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THEOSOPHY WORLD --------------------------------------- May, 2010

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

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to theos-world@theosophy.com.

(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.)

==================================================================
CONTENTS

"True Concentration," by Eldon Tucker
"Alchemy," by H.T. Edge
"The Flower of the Mountains," by Kenneth Morris
"The Legend of Visingso," by Oscar Ljungstrom
"The Essential in Theosophy," by Osvald Siren
"Beyond the Veil," by H. Travers
"The Esoteric Philosophy of Unselfishness," by C. Woodhead
"The Gods of the Ancient World," by Kenneth Morris

==================================================================

> Thou hast to reach that fixity of mind in which no breeze,
> however strong, can waft an earthly thought within. Thus
> purified, the shrine must of all action, sound, or earthly light
> be void; e'en as the butterfly, o'ertaken by the frost, falls
> lifeless at the threshold -- so must all earthly thoughts fall
> dead before the fane.
>
> -- H.P. Blavatsky, THE VOICE OF THE SILENCE

------------------------------------------------------------------
TRUE CONCENTRATION

By Eldon Tucker

When we first become self-aware of ourselves as being in life and
doing things, we wonder why we are here. Just what is going on?
Is there a greater purpose to things? Can we rise above our
self-absorption in day-to-day events and get a higher perspective
on what is happening with us?

We are told that we have been drifting through life like a boat
floating about on the sea without direction, getting nowhere,
subject to external influences, without purpose or direction.
Our lives may be chaotic in a random way, where we are led about
by our desires, putting us at the mercy of external events.

Then we hear of the Path, a process whereby we can free ourselves
from the person that we have trapped ourselves into being. We
learn about self-directed efforts to change our lives, to grow
and evolve, to act rather than react to things. The Path is
described as a process where we learn to live our lives with
one-pointed purpose, that of self-perfection which involves the
perfect cultivation of love and wisdom.

At first, this makes perfect sense to us. If life is confusing,
if we have too many choices, if we want too many things and
cannot let go, what could sound better than to control the mind,
to reign in the desires, to cultivate our personalities like one
would weed and cultivate an unruly garden? But the process is not
quite that simple.

The idea of controlled, planned steps to improve ourselves is too
tidy, too mechanical, too simply lifeless and dead to actually
represent the living, vibrant, raw thirst for a glorious life.
Such ordered to do lists of steps on the spiritual path are
really but carvings on the tombstones of dead religions.

The Path involves a dynamic relationship with the archetypes. It
is followed by maintaining a healthy degree of interaction with
them, not getting too close where one is burned, nor too
distanced where one loses the sparkle and magic of their coloring
of life.

Consider the process of concentration, the learning to focus the
mind on an object of contemplation. The goal is not achieved
from the forcefulness of will, not by a strong "push" straining
ourselves to stay focused. No. It comes from a "pull" from the
object, and that comes from setting our desire on it, making the
object attractive, compelling, and alluring.

The mind does not need to be chained to an object, not permitted
to wander, held prisoner like a dog chained to a post. It has no
problem beholding beauty, magic, the adorable. It wanders when
the life has departed the object, but where did the life in the
object come from? We put it there. It's a projection where we
see something of ourselves in the image before us, yet it is also
something more.

The power to focus our minds depends upon our bringing our
interest, desire, and fascination onto something. No so-called
will power is necessary. There is no brute force used. But the
object only comes alive to us when we see the life in it. We are
not considering a static mental image, a statue, a fixed concept.
We are interacting with something that is alive. The difference
here is as between our talking to a stone versus talking to a
close friend. One is a concrete, static, unchanging thing. The
other is a living being that interacts with us and has something
to say. We don't own the object. We have a relationship with
it.

What constitutes mental development? We cultivate a conscious
awareness of what is happening, which replaces dreaminess. We
get better at choosing when to change direction in what we do.
We are not adrift on a stream of consciousness without any
direction. Being aware of the flow, we can influence it, like
holding the rudder to a boat affects its direction in the waters.

We cultivate the regular habits like meditation, self-reflection
and review of the day's activities, constant efforts at acts of
kindness, gestures of friendship, and acts of charity. All this
helps us soothe the turbulent nature of our lives.

The scattered nature of the mind is brought into an ordered
state. But the mind is fluidic, ever changing, and mercurial.
This order is not a static state of our simply holding to a
certain thought. It is not a freezing the mind into a single
thought. Rather, it is like slowing down the heartbeat but not
stopping it. It is a calming of the mind sometimes, but it could
also be an agitation or excitation of mind on a particular theme.

We make a dynamic connection with a particular object, theme, or
symbol where there is a give and take, a creative exchange, a
learning of new things. The single-focused nature of the mind is
on this particular other, this one archetype that we are
interacting with. Other archetypal voices are silenced. We
relate to one and not others for the moment, but that relating
may not necessarily be calm, quiet, and ordered. It would be a
wild burst of creative energy.

We do not hope for specific results. The creative exchanges and
the resulting growth are not necessarily predictable. When the
process is engaged, effects will show up in our lives, but how
and where in the physical world they manifest themselves to us
may be completely unpredictable.

Do we perfect the mind as a tool? No, the mind is not a "thing"
that can be modified. It is a dynamic process, a living thing, a
voice of awareness that rises out of creative chaos.

What we do is to strike up friendships with symbols behind which
are the archetypes. We cultivate those relationships. Some may
turn into love and be key elements in our lives. Others may play
minor roles in one's experience of life.

There are two radically different types of changes that are
possible in our lives. With growth, we go through the normal
progress on a timeline from birth through old age and death, like
an acorn becoming a green shoot, a twiglet, and eventually a
towering tree. Phase of life changes are normal, natural,
instinctual, and we go though them with wonder and joy. But even
so, we're still us, unchanged, going with the flow of things.

The second type of changes involve evolution. We mutate, deviate
from the normal changes and timeline to our lives, and respond to
influences that most people are unaware of. We radically change,
becoming leaders or outcastes, on the fringe of society rather
than in the mainstream. When we evolve enough, we're no longer
like other people, and our lives are never the same.

Growth is a natural process. We do it in every lifetime, going
through phase-of-life changes like a caterpillar metamorphosing
into a butterfly. We do it over and over again, living similar
lives, being who we are and nothing more.

Evolution means deviating from that pattern. We are broken or
different or unpredictable in new ways. We may fail and be worse
off for a time, but in the long run, we rise above what we were,
and become a new class of person on our way to godhood. We can
also be pioneers in new thought and insights. So don't just
grow, connect directly to archetypal truths and change in new and
different ways that aren't to be found in anybody's spiritual
rule books.

------------------------------------------------------------------
ALCHEMY

By H.T. Edge

[From THE THEOSOPHICAL PATH, May 1914, pages 328-32.]

We notice in a contemporary a brief report of an address
delivered before the Alchemical Society in London by Professor
Herbert Chatle of the Tangshan Engineering College on Alchemy in
China. The lecturer pointed out that views like those held by
the medieval alchemists of Europe had been current in China since
500 B.C. or even earlier. Among other views, the Chinese
alchemists:

* Regarded gold as the perfect substance.

* Believed in the possibility of transmuting base metals into
  gold.

* Employed peculiar symbols in their writing.

* Held that a spiritual influence was necessary in the alchemist.

* Required astrological correspondences in the operations.

* Used mercury as the basis for preparing the philosopher's
  stone.

* Believed that gold develops slowly from other metals.

* Associated immortality with asceticism.

* Taught that all things were generated by the interaction of
  "masculine" and "feminine" potencies.

* Believed in the Elixir of Life.

These are indeed remarkable analogies, and we have no doubt the
said society has, in the course of its lectures, brought to light
more such analogies drawn from sources neither European nor
Chinese. For alchemy was indeed a branch of ancient knowledge
and as such is to be found widely spread among the nations that
at the present day represent the results of the scattering and
confusion of races that took place in olden times.

These facts would certainly seem to invalidate certain theories
of which we shall find elaborated at considerable length, if we
turn to the learned repositories of universal information in
search of knowledge about alchemy.

Whether such authorities do or do not know anything about it need
not be argued, as it is never necessary to prove a self-evident
proposition. The fact that we close the volume with confusion
superadded to our previous darkness is enough. Possibly a bigger
proportion of facts and a smaller modicum of speculation would
have conduced a more enlightening result.

Alchemy came to Europe from the East, so it is not surprising
that it should be found to have flourished in the quarter whence
it came. Did it come originally from China, or did it go to
China from some other source?

The problem is similar to that concerning many other ancient
things such as chess and cards, creation and deluge myths,
geometrical symbols, etc. It is a question of historical
research aided by an unprejudiced mind and unhampered by a desire
to establish any particular historical, scientific, or
theological theory.

> Had not Diocletian burned the esoteric works of the Egyptians in
> 296, together with their books on alchemy; Caesar 700,000 rolls
> at Alexandria, and Leo Isaurus 300,000 at Constantinople (8th
> century); and the Mohammedans all they could lay their
> sacrilegious hands on -- the world might know more today of
> Atlantis than it does. For Alchemy had its birthplace in
> Atlantis during the Fourth Race, and had only its RENAISSANCE in
> Egypt.
>
> -- THE SECRET DOCTRINE, II, page 763 fn.

> It is from the Fourth Race that the Aryans inherited their most
> valuable science of the hidden virtues of precious and other
> stones, of chemistry, or rather alchemy, of mineralogy, geology,
> physics, and astronomy.
>
> -- THE SECRET DOCTRINE, II, page 427

The Fourth Race had passed through its seven cycles and
bequeathed its knowledge to the nascent Fifth Race, our
ancestors. But knowledge may, under certain conditions, be lost
for awhile. History tells us clearly enough how often man,
choosing glory or self-indulgence, has shut in his own face the
door of knowledge and preferred to establish systems built on
physical force and systemized belief.

The instances of willful destruction of manuscripts given above
are the merest samples of a process by which ancient lore has
time and again been hounded from the earth. In seeking to regain
knowledge, it is our own efforts that we have to undo.

To those who WANT to think that there is nothing in alchemy, we
can only say, "Sure, by all means," smile, and turn away. But
those who want to know what there is in it must seek that
knowledge along the lines just indicated. Alchemy was part of
the Secret Doctrine, and as such must be studied. Its symbols
ramify in all directions so that we must be prepared to study
ancient teachings in mathematics, astronomy, symbolism, and other
subjects.

Alchemy is said by some wiseacres to be a primitive attempt at
chemistry. This seems to be on a par with the idea that
Pythagoras, in attaching so much importance to right-angled
triangles, was making feeble attempts at Euclidean geometry, or
that myths about Atlas were early attempts at cosmic science.
(See THEOREM DES PYTHAGORAS by H.A. Naber, Haarlem, 1908.)

There WERE medieval alchemists who lost their way by paying too
much attention to the physical aspect of their science and
forgetting its spiritual import. No doubt their efforts paved
the way for modern chemistry. But is no account to be taken of
the symbolical aspect of alchemy, by many alchemists regarded as
by far the most important part?

This suggests the question was alchemy literal or figurative? It
was both. The doctrine of correspondences holds that one plan
runs throughout all nature, both without and within, and that
what is true of the spiritual world is true of the physical.

Physical gold can be made free from base metals by a process
analogous to that by which the gold of wisdom can be made from
the base elements in our make-up. Very possibly the physical
process cannot be consummated except by one who has mastered the
spiritual process.

Mercury, sulfur, and salt symbolized body, soul, and spirit. It
is interesting to note that salt crystallizes in cubes -- the
characteristic geometrical form for the physical world; sulfur
crystallizes in needles and double pyramids -- the number three
and the triangular form corresponding to soul as contrasted with
body; mercury takes a globular form -- that of the sphere, which
corresponds to the number One.

Among metals, mercury stands for the mind, which is volatile and
very mobile and easily contaminated by base metals such as lead,
which last symbolizes the dull earthly quality in our nature.

Bright silver, used for mirror and photography, associated in its
ores with lead, readily tarnished by sulfur, is the imagination.
The astrological correspondence is the moon, the radiance of
which is turned alternately to the sun and to the earth, and
which throws upon us a pale and transformed reflection of the
solar light.

The purification by fire in the crucible is an undying symbol, so
true to life, as all know who have learned anything through
suffering. One might go on indefinitely commenting on the
symbolism in this manner.

The eternal Quest has been symbolized by agriculture (NABATHEAN
AGRICULTURE, by Chwolsohn), the labors of Hercules, the winning
of the Golden Fleece, and many a legend of Knight and Dragon.
Alchemy is only one of the ways. The Master Science includes
mathematics, astronomy, chemistry, physics, and music -- all.

How is it that people who study these ancient mysteries generally
get lost in a perfect maze of erudition and find themselves
further and further away from any definite knowledge or useful
result? Is it not because they lack some personal quality, some
mental power, whose possession is indispensable?

There are scholars gifted with marvelous powers of literary
research and phenomenal memories who can tell you all that
anybody ever thought or wrote upon a given subject. They have
arrived at no conclusion whatever, their minds being still quite
blank. Others seem to digest and turn to account every atom of
the very little they have gleaned. The former have the greater
mentality; the latter the more intuition. It is the difference
between learning and knowledge.

It is the difference between the craftsman who has elaborate
tools but no skill, and the craftsman who knows he can rely on
his skill but needs few appliances. We have acquired a
radioactive method which tends to lead us away from the simple
truth into endless unprofitable details. It is this which so
hampers our attainment.

> Indeed, if such an imaginary Chemist happened to be intuitional,
> and would for a moment step out of the habitual groove of
> strictly 'Exact Science,' as the Alchemists of old did, he might
> be repaid for his audacity.
>
> -- THE SECRET DOCTRINE, I, 144 fn.

How can we regain the necessary altitude? By never forgetting
that knowledge is sacred, and that like nobility, it confers
obligation. If we have any other motive, then we must remain
content with something less than knowledge. This is no arbitrary
condition, but a law of nature. We cannot see with our eyes
shut. If the presence of certain motives in us has the effect of
closing our eyes and clouding our vision, we must remove those
defects before we can see.

He who desires to share the thoughts of another must first win
the confidence of that other. To go to him with prying eye or
searching question would be to seal his lips. With nature, it is
not otherwise. True, there are those who believe nature is a
clod or a machine. For them, she remains just that and nothing
more. But we address those who think otherwise.

If only we can learn to use aright the knowledge which we have
perhaps we shall find other knowledge pouring in upon us as fast
as we can use it. Perhaps may have to pray to be spared more
knowledge lest we be singed by the light.

"Asceticism" was mentioned as a necessary condition for the
alchemist, but the word is to be avoided on account of its
associations. It does not mean that the alchemist must stand on
a pillar like Simon Stylites, walk barefoot in the grass before
breakfast, or wear a hair shirt and look miserable.

This is not abstinence, but the vain mockery thereof. It means
that the alchemist must pull off from certain things that are
pulling him back. This is but common sense. Whether any
particular pleasures or habits are right is one question.
Whether or not they interfere with the objects which the
alchemist sets before himself is another and distinct question.
He may find it necessary to give up one in order to get the
other.

An chemist is properly one who aspires to learn the secrets of
life. And how can he expect to find such knowledge along the
ordinary tracks of study, which do not conduct thither? Clearly
he must follow another track. This kind of knowledge was taught
in symbols -- mathematical, numerical, astronomical, chemical,
etc.

------------------------------------------------------------------
THE FLOWER OF THE MOUNTAINS

By Kenneth Morris

[From THE THEOSOPHICAL PATH, February 1914, pages 83-84.]

Welsh Air -- Lili Lon.

I

Buttercups and bee-loved clover,
Harebells, daffodils and heather --
There's a Flower no lark sings over,
Quite outshines you all together:
Who shall breathe her dear name?
Who shall sound her deep fame?
She that kindles up the uplands
With her blooms of dream and flame.

Cuckoo-flower by Tybie's Fountain,
Meadowsweet beside the river,
There's a Flower upon the Mountain
Makes the lone blue midnight quiver.
In the violet glow and gloom
Where the twilight mountains loom,
There the heavens behold enraptured
The white glamor of her bloom.

Rose of all the roses blowing,
Pansy -- purplest, darkest, deepest --
Not such loveliness art knowing,
Not such heart-deep sweetness keepest!
For her scent was snow and fire
For the starry bardic choir,
Glyndwr's and Llewelyn's glory,
Arthur's sword, and Ceiriog's lyre.

II

Maidens in the hay-rich meadow,
Morfydd, Olwen, Nest, Elonwy --
Eyes of starlight, sunlight, shadow --
Glad the sky that looketh on ye --
What are ye, though so fair,
Crowned with brown clouds of hair,
Throats endowed with blackbird sweetness,
Pride of mien and queenly air --

What are ye, that hearts should hunger
For your ripplings forth of laughter?
There's a Maid that's fairer, younger,
Whoso sees shall follow after
Till the stars fade away,
And the pearl-rimmed turquoise, Day,
And Night's gemmed and somber dragon
Topple headlong in decay.

There's a Maid amidst the Mountains,
Ageless through the hoary ages,
And her star-eyes were the fountains
Of the lore of druid sages;
And her speech was snow and fire
For the starry bardic choir,
Glyndwr's and Llewelyn's glory,
Arthur's sword, and Ceiriog's lyre.

------------------------------------------------------------------
THE LEGEND OF VISINGSO

By Oscar Ljungstrom

[From THE THEOSOPHICAL PATH, March 1914, pages 199-203.]

Every Swede knows Lake Vattern: the wide clear inland sea, a
diamond among lakes. All have certainly heard of Visingso, the
pearl of Vattern. But perhaps all do not know that in olden
times the royal residence of Sweden was situated here on this
beautiful island, which was the seat of several of our old kings,
chief among whom was Magnus "lock the barn" Ladulus.

In these times, when legend changed into history, the metropolis
of the North was situated at the southern end of the island. In
remote antiquity, however, when legend was true and history
unwritten, the metropolitan center even then was in the island,
though at its northern point.

One summer I journeyed Visingso and turned my steps to the old
fragments of the walls in the south, which are all that is left
of the royal castle. Antiquarians and their helpers were busy
digging, and had brought the immense walls to the light.

On the outside, they found the barbs of decayed arrows that had
been shot against the castle when it was stormed by hostile
forces. Inside they found charred wood remnants dating from the
day when enemies had set the castle on fire. In front of a niche
in the tower-chamber, a small ornamented bronze key was found.
Maybe it once belonged to the jewelbox in which the diadem of the
royal bride was kept.

From the south, I turned my steps to the place of memories in the
north. I wandered in dreams through immense oak-woods out into
pine-regions where the tall trunks reminded me of columns in a
fairy temple. As in an old church one treads on gravestone after
gravestone all the way to the altar, so the ground below the
crowns of pines was strewn with barrow on barrow in their
hundreds. The people of the saga had found here the path that
leads through the underworld over the Gjallar-bridge and Bifrost
up to Valhalla.

Half-way to the place in view, I passed a stately view,
surrounded by gigantic ramparts and ditches -- Earl Brahe's
Visingsborg. The castle was burnt one Christmas Eve in the time
of Carolus XII, being set on fire by captive Muscovites. Now
lofty trees covered with leaves were to be seen growing from the
ground up through the hall of knights, forming vaults from wall
to wall. Though not following the plan of the architect, yet
they were in keeping with the whole, conforming to its style -- a
ruin style!

At the extreme north, a memorial stone is standing which was
erected by Earl Brahe: "Here our forefathers had a castle in
olden days," it says. Dark forces, however, try to destroy such
memories and turn them over to oblivion. Storm-waves dig and dig
until the stone falls down the steep and becomes buried. Several
times it has been erected anew, and each time at a greater
distance inland from the shore.

But this is not the true memorial stone. One hundred fathoms
from the shore, deep down you must seek the "Borga-stone" -- this
stone of which the legend speaks. Some of its words still live
in the legends of the people and in ancient chronicle -- they
give some scattered features.

When listening to the temple-song of the wind in the pine-wood
among the barrows; when standing on the shore with the clear
little wavelets whispering at my feet; when rocking in the
billows on the way to the Borga-stone -- then my mind was filled
by the echoes of bygone days. My soul heard the legend that has
been handed down in a trustworthy manner from generation to
generation, though now it is half-forgotten.

Thus it runs:

In ancient times Vattern did not exist. Where its cool waters
now extend, there was a wide, fertile valley -- a whole country
covered by houses, fields, and woods. This was long, long ago,
before the time of discord, and then all men were happy. Thus
joy and peace reigned in the valley, and as king, there ruled a
wise old king who still remembered the days when Heimdall
wandered among men. The king's name is not known in our time.
He had two sons, Vise and Vatte.

When the old king went away, he left the kingdom to his sons.
They should rule it together, so he decided; but Vise, as the
oldest and wisest, should have the highest power. Vise was to
give the counsel and Vatte to respect it. At the THING, Vatte
might speak, but Vise was to have the judgment when judgment was
difficult.

Now Vise built his castle on a high hill in the midst of the
valley, and Vatte his down in the valley. Vise's castle was
beautiful to behold, with arcades, vaults, and domes; and it
stood there as a token of the happiness and joy of the land,
visible to all around. Its splendor was mirrored in a small
clear lake at the foot of the hill, while beautiful groves
surrounded the castle.

In the midst of the courtyard stood a mighty THING-stone. Often
it happened that when Vise mounted the stone, crowds of people in
festal attire came to hear his laws and listen to his words.
Mighty and wonderful sounded his voice, and deep wisdom flowed
from his lips, seeming to emanate from his whole being. It
penetrated the hearts of the listeners, and many minds returned
to manly and noble acts.

King Vatte was a great warrior, and at the head of his army, he
defended the borders of the country. When he rode in his shining
armor to King Vise's castle to take advice of his brother, he was
stately to behold, and many a maiden followed him with loving
eyes.

In the lake, a sea-maid had her dwelling. Hidden in the reeds
with love in her heart, she had often seen the bold warrior
passing up the hill, and this was the cause of the sighs that
rose from out the water as Vatte passed. But he who becomes
subject to the love of a sea-maid and hears her sighs can never
more be happy in company of men.

As long as Vatte continued to ride to his brother and followed
his wise counsels, everything was well in the valley. But
Vatte's heart was unreliable, and falsehood slumbered in its
depths. His mind was dulled by the sighing of the sea-maiden.
In his heart, jealousy began to rankle. He could no longer be
satisfied with conditions which his brother had greater power and
dignity.

One day, Vise brought home as his bride a lovely maid, and a
sweeter queen never had been seen. But Vatte's jealousy turned
to hatred, and his thoughts ever centered themselves on the
queen. Wild with passion, he decided to dethrone Vise, capture
his bride and make himself the sole sovereign of the country.

A time when Vise went far away to another country to give his
good laws and wise rules to its people. With words from the
heart, he desired to fill the minds of listening crowds with
knowledge. The castle he entrusted to the care of a faithful
servant whose name was Bard. Further, he invited the sea-maid to
the castle to solace his young bride with her wonderful songs.
Bard too was a master of music, and there was a remedy for her
longing in the sea-maid's song and in the play of the harp.

Vatte now thought it was the right time to carry out his infamous
design. He gathered together his sworn champions and rode to the
hill. Bard saw the dark warriors at a great distance. He knew
secretly of Vatte's jealousy and guessed what would happen. With
great dispatch, he took the queen out of the castle, saddled the
horses, and dashed off with her to where he knew King Vise was.

When Vatte arrived, it was an easy thing for him to take the
castle. In the keep, he found the sea-maid. As everyone knows,
a sea-maid can easily change shape, and now she had taken the
shape of the queen in order to meet the desire of Vatte. Being
himself false, Vatte could not readily see the falsehood of
others, and thus he was gratified in having attained his goal.
We can imagine that the sea-maid most willingly followed Vatte to
his castle in the valley.

Soon the thought came to Vatte that he ought to destroy the
castle of Vise, so that the latter might not have a stronghold
when he came back again. Thus he rode once more to the hill with
his champions, but nowhere could he find the castle. The
Vana-gods of the underworld had taken Vise's castle under their
protection. Only the great THING-stone was still visible, and it
became from this time a memorial for future generations, standing
on the site where the castle once had been.

King Vatte now ruled the whole kingdom, but the golden age had
passed away. The dark king did not rule in peace. At his castle
in the valley, he lived with his sea-maid. Years rolled by, and
in time, she began to long for her old servants and playmates,
the billows of her home -- the clear little lake at the foot of
the hill.

Once when she was singing her wonderful songs, her longings grew
with a strange force. It was carried by the magic power of its
tones out over the valley, and the billows of the little lake
began to tremble when they felt the urge of their queen. They
had no choice; they must obey her secret call, and so one after
another, they glided over the brink of their home. Soon
thousands of waves rose from the hidden spring in the depths of
the lake and followed their comrades out into the valley, which
finally they wholly embraced in their arms.

We name the valley Vattern because it is the land of Vatte, and
the hill above the water, Visingso -- the remnant of Vise's land
-- the land of old, where the people were ruled by a king filled
with the wisdom which Heimdall once brought to the races of men.

King Vatte and his queen still live in their castle at the bottom
of the sea. When the sea-maid is singing her charming songs, the
surface of the lake is quiet and beaming. The clear little waves
touch the shore with melodious sounds.

Vatte is a king full of wrath, and his raging champions,
following his command, storm against the shore in the dark blue
storm-waves. Full of rage for not having been able to destroy
King Vise's castle, he sends them against the island to dig and
dig until the whole hill shall be swept away in the depths. Thus
it is his hope to destroy the castle that must be found within
the hill.

If you take a boat along the strange rocky shore of the island,
you can sometimes see parts of the sunken castle, laid bare by
the washing billows -- here a stair, there a gate or column. In
time they become undermined by the waves, and one after the other
falls into the depth, down into the kingdom of King Vatte. Even
the mighty stone on the courtyard from which Vise used to teach
the people is now partly covered by the water.

However, as long as it is still visible above the water, King
Vise can come back.

They who have received the legend as a heritage from their
fathers and who faithfully tell it to the next generation are
hoping he will reappear some day. Then shall the castle of the
saga once more rise above the crest of the hill. Over clear
shimmering waves, its golden domes and high arcades shall be seen
from the distant shores of the mainland. The ancient THING-stone
shall then be brought to its right place, and once more inspired
crowds from afar and near shall listen to the wisdom of primeval
times.

------------------------------------------------------------------
THE ESSENTIAL IN THEOSOPHY

By Osvald Siren

[From THE THEOSOPHICAL PATH, March 1914, pages 158-65.]

If one should ask me the question: What is the essential in
Theosophy? I should without hesitation reply: "The Life."
Theosophy is not, in respect to its essential nature, a new
system, but it is a practical thing, an ethical movement, a
positive force, which does not come to mankind saying: "You shall
believe," but saying: "You shall BE. You shall LIVE."

Theosophy does not tear down anything true and good. It does not
oppose honorable and sane conditions which in any way might be
employed to elevate and ennoble individual life. Theosophy is
not in the ordinary sense a religious form, but it is religion
for the reason that it is life.

Religion, or more correctly, the several church creeds which by
slow stages become established, consists, generally, of a small
kernel of life enclosed in a shell of theological formulas which
are considered necessary, in order, as far as possible, to
distinguish one church from the other churches.

It is incorrect to refer to Theosophy as being heathenism or as
being Christianity, because either a heathen or a Christian can
be a Theosophist if he is conscious of the divine essence in his
own heart and faithfully tries to follow its promptings; or, to
quote the noble heathen in THE LOST ATHENIAN, "the difference
between what is holy for thee and what is holy for me refers only
to the form, not to the spirit."

Since Christ's efforts were chiefly devoted to arousing mankind
and teaching mankind that they were all God's children -- that is
to say, that each possesses a higher divine nature -- it must be
that his real successors are rightly called Theosophists, their
lives, their fidelity to the divine Self, is what makes them
Theosophists. To the Theosophist, human brotherhood is a fact in
nature and the divine is a living reality in his heart.

In theological and philosophical questions, a Theosophist may
entertain whatever opinions he chooses, provided only that in
thought, word, and act he cultivate his inner divine nature --
the imperishable in man, which survives and is mightier than all
creeds, that which is in all and which gathers together the whole
of humanity into one great family.

It is erroneous to think that Theosophy signifies or enforces any
one creed. It signifies only an appeal to reflection, to
sincerity, to courage to follow the highest persuasions, the
cleanest motives of which we are capable. To him who loyally
listens to such an appeal is unfolded also the Christ spirit.
For him no longer does the value of religion lie in mythological
or theological conclusions; his conclusions are not affected by
those who tear down or build up only with words.

It is now perhaps easier to realize why it is that the essential
in Theosophy is life, or more accurately stated, something which
can only be expressed through life. It is this which constitutes
the foundation for all high moral conduct, and which, popularly
stated, takes the form of brotherhood. It is the antithesis of
selfishness and egotism. We assert that brotherhood is a fact in
nature, therefore that a common divine life permeates the whole
of nature, that in which "we live and move and have our being."
In this at least, there is nothing foreign to Christianity. Let
us take an example.

When do we consider that a human being reaches the highest? When
does he most clearly and entirely express the noblest
characteristics of human nature? Is it not when he forgets
himself for something greater, when through self-conquest,
through courage and devotion, he becomes a hero in the trials of
peace or of war, when he sacrifices himself (his lower
personality) for an inspiring cause, when he goes to his death,
perhaps for his country or a fellow man?

We bestow on such a man our applause and our honors independently
of what creeds or what views of life he may have entertained.
His example becomes a support and an incentive to others. Such a
man has, through firm resolution, by long-continued loyal work,
or through profound devotion reached forward to the point where
life's lower inclinations no longer enchain him. The indwelling
higher power is able to act untrammeled and raise him to the
heroic deed.

When we see this in life and deeds, we call it honor and heroism,
and we are forced to admit that human nature is not so utterly
ruined as certain theologians and pessimists teach.

There is evidently something, let us call it heart-force, which
breaks through all forms of belief and mental dogmas. It is a
creative power whose expression is action and whose essence is
life. At core it is the same power which enlightens the artist
in his noblest creations, which blossoms in the verse which
springs from the poet's heart. Whether this fruition is the
result of a momentary flaming transport or is the consequence of
a long loyal life strife, in either event, it is in essence life,
an uplifting, inspiring power.

When this power is liberated, the human being first truly begins
his career as a god-illumined being. It is for such
enfranchisement that Theosophy strives, but the work can only be
wrought through the agency of our conduct.

In doing this, education is the first great factor. A true
knowledge of human nature is of the most momentous consequence.
Much of such knowledge is overlooked in the (in large part)
materialistic intellectuality of the period. Theosophy seeks to
restore this neglected education by emphasizing the essential
truths which are to be found in the great world-religions, and to
be found also in many of the greatest thinkers of the ages. And,
quite naturally, we find it in the Christian teachings.

Jesus has often in metaphor alluded to this inner power, which,
as I have said, Theosophy is striving to awaken into activity.
He calls it "the Father's Will," or "God's Will."

> Because everyone who does the will of my Father which is in
> heaven is my brother, my sister, my mother.

This is a distinct reference to the spiritual unity which binds
mankind into a single family. St. Paul calls it

> the Spirit of God which dwells in you, . . . for as many as
> are led by the spirit of God, they are the sons of God . . .
> and if children, then heirs: heirs of God, and joint-heirs with
> Christ: if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also
> glorified together.
>
> -- Romans, viii, 14, 17.

If this spiritual power is a fact -- a proof of God's existence
in the widest sense -- let us not dwell on profitless
speculations as to whence it came or on its ultimate definition
(if such a definition is indeed possible), but let us rather
agree that this power is inexhaustible and that it is intended
for our use in the sense that we are able to manifest it.

When human beings create the gods, they always create them after
their own image however much they may afterwards seek to adorn
and idealize them. The human conception works out the Supreme in
outline: ideas are as little able as art to exist without a
personal form.

When mankind meditates on God or on God's existence, or the like,
it is only about the forms of thought that the battle wages.
Life itself, which lies behind, which upholds all, which flows
through the human heart, is not reached by words and precise
definition. It can only be symbolically stated. In a sense, the
Theosophist also speaks of God, but he knows that so soon as he
defines God, God no longer corresponds to the Reality. Ideas
stand in the same relation to the divine principle as do garments
to the person: they are outgrown or burst asunder simply from the
force of the life within.

> We outrage patience and peace in our speculations about the
> universe and It which is omnipresent therein and thereover. We
> ought to study our own inner natures more. All light comes from
> within; from without only other people's opinions reach us. Each
> one who deeply meditates is conscious of a presence within beyond
> the reach of thought, of a power for good which speaks with the
> voice of knowledge and commands to nobler effort. This power has
> its source in our divine primeval Self, the divine Ego, the true
> Self. The divine Self rises above all conceptions of God because
> these last-named are no more than the highest ideas which the
> power of thought can reach, and they bear traces of the
> imperfections which inhere in the originator's mind. If it is
> possible for a man to become so ennobled as to raise himself
> above thought into a higher and clearer consciousness, it would
> be for him a revelation which would cause all speculation over
> the divine nature to seem paltry and foolish.
>
> -- Theosophical Manual Number Four

I have already, in the introduction, emphasized the fact that
Theosophy cannot be considered as a "confession of faith." (It
has no ecclesiastical dogmas. It has no churches or priesthood.
Membership in the society requires only an earnest effort to live
according to the principles of brotherhood.) It cannot be
considered as a form of religion, but rather as a manifestation
of the religion of the human heart. This also indicates that the
essence of Theosophy is life.

Religion is derived from RELIGARE, to bind together, and almost
certainly signifies the binding together of humanity or the
uniting with the divine. This is, popularly expressed,
religion's purpose. Religion would show the way or the means by
which we may reach a union with the higher consciousness.

To reach this point, can the theological definitions of God's
attributes and of the nature of God be of any help? For those who
sincerely seek a union with the divine, or according to the Bible
form of expression seek to live with God, must this (God) finally
cease to be something lying outside -- a more or less
sharply-defined personality -- it must by degrees become an inner
reality which can be perceived in moments of deep introspection
or when we are subjected to the severest trials.

It must be something which we can evoke at will to our help. "In
short, we may say that the divine human ego is a ray from the
universal spirit. Through this divine ego, it is that man may
reach the spirit and win knowledge and light." In THE
BHAGAVAD-GITA, this is stated in the familiar words:

> In every creature's heart, O Arjuna, dwelleth the Master --
> Ishvara -- who through his magic power holds all things and all
> beings in action on time's eternal circling wheel; take refuge in
> him with all thy soul, O son of Bharata; through him shalt thou
> win the highest felicity, the eternal place of rest.

In the New Testament, the divine human ego is called "the Son"
and the Universal Spirit "the Father." The Galilean Initiate has
several times described the birth of the Christos: how it can be
won by each human being as certainly as that Christ -- in the
real sense (the sense in which the word is generally employed in
allegory) -- lives in every human heart. It is present as a
potentiality, a spark, a ray from the divine source of light.

This spiritual, helping, saving power, according to Theosophy,
has entered as a voluntary sacrifice on the part of certain more
highly developed beings. This stands in easy consistency with
the symbolical representation of the redemption-idea as recited
in the Bible. Let us, however, not interpret this in a too
materialistic fashion. Let us not seek to limit the light to a
form when its essential nature requires that it freely glow in
order to warm and enlighten.

This living Christ is in essence also one with the Holy Ghost.
It is the power which finds expression in and through the "Son of
Man," that is to say, through every true human being. Jesus
clearly refers to this difference when, among other similar
statements, he says: "And whoever shall curse the Son of Man it
shall be forgiven him; but whoever shall sin against the Holy
Ghost it shall not be forgiven him either in this world or in the
world to come."

St. Paul often speaks of "the Christ" in man, thereby implying
the divine radiation which dwells in each human heart. This is
the only form in which we directly and immediately may learn to
know the divine -- God. All other efforts to present it become
metaphors or fancies, fetishes or idols; perhaps lower
reflections from the divine, the old nature-spirits and human
heroes which are worshiped and get the name of Gods.

The hierarchies in the divine world-system are endlessly
numerous, but the divine Self is one and universal, the essential
foundation of all that lives. Its most general expression is
life, and nature is the Great Law which, in part, we recognize in
our hearts and conscience as responsibility, brotherhood. In
fact, we perceive it as the building, leading, compensating power
in life which surrounds us.

Through the "Great Law," life is regulated. We reap what we sow.
We get the experience and the lessons which are necessary in
order to go forward in life's school. So, little by little, the
character is strengthened, the dross of the lower nature is
burned out, and the pure gold in the soul's rich mine shines out
more beautifully.

This comes about slowly and through persistent effort. We must
first attain self-knowledge, afterwards self-control and
self-reliance, before we can really expect to make the right use
of the highest possibilities of our natures.

Christ said:

> When you pray go into your closet and shut to the door, and pray
> to your Father who is in secret, and your Father who is in secret
> will reward you openly; and when you pray you should not be
> many-worded as the heathen are, for they think they shall be
> heard on account of their many words; but do not like them
> because your Father knows what you need before you ask him.

It is in the heart's innermost chambers, in the deepest silence
that we must seek the Father who dwells in secret (the divine
spirit, of which each of us is a ray), and we must close the
door. That is, we must shut out the disturbing pictures which
the restless mind, the desires, and all the conditions which the
surface life induces.

It is no longer the many words, but uprightness and the trust in
the justice of the Great Compassionate Law that is essential in
prayer. Neither our desires nor our prayers can move the Law.
It takes its course despite us. It knows what we need before we
ask. The sincere effort in the Silence attains to the deepest
insight into the processes of the Divine Law and procures
consolation.

The truest prayer therefore runs, "Not my will but thine be
done," this followed by corresponding action. Such an attitude
involves a complete surrender of the selfish personal will to the
Divine Law.

Generally prayer is only a formulated desire of a more or less
personal nature; but the desires are many and conflicting, and so
at other times the petitioner is in the grasp of other restless
desires which more or less cancel and obliterate the force of the
former; and so it goes with the next petitioner.

The kind of prayer which is nothing other than an act of desire
most necessarily calls forth a great many conflicting streams of
energy with like conflicting consequences. This is particularly
manifest when two armies pray to the same God, each for victory
for itself and defeat for its antagonist. Even God cannot answer
both prayers favorably. A prayer for a definite object cannot
but imply an interference with the plans of providence.

It seems logically, therefore, that it is foolish and vain to
pray for a particular thing; but we can seek to bring our lives,
our wills, and our thoughts into harmony with the divine Law. It
is said in one of the Theosophical Manuals:

> Action is also in such a case better than words; we need not pray
> for an opportunity to do this or that, but we should immediately
> take hold of the thing at hand, "for a good beginning is a work
> half done."

Should we wait and pray for what, a savior's intercession or for
deliverance from our own responsibilities? Is this worthy of the
god-born beings whom Jesus directed to strive for perfection? No
time should be lost, no energy should be wasted in pitiful
acknowledgment of sinfulness and helplessness. It is when we
lose faith in Christianity's central truth of the inborn human
divinity that we begin to call upon outside powers and to have
recourse to selfish prayer which weakens moral fiber. Therefore
wrote Tegner in CHURCH ORDINATIONS. "Bow down and pray? No!
Stand up and love."

> Know then he shineth for thee in the Sun,
> Ripens the harvest, cools thee with the spring,
> And moves above thee in the tops of groves.
> Each time for thee a flash of higher thought
> Strikes on the mind, dispelling all the gloom;
> Each time a purer, deeper feeling comes
> Than those of daily life with its mean cares,
> Entering thy heart, and bringing with it wings
> Which lift thee from the earth that thou mayest stand
> To drink in heaven and walk upon the clouds
> Submerged in bliss -- thou wishest then to press
> Each fellow mortal to thy faithful breast:
> Know thou it is his might which moves thee so;
> It is his spirit near and over thee,
> His glory seest thou, it is his voice --
> Not from without he comes -- but from thyself.

------------------------------------------------------------------
BEYOND THE VEIL

By H. Travers

[From THE THEOSOPHICAL PATH, June 1914, pages 370-74.]

H.P. BLAVATSKY states:

> [The man who follows the law of his higher nature] leads in
> reality a spiritual and permanent existence, a life with no
> breaks of continuity, no gaps, no interludes, not even during
> those periods which are the halting-places of the long pilgrimage
> of purely spiritual life. All the phenomena of the lower human
> mind disappear like the curtain of a proscenium, allowing him to
> live in the region beyond it, the plane of the noumenal, the one
> reality. If man, by suppressing, if not destroying, his
> selfishness and personality, only succeeds in knowing himself as
> he is behind the veil of physical Maya, he will soon stand beyond
> all pain, all misery, and beyond all the wear and tear of change,
> which is the chief originator of pain. Such a man will be
> physically of matter, he will move surrounded by matter, and yet
> he will live beyond and outside it. His body will be subject to
> change, but he himself will be entirely without it, and will
> experience everlasting life, even while in temporary bodies of
> short duration.
>
> -- H.P. Blavatsky, THE SECRET DOCTRINE

What is this but the old teaching of Jesus, restated in different
words and with a special appeal to modern ears? The doctrine of
eternal life! But how the meaning of that phrase has become
reduced! For most of us it now means, if it means anything at
all, a vague misty vision of a life beyond the grave. How came
it about that the intervening centuries of history so pruned and
pared away the truth that it has thus lost its reality and its
power of appeal?

To be able to answer this question, we must know more about
history than we do. Something must have happened to the
teachings of Jesus after he had withdrawn, whereby they were
converted step by step into a sort of religious basis for
materialistic civilizations.

Since that time, the spirit of his teachings has descended side
by side with the formal systems thus created, the two ever
struggling together. The GNOSIS, his esoteric teachings, seems
to have disappeared altogether.

Centuries of dogmatism and disputation have talked all the life
out of the gospel. Human life, as a whole, has been animalistic;
for we must take into account the fact that culture and
refinement have never been general and that the numerical
majority of civilized mankind has always lived a life of
privation.

Though it is possible for a few people to fence themselves off
physically and mentally from the mass, and thus to achieve a
certain culture, it is not possible for them to fence themselves
off spiritually. Spiritually, mankind is one. Hence the
spiritual life of all has suffered.

Is it not time that the buried teachings of Jesus were
resurrected? And is not this destined to come about through the
resurrection of man's own buried spirit of Compassion? Never was
such a time as the present for a universal stirring of the heart
of Compassion; sympathy is striving everywhere to express itself.
Verily sympathy must be the coming world-force. It will unseal
our eyes and we shall see the truth once more.

An eternal life! A life that is eternal while we are in the body,
as while we are without it. With no breaks of continuity during
lie periods of death. It is possible to realize this, possible
so to refine our nature that we may be conscious while in the
flesh of an eternal existence. We can feel as though the body
were but a garment which we assume and discard, as indeed it is.
This is Knowledge.

Jesus came to teach this Knowledge. The Buddha came. Many have
come and will come. But what matters how the message comes, so
long as we have it? It is not a dogma. The knowledge of it is
there in our hearts. We only need reminders. And see what H.P.
Blavatsky adds about the means of attaining to Knowledge:

> All this may be achieved by the development of unselfish
> universal love of Humanity, and the suppression of personality,
> or SELFISHNESS, which is cause of all sin, and consequently of
> all human sorrow.
>
> -- H.P. Blavatsky, THE SECRET DOCTRINE

Again the old message, the truth which all the Teachers have
taught: solidarity is the gate to Knowledge, and selfishness its
bar. H.P. Blavatsky, as we have said, makes a special appeal to
our own times. In Theosophy we shall find restated many ancient
teachings which have somehow during the ages of history dropped
out of sight, so that the gospel as we have it now is but a
mutilated book.

We do not know what Jesus taught his disciples apart, though we
have some of his public teachings to the multitude. There can be
little doubt that he must have taught them the mysteries of man's
complex nature and given them detailed instructions as to how to
study and master their own nature.

Compassion was one of the keynotes of his gospel, as it has been
of all the great Teachers, and compassion is essential for
helping humanity. But how can even compassion enable us to help
our brother, unless it equips us with the KNOWLEDGE AND WISDOM to
help him? What has become of the WISDOM which Jesus must have
imparted to his faithful disciples -- those who took (to their
own Higher Selves) the vow of devotion to compassion?

Compassion is not only a duty. It is the condition essential to
the attainment of Knowledge. And the elimination of selfishness
is also a necessary condition, an essential process in the
attaining of Knowledge.

In the passage above quoted, the words PERSONALITY and
SELFISHNESS are twice used interchangeably. We have not to try
to destroy our individuality or identity, but merely to eradicate
the fault or disease of selfishness. That done, our true Self
will have a chance to show itself. Until it is done, we abide in
varying states of delusion, mistaking a shadow for our Self.

The "veil of physical Maya" refers to the ordinary mental state
of a man living the ordinary physical life of the world. It all
seems very real and solid, yet it is only a picture on a screen.
It hides the reality behind.

Maya, in Sanskrit, is often translated "delusion," but connotes
much more than this. In metaphysical language, it might be
called the principle of objectivity -- that power or quality
which "bodies forth" and makes tangible what else would remain
but spiritual and ideal. Of such a kind is the imagination; it
represents and bodies forth our ideas, and at the same time
deludes us with its images.

The greatest delusion of Maya is that notion that our existence
is separate from that of our fellows. This delusion causes us to
act as though it were true. Hence arises imaginary
self-interest, and hence the conflict in mankind.

Intellectual penetration and Compassion are the mighty powers
that must be invoked. But alas! Under its other name -- love --
this latter power often runs off in narrow molds.

Lifted for a moment within view of heaven, we are bewildered by
the light and fall back again under the dominion of Maya. Having
mistaken our ideal, we seek it where it is not to be found and
lapse into the commonplace. But this is not the fault of love.
If that power is to help anybody -- ourselves or anybody else --
it must be kept free from anything which might hinder it.

We all feel the contrast between our desire to know and our
knowledge. It cannot be that man has this desire to know,
without also having the power to satisfy it. The Teachers have
told us that man has this knowledge, but that it is veiled from
him by his limitations. These limitations he can overcome by the
force of that very desire for knowledge.

Possibly some will say that this is "transcendentalism" or some
other -ism. But this, though it may satisfy the ambitions of
some, or serve as an excuse for dismissing the subject to the
wastepaper basket, hardly disposes of the matter for those who
feel an interest in it. Is it true?

Those who think they can pursue the path of knowledge without the
password of Compassion will only spin for themselves denser webs
of illusion, deceived by the vanity and cupidity which they have
failed to remove from their path.

The "noumenal" referred to in the quotation means that which is
in contrast with the "phenomenal." The latter is the world of
appearances, the former the world of realities. Behind every
phenomenon lies its corresponding noumenon.

Scientific minds often confuse themselves with hopeless attempts
to comprehend the noumena behind phenomena -- or rather, to
apprehend them in the same way as they apprehend the phenomena.
But to comprehend the noumena, we must get beyond the senses, for
these present an APPEARANCE, a phenomenon -- in short, a delusion
(Maya).

In the same way that which we call our self is an image thrown on
a screen. Behind it stands the real Self, the spectator of the
scene. Man is so absorbed in the contemplation of this
fictitious self that he has lost consciousness of his real
identity. The path to knowledge, therefore, lies in finding the
imagination of fictitious pictures and erroneous ideas. The
force of personal desire being the all-fruitful cause of such
false notions, this force has first to be mastered.

The promise that the awakened man shall stand beyond all pain,
misery, and the wear and tear of change is a healing balm to the
spirit. "Thy sun shall no more go down; neither shall thy moon
withdraw itself; for the Lord shall be thine everlasting light,
and the days of thy mourning shall be ended."

This does not mean, however, that the man will live a cotton-wool
existence in a hothouse; for if he has any manliness in him, he
will be ready to take whatever may come to him in the performance
of his duty or in the fulfillment of his compassionate work among
men. But it does mean that he will have found the peace that
passeth all understanding.

If we believe in the eternal life, we must believe that it is
attainable in earthly life, that it is there all the time behind
the curtain of our lower self, and that we have (as it were) to
awake from a dream to full consciousness.

How the ancient path to Knowledge can be trodden, Theosophy
reminds us. The world is at a crisis, and we all feel that new
things are being born. We can better realize now how the
Teachers chose the right moment.

The confusion of men's minds seems to be coming to a head, as
though precipitated in a mass by the working of the purifying
process in the crucible. Never was such a Babel of tongues.
Every possible fad seems struggling to get itself expressed
before is too late. Or again, it is like the coming Spring,
which brings up everything that is in the ground, weeds and all.
But it is the same old pattern -- the path of Self-Knowledge.

What a difference would knowledge of these facts make to our
methods of educating, treating, or curing people! The real Man
behind the outer. Our politicians appeal to the outer man, the
man of senses and desires, and all kinds of philosophers and
would-be reformers preach as though human life were merely a
matter of satisfying personal pleasures and ambitions.

The disintegrative forces in mankind are fostered instead of the
constructive forces. Seldom, if ever, is an appeal made to the
higher nature, yet there be no doubt that such an appeal would
meet with response, for people's higher natures are starved.

In view of the changelessness of the life within, it is evident
that our opportunities are as great at one period of our lifetime
as at another; they are merely different in kind. The oldest man
may make new starts (as indeed, in defiance of mental beliefs, he
often does). For Death is but a passing sleep.

------------------------------------------------------------------
THE ESOTERIC PHILOSOPHY OF UNSELFISHNESS

By C. Woodhead

[From THE THEOSOPHICAL PATH, February 1914, pages 84-86.]

In THE CREST JEWEL OF WISDOM, written by the great teacher
Shankaracharya about a century after the death of Gautama the
Buddha occurs the following passage:

> Self-assertion is to be known as the cause of this false
> attribution of selfhood, as doer and enjoyer.
>
> When sensuous things have affinity with it, it is happy; when the
> contrary, unhappy. So happiness and unhappiness are properties
> of this, and not of the Self which is perpetual bliss.
>
> Sensuous things are dear for the sake of the self, and not for
> their own sake; and therefore the Self itself is dearest of all.
>
> Hence the Self itself is perpetual bliss; not its, are happiness
> and unhappiness; as in dreamless life, where are no sensuous
> things, the Self that is bliss -- is enjoyed, so in waking life,
> it is enjoyed through the word, through intuition, teaching and
> deduction.

In these words of the great teacher Shankaracharya, one seems to
see outlined the whole philosophy of altruism. So great is the
world-glamour, the illusion in which we live, that it is with
difficulty we can trace the beginnings of that Reality which is
the Eternal. And yet we know that this is the real Occultism
towards the realization of which we are all striving more or less
consciously. It is the path pursued by every human soul, whether
under the Law or by individual volition, or both.

Again and again we find reiterated in all the sacred texts the
statement that there is no real separateness amongst existing
beings; that all is one; that behind every appearance is a
reality which is independent of all else, includes all else, and
is eternally the same.

This is that which is spoken of in the sacred books of the East
as utterly indescribable, yet the very essence of Being,
Consciousness, Bliss, the Higher Self.

In the passage quoted, Shankaracharya shows how these qualities
of the Supreme Self produce illusion in the reflected selfhood of
the human lower self. A man falsely imagines himself to be a
separate BEING with a separate CONSCIOUSNESS of his own and a
HAPPINESS which depends upon his own separated selfhood. The
sensuous things which are of the body are pleasing to this
reflected and incomplete selfhood. They produce a pleasure which
is a reflection of the harmony of the Higher Self.

Do we not know how temporary and unsatisfying are these
experiences of the lower self? They disappear and give place to
pain and disappointment. The events of life teach us that the
lower self is of no account. Then, if we are wise, we learn our
lesson. Says Shankara:

> Self-assertion is to be known as the cause of this false
> attribution of selfhood as doer and enjoyer.
>
> When sensuous things have affinity with it, it is happy; when the
> contrary, unhappy. So happiness and unhappiness are properties
> of this, and not of the Self which is perpetual bliss.

Then he goes on to say:

> Sensuous things are dear for the sake of the self and not for
> their own sake, and therefore the Self itself is dearest of all.

If we ponder over this statement of the great sage, it seems to
imply that every sort of happiness is due to the feeling of
self-consciousness, and so, that the false self-consciousness of
reflected self-assertion is the cause of all the misery and
unhappiness in the world, from its unstable and illusive
character, and from the contrasts of temporary pleasure and pain
that we suffer when we allow our self-consciousness to limit
itself to the four walls of our personality.

And when Shankara says that "the Self itself is dearest of all,"
he implies that the highest peace, contentment, and happiness are
to be found in fixing our gaze upon that which is forever outside
our ken, but towards which we are ever advancing on the path to
perfection. And he thus concludes:

> Hence the Self itself is perpetual bliss -- not its, are
> happiness and unhappiness; as in dreamless life where are no
> sensuous things, the Self that is bliss is enjoyed, so in waking
> life it is enjoyed through the word, through intuition, teaching
> and deduction.

Sooner or later, therefore, we must realize and be entirely
convinced that there is actually no separateness in the world,
except, as H.P. Blavatsky said "IN MOTIVE."

The false self-assertion that is the cause of so much misery and
sorrow, choking up the avenues of wisdom and darkening the Sun
which gives life and light -- this false self-assertion also
leads us to misinterpret and misuse the Law which would otherwise
reveal the Truth. For as said by H.P. Blavatsky,

> In the active laws of Karma -- absolute Equity -- based on the
> Universal Harmony, there is neither foresight nor desire. It is
> our own actions, thoughts, and deeds which GUIDE THAT LAW instead
> of being guided by it.

If then we would find true harmony and peace within ourselves, we
must follow the Law of Harmony, which is the expression in action
of the Universal Self. If on the other hand by self-assertion we
make a law unto ourselves, we must take the consequences -- for
"whatsoever a man soweth that shall he also reap," that harmony
may be restored.

> But [says Shankara] he who goes onward through the word of the
> good Teacher, who is friendly to all beings, and himself well
> controlled, he gains the fruit and the reward, and his reward is
> the Real.
>
> If the love of freedom is yours, then put sensuous things far
> away from you like poison. But love as the food of the gods,
> serenity, pity, pardon, rectitude, peacefulness, and
> self-control, love them and honor them forever.

------------------------------------------------------------------
THE GODS OF THE ANCIENT WORLD

By Kenneth Morris

[From THE THEOSOPHCIAL PATH, March 1914, pages 171-82.]

"No doubt but we are the people, and wisdom began with us." This
is certainly a most comfortable doctrine for a fool. But if it
is a decent self-respect that we need, and not the blind,
bumptious egotism so characteristic of our age and civilization,
we should do well to exalt humanity, and not merely our own
little section of it. We should seek for godhood wherever we
come on the human, and take pride in belonging to the line whose
fount and origin was divinity and whose destiny it is to become
again divine.

You know the story of the farmer in the Middle West who was
contemplating the sky one night at the time of the presidential
election?

"Say," he said, "Is it true that all those millions of stars up
there are suns like our own?"

"Yes," said the astronomer, "they are suns, and many of them a
thousand times vaster than our sun."

"And every one of them is the center of a solar system with
worlds like ours?"

"Every one of them has its planets."

"And the planets -- are they inhabited worlds?"

"Undoubtedly," said the other. "Thousands of them must be
inhabited worlds."

"Say," said the farmer, "I don't see that it matters so much
after all whether Taft or Wilson becomes president."

We have our cities, states, and nations, our business and
politics, science, inventions, and money -- everlastingly our
money; and all these things so crowd our consciousness that we
forget the universe we live in.

There are mountains, the sky, the stars, the solitary places of
the ocean, the two vast defiant desolations of the North and
South Poles; old Earth herself and the consciousness that
animates her; the abounding life in the vegetable world.

What are all these things to us? We are cut off from them by our
petty concerns, and make no excursions into the largeness of
life. Our passions, our greed, our miserable personal thinking
and feeling hedge us round from the Infinite and keep us from our
heritage of divine life.

Sons of this mighty and divine universe, how mighty, how divine
might we not be, were the mess of pottage not always more
tempting to us than our birthright of divinity! For we live in a
vast sea of life, and its waters wash us through and through, and
there is extension infinite on all sides of us; and within,
inward and inward, there is infinite extension too -- distances
that stretch from here, from the next little thought that comes
unbidden into your mind, right up to the Central Spiritual Sun;
right up, in theological language, to the Throne of God.
Whatever consciousness exists, even to omniscience and infinity,
that too we might come to share in.

> Up from earth's center through the seventh gate
> I rose, and on the throne of Saturn sate,
> And many a knot unraveled on the road,
> But not the Master Knot of Human Fate.
>
> There was the door to which I found no key,
> There was the veil through which I might not see;
> Some little talk awhile of Me and Thee
> There was, and then no more of Thee and Me.
>
> Then of the Thee in Me who works behind
> The Veil, I lifted up my hands to find
> A lamp amid the darkness, and I heard
> As from without: "The Me within thee blind."
>
> -- RUBAIYAT OF OMAR KHAYYAM, xxxi-xxxiv

And there Omar found the key to the door, and vision through the
veil: blind the ME, the personal self within thee; stifle the
voices of the flesh; still the insistent clamor of the
brain-mind, the personality, the sense of separate selfhood, and
the path to the divine is made known to you. The world of the
Gods is open before you. The greater Self, which is the Self of
the Universe, becomes the only self of you.

When we speak of the ancients, we mean commonly the humanity that
lived in pre-Christian times. The term brings before our mental
vision indistinct pictures of Greek and Roman vices and
corruption, as if we had no vices and corruption of our own,
Egyptian "superstition," as we are pleased to call it, as if we
ourselves were freed from all ignorance and erroneous belief, and
of Gothic and Northern savagery, as if we had long since quite
abolished war.

We ought to remember that the race of man is old, old, old: that
Egypt had her millenniums where Europe has had but her centuries;
and that there were long civilizations before Egypt, and other
long civilizations before them.

Egyptian religion, which now we connote with divine crocodiles
and mummified cats, had fallen to decay many times, and had many
times been renewed, before Cambyses came. There were, indeed,
many religions there, rising one after another, and in their turn
withering and falling. To speak of the religion of ancient Egypt
would be like speaking of the religion of Europe, including under
that term modern Christianity, and Greek, Roman, Celtic, and
Gothic Paganism.

In Greece, successive waves of religion rose and fell before the
coming of Christianity. Homer stands not at the dawn, but in the
twilight of Greek glory. Before him were the great ages of Crete
and Mycenae, compared with which the Hellas of history was but a
bagatelle, a waning splendor, the sunset flush of a long day.

Orpheus is a name perhaps almost as remote and mysterious to the
Athenian mob of the days of Pericles and Cleon as to ourselves.
It stands not only for a Teacher, but for a whole vast hierarchy
and literature. Before Homer and Hesiod had recorded the Olympic
mythologies, he had established the Mysteries of an older and
purer religion. That religion had grown ancient, its origin
wrapped in myth.

In Rome, the old Religion of Numa, the pure, antique Italian
religion, had practically vanished, except in remote places,
before Christianity had made any great headway. Paganism gave
place everywhere to Christianity because it had lost its hold on
the people. It no longer taught vital truth; it had grown old,
senile, and corrupt, and it had to combat with a force that was
young and vigorous.

We do a huge injustice to antiquity when we confound the thought
and aspiration of all its ages with the cynical, frivolous
systems of its declining years; or when we judge Paganism not by
its Plato, Socrates, Julian, or Marcus Aurelius, who sought to
restore its purity, by such men as Alcibiades, Nero, Vitellius,
and their like, who hastened its fall.

Menes is reputed the first king of Egypt, and heaven knows what
vast antiquity must be assigned to him, but we find one of his
successors speaking of him as having been the first corrupter of
Egyptian manners, the initiator of decadence of Egypt, after the
long ages of her grandeur and truth and simplicity. Again we
find Plato blaming Homer for obscuring the ancient truths about
the Gods of Greece, where we consider him almost as the creator
of those Gods.

Supposing that in some far distant age people were to treat us
and our Christianity as we now treat vanished Paganism.
Supposing someone were to write, in that that the Christians were
evidently immersed in the grossest superstition, worshipers of
animals, adoring in their churches the lamb and the dove; while
at the same time, such was the inconsistent nature of their
"civilization," there was evidence that they esteemed the flesh
of one of their gods as an article of diet, while the shooting of
the other was among their favorite sports.

We know how unfair and ridiculous such a statement would be,
because we know that the lamb and the dove are but symbols,
chosen for their beauty to express certain divine ideas. How
could that future critic, supposing him to be inspired, as we
are, by an infinite conceit of his own age -- how could he fail
to light on such a tidbit and appetizer for his vanity, our
hymn-books were open to his inspection? We should do unto
antiquity as we would be done by posterity.

We should be just and sympathetic, trying to understand and get
at the facts -- for our own sake, because pride comes before a
fall; because the lofty attitude of superiority that we take
towards the ancients is just a part and nourisher of the great
disease of the age: unbrotherliness, egotism; because by
fostering our own conceit, we do but shut the door of true
progress in our own faces.

The bright goal that shines before us now is the realization of
the oneness of the whole human family. It is unbecoming in a man
to vaunt himself as against other men, in a race or nation to
vaunt itself as against other races and nations, or in an age to
vaunt itself as against other ages. It is our glory to be human
and to share in all the achievements of humanity -- past, present
and to come.

Again, supposing some cultured person was to come to you from
China, or from Kamchatka, or from Mars for that matter and make
inquire as to the religion of our race and age, Christianity. To
what would you refer him?

At first thought you answer, perhaps: to your own particular
church or chapel. But after further consideration, that would
seem too limited and partial a view, and you say: to Christendom
as a whole.

"What!" he replies, "Your religion is then responsible for the
slums, vice, and armaments of the age? For the Balkan War and the
Mexican situation?"

"No," you answer. "You must not think that the religion which is
responsible for these things is Christianity, for Christianity
you must go to the Gospels. You must read the life of the
Founder of our religion and his teachings. The evils of the day
are not to be attributed to Christianity, but to the decline and
decadence of Christianity. It is because people no longer
believe in the teachings of Christ that these things happen."

And you would be right. Believe me, in the decay of Egypt,
Greece, and Rome, the vices and corruption that we read of were
not due to Paganism, not to the religion of the Gods, but to the
fact that people no longer held to Paganism. They no longer
understood, as once they had understood, the great bright Gods of
the Ancient World.

It was for lack of Paganism, the sublime Paganism of her
Mysteries, the Wisdom of the ages, that Egypt fell under the
heels of the priests, the Persians, the Macedonians, and the
Romans. It was for lack of Paganism -- the old, bright,
luminous, beautiful Paganism of her Orpheus and her Plato, her
pre-Homeric poets and pre-Phidian sculptors -- that Greece became
ridden with graft, treachery, and foul vices. It was for lack of
her austere, duty-worshiping Paganism, so closely in touch with
the forces of nature and the wide, free life of the universe,
that Rome went down in an orgy of debauchery, the easy prey of
the barbarians.

Everywhere, in order to understand Paganism and reap the harvest
of its glorious ideas, you must treat it as you would have
Christianity treated. You must go back and back, seeking its
origins. You must realize that it began as the expression of
certain eternal truths, just as Christianity did, just as all
religions do. It was first proclaimed by men who had insight
into -- nay, sure knowledge of -- the hidden things of this
universe, the mysteries of life and death and eternity. Its
mission was as that of Christianity was at its inception to bring
mankind nearer to the heart of things, to make human life after
the fashion of and very close to divine life.

Or, as the grand old Pagans would have said, to bring men nearer
to the Gods.

That is a conception that we have lost, that of the Gods; and I
think it has been a loss indeed. For now we consecrate Sunday to
divine things; but then, each day in the week was sacred to its
God, to its aspect of divinity: the Sun's day; the Moon's day;
Mars' day; Mercury's day; Jove's day; Venus' day; Saturn's day.

Now we consecrate religion alone, of all the departments and
activities of our life, to the divine; but then, every
department, every activity, was linked on to divinity by its
presiding God.

The man who painted a picture, or who carved a statue, wrote a
drama, a poem, or a history; the merchant, the husbandman, the
soldier or the sailor; each, in engaging on his own duty, entered
thereby into the service of a God as surely as the priest did,
and consecrated himself and his work to the divine.

Where we see the sea, the mountains, or the trees and flowers,
they saw the palaces of grand, mysterious, and beautiful beings,
aspects again of the divine: the primrose on the river's brim,
that to us a simple primrose and nothing more, was to them a
gateway into the dwelling-place of God.

Beauty, that divine thing, that Star of Bethlehem to lead us to
the birthplace of the Eternal, our religion has too often and too
easily banned and banished; but theirs made it the aroma and
exhalation of the Gods, a potent incentive, a mainspring of human
progress.

Art and music, that to us are luxuries and the ministers of our
pleasure, to them were a religion and the ministers of the
Supreme.

Commerce, which we have made the servant of and panderer to our
greed, they made an act of service to the Divinity, and therefore
to humanity.

Agriculture was religion; and this old, green, beautiful Earth,
to whose voices we are so deaf, whose pleadings we so pitilessly
ignore, was for them instinct with living fire, divine,
conscious, linked with humanity by the closest community of
interests.

Try to imagine the richness and fullness of such a life.
Contrast it with the barren poverty of our own.

Were they not justified? Who of you is mountain-born and
nurtured, and after long dwelling in the plains and the cities,
comes again among the mountains; does there not rise up something
within you, indefinable but most potent, an emotion too deep to
be called emotion merely? Is it a mere bringing back to memory of
old times, of the joys of your childhood?

Here is what the Pagan would have said: In me too is a spark and
seed of Godhood: a fragment of the life of those Divine Ones,
whose body and outward being are yonder mountains. That which
rises within me now is consciousness of that exalted kinship.

I think it was Huxley who said -- whoever it was, he said it very
truly -- that if evolution be a truth, then there must be beings
in this universe, as far evolved above man, as man is above the
humble bacillus or the black beetle of our kitchens. In this
statement you have the scientific justification of the Pagan
Gods.

Evolution is a truth; but a far more mighty truth than our
scientists and Darwinians imagine. You must not dream for an
instant that Theosophy indorses exoteric paganism or any exoteric
religion. But it does uphold truth everywhere. It does proclaim
the Divine everywhere, and the soul of man, and the spiritual
nature of the universe, and that the universe exists for divine
purposes, and is the field of an eternal progress towards
divinity, an eternal warfare of the Hosts of Light against Chaos
and Darkness and Evil.

Evolution is a truth, but it is not merely matter and our bodies
that evolve. Spirit also breathes itself down into matter,
informing it, acquiring experience and self-consciousness in it.
It is this involution, this coming in of spirit and consciousness
to mold and work upon material forms, that is the cause of
evolution.

Your materialist fondly imagines that when he has said Evolution,
Natural Selection, Survival of the Fittest, and the like, he has
conveniently explained the universe and left no place in it for
God or Gods or the Soul of Man.

"Here is your amoeba," the scientist tells us. "There is your
man. Evolution has done it, et voila!"

"Here is your war-canoe," we'd reply. "There is your Super
dreadnaught. Here is your coracle. There is your Mauretania.
Evolution has done it, and it would be absurd to suppose that
there are such things as men, dockyards, shipbuilders, or
arsenals."

Evolution is the name of a law, a method of working; and we know
very well that Laws do not build houses or navies. They do not
write books or make men. Has a law hands and feet, that it
should go here and do this? Has it a tongue in its head, that it
should speak? Men, working under the laws of architecture, of
naval construction, of literature, do these things. Without
agents, no law could accomplish anything.

The ancients saw that the universe was under the reign of Law.
Being a thousand times more logical and careful in their thinking
than we are, they posited Agents of the Law. They beheld the
marvelous architecture of the universe, and they knew there would
be a great Architect. They knew very well that it is not the
Architect who mixes the mortar, and carries the bricks on a hod,
or chips the stones to shape and lays them in their places.
There would be builders.

In the Law, they recognized the Universal Will, as we say, the
Will of God, but they held that there would be agents to carry
out that Will. So under the Great Architect of the Universe,
they posited the Gods: beings of all grades of divinity and power
from the fairy of the daffodil bloom to the Cosmocratores and
Regents of the Stars. They beheld divinity everywhere, divine
law and order everywhere.

They did not imagine omnipotence as a quality of their Gods.
They saw evil and oppression in the world and were logical. Oh,
no doubt in the exoteric tales of the later mythologies, truth
was confounded, and the Gods were represented as living apart,
selfish and sensual, letting the world go hang so they should
have their own pleasures.

I am speaking of the original, the esoteric side of Paganism, of
the spiritual basis and rationale of it, if you prefer it put
that way. We must remember that those very exoteric tales of the
mythologies began by having their inward meaning. They were
symbolic just as our pictures of the Lamb of God, the Dove, and
the Paraclete are symbolic. Search deeply into them and find the
portrayal of recondite laws, the images of truths concerning the
natural and spiritual worlds.

When men forgot to look for these inner meanings, made light of
the concealed truth, and lived no longer by the law, paganism
grew corrupt and ceased to be an efficient aid to human
evolution.

Should the Gods be worshiped? No, not in any sense that we give
to the word nowadays. Honored, aided in their grand mission,
communed with, and brought into men's lives -- there you have the
inward objective of the old Pagan rituals, before they were
defiled. We must think what the philosopher would mean, when he
made sacrifice to this deity or that. He described spiritual
potency in the sun; he knew of a light, beautiful with flashing
and gentle colors, that might illumine the soul, and run a flame
of inspiration through the imagination.

Dwelling upon and evoking this light, he paid his tribute to
Apollo. He knew of a Warrior and heroic quality within the
heart, one sworded and invincible against evil, who let it be
awakened into activity in our consciousness, and made us
invulnerable to all temptation. Intent upon so awakening this
Warrior, he made his sacrifice to Mars.

He held that there was an outer and an inner side to every
action. All the duties of life were sacramental, an outward and
visible sign, and an inward and spiritual grace.

You might go to your seed sowing, or your following the plow; and
according to what was in your heart and mind at the time, so
would the harvest be merely material, or there would be certain
elements in it to nourish the spiritual sanity and wellbeing of
the people. If the sower and the plowman sacrificed to Ceres or
to Proserpine, it was that they might go spiritually to their
work, evoking the divine side of things in it; doing it, as we
say, as unto the Lord.

Ah me! the richness that might come into a life so nourished, so
deflected from personal, trumpery, and selfish ends, to a
consideration perpetual of the beautiful, the grandiose, the
divine and quickening! Would the harvest be no better -- dare you
say it would be no better?

Dare you say that the life of the people would be inspired by no
diviner ichor, were the plowman to follow his oxen, not dully
brooding on his dinner, his gains, his desires indifferent or
bad; but alert with a consciousness of flaming and beautiful
being in the air that he breathed, in the sky over his head; of
Apollo shining upon him, of Proserpine and august Ceres breathing
up through the broken clods that his plowshare might be cleaving?

Shall we do evil in the Temple of the Lord? We stand before the
Burning Bush, and concern ourselves with the pride of the eye,
the sinful lusts of the flesh? Take off thy shoes from off thy
feet, for the place where on thou standest is holy ground. There
you have the attitude of the Pagan: the dome of whose place of
worship was the infinite blue; and its floor, the continents and
islanded seas of the world.

There is a divine quality in and beyond human consciousness
called heroism. Bring that into your life, and you are
worshiping the Immortals. You are invoking an Immortal. You are
making sacrifice to that God who is the Heartener of Heroes.

There is compassion. Let your heart flame with it, and you
cannot choose but be invoking that brooding, mother-hearted
divinity, that quality, that conscious quality of Godhood. Why,
how shall you doubt that these be the Immortals?

Consider Joan of Arc at the stake, the flames leaping up around
her; and she suddenly concerned and anxious -- for what? For her
soul's safety? No, but lest the priest, holding up the cross to
her, should be hurt by the flame. She is to die. She cannot
die. She is immortal. She is united with the Immortals through
that compassion, that care for others that flames up in her to
light immortal ages, a thousand times more brilliant than the
flame that is to destroy her bodily form.

Consider the patriot of the Italian War of Independence, the
Garibaldian taken prisoner. He is on the gallows, the rope about
his neck, the Austrian soldiers and executioners and priests are
around him. What is his word for the priest who is bothering him
about his soul? For the soldiers, the executioners, the hushed,
mourning crowd in the little square? Just this: Viva Italia! Good
heavens, what's Italy to him, or he to Italy -- he that, as you
believe, is either to be a senseless clod in a minute or two, or
to have parted company with Earth and her nations forever?

This is what Italy is to him: the Goddess, the Immortality to
which, in his devotion, in his utter forgetfulness of self at
that supreme moment, he has united himself. He is attaining
immortality, attaining god-being, because making himself, his
personal consciousness, one with the divine consciousness that
was always within him. That is always within every one of us,
but commonly slumbering -- commonly obscured beneath the turmoil
and fuss of our personal thinking. So death is nothing to him.
He is already immortal and lives on in the life of his race.

The Japanese recognize this principle in a very beautiful way.
When a man like Togo or Ito, or like the late Emperor, a great
patriot and benefactor of the nation, dies, they make no bones
about it, but declare him a God forthwith, and pay him divine
honors; devoting Christmas Day, I believe, to the memory of all
such men become Gods.

Wrap not about you the mantle of your Pharisedism. Forget to
thank God that you are not as these heathen. They are, in
effect, exceedingly rational beings. They do wisely and very
well. We must give up our notions of the heathen in his
blindness bowing down to wood and stone. I tell you that there
is wood in this world and stone too that are a thousand times
better than the vulgar gold that we bow down to so assiduously.
Heathen and heathen there are, no doubt, and some of them worse
than ourselves, but in this case, the "blindness" is a very real
spiritual vision.

The heathen are simply recognizing the fact that there is a God,
a divine part, in every one of us, that it may be brought to
dominate our whole being, to overshine all our doings, and to
make what remains so unimportant that when death carries away the
body, the memory that is left of the man is actually the memory
of a God: a bright, divine incident history, a star and luminous
example for our future, a note in the symphony of our national
life that somehow trembled up to divinity and made us aware our
divine possibilities.

We too honor our Lincolns and Washingtons. How do such men make
themselves immortal? By service, by so loving the race that their
personal being extends and loses itself in impersonality, they
become the symbols of the highest that is in the nation, our most
sacred hopes, aspirations, and memories. So in dying, they live.

I think that the best and truest conception the ancient world had
of its Gods was that they were the grand captains in the eternal
warfare against evil, chaos, and night. Here in this world, we
men participate blindly and stumblingly in that warfare, now
allying ourselves with right, now, and more commonly with wrong.

In their world, behind the veil of the seen and the seeming, the
Gods wage their war perpetually to guard the world of men.
Camped out against Chaos on the Borders of Space, they repel
forever the onslaught of the hosts of evil, lest the world of men
should be inundated by untimely sin.

Whoever of us will join ranks with them, shall not he too slay
the mortality within him, cast the chrysalis of his humanity and
imperfection, and emerge winded and flaming, one of the
Immortals? Though you shall pass him in the street and see
nothing but the common clay of mortality, yet you are to know
that he has his commission in the army of the Gods. He rides out
splendid against Chaos. He breaks the battle of the hellions on
the borders of Space.

This is an old druidic conception, held in ancient times by the
bards of Wales. They taught that at the dawn of the world the
Host of Souls, Sons of Gods and Morning Stars of Glory, wake in
World of Bliss at the sound of the Chanted Name of God, which
called the Universe from sleep and latency into manifested being.

Then those Blessed Ones, as they were called -- those Blessed
Ones who were ourselves -- looked forth over the vast deep of
Chaos and beheld afar beyond that howling darkness the Peaks of
White Infinity and the dwelling-place of the Lone One, the
Eternal.

They said evil upon us if we remain content with less than that.
Their Chieftains sounded the Hai Atton upon their horns, the
bugle-call of the gathering of the Immortals. They rode forth
singing in their chariots of fire to take Infinity by storm, to
batter down the Gates of the Cast of God, and dwell therein
forever, united with absolute Deity.

Before they could come to that consummation, they had to conquer
the Chaos that lay between. They had to wage vast warfare
through the abysm of night. Until the whole waste of matter was
conquered, they could not go on to the heights.

In the passage of that deep, they could not withstand the foes
that assailed them. They fell, succumbing to the dreadful snares
and temptations of the material world. They fell into
incarnation: passing through slow ages through the mineral,
vegetable, and animal worlds until at last, they reached the
state of humanity.

Gaining self-consciousness and the knowledge of good and evil,
they have the opportunity of remembering again their ancient
mission and purpose of sounding again the Hai Atton on of the
Gods and taking arms mightily against Chaos and evil.

But there were some that did not fall, and never ceased to
remember; or if they fell, they were swift to rise again. They
carried on their struggle perpetually. They never let go of
their purpose nor allowed the battle of the ages to cease for a
moment. Either they never lost it or they quickly or slowly
regained their divine nature.

They are the Gods, our Brothers, whose labor is to gain
auxiliaries for the eternal warfare from among the ranks of men.
They, said the Bards, are our protectors, our allies, our
captains and generals against evil.

Call not upon them for help, but rather seek to help them, for
the weight of the universe rests upon them. They are the
vanguard of our battle and take the blows and fury of Hell upon
their shields. They protect humanity that should be and one day
will certainly be their effective ally but now is dreaming or
playing traitor.

And it is when we shall have awakened and joined ranks with them; when Chaos at last shall have been conquered, and the whole dominion of evil mastered by us, transformed and added to the Empire of God; when in all our ranks there shall be no one left unconscious of his divinity or less than lord of himself; it is then that our great army, Gods and men, but all Gods then, shall ride forward again in triumph, and enter in, gay, triumphant, singing, through the Gates of Peace.

> We wandered in Bliss in the World's Golden Morning,
> The bardic, lone Stars sang hymns in our praise;
> The insignia of Gods were our proud brows adorning,
> And dark Chaos glowed as we went on our ways.
> What though while through Hell's self our war-way we winged on,
> In ages oblivion -- o'erladen, we fell?
> It was heaven that we deemed too inglorious a kingdom,
> It was we that made choice to build new heavens in Hell.
>
> There were some that o'ercame when the deep rose to slay them,
> And flame against flame, they waged high war with Night;
> Dark Chaos and hell had no power to dismay them,
> Nor Night had no spell to dim their proud sight.
> The ranks of the Warward Gods shine with their glory,
> They turn from delight to their stern, agelong war,
> Lest the brightness at heart of the ages grow hoary,
> And the spirit's sun rise o'er the world-brink no more.

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