Theosophy World Home Page
THEOSOPHY WORLD ------------------------------------ January, 2006
An Internet Magazine Dedicated to the Theosophical Philosophy
And its Practical Application in the Modern World
To submit papers or news items, subscribe, or unsubscribe, write
(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.)
"Blend Thy Mind and Soul," by B.P. Wadia
"How Can You Prove Reincarnation," by G. de Purucker
"The Real Man," by A Trevor Barker
"Reincarnation and Destiny," by Leoline L. Wright
"Immortality," by G. de Purucker
"The Impossibility of a Unitary Rule of Conduct in the Manifested
World of Duality," by Jas. M Pryse
"How to Join the Theosophical Society," by Anonymous
"Discussions on Theosophical Subjects,"
by the Aryan Theosophical Society
"The Psychic Worlds," by Anonymous
"Death or Rebirth," by Katherine Tingley
> The distinguishing characteristic of that evil side of magic
> which has usually been called "black" is that its object is
> entirely selfish. There are many cases in which it is nothing
> more than this -- in which its object is not to do evil for
> evil's sake, but to obtain for the possessor of the powers
> whatever he may happen to desire at the moment.
> -- C.W. Leadbeater, SOME GLIMPSES OF OCCULTISM, page 206.
"BLEND THY MIND AND SOUL"
By B.P. Wadia
[From LIVING THE LIFE, pages 79-83.]
THE BOOK OF THE GOLDEN PRECEPTS advises the aspiring devotee to
"search for the Paths." The Inner Life begins with enquiry and
search (see the Bhagavad-Gita, IV, 34). The roads of a city like
all material ways lead outwards, and the rotundity of our earth
brings the wayfarer back to the place he started from. The
religious pilgrim bound for Kashi or Mecca also returns to his
home to continue the routine of his former living.
The Esoteric Philosophy confirms the intuition of the mystic that
the Path to Soul-life is an Inner Path. Sages have taught in
allegories that the Inner Ways exist, and that there are
milestones in the inner world as in the outer.
THE VOICE OF THE SILENCE refers to the Path of Liberation and of
Renunciation; also to the Paramita Path and the Aryahata Path.
The would-be Chela is asked to begin the "search for the Paths,"
but there are conditions for the search:
> Search for the Paths. But, Oh Lanoo, be of clean heart before
> thou startest on thy journey. Before thou takest thy first step,
> learn to discern the real from the false, the ever fleeting from
> the everlasting. Learn above all to separate Head learning from
> Soul wisdom, the "Eye" from the "Heart" doctrine.
Preparation for the Inner Pilgrimage should not begin unless we
have cleansed our heart in needful measure. The "heart" of the
embodied soul is his "discerning power," which is tamasic, dull
and befogged, obscure and mistaken; or rajasic, incapable of
deciding what should be eschewed and what accepted; or sattvic,
having knowledge of what to do and how, and also of how to hold
fast and how to set the soul free. Therefore, the cleansing of
the heart consists in purifying our perceptions, in acquiring the
pure and true power of discernment.
Now our passage names three pairs: (1) the real and the false;
(2) the ever fleeting and the everlasting; and (3) Head learning
and Soul wisdom, or the "Eye" and the "Heart" Doctrine.
To overcome the limitations of worldly perception and to unfold
higher discernment is the preliminary task; this preparation for
the journey is necessary before the first step is taken on the
Path that winds uphill all the way. This preliminary task
involves the discarding of useless belongings that would make the
journey almost impossible, and the making ready of our mental
Self-purification depends upon Discrimination, Viveka, which is
the first necessary mental quality named by the great Shankara in
his CREST-JEWEL OF WISDOM. What is the Real? The Changeless is
the Real. Truth is changeless; it is everlasting; it does not
pertain to the past, the present, or the future, but rather to
timeless duration, the Eternal Now.
There are two types of knowledge, designated as Head learning and
Soul wisdom. The former is called the "Eye" Doctrine, for the
personal man uses his mind depending upon the data his senses
supply. Soul wisdom is called the "Heart" Doctrine, for it is in
the Heart that the inner Wisdom of the Soul, the Silent Thinker
and Watcher, springs up spontaneously. The Man "for whom the
hour shall never strike … KNOWS, for it is knowledge." The great
Meister Eckhart's statement is illuminating in this context:
> Hearing draws in more, seeing leads out more, the very act of
> seeing. In eternal life, we are far more happy in our ability to
> hear than in our power to see, because the act of hearing the
> eternal Word is in me, whereas the act of seeing goes forth from
> me: hearing, I am receptive; seeing, I am active.
Ignorance is a hindrance and a handicap for the mundane man who
desires to get on in this world. To compete and win the race in
ordinary life -- that is his objective. Correspondentially, Head
learning is a handicap for the aspirant who strives to obtain
Soul wisdom, to retreat within to the cave of the Heart.
An ignorant man can get at his innate ideas and divine
intuitions, but a man of Head learning cannot do so. His false
knowledge, relative knowledge, partial knowledge, is different in
kind from Soul-knowledge. The latter is not an extension of Head
learning. Head learning hinders the aspirant; for him, it is
worse than ignorance. There is one aspect of relative knowledge
that may aid the mind seeking Soul wisdom. The latter can act as
a guide and an illuminator by showing what is true in relative
> The seeds of Wisdom cannot sprout and grow in airless space. To
> live and reap experience, the mind needs breadth and depth and
> points to draw it towards the Diamond Soul. Seek not those
> points in Maya's realm; but soar beyond illusions, search the
> eternal and the changeless SAT, mistrusting fancy's false
The unified wisdom is registered in Akasha, the Divine Astral.
Its beams reflected on earth are the seeds of Wisdom. Every
human mind is a ray of the Soul, and in every incarnated
existence, that mind carries within itself the seeds of Wisdom.
The weeds of passions, prides, and prejudices prevent their
sprouting. The atmosphere necessary for the action of the
seminal principle in the seed is absent. Men and women do not
live; they only exist and go through life; they pass through
numerous experiences but fail to learn the lessons. The mind
requires the breadth of vision resulting from the assimilation of
universal ideas. It also requires the depth and the insight born
of noble feelings that are impersonal. Thirdly, the mind needs
the beneficent influence of the Magnetic Star of the World of
The navigator using his compass is aided by the polestar; the
incarnated soul must learn to use the Spiritual Firmament --
Akasha or the Divine Astral -- which moves majestically and
infallibly round the Spiritual Magnetic Pole, the Logos, Verbum,
Shabda Brahman. There flow to humanity on earth from the Akashic
firmament rays of Wisdom Light that issue from the Diamond Soul,
"the Lord of all Mysteries."
These rays may well be called Lines of Force. Just as from the
sun innumerable beams stream forth, so from the Diamond Soul rays
of Wisdom radiate. Their collective manifestation is Akasha.
The human mind is compared to a mirror. It is a ray of the
Shining Soul. The mirror would reflect the light, but the dust
of false knowledge, the dirt of passions, and the ashes of moral
death are allowed to cover the mirror. Nothing but knowledge of
the Occult Science or the Esoteric Philosophy enables a man to
brush away the dust and wash away the dirt, and the earnest
neophyte can use the very ashes of death to polish the mirror and
make it reflect the True.
The beginner is advised to seek the process that will enable him
to blend his Mind and Soul. In this process, the exercise of
self-examination plays an important part. It is said that "one
looking at his face reflected in a dirty mirror becomes anxious
and opines, 'I am he.'" When in self-examination, we see our
ugliness, viciousness, and falsehoods, have we the courage born
of intellectual honesty and moral probity to face them? If we
have not, we shall fail. But if we say, "Out of this ugliness,
beauty shall be created; out of this viciousness, moral power
shall arise; out of these falsehoods, the voice of truth will be
heard," then the day of our redemption draweth nigh.
Theosophy is instinct with the grand Power of Masters' Ideation;
in the recorded writings of H. P. Blavatsky, William Quan
Judge, and Robert Crosbie is to be found that Power, easily
available for the men and women of this cycle. In these
writings, we must not merely seek information, or even
instruction; we must try to tap the Power of the Great Ones
enshrined in the records. Then we shall be able to appreciate
the heart-pouring of the devoted disciple:
> When I was blinded by the dark fiend of ignorance, Thou, Oh Lord!
> opened my eyes with the collyrium stick of Wisdom. Salutations
> to Thee, Oh Master.
HOW CAN YOU PROVE REINCARNATION?
By G. de Purucker
[From WIND OF THE SPIRIT, pages 245-48.]
How can you prove reincarnation to be a fact? This is one of the
commonest questions that we Theosophists are asked, and I always
wonder how such a question could be asked. Do you expect to
prove after the manner of the laboratory something that does not
What is proof? It is the bringing of conviction that a thing is
true to the thoughtful mind. That is proof -- so stated in
courts of law, and properly so stated. Now, if by the adduction
of evidence the mind is not swayed into the belief that a thing
is true, that thing has not been proved even though it may be
true. Don't you see that the only way to get proof of a thing is
by thinking it through to the end? Then you are convinced; and
while you may be entirely wrong, still that is the only possible
way for thinking human beings to get proof.
But don't mistake evidence for proof. I have a receipt that
shows that a certain sum of one thousand dollars has been paid.
Does that prove that the money has been paid? Any lawyer will
tell you it is not proof. It is evidence tending to substantiate
a possible fact that a thousand dollars has been paid by so and
so to so and so; but it may be a forgery; that receipt may not be
an actual receipt. But if an individual hearing detailed
circumstances about a thing, sifting and analyzing the evidence
laid before his thinking mind, is convinced that X has paid Z a
thousand dollars, then that evidence substantiates the conviction
brought to the mind, making the conviction stronger.
Now then, how can you prove reembodiment to anyone? It is by
bringing conviction to the impartial and thoughtful mind that it
is the only possible and satisfying explanation of the existence
of human beings. And how is such evidence of proof adduced? By
thinking. We are here. We are not all alike. We vary as
amongst ourselves more than the leaves on the trillions of trees
on the surface of the earth do. Each man is a unit. How came
that thinking, feeling unit on this earth? Created by God? Prove
to me first that such a creating God exists.
How much simpler and more reasonable is the supposition -- as it
seems at first -- that here we have a thinking, feeling,
self-conscious entity, which we now in this one life find amongst
us. We find this entity at one stage of what is evidently an
incomparably long journey of evolution. That is the first
thought. We are here. We were not created by a marvel -- some
extra-cosmic God of infinite injustice, making some men almost
godlike and others heavily, woefully, afflicted. You can cheat
the mind by saying, "These are things that belong to Divine Mercy
and are beyond our power." You see, that is no answer and that is
no proof to the thinking mind. It is sidestepping the question.
What we are faced with is the fact that we exist, that we differ
greatly amongst ourselves; that we show in ourselves the evidence
of growth. And where can you get all this needful growth in one
short life on earth? How about the poor infants who are born and
die before they have a chance to grow? Haven't they another
chance to come back -- a chance to try again? We have to take
things as they are. I never would be one to accuse this spirit
whose attributes are harmony and cosmic justice, of acting with
injustice and partiality -- never !
Consider another thought. Who are we -- we human egos, with our
wonderful powers and feelings? Whence our ethical instincts? A
thought that obliged the German philosopher Kant to admit there
being divine justice, because these ethical instincts often act
contrary, so it seems to us, to the merely selfish, personal man;
as, for instance, when a man gives up his life for some grand
ideal or for someone whom he loves.
There is divinity in that. We show divinity in our very
composition. Does not this tell us that we are essentially sons
of God, as the Christian would say; sparks of the Divine Flame
that keeps the Universe in orderly progression -- sparks of that
Divine Harmony and Intelligence that makes the manifold marvels
around us in the heavens or on earth?
We are in this Universe because we are intrinsic, inherent parts
of it. We cannot ever leave it. We belong to it. It is we and
we are it in essence. And what does this mean, this being formed
of its stuff, of its essence? As it is eternal, so are we
eternal. We are coeval with the Universe. It is but we in
Let us carry our thought a step farther. As there is no chance
action anywhere, no fortuity, naught but ineluctable procedures
of cosmic law, therefore we men, one small hierarchy in that
cosmos, are not here by chance, therefore our being here has a
meaning, and that meaning is rooted in the cosmic life, in the
cosmic intelligence, in the cosmic law. It would be utterly
meaningless if we simply appeared on this earth for one short
earth-life and then vanished and no good came of it, or mayhap no
retribution for our evil doings.
Why are we here on this earth? Why are we here now? Why were men
living in other ages, or what about the men who will follow us in
future ages? Why will they then be? These things are matters of
cosmic law. Now pray follow the reasoning, because we are
advancing from link to link of thought. Being here by law, and
one life being insufficient to produce the purposes of cosmic
mind, it is obvious that our being here once is a proof of
reincarnation. Otherwise, what brought us here? What cosmic mind
put us here instead of on some other planet in some solar system?
We are here because we have been here before, because here we
sowed seeds of destiny, and we come back on this earth to reap
those seeds that we sowed. This universe, governed by cosmic
law, will not allow us to sow corn or wheat in San Diego County
and three or four months afterwards travel into Arizona or Nevada
and attempt to reap the corn and wheat there. Where we sowed the
seeds, there shall we reap the harvest. It is obvious. Our very
being here, to the man who can think clearly and logically from
step to step, or thought to thought, is a proof of reincarnation.
Otherwise, we must say cosmic law put us here by chance. And who
believes that? If fortuity governed this world we would, see the
stars in their courses and all the planets running helter-skelter
all over the cosmic Spaces without law, without reason, without
order, without intelligence, and without system.
There you have your proof. Just think about it, reason it out,
advance step by step in logical thinking. We are here on this
earth because we have sown seeds of destiny, of life here, and we
come back to reap them, to undo the wrongs we did in the past, to
reap the rewards that we sowed in the past. That is why we will
come back to reembodiment in the future. We are now making
ourselves to be what we shall in the future become. We are now
preparing our destiny for our next life on earth. I am not now
speaking of the intermediate phases of life between life on earth
and life on earth. That itself is a wonder-story. I am now
merely pointing out that in the universal law things move
lawfully, causatively, and effectively. Every cause produces an
inescapable effect. If you distort your soul by evil thinking
and feeling, you will not become by such action an angel of pity.
You will become ugly and distorted within, and you will reap the
reward and the retribution of what you yourself have done unto
The Universe is ensouled, and that soul is to the universe what
man's soul is to him. The physical universe we see around us is
but the body of the universe, as man's body is but the body of
his soul. Both the physical universe and the body of man express
but very imperfectly the divine, spiritual, intellectual,
psychic, and astral and all the higher laws and powers and
energies and forces and substances that ARE the invisible worlds
From step to step, by reason, instinct, and careful thinking a
thing through, we are led to the belief that we are in our inmost
essence very children, offspring of the Divine Fire. Even more,
being such sparks from the Divine Flame, we are in evolutionary
cyclic growth constantly advancing from lower to higher things,
exactly as the child is born and from unthinking childhood grows
to be a thinking, feeling man with ethical instincts.
Pursue these ways of reasoning, and then you will never ask
anyone, "Prove to me that reincarnation is or exists." You will
have the proof of it yourself.
THE REAL MAN
By A. Trevor Barker
[From THE HILL OF DISCERNMENT, pages 276-80.]
Mr. Sidney King (a member of the Phoenix Lodge of the
Theosophical Society) at our White Lotus Day celebration the
other night made the statement that the teachings of HPB could be
understood as a kind of algebraic formula, which, rightly
understood, could be applied to the understanding of any problem
of life. We are to consider tonight the subject of what in
Theosophy is called the Real Man. Let us apply the proper
algebraic formula to an understanding of what is meant by this
term. The Real Man signifies that there is something else
besides reality in man.
If you turn to HPB's statements of fundamental principles of the
Oriental philosophy, you find her laying it down that man is not
his objective body, but that there is within him this something
that she calls the Real Man, which is an indwelling and
energizing principle. This Inner Man is ever striving, acting,
thinking, feeling, on this evolutionary journey through
earth-life, upwards to that ever-brooding Divinity that is at
once its parent and its inspirer.
We understand our algebraic formula to suggest that man divided
into the simplest terms for easiest comprehension may be
considered as spiritual, intellectual, and vehicular. In other
words, there are conjoined in man at any one time three actual
streams of evolution. I do not know whether you have brooded
upon this question. "Three streams of evolution" seems to
suggest that there are entities evolving on all three levels of
Now then, this question of the Real Man will not be
comprehensible unless we succeed in showing that that which we
call reality in man is something eternal and indestructible. The
permanent individuality in man is actually rooted in the
spiritual pole of his being, which is in itself dual in
character. You notice that HPB in the Fundamental Propositions
of the Secret Doctrine lays it down that duality pervades the
manifested universe directly you drop in thought from the highest
metaphysical Triad, of which Eternal Duration, Space, and Motion
are the three symbolic terms.
We need not be surprised when we find that man in his highest
spiritual part is dual. Even his Monadic Essence could not
express itself did it not do so in two streams or parts: one
spiritual and having the aspect of consciousness, and the other,
having the aspect of substance, the vehicle side of spiritual
conscious life: and these two together make the dual Atma-Buddhic
Monad. This is the highest entity evolving in that septenary
Cosmos that we call the human being. That entity is performing
an evolutionary journey -- a long one; and because it is doing
so, it may be said that it actually expresses the highest of the
three evolutionary streams that are combined in man.
Let us drop in thought to the next part of our being, which HPB
in a generalizing way calls the Real Man. This also is dual.
According to the septenary classification, you get Manas and
Kama. Here you have the center of what is called the Human Ego,
and this Human Ego passes actually from life to life. The
Reincarnating Ego is the higher part of this kama-manasic dual
entity, and during life, the consciousness is centered mostly in
the lower part of it. But the Real Man is centered in the higher
part; and it is this higher part of the dual Human Ego that owes
the permanence of its individuality to the spiritual brooding
presence of the Monadic Essence above it.
Therefore, as you would expect, after death there comes a
division that cuts in twain this dual Human Ego that HPB calls
the Real Man. That is why this division of man into a threefold
entity, consisting of two duads and a triad, is a very good one,
because it shows us how the different workings of man's nature,
during life and after death, actually take place. After death
there occurs a division between the Manas and the Kama, and the
higher part of it is drawn upwards until becoming permanently
grafted by a process of interior disruption, as it were, on that
eternal principle that is represented by man's spiritual nature.
You gain immediately the conception that the transient beings are
WE MEN LIVING HERE in earth-life. There is an eternal Pilgrim
within the heart of every man, which is here not once but many
times, expressing itself through bodies of flesh, but relatively
remaining untouched -- that is to say no more touched than the
actor is by playing the successive roles that fall to his lot.
This immediately suggests a thought to us. Since most of us are
necessarily absorbed and identified largely with the material
pursuits of life, the struggle for existence and what not, there
is an urgent necessity to find a means of refreshing our
objective daily consciousness. It is that part of our being that
not only suffers fatigue, but is overburdened with the cares of
this world; that suffers fears and anxieties and what not --
which are but a symbol of the unreal man, but a symbol of the
Theosophy, if it does anything at all, attracts men's attention
to that higher part of their being where in the midst of storm
and material difficulties the Real Man may be like a Master
Mariner with his hand upon the helm of the ship of life. He may
provide, as it were, for the harassed human soul the port that is
always calm, and into which the lower man can enter, if he will,
at any time -- whether it be while he is at work, or whether he
deliberately enters into a state of spiritual meditation. It is
because the Real Man is a fact that, if we go about it in the
right way, we can raise our consciousness and fix it in that
higher state from which balance, discrimination, and pure and
compassionate judgment flow.
Now another thought immediately occurs. This permanent
individuality lasts for an almost inconceivably long period. It
actually incarnates on this planet -- let alone the other planets
and globes of the planetary chain -- I do not know, and should be
afraid to say, how many times, how many incarnations it has to go
through; but eventually this Human Ego wins what is called its
Immortality. If you have studied the question, you will know
that mankind as they are -- average men and women -- are at best
but conditionally immortal: in other words, the human part of
them is not sufficiently united to, not sufficiently illuminated
by, the higher part of their being, to be able to claim that they
are immortal entities. To be an immortal entity is the supreme
achievement of evolution -- not as ordinarily understood, but
understood in terms of occult science.
When a Mahatma reaches the end of the first five steps on the
initiatory Pathway, he enters into an indissoluble state of union
between the human Ego and the God within him. It is to this
first part or beginning of the process that all Theosophists are
striving; otherwise, our endeavors have no meaning at all. Step
by step, we are learning to raise this Human Ego, this
reincarnating entity, to a recognition that there is that eternal
reality in the depths of our being, from which we may get hurried
away by the affairs of life, by the domination of what the
Bhagavad-Gita calls the objects of the senses. These things
serve to becloud man's vision. The Real Man identifies himself
with the lower man and he forgets the reality not only of his
Divine origin but also of his permanent home: and then such a man
loses his calm. He loses his perspective. He is unable to
concentrate and do those things that a spiritual man is able to
The Real Man is actually composed of all the inherent
characteristics or character of the individual. In other words,
it is Karma. Karma is that moral kernel of the individual that
is indestructible, but at the same time that can only be modified
from within without -- by growth. Therefore, if we want to
change our destiny, our Karma, and therefore our character, we
simply have to recognize that it is our whole being that has to
alter. Whatever we are today is simply an expression of that
inherent, essential keynote of our being that has been sounding
down through all the ages as we incarnated here. It is always
sounding out a similar kind of note, until step by step we learn
to clarify, to purify, and to raise the tone pitch and the key,
until finally we ourselves become convinced that the Real Man is
a fact. We strive from that point forward to realize its
presence in our lives from day to day.
REINCARNATION AND DESTINY
By Leoline L. Wright
[From REINCARNATION: A LOST CHORD IN MODERN THOUGHT, pages
Our modern point of view about any new proposition might perhaps
be summed up in the often-heard query, "Where will it get me?"
And characteristically, every inquirer will naturally wish to
know what the individual goal is toward which this evolution of
character through many lives is leading us.
One of the first changes that a study of Theosophy makes in one's
outlook is that there are no absolute beginnings and no final
endings to evolution or to ourselves. There are only relative
beginnings and temporary endings. Everything develops by stages
and it is only the forms through which these stages of evolution
are accomplished that pass away. Evolution itself is periodic,
as heretofore frequently noted. There is an interval of activity
followed by a time of rest and then another period of activity
with its consequent period of rest. Thus onward and upward for
At the beginning of our period of evolution as men took place on
this planet, the animal soul or vesture and its physical body
came, first built by the lower, instinctively structural energies
of Nature following the karmic lines of our planetary organism.
At a certain point in this process of early development, when the
animal vehicle had at last been made ready, the latent fire of
mind was awakened therein by those higher Beings who had been men
in a former great period of evolution.
As one candle-flame will light many others while remaining itself
undiminished, so was man's mentality mystically enkindled by our
more advanced, divine Brothers. Symbolically we can regard the
prepared animal-physical vehicle of man as the candle, and this
aggregated host of higher Beings as a great Spiritual Flame.
Descending to earth, this host of divine Beings who had once been
men brought MYSTICALLY to the waiting vehicles the flame of
Divine Mind. The latent faculties of the animal-man were kindled
into the first feeble spark of intellect. The race then became
truly human -- men -- thinkers, and self-conscious. They were
then first able to relate themselves self-consciously to their
environment. In each one awakened that particular kind of
self-awareness that feels, "I am I, and no one else."
From that time onward, men became morally responsible for
themselves, and their evolution passed from the overlordship of
Nature into their own hands. Henceforth what their bodies
became, in what direction their evolution proceeded, was a matter
of self-directed effort. But these newly awakened men, who were
really only just starting on their evolution as full human
beings, were not abandoned to their own devices. They were
watched over and guided and protected for many ages by the same
Great Beings who had initiated their birth as men, as is fully
explained by H.P. Blavatsky in Volume II of THE SECRET DOCTRINE.
We must not forget however that all this happened, not by chance
or in any haphazard fashion. Our earth is the direct
reembodiment -- after its own appropriate period of rest -- of a
world that preceded it, and of which it is the exact consequence
or karmic result. All these processes of building up and
kindling of mind proceeded on lines inevitably resulting from the
past period of evolution.
In this way, we started on our evolutionary course through the
channels of reincarnation, through the Cycle of Necessity. The
"Cycle of Necessity," like many similar phrases, is a poetic yet
also literally descriptive name. It has been given to that span
of evolution through which every unit of consciousness in the
Universe must pass. It is entered upon by the uni-selfi-conscious
god-spark at the beginning of a Manvantara, or great period of
evolution, throughout which it advances through reembodiment in
ever more evolved forms and ranges of unfolding consciousness to
its final achievement of self-conscious godhood at the end. Of
this great spiral, human reincarnation forms some of the most
Now, upon having become a self-conscious thinker and evolved
forth the beginnings of his innate powers, man began to build
civilizations. A certain number of those great Beings -- gods
they may well be called -- who had been men in past worlds and
remained as above said to guide the young humanity then
incarnated among them. They became their divine instructors in
the fundamental principles and concepts of religion, art, law,
science, philosophy, and the conduct of life. Following its
cyclic trend the human race gradually became more deeply involved
in material conditions.
The personality, under the stimulating presence of the developing
egoic consciousness, grew in strength. It developed a feeling of
limitation and of separateness from all other beings, with
passion, selfish desire, self-interest, and will-power used
against others. Then disharmony arose with the great universal
ends of evolution. Man set his selfish will against the
spiritual laws of the Universe. So 'sin' was born. Nature, the
essence of which is balance and impersonal harmony, reacted upon
him. Sorrow, struggle, and pain were the unavoidable results.
War and crime came into the world and the moral atmosphere of our
globe became so poisoned that the beneficent gods could no longer
breathe the same air with us. They did not desert their karmic
A race of demigods and heroes succeeded them, beings half-divine
and partly compounded of the lower elements that earth was
developing. They continued to lead the different races as long
as they were listened to and followed. Later, as we pursued the
downward karmic spiral, the Shadowy Arc of evolution, these
semi-divine leaders were succeeded by the Mystery Schools that
they themselves established -- great seats of occult learning
where the lessening number of spiritual aspirants might still be
taught, and initiated into, the Divine Wisdom of the Universe.
Finally, religion became materialized, corrupt, and bigoted,
these Mystery Schools themselves deteriorated and were finally
Still today in certain pure and inaccessible places on our globe
there are, we are told, centers of learning where the Mahatmas,
our Elder Brothers, and the Successors of these earlier spiritual
Guides to mankind, keep alight the fires of Wisdom and preserve
the divine teachings of Theosophy, the Light of the Ages.
This brief glimpse into our history will prepare us for an
outlook upon our destiny, which is in harmony with it. For the
goal of our evolution is nothing less than godhood. In some
remote period of the future we who are now men shall ourselves be
Great Beings (provided we are successful in the great spiritual
race we are now running), gods, returning to our reembodied
planet as helpers and instructors to guide our brothers of the
lower kingdoms who are now mounting the evolutionary stairway
We are at present engaged in developing our equipment, so to
speak, for that supremely important task, not only by
self-mastery, but by ourselves doing the same thing to all our
atoms and to all inferior creatures in our own small way. And if
you stop to think about it, how could any other destiny be so
natural or so inspiring?
It may be interesting to consider just here what such a destiny
implies in happiness and divine self-expression for each of us.
By means of reincarnation, leading the learning Ego through
self-knowledge, self-discipline, and self-directed evolution,
man's human consciousness gradually expands from merely human and
limited boundaries, up through spiritual and divine reaches, to a
sphere finally of cosmic sweep and power. The following passage
will afford us a brief glimpse into what reincarnation has in
store for the human being:
> Each one is an incarnate god: each one of you is an embodied
> divinity: kin with the immortals who guide and protect the
> universal spheres; and you can find how self-consciously to
> become this inner god of you, which you yourself are in your
> inmost. Become it in your daily life little by little, every day
> a little more. Yearn to be it; yearn to become it; feel it;
> think of it; ponder upon it. Even the rewards that come from
> this discipline and this training are past ordinary
> Pause a moment in thought and realize what it means to have your
> consciousness virtually of cosmic reach, attaining the outermost
> limits of our Solar System, and this not only in the physical
> sphere but very much more so in the invisible worlds; try for an
> instant to realize what it is to send your consciousness behind
> the veils of the physical universe -- deep, deep, deeper still,
> into the very heart of being; and there to learn, by becoming it,
> what is there, by experiencing all that is there in your own
> perceiving consciousness; and then, holiest thing of all,
> perhaps, feeling so strongly your oneness with the Boundless
> Universe that instinctively and with all the impulses of your
> life you consecrate yourself to its service -- a godlike
> -- G. de Purucker, QUESTIONS WE ALL ASK
by G. de Purucker
[A term from OCCULT GLOSSARY.]
"Immortality" signifies continuous existence or being; but this
understanding of the term is profoundly illogical and contrary to
Nature, for there is nothing throughout Nature's endless and
multifarious realms of being and existence which remains for two
consecutive instants of time the same. Consequently, immortality
is a mere figment of the imagination, an illusory phantom of
When the student of the Esoteric Wisdom once realizes that
continuous progress, i.e., continuous change in advancement, is
Nature's fundamental procedure, he recognizes instantly that
continuous remaining in an unchanging or immutable state of
consciousness or being is not only impossible, but in the last
analysis is the last thing that is either desirable or
Fancy continuing immortal in a state of imperfection such as we
human beings exemplify -- which is exactly what the usual
acceptance of this term "immortality" means. The "highest god in
highest heaven," although seemingly "immortal" to us imperfect
human beings, is nevertheless an evolving, growing, progressing
entity in its own sublime realms or spheres, and therefore as the
ages pass leaves one condition or state to assume a succeeding
condition or state of a nobler and higher type; precisely as the
preceding condition or state had been the successor of another
state before it.
Continuous or unending immutability of any condition or state of
an evolving entity is obviously an impossibility in Nature; and
when once pondered over, it becomes clear that the ordinary
acceptance of immortality involves an impossibility. All Nature
is an unending series of changes, which means all the hosts or
multitudes of beings composing Nature, for every individual unit
of these hosts is growing, evolving, i.e., continuously changing,
therefore never "immortal."
Immortality and evolution are contradictions in terms. An
evolving entity means a changing entity, signifying a continuous
progress towards better things; and evolution therefore is a
succession of state of consciousness and being succeeding a state
of consciousness and being, and thus throughout Duration. The
Occidental idea of static immortality or even mutable immortality
is thus seen to be both repellant and impossible.
This doctrine is so difficult for the average Occidental easily
to understand that it may be advisable once and for all to point
out without mincing of words that just as complete death, that is
to say, entire annihilation of consciousness, is an impossibility
in Nature, just so is continuous and unchanging consciousness in
any one stage or phase of evolution likewise an impossibility,
because progress, movement, or growth is continuous throughout
eternity. There are, however, periods more or less long of
continuance in any stage or phase of consciousness that may be
attained by an evolving entity; and the higher the being is in
evolution, the more its spiritual and intellectual faculties have
been evolved or evoked, the longer do these periods of continuous
individual, or perhaps personal, "quasi-immortality" continue.
There is, therefore, what may be called "relative immortality,"
although this phrase is confessedly a misnomer.
Master K. H. in THE MAHATMA LETTERS, on pages 128, 129, and
130, uses the phrase "panaeonic immortality" to signify this same
thing that I have just called "relative immortality," an
"immortality" -- falsely so-called, however -- which lasts in the
cases of certain highly evolved monadic egos for the entire
period of a Manvantara, but which of necessity ends with the
succeeding Pralaya of the solar system. Such a period of
continuous self-consciousness of so highly evolved a monadic
entity is to us humans actually a "relative immortality," but
strictly and logically speaking, it is no more "immortality" than
is the ephemeral existence of a butterfly.
When the Solar Manvantara comes to an end and the Solar Pralaya
begins, even such highly evolved monadic entities, full-blown
gods, are swept out of manifested self-conscious existence like
the sere and dried leaves at the end of the autumn. The divine
entities thus passing out enter into still higher realms of
super-divine activity, to reappear at the end of the Pralaya and
at the dawn of the next or succeeding Solar Manvantara.
The entire matter is, therefore, a highly relative one. What
seems "immortal" to us humans would seem to be but as a wink of
the eye to the vision of super-kosmic entities; while, on the
other hand, the span of the average human life would seem to be
"immortal" to a self-conscious entity inhabiting one of the
electrons of an atom of the human physical body.
The thing to remember in this series of observations is the
wondrous fact that consciousness from eternity to eternity is
uninterrupted, although by the very nature of things undergoing
continuous and unceasing change of phases in realization
throughout endless duration. What men call "unconsciousness" is
merely a form of consciousness which is too subtle for our gross
brain-minds to perceive, sense, or grasp; and secondly, strictly
speaking, what men call death, whether of a universe or of their
own physical bodies, is but the breaking up of worn-out vehicles
and the transference of consciousness to a higher plane. The
student is earnestly requested to attempt to seize the spirit of
this marvelous teaching, and not to allow his imperfect
brain-mind to quibble over words, or to pause or hesitate at
THE IMPOSSIBILITY OF A UNITARY RULE OF CONDUCT
IN THE MANIFESTED WORLD OF DUALITY
By Jas. M Pryse
[A paper read before the Aryan Theosophical Society of New York,
published in THE PATH, March 1890, pages 377-79.]
The inquiry so frequently made in the Theosophical Society as to
what constitutes the duty of a Theosophist in any particular
instance, as, for example, when he encounters the victims of
poverty and suffering, shows a peculiar lack of apprehension of
the higher Theosophical teachings. A call for a simple rule of
action that may be applied in every case at once shows that the
person from whom the call emanates has not grasped the
fundamental teaching of Occultism, that everything in the
manifested world is necessarily dual in its nature. A unitary
rule of conduct is no more possible than a stick with only one
end. In all things, we perceive duality, the "pairs of
opposites" as the Hindus say; thus we speak of subject and
object, cause and effect, pleasure and pain, light and darkness,
spirit and matter, good and evil, etc.
In seeking by any intellectual process to resolve even the most
abstruse philosophical or ethical questions into their ultimates,
we can go no farther than the "pairs of opposites." Take, for an
instance, the doctrine of karma. It includes both free-will and
predestination, the "pairs of opposites" for that subject. For
were each individual to reap only the effects of causes set in
motion by himself, and thus may create his own future, he
evidently has perfect freedom of will, and his destiny is held in
his own hands. But, again, since each thought and motive he has
is the result of preceding thoughts and motives, and these again
of others, he is evidently proceeding inevitably upon a line
marked out in the beginning.
If we inquire when this beginning was, we come to a consideration
of time and eternity -- another "pair of opposites." Could we
penetrate this duality and realize the underlying unity of
nature, we would thereby escape the curse of reincarnation and
pass from the world of illusion into the realm of reality. So
long as we are Baddhas, souls in the bondage of illusion, and not
Jivanmuktas, souls emancipated, this duality forever confronts
us, and nowhere is it more apparent than in the subject under
discussion this evening -- the application of Theosophy to daily
No system of thought attaches less importance to physical
existence than does Theosophy, which declares it only a passing
illusion, a shadow thrown upon a screen. The Neoplatonists spoke
of their bodies as "images," and the Theosophists of the present
century attach far less importance to the physical organism and
the actions of the material plane than they do to the mental
attitude and intellectual activities. As said in a private
letter of HPB,
> To yield to personal PHYSICAL weaknesses and passions is a lesser
> crime in Occultism than to yield to mental and intellectual
> weaknesses. To prostitute one's body is to desecrate only an old
> rag, an evanescent principle. To prostitute ONE'S THOUGHT, even
> the LOWER Manas, connected with and emanating from the Higher
> Manas or Ego, is to pollute THAT WHICH IS IMMORTAL.
Constantly we are urged to estrange ourselves from the objects of
sense, and to attain to such freedom from all worldly desires
that they will awaken in us only a feeling akin to disgust.
To attempt to put in practice these teachings only, disconnecting
them from the whole body of Theosophical doctrines, would result
disastrously ; and for a majority of any race to do so would
bring about an era of ignorance, filthiness, laziness, and
depravity such as Europe was plunged into during the Dark Ages
from the same Cause. For, mark well, this is but one of the
"pairs of opposites," and the other is even more distinctly
inculcated in Theosophical teachings, which insist rigorously
upon the performance of every worldly duty, upon active
participation in the world's work, and upon the most scrupulous
moral and physical purity.
Theosophy holds out no hopes of advancement to those who do not
work for the cause of Humanity right here in this work-a-day
world. It regards as a species of imbecility the mental
condition of those who seek "interior illumination," or "soul
unfoldment" as they term it, by abandoning their worldly duties
and devoting themselves to psychic rhapsodies and visionary
speculations, yielding, in fact, to their mental and intellectual
weaknesses, and thereby, as HPB declares, polluting immortal
It is no contradiction that in theosophical doctrines that all
things are declared illusory, unreal, and yet a course of action
insisted upon seemingly making this the world of reality.
Recognize the duality of manifested life, the polarity of
existence or being. Further recognize the fact that it is not by
following either pole alone that we can pass beyond the confines
of duality and illusion to the realm of unity and truth. By
diligently considering both poles of existence, we may make of
the duad a unit, pass from time to eternity, from mortal to
immortal, from being into be-ness.
Consequent upon this duality, the life of a man is a process of
unfoldment from within, and also of enfoldment, or adjustment,
from without. No unitary rule of action can be framed for a
being who is himself a duad; for, being thus dual in his nature,
he must follow a dual course, and in a question of action he must
while acting remain inactive. One part of his nature acts, the
other remains inactive; and when the lower and higher nature of
man become one, then action and inaction must also become one.
Says the Bhagavad-Gita, "He who perceives action in inaction, and
inaction in action, is wise among mankind." That old book is
equilibrium of opposites, so profound in its simplicity, homely
in its grandeur, and ancient in its newness, and it is as
applicable to the care-worn Western man of modern times as it was
to the quiet Eastern people of olden days. Therein we find no
single rule of action, but this dual course of action presented
clearly and with exactness. Perform conscientiously every duty
encountered in this busy world, but have no interest in the
results, leaving them to the Supreme; as said in Christian
Scriptures, "Render unto Caesar that which is Caesar's, and unto
God that which is God's."
The more a man separates the two worlds -- the material from the
spiritual -- the more closely they come together, tending to
merge into one. The light of the spiritual shines down into the
material so that even in the personality of the man may be seen a
shimmering of the divine light that is making his every action
nobler and truer. Another ignorantly seeks to confound the two
worlds, rendering unto God that which is Caesar's, and unto
Caesar that which is God's. Say that he heals his body through
the powers of his soul as some do in this age or tortures his
body as a sacrifice to his soul as do some Eastern zealots; such
a one finds the two worlds grow wider and wider apart. This is
no contradiction; it is the necessary polarity and duality of
HOW TO JOIN THE THEOSOPHICAL SOCIETY
[From a rare leaflet in circulation around March 1888.]
This circular does not apply to the cases of those who may have
acquired the desire to try for Chelaship, as that concerns the
esoteric work of the Society alone, and is not within the purview
of an exoteric official.
HOW TO JOIN THE THEOSOPHICAL SOCIETY
Membership is in either a Local Branch or "at large." By joining
either way, one thus becomes a member of the whole Society. When
a Branch exists in an applicant's town, it is usually better to
join it, as he then more effectually aids the Cause, and has the
advantages of larger intercourse with members, of attending the
meetings, and of using the Library if there is one. When distant
from any Branch, or for good reason indisposed to join one, he
should become a Member-at-large.
MEMBERSHIP IN A BRANCH
The applicant should write to the President or Secretary, stating
his desire for membership and enclosing a stamp for reply. He
will receive a blank Form of Application, to be filled in and
signed by himself, and a statement of the entrance fee and dues
established by the Branch. The Form is to be countersigned by
two members of the Branch, but if the applicant is unacquainted
with any, he can always secure a personal interview with the
President or Secretary, and steps be arranged for references,
inquiry, and subsequent signatures. The Form thus completed, the
applicant should deposit with it the entrance-fee (which includes
50 cents for diploma), and such portion of the annual dues as the
Branch rules require. All Branches fix their own entrance-fee,
or have none, as they see fit. He then, upon election, is
entitled to initiation, and, after initiation, is a full member
of the Theosophical Society and of the particular Branch.
The applicant can communicate with any Branch President, but, for
convenience of records, etc., it is better to address directly
the General Secretary, William Q. Judge, P.O. Box 2659, New
York City, enclosing stamp. The blank Form of Application will
at once be forwarded, and should be filled up and signed. With
it should be enclosed $2 for entrance fee, 50 cents for diploma,
and $1 for annual dues.
If the applicant knows no members whose counter-signatures may be
obtained, he should refer the General Secretary to two citizens
of his (the applicant's) neighborhood, by whom his character may
be vouched for. Their testimony will justify the General
Secretary in securing the signatures of two members of the
Society. These being affixed, the General Secretary will himself
admit and enroll the applicant as a Member-at-large. He then
becomes entitled to initiation from the General Secretary or from
any Branch President, whenever his presence in their neighborhood
makes it possible, and, should he remove to a town containing a
Branch, is eligible to election to membership therein, should
that Branch also desire it.
Two points deserve explanation.
The Theosophical Society is not a secret organization, but, for
proving membership, a confidential system of significant
passwords, etc., has been instituted. It is these to which the
pledge of secrecy, to be signed by the applicant, refers, and to
any confidential or personal communication made at Branch
meetings. Nor is the Society mercenary. But the large expenses
of printing, postage, and (in some cases) room-rent have to be
met, as well as a contribution made towards the maintenance of
the Headquarters at Adyar, Madras, India. Towards the last
object go all diploma fees, half of the annual dues of
members-at-large and 50 cents from the annual dues of each
Branch-member, as well as all charter-fees.
A copy of the Constitution of the Theosophical Society in America
will be mailed to anyone forwarding five cents in stamps to the
A list of Branches, with the address of the President or
Secretary, is given below.
The Theosophical Society welcomes to membership all who cordially
embrace the doctrine of Universal Brotherhood and are interested
in the study of Theosophy. To such it recommends membership.
First, each additional member strengthens the whole, contributes
to the sustentation and expansion of the Cause, and helps to
justify the original foundation of the Society and the continued
interest and protection of the Masters. Second, membership
enables the individual to share the organic life of the Body, to
invigorate his own spiritual nature, and to vivify his interest
in Theosophic advance. This Circular is issued to facilitate the
joining of such as are so disposed, and to spare the General
Secretary the time and labor of repeatedly writing the same
ADDRESSES OF BRANCH OFFICERS
* NEW YORK CITY (Aryan), President, William Q. Judge, P.O. Box
* PHILADELPHIA (Krishna), Secretary, Miss Carrie A. Howard, 129
South 15th Street.
* CHICAGO (Chicago Branch), Secretary, Mrs. M.L. Brainerd, 861
W. Monroe Street.
* CHICAGO (Ramayana), President, William P. Phelon MD, 629
* SAINT LOUIS (Pranava), President, William Throckmorton, 500
North Commercial Street.
* SAINT LOUIS (Arjuna), President, Elliott B. Page, P.O. Box
* EAST OAKLAND, CALIFORNIA (Golden Gate), Secretary, Mrs. Martha
Bangle, 1278 10th Avenue.
* LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA, Secretary, Miss Louisa A. Off, 108
* SANTA CRUZ, CALIFORNIA (Parana), Secretary, Walter S. Hall MD.
* MINNEAPOLIS, MINNESOTA (Ishwara), President, Joseph W. D.B.
La Pierre MD, P.O. Box 77.
* WASHINGTON, DC (Gnostic), President, Elliott Coues MD, 1726 N
* CINCINNATI, President, Captain Robert Hosea, Clifton,
* BOSTON, President, J. Ransom Bridge, P.O. Box 1868.
* MALDEN, MASSACHUSETTS, Secretary, Frank S. Collins, 97 Dexter
DISCUSSIONS ON THEOSOPHICAL SUBJECTS
By the Aryan Theosophical Society
[From a rare leaftet.]
ABRIDGEMENTS OF DISCUSSIONS, UPON THEOSOPHICAL SUBJECTS, HELD AT
MEETINGS OF BRANCHES OF THE THEOSOPHICAL SOCIETY IN THE UNITED
ARYAN THEOSOPHICAL SOCIETY, NEW YORK.
A mingled discussion on Karma and Self-Culture had place.
The purification of the individual character would seem to
embrace all the Society's aims. For in the realization of
Universal Brotherhood as a fact, comes a realization of spiritual
unity as its essence; and a grasp of the truth of spirit involves
in time knowledge of its nature and workings and power. Given
such sense of pervasive spirit as leads to the broadest
beneficence and the loftiest endeavor, you have the germ of the
principle that, in full growth, ripens to knowledge of philosophy
and religion, and to the acquisition of the psychic and other
powers now latent in us. Hence, I take it, the first of the
Society's three aims is the greatest, as virtually including the
information and the powers referred to in the others.
Self-culture, as an aim, seems open to the same charge of
selfishness as any other aim referring to self. As a mere
personal attainment, does it differ essentially from the striving
to be rich, learned, or influential? On the other hand, is it
possible for any one to seek self-culture only as a means to
benefiting the race? If self in every form is to be discarded as
a hindrance to progress, how can it be retained in the most
intense of all forms, -- the expansion of personal gifts and
powers? This seems to me a contradiction in the Theosophic
I do not so see it. The very aim of such culture is to rid the
person of narrow views or interests, and to enable him, not only
to apprehend universal interests, but also to lose himself in
them. The broader the range of his sympathies and aspirations,
the narrower his purely individual concerns. Besides, the spirit
in which all acts are done, specially acts of charity, is a love
of or homage to the Supreme, or whatever is our highest ideal,
and this excludes selfishness.
This does not at all express my idea of charity. When I see a
fellow being suffer and the wish to relieve him comes into my
heart, the wish is to do away with his pain, to make him happy,
and I want no other, especially no more remote, motive. Why is
not the motive I have good enough in itself? If I desire to take
away sorrow or confer pleasure, without any reference to myself
and only for the good of another person, is not that a just and
proper feeling of itself? I can't see how it would be bettered by
turning away my thought from the present sufferer to a distant
God and persuading myself that I am doing a kindness because of
I am suspicious of people who don't say simply that they do a
right act because they want to, but say they do it for the glory
of God or from thought of Him. The best proof of a Godlike
spirit is in Godlike acts. If I have and exhibit real sympathy
and helpfulness, it is because some measure of the Divine is in
me, -- though I may not talk of it.
E.D. Mac P.
I am not clear on this point: How far is the production of good
karma a proper motive to good acts? If I give money or time to a
charity in order that I may lay up treasure in heaven, is not
this an investment just as truly as one in Wall Street?
I think so. There seems no difference in principle between
investing in karma and investing in bonds. But CAN good karma be
thus produced? Occult writers teach that the ending of all karma
is the adept's aim, and that this is only accomplished as the
causes generating it are made to end, -- that is, the
self-seeking, interests, desires which bind to and renew
earth-lives. When these die out and the adept's wishes and will
are merged in the Universal life, karma, as a cause of rebirth,
has nothing to sustain it and disappears. The desire for good
karma is a desire for SOME karma, whereas the highest aim is to
get rid of the necessity for any.
One may say that goodness, rather than the being good, is the
goal. Charity as an investment would not lead to either. Nor
would any act, right in itself, if its object was reward. The
production of good karma is the result of good acts, but is not a
motive for them. The motive may be two-fold, -- internal, as
seeking the formation of noble and Godlike character; external,
as effecting benefit to others. Both may combine, the one
producing a sympathetic nature, the other a useful life. From
these good karma will arise naturally; less so, if at all, when
sought for itself.
Let me read you a passage from the Vishisht-adwaita Philosophy.
[Reads]. This states, as does Patanjali, that there are three
kinds of karma, -- that which is now inoperative because thwarted
by karma of an opposite kind, that which is now operating, and
that which will operate hereafter when formed. Over the first
and second, we have no control, but the third is largely within
our molding power.
Now what produces a good karma? Evidently, a good life. But what
produces a good life? As evidently, a good motive. But what
produces a good motive? Analyze one, and you will see that it
springs from two things: true conception and a strong aspiration.
We first see the validity and beauty of spiritual truth; then we
desire to assimilate and exemplify it; from this double
experience of the soul comes the motive towards good. Towards
GOOD, observe; not towards reward or happiness or
self-aggrandizement in any form.
Now what maintains this motive? I should again say, Two things.
First, the steadily increasing sense of the richness of spiritual
attainment as contrasted with all other; second, the formation of
the habit of offering all acts, even the most trifling, as
voluntary sacrifices on the altar of life. This is a matter of
growth, slow growth, but a sincere student will find the growth
possible. For if he understands that the real value of deeds is
measured by the spirit prompting them, and not the results they
accomplish, he will see that a small duty discloses that spirit
as truly as a large one, and the Bhagavad-Gita says that one's
own duty, however small, is that which we should perform.
Further, this habit is helped by fixing in the memory some
pregnant sentence from the Sacred Books. Here is one from the
> Unveil, O Thou who givest sustenance to the worlds, that face of
> the true sun which is now hidden by a vase of golden light! so
> that we may see the truth and know our whole duty."
If you will memorize this, you will find it an invaluable aid to
self-culture. It contains matter for profound thought and the
stimulus to the highest life.
Still another thing. We need to recall the incessant caution of
the Bhagavad-Gita against action with a view to consequences. We
are to concern ourselves with the quality of action, not with its
Once more, the first of the Society's three aims seems most
important because most enduring. Merely intellectual
acquisitions cease with death; psychic powers do not go beyond
the astral plane, and are not a permanent possession of the
individuality; but any spiritual gain or power, spirit being
indestructible, continues unimpaired from one incarnation to
I agree with Dr. M. that he who FULLY grasps the first aim has
really all. Adepts acquire their vast domination over physical
and astral forces as an incident in their spiritual course. It
is not sought either in or for itself, but comes naturally, and
is picked up, so to speak, on their way to the higher peaks of
knowledge. It is not well to strive for the lesser good, but for
the greater, which includes the less. All our acts, therefore,
must be done without our having an interest in the result.
I once asked an accomplished student what he judged the best and
simplest prescription for Theosophic culture. He replied, "I
believe the best to be that a man should read every morning LIGHT
ON THE PATH, and carry out its precepts during the day." He added
that a great assistance to the aspirant was to embody in a word
or phrase the particular aim he had before him, and to recall it
at each moment of temptation or weakness or needed endeavor. It
might be "purity," "patience," "content," perhaps even
"Chelaship," -- whatever best expressed his need or purpose as he
clearly saw it.
The caution against action with a view to consequences seems to
require explanation of "consequences." Are they the logical
consequences of the action, or the consequences to which the
action makes himself liable? The latter should of course be
disregarded, as one is to do what is right, no matter at what
cost. But the logical consequences of any action are really part
of the problem, and one must include them in forming judgment of
its desirability. Theosophy would hardly recommend rashness, or
thoughtlessness, or lack of foresight.
No; but I mean an adhesion to such action as, according to our
lights, ON THE WHOLE seems best, and then freedom from anxiety as
to all the possible results. Every act has numberless sequences
of which only the nearest can be foreseen. When these are
considered wisely and the decision made, we should cease worry
over possible or any effects whatever.
We are taught that each person must develop in his own way and on
his own lines. There is no one path for progress, as there is no
one mold for character. But more than this, I much doubt if
anyone can advance faster than at a rate which all the conditions
of his being make normal.
Tastes, likes and dislikes, personal, preferences, desires, and
habits are part of each man's makeup, whether coming down from
prior incarnations or an incident of this. We can outgrow them
when the time comes, but can we shrivel them up or extirpate
them, and, indeed, should we? The child loses interest in his toy
as he becomes older, and another interest arises, fitted to his
next time of life. The snake sheds its skin when the proper
season arrives, and the man sheds his aims with successive stages
Can these changes be forced, and if so would they be healthful?
Is not each taste or desire natural to the man when it exists,
and, being natural, proper? And will it not become effete and
drop away when, and only when, his general development advances
beyond it? In brief, is any artificial system better than the
normal one? If better, is it practicable?
These considerations are strengthened by our doctrine that each
man must pass through all experiences. If he curtails or
mutilates any (I exclude, of course, such as are sinful or
injurious to others), he lessens that experience and may have to
repeat it. Surely, the great experience cannot be
There are many replies to this, -- more than space admits. It is
true that Nature, and therefore Occult Science, does nothing by
leaps. Yet it is also true that Nature is often aided by
science, and thus effects in less time and more perfectly what
would otherwise require years. Plants are grafted, manured, and
pruned. Breeds of animals are advantageously crossed. Men's
characters may be improved by discipline and applied will. The
lessons would, no doubt, be in time driven in by repeated
sufferings, but no one would recommend so slow and painful a
process in preference to intelligent reflection and a consequent
effort after self-control.
All education, as distinguished from book-study, is based upon
the belief that we can, and should, work into betterment, and not
merely drift into it. Theosophic Culture has the same basis. It
holds that development through effort is right, and that it
produces a finer and stronger character, and in shorter time,
than does a life without purpose; and it holds also that one may
well sacrifice an inferior or transient good to a superior or
permanent one. A child may give up a toy for a book, and a man
may give up a pleasure for a principle. Whether either CAN do so
depends upon the power of his motive. He certainly WILL not do
so until the motive has grown to the needed degree of power, and
in that sense, it may be said that nothing can occur before its
proper time; but here again comes in the doctrine of growth
through effort, for motive may be developed thus.
I should say that the question before anyone with conscious
aspirations is. Whether he thinks the reasons for a vigorous
Theosophic life more cogent than those for the "normal" human
course, and, if so, whether he is ready to sacrifice to the
greater aim the desires and habits consonant with the lesser aim.
I should say also, as to experiences, that it is hardly meant
that each man must pass through all. That is inconceivable.
What is meant, I think, is that he must pass through each type,
or class, of experiences. One may have to be a physician in some
incarnation, but not necessarily an Allopath in one, a Homeopath
in another, and a surgeon in a third. One may learn the nature
of rulership without being successively a Rajah, a President, and
a Queen. So in the matters of art ands emotion.
I do not see that we are to be in turn poets, painters,
sculptors, and musicians, though at some time we must learn the
principles of all art; nor that we have to experience every shade
of taste, desire, passion, but only the general quality common to
all. It may very well be, then, that a time may come to each
when he thinks that he has had enough of emotional interest, and
would prefer, even if not without effort, to reach out after
interests less perturbing and more satisfactory.
Question from California
Does the doctrine of karma give, through our circumstances in
this life, any reliable clue to the circumstances of the
preceding life or lives? In other words, can we at all conjecture
what we were before being what we are?
I always insist that there is anyhow one such clue. The very
fact that our eyes have been opened to the truths of Theosophy
proves that we have somehow or somewhere acquired the right to so
great a privilege. We observe that an enormous majority of
people are absorbed in purely secular interests. OF the minority
interested in super-sensual truth, most misconceive it or hold it
in combination with belittling or misguiding error. In our
hemisphere, the number of sincere students of Theosophy is minute
as compared with the secularists or the ordinary religionists.
Therefore, we can hardly ascribe our being of that number to
accident or to present merit. Occult Science extrudes the
conception of accident, and we often find theosophic aspirations
disassociated from rank, high intelligence, large culture, or
The remaining explanation is that they are karmically connected
with a creditable past. They imply some degree of spiritual
instinct or affinity, and this so contrasts with the materialism
around as to almost demand reference to an antecedent source.
My contention, then, is that real interest in Theosophy is to be
accounted for by good karma in a preceding incarnation.
Moreover, I think this one of the most inspiring and exhilarating
of thoughts. For, if my interest in the Great Truth is thus to
be traced back, two things follow. First, I have behind me some
certain mass of good karma, and have probably ended many
experiences in evil which I should be sorry to repeat. Second, I
am encouraged to believe that I am now truly on the Path, and
that there is hope that my efforts will neither die down nor
fail. The effect is inspiriting, whether I look backward or
This view of previous karma has special value to beginners in
Theosophy, who are disheartened by isolation, or by confused
thought, or by the apparent futility of conflict with self. Let
them understand that their interest comes from a past of good
karma, and they freshen up to cheeriness and to renewed effort.
But does not such a view arouse pride? If I am now a Theosophist
because hitherto a good man and a better man than my neighbors
were, the elation from the fact may ruin me.
Not at all. It applies to what you were, not to what you are.
What you are and what you will be depend on yourself, and you may
misuse a spiritual endowment just as you may misuse any other, --
beauty, talent, and so on.
* * *
Besides, the abuse of a doctrine is no argument against its use.
If the doctrine is true and is precious, we can't give it up
because somebody may pervert it.
We should always remember what the Bhagavad-Gita says in the
Second Chapter that, "there is no loss or detriment to our
efforts in study," and, in another place, that we "take up the
thread of good karma on each return." But I conceive it an unwise
and profitless thing to try to determine the circumstances of
THE PSYCHIC WORLDS
[From THE ARYAN PATH, November 1937, pages 485-90.]
How have the different kingdoms of physical nature come into
existence? Are there secrets of that nature beyond human
consciousness as at present constituted? Still beyond our
knowledge, our memory, our imagination, does all-containing Space
hold inexhaustible potencies of creation, preservation,
destruction, and regeneration?
When one puts to himself, as each one must, such questions as
these, something of true perspective is attained, the purely
relative nature of human consciousness is seen, and the Soul is
for the time freed from all conceptions of finality. Only in
this way can such grandiose ideas as are represented by the words
"spiritualism" and "materialism" be themselves regarded for what
they are -- the extremes in the limitations of human
consciousness: the two poles of what the ancient psychologists
called "the five modifications of the human mind." The mind
itself they regarded as the sixth of "the seven azure transparent
spheres." And the seventh?
The seventh they denominated the Atman, the Self or real Being,
whether of the individual unit or of that Unity of units that is,
in the words of the Upanishads, "the Producer of this
production." Perhaps no more graphic rendition exists in English
of what is implicit in all Vedic literature than is contained in
the late Professor Max Muller's CHIPS FROM A GERMAN WORKSHOP.
This work, the first volume of which was published in 1867, when
Muller was 44, contains a passage as foreign to all his prior and
subsequent monumental erudition as to compel the inference that
it came from intuition, not from reasoning.
> We have in it [the "Veda"] a period in the intellectual life of
> man to which there is no parallel in any other part of the world.
> In the hymns of the Veda, we see man left to himself to solve the
> riddle of this world. . . . He invokes them [the gods around
> him], he praises them, he worships them. But still with all
> these gods . . . . beneath him and above him, the early poet
> seems ill at rest within himself. There, too, in his own breast,
> he has discovered a power that is never mute when he prays, never
> absent when he fears and trembles. It seems to inspire his
> prayers and yet to listen to them; it seems to live in him, and
> yet to support him and all around him. The only name he can find
> for this mysterious power is "Brahman;" for Brahman meant
> originally force, will, wish, and the propulsive power of
> creation. But this impersonal Brahman, too, as soon as it is
> named, grows into something strange and divine. It ends by being
> one of many gods, one of the great triad, worshipped to the
> present day. Still the thought within him has no real name; that
> power that is nothing but itself, which supports the gods, the
> heavens, and every living being, floats before his mind,
> conceived but not expressed. At last he calls it "Atman," for
> atman, originally breath or spirit, comes to mean Self, and Self
> alone; Self, whether divine or human, Self, whether creating or
> suffering, Self, whether one or all; but always Self, independent
> and free. "Who has seen the first born," says the poet, "when he
> who had no bones (i.e., form) bore him that had bones? Where was
> the life, the blood, the Self of the world? Who went to ask this
> from any that knew it?" This idea of a divine Self, once
> expressed, everything else must acknowledge its supremacy, "Self
> is the Lord of all things, Self is the King of all things. As
> all the spokes of a wheel are contained in the nave and the
> circumference, all things are contained in this Self. Brahman
> itself is but Self."
One may well turn from this noble transcription of the most
enduring of all known spiritual ideas as preserved in classic
Sanskrit Scriptures to the many fragmentary remains of the
Hermetic wisdom of the Egyptians. A service somewhat similar to
Professor Muller's life labor was rendered by Dr. Anna Bonus
Kingsford in her several translations of some of those undated
shards, on which are recorded primeval transmissions in the midst
of later accretions already themselves dim with age long before
the Christian era. We reproduce a few sentences from one and
another "Hermes Trismegistus" -- for there were as many Hermeses
as there were Zoroasters and other legendary gods and demigods in
> That universal Being, which contains all, and is all, woke into
> activity the Soul and the World -- all that Nature comprises. In
> the manifold unity of universal life, the innumerable units,
> distinguished by their variations, are, nevertheless, coherent in
> such manner that the whole is one. Everything issues from Unity.
> The Deity is not a mind, but the cause that the Mind is; not a
> spirit, but the cause that the Spirit is; not a light, but the
> cause that the Light is.
> The Ideal Light was before light, self-luminous Intelligence
> before intelligence. To speak of the Deity is impossible. The
> form cannot express the Formless. That which is no form, no
> appearance, which is no body, no matter, cannot be apprehended by
> sense. That which it is impossible to define -- that is Deity.
Professor Muller was not omniscient; no more than any other
conditioned being, however learned or inspired, could he see
beyond his own sphere of vision and its containment. No
religion, no philosophy, no science, no seer, whether ancient or
modern, but embodies error as well as truth -- for "these two,
LIGHT and DARKNESS, are the world's eternal ways," as the
Bhagavad-Gita and all other Scriptures recite, and as every man
knows by his own experiences. So, in what is the youngest of all
the great religions, Judaism, one finds the same ideas in
Genesis, in Ecclesiastes, in St. John's Gospel, in St. Paul's
Letters to the early Churches, in the closing Book of the Bible
-- "The Revelation of St. John the Divine."
They are present and discernible in the pagan philosophers and
among the great scholastic minds of the mediaeval period as among
the immortal Arabians of the same epoch. Nor are they lacking in
the writings of the great figures since the Renaissance, nor
absent from the consciousness of the foremost men of our own
immediate times, Western or Eastern, whatever the degree of their
spiritualism or materialism.
The long ages of earliest Aryan civilization and civilizations
wrestled with the same mysteries, the same problems, as
ourselves. Under the theorem of Unity, of Continuity, of change
and its consequences serial and cumulative, is it too much to
suggest that these Ancients were ourselves, ourselves still more
enmeshed, perchance, in materialism now than we then were in
spiritualism -- forgetful then, forgetful now, of the eternal
Trinity, the Duality in the midst of Unity? This is the doctrine
of Karma and Reincarnation, not as a creed, but as the
mathematics of all conditioned, manifested existence and
With this in mind, though as yet but an assumption, nothing can
prevent and everything invites the discovery that within one's
own self are implicit all the great spiritual ideas, all the
accretions of relative truth and error, all the obscurities and
darkness pictured in the lights and shadows of human existence.
Within each man is the Trinity: perceiver, creator, creature. As
perceiver, each unit of the Unity is single and simple; as
creator, dual but relative; as a triad, the experiencer of his
own alternating roles -- but as the INCARNATED Self, he is the
quarternary, "the three in one." Because he does not yet know
himself, even theoretically, while in "the BONDS of Karma," he is
ceaselessly at war with the elements of his own being,
ceaselessly at war with others and with all nature. This is the
man we are practically acquainted with, this the race -- man the
Thinker, irrespective of the basis, the character, the nature,
the objective of his thinking, as of the quality of the
conclusions presently held as "finalities."
On this, as on the whole gamut in the great octave of human
existence, Madame Blavatsky has written, illuminatingly as
inspiringly, to every searcher for Truth. In her SECRET
DOCTRINE, she says:
> Whatever plane our consciousness may be acting in, both we and
> the things belonging to that plane are, for the time being, our
> only realities. As we rise in the scale of development we
> perceive that during the stages through which we have passed we
> mistook shadows for realities, and the upward progress of the Ego
> is a series of progressive awakenings, each advance bringing with
> it the idea that now, at last, we have reached "reality;" but
> only when we shall have reached the absolute Consciousness, and
> blended our own with it, shall we be free from the delusions
> produced by Maya.
One of the almost immediate fruits of this stance of the Soul is
the direct recognition that Reality is capable neither of
addition, subtraction, multiplication, nor division. Hence, all
change is but an alternation of state, of form, of condition --
Self-created, Self-maintained, Self-dissolved, Self-reformed, by
the Unity and by the units, whether in full Consciousness, full
unconsciousness, or in any of the intermediate zones of
existence, the psychic world and worlds.
These intermediate spheres of being are what is meant by Maya, by
"astral" life, light, and matter. This is the world or plane
within which the material universe is holden, in which it is
conceived, gestated, disintegrated, and recombined into new forms
of physical existence. In itself, it is the electric or magnetic
state of polarization rather than the principle or power or
property we name polarity. We know some of the processes of
polarization for what they are, some others are constantly being
employed by us without recognition of the fact, and many others
-- the most part -- are misconceived or are beyond our memory and
imagination. Who dreams, for example, that these two -- memory
and imagination -- are but poles or polarizations produced by us
or induced in us, via our astral or psychic principles or
elements; and the same as to our thought, will, and feeling?
It may be helpful to some, in trying to picture to themselves
these ideas of the whole ancient world as represented in the
writings of H.P. Blavatsky, to "block in," artist fashion, the
relatively cardinal points, the rough dimensions, the FRAMEWORK
of the secret doctrines that each must study and learn for
himself, if he would REALIZE as well as BE.
First, then, let us endeavor to gain clean and clear conceptions
and perceptions of familiar terms, seeking to IDENTIFY, not to
define or describe -- to mark our compass of thought instead of
to "box" it before we are in possession of our own means of
Take the word spirit to represent the most transcendental state
possible to be imagined, matter to signify the opposite, mind to
include all intervening conditions -- and the Trinity in man is
recognizable even though not as yet understood. Identify spirit
as the Seer, matter as the Seen, and mind as the alternating
current between the two.
Next, as to the mind itself: what are the five modifications of
which it is capable or to which it is subject? These are called
by Sanskrit terms of which "correct cognition," "misconception,"
"fancy," "sleep," and "memory" are as good renditions as the
English language permits. Each of these words, it should be
noted, is cognate to many others, but none of them, nor all of
them combined, are to be esteemed comprehensive, for the simple
reason that our minds are not in the same "modification" as those
who devised these original statements of the principles and
elements of the psychic world, and the psychic nature. They may
be rendered in familiar words -- thought, will, feeling, memory,
and imagination -- provided one recognizes them as present, even
if partly or "in abeyance," whether he is awake or sleeping or
dreaming, and whether he is on the planes of perception and
action of the embodied or those of the disembodied Souls called
The order and nature of the modifications change, from state to
state, from plane to plane, from form to form, and these changes
may be due to "Will and Yoga" or to the influence of external and
internal conditions. In this latter event, they are still due to
"Yoga," but it is "Hatha," "induced," or "passive" Yoga, not the
sole sovereignty of will and wisdom made one, as in the case of
the Perfected Man. How far we are from such sovereignty each
human being knows for himself, even as related merely to the five
For it must not be overlooked or ignored that they are but
modifications, not the mind itself, any more than the five
fingers can be said to be the hand, which also is but a member,
or than the familiar five senses are to be confused with their
astral counterparts. The psychology of the Mystery Schools deals
with the senses, the modifications of the mind, the mind, and
above all with the Soul itself, in a way of which only designed
ideas are ever permitted to reach mankind at large.
The reason must be apparent, even to the dullest wit, once it is
stated. The Masters of Wisdom, their School and disciples, have
no wish to gratify curiosity, encourage the propensity of the
precocious, or instruct in Occult arts and sciences those, no
matter whom, who neglect or misuse their present powers and
possessions, great or small. They leave such policies to the
charlatan and "the Brothers of the Shadow." True Occultism
divulges few of its most important vital mysteries. It drops
them like precious pearls, one by one, far and wide apart, and
only when forced to do so by the evolutionary tidal wave that
carries on humanity slowly, silently, but steadily toward the
dawn of a new state of consciousness, that of the Higher Mind.
For once out of their safe-keeping, these mysteries cease to be
occult: they fall into the public domain and have to run the risk
of becoming in the hands of the selfish, curses more often than
Can anyone who surveys world-conditions and the world-outlook
doubt the Wisdom that prescribes such a course? Nevertheless,
whenever individuals, men with peculiar psychic and mental
capacities are born, they are generally and more frequently
helped than allowed going unassisted, groping on their way, very
soon, if left to their own resources, falling victims to
martyrdom and unscrupulous speculators. Only, they are helped on
the condition that they should not become, whether consciously or
unconsciously, an additional peril to their age: a danger to the
poor, now offered in daily holocaust by the less wealthy to the
very wealthy. One has but to use his own power of perception,
retrospectively, in the present, or prospectively, to find the
evidences of the verisimilitude of these statements.
There are four planes of perception and action in the cycle of a
single personal or human existence of the Reincarnating Ego or
Soul called Man. Mind is the instrumentality of the Self on all
these four planes, but in attempting to identify them, it is
needful to regard the dual nature of the mind itself, both from
the ordinary and the Occult viewpoint. In his own experience and
conception, each man is aware that his mind is capable of
receiving, storing, and discharging impressions from both a
personal and an impersonal use by the inhabiting Soul. This is
also the Occult teaching -- that each man has a Higher and a
Lower mind. But here the two conceptions part company. Not only
that, but also one is essentially antithetical to the other --
the ancient to the modern theory.
To illustrate: In the Occult views of man and Nature, the
physical body and senses, the astral body and ITS senses, the
spiritual form and ITS senses, and their source counterparts in
"Nature," -- each represents a distinct line of "evolution,"
"creation," or, to employ the Occult term, "ever-becoming." In
Man, the incarnate human being, these three separate schemes are
inextricably interwoven and interblended at every point. In the
Mahatma, the Great Soul or perfected Man, the Master of Wisdom,
the three constituent and convergent lines of progression are
unified, while in the ordinary man, even the greatest, wisest,
best among us, they are still in process of development. All
three lines are, from the standpoint of the absolute
Consciousness, the finite aspects or the reflections on the field
of Cosmic Maya or illusion, of Atma, the seventh, the One
Reality. Two brief citations may be of assistance in grasping
the outlines of this most important of all the Occult teachings
accessible to anyone who cares to search. The first is from THE
SECRET DOCTRINE, and reads:
> NOTHING IS CREATED, BUT IS ONLY TRANSFORMED. Nothing can
> manifest itself in this universe -- from a globe down to a vague,
> rapid thought -- that was not in the universe already; everything
> on the subjective plane is an eternal IS; as everything on the
> objective plane is an EVER-BECOMING -- because transitory.
The other statement is that of the great Vedanta teacher,
Sankaracharya, whose actual date was almost contemporaneous with
that of Pythagoras:
> Atma alone remains after the SUBTRACTION (dissolution) of the
> sheaths. It is the ONLY WITNESS or synthesized Unity.
Besides this, the Occult teachings regard the mind as a power as
well as a product, and furthermore in speaking of it as a power,
the mind is called the "thinking principle" on every plane,
Monadic or spiritual, Intellectual or psychic, Astral or
physical, or all of these combined as in the living human being.
Nor do these Teachings regard the mind as RECEIVING impressions,
but as REACHING OUT for them.
The nature of the mind as thus indicated, the four planes of its
functioning, or the FOUR STATES OF CONSCIOUSNESS thus lumped
indiscriminately together in an amorphous sum-total -- all this
requires further consideration.
DEATH OR REBIRTH
By Katherine Tingley
[From THE TRAVAIL OF THE SOUL, pages 179-88.]
All humanity needs an awakening now. Something tremendously
powerful and impelling must come to us, if we as a people are to
begin to find our true places before we make the Great Change.
The old teaching of the one earth-life is deadening, blinding,
We must have a larger view of the great scheme of life and of
evolution. We must become acquainted with our real inner Selves
-- the part of us that thinks, and loves, and seeks to become,
not the part that is fashioned according to the customs and the
moods of the hour or the age; but the real Being, who lives and
thinks within, and who knows something of the grandeur and beauty
of life. No power on earth can change its vision.
Now if one, two, a thousand, or even a million can have this
larger view, why cannot the whole race have it? Why must humanity
pray, study, think, hope, doubt, and in the end lose faith? The
fact is that people are unacquainted with themselves; and they
cannot be familiar with the inner and Divine Laws of life until
they are "up and doing." The life of men with its attractions and
its duties is so very little in comparison with what it might be
for each living soul.
In the face of death, the real Theosophist can smile, while many
despair. He can rejoice, while others are sad, because he knows
that life is eternal, while the great majority merely hopes.
How much do you know of what was before you were born, or what is
to come after you have passed on? How much knowledge have you of
yourself and of the laws governing your inner life? How much can
you explain of the great mysteries of life and death -- or
You may be very learned, very proficient, with no end of
erudition; you may be one of the brightest lights on the horizon
of intellectual achievements; but alas, there is still something
missing. What humanity needs today is to take the simple path to
the Truth in order to gain real Knowledge.
What have you in your knowledge of the future that will
recompense you for being born on earth, for living and suffering
here? This is the great question that Theosophy answers.
The true Theosophist is one who looks at life rationally, accepts
broader views thereof, moves out into the great silent world of
Thought, and finds himself aspiring to reach the mountaintops,
where the sunlight of Truth dispels the darkness of ignorance.
It is the simple facts of man's inner spiritual life that he must
know before he can do justice to himself, to his neighbor, and to
No matter how much good a man may do, if he has not the basic
idea of the eternity of life, of its abundance, of the glory and
the grandeur of it, it is a wonder to me how he lives at all.
The comfort in the teachings of Theosophy is that they bring to
humanity the knowledge of its spiritual heritage -- of that which
belongs to it by divine right, that spiritual knowledge that
should be ours from birth, through childhood, up to manhood and
womanhood, and onwards. This spiritual knowledge, working in
harmony and in consonance with one's general knowledge of life
gained through observation and experience, will illuminate the
pathway of evolution.
When death comes, the majority of people look upon it with fear
and terror or with questioning and doubt. But to the
Theosophist, death means real life -- rebirth.
In order to understand the doctrine of Reincarnation, we must
view human life and evolution in a broader and deeper sense than
most people are accustomed to. We must know something of the
majestic Divine Laws that hold us in their keeping. We must know
something of whence we came and whither we go, and what is the
purpose of life.
If the human race as a whole actually had any confidence in the
reality of life, in the great inner, sacred truths there would be
found the knowledge necessary to meet many of the difficulties we
cannot overcome now. There would then be no differences among
individuals or nations. There would be no wars.
Man, being essentially divine, has within his own inner nature
all the godlike qualities that can be evoked and can be lived;
and indeed are being lived by a certain class of people, though
of course very imperfectly yet.
When people, either educated or uneducated, can look upon life as
optimistically as do the Theosophists, then we may have some hope
for humanity. We must have such hope; we must believe in
ourselves; we must believe in our godlike natures; we must
believe that brotherhood is a fact in nature; and that the world
that most of us live in is a very small world in comparison with
the great one that we have next to know.
Because we are still half-asleep. Because we are so held down by
the ignorance of the age and by the despotism of mere
intellectualism, we have not yet found ourselves out in the great
blue of life. We have not the courage to go to the top of the
mountains. We have not confidence enough in ourselves to differ
from others in order that the truth may be made plain to all.
Thus, we may ultimately work for the great human family,
understandingly and harmoniously.
The question of death requires deep thought as well as a rational
view of eternal life. It would be absurd to talk of
Reincarnation, of our souls living on through eternity, moving on
through different states and conditions until they reach
perfection -- it would be far-fetched and laughable to the man
who has no conception of the greatness of life and of the Divine
Laws, nor of the mercy and splendor and grandeur to be found in
even his daily experiences; but when one has the higher
intelligence and spiritual knowledge united with what he has
acquired through study and observation, it is all so simple and
To most people, death is gloomy; but to the Theosophist, death is
very beautiful. For before death comes, we have learned through
the teachings of Theosophy -- the Ancient Wisdom, -- that the
real man, the spiritual soul, is eternal.
How can even the smallest mind that thinks at all limit man's
evolution and his aspirations to one short earth-life? Such a
limited conception is both a tragedy and a comedy. I cannot see
how one can move away from the teaching of Reincarnation, once it
has been clearly explained to him.
It is not susceptible of proof to one who is determined in
advance not to accept it; but how little we should know, if we
threw aside everything that we could not immediately prove!
Why, no one, with all his knowledge, and all his hopes and
dreams, can explain what real love is. And yet we know it
exists. When we have grown wiser, and better understand the
great truths of Theosophy, true love will have such a mighty
meaning that it will be the message of all ages for humanity.
For real love is eternal; we know it is so; and how can it be
eternal, if we have only seventy-five or one hundred years in
which to live and express it?
The reason we know so little about these spiritual things, is
that we keep too much away from them. We do not go close enough
to the secrets of our own inner natures. We do not search our
own hearts enough. We have not faith enough in ourselves. Our
vision is not broad enough.
The beauty of life is in the knowledge gained from experience.
But one must work for this knowledge. If he does not work for
it, he does not get it. And when the work of one lifetime is
done, he is ready for another life-experience. I do not see why
anyone should have trouble in accepting this idea. It is vastly
easier to accept than many teachings that the world has accepted
-- not to its benefit.
Death is rebirth. We Theosophists are as confident that the soul
lives on as we are that the sun will shine tomorrow. I know that
my mother lives; and I know it in the deepest and truest sense;
and I know that the same path that she trod -- if I choose to
make the effort that she did -- I shall find also.
There can be no separation in true spiritual love. Consequently,
at fitting periods in our evolution from one life to another,
there must be renewed associations on some spiritual plane, which
we cannot talk about, but which we know exist.
How little we know, and how much is at hand to know! It is ours
to find within our own hearts.
There is no death in the truest sense. The joy that I have in
the thought of eternal life compels me to speak of it with great
gladness and much intensity. I do not wish anyone to miss the
glories of the great Central Source of All -- of the Divine, and
of the mercy and the justice of the Higher Law.
If we had the right conception of this Higher Law, we should
better understand the meaning of the apparent injustices of life,
and half our difficulties would be passed over, for we would have
the knowledge how to meet them.
And if we could find men and women so imbued with confidence in
themselves -- not in egoism, or anything of that sort -- but with
confidence in their own essential divinity and in the mercy of
the Higher Law, they would understand that death is simply a
change. It is just a vacation from the school of earth-life for
a time; and that eventually that which belongs to us by divine
right will be ours. We cannot lose it. Nothing is lost in the
economy of nature.
Each one can find within himself the great secret of life and
know that the spiritual soul of man is immortal; there is no
death; love is eternal, and the Divine is all embracing and
infinite, and therefore impersonal.
What is most needed is knowledge of the self. Know yourselves,
trust yourselves, be growing all the time, ever advancing,
climbing ever upwards! Then when death takes your loved ones, you
will have smiles instead of shadows; you will have joy in your
eyes instead of tears because your souls will have told you that,
man being immortal, the Divine love unlimited, and the Higher Law
divinely just, all is well for humanity.
It is the duty of all to apply spiritual knowledge to the daily
life and to make this cleaner than ever before, ever purer, more
optimistic, more courageous, more affectionate, of greater
service, and nearer to the simple and beautiful truth of love.
Dedicated to the Theosophical Philosophy and its Practical Application