Theosophy World Home Page
THEOSOPHY WORLD ----------------------------------- December, 2009
An Internet Magazine Dedicated to the Theosophical Philosophy
And its Practical Application in the Modern World
To submit papers or news items, subscribe, or unsubscribe, write
(Please note that the materials presented in THEOSOPHY WORLD are
the intellectual property of their respective authors and may not
be reposted or otherwise republished without prior permission.)
"On Facing Old Age," by Eldon Tucker
"True Music is the Highest Expression of a Pure and Harmonious
Life," by A Teacher
"Understanding Violence," by Petro Oliveira
"Theosophical," by W. Emmett Small
"ReFraming Theosophy," by Joe Fulton
"Origination," by Nicole C. Scott
"The Epic of Creation, Fall, and Flood," by A Student
"Sing thy Song, O Minstrel," by Montague A. Machell
"Book Review," by K. Paul Johnson
"Peace," by R. Machell
"The Six Directions of Personality," by John Algeo
"Leading up to the Winter Solstice," by Theosophical Students
> And this weary round of birth upon birth must be ever and ever
> run through, until the being reaches the end of the seventh
> round, or -- attains in the interim the wisdom of an Arhat,
> then that of a Buddha and thus gets releived for a round or two,
> -- having learned how to burst through the vicious circles --
> and to pass periodically into the Paranirvana.
> -- Mahatma K.H., Letter No. 25 in THE MAHATMA LETTERS TO
> A.P. SINNETT.
ON FACING OLD AGE
By Eldon Tucker
A time comes in every life when you’re tempted to think, “I’m
getting old.” How this happens and what this means in your life
depends upon how well you’ve prepared yourself.
Your health may start to decline, more so if you haven’t been
keeping physically fit, if you’ve eaten the wrong foods, smoke,
had a fondness for alcohol, and perhaps relied a bit too much on
medications. Or problems could arise just due to the genetic
makeup of your body. That’s a form of karma that you certainly
didn’t do anything to deserve in this lifetime, yet it still
Your memory may start to fail you, a little at first, then more
as time progresses. It could be tragic if you experience a
decline of mental function, forcing you to take a simpler
appreciation of life. Such a decline is like an early slipping
into the dreamlike after-death state of devachan.
Even if you maintain your full faculties, it may become harder to
learn new things as you age. But it’s still worth the effort,
since your interests and passion in live will follow you into the
Getting older, it becomes harder to find younger friends. You’re
reminded of the mortality of life. The older people you know
become aged and die. Eventually, you first lose your
grandparents, then you parents, and you are the oldest living
person in your family tree. Those who remember the older days
are gone; it’s just you that’s left to tell the family stories to
the young ones.
When you were young, you may have looked on old people as strange
creatures that talked as though they were as young as you or your
parents. You may have had trouble picturing them that way. If
you were of kindly nature, you would offer them friendship and
companionship. If not, you shun them as reminders of the awful
thing that could never happen to you—old age.
As you got old yourself, you still remember all the things that
you did with friends when a child, a teenager, a young adult, and
think of yourself as the same person. You may find it hard to
accept the fact that you’re walking around in an old, almost-worn
out body. In your dreams, you can be any age, but awake in the
world, you’re stuck in a form that won’t let you be yourself any
Some things you can no longer have. The excitement of youthful
romance, for instance, is beyond your grasp. You might look upon
it as a cripple in a wheelchair watches skiers on the slope,
wishing to ski but physically unable to do so. You might love
skiing, but the body, no matter the degree of discipline, fails
to respond with the strength, suppleness, and grace required of
What, then, can you do as you face old age?
It can be the peak of your creative output if you have developed
the craft and technique in earlier years, building a skill in
some art that is based upon your mind and heart but doesn’t rely
on the youth and vigor of your body. Doing so, your final years
will be a joy, a blessing to the world, a time that you’re fight
to hang onto, holding back the grim reaper as long as you
possibly can. Failing to do so, life will be a depressing slide
into monotony, emptiness, and a deadness of the soul.
Learn while you find it easy, for the day may come when you need
those skills for your continued happiness. Don’t put off the
cultivation of creative talents of mind and heart.
There are phases of life as your interests turn from sex and
dating, raising a family, and making money to giving, sharing,
letting go, and a simple form of enjoying life. The physical
passions die off in time. That comes as the natural process of
aging, and barring ill health, it can be a pleasant life.
Advances in medicine, health care, and technology make old age
less of a handicap than before. At least, it’s so for those of
us fortunate enough to live in a developed country. Still, old
age fills an important phase of life. It’s a time to retire, do
things you enjoy with loved ones, and start letting go of life.
Why then, as Theosophists, would we want anything different?
Regardless of our age, we can forge new bonds of friendship and
love with other people, establishing connections that will carry
over into future lifetimes. We can also know and love friends
from previous lives who may have been born a generation or two
later than we were in this lifetime.
We may have a deep creative urge that cannot be put aside. We
may be stuck in a type of existence that cycle through childhood,
adulthood, then old age, but we still have great things that we
have to try. These aren’t things given us as “orders” by some
higher being; they’re deep things in life that we know, love,
respect, and want to share in the world. The world is a
wonderful place when we express ourselves, using the art and
craft that we’ve perfected over the years. We seek to express
ourselves because we love what we’re doing and what we’re
expression and share in the world’s joy as we bring new beauty
and wisdom into the world.
There are two directions in life. One is the happy but simple
cycle of getting old, letting go, and peacefully slipping into
the wondrous postmortem dream life that awaits all but the most
heartless of people. The other is less happy in the conventional
sense, but has a deep joy to it. It is the path of brightening
the world. In this path, you deeply feel, contemplate the
profound, and truly understand life. And you don’t keep it to
yourself; you share it, bringing it into the world in your own
unique way. It is such a joyous occupation that it consumes you,
filling the days of your life to the very end with its light.
When your final day comes, it’s not with a faint “goodbye” to a
world that you’ve forgotten. No. It’s in a blaze as you’re
still filled with the glories of the spirit, pass on, and follow
TRUE MUSIC IS THE HIGHEST EXPRESSION OF A PURE AND HARMONIOUS
By A Teacher
[By a teacher in the Raja Yoga School, from THE THEOSOPHICAL
FORUM, January 1916, pages 79-82.]
THE ANCIENT ATHENIAN IDEAL
The sphere of music in our day has been too much narrowed, and
from it have been excluded certain essential elements. To this
fact is due the limited success achieved; and if the sphere of
music were duly widened, much greater things might be
In the ancient Athenian education, the word "music" included much
more than it does today. The curriculum was divided into three
chief parts, one of which, the musical art, or that branch of
learning presided over by the Muses, embraced what might be
called the education of the soul; while the other two branches,
the grammatic and the gymnastic, provided for the needs of the
mind and the body respectively.
Music included lyric poetry set to music; choric dancing; the
ability to recite with grace and propriety, and in fact the
harmonious development of the whole nature; in all of which it
was ably supplemented by the other two branches of education.
Hence its accomplishments were grace, harmony, propriety,
soulfulness, rhythm, order, balance, proportion, and whatever
contributes to a rich and beautiful nature. In our modern
musical education we do not find these things attended to. In
our rather mechanical way of thinking, we have regarded music as
a thing apart, and have directed our efforts too exclusively
towards the exact aim.
It seems evident that the Athenians regarded music as a part of
the art of life, and its pursuit as being auxiliary to a larger
aim. With our present-day resources we could surely achieve
great results if we abandoned our haphazard methods in favor of
something more like this ancient ideal.
It is not too much to say that the many problems that confront
composers, performers, and musical teachers may find their
complete solution in this one idea -- that true music is an
essential part of the art of life -- and its corollary -- that
the student should attend to his own nature with a view to
rendering it harmonious.
MUSIC AS AN IDEAL IN LIFE
The ultimate ideal of life is vast; and though the eye of the
Soul constantly views it, we must rest content with various
lesser ideals, all of which, however, are contributory to the
The achievement of harmony, the realization of true music, may be
regarded as such an ideal. To entertain such a view may come as
a relief to people who are tired of regarding the problem of life
from other angles.
Harmony is often defined as the reconciliation of contraries or
the balancing of opposites. There is a contrariety between
personal and social interests, and this is harmonized by the
music of the true life.
If music is the art of combining many diverse and even contrary
elements into a sublime harmony, then its lesson when applied to
life is that we may reconcile the clashing elements in our
character and in our destiny by analogous means.
It takes rare moments of inspiration to enable us to see that
what appears so discordant in the narrower view, in the wider
view is in reality a sublime harmony; but such moments may become
more frequent if invited, until perchance we may learn to live
permanently on those heights.
Anyone cultivating the art of music in the above spirit,
regarding his art as contributory to a larger purpose -- the
great art of right-living -- will find success and joy in his
pursuit. And how much more will this be the case if many people,
acting together, cherish the same ideal and act from the same
One can scarcely imagine anything which brings out the personal
quality of the artist more than singing. What technique can make
up for the want of a pure and refined nature in the singer?
Technique, in such a case, even serves to accentuate the
The passage from the unselfconsciousness, freshness, and
spontaneity of childhood to the troubled self-consciousness of a
more mature age comes out in the singing voice; as do those
defects in the health which ensue on the loss of the child's
wonderful balance and purity of constitution. Could the
advantages be preserved instead of lost, what results would be
achieved! The ripening powers would then build upon a stable
foundation. This example alone is enough to show that the
general upbringing of the child is an indispensable part of a
true musical education.
INSPIRATION AND TECHNIQUE
Form and freedom is a pair of opposites. But harmony is defined
as the equilibrium of contraries, and it ought to be able to
reconcile the conflicting claims of form and freedom, of
inspiration and technique.
The trouble is that, in our mechanical way, we first imagine that
the two things are separate, and then try to add them together so
as to make a compound; whereas the truth is that they were never
separate, but have only become apparently so because we have
failed to discern the unity of which they are parts.
A true musical education would endow the student or pupil with
the spontaneity and power of inspiration and also with the
consummate technical ability. The two endowments would be phases
of one thing.
Under present arrangements, no man may touch the work of another,
so the work has to be left as it is. Yet, unless the composer
was a rare genius, it is bound to contain defects which another
man could remedy.
A house is not built all by one craftsman. Why the same rule of
collaboration should not be applied to musical composition is a
question, especially in view of the fact that the principle is
recognized in performance.
Only one man is allowed to compose the piece, yet it takes a
score or two to perform it. Of course the explanation is --
personality. The remedy, then, is the elimination of personality
as a restrictive factor in creative art -- a remedy that could be
usefully applied to literature and many other things.
There is a large class of people who possess little or no
originating power, but great ability to work up materials
supplied them. There are others with more originality than
adaptive power. Obviously collaboration is indicated. Thus true
music is the work of many, not of one; and a genius is really a
man who stands on the shoulders of his generation and absorbs
everything about him, so that his work is to that extent the work
Theft cannot exist where property is held in common, and
similarly plagiarism would vanish if nobody cared. If the object
were to produce the masterpiece, rather than that "I" shall be
the one to achieve it, these questions of proprietorship and
plagiarism would not creep in to mar achievement.
MUSIC IN LOMALAND
Doubtless the indefinable charm in the singing and playing of the
younger students in Lomaland, as recognized by the visitors to
the International Headquarters of the Universal Brotherhood and
Theosophical Society, is due to the fact that here music is made
part of the whole mode of life.
The mode of life and all the education are conducive to harmony,
and the musical studies are conducted with a view to the same
end. The result, as evinced in the influence exercised on the
auditors, is undoubted, but the means by which the effect is
produced are not so easy to analyze. Yet we can see the happy
healthy faces and easy graceful movements, and can understand how
greatly this harmonious condition must facilitate the
performance, if only by the absence of the usual obstacles.
There are unseen channels of influence by which the harmonious
lives of these little performers can speak to the inner sense of
the auditors. And if the auditors are responsive, they will
carry away with them this message in their hearts, and interpret
it to themselves afterwards. If they are not thus responsive,
perhaps only their outer sense will be gratified and they will
fail of the deeper message.
Surely the real meaning of artistic impressionability is that the
inspiration received should result in noble action and not stop
short at a mere exhilaration of the senses. Only thus can the
true ideal be attained; otherwise it forever eludes our grasp.
To realize music, we must make it in our lives.
PURPOSES OP THE PURSUIT OP MUSIC
We can pursue an art in satisfaction of our innate aspiration to
accomplish beautiful creative work. That is one side of the
question. But, though we may not desire auditors, there may be
auditors who are not creative geniuses and are therefore
dependent on what they hear. So the other side of the question
concerns the effects we can produce on those who hear us.
Music is a teacher; but, as just said, its appeal should go
deeper than the outer senses. It should be capable of inspiring
to noble action; it should be able to make people better for the
hearing of it.
Probably few people go away from music inspired with the desire
to live up to what they have heard and felt. But we have seen
that music consists of more than mere audible sounds, and that
its wider meaning includes a harmony and nobility of life. Hence
its influence is felt through other channels than the ear, and
appeals to the eye of the spectator who witnesses the results
attainable by education on right lines.
May we not sum up the purpose of music by describing it as being
the realization of harmony in one's own life, in order that one
may inspire harmony in the lives of others?
By Pedro Oliveira
When one of the producers of Mel Gibson's film, THE PASSION OF
THE CHRIST, was asked why was there so much violence depicted in
the film, his answer was "Because violence is the language of our
time." His statement may be controversial and provocative but it
is also painfully true. Whoever today watches prime time
television news programmes cannot but be overwhelmed by the
amount of gore, cruelty and unceasing suffering generated by
violence in its many forms. It is also true that modern media
exploits the present climate of violence to its own advantage,
but the media has not invented the human darkness that descended,
for example, upon Srebrenica, Darfur and Iraq.
In a recent report, Amnesty International announces that
countries use the mass rape of women as a weapon of war. Those
who survived the Japanese invasion of Singapore during World War
II can testify to that. The same pattern unfolds in the region
of Darfur, Sudan, as this is written. On the other hand,
millions of people have been displaced, forcefully removed from
their homes and villages by armed conflicts in different areas of
the world. There is growing urban violence in many cities in the
world and the not so visible domestic violence, the scale of
which has compelled many governments to create hostels for women
and children who bear the scars of brutality perpetrated by their
"loved ones". The real dimension of the problem of violence is
difficult to measure but its urgency has a voice that cannot be
suppressed any longer.
Is it possible to understand violence? What are its origins? How
does it maintain its grip over the human mind? Can it end?
Law enforcement agencies deal with the consequences of violence,
they act within the framework of existing laws. Necessary though
this is, it leaves the causes of the problem untouched. It has
been said repeatedly that one of the causes of violence is
poverty and social alienation, but the fact that millions of poor
people all over the world are law-abiding individuals seems to
indicate that the cause of violence lies deeper than any attempt
at explaining it through social topography. The first step to
understand violence is perhaps to enquire into the nature of
> Emotions are DESIRES either to perpetuate a situation if
> pleasurable, or to escape out of it if painful.
> -- Bhagavan Das, THE SCIENCE OF THE EMOTIONS, 26.
> The Emotion thus begin in, and looks back to, a feeling of
> positive Pleasure and Pain, and looks forward to, and ends in, a
> possible Pleasure and Pain.
> -- EMOTIONS, 26.
Emotion is thus a reaction dictated by what is felt to be
pleasurable or otherwise in our contacts with the world around
us. Because emotions are also associated with deeply rooted
desires and their accompanying energy, they play such a vital
role in the way we see the world and tend to perpetuate a
reactive attitude that prevent a clear understanding of people,
circumstances and situations. A mind dominated by reactions
cannot see things as they are.
In-built in the nature of emotions is a feeling of expectation,
of anticipation, which seeks pleasure and avoids pain. It is not
difficult to see how this mechanism invites frustration and
disappointment as it leads the personal self into believing that
the whole of existence is organized to suit its illusory
programme. As THE BHAGAVAD GITA teaches, the contacts of matter
-- pleasure and pain, happiness and sorrow, honour and dishonour
-- are inevitable and have to be endured bravely. Perhaps one of
the very purposes for such a polarity is that consciousness can
learn that, in its essential nature, it is utterly free from
identification with anything external to itself.
> Emotions are Desires, and . . . the two elementary Desires
> are: (i) the Desire to unite with an object that causes Pleasure;
> and (ii) the Desire to separate from an object which causes Pain;
> in other words, Attraction and Repulsion, Like and Dislike, Love
> and Hate, or any other pair of names that may seem best.
> -- EMOTIONS, 28
The above definition throws light on the pair of opposites that
are at the very nature of our emotional life, and shows that
Attraction and Repulsion are indeed two sides of the same coin.
Because they have the same origin, they display an almost
chameleonic behaviour, for example, when a strong attraction
turns almost instantly into a vengeful repulsion. Many of the
so-called crimes of passion convey this almost bizarre
transformation of "love" into hate and are evidence that the
inherent duality present in human emotions is not only volatile
-- it can be also lethal.
Bhagavan Das goes on to attempt defining the most basic and
fundamental human emotions: love and hate.
> Love, the desire to unite with something else, implies the
> consciousness of the possibility of such union, and . . . its
> full significance is this: an instinctive, ingrained, inherent
> perception by each individual self, each Jivatma, of its
> essential underlying unity, oneness . . . with all other
> Jivatma's, all other selves.
> -- EMOTIONS, 29.
> Hate is the instinctive perception by each self . . . of the
> non-identity, the inherent separateness, the many-ness . . .
> of each not-self, each atom of Mulaprakrti, from every other
> atom, every other not-self, and its endeavour to maintain such
> separate existence at all costs and by all means.
> -- EMOTIONS, 29-30.
A number of emotions emanate from the abiding feeling of love:
trust, sympathy, courage, compassion, forgiveness, helpfulness,
sacrifice. They may be natural expressions of this perception
alluded to above that there is an essential underlying unity at
the heart of existence that makes us all profoundly one with each
another and with every other form of life. This may be the
reason why the ancients affirmed that "love conquers all", for
love is anchored in the mighty truth that all life is one and
truly endures all things.
On the other hand, hate is based on and rooted in this notion,
this perception, of the personal self of an inherent separateness
between itself and the rest of existence PLUS an endeavour to
maintain such separateness "at all costs and by all means. " In
other words, within the personal self lurks a deep-seated
resistance, conscious or unconscious, to the truth of unity as
the ground of all being. This resistance or reaction may be one
of the wellsprings of violence in the human consciousness as it
is an affirmation of division, separateness as well as a denial
of the universal principle that life is relationship.
The Sanskrit word DVESHA means hatred, dislike, repugnance,
enmity to. It is derived from DVISH, "to hate, show hatred
against, be hostile or unfriendly". A relevant word in this
context is DVI, meaning "two." The origin of feelings of
hostility, aggression and violence lies in the dualistic
perception that our individual existence is forever separate from
the totality of life. The psychological and environmental
consequences of this can be widely seen in our contemporary world
in which cruelty, war and widespread devastation of Nature have
come to be accepted as almost inevitable. Dr Taimni comments on
the nature of DVESA or repulsion:
> DVESA is the natural repulsion felt towards any person or object
> that is a source of pain or unhappiness to us. The essential
> nature of the Self is blissful and therefore anything which
> brings pain or unhappiness in the outer world makes the outer
> vehicles recoil from that thing.
> -- I.K. Taimni, THE SCIENCE OF YOGA, 148.
> We are tied to the person we hate perhaps more firmly than the
> person we love, because the personal love can be transformed into
> impersonal love easily and the loses its binding power. But it
> is not so easy to transmute the force of hatred and the poison
> generated by it is removed from one's nature with great
> -- YOGA, 149.
Enmity and animosity can indeed last for a long time, in some
cases for centuries as many ethnic wars have shown for, as
declared by a Mahatma, "LOVE and HATRED are the only IMMORTAL
feelings, the only survivors from the wreck of YE-DHAMMA, or the
phenomenal world." (MAHATMA LETTERS, 70c, chronological) Once
harbored in the mind and nourished by continuous thoughts and
images, enmity and animosity become even stronger as they make
the sense of a personal self more solid, with its divisiveness,
its isolation from the glory of life, and its stubborn insistence
in asserting its own self-interest against and above the common
good. Unless we can begin to look at these patterns within
ourselves earnestly and constantly, violence and its dark progeny
of pain, suffering and destruction are bound to continue to make
of the earth a veritable valley of shadows and death.
Why do emotions have such a grip over our minds? Annie Besant
> Emotion is not a simple or primary state of consciousness, but it
> is a compound made up by the interaction of two aspects of the
> Self -- Desire and Intellect. The play of Intellect on Desire
> gives birth to Emotion; it is the child of both, and shows some
> of the characteristics of its father, Intellect, as well as of
> its mother, Desire.
> -- Annie Besant, A STUDY IN CONSCIOUSNESS, 253.
The complexity of emotions lies in the interplay between desire
and intellect. When the energy of desire vivifies and enhances
the many images that are moving within the mind we have the birth
of emotions. The simple but clear definition given by Bhagavan
Das is eloquent in its conciseness: "Emotion is only a form of
motion; motion TOWARDS an object, or AWAY FROM it, in the mind,
is Emotion." It is thought galvanized by desire and it retains
its intrinsic nature of attraction or repulsion. Any attempt to
suppress emotions necessarily lead to tension and fragmentation.
But a mind that is nothing more than a playground to ceaseless
emotions and desires can never find real peace and contentment in
life. What is the path to equanimity?
> He abused me, he injured me, he overcame me, he deprived me: for
> them who entertain such thoughts, enmity does not abate.
> He abused me, he injured me, he overcame me, he deprived me: for
> them who do not entertain such thoughts, enmity abates
> Enmities do not abate here at any time through enmity; and they
> abate through friendliness. This is the eternal DHARMA (Law).
> -- DHAMMAPADA, I:3-5
Note the emphasis on the expression "entertain such thoughts." Is
this a clue to ending violence in the human mind? As long as
there is lack of self-awareness, an honest examination of oneself
from day to day, mental patterns are not going to change
miraculously. As it was wisely said, "an unexamined life is not
worth living." But self-observation is just one aspect of the
solution; the other is cultivating a positive attitude of
loving-kindness, friendliness, helpfulness, service. In other
words, an attitude of giving of oneself unreservedly to every
contact, every relationship and every circumstance. One can thus
become a self-effacing centre through which beneficent influences
radiate into the world. This way of life is possible for every
self-responsible human being and it would naturally lead to the
diminishing of the patterns of aggressiveness and violence that
seem so predominant today. Every individual that steps out of
the stream of mechanical living, which is the personal self, the
"me," helps to enlighten the consciousness of humanity for:
> The "me" is the root of all this; the "me" is identified with a
> particular nation, with a particular community, with a particular
> ideology or religious fancy. The "me" identifies itself with a
> certain prejudice, the "me" says, "I must fulfill"; and when it
> feels frustrated, there is anger and bitterness. It is the "me"
> that says, "I must reach my goal, I must be successful," that
> wants and doesn't want, that says "I must live peacefully," and
> it is the "me" that gets violent.
> - J. Krishnamurti, THE AWAKENING OF INTELLIGENCE, 468.
By W. Emmett Small
[From the WINTER 1976-77 THEOSOPHIA, pages 15-16.]
Yes, it's the adjective THEOSOPHICAL (or THEOSOPHIC), and we want
to say a few words about it. The word already is in some
dictionaries, evidence that it has already begun to be accepted
into the language of the day as useful and needed because
reflecting the "feeling" of the time.
Fundamentally its introduction reflects a significant change in
today's values. It points to a shift away, at least in some
areas, from stark materialism to a realization of finer and more
subtle forces at work in the universe. In this general sense,
and looking back over the past century and choosing a few poetic
voices as example, we may rightly speak of Emerson's theosophic
ideas based on the Over-Soul; of Traherne's theosophic view of
nature reflecting a spiritual background as a mirror of infinite
beauty; of Shelley's pantheistic theosophic portrayal of the
divine in everything; of Browning's theosophic concept of truth
imprisoned within each of us, needing only to be released, let
out. All these are right uses of the word.
And in this sense it would not be difficult also to quite
correctly trace theosophic influence in certain areas of the
philosophy of Paul Tillich, in the Catholic scientist de Nouy,
and in the Jesuit anthropologist-priest de Chardin, to name only
a few. The word THEOSOPHIC will be found more and more to be a
useful word-tool designating certain distinct attitudes of today.
There will be seen to be a natural crossover of the old orthodox
rigid divisions between religion, philosophy, and science.
Forerunners of this were the views expressed by Eddington and
Jeans and Schrodinger and Stromberg in the 1920's, as basically
religious as scientific or philosophical -- in other words
There will be growing evidence of this as the present cycle
matures, and ready minds and hearts will recognize that
theosophic thinkers encircle the globe and give expression in
their own individual ways to thoughts seen as fundamentally
universal. And this brings us this philosophical reflection.
These thinkers, these awake ones - and they must now number in
the tens of thousands - are tapping that great Ideative Plane,
that storehouse of ideas living in the mental atmosphere, which
H. P. Blavatsky declares is much more than plausible conjecture
but esoteric fact. ("The Religion of the Future", in THE
THEOSOPHIST, IV, May 1883, pp. 205-06; also Blavatsky: COLLECTED
WRITINGS, IV, pp. 451-53.) Her words have vital interest for us
all. She says:
> Occultism teaches us that ideas based upon fundamental truths
> move in the eternity in a circle, revolving around and filling
> the space within the circuit of the limits allotted to our globe
> and the planetary or solar system; that, not unlike Plato's
> eternal, immutable essences, they pervade the sensible world,
> permeating the world of thought; and, that contrary to chemical
> affinities, they are attracted to, and assimilated by,
> homogeneous universals in certain brains - exclusively the
> product of human mind, its thoughts and intuition; that in their
> perpetual flow they have their periods of intensity and activity,
> as their durations of morbid inactivity. During the former, and
> whenever a strong impulse is imparted on some given point of the
> globe to one of such fundamental truths, and a communion between
> kindred eternal essences is strongly established between a
> philosopher's interior world of reflection and the exterior plane
> of ideas, then, cognate brains are affected on several other
> points, and identical ideas will be generated and expression
> given to them often in almost identical terms.
FUNDAMENTAL TRUTHS. There in two words you have the whole basis
of theosophical philosophy. Is it speaking too rashly to suggest
that what amelioration in world-thought has come about in the
last hundred years is because "cognate brains" have been able to
reach to and to seize from that Ideative Plane, those theosophic
universals, those "identical ideas"? What we owe to H.P.
Blavatsky we shall never fully know, nor to those who were her
Teachers, for whom she acted as Messenger.
But as Theosophists we can ask ourselves some questions and
perhaps reflect on responsibilities we either shoulder or shrug
off. Are Theosophists, in their effort to placate or please a
still largely unbelieving world, watering down or even
misinterpreting their own doctrines? Is there fear of stating
just what Theosophy is? Is there need to study deeper to come to
really know the teachings? Is, for instance, the real meaning of
Brotherhood recognized, not merely as a kindly and to-be-desired
feeling, but as a BONA FIDE FACT inherent in the very structure
of the universe? Do we realize that ethics has a scientific basis
and that Theosophy demonstrates this? Do we know, and put into
practice what we know, of the composite nature of man and all
things? The constitution of our Earth-globe and the invisible
globes forming the Earth chain? And what of the after-death
states of consciousness, about which there is much fuzzy
Our duty seems plain enough and two-fold: (1) to study and to
know Theosophy, to study the doctrines as presented by H.P.B.
and her own Teachers and by those who have faithfully followed
and promulgated those same teachings. AND TO LET THE REST GO.
And (2) to raise high the flag of Theosophy, speaking out clearly
and boldly, and to point to Theosophy as the Source of all great
religions, philosophies and sciences, supporting our statements
with evidence that is sensible, logical, and factually appealing.
The religion of the future -- if you wish to call it religion --
is Theosophy. We have a duty to keep it untarnished. In that
way we encourage what is truly THEOSOPHICAL "revolving around and
filling the space within the circuit of the limits allotted to
By Joe Fulton
I was approached recently with a question regarding a rethinking
of Theosophy. After some thought about the movement and about
the philosophy, some issues emerged as being primary and
It is pretty easy on the surface to say that something should
change and we should do blah, blah, blah. It's harder to get
down to why behind the changes, especially when dealing with
issues of faith. The causes are not simple and certainly not
THE ISSUE OF PHILOSOPHY
Faith versus Reason
In the world of Theosophy faith is a very important thing. Faith
is central to the concept of the masters, the "Path" and
virtually every element within. Much like Catholicism and Thomas
Aquinas and Judaism with Maimodedes, Theosophy exhibits a
rational face (through Buddhism) and a medieval face through
alchemical and Hermetic practice. In all of these cases, faith,
and not reason is primary. It is safe to say that reason exists
to support faith, but alas, like time, the arrow points one way,
prohibiting faith from supporting reason.
In a philosophical sense, the Theosophical literature has not
addressed recent developments in the world of philosophy,
especially those relating to formal logic and issues involving AI
and genetic engineering and enhancement. In addition,
environmental concerns, not an issue in the Victorian age, are
now at the front of many theoretical and practical debates. They
are nowhere to be found in our literature, aside from a passing
article in Adyar's Theosophical Order of Service.
ORGANIZATIONAL AND STRUCTURAL ISSUES
As in many organizations / movements, atrophy takes place when
the organization forgets or otherwise loses touch with its
audience and when its message fails to resonate. Typically what
is left over is a small core of diehard (some would say even
fanatical) believers who either want a return to some "golden
age" or feel that somehow everyone else got it wrong either
because they're evil or misguided.
WHAT NEEDS REFORM, WHY, WHAT WOULD IT LOOK LIKE?
A Member and Service Focus
In many organizations / movements there are benefits which are
available to members/participants. Everyone has various needs,
wishes and aspirations, which are quite normal. Everyone wants
to be happy.
Where is Theosophy in fulfilling these needs? In the literature
it is all about giving, becoming a disciple, a chela or something
else. These are all worthy aspirations in their right place, but
they can also be the cause of feelings of superiority and the
source of suffering for others.
Where is the help for the average person who just wants to get
through the day? The body of Theosophical literature, quite
frankly was never written with the average person or their lives
in mind. It was written for rich folk with nothing better to do
than follow gurus and masters. Where is Theosophy for unwed
mothers, drug addicts and those in the middle of starvation and
war zones? A new corpus of literature of greater relevance to
daily living and the various moral challenges and dilemmas that
we face in any number of areas would be of great use.
Some will immediately rail against this. This isn't us!!!
Proselytizing is evil! We're too good for that type of thing. We
have to maintain our standards. More sophisticated types will
urge caution as we must not come across as too forward or
aggressive. And finally, really, it's just too much work.
Marketing is several things. First, it is in understanding
ourselves as participants in this movement. Yes, that sounds
like a strange place to start, but really, it's quite
fundamental. We need to think of ourselves as hosts/hostesses in
a house and we're inviting others in. If the house is dirty and
piled to the ceiling with newspapers or we have creepy items
hanging around, most visitors won't come back and MORE
IMPORTANTLY, they will tell their friends to stay away. So
that's the first thing. Make sure we understand what we have to
Secondly, we have to understand our audience. It is in
understanding their needs, wants and wishes and how those align
with what we have. It makes no sense to set up a auto parts
stand at the local swimming pool. People are there to swim, not
fix their cars. Our audience is not everybody but it's a lot
more than the 25,000 or so who carry a membership card.
It is only when we understand ourselves and our audience that we
begin to do what we need to attract them. Most of that is not
anything magical. Mostly it is word of mouth, viral marketing,
which is always the best kind. It is not difficult to make
happen; all it takes is self-knowledge, understanding of our
audience and the right message.
The other part is the message. The actual message is related
closely to understanding ourselves, and to this point our little
corner of the movement has done quite well.
There is one additional note, and it is bound to set off some
controversy. The modern Theosophical movement is one, which at
the same time despises and clings to leaders. Whether it's HPB,
Besant, Judge, Tingley, Purucker or Crosbie, most tend allegiance
towards one school of thought or another, while at the same time
remaining fiercely independent. In the long term this is about
as effective as herding cats. Nobody can agree on anything
except HPB, and even then, what parts of what she said are
actually relevant. The problem with that is that the old lady
died in 1891 and nearly 120 years has lapsed since then and the
world has changed. Not to propose a Nicene conference or
anything that restrictive, but it seems that there are a core set
of principles that everyone can agree on that can be called
Theosophy. Perhaps in the framing of these principles, we can
update their explanation in modern terms and generate a body of
literature which supports these claims. It's much like the JJ
Abrams framing of Star Trek. The challenge is one of taking the
best of the original ideas and re-framing them in a way that
makes sense today.
One thing is for sure, however. We have to figure out
collectively what works and what doesn't and not be afraid for
one second to challenge ourselves. The major thing that
separates modern from medieval thought is the willingness to
challenge long-held beliefs and examine them in the light of
facts. Let's challenge our beliefs and see whether or not the
various ideas and theories presented in Theosophy stand up.
Those that do, wonderful, let's make the most of those. As for
those that don't, in that case we need to have to have the
intellectual honesty to say "it is wrong".
The Theosophical Network has managed to attract some of the most
literate and thoughtful commentators in this movement, folk who
are very good at putting their thoughts into positive statements
and who are not afraid to reinterpret long-held ideas in new
ways. This is good for everyone. Whether it's Leon Mauer with
his ABC Theory or Richard Ihle's Theosophical psychology, or many
other fine ideas presented for our perusal there are definite
seeds planted which may result in completely new re-framings of
Theosophy in the not too distant future.
Let the facts be our guide. That is what will bring us back to
relevancy and be able to compete in the marketplace of ideas.
Let us understand ourselves and understand those who we deal with
so that our messages come across clearly and command the
attention that they deserve.
By Nicole C. Scott
[Reprinted with permission from
and written on October 27, 2009.]
The origination of all spiritual traditions comes from that which
is Divine. From beyond the life form of "human" lies the seed of
all thought, all consciousness: the Omniscient Absolute. The
roots of any and all traditions have found their ground in the
fertile soil of human consciousness by being seeded by great
beings. Such beings resonate to levels of understanding which
rend the veil of separation and are capable of communicating
about that which exist in realms beyond the material plane.
Communication occurs through the faculty of intuition and is
allowed to flourish through soul receptivity. Soul receptivity
readies the human instrument for unification with Spirit. With
emboldened thought forms and heartfelt purity, many have sung
keys that make up a harmonic aspect of the one divine song.
Those with similar vibrations in their respective bodies are able
to hear the hidden language of the planes beyond and are drawn in
to that field of harmonic structures. That which governs the
cosmic order of vibration calls forth each to find self in the
journey toward unification.
A myriad of conscious ones, emanations of the Great One, have
incarnated in the human form to give voice to the ineffable. To
enable aspects of truth to be presented to the populace,
messengers from all generations and from all ages and epochs come
forth to speak the living tongue. Those who offer the provision
of wisdom do so by divine decree, and this is brought forth
through the ages in relation to the cycles of evolution. There
is no ownership of such wisdom. Any who lay claim to the truth
as their property defile dharma. This is how organizations
falter and fail.
That which has been archived over time must remain freely
available to all seekers on their respective paths. And those
whom offer new dispensations within the annals of the dimension
of time ought to allow for their provisions to remain freely
available as well.
In order to "belong" to any respective tradition, one must be
able to do so without the burden of identification. One
qualifies oneself based upon one's own blooming heart and its
emanations. To be a part of the true order requires no money, no
accolades from humanly contrived systems of merit, i.e., status
by scholastic achievements, number of books authored, number or
awards received, roles played within political fields, etc.
Arriving at Gnosis can take one an entire lifetime, aye even
multiple lifetimes although some may reach such a consciousness
within a few years. The level of adeptship is determined by an
entirely different set of qualifications than that which those of
organized religious institutions would lead their followers to
believe. Fortunately, when the human structures of rule
circumscribe the truth and bury the original meaning under
distortions of tradition, new currents of provision spring forth
from the eternal fount.
There are many who have yet to learn the True Self, yet these
one's claim the role of teacher in each respective faith and lead
many astray. We must not ascribe any respective faith to a human
originator, but rather, see the divine reflecting its emanation
through the human form or vehicle. There must be a special
cognizance of what it means to be en-light-ened, or anointed.
There is no separation between Deity and the dwelling places of
divinity in the manifest domain. Despite the ever encroaching
desire of the illusory maya to cover up the entity of Truth,
truth shall always prevail. Every attempt to belie the truth and
circumscribe the teachings which are provisions of the Great One
in whom we have our being, creates a new avenue for truth to be
It is an ever unfolding process, an eternal lotus blooming with
the sweet fragrance of sacred truth.
Though a movement may appear dead, it acts as the compost for new
blooms to sprout forth and bear new fruits in the field of
intelligent infinity. There is no limit to the ways that the
life-stream of humanity reflects the hues and rays of the Great
One light. The task of the Theosophist is to see the grand
palette and re-cognize the painter.
THE EPIC OF CREATION, FALL, AND FLOOD
By A Student
[From THE THEOSOPHICAL FORUM, April 1916, pages 316-20.]
"Noah as Eater of Forbidden Fruit: a Sumerian Epic of the Fall"
is the caption to some pictures in a recent issue of THE
ILLUSTRATED LONDON NEWS, showing the clay tablets with the
inscription, and a view of mound tombs in Bahrein, the largest of
a group of islands of the same name in the Persian Gulf.
The reason for the latter picture is that the place has been
identified by an Oxford professor with the Sumerian "Paradise."
The Sumerian version of Creation places the Flood before the
Fall, and makes Noah (called by another name) eat the forbidden
fruit. The NEWS quotes the following from THE SUMERIAN EPIC OF
PARADISE, THE FLOOD AND THE FALL OF MAN, by Dr. Stephen Langdon
of Oxford University.
> Enki, the water god, and his consort Ninella or Damkina ruled
> over mankind in Paradise, which the epic places in Dilmun. In
> that land there was no infirmity, no sin, and man grew not old.
> No beasts of prey disturbed the flocks, and storms raged not ...
> But ... Enki, the god of wisdom, became dissatisfied with
> man and decided to overwhelm him with his waters. This plan he
> revealed to Nintud, the earth-mother goddess, who with the help
> of Enlil the earth-god had created man ... Nintud, under the
> title Ninharsag, assisted in the destruction of humanity.
> For nine months the flood endured and man dissolved in the waters
> like tallow and fat. But Nintud had planned to save the king and
> certain pious ones. These she summoned to a river's bank, where
> they embarked in a boat.
> After the flood Nintud is represented in conversation with the
> hero who had escaped. He is here called Tagtug and dignified by
> the title of a god. He becomes a gardener, for whom Nintud
> intercedes with Enki and explains to this god how Tagtug escaped
> his plan of universal destruction ... Enki became reconciled
> with the gardener, called him to his temple and revealed to him
> After a break we find Tagtug instructed in regard to plants and
> trees whose fruit the gods permitted him to eat. But it seems
> that Nintud had forbidden him to eat of the cassia. Of this he
> took and ate, whereupon Ninharsag afflicted him with bodily
> weakness. Life -- that is, good health, in the Babylonian idiom
> -- he should no longer see. He loses the longevity of the
> prediluvian age.
According to Dr. Langdon, who is Reader of Assyriology and
Comparative Semitic Philology, this version is older by 1000
years than the Hebrew version in Genesis.
It must have come as a shock to many people when it was found
that the Creation and Deluge stories were to be met with in a
Chaldean account older than the Hebrew one; and perhaps the
discovery now of this Sumerian version may awaken similar
These facts are of little moment beside the greater fact that
these or similar stories are to be found in every land of the
globe. Ancient India has them; they are in the Norse Edda and
the Finnish Kalevala; primitive African tribes know them, and
they form part of the traditional sacred lore of Polynesian
peoples. Crossing the ocean, we find that the families of Red
Men in both North and South America have stories of the Creation,
of an Eden and the Fall, of a Flood and an "Ark," and of a
confusion of tongues.
The Masai, of East Africa, tell the story as follows: In the
beginning the earth was a barren desert in which there lived a
dragon. Then God came down from heaven and fought against the
dragon and vanquished it.
Where God slew the beast there arose a Paradise, luxuriant with
the richest vegetation. Then God created by his word sun, moon,
stars, plants and animals, and lastly the first human couple. He
commanded the couple not to eat of the fruit of a certain tree;
but they ate it, the woman being tempted by the serpent, which
had three heads and was thereafter condemned to live in holes in
The pair were driven out of Paradise by the Morning Star, who
thereafter stood guardian at the gate. After this the human race
multiplied and genealogies are recorded, until the first murder
was committed, when there came a flood. Tumbainot was bidden to
build a wooden chest and betake himself into it with his
belongings and animals of every kind.
The Popol Vuh, or ancient scripture of the Quiches, describes how
Hurakan called forth the earth from a universe wrapped in gloom;
how animals were created; how man was created from wood; how the
gods, irritated by his irreverence, resolved to destroy him, and
how a great flood came. In another part the incidents of the
forbidden fruit occur, and the confounding of speech, and the
parting of the sea for a passage.
> This is the first word and the first speech. There were neither
> men nor brutes; neither birds, fish, nor crabs, stick nor stone,
> valley nor mountain, stubble nor forest, nothing but the sky ...
> Nothing was but stillness and rest and darkness and the night;
> nothing but the Maker and the Moulder, the Hurler, the
> Bird-Serpent. In the waters, in a limpid twilight, covered with
> green feathers, slept the mothers and the fathers. Over this
> passed Hurakan, the mighty wind, and called out: Earth! and
> straightway the solid land was there.
> -- David C. Brinton, MYTHS OF THE NEW WORLD
> Before the creation, said the Muskokis, a great body of water was
> alone visible. Two pigeons flew to and fro over its waves and at
> last spied a blade of grass rising above the surface. Dry land
> gradually followed, and the islands and continents took their
> present shapes.
> -- Brinton, MYTHS OF THE NEW WORLD
These last are merely creation stories, but we could quote many
legends of an Eden and the Flood, of which some are given in the
work above cited. These stories are all alike in essentia, and
differ but slightly even in details.
How is the coincidence to be explained? Prescott, in his CONQUEST
OF MEXICO, describes the astonishment of the Spanish missionaries
on finding that the natives already had the Bible stories, and
gives the theories they devised to explain the matter. But how
can it be explained? No theory about traveling missionaries will
suffice, because the coincidences are too many and the story is
There is but one possible explanation. All the races which have
this story -- that is, practically all the races now on earth --
must have diverged at some remote period from a great and
homogeneous civilization whose teachings were diffused over the
globe. Afterwards some cataclysm caused a breaking up of the
civilization and a dispersal of races -- the very dispersal
spoken of in the legends about the confusion of tongues. Then
each separate colony handed down the mystic lore in its
symbolical garb for long generations, until probably its real
meaning was forgotten by most of the people.
The story is evidently in part historical and in part
allegorical. It tells of the evolution of Man, how he was first
created as a perfect animal and subsequently endowed with a
divine mind; how he met his first probation and fell, thereby
entailing upon himself long ages of toil ere he can regain the
The Paradise symbolizes the state in which Man lived before he
abused his powers. It also symbolizes the early sub-races of the
present Root-Race, before the period of materialism had set in.
The Flood was the last of those periodic cataclysms of which
geologists tell us, and all over the earth the memory of this
Science studies only the physiographical aspect of the question,
and perhaps also its astronomical side; whereas the history of
man is closely interwoven with that of the globe whereon he
dwells. The ancient teachings say that the present (Fifth)
Root-Race of humanity has been in existence as an INDEPENDENT
race for about 800,000 years, which is a comparatively short
period geologically speaking; also that each Root-Race has seven
sub-races, of which we form part of the fifth. Geological
cataclysms coincide with the death and birth of races, and both
of these again correspond with certain cyclic motions of the
All this knowledge formed a part of the arcane lore of antiquity,
and was embalmed in symbolism and allegory, as this is the only
way in which such knowledge can be preserved intact and handed
down to posterity. Now we have all the ancient records awaiting
our study and interpretation; but this can only be accomplished
by taking a comprehensive view of the whole field and dismissing
from our mind all prejudices in favor of any set theory.
In the Creation myths is preserved the teaching as to Man's
origin and evolution; and it will be remembered that there are
two distinct creations of Man in the Genesis narrative. Chapter
II describes the creation of Man as a perfected animal; while
Chapter I tells us that the Gods (the 'elohim or divine spirits,
as the Hebrew says) inspired man with the divine breath and the
heavenly image. Subsequently the animals are created.
The story of Eden and the Fall is one that is enacted not only in
humanity as a whole but in every individual man. The Serpent in
this story is not the serpent which stands as a symbol for evil,
but it is the symbol of knowledge, and as such the serpent is
generally regarded as a sacred animal by various races of men.
This Serpent was the initiator of man into knowledge; but the
sequel shows that man at first abuses his gift and loses
Paradise, which he can regain only by much tribulation. Such is
human destiny and the destiny of human souls in their passage
through the many halls of experience.
Every mystery has SEVEN keys, it is said; so that the Jewish
Bible stories cannot be fully interpreted by any short
explanation. We have seen that the Deluge has a geological
meaning and also an anthropological one; it signifies in general
the ending of an old cycle and the beginning of a new, when the
stubble and chaff are destroyed and the grain garnered, the "Ark"
being a sacred vessel wherein the seed is carried over to the new
cycle. Such is the history of the succession of human races and
of the handing down of knowledge.
We may define these Genesis stories as an epitome of sacred lore,
combining cosmogenesis or the birth of worlds with
anthropogenesis or the evolution of man.
They begin with a summary of the teachings respecting the birth
of worlds out of undifferentiated matter or Chaos; or, in other
words, with the dawn of a Manvantara or cycle of manifestation,
after a Pralaya or cycle of latency.
Next there is a brief account of the creations of man and other
beings, and then a resumption of the history of the early
sub-races of the present Root-Race, with an account of the
cataclysm that ushered in the dawn of the New Race.
And withal there is much symbolical teaching, such as that of the
Tree with its fruit at its top and the serpent below. "Eden" is
at once allegorical and geographical; for it means the habitation
of the early sub-races, and the Old-World "Eden" must have been
somewhere in southeastern Asia.
It is the destiny of our studies in ancient history to prove
gradually the nature of these traditions and to trace back
civilization to its earliest great source in those lands, through
one mighty race after another whose records the archaeologists
SING THY SONG, O MINSTREL!
By Montague A. Machell
[From THEOSOPHIA, Fall 1974, pages 10-12]
> Our souls are as it were a music of which our bodies are the
> instruments. The music exists without the instruments, but it
> cannot make itself heard without a material intermediary.
> -- Eliphas Levi.
The title of HPB's Book of Devotion, THE VOICE OF THE SILENCE,
might repay deeper meditation. Thinking one's way deeply into
the five words of the title, one is brought up short by the
paradox of the terms "Voice" and "Silence" -- two opposites,
brought together to reveal a spiritual identity.
If accepted understandingly, they take on significance
immediately evident. Is not that significance a reminder of the
duality of this manifested universe, wherein the noise of an
audible (when not deafening) material development easily drowns
out a rarely-heard undertone of spiritual unfoldment?
If this be true, is not the disciple required to ask himself
again and again: "to which of these 'voices' must I heed?" He who
is confirmed in spiritual knowledge will reply unhesitatingly:
"To the second." If, in some doubt and confusion, he is tempted
to reply: "To the first," the Voice of the Silence is, for the
moment, at least, lost to him. And is not this the case with
most of us, most of the time? I ask myself, how many times in my
life has its Silence found a recognizable Voice? How many times
have I experienced a sense of actually vibrating in consonance
with the (physically) unheard vibration of my universe? My most
nearly honest reply will have to be, "once or twice, POSSIBLY."
I question whether the gift of "hearing voices," psychically, can
be positively regarded as a spiritual achievement, inasmuch as
any "voice," heard by the physical ear, would have to be of
physical origin. But the Voice of the Silence, as HPB uses those
words, is not a physical voice. She herself reminds us: "When
the disciple has ceased to hear the many, he may discern the ONE
-- the inner sound WHICH KILLS THE OUTER"; and, further on:
"Before the soul can comprehend and may remember, she must unto
the Silent Speaker be united." Both of these statements remind us
that this entire universe, the instrument of THE ONE, is
releasing the physically inaudible music of unearthly spiritual
vibrations. Hearing this music is a matter of tuning in the
companion instrument -- the Soul -- to that heavenly frequency.
Man does not listen to the Voice of the Silence PHYSICALLY; he
tunes in to it, on the plane of purely spiritual vibration. That
spiritual frequency, achieved in his own spiritual self, enhances
a music perennially singing, that may be pertinently related to
what is sometimes referred to as "the Music of the Spheres."
In the words of Eliphas Levi, "our souls are, as it were, music."
This is because the soul, alone, is capable of "tuning in" to the
never silent "Music of the Spheres." Only under conditions of
physical silence is spiritual "tuning in" made possible, by means
of which man's "inner ear" may possibly achieve awareness of the
undertone of his universe. It is a matter of a spiritual
instrument attuning itself to a Spiritual Source -- a condition
deserving, and usually requiring, a lifetime of dedication.
It is important that we clear our minds of any notion that we, as
incarnated personalities, are endued with immortal melodies. It
is man's heavenly prerogative so to purge his physical mortality
of its grossness that it may be made susceptible to a divine
vibration-frequency that is the heartbeat of his universe. To
the extent that he does this, he, as an instrument, becomes fit
to amplify this unheard Music of the Spheres to a degree that
"his singing is but living aloud, his life a singing with his
hands." This is more than a praiseworthy ideal; it is a
RESPONSIBILITY of any spiritually conscious entity: Sing thy
Song, O Minstrel! The world is in dire need of its benediction!
Though Eliphas Levi reminds us that "the music exists without the
instruments," nevertheless, you and I, with full awareness of its
eternal and changeless nature, must offer ourselves as
transmitters of that music to the hard of hearing. As to its
changeless constancy, the very existence of a universe governed
by immutable laws is our assurance. Mankind has most effectively
developed a world of strife and ugliness, in spite of its divine
origin, wherefore an increased awareness of underlying law and
order must rescue it from ultimate chaos. And the first step in
that rescue is in the hands of a few, here and there, whose calm
awareness of underlying harmony makes of their silence a centre
of spiritual vibration attuned to the unheard Music of the
Spheres. Not claims, not slogans, not creeds, can achieve the
needed healing calm, but the quiet iteration of that Song of the
Soul that is universal harmony echoing in a life of selfless
service. Insofar as we eschew meaningless personal chatter and
yield our very being up to the harmony of THE ONE, we become
Minstrels of the New Age -- Voices of human redemption.
A supreme attribute in one's quest of the unheard Music of the
Spheres is Susceptibility. Daily and hourly, one must surrender
himself to that celestial symphony which, though so largely
unheard, "sings" this universe into symmetry and harmony
unceasingly. Susceptibility to harmony, to beauty, to
compassion, to oneness with all that lives -- these are the keys
to self-transmutation. Beneath the deceptive glaze of life's
glossy materialism flow those living streams of that many-hued,
many-titled Reality that is THE ONE in manifestation.
Worship -- everlasting worship of that Divine Reality is what is
demanded of each of us. A spontaneous worship born of a
spontaneous love of life's hidden splendor, begets a child-like
exultation in beauty, harmony and symmetry: "The pupil must
regain the child state he has lost, ere the first sound can fall
upon his ear." He must become susceptible to song, unresponsive
to discord. "Living" is, in so many instances, "letting go" of
life's deafening noise-makers -- the noise-makers of greed, of
jealously, of ambition, of destruction. Against all these the
doors of the heart must be closed while within the temple a
youthful, untainted Spirit touches the lyre of THE ONE, awakening
sublimely ancient music from strings tuned to Truth's eternal
anthem. The world is filled with hungry harpists in search of
lost themes; each one listens humbly for that music that has
never died. Deep in the heart of you and me are tuneful strings
waiting our wakening touch, whose music shall recall to this
earth the mantra of a holier day.
Sing thy Song, O Minstrel!
By K. Paul Johnson
THE MASONIC MYTH: UNLOCKING THE TRUTH ABOUT THE SYMBOLS,
THE SECRET RITES, AND THE HISTORY OF FREEMASONRY
New York: HarperOne
THE MASONIC MYTH succeeds equally on several different levels,
addressing readers new to Freemasonry as well as those who have
studied it for years. Kinney combines an insider's mastery of
the subject with an outsider's skeptical irreverence, making him
a very trustworthy guide through this hall of mirrors. He
addresses the concerns of readers with little knowledge of
Masonry, Masons with much insider knowledge but little grasp of
its historical meaning, and those who think they know a fair
amount about Masonry but are confused by unreliable sources where
misinformation is rife. Kinney devotes considerable attention to
some of the most widely diffused misconceptions that have
flourished for centuries. "Things you thought you knew about
Masonry that are wrong" are scattered throughout the book and
debunked persuasively. As Dan Brown's latest novel brings a new
round of speculation about Freemasons' role in American history,
the time is ripe for a serious explanation of Masonic myth and
The first four chapters are a engagingly written, solidly
researched account of the origins of the Craft. This makes the
book the best place to start for anyone seeking a reliable and
accessible guide to Freemasonry. The middle four chapters
provide an informed account of Masonic rites, symbols, and
hierarchies. As Kinney leads readers through a labyrinth of
degrees and orders, his personal involvement with Masonry brings
meaning to what is otherwise a bewildering landscape. Without
proselytizing, Kinney conveys an appreciation for the value
contemporary Masons find in the brotherhood and its
not-so-secret-after-all practices. In the final three chapters
Kinney explores the vast realm of misinformation about Masonry
conveyed in a variety of conspiracy theories, and considers the
likely future of the Craft. He confronts paranoid notions about
Illuminati and Masonic occultists that have appeared in a
fascinating variety of sources. We learn that the Craft's
influence on the Founding Fathers has been greatly exaggerated,
and that international Masonry is far too fragmented and diverse
to be the basis of any global domination schemes as envisioned by
Based on scholarly research that will be cited for decades to
come, written in an engaging first person narrative by an author
long recognized as a reliable guide to the entire realm of
Western esoteric traditions, THE MASONIC MYTH is the first book
to read for anyone intrigued by the mysteries of the Craft.
By R. Machell
[From THE THEOSOPHICAL PATH, March 1916, pages 221-23.]
All this talk of peace seems to me ridiculous. What chance is
there of establishing peace in a world where the people that are
loudest in their denunciation of war are the most quarrelsome of
all? It seems to me men are born fighters and they only talk
peace when they think they are going to get the worst of the
fight. And then there is this cry for disarmament: why it is
just the old story of the wolves persuading the sheep to get rid
of the sheepdogs and then devouring the flock."
Some of the rest of the party added arguments in favor of war.
One said it brought out all the best qualities in men, made them
strong, active, intelligent and brave, besides teaching them to
stand by one another, and to work together, and so on; in fact,
it was a small anti-peace meeting, which, as it grew more
unanimous also became more pugnacious, until it seemed that it
would take some courage for a man to stand up in that group and
say a word for peace. But there was one man, who seemed
thoughtful and not much inclined to join the general chorus in
their contempt for the peace idea; he said nothing until his
silence became the strongest voice in the noisy group, if one may
Anyway, his silence attracted attention, and he was called on to
join the debate, as they called it. When he did speak they all
thought he was fooling, and began to protest; but he was one of
those slow men that are not easily moved, and he just looked
round and made a sort of half-conscious movement, that somehow
seemed to have a soothing influence on the noisy ones, for he was
as strong as he was slow and quiet.
"The Fourth of July used to be a noisy time. I've heard
thousands of people each making all the noise he could; there
were bands too, each playing its own music and trying to drown
the sound of the others, and then there were a lot of people
killed and injured one way and another, and all to celebrate the
glory of the nation. But of late the people have begun to think
that a foolish game.
"You know all the papers were full of talk of a 'safe and quiet
Fourth of July,' and now we are getting it. Everybody seemed to
see that the time for the old noisy business was past. Well,
boys, it looks to me as if it was about the same way with war.
There's a lot of good sense in what you say, but then it seems
the time for war is past and we may as well try to see what the
next move is to be."
"Oh! Peace, holy Peace!" one mocked.
The slow man began again.
"I remember when I was younger some of the boys wanted to get up
a brass band, and we got enough instruments to go round, and
distributed them. Each one went home and set to work to learn to
play his instrument, and before long we all got together and
"If you had been there, you would have thought the old Fourth of
July was as peaceful as a spring morning on a mountain side in
comparison with the noise we made.
"Each one played his own part in his own way and tried to drown
the rest. Some got mad because the others made so much noise
they could not hear their own instrument, and then they stopped
playing and abused one another; there were a few fights, and the
rehearsal ended in everyone talking at once to explain what was
wrong and how to put it right."
Here the speaker stopped, and seemed inclined to settle down to
his usual dreamy silence; but the rest had begun to take
"Well, after a lot of talk, one in the band said, 'We want a
leader,' and that set them on a new tack. They all agreed at
once that a leader was what they wanted, and they all agreed as
to who the leader ought to be. That is, they all thought they
knew the right man to lead; and of course when it came to a vote,
each man got one vote, and that was his own.
"They were so much of one mind that there was no agreement
possible. Then one of us suggested asking Dan Matthews the old
bandmaster to take the job; and that was the beginning of the
"What has all that got to do with peace and war?" One said. "Of
course a band must have a leader, everyone knows that, but when
you have peace you can do without leaders.
"Just so!" He replied. "That's what we thought when we got our
instruments, but we soon learned that without a leader there was
no way of keeping the players in time; and when each went his own
way there was discord, confusion, noise, but no music.
"Now it seems to me peace is like music. It needs all the
musicians to play together, and each one has to attend to his own
part, and to his own instrument, and to leave the management of
the whole band to the bandmaster.
"I think some of the people that talk so much about all the world
being at peace, and who think that all the different nations have
got to be mixed up into one, might learn something from playing
in a band. Because you see if all the players played the same
instrument there would be no harmony.
"The more instruments there are, the richer the tone. And each
instrument has to be played in its own particular way, and to
have music written for it, that is no good for most of the
"That's just like the different nations with their different
manners and customs and languages. You see they are just doing
what we lads did when we tried to start our band.
"It takes a man a lot of study to understand all the instruments,
and to be able to arrange the different parts for each to play,
so as to get music out of the whole bunch when they come
"Men like old Dan are needed to teach a lot of untrained
beginners how to play together so as to make music: and I think
that there is likely to be very little peace in the world till
the nations learn that lesson. But they are beginning to see
that so long as each is playing his part to suit his own taste
there can be no music.
"They are tired of discord, and want to hear a little music.
That is something; the rest will come later."
THE SIX DIRECTIONS OF PERSONALITY
By John Algeo
[Revised slightly from CIRCLES, Autumn 1994, pages 19-23.]
The three spatial dimensions of our physical world yield six
directions, since each dimension has two directions. If our
spatial dimensions are height, breadth, and depth, then our six
directions are up and down, right and left, and front and back.
When to those six we add the center position, the "here" from
which the directions range, we have another septenary to augment
the others we are familiar with from Theosophical teachings.
The existence of six spatial directions is obvious. We look
above and below ourselves, to our right and left, and forward and
backward. Here we are in the center with these six directions
radiating out from us, like the six points of a star with living
light at its core.
Because analogy exists between all aspects of reality, it should
not be surprising that we can think of our personality, the
physical part of us, as also having six directions along three
dimensions. We can think of the six directions of the
personality as defining it on our obligatory pilgrimage through
the Cycle of Necessity. The three dimensions of personality are
heredity, environment, and transpersonality. And each of those
has two directions, making six in all, with the personality
itself in the center.
Our heredity is of two sorts. First is our genetic inheritance.
That is what we normally mean by heredity. We inherit certain
physical characteristics from our biological ancestors. And
because the physical is not isolated but in fact is linked with
the subtle realities of feeling and thought, we also inherit
certain emotional and mental characteristics from our
progenitors. Western Science has made much of genetic
inheritance, and it is important, but it is not all-important.
Another sort of heredity is our cultural inheritance. We are
born into a society, a culture, with certain values and ways of
regarding the world around us and responding to it. Sociologists
have called them MORES and FOLKWAYS. Mores are the customs that
have deep value for the culture, because they are powerful
shapers of our behavior. When we violate them, trouble follows,
for society regards them as having the force of law. Folkways
are just the ways we happen to do things. If we do not observe
them, we will be thought peculiar, but not wicked. Our language
is also part of our cultural inheritance, and so is our habitual
world-view (unless we have thought about it for ourselves, which
few people do).
We inherit our culture from our cultural ancestors, just as we
inherit our genes from our biological ancestors. Americans,
whose biological ancestors came from all over the world, are
nevertheless the inheritors of a common culture, which is
basically British (English, Scots, Irish, and Welsh) with a
strong admixture added in the New World from many other cultures
around the globe. If Americans visit the land of their
biological ancestors' origin, they quickly discover that
culturally they are not African, English, or Polish. They are,
whether they like it or not, American in culture.
Genetic and cultural inheritances are often contrasted as NATURE
and NURTURE. It is true that we learn our culture, though in an
unconscious way, but we (as personalities) don't pick it out, at
least not our first and most formative culture. We inherit it.
We don't say, I think I'll be a Louisiana Cajun or a Scots
Highlander. Our cultural inheritance is imprinted on us in our
formative years. Like Popeye, we must say, "I am what I am, I'm
Popeye the sailorman." Or as the adage has it, you can take the
boy out of the country, but you can't take the country out of the
Another dimension of personality is environment. It also has two
directions. On the one hand, there is our topographical
environment, the world around us—not just the physical
topography, but the psychic and spiritual topography as well. It
is obvious that our personality is influenced by our physical
topographical environment. If we live on the sea shore, or in
the mountains, or on a great plain or in the canyons of a vast
city, we respond to that environment. It moulds us.
However, we also live in the midst of a psychic and spiritual
landscape that likewise moulds us. The Anglo-Saxons came to the
British Isles, probably in the early fifth century. They had a
vast stock of legends and myths about Germanic heroes and gods,
some of which are reflected in the great Anglo-Saxon epic
BEOWULF. But that Germanic ethos belonged to the Continent, not
to Britain. So on the island, the Anglo-Saxons adopted the
legends and ethos of the native Britons, and the great English
hero came to be King Arthur.
Arthur and the Arthurian material are basically Celtic. When the
English moved into Celtic lands, they conquered the native Celts
politically, but were themselves conquered by the psychic and
spiritual landscape of Celtic myths. It is a great irony. But
it often happens that way. When the Vedic Aryans migrated into
India, they absorbed (and were absorbed into) the native
pre-Indo-European Indic culture. When Europeans came to the New
World, they moved into the landscape of the Amerindian peoples,
and even today the various Amerindian traditions exert a powerful
influence on Americans.
We live amid a landscape of psychic and spiritual energies and
forces that were generated by peoples long ago but that provide
our environment. The psychic and spiritual landscapes are just
as real as the physical one. And they are even more powerful
than physical geography in shaping us. The ancients knew about
this inner, psychic landscape. The Romans personified it and
called it the GENIUS LOCI, the guardian spirit of a place.
In addition to our topographical or terrestrial environment,
there is also a celestial one, our astrological environment.
Everything in the cosmos is interconnected. Every event at any
point in the entire universe resounds, echoes, and reverberates
throughout the whole vast cosmic stretch of space. And so our
environment is not limited to this terrestrial globe. Our
neighborhood includes the nearest planets and the farthest stars.
The fall of a rose petal in Paducah has consequences for the lost
star of the Pleiades.
Astrology maps out the celestial environment at the moment of our
birth by a natal horoscope and at all subsequent times by
progressed horoscopes. It is a mistake to regard a horoscope as
a prediction of events. It is rather a description of an
environment. We are not astrological patients suffering the
effects of a horoscope. We are actors on the field of the earth
and the heavens, which is mapped out by a horoscope. Astrology
does not tell us what is going to happen to us. It tells us what
the territory is like where the action takes place. We, not the
stars, make things happen.
Western thinking has largely stopped with two factors molding our
personalities: heredity and environment. And even for those, it
has usually thought of environment as what is here called
cultural inheritance. The influence of the topographical and
celestial environments has been generally ignored in our time,
except by a comparative few. But in addition to heredity and
environment there is yet another dimension with two directions:
our transpersonal dimension, whose directions are our SKANDHAS
and our DHARMA.
Our skandhas are the effects of our past lives. They were made
by prior personalities and come to us as past-life karma. Each
of our personalities contributes collectively to every succeeding
personality, which is formed by them. The skandhas are the
"bundles" or "aggregates" from our former personalities that come
together to form the seed from which our present personality
develops, out of its heredity and within its environment.
In Buddhist teachings, there are five skandhas: our form,
sensations, ideas, mental tendencies, and mental powers. We
might think of them as the predispositions we have acquired from
the experiences of our past lives that affect our perceiving,
feeling, thinking, responding, and conceiving. They come to us
in our present personality across earlier personalities and so
There is, however, still another transpersonal direction in us.
For we are not just a succession of personalities. Our
personalities are like beads that come one after another in a
necklace, but there is also a string or thread that joins all the
beads. So there is also a "thread-self" or individuality that
unites all of our successive personalities. It is the "real" us.
It generates all our separate personalities and joins them into a
The influence of our individuality on a particular personal life
is what we call DHARMA. That word is often translated as "duty,"
but that is a weak rendering of the inner sense of the word. Our
dharma is our innermost nature, the reality at the core of our
being that makes us what we truly are. All of our personalities
are efforts of our individuality to express itself, to realize
our dharma in our personal lives.
If we tune into the individuality within ourselves, if we let our
dharma be expressed in our lives, the result is marvelous. It is
transforming and overpowering. That does not happen very often.
But most of us have moments in life when the influence of dharma
breaks through. If we open ourselves to those moments, the
effect can last a lifetime.
IMMUTABLE AND MUTABLE DIRECTIONS
So what are we now in this life? We are a personality sitting in
the centre of six great influences, the six psychological
directions of our being. Along the dimension of heredity, we are
formed by our genetic inheritance and by our cultural
inheritance. Along the dimension of environment, we are formed
by our topographical surroundings (physical, psychic, and
spiritual) and by our celestial surroundings, our place in the
cosmos. Along the transpersonal dimension, we are formed by the
seeds of tendencies from our past lives and by the call of our
higher nature, our individuality, our dharma to become what we
Even in our personalities, we are sevenfold beings. For the
personality is at the centre of these six directions of
influence, and is produced by them. Three of the directions are
immutable: our genetic inheritance, our astrological environment,
and the skandhas from our past lives. They are all GIVENS that
we work with but cannot change. Three of the directions,
however, are mutable and indeed are ever changing: our cultural
inheritance, topographical environment, and individual dharma.
Although we do not choose our culture, it is not fixed but
constantly changes. The culture around us today is not the
culture of our birth; it has changed with the years. Indeed, in
our time certain aspects of culture are changing more rapidly
than they have for eons in the past. That is easy to see in
communication, transportation, technology, living patterns, and
social values all around us.
Similarly, though less dramatically today, our topographical
environment changes. Even if we stay put, the topography
changes. Village life becomes urban or deserted. The coast
wears away. The forests disappear. But the inner environment is
also changing. The psychic and spiritual landscapes are shifting
around us. And of course we ourselves can move into a new
environment—physical, psychic, and spiritual.
Finally, and most important, our transpersonal dharma changes.
Or rather, the aspect of it that shines into our personal life
changes. Our individuality, or higher self, is constantly trying
to break through into personal consciousness. Its full power can
seldom do so. (In the rare cases when it does so fully, the
result is the saint, the enlightened one, the sage, the
initiate.) So the influences that continually come from it change
in order to take best advantage of the opportunities it has to
We human beings tend to dislike change, to fear it, and to try to
stop it. But change is opportunity. Only where there is change
can there be transformation. Most change is lateral, and lateral
change produces nothing but just one thing after another.
However, in the midst of lateral change, there is the opportunity
for change of another sort: transformative change, by which we
become not just different, but new.
Being aware of the directions of our personality along the
psychological dimensions gives us an opportunity to be open to
such transformation when its possibility comes. The possibility
comes unexpectedly, unannounced, and must be seized, or it is
lost. It is up to us to recognize it when it comes and to act.
As HPB said in "There Is a Road": "I can tell you how to find
those who will show you the secret gateway that opens inward
only, and closes fast behind the neophyte for evermore."
The first necessity for obtaining self-knowledge is to become
profoundly conscious of ignorance; to feel with every fiber of
our heart that we have been self-deceived: we are responsible for
our own ignorance. The second requisite is the still deeper
conviction that knowledge—intuitive and certain knowledge—can be
obtained by effort. The third and most important is an
indomitable determination to obtain and accept that knowledge.
Self- knowledge of this kind is unobtainable by what is usually
called "self-analysis." It is not reached by reasoning or any
brain process; for it is the awakening to consciousness of the
Divine Nature within us. To obtain this knowledge is a greater
achievement than to command the elements or to know the future.
It is to understand the unexplained laws of our nature and to
develop our latent powers. It is the purpose of human evolution.
LEADING UP TO THE WINTER SOLSTICE
By Theosophical Students
[Readings from symposiums held at the Winter Solstice at the
Point Loma Theosophical Community, reprinted in IN THE TEMPLE, by
G. de Purucker, pages 3-9.]
On this holiest of nights in the regions of Shambhala, the land
of spiritual works, the home of the battlers for the Sun,
mystical Initiations are being undergone, initiations which bring
forth the inner, latent, stellar energy, and which vivify the
spiritual electricity within the Auric Egg, that out-flowing
essence of the divine spark enabling these Holy Ones to vision
the glittering splendor of the Midnight Sun -- their own Inner
Divinity. These great souls, their bodies kept alive at this
time by White Magic, pass the portals of Death for the time
being, and return CLOTHED WITH THE SUN.
While these mighty things transpire behind the veils it seems
right and auspicious for those on Earth who have opened their
hearts to the spiritual forces coming from that sacred region to
meet and commune on things divine that the great truths they
utter may echo through the world and steal silently into the
hearts of men. So, companions, let us discourse on the inner
mysteries, and each of you in turn, enrich our conversation when
moved to speak.
ITI MAYA SHRUTAM: THUS HAVE I HEARD.
The Winter Solstice is the time of the mystic birth of the
individuality -- great and wonderful. Thereafter in the same or
likely in a future year, at the time of the Spring Equinox, the
aspirant enters into individual spiritual activity in the world
of cosmic spirits belonging to our Solar System and undergoes the
Mystic Descent into the Underworld. At the time of the Summer
Solstice, the initiation is one which pertains to him as an
individual worker in the ranks of the Guardians: and if he passes
that Trial successfully, he is assigned his duty in the world of
men. At the time of the Autumnal Equinox the aspirant breaks the
link with material existence entirely and is withdrawn to his
Parent-Star, withdrawn into Nirvana.
The holiest of these four periods of initiation, so far as Chelas
are concerned, is that of the Winter Solstice; for on that
occasion the aspirant becomes the awakened Buddha. This is the
Mystical Birth. Thus it was at this sacred season some
twenty-five hundred years ago that Gautama the Buddha, like many
great ones before him and after him, attained that inner
enlightenment. The divine glory of Buddha Siddhartha was
thenceforth manifest in the consciousness of his outer-human
being. He became a pure unveiled Manasaputra, a bringer of
wisdom to men.
Let us recount the life of the Buddha and what befell him on
earth, and of the peace he brought to men, and while we thus
discourse let us all silently in our hearts reverence the
esoteric meaning that lies hidden in this mystical story.
It was the eighth day of the fourth moon of the year 2459 of the
Kali Yuga, when springtime dawned full of strange portents, as of
some great joy that was to come to men, in which the Buddha
incarnated in the body of a boy-child, in a town at the foot of
the Himalayas. He was born, says the legend, surrounded with a
light like unto the sun that first rises from the east. Upright
and firm and unconfused in mind, so says the legend, he
deliberately took seven steps, his footmarks remaining bright as
Moving like the lion, king of beasts, and looking earnestly
towards the four quarters, penetrating to the core the principles
of truth, he spake thus with fullest assurance:
> This birth is in the condition of a Buddha; after this I have
> done with renewed birth; now only am I born this once, for the
> purpose of saving all the world.
His father's name was Shuddhodana, a word meaning PURE WATER or
pure flow. His mother's name was Maya -- illusion. His wife's
name Yashodhara meant the "holder of glory or of splendor." All
these names immediately suggest that the entire exoteric story of
the Buddha was a symbolic one, showing him to have been born of a
mother called ILLUSION, and of a male parent called PURE WAVE, in
other words, PURE INSPIRATION which is the food of the mind. His
wife's name being BEARER OF SPLENDOR would signify some great
spiritual quality that he possessed and which surrounded him.
Every part of the legendary accounts of his life has a basis of
At his birth the parents, alarmed at the two-and-thirty signs of
divine birth that were upon him, and at the amazing wisdom and
intellectual power that he manifested, and warned by the wise men
of the time, who lived more or less in the spiritual life and
light and hence could foresee, tried to hold him to family-life,
tried to prevent his inner nature being aroused by the sorrow and
sadness of the world,
When the child was somewhat grown, the Raja summoned the saintly
Vishvasmitra to instruct him in all learning; but the Sage,
finding the boy already deeply learned in all the knowledge found
in books, and all the traditional lore of planets and of stars,
gathered up his books and departed, marveling.
But the day came when Prince Siddhartha must see the four
Awakening Sights -- namely, an old, bent man; second, a leper,
outcast from his kind; and third, a corpse being borne to the
funeral pyre; and then again, a Bhikshu of equal mind seeking for
that reality which is not transient. Seeing which sights he
saddened, and could not rest for brooding on the ills of life,
and how mankind could be delivered from old age, sickness, decay,
and death, and be led to the final liberation.
So the time finally came when the Buddha within the youth began
to show itself clearly; and when that happened, then the
awakening came to him even as a young man, after his son Rahula
was born. He left his home, went into the Himalayas, tried this
discipline and tried that, investigated all things, seeking
wisdom, seeking the greater light, withdrawing more and more into
his own inner being, becoming more and more irradiated by the
splendor of the divinity within; until one day he sat himself
down under the Bodhi-tree, the tree of wisdom, so called because
there beneath its branches, final illumination infilled him; and
he became a full-blown Buddha.
And as this happened, the earth shook with awe, and as it shook
the great Initiate of Heaven was roused, his eyes filled with joy
as they opened to the light. Forthwith he exclaimed:
> When formerly I saw the Buddhas of old, there was the sign of an
> earthquake as now. The virtues of a Muni are so great in majesty
> that the great earth cannot endure them; as step by step his foot
> treads upon the ground, so is there heard the sound of the
> rumbling earth-shaking; a brilliant light now illumes the world,
> as the shining of the rising sun; five hundred bluish-tinted
> birds I see, wheeling round to the right, flying through space.
> All these auspicious signs are the same as those of former
> Buddhas; wherefore I know that this Bodhisattva will certainly
> arrive at perfect wisdom.
But Mara Devaraja, enemy of religion, the Great Deluder, alone
was grieved, and rejoiced not. Lord of the five desires, skilled
in all the arts of warfare, the foe of those who seek
deliverance, he was afflicted, and addressing his daughters thus,
> The world has now a great Muni; he has taken a strong oath as a
> helmet; he holds a mighty bow in his hand; wisdom is the diamond
> shaft he uses. His object is to gain the mastery in the world,
> to ruin and destroy my territory; I am myself unequal to him, for
> all men will believe in him, and all find refuge in the way of
> his salvation. Then will my land be desert and unoccupied. But
> as when a man transgresses the laws of morality, his body is then
> empty, so now, the eye of wisdom being not yet opened in this
> man, whilst my empire still has peace, I will go and overturn his
> purpose, and break down and divide the ridge-pole of his house.
Then all the Hosts of Darkness, the Ten Sins, rose like a sea and
threatened to engulf him. The demon host waxed fierce and angry,
and added force to force, in further conflict; but grasping at
stones they could not lift them, or lifting them they could not
let them go. Their flying spears, lances and javelins, stuck
fast in space, refusing to descend; the angry thunder drops, and
mighty hail, with these were changed into five-colored lotus
flowers; whilst the foul poison of the dragon snakes was turned
to spicy-breathing air. Thus all these countless sorts of
creatures, wishing to destroy the Bodhisattva, unable to remove
him from the spot, were with their own weapons wounded, and
Mara's host was filled with sorrow.
Then in the air the crowd of divine ones, their forms invisible,
raised their voices, saying:
> Behold the Great One, his mind unmoved by any feeling of
> resentment, while all that wicked Mara race is vainly bent on his
> destruction. Let go your foul and murderous thoughts against
> that silent Sage, calmly seated! Ye cannot with a breath move the
> Sumeru Mountain. Ye cannot hurt the Bodhisattva, through ages
> past disciplined by suffering. He shall now certainly attain his
> end, sitting on this right-established throne as all the previous
> Buddhas, firm and compact like a diamond.
Mara, hearing these sounds in space, and seeing the Bodhisattva
still unmoved, was filled with fear, and again took up his way to
heaven above. The mind of the Bodhisattva now reposed, peaceful
and quiet. The morning sunbeams brightened with the dawn; the
dust-like mist dispersing, disappeared; the moon and stars paled
their faint light; the barriers of the night were all removed,
whilst from above a fall of heavenly flowers paid their sweet
tribute to the Bodhisattva.
Then in that sacred hush, behold! A marvel ? for consciousness
withdrawn into the Infinite became perception, and the
Bodhisattva beheld the vision of past lives, the building and
unbuilding of worlds and systems -- the long-linked chain of
cause and effect stretching from Infinite to Infinite; until he
reached at last the unfathomable Source of Truth. As he entered
the great Rishi's house (dreamless sleep), darkness disappeared;
light dawned. Perfectly silent, all at rest, he reached at last
the heart of the Sun, and so illumined with all Wisdom, and
bathed in the light of the spiritual Sun, he sat, the twice born
Buddha, whilst one convulsive throe shook the wide earth. The
eyes of the Buddha then considered ALL THAT LIVES, and forthwith
there rose within him deep compassion.
Thereafter he set forth on his pilgrimage over India, teaching,
gathering disciples, but always teaching, teaching, teaching. He
taught the esoteric Wisdom, then held closely secret by the few
Brahmans of his time who knew it. He explained it, developed it,
set it forth, and those who were great enough to receive it, and
who surrounded the Teacher became the depositaries of his great
and sublime system, in so far as he was permitted to communicate
it to them.
So the years passed. The stir that he made in the land was
great. Pupils flocked to him from every quarter. His name
spread far and wide. He performed works of wonder, of human
kindliness. He taught the gospel of love and compassion and
pity, of love without bounds, infinite, taking the Universe
within the compass of its reach. He taught the essential,
spiritual-divine oneness of all things, the spiritual-divine
oneness of the human being with the spiritual universe. He sent
his disciples two by two all over Aryavarta and told them to go
farther afield, which they did in time.
When the Buddha was eighty years old and the autumn was turning
the leaves, the legend states that he laid himself down one day,
and his last words, according to the Buddhist Scriptures, were:
> My Brethren, all things are composite. Work out your own
> salvation with diligence. Walk as I have commanded you; get rid
> of all the tangled net of sorrow, walk in the way with steadfast
> aim; 'tis not from seeing me this comes. He who does not do what
> I command sees me in vain, whilst he who lives far off from where
> I am, and yet walks righteously, is ever near me. A man may
> dwell beside me, and yet being disobedient, be far away from me.
> Keep your heart carefully -- give not place to listlessness,
> earnestly practice every good work.
And further he said:
> Do not believe my work will die with me. It is not one alone who
> keeps alive a host. Look within. The light enkindled there by
> the truths and rules of Our Order will lead you on. Be lamps
> unto yourselves. Proceed with meditation, concentration, and
> devotion; weigh carefully all teaching that you meet. If it
> rings true to the fundamental doctrines laid down for the
> Brotherhood, the teaching good. If it rings not true, reject it.
Then he passed into Nirvana.
Dedicated to the Theosophical Philosophy and its Practical Application