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THEOSOPHY WORLD ------------------------------------ February, 2008

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

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"The Great Invisible," by B.P. Wadia
"The True Basis of Brotherhood," by H.T. Edge
"The Inner Constitution of Man," by W.Q. Judge
"The Masters and the Theosophical Work of Our Days," 
    by A. Trevor Barker
"True Asceticism," by Anonymous
"The Complex Nature of Man," by Herbert Coryn
The Path of the Inner Life," by Sramanera Sangharakshita


> (1) An adept -- the highest as the lowest -- is one ONLY DURING
> (2) Whenever these powers are needed, the sovereign will unlocks
> the door to the INNER man (the adept,) who can emerge and act
> freely but on condition that his jailor -- the OUTER man -- will 
> be either completely or partially paralyzed as the case may
> require; VIZ.: either (A) mentally and physically; (B) mentally,
> -- but not physically; (C) physically but not entirely mentally;
> (D) neither, -- but with an akasic film interposed between the
> OUTER and the INNER man.
>    page 176.


By B.P. Wadia

[From THE BUILDING OF THE HOME, pages 17-22.]

> The sons of Bhumi (Earth) regard the Sons of Deva-lokas
> (angel-spheres) as their gods; and the Sons of lower kingdoms
> look up to the men of Bhumi, as to their Devas (gods); men
> remaining unaware of it in their blindness . . . They (men)
> tremble before them while using them (for magical purposes).

In the building of his home, the Theosophical student has an
advantage over the ordinary man because of the knowledge at his
disposal. His responsibility is correspondingly heavy, for if he
neglects to utilize the doctrines of the Great Wisdom, his own
personal career as a student will not be a successful one. Even
theoretical knowledge deteriorates in quality and diminishes in
quantity and the topsy-turvy understanding of the teachings
increases in proportion as he neglects the application of the
Occult Science.

Fortunate is the student who has the opportunity to create, by
right endeavor at application, a Theosophical home. Many among
us can use our creative ability only in a very restricted sphere,
for the home in which we live is not ours to construct, and our
Karmic opportunity is restricted to cooperation with others, and
with the heads of the family. Still we can create our own
personal atmosphere, charging our surroundings with the sweet
fragrance of Theosophy. But if, under Karma, we have the final
say in making the plan and in carrying out our own Home-Building,
then we are more fortunate in our opportunities.

An ordinary teacher of a high school can do great good, but its
owner, the headmaster, has extraordinary scope not only for
improving the lot of all the pupils, but even for shaping the
educational policy itself of the State in which it is located.
Many a Theosophical student having but a very restricted say in
the building of the home to which he belongs is like the teacher,
but there are those who are in the position of the headmaster and
many more can become like him. They are fortune's favored
Grihasthas, with almost illimitable scope for theosophizing their
city and their country.

Now, what particular doctrines of Theosophy are of special value
to the Home-Builder? Putting aside those which are necessary for
the improvement of his own character, for the control of his
wandering mind, for becoming the better able to help and teach
others, and so on, we must confine ourselves to certain specific
teachings which are more directly applicable. The first of these
to be considered is the truth about the existence of the
Invisible, its spiritual rulers, and its psychic denizens.
Theosophy describes the Universe as a plenum and teaches that the
hierarchies of beings are processioning therein, advancing from
stage to stage through involution and evolution. Says THE SECRET
DOCTRINE (I, 274-5):

> The Universe is worked and GUIDED from WITHIN OUTWARDS. As above
> so it is below, as in heaven so on earth; and man -- the
> microcosm and miniature copy of the macrocosm -- is the living
> witness to this Universal Law and to the mode of its action. We
> see that every EXTERNAL motion, act, gesture, whether voluntary
> or mechanical, organic or mental, is produced and preceded by
> INTERNAL feeling or emotion, will or volition, and thought or
> mind. As no outward motion or change, when normal, in man's
> external body can take place unless provoked by an inward
> impulse, given through one of the three functions named, so with
> the external or manifested Universe. The whole Kosmos is guided,
> controlled, and animated by almost endless series of Hierarchies
> of sentient Beings, each having a mission to perform, and who --
> whether we give to them one name or another, and call them
> Dhyan-Chohans or Angels -- are "messengers" in the sense only
> that they are the agents of Karmic and Cosmic Laws. They vary
> infinitely in their respective degrees of consciousness and
> intelligence; and to call them all pure Spirits without any of
> the earthly alloy "which time is wont to prey upon" is only to
> indulge in poetical fancy. For each of these Beings either WAS,
> or prepares to become, a man, if not in the present, then in a
> past or a coming cycle (Manvantara). They are PERFECTED, when
> not INCIPIENT, men.

The human kingdom is but one hierarchy. Humanity on earth is
surrounded by minerals, vegetables, and animals, and like man
himself, these have their respective invisible counterparts; but
these form only one part of the vast invisible. There are other
constituents. Nature is septenary: "the spiritual or divine; the
psychic or semi-divine; the intellectual; the passional; the
instinctual, or COGNITIONAL; the semi-corporeal, and the purely
material and physical natures." Just as our own mind is nearer to
our own body than is the body of another, so also some of these
invisible intelligences are nearer neighbors than our friends
living in our street. We have cosmic neighbors, and we owe to
these proper recognition and duties, just as we have and should
assume civic and national responsibility.

When the Grihastha, the Home-Builder, and his Patni, the
Housewife (this latter term deserves to be invested with its
ancient dignity, which it has lost in these degenerate days) try
to rear the family without any consideration of the power which
the invisible exerts on the visible, they fall prey to illusion.
Maya, the illusioning power of Nature, comes into play when, for
example, the earner of the family bread thinks not of the
invisible -- both psychic and spiritual -- aspect of money, the
maleficent and beneficent currents which give the coin its
rolling capacity; or again, when Maya envelopes the woman who
fails to differentiate between mere physical cleanliness and
magnetic purity.

Why is cleanliness said to be next to godliness? A spotlessly
clean cook who sulks and grumbles and is irritable is not next to
God -- he is not really clean; though in our civilization he is
taken to be so -- an example of Maya. Obviously the reverse is
also true; it is Maya to think that it matters not if the cook or
a clerk is not clean provided that the one is good-natured, and
the other is honest. Maya or Illusion results whenever the
spiritual is divested of the material and vice versa. The dirty
sannyasi is NOT a sannyasi; nor does the cowl make a monk. In
India the spiritual aspect has been so distorted that people
under-value the matter-side -- the form within which the Spirit
dwells and through which it has to function.

In the Occident no knowledge of "another world" exists; in India
useful knowledge about trilokas, the three worlds, is forgotten.
Therefore have religious rites and ceremonies become worse than
useless -- possible sources of psychic infection. The
Theosophical student must avoid the two pitfalls and remember
that body without soul is a corpse and that many a soul without a
body is a bhut. The greatest of sannyasis or renouncers -- the
Nirmanakayas -- have each a body, though it is not of flesh and
blood; without His kaya, the renouncer could not bring about the
Great Renunciation. It is most necessary, then, for the
Theosophical practitioner to grasp the application of the
doctrine of Maya in the task of Home-Building and to repeat with
Robert Browning:

> Let us not always say
> "Spite of this flesh today
> I strove, made head, gained ground upon the whole!"
> As the bird wings and sings,
> Let us cry, "All good things
> Are ours, nor soul helps flesh more, now, than flesh
> helps soul."

So the Grihastha who aspires to practice Theosophical doctrines
must acquire sufficient knowledge about the invisible. In doing
so, he will have to be extra careful to avoid using what are
called religious texts or shastraic injunctions. One of the most
potent sources from which corruption has set in in every religion
is its code of rites and ceremonies. Withdrawals and
interpolations have taken place; the priest who was once a
holy-living magician has (as a class) become an exploiting
ignoramus today, whose vibhutis or excellences are greed,
cunning, and sensuality!

The Theosophical student, therefore, should not seek guidance
about the invisible in old religious books and shastraic texts.
Especially in India is there a grave danger to him from
traditional religious bias. He will do well to confine himself
to strictly theosophical texts and seek guidance therein. There
is in Theosophical books all the knowledge he will need -- and
more. Once he has grounded himself in Theosophical knowledge, he
may be able to perceive the inwardness of whatever truth there
may be in the allegorical statements and descriptions of symbolic
rites of old religious tomes. To utilize the wholesome ethical
injunctions in old religions is one thing; to use their
fragmentary instructions for the performance of rites and
ceremonies is another -- always useless and sometimes dangerous.

With this note of warning we must add that no Theosophical
student need feel nervous about studying, with a view to
application, the teachings of the Esoteric Philosophy about the
Invisible. Lack of such study is very often responsible for
errors of judgment in dealing with numerous questions of
day-to-day living -- e.g., diseases and their remedies. Modern
science knows not the Invisible, and to build the Home on the
foundations of the materialism of that science would be a blunder
of the first magnitude. This does not, however, mean that the
Theosophical student cannot and should not make adequate use of
well-established facts of modern knowledge.

We are not beings of mere matter, living on an earth isolated in

> Millions of things and beings are, in point of localization,
> around and IN us, as we are around, with, and in them; it is no
> metaphysical figure of speech, but a sober fact in Nature,
> however incomprehensible to our senses.
> They (the Stanzas of Dzyan) teach belief in conscious Powers and
> Spiritual Entities; in terrestrial, semi-intelligent, and highly
> intellectual Forces on other planes; and in Beings that dwell
> around us in spheres imperceptible, whether through telescope or
> microscope.
> Although as invisible as if they were millions of miles beyond
> our solar system, they are yet with us, near us, WITHIN our own
> world, as objective and material to their respective inhabitants
> as ours is to us.

This being so, how illogical for a Theosophical student to build
his home without paying due attention to the Great Invisible!


By H. T. Edge

[From THE THEOSOPHICAL PATH, April 1918, pages 325-30.]

A certain writer, in discussing the meaning of the phrase, 'The
State,' contrasts the theories of Rousseau and Plato, and
consequently of the two schools of thought which they represent.
Avoiding lengthy detail, we may sum up the matter by saying that
the former starts from the assumption that the individual is a
separate unit; and then, having made this false assumption,
proceeds to devise means for the harmonious mutual adjustment of
the lives of various individuals; and so the State appears as an
artificial contrivance for preventing the (supposed) rights of
different individuals from conflicting with each other.

Between the State and the individual a contract is supposed to
exist, by which the individual agrees to modify or surrender some
of his rights, in return for the protection which the State
affords him from the encroachment of other people's rights. On
the contrary, the Platonic idea was that the individual is not
really separate at all; hence, so far from needing an artificial
contrivance to insure harmonious cooperation, he tends naturally
to form associations, because thus only can he realize the
purport of his life. Not being a separate unit, he cannot live
alone; and the State now appears as the natural and logical
outcome of man's instincts and requirements.

That the individual is not a separate unit in the sense required
by the former theory, can be argued either by studying the nature
of the individual, or by examining the consequences which ensue
upon the acceptance of that theory as a starting-point. This
view of the State represents it as necessarily repressive,
however much we may palliate that circumstance by calling it the
result of a contract. It gives perpetual recognition to
individualism; the forces in operation in the community are
opposed to one another in a position of unstable equilibrium; and
as the writer we are citing points out, there is nothing in the
theory to prevent an individual (or group of individuals) from
doing exactly what he pleases, so long only as he can manage to
do so without violating the terms of the contract. In short, the
balance rests upon might rather than right.

But in the second theory the State is represented as the
fulfillment of the individual's needs, and is therefore not
repressive but expressive. But the best part of this view is
that it allows for the indefinite development of the individual
along right lines. For the inference is that, the more highly
developed he becomes, the greater will be his need for union, and
therefore the more perfect will be the form of the State that
arises out of that need. In this way it is supposed that the
bounds of family, clan, tribe, city-state, kingdom, and empire
are successively outgrown, as man the individual develops; until
at last the limits of nationality become merged in a union of all
mankind. If this be so, the plans for a FORCIBLE union of
nations are wrongly conceived. There should be no need for
force; nor if it were needed could it ever be successfully

The second of the two theories above mentioned -- that assigned
to Plato -- is the one on which Theosophy bases its teaching of
brotherhood. Men are not separate units to be brought together
and made amicable by artificial inducements or restraints; they
are actually united, and need only learn to realize this fact.
Brotherhood is not a pooling of separate interests; it is the
recognition of a common interest. To achieve brotherhood is to
open our eyes and look at something that actually exists; not to
try to create something which does not exist. Unbrotherliness is
a failure to see our unity and to mold our acts in accordance
therewith; it is the giving of undue prominence to such desires
as are merely personal, and the devising of policies of conduct
and theories of the State based on personal desires. For it is
of course true that men are separate in some respects: they have
separate bodies, and a part of the mind attaches itself to these
bodies and becomes involved in their interests.

Man is dual; he is a God grafted on an animal stock. The lower
part of his nature, where the stem enters the ground, is apt to
send out shoots of the old stock. Yet a tree is fed not only by
earth and water from below, but also by air and sunlight from
above. The achievement of brotherhood, then, is a learning to
live in the higher part of our nature. The writer quoted
believes that international unity is the natural logical sequel
of man's needs; and this idea Theosophy emphasizes, adding the
light of its luminous teachings.

If people are asking themselves the practical question, "What
shat we do." a large part of the answer may be given by saying,
"First turn your eyes in the right direction." If this idea of
the nature of brotherhood, this better idea of the nature of the
State and of the relation of the individual thereto, can gain
ground; if thereby it can replace unworthy ideas,
individualistic, animalistic; much will have been gained;
humanity will begin to move in the direction its eyes are fixed

As for one's individual conduct -- what is it but to strive more
earnestly than before to realize one's place as a member of the
human family (or, better, of the family of all that lives); to
set aside personal aims as of small value; to transfer one's
hopes and happiness from these personal aims to larger
aspirations; to try to make duty govern one's feelings, instead
of defining duty BY one's feelings? Not that it is necessary for
everybody to blossom forth into a social reformer; the principle
can and should be applied in what are perhaps considered small
affairs. A man may marry a woman because he loves her; he may
also love her because he has married her. We can find out what
is our duty, and then throw our whole enthusiasm into it; in
which case we are director of our emotions instead of being lured
by them.

In weighing the respective merits of the various kinds of
government, one feels disposed, in the light of the above
considerations, to distinguish all corporate unions into the
natural and the artificial, rather than into the hackneyed types
of democracy, oligarchy, and autocracy.

Artificial governments would thus be defined as those which aim
to bring about by constraint and devices a unity which does not
actually exist among the elements to be governed; and such
governments are unstable, whichever of the forms they may be
classed under.

The natural or spontaneous governments, of which we have abundant
examples in history and contemporary annals, arise out of some
urgent common need and are voluntary; they assume whatever form
of organization is found best suited to the exigencies of the
occasion. Unity of control is usually found to be a requisite
condition; but this is not based on force, precedent, or
heredity, but on trust and confidence. It may be said that the
spontaneous unions recorded in our annals are not usually based
on very exalted motives; and this is true.

The history of Greece provides us with a story of one little
state after another coming to the supremacy by means of a civic
unity based upon opposition to the other little states; and often
we find two unfriendly powers drawn together by their common
jealousy of a third. The several lower estates of the people
unite in a revolution to overthrow the higher power which they
deem their common enemy. All classes in a nation are united.
Sectional jealousies are laid aside, but merely in the interests
of the national side in a destructive war. All the same, the
principle is good, though its application in these cases may
leave cause for regret; and we must endeavor to give it its right

It has often been pointed out that mankind has been drawn
together naturally by its own development in material resources.
In other words, commerce and science have become
internationalized. Thus the beneficent law of human evolution
works ever onwards towards its goal, even when its path leads
through the slime of earth; just as a selfish man may find higher
responsibilities forced upon him when his natural desires have
conducted him into the position of father of a family. We find
that our individual requirements have waxed so great that we can
no longer live without one another. We must have sugar from
here, rubber from there. Our brother will send us his cotton,
and we will return it made up. If we are interested in music, it
would be a pity to docket it with national names and choose our
repertoire by national prejudices. The expansion of my own mind
demands that I shall study Indian philosophy and Chinese

Speculation about international unity has usually confined itself
to economical considerations. But man is ESSENTIALLY a spiritual
being. His higher faculties are not a mere efflorescence of his
lower nature; they are attributes of the divinity in him. Again,
it is not a question of creating a spiritual unity, but of
recognizing one that already exists. It is this spiritual unity
that is the true basis of solidarity; and solidarity will arise
spontaneously in proportion as individual men recognize their
spiritual nature and cultivate their spiritual needs. Man has to
OUTGROW his limitations. Those who hunger to live more truly,
more earnestly, but do not see a way, will find it in Theosophy;
for Theosophy does not impose upon man anything artificial, but
points to realities and interprets life as it is.

Life as it IS, -- contrasted with life as it is supposed to be.
The latter is a conglomeration of wrong theories, the chief of
which is that theory which persists in regarding all wholes as
nothing more than fortuitous aggregations of separate units. We
have just been considering this theory in its application to
social science, and it is familiar enough in the natural

Theosophy proposes to regard wholes as the essential existences,
and the parts into which they may be separated as being of
altogether minor importance. A brick gains its importance from
its being part of a house; a house is not a mere agglomeration of
bricks. It is the same way with man. We have been suffering
from economic theories based on the false assumption that, if the
desires of the individuals are consulted and given rein, the
welfare of the community will necessarily ensue by the working of
some mysterious law. This law, we are now being told, is not
true. The welfare of the community is paramount and the welfare
of the individual conditional thereupon. This likewise applies
in an international sense. Another capital error was the
regarding of a single earth-life as the whole of a man's
existence and the consequent attempt to adjust ideals and
policies to that theory. But in view of reincarnation, things
wear a totally different aspect. It is such ideas as these --
which, as said, are not new, but are revivals of ancient
knowledge -- that give Theosophy a power where other resources

It may be argued that progress is due to the assertion of
individuality, and that uniformity can be secured only by the
suppression of individuality, and therefore at the expense of
progress. But we are not proposing to level men DOWN by a
process of pruning that would reduce them all to stumps; it is to
level them UP that we aim.

Curious inquirers may have expected to find that the resident
workers at the International Theosophical Headquarters would be
of the colorless and uniform kind that is wont to be found in
communities organized by pressure from above rather than by
innate strength. And these inquirers may have been surprised to
find that such is not the case at Point Loma; but that, on the
contrary, union and harmony have been secured without the
suppression of individual character and initiative.

The explanation however is simple; the concrete result thus
attained merely follows the abstract principle. The people are
cooperating voluntarily in the working-out of a common purpose;
and so, instead of shrinking into a mold, they are expanding
symmetrically in accordance with natural laws recognized by all.
Mutual adaptation is of course necessary, but this does not mean
suppression or enforced conformity to dogmas and artificial
rules. Those who adhere to their original purpose, which caused
them to become workers for Theosophy, find ample room for the
expansion of their nature; and if anyone finds himself cramped,
it is because he has fallen away from that purpose and no longer
finds himself willing to pursue it.

The same thing is observable in the Raja-Yoga College and School,
where the pupils show marked individual differences of character,
and not that monotonous likeness that is so apt to be produced
among children in institutions. This proves that Theosophy does
not suppress individuality but merely directs its growth and thus
preserves it from running to excrescences on the one hand or from
yielding to some conventional mold on the other hand.

Presumably it would be the same in the world at large. Common
notions of individuality and personality are of course much
confused and often topsy-turvy. People rebel at the idea of
following a high principle of conduct, calling it slavery and
convention; but yet they slavishly obey the conventions of
fashion, whether it be in the symbolical form of wearing
precisely the same kind of necktie and socks as other people, or
whether it be in those minute points of conventional behavior and
habit thus symbolized. In a word, the more people clamor for
individual freedom, the more they run into a mold. Given their
individuality, they exercise it, as they must, in following some
law; and choose the conventional rules. Theosophy does not
hamper the power of choice or the right to choose; it simply
offers us something to choose that is worth choosing.

The distinction made by Theosophical writers between
individuality and personality needs emphasis. Personality means
personal desires; and to give rein to these would mean chaos; but
individuality means the real character -- freedom to follow the
right. Theosophy aims at the development of the individuality,
and seeks to produce a type of man who will choose the right,
believing that a harmonious community is the natural outcome of
harmoniously developed individuals.

As to government -- the final authority is the PRINCIPLES
accepted and venerated by the people; and the visible
administrators are those who represent these principles. We have
already seen that unanimity produces efficient government -- even
in such matters as war and business. What is needed therefore is
unanimity in higher ideals. Knowledge of the truth makes for
harmony; because truth is single, and error manifold; and
Theosophy proclaims old and well-tried truths which always have
made for harmony wherever their influence has prevailed.


By W.Q. Judge

[An abstract of a lecture delivered at Irving Hall, San
Francisco, October 26th, 1891 reprinted in ECHOES OF THE ORIENT,
III, pages 189-95]

> We are such stuff as dreams are made of.
> -- Shakespeare, The Tempest, Act IV, Sc. I.

> Have perseverance as one who doth for evermore endure, for thy
> shadows [personalities] live and vanish. That which in thee
> shall live forever, that which in thee knows, for it is
> knowledge, is not of fleeting life; it is the man that was, that
> is, and will be, for whom the hour shall never strike.

It is of these "dreams" of which we are made and of this man for
whom "the hour will never strike" that I have to speak to you
tonight, of the inner constitution of man, divided in a sevenfold
manner, called sometimes the seven-fold constitution of man.
This seven-fold constitution is not confined, in our opinion, to
man, but is shared with him by the whole of nature also. The
consideration of this subject, therefore, properly demands that
of the whole theosophical theory of evolution, so that tonight I
cannot hope to go over it, but only that part of it which
particularly relates to man.

In the theosophical theory, spirit and matter are co-existent,
and co-eternal. There is no spirit without matter, and vice
versa, there is no matter without spirit. These two are the
manifestations of the One Absolute reality. That is to say,
matter is at one pole of this reality and spirit at the other.
In other words, spirit contains the plan, as it were, which it
impresses upon matter, which receives this and carries out its
evolution from the moment that manifestation begins. Therefore,
this evolution is on all the seven planes.

The word "plane" is used in Theosophy -- and by many others
before this -- to indicate not only a place, but also a state or
condition. For instance we have the plane of mind, of body, the
spiritual, and the physical planes. This does not mean that they
are separated from each other like the compartments of a ship, or
floors of a house. These planes are conditions, or states, of
which one may interpenetrate the other. Evolution may be carried
on to perfection so far as this relates to inner planes, such as
those of man's septenary constitution.

To illustrate: Consider the shadow from some object in an
electric light, thrown in a certain direction. Another electric
light may throw a beam at right angles to this black shadow. The
shadow and the light thus cross each other, but they do not
interfere. The shadow, when it strikes an object beyond, still
envelopes it in darkness, although the electric light has shone
through its center. Thus the shadow and the bright light may
exist at the place where they cross, independently, otherwise
they would negative each other, and there would be a cessation of
light or of shadow beyond the point where they met. Instead of
this, both shadow and light will continue on to their respective

This sufficiently illustrates my meaning, that the planes of
evolution may proceed within each other, and yet not interfere,
and it is not necessary that they be separated in any sense
whatever. There are many illustrations which could be drawn from
science. Mr. Tyndall substantiates this with respect to the
colors of the solar spectrum. We know these are all in the solar
light, unseen by us until they are separated by the prism. And
so on, in almost every direction, are similar illustrations.

Evolution proceeds on seven planes throughout the manifested
universe. Man, in this world, is the highest manifestation of
this evolution, and therefore contains within himself its higher
seven planes, which before his advent were not perceptible,
although they existed always in the germ. Buddha declares that
man is made up or formed from thought germs. He is not alone in
this assertion.

Many philosophers since his time have said the same thing; that
man is a thinker, and is made up of and the result of his
thoughts. Western minds have become so accustomed to judging him
by his mortal body, and to listen to theories which teach the
conditions whereby mental states may be materially produced, that
at last it has lost sight of man as a thinker at all, and cannot
understand why he is made up of his thoughts. We admit that he
has a body, and that this body is not thought, but declare that
it is the result of his thoughts. The body, now used by all
human beings, is the result of the thought of the human race in
the past, which thought, at length enabled it to so mold matter
as to furnish the body in which man, who is the thinker, really

Man, the thinker, is not divided in this seven-fold way, but man
consisting of body and other elements of his nature is so
divided. This seven-fold division is not absent anywhere in
nature. The seven days of a week is an instance. The layers of
the skin are divided in a seven-fold way. In the growth of the
child before birth, there are seven distinct divisions. In the
progress and construction of the great works of man, there is
even seen the seven-fold division.

Of a great building, for example, the architect first formulates
the plan. The materials existing in various states, represent a
second stage; collecting them together after that, a third;
united in the building, a fourth; decorating it, a fifth;
furnishing it, a sixth; and its occupation by man, the seventh
and last. And so it is with man. The ideal plan is laid down;
the materials of which are scattered through space; these are
collected; then built together in the various forms of nature
until that of man is reached.

The first division of man is body, composed of what is called
matter, or atoms, held together in a definite form. Have you
ever reflected that your body, composed of matter, is made out of
the mineral, vegetable, and animal kingdoms, and therefore you
have within portions of the tiger and all ferocious beasts as
well as the gentle? You have also vegetable and mineral matter
collected in your body, for this represents all that evolution on
the physical plane has accomplished in the world.

With the Evolutionists of today, we admit that at one time there
was only a mass of fire mist, and although our theory of
evolution does do so, it is unnecessary to go beyond that for our
present purpose. These say there was first this fire mist,
which, by means of the processes of nature, began to revolve into
a vortex, and so continued until it became sufficiently dense for
a crust to form upon it. This kept growing thicker, until we
have the world as it exists today, which finally, without any
life or intelligence of its own, produced these. That is, from
nothing came forth something.

We admit with them that this process went on, but we assert that
it was in accordance with the plan laid down by other human
beings, who evolved it as the result of the experience of other
lives on earths which they had passed through in the great wheel
of eternity. But we say further that in this fire mist of the
scientists are beings carrying the plan of evolution with them.
They first put this matter through the mineral school, so to
speak, residing within each particle, and continuing the process
for millions and millions of years. When this had been
sufficiently accomplished, these beings then passed on; that is,
pushed forward some of this matter into the vegetable kingdom.
This process was carried on for uncountable years. Then this
same collection of beings carried the evolution of atoms up into
the animal kingdom, where we are now, as mere masses of flesh,
not as human shapes. This process went on until the whole mass
had received education in the animal kingdom.

The geological history of the world verifies these statements,
excepting, of course, the presence of these egos. I admit that
its links do not give us any proof of these beings, but I insist
that a survey of the whole scheme demands their presence. In the
early ages, we find only forms of trees; later, we observe
enormous, or mammoth, beasts. They have disappeared when the
necessity for them passed. There isn't even a "missing link."

The anatomist of today insists that these were the forefathers of
our animals; that such and such a huge beast is the original of
such and such a smaller one. The process of perfecting that
brought them to the stage where they now are was done by and
through these beings. Are our bodies, then, the result of this
evolution? If so, we are connected with all the lower kingdoms.
Without life this body would be useless, and the Theosophic
theory is that there is no spot in space where there is no life.

We have been accustomed to talking about life as something
belonging to material bodies, but as to the intervening space, we
have generally thought of it as without life. It is undoubtedly
true, I think, that in every point in space there is the same
stream of life, in which all beings exist, and hence this Life
Principle is the second division of the Theosophic classification
of man's constitution.

Now, the question arises, what is life and what is death?
Ordinarily, death is thought of as something that comes to all
beings, without exception. Theosophy denies that there is such a
thing as death at all. We don't say there is no death for this
body. But we declare that what is called death is really life;
it is one of its phenomena. Man may be compared to an electric
lamp, composed of carbon interposed at a break in the wire. The
current, caused to flow through this wire, reaches the carbon, is
resisted and broken until the carbon is exhausted.

Man is a carbon standing in a current of life, consisting of
molecules united in such a manner that he is capable of living --
burning -- just so long. That is, carrying the theory into
everyday life, he is capable of remaining active just so many
hours, when he becomes fatigued because life is so strong he
cannot longer resist it. In the morning he awakens, to once more
renew the contest, and keeps on so doing from year to year, until
life has grown too strong for him and he is compelled to give up
the fight and abandon his home in the body.

There is really no such thing as death, but only a change, an
abandoning of the body. This, then, is the second division of
man's nature; called in the Sanskrit philosophy, Prana, meaning
breath, because it is said that man lives by means of breath. It
is derived from the sun, which is the center of life or being for
this globe.

The next division is the Astral body, called the Design body, or
Linga Sharira, that on which the physical structure is built; a
further materialization of the ideal plan which existed in the
beginning of this evolution. Ages since, at the time animals
were going through the evolution necessary to prepare the human
form, only the Astral man existed. This Astral body was
therefore first; before man existed in material form, and, I
think, represents the time when according to the Christian Bible
Adam and Eve were banished from the Garden of Paradise, for it
was a state of paradise to have only an astral body at a time
when a physical one would have compelled man to maintain a perpetual warfare against the monsters of prehistoric ages.

The Theosophical theory is that Adam, existing as an Astral Body
and having reached that point in evolution where matter could be
built into this body, received a "coat of skin" or became a man
of flesh and blood as he is today. I advert to this because it
is from the sacred book of the Christian, which has been reviled
and scoffed at because it has never been explained except in its
literal sense.

The Astral body is the shape of man's body, but contains in
itself organs which connect the man inside the real figure with
the outside organs; eyes, ears, nose, etc. Without the Astral
body, it would be impossible to account for the possession of
senses which are not man's true outer senses. The somnambulist,
for instance, walking with his eyes open sees nothing; is looking
at you and cannot see you.

Our explanation is that the connection between himself in the
Astral body and the outer organs is cut off. In hypnotism, any
organ or organs may be so cut off while others remain active,
thus accounting for many of its phenomena. The Astral body
therefore is in reality more the man than the body, but is so
connected with it that it is not able to act except in certain

"Mediums" are such instances. A medium is a hysterical, nervous
person. We know that looking over mediumship we find them
afflicted with something akin to this; catalepsy, for instance.
The condition in which many curious things happen through mediums
is this: The proper adjustment of all the functions -- nervous,
material, and mental -- is really a condition of the Astral body,
which is able sometimes to manifest itself. In our opinion,
nearly all the phenomena of Spiritualism may be traced to the
Astral body, are manipulations of it; and we know that when one
goes to a medium he simply awakens her Astral body and receives
from it his own thoughts in reply to his queries, and nothing
more, except in some few rare cases.

The divorce between religion and science has been so great that
the "Inner Man" has been forced to manifest improperly and out of
place, in order to keep alive the evidence that there was such a
body. Had science been united to and gone hand in hand with
spiritual philosophy, we would have had a uniform development.
Since man's investigations have been curbed, he has revolted
within, and he has been manifesting this inner nature for the
last forty years. The facts of Spiritualism are thus of use, but
at the same time are dangerous. They bring back to the earth
influences which ought not to return; pictures of old crimes
which produce in men once more the desire to commit them.

We come next to the division of passions and desires, the basis
of action from which men find their incentive to do both good and
evil. When a man dies and is buried, his kamic body is released.
The life principle is also released from these atoms to go into
others. Then the kamic body, with all the passions and desires,
is set free.

We will suppose the case of a suicide. His kamic body escapes
full of the idea of suicide. Similarly, the man who has indulged
in drinking and all sorts of sensualities, goes out full of these
things. A murderer who is hung is in the same condition.
Guiteau would go out full of that last scene where he defied his
accusers, and where he declared he would destroy all the people
who had anything to do with his incarceration. What happens?
Man's higher principles go on and on with evolution, finally
being reincarnated. If after death, these lower elements are
seized by mediums and brought back to earth, infused with
additional life, not permitted to disintegrate, it is a crime.

Everyone who goes to a medium and asks that their dead may return
commits a crime. It is a crime against the person who is dead,
and against the medium; it brings around her bad influences, for
the majority that can return are full of crime. They are of the
earth, earthy.

Now, when I am dead, my astral body will not have my senses; it
will contain only my passions and desires, which swerve me as
they swerve you also, and if I am drawn back against my will, I
may do harm. If you could actually see what occurs at a seance,
you would never go to another. You would see all these vile
shapes enveloping the sitters like a huge octopus.

Mediumship is nothing but communicating with the astral dead; it
is the worship of the dead, and as such it has been condemned for
ages. Moses said "Ye shall kill a witch." He prohibited his
people from having anything to do with such things.

Having considered the lower principles of man, we now come to
that which is immortal, or mind, soul, and spirit, called
respectively, Manas, Buddhi, and Atma. Atma, or spirit, is
universal, and Buddhi its vehicle. Manas is the individualized
thinker, the one who is conscious. These three together are
eternally passing through incarnation and coming back again and
again to gain experience; to reap reward or punishment.

Before birth, in the prenatal state, man is in almost the same
condition that he is after death, so that a consideration of the
postmortem state will serve for the prenatal. The difference is
only slight.

By a simple illustration you will probably understand the
ordinary, or Devachanic condition after death, and its relation
to life. Imagine a young Theosophist who is to deliver a speech.
Previous to his appearance, he thinks of it continually, perhaps
for days, goes over his ideas and wonders what kind of an
impression he will make. In the evening he delivers it, in a
brief time compared to that he has spent in thinking about it.
When he has delivered it, he thinks of the impression he has
made. The next day and for many days he still thinks of it.
Isn't the thought more than the act? The state of Devachan is
where he is in a similar manner thinking over the things of his
last life until he returns to rebirth.

Thus after the death of the body, we keep up this thinking, and
develop this part of our nature until the time comes when it is
exhausted and we come back to life to continue evolution until
the race has been perfected.


By A. Trevor Barker

[An address delivered at the European Convention, Visingso,
Sweden, July 27 to August 1, 1938, printed in THE THEOSOPHICAL
FORUM, November 1938, pages 307-12.]

It may be well if we try for a moment to interpret this title,
and as I understand it, it is that we should try to consider
together to what extent we may feel assured that the help,
approval, and blessing of the Great Brotherhood will be upon our
Theosophical efforts. It is a very important subject for all of
us, and there is a kind of subheading to this subject, a
quotation from THE MAHATMA LETTERS, which you will see in the
program: "Far from our thoughts may it ever be to erect a new
hierarchy for the future oppression of a priest-ridden world."

I do not know whether you have given as much thought to this
strange sentence as I have, but at any rate, if you have ever
read the Section in THE MAHATMA LETTERS concerning what was
called the London Lodge of the Theosophical Society, it must have
impressed you as both significant and enigmatic. It was
therefore with a good deal of thankfulness and relief that I
found that the Leader had made my task this morning considerably
easier by selecting this point in the program among others,
kindly interpreting it in a very illuminating way in the message
you heard read the first day of the Convention.

It showed that he realized that in our work there is always the
possibility, nay, the ever-present real danger, that the
sectarian tendency in human nature will want to build churches
where there should be temples of Light; will want to create a
priesthood out of the so-called hierarchical government of our
Theosophical Society, instead of a Brotherhood of free-thinking
men and women who are working together by mutual help and
sympathy -- those who may know a little more than others helping
those less experienced to bring forth from within themselves the
deep, understanding, and illuminating spiritual strength and
power which do come as the higher nature is able to influence and
make porous the cells of our material brain.

I believe Mr. Judge used this expression: making the brain
porous to the influence of the Higher Manas, illuminated by the
spiritual principle above it.

Now this is only possible as you study the teachings in the right
way, thus opening up the faculties of the entire nature. I think
we have all had the experience -- I know I have -- of the
necessity of finding others more advanced than ourselves to help
us in the difficult task of searching our way through the
uncharted seas of occultism, and that is why our Lodge-work is
arranged in the way it is, so that we have the chance of working
together and getting the help from others that is necessary, at
any rate in our early days.

This sentence: "Far from our thoughts may it ever be to erect a
new hierarchy for the future oppression of a priest-ridden
world," gave rise in my mind to the query as to whether the
organization of the Theosophical Society was really the best
suited for the purpose that we have in view, based as it is upon
the hierarchical principle. I have thought a tremendous amount
about it, and it may have been brought home to me with somewhat
greater force than to you, because my earlier training in
Theosophical work has been in organizations which do not believe
in making a Theosophical organization a structure on the
hierarchical principle.

That is not because they do not believe that Nature herself is
constructed upon a hierarchical principle, but rather because,
with fallible and imperfect human nature the giving of titles and
positions of authority to use in an impersonal work of human
Brotherhood, may tend to develop just the very qualities that we
wish to forget and overcome; to develop, in other words, a
feeling of distance, of separateness between those who are called
upon to lead and those that they are trying their best to serve.

There is one thing that one does become convinced of in the Point
Loma Society, and that is, that if we understand the spirit of
the work rightly, this problem of creating a new hierarchy and a
kind of priesthood in the sense that G. de P. referred to it in
his message, won't occur. It is actually the death of the
Theosophical spirit if knowledge of the philosophy tends to get
into the hands of a few individuals, who, whether by reason of
opportunity, personal effort, or because of some particular
facility or ability in that direction, happen to be able to do
these things more easily, perhaps, than others. But the Leader
once wrote to me in a way that illuminated my mind very
considerably; and one must realize how profoundly true it is in
his own case, where he wrote that it was his greatest inspiration
constantly to practice the occult art of leadership in learning
how to draw forth and bring to birth the inner spiritual energies
in the members and students.

Surely in our Lodge-work, officials and leaders of study-circles
and so on, should keep that ideal in mind: that their function is
not merely to present correct answers to problems that are
propounded, but that they must do their work in such a way that
the younger and less experienced and those who are new to the
work shall be quickened and inspired, and above all have no
hesitation or fear in themselves making the effort, not only to
study but to give voice to an exposition of the truths of the
Ancient Wisdom that they are trying to study together.

As I was saying to someone to whom I had the privilege of talking
yesterday, if those who are beginning their studies only realized
the immense pleasure and deep satisfaction that it gives to older
students to see the younger ones with all their fresh simplicity
of mind giving expression to these truths that we have tried to
make part of our lives, I do not think they would hesitate in the
same way to stand upon the platform and begin to try to give
expression themselves to these thoughts; and they will find that,
when they do so, there is one real brotherhood on earth, and it
is that composed of all whose fate it has been to have to stand
upon their legs and to try to speak! They will find always a real
Brotherhood among those people.

It is ten minutes to eleven and I have only ten minutes more;
therefore I will just content myself with saying that if you want
to understand the full significance of that particular sentence
about not creating a new hierarchy of our Lodge-Presidents and
officials, it is most necessary to study the whole Section in THE
MAHATMA LETTERS, entitled "The London Lodge of the Theosophical
Society," which you will find on pages 397 to 409. It is all in
there, and that sentence was actually called forth because of the
curious situation that arose in the London Lodge when (just think
of it!) they had the enormous privilege that we would do anything
for, for there were the Masters themselves taking a personal
interest in the work of that Lodge, where A.P. Sinnett and Anna
Kingsford were working side by side.

The Master K.H. had recommended a certain course of action,
which was not only his wish but also the wish of the Chohan as
well; but things did not turn out quite as expected, and this
sentence was uttered, and followed by the statement that if he
had used his influence upon Sinnett, with his convictions
different from those of Anna Kingsford, or persuaded their minds
so as to bring the members of the London Lodge to accept his
views of the situation, it would have been a denial of the
freedom of thought, that very freedom of thought that was the
fundamental basis of brotherhood -- upon which the whole
Theosophical Society was constructed.

I think that there are no less than four passages in THE MAHATMA
LETTERS in which the Master shows that from their point of view
what was important in the attitude of those early workers, was
not their respect for or their devotion to the Masters. This
they did not seem to be really in the least concerned about; and
they even went so far as to say of the Chohan: "He cares even
less than we do what Mrs. Kingsford, Mr. Hume, or anybody else
thinks of us."

What they did insist upon, however, was that the individual
members should be true above all things to the objects and
principles and ideals for which the Society came into existence;
in other words, that they should learn to be loyal to the Idea
and to the Cause; and if they had that quality and had learned to
be true above all to themselves and to Truth, that was all the
Masters worried about.

The members might have queer views on certain things. They did
not really know anything about the Masters and could be forgiven
for their ignorance. The test seemed to be whether their hearts
were right; whether they were true to the best they knew, true to
the Cause and its objects and working for it. They did not seem
to care for anything more -- as you can read for yourselves. You
can find the references if it interests you.

Then about this main question of Masters' help in our own
Theosophical work. That I think is the concern of all of us in
these days; for we have not the visible evidence that they had in
those days, inspired by the constant care and direct contact of
the Masters with the work. Then how far can we be assured of
their cooperation? I am just going to read to you one passage
from THE MAHATMA LETTERS, page 365:

> My friend, I have little if anything more to say. I regret
> deeply my inability to satisfy the honest, sincere aspirations of
> a few chosen ones among your group -- not at least, for the
> present. Could but your L.L. understand, or so much as suspect,
> that the present crisis that is shaking the T.S. to its
> foundations is a question of perdition or salvation to thousands;
> a question of the progress of the human race or its
> retrogression, of its glory or dishonor, and for the majority of
> this race -- OF BEING OR NOT BEING, of annihilation, in fact --
> perchance many of you would look into the very root of evil, and
> instead of being guided by false appearances and scientific
> decisions, you would set to work and save the situation by
> disclosing the dishonorable doings of your missionary world.

One may feel convinced that when Master K.H. wrote in that way
in those days, the situation is not any less urgent in that
respect today than it was then. And therefore, we should fulfill
the conditions that we are expected to fulfill, and follow the
lines indicated to Sinnett:

> But you ought to prepare for it, for much remains to break forth.
> You perceived, hitherto but the light of a new day -- you may, if
> you try, see with K.H.'s help the sun of full noon-day when it
> reaches its meridian. But you have to work for it, work for the
> shedding of light upon other minds through yours.

So that it really comes back to this, that if we make the right
kind of effort in the way that so many lectures more able than
mine have indicated to us during this Convention, and in the way
that you will hear spoken of, I do not doubt, in the speeches
that that are to be made now and on our concluding day --
tomorrow, then we shall not, I think, have the slightest doubt
that the blessing of the Great Brotherhood is upon every sincere
effort, no matter how seemingly inappropriate, that is made by
any individual to help on Their work. We know it, and I think we
can all see that the wonderful success that has been attained by
our Swedish Comrades in this Convention is a proof of the kind of
support that we are discussing in this particular matter.


By Anonymous

[From THE ARYAN PATH, July 1963, pages 277-80, reprinted from THE
ARYAN PATH, February 1932.]

> Give up more than one personal habit, such as practiced in social
> life, and adopt some few ascetic rules.
> -- H.P. Blavatsky

When Prince Siddhartha left his Queen and palace to seek Wisdom
which would both explain and eliminate the woes of humanity, he
went from school to school of ardent practitioners who were
engaged in the same great quest. He came across that class of
gaunt and mournful yogis, who regard the body as foe to the soul
and therefore torture flesh and maim each limb, hoping "to baulk
hell by self-kindled hells."

In answer to the royal aspirant who enquired why they added ills
to life which is so evil, they had no explanation to offer save
that they had chosen that way; and in their turn asked -- "Speak,
if thou knowest a way more excellent; if not, peace go with
thee." It was before the Enlightenment; Gautama was not yet able
to point the Royal Way -- Raja-Yoga -- but he felt that the
Torturous Way -- Hatha-Yoga -- was wrong.

There is another class of false pietists of bewildered soul --
those -- who have not the strength of will, the pluck to suffer,
nor the courage to endure bodily chastisement, but who,
nevertheless, retire to convents and monasteries, ashrams and
maths, where the power of flesh may not envelop them, where the
senses may not encounter temptations.

Both these groups are far from the reality of the Second Birth.

In our own midst there are not a few who have freed themselves
from the bondage of organized religions, but have not been
trapped into materialistic agnosticism and atheism, and desire to
seek the Way to Enlightenment. There are those who are trying to
define the rules of the higher life under the title of a "new
asceticism." There are those also who are seeking a guru or a
master in the highways and hedges -- going to the West, or coming
to the East. Some fancy that bodily training and breathing
exercises will bring Wisdom, while others imagine that it matters
not what one eats and drinks and says and does as long as inner
aspiration is remembered and subjective peace is felt. Some seek
visions and wonders; others despise them as not only worthless
but meaningless, finding their satisfaction in the exercise of
their own mental muscles. All such, however well-meaning, are
"bewildered souls."

True asceticism belongs to the most ancient of sciences, the
Kingly Science of Raja-Yoga. Raja-Yoga is the science of true
aesthetics, the knowledge to be obtained through HIGHER Feeling
which is perceptive, vaguely called Intuition. Hatha-Yoga is the
science of athletics, deals with bodily training at its best and
with torturous control over bodily functions at its worst. The
very first rule of that Kingly Science taught in the Gita,
proclaimed by the Buddha, given in THE VOICE OF THE SILENCE, is
that the higher life is an inner process, and begins with an
inner attitude.

> If thou art told that to gain liberation thou hast to hate thy
> mother and disregard thy son; to disavow thy father and call him
> "householder" -- for man and beast all pity to renounce -- tell
> them their tongue is false.
> Believe thou not that sitting in dark forests, in proud seclusion
> and apart from men; believe thou not that life on roots and
> plants, that thirst assuaged with snow from the great Range --
> believe thou not, 0 Devotee, that this will lead thee to the goal
> of final liberation.
> Think not that breaking bone, that rending flesh and muscle,
> unites thee to thy "silent Self." Think not that when the sins of
> thy gross form are conquered, 0 Victim of thy Shadows, thy duty
> is accomplished by nature and by man.
> The blessed ones have scorned to do so.

The teachings implied in the above piece of instruction should be
fully applied.

Social life is not to be given up but only some personal habits
practiced in social life; not wholesale bodily asceticism is to
be adopted but only some ascetic rules. The Divine Discipline
taught in the Gita is "not to be attained by the man who eateth
more than enough or too little, nor by him who hath a habit of
sleeping much, nor by him who is given to over watching." (vi.16)

The principle of the higher life which leads to the Second Birth
is this inner attitude and habit, from which outer deeds and
behavior naturally emanate. He who has purified his thoughts
will find a clean tongue; he who speaks pure words will find his
palate responding only to that sattvic food which the Gita
defines, but not in terms of vegetarianism or meat-eating (Gita,
xvii.8). But consuming sattvic food will not bring forth true
words or kind ones; mere utterance of holy sentences will not
enlighten the mind. From within without is the basic law, and
true asceticism observes it to the full, in the letter and in the

There are two unpardonable sins in the hidden life against which
true asceticism warns. Each aspirant must fortify himself
against them, and they may well become pointers to what is to be
abandoned and what is to be adopted. They are -- Doubt and

The best way to overcome doubt is to be true to one's self. In
these columns last month, it was shown how the development of
Conscience is the first step and that it is the Voice of
Conscience which subdues the Voice of Flesh and evokes the Voice
of Spirit. The use of Conscience removes doubts. Doubts are
little concerned with our BELIEFS; they attack our clear
perceptions, our knowledge, and our highest visions.

It is well to doubt that which confuses our reason, which shocks
our intelligence, or weakens our moral stamina. Doubt which
awakens to action the lethargic man of blind-belief is to be
prized, as Browning taught. But to doubt our own convictions,
rooted in our reason and founded on our calmest reflection or
highest vision, the teachings of the Sages, is to commit the
unpardonable offence. The ascetic rules to be adopted by each
must conform themselves to such inner convictions. Mere aping of
habits of others, however high in evolution or holy in life, is
the wrong way of asceticism and proves disastrous.

The sin of Society is hypocrisy. Pleasant but insincere speech;
white lies; glossing over our acts which our own reason
pronounces wrong and our own moral perception condemns;
explaining away blunders of omission and sins of commission; the
simulating of a charitable and kindly spirit; the gossipy
condemnation of people behind their backs under the guise of
fearless criticism; indulgence in questionable deeds saying that
one must experience everything. All such are acts of hypocrisy,
corrode soul-life, and open the gates of hell. Battle must be
given to any such personal social habits if they abide in us.

The dread of being called sanctimonious must be faced, and
saintly ways of true sanity should neither be abandoned nor
masked. Virtue and moral hygiene are laughed at as
"goody-goody-ness," but those who aspire to soul-life must not be
daunted by petty criticism. Prudence may be scorned as prudery,
a sense of justice to one's self may be attacked as selfishness
-- but nevertheless the ascetic rules positively applied by
individuals in society will change the tone of that society.

Jesus was an ascetic -- he never doubted the power and potency of
his own spiritual-soul, his "father in heaven." And he was not a
hypocrite. That is why he did not fear to break bread with
winebibbers and harlots, chase usurers, nor attack rabbis.

Gautama was an ascetic -- obtaining light about suffering and its
cause, he adopted the begging bowl and unflinchingly pressed his
way to the hearts of tyrants and untouchables and never failed to
overcome hatred by wise compassion, which was his highest vision.

Krishna was an ascetic -- seeing that war, and ruthless war at
that became necessary after his failure to secure peace with
honor, for which he used all possible avenues, he led the
Pandavas to the gory field of duty. The Master of his own Mercy
stood unmoved amidst the havoc all around.

There are others, Twice-Borns, who overcame doubt and hypocrisy.
But all such began that task as mortals in the world of
soul-doubts and social-hypocrisy; all such took the inner resolve
in the sanctity of heart-silence; all such, desiring to lift up
high the banner of mysticism and proclaim its reign near at hand,
gave the example to others by changing their own modes of life.

True asceticism is also true aestheticism. Doubt dies as old
habits die; hypocrisy dies as mental and moral austerity is
practiced. Also, the Inner Perception of true Feeling deepens as
well as widens as one lives out in family and in society one's
own visions and convictions. Therefore:

> Give up more than one personal habit, such as practiced in social
> life, and adopt some few ascetic rules.


By Herbert Coryn

[From THE THEOSOPHICAL PATH, March 1918, pages 270-77.]

Let man look within himself," said Katherine Tingley, "and study
the mysteries of his own nature. When he does this, he learns of
the mysteries of life and can begin to work understandingly for
the development of all that is noblest and best in himself."

When the Greek Oracle sounded down the centuries the great
injunction: "Man, Know Thyself," he implied that man did not know
himself and that he would find it greatly worth his while to get
that lacking knowledge.

It is so difficult to get because THIS coming to know differs
from any other coming to know in that it is the same as a coming
to BE, the attainment of a new kind of being.

For instance, the musician feels one morning as he gets up that
there is something coming for him. There are great doings
somewhere in him. He is abstracted. Outer matters are not quite
so real as usual. Then, as he sits down to his desk, a very
high, rapt state of feeling comes upon him, out of which or in
which definite melodies and harmonies presently begin to take
shape, the internally heard expression of the feeling. These,
with much labor, he arranges in due form so as exactly (as far as
possible) to express and convey his feeling.

But where, in him, was the feeling, the down-coming sweep of
inspiration, before it came and while he knew merely that it was
coming? In what highest part of himself was that? There is such a
hidden, secret, sacred place in each of us; though, if it could
get expression at all, that expression might be in some other
form than MUSIC. But it is there, and self-knowledge means
knowing about it, and knowing about it means coming to BE that
place, taking conscious charge of it, being not only the common
self that we are now but also this extremely uncommon, ethereal,
and inspirational self, this breather of the breath that is

The first step is to study Theosophy and thus know of this self
with the mind, to assent to its existence; then to feel its
overshadowing presence; then to become it. It can be done, said
the Greek Oracle and say all the great Teachers in greater or
less degree by every one of us; but it is very difficult.
Nevertheless there is nothing else so well worth trying for. As
H.P. Blavatsky said:

> There is a road, steep and thorny . . . but yet a road, and it
> leads to the heart of the universe . . . There is no danger
> that dauntless courage cannot conquer; there is no trial that
> spotless purity cannot pass through; there is no difficulty that
> strong intellect cannot surmount. For those who win onward,
> there is reward past all telling, the power to serve and bless
> humanity. For those who fail, there are other lives in which
> success may come.

A missionary was discussing religion with a Brahman and presently
asked: "What, then, according to you, is God?" And the Brahman
calmly replied: "I am myself God."

He was not a lunatic. He merely meant that some of the creative
power which called forth the universe and sustains it was in
himself. He would have said the same of other men -- the
missionary, possibly, excepted. To quote H.P. Blavatsky again,

> Every human being is an incarnation of his God, in other words,
> one with his 'Father in Heaven' . . . In the case of each man,
> the soul of his 'Heavenly Father' is incarnated in him. This
> soul is himself, if he is successful in assimilating the divine
> individuality while he is in his physical, animal shell. 'As
> many men on earth, so many Gods in Heaven,' but these Gods are
> aspects or rays of the one 'Divine Spirit which no language can
> describe and which the mind in its limitations cannot comprehend
> but the fire of whose divine energy we can feel in our hearts
> awakening us to right action and illuminating our pathway.'

There is an old story of some Russian political prisoner,
drearily occupying an almost naked stone cell. Recalling other
days with outdoor nature, he so longed for sight of a flower or
something green and living that his imagination developed the
picture of a rose so vividly that it seemed almost real to him.
He imagined it in a glass of water blooming on the table and
scenting the damp gloom. The color and every petal and leaf
became clear to him. After a morning or two, the jailer suddenly
entered with a rose in a glass and put it on the table just on
the spot where the prisoner had imagined his own mind-rose to be,
and said: "I was in the castle garden watering my roses this
morning and it struck me that I'd bring you one to liven things a
little. So I picked out this one. I might have thought of it

And the rose which the jailer had selected was the exact copy of
the prisoner's mind-rose, color, petals, and leaf-sprays. When
it was dead, the prisoner still had his own. In his mind it
threw out more leaves and some buds and flowered graciously for
him as long as he was in that cell. The teller of the story

> I think he had created his rose, and, good reader, though it was
> but a mind thing, it was alive, which was why it grew; and though
> it was but a mind thing, it was somewhat real so that the jailer
> saw it without knowing that he saw, and so brought in a copy of
> it.

Hence say some philosophers -- that the universe is a live flower
created in the all-encompassing mind of God, live and growing;
and also seen by us because we too are minds with, if we but knew
it, the same creative power, a power whereof the artists and
musicians and poets do verily show a little ray, though so far
they have to laboriously and manually work with heavy matter to
show us what they have created.

Someday, perhaps, man may get that closer power over all matter
which now he has only over the matter of his own body, and even
that but very slightly. For though this body-matter of ours has
some of our life in it, it is of course, like all other matter,
alive with ITS OWN life, a real life of its own outside our
present consciousness and control, and in various degrees
sentient. Fortunate, we may say. For we don't do so well with
that much of our bodies as is under our control as to suggest our
present fitness for any further powers over them.

But why do we not all get inspiration all the time? Why is it
only into the minds of poets, artists, and musicians that this
great rarefying breath from above can enter?

A bird is singing in the top of yonder tree. He seems half mad
with the spring ecstasy of life, does not know how to get forth
the pulse of it fast enough, changes his note and key, and sets
all the air almost tangibly as well as audibly athrill.

Suddenly he sees a worm or a grub, stops his song, and drops upon
his meal. There is no more song for a while; he voices no more
the swift and exultant rhythmic life-pulse in his being; he is
scratching about the leaves for another worm, his little mind
wholly full of that.

Suppose he were ALWAYS thinking of grubs and worms and flies and
feathers to line his nest with, hoping that finer ones would come
his way and fearing lest they should not, and remembering some he
had last year and a row with another bird that he had about them?
Where would be his song? What chance would his bit of the vast
nature-music have to come through him? And where would be his
happiness? For true happiness is nothing else but the
unrestricted pulsing through of the great nature-life, whether
the happiness of the bird as the simpler little pulses come
through, or the intense and even painful bliss of the musician
and poet as they get life's richer harmonies. They are harmonies
that may come through as color and as scent as well as sound.
Who that has eyes that see will fail to know that as the plant
breaks into color with its flower, it too, in its way, is
consciously feeling and showing forth the divine pulse of life?

But our minds are full of something else. We too have to look
after our grubs and worms and feathers for our nest. We too have
to scratch amid dead leaves. The struggle for them is very keen.
It takes most of the time to get enough of them, and the rest of
the time we spend in getting too much of them. And the rest of
our minds we occupy with memories of them and anticipations of
more and better of them, and fears about them, and jealousies and
quarrels and rankling of old quarrels: in a word, with the
personalia of life.

And so we miss the inner beauties and spiritualities of life; we
cannot hear within us the everlasting and actual music of life or
see within and all around us its subtler pulses and washings of
color or detect more than a few of its scents. And what music
and color and scent we do get from around us we hardly and only
casually notice. It is the MIND that shuts us off from
realities, the mind of brain, the mind of daily life, always
full, always a-grind, never still, always occupied and
preoccupied, a necessary servant and yet most of the time an

We trained it to be what it is; we let it get its habits; we
never learned to control it and its desires; we were never taught
that there was a life above, beyond, to be reached by the
stilling down of mind into its silence, and that only in its
stillness and silence could the voice of great life be heard in
its music and seen in its color and appreciated in its meaning.

We never learned that we were ALL creative geniuses, gods,
within, above, with power not only like the birds to give
expression to the pulse that is already at work in space and
nature, but also, because of our inner unity with highest and
most divine ideation, to do as it does and create the new, to be
co-creators with it.

It is in the power of creation, of initiation, that man
overpasses all the lives below him. They voice a little of what
already is. He can add to what is. The musician, artist, poet,
has in some measure the power to still his mind and perceive and
voice a little of divinity, perhaps to create a little more; and
then to make his mind -- held back from all other matters, all
grubs and worms -- register and give form to what he perceives or
has created.

Theosophy points to the fact that we have TWO minds, one animal
or human-animal, and one divine or human-divine. A cat watches a
bird. To her it is something to eat. Its colors and grace go
for nothing; its song is noise. It may be something to eat for
us too. But if with our animal minds we note that, we also note
first and chiefly the color and grace and song, and sympathize
with the song's ecstasy. If we could keep our poor wandering
attention long enough and closely enough upon the thrill of the
song, we should understand that much of divine life that it
expressed, though the understanding might be much deeper than
could go into words.

Two men look at a tree. One man, using only the animal mind,
sees only some feet of lumber and hence so much cash and hence so
much to eat. The other sees the beauty of the up-springing,
outfolding life, feels the full, tense life of the tree, may
understand the tree, what a tree is for in the great plan, what
it expresses, and its share in the great working out of things.

No animal has anything of THAT mind. The modern science books,
and even the psychologies, tell us that man is nothing but an
evolved animal, that his mind contains nothing which in some
lesser degree the animals' minds do not contain.

It is true that man's animal mind is but a development of the
mind of the animal. But we have two powers (and their
consequences) of which no animal possesses any germ.

"A penny for your thoughts," we say when our friend has been
leaning back in his chair silent for five minutes. A penny would
usually be an excessive charge; but if he accepted the bargain
and handed over the then contents of his mind, what should we
have? What are we, any of us, thinking of at any given moment?
Are we thinking at all in any proper sense of the word?

There are snatches of memory connected with whatever the eye
happens to fall upon, and other snatches which these first
snatches suggest. There are hopes that this will happen or that
not happen. There is what she said yesterday and what I said in
reply, having been irritated. It is warm weather and there is
some idea of an ice-cream. Something suggests a business
interview to come off tomorrow, which is Saturday, and so where
shall we take our usual little Sunday trip to, which reminds us
that we can't go because Mrs. Jones is coming to dinner and
nothing seems to please her. -- And so on and so on.

You see that cannot really be called thinking at all. Things are
rambling along through the mind and memory just as they happen to
suggest themselves or are suggested by what happens to be seen or
heard or by the body's state of heat or cold or hunger or what
not. The animals, the dog, the cat by the fire, the snake out on
the path in the sun -- they think just in that way, save of
course that it is all on a simpler scale.

But if while the stream was going on you should decide that it
was unworthy of you and that in the face of any outer
distractions you would hold to some one thing that really needed
consideration; or if you decided that some single memory, say of
a quarrel, or some single emotion, say a fear, was unworthy of
you and should be quashed; if, in short, you made a JUDGMENT
concerning your thought or feeling, and used your WILL to carry
out your judgment, actually turning and holding the mind in some
decided-upon and definite direction; or compelled yourself to
feel kindly instead of angry or courageous instead of fearful!
THEN you would have shown distinctly and exclusively HUMAN
qualities or powers. You would have stood back from your mind
and feeling, watched them, judged them, and then altered them.
Will and judgment, in this sense, no animal possesses.

An animal cannot watch its own mind; still less can criticize it;
still less can alter it in accordance with an ideal of what it
ought to be or do. Judgment and will are both of them beyond --
not in or of -- the personal mind, since one looks at and judges
the mind and the other alters and controls the mind.

It is because of the BEYOND-mind region, the region where dwell
will and judgment, that we are truly human, and in the higher
levels of that region, divine-human. No animal can create an
ideal of what it would like to be, or ought to be but is not, and
then go for it.

Wherefore we are incarnate souls or divine-humans, incarnate in
living matter of the highest complexity. We are so thoroughly
incarnated and have given so much attention to the development of
the animal mind that we have forgotten that there is another, the
mind that belonged to us before we came down to incarnation, that
still exists, mostly unused, uncalled upon -- save to a degree by
the musicians, artists, poets, and a few others. It is only to
be got at by withdrawing from and temporarily silencing the
other, the personal, animal mind of daily life with its thoughts
of grubs and worms and feathers and Mrs. Jones and ice-creams
and deals in business. "Mind, the great slayer of the real,"
says H.P. Blavatsky, referring to THIS mind.

To imagine, to have an ideal, is at once to show the presence in
us of two minds, one personal-animal and one
human-divine-creative. A picture of the garden in which he is
accustomed to playing may come up in the mind of the dog as he
lies before the fire. But he cannot add at will to his picture,
cannot create to it. He cannot imagine it covered with a sheet
of snow. He cannot at will combine his memories. He has seen a
couple of cats fighting and may remember that. But he could not
at will place the picture of the cats in his picture of the
garden. Nor could he even retain at will the picture of the
garden. For the mind which in us CAN do these things, can direct
will according to a plan and purpose in this way, is not in him.
Imagination is the WILLED combination of memories, fancy but
their automatic self-arising combination. The first is human,
the other animal.

We can imagine an ideal of ourselves, a new self, calling to
memory and combining all our best and noblest moments of the past
and making ourselves feel that for self. For the time it IS
self; we have re-created ourselves. But we do not hold it long
enough, do not make it clear enough for memory to grasp as a
whole and carry it forward as a new life; we let our creation be
dissolved by the other mind, the lower, the mind of common daily

We can imagine a divine silver-toned peace spreading like a light
over the earth and touching the hearts of men with a new yearning
and a new love. But we cannot hold it long enough for it to do
its perfect work in actuality.

These are works of the higher mind. That mind has memories and
perceptive senses as has the lower. With the ears of that mind
the musician hears the inner melodies and harmonies of life,
though, as for instance with Beethoven, the outer ears might be
stone deaf. Then he goes to his instrument and plays aloud so
that his outer ears, upon which the lower mind depends, may in
their turn hear what has already sounded in his inner hearing.
So the music, now present in both minds, harmonizes the one to
the other, and if the lower will keep its empty thoughts for a
while silent, it will become temporarily spiritualized.

A man may create very fine and noble ideals of himself in his
greater or inner mind, but unless he translates them so that the
lesser or outer mind can understand, they will come to very
little. The outer mind understands ACTION, and so, to mold it
according to the new ideal, we must at once begin putting our new
ideal character into action, deeds. Then the lower mind will
understand and begin to alter itself accordingly. Acting out an
ideal, translating it into deeds, is the equivalent of playing
the inwardly heard harmonies upon an instrument.

To live is a fine art, like music, or may be. As the current of
life streams down and out over the planes of the universe, down
and out to this one we see, it is touched near its source by the
inner hearing of the musician and becomes the music he writes,
the music he makes the gross wires render in place of their
common noise.

In the same way we may feel the inner, higher ideals of
ourselves, our actual radiant selves before we came down and out
to incarnation. We ought to find that ideal, for it is present
in us as the soul, as the higher mind. And having found it, we
should render it as deeds and thoughts that correspond. To be
inspired with one's own ideal of oneself is as splendid an
experience as is that of the musician when he is inspired with
his harmonies.

To render it into terms of our lives keeps the inspiration alive
for ourselves and others as he keeps his alive for himself and
others by writing it down in notes on the paper. Indeed the
ideal will come to nothing, it may be to worse than nothing,
unless it IS made to come forth into the deeds of daily life.
And it has often perhaps unconsciously to themselves, come to
birth and divine power in simple men and women who have never had
time or strength or knowledge for set self-culture, showing
itself in lives of self-sacrificing devotion to daily duty and
daily drudgery, people often far upon a path not even entered by
some of those who talk the most eloquently about it.

To get this inspiration, this splendid and exhilarating and
transforming inspiration of our inner ideal of ourselves, we must
learn the art, we must acquire the power, of mind-silence. Most
of the mind-chatter that goes on ceaselessly in us while we work
or walk about, and that floods out as lip-chatter, is quite
worthless. The habit, instead, of inward feeling, of feeling
inward, as it were listening inward as to hardly heard music,
after our best self, our ideal, is not hard to begin upon. We
can train the lower thinking mind to concentration upon ONE thing
in all we do. We can hold it to its present task. We can devise
and practice even some set technique of concentration. Who can
look at a store window with such concentrated attention for
fifteen seconds as to be able afterwards to enumerate ALL the
things on which his eye rested? Who can read a paragraph in a
book, or a verse of poetry, with so unflickering a mind as to be
able at once to repeat it?

Well, this concentration upon ONE thing is a useful step towards
the power of not allowing the mind of brain to have for a while
any of its common, empty, useless day-thoughts, and holding it up
in aspiration for the ideal beyond, the ever-present
soul-thought. At night these common thoughts do often still
themselves down with the stilling bodily currents ere sleep sets
in. Take advantage of that. Read something that helps you
towards your ideals, that raises the mind, and then silence and
raise it still further. So entering upon sleep, the work
continues; the ideal is written in upon the sleeping lower mind;
and all the next days will show a working out of the ideal, or a
beginning of the working out of it, into better thought and
desire and deed.

Thus living, we gradually transform ourselves. We become more
potent thinkers. Our creative energies do their spiritual work
far and wide. Our ideals radiate from us in greater and greater
strength. Unconsciously we become helpers of the race. And some
time will come the hour of full awakening, of completed
self-redemption. The lead will have passed into gold. Life will
have begun. In the words of Katherine Tingley:

> The science of life is Theosophy. Let us clear the way for the
> coming generations; let us through the knowledge that can be
> gained of ourselves, cultivate that quality of understanding that
> shall purify human nature arid evolve soulful beings.


By Sramanera Sangharakshita

[From THE ARYAN PATH, May 1950, pages 200-5.]

Religion is not a matter for blind belief or intellectual assent,
but for living faith and energetic practice. It consists not in
the acceptance of any creed or dogma but in the achievement of an
experience, or rather in the achievement of a number of
experiences. These experiences link up into a series. This
continuous series of experiences forms a Path or Way. When we
consider it with regard to its direction, it appears as an
inward-going rather than an outward-going Way, as a Path of the
Inner rather than of the Outer Life.

Since it is a matter of immediate personal experience within the
heart-depths of the individual devotee, and since such experience
is by its very nature incommunicable, it is spoken of as an
Esoteric rather than an Exoteric Path, as a Doctrine of the Heart
rather than as a Doctrine of the Eye. When we realize that those
experiences are not simply aggregated round any unchanging
ego-entity or permanent core of separative selfhood, but that
they are, on the contrary, processes of progressive
self-impoverishment, self-annihilation, the Path appears as a Way
of Emptiness; but since the "seeming void" is in reality "full,"
it also appears as a Way of Compassion. Finally, when we regard
it as a Path which runs not only between but also above all
mind-made dualities, it is seen as the Middle Way.

When speaking of the Path of the Inner Life, we automatically
contra-distinguish it from the Path of the Outer Life. The
distinction consists not so much in a difference of position as
in a difference of direction. That is to say, it is to be
understood not statically but dynamically. The Path of the Inner
Life is also known as the Nirvritti Marga or inward-circling path
and that of the Outer Life as the Pravritti Marga or
outward-circling path. That which "circles" either inwards or
outwards is the mind.

The natural tendency of the mind is to spread itself out
fan-wise, as it were, over the five objects of the senses. This
outward-circling or fan-wise-spreading movement of the average
human mind is naturally accompanied by a corresponding
disturbance of the psychic harmony of the subject and a
diminution of the sum total of his psychic energy. Just as the
brilliance of a beam of light diminishes as it is spread out over
a wider and wider area, so the power of the mind decreases as it
is scattered over a larger and larger number of objects.

The more concentrated the mind becomes, the more powerful it
grows and the more deeply it is able to penetrate into the
fathomless abyss of Truth. The mind which is engrossed in the
pleasures of the five senses is unconcentrated and therefore
impotent. It is unable to see things as they really are. The
Buddha and His enlightened disciples of all ages and climes
proclaim as though with one voice that Prajna or transcendental
wisdom arises only in the concentrated mind, and that the mind
becomes concentrated only when it is purified of all taint of
earthly desires.

The first step along the Path of the Inner Life, without which no
other step can be taken, is to become "indifferent to objects of
perception." Such indifference is never the result of satiety,
but is on the contrary the slowly-ripening fruit of constant
perseverance in stern renunciation. "Do not believe that lust
can ever be killed out if gratified or satiated, for this is an
abomination inspired by Mara," warns THE VOICE OF THE SILENCE.

The early stages of the career of a spiritual aspirant are a
period of unceasing struggle between the lower and higher
impulses of his nature. On the outcome of this struggle depends
the success or failure of his vocation. If he is able to resist
the solicitations of the objects of perception and turn his
senses as it were inside out, like the five fingers of a glove,
thus reversing their direction, they will merge into a single
inner sense, and with this subtle inner sense he will be able to
perceive spiritual realities.

Mystical religion has therefore ever stressed, as indispensable
preliminaries to any attempt to know the Truth that will make us
free, the killing out of all desire for sense-pleasures and the
withdrawal of the scattered forces of the mind into a single
unified focus of attention. Only by becoming deaf and blind to
the outward illusion can we develop that subtle "inner touch"
that will enable us to intuit the Truth that sounds and shines

But this purely spiritual perception of spiritual realities by
the inner spiritual sense differs from that of our other states
of consciousness inasmuch as it does not take place within the
framework of the subject-object relation. The chasm which
ordinarily yawns between the experiment subject and the object of
his experience becomes more and more narrow until finally it
disappears and he knows the Truth by becoming one with it.
Therefore it is written: "Thou canst not travel on the Path
before thou hast become that Path itself." In the vigorous words
of the Buddha, we have to "make the path become." This
path-becoming is therefore also a self-becoming, a process of
self-development, self-transformation, self-realization. The
Goal of the Path, the Ultimate Experience in which the whole long
series of experiences eventually culminates, is the state
designated as Nirvana.

Since the Path of the Inner Life consists essentially in a series
of experiences, and since all experiences are by their very
nature ineffable, it is also an Esoteric as opposed to an
Exoteric Path. Nothing in the religious life is truly esoteric
save spiritual experience. The most private ritual, the most
abstruse philosophical doctrine, the most jealously guarded
scripture, the most secret society or organization, are all
exoteric. They belong to the domain of "Head-learning" rather
than to the domain of "Soul-wisdom," and as THE VOICE OF THE
SILENCE so emphatically admonishes us, it is above all things
necessary to learn to separate the one from the other, to learn
to discriminate between "The Doctrine of the Eye" and "The
Doctrine of the Heart."

Many, unfortunately, think that the secret teaching consists of
some piece of information about the evolution of the universe or
the constitution of man which has not been communicated to the
world at large, and that it is necessary to acquire this
information from certain mysterious personages supposed to be
hiding themselves in inaccessible corners of the earth.

Such "secret teachings," or for the matter of that whole
libraries of secret scriptures and orders of secret teachers, may
indeed exist, but they all belong to the Exoteric Path, to the
domain of Head-learning, and are of little value in the spiritual
life. Indeed, they are often in the highest degree harmful to
it, for those who believe that they have learned the "esoteric
doctrine" and become "initiates" generally grow so proud of their
fancied superiority to the rest of mankind that for them progress
along the true Esoteric Path is barred for a long time to come.
That is why THE VOICE OF THE SILENCE is "Dedicated to the Few."

The Hridaya Dharma or Heart-Doctrine which was transmitted by the
Lord Buddha to His immediate disciples, and which was handed on
by them to their disciples and their disciples' disciples, even
down to the present day, does not consist of any formulated
doctrine, much less still any written scripture, but was simply
His own ineffable experience of Nirvana. The true Esoteric Path,
the true Secret Teaching, the true Doctrine of the Heart, the
true Master, is not to be found in any book or indeed anywhere at
all in the outside world, but in the heart-depths of the
spiritual experience of the individual devotee.

Although the Path of Inner Life, the Esoteric Path, consists of a
series of experiences eventually culminating in the Supreme
Experience designated Nirvana, these experiences are not
"acquisitions" of the subject in the sense that material things
and even learning are acquisitions. There is one root-illusion
which prevents us from seeing things as they really are and which
it is the primary business of spiritual practice to remove. It
is the belief in us as separate, perduring individual selves or
ego-entities. Inseparably linked with this belief is the feeling
of possession, the desire for acquisition.

The concepts of "I" and "mine" are simply the two sides of a
single coin. As, therefore, the aspirant progresses along the
Path of the Inner Life or better still as he more and more
becomes that Path, the false sense of separative selfhood, the
feeling of possession and the greed for acquisition are
simultaneously attenuated and eventually disappear together.

The further, therefore, the aspirant progresses along the Path,
or the more truly he becomes it, the harder it is for him to
dichotomize his experience into a subject and an object and to
speak of the latter as though it was a possession or acquisition
of the former. In the Supreme Experience of Nirvana, such a
claim would have become a complete impossibility. The Buddha
therefore declared that those who laid claim to any spiritual
attainment as though they had made it their personal property
thereby only betrayed the hollowness of their pretensions.

The decisive test of whether any experience is truly spiritual or
not consists in ascertaining whether it is possible to speak of
it as "my" experience or not. If it is possible truthfully to
speak of it in this way, it is simply an addition to the mental
or emotional furniture of the ego and as such is merely mundane.
This is the meaning of the choice which the aspirant is called
upon to make between the "Open Path," the Path of the
pseudo-Arahant, and the "Secret Path," the Path of the

The Arahant is popularly supposed to be one who is indifferent to
the miseries of sentient beings and therefore does not remain on
earth to help them but disappears into the private bliss of a
purely individual Nirvana; whereas the Bodhisattva is supposed to
be one whose heart is so profoundly moved by the woes of the
world that he decides to renounce the "sweet but selfish rest" of
Nirvana and to devote himself to the alleviation of human misery
even to the end of time. The choice which the aspirant has to
make between these two Paths constitutes his severest test and
final initiation.

Although the popular doctrine represents both the Open Path and
the Secret Path as genuine alternatives, the Way to Nirvana is in
fact only one. The Path of pseudo-Arahantship, of individual
liberation, in fact represents the temptation to think of the
Supreme Experience as something which can be possessed privately
by the individual subject. The renunciation of the thought that
Nirvana is something to be attained is the last condition
precedent for the "attainment" of Nirvana.

Where there is the feeling of possession, of "my-ness," there
also the sense of separative selfhood, of "I-ness," and so long
as this sense of separative selfhood persists, liberation is
impossible, for liberation is fundamentally nothing but
liberation from this same root-illusion of separative selfhood.
Neither Arahantship nor Bodhisattvahood, which are simply the
same realization in predominantly intellectual and predominantly
emotional perspectives, can be attained without the complete
renunciation of the ideas of "I" and "mine."

The Path of the Inner Life is spoken of as a Way of Emptiness
because it consists in the progressive attenuation of the
ego-sense, and the gradual intensification of the realization
that everything is devoid of separative selfhood, that all is
intrinsically pure and void. This void is not, however, a zero
or nothingness. Buddhists express this truth by saying that the
Void is itself void. Just as the "seeming full" is void, so also
the "seeming void" is full. This fullness or rather
overflowing-ness of the seeming void is what we call Compassion.
Since Compassion is not an inert principle or a static somewhat
but a purely transcendental activity, it is frequently
personified as Amitabha Buddha, Avalokiteshwara, or Kwan Yin. In
the magnificent but still inadequate words of THE VOICE OF THE

> Compassion is no attribute. It is the Law of LAWS -- eternal
> Harmony, Alaya's SELF; a shoreless universal essence, the light
> of everlasting right, and fitness of all things, the law of Love
> eternal.

The more attenuated the ego-sense becomes, the more abundantly
will selfless activities be manifested, for the Way of Emptiness
is also the Way of Compassion, and to become one therefore means
to become the other also. Emptiness and Compassion, Wisdom and
Love, are the static and dynamic aspects, respectively, of the
one Supreme State of Nirvana. The Arahant ideal stresses the
former, the Bodhisattva ideal the latter; but the goal is the
same for both, and the eradication of the ego-sense is
indispensably necessary in either path.

Self-enlightenment and compassionate activity for the sake of all
sentient beings are mutually exclusive alternatives only on the
level of the dichotomizing intellect. In reality they are the
intension and extension, the depth and the breadth, of a single
realization which is at once both emptiness and compassion.

The Arahant-ideal is unattainable by him who imagines that he has
an individual self which is in bondage and which must be
liberated: the self IS the bondage. The Bodhisattva-ideal is
unattainable by him who imagines that there are separate
individual beings for him to save.

Buddha said: "Subhuti, all the Bodhisattva-Heroes should
discipline their thoughts as follows: all living creatures . . .
are caused by Me to attain Unbounded Liberation, Nirvana. Yet
when vast, uncountable, immeasurable numbers of beings have thus
been liberated, verily no being has been liberated. Why is this,
Subhuti? It is because no Bodhisattva who is a real Bodhisattva
cherishes the idea of an ego-entity, a personality, a being, or a
separated individuality."


Emptiness and Activity, Prajna and Karuna, Wisdom and Compassion,
are in reality not two but one, which is ineffable Nirvana, and
the paths which lead thereto, the Path of the Arahant and the
Path of the Bodhisattva, are also one, which is the One Way
(Ekayana), the Way of the Buddha (Buddhayana).

Finally, since the Path of the Inner Life avoids such extremes as
those of self-indulgence and self-torture, Nihilism and
Eternalism, self-reliance and other-reliance, individualism and
altruism, together with the mutually exclusive deformations of
the "Arahant" and "Bodhisattva" ideals, it is spoken of as the
Majjhima Patipada or Middle Way. It should not, however, be
supposed that as such it is simply a compromise between two
antagonistic positions or an effort to solve antinomies on the
same level of experience at which they arise. The Middle Way is
found not so much between extremes as above them. It is not the
lowest common denominator of two contradictory terms but the
Higher Third wherein both find perfect mutual solution.

The numberless antinomies which arise on the ordinary levels of
human experience can be resolved only by attaining to a
relatively higher level of experience. Intellectual problems are
finally solved only by spiritual realization. To follow the
Middle Path means to cultivate the practice of solving the
conflicts of life and the contradictions of experience by rising
above the level at which they are possible. The Middle Way is
therefore essentially a Way of Spiritual Experience, and as such
coincides with the Path of the Inner Life.

Since all such conflicts and contradictions are products of the
ego-sense and can be solved only by rising above it, it also
coincides with the Way of Emptiness, and therefore with the Way
of Compassion too.

When we see that the Path of the Inner Life, the true Esoteric
Path, the Way of Emptiness, the Way of Compassion, and the Middle
Way are all aspects of the One Way, the Way taught by the Buddha,
we begin to glimpse the profound truth of the saying that "The
Path is one for all, the means to reach the goal must vary with
the Pilgrims."


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