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THEOSOPHY WORLD ----------------------------------- November, 2006
An Internet Magazine Dedicated to the Theosophical Philosophy
And its Practical Application in the Modern World
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(Please note that the materials presented in THEOSOPHY WORLD are
the intellectual property of their respective authors and may not
be reposted or otherwise republished without prior permission.)
"Theosophical Reformation," by B.P. Wadia
"Capturing a World With Ideas," by G. de Purucker
"Rock Music and Spirituality," by Andrew Rooke
"Avalokiteshvara," by L. Gordon Plummer
"Of the 'Sacred Tribe of Heroes,'" by Grace Knoche
"Is Karma Blind Force," by Gertrude W. van Pelt
"Celtic Christianity," Part I, by Alun Llewellyn
"Are Religions Necessary," by Anonymous
"Occult Science and Metaphysics," by Henry T. Edge
> False learning is rejected by the Wise, and scattered to the
> Winds by the good Law. Its wheel revolves for all, the humble
> and the proud. The "Doctrine of the Eye" is for the crowd, the
> "Doctrine of the Heart," for the elect. The first repeat in
> pride: "Behold, I know," the last, they who in humbleness have
> garnered, low confess, "thus have I heard."
> THE VOICE OF THE SILENCE, Fragment II, The Two Paths.
By B.P. Wadia
[From LIVING THE LIFE, pages 130-33.]
> Our movement is a reform one, dealing with the very character of
> the race.
> -- W.Q. JUDGE
The ULT seems to be very different from all other organizations
in this (in the words of W.Q. Judge) "that in others plenty of
money is furnished by members -- clubs and churches can raise
large sums of money because they offer definite creeds . . .
where we offer nothing of that kind but demand real altruistic
By application and work on ourselves, we forward the cause of the
reform of the social order in which we live. That is of vital
importance, and from one point of view, this is the real reform.
But Mr. Judge's words carry an implication of corporate reform
of human character.
Political reform, to which the world pays so much attention, is
not highly valued by the Esoteric Philosophy, for reasons well
explained by HPB in THE KEY TO THEOSOPHY. Similarly, social
reform through specially organized social service is not accorded
the importance given to it by the world.
In the words of Mr. Judge quoted above, reference is made to the
reform that touches human character. The educative value of any
reform consists in its ability to change and elevate the
citizen's character. Thus Prohibition legislation in the USA in
the '20s of this century degraded instead of ennobling the
character of citizens and a good reform proved a failure.
There are numerous habits and customs which every nation and race
needs to alter. For example, already a great change has taken
place in the employer's behavior towards the employee; more
consideration is shown by the former towards the latter, but it
is not a real reform inasmuch as the changed behavior is due to
Trade Unionism with its strike weapon. The outer behavior has
changed but not the inner attitude. The same is true of the
attitude of the employee towards the employer. Similarly, the
relation between the mistress of a house and her servants has
undergone a great change, mainly rooted in the plane of
economics, but on the social plane, adjustments remain to be made
in wealthy USA as well as in poor India.
In both these instances relating to labor-capital problems or the
master-servant problem, the old and real difficulty persists --
lack of friendliness, even though there be kindliness. Noblesse
oblige on the part of those who have wealth, power, or knowledge
and gratefulness on the part of those who are their
beneficiaries, are not in evidence. Students of Theosophy should
deliberately make due adjustment in these spheres as Karma offers
Or take another reform overdue in every country, penal reform.
The treatment of prisoners has improved in many countries and new
experiments are being tried. But as long as the truth of
reincarnation is not taken into account, real reform cannot be
achieved. In discussing penal reform, students of Theosophy
should stress the fact that the criminal is a brother to all men
and that his treatment should be educative. In planning his
education, the aim should be to bring about a renovation in the
consciousness of the criminal. What is better calculated to
accomplish this than knowledge of Karma, the doctrine of
responsibility? The true explanation of fate and free will alone
will start real reform.
Take the problem of the abolition of capital punishment. Facts
about the after-death state of the soul of the executed, the new
menace to society when execution takes place and cognate
teachings should be popularized.
In all these matters students of Theosophy themselves fail to
apply to their own ideation what is implicit in the teachings of
the Esoteric Philosophy, and this Mr. Judge has pointed out in
more than one place.
Then, there is the problem of what is known as the color bar.
Not only in the present barbarous policy of South Africa but also
elsewhere, different aspects of this problem are in
manifestation. The Negro problem in the USA and the
untouchability problem in India are but aspects of the basic
problem of the color bar. Intermarriages between the Whites and
the Negroes or between the high-caste Hindus and the Harijans are
only one aspect. Inter-dining, social intercourse, and
intermarriage should be understood by the student in the light of
Theosophy, and it will be a very different understanding. The
study of races, cycles, evolution, etc., will give the student
basic principles for right application.
The next pair of reforms we should consider is in the sphere of
social customs and religious orthodoxy that militate against the
principle of Universal Brotherhood. The superstition and
dogmatism fostered by the priests in every country and in every
creed corrupt not only the mind but also the morals of the
Students of Theosophy should try not only to understand but also
to apply what is implicit in the closing clause of our
Declaration: "The true Theosophist belongs to no cult or sect,
yet belongs to each and all." The student of Occultism must
belong to no exclusive creed or sect, yet he is bound to show
outward respect to every creed and faith if he would become an
Adept of the Good Law. He must not be bound by the prejudiced
and sectarian opinions of anyone; he has to form his own opinions
and to come to his own conclusions in accordance with the rules
of evidence furnished to him by the Science to which he is
If the student of Occultism is, as an illustration, a Christian,
then while regarding Jesus Christ as a grand Adept, he will
regard Gautama Buddha also as a grand Adept, an incarnation of
unselfish love, boundless charity, and moral goodness; and so
with other Prophet-Philanthropists.
The student of the Esoteric Philosophy must abstain from
observing the rites, ceremonies, and customs of the creed into
which his body was born. He should study these rites,
ceremonies, and customs, rejecting what is chaff and using what
is grain; but he has a similar duty towards the rites,
ceremonies, and customs of all other religious creeds.
To help persons or groups of persons by right reform, one must
free himself from the limitations of political, social, and
religious taboos. Spiritual freedom demands mental freedom, and
there can be no mental freedom unless the thinking principle is
extricated from desires and passions, from prejudices, prides,
and violence. Friendship and brotherliness are the soul of every
reform, for love understands, and the spirit of unity never fails
CAPTURING A WORLD WITH IDEAS
By G. de Purucker
[From WIND OF THE SPIRIT, pages 147-49.]
It takes some courage, I mean the true courage of the Seer --
whom naught can daunt and none may stay -- to oppose a world's
thought-currents. For this sublime work calls forth the truest
heroism, the most sublime intellectual vision, and the deepest
spiritual insight. These last prevail always. Sometimes he who
runs counter to the world's thought-currents loses what the world
esteems highest: reputation, fortune, even perhaps life. But his
work -- that is never lost!
That is what H.P. Blavatsky did and what the Theosophical
Society has been doing ever since her time. It is in certain
ways to oppose a world's lower thought-currents and prevail in
the end. The noblest things call for sacrifice. That is a
strange paradox of our life on earth and yet of the most
beautiful. The Theosophist may say with the proud boast of the
Christian Church -- and I deem it true, and even truer than in
their case -- that the blood of its martyrs is the seed of its
success, and of its victory. The world is ruled by ideas, and an
inescapable truth it is also that the world's lower
thought-currents must be opposed by higher ideas. It is only a
greater idea that will capture and lead captive the less idea,
the smaller. Graecia capta Romam victricem captam subducit.
"Captured Greece leads conquering Rome captive."
What is this Theosophical Movement that was so magnificently
voiced in some of its teachings by H.P. Blavatsky, but a series,
an aggregate of grand ideas? Not hers, not collected by her from
the different great thinkers of the world; but the god-wisdom of
the world; and she brought together the world's human wisdom in
order to bulwark, for the weaker minds who needed such
bulwarking, the grand verities shining with their stellar light,
and bearing the imprint of divinity upon them. Some men cannot
see the imprints of divinity. Forsooth, they say, it is to be
proved! They must put the finger into the nail-mark, into the
hole. Millions are like that, they have not learned to think
The only way to conquer ideas is to lead them captive by grander
ones. That is what Theosophy does. It is a body of divine ideas
-- not H.P. Blavatsky's, who was but the mouthpiece in this day
of them, but the ancient god-wisdom of our earth, belonging to
all men, all nations, all peoples, all times. It was given to
protoplastic mankind in the very dawn of this earth's evolution
by beings from higher spheres that had learned it themselves from
beings higher still -- a primeval revelation from divinities.
The echo of this revelation you will find in every land, among
every people, in every religion and philosophy that has ever
When H.P. Blavatsky brought our modern Theosophy to this world
in our age, she did not bring something new, she brought the
cosmic Wisdom, the god-wisdom studied by the Seers, as understood
on this earth, which had been stated in all other ages preceding
that in which she came. She merely repeated what she had been
taught; the same starry Wisdom, divine in origin: Science because
voicing nature's facts; Religion because raising man to divinity;
Philosophy because explanatory of all the problems that have
vexed human intelligence. No vain boast this -- aye, no empty
words; no vain boast I repeat, but truths that are provable by
any thinking man or woman who will study our blessed god-wisdom
faithfully and honestly.
It was an amazing world to which H.P. Blavatsky came. The west
held by one slender, yet faithful link to Spirit, by the
teachings of the Avatara Jesus called the Christ. It held by
faith alone and the efforts of a relative few in the Churches.
On the other hand, millions, most men and women of the west, were
absolutely psychologized, not by facts, but rather by theories,
postulates, and ideas that had gained currency because they were
put forth aggressively and with some few natural facts contained
in them. Why, all the science of those days practically now is
in the discard, and the scientists themselves have been the
discarders, the later generations of scientists have themselves
overthrown the overthrower of man's hope in those days.
H.P. Blavatsky came in an era when even in the home-life, in
society so-called, it was considered exceedingly bad form even to
speak of the "soul" in a drawing room. To do so was considered a
mark of an inferior intelligence. Alone, she wrote her books,
challenging the entire thought-current of the western world,
backed as it was by authority, backed by so-called psychology,
backed by everything that then was leading men astray. And today
we Theosophists happen to know that her books are being read,
mostly in secret, by some of the most eminent ultra-modern
scientific thinkers of our time.
What did she do? Mainly she based her attack on that
world-psychology on two things: that the facts of nature are the
facts of nature and are divine; but that the theories of
pretentious thinkers about them are not facts of nature, but are
human theorizing, and should be challenged, and if good, accepted
pro tempore, and if bad, cast aside. She set the example; and
other minds who had the wit to catch, to see, to understand, to
perceive what she was after, gathered around her. Some of the
men eminent in science in her time belonged to the Theosophical
Society, although they rarely worked for it. They lent their
names to it occasionally. But she captured them by the ideas she
enunciated, and these men did their work in their own fields.
That indeed already was much.
Consider her titanic task: changing the shifting and varying
ideas of a body of earnest scientific researchers after nature's
facts: replacing these shifting ideas, then called science --
which had for nearly two hundred years been casting out all that
innumerable centuries of human experience had shown to be good
and trustworthy. She had to replace these with thoughts that men
could live by and become better by following, thoughts that men
could die by with hope and in peace. She had to bring these back
into human consciousness by the power of her own intellect
voicing the immemorial traditions of the god-wisdom that she
brought to us!
ROCK MUSIC AND SPIRITUALITY
By Andrew Rooke
Popular music, especially rock music, has a dominating influence
on the lives and aspirations of millions of young people.
Musical influences worldwide come in many styles, including Punk
Rock, Rap, Rhythm and Blues, Hip Hop, Soft Rock, Heavy Metal,
Black Metal, and Latin Rock. There are the lilting and gentle
strains of folk-influenced music like the songs of Jewel, Dido,
James Taylor, Don MacLean, and John Denver. At the other end of
the spectrum are the highly amplified electric guitar and
synthesizer music guaranteed to drive parents crazy like Led
Zepplin, Jimi Hendrix Experience, AC/DC, and Black Sabbath. Then
we have their late twentieth and early twenty-first century
successors like Van Halen, Twisted Sister, Guns 'n' Roses, Iron
Maiden, Metallica, Pantera, System of Down, Slipknot, AFI, and
even the aptly named, Cradle of Filth!
Whatever its shade, rock music represents modern folk music and
indicates, as music of the people has done throughout the ages,
the emotions, frustrations, and aspirations of ordinary people.
If we trace rock back to its roots in the raw emotional
statements of the Afro/American blues (and further back to the
rhythmic vitality of traditional African music), we readily
appreciate rock music as the music of dance, good times, love,
and desire. It is limited in expressing mystical or spiritual
ideas because the rhythms of rock's ancestors expressed physical
vitality and excited the desire nature. Both features of rock
music account for its popularity and consequently huge audiences.
That is where the popular center of consciousness is today -- in
the lower aspect of the desire mind of man's inner constitution.
The constant effort of the Masters of Wisdom is to elevate this
majority consciousness to the compassionate/intuitive mind level.
No doubt, music is one tool they employ. Some rock musicians
have responded to the ancient challenge and attempted to reach
beyond the basic level of physical and sexual excitement. Some
performers express mystical elements in their music and lyrics
like the beautiful rock/orchestral music of the British band The
Moody Blues. Many other rock musicians express a profound
influence from Indian mystical philosophy like the Beatles
(especially George Harrison), Maha Vishnu John McLaughlin, and
Carlos Santana. Others like Bob Dylan in recent albums reflect
their inner journeys of self-discovery. All express in
individual ways the ordinary man's joy and pain in human
relationship and his yearning for love, equity, and the chance
for a peaceful life in a turbulent world.
Dorothy Retallack's famous experiments with music and plants in
the 1970s (THE SOUND OF MUSIC AND PLANTS) indicated that the
heavy metal rock music of the day was destructive to plant life.
This book, and especially the hugely popular THE SECRET LIFE OF
PLANTS by Peter Tompkin and Christopher Bird, gave serious
concern at the time for the effect of such music on humans.
At one extreme, some modern occultists assert that loud,
discordant music helps break harmonic molds in the world's
thought atmosphere, making way for the New Age. At the other,
scientific researchers, according to New Age musician Steven
Halpern, have demonstrated that the rock rhythm in a large
proportion of popular music today is contrary to the body's
natural heart and arterial rhythms. They have shown that the
standard rock rhythm arrangement that we hear in pop music --
short-short-long -- has a weakening effect on muscle strength,
whether the subject liked the of music or not! Interestingly,
this was in direct opposition to the effect of clapping out the
long-short-short rhythm -- as in traditional American Indian
Rock music is the source of tremendous fun and enjoyment to
millions who do not take it quite so seriously! It has engendered
a new and entirely opposed musical style over the past 20 years.
In fact, one of its founders called this music the Anti-Frantic
Alternative, or more commonly known as New Age or Meditative
music. This music is notable for its lack of rhythm, its use of
natural sounds, quiet melodic strains, and its attempt to create
an atmosphere conducive to reflection, relaxation, and spiritual
aspiration rather than a heavily loaded emotional experience such
as most rock songs attempt to convey. Some new esoteric music,
like PrimaSounds, attempts to find sympathetic vibrations with
the various chakras or energy centers in the body to promote the
flow of balanced energies in the body and create an environment
for deep meditation. Much of this music is based on an
acquaintance with the esoteric aspects of music in particular, on
studies of Eastern religions, yoga, and meditation techniques.
Perhaps we are coming full circle to a rediscovery of the Ancient
Wisdom encapsulated in this new music that holds great promise as
a harmonizing influence for the future.
What is the mass effect of rock music on people today? What is
its potential? Several effects of great importance are elicited
through the medium of music. It can aid the search for harmony
within oneself and with nature. It can help center consciousness
on inspirational ideas and the beautiful. It helps people see
that the manifest universe consists of varying levels of
vibration or music wherein they interact with the environment in
ways besides the physical. Music, as a form of beauty, can have
a profoundly healing and balancing effect.
By L. Gordon Plummer
[From the Summer 1973 THEOSOPHIA, as reprinted in THE ECLECTIC
> Avalokiteshvara (Sanskrit). A compound word: avalokita --
> "perceived," "seen"; Ishvara -- lord; hence "the Lord who is
> perceived or cognised," i.e., the spiritual entity, whether in
> the Kosmos or in the human being, whose influence is perceived
> and felt; the Higher Self . . .
> -- G. de Purucker, OCCULT GLOSSARY
The teaching about Avalokiteshvara is at once one of the most
beautiful and the most practical of the doctrines found in the
Ancient Wisdom. At first glance, it might appear to be something
very remote from us and difficult for us to understand; but quite
the reverse, we have only to grasp its implications, and we
discover that it is an intimate part of every human being.
As one of the more technical teachings, it requires a technical
explanation to begin with. Briefly stated, it is the Third
If we were to follow all the ramifications of the doctrine, we
would go into some of the most recondite of the teachings about
the nature of the Universe and of Man. The intent here is to
give the most salient facts that might then serve as a
springboard from which any student may pursue the study to his
We shall make a paradigm, giving the names of the three Logoi as
set forth in the Mahayana School of Buddhism, with which
Theosophy is in perfect agreement. These terms are given in
terms of the Kosmos (from Mahayana Buddhism) and then in terms of
Man himself (e.g. the Human Constitution).
Amitabha Buddha (the Buddha of Boundless Light) = the Atman (the
Divine Monad, our link with the Boundless)
Alaya (the spirit-source of all, the Divine in Nature) = Buddhi
(Spiritual consciousness, the vehicle of Atman)
Avalokitesvara (the Divine Presence, seen and felt everywhere) =
Manas (the Mind as the vehicle of Buddhi)
(In the Brahmanical scheme, we have the three Logoi enumerated as
Parabrahm, the Boundless; Pradhana, or Mulaprakriti, the root or
source of Nature; and Mahat, Cosmic Mind in the sense that it is
the "mother" of the Manasaputras. Thus, our Higher Mind or
Higher Self, it derived from Mahat.)
We see at once in the above foundation of the teaching that Man
is one with the universe, not only in respect to his physical
body, which obviously is fashioned of the materials of the Earth,
but in all of the reaches of his constitution. The "Higher
Triad" alone is shown in the paradigm. The "Lower Quaternary" --
Prana, Kama, Linga-Sharira or Astral Body and Sthula-Sarira or
Physical Body -- serves as the complex vehicle of the Higher
Triad, comprises a further study.
To pursue our study of the Divine nature of Man, and of
Avalokiteshvara in particular, we must now refer to the Hierarchy
of Compassion, as this teaching will complete a picture of
marvelous beauty and significance.
We are taught that at the summit of the Hierarchy of Compassion
-- insofar as we humans are concerned -- is the Wondrous Being or
Silent Watcher written about in THE MAHATMA LETTERS TO A.P.
SINNETT and by H.P. Blavatsky in THE SECRET DOCTRINE. This is
the Great Sacrifice who has renounced out of compassion the
Nirvanic bliss that he has earned so that he might remain behind
and help struggling humanity along its difficult evolutionary
In order to learn the relationship between this Silent Watcher
and ourselves, we must consider the teachings of the Globe
Chains. We learn that among the many planets, seen and unseen,
the seven of primary importance are known as the Sacred Planets.
We will not be specific as to their names, as to do so would
bring in certain points of teaching that would extend this
article beyond the length desirable. Sufficient to say at this
time that each of the planets is in reality a composite of seven
Globes, only one of which is visible. For convenience, the
Globes have been lettered from A to G, and in each case, the
visible Globe is lettered D. Thus, we see Globes D of Earth,
Venus, Mars, and so on. All of the other globes are invisible,
not detected by instruments of science.
Each of the planets is therefore conceived to be a chain of
globes, or as we say, a Globe Chain. The various life waves that
we call the kingdoms of nature, as these life waves manifest on
Earth, pass through all seven of the Globes in their own chain --
making in each case seven circuits, or Rounds, as we call them.
We on the Earth Chain are presently pursuing our fourth Round,
and are on Globe D. Our stay on Globe D is divided into seven
great epochs, or Root-Races. We are now experiencing the fifth
such epoch or Root-Race.
We are taught that a Buddha appears at some time during each of
the Root-Races in order to carry on the work of the Hierarchy of
Compassion. Gautama was the Buddha for this fifth Root-Race.
So much for preliminaries. We are ready now to set before the
reader the various stages in the Hierarchy of Compassion.
1. Highest in our Solar System is Mahat. It is the Hierarch of
the Hierarchy, working in and through the Divinity that manifests
in its outward form as our Sun. From it spring:
2. Seven Solar Logoi. These are the Silent Watchers that hold
spiritual sway over the seven planetary Chains known as the
Sacred Planets. Each of these is an Adi-Buddha. Thus, there is
such as Adi-Buddha for this Earth Chain. Its seven rays are:
3. The Dhyani-Buddhas. These watch over the Rounds of the
Chains. Thus, there is a Dhyani-Buddha watching over this fourth
Round of our Earth Chain. Its Rays are:
4. The Dhyani-Bodhisattvas. These watch over the Globes of the
chain during the various Rounds. Thus, there is a Celestial or
Dhyani-Bodhisattva watching over this Globe D during this fourth
Round. From this Dhyani-Bodhisattva spring seven rays:
5. The Manushya or Human Buddhas. There is one such for each of
the Root-Races, and as said above, the one who holds spiritual
sway over our fifth Root-Race is Gautama, the Buddha.
While Gautama is said to have lived for 100 years on Earth, there
is a deeply esoteric fact about the human Bodhisattva who
remained on Earth after the passing of the Buddha. While the
Buddha himself entered the Nirvana, because of his great
compassion for the world, he left a portion of himself behind in
what might be termed the more human aspect of himself, who lived
to carry on the sublime work. This Bodhisattva, because he no
longer required a physical body through which to work, became a
Such Bodhisattvas are deeply revered among scholars of Oriental
Religions because, out of compassion, they follow the footsteps
of the Great Sacrifice, remaining behind to serve the Human Race.
They, we are taught, provide the means whereby there are the
periodic appearances of the Avataras, such as Krishna,
Shankaracharya, and for the Occident, Jesus the Christ.
There is a second and very important manner in which the Great
Sacrifice or Silent Watcher aids humanity. It is ultimately
through him that Initiation is possible. Those who enter the
grand portals of Initiation in order to become the servants of
those who themselves are but servants of Compassion, do so
because of the spiritual and Divine energies flowing forth
ceaselessly from the Silent Watcher himself.
So far as we ourselves are concerned, our own Higher Triad,
consisting of Atman, Buddhi, and Manas, form the Hierarchy of
Compassion within each and every one of us. Humanity is going
through an exceedingly dangerous and difficult time, and much
human suffering could have been avoided if these teachings, old
as the ages and forming the heart of the great religions of the
world, had been understood and applied to daily life.
How wonderful it is to realize that through the Higher Mind of
Man we can all perceive the source from which we came,
Avalokiteshvara. And because it is in every human mind and
heart, we are therefore capable of cognizing it everywhere. All
the beauty of Nature proclaims it. All the genuine greatness in
human life is Avalokiteshvara itself. It is all about us. Why
then, should we not recognize it for what it is, see it, and
learn to love it as the enduring beauty that will outlast all of
the woes and problems to which the human race is heir. We have
indeed to reap the karmic results of our mistakes, whether made
individually or as races of men, but we can bear the burden of
our own making if we can but fix our gaze upon the light that is
all about us, the light that is the very source of our being.
OF THE "SACRED TRIBE OF HEROES"
By Grace Knoche
[From THE THEOSOPHICAL PATH, April 1930, pages 292-97.]
> For there is indeed in the terrestrial abode the sacred tribe of
> heroes who pay attention to mankind, and who are able to give
> them assistance even in the smallest concerns.
> -- Synesius, WISDOM OF THE EGYPTIANS
April is the birth-month of William Quan Judge, Cofounder with
H.P. Blavatsky of The Theosophical Society, and her Successor.
It is surely not out of place for the magazine founded by this
Leader and Teacher to open its pages to some grateful reference
to him today. Not for the classic "biography," however. The
short space at our disposal were better occupied than with dates
and journeys, for many things of intense interest in the life of
William Quan Judge deserve wider knowledge of the all too scanty
record we have of them. Among these were the circumstances
attending the foundation of THE PATH (now THE THEOSOPHICAL PATH)
in April 1886 -- exactly forty-four years ago.
Then, as now, THE PATH was a monthly magazine, its mission to
disseminate Theosophy and information about the Theosophical
Society. It was started without funds, with no advance
subscription-list, and without the usual advertising effort. Its
pages contained nothing whatever that appealed to the sensuous,
the material, or the merely intellectual -- the keynotes of
nineteenth-century life. Yet from the beginning, it laid hold of
thinking minds all over the world, calling out unanticipated
It is an odd fact that for many years the majority of its
subscribers were neither Theosophists nor members of the
Theosophical Society. They were cultured and scholarly people --
ministers, lawyers, physicians, writers, teachers, scientists,
and so on -- pursuing their own paths, and with no special
interest in Theosophy beyond the fact that they recognized in the
journal itself a source of light on their particular problems.
Ideas of altruism, brotherhood, service, true mysticism -- not to
say the definite Theosophical teachings of karma, reincarnation,
cycles, the mystic Christ, man's innate Divinity, and so on --
have gradually but persistently molded the common thought of the
world until today these once unknown ideas are breakfast-table
talk. To those who have observed this, the large number of
non-Theosophist subscribers has considerable weight; THE PATH
stood alone in its distinctive field, just as it does today in
its amplified form, and its influence was worldwide from the
To quote from an editorial written at the opening of the second
year of its life:
> In this country [America] its regular circulation extends from
> Sandy Hook to the Golden Gate, and from the Green Mountains to
> the Crescent City; it reaches through England, France, Germany,
> Italy, and Russia; it is read alike beneath the North Star of
> Sweden and under the Southern Cross in New Zealand; it is a
> welcome guest on the immemorial shores of India . . .
> It would be impossible not to feel gratification at such results,
> even were it an ordinary money-making enterprise; but how much
> more when it is remembered that it is devoted, not to any selfish
> end, but to the spread of the idea of Universal Brotherhood that
> aims to benefit all, from highest to lowest.
> -- Volume II, page 2
THE PATH -- ten precious volumes of it saw the light before Mr.
Judge passed away -- constitutes an imperishable monument to the
scholarship, genius, and altruism of one man. He gave to it
everything he had to give -- money, time, energy, devotion, will,
and love, and he was practically its sole support for years.
More than once, when bills piled up in inverse ratio to the
prospect of their settlement, Mr. Judge tided over the crisis by
painting watercolor sketches for sale. In addition, he had to be
depended upon for "copy" in far more than an editorial way. For
in those early days, few were competent even to attempt to write
upon Theosophy, and the most judicious editing could not make
available the larger part of the contributions sent in.
Thus it came about, no less from his innate modesty than that
subscribers MIGHT NOT KNOW, that he signed the majority of his
articles by NOMS DE PLUME: Bryan Kinnavan, Eusebio Urban, Hadji
Erinn, Zadok, Moulvie, Rodriguez Undiano, Ramatirtha, American
Mystic, Student, FTS, and so on. It is doubtful if even his
students in that day could have named them all.
The articles written by him ranged from technical interpretations
of Theosophical teachings to profound expositions of the finer
forces of the plane next removed from the gross physical. The
vital questions of the day were courageously handled by his
trenchant pen, including problems of capital and labor, of
marriage and the home, of decaying religionism, of the progress
(and the vagaries) of science, of archaeological discovery,
capital punishment, vivisection, and education. He never missed
an opportunity to say a word in behalf of dumb beasts and our
human duty to them, pleading their cause with a tenderness and
compassion the more effective because based upon knowledge of
their true place and possibilities in the great Evolutionary
Stream. He loved LIFE, and revered its marshaled course as the
expression of that fluidic, moving, potent, flaming, godlike
Something that we name the Ever-Becoming.
Because he was more than just a writer, we owe to Mr. Judge the
first step taken in our era towards popularizing the Upanishads
in their true interpretation. With all that the Occident owes to
Professor Max Muller, it is obvious that one so fettered to
current materialistic theories of evolution as to declare the
Vedas to be "the lisping of infant humanity" could not hope to
possess their key. Without a key to their meaning, they have to
stay locked away. As H.P. Blavatsky herself wrote, "They
CONTAIN the beginning and the end of all human knowledge, but
they have ceased to reveal it." (THE SECRET DOCTRINE, I, 270)
She adds further:
> The Books of the Vedanta (the last word of human knowledge) give
> out but the metaphysical aspect of the world-Cosmogony; and their
> priceless thesaurus, the Upanishads -- Upa-ni-shad being a
> compound word meaning "the conquest of ignorance by the
> revelation of SECRET, SPIRITUAL knowledge" -- require now the
> additional possession of a Master-key to enable the student to
> get at their full meaning.
> -- THE SECRET DOCTRINE, I, 269
Max Muller did a great work, beyond question, but it failed to
the degree that he himself lacked basic knowledge of that Wisdom
of the Ages that William Quan Judge possessed. The impact of his
work was scattered, lost, even upon minds most eagerly looking to
the ancient East for light. There was as much difference between
what was accomplished by him and what a Teacher of Theosophy
could accomplish as between the effect of a shell sent from a
gun-bed of shifting sand and one sent forth from a masonried
platform of rock.
Mr. Judge began STUDIES IN THE UPANISHADS in the second volume
of his PATH. Unfortunately, they were never finished. An
attempt to continue them was made later by another, but something
more than knowledge of Sanskrit being necessary, the standard set
by Mr. Judge was never even approached. He alone had the key,
and at least he placed them, in their right interpretation, on
the map of modern thought -- which is just where they belong. He
pointed out repeatedly that the problems that confront us today
confronted our Aryan ancestors eons ago in that far period of
spirituality and power when the "language of the Gods" was at the
height of one of its cyclic revivals. Why should we not benefit
by the solutions then found by the wisest among them? To do so is
only good sense. The Upanishads are preeminently attuned to the
unvoiced heart-cry of the present age; although none but Teachers
of Theosophy appear to have perceived this fact.
In his Commentaries on the Bhagavad-Gita -- writings unique in
this age and placed by students beside the unrivaled Bhashyas of
Shankaracharya -- Mr. Judge continued his interpretation of
Aryan philosophy and psychology. These were published serially
in THE PATH, ranging from disquisitions upon history and
prehistory, upon occultism, ceremony and magic, etc., to plain,
practical, ethical talks with the searching "man in the street,"
the teacher at his desk, the mother in her home. They are
thinkers, all of them, who want to know the way and would live
truer if only they could see clearer.
William Quan Judge had one peculiar advantage as an interpreter
of Oriental philosophy and psychology. It was his power to
understand the Oriental mind -- which, in its native tendency to
reason from universals to particulars and in its native
spirituality, is radically unlike the Occidental mind with its
materialistic and empiric trend and fixedness, and its habit of
confusing causes with effects, premises with conclusions.
To comment upon this Commentary were "to gild refined gold, to
paint the lily." It is sufficient to point out that it is being
reprinted now in LUCIFER, THE LIGHT-BRINGER, and those who are
interested may read it there for themselves. But it should not
be judged as a literary production alone, for its deeper purpose
was to carry forward what H.P. Blavatsky came to do: to plant
"the seed of brotherhood in the soil of mysticism," and this
purpose was never lost sight of.
True mysticism is defined beyond all possibility of mistake, and
the two paths clearly pointed out. Conduct: the rationale of our
relations with each other -- to the Theosophist far more than the
"three-fourths of life" that it was to the Stoic Seneca --
summons all things to its service in the task of clarifying our
ideals. This work, too, was left unfinished, but one-third of
the plan being carried out. "To be continued" are the pathetic
words at the close of the last chapter, completed just before the
writer of it passed away.
This as well as all of Mr. Judge's literary and editorial work
had to be done "in the mere fringe and ravelings of time." After
1891 when he gave up his profession (law) to take up the task
H.P. Blavatsky then laid down, he was Leader of the Theosophical
Movement throughout the world. This involved much traveling, and
on his trips continual lecturing as well as a constant and
voluminous correspondence with Lodges and individuals all over
the world. Added to this was the ever-present problem of how to
make one dollar do the work of ten, and often how to get the one
dollar at all. For years before his passing, Mr. Judge was in
poor health, literally dying by inches and with no strength left
to combat the persecution that finally killed him. When we
consider all these things, words fail. The pathos of that
struggle may be sensed to a degree, perhaps. IT CAN NEVER BE
The value of the writings of this heroic Man and Teacher lies in
their intimate bearing on the needs of the present hour. They
contain, first, a message for the thoughtful, the altruistic, and
the sincere. The specialist in almost every field -- the
geographer, the mathematician, the physician, the physicist, the
astronomer, the Platonist, the student of philosophy or
psychology, the humanitarian, the mystic, and even the skeptic
will each find something that will light his path, here or there,
with unexpected brilliancy.
Mr. Judge began what his Successor, the present Leader of The
Theosophical Society, Dr. de Purucker, is continuing in his own
scholarly articles and books, and in his editorial and other
contributions to THE THEOSOPHICAL PATH. Profounder and more
esoteric teachings are now being given out than would have been
possible in Mr. Judge's day. The bugle-call is clearer and
sounds down to us from higher and ever higher places. In their
unassailable logic, their utter sincerity, their purity of
vesture, their "atmosphere" (to take the artist's word), their
spiritual beauty, and their appeal to the Soul in man, the
writings of both clasp hands. They constitute a standing, albeit
silent, reproach to the pseudo-philosophic efforts trickling off
so many ambitious pen points now -- subtle sophism and no more,
trigged out in the tinsel of disputation.
Are such writings needed, you will ask. Let Eucken answer this
question. The world is quoting him just now, and he is no
> Movements the most varied surround us, tear us asunder, and crush
> our souls under their opposition . . . Life as a whole has
> become increasingly hollow; it has no longer an organizing and
> governing center. Is it to be wondered at if the finer spirits
> of our age are weary, disheartened, and repelled by the feeling
> of the disharmony of the whole of present culture, which calls
> for so much effort from man and yields him so little genuine
> happiness; speaks from truth and lives from semblance and
> pretence; assumes an imposing mien and UTTERLY FAILS TO SATISFY
> WHEN CONFRONTED WITH ULTIMATE PROBLEMS. [Emphasis added.]
Here is the abyss that yawns between man's brain-mind and the
Vision. It will never be bridged until another and higher
faculty in man himself is brought out of hiding and allowed to
govern and to act; never, until man finds the "God within," his
real and Higher Self.
It is this conviction of the overshadowing Higher Self, the
"Ancient of Days," that speaks through everything Mr. Judge
wrote. A certain ancient sweetness comes to us from his words.
He wrote as a Sage who needs no man's approval, being of Those
who "can see the great stream of life that flows through the
Eternal Plain." His clear words touch the intuition and arouse
long-sleeping convictions of the reality of that Wheel of the Law
that is greater than ritual or rite; convictions of the reality
of that Universal Center of Compassion, "the resting-place, the
comforter, and the friend," the "bodiless in a body," -- the
"lonely bird" of the Upanishads he loved so well. He kept one
steady aim -- to hold alive and burning "the three fires upon the
fourfold altar" of the aching human heart. The sympathetic
student feels about any subject handled by this facile, steady
pen a luminous life, a steady center-glow, but with gems of
philosophy flashing and falling here and there like sparks from a
Believe me, wonder-tales will yet grow up about this unassuming
lover of his fellows, as his great interpretations feed into and
fill the general mind, slowly but unrestingly preparing it for
the new, the greater, Teachings now being given out by his
Successor. The wiseacres of the future will pause and wonder and
examine, and then will write down William Quan Judge with Jason,
Prometheus, and the Kabiri of old.
Mankind needs waking up, not sedatives. Our ideals need
integration, not disintegration. The soul demands "a sure spot
of its own." William Quan Judge, in an age that needs guidance
and teaching of the right kind as much as age ever did, takes his
place naturally as one of that august company of Sages and
Prophets who lay down their lives, again and again, as the toll
demanded of those who dare call out the challenging "Enter!"
before the opening gates of the New Day.
IS KARMA BLIND FORCE?
By Gertrude W. van Pelt
[From THE DOCTRINE OF KARMA: CHANGE OR JUSTICE, pages 8-13.]
It has been stated that to understand Karma, the Universe must be
recognized as an organic Whole. If this were not the case, its
various parts could not act and react upon each other. Take the
human body again as an example. Through it runs a complex system
of nerves, arteries, and avenues for the circulation of
electro-vital forces, intimately and instantly connecting every
organ, cell, and atom with every other. Let the foot slip and
immediately the counteracting muscles seek to restore the
balance. The eye closes automatically if a foreign substance
threatens to enter it. The reaction is perfect because the body
is an organism.
It is necessary to observe that every cell in this organism is an
individual life under the control of a higher center. In the
case of a muscle, for instance, all the cells act together; and
similarly in an organ. So by a series of grades the cells come
under the control of more and more highly developed centers up to
the brain, and through that to an invisible center of
intelligence that unifies and co-ordinates all the functions of
this marvelous mechanism, making of it an organism.
The body itself is part of a greater organism, man himself. Men
collectively form humanity. Above this are innumerable hosts of
beings gradually mounting, each grade vitally connected with and
responsible for the grade below it, and helped by the grade above
it. Thus, we have beings above man reaching up to gods; then
above them, super-gods, planetary spirits; rulers of solar
systems; greater ones holding together groups of Solar Systems;
up and up to a Ruler of a Universe and ever up to THAT, the
UNKNOWN, behind all manifestation. Rivers of Life connect all
these infinite grades of beings, like a network of nerves through
that run vital currents unceasingly. And this Mighty Being fills
all Space, is indeed Space itself. Or we can say that Space
consists of conscious beings of infinite types interlinked and
This concept may seem strange to many because unfamiliar, but let
the mind dwell upon it and it will gradually become clear that
unless the Universe was an organic unit, it could not hold
together. The chaos that some of our physical scientists have
imagined, would actually exist, and there would not be the
beautiful order and harmony that we have come to rely upon in
those celestial bodies that we see apparently floating in an
ocean of ether -- bodies indeed of divine Beings. The Universe
is truly what its name implies -- a Whole -- and this is what
Theosophists mean when they declare, "Brotherhood is a Fact in
Nature." This identity of origin and nature, this "one in many"
and "many in one" makes not only possible but inevitable the
interaction of all the parts of this Whole and their reaction to
G. de Purucker in FUNDAMENTALS OF THE ESOTERIC PHILOSOPHY, pages
21-2, presents the same idea, as follows:
> When man realizes that he is one with all that is, inwards and
> outward, high and low; that he is one with them, not merely as
> members of a community are one, not merely as individuals of an
> army are one, but like the molecules of our own flesh, like the
> atoms of the molecule, like the electrons of the atom, composing
> one unity -- not a mere union but a spiritual UNITY -- then he
> sees Truth.
We see that interdependence is a fundamental principle in the
universe, and we shall find that this basic principle is worked
out in all parts of the universal Organism. We have shown the
human body as an illustration of it. The atom, the Solar System,
the Galaxy, all in their structure and their workings proclaim
the basic reality of harmony and interdependence as the
underlying, regulating principle throughout all life.
Every action or expenditure of energy, whether physical, mental,
or moral has its due effect upon this underlying harmony, this
basic balance, and interdependence. Selfish thoughts or actions
disturb the harmony, and suffering in the near or far future
results. We see all around us those whose disappointments and
struggles in unfavorable environments are the result of ignorance
and wrongdoing in this or past lives. The condition exists in
some degree in the lives of all of us, for everyone has made
mistakes in past lives, as we are making them now.
But although Karma is spoken of as a law, there is no lawgiver,
no overruling entity, who decrees this or that. Rather is it a
quality inherent in the very nature of things. The ancient
teaching is that every action is the result of a previous cause,
and then becomes a cause for a future action, and so on
indefinitely. This constant movement is not the outcome of blind
forces, but a living stream of charges flowing from the thoughts,
acts, emotions and feelings, aspirations, and desires of the
lives that make up and are the Universe.
> Man is but one of an innumerable host of beings, embodied
> Consciousness, who infill the Universe. Nowhere do we find
> anything other than these hierarchies of beings, these
> consciousness active during the Cosmic Manvantara, and each
> individual of these hosts weaving its own Web of Destiny, its
> energies pouring out of its own inner being and directed by the
> intelligence streaming from its own spiritual and mental foci.
> -- G. de Purucker, THE ESOTERIC TRADITION, 480
There is no lawgiver, we repeat, and yet in a way there may be
said to be agents of Karma. Who are they? They are those great
and wise Beings who have consciously found their place in the
Universe; who are sufficiently evolved to be perfected in regard
to a certain stage or plane, and therefore can be relied upon to
work in harmony with universal law over that field. Above them
are others, and so on AD INFINITUM.
It goes without saying that in this orderly, complex Universe
there is a plan, a meaning, and that every unit, being a part of
the Universe, is part of the plan. When, therefore, the harmony
is disturbed by unevolved, learning entities anywhere, there is
an overwhelming force tending to restore it. The actions of
Karma are always toward the restoration of harmony, but as every
change is due to consciousness and the Universe is but embodied
consciousness, in the last analysis karmic adjustments are made
by conscious Beings, who are incarnate justice in their field of
action. For instance, the Ruler of a Planet is such because he
has reached that point in evolution when he has absolute
knowledge of everything pertaining to that planet. Above that
stage, he is a learner, but as to the realm below him, he is
perfected. His knowledge thereof is of the nature of intuition
or instant vision, and his guidance must be in harmony with
justice and the divine plan.
It is said that the gods never interfere with Karma. They could
not. Learning beings must be free to work out their own destiny,
which means that their mistakes recoil upon themselves, for it is
thus that they learn. Men themselves decide their fate by their
choice of the various alternatives that life presents, while
karmic agents execute what man has decreed.
Those above, however, guide, protect, and help forward the
evolution of their younger brothers. The teaching is very
beautiful and inspiring as to these relations. All the way up
the Ladder of Life, the greater stand to those next below as
parent to child. They live to inspire, to serve their offspring,
and in later, more highly developed stages of humanity, this
relationship is recognized. Even the Masters of Wisdom, though
below the level of godhood and still men, are perfected as to OUR
plane and turn back to give help, which we realize as little as
does the babe its mother's watchful care. Thus, it is that the
Universe is bound together with a glowing web of Compassion.
> Canst thou destroy divine COMPASSION? Compassion is no attribute.
> It is the LAW of LAWS -- eternal Harmony, Alaya's SELF; a
> shoreless universal essence, the light of everlasting Right, and
> fitness of all things, the law of love eternal.
> The more thou dost become at one with it, thy being melted in its
> BEING, the more thy Soul unites with that which IS, the more thou
> wilt become COMPASSION ABSOLUTE.
> -- H.P. Blavatsky, THE VOICE OF THE SILENCE
CELTIC CHRISTIANITY, Part I
By Alun Llewellyn
[From THE ARYAN PATH, August 1968, pages 346-50.]
In A.D. 731, the Venerable Bede, concluding his ECCLESIASTICAL
HISTORY OF THE ENGLISH NATION, wrote with evident regret that
still "the Britons, from wicked custom," continued to oppose what
the authority of the Catholic Church laid down. Indeed, it was
not until the ninth century that the Church in Ireland accepted
the supremacy of Rome. In Wales, it would appear that no final
submission to the same authority was made until the reign of
Hywel the Good, who is traditionally said to have made a
pilgrimage to the Holy See about the middle of the tenth century.
By Britons, whom he specifically distinguishes from the English,
Bede means those largely "Celtic" inhabitants of the Britain
absorbed into the Roman Empire, whom the Anglo-Saxons therefore
called Welsh. They and the similarly Celtic Irish had become
associated during the fifth century with an organized and
missionary form of Christianity that followed an independent
Constantine the Great, who first established Christianity as the
official religion of the Roman Empire in the fourth century A.D.,
launched his conquest of the Empire from Britain. By the end of
the fourth century, Britain had produced an arch-heretic in the
person of Pelagius, who argued that baptism was not essential to
save the souls of babies dying prematurely at birth. In the
middle of the fifth century, Bede records, it was found necessary
to send a mission under one Saint Germanus to combat the heresy
of Pelagianism in Britain, the land of its origin. But the
mission of Saint Augustine, launched just before the year A.D.
600, does not appear to have had Pelagianism as its specific
Bede's complaint was about a Church that had refused, as he
states, any renunciation of a series of tenets though its Bishops
were invited to do so by Augustine at a meeting held between them
in A.D. 603 at a place called Augustine's Oak. This dissident
Church was still stubbornly maintaining its independence when he
wrote, a hundred and fifty years later.
Of the wrongful habits of which Augustine complained, there were
two that he particularized: (1) the observance of Easter on a
date he could not approve, and (2) the refusal to practice
baptism as a means of initiation into the Church. But there were
"several other things" that, however objectionable, he did not
precisely specify. He had been appointed to his mission by the
great Pope Gregory; and that mission was not so much to convert
the heathen in the Gaul and the Britain that had emerged from the
gradual decline of the Imperial Gallic Prefecture as to dispose
of Christian Churches there that had somehow strayed from the
correct path. He was not to judge the Bishops in France; yet,
"by persuading and soothing, reform the minds of wicked men." But
"as for all the Bishops of Britain, we commit them to your care
that the unlearned may be taught, the weak strengthened by
persuasion, and the perverse corrected by authority."
Remember that this mission marked a crisis in the fortunes of the
Latin Church. Gregory himself had first emerged as a civil
governor of Rome, successful as a military commander in
preserving it against siege by the invading and pagan Lombards.
This invasion at least served the purpose of destroying the
command over all Italy imposed by the reconquest of the region
from the Arian Ostro-Goths by Belisarius and Narses in the name
of the East-Roman Empire of Constantinople. But this had meant
the substitution for the Unitarian form of Christianity, which
denied the doctrine of the Trinity, of the Greek Orthodoxy upheld
by the Emperor Justinian. It became the task of Gregory to shape
the opportunity to establish the Latin version of the faith, that
is, the Catholic doctrine, not only over all Italy, but over
whatever else could be recovered of the Western areas of the
In Africa and Spain, the East Roman, Orthodox power remained
regnant. In Gaul, the Roman Syagrius, son of Aegidius, Marshal
of the Empire, maintained the Roman traditions of law and
government with forces backed by the naval establishments of
Armorica (Brittany) that, about A.D. 480, had been (as Sidonius
Appolinaris points out) further supplemented by aid from Britain
under the leadership of one Riothamus, whose expedition into the
Lyonnaise and apparent failure to return lies at the base of the
legend of an Arthur who disappeared into the lost land of
Lyonesse beyond the south-western shores of Britain.
The rule of both Aegidius and Syagrius was distinguished by their
adherence to the great principles of equity laid down by the
Roman Stoic philosophy, firmly founded on the idea of Natural
Justice. About A.D. 540, the cleric Gildas wrote an account of
the state of Britain in his day (which Bede quotes), insisting on
its prosperous and peaceable condition and admitting the
effective administration of its courts of law, but condemning the
survival of many pagan forms of belief apparently tolerated by a
Christian clergy too much preoccupied with pursuit of the arts
and over-indulgent to the conversation of women around the
Gildas wrote, as it appears, as one who had personally visited
Britain and, as tradition has it, been entertained at the
monastery of Glastonbury. He was writing as a champion of the
Latin Church; and the major part of his work is devoted to an
attack on the study of astronomy, which he treats as mere
astrology and witchcraft and refutes as passionately as
Tertullian had condemned "Stoic Christianity" or the Fathers had
denounced the Manichaeism that similarly adapted pre-Christian
philosophies to the Faith. He wrote in Brittany, which had
recently submitted to the Franks who, not long before, had
assassinated Syagrius, seized his territory, and adopted the
Latin form of Christianity as a direct sequel.
The mission of Augustine to Britain in A.D. 597 coincided with
the final dwindling of East Roman power in Spain; the whole of
Western Europe, by a combination of arms and diplomacy, lay open
to the establishment of the Latin faith. Only Britain was in
Whatever form of Christianity the "Celtic" Church professed, its
proselytizing zeal was forceful and effective. The names of
Ursus, Columba, and Columban are famous as converters of the
pagan peoples to the north of Britain, and the famous monastic
settlements at St. Gaul and Bobbio among the Alps are
foundations owing their origin to the same source. During the
sixth century, "Celtic" missionaries travelled deep into Europe
among the Teutons and the Slavs. It is clear that something more
than the ecclesiastic future of Britain alone was concerned.
But it is doubtful whether in fact any fundamental racial sense
underlay the decision of the issue in Britain by war. Gildas
wrote at a time when Cerdic, founder of the House of Wessex, and
Ida, conqueror of the North, were each launching an attack on
Britain from offshore bases; respectively, the Isle of Wight and
the island of Bamborough. But it has been noted that Cerdic is
so little of a Saxon name that it was shared by the last British
ruler of the district of Leeds and Elmet in the seventh century.
The war, on which Augustine later supervened, was a war of
Christian faiths, not one of blood. And it is largely due to
this fact that contemporary historical record has vanished and
been replaced by legend of various origin.
The "Arthurian" romance that later identified itself with this
period falls into two separate forms; the apocryphal "History" of
Geoffrey of Monmouth (A.D. 1146) and the far more reliable
allegory, the Story of the Graal (c. A.D. 1220). The first has
been acutely interpreted as a political tract designed to find
historical justification for Henry II's attempt to reconstitute
the political unity of the Gallic Prefecture through an Angevin
Empire extending from the Pyrenees to Scotland. The second was
interpreted as an allegory showing the decline and fall of an
"Arthurian" state that identified itself with the ethos of
Stoicism and its interpretation of the destiny of Creation. Its
hero, Perceval, is described as being set in the sphere of the
heavens, as analysed by Classical science that also sought to
found the Earthly Paradise of justice and equality for all men.
The successive cycles through which Gawain, Peleur, Guenevere,
and Arthur pass into oblivion mark the tale of dissolution of the
World towards physical and moral renewal through the four stages
familiar to both Western and Eastern philosophy.
What Latin Christianity condemned was, firstly, the retention in
both Gaul and Britain of the Roman military discipline that
evolved an ethos in which Stoic and Mithraic elements were
amalgamated with native preconceptions of the working of the
Universe; secondly, the adaptation to Christian forms of the
astronomic science essential to both navigation and agriculture,
which had had in Britain a peculiar prominence among Roman
academic circles in view of the island's geographical position in
the Ocean that washed the limits of things. The Claudian
conquest of Britain (c. A.D. 47) was followed by its eager
infiltration by scientists and if Geoffrey of Monmouth noted the
fact that the "Court of Arthur" was distinguished by schools of
learned astronomers, Gildas, six hundred years before him, had
leveled a direct attack on native British "astrologers" with
particular reference to one of them, Cuneglassos.
The question whether Christianity could justifiably associate
itself with Classical scientific doctrine as to the origin and
end of the Universe was as bitterly disputed fifteen hundred
years ago as is the modern and parallel debate between it and a
material or physical interpretation of man and the stars he lives
among. Boethius (A.D. 500) and Dante (A.D. 1300) were able to
admit the structure of things postulated by Classical science
into an entirely Christian context. But in the Britain of the
fifth and sixth centuries, the issue was fought out militarily
and seems to have been both obscured and embittered by the
calling in aid, by each side, of pagan support.
It may have been further obscured by a later event. The
character of the Norman Conquest of England (A.D. 1066) as a
Crusade on behalf of the Latin Church does not seem to have been
limited to a condemnation of the unfortunate Harold as a perjured
oath-breaker. The Anglo-Saxon Church itself appears to have been
suspect; and not only was its Bishops deposed and replaced by
Normans but also its Scriptures also were rewritten to preserve
them from error. THE CHRONICLE OF NENNIUS, attributable to A.D.
800-900, has survived only as a garbled jumble in which the terms
and phrases familiar to Stoic philosophy barely but just
sufficiently survive to offer clues to their true nature.
This Chronicle, however, confesses the existence of the source
for the "Arthurian" tradition in the works described as
"Talhaiarn" and subdivided as "Taliesin, Neirin, Bluchbart, and
Cain," and ascribes them to the period immediately before that of
Ida and Cerdic.
These are works whose vocabulary and form clearly antedate those
of the first specifically "Welsh" poets of the twelfth century
that even then had not yet developed grammatical structures later
observed; certain of their phrases of scientific terminology
survived as late as the poems of the fourteenth century. But
with the Reformation and Puritan Revolution, it was found
necessary to suppress the Welsh language and on its revival after
the lapse of a century, the thread of tradition was broken.
ARE RELIGIONS NECESSARY?
[From THE THEOSOPHICAL MOVEMENT, February 17, 1971, pages
In the park where we had been walking as the shadows of the
evening lengthened, we had come upon a group of people circled
around a speaker. As we passed, some of the speaker's words fell
upon our ears, and this served as the starting point for our
group discussion later on.
"Why did he say that all those who did not believe in the
religion revealed by that prophet would be damned?" mused one of
We had eaten our supper together and sat in front of a friendly
fire; the autumn evenings were chill this year, earlier than
"Does 'damned' mean punished and hurt? If so, why would belief
one way or the other make any difference?" retorted someone.
"Many of us," added another, "come from different religious
backgrounds; but we do not seem to have emphasized those
differences, nor does our friendliness depend on threatening or
cajoling one another into some form of acquiescence in our own
"I simply cannot understand such a mentality. It is so isolated,
so restricted, and yet so frighteningly sure of itself that one
could visualize violence and force being used if words failed,"
said a fourth one among us.
"Now," I said, "I think you have put your finger on one of the
great tragedies of such people. Do you think they have thought
out that which they say? The speaker that evening seemed anxious
enough about the welfare of his listeners, and because he
believed that a dismal future lay in store for them, he seemed to
want to spare them such a fate."
"But at what cost?" interjected my friend on the left. "I say,"
he added, "at the cost of thinking things out independently and
making a decision on clear-cut and generally well seen and
These are challenging words in our group, and he was overwhelmed
immediately from several sides with, "Explain that!" "What is the
basis for a general principle?" "What principles?" "How do you
know that there are such principles?" "How can anyone be
'independent,' or be able to think anything out 'independently'?"
Now we have a rule in our group that all challenges are to be met
squarely, and while the one challenged has to do his best to
defend himself or to explain his statement, all the rest try to
participate in the discussion that follows so that we arrive at a
general understanding that is of value to all. In other words,
we try to get at the truth of the matter. Long back, when we
first started meeting, a definition of "truth" was arrived at
which seemed a fair one for us to use. "A truth is self-evident;
all can understand it, so that it is UNIVERSAL in terms of place,
time, and persons."
To this, in later times certain supplementary definitions had
been added, like "Truth is impartial, impersonal, timeless, and
all-inclusive. It is the expression of the laws of Nature. It
includes the observer, the subject observed, and that subtle
relation between them both that one might call perception." These
are only a few of them, and we added continually to those
definitions as we went along. The interesting thing about our
friendship was not that there were so many diverse views, but
rather that, in spite of many viewpoints, on basic matters we all
tended to confirm one another's vision of fact and truth (or the
way in which we could individually describe a fact).
Our friend stood up, and when silence was restored, he bent his
head in thought for a moment, raised it, looked around at all of
us, and slowly began to speak.
"I guess I let myself in for this," he said. "So I had better
try to lay some good foundations on which to build -- or rather
to try to tell you of what I have been thinking."
Encouraging cries of "Good," "Go on," were heard.
He continued, "Let us think of all the religions we know of or
have heard of, and to which some of us belong or do not belong.
Do they not have one main object in common -- the defining of
rules of life that may be followed by all? There is the 'golden
rule' (do unto others as you would have them do unto you), the
panchashila of the Buddhists, and the great and inspiring
statements of Jesus in the SERMON ON THE MOUNT. There is Sri
Krishna's philosophy of renunciation of the fruits of action,
while being intensely active as required by the responsibilities
of our natural position in life, the mysteriously inspiring
statements of Lao Tzu's TAO TE KING, and statements made by
Mohammed, the prophet of Islam, at various times. In fact, if
one looks at Pythagoras, Plato, Confucius, Guru Nanak, the
fragments that have come to us of the 'gospel' of the ancient
Americans, and so many others, all show a common basis, a respect
for the individual. Simultaneously, of course, they show that
the individual has to recognize the equal rights and duties and
responsibilities of others: in his family, his community, his
nation, and finally the whole world of people is involved in the
concept -- just as the air that brings us life passes everywhere
in space and knows no barriers."
"Hear, hear," muttered someone across the circle.
"Poetic, what?" another was heard to murmur.
"No, I do not mean to be tritely poetic," exclaimed our friend.
"These ideas are not mine but those of great reformers and
prophets, and how can one such help himself from being an artist,
a poet, a user of words of power?"
"Why do you say that? What power do you mean?" asked someone.
"I mean, the power of fact, the power of truth," simply stated
our friend. "I mean that if all the great religions sprang from
statements in one form or another of great laws of life, then,
regardless of time, place, or persons, those statements
constitute a reform movement, an attempt to awaken the minds of
those who listen and to start them thinking again about what
really matters in life."
Several nodded their heads in agreement and encouragement.
"Are you trying to say," asked one of the newer members of the
group, "that all the religions are the same in essence, and that
all the prophets are only reformers?"
"Exactly," stated our friend. "That is one of the conclusions I,
and I believe that several of us, have come to; but it has taken
a lot of reading and studying of the writings attributed to these
great men. And, in the process, we had to look into their
history, and the history of the 'religion' that was later built
up around their lives and doings and teachings."
"I think that the speaker we passed out there in the park would
challenge you very seriously on that," said one of the girls on
the right. "He sounded as though he was thoroughly convinced
that his religion was the sole plank of salvation for all. He
used the word 'damned' several times, and seemed to imply that
dire punishment would follow anyone who did not agree with his
religion and its goals and ways of life. He seemed to think his
religion and its dogmas and rituals were the only ones
worthwhile. How do you know that your conclusions are any better
than his are? How can any one of us here be convinced of the
truth of what you say?"
"Well, I never tried to convince anyone of anything," stated our
witness. "All anyone can do is present ideas to others for their
consideration. Don't we do it all the time? No one really can
ever force anything on anyone. We but offer evidence, and there
are different ways of doing this. Have you ever been to a
courtroom, or watched a courtroom drama enacted on the stage or
the screen? If you remember, the several advocates for
prosecution and defense use two means of approach: one purely
intellectual -- their reasoned arguments; and the second a more
subtle one, the stirring of the emotions of their listeners, not
only by what they say but also by the tone of their voices.
Haven't you seen some who had a weak case try to defend the very
weakness by intense and clever appeal to emotion? I am sure we
have all seen this, but may not have been aware of the difference
between the two approaches. Now, the speaker in the park was
appealing to emotion, especially by playing upon the fear that
many have of the future. He spoke as though he were trying to
stimulate their dormant voice of conscience to speak and to
remind them subtly of the several events in their own past of
which they were secretly ashamed. So fear of the consequences
and doubt of one's own ability and power are the weapons used."
"I had not seen that before," said a lad sitting to my left.
"Just think of the cleverness of it: fear and doubt -- why, if we
fear then we don't KNOW! If we do not know, then we cannot
discriminate or make correct choices -- so we come to doubt. I
can see that someone either very helpful or very clever could
come along at this point and relieve the poor fearful doubter of
his problem by offering to take on the burden of responsibility."
"Just so," exclaimed an excited voice from across the room.
"That is how priestcraft begins. First comes the reformer, and
he is rarely honored during his lifetime save by a few. The
power of his statement of truth touches some, then spreads; those
who follow try to substitute the inner inspiration that is theirs
-- as it is that of all men -- with rules and regulations and
interpretations of the words and doings of the prophet they
endeavor to honor. Yes, I can just see it now -- a whole new
religion starts." He got up and gestured excitedly at us. "Isn't
it so? Can't you all see it? It's like the story of the tying of
Two voices were heard to say, "What's that story?"
Our excited friend smiled sheepishly and said, "The story is a
good one and won't take long."
"A holy man gathered a small band of followers around him, and
during the cold months of the year, they took refuge in a large
cavern. One of the observances of the group was the spending of
a set hour of the morning in quiet meditation. One time a cat
joined the group, and as is the custom of hospitality, it was fed
and looked after. Soon it was noticed that during the meditation
period it disturbed the brothers by rubbing against first one and
then another. Advice was sought of the guru who suggested that
from then on the cat be gently but firmly tied to a post outside
the cavern before the hour of meditation, and later it could be
released again. So it was done accordingly. In course of time,
the holy man died and his disciples, determined to follow his
precepts, became eventually one of the many small religious
clans. Several hundred years passed, and the religion that grew
up around the guru's teachings attracted many. It was
distinguished by the special and mysteriously important ceremony
of the tying of the cat that, as you may all guess by now, had
become one of its most important rituals."
Our small assembly broke its seriousness in hearty laughter, and
our young friend sat down with an emphatic nod, as one satisfied
that he had made a point.
"But let us go back to the serious part of our talk," reminded
one of the girls. "I want to know if all the great religions
have principles that are common. Are they the same as those we
feel are right to use even now, no matter where we go, or whom we
meet or live with?"
Another added, "I'd also like to know about this punishment
business. Are we really punished if we do wrong? Suppose we are
ignorant of a thing, or do something in error, can't we expiate
or pay off in some way? Do we have to suffer?"
It was time for others to join the discussion. "Let us try
another approach," suggested one. "Let me ask you to put this
question to yourself in another manner. Of what are you
ignorant? Are you ignorant of the laws of life? Of what laws do
you know? Can you state or define them? Which do you think are
applicable to all of us in the world? We can understand ignorance
of facts or of events that we have not heard of nor witnessed,
but are we denied the power to ask, to seek advice on any point?
Is it not in us a desire to be expedient that curtails our search
for right answers that would truly satisfy our inner urge to do
and know the right, the useful, and the necessary? Don't you see
we are all innately aware of the main 'do's' and 'don'ts' of the
several world religions?"
"I see where you are going," one of our friends exclaimed. "You
are going to say that most men would admit that the great virtues
can be practiced by all. Even the wicked often make pretence of
innocence and virtue -- thus giving lip service to that which
they deliberately subvert in secret action or through the power
of their influence on others. Ah, now I see ever further --
those whose moral character is not strong fall prey to these
maleficent ones, and they compound the offence by bringing woe to
others -- what a terrifying prospect!"
"How do you think wars are started?" excitedly asked another of
us from across the room. "Have you ever thought of the harm that
can be caused by a single evilly-inclined person who finds
himself in a position of power? Do you think the common people of
a country join to conspire against other common people in other
countries? Further, have you ever considered the cumulative
impact of the news we hear over the radio or the TV, or read in
the newspapers? A good part of it deals with strife and
suffering, death and extortion. We are plunged into a worldwide
morass of pain and suffering and killing, until we begin to think
that there is nothing more to life than just this." The speaker
looked around the group and added, "Can't you see how the
'one-life philosophy' has created the attitude of 'eat, drink,
and be merry, for tomorrow we die,' and 'Devil take the
"I don't see what's wrong with that as an idea," answered one of
our latest arrivals. "Have you or anyone any evidence to offer
that anyone came back after his body died?"
This shift in the direction of our discussion illustrates the
kind of broad thinking that we encourage, a passing from one
subject to another and the finding of a common ground. While
appearing to cover a wide field, we actually brought evidence to
bear on the subject we started with, possibly proving again that
Nature and her laws are indeed universal and that we cannot study
any of her departments without finding some analogy or
correspondence to a correlated department. It is like going in a
circle and coming back to the starting point, not exactly on the
same level but rather a little further on, perhaps, with all the
Our friend who had been challenged earlier offered the suggestion
that most religious systems merely try to say that nature is so
exquisitely balanced (as the science of ecology demonstrates)
that any force brought to bear anywhere will be felt, however
minutely or distant in time and space, by all other beings. This
apparent movement from a center of disturbance (ourselves) to an
infinite periphery (the space around us) will ultimately converge
at the center of original force. I got the impression that the
metaphysics of his reasoning escaped some.
Another pointed out that there have been recorded cases of
individuals in various countries and at various times who have
testified to having lived before -- and these are well documented
and known to psychological science, though great credence is not
given to them.
Finally, one of us said, "As I understand it, we agree that we
live in a universe of law. Could we not then define the 'bad' as
that which disturbs the freedom and infringes on the rights,
liberties, and prerogatives of others? Nature's progress is
disturbed. Nature's laws being impersonal, react on the person
or persons who were the source of trouble. Similarly for that
which we call the 'right.' But the 'just' is another thing, and
probably the advice Krishna gives in the GITA about the
performance of NECESSARY action, disinterestedly, is a good one,
but this implies attention and concentration and the development
of wisdom and discrimination at all times -- in fact very serious
and arduous effort."
"That sounds like the Indian view of Karma," said one.
Another added, "If you add reincarnation to Karma, you get a
complete system. Nature offers us the opportunity to learn,
grow, and become wise. You have to learn her laws. Our life
should be one of cooperation with her and her projects, and thus
we ourselves could develop fully and become universal men,
natural men. If we break her laws then the law of moral
retribution (Karma) teaches us through pain and suffering first
to look for the cause of sorrow, then to its cure, and then to
the steps of right livelihood.
"There speaks a Buddhist in disguise," I heard another friend
murmur quietly to himself.
Continuing, "If at the end of our life we have not balanced our
accounts, then the balance is held over by Nature until we come
back as old souls into new bodies to get the exact result of our
"I challenge that," exclaimed our newcomer again.
"Well, let us see," was the answer. "Are you exactly the same as
anyone else here, or anyone you have ever met?"
"No," was the slow but thoughtful reply.
"Then, what makes you different?"
A pause and then slowly, "I feel myself to be, well, myself,
separate and unique. I look out on the world; I remember things
that have happened in the past. I make decisions now and I try
to guide my future life on that basis, for my own good. I
sometimes fear and doubt that future and try to defend myself.
Yes, I can see how I make mistakes and distrust others. I am not
even very honest with myself at times."
You know," he added, even more slowly, "I think I had better do
some serious thinking about myself."
"Well, then," our friend rejoined, "you are going to do what we
all do to some extent. Isn't it interesting what we can develop
in an hour of friendly discussion?"
He turned our way and added, "I think our characters and our
capacities, our talents, and our dislikes and disabilities are an
index of what we must have made of ourselves in our previous
lives -- anyway, it is something to think about. And we are
making our future, even now, by our present decisions."
OCCULT SCIENCE AND METAPHYSICS
By Henry T. Edge
[From THE THEOSOPHICAL PATH, April 1913, pages 227-33.]
SCIENCE, PHYSICS, METAPHYSICS
A scientific writer, in giving his opinion as to the proper scope
of science, begins by stating that he uses the word SCIENCE in
contradistinction to the word METAPHYSICS. It would seem better,
however, to pair off METAPHYSICS with PHYSICS and consider them
both as belonging to SCIENCE. Science is methodized knowledge,
and, as such, may be distinguished from art and literature (for
instance), which, though included under knowledge, do not (at
least generally) have method as their characteristic feature.
Science, in this complete sense -- methodized knowledge -- would
include a larger category than physics; it would embrace all
methodized knowledge, whether of external nature or of
psychology. But the word SCIENCE has come by habit to be used as
an abbreviation for natural science, and even in this definition,
the word NATURAL is restricted. The expression PHYSICAL SCIENCE
is preferable as avoiding this restriction of the meaning of the
The word METAPHYSICS, meaning "after physics," and originally
applied by the followers of Aristotle to a treatise that he
wrote, or is thought to have written, after his treatise on
physics, has since come to mean the science of first principles
or causes. Thus, it is rightly called a branch of science, and
cannot rightly be considered as contrasted with science, unless
we unduly limit the meaning of the latter word. In common
parlance, the word METAPHYSICS has suffered a further change of
meaning, for it is popularly supposed to deal with unprofitable
abstractions, and to be, for that reason, on quite a different
plane, as regards usefulness, from physical science.
These two words -- science and metaphysics -- then, stand in need
of reinstatement: science, as including a wider range than is
ordinarily understood; and metaphysics, as being a branch of
science that should be as real and systematic as any other branch
If physical science deals with phenomena and metaphysical science
with their causes, then truly metaphysics may be said to be the
one that deals with realities. For phenomena are, in accordance
with the etymology of the word, appearances -- effects produced
upon our physical senses -- while the real body of nature, and
the soul that animates the perceptible forces, remain hidden
behind the veil. But metaphysics claims to deal with the
realities behind the veil.
Another alleged ground of distinction between physical and
metaphysical science is that the former deals with "observed
facts," and is therefore on sure ground, while the latter, being
concerned with super-sensuous matters, is chiefly speculative.
But this disparaging contrast rests upon a limitation of the
meaning of the phrase "observed facts," which again implies a
restriction of the meaning of the word SENSES. Are our physical
senses the only ones we have?
WHAT IS OCCULT SCIENCE?
This brings the argument up to the point where we can introduce
the subject of Occult Science, or Occultism, as defined by H.P.
Blavatsky in THE SECRET DOCTRINE -- a very important reservation,
in view of the prevalent misuse of those words by psychics,
pseudo-Theosophists, and others. She maintains that the hidden
causes behind the outer veil of nature may be as much the subject
of observation and careful study as those without the veil, but
that this study implies, of course, the use of finer means of
perception than those at the disposal of the ordinary physical
scientist. And here it will be appropriate to quote from THE
SECRET DOCTRINE a definition of the word MATTER:
> Matter, to the Occultist . . . is that totality of existences
> in the Kosmos, which falls within any of the possible planes of
> -- THE SECRET DOCTRINE, I, page 514
From this it is apparent that physical matter is merely a
subdivision of that which is meant by the unqualified word, and
that there must be other forms of matter. When we have passed
beyond the reach of the physical senses, we have not exhausted by
any means the regions of objectivity. When we ponder over a
thought in our mind, we may be said to be directing some sense
organ upon some form of matter, just as much as we do when we
examine a physical object with the external eye. Therefore, the
field of view of our mind can be regarded as a form of
objectivity, a kind of matter, amenable to inspection and study
by a mental perceptive power.
Occult Science, according to H.P. Blavatsky, employed the
methods of direct observation and careful analysis in inner
nature that physical science employs in physical nature. Hence,
the Occultists were not speculating in abstractions, but were
dealing with facts. Modern knowledge, however, having chosen to
believe in only one form of objectivity -- the physical -- has
consequently reduced everything else to abstractions, and most
unfairly saddles ancient science with the responsibility for its
(modern science's) own mistake. This point is well illustrated
in connection with the word ATOM.
ABSTRACTIONS OP MODERN SCIENCE
The atom of modern science is an abstraction; it "belongs wholly
to the domain of metaphysics. It is an entified abstraction."
(SECRET DOCTRINE, I, 513) This has been shown to be the case by
such writers as Stallo and Borden P. Bowne, among others. If we
take away all the properties attributable to the atom, nothing is
left. The same has been shown to be the case with other
conceptions of physics; they are entified abstractions --
abstractions vested with a spurious reality. But now we come to
the important question. Are we, for this reason, to assert that
the ancient philosophers, when THEY used the word ATOM, were
guilty of the same logical fallacy? Or when they spoke of FORCES
and MATTER, or of SOUND and LIGHT, did they also connote thereby
a mere mental grouping of properties with no reality behind? By
no means, says the author of THE SECRET DOCTRINE, in her
vindication of these ancient philosophers.
Occult Science is logical; and, recognizing that the physical
forces, when defined by their effects alone, become reduced to
abstractions, it sought for the reality behind the phenomena, the
entity of which these phenomena were the properties, and the
cause of which they were the effects. An abstraction is an idea,
a mental category, as when we speak of force, velocity, or
weight; but an entity is a real existence; so modern technical
explanations are often no better than saying that an engine is
driven by horsepower. Horsepower is an abstraction, but this
does not mean that there is no steam or no engineer. Occult
Science went behind the horsepower to the steam and the fuel, and
behind those again to the engine driver.
When we speak of SOUND, for instance, in the terms of modern
physics, we usually denote such an abstraction. That is, we mean
a group of phenomena produced by an unknown cause. And the same
is the case with LIGHT, HEAT, and other physical concepts. Now
physicists are beginning to realize the abstract nature of these
things and to argue that each and all of them must have some
actual reality behind them.
Modern physics has given a false reality to abstractions; and the
corollary to this procedure is that it has made the realities
unreal. Thus, in giving the name MATTER to what is only a group
of sensory impressions, it has deprived the metaphysical world of
all reality. So physical science may paradoxically be said to be
the most superstitious and visionary of cults. For it, that
which is not physical matter is nothing at all; it jumps at one
bound from the physical to the "supernatural" -- and naturally
enough, science rejects it.
SELF, MIND, WILL
If we seek to give reality to the word FORCE, we must define it
as a manifestation of WILL; and similarly the PROPERTIES or
QUALITIES of nature are manifestations of MIND or SOUL; they are,
in short, dispositions, moods. But will and character in turn
are the attributes of BEINGS, they cannot be thought of as
existing apart from beings. If now we seek to define the meaning
of the word BEING, we can get no farther than that which is
denoted by the words, I, SELF, EGO, and PERSON. A being is a
self, endowed with will and ideation; and the forces and
qualities of nature are the manifestation of the activities of
innumerable beings. Any form of science that does not consider
this is a superficial science, studying externals only. Such a
science may be very useful and quite legitimate, so long as it
forbears to try to construct a philosophy of life and conduct on
an illogical basis.
Professor Alfred Russel Wallace, as is well known, recently wrote
a book embodying his ideas, similar to the above, on the
sentience of nature. The philosophy demands the postulation of
innumerable beings or forms of life other than the familiar
denizens of the human, animal, and vegetable kingdoms. What
might be termed MINERAL LIVES is needed, as well as beings that
manifest themselves in the phenomena of electricity, light,
sound, etc. Thus, we seem to be formulating a system of
demonology; and it must frankly be admitted that there is here
ample room for absurdity and superstition. But that is the fault
of the age, which has so long neglected this line of study that
it is a very infant in its knowledge thereof.
Moreover, demonology consists rather in the ADDITION of demons to
a kosmos already supposed to be full, these demons acting as
interferers -- quite superfluous; whereas the present idea
proposes to utilize the demons as necessary and indispensable
parts of the cosmic machine, without whose presence nothing could
happen. In other words, it is not that tiny demons frequent the
busy mart of atoms and push the particles to and fro; but rather
that the atoms themselves are the demons, being alive and endowed
with purpose. If an atom were not a tiny being, one would like
to be told what it is. To call it a speck of matter moved by
motion, sounds pretty, but does not mean anything. It is about
the same as calling a man a body moved by a mind.
WHY KNOWLEDGE IS GUARDED
We have thus given a faint idea of the many interesting paths of
knowledge outlined in THE SECRET DOCTRINE and forming part of the
domain of Occult Science; and it would have been possible to run
on indefinitely on this topic. THE SECRET DOCTRINE teems with
such hints. Now comes a question that will inevitably arise in
the minds of all eager students of that work: why are the hints
not completed? Why does the writer, after a few suggestive
remarks on one topic, pass to another? Why, in short, do we not
find "explicit and easy directions" given to enable us to find
out some definite secret and apply it?
The answer to this question, however, is to be found in the book
itself. Occult Science is not of the kind that can be explained
in a textbook so that all can immediately understand and follow
the directions. It is indissolubly linked with conduct; and the
pupil has to apply the little he may have learned before he can
learn more. H.P. Blavatsky's object was to say enough to induce
people to start on the way. And, in accordance with what she
says about Occult Science, it is a matter of developing our
faculties, so that we thus open the gates of knowledge for
ourselves and become to that extent independent of books. In
short, Occult Science is a science and not a sermon.
A student of natural science does not rely solely on books, but
passes from books to actual experiment for himself, thus resting
his knowledge on experimental verification. Surely, it must be
so with Occult Science. The teacher or book points out the way
by which we may start, and the rest is left to ourselves.
Furthermore, we are given to understand that much of the language
in THE SECRET DOCTRINE that we find obscure or barren is so only
because we have not yet progressed far enough in our studies to
understand and make use of it. Thus there are no arbitrary
barriers to knowledge, but merely conditions that insure that the
intending pupil shall do his share of the work.
The fact that modern science has failed to guard its secrets by
conditions calculated to prevent its misuse merely serves to
illustrate the folly of that policy. As it is, we have given our
dynamite and drugs promiscuously into the hands of the
trustworthy and the fool. Such a mistake committed in connection
with the weightier secrets of nature would be disastrous in the
extreme; and nobody wants to see such powers placed
indiscriminately at the disposal of all in our civilization.
It is evident, then, that H.P. Blavatsky was but fulfilling
universally recognized conditions when she gave out her hints in
this guarded way. The knowledge of which she speaks is placed
within the reach of all who can fulfill the conditions; and is
protected against possible abuse by those who desire to obtain
knowledge without fulfilling the conditions.
We have seen how people who attempt to gain knowledge without
fulfilling the conditions fall into folly and delusion, teaching
all kinds of absurd speculations or becoming the victims of their
own unconquered weaknesses. Instead of helping the world, as the
Theosophical program proposes, they only mislead it.
KNOWLEDGE AND ETHICS
Knowledge cannot be separated from obligation. The nearer a
science approximates the one Master-Science, the more its study
entails such obligations. H.P. Blavatsky had no other purpose,
in giving her instructions, than to promote the welfare of
humanity. She did not work for self, nor was she actuated by an
impersonal desire to gratify other people's idle curiosity. It
is evident that she has kept back much more than she reveals; but
she points the way to further knowledge. That way is the path of
duty and service.
In thus juxtaposing duty and knowledge, we are aware that we
shall be met with the argument that knowledge has nothing to do
with ethics, but should be studied for its own sake; or that we
are imposing an arbitrary and puritanical condition and allowing
the freedom of the human intellect to be fettered by notions of
morality. Such objections are becoming common among the shallow
and facile writers who find utterance in the literature of today.
But they are founded on a lack of reflection as to the meanings
of the words used.
To sum up, metaphysics, the science of the causes that operate
behind the veils of nature, is a genuine science, and can be
studied as carefully and accurately as any branch of science.
But its study implies efficiency on the part of the student, for
the ordinary man has various defects and weaknesses that, though
they do not prevent efficiency in physical science, would be
fatal obstacles in Occult Science. As to the need for such a
science, it is easy to take instances.
In hygiene, for example, we have passed beyond the region of
chemical causes of disease to that of microbial causes, thus
advancing a step from the inorganic to the organic world. But
can we stop even here? A microbe is a living being; what inspires
it? Why is it more numerous, prolific, and virulent at one time
than another? Occult Science answers that the microbe of disease
is but the physical expression, the organism, of an evil force
set in motion by men's depraved thoughts and acts. Ordinary
hygiene can do a great deal for the prevention of disease by
hindering the conditions under which microbes flourish; yet as
long as impure energies are generated by our evil thoughts, they
must find an outlet somewhere.
Occult Science would inform us as to the relation between our
thoughts and the epidemics from which we suffer. In medicine,
too, how important is the mental and moral aspect of the
question? Physical means can do but a limited amount of good so
long as the mental causes of disease are left untouched. Again,
very many circumstances of life that at present are included
under the category of "chance" and "accident," because we cannot
trace their causes, would be understood, so that we should be
able to manage them. This is just as modern science has already
enabled us to manage many things that formerly were piously
believed to be inevitable visitations of the hand of Providence.
As people are everywhere searching for greater and surer
knowledge than modern science gives; and, for want of the true
way, arc wandering in many blind alleys of superstition and
speculation; therefore there is even more need for a proper
understanding of the nature of Occult Science. The teachings of
Theosophy will vindicate themselves because that which is genuine
needs not to rely on claims and assertions. That which answers
the questions and satisfies the needs of the inquirer must
eventually win over shams and delusions.
Dedicated to the Theosophical Philosophy and its Practical Application