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THEOSOPHY WORLD ---------------------------------------- June, 2008

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

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"The Tower of Infinite Thought," by G. de Purucker
"Glamour: Its Purpose and Place in Magic," by W.Q. Judge
"Death to Life," by Shrinati Lila Ray
"Facts and Fancies About Reincarnation," by H.T. Edge
"The Ancient Doctrine of Vicarious Atonement," by G. de Purucker
"The Medium and the Mediator," by Eliphas Levi
"My Reasoning and My Realizations," by Shri J.M. Ganguli
"A Polish Folk Tale," by Anonymous
"Is Theosophy Practical," by Gertrude W. Van Pelt


> Though the Masters will be found wherever their duties call them:
> in the crowded marts of men, in the desert places, at sea, on
> land, indeed anywhere, yet it is a fact that for much the same
> reason that astronomers go to higher parts of mountains in order
> to obtain a pure atmosphere and an air freer than usual from the
> heat-waves of the earth's surface, or as religious communities
> from the earliest times and in all countries choose quiet places
> in the mountains for their centers: so, are we told, do these our
> Elder Brothers select for their mystic seats certain parts of the
> Globe which are most untouched by the miasmic influences
> emanating from great cities, as a rule choosing them far from the
> thickly inhabited lands where are the soul-stupefying astral and
> physical influences which work against training in spiritual
> development.
> -- G. de Purucker, THE ESOTERIC TRADITION, I, page 1026.


By G. de Purucker


For countless generations hath the adept builded a fane of
imperishable rocks, a giant's Tower of INFINITE THOUGHT, wherein
the Titan dwelt, and will yet, if need be, dwell alone, emerging
from it but at the end of every cycle, to invite the elect of
mankind to cooperate with him and help in his turn enlighten
superstitious man. And we will go on in that periodical work of
ours; we will not allow ourselves to be baffled in our
philanthropic attempts until that day when the foundations of a
new continent of thought are so firmly built that no amount of
opposition and ignorant malice guided by the Brethren of the
Shadow will be found to prevail.


These are the words of a Master of Wisdom, and I want you to
hearken to them and try to get the inner meaning of them, for
they are really godlike. A great intellect composed them.

What is this Tower of Infinite Thought? It is the general Cosmic
Intelligence, here particularized as the hierarchies of the
Dhyani-Chohans, the Cosmic Spirits, the Lords of Meditation and
Cosmic Wisdom. We call them the hierarchies of the Sons of
Light, representing the consciousness-side of the universe. They
are innumerable, extending from even below man up through
countless hierarchies, stretching indeed to Infinity.

This is the Tower of Infinite Thought, in which the cosmic Titans
dwell and think and live and plan. These cosmic Titans are the
aggregate of the cosmic Logoi, the cosmic spirits, an army of the
suns of light and life. And from this inexhaustible fount of all
perfect wisdom and perfect love, from time to time there issue
forth great souls who take embodiment among men, and guide and
lead and help and aid and inspire, and raise not only us
superstitious and fallible men, but all beings less than they,
for Nature is one organic unity. What is above in the highest is
shadowed in the lowest, for there is but one cosmic law, because
there is but one cosmic intelligence and one cosmic life; and
therefore that law, that life, that intelligence, prevails
throughout. So that, as you see, what is here below, is but a
shadow or a copy from a pattern of what is above; and the whole
secret of life, and the whole secret of living, is to become at
one in consciousness and in feeling, in spirit and in soul, with
that pattern of Infinite Thought.

No grander words I should think have ever issued from human lips.
No more sublime conceptions have ever been penned than those
contained in the extracts from the Master's communication that
have been read to you. They are a new gospel of thought and of
love, a new dispensation of human effort; and a man must be blind
who fails to sense and to feel the immense import, the grand
content, enwrapped in these human words.

When the times are not propitious, or the times are not right,
then the adepts -- never indeed abandon mankind to its hopeless
fate; there remain on earth at least the Brotherhood of the
Mahatmas or Masters of Wisdom and Compassion. They inspire and
instill intimations of wonder and of grandeur in sensitive and
receptive human souls. But if the times are not right for a
larger spreading of the Wisdom of the Gods, then for the time
being, they retire upwards and inwards into this Tower of
Infinite Thought, and await there until the time is ripening once
more so that they may once again work publicly, or semi-publicly,
among us.

We too, even now in our smallness and weakness, inhabit this
Tower of Infinite Thought. And precisely as the Masters do when
the times are not propitious or not ripe for a new installment of
the God-Wisdom of Infinitude, we too, although our hand is always
outstretched ready to impart what little we ourselves have taken
by strength of the Kingdom of Heaven, when the times are not
ripe, precisely like our own Teachers, we retire into the higher
consciousness, and to outward appearance may seem to have retired
into silence and quiet. But that is only seemingly so to the

The Masters of Wisdom, the Adepts, simply retire when the times
are not ripe for them to do their greatest work among men. They
do what they can, and what human karma or destiny will allow them
to do; but to a certain extent, they ascend, vanish from the
outer seeming, to become only the more active and the grander in
works of beneficence on the inner planes.

When the times become ripe, when men through suffering and
sorrow, pain and racking care, once more find their hearts
yearning for a greater light, and for the comfort which is never
gained by egoisms, but given only by the spirit -- when men then
make the inner call, soundless yet ringing unto the very spheres
of light, then Those, hitherto silent but watching and waiting in
the Tower of Infinite Thought, from their azure thrones, so to
speak, bend a listening ear; and if the call is strong enough, if
it be pure enough, impersonal enough, they leave the portals of
the inner invisible realms to enter these portals of our
universe, and appear amongst us and guide and teach and comfort
and solace and bring peace.

How great is the inspiration to be derived from this teaching of
the God-Wisdom that we today call Theosophy: that the universe is
not chaotic nor insane, but is an organism guided and controlled
from within outwards, not only by infinite and omniscient cosmic
intelligence -- intelligences rather -- but by cosmic love. For
love is the cement of the universe and accounts for the
orderliness of the universe, and its harmony and unity that
everyone who has the Seeing Eye may discern in all around him.
Scientists speak of these orderliness as the laws of nature, as
manifested in the cosmic bodies and their inhabitants, as
manifested in their times and places and regularities.

How wonderful likewise is the feeling that the man who trains
himself for it may enter into touch, into communication, with
these grander ones in evolution above him, above him only now,
because some day he shall evolve to become like unto them, divine
as they are; and they themselves shall have passed upwards and
onwards to divinities still more remote to us. There is a path
which is steep, which is thorny, but it leads to the very heart
of the universe. Anyone, any child of nature, may climb this
path. Anyone who ventures to try to find it may take the first
steps upon it; and these first steps may be followed by others.
What a blessing to know this! What an inspiration for the future
that our destiny lies in our hands! Naught shall stay, naught can
prevent, and no outer god or inner can stem the inspiration
welling up from the deepest recesses of the human spirit, because
that human spirit is but a spark of the cosmic divine.

How beautiful, how inspiring, how simply pregnant with as yet
undisclosed significance, is this phrase: the Tower of Infinite
Thought! It is a god-like phrase, and only a semi-god-man or a
god-man could have so worded his sublime conceiving. What magic
vistas of inner realms of fairy, true fairy, do these wonderful
words suggest to reverent minds? This Tower of Infinite Thought
is likewise the Tower of Infinite Love, for it is filled with
love, and its inhabitants are the exponents of love. From time
to time its portals open and Teachers from these inner realms
come amongst us.

Such was the Lord Gautama, the Buddha; such was the Avatara
Jesus; such was Krishna; such were a multitude of others whose
names are known even in the Occident to every educated man. No
wonder a grateful humanity has called them Sons of God, or
children of the gods -- a phrase which I prefer; for such indeed
they are, just as we humans likewise are offspring of the gods,
our forebears and forerunners on the evolutionary path, leading
upwards and inwards forever to divinity.

These Teachers of men have themselves been worshiped as gods by
men who forgot the injunctions to take the message and worship
it, but not to worship the bringer. Therein is grandeur; for it
is, after all, the thought of a man which is powerful, not the
mouth through which the thought pours forth. It is the love in a
man's heart which makes him sublime, not the mouth which declares
it. I think that one of the proofs that these Great Ones who
have lived amongst us and who will come again and again and again
-- I think one of the proofs of their divinity is precisely the
fact that they accepted naught for themselves, but called
attention to their teachings only.

How beautiful to the hearts of men are they who bring tidings of
great joy. Their faces are suffused with the dawn of a newer, a
grander, and a more beautiful age. For they are its prophets and
its heralds, harbingers of a new time to come, when instead of
enlarging quarrel and war, men shall learn that the ways of peace
are the ways of strength and of power and of wisdom and of plenty
and of riches.


By W.Q. Judge

[From THE PATH, May 1893, pages 43-46, under the pen name of
William Brehon, as reprinted in ECHOES OF THE ORIENT, I, pages

The word "glamour" was long ago defined in old dictionaries as
"witchery or a charm on the eyes, making them see things
differently from what they really are." This is still the meaning
of the word. Not long ago, before the strange things possible in
hypnotic experiments became known to the Western world, it seemed
as if everything would be reduced to mere matter and motion by
the fiat of science. Witchery was to fade away, be forgotten, be
laughed out of sight, and what could not be ascribed to defective
training of the senses was to have its explanation in the state
of the liver, a most prosaic organ. But before science with its
speculation and ever-altering canons could enlighten the
unlearned multitude, hypnotism crept slowly and surely forward
and at last began to buttress the positions of Theosophy.
Glamour stands once more a fair chance for recognition. Indeed,
HPB uttered prophetic words when she said that in America more
than anywhere else this art would be practiced by selfish men for
selfish purposes, for money-getting and gratification of desire.

Hurriedly glancing over some fields of folklore, see what a mass
of tales bearing on glamour produced by men, gods, or elementals.
In India the gods every now and then, often the sages, appear
before certain persons in various guises by means of a glamour
which causes the eye to see what is not really there. In Ireland
volumes of tales in which the person sees houses, men, and
animals where they are not; he is suddenly given the power to see
under the skin of natural things, and then perceives the field or
the marketplace full of fairies, men, and women gliding in and
out among the people.

Anon a man or woman is changed into the appearance of animal or
bird, and only regains the old semblance when touched with the
magic rod. This change of appearance is not a change in fact,
but always a glamour affecting the eyes of the other person.
Such a mass of similar stories found during all time and among
every people cannot be due to folly nor be without a basis. The
basis is a fact and a law in man's nature. It is glamour, the
reason for glamour, and the power to bring it about. Just
because there have always been those who, either by natural
ability or training, had the power to bring on a "witchery over
the eyes," these stories have arisen.

A writer well-known in England and America once thought he had
found a mare's nest when he reported that Mme. Blavatsky had
confessed to him that certain phenomena he enquired of had been
caused by glamour.

"Ah, glamour" he said. "Thus falls this Theosophical house of
cards," and he went away satisfied, for in truth he had been
himself thoroughly glamoured. But Theosophists should not
stumble and fall violently as this gentleman did over a word
which, when enquired into, carries with it a good deal of science
relating to an important branch of occultism. When I read in an
issue of THE ARENA all about this confession on glamour, I was
quite ready to believe that HPB did say to the learned enquirer
what he reported, but at the same time, of course, knew that she
never intended to apply her enchantment explanation to every
phenomenon. She only intended to include certain classes,
although in every occult phenomenon there is some glamour upon
some of the observers according to their individual physical

The classes of phenomena covered by this word are referred to in
part by Patanjali in his YOGA APHORISMS, where he says that if
the luminousness natural to object and eye is interfered with the
object will disappear, whether it be man or thing and whether it
be day or night. This little aphorism covers a good deal of
ground, and confutes, if accepted, some theories of the day. It
declares, in fact, that not only is it necessary for rays of
light to proceed from the object to the eye, but also light must
also proceed from the eye towards the object. Cut off the latter
and the object disappears; alter the character of the
luminousness coming from the eye, and the object is altered in
shape or color for the perceiver.

Carrying this on further and connecting it with the well-known
fact that we see no objects whatever, but only their ideal form
as presented to the mind, and we arrive at an explanation in part
of how glamour may be possible. For if in any way you can
interfere with the vibrations proceeding to the eye on the way to
affect the brain and then the percipient within, then you have
the possibility of sensibly altering the ideal form which the
mind is to cognize within before it declares the object to be
without which produced the vibration.

Take up now imagination in its aspects of a power to make a clear
and definite image. This is done in hypnotism and in
Spiritualism. If the image be definite enough and the perceiver
or subject sensitive enough, a glamour will be produced. The
person will see that which is not the normal shape or form or
corporature of the other. But this new shape is as real as the
normal, for the normal form is but that which is to last during a
certain stage of human evolution and will certainly alter as new
senses and organs develop in us.

Thus far having gone, is it not easy to see that if a person can
make the definite and vivid mind-pictures spoken of, and if the
minor organs can affect and be affected, it is quite probable and
possible that trained persons may have glamoured the eyes of
others so to make them see an elephant, snake, man, tree, pot, or
any other object where only is empty space, or as an alteration
of a thing or person actually there? This is exactly what is done
in experiments by the hypnotists, with this difference, that they
have to put the subject into an abnormal state, while the other
operators need no such adventitious aids. Glamour, then, has a
very important place in magic. That it was frequently used by
HPB there is not the smallest doubt, just as there is no doubt
that the yogi in India puts the same power into operation.

In many cases she could have used it by making the persons
present think they saw her when she had gone into the next room,
or that another person was also present who was not in fact. The
same power of glamour would permit her to hide from sight any
object in the room or in her hands. This is one of the difficult
feats of magic, and not in the slightest degree dependent on
legerdemain. Persons sometimes say this is folly even if true,
but looked at in another light, it is no folly, nor are those
cases in which anyone was entitled to know all that was going on.
She exhibited these feats -- seldom as it was -- for the purpose
of showing those who were learning from her that the human
subject is a complicated and powerful being, not to be classed,
as science so loves to do, with mere matter and motion.

All these phenomena accomplished two objects: first, to help
those who learned from her; and second, to spread abroad again in
the West the belief in man's real power and nature. The last was
a most necessary thing to do because in the West materialism was
beginning to have too much sway and threatened to destroy
spirituality. And it was done also in pursuance of the plans of
the Great Lodge for the human race. As one of her Masters said,
her phenomena puzzled skeptics for many years. Even now we see
the effects, for when such men as Stead, the Editor of THE REVIEW
OF REVIEWS, and Du Prel, Schiaparelli, and others take up the
facts of Spiritualism scientifically, one can perceive that
another day for psychology is dawning.

This power of glamour is used more often than people think, and
not excluding members of the Theosophical Society by the Adepts.
They are often among us from day to day appearing in a guise we
do not recognize, and are dropping ideas into men's minds about
the spiritual world and the true life of the soul, as well as
also inciting men and women to good acts. By this means they
pass unrecognized and are able to accomplish more in this
doubting and transition age than they could in any other way.
Sometimes as they pass they are recognized by those who have the
right faculty; but a subtle and powerful bond and agreement
prevents their secret from being divulged. This is something for
members of the Society to think of, for they may be entertaining
now and then angels unawares. They may now and then be tried by
their leaders when they least expect it, and the verdict is not
given out but has its effect all the same.

But glamour covers only a small part of the field of occultism.
The use of the astral body enters into nearly all of the
phenomena, and in other directions, the subject of occult
chemistry, absolutely unknown to the man of the day, is of the
utmost importance; if it is ever given out, it will be a surprise
to science, but certainly that divulgation will not soon be to
such a selfish age.


By Shriinati Lila Ray

[From THE ARYAN PATH, August 1954, pages 346-50.]

Bereavement is bitter. Death presents us with a dilemma.
Because it is such an inescapable fact of life we are ultimately
compelled to define our attitude toward it either in our thoughts
or by our actions. Actions disclose attitudes. We cannot
postpone definition forever. Death itself is definitive, as
definitive as birth. "At the hour of death," writes Gide in his
DIARY, "we shall be reflected in the past, and, leaning over the
mirror of our acts, our souls will recognize what we are." A time
comes when death confronts us, inexorable, inexplicable,
baffling, and inevitable. Upon the way we meet it depends
whether our death is the crown or shame of our life. Because it
need not bring shame with it, Diogenes did not consider it an
evil. And Sophocles warned us to see the end of life before we
count anyone blest. Does the wise man die like the fool? Both
die certainly, but not necessarily in the same way.

Death that brings shame with it brings double bereavement. We
are bereaved not only of the company of those we love but of
their esteem. A double death. Bereavement is not bitter where
separation is not painful. Sometimes it even brings a joyous
sense of relief, of release. When the bonds which bereavement
breaks are not bonds of love, where there is no tenderness, where
there is a lack of affection or compassion, death is welcome.
Death may even be sought. It has no terrors. DEATH is not
bereavement where there is no affection.

Death is terrible to us primarily because it removes us from
places and people which are dear to us. The unavoidable
separation is painful. Physical pain is less unrelenting. It
has an end. The average person faces it many times in the course
of a lifetime, and modern medical science has effective means of
giving us relief. There are anesthetics for the fortunate. What
relief do we have from the emotional suffering involved in the
loss of a beloved person? The pain has no end; we only become
habituated to its presence. When an orphaned child cries for its
father, or a mother grieves for her child, we are dumb with
helpless sorrow. We fear death because of the hardship it brings
to the heart.

What are the possible attitudes? Rejection? Acceptance? Evasion?
Rejection takes many forms, more unconscious than conscious ones.
The blind, unreasoning terror of an animal is one extreme, and
the eager adoption by sects like the Sufis of a doctrine of
death-in-life is the other. What is inevitable cannot be
rejected or evaded. There is no escape. This is why the
attitude of the Stoics includes an element of despair. Death is
accepted in desperation.

Psychological anesthetics have been sought down the ages. The
most widely used, historically, is the cultivation of an aversion
to the world. Have we not been taught that the day of death is
better than the day of birth? A deep disgust for the physical
life of the world has been carefully nurtured. Is this not fear
therapy? At the root of it and other devices is a threefold
dread, the dread of the physical pain involved in death, the
dread of the emotional pain of separation from persons and things
we love, and the dread of the unknown to which we are dragged
willy-nilly. Deny it as much as we like, we all rejoice in the
light and the air, in the skies and the waters, in fruits and
flowers, in birds and in creeping, walking, swimming, jumping,
running creatures. Last but not least, we rejoice in human
companionship. The thought of losing it all is frightening.

Can we, by eliminating affection, by exiling love and delight
from our lives, eliminate this dread? Is this the premise that
has prompted monks and nuns to sever ties of home and family and
leave the world? What is meant by the world, if not love? To them
the ties of affection are fetters. They themselves adopt, and
urge upon others, a policy of detachment. The contemporary ideal
of a man "completely disengaged and uncommitted" as envisioned by
Gide in his HOMME DISPONSIBLE and Robert Musil in his MANN OHNE
EIGENSCHAFTEN takes its rise in the same fear.

Certain intellectuals today preach non-commitment with the same
fervor with which mediaeval monks preached asceticism.
Asceticism has gone out of fashion but sex relationships have
tended to become casual. People evade responsibility for what
they do. The modern man is irresponsible, seeking pleasure for
selfish purposes. It is, as the Bengali proverb suggests, trying
to catch touching water. The good he seeks eludes him, and he
loses all around, without even knowing what it is he is losing.
In his frustration and ignorance, he decries the good and seeks
absolution in cynicism. He succeeds only in making the worst of
all worlds. The egoist mistakes the selfish evasion of
responsibility for self-mastery. He is afraid to give; for, in
the act of giving, we surrender our hearts as hostages and the
pain of it is too great. It is indeed unbearable but it is also

By self-mastery is meant something very different from the
egoist's definition. If detachment means heartlessness,
suffering is preferable. Even fear is preferable. Life is
animated by the fires of affection. Nature is neither detached,
nor cold, nor mechanical. She hovers anxiously over every flower
that buds into blossom, every star that bursts into light.
Without warmth there can be no life.

How then can fear of death be overcome? Fear of death is fear of
pain. Our attitude towards death depends upon our attitude
towards pain. If, like an ascetic, we are so afraid of pain that
we kill our sensibility because sensibility is the source of
pain, we shall lose more than we gain. Suffering terrifies the
ascetic. So he does away, not with his terror, but with the
source of suffering. And that source is the marvelous and
mysterious warmth that, in the delicacy of its response to the
stimuli of our surroundings, is the proof and measure of our
existence and its intensity.

Greater strength of spirit and more heroism are required to face
and accept the necessity and inevitability of pain. To kill
sensibility in order to avoid the necessity of suffering is not
only cowardly and the resource of the weak in spirit, but an act
which precludes the possibility of achieving a rekindling of life
on any plane; for a fire that has been extinguished cannot warm.
An irreparable loss is the loss of the warmth which is the
indispensable ingredient of all life.

If fear of death is fear of pain, we can overcome the former by
overcoming the fear of pain. If we can learn to suffer gladly
because life is sentient and not to be sentient is to deny life,
we shall be able to rejoice in our capacity for feeling both joy
and sorrow, and we shall, in so doing, set ourselves more surely
free than any ascetic has ever been. Gandhi taught us that the
law of suffering is the one indispensable condition of our being.
We can, he said, even measure our progress by the amount of
suffering undergone. Suffering is associated with the effort
necessary to the achievement of something considered valuable.
If we are, in fact, trapped, like a pregnant woman, in a
situation from which there is no escape except through pain, we
can learn to lead our captivity captive by welcoming it, seeming
to bear it lightly. "Turn your fetters into footholds," said
Rumi. St. Francis writes in the FIORETTI:

> Above all the Graces and all the Gifts of the Holy Spirit which
> Christ grants to His friends, is the grace of overcoming oneself,
> and accepting willing, out of love to Christ, sufferings,
> injuries, discomforts and contempt.

So the expectant mother accepts, out of love for her babe, the
suffering of childbirth. The wise woman is she who makes
intelligent and economic use of her pain to shorten the
inevitable agony. Death and birth are two parts of a single
process which begins in agony and ends in deliverance. The woman
whose will and strength enable her to control and utilize her
reactions to set the new life within her safely free is rewarded
with a great and wondrous joy, the joy of being a coworker of the
divine in the creative process, of being in partnership with God.
It is the proud privilege of woman to prove on her body the
purpose of pain. She knows its value.

That by means of which a thing is terrible is that by means of
which a thing loses its terror. The pain of which we are so much
afraid is the means of our liberation. And not only ours. In
setting us free, it brings new life into being, our own life in a
new form, a new being. Life is reborn through the power of love
after learning the extinction of death. Our progress lies
through death, says Rilke and adds that renunciation is the price
of vision. For only renunciation for love can give us the
required endurance and strength.

Death, says Heidegger, is our salvation from bondage because it
makes us strip ourselves of all illusions, talk, curiosity,
ambiguity. It reveals to us what constitutes our life. Through
it we are forced to realize ourselves as individuals, for, in
face of death, each is alone, unaided. And, because it is so, we
pass, according to him, through death from an unauthentic to an
authentic existence. Perhaps it was something of the sort that
Goethe had in mind when he described Iphigenie as

> One of those sweet creatures who have accumulated an infinite
> amount of moral energy, partly because, having touched death,
> they have received the Eternal into their hearts forever and are
> dead to the world, to the material and superficial world. Their
> lack of joy in life is alone capable of bringing back both joy
> and life to a languishing and disheartened world.

And Blake's Jesus replies to Albion:

> Would thou love one who never died for thee or ever die for one
> who had not lived for thee? And if God dieth not for Man and
> giveth not Himself eternally for Man, Man could not exist, for
> Man is love as God is love.

Like the mother, we must accept pain for the sake of love. Were
it not for love, there would be no pain.

The sage who is immortal, unassailable, and who is endowed with
the magical power of creation, remains, like the mother, in
contact with individual human life, responding to the call of
creatures. The greatest of all the sacrifices an enlightened one
makes is the sacrifice of heaven itself, for he refuses to enter
in until the last and the least and the weakest of creatures has
gone before him. One is not, in the cosmic refuge, alone. One
cannot save oneself from adverse experience by isolation. Our
safety lies in union with the whole.

The Vimalakirti Sutra teaches us that Samsara IS Nirvana. Life
is suffering, suffering from which we cannot escape without
destroying life. There is no beauty, no bliss, and no rest,
apart from it. "But from my heart," protests Dante, "love does
not draw the thorn of pain that living I shall ever bear, though
I should live forever." Here also we perceive the secret of the
cross of Christ. Christ crossed out suffering in his
crucifixion. Nirvana is achieved if we can accept suffering, and
in identifying ourselves with the pain of all creatures see in
this identification the heaven we seek. Psychologically it is
just as important as joy, even as the fact of death is as
important as the fact of birth. Both are integral parts of life.

The man who sees life -- and death -- steadily and whole is the
authentic man. All men are fearful but the authentic man looks
his fear in the face and asserts himself against it. Such a man
was Rilke. The unauthentic hides from his fear and his despair
and shrinks from the responsibility of overcoming it. The
measure of a man like Malraux is in his readiness to take on the
burden of other people's ills rather than in his failure to find
a cure. The greatest of all Teachers is he who receives the
gifts of the spirit but does not depart from earth, knowing how
to knot the thread of understanding. His usefulness exceeds that
of all others.

Love is a miracle whenever and wherever it occurs. It is a new
birth, wonderful in itself, the act of transformation through
which Nature continually renews herself, maintaining her
immortality. To deny it is to deny God. To accept it is to
accept pain. The antinomy of pain, like the antinomy of evil,
finds its solution in spiritual experience. Death, like birth,
can be life's crown. In all mystery rituals death symbolizes
renewal. The real name of THE BOOK OF THE DEAD is COMING FORTH


By H.T. Edge

[From THE THEOSOPHICAL PATH, October 1915, pages 229-36.]

In THE PROGRESSIVE THINKER, Chicago, July 3, is an article on
"Reincarnation and Spiritual Evolution," which is part of a
controversy between an advocate of a doctrine on this subject and
an inquirer. This particular article is a reply of the latter to
the former; and in the absence of the other parts of the
controversy, we can make but little out of this part. The
writer, however, ends by propounding a set of questions and by
declaring that he seeks answers to them, not in a spirit of
contention but in the sincere desire for information; and he says
he would like them answered by "any Theosophist."

In attempting to answer these questions, we find ourselves in a
difficulty, because we do not understand them. It is clear that
they refer to some theory combining spiritism with some form of
belief in reincarnation and with something that has been called
Theosophy; but being quite unfamiliar with this theory, we find
the terminology used in the questions has no meaning for us; and
it will be admitted that no one can answer a question until he
knows what the question means. For example, we are asked: "What
is the difference between a spirit and a spirit body?" These two
terms are obviously expressions used by the advocate of this
theory to denote certain views which he advocates; but to us, who
have not heard those views, they convey no meaning, and we are
unable to answer the question. Again, when the question concerns
the alleged reunion of families in the spirit-world, we have to
confess ourselves equally in the dark.

The best we can do, therefore, is to give a brief outline of the
only doctrine of Reincarnation with which we are familiar -- that
taught by H.P. Blavatsky and William Q. Judge, the Founder of
the Theosophical Society and her immediate successor in the
Leadership of that Society, and accepted by Theosophists as an
essential part of the Theosophical teachings as originally given
and as still promulgated. And, as far as possible, we may base
our remarks on the questions which the inquirer propounds.

To the question: "Is there on record a scientific demonstrated
case of reincarnation of a human spirit," we reply that such
matters do not come within the scope of modern science, but that
this circumstance is no reason for rejecting the doctrine of
Reincarnation. One has to take the world as one finds it and to
endeavor to understand the problems of life to the best of one's
ability by the use of one's intuition, reason, and other
faculties. There is no scientific proof for any doctrine
concerning the destiny of the soul and the state of man after
death. The proof of such mysteries must be sought in a
cultivation of our inner faculties; and until our eyes are opened
to the truth, we have to rest content with an intellectual
acceptance of the most reasonable belief -- which is undoubtedly
that of Reincarnation as taught by H.P. Blavatsky.

Theosophists cannot be held responsible for the state of
ignorance in which present-day humanity finds itself with regard
to the mysteries of life and death, nor for the inadequacy of
science to furnish anything which it regards as proof relating to
these mysteries. On the contrary, Theosophists should be
commended for their endeavors to give a satisfactory explanation
of the problems of life and to relieve that ignorance; and we owe
a great debt of gratitude to H.P. Blavatsky for bringing us the
teaching of Reincarnation and for striving so hard to set our
feet on the path of knowledge.

As these questions contain continual references to "spirits" and
their supposed status between and during incarnations, it will be
well to define the Theosophical teaching as to the reincarnating
entity. That which incarnates is not the (so-called) personal
man; the personality is built up during one period of earth-life,
from infancy onwards, being composed of the experiences and
memories accumulated during that period. Similarly, the
personality decomposes after the decease of the body. That part
of man which is permanent and which eventually acquires a new
body and develops a new personality in its next earth-life is the
Individuality, the true Self or Ego. In our present USUAL state
of ignorance, we find ourselves unable to form any adequate
conception of the nature of the true Self or Ego when stripped of
all its earthly and personal belongings.

The next thing to say is that the doctrine of Reincarnation, as
taught by H.P. Blavatsky, has naturally been utilized by various
people as a basis for speculations and teachings of their own.
This was what any man of the world would expect; for in this
world every new and valuable thing is always thus exploited.
Hence we find of course several different forms of Reincarnation,
mingled with several different kinds of spiritism, often labeled
with the name of Theosophy; and in short, there are but few of
the many systems of "occultism," "spiritism," "psychism," and new
cosmic religions in general, which do not contain as part of
their makeup a few fragments borrowed from the teachings of H.P.
Blavatsky. For such, of course, Theosophists cannot be held
responsible; on the contrary, it will be understood that
Theosophists and Theosophy suffer a wrong, just as American
commerce and reputation suffers a wrong when worthless goods are
sold in Europe under the label of "American."

We find ourselves under the necessity of rejecting the fallacies
put forward under the name of Theosophy, while at the same time
defending Theosophy itself. Reverting now to the topic of
Reincarnation, we must point out that some people have sought to
introduce a doctrine more conformable to human weaknesses and
longings -- a more "comforting" doctrine -- a modified form of
Reincarnation, adapted to the views of some spiritists; and
naturally the principal feature of such doctrines is that it is
possible for living people to communicate with the disembodied
spirits of their departed relatives and friends. This particular
idea is specially and strenuously combated by H.P. Blavatsky in
her exposition of the doctrine of Reincarnation (see THE KEY TO
THEOSOPHY, and many other writings). Such a belief is likely to
lead to spiritistic practices of a very deleterious kind; and
this remark leads directly on to our next point, as follows.

Man does not die all at once, but after the death of the body,
there is a second death. For, although the fact of his death
must result in the separation of his principles, and the return
of the Ego to its state of Spiritual consciousness, that process
is somewhat retarded by the slow disintegrative forces of nature.
In other words there is a brief survival of the personality in a
disembodied form, the lower principles of the man being held in
coherence by the astral body, which has not yet disintegrated.

The ancients were aware of this fact of the temporary survival of
the "shade" or "spook," and always performed rites of
purification for the purpose of protecting both the living and
the dead from the dangers incident to this condition. Certain
forms of black magic (necromancy) were concerned with the
evocation of shades and spooks from the astral realms in order to
communicate as oracles with the living; but such practices were
condemned as dangerous and even unclean. Modern spiritism has
innocently revived some of these practices, and hence the danger
of mediumship and seances, to which H.P. Blavatsky so frequently
called attention. Such entities, being devoid of the higher
parts of human nature, are conscienceless and have only an
automatic intelligence -- sufficient, however, to produce, in
conjunction with the subconscious memory of the sitters, certain
phenomena which scientific investigators, and even ordinary
people, mistake for communications from the deceased.

We repeat -- that the PERSONALITY of man does not live on in the
SPIRIT-world and cannot be summoned thence to communicate with
the living; and that any attempted evocation can but result in an
opening of the door to undesirable and vampirizing entities from
those regions where the astral remnants of man's lower nature are
undergoing their natural decay -- a danger to which eminent
physicians have recently directed our serious attention. This
leads us to say something about the nature of PERSONALITY,

It has often been asked why we do not remember our past
incarnations. To answer this, we must first distinguish between
MEMORY and RECOLLECTION. Memory is the stored-up record of
experiences, and recollection is the bringing back of memories
into our present consciousness. Hence the memory of our past
lives may be all stored up in some part of our nature, and yet we
may be incapable of bringing it back to recollection. This
incapacity, however, is not to be wondered at.

The experiences of our last life took place in an entirely
different BODY, with a different BRAIN. They were not carried
over as CONSCIOUS recollections into this life at all; and upon
the page of our infantile brain-mind were speedily written the
gathered experiences pertaining to our present life. From that
time on, we spent every day in adding fresh force and intensity
to those present experiences, and in obliterating every
impression that might have any chance of surviving from the past.
It may truly be said that the reason we fail to recollect is that
we have not tried; and how hard and long would it not be
necessary to try NOW, should we now desire to recollect those
distant experiences of the Soul! We cannot carry our recollection
back to the beginnings of this life, and much of our experience
in this incarnation is obliterated.

The recollecting of past lives constitutes an advanced stage in
the initiation of a candidate to Knowledge, and presumes a degree
of self-mastery that can only be the culmination of long and
arduous endeavor. Presumptuous, assuredly, is he who cavils
because this supreme revelation does not reward his first
impatient questionings; while, should he advance his incapacity
to recollect -- should he make it a ground for rejecting the
doctrine of Reincarnation -- he alone is the sufferer and merits
our pity for allowing his impatience to stand in the way of his

But what we have said about memory is introductory to a
definition of the words "personality" and "individuality" as used
by Theosophy in this connection. The PERSONALITY of a man is the
sense of self which he DEVELOPS during each period of earth-life,
and it is made up of the experiences and impressions of that
period. In it there is just a spark of the true Self-hood; and
the state of affairs may be compared to a transparent picture
illuminated by a hidden light. The picture is the personality,
and the light is a ray from the true Self. When the man dies,
the picture disappears, but the light remains.

This illustration is intended to indicate that, though the
identity of man is preserved beyond death, the form in which it
persists is not that of the familiar personality. We have here
to do with a distinction -- between individuality and personality
-- which requires much study and thought for its elucidation; but
it is sufficient at present merely to state it, with a view to
stressing the point that the PERSONALITY does not survive, and
that the INDIVIDUALITY, which does survive, cannot be brought
back to communicate by spiritism.

It is evident that any statement of the doctrine of Reincarnation
will at once arouse in the mind of the inquirer many questions
which seem to him difficult and to require an immediate answer;
and it is equally evident that no such answers can be given
without further study on the part of the inquirer. It is quite
pertinent for us to refer to the analogy of any other advanced
study, such as musical composition, or the infinitesimal
calculus; in which subjects, any hasty question by an inquirer
would be answered by the presentation of a textbook accompanied
by a monition to careful study. And so of Reincarnation;
Theosophists have studied the doctrine for decades, in connection
with their daily experiences, both in the outer life of men and
in the inner life of the mind; and they know more about it now
than they did at first, while there is still much to be learned
in the future.

The same path can be recommended to the earnest inquirer, who is
hereby asked, when an answer is given him, to carry it in his
mind and reflect on it, with a view to searching out its
significance and verifying it by his own judgment; instead of
petulantly refusing it because it does not square with his
previous notions.

The doctrine of Reincarnation was not invented by H.P.
Blavatsky, nor designed to satisfy anyone's notions of how things
should be; but it was proclaimed by her as a fragment of truth
calculated to solve many of the actual problems of life. Those
who do not desire to investigate it or to profit by it, are
thereby left to their own resources; and they must seek their own
way of reconciling any quarrel which they have with the facts of

It is evident that a single earth life of man is a mere fragment
of a career, not begun at birth, and unfinished at death. The
fact that our human nature compels us to seek knowledge, and yet
hides the knowledge from us, shows us that this human nature is a
compound of two sets of faculties, the ordinary reason and
something higher and better. Self-study gives us abundant
evidence that we are compact of both mortal and immortal
elements. We find in ourselves powerful tendencies and
proclivities which we did not generate in this life, and which go
back of anything our parents have transmitted to us; for, however
much may be due to physical heredity and to environment, the fact
of personal originality must also be allowed for, or the human
race would go on repeating itself in a monotonous uniformity,
like the animals or some decaying race of men.

Whence this originality and these stored-up tendencies? They are
in fact the memories of past lives, transmitted, not as pictured
recollections, but as intuitions and instincts. Again, we are
sowing seeds whose harvest we shall never see in this life, yet
which can only be reaped on earth, since it is with earth that
they are concerned. All this demands the doctrine of
Reincarnation for its adequate explanation; and those who can
explain it in any better way are welcome.

For a solution of the mystery of suffering, we must seek in
Reincarnation. The Soul evidently undergoes suffering of its own
volition and for its own purposes. The only alternative
explanation one can see is that suffering is decreed by the
Almighty or by the indiscriminate hand of Nature or Chance. It
is surely much better to believe that the Soul within knows and
understands the why and wherefore of our experiences, and that it
is possible for us to attain a riper knowledge, when the mind
shall know and understand and the wayward will shall consent.

The doctrine of Reincarnation is for those who believe that man
contains an indestructible essence, for it is hardly possible to
argue with one who professes to believe that the entire human
being is forever extinguished when the body dies, or that it had
its origin when the body was born in the womb. Shall we then be
content with pious vagaries and dogmas that were made by and for
simple people in bygone ages; or shall we seek to use the
faculties we have in order to find out more of the truth?

The doctrine of Reincarnation, as taught by H.P. Blavatsky, is
by a very long way the best explanation yet afforded of the
mysteries of our existence; and its inherent truth gives it a
force that compels attention even from the reluctant. There are
many details to be filled in, comprising profound points upon
which we should all like information; but we should be grateful
that we have the teaching at all. If we desire more, we had
better show ourselves worthy of the little we have.

Teachers cannot help the race by pouring our information into us
without stint; they can only give a little at a time, in
proportion to our ability to absorb and utilize it. Already the
little given out about Reincarnation has been perverted, as we
have just seen. As regards the wish to know where one's departed
relatives and friends are, and how they are doing, a reverent
mind will realize that Souls cannot be dragged from their place
of rest in order to satisfy the minds of people here, but that we
KNOWLEDGE. In the writings of H.P. Blavatsky and W.Q. Judge
will be found many particulars as to the constitution of man, the
after-death states, etc. -- into which we have not time to go
here; they should be studied.

When a child is born, the parents should understand that they are
thereby constituted the guardians of a Soul at a critical stage
of its career, and that this Soul has a character and a destiny
of its own. They should protect it and aid it to unfold its
powers and realize its destiny; not regard it as a pet and try to
mold it into their own impossible notions of what they would like
it to be. This is just one instance of the use of the teaching
of Reincarnation. The whole aspect of human life would be
changed if all men realized that the present life they are
leading is part of an ETERNAL career, and that the fancies of the
brain and the temporal ambitions are as dust in the balance
compared with what the Soul is achieving. Fear of death, love of
riches, selfishness, and many other evils, would at once begin to
decline from lack of sustenance; and new vistas of knowledge
would open out if men would only cooperate in studying these
deeper problems of their life.

Perhaps we have now said as much as can be expected, though we
could go on indefinitely. It is only the shallow-minded who will
think that, because on a first slight acquaintance with
Reincarnation they can ask a multitude of questions (who could
not?), therefore these questions cannot be answered. Those who
are engaged in the study and promulgation of Theosophy are
intelligent people who have thought and studied for long years;
and the difficulties which occur to the inquirer are but a tithe
of the puzzles encountered by the student in the course of his

All these things are provided for, and the teaching has been
found to be deep enough and vast enough to meet all possible
requirements. The seven principles of man; what it is that
incarnates; the states of the various principles after death; the
condition of the Ego between incarnations; the relation of
physical heredity to Reincarnation; the possibility of
recognition between former friends; the workings of the law of
Karma; the interval between incarnations -- there is not space
even to enumerate the branches of our subject; and the inquirer
who asks questions, whether for the sake of information or in
order that he may quickly dispose of the doctrine, will find that
he has challenged a very capable champion. So here we will leave
the matter to the earnest and intelligent student.


By G. de Purucker

[From WIND OF THE SPIRIT, pages 264-66.]

The Vicarious Atonement Doctrine, as it is today understood by
Christians, has indeed stood in the way of the Christians'
accepting the doctrine of Reimbodiment. But it was not so in the
beginning. The earliest Christians accepted Reincarnation. What
took place then? We find evidence that the doctrine of the
Vicarious Atonement prevailed in the very origins of
Christianity. This is what took place: a slow changing of the
understanding of this doctrine to one of words instead of
spiritual occult meaning; so that when it became a mere
theological dogma, it was a great stumbling-block, a closed door
rather, preventing the true follower of this Master Christ, today
and in past centuries, from accepting this doctrine of hope, of
great hope, i.e., human reincarnation. What took place?

In the earliest days of Christianity, the primitive Christians,
being the Theosophical Society of that time FOR THAT PORTION OF
THE EARTH, knew, were taught, that every man born into this life
is a son of the Divine, in his highest part -- not as a physical
man; but, so to say, his spirit, his soul, was a spark of the
Cosmic All, a breathing, living flame of fire from the heart of
Being. He called this the Christos Spirit in the man, even as
some Christians today have intuitively begun to grasp this holy
teaching of the Immanent Christ in man. That was the primitive
Christian thought, and it is taught today in Theosophy as it has
always been taught by Theosophy in the different ages.

So it is the spiritual part of us, this flame from the Divine,
which is the deathless essence of our being. It is the anchor of
our life, and of our growth, and of our progress, from embodiment
to embodiment, carrying from each life on earth all the spiritual
aroma of the good deeds, beautiful thoughts, noble ideals,
fostered in the heart and mind, carrying these over from life to
life. We call this inner spiritual part the Monad. It is the
inner Buddha in us, the inner Christ in us.

Thus it is that this Monad is enchained by us, by our weakness
and feebleness and mistakes -- aye, and by our good thoughts and
deeds, to carry us from life to life as a spiritual 'plank of
salvation,' as HPB says, meaning the inner Christ chained on to
the cross of matter -- our light, our hope, our origin, our
destiny. And because it suffers for us enchained into these
spheres, according to the ancient doctrine, and carries our
burden for us -- our own being, mind you, our own inmost
spiritual essence, the Christ within us -- we can say, not in the
theological sense but in the Theosophical sense, it atones for us
and endures through all, JUST BECAUSE IT IS our Spiritual Self.
The process is 'vicarious' only in the sense that the divine part
of us carries the weight, the burden, of what we, the lower
parts, have thought and felt and done: dealing us perfect justice
in life after life, making us what we are and what we shall
become. In this sense was the doctrine of Vicarious Atonement
first understood: that the mere man of flesh is naught; but that
the lower, unevolved, imperfect side of man had this plank of
salvation in his own spark of divinity, in his own immanent
Buddha, his immanent Christ, the god within him.

This ancient doctrine likewise tells us that as a man grows and
evolves from age to age and learns in life after life, more and
more does this truly spiritual part of his being come to
manifestation, and express itself through the mind, the lower
mind, the ordinary human being; and when this is done with
relative perfection, we have one of the great Seers and Sages,
one of the embodied divinities, one of the embodied Buddhas, one
of the embodied Christs, call them by what name you will: in
other words a man who expresses through himself as a human being
the godhead, the godhood, WHICH IS HIS OWN LINK OF SELFHOOD WITH
THE DIVINE, an embodied Christ, an embodied Buddha.

Nevertheless, it is perfectly true that when this INNER MEANING
of the immanent Christ was lost sight of in Christianity, the
words of the teaching took the place of its occult meaning; men
lost the teaching that they themselves were the Christs within,
sons of the Divine, and that by thinking and feeling and living
in the Christ-like way, it was their most glorious privilege and
duty from life to life to express this inner godhood ever more
and more, growing from humanity to Mahatmahood as we say, to
Masterhood, until finally the goal is achieved, and we can cry:
"0 god of me, how thou dost glorify me!" This is the true
rendering of the Hebrew words alleged to have been uttered by
Jesus on the Cross: 'ELI, 'ELI, LAMAH SHABAHHTANI. As the words
stand translated in the Christian Gospels, they are wrong, for
'to forsake,' or 'to abandon,' is in Hebrew AZAB; and 'to
glorify' or 'to make perfect' is SHABAHH; and the word as found
in the Gospels is SHABAHHTANI, i.e., 'thou dost glorify me,'
'thou dost make me perfect.'

The Christ within the man spoke; nor is this an exterior Christ,
except in the sense that the Christ within the man is a spark of
the Cosmic Christ. The Buddha within the man is the
representative in him as an individual spark or ray of the Cosmic
Buddha, i.e. the Adi-Buddha -- use what terms you will.

Thus it came about that one of the most beautiful, helpful, and
consoling doctrines of primitive Christianity became an illogical
theological dogma -- a shell of words from which the spirit of
their meaning had fled.


By Eliphas Levi

[From TRACENDENTIAL MAGIC, pages 229-34.]

Two things, as we have already said, are necessary for the
acquisition of magical power -- the emancipation of the will from
all servitude, and its instruction in the art of domination. The
sovereign will is represented in our symbols by the woman who
crushes the serpent's head, and by the radiant angel who
restrains and constrains the dragon with lance and heel. In this
place let us affirm without evasions that the great magical agent
-- the dual current of light, the living and astral fire of the
earth -- was represented by the serpent with the head of an ox,
goat, or dog in ancient theogonies.

It is the double serpent of the caduceus, the old serpent of
Genesis, but it is also the brazen serpent of Moses, twisted
round the tau, that is, the generating lingam. It is, further,
the goat of the Sabbath and the Baphomet of the Templars; it is
the Hyle of the Gnostics; it is the double tail of the serpent
which forms the legs of the solar cock of Abraxas. In fine, it
is the devil of M. Eudes de Mirville, and is really the blind
force which souls must overcome if they would be free from the
chains of earth; for, unless their will can detach them from this
fatal attraction, they will be absorbed in the current by the
force which produced them, and will return to the central and
eternal fire.

The whole magical work consists, therefore, in our liberation
from the folds of the ancient serpent, then in setting a foot
upon its head, and leading it where we will. "I will give thee
all the kingdoms of the earth, if thou wilt fall down and adore
me," said this serpent in the evangelical mythos. The initiate
should make answer: "I will not fall down, and thou shalt crouch
at my feet; nothing shalt thou give me, but I will make use of
thee, and will take what I require, for I am thy lord and master"
a reply which, in a veiled manner, is contained in that of the

We have already said that the devil is not a person. It is a
misdirected force, as its name indicates. An odic or magnetic
current, formed by a chain of perverse wills, constitutes this
evil spirit, which the Gospel calls LEGION, and this it is which
precipitated the swine into the sea -- another allegory of the
attraction exercised on beings of inferior instincts by the blind
forces that can be put in operation by error and evil will. This
symbol may be compared with that of the comrades of Ulysses
transformed into swine by the sorceress Circe. Remark what was
done by Ulysses to preserve himself and deliver his associates:
lie refused the cup of the enchantress, and commanded her with
the sword. Circe is nature, with all her delights and
allurements -- to enjoy her we must overcome her. Such is the
significance of the Homeric fable, for the poems of Homer, the
true sacred books of ancient Hellas, contain all the mysteries of
high oriental initiation.

The natural medium is, therefore, the serpent, ever active and
ever seducing, of idle wills, which we must continually withstand
by their subjugation. Amorous, gluttonous, passionate, or idle
magicians are impossible monstrosities. The magus thinks and
wills; he loves nothing with desire; he rejects nothing in rage.
The word PASSION signifies a passive state, and the magus is
invariably active, invariably victorious. The attainment of this
realization is the crucial difficulty of the transcendent
sciences; so when the magus accomplishes his own creation, the
great work is fulfilled, at least as concerns cause and
instrument. The great agent or natural mediator of human
omnipotence cannot be overcome or directed save by an
EXTRA-NATURAL mediator, which is an emancipated will. Archimedes
postulated a fulcrum outside the world in order to raise the
world. The fulcrum of the magus is the intellectual cubic stone,
the philosophical stone off AZOTH -- that is, the doctrine of
absolute reason and universal harmonies by the sympathy of

One of our most fertile writers, and one of those who are the
least fixed in their ideas, M. Eugene Sue, has founded a vast
romance-epic upon an individuality whom he strives to render
odious, who becomes interesting against the will of the novelist,
so abundantly does he gift him with patience, audacity,
intelligence, and genius. We are in the presence of a kind of
Sixtus V. -- poor, temperate, passionless, holding the entire
world entangled in the web of his skillful combinations. This
man excites at will the passions of his enemies, destroys them by
means of one another, invariably reaches the point he has kept in
view, and this without noise, without ostentation, and without

His object is to free the world of a society which the author of
the book believes to be dangerous and malignant, and to attain it
no cost is too great; he is ill lodged, ill clothed, nourished
like the refuse of humanity, but ever fixed upon his work.
Consistently with his intention, the author depicts him as
wretched, filthy, hideous, repulsive to the touch, and horrible
to the sight. But supposing this very exterior is a means of
disguising the enterprise, and so of more surely attaining it, is
it not proof positive of sublime courage? When Rodin becomes
pope, do you think that he will still be ill clothed and dirty?
Hence M. Eugene Sue has missed his point; his object was to
deride superstition and fanaticism, but what he attacks is
intelligence, strength, genius, the most signal human virtues.
Were there many Rodins among the Jesuits, were there one even, I
would not give much for the success of the opposite party, in
spite of the brilliant and maladroit special pleadings of its
illustrious advocates.

To will well, to will long, to will always, but never to lust
after anything, such is the secret of power, and this is the
magical Arcanum which Tasso brings forward in the persons of the
two knights who come to deliver Rinaldo and to destroy the
enchantments of Armida. They withstand equally the most charming
nymphs and the most terrible wild beasts. They remain without
desires and without fear, and hence they attain their end. Does
it follow from this that a true magician inspires more fear than
love? I do not deny it, and while abundantly recognizing how
sweet are the allurements of life, while doing full justice to
the gracious genius of Anacreon, and to all the youthful
efflorescence of the poetry of love, I seriously invite the
estimable votaries of pleasure to regard the transcendental
sciences merely as a matter of curiosity, and never to approach
the magical tripod; the great works of science are deadly for

The man who has escaped from the chain of instincts will first of
all realize his omnipotence by the submissiveness of animals.
The history of Daniel in the lions' den is no fable, and more
than once, during the persecutions of infant Christianity this
phenomenon recurred in the presence of the whole Roman people. A
man seldom has anything to fear from an animal of which he is not
afraid. The bullets of Jules Gerard, the lion-killer, are
magical and intelligent. Once only did he run a real danger; he
allowed a timid companion to accompany him, and, looking upon
this imprudent person as lost beforehand, he also was afraid, not
for himself but for his comrade.

Many persons will say that it is difficult and even impossible to
attain such resolution, that strength in volition and energy in
character are natural gifts. I do not dispute it, but I would
point out also that habit can reform nature; volition can be
perfected by education, and, as I have before said, all magical,
like all religious, ceremonial has no other end but thus to test,
exercise, and habituate the will by perseverance and by force.
The more difficult and laborious the exercises, the greater their
effect, as we have now advanced far enough to see.

If it has been hitherto impossible to direct the phenomena of
magnetism, it is because an initiated and truly emancipated
operator has not yet appeared. Who can boast that he is such?
Have we not ever new self-conquests to make? At the same time, it
is certain that nature will obey the sign and the word of one who
feels himself strong enough to be convinced of it. I say that
nature will obey; I do not say that she will belie herself or
disturb the order of her possibilities. The healing of nervous
diseases by word, breath, or contact; resurrection in certain
cases; resistance of evil wills sufficient to disarm and confound
murderers; even the faculty of making one's self invisible by
troubling the sight of those whom it is important to elude; all
this is a natural effect of projecting or withdrawing the astral

Thus was Valentius dazzled and terror-struck on entering the
temple of Cesarea, even as Heliodorus of old, overcome by a
sudden madness in the temple of Jerusalem, believed himself
scourged and trampled by angels. Thus also the Admiral de
Coligny imposed respect on his assassins, and could only be
dispatched by a madman who fell upon him with averted head. What
rendered Joan of Arc invariably victorious were the fascination
of her faith and the miracle of her audacity; she paralyzed the
arms of those who would have assailed her, and the English may
have very well been sincere in regarding her as a witch or a
sorceress. As a fact, she was a sorceress unconsciously, herself
believing that she acted supernaturally, while she was really
disposing of an occult force which is universal and invariably
governed by the same laws.

The magus-magnetizer should have command of the natural medium,
and, consequently, of the astral body by which our soul
communicates with our organs. He can say to the material body,
"Sleep!" and to the sidereal body, "Dream!" Thereupon, the aspect
of visible things changes, as in hashish-visions. Cagliostro is
said to have possessed this power, and he increased its action by
means of fumigations and perfumes; but true magnetic ability
should transcend these auxiliaries, all more or less inimical to
reason and destructive of health M. Ragon, in his learned work
on Occult Masonry, gives the recipe for a series of medicaments
suitable for the exaltation of somnambulism. It is by no means
knowledge to be despised, but prudent magists should avoid its

The astral light is projected by glance, by voice, and by the
thumb and palm of the hand. Music is a potent auxiliary of the
voice, and hence comes the word ENCHANTMENT. No musical
instrument has more enchantment than the human voice, but the far
away notes of a violin or harmonica may augment its power. The
subject whom it is proposed to overcome is in this way prepared;
then, when he is half-deadened and, as it were, enveloped by the
charm, the hands should be extended towards him, he should be
ordered to sleep or to see, and he will obey despite himself.
Should he resist, a fixed glance must be directed towards him,
one thumb must be placed between his eyes and the other on his
breast, touching him lightly with a single and swift contact; the
breath must be slowly drawn in and again breathed gently and
warmly forth, repeating in a low voice, "Sleep!" or "See!"


By Shri J.M. Ganguli

[From THE ARYAN PATH, June 1954, pages 256-60.]

Between my reasoning and my realizations, there is no silver
bridge, no harmony, and no reconciliation.

Before I had not learnt to reason, I was more intent on looking
for light and inspiration than later when I sat brooding,
sifting, analyzing, and threading some fanciful thinking and
reasoning through events, occurrences and my own experiences.
Neither the past nor the present had then made me halt and look
backward and forward, and so my intuitions throbbed
spontaneously, and my nature functioned in smooth harmony with my
actions and with the effects which my environment brought to me.
The ripples and waves of the present gave me inspiration and
brought realizations which kept me absorbed and instead of
scattering my thoughts in search of a cause, sent me deep within
myself in quest of the answers which I sought for my

Then there came a change; and, as I drifted along with the ebb
and flow of events, I made tendrils out of my passing reactions
and wove them round what I saw and felt. In so doing how much I
have lost! How many eventful moments have passed; how many colors
have shone and disappeared; how many thrilling inspirations must
have come and gone ignored!

Nature's mysteries now reveal themselves and again withdraw from
sight in their own majestic way without a break to give us time
to fling our thoughts back, to catch our thread of reasoning and
to tie with it what we now see, feel, and marvel at. Where are
the skill and wisdom in us to arrange and connect the different
traces of events, flashes of our sentimental reactions and
subtle, provocative inspirations, which lead away our thoughts
and overwhelm us? What folly for me, a grown man, to go back to
playing with blocks, building a structure of what we call cause
and effect out of my environmental reactions! Where is the line
of cause and effect in the chaotic contents of my realizations?
Yet my vanity is pricked by my having to admit that I cannot
reason out and map out mentally the minutest and the vastest
doings of the Omniscient; that I cannot bring within the compass
of my comprehension all my impressions and observations, ordered
in the manner I have chosen for my satisfaction. Am I to spin
out reasoning and extend the limits of my comprehension without
attempting to judge the soundness of either?

I came into the world a crying baby, shy and nervous in a strange
environment; I was rocked into quietness in the nursery cradle,
which was then all that interested me and which understood as
much or as little of why it moved as I understood why I moved my
limbs. When out of the nursery, I ran and fell and jumped and
played through boyhood till youth arrived, then impulsive forces
swung my senses to and fro as the cradle had once swung my little
body. They shattered my tranquility of mind. I reflected not; I
noticed not the tremendous significances that Nature and the
Subtleness within it were unfolding before me. I was absorbed
only in magnifying and glorifying a misguided Self within, which
accepted or rejected things as it pleased and ever pointed the
way to mere impulsive and crude pleasure which intoxicated it.
Thus my sight was dimmed, and my thoughts ever kept revolving
round my personality, within the limits of which only was my
consciousness receptive and within the framework of which I
arranged and connected my experiences and recollections.

Thus I forged my chain of reasoning with links of the assorted
presumptions which my vanity and egotism made me make out of mere
sense reactions. Thus weakly, uncertainly and even arbitrarily,
my reasoning started working and getting me and my thoughts into
its grip. Then, before I would take a step forward, I would
weigh doing so on the scales of reason. Something within me,
however, makes me rebel against thus stopping at every turn to
tie whatever I see and feel with what I have known before, so
that a logical sequence may be maintained. I want to spread my
gaze over a wider landscape, where the trace of cause and effect
is imperceptible, even irrevocably lost.

I gaze upon that vaster landscape and receive inspirations which
thrill me. They bring realizations which ever remain beyond all
reasoning. What reasoning can encompass my feelings, which make
me reverently put my hands together and stand still, forgetful of
myself and unworried by the weight of my past or the ceaseless
demands of the present when a glow, rising from unknown depths,
dispels the chilly gloom? What is it that makes me close my eyes,
restrain my outer senses, and listen inwardly to a mysterious
call when tumultuous waves of dark mystery beat upon my vanity
and overthrow my logic and my calculations? What argument can
keep my tears flowing in the midst of overwhelming grief when I
suddenly experience a tender touch within, which turns me toward
a new light, a new and stupendous realization?

Then I awake and my eyes open, and I see the great folly of my
having sought to bind my thoughts and my emotions with the cord
of what I had fancifully presumed to be good logic and reason,
cause and its inevitable effect. "What cause brought me here," I
now ask myself. "What had made me argue and assert, relying on
the ridiculous imperfections of my physical senses and on the
scantiness of my sense-collected materials?" Into the depths of
the past I gaze as far as I can look back, but I fail to find any
cause that I can grasp and understand, that I can coordinate with
another in the gigantic whirl and sweep which make the world.
Two or three steps I take on the line of cause and effect but,
those taken, I fall into the chaos of the Indeterminate and the

The more I reflect, the more I feel and observe, inwardly or
outwardly, the more deeply I lose myself in thoughts in which any
impulse to correlate things and impressions so as to bring them
within the operation of my reasoning, is totally absent. I gaze
on them and marvel and toss upon the crest of feelings and
sentiments, whose origin, whose sequence, I do not understand and
whose heights and depths my poor reasoning can never scale or
plumb. My feelings and emotions remain divorced from reason
because they come and go, how often, unrestrained and unlimited
by what has happened before, whereas reasoning is only a labored
effort to heap the rolling present over the debris of the past,
so as to get a whole perspective that might satisfy me.

"This cannot be disjointed from what I have known; this must
follow that in a sequence which I can understand." So I say to
myself; but when I compare my understanding with that of others,
I find that each has traced the same thing or event back to a
different cause of his own supposition. Each asserts the
correctness of his own logic, but each, having reacted
differently from others, has constructed a different line of
cause and effect.

Our reasoning, our linking of cause and effect, are thus based,
not on any truth or reality, but on how things impressed us and
how we reacted to them. Reasoning is the projection of our
egoistic conceptions on to our environment and our experiences,
and as our conceptions change and develop, our logic and our line
of reasoning loses its meaning and significance. The sense and
inspiration of the Real and the Absolute can come only through
mental doors flung open wide, not through the lattice of
prejudiced reasoning. The depths of the Infinite can be reached
only when, unmooring ourselves from finiteness, we plunge into
them without stopping to reason, without a look or a thought
behind. Is it not when we forget ourselves that we see and feel
and realize as we had not done before? Is it not when
overwhelming grief has made our interest in the present fade and
the environment disappear from before our unseeing eyes, that we
get a realization that dries our tears and brings a new realm
into view?

It is self-intoxication, the vainglory of the "I" which thinks
that it rules but which is really the creature of the physical
senses, which dictates the line of my thinking, interprets my
impressions. The Great Reason, the Great Cause, which supports
and holds together all things, is beyond this "I" and will enter
into my realization only when that "I" is curbed and my true Self
awakens. For that true Self is an integral part of the Great
Cause that unfolds itself in the Manifestation surrounding and
absorbing me. That Self has to be liberated from the dominion of
the cruder senses; it has to be washed clean of the blinding dust
that has settled on it in my headlong pursuit of the tempting and
illusive impulses of the body and the mind.

It is only in that liberation and that cleansing that the Self
can see the Light and catch a glimpse in true perspective of That
of which it forms a part. It is then that the Great Cause which
underlies All is sensed, and then, that the Reason that threads
through the Whole is comprehended. The Cause and the Reason thus
seen then merge into a supreme Realization, the Realization of
the Self. From time to time, in dreams and in wakeful hours at
times of self-forgetfulness, at moments when wild grief or mad
ecstasy have shaken me out of my intoxication with the physical,
there have arisen realizations which were fragmentary but which
have led to and formed part of that supreme Realization.

Even these fragmentary realizations are not containable within
the small orbit of my childish, presumptuous reasoning. The
proud attempt to submit them to the reasoning process dwarfs my
outlook and makes me miserable. It can give no peace, no
harmony. I must step out of reasoning's orbit to inhale the
thrilling inspirations and be receptive to the subtle,
unthought-of and inexplicable impulses and realizations, which
come to me so often in moments of unawareness, and in strange
circumstances, when I am free from the drawing power of memories
and of calculations for the future. Then alone can I undertake
in the right way the Quest for the Supreme Cause, and then alone
will there be peace, solace, and harmony in my thoughts and
between my reasoning and my realizations.


By Anonymous

[From THE THEOSOPHICAL MOVEMENT, May 17, 1956, pages 160-62.]

There are many fairy tales throughout the world relating to the
Initiation of a Disciple. The story of the little cobbler given
below originates from the district of Cracow in Poland, where it
used to be told by Polish peasants. It was taken down literally
by Oskar Kolberg, the well-known Polish ethnologist, and
published in the eighth volume of his colossal work, which, under
the title LUD (People), appeared in Poland in a series between
1858 and 1895. Here is a translation of the tale, the lesson of
which can be summarized in the following words: Help Nature and
Nature will respond.


Once upon a time there lived a poor, aged shoemaker. His only
son was a very handsome youth. One day his father called him and
sent him into the world to find a better future for himself. He
gave him two rucksacks for his journey: one containing loaves of
bread; the other, a shoemaker's tools. And so the young fellow
began his journey through various lands in search of work.

One sunny morning he found himself following a path through a
forest. Suddenly he noticed an anthill which had been destroyed
by a mischievous hand. His heart was filled with pity for the
tiny creatures. He knelt on the ground, rebuilt the anthill and
replaced the scattered eggs.

A little further along the path through the forest, he noticed a
beehive hidden in the trunk of an old tree. But some mischievous
hand had plundered the hive and swarms of bees were buzzing
unhappily round the tree. The shoemaker's heart was overwhelmed
with pity for the little creatures. He repaired the broken hive
and put a wax frame into it. He smiled happily as the golden
bees settled down joyfully.

The young shoemaker continued on his way until he arrived at the
bank of a beautiful river filled with shoals of goldfish. A
small wooden bridge spanned the river and silver swans glided on
the surface of the water. The shoemaker was enchanted by the
picturesque scene. He took out the remaining piece of bread from
his rucksack and threw the crumbs into the water for the goldfish
and the silver swans.

Long and weary was the shoemaker's journey; he was often hungry
and various dangers threatened his life. But he finally reached
the gates of a large city.

He settled down in the city and began his work. Soon he made a
reputation for his skill as a shoemaker. One day he was called
to the royal castle and received an order for a pair of slippers
for the young princess. As soon as he saw the face of the
beautiful princess, he immediately fell in love with her. But
alas! The queen mother was a powerful enchantress, and nobody had
so far dared to ask her for the hand of the young princess. But
the shoemaker was a daring fellow and decided to ask the wicked
queen for the hand of her beautiful daughter.

When the queen heard his request she said: "Whoever wants to
marry my daughter must be prepared for three tests." The
shoemaker did not lose courage and asked for the first test. The
queen ordered a sack of poppy seeds and a sack of sand to be
mixed together and said to the shoemaker: "If you do not separate
the seeds from the sand before daybreak tomorrow, you will never
see the princess again!"

So the unhappy young man sat in the closed room provided for him.
He thought of his task, and tears of despair began to roll down
his cheeks. Suddenly a strange noise was heard in the room. The
shoemaker looked up and could hardly believe his eyes. Through
the barred window, thousands upon thousands of ants entered the
room. They started carefully to clean the poppy seeds, putting
aside every grain of sand. Soon the work was completed. The
shoemaker thanked the tiny creatures with all his heart.

How great was the surprise of the queen when next morning she saw
all the poppy seeds separated from the sand! She then gave him
the next task to perform, this time a more difficult one. She
locked the princess in her room with a golden key and threw it
into the deep waters of the river, leaving the shoemaker to find

The shoemaker's heart was full of despair as he stood on the bank
of the river. It seemed quite impossible to find the key in the
deep waters. Suddenly he heard a splash on the silent surface.
It was a silver swan swimming towards him with the golden key in
its beak. The swan came as a messenger from the goldfish who had
found the key at the bottom of the deep river.

Next morning the queen was very surprised to see the golden key
in the shoemaker's hand. But immediately she gave him the last
and the most difficult task. She led him to a room where three
aged, ugly spinsters were spinning. "Now,'' said the queen, "you
must guess which one is the princess. But, if you guess
incorrectly, you will marry the oldest and ugliest as a

The shoemaker looked at one, glanced at another. He was baffled
by the task and was unable to utter a sound. He looked
hopelessly around when suddenly a swarm of bees flew in through
the open window. Humming and buzzing, they circled over the head
of the ugliest of the spinsters. The shoemaker immediately
perceived the meaning of their action. "That one is my
princess," he shouted, and ran towards the spinster pointed out
by the bees. And lo! In her place appeared the lovely princess,
freed from the enchantment of the queen.

The little shoemaker married his beloved princess, and a great
feast was joyfully held in the royal castle.


The theme of this, and indeed many of the details, strongly
resembles that of "The Queen Bee," one of the Grimms' Tales.

The youth who goes out into the world in quest of a better future
for himself is the human soul. In one rucksack he has the "bread
of wisdom," since he is himself Spirit in essence. In the other
rucksack he has the tools for making "shoes" (or sheaths of
skin), in which the incarnating Higher Soul may "tread on earth."
The Kabalists speak of the Heavenly Man whose head is in Spirit
and whose feet walk in hell (in incarnated life). The human soul
is fed by Spirit, but has also the power to create a complex body
of matter.

The young princess for whom he has to furnish slippers is his own
potential godhood, for which he has to provide embodiment. But
first as always happens he has to pass through certain
probationary trials and tests that come from great Nature
herself. Nature, the enchantress, has to be overcome before man
can be more than man. The first test is to "learn to discern the
real from the false," the living seed from the sterile sand. The
poppy is a flower that, astrologically, is under the moon, the
goddess of childbirth, and truth is the living seed of the
"second birth."

Now it is not ordinary logic and reason that sift out unerringly
the real from the unreal. When man "instinctively," so to say
(without having to weigh the pros and cons), picks out the
essential truth, and then he KNOWS.

> Reason, the outgrowth of the physical brain, develops at the
> expense of instinct -- the flickering reminiscence of a once
> divine omniscience -- spirit . . . In losing instinct, man
> loses his intuitional powers, which are the crown and ultimatum
> of instinct.
> -- ISIS UNVEILED, I, page 433

The ant can be considered the epitome of instinct, and when man's
conscious mind restores that instinctive knowledge (as the youth
repairs the anthill) then the thousandfold experiences of his
life become absorbed and assimilated into the discerning faculty
of intuition.

In the second test, it is the goldfish and the silver swan (both
symbols of the Logos, or the Christos principle) that, being fed
by the mind with the Bread of Wisdom, bring the golden key up
from the depths of the water. Here water represents the pure,
spiritual element out of whose depths immortality is won. In
many religions the fish is connected symbolically with man's
Saviors, who appear when the Sun is reborn in the zodiacal sign
of Pisces (the Fishes), while the Hansa (the Swan or Goose)
stands in Indian and Egyptian symbolism for the secret Divine
Wisdom, and for Eternity. It symbolizes too "the identity of
man's essence with god-essence" and thus it carries the golden
key that opens the door behind which man's divinity is

And in the third test, the three daughters of Nature who spin
man's fate may be considered as the three aspects of Death -- the
end of all life. The "oldest and ugliest" is the violent death
that comes from a willful course of sins of commission; the
second is the death of inanition, the slow decay that follows the
sins of omission; while the third "death," apparently as fearful
as the others, is in reality Divine Life itself. The extinction
of the personal life is the bliss of Nirvana, but, as the
aspiring soul gets its first glimpse of that Life Universal, it
is terrified and overwhelmed by it. SPACE is too vast; TIME is
unendurable in Eternity; the ceaseless MOTION presses on without
respite. The fragile form will surely break with the strain.
Nothing of what it has thought of as itself can survive. This
must be Death! Yet what appears in this terrible, awful guise is
in reality the goddess of LIFE. The symbol of Shiva, the
Destroyer-Regenerator, dancing, skull-decorated, in the burial
ground, gives the same idea.

And here the fairy tale offers the clue to our power to choose
the right goal. Our capacity to do so depends, not on our
intellect, but on our ability to act as Spirit, universally. If
the ants represent our perceptions (the whole scale of
instinct-intuition), the bees, the honey-gatherers, represent our
powers of soul-action; for the assimilated memory of our "good
works," the soul-energized thoughts and deeds, are often called
the honey gathered by the Ego from each incarnation.

Thus, even at the beginning of the Path, "sympathy, charity, and
all other forms of goodness" open up opportunities for gaining
the necessary knowledge to tread the Path. So the accumulated
merit of our selfless and spiritual actions develops the powers
(the bees) that enable us to meet the test of the final "moment
of choice," and, in spite of the terrifying vision before us, to
make the right choice because everything in us irresistibly
hovers round it.

It should be noted also that even beginners on the Path are
confronted, before taking a step forward, with something that
seems dreadful and hard to face, whether a circumstance, a
relationship, or a task. Upon the way they react to it will
depend which "ugly spinster" they will choose -- either of the
two who represent the positive and negative aspects of
Karma-Nemesis, or the one which is Soul-achievement in disguise,
so that seeming poison becomes life-giving, and obstacle proves
to be opportunity. The only thing that gives us the stamina to
face the terrors that confront us is the result of putting our
spiritual intentions, our ideals, into practice.

There is a daily as well as a final initiation, and the fairy
story refers to both.


By Gertrude W. Van Pelt

[From THE THEOSOPHICAL PATH, July 1934, pages 23-30.]

In this so-called practical age, Theosophy is quite frequently
pushed aside by more than one class of minds. From the point of
view of the rushing man of affairs, it may answer, perhaps, for
the drones, the dreamers, or those whose day of activity has
closed, but in the real concerns, in the battle of conflicting
interests, in the arena of our throbbing life, it has no place.
The philanthropist likewise often passes it by as something too
remote from the crying needs he yearns to fill, or the acute
suffering he seeks to alleviate. And many would-be reformers of
the thousand and one wrong systems, if they think of it at all,
forget it the next moment. But to the Theosophist it is the
quintessence of practicability. It is pragmatism in its
perfection -- the easy road to accomplishment. It is the
purifying leaven, which, if it permeated and saturated all human
consciousness, would transform this black age into a golden age.

These observations are not intended to underestimate the noble
efforts of philanthropists directed toward the correction of
human ills in any and every direction. Indeed it is impossible
to overestimate them. Without the modifying influence of these
corrective agents in our human fabric, it is difficult to see how
it could have held together. The debt we owe to the
large-hearted souls who have stemmed the tide of disintegration
is immeasurable. We see them everywhere sprinkled over the human
soil. Through self-denial, through devotion, even through
martyrdom, we find those in all walks of life who have dedicated
all their faculties, great or small, to the service of their
fellow-beings. And yet, great as is their number and service, we
find them outnumbered and outdone by those who tear down their
work or neutralize it, and the result is our present civilization
which we are now striving to save.

We must, for long years to come, perhaps, have those who will
feed the hungry, fight crime, care for the mentally disabled, and
struggle to keep harmony and peace, but some must, at the same
time, be working at the roots of these evils, if our race is to
progress. It is as much a folly to be forever cleaning up the
results of mental and moral disease, without removing the disease
itself, as it is to be content with mending leaks in river
embankments instead of finding a way to direct the waters into
safe channels. The Theosophical Movement exists for the purpose
of working upon the CAUSES which produce human suffering, and
therefore claims to be not only the most serious, but the most
practical, movement of the age.

Permeating the thought-life of western civilization is the
belief, even though not always realized, that every man is
separate from his fellows; that he has to struggle for his place
on the planet, even if he has to outwit his neighbor to obtain
it. I will quote from an article by H.P. Blavatsky, the
Messenger of the ancient Wisdom-Religion in this era, in which
she, in turn, was quoting M. Emile Burnouf, the French

> If the T. S. [Theosophical Society] succeeds in refuting this
> pretended law of the 'struggle for life' and in extirpating it
> from men's minds, it will have done in our day a miracle greater
> than those of Shakyamuni and of Jesus.
> And this miracle the Theosophical Society WILL perform. It will
> do this, not by disproving the relative existence of the law in
> question, but by assigning to it its due place in the harmonious
> order of the universe; by unveiling its true meaning and nature
> and by showing that this PSEUDO law is a 'pretended' law indeed,
> as far as the human family is concerned, and a fiction of the
> most dangerous kind. 'Self-preservation,' on these lines, is
> indeed and in truth a sure, if a slow, suicide, for it is a
> policy of mutual homicide . . . This is what the 'struggle for
> life' is in reality, even on the purely materialistic lines of
> political economy. Once that this axiomatic truth is proved to
> all men; the same instinct of self-preservation only directed
> into its true channel will make them turn to ALTRUISM -- as their
> surest policy of salvation . . .
> The 'struggle for existence' applies only to the physical, never
> to the moral plane of being . . .
> It is not violence that can ever insure bread and comfort for
> all; nor is the kingdom of peace and love, of mutual help and
> charity and 'food for all,' to be conquered by a cold, reasoning,
> diplomatic policy. It is only by the close brotherly union of
> men's inner SELVES, of soul-solidarity, of the growth and
> development of that feeling which makes one suffer when one
> thinks of the suffering of others, that the reign of Justice and
> equality for all can ever be inaugurated . . .
> When men will begin to realize that it is precisely that
> ferocious personal selfishness, the chief motor in the 'struggle
> for life,' that lies at the very bottom and is the one sole cause
> of human starvation . . . they will try to remedy this
> universal evil by a healthy change of policy. And this salutary
> revolution can be PEACEFULLY accomplished only by the
> Theosophical Society and its teachings.
> -- Lucifer, II, 427-9

Further, in alluding to the social "hurricane" to come, H.P.
Blavatsky states that the weakening of the feeling of
separateness can be achieved only by a process of INNER
ENLIGHTENMENT. This is the gist of the whole matter. The world
has never lacked the teaching of the purest ethics. Certainly
enough children have learned the Golden Rule through all the
centuries of this era to have assured its practice, were this
alone needed; but there has not been inner enlightenment.

Through the Dark Ages, people could be frightened into obeying
the laws made by those in authority. Their minds were under
subjection. But as the race moved out of this clouded cycle and
began to feel its power, doubt arose in the minds of many as to
whether they had been told the truth about life; whether they
really would be eternally burned if they did not believe thus and

Gradually, as the doubts grew, their basis for ethics, which at
best had been but an unsubstantial dream, dissolved like a cloud,
and left them standing on the cold, dreary platform of
materialism -- that platform upon which, really, the whole
structure of dogmatic religion and 'salvation by faith' rested,
because its fiber was selfishness. Only those who through their
intuition sensed Truth more or less clearly, prevented a general
moral collapse. But it was a terrible period of awakening
through which we passed. H.P. Blavatsky wrote in 1889:

> Such is our century, so noisily, but happily for all preparing
> for its final leap into eternity. Of all past centuries, it is
> the most smilingly cruel, wicked, immoral, boastful and
> incongruous. It is the hybrid and unnatural production, the
> monstrous child of its parents -- an honest mother called
> 'medieval superstition' and a dishonest, humbugging father, a
> profligate imposter, universally known as 'modern civilization.'
> This unpaired, odd team which now drags the car of progress
> through the triumphal arches of our civilization suggests strange
> thoughts.
> -- Lucifer, IV, 186-7

This "struggle for existence" policy has run its course. It has
been tried to the limit, and has reached its climax in the agony
of the last few years. Probably all but the criminals, who are
its harvest, and those who do not think, realize that a new start
from the bottom up, with basically new methods, is essential
unless we propose to end in extinction. Gradually the nebulous
race-consciousness is shaping the thought that we must carve out
our destiny on a new plan. It may at first take form under the
perception that selfishness does not pay. The more people we
serve, the more will serve us. That is something, indeed much,
to learn, and if the idea pervades the social system, it may lead
to something greater -- or, since it is only selfishness
disguised, it MAY, after a certain success is achieved, drop its
mask, and revert to the policy which in truth it never abandoned.

Really, what we must have is an entirely changed mental front.
We have to see that the Golden Rule is no mere convention. We
must perceive the logic, the reason in it. We must realize not
only the folly but the IMPOSSIBILITY of disregarding it, and we
must be fired with an enthusiasm to live it. The time has passed
for unsupported platitudes: people want to do their own thinking.
They are asking WHY they suffer, and see neither justice nor
sense in the answer that it is the will of God. In fact, it is
because so many have repudiated this image of God held up by
dogmatic religion that, in the reaction, they have allowed
themselves to be stranded in the insanity of materialism. On the
other hand, an increasing number are waiting for the true answer.
These will hail Theosophy -- the ancient Wisdom-Religion, man's
heritage -- which has been restated at certain important cycles
from the beginning of time.

No reflecting individual will deny that every center of human
life will take on the color, or will be the expression, of the
thoughts of the human beings who make up that center. In other
words, the conditions on all planes of activity; the direction of
all human energies; the whole social framework, will be
determined by the thought-life of the humanity of any section or
period. Physical life is but externalized thought. No
legislation, no armed force, can run counter to it for any length
of time, and never, even though it may produce temporary results,
can it effect real reform. The reforming must be made in the
mind first, and then, practically, the whole thing is done.

H.P. Blavatsky said in the early eighties of last century, that
she came to break the molds of the minds of men, and at the same
time she restated the old philosophy which this race had
forgotten, so that there might be a possibility of directing
man's thought into normal and healthy channels. She came to
establish in the minds of men the conviction that Brotherhood is
a FACT in Nature, and she claimed that the philosophy upon which
this fact rested was not compiled by her from the various
exoteric philosophies, but that it was delivered to her in toto
by men millions of years in advance of our civilization, who, in
turn, had received it from yet more lofty Beings -- the Guardians
of the human race.

Now, it will no doubt be admitted that if the philosophy so
presented COULD establish in the minds of men a belief in the
fact of Brotherhood, it would result in more PRACTICAL benefit
than any surface removal of suffering, however necessary this
latter may be. If further, it could bring about a general
recognition of the law of consequences, and throw vitality into
the old teaching, 'as ye sow, so shall ye reap,' its value would
be as evident to everyone as it is to those who have been
watching its effects.

The question is have results, so far, sustained this claim? We
must all realize that the soil into which the seeds were planted
by H.P. Blavatsky in the closing years of the last century, had
more diseased than healthy elements, and that the seeds had to
come to the surface under tremendous odds. Yet even so, they
have borne rich fruit already by virtue of their virility. The
conception of the unity of all life, which was not only contrary
to the trend of thought before H.P. Blavatsky's day, but was a
new and unpopular idea, now crops up in unexpected places,
modifying old sects and creating new ones in which old prejudices
mix with new ideas floating in the air.

Then reincarnation was rarely heard of in the West, but now it is
now a household word and accepted by thousands who find it a
rational explanation of life. Materialism, which was a clog in
the wheels of progress in the last century, is rapidly dying out.
It is true that many bizarre manifestations of the belief in
other planes of consciousness beyond the physical -- strange,
uncanny developments of psychism -- have come to the surface,
whose direful influence Theosophy is now here to combat, and
against which it utters intelligent, grave, and emphatic

It was, perhaps, to be expected in the general shaking up, that
all sense-perceptions beyond the physical should be mistaken for
something spiritual. Egoism and separateness had, as has been
noted, fastened themselves in the race-mind with such gripping
power that they had well-nigh strangled the faculty of
discernment. Under such conditions in this transition-cycle, it
is not surprising that at first we should see these well
entrenched beliefs shifting from one plane to another; that we
should show them up in ourselves in their infinite
transformations, some hideous, some superficially attractive,
before they could be transmuted into impersonal love. But
admitting all this, it is yet evident that, though vice may be as
rampant as ever, there has also been a growing awakening of the
sense of responsibility toward one's fellow beings. The ideas
with which H.P. Blavatsky charged the thought-atmosphere have
taken root wherever the soil was fertile. Old ideals have been
shattered, and rapidly, though painfully, we are creating new

That which may be said to be the foundation of the
thought-structure which is destined to remodel and purify our
social system is the conception that the Universe is actually one
organism. Anthropomorphism and an impossible extra-cosmic God
are thus wiped out and man is shown his place as a part of the
Whole. There is abundant literature now published by the
Theosophical Society explaining the interdependence of all forms
of life; showing that everything lives in everything else; that
separation is logically impossible. The numerous teachings which
support this basic fact, or rather, which are its different
aspects, reach into every corner of the mind in an orderly
sequence; deal with all the problems of life; and make clear that
the Law of Laws is self-forgetfulness. Thus, the Golden Rule is
shown to be not simply a beautiful sentiment -- the platitude it
had almost become -- but a statement in spiritual science. If
man uses his free will persistently to disregard it, and does not
learn from bitter experience, he must realize that eventually he
will be crushed by the overwhelming reaction against him of the
whole Universe.

The Universe, which is compact of intelligences of infinite
grades of development, is the absolute, supreme expression of
cooperation. It could no more exist without mutual helpfulness
than a complicated machine could function if all its parts were
not perfectly coordinated, and the fate of men who attempt to
disregard this FACT, would be the fate of some loose screw in the
wheel of destiny. Being a part of this organism, man must fall
in place and work with Nature or be crushed; but once this is
done, all is changed. Then the old injunction, "give up thy life
if thou wouldst live" hints to him of the bliss of harmony; of
the joy of freedom and expansion; of the ease of moving without
friction amidst life's conflicting currents.

All of our evils are due to selfishness -- individual, national,
racial selfishness. The mad race to grasp things for ourselves
-- as if each were a unit separate from his fellows -- has all
but brought us to the verge of destruction. Is not, then, a
sane, logical effort to wipe out this delusion of separateness,
the most practical of practical things? Unless this can be
accomplished, all else is futile. And the only way it can be
effectively, permanently, and radically done must be by telling
men the truth about life. Men must know the truth about
themselves. The veils which have cut off all knowledge between
birth and so-called death must be torn away so that men may walk
with surer step and greater dignity, so that indeed "the truth
shall make them free." They must learn that they themselves
create their conditions, and that only they can improve them.
They must get a glimpse of the vistas of greatness and glory
before them and be fired with the divine desire to lose
themselves in this greatness.

But how, it is asked, is one to know that Theosophy is really the
statement in human language, for these times and conditions, of
the Wisdom of the Gods? Often is this question asked with an
implied suggestion that it is unanswerable; but in reality the
answer is simple. Naturally, those only who are searching for
truth will find it, and it is they who will test what is
presented to them by their experience and general knowledge.
Truth must satisfy their minds, their hearts, their sense of
logic, and must certainly not conflict with common sense. Having
tested, each one must pronounce the verdict for himself.
Dogmatic assertions from another can never help or lead to real

Every man must do his own thinking, just as he must do his own
eating, and as to Theosophy, even after it is accepted as a guide
to truth, the earnest searcher will find, ever and ever, a
larger, broader conception in the words which embody the ideas.
There is no finality for thought, nor can man rest content with
thought alone. Unless it expresses itself in action, real growth
and understanding cannot follow. In the words of a Master of

> Theosophy can only find objective expression in all-embracing
> code of life, thoroughly impregnated with the spirit of mutual
> tolerance, charity, and brotherly love.
> -- LUCIFER, September 1891, page 6

We are passing through a critical transition-period, with the
scales perhaps not yet finally weighted and the outcome not yet
clear. Who knows what tremendous issues may be trembling in the
balance? The Theosophical teachings reveal that we are emerging
from a cycle which has brought much sorrow into one of great
length, whose character will be determined by the currents now
being charged by the humanity which sends them forth. The
Masters of Compassion, it is said, though unable under the Law to
interfere with man's free will, are doing their utmost to help
men to free themselves. It is for this that they have sent again
the ancient Wisdom-Religion through their Messenger, H.P.
Blavatsky, who wrote in 1889:

> If Theosophy prevailing in the struggle, its all-embracing
> philosophy strikes deep root into the minds and hearts of men, if
> its doctrines of Reincarnation and Karma, in other words, of Hope
> and Responsibility, find a home in the lives of the new
> generations, then, indeed, will dawn the day of joy and gladness
> for all who now suffer and are outcast. For real Theosophy is
> ALTRUISM, and we cannot repeat it too often. It is brotherly
> love, mutual help, and unswerving devotion to Truth. If once men
> do but realize that in these alone can true happiness be found --
> ad never through wealth, possessions, or any selfish
> gratification. Then the dark clouds will roll away, and a new
> humanity will be born upon earth. Then, the GOLDEN AGE will be
> there, indeed.
> But if not, then the storm will burst, and our boasted western
> civilization and enlightenment will sink in such a sea of horror
> that a parallel History has never yet recorded.
> -- LUCIFER, May 1889, page 188


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