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THEOSOPHY WORLD ---------------------------------------- May, 2007
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.)
"Civilization Built Upon Thought," by G. de Purucker
"The Secret Doctrine," by Lay Chela
"The Forgotten Pole Star," by V.V. Bhatt
"There is No Wisdom so Divine," by Katherine Tingley
"An Earthly Paradise," by E.A. Gyllenberg
"Theosophy in Life," by H.A. Fussell
> We hold that a good book which gives people food for thought,
> which strengthens and clears their minds, and enables them to
> grasp truths which they have dimly felt but could not formulate
> -- we hold that such a book does a real, substantial good. As
> to what you call practical deeds of charity, to benefit the
> bodies of our fellow-men, we do what little we can.
> -- H.P. Blavtsky, THE KEY TO THEOSOPHY, page 249
CIVILIZATION BUILT UPON THOUGHT
By G. de Purucker
[From WIND OF THE SPIRIT, pages 42-45.]
Thought is the motive power of men. It governs even emotion and
can control it, and although sometimes thought is evoked by
feeling, I think that on the higher planes they are one. The
world we live in is a world of men, a world of thinkers and
feelers; and if the world is bad, it is because men's thoughts
and feelings have made it so. If human conditions are
inharmonious, even diabolic at times, when brute force takes the
place of reason and justice, it is because men's thoughts have
made it so.
Ideas control actions. There you have the cause of the unrest in
the world we live in, and its cure. If a man wants to reform
himself, he does so by first of all changing his thought; he
begins by feeling differently. There is no other way. It is the
only lasting way, for it means a change of character. If you
want to prevent a quarrel, you have to begin your work before the
quarrel threatens. If you try to interfere in a quarrel between
two men, you are apt to hurt yourself, and you will have a
quarrel of three. It is no way to stop a quarrel by going to the
quarrelers and preaching. By so doing, you have not touched
these men where they are susceptible, you have not changed them,
you have not appealed to their thought or their feelings. You
have been trying mere palliatives.
Make them see that they are acting a bit worse than the beasts
are when the beasts fight, because the beasts have not our reason
and common sense. Make your appeal with ideas. Awaken thoughts
in their minds. Put into their minds a new sequence of thought
and feeling. Then they will begin to realize that you cannot
settle a quarrel by brute force, for that simply means that the
chap who has got the worst of it is going to bide his time to see
if he can best the other fellow by brute force. They will begin
to see that you cannot stop wars by making wars to stop wars. It
has never worked and never will, because it is a wrong
psychology, as well as foolish.
Do you know that all civilization is built upon thought? And that
if you want to change a civilization, you must change accepted
thought, give a new thought. What is an invention? A thought.
What is literature? Thought. What are philosophy, religion, and
science? Thought. What is the social structure under which we
live? Thought. Every movement in the world today is built upon
thought: social, political, philosophic, religious, scientific,
what not. Nine out of ten of these movements began in the mind
of one man and spread. You see in the pages of history the
tremendous cataclysmic effects of thought. What was the Great
War? Not only the result of thought, but thought itself. Men
fight because of ideas, thoughts. To avoid another war, we must
begin before the next one happens -- begin by starting a new
current of thought in the world.
These truths are so simple they pass over our heads and we do not
take them in and digest them. It is ideas that shake the world.
It is ideas that make the world. It is ideas that unmake men and
the world of men. Consult the annals of history. Look at the
amazing results that spring from movements that begin perhaps
with a handful of earnest people. For years they may work and
preach and labor apparently without result. Suddenly, for some
remarkable reason, the idea catches and spreads like wild-fire.
Sometimes ideas take hold of men in the most amazing way.
What were the Crusades, when men left home and hearth and
fireside and everything they held dear to go and fight the
paynim, in a distant foreign and unknown land? These tens of
thousands of men collected from all over Europe for an idea.
Still more remarkable: what was this amazing and
thought-arresting idea that even caught the thoughts and
imaginations of little children? Have you ever heard of the
Children's Crusade? Out of Germany and what is now Belgium and
Holland and France and Switzerland, down into the south of France
and into Italy, suddenly children began to arise, boys and girls
from toddling ones up to those of thirteen or fourteen years --
they took to the roads and went by the scores of thousands till
the highways were black with their marching feet. Hundreds of
miles they went, dying by thousands on the way, and horribly
treated by human monsters that battened on them.
Nobody knows how this thought arose. Suddenly the children in
the various countries took it into their heads: "We will go
fight, we will go save the Holy Sepulcher." Fancy children
talking like that! They got it from their parents, of course; but
look at the psychology -- a psychology that swept every home,
took one or more children from every fireside. The mothers and
fathers could not stop them. They would steal out by night.
They would go by byways and devious pathways to the great
highways, those bands of helpless children going south, going
south! All for an idea, a thought!
What was the idea of the wonderful tarantella that is best
described by the historians of Spain and Italy -- Italy, perhaps
particularly? Suddenly for no understandable reason, grown men
and women got the idea that they must dance; and they began to
dance, and danced on and on until they fell down unconscious,
exhausted. They could not stop themselves from singing and
dancing, singly and together -- whole country-sides, whole
districts of them. A psychology, a thought, an idea.
It is just such kind of insane psychology that rules the world of
human thought today. Men and women have got the idea that it is
impossible to prevent a second Great War. They really believe
it. And that is one of the reasons why it will happen unless
sanity resumes its sway over our minds. What makes and carries
on any war? Thought. What stops any war? Thought: changing the
thoughts of men, for by changing their thoughts you change their
hearts, you change their lives and therefore their civilizations.
If a war comes, it is because men and women have brought it about
by their thinking. Their thinking arouses their feeling. Their
feeling arouses their jealousy and fear. Evil thought will be
followed by similar thought. You cannot extinguish fire by fire.
You cannot stop war by war. This is as simple as A-B-C. These
are thoughts that fly unnoticed over our heads because we are so
accustomed to them, and yet they are the secret of all good and
all evil. A man's life is changed sublimely by his thoughts; so
too can he go to 'hell' or the gallows by his thinking. It is
thought that makes the gentleman and the boor. It is thought
that makes the courageous man or the coward. It is thought that
produces forgiveness or carries on hate.
It was because these facts are such that the Theosophical Society
was begun: to try to change the thoughts of men towards better
and higher things; to arouse inspiring and benevolent ideas in
the minds of individual men and women. Why don't we Theosophists
go into the arena of politics? For the reason I have already
pointed out. You cannot stop a fight between two by making it a
fight of three. But you can stop men from acting worse than
beasts by showing them that if they act in THIS way, they will be
acting like men, and if they act in THAT way, they will be acting
worse than beasts. If they act in THIS way, they will be acting
wisely and constructively; and if they act in THAT way, they will
be destroying each other.
Why don't we Theosophists all go out and take lunch-baskets
around to the starving, and go to the bedsides of the people who
are smitten with disease and dying? Many of us do it and have
done it. But our main work in life is to try to DO AWAY with
poverty, rather than tinkering with the needs of the poor; and
this will gradually be accomplished by changing men's minds so
that our civilization will be an enlightened one. That, among
other noble objectives, is what we aspire towards.
There is no other work that is farther-reaching than that. It
goes to the root of things, instead of only putting plaster and
ointments on the surface of the festering wounds. And in a still
higher field, our work is to teach men and women what they as
individuals have locked up within them: powers, capacities,
faculties, which the average man or woman today does not suspect.
Yet they are there; the titan intellects, the greatest men who
have ever lived, have proved what the human mind is capable of,
and every normal man has the same potencies within himself.
It is a part of the work of the Theosophical Society to re-arouse
belief in these things, so that men will yearn to cultivate
themselves from within outwards, to awaken what is within, and to
become greater and grander. What a world we shall live in then!
It is thought that will do it, and the feeling that follows upon
thought. Then indeed will the Christ, crucified in us every day
we live, ascend from the Crucifix, our own being, the body of
each man, and enter into the brain of the man, and enlighten his
life, and reform his conduct towards his fellows.
Just that one thought alone, if you could get men to believe it
and inwardly to know it, would bring about a universal
'conversion,' as the Christians say, a converting, a changing, a
turning around of our minds and hearts to the living Christ
within, the living Buddha! It is as simple as that.
THE SECRET DOCTRINE
By Lay Chela
[From FIVE YEARS OF THEOSOPHY, pages 473-81.]
Few experiences lying about the threshold of occult studies are
more perplexing and tormenting than those which have to do with
the policy of the Brothers as to what shall, and what shall not,
be revealed to the outer world. In fact, it is only by students
at the same time tenacious and patient -- continuously anxious to
get at the truths of occult philosophy, but cool enough to bide
their time when obstacles come in the way -- that what looks, at
first sight, like a grudging and miserly policy in this matter on
the part of our illustrious teachers can be endured.
Most men persist in judging all situations by the light of their
own knowledge and conceptions, and certainly by reference to
standards of right and wrong with which modern civilization is
familiar a pungent indictment may be framed against the holders
of philosophical truth. They are regarded by their critics as
keeping guard over their intellectual possessions, declaring, "We
have won this knowledge with strenuous effort and at the cost of
sacrifice and suffering; we will not make a present of it to
luxurious idlers who have done nothing to deserve it."
Most critics of the Theosophical Society and its publications
have fastened on this obvious idea, and have denounced the policy
of the Brothers as "selfish" and "unreasonable." It has been
argued that, as regards occult powers, the necessity for keeping
back all secrets which would enable unconscientiously people to
do mischief, might be granted, but that no corresponding motives
could dictate the reservation of occult philosophical truth.
I have lately come to perceive certain considerations on this
subject which have generally been overlooked; and it seems
desirable to put them forward at once; especially as a very
considerable body of occult philosophical teaching is now before
the world, and as those who appreciate its value best, will
sometimes be inclined to protest all the more emphatically
against the tardiness with which it has been served out, and the
curious precautions with which its further development is even
In a nutshell, the explanation of the timid policy displayed is
that the Brothers are fully assured that the disclosure of that
actual truth (which constitutes the secret doctrine) about the
origin of the World and of Humanity -- of the laws which govern
their existence, and the destinies to which they are moving on --
is calculated to have a very momentous effect on the welfare of
Great results ensue from small beginnings, and the seeds of
knowledge now being sown in the world may ultimately bear
prodigious harvest. We, who are present merely at the sowing,
may not realize the magnitude and importance of the impulse we
are concerned in giving, but that impulse will roll on, and a few
generations hence will be productive of tremendous consequences
one way or the other.
Occult philosophy is no shadowy system of speculation like any of
the hundred philosophies with which the minds of men have been
overwhelmed; it is the positive Truth, and by the time enough of
it is let out, it will be seen to be so by thousands of the
greatest men who may then be living in the world. What will be
the consequence? The first effect on the minds of all who come to
understand it, is terribly iconoclastic. It drives out before it
everything else in the shape of religious belief. It leaves no
room for any conceptions belonging even to the groundwork or
foundation of ordinary religious faith.
What becomes then of all rules of right and wrong, of all
sanctions for morality? Most assuredly there are rules of right
and wrong thrilling through every fiber of occult philosophy
really higher than any which commonplace theologies can teach;
far more cogent sanctions for morality than can be derived at
second-hand from the distorted doctrines of exoteric religions;
but a complete transfer of the sanction will be a process
involving the greatest possible danger for mankind at the time.
Bigots of all denominations will laugh at the idea of such a
transfer being seriously considered. The orthodox Christian --
confident in the thousand of churches overshadowing all western
lands, of the enormous force engaged in the maintenance and
propagation of the faith, with the Pope and the Protestant
hierarchy in alliance for this broad purpose, with the countless
clergy of all sects, and the fiery Salvation Army bringing up the
rear -- will think that the earth itself is more likely to
crumble into ruin than the irresistible authority of Religion to
be driven back.
They are all counting, however, without the progress of
enlightenment. The most absurd religions die hard; but when the
intellectual classes definitively reject them, they die, with
throes of terrible agony, may be, and, perhaps, like Samson in
the Temple, but they cannot permanently outlive a conviction that
they are false in the leading minds of the age.
Just what has been said of Christianity may be said of Islam and
Brahmanism. Little or no risk is run while occult literature
aims merely at putting a reasonable construction on perverted
tenets -- in showing people that truth may lurk behind even the
strangest theological fictions. And the lover of orthodoxy, in
either of the cases instanced, may welcome the explanation with
complacency. For him also, as for the Christian, the faith which
he professes -- sanctioned by what looks like a considerable
antiquity to the very limited vision of uninitiated historians,
and supported by the attachment of millions grown old in its
service and careful to educate their children in the convictions
that have served their turn -- is founded on a rock which has its
base in the foundations of the world.
Fragmentary teachings of occult philosophy seem at first to be no
more than annotations on the canonical doctrine. They may even
embellish it with graceful interpretations of its symbolism,
parts of which may have seemed to require apology, when
ignorantly taken at the foot of the letter. But this is merely
the beginning of the attack.
If occult philosophy gets before the world with anything
resembling completeness, it will so command the assent of earnest
students that for them nothing else of that nature will remain
standing. And the earnest students in such eases must multiply.
They are multiplying now even, merely on the strength of the
little that has been revealed. True, as yet -- for some time to
come -- the study will be, as it were, the whim of a few; but
"those who know," know among other things that, give it fair
play, and it must become the subject of enthusiasm with all
What is to happen when the world is divided into two camps -- the
whole forces of intellectuality and culture on the one side,
those of ignorance and superstitious fanaticism on the other?
With such a war as that impending, the adepts, who will be
conscious that they prepared the lists and armed the combatants,
will require some better justification for their policy before
their own consciences than the reflection that, in the beginning,
people accused them of selfishness, and of keeping a miserly
guard over their knowledge, and so goaded them with this taunt
that they were induced to set the ball rolling.
There is no question, be it understood, as to the relative merits
of the moral sanctions that are afforded by occult philosophy and
those which are distilled from the worn-out materials of existing
creeds. If the world could conceivably be shunted at one coup
from the one code of morals to the other, the world would be
greatly the better for the change. But the change cannot be made
all at once, and the transition is most dangerous.
On the other hand, it is no less dangerous to take no steps in
the direction of that transition. For though existing religions
may be a great power -- the Pope ruling still over millions of
consciences if not over towns and States, the name of the Prophet
being still a word to conjure with in war, the forces of
Brahmanical custom holding countless millions in willing
subjection -- in spite of all this, the old religions are sapped
and past their prime. They are in process of decay, for they are
losing their hold on the educated minority; it is still the case
that in all countries the camps of orthodoxy include large
numbers of men distinguished by intellect and culture, but one by
one their numbers are diminishing.
Five-and-twenty years only, in Europe, have made a prodigious
change. Books are written now that pass almost as matters of
course which would have been impossible no further back than
that. No further back, books thrilled society with surprise and
excitement, which the intellectual world would now ignore as
embodying the feeblest commonplaces. The old creeds, in fact,
are slowly losing their hold upon mankind -- more slowly in the
more deliberately moving East than Europe, but even here by
degrees also -- and a time will come, whether occult philosophy
is given out to take their place or not, when they will no longer
afford even such faulty sanctions for moral conduct and right as
they have supplied in times gone by. Therefore it is plain that
something must be given out to take their place, and hence the
determination of which this movement in which we are engaged is
one of the undulations -- these very words some of the foremost
froth upon the advancing wave.
But surely, when something which must be done is yet very
dangerous in the doing, the persons who control the operations in
progress may be excused for exercising the utmost caution.
Readers of Theosophical literature will be aware how bitterly our
adept Brothers have been criticized for choosing to take their
own time and methods in the task of partially communicating their
knowledge to the world.
Here in India these criticisms have been indignantly resented by
the passionate loyalty to the Mahatmas that is so widely spread
among Hindus -- resented more by instinct than reason in some
cases perhaps, though in others, no doubt, as a consequence of a
full appreciation of all that is being now explained, and of
other considerations beside. But in Europe such criticisms will
have seemed hard to answer.
The answer is really embodied, however imperfectly, in the views
of the situation now set forth. We ordinary mortals in the world
work as men traveling by the light of a lantern in an unknown
country. We see but a little way to the right and left, only a
little way behind even. But the adepts work as men traveling by
daylight, with the further advantage of being able at will to get
up in a balloon and survey vast expanses of lake and plain and
The choice of time and methods for communicating occult knowledge
to the world necessarily includes the choice of intermediary
agent. Hence the double set of misconceptions in India and
Europe, each adapted to the land of its origin. In India, where
knowledge of the Brothers' existence and reverence for their
attributes is widely diffused, it is natural that persons who may
be chosen for their serviceability rather than for their merits,
as the recipients of their direct teaching, should be regarded
with a feeling resembling jealousy.
In Europe, the difficulty of getting into any sort of relations
with the fountain-head of Eastern philosophy is regarded as due
to an exasperating exclusiveness on the part of the adepts in
that philosophy, which renders it practically worth no man's
while to devote himself to the task of soliciting their
Neither feeling is reasonable when considered in the light of the
explanations now put forward. The Brothers can consider none but
public interests, in the largest sense of the words, in throwing
out the first experimental flashes of occult revelation into the
world. They can only employ agents on whom they can rely for
doing the work as they may wish it done -- or, at all events, in
no manner which may be widely otherwise. Or they can only
protect the task on which they are concerned in another way.
They may consent sometimes to a very much more direct mode of
instruction than that provided through intermediary agents for
the world at large, in the cases of organized societies solemnly
pledged to secrecy, for the time being at all events, in regard
to the teaching to be conveyed to them. In reference to such
societies, the Brothers need not be on the watch to see that the
teaching is not worked up for the service of the world in a way
they would consider, for any reasons of their own, likely to be
injurious to final results or dangerous.
Different men will assimilate the philosophy to be unfolded in
different ways: for some it will be too iconoclastic altogether,
and its further pursuit, after a certain point is reached,
unwelcome. Such persons, entering too hastily on the path of
exploration, will be able to drop off from the undertaking
whenever they like, if thoroughly pledged to secrecy in the first
instance, without being a source of embarrassment afterwards, as
regards the steady prosecution of the work in hand by other more
resolute, or less sensitive, laborers.
It may be that in some such societies, if any should be formed in
which occult philosophy may be secretly studied, some of the
members will be as well fitted as, or better than, any other
persons employed elsewhere to put the teachings in shape for
publication, but in that case it is to be presumed that special
qualifications will eventually make themselves apparent. The
meaning and good sense of the restrictions, provisionally imposed
meanwhile, will be plain enough to any impartial person on
reflection, even though their novelty and strangeness may be a
little resented at the first glance.
THE FORGOTTEN POLE STAR
By V.V. Bhatt
[From THE ARYAN PATH, November 1959, pages 502-7.]
In all times past, the question of the purpose of human
existence, of the summum bonum of life, has persistently
presented itself to many an inquiring and thinking mind. Such
minds felt a sense of impenetrable mystery surrounding this
universe of ours, of something that lies beyond our sense
perceptions and so can be felt and experienced by quite other
faculties. And they embarked fearlessly on the high quest of
this something that was now revealed in a vision and now eluded
them. Neither the turbae of the inner seas nor the terrible
guardians of the unseen dismayed them. And so they came to the
sublime glimpse of the erstwhile unseen other shore. The mists
rolled away before their penetrating searching glance, and mighty
Prakriti gave up her secret to the eye of spirit.
When they returned to tell their experience to their fellow
sailors who had not ventured so boldly from the hither shore,
they brought a message of cheer and hope, tidings of the
fruitfulness of their mighty voyage. But even words of power
coming from the depths of their being failed to convey, to those
who had not had the experience, the ecstasy of sighting the other
shore; no words could express it. Yet they did give their fellow
sailors, who were cruising about the hither coast, a course to
set and their bearings by a large constant star. The fellow
sailors implicitly believed in the inspired words of the men of
vision and tried to penetrate the mists with their own imperfect
lights. And they had their bearings and hope of making a
This unique experience of these adventurous spirits was the
quintessence of all religions and the vast mass of humanity got
their pole star. But with the passing of time, the spiritual
quest behind these religions was forgotten and more and more
emphasis was laid on the outward forms and ceremonials. The
spirit of free inquiry and spiritual adventure that animated
these religions was suppressed and with its suppression all
progress ceased. Religion took the form of dogma, which was to
be adhered to without any questioning. The human spirit yearning
for freedom could not tolerate this bondage; reaction grew
against these religions, and they came to be considered as
nothing more than a bundle of superstitious beliefs and dogmas.
This was a quite natural reaction of the intelligence. But the
result was that we were left without any guiding principles of
life. Skeptic as we had grown, we had lost all belief and faith
in anything that lay beyond our sense perceptions. An atmosphere
of doubt and questioning prevailed. A sense of frustration led
to wishful thinking, and a sinister devaluation of values took
place. The purpose and end of our life became the acquisition
and possession of material things, and the only joy we knew was
sensual pleasure that we derived from trying to satisfy the
insatiable desires of our senses.
We were not satisfied even with this. We tried not only to
acquire and possess more and more material objects but also to
overreach, outshine, and outrun our fellow beings. To enable us
to enjoy the amenities of what we called the modern scientific
civilization, we tried always to keep a great part of humanity in
subjection to our bidding. And thus began the exploitation of
man by man, of class by class, and nation by nation. To snatch
away things from others and to keep a large mass of people in a
state of perpetual slavery, we required force, and so monstrous
weapons of destruction and death were invented, culminating in
By their advent, the whole human race, for the first time in its
history, has been presented with a choice between life and death.
If we fail to meet this challenge with courage and determination,
if we fail to strengthen our will to live and to survive, by
making radical changes in our lives, our purposes and our
institutions, and if we fail to make these changes in time --
time, now, is of the essence for survival -- we are sure to
commit suicide in an attempt at mutual extermination with nuclear
As these wars, conflicts, and the ultimate disaster stare us in
the face, we stand aghast in wonder and alarm and know not the
cause of all these. We were happy, we think, and we see no
reason why that happiness should be disturbed. But we forget
that our happiness was based on the exploitation and the
consequent sufferings and sorrows of millions of people. The
superstructure of such happiness was reared on sandy foundations.
We are, as it were, steering our rudderless ship in a vast ocean
and at the helm are men who know not whither to proceed. When
the sea is serene and calm, our voyage is smooth, but when the
tempest comes, we can hardly keep the ship afloat. And we find
fault with the storm, not knowing that even when the voyage is
smooth in a calm sea, we know not our way and that there lies the
cause of it all.
This pathetic condition of human life has moved many a sensitive
soul and they found the root of the trouble in the
purposelessness of this universe. Man, they said, is not at
fault; he is the poor victim of what Hardy called "crass
casualty." They were filled with deep anguish and pain at the
sight of boundless human suffering and from their troubled minds
and tortured hearts the cry came:
> Life thou art a galling load, through rough and weary ways.
> To wretches such as I.
But some others, equally sensitive and sympathetic souls, in
their moments of merciless and detached self-introspection, have
> And much it grieved my heart to think
> What man has made of man.
In the realization of this truth lies the hope for humanity. We
have been following false religions and false gods. The motive
that actuates us in all too many of our actions is that of
attaining our own seeming good by depriving others of their good.
And we make sacrifice at the altar of our Almighty God Money of
those very sweet human relationships that would have given some
meaning and joy to our life.
Now, if we continue to pursue this suicidal way of life, nothing
can prevent the ultimate catastrophe. Our whole way of life, the
purpose that should animate our actions, must now be radically
changed. But, then, what can be the purpose of human life?
Everything in this world seems to be changing, everything is in a
constant state of flux, and nothing is permanent or abiding.
Nay, more than that, people writing "under the urgency of
scientific training" have now told us that everything is unreal
It is perhaps true that everything in this universe is transient,
temporary, and fleeting. Hardy's "The temporary the All" seems
to be the terrible reality. "We are such stuff as dreams are
made on" may be true, after all, of our existence here. Our
conquest over physical nature is really stupendous; our
achievements are vast and amazing. Many more things we might
attain. Yet in spite of our present achievements and still
greater achievements awaiting us in the future, we do not feel a
sense of fulfillment, that harmonization of our impulses that
might bring real joy and happiness to us. We feel a terrible
sense of something that is lacking in us. And now we are told
that all things of this world are unreal, unsubstantial, and of
such stuff as dreams are made on.
Yet there is no room for despair; it would be foolish to rush to
the conclusion that our life is a monstrous joke played upon us
by some far-off, distant "sleep worker." For, men, writing under
the urgency of the same scientific training, have discovered that
behind all these ever-changing phenomena of this universe, there
is that fundamental energy, that elan vital, that Life Force, as
we might call it, which is constant, unchanging, immutable, and
Do we not feel and experience the presence of this mysterious
We gaze at the serene simplicity that is the sea, throbbing with
life as it were, with the eternal music of its "innumerable
laughter" as Homer heard it, permeated with solemn grandeur and
splendid gloom when the sunlight fades away and the approaching
darkness extends its tentacles over the sea, while the hovering
dark, heavy clouds dreadfully cast their shadows.
Shaking off our absorption in our own narrow surroundings, we
look up at the distant mountain, with its top vanishing in the
clouds while the sun slowly disappears behind it and its rays
penetrate through the rift of the clouds.
We feel the panic silence and stillness in a dreadful dense
forest, every moment being conscious and fearful of something
that is hidden, we are sure, behind this oppressing solitude and
silence and which might take visible shape at any time.
We look up at the sky at night, "the whole high heaving
firmamental frame" throbbing with life, as it were, with the
twinkling of its stars, while the soothing rays of the moon cast
their spell upon us.
We hear the eternal song of sacrifice of the river, "when the
morning sea of silence breaks with the ripples of bird songs" and
the whole atmosphere presents the appearance of freshness
suffused with the red glow of the slowly appearing sun.
We turn our eyes towards the vast and mighty sea of humanity,
with its ever advancing tidal waves of hopes and aspirations,
with its receding ebbs of depression and despair, with the
eternal song of its waves of sorrows and suffering, hopes and
fears, successes and defeats, with its whole surface constantly
throbbing with the ripples of life while below the surface it is
serene and calm.
In our moments of searching self-introspection, we try to fathom
the depths of our own being.
In all of these times, do we not feel the presence of something
that eludes our grasp yet the touch of which is real, for it can
be felt and experienced though our senses fail to grasp it? Do we
not feel a sense of magnificent harmony that makes us
self-forgetful while we lose our consciousness and the sense of
separate existence as a drop of water does when it loses its
identity in the vast ocean?
To attune our life to this magnificent harmony is the purpose of
human existence. That is our Forgotten Pole Star. We should be
willfully blind not to look at it.
Our life is a means to realize this end. To identify ourselves
with this vast ocean of creation is the purpose of our life.
This ever-growing consciousness of the oneness of all creation
must fill us with boundless love towards all objects of creation,
till at last love becomes the spontaneous expression of
ourselves. Even unconsciously, it is this love that sustains our
life. Life persists in the midst of destruction and death, and
that shows that love is the law of our species. "Love thy
neighbor as thyself" is not merely the injunction of the Bible;
Love as the Law of our species is not merely the vision of a
Gandhi; love is the very principle of all the integration,
biological, psychological, social, which men of science have
Great scholars and writers who want to reconstruct human life on
the principle of love have asserted that nothing is sacred but
human life; but this for them is a dogma, for which they are able
to give no explanation. Writes H.G. Wells, "After all the
present writer has no compelling argument to convince the reader
that he should not be cruel or mean or cowardly." Lewis Rumford
writes: "Nothing is sacred but human life. I have affirmed this
dogma as if it were indisputable." But our seers of old realized
that the oneness of all creation was the basis of this law of
This ever-growing consciousness of unity in the midst of
diversity and a boundless love towards the objects of creation
must inevitably shape and mould all aspects of our life; they
must be translated into our thoughts, words, and actions and
become a part of our being. That is, to realize that Absolute
Truth of the identity of all creation, we must practice relative
truth, truth as it appears to us, with our minds and hearts
trying to attain that consciousness of the Absolute Truth, while
to the innermost depths of our being, we are filled with love.
This law of love and truth is the fundamental basis of all ethics
and morality; all other moral laws are based on this fundamental
law and are influenced by circumstances, environment, and time.
These moral laws might change with changing times, but the law of
love and truth remains the same in all ages and in all times. We
must follow, then, this law of our species and, however obstinate
the trammels, we must ceaselessly try to break them. We must be
fighters all our life, for otherwise life has no meaning.
Upanishadic seers come to us and whisper in our ears: "This Atman
is not to be obtained by those devoid of strength." The Ultimate
Reality cannot be realized by one who has no strength to resist
untruth in whatever form. Let us embark on this mighty
adventure, which alone gives meaning to life, with a firm and
determined will. However stormy and difficult the voyage, let
not our souls quail or our minds waver or our zest flag. With a
steadfast gaze, unruffled by temporary defeats and setbacks,
never giving in to despair or despondency, and with the
life-giving hope and certainty of seeing the unseen shore, let us
bear on till it is reached.
Those adventurous spirits who have already reached the other
shore beckon to us and show us the way and bless our voyage. Let
us be worthy of ourselves and our rich heritage. Let not
temporary catastrophes and disasters and storms make us forgetful
of the great and mighty future that awaits us all.
THERE IS NO WISDOM SO DIVINE
By Katherine Tingley
[From THE GODS AWAIT, pages 168-86.]
There were many periods, anciently, when the Soul was better
understood than it is now, and when men fashioned their lives
simply and beautifully in accordance with the magnificent
aspirations of Nature; when they listened for and heard, as we do
but very rarely, the melody of life, which is the voice of the
Inner Divinity; when they talked with the stars, and had no fear
written on their faces; when they knew no dogmas at all, nor fear
of death, nor spiritual nor moral terror.
All that was best in the history of those early races is here now
in the very atmosphere in which we live. It is not lost; it is
in Nature; it has made itself a part of the harmony of universal
In such periods, wise Teachers instituted the festival of Easter
in honor of the Mighty Mother. They knew that the depths and
powers hidden in Nature and in Man are infinite; and paying
tribute to the beauty and glory of the universe, invoked at the
same time the infinite Divine Beauty in themselves and in the
general human heart.
For there is that undertone in life: it is in all of us, and we
are bound together by it inescapably, each his brother's keeper:
though it is audible only to him who is great enough to hear it
because he has found his true Self.
Knowing this, and that the Divine Essence is everywhere, those
Wise Ones of old time knew that through our own efforts we may
lift the veil and understand the mysteries of being and the whole
meaning of the conflict within ourselves, and so work out our own
salvation; that he who will crucify his earthly passions will
find strength to roll back the stone from the doorway of his own
inner being wherein the Divinity lies entombed, raising as it
were the Christos from the dead; and that this is the
resurrection and the life: and they instituted and ordained
Easter in commemoration of it.
How joyful, how sublime, our existence in this world becomes when
viewed from this standpoint, and with the key to all its
mysteries -- which is knowledge of the essential divinity of man
-- in one's possession! In the sunshine of that wisdom, all the
thoughts that we cling to and love because of their fineness will
blossom; and the small aims and prejudices of our minds, and the
conventional opinions we accept without thought as to whether
they bear any relation to truth or not -- how infinitely trivial
they will seem!
We have limited Deity according to the measure of our own minds,
and conceived of the Limitless as personal because we have been
oblivious of all but the personal within ourselves.
Yet that self-knowledge for lack of which we suffer can be
attained; and it is a consciousness of the regal powers of the
No man can make his own divine potentialities actual, until he
has recognised the universality of the Divine, and asserted Its
presence within himself: aware that by will and conviction he can
make manifest in his human life every quality and aspect of
One has not to run away from present duty in order to find this
knowledge; but in the inmost spaces of the heart is the throbbing
life of the Divine wherein all wisdom is discoverable, because it
is there that all wisdom inheres.
Let a man work with Nature, understanding the fundamental laws of
her and living by them: knowing what she demands of him and
building his life on the knowledge; unsatisfied with the personal
god idea, let him know that God is the Divine Life unfolding
itself through the power of its own essence: the one Universal
Law inspiring, flowing through, directing, the infinite
interweaving of laws that express themselves through life and
govern its manifestations.
And in the performance of every smallest duty: in the bearing of
every sorrow; in the conduct of his severest and most
discouraging struggles: that Divine Force, that Knowledge,
seeking its expression in the transformations, will be at his
For it is a power whose secret is in the heart and mind and soul
working together; and is to be evoked only out of the hidden
realms within ourselves where all the splendor at the Heart of
Life is to be found.
He who finds it within himself, and knows it wonderfully to be
himself and the sole reality in himself, lives absolutely for
humanity; because to touch human nature at any point is to touch
the whole of humanity, and to evoke the God-self within ourselves
is to employ the power underlying all things.
onsciousness within that this apologetic bit of myself is the
temple of the Soul -- the shrine of a God ever pressing towards
grander expressions of life.
The Soul can rest on nothing this side of infinity: it loses its
vitality if it seeks to do so. All eternity awaits it; how
should it be satisfied with the half-life we live and the many
imperfections that mar us? The nature of the Soul is to be
winging its flight forever towards the boundless; to be working,
hoping, and conquering; to be going forward forever and ever.
It is therefore no question of our likes and dislikes. Advance
we must, seeking within ourselves the secret of our God-selves
that sing to us eternally through the silence.
If the meaning and the music of the song be lost before it
reaches our hearing, it is because our thoughts are too full of
the things of death; and because we are weighed down by needless
burdens, and grow old in our youth with wrong thinking: filling
our minds with desires that emanate from selfishness, and
allowing them to accumulate until they, and not we, become the
living force behind our actions.
So that it is not only the mind but the whole being that must be
prepared, for the search for truth; and for this there are no
rules that can be given, -- no precise directions nor yardstick
receipts. But conceive, if but for a day, that you are greater
than ever you dreamed you were: that in the essence of your
nature you are divine and cannot suffer perdition.
And remember that you never could have walked if you had not
tried; that you never could have spoken if you had not made the
effort to speak; that you never could have sung if you had not
felt within you the urge of the living God there.
Theosophy is as old as the hills, and all the World-religions are
based on its teachings; although only a minority, now, are
familiar with them. It is not superstition nor speculation; not
dogmatism nor blind faith; nor the product of the brain-mind of
any man; nor yet miraculous.
It comes to humanity like an old traveler who has trodden all the
highways of experience; and having achieved after long journeying
a full understanding of life, returns to the place from which he
started, that he may bring to those who dwell there the saving
knowledge he has acquired: and it is knowledge of the God within
Man, and of Man's power to advance and to overcome; which is what
Superficial examination of its teachings will avail nothing. As
none could become a musician by mere study of the theory of
music, so none can come to an understanding of Theosophy by
reading of it in books. In both cases, practice is needed: one
must live the life if one would know the Law. An artist never
attained excellence in his art or a musician in his music who did
not begin with the basic principles.
Where there is satisfaction with self, there look for danger;
because there no growth can take place. A certain conflict
within, of thought and feeling, must be going forward; until we
arrive at some knowledge of our own, -- at some perception of
life's meaning and purposes, of our origin and destiny, our
duties, obligations, and responsibilities.
No man can really grow until he has trust in himself. The
successful inventor is the one who realizes that there is
something more to know: that new knowledge is always accessible
and waiting for him; that tomorrow will add to what he has today.
He was once a boy, playing with his tools clumsily and with no
knowledge of mechanics; but after a time some inner whispering
told him that he was to achieve something; and he kept on,
because that which bade him keep on was above and beyond his
mind, until he came to be aware that his mentality was but an aid
to him in the working out of his problems; and that there is an
Inside Something that uses it, discovering truth and acquiring
knowledge; and that this is the Real Man, who may be inspired by
illuminating ideas out of the Universal Mind, or may have brought
them with him as memories out of ancient lives.
So he looks always for truth beyond his opinions, and goes out
seeking into the broad spheres of thought. He frees his mind and
advances, hoping and trusting; he visualizes his aims, and
believes there are whole regions in his nature that he has not
yet discovered; and, relying on that undeveloped side of himself,
claims from it by trust the knowledge he seeks, -- and does not
claim in vain.
So too the real artist, the lover of truth and beauty, is lifted
in his moments of creation above all brain-mind limitations and
carried on to a plane that transcends our normal thought-life;
and feels there, throbbing and thrilling through his being, the
poetry and inspiration of the Great Silence -- that divine light
that is within and a part of us all and forever awaiting our
Such a one, artist or inventor, when he is in quest of that which
should do good to the world, sounding the deep resources of his
nature, touches the fringe of worlds more wonderful, and
strangely mysterious powers; whereas another man, with equal
latent ability, approaching the same problems with doubt and
hesitation, or again with presumptuous self-sufficiency, would be
very sure not to succeed.
In proportion as a man worships the outer, he misses the inner
Many who have abandoned belief in a personal god and the other
vanities and subtleties of sectarian metaphysics, and are
thinking seriously, in the depression the unrest of the age is
causing in them, of life and its many problems, have found in the
teaching of Reincarnation that which makes clear the meaning of
For here is explanation of the differences of human fortune, so
that they cease to seem unjust and intolerable; and here Man is
revealed in the splendor of his native godhood, a traveler
through eternity, moving from life to life, gaining by experience
after experience that knowledge that will make of him at last the
Ideal, the Perfect Man.
We are of the family of the Eternal; we are the highest
expressions, that we know of, of Universal Deity: are we to think
that the experience to which we have a right can be gained in the
few score fleeting years of a single lifetime, before these
bodies of ours cease to be useful, and drop away, following the
laws of physical life, and return to the storehouse of Nature?
The material things have their place; but the essential and
everlasting things are in the eternal self: they are the
attributes and faculties of the Soul; and these are what we are
here to develop, working in harmony with the mighty and
compassionate heart of Nature.
Could a soul filled with the melody and splendid influx of musk
fulfill itself even in the longest period that could elapse
between its body's birth and death? A man who has no musical
heredity or inclination that he knows of, may find himself
sometime startled into listening, and stirred; and listening
longer, and stirred more deeply; and still pausing and listening,
overwhelmed by it at last, so that silent and wonderful currents
of vibration and feeling are started within him; and perhaps he
is a mechanic in a shop, or caught in the grind of commercial
life with neither time nor energy to spare for music; -- it does
not matter: that divine thing has touched him; and it may be that
lying within his nature are the potentialities of a great
musician: must they not come out in time, and be expressed?
A promise of eternal progress is stamped upon all human hearts;
everything in Nature proclaims it. Why should we not have the
same trust in our essential divinity that the flowers have in the
beneficence of the sun?
To what purpose are the ideals we cherish unspoken; the secret,
noble, and unfulfilled aspirations; the questions we put to life,
and to which life -- our present life -- makes no answer? To what
end are the agonies and despairs; the unrest and intense longing
to be so much more than we can ever attain to being, now, before
death takes us? Were they born in a day, these thoughts of ours
that stir us sometimes almost to the point of revelation? Were
they fashioned of the experience we have gathered in the few
years since our bodies were born?
Their word to us is always that we are greater than we seem; that
there are no limits to the power of the Soul; that though our
understanding of this beautiful universe will go on increasing
forever and ever, we shall never attain a dead finality of
understanding: that we have all eternity in which to work out the
magnificence of the Law, and that there is no break in the
everlasting continuity; that one may falter today and fail, but
tomorrow brings another chance; that we live many lives, again
and again the same in essence though different in aspect: we
Immortal Beings, natives of Eternity made subject here to
mortality and time.
Few, whether religious or not, go out satisfied into the Great
Unknown and into that sleep that is not sleep in the sense of
inertia, BUT A SLEEP IN ACTIVITY and a divine activity in sleep.
No matter how noble a man's life may have been, is it possible to
think of it as having reached that sublimity of perfection in one
single lifetime, that would find its true expression in an
eternity of bliss? How much more reasonable to believe that we
live again and again, traveling the path of the ages with
opportunity after opportunity recurring always: than to imagine
ourselves the poor creatures of a single life, created at our
birth out of nothing, and at death to be relegated to an eternal
heaven or an unending hell, in neither of which progress is
possible, nor opportunities are to be found, nor any goal lies
ahead, nor hope exists for inspiration and incentive!
Could a soul that was really noble accept peace for itself, and
find happiness in heaven, whilst here on earth humanity is still
aching and in chains and sorrow? The Soul holds within itself the
attributes of Deity: it is all made up of compassion, justice,
abnegation; what delight then, what self-expression, could it
find in such selfish bliss? Were a man come into the fullness of
his Soul -- to be, wholly, that Divine Thing -- he could not
endure the thought; his will would be set on returning to earth,
to share in human suffering and point the way for the unfortunate
to that self-knowledge that brings peace. He would work forever
and ever for the glory of the Divine: for the glory of the God
innate in Man: aware that because of the divinity within us, we
have the power to shape all human destiny towards perfection. I
tell you, the god within us awaits!
To the blind beggar by the roadside, what a song in his heart
knowledge of Reincarnation would be! Then first he would
understand that a bright future and high achievements might be
awaiting him; his fate would no longer appear something
mysterious and terrible for which he could never be compensated,
-- no longer some punishment afflicted upon him by an omnipotent
and vindictive power, -- but a ministration of the Law that
fashions from suffering godlike destinies for men, apportioned to
him that he might build up his character for a more royal birth.
He would understand that there was hope for him; that all his
darkness would be made clear; that a day would come when his
inner longings would be much more than mere unattainable
aspirations; that he might then and there be preparing noble
fortunes for himself. The Gods await!
Life is not cruel; there is no injustice in it. In the light of
Reincarnation, the sufferings we considered unjust lose the sting
of their supposed injustice and become easy to endure. We come
to look on them as blessings, because means of liberation and our
chief incentives to growth. Experience and pain are our
teachers. We are reminded constantly by the difficulties we have
to overcome of the majestic mercy of the Law.
Life exists only for service: we live in order that we may serve.
Hold to that idea in your hour of trouble, and you will accept
your difficulties graciously, as a gift graciously given: you
will not think of them as pangs and burdens to be endured, but as
beautiful fires to purify and set free.
Not that one should be humble in the ordinary sense. We should
hold our heads high; there is altogether too much of the other
thing. We are quite too submissive to our own weaknesses. If
you have strived with your whole soul and with a trust impossible
to break; and still the thought is forced upon you that your
position has not changed nor your stumbling-block been removed:
if you find yourself compelled to say, Though I have lifted
myself up toward my ideals, and approached the Divine within me
daily, I am not set free; -- take courage yet again; it is the
time to do so. The thing you have struggled against in vain may
become a blessing; it may be the very saving power in your life,
-- holding you back in the place where alone you could learn the
lesson you most need to learn.
Thus, though our minds have been under serious shadows, adversity
should but leave us with the solution of our problems: teaching
us the secret of readjusting our lives; -- because it is the
aspirations of our own souls that kindle the fires in which we
are tried; and we may find a glory in suffering, disappointment,
and heartache, and understand the sublime comfort of the change
If the errors of the past did not produce their results, that we
might learn from them the lessons they are to teach: if life were
without struggle, work, and effort: we should be things on the
face of the earth, and not Souls as we are. Only by means of
these can we draw near to truth and gain a sense of the largeness
of life, of eternity, of the augustness of the laws that hold us
in their keeping. Only so can we find the way to live the real
life, which is altogether cheerful, optimistic, radiant with
generous affection: the life that sees no terminus in the grave,
nor any limit to its vistas in birth or death.
Thus Reincarnation gives us room and time to grow, as Nature
provides soil and season for the flowers: to grow and to learn
what life and the world can teach us, and to acquire use of the
godlike qualities of our inner selves and the light hidden within
the Soul of Man that alone can illumine the path we must tread
and enable us to solve the stern and awful problems, the pathetic
problems, life so unceasingly sets before us; and to know its
unspeakable beauties as well.
We advance from age to age and from heights to greater heights
forever. Understanding this, the old become young again in
spirit, and the young look out on the world with a new joy.
The days are long and the path is wide: Go forward, then, with
far-seeing hope and trust, towards the Great Ultimate! "The Gods
AN EARTHLY PARADISE
By E.A. Gyllenberg
[From THE THEOSOPHICAL PATH, September 1923, pages 290-97, taken
from THE SAN DIEGO UNION, July 17, 1923, a translation of the
original article in SKANSKA AFTONBLADET, June 9, 1923, Sweden.]
Some Impressions of the Theosophical Headquarters at Point Loma
If you should take the auto drive from the heart of the city of
San Diego and go some eight miles around the bay called the
Silver Gate harbor (which by the way is one of the largest in all
the world, being some twenty-two square miles in extent), and
continue on the way through the winding canyon-roads up towards
the Theosophical Headquarters, and further on out to the point
itself, to the old lighthouse, then you will have traveled the
most picturesque drive in the whole of Southern California.
It was in the year 1900 that Madame Tingley moved the
headquarters of the original Theosophical Society out here to
Point Loma; and since that time, this place has been transformed
under her direction from a barren desert to a veritable Garden of
Eden. The view from almost any point on the grounds, situated as
they are some 400 feet above sea level, is unequalled. The
unlimited horizon of the Pacific Ocean, the ever-changing shadows
and lights on the hillsides, mountain-slopes, and canyons, with
San Diego Bay and the city, offer a wonderful variety of color
The now famous Point Loma Boulevard runs south past the
Theosophical University through the government reservation out to
the very end of the peninsula. Immediately after one has passed
the Federal Government wireless-station, the peninsula narrows.
From here one has a view of Coronado, a peninsula many miles in
length, which forms the southern boundary of the harbor of San
Diego towards the ocean, and on it is situated the famous Hotel
del Coronado, to which come thousands of tourists from the States
and from other parts of the world, on account of the wonderful
and healthy climatic conditions, especially during the months
from December to March, when the winter storms ravage the
Northern and Eastern States.
On the very end of Point Loma, there stands the old lighthouse,
which is no longer in use. The new lighthouse stands down by the
ocean, and on the harbor-side is the strongly fortified Fort
Rosecrans with its hidden guns defending the entrance to the bay.
Two magnificent portals form the entrance from the Point Loma
Boulevard to the International Theosophical Headquarters, one in
Roman architecture and the other in Egyptian. The main entrance
is through the Roman Gate. The avenue of magnificent palm-trees
on either side of the roadway leading up to the crest of the hill
is suggestive of dignity and majesty and repose -- the silent
guardians of the inner life of our Theosophical Center -- as the
Leader calls them. From the moment one passes through the gate,
one is conscious of being in a well-directed, efficiently
organized institution where everyone, beginning with the watchman
who opens the gate for you, and ending with the Leader herself,
is courteous, intelligent, and high-minded.
The symmetrical lines of the Roman gateway are somewhat softened
by the Boston Ivy, Ampelopsis tricuspidata, which covers it.
When I arrived in October, the leaves had fallen and there was
just the tracery of the vein on the gate; on leaving in the
middle of April, the gate was overgrown with a profusion of
shimmering green leaves. I afterwards learned that this vine,
which covers a large portion not only of the gateways, but of the
Temple of Peace and numerous other structures in Lomaland, was
grown from a cutting brought all the way from H.P. Blavatsky's
old headquarters at 19 Avenue Road, London.
I have often thought what a fine impression this approach to the
grounds must make on the many visitors who daily pass through the
gate to enjoy the scenery and to learn more of the activities of
Lomaland and the philosophy of Theosophy that lies behind them.
Even if I were not a member myself, I could not fail to marvel at
what has been done in twenty-three years in turning the large
acreage of the International Theosophical Headquarters from a
barren wilderness into a magnificent, semi-tropical garden! Then
when I realized that this had been done, for the most part, by
volunteer workers whose devotion and unselfish love had entered
into the planting and growing of every single tree and shrub, the
outward beauty was enhanced by an inner spirit of holiness.
One barely enters the gates before one is reminded of the
international spirit that pervades our great Center; for on
either side of the road -- under the palm-trees and beyond them,
stretches a beautiful garden of smaller shrubs and flowers, known
as 'the International Garden.' Here are blossoming flowers grown
from seed sent by members from all over the world. For years
this international garden was under the efficient care of Mrs.
Amy Lester Reineman -- known to most of our members for her many
years of devoted labor as directress of the Leader's educational
work in Cuba, and later as superintendant of the Juvenile Home
for little girls at the International Center.
At the top of the hill, one comes instantly upon a glorious view
of the Pacific, which can be seen for miles and miles in a huge
arc extending from the northwest to the southwest. Distant San
Clemente and Santa Catalina islands can often be seen in the
clear California sunlight.
Facing about one sees the beautiful Temple of Peace -- designed
and erected by Madame Tingley in 1900 as a memorial to her two
predecessors, H.P. Blavatsky and William Quan Judge. It is
entered by two heavy oak doors carved by Mr. Reginald Machell,
the English artist, formerly a Theosophical pupil of H.P.
Blavatsky's in London, and for many years an active and devoted
member of the International Headquarters Staff. Mr. Machell is
also responsible for the exquisite interior decorations of the
Temple of Peace -- which are in Egyptian design. With the soft
light from the great purple-glass dome, the interior is
suggestive of joy and beauty and light -- a strong contrast to
the gloomy interiors of so many places of worship.
The Temple of Peace is used for private meetings, when the Leader
conveys the inner teachings of Theosophy to members only. It is
also used as a temple of art and music where the students of the
Isis Conservatory receive their instructions. Programs of
classical music, for which the Raja-Yoga students have become
famous, are also given there on occasions of unusual dignity and
solemnity. Thus in every sense is it devoted to the Good, the
True, and the Beautiful.
To the east of the Temple is the Raja-Yoga Academy. Here on the
main floor are the classrooms for the boys and girls as well as
the great rotunda under the pale-green dome, where miscellaneous
public assemblies and musicales are held. The girls and young
ladies of the Raja-Yoga Academy have their dormitories on the
second and third floors.
The refreshing appearance of the young students at Point Loma,
the general work they do along many lines of intellectual and
other activities, and the very high moral standard that prevails
among them, bespeak a brighter future for the race. The
educational work at Point Loma alone is a challenge to all --
especially to the indifferent, to the careless, and to those who
should be active in the promulgation of the teachings of the
Wisdom-Religion in order to lift the sorrows of the world.
As to the success of the Raja-Yoga System and the high principles
underlying the same, so much has already been written and said
that I need only add that what I have observed with my own eyes
has satisfied me that Katherine Tingley's detractors should be
ashamed of themselves for trying to destroy the most beneficent
effort in behalf of right education that I know of in the world
today. We need more of Katherine Tingley and her Raja-Yoga
System in Sweden. There is an abundant literature on the subject
for the asking, obtainable by writing to the International
Theosophical Headquarters. No man with an honest purpose should
presume to criticize this work until he has made a thorough
investigation of the same. That I have done and I am more than
satisfied; I am enthusiastic.
The educational institution is divided into the Raja-Yoga School
proper, the Raja-Yoga College, and the University. Some thirty
professors and specialists in various subjects are in charge of
the instruction. No one of the officials or the members or the
teachers accepts any kind of salary or monetary remuneration;
they are all volunteer workers.
Walking south along the main road towards the Greek Theater, one
passes through the most beautiful gardens -- gardens everywhere.
Certainly the students and residents of Lomaland are blessed with
a wonderful environment. The humblest among them lives amidst
gardens that the richest people in the world might envy. And yet
at Point Loma all live very simply. There is no servant problem,
because nearly everyone does his own work in the homes -- the
younger people assisting the older, and the work is so divided
that the greatest economy of time, money, and energy is secured.
The departments are so organized that there need be no strain on
The preparation of all the food in the central kitchen, presided
over by Mrs. Iverson L. Harris Sr., reduces the individual
domestic duties to a minimum. The large vegetable garden under
the supervision of Mr. M.G. Gowsell, an expert of the U.S.
Forest Service, greatly reduces the expense of living -- which
economy is furthered by the products of the fine fruit-orchard,
under the supervision of two California fruit-growers of many
years' experience and much scientific knowledge of their subject
--- Mr. Abbott Clark and his brother, Mr. Orange Clark -- both
old members of the Universal Brotherhood and Theosophical
Society, and of many years' faithful service.
The first building to the left after leaving the Temple of Peace
is called the "Executive Building." Here is situated the
Purchasing and Supply Department, presided over by our Swedish
comrade, Mr. Axel Fick; also the office of the General Manager
of the Point Loma Homestead, which carries on the business
activities connected with the International Theosophical
Headquarters. The immediate work of this office is conducted by
Mr. J. Frank Knoche, under the Leader's personal supervision.
In this building are also located the offices of the Accounting
Department and of the New Century Corporation, whose business
activities are under the direction of Mr. Samuel Shepard of
In this building there is also a fully equipped up-to-date
telephone exchange, connecting all departments of the
Headquarters activities with several main lines to the central
office in San Diego. Beyond the Executive Building is the office
of Dr. N.B. Acheson, a skillful dentist, who looks after the
dental work of all the residents and students.
On the other side of the road is the office and residence of Dr.
L.F. Wood, the dean of the Medical Department at the
International Center. Dr. Wood's more than forty years of
practice and the remarkable record he has had in caring for the
health of all the resident members, especially of the students of
the Raja-Yoga School and College, make his department one of
Not a single case of influenza proved fatal among all the
resident students at Point Loma; while in San Diego, seven miles
away, the fatalities assumed alarming proportions. Of course
while much credit is due to the Medical Department for the
remarkable health of the students at Point Loma, credit is also
due to the climate, the environment, the temperate habits of the
residents, and the splendid cooperation of the refectory in
supplying just the right kind of fresh food, properly prepared
under the most sanitary conditions.
To the north there is a large well-equipped playground where the
students can spend many hours almost every day in the year, with
their tennis, baseball, football, basketball, and gymnasium
equipment. This too is conducive to good health.
Between the Temple of Peace and the playground, there is the
attractive villa occupied by Mrs. A.G. Spalding, the President
of the Woman's International Theosophical League, and for many
years Superintendent of the Children's Lotus Groups throughout
the world; also the residence of Mme. de Lange, widow of
Professor Daniel de Lange, whom many will remember through the
Peace Congress at Visingso in 1913. He was founder and director
of the Amsterdam Conservatory of Music in Holland, as well as one
of the foremost musical critics of Europe, until he resigned his
position in 1914 and took up his residence at Lomaland, where he
gave his services as Director of the Isis Conservatory up to the
time of his death in 1918. Beyond are the 'Guest House' and
other smaller bungalows occupied by devoted, loyal members. The
whole western side of the hill is also covered with little
On the eastern side of the main road, and opposite the refectory
and dining-rooms, is the Lomaland Department Store -- another
feature that adds greatly to the economic conduct of the
Theosophical activities at Point Loma.
Beyond the Lomaland Department Store are the boys' bungalows,
where the different groups of boys are segregated according to
age, conduct, and mutual fitness. Each group is under the
supervision of a teacher or older student, and all are under the
general direction of Mr. Walter Forbes -- a splendid
disciplinarian who is most enthusiastic over his work and always
eager to carry out the Leader's suggestions. It is Katherine
Tingley herself who decides in what group a student shall be
placed, and her knowledge of human nature and her experience in
the proper education and upbringing of the young folk are great
factors in the making of her Raja-Yoga School a "school of
prevention," that enables its students to avoid many of the
pitfalls that young people so often fall into.
Each group of students looks after its own home, the duties being
assigned by the one in charge. Habits of personal cleanliness
and a sense of individual responsibility are inculcated from
babyhood. There are no helpless, pampered children at Point
North of the boys' bungalows is the Juvenile Home for little
girls -- an endowed home for orphan children -- who certainly
live in an environment and receive a loving care that are an
inspiration and solace to the heart. They are not labeled with
'charity,' but have every opportunity to become well-educated,
accomplished, and helpful girls.
To the south of the boys' bungalows is the villa occupied by Mr.
and Mrs. E.A. Neresheimer, whose names are known and loved by
members of the Universal Brotherhood and Theosophical Society the
world over. It was Mr. Neresheimer who came to Mr. Judge's
assistance in New York with generous financial support, at a time
when there was no money in the treasury and Mr. Judge faced the
danger of not even being able to publish his monthly magazine,
THE PATH. Mr. Neresheimer has ever since that time remained a
loyal and devoted member; he is Chairman of the Leader's cabinet,
and director of the Point Loma Orchestra. Mrs. Neresheimer --
formerly Mrs. Emily Lemke of London -- came to Point Loma to
give her daughter the advantages of a Raja-Yoga education.
And this brings us naturally to the Leader's Headquarters, which
lies between the Neresheimer villa and the Greek Theater. But
just before reaching the Headquarters building, we come to
'Pioneer Cottage,' the first residence built at the International
Theosophical Headquarters; just now occupied by the three pioneer
members of the Aryan Theosophical Society of New York, and
members of the Leader's cabinet -- Mr. Clark Thurston, Mr. H.T.
Patterson, Mr. F.M. Pierce, and also by Mr. Reginald Machell,
It was in the Headquarters annex that Dr. Bogren and I had a
beautiful sunny room, overlooking a fine rose-garden. This room
had been occupied by Mr. Anders de Wahl during his visit to
Lomaland last summer.
Near the Headquarters is the office of the sub-editor of THE
THEOSOPHICAL PATH, Professor G. de Purucker, whom many in Sweden
will remember through his visit with the Leader to our country in
the fall of 1912.
The Leader's Headquarters itself is a beehive of activity. From
early morning until evening, there is an uninterrupted stream of
business going on, with her as the center of it all. The seven
telephones are in continuous use and the heads of various
departments are in constant consultation with her. This is
interspersed with numerous personal interviews. Several
secretaries are kept busy all the time carrying out her
instructions. And in the evening whenever there is no meeting or
concert, there is generally a gathering of the senior members of
her cabinet in her office. At many of these meetings, I was
privileged to be present, and I always rejoiced at the spirit of
harmony and devotion and enthusiasm manifest.
The main floor of the Leader's headquarters is a veritable
art-gallery and museum. There are beautiful paintings, some
brought from her former home in New York and some the mystical
works of Reginald Machell, the colorful landscapes of Maurice
Braun and Leonard Lester, and the flower-paintings of Edith White
-- all members of the Universal Brotherhood and Theosophical
Society and famous in their special lines of art. There are
hand-colored, illuminated albums -- the gifts of friends and
admirers from all over the world, besides rare collections from
Japan, China, India, and Egypt. Fine specimens of the handiwork
of the Lomaland Arts and Crafts Department and of individual
students are also in evidence.
There is always an atmosphere of refinement in the Leader's home,
and it is indeed a privilege to sit at table with her on some of
the numerous occasions when she entertains distinguished company.
As many observers have noted, the Leader's conversational powers
are unusual, and she is never more at ease than when hostess at
the table or entertaining a drawing-room full of sympathetic
As a European visitor I was also interested in examining the De
Westcotte coat-of-arms, which shows Madame Tingley's paternal
ancestors to have been among the leading pioneers of religious
freedom in America, as well as scions of distinguished families
in England and France.
Continuing our walk, we now come to the Greek Theater that is
built in the upper part of a canyon with the great ocean as
background. It is the first open-air Greek Theater in America
and was designed and built by Madame Tingley. When one sits on
any one of the lower rows, one can see through the open columns
out over the ocean, listen to the distant rolling of the waves,
and now and then get a glimpse of the white-capped breakers.
One does not need to make too great an effort of the imagination
to feel himself transported back to ancient Greece away from the
terrific rush and noise of modern America and back to the days of
old by the blue Aegean Sea. Tourists from all over the world,
who have been at every place worth seeing on the face of the
earth, declare emphatically that there is nothing in the world to
compare with this open-air theater in classical beauty and
perfection; it is unique, perfect.
Some ten minutes' walk further south, a number of buildings for
various purposes of the Society are situated, such as the office
for the distribution of literature and magazines, the printing
press, the bookbinding department, the Photo and Engraving
Department, the large Construction Department, including offices
for designing, and carpenter shops, stables as well as buildings
for agriculture, forestry, and horticulture. The whole property
of the institution comprises some 500 Swedish acres.
There are many other things of interest in Lomaland, but we will
have to save them for some other occasion. As a fitting
conclusion, I am going to quote from a recently published
pamphlet called A NOSEGAY OF YORICK'S' EDITORIALS, compiled by a
student at the Theosophical University in memory of Edwin H.
Clough, "America's great journalist and critic."
In the beginning of a review that this "the sanest critic in
America" wrote on the Leader's book THEOSOPHY: THE PATH OF THE
MYSTIC, he says the following:
> A PHILOSOPHY OF TRUTH IN BEAUTY
> When Madame Katherine Tingley waves her wand in Lomaland, things
> of beauty bloom in those groves and gardens, things worthwhile
> stand forth to greet the spectator in an environment where life
> wears a lovelier aspect than we will find along the broad highway
> of the outer world's sordid traffic. Perhaps some of you, in
> ignorance, I hope, will accuse me of exaggeration, or even
> adulation, in this personal estimate of what Katherine Tingley
> has accomplished over there on that sky line of our Ultima Thule.
> I assure you that I speak in honest verity, rather
> underestimating the truth than emphasizing it with fulsome
> hyperbole. Lomaland is a creation; the incarnation of a vision
> that once was only that in the consciousness of a woman whose
> love of the beautiful and knowledge of its essential elements was
> tempered by a practical purpose competent to carry an altruistic
> motive to successful achievement. The poet Keats defined beauty
> as truth, truth beauty, and declared 'that is all ye know on
> earth, and all ye need to know.' It is because I find beauty in
> the lives, the work, the aspirations, and the faces of those who
> dwell in Lomaland, that I know it is all good; that it is truth.
> I love sincerity; and I find it here; I love the generous spirit
> that believes in the ultimate regeneration of man out of the
> intrinsic worth of the best that abides in human nature; and that
> is the ruling spirit of Lomaland.
> Massed action is seldom unselfish, nor is it a wise or beneficent
> action until it is organized under a wise and beneficent
> leadership. There is little of humanity in humanity; but there
> is a vast resource of humanity in every individual. It is the
> individual that will leaven the lump -- when there are enough of
> him. I believe that Madame Tingley and the devoted teachers and
> pupils of Lomaland are doing their full part in the work of
> making men and women realize how by their individualism they can
> make the world better. I am sure that it would be a lovelier
> world if there were more men and women like those who live in
THEOSOPHY IN LIFE
By H.A. Fussell
[From THE THEOSOPHICAL PATH, November 1927, pages 426-33]
> He who would be a true Theosophist must bring himself to live as
> -- H.P. Blavatsky
> Think of Theosophy not so much as a body of philosophic or other
> teaching, but as the highest law of conduct, which is the enacted
> expression of divine love or compassion.
> -- Katherine Tingley
Of course, Theosophy is a philosophy, a philosophy of life, and
so it must not only be thought out, but lived. The mere
collection and systematizing of knowledge has value, but only as
means to an end, which is life, for life is more than thought and
feeling. Unless knowledge leads to action, it is barren.
> Even ignorance is better than Head-learning with no Soul-wisdom
> to illuminate and guide it.
> -- THE VOICE OF THE SILENCE
The supreme test of doctrine is life. Many men's lives are
better than the doctrines they profess; and the lives of all of
us fall far below our ideals. In the first case, the doctrines,
if followed to their logical conclusion, will not bear the test
of life, and that is their disproof. The man is better than his
belief; his Higher Self is active, and will ultimately lead him
to more correct views of life. In fact, mere affirmations of
belief are of little value; what we really believe is shown by
our conduct; religion is life, not dogma.
The second case is a clear illustration of the duality of human
nature and of the lack of harmony between knowledge and will.
The truth has been apprehended intellectually, perhaps
sufficiently vividly to stir the emotions, but it has not yet
become Heart-doctrine. The man is still too much under the
influence of that portion of his mind that is dependent on
sense-impressions, called in Theosophy lower Manas, and only if
he endeavor to "do His will," that is the will of the Divinity
within, will his Head-learning become Soul-wisdom.
Were man fully developed, there would be harmony between
Knowledge and Will; it would be impossible for him to know what
is right and good and not to will and do it. As it is, we are
very imperfect beings -- still in the making, -- and a large part
of our imperfection is due to one-sided development, and to the
antinomies that exist owing to the unequal functioning of our
various faculties, which is also the cause of more than one half
of the evils in society and in the world today.
Our material and intellectual development has outrun our
spiritual development, with the result that we have more
knowledge and power than we know how to use rightly. So much is
this the case that thoughtful people, the world over, are asking
themselves what is to become of civilization if science continues
to put new and ever more deadly means of destruction in the hands
of men dominated by personal ambition and national
aggrandizement. There is enormous intellectual activity, great
technical knowledge and skill adding much to the comfort and
conveniences of life, and withal a feeling of pride and
self-satisfaction, but no corresponding increase of spirituality.
What mankind is in need of is spiritual awakening that will make
men realize that they are responsible for their acts and their
creations, and will enable them to face courageously and
hopefully the real issues of life, and see clearly what our
much-vaunted progress really amounts to and whether we are not
paying too dearly for it.
In the divine ordering of the world, the needs of humanity are
always provided for. So in 1875, in the last quarter of the last
century, when the wave of materialism and intellectualism was at
its height and the power of dogmatic religion declining, Helena
Petrovna Blavatsky brought to light the long-forgotten truths of
Theosophy, the ancient Wisdom-Religion, which give new hope to
mankind. The task she set herself was to establish on a firm
basis the teaching and practice of Universal Brotherhood, and
remove the obstacles to a fuller and more complete manifestation
of man's Higher Nature, which is Divine and has power to create
all things anew, more in conformity with the Divine purposes.
In spite of the present chaotic condition of the world and the
conflict of material interests, which was never more acute, men's
minds are more open to the great truths of the essential Divinity
of Man and of Universal Brotherhood than at any time previously.
In almost every country, sincere efforts are being made to make
of the fact of human solidarity, which has of late forced itself
on the general consciousness, a moral principle.
Discussing the problem of Disarmament in the British QUARTERLY
REVIEW for July 1927, Luigi Villari spoke of the need for
disarmament of spirit." More than one eminent diplomat, who must
perforce consider the material interests of the country he
represents as paramount, has voiced the sentiment, very prevalent
at the present time, that what is most needed to promote real
peace between the nations of the world is "a change of heart."
In truth, disarmament will come about of itself and wars will
cease, when nations learn to esteem and trust one another. But
in order to be able to do so, they must first acknowledge a
common ideal -- the ideal of Universal Brotherhood based on the
Divinity of Man, and that is to be found in Theosophy alone.
All economic, social, and international problems are essentially
moral problems, and they will never be solved satisfactorily
until they are viewed from a spiritual standpoint. And so the
original Theosophical Society, though it abstains on principle
from having anything to do with politics, has never ceased, since
its inception in 1875, under the guidance of its three successive
Leaders, H.P. Blavatsky, William Q. Judge, and Katherine
Tingley, to present Universal Brotherhood as a perfectly
practical ideal at the present time, and to endeavor to bring
about such a change of the heart and mind of the race as shall
make its realization possible.
It is individual effort that counts. History shows us that every
advance made by humanity as a whole has been due to the heroic,
unselfish efforts of a numerically insignificant group of
individuals, penetrated with the sense of the perfectibility of
human nature, and who were true to the grander vision it had been
given them to see. Every endeavor to realize a general moral
advance of human society, though it may fail for the time being,
makes ultimate success more certain. Our wills are strengthened
thereby, and something is accomplished that will render ultimate
success possible. "Averse neither to those works that fail nor
to those that succeed," we renew the emprise. The result is not
in our power; the Higher Law will attend to that; we have simply
to do our present duty, and bear in mind what Katherine Tingley
says, namely that --
> We cannot bring great ideals into concrete expression until we
> are the living expression of those ideals. We cannot set right
> the affairs of the world in a way that shall build spiritually
> for the future, until our lives are based absolutely right. The
> nations are wandering today, and their statesmen admit as much,
> but no one can help them in a lasting way whose own little nation
> -- the individual life -- is not spiritually what it should be.
> -- Katherine Tingley, THEOSOPHY: THE PATH OF THE MYSTIC, page 68
From Theosophy comes the greatest inspiration a man can have to
live nobly, courageously, and unselfishly. Every time we try to
realize the Divinity within, every service we render to humanity,
every duty we perform disinterestedly and whole-heartedly, we
permit the ONE LIFE that pulsates through all things, to mold us
nearer to perfection. The best kind of influence we can exert is
to endeavor to be what we desire others to become. No life is
isolated; indissoluble ties unite us to our fellows, for they and
we are integral parts of the One Universal Life, which is in all
without distinction and makes of all one harmonious whole.
Theosophy teaches us that the good of one is the good of all, and
contrariwise, that we cannot fail in any duty without implicating
others. It also teaches us that we cannot attain to perfection
unless we help others to do so too; that the greatest joy known
in life is to give life; that all the moral and spiritual
progress made by humanity is due to the fact that more advanced
souls -- even those who have obtained final liberation and do not
need to incarnate anymore, for they have learnt all that
terrestrial life can teach, -- sacrifice themselves for their
weaker brethren. Plato makes it the duty of his philosophers to
be kings, that is leaders and molders of men.
The Buddha refused to enter Nirvana so long as there were still
souls to save. And H.P. Blavatsky, in her notes to THE VOICE OF
THE SILENCE, tells us that the "Pratyeka-Buddhas, caring nothing
for the woes of mankind, but only for their own bliss, enter
Nirvana and -- disappear from the sight and hearts of men." No
wonder that in Mahayana Buddhism they are regarded as supreme
types of spiritual selfishness. But the Buddhas of Compassion,
remaining unselfish to the end, refuse to cross to the other
shore so that they may continue -- though invisible to ordinary
mortals -- the task to which they have dedicated themselves: the
salvation of suffering humanity.
True religion has nothing individualistic about it. It does not
lead a man to flee from life, to indulge in mystical reverie, or
be in any way wrapped up in himself. On the contrary, it takes a
man out of himself into the wider life of service for others,
into the realms of reality and worthwhile adventure. Salvation
is no one's private property, to be won and enjoyed for oneself
alone. We cannot monopolize truth and goodness, which must be
shared to be possessed. Shakespeare, who was a true seer, tells
us that --
> Heaven doth with us as we with torches do:
> Not light them for themselves; for if our virtues
> Did not go forth of us, 'twere all alike
> As if we had them not.
Theosophy shows the interaction that exists between the outward
and the inward. Unused faculties atrophy. But whether we are
listless or strenuous, we cannot avoid influencing others. Our
attitude towards life, the use or misuse we make of life, either
depress or raise all with whom we come in contact. Our duty,
then, is to be true to the highest and best in us; to turn to
good account the talents we possess, be they few or many: to
cultivate character, strength of will, and tranquility of mind.
For in so doing, we cooperate with the Divine Purpose in
evolution, which is the progressive spiritualizing of all things.
In life nothing is lost. We have forgotten the greater number of
the good or evil acts we have done in this life, and we know
nothing of those we have done in former lives. But every act --
every thought and desire even -- have left their impress upon our
character, have contributed to make us what we are. That we
forget our past lives is, therefore, no valid argument against
Reincarnation. "Well for me," exclaims Lessing, in his EDUCATION
OF THE HUMAN RACE, "that I do forget! The recollection of my
former condition would permit me to make only a bad use of the
If we hold fast to the belief that we can, here and now, make our
lives ideal, we need not fear the future. The ideal world in
which we desire to live is this world transformed and perfected,
and it is we on who devolves the task to do it. You say that is
not easily done. True; life is not easy; if it were, it would
not be a school of heroism and achievement. But who really
desires an easy life? "To attain! Man is born into this world to
attain," says Katherine Tingley, "but to do so he must surmount
conditions, break through all limitations, and persevere in
effort until he reaches that spiritual perfection that is the
Theosophical ideal." And H.P. Blavatsky reminds us that
"perfection is rooted in imperfection."
Theosophy offers no nostrums, no palliatives, no ready-made
heaven where, after death, all will be right that is wrong here.
Karma reigns supreme; we reap our past and sow our future. To
many the application of Theosophy to life has meant the
refashioning of practically their whole nature, the abandonment
of much that they had learned to cherish as a part of themselves.
For most men, as they go through life, not only form wrong
conceptions, but develop useless and even objectionable qualities
and habits, which hinder true progress and are harmful to
themselves and others.
It has been said that "true and complete self-knowledge is the
privilege of the strongest alone." It requires much courage to be
absolutely honest with oneself. Self-analysis, if it be
thorough, reveals so many unpleasant and even terrifying things
that we are apt to turn away from the picture in disgust. We
would fain not have to acknowledge that we have been guilty of
such silly self-indulgence, been so faint-hearted, mean-spirited,
and cowardly. It is true that we have had our good moments, done
unselfish actions, and sincerely sought the good of those we
love. But the fact remains that we are divided against
ourselves, and that it behooves us to put an end to this duality.
Penetrating deeper into the recesses of our inmost nature, we
find that the core of our being is still intact. Divinity is
there, and we gain power to make the endeavor, for we realize
that the principles of morality are in harmony with our essential
nature as divine-human beings, and that the source whence we draw
all our life is Unfailing, Compassionate, and Just. We
recognize, too, that so long as our wills are in opposition to
the Divine Will, we must continue to suffer from the deep inner
discord that is gnawing at our heart.
True happiness, inward peace, and joy consist in the free
determination to carry out the designs of the Universal Will, and
the only way to know these designs is through self-knowledge,
for, as has just been said, our inmost nature and the principles
that govern the universe are identical. Our task, then, is to
realize this pre-established harmony, and we can only do so by
following the counsel of the medieval alchemists to transmute the
baser elements of our dual nature into the pure gold of the
In so doing, we shall have to give up much and to discard much;
but Theosophy teaches us that self-renunciation is the way of
self-realization. The higher nature is ever seeking to manifest
in and through the lower, but the latter must first be made
actively responsive to its promptings. The seinsollender Mensch
-- to use the expressive German term, "the man that is to be,"
must be our own creation. What a great responsibility, but also
what a glorious prospect!
> Effort and expectation and desire
> And something ever more about to be.
> -- Wordsworth
> Dare to be yourself -- your greater Self! Dare to leap forward,
> and be something you never before knew it was in you to be!
> -- Katherine Tingley
Others have attained; and so may we. There are advanced Souls,
men and women who have reached a far greater degree of perfection
than we have; and they have attained this perfection by the
exercise of the same powers of thought and will and devotion,
which are not yet fully developed in us. Their essence is
Compassion, and William Q. Judge tells us that they aid our
development in ways unknown to us. Their desire is to raise us
up to the same standard of perfection as themselves, in order
that together they and we may attempt fresh conquests of reality
and so fulfill our destiny as Spirit-Souls, which is to grow ever
more like the Divine Source whence we originated. The "endlessly
manifesting universes," of which H.P. Blavatsky speaks in THE
SECRET DOCTRINE, will afford us infinite possibilities of
But what about Death? Is not death the negation of life? By no
means. The Theosophist considers death as an essential element
of life, for it provides the conditions necessary to a complete
realization of life's possibilities. What is imperfect must be
transcended, must die, in order to make room for what is more
perfect. As H.P. Blavatsky says: "The three powers, the
creating, the preserving, and the destroying, are only so many
aspects of the divine spark in man."
Everything in the manifested universe is in the process of
becoming. Physically speaking, some infinitesimal part of us
dies every moment, and psychologically speaking, we are always
discarding inadequate and erroneous conceptions. What men call
death is only a more rapid and acute form of what is going on in
us all the time. It is Nature's way of granting us more life and
Besides, one earth-life is such a small portion of the soul's
existence that, considered by itself, it has no meaning. It can
only be understood as one of the innumerable episodes necessary
to the full development of soul-life. For the soul needs the
varied experience it acquires in its different earth-lives; and
it is only on this earth, "the land of works," that the negative
goodness it possesses can become positive goodness. Goodness,
according to H.P. Blavatsky, must be consciously chosen and
willed, and that is only possible in the face of its opposite,
evil. "Light and Darkness are the world's eternal ways."
Moreover, Reincarnation gives us the opportunity to renew our
youth and to live in Eternity's sunrise. In each new earth-life,
we take up unfinished tasks with renewed vigor, with the
inspiration and enthusiasm that is the special province of youth;
we apply ourselves to remedy old defects and to acquire new
virtues and powers. Moreover, we need the rest that the merciful
Law provides for us during the Devachanic period between
successive reincarnations, before facing life's problems again,
which else might prove too heavy a burden to be borne.
It is to no impoverished and joyless life that Theosophy invites
us, but a rich, full life, in which not only our deepest
religious instincts, but also our artistic, scientific, and
philosophic faculties are satisfied. The Neo-Platonists
conceived of goodness, wisdom, and beauty as attributes of
reality and that they are comprehended in the ONE. It is
inconceivable that we, who by virtue of our essential divinity
have access to the inexhaustible Fountain of all Being, should
not share -- in varying degree -- in the divine attributes.
In this connection, I should like to quote from a Chinese
philosopher, who was also a man of affairs and a statesman --
Wang Yang-Ming, 1472-1529 A.D. He is profoundly Theosophical,
and his teaching has been not inaptly described as the philosophy
of insight into one's own nature. He says:
> Joy and delight are natural to the mind. . . . Even in the
> midst of sorrow, affliction, confusion, and self-abandonment,
> this joy is harbored in the heart. . . . As soon as our
> thoughts have been cleared, so that we are sincere, this joy is
> at once apparent. Sincerity makes the intuitive faculty bright
> as a clear mirror. . . . The development of the mind is
> naturally harmonious, and there is nothing with reference to it
> that does not manifest joy and delight. The Buddhists say, the
> passions have no place of abode, but are begotten in the mind.
> The important thing is watchfulness over one's self alone.
It sounds like an echo of the SAMAVEDA, kanda 22: "Without joy
there is no creation; only he who feels joy can create." And no
wonder, for the Chinese are an ancient race and have preserved
much of the primeval Wisdom-Religion, which was once universal.
The light and heat of the sun may breed malaria-germs in a
pestilential marsh, just as they produce, under the right
conditions, all the splendor and beauty we see around us. So
life is, in a very profound sense, what we ourselves make it. It
is from us that it receives color and quality and value.
We have touched but the fringe of a great subject. We trust,
however, that enough has been said to show that to see, even a
little way, into the truth of things, to apprehend Reality, even
in a small degree, is both admonitory and stimulating. It
prevents us from becoming one-sided, morbid, and listless. It
makes us gird up our loins and resolve to quit ourselves like
men, endowed with power to recreate ourselves and the world. We
know now that to live for self is to limit our horizon and to
lose all opportunity of growth, and that true happiness is only
to be found in the love and service of others. Selfishness,
whatever form it may take, is failure to accomplish the Universal
Will that gives meaning to evolution. As Krishna says:
> He who seeth the Supreme Being existing alike imperishable in all
> perishable things, sees indeed. Perceiving the same Lord present
> in everything and everywhere, he does not by the lower self
> destroy his own soul, but goeth to the supreme end.
> -- THE BHAGAVAD-GITA, xiii, 27-28
Devotion to the good of all creatures opens up within us a
fountain of perennial life. But we must continue to share the
life that wells there from, if we would have joy of it. For life
is joy. Pessimism, either in regard to us or the universe, is
the denial of our birthright as sons of Divinity. And the only
way to preserve an optimistic attitude amid the perplexities and
trials of terrestrial existence is to practice Theosophy in Life,
with sincerity; for the principles of Theosophy are of universal
application, and he who practices them knows how to act in any
and every circumstance in which he will find himself.
Dedicated to the Theosophical Philosophy and its Practical Application