETS NO HELP IN A
DIRECT WAY WHATSOEVER. If he did, it would be no test. He must
learn to fit himself to be one of the stones in the Guardian
Wall. The position is one of such heavy responsibility, one
involving so much, that there can be no weak links.
There is not only no favoritism, there is absolutely no pity
shown for the naked soul. If pity were shown, and the soul were
helped over and allowed to succeed by supporting hands, the
result would be a weak vessel, incapable of holding its own
against the terrific impact of cosmic forces outside. The
Guardian Wall is composed of human and spiritual 'Stones' that
are strong in every fiber and have proved themselves such before
they can be built into the wall.
Several weighty and momentous matters are involved here, and I
want to drive it home into your minds that it is the unprotected,
unshielded, trained ego, the human ego, which must 'make good' or
fail. Now if it is helped, if it is shielded, what is the use of
undergoing the test? The test becomes a mere play, a farce, a
cheating. In a school, who is it that learns? The divine entity
living in the heart, in the soul, of each child? Obviously not.
It is the child that must learn or fail. If the child learns, it
graduates. In an honest school, if it does not learn, it does
not graduate, though out of compassion it may be allowed to slip
out with some degree of honor, especially if the child is
Just so is it with initiation, which is an intensification and
hastening of the evolutionary process. It is THAT part of the
human being that is tried, not a part superior to the trial, but
that part that is tried and tested that must succeed or fail.
And if somebody helps it, or suffers for it, or answers its
questions, or casts a shield of protection around it, wherein
lies the virtue in the trial out of which it comes successfully?
It is no trial, it is a weakening process. It is like a man in
the water. He either must swim or drown.
Suppose we take the man in the water as a test to learn whether
he can swim. If someone stands in the water and holds him up,
that is no test of the question: can the man swim? Precisely with
initiation, because upon that man's success lies the soul's weal,
the soul's safety, the safety of the souls of human beings. He
must be tested to be pure gold throughout, without a streak of
weakness, not a single point, not an atom can fail under stress.
That is why initiation is fearful. And only those are allowed to
attempt it whom the teachers believe to be capable of passing
through the fire of trial and coming out purified.
What is it that undergoes initiation, insofar as we humans are
concerned? It is not the divine part of us. It is not the
spiritual part of us. It is not the manasaputric part of us.
All these are beyond the initiations that we humans go through.
It is we, failing, fallible, weak, struggling, aspiring, and
sometimes succeeding human egos who have the chance when the time
comes in initiation to rise from the initiatory trance, a
spiritual being -- or to fail. It is a testing and a searching
out and purification in the fire of suffering. The poppycock
that is talked about initiation by the quasi-mystics and would-be
occultists today is awful, and it is right and needful that you
should know these things.
I have told you a million times, it seems to me, that the human
constitution is composite. There is a world of occultism in that
one statement. "Oh yes, composite. We know. It has a divine
soul, a spiritual soul, a human soul, an astral body, a
linga-sharira, and a physical body. Composite, yes. Oh, we
understand." I have not yet, my beloved Companions, found an
adequate understanding among you of that simple statement that
the human being is a composite being.
I have attempted by both direct and devious ways and roundabout
manners to awaken the intuition in your minds as to the meaning
of this statement. I have called to your attention the fact that
in addition to our usual exoteric enumeration of the seven
principles, there are different monads in man, and that not only
is every principle septenary or duodenary, but likewise that
these different monads in man, while they form his constitution
as we are now constituted, are nevertheless not all of them what
I call 'I,' and each one of you calls 'I.' That is the human
monad. That human monad is as septenary as our present
constitution is, which means that the human monad alone, singling
it out of the other monads in our present constitution, has a
divine part, a spiritual part, a mental or intellectual part, a
psychical, an astral, and a physical.
Now it is this human monad, the human ego part of that monad,
which is 'I,' which is 'you'; and it is this portion of the
constitution that must be so to say temporarily wrenched apart
from all the other elements in the human constitution, and must
stand alone. It has its own inner god, its own human monad's god
-- not the atman of the usually understood septenary, but its own
atman or inner god. And all initiation, which means all testing,
all trial, all purification, of any monad or ego is for the
purpose of bringing out the particular divinity of that ego that
is being tested.
Along this same line of thought you now perhaps will see the
reason of H.P. Blavatsky's statement that has intrigued so many
of you, that the Manasaputra, the manasaputric influence within
us and above us, is like a plank of salvation thrown down to us.
When the Manasaputras incarnated within the early human
protoplasts, they awakened the manasic portions in the human egos
-- they themselves were manasic devas -- and they still hover
over us inspiring, aiding, helping, guiding. But it is not the
Manasaputra of me and of you, because this "I" and this "you"
belong to the one we call the HUMAN monad.
Picture the situation after the manner of a cross. Marvelous
symbol again! The upright of the cross we can say is the line of
the ordinary human constitution as given in our exoteric books:
atman, buddhi, manas, kama, and so forth. The transverse or
horizontal where it joins the upright on its line of junction we
may call the human ego. We put it there because we are but
humans. Now that line of juncture, where the general, the
upright, traverses and crosses and therefore aids and lifts the
horizontal, or the individual I or you, is, as HPB says, our
plank of salvation, our contact with the universe in the upright
But we must learn to find that universe through the divinity of
our own monadic ego, within and above our own HUMAN monad, in
other words to find the atman belonging to our HUMAN ego, that is
the 'horizontal,' as well as the general atman of the human
constitution in and of the 'vertical.' To use this figure of
speech again, we must learn to find the divinity of the
horizontal as well as of the vertical. Now the perfect god, and
in a smaller degree the perfect man, is he who has learned to
make the upright and the horizontal coalesce in his constitution
and to blend in unity. Do you catch the mystical thought that I
am trying to give -- to see the divinity within his own essence
and essay to be it? And at the same time to see and essay to be
the cosmic divinity that is likewise in him and of him -- the
Thus in initiation it is not the divine monad that is tested.
That would be folly. It is not the father or the mother who
learns the alphabet for their little child of four. It is the
little child. It is not the spiritual monad that is tested and
tried and purified in these human initiations; nor is it the
Manasaputra inspiring us, but it is the HUMAN ego, which during
initiation must become, essay to become, and finally become, the
human monad, the divinity WITHIN THE HEART OR CENTER of the
You see the reason for the statement that the soul that cannot
stand the burning fire returns either a madman or returns but to
die -- that or success. It is infinitely just. The whole
initiatory scheme would be a preposterous fake and farce, a
cheating of the human soul, if the initiant went into the trials
so protected and shielded that no trial could touch him, that no
test could reach him, that no fire could burn out the evil within
him. Each new initiation -- and fasten this thought in your
minds -- means coming a step nearer to that inner divinity that
is not the ordinary atman of us, of the upright of the cosmic
cross, but that divinity that is the very heart of the heart of
the core of the core of the human monad, as yet a feebly
manifesting evolutionary pilgrim.
That is why the mystic teaching was given in the Christian
scriptures: My divinity, my divinity, how thou dost glorify me.
No longer am I dependent upon the Manasaputra above me. From
within my own cosmic essence, from within the god of my own HUMAN
monad, I have BECOME, and THROUGH MYSELF, my own godhood. How
thou dost glorify me, thou divine part of me! Notice the
peculiarly apt and aphoristic Greek: "Ho theos mou, ho theos mou"
-- the god of me; the Greek is emphatic in its grammatical
construction. Not merely my god, but the god of me.
And mark you, this can only come in initiation after the other
cry comes: Oh god of me, why hast thou forsaken me? Yes. The god
of the upright, because now the child must learn to walk, to find
himself. The god, his god, himself, his divine self, not his
'outer' god of the ordinary human constitution commonly called
atma-buddhi-manas, but he finds the atma-buddhi-manas of the
horizontal so to speak, of the individual, of the HUMAN monadic
Every monad within the human constitution is septenary or
duodenary, according to the way of counting, and every initiation
that takes place, as far as I know, as far as I have been taught,
in cosmic time or cosmic space, whether of man or of god or of
being of the Underworld, is just the same thing in principle.
Details may change; places, individuals, may vary. But the
fundamental idea and rule are the same.
This is why it is that death and initiation are identical. So is
sleep. I have said these things a score of times. Sleep,
initiation, and death are all one. Sleep is the same thing, but
happily veiled from our unwitting vision, from our ignorance and
stupidity because we are too sunk in desires of this world to
see, to realize. Initiation is a conscious awakening to the
verities. And death is exactly the same thing in even greater
degree than initiation, but because it is not undertaken with
one's own will for the specific purpose of quickening our
evolution, it is an automatic function of the portions of our
constitution. Perhaps I am wandering a little too far afield,
but these are hints for you. Your intuition may work upon them.
I repeat that sleep, death, and initiation are all essentially
the same thing.
I hope all the dear Companions will forgive me if I have spoken
with too great emphasis tonight. I thought the opportunity was
too good to miss.
CHALLENGES OF TRANSFORMATION IN THE NEW CYCLE
By Ken Small
[Ken Small is the President of Point Loma Publications, which
keeps in print many key books on the theosophical philosophy.
See its website at
for more information.]
> TRUTH is the Voice of Nature and of Time -- TRUTH is the startling
> monitor WITHIN US -- Naught is without it, it comes from the stars,
> The golden sun, and every breeze that blows . . .
> -- W. Thompson Bacon, as quoted by H.P. Blavatsky in "What is
In 1912, Robert Crosbie founded THEOSOPHY. Over the past five
years, this quarterly publication of Theosophy Company has
transformed remarkably. With its current issue (volume 93,
number 1), it fully mirrors the qualities our foundation journals
embodied and mirrors the paradigms they reflected. Its
subheading "The Synthesis of Science, Religion, and Philosophy"
reflects this inner change, encompassing a simultaneously broader
and deeper scope and perhaps heralding revitalized new cycle. I
will elaborate with some thoughts on these points in what
With a creative circle of contributing editors and writers under
the guidance and steadfast perseverance of its editor, Phyllis
Ryan, the magazine has entered a new cycle of Theosophic
vitality. The special issue on INTELLIGENT DESIGN embodies this
principle with elegant design combined with content that bridges
the timeless principles of Theosophy and the present cycle.
The images and photos add a compassionate human touch, truly
countering and beginning a healing of what many critics of the
United Lodge of Theosophy [ULT] describe as a tendency to "cold
intellectualism" and "bibliolatry." At times in the past, this
narrow, fundamentalist worship of the letter has pervaded the
ULT. This has sidetracked it from its original mission as stated
by Robert Crosbie, which we read in the ULT Declaration of
Principles. These fragile beginnings that we now see in
THEOSOPHY need great care with support and perseverance to take
root and grow. With these changes, we hopefully see old, narrow
molds of the past broken and the initiation of a renaissance of
Theosophy into the future.
In these brief comments, it is not possible to go into depth
regarding the following questions. However, it is necessary to
raise some basic, simple points that may lead to a deeper enquiry
if taken the right way.
What is the nature of a truly theosophical journal? How does the
journal relate to the current era? What is its spiritual and
transformational purpose? Who is its audience? Ah, of course, you
say the Theosophists. Yes, and Blavatsky brings this "who" --
the principles of what guide the genuine Theosophist -- to life.
> All original thinkers and investigators of the hidden side of nature
> whether materialists -- those who find in matter "the promise and
> potency of all terrestrial life," or spiritualists -- that is, those
> who discover in spirit the source of all energy and of matter as well,
> were and are, properly, Theosophists . . .
> Be what he may, once that a student abandons the old and trodden
> highway of routine, and enters upon the solitary path of independent
> thought -- Godward -- he is a Theosophist; an original thinker, a
> seeker after the eternal truth with "an inspiration of his own" to
> solve the universal problems.
> -- H.P. Blavatsky, "What Are the Theosophists"
Referring to her own journal, she states:
> For LUCIFER tries to satisfy its readers of whatever "school of
> thought," and shows itself equally impartial to Theist and Atheist,
> Mystic and Agnostic, Christian and Gentile.
> -- H.P. Blavatsky, "What Is Truth"
She is not describing the ability to repeat and adhere to a
formal doctrine, text, or creed nor the signing of a particular
membership card. She is very clear about "an original thinker, a
seeker after the eternal truth with 'an inspiration of his own.'"
Her tall order and challenge is to "solve the universal
It is gratifying to read this new incarnation of THEOSOPHY. In
its special issue on INTELLIGENT DESIGN, the balance of spirit,
thought, and form engages and reaches the genuine THEOSOPHIST
that Blavatsky described.
Go back in time for a moment. To place the present into
perspective, taste the roots of our theosophical past. Go back
to the journals of the initial cycle of Theosophy in the late
1870's to late 1890's. They include Blavatsky's LUCIFER,
Blavatsky and Olcott's THE THEOSOPHIST, and Judge's THE PATH.
(Also, consider Blavatsky's articles "Who are the Theosophists,"
"What is Theosophy," and "What is Truth?") In this material, we
find the foundational paradigms on which to study and reflect.
It is a wonder that some still feel a holier than thou compulsion
to criticize these seemingly new endeavors. They say the work is
out of line with the Masters intent and the principles of the
founders. How can they do so, when they rarely read the original
journals? We must see what the founders really considered the
breadth and depth of Theosophy before we can bring it to life in
our time and cycle.
In every case, the initial journals were not only for members of
the Theosophical Society, but also brought the ideas, principles,
and practices of ancient times and worldwide cultures within the
unified view of Theosophy. Speaking to the genuine theosophical
audience that HPB described, these three original journals
embodied a vibrant living philosophy. They were fresh and new.
They included such topics as Sanskrit texts and Indian herbal
medicine (THE THEOSOPHIST), an editorial challenge to the
Archbishop of Canterbury, Gnostic texts, insights into the nature
of mind and the universe, and occult fiction (LUCIFER), and
Indian philosophy, theosophic ethics, and short stories (THE
Without the weight of organizational history, this creative force
carried the early years of the Theosophical Movement with radical
success. During the past century, the tendency has sometimes
arisen in theosophical groups blindly to imitate the past or to
diverge into fantasy, resulting in crystallization and cultish
self-delusion. The current issue of THEOSOPHY is remarkable,
showing vitality in the new cycle, cutting through these extremes
with its new form and new life!
Read the magazine for yourself. Recent issues are online in PDF
The issue on INTELLIGENT DESIGN can be accessed by clicking on
the "Winter 2004-05 Publication Zip" link on that page. It can
also be accessed on the Wisdom Traditions website at
in the newsletter section after July 8.]
Following are the contents of a sample of each of the initial
THE THEOSOPHIST: A MONTHLY JOURNAL DEVOTED TO ORIENTAL
PHILOSOPHY, ART, LITERATURE, AND OCCULTISM: EMBRACING MESMERISM,
SPIRITUALISM, AND OTHER SECRET SCIENCES.
Volume I. No. 5, Bombay, February 1880
This issue includes seven small news items and comments of note,
an editorial in response to a review of the January issue of THE
THEOSOPHIST in "a respectable Anglo-Indian journal, ad advice
from the Theosophical Society on the best way of disposing of the
dead to an influential burial reform society of an Australian
city. There are sonnets "To the Author of ISIS UNVEILED" and "To
Pandit Dayanand Saraswati Swami" and there is "An Indian
Political commentary includes "Our Duty to India." Fiction
includes "English Ghost Stories," by John Yarker, and "Lo! The
'Poor Missionary,'" by Melmoth, the Wanderer. There is a medical
piece, "East Indian Materia Medica," by Pandurang Gopal, which
includes a table with Sanskrit terms in the Devanagari script,
transliterated, and with corresponding English botanical names.
Religious studies include "Zoroastrianism and Theosophy," by
Kharsedji N. Seervain, "Indra," by Bajendro Nauth Dutta,
"Buddhism Authoritatively Defined," "The Nature and Office of
Buddha's Religion," by H. Samangala with a postscript in
Occult materials include "A Case of Genuine Hindu Mediumship," by
Babu Nobin K Bannerjee, "Magnetic Prescience," by R. Bates, and
"The Brethren of the Rosy Cross," by Alexander Wilder.
Other articles were "The Baron du Potet," by H.S. Olcott;
"Hassan Khan 'Djinni,'" an juggler or some say sorcerer; "An
Indian Aetherobat," by Babu Krishna Indra Sandyal; "A Great Light
Under a Bushel," by Alexandre Akskaof; "A Musalman Abdal," by
Svyed Mahmood; and "The Mystic Syllable Onkara: Its Meaning,
Antiquity, and Universal Application," by Rao Bhandur Dadoba
Volume I, No. 4, July 1886
Religious studies include "Notes on the Cabbalah of the Old
Testament," by J. Ralston Skinner; "Sufism, Or Theosophy from
the Standpoint of Mohammedanism," by C.H.A. Bjerregaard;
"Studies in the Upanishads," by A Student
Occult materials include "A Hindu Chela's Diary," "Living the
Higher Life," by Murdhna Joti.
Other articles were "Portrait of Plato in Carnelian Stone," by
Fulvius Ursinus; and "Some Hermetic Philosophy, by B.
Under "Correspondence" was a letter from Mohini M. Chatterji.
In the "Reviews and Notes" Section were "The Biogen Series" by
J.D. Buck; "The Sanskrit Language;" Book Review of "Thoughts,"
by Ivan Panin; and Book Review of "The Spirit of the New
Testament," by a Woman. There were also eight news items under
Volume II, No. 9, May 15, 1888
The issue included some poetry: "At Sunset," by Evelyn Pyne, and
"Sound Waves," by Roger Hall; and "Mary Merivale's First Words to
Her Disciples," by Evelyn Pyne.
Political commentary includes "Theosophy and Modern Socialism,"
by J. Brailsford Bright
Religious studies includes "Missionary Fables," from the Ceylon
Sarasavisandaresa; "The Crucifixion of Man" (followed by "Editors
Notes" on it)
Occult materials include "Occultism Versus the Occult Arts," by
H.P. Blavatsky; "The Blossom and the Fruit: The True Story of a
Magician," by Mable Collins; "Acquired Habits," by A.I.R.
Other articles were "Bird and Butterfly: A Scrap of Theosophical
Folklore of the Extreme Orient, Rendered from the Sinico-Nihonese
Vernacular Original," translated by C. Pfoundes; "The Sraddha,"
by Andrew T. Sibbald; "Previsions of Later Life," by E.C.H.C.;
"Detachment," by Pilgrim; "Finger-Posts in the Middle Ages"; and
"From a Lamrim Compendium," by Tzon-Kha-Pa.
Under "Reviews" were "The Battle of Belief," by T.G. Headley;
"The Mystery of a Turkish Bath," by Rita; and "Roses and Thorns,"
by Charles W. Heckethorn.
A number of items were listed under "Correspondence." After each
was an "Editor's Note" or "Editor's Reply." These items were "A
Puzzle in 'Esoteric Buddhism,'" by An Agnostic Student of
Theosophy; "Practical Occultism," by S.E.; "Logical Deductions,"
by Alfred Wilson; "Is There No Hope?" by David Crichton; and "Who
are the Eurasians?" by G. Ouseley. There was also one question
and answer item. The question was "Why Do Animals Suffer?"
ONE OF MANY
By Alexander Fullerton
[From THE PATH, September 1891, pages 175-78.]
"I wish to become an Adept," said Mr. Wilkinson Blynn as he
seated himself in the law office of the President of the
Occidental Theosophical Society, Mr. Henry Peters.
"At once?" asked Mr. Peters.
"As soon as the rules permit," replied Mr. Blynn.
"It is a matter rather of fitness than of rules, I should
suppose," said Mr. Peters. "But what has led you to desire it?"
"I am quite sure that I could serve humanity more efficiently as
an Adept, and I do not wish to waste any time. Besides, the
books say that many persons are quietly receiving the training,
and why should not I?"
Pressed with further questions, Mr. Blynn avowed certain
experiences that seemed to point to fitness for the Occult. He
had heard strange sounds during the watches of the night, a
curious blue light seemed at times to burn behind his eyes, and
he perceived a diminution of interest in business and in the
pursuits habitual for many years. Moreover, he was conscious of
a deep-seated desire to go about in his astral body.
Mr. Peters gazed for a moment at the visitor. He was short and
stout, with a somewhat weak forehead and mouth, but not without a
complacent expression indicative of self-satisfaction. He was
certainly not the type of Mahatmic grace, nor did the thought of
him on astral excursions conduce to sobriety. But Mr. Peters
comported himself with much decorum. He briefly sketched the
training understood to be preliminary to Adeptship, stated the
motives and work of the Tibetan Brotherhood, and hinted at the
many incarnations prior to initiation. "You are a member of the
Theosophical Society, I presume, Mr. Blynn?"
"No, sir, I am not. I do not consider it necessary. A man can
become an Adept without putting F.T.S. (Fellow of the
Theosophical Society) after his name. I serve humanity better
otherwise than by paying a dollar a year to a Society. Besides,
I understand that Madame Blavatsky smoked."
"Very possibly," rejoined Mr. Peters. "I have even heard that
she ate. But what steps did you purpose taking in respect to
"That is in part what I have come for," Mr. Blynn replied. "I
suppose I should first join the Esoteric Section, and then
advance as an Accepted Chela. The way seems quite plain."
"But you can hardly be a member of a Section without first
becoming a member of the body of which that may be a Section.
And, indeed, I do not see how you can expect the guidance of
Masters if you hold aloof from the Society They cherish. If we
want Their help we must give Them ours, I should say."
"Just like the Church," exclaimed Mr. Blynn. "If you don't come
in and pay your dollar, you can't have any spiritual
enlightenment." And warming with his theme, Mr. Blynn explained
how independent was internal development of material props, and
that he had not in vain read THE LIGHT OF EGYPT and THE OCCULT
WORLD. "Then you won't introduce me to a Mahatma unless I join
your Society?" he asked at his close.
Mr. Peters gasped. "I have no acquaintance with a Mahatma, and
no power to introduce anybody," he at last said.
"Then, Sir, you don't amount to much," sternly rejoined Mr.
Blynn. "Better read your own books and exercise Universal
Brotherhood. I wish you good morning, Mr. -- ah -- President."
After that subtle sarcasm, he closed the door with an asperity
that would have seemed like a slam in anybody not an incipient
As Mr. Blynn went his way, he was conscious of a mixture of
feelings. It was something to have exposed and rebuked a hollow
pretense like the Occidental T. S. and its Chief, and so far
elation was proper. But otherwise, the visit was less
successful. No appointment had been made to present him to a
Tibetan Brother, and he had not even been taken into the Esoteric
Section. As for joining the T. S. -- not he! Never would he
countenance a system of fees and dues in an organization for
spiritual culture, nor would he part with his own cash for any
such. The water of life was without money and without price.
As for Masters, he was in no way bound to follow Their policy or
obey Their orders. No vows of obedience could be exacted until
Initiation, and as Initiation conferred "powers," he would find
in those "powers" ample safeguard against oppression. Meantime
he should seek development of the Occult germs within him, and
serve humanity in such wise as opportunity -- here he gave an
angry flip with his cane at an obtrusive newsboy and heard with
satisfaction a responsive wail.
The day was warm and his home was distant. After some hesitation
over the outlay, he found refreshment in two glasses of beer, and
then repose in a car. As he unwillingly paid his fare, the
thought of astral travel recurred, and then the memory of that
blatherskite Peters who had sought to obstruct his Occult career.
"Won't I blast him when I am initiated and know how," said the
candidate to himself. But this, he had been told, was
incarnations off. Surely, there must be some way to expedite
progress and to release him from the various encumbrances of fat,
ignorance, and impotence.
As the car crept slowly along, Mr. Blynn felt additional surging
of what he considered his "higher being." He was abundantly well
off, but was tired of business, there was a good deal of monotony
in the matters of food and routine life, and planes of loftier
consciousness allured him. Certainly, Adeptship was the solution
of his discontent. But for that damned Peters, he might be now
on the way to it.
It was just at that moment that an idea sprang into his brain.
Its suddenness and completeness were so emphatic that there could
be no doubt of its origin. It was a gift vouchsafed from an
unseen Mahatma, one of the Brotherhood doubtless ready to welcome
him. As he recalled what he had read of clairvoyance, astral
journeys, and hypnotic experiments, Mr. Blynn discerned the
whole process of Adept training. It was simply self-hypnosis.
This explained, moreover, why Theosophical books insisted on
illumination from within, and on the futility of seeking it from
How simple was the whole matter when thus regarded. Paralyze the
outer senses and leave the inner free! Dissolve away the physical
encasement, so to speak, and the Ego was emancipated from its
bonds. And the means were no less facile. A coin, a bright
spot, a little globe a few inches from the eyes, and soon the
rebellious flesh would be subdued, the astral being liberated,
and the aerial voyage begun. Peters be hanged!
The few preparations were readily made. Mr. Blynn fortified
himself with an ample repast from which pork chops and sherry
were not absent, cemented a gold dollar to the end of a stick,
and adjusted it and his easy chair to a fitting distance. Then
gazing intently at the shining disk, the proper degree of
strabismus secured, he lay easily hack in his chair and awaited
the coming emancipation. There was some discomfort in the strain
on the eyes, and he had to resist an impulse to wink, but he knew
that the path to Adeptship is not only over roses.
Gradually as his head began to swim and nervous twitches to
multiply through his brain, he felt more and more the incipience
of Occult process. Queer lights flashed before him; dull sounds,
mighty in significance, if as yet uninterpretable, rolled through
his ears; time and space seemed gradually to vanish; the whole
import and secret of being was on the point of disclosure. Then
came a gliding away from existence, a suspension of consciousness
when he neither knew nor felt. But not for long. Suddenly he
rose into the translucent air of perennial gladness, he soared
through regions of light indescribable, visions glorious and
thrilling passed before his enraptured gaze, he saw bands of the
Brotherhood in mystic converse, he joined them, he communed with
them, he was one of them! Into that transcendent experience, no
thought of Peters intruded. He was free, free from his earthly
tedium, every aspiration met, every hope fulfilled.
But alas! It is not given to mortals long to partake of unearthly
bliss. In the midst of this supernal scene came a cry, a harsh
and loud ejaculation, a start, a splutter, a rude recall to
"Heavens, Blynn, what is the meaning of this," had exclaimed the
coarse Maginnis, a frequent visitor, suddenly entering the room
of the sleeper and finding him snoring before a gold dollar on a
stick. "Are you crazy, man," and Maginnis shook him until the
sherry and the hypnotism and the beer had subsided.
No, Mr. Blynn was at last able to explain, he was not crazy, but
he had dozed off while thinking out a problem that had perplexed
"I never suspected you of being an adept at problems," said
"I don't know that I shall ever be an Adept at all," replied Mr.
Blynn as he pocketed his dollar.
ULT DAY LETTER
By the United Lodge of Theosophists
[Following is a letter to friends and associates of the United
Lodge of Theosophists. This voluntary association of students of
Theosophy exists "to spread broadcast the Teachings of Theosophy
as recorded in the writings of H.P. Blavatsky and W.Q. Judge."
The ULT issued the letter June 21-25, 2005 under the letterhead
of the Los Angeles Lodge (245 West 33rd Street, Los Angeles CA
90007). The letter is signed, "With fraternal greetings, The
United Lodge of Theosophists."]
The small nucleus of students who joined together in 1909 as The
United Lodge of Theosophists communicated almost daily as they
created ways to further the Theosophical Movement. As these
efforts took root and expanded worldwide, the growing need for
"intercommunication and intercommunion" on a broader basis led to
the suggestion in 1931 that workers everywhere come together
annually to "refresh their memories, renew their mutual ties,
reaffirm their solidarity, (and) commemorate by renewed activity
all that is contained in the ULT Declaration."
Of note is the fact that while the 1931 letter to all Associates
-- the first "ULT Day Letter" -- included the program to be used
in Los Angeles, it was sent "either for use as it is, or as
suggestive of a similar Program." For:
> From the beginning ULT has eschewed all semblance of authority,
> all forms of organization, placing its whole reliance on the
> Declaration of the Lodge, on the self-induced and self-devised
> efforts of the Associates to make that Declaration a living bond
> of union among them, wherever and however situated.
These annual Letters, conveying 74 years of extraordinary
interplay between the challenge of world history in Kali Yuga and
the self-correcting organism that is ULT, contain multiple
examples of the fleeting nature of "persons, places, and things."
Yet, the deep commitment to the work of H.P. Blavatsky and
William Q. Judge remains at the heart's core. Through war,
upheaval, and unimaginable social change, the tone of the 1940
Letter, written at the beginning of World War II, still rings
true: "The message of 'ULT Day' to Lodges and Members is one of
sympathy for all who suffer, of courage to all those who carry
on, of spiritual support to those who, under whatever condition,
hold first the Cause of Universal Brotherhood."
How then, do we create and maintain "a living bond of union" and
effective methods of study and promulgation, given the challenges
of history and the demands of daily life? Each individual student
at some point "surveys the scene" and hears the moral call to act
for the welfare of humanity -- a "humanity" that becomes not a
faceless abstraction, but "each and every one." Consideration of
the "self-induced and self-devised efforts" called for in each
circumstance develops discernment. The mandate of universal
brotherhood supports action. As the physical, psychic, kamic,
and lower manasic karmic cycles run their course, concentration
on the noetic path provides both "fertilizer and seed" for the
living organism known as ULT. A sampling of activities from
various Lodges and Associates this year shows that the needs of
humanity and the dharma of the current era still nurture this
The Paris ULT reports that an important part of their time and
effort is devoted to support of their website, which has the wide
potential of reaching French speakers in Europe, Africa, and
Canada. An average of 350 daily contacts on the Internet results
in a flow of activities such as e-mail inquiries about the
Movement and the teachings, book sales, and registration for the
Correspondence Course. In addition, posting of the current
program brings newcomers to the Paris meetings: "Had there been
some initial reluctance on the part of some Theosophists to use
the Internet, this means has now clearly proven to be an
effective way of linking with inquirers, 'wherever and however
situated.' And in an effort to stay tuned with "the mind and
heart of mankind," topics for the lecture program from time to
time feature subjects "that specifically deal with social or
ethical issues currently debated, to bring the Theosophic light
to bear on such subjects."
The use of technology to serve is repeated in the Phoenix ULT,
where students not able to attend may concurrently engage in the
regular class in UNIVERSAL THEOSOPHY and THE SECRET DOCTRINE
through the computer. As the meeting is seen and heard directly,
ideas and questions can be inserted via text messaging, the
latter then being read to the class and responded to immediately.
The scope provided by this is great: one online participant lives
nearby but cannot be at the Lodge "because of her responsibility
as caregiver for three adults who are mentally and physically
challenged." Others participate from afar, including India.
("Our 7:00 PM meeting on Sunday is 8:00 AM Monday in India.") In
addition, the Phoenix website:
offers Theosophic texts, with a CD of the material also available
The development of new programs and methods invigorates in
several ways. In Philadelphia, the Lodge is "in the second year
of having a Friday night study class once a month, from October
through June, using the theme of the study of comparative
religions and philosophies." Just as the audience is eager to
have the fruit of the efforts of the two students who present the
material; the students who do the work feel richer for the
efforts made as they look into areas "they would perhaps not have
studied otherwise." The monthly newsletter THEOSOPHICAL
INDEPENDENCE, in its fourth year of publication, benefits "both
the team of students who produce it, and other Lodges."
Similarly, THE AQUARIAN THEOSOPHIST, published individually,
energizes with printing lesser-known HPB and WQJ articles, as
well as drawing attention to cutting-edge scientific discoveries
and issues in the Movement worldwide.
Innovative use of texts also is effective. A new class at Los
Angeles involves both newcomers and older students by blending
THE OCEAN, ANSWERS TO QUESTIONS, and POINT OUT THE WAY. A study
class in Antwerp on THE MEDITATIONS OF MARCUS AURELIUS, as well
as one at the New York City ULT on "The Grand Inquisitor" portion
of THE BROTHERS KARAMAZOV, give new perspectives.
A reminder of how the organic growth of efforts for Theosophy
takes place -- and some of the struggles -- comes from the Study
Group in Tarentaise, France. "Wishing to offer free and open
public meetings in order to make Theosophy known -- a priceless
treasure we wanted to share -- after many difficulties we met a
generous person who lent us his little coffee shop every Monday
afternoon." Three years later, an active study class and lending
library are in operation. "So far, the audience is limited, but
we keep hoping, as our posters -- offered by the Paris ULT -- are
no longer systematically torn, showing a sign of initial and
gradual change of mindset."
These students note that their comments are "an occasion for us
first to thank the Paris ULT and the essential support they
provide us, with its Correspondence Course which got us to know
Theosophy, and the invaluable help also in the possibility of
borrowing cassettes on lectures and study classes; we would also
like to thank all the Theosophists worldwide and of all epochs,
as it is thanks to the work of everyone, at all levels, that new
groups will be able to come to light here and there and become
true living and active centers of force."
The foundation provided by earlier work, gratitude for the
"generous efforts" of past students, and the chance to meet
current needs also is seen in the Dijon, France ULT. An earlier
Study Group developed an on-going program of weekly talks on
Theosophy, with other activities aimed at a wider audience, such
as radio interviews and seminars. Now, a study class is held
once a week at the Lodge, after 2 hours of 'open doors' for
inquiry, with a larger audience reached at a monthly talk given
elsewhere. Afterwards, all are invited to stay for another
half-hour when more personal queries and questions on the
Movement and ULT may be raised. "This informal meeting has
proved by its success over the few years of its existence to meet
a need of the general audience."
The London, Ontario, Canada ULT reflects on the fact that weekly
meetings around the world are a conscious effort to do the work
of impacting "every atom in this solar system . . . so that
matter itself will have been refined." Just as political
revolutions can be nonviolent, each student can "with the power
of renunciation impress the cycle with intention and awareness."
While noting that "the Declaration continues to amaze us at what
it is capable of bringing to the mind and heart of the meetings,"
a further note deepens the view: "In our work at the Lodge we
reach a point where the ideas become our own through checking and
verifying through the application in our life . . . It is from
our own effort and work that the mind and heart are so prepared
to express the great ideas that are contained in each one of us."
This can only be done if the "SELF of All is not suppressed by
external rules and regulations, but is felt from within each and
And, from Mumbai, India, the positive view that "our work goes on
with renewed energy, sincerity, and devotion" reminds that while
externals may change with the cycles, the effort "to be a part of
the nucleus of Universal Brotherhood, to which the ULT is
CONTRASTING THEOSOPHICAL WRITING STYLES
By Jerry Hejka-Ekins
[Based upon a May 29, 2005 posting to the theos-talk mailing
I understand the frustration some have in reading Blavatsky.
Over the years, I have seen a significant number of complaints
about her writings being unreadable, particularly THE SECRET
DOCTRINE. Because rhetoric, composition, and literature were my
major areas in graduate school and were the areas I taught, I am
keenly interested in these complaints.
The problem is not with the author, but with the reader. In her
formal philosophical writings, such as THE SECRET DOCTRINE,
Blavatsky wrote in the scholarly style of the nineteenth century.
However, it is no more difficult to read than other scholarly
writings of her time, or even those of today. Indeed, even in
the nineteenth century, THE SECRET DOCTRINE would not have been
Nevertheless, Blavatsky's writings were not all written at that
level of difficulty. ISIS UNVEILED, for instance, was written to
be easily readable by a general audience of that time. She wrote
the article "A Reply to Our Critics" (BCW III:221-26) to be
easily accessible to the average newspaper reader.
The sad truth is that, in the nineteenth century, people were
more skilled at reading than we are. The time people used spend
reading (and thus exercise their literary skills) is now given
over to other entertainments such as watching television. The
last time I looked at the statistics, the average reading skill
of an adult in the United States was at the eighth grade level:
that of a fifteen year old. Nowadays, even an article such as "A
Reply to Our Critics" would challenge the average reader.
I have also read complaints that Blavatsky should have written in
a simple style like C.W. Leadbeater's, so that anyone with the
most basic reading skills would be able to understand. I answer
that HPB wrote to accommodate the average reading skills of her
time, which is beyond the average reading skills of this
generation. We cannot blame Blavatsky for this decline in
HPB's discourse is of a different nature than CWL's. Her style
is "philosophical." That is, she comments upon, elaborates,
analyzes, compares, praises, and criticizes the discourse of some
of the greatest Oriental scholars, philosophers, and scientists
of her time. Consequently, to understand much of her writings
requires a certain amount of familiarity with the writers and
issues upon which she comments.
Leadbeater's style, on the other hand, is narrative. Typically,
his writings describe things he has seen clairvoyantly or
accounts of conversations he has had with others such as the
Masters. His narrative is easy to read because it completely
focuses on his experiences. Even the typical 15-year-old
American would not find it difficult(I was about 16 years old
when I first read his works). One does not need to have any
particular knowledge about philosophy, science, nor religion in
order to understand what he is communicating. For me, he was
especially easy to read because I had already seen many of the
things about which he wrote.
Is one writer superior to another because of the writing style
used? No. Rather, each style accomplishes something different.
Leadbeater's narrative style informs the reader what he had
observed on this or that plane or planet, or what this or that
Master had told him. It is up to the reader to accept or reject
the claims he made.
Blavatsky's philosophical style engages the philosophers,
scientists, and cultural scholars of her time in major
metaphysical questions. These scholarly communities deal with
the same questions today. Systematically, she invites the reader
to consider the information and think through the problems for
It is not so much an issue of understanding what she means.
After a careful reading, students in our classes understand that
very well. Rather, our discussions concern the deeper
implications of her meanings within our personal experiences. We
do not reach final answers, because our studies continually bring
those ideas to deeper and deeper spiritual insights about
ourselves, others, and the metaphysical nature of the universe.
Over the years, I have seen students of Blavatsky become skilled
readers and thinkers. I have seen them become more intuitive and
more keenly human. One member of our current study group is a
professional journalist. She writes reviews of the various
cultural events in the area and San Francisco. She attends and
then writes about cultural events such as theater productions and
special museum exhibits as they come up. She has remarked to me
on numerous occasions that her studies in our group have vastly
widened her understanding about literature and the arts, and that
her reviews have become increasingly insightful as she has become
increasingly familiar with the numerous references to mythology,
literature, symbolism, culture etc. that she discovers within
There was a Theosophical writer in the Point Loma Tradition who
once remarked that, "the study of Theosophy is more broadening
than a university education." I think he is correct, and I would
further add that the study of Theosophy also broadens one's
educational experiences in a university, and in the university of
WHAT IS THEOSOPHY?
[From WIND OF THE SPIRIT, pages 336-42, based upon a talk given
in Copenhagen, Denmark on September 17, 1937.]
This is the first time I have had the pleasure of addressing a
Danish audience. I have heard that you already know something
about Theosophy, and that is exceedingly good, but I venture to
say that when minds come into an approach of the study of the
god-wisdom that we call Theosophy, there is always something new
to learn, something to get that will give comfort to the heart,
more light to the mind.
If I were to ask you as individuals "What is Theosophy," do you
think that anyone in this auditorium could give me a
comprehensive answer? Could you tell me where it comes from, what
it is, and what its objectives are? Could you tell me what we
Theosophists are trying to do? I do not think so. And it is
along these lines of thought that I will make my brief address to
Now then, in the first place, Theosophy is a word that of course
comes from the Greek, "he Theosophia," to which we Theosophists
love to add the adjective "ourania," the divine god-wisdom of the
universe. This is no revelation granted unto men by an
extra-cosmic power that men in reverence call God. It is wisdom
concerning the Universe, its structure, nature, characteristics,
laws, origin, and destiny. It was originally given unto the
first human beings on this earth by divine entities coming unto
infant humanity from other spheres in order to instruct these
human children of the universe in the laws of right doing, right
thinking, and therefore right and beautiful destiny.
Theosophy is not so much the wisdom of God, as it has been
translated sometimes, as it is divine wisdom, god-wisdom,
invented by no man, given to us by spiritual beings, and of which
god-wisdom every great seer and sage in ancient times has been
the voice to his age. These great men -- Buddhas or Avatars or
Christs, call them by what name we will or may -- have been some
of these sages and seers who have spoken to the children of men
in language that they could easily understand, giving to them a
divine philosophy of life, telling them what life is, explaining
it, pointing out what the Universe is, pointing out likewise that
we men and women are children of this wondrous universe that
surrounds us, and therefore that there is no separation between
all that is and us human beings.
You see what this means? It means that we are given ethics,
morals, an ethical system based on the very divine heart of the
universe, which as I have said in the West men with reverence
call "God," but of which all the ancient sages and seers spoke,
not in terms of names, but as the ancient sages of Hindustan
described it, simply THAT -- TAT. So high a reverence had they
for this divine heart of things, this divine heart of harmony, of
infinite love and compassion, of cosmic intelligence, that they
gave it no descriptive name such as men give to things, but
simply said THAT. From THAT we come, back to THAT we go. We
come out from IT again and are reborn as men to learn new lessons
in life; to undo the mistakes of the past, to strengthen our
characters; and thus as the ages go by, and we reincarnate time
after time, we grow in wisdom and strength and character, our
hearts expanding with love for all that is, and for our
fellow-men, and our minds enlarging with what we learn -- the
knowledge that is stored within what men in the West call the
Soul, but that we Theosophists prefer to call the Reincarnating
Ego -- two names for the same thing if you will.
When a man feels and knows, because of a philosophy of life that
satisfies his intellect and purifies his heart, that he and his
brother men and the Universe around us are all parts of one
cosmic organic entity, an organism, a living being, which we call
the Universe, then he has a basis for ethics that is scientific,
philosophic, purely religious, that is, religion per se, not any
one religion changed by men, modified by men, however good, but
the Religion of the human spirit that seeks its home with
divinity -- therefore, the religion of intuition, of the human
divine spark, which makes us all that is best in us. You see
also that this gives us a firm basis for philosophy, for we start
from a unity that the mind can understand, and the heart with its
tender instincts can grasp.
The truth that man and all Being are one, one in essence,
apparently separated only in bodies: this is ethics; for
instantly we see that when a man injures his brother, he injures
himself likewise, for he injures the cosmic harmony, the cosmic
unity. We see likewise in this wonderful verity, the fundamental
unity of all beings and things, and that men are but inseparable
portions of the infinite universe: a true basis for scientific
thinking, for here we start from a fundamental postulate that all
sane men must accept; for if man is different from the universe,
then will someone please explain how it is that he is subject to
its laws, and formed of the stuff of the universe?
Any other postulate is impossible. Whatever is in the universe
is in the man, in me, in you. Conversely, whatever is in the man
is in the Universe. I have thought, I have conscience, I have
intuition, I have feeling. Because they are here in the part,
shall the whole have them not? The fact that the part has these,
proves that the universe has them; for show me something that
does not contain what a part of it contains? That is foolishness.
Deduction from this wondrous teaching of Theosophy: It means that
the Universe is conscious, conscious, of course, in infinite and
varying degrees, but conscious; for from that consciousness of
the universe we draw our consciousness. The whole gives to the
parts. Because the man has consciousness, the ethical sense,
therefore the universe is ethical, has what we men call
consciousness. Is it possible that the part should have
something that the All, the Whole, has not? Of course not.
These are some of the simplest teachings of Theosophy, given to
us as I have already stated by spiritual beings ages and ages
agone, given to the first human thinkers on our globe by
spiritual beings from other spheres. Out of this primeval
revelation of truth to men, were born as the ages passed, out of
the Schools of the Mysteries, the different great philosophies
and religions of the world -- each one founded by some great sage
and seer, like Jesus the Christ, Gautama the Buddha, Lao-tse in
China, Krishna the Avatar, Shankaracharya the Avatar, and similar
great ones in other lands, in other times. Each one spoke from
the wisdom of the esoteric sanctuary, that great School of Wisdom
of the Mysteries that exists today and has its branches in
certain of the countries of the world.
The greatest one of these Schools is at present in a little known
district of Asia, and we Theosophists in reverence refer to it as
Shambhala, which is a Sanskrit name. There still beats the
sacred heart of all mankind, so to speak, for there still live
(and they teach their chosen pupils or chelas) the noblest
spiritual intellects that the human race has ever known. We call
them Masters of Wisdom, men of Christ-like life, of Buddha-like
life, of Buddha- and Christ-like wisdom. They have their pupils,
and from time to time one of these pupils is sent forth into the
world as an envoy to teach men once again the age-old doctrine of
the god-wisdom, of the "theosophia ourania," the divine, the
starry wisdom of the gods.
Such an envoy was H.P. Blavatsky, and the teaching that she
brought came directly from that Sanctuary, the Holy of Holies,
the Sanctum Sanctorum of the human race that we Theosophists call
Shambala; and the message that she brought she called Theosophy.
It is not new. It is as old as man is. As I have told you, it
was given to the earliest men by these spiritual beings from
other spheres. In different ages, it is called by different
names. But the names are simply tickets placed over the Reality.
The Wisdom is one; merely the terms by which it is given to men
in different ages change.
Furthermore, and this I think is a very important point, dear
friends, if you care to study, if you are really interested in
finding out that the statements that I have made to you tonight
are true statements, then investigate for yourselves. Study,
study the ancient religious and philosophical books of the world,
from all countries; and beneath and behind the words and the
terms, look for the body of ideas, the essential teachings. You
will find them identical everywhere. This is Theosophy as taught
today, as taught a million years agone in the past, as will be
taught a million years in the future, as it is taught on planets
other than our own circling around our own sun, as it is taught
on the planets whirling in their orbits around other suns in
cosmic space in the galaxy. Why? Because truth is truth, and
what is true on our planet Terra is true on Jupiter and Venus, on
Stella Polaris, on Canopus and Sirius, anywhere. That is
Now, in the Theosophical Society, dear friends, we have no
dogmas, we have no creeds. We have a marvelous system of wisdom
teaching, the wisdom of the gods, Theosophy. But at this
fountain of wisdom, from these doctrines, every Theosophical
student takes what he or she can assimilate, can understand, is
capable of receiving. Some men can receive some; other men can
receive more. Other men can receive still more.
We have no dogmas. We have no creeds. We have no set forms of
belief. Yet, I do think -- and I speak with reverence for the
good people in the West who call themselves Christians -- that
there is no more religious man on earth than the true
Theosophist. I think there is no more truly scientific thinker
on earth than the Theosophist. I think there is no more
philosophical mind on earth than that of the Theosophist. And
you see the reason why. We have no creeds, we have no dogmas,
and our consciences are free as the winds of heaven. We are
searchers for truth, hungering for it, and we have found where we
may find it. And we have learned this wonderful truth: that
before a man can take the wisdom of the gods, he has to train his
life to be ethical, moral.
It is one of the saddest things in the world that the West has
largely lost its ethical sense largely. The reason is obvious.
Science has destroyed the religion of former days, so that today
the Christian religionist must believe almost against the
convictions of his mind, and therefore his nature is rent in
twain, and that must mean suffering. And on the other hand, our
science, wonderful as it is, is expanding and growing greater and
grander every day, so that today scientific men are actually
Does science offer us anything upon which we can lean, rest, and
feel assured that upon this ground we stand in permanence? No,
for it changes from day to day, from year to year, and this is
its basis. The scientists say that the greatest thing about
scientific research is that it is growing; and it is so, and that
is very fine. But can you find the truths of the Universe in
something that is not even a system of thought, but is merely a
growing and expanding understanding of the physical world around
us? Obviously not. It does not teach us ethics. It does not
satisfy that strong, tender religious instinct of the human
heart, that man is the same as the cosmic spirit. It does not
fully satisfy the inquiries of a man's mind; because as soon as
we begin to study scientific doctrine, the first thing we find is
that it is continually changing, so that what was scientific
dogma to our fathers, today is discarded.
What is scientific truth today, five years from now will be past
scientific history, old scientific books no longer studied. We
shall have advanced beyond that! Do you see? And the consequence:
religion today teaches an ethic of words, but gives you no proof
that ethics are based on the universe itself. Science gives us
no foundation for morals, for it does not understand them.
Morals, the scientists say, are not within their sphere.
Philosophy? Philosophy in the West is but an infant, striving and
struggling to attain a greater light, but an infant; and all the
philosophical speculations of Western philosophy are but groping,
blind groping after light. Pathetic!
So, with our god-wisdom, having no creeds and no dogmas, in
addition to being searchers for truth, philalethians, we are
likewise philanthropists in the Greek sense of this word. We are
lovers of our fellowmen, lovers of the universe around us, seeing
a wondrous mystery in a flower, sensing a religious doctrine in a
star, looking into the eye of a fellow human being, seeing heaven
there, or, it may be, a hell.
What are the objectives of the Theosophical Society? First of
all, I should think to give unto men these wondrous doctrines of
our god-wisdom. Next, to keep alive in men their spiritual
intuitions. Note these words: their spiritual intuitions --
something that the West has forgotten the existence of, just as
it has forgotten the sanctions of ethics; and just as the West
thinks that ethics are mere conventions keeping us out of the
police courts and out of jails, so the West today thinks that the
intuitions of the human soul are too dangerous, too vague, to
Theosophy tells you on the contrary that there is a way of
cultivating the intuition of the human soul, so that it becomes a
powerful factor in our lives, so that by cultivating this
intuition, this intuitive perception of truth, this inner vision,
we gain wisdom ourselves.
We do not have to go to the books of other men, we do not have to
go and learn from others. We sense our oneness with divinity.
Although we have Masters and Teachers and revere these, no
Theosophist accepts any doctrine that is contrary to his
conscience, and yet withal our god-wisdom likewise teaches us to
revere the lives and teachings of the greatest spiritual
intellects that the world has known, for we recognize as well as
are taught that these have derived from wisdom, from divinity.
Hence, the teachings and the great books of these wise men of the
past -- as will be the case in the future -- are wonderful
torches of light to guide us on our pathway. Thus, we revere the
wisdom of the past, but realize that the understanding of it must
come from the development of our own powers and faculties within.
WILL AND WISH
By J.D. Beresford
[From THE ARYAN PATH, October 1934, pages 629-33.]
Anyone who continually turns his attention to seeking the
manifestations of the spirit through matter will inevitably meet
with indications that may be made the basis of a broad
generalization. Ultimately such generalizations will fail,
giving place before a deeper understanding of the mysteries. But
on this temporal, spatial plane of being the recognition of these
relative truths as embracing symbols, serves a practical and
That this should be so is an inevitable deduction from the simple
premise that spirit is the only reality, an immanent,
transcendent unity that cannot be directly apprehended by the
intellect, but whose existence may be inferred as the single
cause of all material phenomena. From that premise we must draw
the inevitable inference that however diverse may be the
phenomena, they must exhibit some points of likeness since all of
them are representations of the same molding force proceeding
from spirit through life and consciousness. Our search for unity
must be prosecuted by way of tortuous and perplexing paths, and
in the earlier stages of the ardent ascent, we are warranted in
accepting indications that serve to point a direction, even if
they must finally be left behind us. And one such indication has
recently forced itself upon my attention in the guise of a
differentiation between will and wish.
Now like all abstract terms carrying a significance of which we
grasp only the more superficial aspects, these two words are very
loosely used in ordinary speech. They are, indeed, sometimes
accepted as practically synonymous. Wherefore I propose in the
first place to indicate as clearly as possible the definition I
must impose upon them in what follows, beginning with "will" as
being the more intellectual concept.
It is obvious, in the first place, that "will" is only a
derivative of "wish." Will is a function of the mind consciously
exercised for a definite and clearly visualized purpose. It may
be creative or merely resistant, the former being the more
productive, the latter the more circumscribing form. But in
either aspect, its general effect is produced by the deliberate
inhibition of those sides of the personality that are recognized
as offering obstruction to the achievement of the desired
purpose. To take an extreme case, a man greatly ambitious of
worldly success will inhibit all those tendencies the expression
of which would handicap him in the achievement of his career, no
matter whether those tendencies are representative of natural
affection, conformation to an accepted code of ethics, or such
bodily desires as those for the common satisfaction of the senses
by eating, drinking, sexual indulgence, or even relaxation of
effort. The direction of all such inhibitions is towards a kind
of asceticism attained by the dominating power of the reason.
Whatever part wish may have played in the conception of the
original purpose, it is not the chief instrument by which such
purpose will be attained. The mind is in supreme control; and of
the many wishes that will necessarily come into consciousness,
only one is accepted and the remainder rejected. Wherefore
"will" as here defined is a function of the conscious mind, the
agent of reason.
"Wish" is a far more subtle essence, and assumes a multitude of
disguises. It is closely allied with consciousness, not only
that of which we are aware, but also of that consciousness that
derive from other bodily centers, of which we have little or no
personal realization. And this generative impulse may either use
the reason or subdue it, since it represents not a function of
the mind but of the personality. Thus it may support the will's
control, as in the example cited above, or may undermine it. In
any case, "wish" is always primary and "will" secondary. We do
not will that for which we have no desire. As the old Hermetists
say, "Behind will stands desire."
The difference in action of these two forces has been very
clearly illuminated for me, recently, in the study I have been
making of mental healing. It is a commonplace that mind has
control of the body, but that is a very misleading statement.
Mind in its relation with will has, in fact, exceedingly limited
powers over the functions and almost none over the organs of the
body. As a subject for faith or mental healing, the man of
considerable intellect and determination is an almost hopeless
case. Reason is necessarily a fallible guide in almost any
connection, and when we are dealing with matters of the spirit,
which has been assumed as inhabiting every cell of the body, the
highest intelligence is hopelessly inefficient. Indeed, it may
be laid down almost as an axiom, founded not only upon inner
knowledge but upon observed and recorded fact, that a faith held
only by the conscious mind can never work any of those "miracles"
of healing, which are being so frequently performed in the West
at the present time.
Perhaps the chief reason for this is that such a faith, whether
religious or not, involves an element of contradiction, since it
is not shared by the other components of the personality.
Consequently, these unincluded elements must be sternly inhibited
by an act of will, an act that stimulates opposition in the
repressed desires and produces a separation of the personality.
And as it is only by winning the cooperation of the subconscious
that any remarkable cure can be obtained, the purely intellectual
faith that cannot admit such cooperation offers an almost
insuperable bar to the healer.
On the other hand, "wish," if it were pure in origin, works not
by opposing other elements of the personality but by absorbing
them, and thus, reinforced and single, it will find expression.
Reason and will cannot stand for a moment before this alliance.
We see aspects of the working of this principle in obsession and
religious conversion. In the former case, the wish is not "pure
in origin," and does not represent the whole personality,
achieving manifestation because the intelligence and will are
comparatively feeble. In the second case, the subliminal uprush
is often due to earlier repressions by the will, and rarely flows
from the true fount of wisdom.
To define that source would take me beyond the scope of Western
psychology, but I have, personally, no shadow of doubt that it is
to be found in the true ego, the experienced individual spirit
that becomes all-powerful by development, although it finds so
weak an expression in the average European of today.
Nevertheless, we can make an application of the principle
involved, in relation to an object so impure in origin as success
in business. This can never be an expression of the whole
personality, even as it is known to the psychologist. The
"unconscious," (I use the word as commonly understood in
psychoanalysis), cannot be interested in success of this kind.
That strange, suggestible entity, Maeterlinck's "Unknown Guest,"
can be induced to collaborate for some purposes but not for
others; and it knows nothing of, and cannot be educated in, the
technique of moneymaking. (See in this connection Jung's
masterly analysis of the Chinese Tao in THE SECRET OF THE GOLDEN
FLOWER.) This is not to say that this assumed "unconscious mind"
exhibits a general ethical tendency. We find in it the sexual,
unsocial, and feral desires that spring from the lower centers.
It is sometimes regarded as a wild beast that must be tamed by
cage and whip. But it does not, and cannot be made to,
understand the language of worldly ambition.
Now the wider application I have been seeking from these
comparatively simple deductions is to the two most easily
recognizable ways of Yoga. I speak of them as two only, because
although the methods employed may subdivide them so that they
follow recognizably different paths, fundamentally they fall into
those two categories that I have here headed -- Will and Wish.
The first works by way of the mind. The impulse to development,
as I have assumed above, necessarily lies deeper than the
intelligence, but the expression of that impulse is sought by the
mastery of the mind over the body. This is the common way of the
Fakir, as it was, also, of the medieval ascetic. By the steady
development of the power of thought, through meditation and
intense concentration, every desire of the body is subdued and
ultimately killed. Usually this is done by way of self-torture
of a purely physical order, and the whole training is rigidly
anti-social. There need be no hate for humanity as a whole,
there may be a relative tolerance, but the Yogi of this order
seeks his development within the microcosm of his own being, and
makes no contact with the crowd. His purpose is self-development
and he may attain it in a very high degree.
This form of Yoga is utterly beyond the powers of the
contemporary European. A variation of it, known as "The Fourth
Way," has found a few disciples, but its methods are handicapped
on the one hand by the need for ordinary contacts with the world,
and on the other by the indifference to that world, which the
disciple is taught to practice. Within my experience, no
follower of this "Fourth Way" has attained any such abilities as
the power to separate his consciousness from his living body. On
a more primitive, less effective plane, the businessman of my
earlier instance may be said to practice this form of Yoga, when
he sets his mind to the achievement of worldly success by denying
the lure of the senses.
Self-development by wish is of an entirely different order and
leads to a different goal. The soul-wish in this case is
generated by love and compassion, and if it is to be kept pure,
these qualities must be spent on the antithetic desires arising
from the lower centers not less than on humanity at large. A man
cannot love God unless he first loves his neighbor, and how shall
he love his neighbor if he despise himself? The means to the
purification of the desires, therefore, must not in this case be
by the cage and the whip. The single aim of him who practices
this form of Yoga is the unification of the self. And since
unification can never be attained in this or other connections by
tyranny, he must win it by the realization, education, and
conversion (sublimation) of the various consciousnesses arising
from the lower centers. In this task, the disciple has but one
steady hold-fast, the power of the generative wish. If it were
urgent enough, it will gradually take complete control,
influencing the antithetic desires until they assume the same
direction as the dominant wish and are ultimately absorbed by it.
Lastly, in this connection, it should be clearly realized that
the ideals of these two forms of Yoga are completely opposed. In
the former case, the ideal is that of the development and
magnification of the self by separation. In the latter case, the
ideal is selflessness, and just as we desire that the lower
selves should become merged in the higher, so also the ultimate
aim is the mergence of that higher self into the universal.
I have not attempted so far to indicate that of these
alternatives should be preferred by the followers of the way, but
the final implication of the last paragraph should be sufficient.
Very great powers may be attained by those who follow the
direction of will, but at the last these separated souls will be
those who come to the "feast without the wedding garment" of
love, and through a further immense cycle, they will have to
re-tread the path that leads to the Great Sacrifice.
In conclusion, it must be said that the way of "wish" is more
consonant with the ethical and humanitarian tendencies of the
European than that of "will." The latter very seldom derives in
contemporary civilization from a purely religious desire, but
rather from the wish for a far more personal gratification; and
even so, its exercise is crude and uninformed. But although the
second path is more acceptable to the average civilized man and
woman, since it is essentially social in its practice, the
winning of unity within the self by this means, involving as it
does the sacrifice of wealth and of all personal ambitions save
this ideal of integrity, involves a discipline no easier to
follow than that of self-mastery by the exercise of the will.
THE DARK SIDE OF LIGHT
By John Algeo
[Reprinted with permission from IN ANGELS AND MORTALS: THEIR
CO-CREATIVE POWER, comp. Maria Parisen, 145-54, Wheaton, IL:
Theosophical Publishing House, Quest Books, 1900.]
An old kabbalistic motto holds that DEMON EST DEUS INVERSUS, "The
devil is God upside down," or "The devil is God's complement."
The Irish poet William Butler Yeats took, as his mystical name in
the kabbalistic Order of the Golden Dawn, the initials of that
Latin motto, D.E.D.I. Those letters, however, also spell the
Latin verb DEDI, which means "I have given" and thus punningly
suggests that the diabolic is a divine gift.
Yeats probably learned the motto from Helena Petrovna Blavatsky,
who had been his teacher and had used it as the subject of one
section in her great book, THE SECRET DOCTRINE. So what is the
secret doctrine about this motto and the dark angel of whom it
speaks? Blavatsky says of it:
> This symbolical sentence, in its many-sided forms, is certainly
> most dangerous and iconoclastic in the face of all the dualistic
> later religions or rather theologies -- and especially so in the
> light of Christianity.
> -- THE SECRET DOCTRINE, I, page 411.
She adds that Christianity certainly did not invent the figure of
Satan, for such a concept has always existed. The name Satan in
Hebrew means "adversary"; he is consequently a personification of
the inevitable balancing forces that must exist in nature: the
shadow by which we recognize light, the night that separates the
days, the cold without which we have no sense of heat.
To say that the Devil is the inverse, the complement, of God is
dangerous, however, because it invites misunderstanding,
especially by those whose thinking is molded by dualism, who see
spirit and matter, soul and body, the righteous and the
reprobate, the saved and the damned as eternal opposites. Those
who think in simple dichotomies have great difficulty seeing the
underlying unity beneath all diversities. They find it hard to
conceive that Demon and Deus, the dark and bright angels, are
equally messengers of the Absolute One. They find it hard to
give the devil his due.
Yet in our relative world of mayavic reality, all things have
their opposites. To know anything is to know it by contrast with
something that it is not. Knowledge implies opposition. Without
low, there is no high. Without far, there is no near. Without
pain, there is no pleasure. Without death, there is no life.
Without the dark angels, there are no bright ones. Without
Demon, there is no Deus. In eternity, none of those exist. In
time, none can exist without its complement. So for the Elohim
to be, Satan must also be.
"Homogeneity," says Blavatsky, "is one and indivisible," and
"heterogeneity in its dualistic aspect, is its offspring -- its
bifurcous shadow or reflection," so "that divine Homogeneity must
contain in itself the essence of both good and evil" (SD
1:411-12). There are two aspects of this doctrine that are
equally important and indeed are complementary, without either of
which the doctrine "is certainly most dangerous" because subject
to misunderstanding and perversion.
The first aspect is that what we call evil and good are both
derived from the divine absolute:
> One cannot claim God as the synthesis of the whole Universe, as
> Omnipresent and Omniscient and Infinite, and then divorce him
> from evil. As there is far more evil than good in the world, it
> follows on logical grounds that either God must include evil, or
> stand as the direct cause of it, or else surrender his claims to
> absoluteness Everywhere the speculations of the Kabalists treat
> of Evil as a FORCE, which is antagonistic, but at the same time
> essential, to Good, as giving it vitality and existence, which it
> could never have otherwise.
> -- THE SECRET DOCTRINE, I, page 413.
This first aspect of the Wisdom teaching about good and evil
holds that both of those qualities are equally present in the
divine source of all things. That teaching is also found in the
great religious documents of all ages and cultures. In the
Bhagavad Gita, Krishna identifies himself with everything in the
universe, bad and good: "I am the gambling of the cheat, and the
splendor of splendid things" And in the prophesy of Isaiah
(45:7), the Almighty is quoted as saying: "I form the light, and
create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the LORD do all
these things." The God of our good is likewise the God of our
The second aspect of the doctrine is that evil is not an
independent reality but merely the complement, the shadow, of
> There is no MALUM IN SE [self-existent evil, anything inherently
> evil of its own nature]: only the shadow of light, without which
> light could have no existence, even in our perceptions. If evil
> disappeared, good would disappear along with it from Earth.
> -- THE SECRET DOCTRINE, I, page 413.
So evil is a reality, derived from the source of all reality, but
also evil has no independent existence, being simply the
complement by which we recognize good. Those who accept the
first aspect but deny the second are dualists or atheists or
cursers of God. Those who deny the first aspect but accept the
second reject the evidence of their own senses and maintain
against all reason that pain and sorrow do not exist.
> But the Occultists . . . who recognize in every pain and
> suffering but the necessary pangs of incessant procreation: a
> series of stages toward an ever-growing perfectibility . . .
> view the great Mother [Nature] otherwise. Woe to those who live
> without suffering. Stagnation and death is the future of all
> that vegetates without a change. And how can there be any change
> for the better without proportionate suffering during the
> preceding stage?
> -- THE SECRET DOCTRINE, II, page 475.
To solve "the great problems of life, pain, and death," we must
experience them. To use the idiom of those today who pump iron:
"No pain, no gain."
The doctrine of the wisdom tradition thus holds that there is but
one inexhaustible source of reality from which all things come
and apart from which nothing is. And it further holds that
intelligent forces derived from that source bring into existence
the universe we know, and in so doing they necessarily operate
with dualities of many kinds, including those we call good and
evil. The process of achieving good involves the strain of
The Dark Creative Forces
Some of the intelligent forces or angels, as we also call the
creative agents in the cosmos, work to make the substance of the
universe dense, to immerse consciousness in matter, and to
isolate separate individual existences. These forces devoted to
density, unconsciousness, and separateness are the dark angels
whose goal is the emergence of the many from the One, the
involution of matter, life, and spirit. They are the
centrifugal, creative forces that bring forth the many from the
Other forces work to refine substance into subtler states of
existence, to increase consciousness, and to connect separate
selves into a network of cooperation and sympathy. The forces
dedicated to subtlety, consciousness, and reunion are the bright
angels whose goal is the conscious, voluntary reintegration of
the many into the One, the evolution of the universe to its omega
point. They are the centripetal, regenerative forces that return
the many to the One.
Blavatsky describes the world process as proceeding on three
parallel lines: physical, intellectual, and monadic or spiritual.
Those three lines lead respectively to the development of
substance, consciousness, and unitary awareness.
On the physical or substantial line of development, matter at
first becomes increasingly dense until it reaches some nadir of
density, some singular state of inconceivable compaction, as in
one of the black holes of the universe where physical law, as we
know it, does not hold. From that point of maximum density,
matter evolves into complex but also more rarefied states -- the
matter we know being more empty space than substance and
therefore already very subtle. The future of matter is an
On the intellectual or conscious line of development, awareness
is progressively restricted as it moves through the elemental
kingdoms, until it reaches its nadir in the mineral state, where
its responses are limited to those restricted ones we call
chemical reactions and the like. Thereafter it evolves through
the vegetable and animal kingdoms, in which responsiveness to the
environment and to other beings becomes increasingly acute, as
plants respond quickly to the physical conditions around them and
animals to other beings. When awareness reaches the human
kingdom, interior reflection and self-consciousness flourish.
Humanity is well along the road to increased awareness of the
universe, but before us still lie vistas of perception and
knowledge that we can yet scarcely imagine.
On the monadic or spiritual line of development, the Oneness of
the source is progressively divided into smaller and smaller,
more and more restricted and limited units. Ultimately, to be
sure, there is only one Monad (from the Greek, meaning "unity").
But as that Monad is reflected in evolved matter and the
developed kingdoms of life, it is continually refracted, so that
it seems to itself to become increasingly limited and fragmented.
Thus the One apparently divides into the many.
This process has also been described as one of "group souls" that
individualize. In the mineral kingdom, vast areas and types of
substance are ensouled by one aspect of the Monad. In the
vegetable kingdom, the domain of each ray of the Monad is much
restricted but still encompasses whole species of plants. In the
animal kingdom, the Monad is even more restricted, expressing
itself through an ever- decreasing range of physical forms.
Among the higher animals, a single group soul (which is one
separate ray of the Monad) may express itself through only a few
separate bodies at a time. Finally, in the human kingdom, the
monadic line of development reaches its nadir, for each human
being is a distinct individuality, a persisting bit of
separateness from the primal unity of existence.
In this sense, we humans, far from being the crown of evolution,
as we are vaingloriously wont to imagine ourselves, are actually
the nadir of spiritual development. As the most individual of
all beings, we are the most separate from the divine Unity and
thus the farthest of all beings from our common source. In us
the monadic development reaches its lowest point. Our future is
to reestablish connections, to forge the links that will bind us
back to the Unity, to become One -- consciously, deliberately, of
our own free will. At the omega point of evolution, we are to
merge without losing our identities, to recreate the Unity, but
then a Unity that knows itself and has chosen its state. Through
the outgoing phases of these three lines of development -- the
densification of matter, the limitation of consciousness, and the
individualization of spirit -- the dark angels are the governing
forces. They guide the involution of the universe. They make it
solid, unresponsive, and fragmented. They bring the world into
being. They are the creators.
But once the nadir on each line of development has been reached
and the forces turn backward to evolve out of those limitations,
the bright angels become the guides of evolution, and the work of
the dark angels becomes evil in the sight of those who are
evolving. The work of the dark angels continues, however: Black
holes are still compacting matter throughout the cosmos;
consciousness still flows into the mineral forms and so is
restricted; living creatures still move toward the spiritual
separation of individuality. The impulse of the dark angels --
the involution of matter, consciousness, and spirit -- is all
around us. But the human path now lies in a different direction,
and so for us their work has become evil -- not evil in itself,
not MALUM IN SE, but evil relative to our direction.
As human beings, we value the work of the bright angels, because
we are well along the paths of refined substance and increased
consciousness, and we have turned the bend on the path of
spiritual unity -- although we have just made the turn, so the
old forces of separateness are still strong within us. But
however much we sympathize with the upward path of evolution and
the work of the bright angels, we should not scorn the other.
The work of the dark angels -- to solidify matter, to funnel
consciousness into it, and to make separate, distinct centers of
identity -- must come first. The work of the dark angels is
necessary to the total ecology of the universe. Without them
there would be nothing to evolve, and the bright angels would
have no role to play.
The Dark Angel Within
However, while we respect the work of the dark angels, we must
take care not to become a part of it. Our destiny, our dharma,
is elsewhere. Yet there is still a temptation within us to
follow the dark path. That temptation does not concern the
densification of matter, for black holes are far from our
condition in time and space. Neither does it much concern the
limitation of consciousness, for we evolved from mineral
unresponsiveness eons ago. Only exceptionally and pathologically
do human beings sink back to animal or vegetative states of
unconsciousness, and then it is no more than a temporary
regression, not lasting beyond the bounds of a lifetime, and
seldom as long as that.
Spiritual regression, however, is another matter. We have only
just made the upward turn in monadic evolution; we are newly
emerged from the nadir of spiritual isolation and separateness.
Before our individualization, the dark angels were our friends
and guides. We have old ties with them that are not easily
unknotted. We sympathize still with their forces; we resonate
still with their discordant melodies. They are still within us.
One of the teachings of the wisdom tradition is that we are
composite beings -- not simply souls with bodies but compounds of
principles evolved separately over the eons and brought together
to make up our natures. The elements that compose us are like
distinct rays of light of various colors and intensities that are
focused together to illuminate a scene in a play. The lights
become one illumination, but they are projected from several
lamps and reflect the nature of those lamps.
The creation myth of Blavatsky's THE SECRET DOCTRINE has an
episode in which the progenitors of humanity are discussing our
making and what must go into us to produce a complete humanity
(Anthropogenesis stanza 17; SD 2:105). The Earth gives our gross
physical body, the Solar Spirits give our life energy, the Lunar
Ancestors give the model of our personality, the Heat of the Sun
gives our desires; but humanity needs also "a mind to embrace the
Universe," and none can give humanity that intellect, until the
Sons of Wisdom add their light to the others. This creation myth
has various interpretations, but one of its significant meanings
is that we are composites of evolutionary impulses that are
historically independent of each other, though they have combined
Our prehuman development was directed toward making us
spiritually independent, to bring us to the unique isolation
which is the human state -- the condition of individualization.
The dark angels made us human by building up the individual ego.
We are the creatures who are alone. As we evolve from the human
to the superhuman kingdoms, we will move from spiritual isolation
to spiritual connectedness, integration, interdependence.
However, our natures have been molded by the dark angels of
spiritual isolation and separateness. And the effects of their
labors remain strong within us.
The biblical myth of the Fall can be seen as alluding to this
human individualization and its consequences. In that myth, Adam
and Eve, who are proto-humanity, are led by the serpent (the dark
angel) to eat the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge. The knowledge
that the fruit imparts is of their own separate identities. In
their disobedience to the divine prohibition against eating, they
assert their separate wills -- they become choosing individuals.
That is the Original Sin, whose punishment is expulsion from the
unity of the Garden of Eden into the diversity of the fallen
world. And the first man and woman retain and pass on to their
descendants the consequences of their separation -- a fallen
nature and a susceptibility to the wiles and temptations of
Satan, the adversary, the personification of spiritual
Within the stark simplicity of the myth of the Fall and original
sin lies a great truth. We inherit the effects of our past, and
an action that may have been necessary -- a quest for knowledge,
a coming of age, an attainment of independence -- can have
consequences that, if unchecked, are inappropriate for our
further development. Good things of the past may become bad
things of the future.
The dark angels guided us to human independence and still have a
place in our lives, for they are the impulse to self-survival.
They are ego exalting. They are self-assertive. Human society
has not yet reached a stage at which we can do without such
motives to action. And indeed, although in mature humans those
motives must become transformed into something less violent and
more considerate of others than they have been in the adolescence
of our species, we will never be able to do without them
altogether. For the world can progress only when all of us in it
are pulled between the twin poles of good and evil -- of unity
and separateness. As Blavatsky put it:
> In human nature, evil denotes only the polarity of matter and
> Spirit, a struggle for life between the two manifested Principles
> in Space and Time, which principles are one PER SE, inasmuch as
> they are rooted in the Absolute. In Kosmos, the equilibrium must
> be preserved. The operations of the two contraries produce
> harmony, like the centripetal and centrifugal forces, which are
> necessary to each other -- mutually interdependent -- "in order
> that both should live."
> -- THE SECRET DOCTRINE, I, page 416.
To preserve the equilibrium and produce the harmony within the
human constitution, all forces need to be balanced -- including
those of the dark angels. Their forces have been called
collectively the Dweller on the Threshold, and Jungian psychology
personifies them as the Shadow. In Christianity they are spoken
of as one's personal devil.
The devil within may not, like C.S. Lewis's Wormwood, get
letters from his uncle Screwtape, or have quite as distinctly
human a personality, or be as fully committed to the Christian
variety of dualism; but the personal devil is more than a
literary convention. Each of us has impulses, habits, and
proclivities that cluster and can be imbued with a personality
something like Wormwood's. The dark angels are cosmic powers
that guide the involution of the universe, but they are also
psychological forces from our past that shape our responses to
The dark angel is a part of ourselves with which we must come to
terms. As the impulse to separate ourselves from others, it is
the mirror image of the bright impulse to unite with all life.
Our omega point is to realize both impulses harmoniously -- as
separate individuals, to unite with all other separate
individuals in a single pattern of compassion and benevolence.
Thus the bright angels and the dark angels are both necessary to
us. And what is most necessary is that we learn how to deal with
both in their proper times and places and according to their
At the end of her discussion of the kabbalistic motto, Blavatsky
describes an image of:
> The "Magic Head" in the ZOHAR, the double Face on the double
> Pyramid: the black pyramid rising against a pure white ground,
> with A WHITE HEAD AND FACE WITHIN ITS BLACK TRIANGLE; the white
> pyramid, inverted -- the reflection of the first in the dark
> waters, showing the BLACK REFLECTION OF THE WHITE FACE . . .
> Demon est Deus Inversus.
> -- THE SECRET DOCTRINE, I, page 424.
Dedicated to the Theosophical Philosophy and its Practical Application