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THEOSOPHY WORLD --------------------------------------- April, 2008

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

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CONTENTS

"Initiation and Suffering," by G. de Purucker
"The Metaphysics of Genius," by Merton S. Yewdale
"Help the Work," by Anonymous
"Occult Study," by Lay Chela
"Cantre'r Gwaelod," by Kenneth Morris
"Universal Brotherhood and Admission of Members," by W.Q. Judge
"The True Road for Humanity: Brotherhood Viewed in the Light
    of Theosophy," by Student
"What Religion Should We Teach Our Children," by Margaret Barr
"Prayer and Petitioning," by G. de Purucker
"The Spring Equinox Symposium," Part II, by Theosophical Students

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> The Dhyani-Chohans are spoken of as 'Lords of Meditation' 
> because that is the manner in which the human brain-mind 
> mystically conceives them to be. Actually, they enjoy a state of
> high spiritual activity and are, during every instant of time,
> collaborators in the great Cosmic Work with the higher gods with
> whom the Universe is infilled . . .
>
> To us inferior beings, their children nevertheless, they seem to
> be plunged in the deep depths of meditative spiritual 
> consciousness.
>
> -- G. de Purucker, THE HIERARCHY OF COMPASSION, page 23.

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INITIATION AND SUFFERING

By G. de Purucker

[From WIND OF THE SPIRIT, pages 85-86.]

All initiation is really a test or trial, but the preparation for
that test or trial is daily life, from January 1, to January 2,
to January 3, and throughout the days to December 31. What we
call Initiation is simply the showing by the neophyte in the
tests then and there laid upon him, whether his daily life's
training has been sufficiently strong to make him fit to hitch
his chariot to the stars.

That is why the Masters have told us that no especial tests
whatsoever are put upon chelas, only when initiation comes and
they are given a chance to face the trial. The tests come in
daily living. Do you see the lesson to be drawn from this? Fit
yourselves while the day is yet with us and before the night
comes. Do you know what some of these tests are? There have been
all kinds of romantic stories written by people about them.
These have been mostly guess-work, but the fundamental idea is
often true. The tests are these: Can you face the denizens of
other planes and prevail with them in peace? Do you know what
that means? Are you absolutely sure of yourself? The man who
cannot even face himself and conquer himself when required on
this familiar plane where he lives, how can he expect to face
with safety the habitants of other planes, not only the
elementals -- they are not by any means the worst -- but the
intelligent creatures, beings, living on other planes?

Now then, anyone who has mastered himself, perhaps not
completely, but who knows that if he sets his will to it he can
control anything in his own character, and knows it by proving
it, is ready to go through initiation. When this knowledge comes
to him, then he is given the chance.

So many people seem to think that Initiations are privileges
granted to people who pretend to live the holy life and that kind
of thing, but I will tell you something more that I myself know
because I have seen it in my fellow human beings: there is more
chance for the man or the woman who has striven honestly and has
fallen and risen again, in other words for one who has eaten the
bread of bitterness, who has become softened and strengthened by
it, than there is for one who has never passed through the fire.
So compassionate and pitiful is universal nature that it is
precisely those who stumble on the path who are often in the end
the richer. Holiness comes from the struggles with self fought
and lost, and fought and lost, and fought and WON. And then
compassion enters the heart, and pity, and understanding. We
become gentle with others.

You see now why it is that the quick one to judge the faults of
others is precisely he who himself has never stumbled on the path
and therefore is not fit and ready. Compassion and pity are
marks of character, of strength gained through suffering.
"Except the feet be washed in the blood of the heart" -- there
you have it! Look how compassionate the Christ was and the
Buddha. Let us learn and do likewise.

I have often been asked or written to as to what my opinion would
be concerning one who has been unhappy on life's pathway, has
wandered from the straight and narrow path: and I have wondered
how any Theosophist could ask me a question like that. Is it not
obvious that it is precisely those who have learned through
suffering who are stronger than those who have not? -- and I here
mean those who have suffered and conquered self. "Judge not lest
ye be judged." The one who has been through the fire never judges
one who is passing through it. He knows what it means. It is
the immature, the spiritually undeveloped, those who have never
been through the fire of pain, who are quick to criticize and
judge others. Judge not, lest ye be judged someday.

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THE METAPHYSICS OF GENIUS

By Merton S Yewdale

[From THE ARYAN PATH, June 1939, pages 279-82.]

Throughout history there have appeared ever so often among the
peoples of Earth, certain individuals who bear all the signs of
having been born for a kind of work which is not only inevitable
but destined. Yet while these individuals have been something of
a confraternity through the ages, their lives and characters have
greatly varied. Some of them have been shy of life and so
solitary that hardly anyone knew of their existence. Some have
lived in little groups, working in the poverty of their
surroundings, but in the wealth of their dreams. Some have lived
in conventional comfort; and not only have they continued to do
their destined work, but they have had the time and the energy to
take part in the practical life of the world.

But however they all may have differed in the details of their
personal life, they have always been of one accord in dedicating
their powers to bringing into existence works of aesthetic beauty
that have enriched the lives of men and women through the ages.
These gifted individuals are the world's men of genius, and their
works are those of the four fine arts -- music, poetry, painting,
and sculpture.

At first view, man lives primarily in the material world and is
closely attached to it, with the feeling that the spiritual world
is outside of himself and beyond him. Actually, he lives between
the two worlds, and their forces flow into him from either side.
The material world brings its energies so that he may develop his
physical powers as well as the resources of Earth. The spiritual
world brings its ethical riches so that his life on Earth may be
spiritualized and he may thus be kept from falling to the level
of sheer materialism. The ideal man is he in whom the spiritual
and material worlds unite in a perfect equilibrium. But man in
general falls short of that balance; he inclines too much to one
side or the other. Thus, failing to achieve it himself or
achieving it for a time and then losing it, he yearns to see it
achieved in some form in which it is permanent. It is in works
of art that he recognizes his ideal of the permanent equilibrium.

So far as the human mind is able to determine, the spiritual and
material worlds are the only ones which came forth in the Great
Beginning. Yet there is a third world -- the aesthetic, which
comes into existence through the man of genius as medium. It is
in him that the spiritual and material worlds not only meet, but
periodically issue forth united in works of art, which he alone
has the power to beget, and which in turn contribute to the
embodiment of the aesthetic world. Without the man of genius,
there would be no aesthetic world, and consequently no works of
art.

Where the man of genius differs from ordinary men is that he
lives largely in the world of himself. Into him the spiritual
and material worlds also flow, but as into a sanctuary where they
offer their resources for his works. From the spiritual world he
receives his visions of the Eternal Ideas, the intuitive
understanding of the essential harmony and equilibrium of the
universe, the gift of hearing with his inner ear, as in music and
poetry, and of seeing with his inner eye, as in painting and
sculpture. From the material world he receives the substance for
his works, the cosmic energy necessary for their formation and
the technique to give them the universal form that will insure
their continuance throughout time.

The purpose of the man of genius is to give aesthetic form to his
visions by representing the universal in the particular. His
ultimate achievement is that in his works he effects a union of
the spiritual and material worlds by imposing upon the amorphous
substance of the material world the order of the spiritual world.

It is the man of talent who CREATES works of art; the man of
genius GIVES BIRTH to them. The first is the conscious act of a
man who elects to construct from material outside of himself; the
second is the instinctive act of a man who yields to the command
of the Divine Energy to submit to the birth of substance within
himself. The man of talent is like a builder who constructs a
building; the man of genius is like a woman who brings a child
into the world. For the word genius comes from the Latin
"gigno," meaning, "I beget."

But there is a further and profounder difference between the two
kinds of men, which is revealed in their origins. The man of
talent is of the male species and a member of the race which for
millions of years has been divided into two sexes. But while the
man of genius is also male outwardly and a member of the present
race, he is inwardly male and female; that is, his ethereal or
astral body is bisexual or androgynous, and thus a representation
of the inner physical formation of the race of androgynes, who
lived many, many millions of years before our race, and who
self-reproduced their own kind.

That such a race of primordial beings once lived on this Earth
and that our race evolved from it, is clear, not only from
vestigial evidence in the race of today, but from references in
the writings of Plato and Lucretius; in the Puranas, the Zohar,
the Kabala, and Genesis; and principally in "The Book of Dzyan,"
portions of which Madame Blavatsky translated and interpreted in
her chief work, THE SECRET DOCTRINE.

It is in the man of genius that the androgyne continues its
function; but instead of reproducing himself, the man of genius
brings forth works of art -- first the conception of the idea,
then the gestation of the substance, lastly the birth of the work
itself in the form of music, poetry, painting, or sculpture.

Works of art are symbols of the great drama of the universe, when
in the Beginning it first emerged as chaos and then took form,
and when the mighty celestial bodies rolled into their appointed
places and in silent majesty began their heavenly movement. For
the primary elements which go to make up a work of art --
subject-matter, form, balance, and rhythm -- are from the world
of the universal.

The subject-matter comes from the Eternal Ideas; the form from
the essential unity of the universe, in which all its parts are
related in a harmonious whole; the balance from the cosmic force
which maintains the heavenly bodies in their relative positions;
the rhythm from the measured movement of the heavenly bodies
within the universe. Only the particular characteristics of
works of art indicate when and where they first appeared in Earth
life. Works of art have their roots in the past; they grow in
the present and come finally to maturity in the future where they
are understood and prized.

Just as art works when they appear are primarily for a future
generation whose emotional and intellectual consciousness is
different from that of the contemporary generation, so the man of
genius possesses within himself a corresponding consciousness,
which is transmitted to his works.

Within him also are the feminine intuition and the masculine
reason, by which he feels and thinks his works before they have
emerged into the world. Likewise, there are reflected in him the
universal elements -- subject-matter, form, balance, and rhythm,
by which all works acquire their universality, for it is the man
of genius who is truly the microcosm of the universe.

As soon as the art works are completed, they take on a meaning in
the particular, which brings them closer to the understanding of
people in general. The subject-matter becomes an idea or an
object which is related to life and recognizable in it. The form
becomes a symbol of man's inborn desire to bring order out of
disorder. The balance corresponds to the symmetrical
construction of the human body and to man's love of proportion in
all things. The rhythm corresponds to the ordered movement of
the days, months, and years, the seasons and the tides, as well
as to the human love of measured sound and movement. Thus works
of art completely satisfy, in a universal and a particular sense,
our innate desire to see the Eternal Ideas presented in perfect
form, balance, and rhythm, and to observe them aesthetically
interpreted in compositions of universal and permanent harmony.

In past centuries, when the multitudes were largely uneducated,
art was only for the cultured few. In modern times, it is for
all people, not only because they are much more enlightened and
because it develops their sense of aesthetic beauty, but
principally because it opens up a new world of vision and
provides a new outlet for their energies which are frequently
restricted and sometimes frustrated amid the confines of
regimented life in the modern world.

Art is not the means of an escape from life, but instead a master
collection of works in which every feeling and thought in the
whole human gamut may find instantaneous and sympathetic
response. A work in a bright major key symbolizes in general the
idea of evolution or coming into life in the visible world. In a
somber minor key, it symbolizes the idea of involution or
returning to the invisible world whence everything came. Also,
the stricter its form, the nearer the work approaches the
spiritual world and breathes the spiritual life. With freer
form, it approaches the everyday life of the practical world.

Works of art are for the young and the old, and for both sexes;
for men of genius, like the universe, are ever young and ever
old, and their works are therefore ageless and timeless. Also,
because of their androgyny, men of genius are able to represent
in their works, with equal skill and understanding, both male and
female characters and forms. The direction of a civilization may
be determined by the spirituality or materiality of its art
works. Likewise, as a civilization inclines, so do its men of
genius, who reflect in their works something of that to which the
civilization aspires. Yet the greatest works of art are more
than records of the aspirations of individual civilizations: they
are the immortal record of man's hopes and ideals which he has
ever held aloft on his journey through the ages.

Nothing is stranger than that, while astronomers can predict the
unusual movements of the heavenly bodies, and seers the coming of
great events, no one ever seems to have predicted the coming of a
man of genius. He is like a new star which is born in the
universe, but which does not become visible until its light has
come among men on Earth. Apparently, no one ever suspected that
a little boy in Ancient Greece would become Homer; or a boy in
India, the poet Kalidasa; or a boy in Germany, the composer Bach;
or a boy in Italy, the painter Da Vinci. Nor have men of genius
generally been born of illustrious parents. On the contrary,
practically all of them came from humble parents; and the history
of genius shows that the humbler the mother and therefore the
nearer to Nature, the greater the man -- which is perfectly
logical, since the energy of Nature is one of the physical
elements which are highly necessary to the man of genius in
bringing forth his works.

Linked to this force of Nature is the clairvoyant power of the
Spirit, by which he perceives the eternal beauty of things that
he imparts to his works and leaves as a legacy to all men and for
all time. The man of genius is but an instrument of Destiny, and
his masterpieces belong not to him, but to the ages forever.

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HELP THE WORK!

By Anonymous

[From THE THEOSOPHICAL MOVEMENT, May 1954, pages 151-53.]

As a student studies, earnestly and sincerely, the ancient and
immemorial record of Truth which we call Theosophy, as our
teachings reach his heart, as he attains to greater heights of
wisdom and of understanding, one supreme fact is revealed to him
-- the imperative need for the service of Theosophy. Having
himself benefited by the teachings, he feels an urge to pass them
on to others.

Students of Theosophy are asked to prepare themselves, by study
and otherwise, to serve the Cause of Theosophy -- to serve
humanity, in other words. They should seriously endeavor to fit
themselves to be the better able to elevate men and women, to
enlighten human souls and lead them on to peace and wisdom. They
do not confer any benefit on the philosophy or on the Movement by
their voluntary service but by helping the Cause they are helping
themselves. That helping is imperative for the
student-aspirant's own growth and progress, for without
sacrifice, wisdom cannot be obtained, and life loses its meaning.

Students and Associates of the United Lodge of Theosophists, when
they are asked to spread broadcast the fundamental principles of
Theosophy, often mention the difficulty that there is not a
sufficiently great public demand for the teachings of the
Wisdom-Religion. While this is true to some extent, that is not
the whole trouble. There is a growing body of men and women all
over the world who have begun to question life, who are
dissatisfied with the explanations given by their religion, or by
modern science, or by contemporary philosophy, and who seek a
rational answer to their queries, a correct solution to their
problems. Among these, there are many who are ready for
Theosophy.

It is the task of all those who are in sympathy with the purposes
of the ULT to introduce them to Theosophy, not only physically,
by bringing them into the hall of the ULT, though this has its
great and peculiar importance, but also metaphysically, by
attuning them to the current of the Great Theosophical Movement.
This has to be done, not in the spirit of proselytism --
Theosophy discourages that, advocating instead the inner
conversion of each one by himself -- but by sowing the seeds of
great ideas in whatever soil is ready and letting them fructify
of their own accord. And if the soil is not ready, we need not
despair. By patient effort it is possible to till the most
difficult of soils and to prepare it for receiving future seeds.

But where are the tillers and the sowers? The work is growing,
but the workers are deficient, not only in numbers but also in
quality. It has been said that with a handful of sincere,
devoted, unselfish Theosophists, who are Theosophists by nature
and not only in name, one could move the world. There is such a
power in Theosophy that its wider promulgation can change the
face of the entire earth. HPB was making no idle boast when she
called Theosophy the most serious movement of the age, for it is
a philosophy so grand, so consistent, so logical, and so
all-embracing that it can succeed where other systems of thought
have failed and can accomplish what may be thought most difficult
of accomplishment. Such is the firm conviction of those who have
taken the trouble to study and apply it.

Why, then, have we not succeeded in this mighty task? What we
lack is enthusiasm and "without it," as Bulwer Lytton puts it,
"truth accomplishes no victories"; while Emerson most truly
remarks that "every great and commanding movement in the annals
of the world is the triumph of enthusiasm." The trouble with many
of the friends and students of the ULT is that they are somewhat
lethargic and apathetic. At one time in their Theosophical
career they may have had high ambitions and the desire to do big
things. But settling down practically to Theosophical effort,
they encountered innumerable difficulties, and these damped their
spirits and made them say to themselves: "Let it all go; leading
my own life is of primary importance to me; I shall take from
Theosophy what I can and give occasionally of time, money, and
work to prove my desire for service. More than this I cannot
do."

The cause of the failure, then, lies within ourselves.
Individual students need to energize themselves, and giving up
their lethargy, to come together to form a united body. Having
as their common aim the Spiritual Service of Humanity, their
brotherly feeling and constant exertion will become a power that
in course of time will make its influence felt in every sphere of
life.

An oft-heard question is: "What can I do? I have the necessary
desire to serve the Cause and help the ULT; but what actual work
can I undertake, limited as my capacity is?" So vast is the
Theosophical Movement that the lines of work it presents are
innumerable. W.Q. Judge once wrote in answer to a question (THE
VAHAN, August 1891):

> Service is rendered in many different ways: . . . by spreading
> literature, by explaining the doctrines and doing away with
> misconceptions, by contributing money to be used in the work, by
> constituting oneself a loyal unit if ability and time be lacking;
> and chiefly always by acquiring a knowledge of Theosophical
> doctrines so as to be able to give a clear answer to inquiry.
> One could also procure some inquiring correspondent and by means
> of letters answer questions as to Theosophical literature and
> doctrines. These are all general answers, while the question
> requires almost a personal examination. Any work that is
> sincerely done . . . with good motive and to the best of one's
> ability is good Theosophical work.

In the service of Theosophy, the triple sacrifice of time, money,
and work can be performed. All three are necessary, for pod and
beneficial results require the power of this trinity. If someone
desires to know what Theosophy really means to him, he has only
to ask himself how much of his time is given to the study and
promulgation of Theosophy, how much of his money he spends on
himself, and how much he devotes to Theosophy; what he actually
DOES for the cause of Theosophy -- does he give part of what he
possesses; and, if so, what part?

Students often plead lack of time, or lack of means, or lack of
knowledge and capacity as an excuse for not doing anything. But
it is more often the will or desire to help and to serve that is
absent. If the will is there and the spirit of sacrifice
energizes the student, then he will always find new avenues of
service opening before him. There is none so poor that he cannot
give even a humble coin, and it is not the amount that really
matters but the feeling and the thought back of it. There is
none so ignorant that he cannot seek out one who knows still less
than himself and promulgate even one simple wise word. There is
none so busy that he cannot find time to attend at least one
meeting, or to study Theosophy even for a little while.

And there are other ways of helping which are within the capacity
of anyone: by listening attentively and intelligently to what is
being said from the platform, thereby helping those who volunteer
for platform work and raising the general tone of the meeting to
a higher plane; by following the proceedings at the study class
by preparing the lesson beforehand; by speaking of the Lodge and
its work to our friends and acquaintances; by sending them
programs and leaflets; by distributing Theosophical literature;
by thinking of the Lodge as our spiritual home and throughout our
life carrying its influence, energy, and inspiration wherever we
go; and above all, in Mr. Judge's words, by "our own work, in
and on ourselves, each one," which "has for its object the
enlightenment of oneself for the good of others." In these and
similar ways, we realize the truth of Mr. Judge's mantric
phrase, "Each Member a Center," "from which, in our measure, may
flow out the potentialities for good that from the adept come in
large and affluent streams."

All students and associates of the ULT will do well to keep in
mind what HPB has said in her KEY TO THEOSOPHY about the future
of the present Theosophical Movement (page 302):

> Its future will depend almost entirely upon the degree of
> selflessness, earnestness, devotion, and last, but not least, on
> the amount of knowledge and wisdom possessed by those members, on
> whom it will fall to carry on the work.

Each Associate should examine himself and find out to what extent
he possesses these qualifications, and then determine for himself
what will be HIS contribution to the Cause of Theosophy and to
the work that the is doing. In all our work, the emphasis is
always on self-energization and self-determination. But we need
to remind ourselves that we exist to serve the Cause and are
responsible for keeping it going as the visible incarnation of
the Invisible Movement.

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OCCULT STUDY

By Lay Chela

[From FIVE YEARS OF THEOSOPHY, pages 221-29.]

The practical bearing of occult teaching on ordinary life is very
variously interpreted by different students of the subject. For
many Western readers of recent books on the esoteric doctrine, it
even seems doubtful whether the teaching has any bearing on
practical life at all. The proposal which it is supposed
sometimes to convey, that all earnest inquirers should put
themselves under the severe ascetic regimen followed by its
regular Oriental disciples, is felt to embody a strain on the
habits of modern civilization which only a few enthusiasts will
be prepared to encounter. The mere intellectual charm of an
intricate philosophy may indeed be enough to recommend the study
to some minds, but a scheme of teaching that offers itself as a
substitute for religious faith of the usual kind will be expected
to yield some tangible results in regard to the future spiritual
well-being of those who adopt it.

Has occult philosophy nothing to give except to those who are in
a position and willing to make a sacrifice in its behalf of all
other objects in life? In that case it would indeed be useless to
bring it out into the world. In reality the esoteric doctrine
affords an almost infinite variety of opportunities for spiritual
development, and no greater mistake could be made in connection
with the present movement than to suppose the teaching of the
Adepts merely addressed to persons capable of heroic
self-devotion. Assuredly it does not discourage efforts in the
direction of the highest achievement of occult progress, if any
Western occultists may feel disposed to make them; but it is
important for us all to keep clearly in view the lower range of
possibilities connected with humbler aspirations.

I believe it to be absolutely true that even the slightest
attention seriously paid to the instructions now emanating from
the Indian Adepts will generate results within the spiritual
principles of those who render it -- causes capable of producing
appreciable consequences in a future state of existence. Anyone
who has sufficiently examined the doctrine of Devachan will
readily follow the idea, for the nature of the spiritual
existence which in the ordinary course of things must succeed
each physical life, provides for the very considerable expansion
of any aspirations towards real knowledge that may be set going
on earth. I will recur to this point directly, when I have made
clearer the general drift of the argument I am trying to unfold.

At the one end of the scale of possibilities connected with
occult study lies the supreme development of Adeptship; an
achievement which means that the person reaching it has so
violently stimulated his spiritual growth within a short period,
as to have anticipated processes on which Nature, in her own
deliberate way, would have spent a great procession of ages. At
the other end of the scale lies the small result to which I have
just alluded -- a result which may rather be said to establish a
tendency in the direction of spiritual achievement than to embody
such achievement.

Between these two widely different results there is no hard and
fast line that can be drawn at any place to make a distinct
separation in the character of the consequences ensuing from
devotion to occult pursuits. As the darkness of blackest night
gives way by imperceptible degrees to the illumination of the
brightest sunrise, so the spiritual consequences of emerging from
the apathy either of pure materialism or of dull acquiescence in
unreasonable dogmas, brighten by imperceptible degrees from the
faintest traces of Devachanic improvement into the full blaze of
the highest perfection human nature can attain.

Without assuming that the course of Nature which prescribes for
each human Ego successive physical lives and successive periods
of spiritual refreshment -- without supposing that this course is
altered by such moderate devotion to occult study as is
compatible with the ordinary conditions of European life, it will
nevertheless be seen how vast the consequences may ultimately be
of impressing on that career of evolution a distinct tendency in
the direction of supreme enlightenment, of that result which is
described as the union of the individual soul with universal
spirit.

The explanations of the esoteric doctrine which have been
publicly given, have shown that humanity in the mass has now
attained a stage in the great evolutionary cycle from which it
has the opportunity of growing upward towards final perfection.
In the mass it is, of course, unlikely that it will travel that
road: final perfection is not a gift to be bestowed upon all, but
to be worked for by those who desire it. It may be put within
the theoretical reach of all; there may be no human creature
living at this moment, of whom it can be said that the highest
possibilities of Nature are impossible of attainment, but it does
not follow by any means that every individual will attain the
highest possibilities.

Regarding each individual as one of the seeds of a great flower
which throws out thousands of seeds, it is manifest that only a
few, relatively to the great number, will become fully developed
flowers in their turn. No unjust neglect awaits the majority.
For each and every one the consequences of the remote future will
be precisely proportioned to the aptitudes he develops, but only
those can reach the goal who, with persistent effort carried out
through a long series of lives, differentiate themselves in a
marked degree from the general multitude.

That persistent effort must have a beginning, and granted the
beginning, the persistence is not improbable. Within our own
observation of ordinary life, good habits, even though they may
not be so readily formed as bad ones, are not difficult to
maintain in proportion to the difficulty of their commencement.
For a moment it may be asked how this may be applied to a
succession of lives separate from each other by a total oblivion
of their details; but it really applies as directly to the
succession of lives as to the succession of days within one life,
which are separated from each other by as many nights. The
certain operation of those affinities in the individual Ego which
are collectively described in the esoteric doctrine by the word
Karma, must operate to pick up the old habits of character and
thought, as life after life comes round, with the same certainty
that the thread of memory in a living brain recovers, day after
day, the impressions of those that have gone before.

Whether a moral habit is thus deliberately engendered by an
occult student in order that it may propagate itself through
future ages, or whether it merely arises from unintelligent
aspirations towards good, which happily for mankind are more
widely spread than occult study as yet, the way it works in each
case is the same. The unintelligent aspiration towards goodness
propagates itself and leads to good lives in the future; the
intelligent aspiration propagates itself in the same way plus the
propagation of intelligence; and this distinction shows the gulf
of difference which may exist between the growth of a human soul
which merely drifts along the stream of time, and that of one
which is consciously steered by an intelligent purpose
throughout.

The human Ego which acquires the habit of seeking for knowledge
becomes invested, life after life, with the qualifications which
ensure the success of such a search, until the final success,
achieved at some critical period of its existence, carries it
right up into the company of those perfected Egos which are the
fully developed flowers only expected, according to our first
metaphor, from a few of the thousand seeds.

It is clear that a slight impulse in a given direction, even on
the physical plane does not produce the same effect as a stronger
one; so, exactly in this matter of engendering habits required to
persist in their operation through a succession of lives, it is
quite obvious that the strong impulse of a very ardent aspiration
towards knowledge will be more likely than a weaker one to
triumph over the so called accidents of Nature.

This consideration brings us to the question of those habits in
life which are more immediately associated in the popular views
of the matter with the pursuit of occult science. It will be
quite plain that the generation within his own nature by an
occult student of affinities in the direction of spiritual
progress, is a matter which has little if anything to do with the
outer circumstances of his daily life. It cannot be dissociated
from what may be called the outer circumstances of his moral
life, for an occult student, whose moral nature is consciously
ignoble, and who combines the pursuit of knowledge with the
practice of wrong, becomes by that condition of things a student
of sorcery rather than of true occultism -- a candidate for
satanic evolution instead of perfection. But at the same time
the physical habits of life may be quite the reverse of ascetic,
while all the while the thinking processes of the intellectual
life are developing affinities which cannot fail in the results
just seen to produce large ulterior consequences.

Some misconception is very apt to arise here from the way in
which frequent reference is made to the ascetic habits of those
who purpose to become the regular chelas of Oriental Adepts. It
is supposed that what is practiced by the Master is necessarily
recommended for all his pupils. Now this is far from being the
case as regards the miscellaneous pupils who are gathering round
the occult teachers lately become known to public report.
Certainly even in reference to their miscellaneous pupils the
Adepts would not discountenance asceticism.

As we saw just now, there is no hard line drawn across the scale
on which are defined the varying consequences of occult study in
all its varying degrees of intensity -- so with ascetic practice,
from the slightest habits of self-denial, which may engender a
preference for spiritual over material gratification, up to the
very largest developments of asceticism required as a passport to
chelaship, no such practices can be quite without their
consequences in the all-embracing records of Karma. But, broadly
speaking, asceticism belongs to that species of effort which aims
at personal chelaship, and that which contemplates the patient
development of spiritual growth along the slow track of natural
evolution claims no more, broadly speaking, than intellectual
application.

All that is asserted in regard to the opening now offered to
those who have taken notice of the present opportunity, is, that
they may now give their own evolution an impulse which they may
not again have an opportunity of giving it with the same
advantage to themselves if the present opportunity is thrown
aside. True, it is most unlikely that any one advancing through
Nature, life after life, under the direction of a fairly
creditable Karma, will go on always without meeting sooner or
later with the ideas that occult study implants. So that the
occultist does not threaten those who turn aside from his
teachings with any consequences that must necessarily be
disastrous.

He only says that those who listen to them must necessarily
derive advantage from so doing in exact proportion to the zeal
with which they undertake the study and the purity of motive with
which they promote it in others.

Nor must it be supposed that those which have here been described
as the lower range of possibilities in connection with occult
study, are a mere fringe upon the higher possibilities, to be
regarded as a relatively poor compensation accorded to those who
do not feel equal to offering themselves for probation as regular
chelas. It would be a grave misconception of the purpose with
which the present stream of occult teaching has been poured into
the world, if we were to think it a universal incitement to that
course of action.

It may be hazardous for any of us who are not initiates to speak
with entire confidence of the intention of the Adepts, but all
the external facts concerned with the growth and development of
the Theosophical Society, show its purpose to be more directly
related to the cultivation of spiritual aspirations over a wide
area, than to the excitement of these with supreme intensity in
individuals. There are considerations, indeed, which may almost
be said to debar the Adepts from ever doing anything to encourage
persons in whom this supreme intensity of excitement is possible,
to take the very serious step of offering themselves as chelas.

Directly that by doing this a man renders himself a candidate for
something more than the maximum advantages that can flow to him
through the operation of natural laws -- directly that in this
way he claims to anticipate the most favorable course of Nature
and to approach high perfection by violent and artificial
processes, he at once puts himself in presence of many dangers
which would never beset him if he contented himself with a
favorable natural growth. It appears to be always a matter of
grave consideration with the Adepts whether they will take the
responsibility of encouraging any person who may not have it in
him to succeed, to expose himself to these dangers.

For anyone who is determined to face them and is permitted to do
so, the considerations put forward above in regard to the
optional character of personal physical training fall to the
ground. Those ascetic practices which a candidate for nothing
more than the best natural evolution may undertake if he chooses,
with the view of emphasizing his spiritual Karma to the utmost,
become a sine qua non in regard to the very first step of his
progress.

With such progress the present explanation is not especially
concerned. Its purpose has been to show the beneficial effects
which may flow to ordinary people living ordinary lives, from
even that moderate devotion to occult philosophy which is
compatible with such ordinary lives, and to guard against the
very erroneous belief that occult science is a pursuit in which
it is not worthwhile to engage, unless Adeptship is held out to
the student as its ultimate result.

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CANTRE'R GWAELOD

By Kenneth Morris

[From THE THEOSOPHICAL PATH, June 1926, pages 520-21.]

White wings lap and white waves leap
O'er the Lowland Hundred's sleep;
And green and dim the flood flows where
Were hawk and hound and pride and prayer;
Yet the bells at evening ring
From 'neath wave and sea-gull wing,
And Gwyddno's minstrels' grief and glee
Sing forever through the sea.

Reeds and rushes whisper and sigh
Where unknown the Mighty lie:
Hero-hearts that broke of old
And bloom now broom- or sunset-gold;
Prophets murdered long ago
Who gave the hills their purple glow:
We forget -- but not the Sea
Nor the Mountains' majesty.

Shineth, fired to west, the sky?
-- Day hath learned from them to die.
Hath iris, rose, or peony shone?
-- Summer puts their dreamings on.
Ne'er was hue nor splendor yet
But what human hearts beget;
Or, if wrought by Gods behind,
Focused through some human mind.

Ne'er I lifted up my sight
Toward the Mountains crowned with light,
But in mine own spirit there
I saw the Goal of all men's prayer,
And glassed where bodily eyes might win
To view them, cliffs and crags within --
Love and will or rock and sod.
The Himalayas of the Heart of God.

And evil thoughts in secret born
Add to every rose a thorn;
But what heart would help or save
Turns some threatening wind or wave;
And Cantre'r Gwaelod lies asleep
Green unmotioned fathoms deep,
But Gwyddno's minstrels' grief and glee
Chime still through the Celtic Sea . . .

------------------------------------------------------------------
UNIVERSAL BROTHERHOOD AND ADMISSION OF MEMBERS

By W.Q. Judge

[From THE PATH, July 1894, Pages 119-22, reprinted in ECHOES OF
THE ORIENT, I, pages 422-25.]

Some confusion has at times arisen in the minds of Branch
officers and members on the point of admitting persons to the
T.S. It has been asked, Why, if we hold to Universal
Brotherhood, should we refuse to admit those to whom there is
objection? The answer seems to be the same as one would give if
the question related to admitting all persons to one's family or
house. Indeed, the relation of Branches to the T.S. is much
like that of the family to the State.

Every individual not positively criminal has the right to
citizenship, and may, subject to the statutes, take part in civic
affairs, express his convictions as to public policy, join in
meetings of citizens for discussion of new movements, and
everywhere be regarded as on a par with his fellows. But this
gives him no right to entrance into any family, and claim that
his citizenship entitled him to cross whatever threshold he liked
and establish himself as a member of the domestic circle would be
laughed at. Everyone would say that families had a right to
their privacy and to select their associates, and that if they
saw fit to exclude any person from their home, there was no canon
of justice or proper feeling which should constrain them to do
otherwise. It was wholly for them to say who was congenial,
acceptable, and welcome.

Just so in Branches of the T.S. Every sincere and reputable
person is free to join the Society and as a member of it to enjoy
all the privileges belonging to membership. He can attend all
meetings of Theosophists as such, join in petition to the
constitutional authorities, use his diploma for purpose of
identification, claim the documents due to F.T.S., and in
general, have full possession of every right conferred by our
rules. But this does not empower him to demand admission to
private meetings of a Branch, much less to election to its
membership; nor can there be any ground of complaint if its
existing members decline to elect him.

This will be clearer if we consider the nature and purpose of a
Branch. It is a union of a group of members having a common
ground of interest in Theosophic study or work, a certain general
conception of desired methods, and a more or less intellectual or
social or personal sympathy. The basis must of course be
Theosophy, but the local superstructure takes shape and color
from the quality of those who plan its erection.

Now it is the continued harmony of the constituents which is to
determine both its endurance and its activity. If an applicant
for Branch membership is known to have views as to its policy in
marked contrast to those prevalent within it, or to be offensive
in manner, of ill-repute in the community, quarrelsome, heady,
flighty, certain to excite discord inside or to compromise the
Society outside, there is no possible reason why he should be
accepted. To admit him would do him no good, for he is not in
harmony with the rest of the organization, and would simply be
introducing an element of discord certain to eventuate in ill
feeling, contention, a check to work, and possible
disintegration.

One factious or indiscreet Branch member may paralyze a Branch.
Nor is his exclusion an injury. He has no claim to entrance and
consequently no grievance at denial, and he is altogether at
liberty to join the Society as member-at-large, to assist its
operations, and to study its literature. He can be a citizen of
the commonwealth without being a member of a particular household
in it.

More than this, where a Branch is aware that a person is sure to
cause trouble or to act as a stumbling-block to other and worthy
men and women, it is its DUTY to prevent that catastrophe.
Sentiment should not be a bar to justice. To protect the Society
and to secure peace to existing workers is of more importance
than the self-love of a single individual. Indeed, if he resents
the expression of the Branch's preference in the case, he shows
that he has not that respect for others' rights, judgments, and
feelings which is essential to any true Theosophist, and is
destitute of the elementary qualifications for close union in
Branch life. His very pique justifies the Branch action and
affirms it.

Of course it cannot be said that no sacrifice of personal desires
or preference is ever to be made by Branch members in elections.
That would be queer Theosophy. It may very well happen that a
person somewhat distasteful in ways may yet give promise of a
valuable future, and a sincere member may, and should, concede
personal considerations to a larger good. But this is a
different case from that radical unfitness which cannot be
smoothed over by tolerance or by phrases, and which demands the
blackball for protection.

To recapitulate, we believe in unity, but at the same time we
know that it is not possible for all to live intimately with each
other because of various differences existing among individuals
as to race, manners, and style of mind as well as of nature.
Brotherhood does not require that we shall take into our home the
vicious, even though we are working for their reformation; nor
that we should bring into our own circle those whose manners and
development are vastly different from our own. And just as it is
in our private life as human beings, so it is in the Theosophical
Society.

We have no right to deny to anyone the right to be alive and one
of the human family, and neither have we the right to deny to
anyone the right to belong to the Society so long as the
applicant is not a criminal unreformed. But in the Society the
Branch represents the family, and it has a right to draw a line
or make a limit, and to say who shall and who shall not belong to
that family. Hence each Branch has to decide upon whom it will
admit. If some apply who are sure to bring trouble to the Branch
or who are of a nature that will not permit free and harmonious
work with the others, the Branch has the right from all points of
view not to admit to the Branch roll. This very question was
once raised very needlessly in a place where there were many
colored people and where a sentiment existed against their
associating intimately with whites. It was settled by deciding
that if colored people desired a Branch of their own they could
have it and would be helped by the other. Brotherhood does not
demand that elements wholly dissimilar must be violently mixed.
Neither party would be comfortable in such circumstances. They
can work apart for the common aim.

But the rules provide for cases where applicants wish to enter
the T.S., as any Branch President may admit the applicant as a
member-at-large if willing to endorse his character in general.
In such an event, the transaction is between the president, the
applicant, and the office of the General Secretary. It does not
concern the Branch at all.

And so the union of right feeling and sound reason will usually
solve duty when uncertainty occurs, and the Branches be secured
the largest proportion of good material, with a minimum of risk
to harmony, effectiveness, and continuing life.

------------------------------------------------------------------
THE TRUE ROAD FOR HUMANITY:
BROTHERHOOD VIEWED IN THE LIGHT OF THEOSOPHY

By Student

[From THE THEOSOPHICAL PATH, June 1926, pages 556-61.]

The true road for Humanity lies in the principle of BROTHERHOOD
-- properly understood. But that word, "Brotherhood," needs
careful consideration, if we are to gain an adequate idea of what
it really means, and not be misled by the numerous false
conceptions which are attached to it. Brotherhood, as the term
is usually understood, represents a conception which is much too
small and slight to stand as the salvation of Humanity. Too
often it means nothing more than a vague sentiment of mutual
toleration, or a system of communal life based on such mutual
toleration. When people speak of Brotherhood, they often have in
their minds something that is difficult and goes against the
grain. They imagine that to practice Brotherhood means to act
against one's inclinations and maintain towards other people an
attitude of forced benevolence and toleration.

This is because we are trying to practice Brotherhood without
having the real thing in our hearts; and so, instead of being an
instinct, whose gratification is a pleasure, it becomes an
irksome duty. Our motive is wrong. We act from religious fear
or philosophic belief, or some other motive that does not deeply
stir the nature. Brotherhood cannot rest upon sermons nor upon
philosophical treatises. You cannot preach people into
brotherhood, nor argue them into it.

But Theosophy sheds quite a new light on the question. According
to Theosophy, Brotherhood rests on certain great truths which
have long been forgotten by the human race, and which must be
brought back to recollection. The first of these truths is that
of the ESSENTIAL DIVINITY OF MAN. This makes all the difference
in the meaning of the word "Brotherhood," because the belief in
the essential divinity of man is not taught either by religion or
science, or if it is, then only in a vague and ineffectual way.

According to Theosophy, the ordinary life of man is but a poor
shadow of the real Life that should be his. The greater, better,
part of human nature lies still latent and undeveloped OUTWARDLY.
There are possibilities in life which we do not dream of. We go
on theorizing about questions as if the present stage of human
development were the best possible. But it is evident that, if
so many of our powers and faculties are still latent and
undeveloped, we have quite a large and new field of conjecture
left open to us.

The powers of the Soul can only be evoked by a true Brotherhood.
Just as the sublime harmonies of music require the consonance of
many tones tuned in accord, so many hearts beating together in
perfect mutual understanding and love evoke the sublime harmonies
of the Soul-life.

To most believers in religious creeds, the Soul-life is a thing
of the hereafter, not to be enjoyed on earth. And even thus,
there is never any idea of a blending of hearts, but rather one
of selfish bliss -- if such a thing were possible. But in the
light of Theosophy, the Soul is ever present with us,
overshadowing us each and all, and waiting for our recognition.
This is surely no strange doctrine, but only the one that Christ
taught. But we have perverted his kindly teaching into a cold
and barren dogma.

It is open to everyone to enter upon the Path which leads to
eternal peace and knowledge. The one essential is that he should
give up those personal prejudices and delusions which hide from
him the light. But to be willing to do this, he must become
convinced that there IS such a Path, and that it is worth
striving for. This is where the need for Theosophical teachings
comes in. There are many, many sad hearts and puzzled brains in
the world that are ready to come to the light, but are kept from
it by the almost impassable barriers of false knowledge and
mistaken ideals that exist in the world. Many hear of Theosophy
and pass it by without further inquiry, when it is the very thing
they are in search of; and all because of the number of times
they have been deceived. They think Theosophy is one more sham
and delusive hope.

Since humanity has no creed or faith on which it can base a
doctrine of true Brotherhood, it needs more than all else a
proper understanding of the laws of life and of the constitution
of human nature. HUMANITY NEEDS A NEW HOPE. Without hope and
the faith of knowledge, the heart is cold. How are we to restore
the lost hope and faith of humanity? By restoring the knowledge
of man's essential divinity.

The Theosophical teachings as to the history of humanity are more
scientific than those which are current today. Theosophy teaches
that Man has had an immense antiquity on the earth, as our
archaeologists are now beginning to discover. Science admits
that the rocks and plants and animals are millions of years old,
but with strange inconsistency will not accord a corresponding
antiquity to Man; but instead makes him the creature of a few
paltry centuries, while its ideas as to the status of the
ancients are often childish and silly. The Wisdom-Religion, more
consistent, gives Man an antiquity commensurate with that of the
geological ages.

The life-history of humanity comprises a cycle of fall and
descent, and a cycle of reascent and rise. It is what is meant
by Paradise lost and regained. There have been times in the far
past when humanity was more glorious and happy than it is now --
times dimly spoken of in legend as the "Golden Age." All nations
have traditions of these times, when Gods and Heroes walked the
earth. Also we have legends of the Fall of man, when led away by
the misuse of his divine prerogative of free will, he forsook the
Light and turned to sensual pleasures and worldly power. The
purpose of life is the experience of the Soul, which being
essentially divine descends into fleshly bodies for the purpose
of adding to itself the knowledge and dominion of all the lower
kingdoms of nature.

It is the destiny of man, by virtue of his free will, to stray
far from the light in his quest of experience and happiness. It
is also his destiny to return to the light after his long
pilgrimage and to become master of all the forces of his lower
nature. But the path of humanity is always forward, though
sometimes leading along a descending slope. Viewed in this
light, the present age, and indeed all the period covered by
history as we know it, is a cycle of materialism and spiritual
darkness. Man has been engaged in bloody wars of conquest, in
religious quarrels, in the struggle for material wealth, and all
things earthly. But we have now passed the lowest point of the
cycle and a return to more spiritual ways of life is impending.
This explains the universal hunger for reality and faith which is
heard everywhere today.

It is a sad thing to have to confess, in a so-called scientific
and cultured age, that people are in a state of absolute doubt
and ignorance as to how to deal with the most vital problems of
human life: how bring up children, how to stop vice and crime,
how to prevent disease and secure health, what is the right form
of government, how to prevent industrial strife and financial
corruption, what constitutes truth in religion, what is the
nature of the human mind and heart, and innumerable other
questions. It is not very flattering to have to confess that we
cannot prevent international wars, bloody massacres, political
dishonesty, and the ravages of selfishness, cruelty, and lust.
In short, the outfit of knowledge which we can claim in this age
is confessedly altogether inadequate to solve the simplest
problems of human life.

Is there not need to bring back to humanity its lost faith and
knowledge?

The secret of happiness is SELF-CONTROL. But what is to be the
controlling agency? The only self-control we know is where some
greater passion controls the lesser ones, as when ambition rules
a man's life, or love of ease. Or perhaps religious fear may
keep us in order. Fortunately, the greater part of humanity is
governed, not by the contradictory voices of religion nor by the
wild guesses of scientific opinion, but by the sane and healthy
instincts of human nature which make themselves felt and which
impel men to observe the laws of self-sacrifice and mutual
helpfulness which alone can render society stable. But these are
only instincts, and people do not understand their reason.

What we have to learn is that the law of Brotherhood is founded
on eternal truth, that it is the very fundamental LAW of all
life. The higher life is not a kind of supplement added to the
ordinary life. It is the only real life, and what we know as
life is only a counterfeit. Theosophy teaches that, while the
lower mind of man is personal and separate, the Soul is one for
all and knows no self-interest.

If we should rise above the delusions created by our selfish
passions, we should become illuminated by the light of the Soul
shining into our minds and making us see things as they really
are. We should then be inspired with the universal Love which
would impel us to act in the common interest and would dominate
and supersede all self-interested motives. Instead of having a
lot of ordinary people actuated by ethical and religious
principles in which they only half believe, we should have people
who were illuminated and to whom the teachings of true Religion
were natural instincts instead of difficult tasks.

Modern opinion fluctuates to every point of the compass; all the
departments of inquiry are at cross purposes; there is no unity
or agreement in modern thought and it is a perfect Babel. How
can we find in the midst of this confusion, any authority, any
certainty, anything that can serve as a sure guide in life? We
have lost the unifying factor of knowledge, the keystone of the
arch. Instead of knowledge, we have multitudinous opinion, and
if it were not for the natural healthy instincts, society could
not exist at all.

The unifying factor which we have lost is the ancient
Wisdom-Religion -- Theosophy -- that knowledge which in antiquity
was widely diffused and generally recognized, but which was
obscured by false doctrine and gradually lost from public
knowledge during the dark cycles. In this Knowledge, there is no
contrariety between science and religion, and the whole fabric of
knowledge coheres and is perfectly consistent and harmonious. It
replaces the everlasting doubt and fear about the future life and
the Soul by a certain conviction of the immortality and essential
divinity of man's nature, and thus gives a new hope and strength
and dignity to life.

No longer need we live without a purpose, drifting along we know
not whither. The assurance that there is a larger knowledge and
a fuller, richer life that is open to each and all who are
willing to enter the path of wisdom gives man a sure goal to aim
at.

The True Road to truth must be sought within oneself. In the
Soul is the ultimate criterion of truth. The religious bodies of
the Occident are to some extent beginning to realize this; that
is to say, they are getting back to the original teachings of
their Master, who taught that we must look within ourselves for
our divine nature. But it needs Theosophy to put this teaching
into a form that will make it real and practical; for without the
knowledge regarding the nature of man, there is no rational basis
for the doctrine to rest on, and it will not satisfy the reason.
Theosophy indicates how we may so direct and fashion the course
of our lives as to approach that fount of divine strength and
wisdom which is in each one of us. That way is by the practice
of Brotherhood.

We must realize that the selfish propensities are fetters on the
Soul, chaining it down to a narrow and sordid life, when it might
be free and soaring like a bird. By recognizing the unworthiness
of our personal desires and ambitions, and forcing them to give
way to the unselfish aspirations which we are cultivating, we can
gradually rise to a calmer, happier life.

This is no idle dreaming. The Theosophical or Brotherhood-life
is being actually lived before the eyes of the world in Lomaland,
and is rapidly becoming the source of wonderment and admiration.
The world hungers for and can appreciate a practical working
example.

Theosophy does not divide life into compartments, but regards it
as a whole. Hence the whole nature is developed harmoniously, as
the ancient Greeks sought to develop it. Body, Mind, and Soul
are all cultivated. Theosophy contains the laws of right living
on every plane; so that it includes the laws of bodily health.

The most striking instance of the effects of practical Theosophy
now before the world is the Raja-Yoga school-system. The quality
of the children which that system of education brings forth is
astonishing to the eyes of the people. In the Raja-Yoga Schools
true self-command is taught, for the children are taught from
their earliest years to rely on the indomitable strength and
purity of their own Soul, and by it to control all their
faculties of mind and of body and to drive out all the intrusive
passions and ailments which afflict and mar the life of less
fortunate people. The Raja-Yoga system, as applied to children
and to grown people, may truly be described as the hope of
humanity.

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WHAT RELIGION SHOULD WE TEACH OUR CHILDREN?

By Margaret Barr

[From THE ARYAN PATH, August 1947, pages 348-52.]

The question of religious instruction for children is always
before the public mind, and it would seem that the majority who
have any views on the subject incline to one of two camps.

On the one hand are the secularists who feel that the harm done
by religion throughout history so far outweighs the good, that
the best thing would be for us to wash our hands of it completely
and by leaving children entirely without religious instruction,
leave them free either to live out their lives untouched by
religion or to evolve a faith for themselves when they reach the
age to do so.

On the other hand are those who believe that their primary duty
in life is to proselytize for the faith to which they happen to
belong and who consequently make the most of every opportunity
that comes their way for influencing the unformed and pliable
minds of children and young people.

If a tree is to be judged by its fruits -- and how else can it be
judged? -- then both of these attitudes are tragically wrong.
Surely the absence of any religion is one of the root causes of
the materialism, selfishness, and restlessness that prevail
throughout the world at the present day, whereas communal
conflict, intolerance, and bigotry are some of the fruits of the
dogmatic, proselytizing attitude.

Let us look a little more closely at both of these. The
secularist argument is plausible and cogent. It is difficult to
deny that religion has been either the cause or the pretext of
many black chapters in human history and will continue to be a
very dangerous rallying-cry so long as the masses remain either
ignorant and superstitious or bigoted and fanatical. Therefore,
say the secularists, let us be rid of it once and for all; and
if, as the religious people claim, religion has any intrinsic
value or importance, it will rise again from the ashes of the old
faiths in the hearts and minds of people who have been left free
and unprejudiced in childhood.

Such a theory rests on the assumption that religion is in a class
by itself and differs radically from all other activities of the
human mind. And it is in conflict with educational theory in all
other branches of knowledge. We do not say that, if Mathematics
and Science have any intrinsic value, people will discover them
for themselves in adult life without any teaching when young.
Doubtless, in the future as in the past, if these subjects were
left untaught, an occasional rare mind, a Euclid, a Galileo, or a
Newton, would arise to make the discoveries all over again.

Because the average human being is not a gifted creature like
these, does that mean that Mathematics and Science have no value
for him? How much of the knowledge which is put to daily use in
the healing of the sick by the average practitioner would ever
have been acquired by him without guidance and teaching and the
knowledge of the findings of his predecessors? And even in the
less specifically rational and more imaginative activities, such
as Art and Music, surely it is only the very greatest who can
achieve anything without instruction and in utter independence of
all that has gone before, if indeed anybody ever can.

And in religion also, though it is true that saints and mystics
cannot be made by teaching any more than musicians and artists
can, it is also true that the lives of ordinary, average people
can be enriched and ennobled by contact with religious genius
just in the same way as by contact with the world's great works
of art and music and literature. It would seem, therefore that
the secularists are insisting upon an unwarranted impoverishment
of the educational environment when they press for complete
secularization.

The people in the other camp, on the contrary, believing that
religion is the most important thing in life, leave no stone
unturned in their endeavor to persuade or compel everyone to join
their particular organization and profess their creed. By them
also, though in a different way, the accepted canons of
educational theory are discarded. In all other subjects, it is
the aim of education to teach children to think for themselves
and to understand the things that they study, tracing the
development of a subject step by step. But in religion what
matters is the acceptance of truths miraculously revealed in a
book which under no circumstances is to be submitted to the
ordinary processes of rational criticism but is to be venerated
blindly as being entirely different from all other books, the
ipsissima verba of God.

Surely it is possible to find a middle path between these two
extremes, one that shall neither disregard nor contradict the
findings of enlightened educational theory.

The secularists are right in demanding that children's minds be
left free and unprejudiced. But is it not possible to give them
an introduction to the study of religion, as to Natural Science
and Geography, without either fettering their minds or filling
them with prejudices?

The other camp is right in asserting the tremendous importance of
religion and the harm that is done by leaving it out of a child's
education. But that does not mean that religion should be
presented to the child mind as something wholly different from
all the other things he learns, something which he must just
accept blindly and on no account question or seek to understand.

It is true, of course, that no amount of teaching can give
religious experience to either child or adult, any more than it
can create a poet, an artist, or a musician. But it is also true
that even the least gifted can derive great inspiration from the
achievements and example of the great. It is also true that
children are by nature hero-worshippers, and if encouraged in
their early years can grow up to revere those who are great in
spirit above those who are merely great in martial prowess -- the
warriors and conquerors of history's sorry tale. And people
taught to know and love, not one only but all of the world's
great spiritual leaders, will have a far better foundation on
which to build their own religious life than those brought up in
either the secularists' or the dogmatists' camp.

It would seem, therefore, that in approaching the question of
religious instruction for children, certain basic principles
should be kept in mind:

First, that the capacity for clear, honest thinking is one of
man's greatest and rarest capacities, and that no matter what the
subject of their study, children should be encouraged to develop
this capacity to the utmost and to be as honest in their doubts
and questionings as in their beliefs and acceptances. Such
honesty will not lead them astray but will help them to sift the
gold from the dross and to distinguish between superstition and
faith.

Second, that, great though thought is -- "the light of the world
and the chief glory of man" as Bertrand Russell has called it --
it is not man's only gift, and in the study of religion, as of
other subjects, imagination, idealism, and reverence should also
be allowed full play. Encourage children, by all means, to think
and reason, and ask questions about the tenets and teachings that
have come down from past ages, but let them be encouraged also to
love and revere the great souls who have set examples of
unselfishness and tolerance and devotion and courage, of love for
God and their fellows. For it is only such love and reverence
that can awaken in them the desire to explore for themselves the
path which those great ones trod and to test for themselves the
truth of their religious message.

What then is the answer to our question, "What religion shall we
teach our children?" Far be it from the present writer to attempt
any final or dogmatic answer. And before attempting even a
tentative one, let me first reiterate and stress some negative
points that must never be lost sight of.

First, that we should not confine our teaching to any of the
religious and theological systems of the world. Second, that
when teaching children, we should avoid everything controversial.
And, third, that the teacher should remember always that,
strictly speaking, he cannot teach religion at all; that what he
is will always speak more loudly than what he says and that the
utmost he can hope to do is, by his own example and by the
inspiration which he can put into his teaching, to make his
pupils want to embark upon the quest for themselves.

Having made these points clear, the writer's own answer as to
what the content of the teaching should be can be summarized very
shortly:

For young children, it should be suitable stories, both
scriptural and traditional, from all the world's religions.

At the next stage, it should have outlines of the lives and
teachings of the founders of the living religions, and perhaps
even of the founders of some religions no longer living, such as
Akhnaton of Egypt.

At the next stage, studies of outstanding passages in the world's
sacred books.

Trees (and religions) must be judged by their fruits, and since
no one of the world's faiths can claim a monopoly of good fruits,
children should be taught the facts about them all, in order that
they may grow up free from the bigotry and superiority complex
that cripple the minds of those whose early instruction is narrow
and dogmatic.

In other words, they should be taught, not just this or that
particular religion, but the perennial, universal truths which
are at the root of all. And since it is useless to expect that
teaching such as this will be given in the home, it would seem
that all religious instruction given in schools should be along
these lines. SO LONG AS SCHOOL INSTRUCTION ALSO REMAINS IN THE
HANDS OF PEOPLE WHOSE CHIEF CONCERN IS TO PROSELYTIZE FOR ONE
PARTICULAR FAITH, JUST SO LONG WILL CHILDREN CONTINUE TO GROW UP
EITHER WITH NARROW, EXCLUSIVE NOTIONS ABOUT RELIGION OR WITH NO
INTEREST IN IT AT ALL, AS AT PRESENT.

It is unfortunately true that at the moment there are almost as
few teachers as parents with the necessary interest and knowledge
to teach in this way, but that is a fault that can fairly quickly
be remedied if the matter is taken in hand by training centers
and colleges and insisted upon in all State and State-aided
schools. We teach citizenship as a matter of course these days,
but who can be said to have had an adequate course in that
subject if he has been brought up in ignorance of or with
distorted ideas about the religion and customs of his
fellow-citizens? When the State takes the matter up and insists
on teaching religion as impartially and thoroughly as it teaches
other subjects, there will at last be some hope of doing away
with the rivalry and bitterness and misunderstanding that at
present rend India in pieces and cast such a dark cloud over a
future otherwise bright with hope and promise.

------------------------------------------------------------------
PRAYER AND PETITIONING

By G. Purucker

[From STUDIES IN OCCULT PHILOSOPHY, pages 481-83.]

> Why do Theosophists not believe in prayer, and that prayer will
> be answered by our Father in Heaven?

Just exactly what do you mean by prayer? Does it mean petitioning
"the Father of men and the Creator of the universe" to send us
rain or to give us success in our material enterprises, or to
send us a baby boy instead of a baby girl, or to make the crops
grow green or to give us comfort and solace when perhaps death
has taken a loved one from us? What kind of prayer is this? It is
wholly selfish. It is a confession that we are seeking to get
something for ourselves; it is a confession also that our view of
and opinions about and convictions concerning that unnameable
Mystery, whose very heart is compassion and wisdom, are purely
human. It also signifies that we believe that the Divine does
not know as well as we do what is good for the world and for us.
Petitionary prayer, to us Theosophists, is not only wrong, but,
if we may use ordinary human terms, is a spiritual impertinence.

On the other hand, those who suffer, whose hearts grieve, who are
in doubt about some deep ethical problem, who are uncertain after
which manner a certain act should be done -- should remember the
words of all the great Teachers: Go into thine own inner chamber
and there commune with the god within thyself; for, as Jesus is
reported to have said, "I and my Father are one" -- that is, each
man is one with his own inner god, the essential divinity within
him, his link with the Boundless Infinitude.

There is a fountain of wisdom within us all, a fountain of love
inexhaustible; and the pity of it is that men do not realize this
-- one of the sublimest truths of human life. They do not know
what they have within, and all the teaching of the Sages and
Seers of the ages has been: Look within, search within, find
truth within, become one with thine own inner god, and be at
peace! THERE is the source of wisdom and love and peace and
happiness; and the way to reach this source is beginning with a
boundless sympathy for the souls of men.

The one true and only genuine prayer is loving; give love
boundless to everything both great and small; feel your essential
unity with the stars in their courses; feel at home in the
Universe; have a kindly thought and a compassionate feeling for
everything that suffers or is in pain or that grieves or that
yearns for light and truth. This is the path of discipleship;
this is the ideal of the chela-life. Theosophy makes an appeal
to the spirit within man himself, and if this idea is understood
and developed within one, then in a little while light comes,
peace comes, happiness comes, and great quiet. No longer do pain
and sorrow exist in such a man or woman.

The key is self-forgetfulness! Remember that the very heart of
Nature is harmony, which means love; for love and harmony are
one, being two sides of the same thing. Wisdom is but another
name for the same thing, for love is wise: it is wisdom and
clairvoyance; and wisdom is always harmonious. Actually, love
and wisdom and peace and harmony are really words for the same
inexpressible Mystery which men in their ignorance call God.
When we begin to delineate it and define it, we endow the Divine
with our merely human figments of thought, imperfect, limited,
because we are imperfect; and therefore it is that we
Theosophists always speak of this wondrous, ineffable Mystery by
the one word THAT. This is infinitely more reverential than to
begin to label the Divine or to ticket it or to qualify it with
the imperfect attributes of our human existence.

All petitionary prayer is, in the last analysis, selfish. Take
two armies on a battle-field, for instance. Each one prays that
it may be victorious and the enemy be vanquished. Whose prayer
is your God going to grant? I repeat again: all petitionary
prayer is selfish. A man may ask for guidance; but even this is
for himself alone. It is a nobler prayer, I admit, than if he
were to ask for an increase in his wealth, or something of that
sort; but nevertheless he is asking for something which in his
imperfect judgment he thinks to be the best thing for him. But
you can yourselves change the course of your own lives, because
you are a part of Nature, you are an integral part of the
Universe, and therefore a part of that very heart of compassion,
although as yet very imperfect and feeble expressions of It.

Even if you pray for another's good fortune -- how about the
moral aspect of this? Don't you realize that you have no right
deliberately to influence, or to try to influence, the
evolutionary growth or development of a brother or of an entity
inferior to you, unless it be strictly in accordance with
Nature's inner laws, which are non-interference with others,
except in loving and in compassion and in impersonal helping? Do
you think you could have a right to influence a rose, for
instance, to change its color from red to blue?

If so, then, following along the same line, you would have a
right to influence some human being's destiny, and to try to
change him from a bad man to a good man or from a good man to a
bad man. No, we Theosophists say No, because, suppose that you
were successful in changing a bad man into a good one, and did so
by your own power, you would leave him still weak and imperfect
and you would thus deprive him of the opportunity of gaining
strength for himself, which is the only genuine strength and the
only way by which he can grow. It is in Nature's law for him to
learn his own lessons, to evolve himself, to strive himself for
strength, for light, for growth. Interference in the affairs of
another is unwarrantable, and the very gods in their majestic
courses cannot and will not interfere with the evolutionary
growth of men by listening to their feeble petitionary prayer.

------------------------------------------------------------------
THE SPRING EQUINOX SYMPOSIUM, Part II

By Theosophical Students

[The materials that follow come from theosophical symposiums 
given at the Point Loma Theosophical Community in the early 
1930’s. It was read aloud by various participants. It was taken 
from various theosophical writings including those of Kenneth 
Morris and from THE VOICE OF THE SILENCE by H.P. Blavatsky. It 
was later reprinted in IN THE TEMPLE, pages 44-54.]

We are playing with fire if we come here in any other attitude of
mind than that of a hungerer for truth, with a desire to love and
to help our fellow-men. A love for all beings, and things, both
great and small, will form a rampart, a protecting wall, about
us, so strong and impenetrable that nothing will reach our hearts
beneath that wall of love. And if we have the will to carry on,
the will, which is the mystical sword by which we carve our way,
and thus forge ahead, we have been promised that we shall pass
the portals of the Sun. Once we have set our feet upon this path
we can never go back; the doors have shut behind us. We can fail
and either fall asleep or die, but henceforward, hereafter,
forward we must go. We cannot play with occultism. It means
divinity for us, or companionship with the Brothers of the
Shadow.

Be crystal-clear in your mind, as impersonal as the spirit, which
is the root of you, then your mind will reflect the golden
splendor from the sun of light within yourself. The truth is,
the disciple must prevail, or fail. He must kill these things in
himself, or they will kill him. This is literally true.

Thoughts are so much things, that a trend of thought, in other
words a bias of character, held throughout a lifetime becomes an
actual entity in the astral world, an aggregated entity. The
Chela in the schools of initiation has to meet and face these,
his own astral children, and slay them, kill them, which means
dissipate them ? If men and women only knew what they are
surrounded by, their own children, their own thoughts, their own
offspring, from very horror and fear they would refrain from
doing and thinking what men do and think.

Man cannot breathe, man cannot think, without setting in motion
energies, forces, which ultimately will reach to the very
uttermost limits of our Home-Universe, and pass beyond those
limits to the frontiers of other Universes. Therefore, even a
thought about a star touches that star in due course of time,
with infinitesimal effect, to be sure; but nevertheless this fact
instances a wonderful truth.

In the higher degrees the Chela is tested by Life, by the forces
of Nature, which test and wring every fiber of his being. That
is the way in which the real tests come: heart and mind, soul and
spirit, will and consciousness all are tried. It is like the
gold which is cast into the flaming furnace: and like it he must
come out purified. That purification washes out all personality.
Only karmic weaknesses remain, and those karmic weaknesses belong
to the fabric of the cleansed material.

Severe also was the discipline and training of those who were to
become Bards among the Cymry. Before they could sing in poetic
form the heroic thoughts and high truths passed on to them to
teach and guard, they must be initiated into the higher
mysteries. And initiation into the higher degrees is learning by
individual experience; by becoming the thing, temporarily at
least, which you are learning about. You cannot truly experience
a thing until you become it, until you are it. Many fail because
they are not strong enough to go through the tests. The aspirant
must go, not only through the gates of the sun and confabulate
with the Gods, but he must also take the adventure of the
downward path, and supreme and strong and pure and high, conquer
all, meet, face, overcome, and help the beings in Hades, in the
lower realms of the cosmic life ? Hades is the underworld,
meaning the spheres of cosmic life beneath the human
cross-section of the Universe. It refers more particularly to
those invisible realms or kingdoms of Nature which are more
material than our humanity.

The Druids called the Underworld -- Annun, of that part of the
Circle of Abred or Necessity which contains all the kingdoms of
nature below the human kingdom. In initiation there is immediate
cognition of all these different states of consciousness, of all
these worlds and of all these different things you have been
taught about. Such initiations are going on in sacred places at
this Spring Equinox, for the Initiant at this time of the year
becomes for a while, a denizen of the Underworld -- but as a God,
therein retaining his solar splendor. Thereafter he soars in the
spaces of Space, into the regions of the Divine, conversing with
pure and holy beings, thus being instructed in the wisdom of the
Gods.

One thinks of the Avataras at this time of the year; for are they
not divinities undergoing initiation of a similar kind, by
passing through our world, which is verily an Underworld to the
Divine Spheres? The writings of the Druids also tell of
Divinities coming down from the divine Circle of Gwynfyd to the
Little World in the condition of man, in order to teach, warn,
direct, and inform those who seek to be divine. They do this by
virtue of their own great love cooperating with the love of the
highest God, Hu Gadarn.

We call these messengers from the Gods, Avataras. The doctrine
of the Avatara is a deeply mystical teaching. An Avatara is a
spiritual transitory event. It comes like a blinding light from
heaven into the world of men, passes athwart the sky of human
affairs, and disappears. It is a composition, a magical
fabrication, a putting together of spiritual, psychical, astral
and physical elements. Just as an ordinary man is composed of
three bases: spirit, soul, body; so is the Avatara; but instead
of being a Reincarnating Ego with a long karmic past stretching
back into the infinitude of bygone duration, and with a long
karmic future ahead of it, the Avatara is a temporary union of
these three elements, in order to produce a more or less
permanent effect, spiritual and intellectual, on earth among men.

At certain cyclical periods in human history, when evil is
running strong in the world and virtue is fading from men’s
hearts, then there occurs a descent of a Divinity, which in the
spiritual realms is then ready and waiting; but in order to make
contact with this sphere of human life, an unusually evolved and
holy intermediate vehicle is necessary to carry, or step down,
the divine current; and this intermediate principle is furnished
by a Buddha of Compassion. Thus this divinity -- not the
Buddha’s own inner god, but this other divinity -- may shine
through this loaned intermediary and thus illumine still more
strongly this glorious nature of the Buddha. This Buddhic Soul
incarnates in a human seed, and brings about the growth of a
human marvel-child. The natural soul of that seed it overshadows
is set aside by this act of white magic. The Buddha soul is so
strong, so tremendous in its power, that it assumes full and
complete control of the growing embryo and thus sets aside what
you would call the natural reincarnating soul that otherwise
would have become a man.

When the body is thus borrowed, it actually amounts in a certain
sense to a reincarnation of the Buddha. The reincarnating entity
which has been set aside is very carefully guarded and taken care
of until it is again led to enter another incarnation fully as
appropriate as the one which Nature’s unaided forces were in the
way of bringing about. There is thus no injury done to the ego
set aside. And in fact, the life-atoms that have been thus
borrowed for the purpose of the Avatara and belonging to the
dispossessed ego, receive such a tremendous spiritual and
intellectual impress from the soul of the Buddha that their
karmic benefits are very great ? Thus, the embryo grows and
develops and finally is born as a little child.

However, there comes a time in the growth of the physical body
which enshrines the Avatara when the life-atoms of that body
belonging to the natural ego which was set aside, are practically
replaced by the life-atoms which belonged to former incarnations
of the Buddha himself. So during the main part of the Avatara’s
existence, practically all the life-atoms of the body are those
that the Buddha had in former lives.

The soul of the Buddha enlivens and invigorates and watches over
the borrowed body until the child approaches adulthood. It
prepares it, quickens the best part of its vital energies, until
the time comes when the young man has reached a point in
development when the brain can begin to receive the fuller
incarnation of the spiritual and intellectual energies of the
soul of the Buddha. Then later, during initiation, the soul of
the Buddha, by a tremendous effort of spiritual energy rises, as
it were, through the ether and links itself with the waiting
divinity; and from that instant the Avatara exists -- and is
thenceforward a complete entity, a perfect combination of a
manifesting divinity, a Buddha-soul, and a pure and trained
physical vehicle. The full glory and final conscious connecting
link is made at this sacred season of the year, the Spring
Equinox. Then the holy Seer gives himself up utterly to the
divine influence.

An Avatara is a sublime feat of the highest White Magic
deliberately done on the part of the Masters of Wisdom and
Compassion, in order to introduce into our human atmosphere the
direct influence and energy of a god. It is a spiritual splendor
passing across the horizon of human history for spiritual work,
and then it is gone. An Avatara is the very incarnation of
Wisdom and Love, of Spiritual Grandeur, and of Divine Beauty.

Such an Avatara is an illusion, a pure Maya, and obviously it is
impossible for an illusion to reembody itself, to reincarnate: a
wonderful paradox. But it is still stranger when you realize
that it is this Maya which does a wonderful work in the world.
The Divinity is no Maya, the Buddhic element is no Maya, the body
is no Maya, but it is the combining of these three into a
temporary union which is the Maya. Thus it is said that the
Avatara has no physical or human karma, because it has no past
and will have no future. Of course there is the spiritual karma
which brings about this act of white magic.

This type of Avatara is known as the Upapadaka, and such beings
are quite rare in the history of mankind. Jesus and
Shankaracharya and Lao-Tse were examples of Upapadaka Avataras.
The divine being or ray which descends follows along or according
to the nature of the human soul of another, not its own, through
which it works. The Avataric Divinity is more or less modified
in its manifestation by the strong individuality of the Buddha’s
soul through which it manifests.

The other type of Avatara is the Anupapadaka. The cases of the
Anupapadaka are more numerous and are of many kinds. These come
about when the Divine Ray within a human being expresses or
manifests itself through the man’s own psychological apparatus,
not through that of another. The Anupapadaka Avataras or
self-born ones, include all the different individuals who send
radiance from within themselves through their own lower
constitution. These latter range all the way from the
Dhyani-Buddha and Logoi at the summit of evolution down to those
great men and women who are inspired each one by his or her inner
god. Gautama the Buddha, Krishna, and Tsong-Kha-pa are examples
of Anupapadaka Avataras.

Every time a human being unites himself with and is glorified by
his inner god, even if it be for a short period, he becomes an
Anupapadaka Avatara. He is self-made, self-born, and parentless
for that period of time. Every Chela has the power within him to
become such a self-born one. It would be a manifestation
resembling an Avatara if a man’s own inner god, the heart of his
Reincarnating Ego, were to express itself through the man’s
physical brain and thus infill it with glory for a time.
Spiritual power and aspiration undaunted by the winds of destiny
are needed. Readiness for such inspiration and for initiation
comes stealing through the silence. When we are ready the
Teacher will know and we shall also know. All initiation is a
bringing forth to the cognizing consciousness a higher and
grander view of a man’s own inner stream of consciousness.

Among the Druids the symbol of Initiation was the mythical
cauldron, for it represented the cosmic life-forces, latent and
brewing. When stirred around by Ceridwen, the Deity of
Inspiration, all the elements awake and the one tasting of the
three precious drops of this magic liquid is endowed with the
secret light of pure wisdom’s virtue which enables him to
understand on listening to the Law.

This mythical cauldron of Ceridwen which bestowed knowledge and
wisdom and spiritual life has been described thus: Round it was a
ridge of pearls; it would not boil a coward’s food; divine voices
issued from it; it was warmed by the breath of nine fairy
maidens; and it contained some of the spoils from the regions of
the bright palaces of the gods obtained by King Arthur and other
Initiates on their “old journeying twixt the stars and the
earth.” All recognized it as the property of the Gods’ land and
therefore was it a danger, death or madness to those who deserved
it not.

Let us review the chief and pearl of all Celtic stories, fullest
flower of all the scent and honey of mysticism, the story of
Initiation, as told by Taliessin of the Radiant Brow, for our
hearts tonight are with those who are passing through these very
same experiences as symbolically told in this tale.

Ceridwen had a son, Afagddu, who was of great ugliness. To
compensate for this defect, she desired to make him the wisest of
men; so she brewed her cauldron of magic among the mountains,
setting nine fairy maidens to kindle with their breath the fire
beneath it; and a dwarf called Gwion the Little to watch and stir
it, while she roamed the hills in search of herbs to add to the
concoction. These were gathered according to the Book of
Astronomers and according to planetary hours and the moons. Thus
the three drops of wisdom would at last be brewed into it; the
rest would be deadly poison.

It boiled and boiled over; and three drops in the form of the
name of Divinity fell on little Gwion’s finger; who promptly, to
ease the pain, put it into his mouth. Instantly the cauldron
broke, and the liquor flowed away seaward, poisoning in its
course all it passed; and instantly Gwion, because of the divine
knowledge he had attained was aware that he had to fear Ceridwen.
He fled and she followed. To escape her he transformed himself
into a hare, when she became a greyhound and chased him toward
the river. There he became a fish, and she an otter; when she
was about to catch him he leaped into the air as a bird; and she,
as a sparrow-hawk pursued him. As she stooped to pounce upon
him, he saw a heap of clean wheat on the floor, and dropped into
it as a single grain. She took the form of a black, high-crested
hen, scratched him out of the heap, and swallowed him; then bore
him for nine months.

At his birth from the womb of Ceridwen, he was so beautiful a
babe that she had not the heart to kill him: so the legend says
she then placed the new-born infant in a coracle covered with
skin and committed it to the mercy of the wind and waves. The
candidate thus was actually set adrift in the open sea,
mystically speaking, at this sacred time of the year -- the
spring festival -- and was obliged to depend upon his own
presence of mind to reach the opposite shore in safety. This
dangerous expedition was the closing act of initiation, and
sometimes proved the closing scene of life; but if he possessed a
well-fortified heart, he would succeed in gaining a safe
landing-place on Gwyddno’s Weir.

Then the fearless aspirant who surmounted all these dangers was
triumphantly received from the water by the Archdruid, Gwyddno.
When the coracle was opened, Gwyddno exclaimed: “Here is a
radiant brow!” And by reason of the brightness of his forehead,
which shone like the front of dawn, like the morning star in its
beauty, the child was named Taliessin, meaning “he of the radiant
brow.” And he was nurtured by Elfin and became one of the
greatest bards, having been taught by those versed in starry
lore.

Thus did Taliessin sing:

> My original country is the region of the summer stars;
> I am a wonder whose origins are not known;
> I have been fostered in the land of Deity;
> I have been a teacher to all intelligences;
> I am able to instruct the whole universe.
> Thus was I thrice born;
> I was originally little Gwion.
> And at length I am Taliessin.

So through the ages will many souls seek the cauldron of Ceridwen
and become dead only to be born again after having received a new
name, even as little Gwion became Taliessin of the Radiant Brow.
For the cauldron is either the symbol of reincarnation or of
initiation; two only of its many significations ? It is time with
its endless cycles that keeps the cauldron boiling. For the
universe exists for the purposes of the Self, in order to lead us
to our home in the Sun.

At these sacred times of the year can you not picture these great
ones gathered in Shambhala, the land of spiritual works? Each
season with its special spiritual attainment stirs the depths of
their beings: the Winter Solstice, the time of the mystic birth,
the great awakening; the Spring Equinox, adolescence, youthful
initiation, preparation, the time of trials and of conquest, the
rising out of the lower selfhood and the becoming one with the
divinity within; the Summer Solstice, the period of mystical
adultship, Masterhood, the time of the Great Renunciation; the
Autumnal Equinox, the most secret and mystical of all, the Great
Passing. When the sacred moment comes with united hearts filled
with love and compassion they sense interiorly the presence of
the Maha-Chohan, and communication of a divine order takes place,
and mighty initiations are undergone. Let us follow the steps of
this Eastertide initiation with a spiritual understanding.

(One stroke of the Gong)

> Oh, thou candidate for Nature’s hidden lore, beware lest in
> forgetting thy Diamond-Self thy soul lose o’er its trembling mind
> control and forfeit thus the due fruition of its conquests.
> Remember, thou sun-illumined one, thou that fightest for man’s
> liberation, each failure is success, and each sincere attempt
> wins its reward in time. The holy germs that sprout and grow
> unseen in the disciple’s soul, their stalks wax strong at each
> new trial, they bend like reeds, but never break, nor can they
> e’er be lost. But when the hour has struck, they blossom forth ?
> But if thou cam’st prepared, then have no fear, henceforth thy
> way is clear ? Oh candidate for trials passing speech, the new
> moon of the spring-time has come, and in order to make thy
> resurrection from matter, thou must descend into Hell, and for
> three days become a denizen therein, but as a god retaining thy
> Solar Splendor. Descend and conquer.

> O thou glorious combatant, thy dreary task is now done, thy labor
> well-nigh o’er. Thou hast now crossed the moat that circles
> round the gate of human passions. Now, O daring pilgrim to the
> other shore, use thy golden key, and for eleven days become a
> sky-walker and behold the things beyond the seas and stars and
> listen to the language of the Devas. Soar forth and become
> cosmic wise.

0 thou golden one, the full moon approaches, the hour has come
for thy return to thine entranced body. Arise! O thou Mystic
Youth, and take thy stand as a fully developed Master, a leader
of men.

O Naljor, thou art safe! All Nature thrills with joyous awe and
feels subdued. The Silver star now twinkles out the news to the
night-blossoms, the streamlet to the pebbles ripples out the
tale, dark ocean-waves roar it to the rocks surf-bound;
scent-laden breezes whisper it to the vales and stately pines
mysteriously murmur:

> A Master has arisen, a Master of the day.

He standeth now like a white pillar to the West upon whose face
the rising sun of thought eternal poureth forth its first most
glorious waves. His mind like a becalmed and boundless ocean
spreadeth out in shoreless space. He holdeth life and death in
his strong hand. The living power made free in him, that power
which is himself, can raise the tabernacle of illusion high above
the gods. Yea, he is mighty!

(Three strokes of the Gong)

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