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THEOSOPHY WORLD --------------------------------- September, 2010
An Internet Magazine Dedicated to the Theosophical Philosophy
And its Practical Application in the Modern World
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(Please note that the materials presented in THEOSOPHY WORLD are
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be reposted or otherwise republished without prior permission.)
"Duty," by R. Machell
"How the Missing Commentaries Were Discovered,"
by Daniel H. Caldwell
"Raja Yoga Education: The Point Loma Theosophical School
1898-1942," Part I, By Ken Small
"The Commonsense of Theosophy," Part II, by Frank Knoche
"The Secret Doctrine Commentaries: The Unpublished 1889
Instructions," by Johanna Vermeulen
"Art as a Factor in Evolution," by R. Machell
> One refuses to pledge himself not to listen without protest to
> any evil thing said of a brother -- as though Buddha our divine
> Lord -- or Jesus -- or any great initiate has ever condemned any one
> on hearsay. Ah, poor, poor, blind man, not to know the
> difference between condemning in words -- which is
> uncharitable -- and withdrawing in silent pity from the culprit and
> thus punishing him, but still giving him a chance to repent of
> his ways. No man will ever speak ill of his brother without
> cause and proof of the iniquity of that brother, and he will
> abstain from all backbiting, slandering, and gossip. No man
> should ever say behind a Brother's back what he would not say
> openly to his face. Insinuations against one's neighbor are
> often productive of more evil consequences than gross slander.
> Every Theosophist has to fight and battle against evil, -- but he
> must have the courage of his words and actions, and what he does
> must be done openly and honestly before all."
> -- H.P. Blavatsky, from "She Being Death Yet Speaketh"
for the full article.]
By R. Machell
[From THE THEOSOPHICAL PATH, April 1918, pages 369-71.]
Duty, the watch-word of all honorable men, the guardian and
comforter of faithful hearts, the 'bug-bear' of the hosts of
restless mortals who live in their emotions, is to a few a star
that eternally floats overhead high up in heaven, and which from
that untroubled altitude looks down on earth to lead souls
wandering in a wilderness of man-made misery up to a purer
region, in which Law is rhythm, Order is Harmony, and Life the
voluntary and spontaneous response of beings to the call of their
To such as these Duty is WHAT IS DUE. That which is necessary to
be done on every plane of the universe. It is the voluntary
recognition of Cosmic Law, which knows no limitation, being the
impulse that inheres in every part or particle of the entire
universe to manifest in its own form the cosmic energy with which
it is ensouled.
Those who see Duty so are bound by obligation absolute, eternal,
immediate, and inevitable. To them there is no question as to
the possibility of evasion, for nothing can ever evade the law of
its own being. To them Duty is the inevitable.
But this interior recognition of the essential character of Duty
does not of necessity imply either cultivated reason or high
intelligence. These faculties as yet are only partially
developed in our race, and being so are just as liable to
interfere with the exercise of right judgment as to establish it.
The intuition by means of which a man may recognize essential
truth is different in character from the intellectual faculty of
reason which men use in the interpretation of fundamental
principles and for determining the right manner of their
application to the practical problems of daily life.
Thus it may happen that the bitterest antagonism may arise
between people inspired with the same high ideal. For them there
is no possible, conceivable compromise with Duty. And it is hard
to discriminate between Duty as an abstract principle and Duty in
practice; as it is obviously difficult for any man to doubt the
soundness of his own judgment until he can rise at will above the
intellectual plane on which that judgment was pronounced.
As a man lives mostly in his intellect and his emotions, only
occasionally rising to the plane of the higher mind where
intuition operates and the soul sheds its light; so must it be
most difficult for him to distinguish between the judgment of the
mind and the intuition of the soul, holding his intellectual
decision tentatively as subject to revision or alteration, while
standing immovable upon a sure foothold won by intuitive
perception of the essential principle involved. When that
becomes possible to man then Wisdom is not far off.
But for the average man, Wisdom is inaccessible, her temple being
hidden by the luxuriant and ancient growth of the dark forest of
desires, in which he wanders aimlessly. Thus he is forced by his
own blindness to rely on reason and opinions to guide him on his
How true it is that man is a wanderer on earth. Some say he is a
pilgrim, but the term is hardly applicable to the ordinary man,
because it implies a definite goal to which the pilgrim travels
consciously; whereas the life of the great mass of human beings
is indeed a wandering in search of changing objects such as
amusement or pleasure, excitement or repose, adventure or wealth,
or merely a temporary shelter from the storms that devastate the
shadow land through which he struggles in pursuit of a mere
His life may appear to him a great adventure, or it may seem no
better than a dull routine of necessary acts whose wearisome
reiteration is made bearable by cautious avoidance of all other
causes of discomfort. But in either case, it has no recognizable
goal such as a pilgrim sets before him.
The average man lives aimlessly; the pilgrim travels towards a
destination which is his goal; or else his pilgrimage consists in
arduously following a definite route with fixed stopping-places
and a return to the starting-place; which constitutes a definite
plan, such as is lacking in the life of others.
The pilgrim looks forward to an ultimate attainment which is his
goal of goals; some state of Bliss, pictured perhaps in his
imagination as a celestial place of blessedness. In his own
sight, he is no wanderer, although to the wise man, he may appear
to be following a mere delusion born in his own imagination,
which leads him eventually back to his starting-place to
recommence his endless pilgrimage.
The ordinary man is like a squirrel in a cage, the faster he
moves the faster spins his wheel, but he stays still in the same
place. The human squirrel does not see that he is caged in his
own body ceaselessly toiling in the whirling wheel of his own
mentality. He thinks his prison is himself because he bears it
with him and lives in it.
The pleasure of eating depends on appetite. The squirrel renews
his appetite by the exercise he gets in turning his wheel, and
one may imagine that his nuts have a new flavor after a good
gallop in his revolving prison. So too the man, who seeks new
pleasures with which to glut his appetite, may stimulate a
satiated sense by strenuous wanderings in imaginary lands, in
which he hopes to find new foods to tempt him to renewed
This is the illusion that makes his life seem to him worth
living. Should he escape or break his worn-out cage, and find
his way back to his native forest, he may become a wanderer in
fact. The wandering or pilgrimage of life to most men is purely
imaginary. They never get beyond the cage of their own
Truly the ordinary man may talk of Duty, but his idea of Duty is
too much like the squirrel's wheel to be regarded seriously. The
ideal that he follows is some dead formula, some little rule,
some code or creed created by other men to serve some momentary
purpose, or as a temporary symbol of some aspect of Eternal Law.
Perhaps he may change his formula, but the change is generally a
delusion, his nuts have a fresh flavor after a more than usually
strenuous turning of the wheel which takes him nowhere.
So too the wanderer who has not found the Light goes round the
base of a great mountain following the trail that other wanderers
have made, and coming back again to pick up his own trail once
more and follow it with undiminished hope.
And what is hope but a reflection of the Light that shines above
the mountain, mirrored on earth to dazzle the eyes of men?
Someday he will look up and see where the Light comes from. Then
he will know that the Path lies upward. Then he will no longer
mistake reflections for realities, he will abandon the pursuit of
other men's ideals, and will be able to find in his own heart a
mirror for the Light.
When he can find the Light of Truth reflected in his own heart,
he will not need a guide; he will not need to trouble about his
goal, nor will the desires and bodily appetites delude him any
The Light that shines eternally, being itself the Soul of the
entire Universe of which he is a part, will guide him all the
time; and he knowing the truth will find in that Light the key to
the Law of Laws that governs life and is the cause of the eternal
'fitness of all things.' Conformity with Natural Law (thus
understood) is all that is due from the particular to the
universal. This is Duty.
HOW THE MISSING COMMENTARIES WERE DISCOVERED
(How the Missing 'Transactions'/Secret Doctrine Commentaries by
H.P. Blavatsky were Discovered and A Partial Look Behind the
Scenes Leading Up To Their Recent Publication)
By Daniel H. Caldwell
The Theosophy Company on their website describes H.P.
Blavatsky's book titled TRANSACTIONS OF THE BLAVATSKY LODGE as
> In 1889, when H.P.B. was in London, the weekly meetings of the
> Blavatsky Lodge was devoted to the discussion of the archaic
> 'Stanzas' on which THE SECRET DOCTRINE is based. TRANSACTIONS
> provides . . . H.P.B.'s answers to metaphysical and scientific
> questions, as stenographically reported, and afterwards revised
> by her for publication.
In an introductory note prefacing the original edition(s) of
1890/1891 of the TRANSACTIONS, we find the following information:
> The . . . transactions are compiled from shorthand notes taken
> at the meetings of the Blavatsky Lodge of the Theosophical
> Society, from January 10th to June 20th, 1889, being somewhat
> condensed from the original discussions.
> . . . the members of the 'B.L. of the T.S.' agreed to devote
> the debates of the weekly [Thursday] meetings to each stanza and
> sundry other metaphysical subjects.
> The questions were put by members . . . The answers in all
> cases are based on the shorthand Reports, and are those . . .
> as given by H.P.B. herself.
H.P.B. herself mentions these meetings and the TRANSACTIONS in a
letter written to her sister Vera in Russia. She writes about:
> . . . the receptions, the weekly meetings, accompanied by
> learned discussions, with a stenographer behind my back, and
> sometimes two or three reporters in the corners, -- all this, you
> can easily believe, takes some time. I must read up for every
> Thursday, because the people who come here are no ignoramuses
> from the street, but such people as the electrician K., Dr.
> William B. and the naturalist C.B. I must be prepared to defend
> the teachings of Occultism against the applied sciences, so that
> the reports of the stenographer may be printed, without
> correction, in our new monthly publication under the name of THE
> TRANSACTIONS OF THE BLAVATSKY LODGE. This alone, the
> stenographer and the printing -- cost my theosophists nearly L 40
> a month... Since your departure they have all gone mad here;
> they spend such a lot of money that my hair stands on end . . .
> Don't you see, they have written a circular to all theosophists
> of all the wide world: 'H.P.B.,' they say, 'is old and ill,
> H.P.B. won't stay with us much longer. Suppose H.P.B. died,
> then we might whistle for it! There will be no one to teach us
> manners and secret wisdom. So let us raise a subscription for
> the expenses, etc., etc...' And so they have raised a
> subscription and now spend money. And 'H.P.B.' sits with holes
> in her elbows, sweating for everybody and teaching them.
> -- LETTERS OF H.P. BLAVATSKY TO HER FAMILY IN RUSSIA: PART XII
> -- ENGLAND 1887-89
In H.P.B.'s magazine LUCIFER, it was noted that the reports of
the Transactions (covering THE MEETINGS OF JAN. 10 THROUGH JUNE
20, 1889) were transcribed in "twenty-four large longhand
folios." LUCIFER, October 15th, 1890, p. 165.
Part I of the TRANSACTIONS was published as a book in London in
March 1890 and consisted of material discussed by H.P. Blavatsky
at the following meetings:
* Meeting 1. January 10, 1889 [Stanza I, sl. 1-2]
* Meeting 2. January 17, 1889 [Stanza I, sl. 3-4]
* Meeting 3. January 24, 1889 [Stanza I, sl. 5-8]
* Meeting 4. January 31, 1889 [Stanza I, sl. 6-9; Stanza
II, sl. 1-2]
Appendix on Dreams
Part II of the TRANSACTIONS was published in January 1891 and
included material discussed by H.P. Blavatsky at the following
* Meeting 5. February 7, 1889 [Stanza II, sl. 3-4]
* Meeting 6. February 14, 1889 [Stanza III, sl. 1]
* Meeting 7. February 21, 1889 [Stanza III, sl. 2-4]
* Meeting 8. February 28, 1889 [Stanza III, sl. 5-8]
* Meeting 9. March 7, 1889 [Stanza III, sl. 10-11]
* Meeting 10. March 14, 1889 [Stanza IV, sl. 1-6]
The above material is available online in an easily accessible
format at Theosophical University Press Online.
In February, 1891, Alice Leighton Cleather wrote:
> The second part of the 'Transactions -- Blavatsky Lodge,' is now
> out, and THE THIRD [PART] WILL SHORTLY FOLLOW.
> -- THEOSOPHIST, April 1891, p. 438. Italics added.
But H.P. Blavatsky died in May 1891 and Part III of the
Transactions was NEVER published.
It should be emphasized that the discussions in the published
Parts I and II cover only the first four stanzas of Volume I of
THE SECRET DOCTRINE.
Part III and additional Parts, no doubt, would have contained
H.P.B.'s additional insightful and valuable comments on the rest
of the Stanzas in Volume I.
So what happened to the remaining UNPUBLISHED Blavatsky material
that was contained in the "twenty-four large longhand folios?"
This unpublished material would have contained the discussions
held with H.P.B. at Blavatsky Lodge meetings FROM MARCH 21 TO
JUNE 20, 1889. A TOTAL OF 14 MEETINGS!
About 15 years ago I discovered the whereabouts of the missing
"large longhand folios" of HPB's unpublished Transactions. A few
of the folios were missing but the majority survived.
I was allowed to peruse and read the extant folios or notebooks
and discovered that H.P. Blavatsky's discussions and comments on
Stanzas V, VI and VII survived after more than 100 years of being
I vividly remember the first time I looked at all these
manuscripts of HPB's unpublished transactions.
On a research trip to California I went to the home of T--- (a
student of Madame Blavatsky's writings and teachings).
During our meeting, he brought out the manuscript notebooks of
the transactions from his garage. I had asked him to show me the
manuscripts based on our previous correspondence and phone
He told me that he thought all of this H.P.B. material had
already been published in 1890 and 1891 and there was nothing
else to publish.
But from my own previous historical research and from crucial
details T--- had told me over the phone, I knew that was NOT so
and in about five minutes I was pointing out to him the various
sections that had never been published.
The text of the meetings in the notebooks was very readable
although they were all handwritten.
Go to the following link to see a photographic facsimile of one
of the many pages I saw of the original:
I urged T--- then in "charge" of the manuscript to publish this
remarkable literary treasure.
A day or so later when I met T--- again as well as a coworker of
his, I spoke again about these unpublished Transactions mss that
had been shown me and stressed the importance of these
manuscripts and urged them to publish them.
Back in Tucson, Arizona, USA, I wrote them and urged them to
publish them. They said they would.
Months passed and hearing nothing more from them, I wrote again
but both of them said they were busy, etc. but would get to the
publishing of this material
More time went by.
In later calls and correspondence with them, I even offered to
type all the transcriptions so they could be published.
They said they would think about it.
More time passed.
I remember then calling T--- one morning to see what was going on
and he said in the course of our conversation:
> Well, if HPB was alive she could edit them. But since she is
> dead, to publish them without her supervision might be unwise.
At this point I realized we had a problem and I called John
Cooper in Australia and told him about my discovery. Since he
knew both of these Blavatsky students better than I did, I
suggested he write to them and impress on them the importance of
this find and also the importance of publishing this material for
all Blavatsky and Theosophical students.
John did write them but to no avail.
Finally in 2002 after some seven years of waiting and seeing no
progress whatsoever in publication of this HPB material, I
decided to announce publicly that such a manuscript existed and
wrote an article about it for the magazine THEOSOPHICAL HISTORY
without revealing who actually had the manuscript. See the July
2002 issue, pp. 242-243, "Missing Material by H.P. Blavatsky
Around this same time I decided to write to A--- another
co-worker of these two students detailing my discovery of some 7
A--- replied and told me that he was totally unaware of the
existence of this HPB manuscript. Apparently T--- and the other
coworker had never told A---.
He agreed with me that this mss was valuable and should be
published and said he would work on making their publication a
I was definitely encouraged with A---'s response and his positive
attitude about this matter and then I soon heard that plans were
being made to publish it. A decision was made to have several
different people transcribe various meetings of the manuscript.
One of the unforeseen but happy consequences later in 2002 was
the publication of the material in one of these folio notebooks
(i.e. the text for the meeting of April 25, 1889) as a
supplement to THE AQUARIAN THEOSOPHIST. See the September 17,
2002 issue at
Over the next few years I would contact A--- from time to time to
see how the project was going and he would write back saying it
was progressing, etc.
But at some point he stopped responding to my emails and to this
day has never contacted me again.
Then at some point several years ago I decided to also give a few
other students more details about who had this manuscript but I
asked them to keep this information confidential and not share it
with anyone else.
At this point I was assuming that the original group was actually
going to publish this material and I wanted to give them a chance
to do that.
Unfortunately, as I found out through other persons related to
the project, further delays and conflict regarding the
publication of the entire manuscript occurred in the ensuing
BUT AT LONG LAST AS OF AUGUST 2010, the interested student of
Theosophy as well as any interested member of the general public
can now read this remarkable work.
This is the gist of my story although more of the story and many
more details could be given.
Recently reflecting on the inside story of how the manuscript
came to be published, I find it still amazing how the mss
survived and ended up in India and how T--- and some of his
colleagues discovered it at Ootacamund, India among the papers of
B.P Wadia after he had died and how the manuscript was brought to
California where it remained for some time.
And I am still amazed at how I stumbled accidentally onto it by a
chance remark T--- made to me one time over the phone. Had I not
realized its significance and if I had not been persistent in my
subsequent actions, it is possible the manuscript would still be
unknown and unpublished.
And I continue to be amazed that after so many delays, and
seeming dead ends that H.P.B.'s Secret Doctrine Commentaries have
now been published.
You can click on the link below to order directly from the
publisher/webshop in the Netherlands:
(Scroll down to third listed title.)
RAJA YOGA EDUCATION:
THE POINT LOMA THEOSOPHICAL SCHOOL 1898-1942, Part I
By Ken Small
[This paper was written for the International Theosophical
Conference in the Hague, the Netherlands, August 14, 2010.]
KATHERINE TINGLEY: HISTORICAL BACKGROUND, AND DEVELOPMENT
> The basis of this education is the essential divinity of man, and
> the necessity for transmuting everything in his nature which is
> not divine. To do this no part must be neglected, and the
> physical nature must share to the full in the care and attention
> which are required. Neither can the most assiduous training of
> the intellect be passed over; it must be made subservient to the
> forces of the heart. The intellect must be the servant, not the
> master, if order and equilibrium are to be attained.
> -- W. Emmett Small, editor, THE WISDOM OF THE HEART: KATHERINE
> TINGLEY SPEAKS, PAGES 93-94.
To understand the Raja Yoga system of education that developed
under the guidance of Katherine Tingley, which developed at the
Point Loma Theosophical community and educational center from
1898-1942, it is important to know a little of the context of her
personal history and background prior to the establishing of
Point Loma in 1898 and also before Theosophical ideas came
directly into her life.
Katherine Tingley was born in 1847 in the heart of New England,
in Newberry, Massachusetts. The first four decades of her life
are obscure and little historical information is available. It
was not until she was in her forties that any verifiable
historical information appears about her.
In terms of her style and character, Tingley was, in her nature,
more the inspirational and action type of personality, than
analytical and ever the social reformer in her activity and view.
Historian, Dwayne Little, places Katherine Tingley within the
context of the progressive movement of the time.
A significant social reformer, part of the progressive movement,
was the Free thought orator, humanist and agnostic Robert
Ingersoll (1833-99) who was often quoted by Tingley and whom she
held in high regard.
> Bob Ingersoll wielded a tremendous power in his day. He was a
> man who loved humanity . . . and . . . did many things to
> clear the air and make way for truth.
> -- Dwayne little, KATHERINE TINGLEY AND THE PROGRESSIVE MOVEMENT
> (Point Loma Archives) and Katherine Tingley, THE WINE OF LIFE,
> pages 111-12.
Not only was her view of social reform in the style of the
progressive movement, but her style of oratory and speaking was
clearly inspired by Robert Ingersoll and when she spoke or wrote
it was always in a spiritually motivating manner that would
engage the audience.
While there is no record that she met him, it is likely that she
heard him speak in person given the time and location of
Ingersoll's public speeches in the north east of the United
States during the latter part of the nineteenth century, where
Tingley also lived and was active.
It is a point of Theosophic inner 'coincidence' that Ingersoll
was closely connected and read the literature of the progressive
reformer D.M. Bennett, who published the 'Truthseeker' magazine.
Theosophists would later learn of the close connection of Bennett
to Blavatsky's own mysterious teachers.
Bennett is spoken as 'honest and earnest' and 'one of our agents
[unknown to himself].' (See THE MAHATMA LETTERS TO A.P. SINNETT,
1923, pages 249 and 251.) Like Ingersoll, Tingley had cultivated
an innate charisma that was transformational. People were
frequently deeply moved and there are many anecdotes of her
ability in this manner.
As Iverson Harris Sr. (1860-21), who later would serve as her
legal council, writes about her after meeting Tingley in
Nashville, Tennessee in the late 1890's,
> She seemed to enter into our very nature. She seemed to give us
> something which before we did not possess. She set our hearts on
> fire, and she made our brains active.
> -- THE NEW CENTURY, March 5, 1898, page 15.
WILLIAM Q. JUDGE: THE THEOSOPHICAL DOOR OPENS
By the early 1890's, she was in New York City, engaging in
humanitarian and relief work in the prisons and amongst workers,
establishing what she called a 'Do Good Mission' for the
destitute and poor of the east side. She realized that,
> It was plain to see that little could be done really and
> permanently to help them: what was needed was a new system of
> education for the prevention of the conditions I met. To
> reorganize human nature when it had already lost faith and become
> awry and twisted, skeptical and cynical, seemed almost or quite
> impossible: I saw that the only way was to mold the characters of
> the children, in the plastic first seven years of their lives.
> -- Katherine Tingley, THE GODS AWAIT, pages 75-76.
Tingley relates how these 'thoughts and feelings had become acute
one bitter winter when the East Side was seriously affected by a
strike.' A baby had died in its mother's arms at the door of her
'Do-Good Mission' she had established for emergency relief where
she had been providing soup and food on a daily basis. A large
desperate crowd had gathered of more than six hundred people had
in the midst of the snow storm and the old house she was using
for the 'mission' had room for only fifty . . . Beside herself
she addressed the crowd, explaining the situation, attempting to
keep everyone calm until soup and bread were distributed. Her
eye suddenly was drawn to someone in the crowd:
> It was that suddenly my attention was caught by a pale face on
> the outskirts of the crowd . . . clearly not one of the
> strikers . . . a face of fine features and noble expression.
When she turned to have someone seek this man out, he was
suddenly gone, but two days later William Q. Judge, president of
the Theosophical Society in America, returned saying he had read
of her work with the poor.
> [He had] divined my discontent with it, and my hunger that would
> go much deeper, -- removing the causes of misery, and not merely
> relieving the effect.
> -- GODS AWAIT, page 79.
This was a pivotal point in Katherine Tingley's life. Deep
intuitions that she had been feeling throughout her life, had now
been presented to her, in this 1893 meeting with Mr. Judge and
the opening through him of the Theosophical philosophy of life.
She was profoundly moved by Judge:
> I was face to face with a new type of human nature: with
> something akin to that which my inner consciousness had told me a
> perfect human being might be. The more I became acquainted with
> him and with his work, the more I felt assured that some of my
> old dreams and hopes might yet come true . . . He [Judge] had
> made Theosophy the living power in his life; and none could be so
> bitter against him as to exhaust his tolerance or his compassion.
> -- GODS AWAIT, page 80
Katherine Tingley continues,
> It was he who first gave me glimpses of the power of thought, and
> made me realize what it will do to build or ruin the destiny of a
> human being; and in doing so, he showed me how to find in
> Theosophy solution of all the problems that had vexed me: how it
> points the way to the right treatment of the downtrodden and
> outcast of humanity, and to the real remedies for poverty, vice,
> and crime.
> -- GODS AWAIT, pages 80-81
This seeming 'chance' meeting with Mr. Judge had been
transformative both within her own life and also in how she would
carry on her activities in the world. For Tingley a broad
realization had become crystal clear: she had come to the view
that karma, the 'law of eternal justice' was indeed
'unconquerable compassion.' The Theosophical philosophy combined
with Judge's inspiration and direction quickly integrated with
Katherine Tingley's life experience and intuition. Her life
focus had taken a new energy and vision which became her mission
to make Theosophy practical and 'active.'
> Think of Theosophy not so much as a body of philosophic or other
> teaching, but as the highest law of conduct, which is the enacted
> expression of divine love or compassion.
> -- WISDOM OF THE HEART, page 72
This was her directly inspired expression of the Mahayana
Buddhist ideal of the way of the Bodhisattva path of compassion.
It was certainly this great driving force in her life which
brought her from an obscure unknown participant in the
Theosophical world, to in just three short years the head of the
Theosophical Society, after William Q. Judge's untimely death in
1896. (See H.P. BLAVATSKY AND THE THEOSOPHICAL MOVEMENT by
This same motivational force would then lead her on a bold
endeavor to the founding of a Theosophical center at Point Loma,
with its focus on the transformative power of education based on
implementing in a practical way the ideals of Theosophy.
Katherine Tingley would seek to implement what Blavatsky had
envisioned when she wrote in 'The Key to Theosophy' in 1888:
> If we had the money, we would found schools which would turn out
> something else than reading and writing candidates for
> starvation. Children should above all be taught self-reliance,
> love for all men, altruism mutual charity, and more than anything
> else, to think and reason for themselves.
> -- H.P. Blavatsky, THE KEY TO THEOSOPHY, page 270
'RAJA YOGA' PRINCIPLES: TRANSFORMATION IN SOCIETY, CRIME, CAPITAL
PUNISHMENT AND EDUCATION
In regard to crime, Tingley had come to see the hidden causes
rooted deeper inside the human constitution as the result of
ignorance and a lack of early childhood guidance and education.
Here, she would make the distinction between the conditioned and
limited 'brain-mind' and 'higher' transformative 'divine life.'
Later the historian Emmett Greenwalt would suggest that the
common Indian philosophical source of Tingley's New England
transcendentalism of her upbringing and converged with Theosophy
to form her educational views. (See CALIFORNIA UTOPIA by Emmett
Greenwalt, page 77.)
She became an advocate of education and prevention in
relationship to crime, which she called the 'road of ignorance'
requiring 'a large toleration for all, and a grand compassion for
the erring.' (CALIFORNIA UTOPIA, page 83.) She condemned harsh
punishment: "I would have the word crime erased from the
dictionaries . . . crime is a disease and calls not for
punishment but for cure." She called for wisely administered
'educative and karmic' treatment of the causes of crime and 'not
prisons, cells and scaffolds.'
Her advocacy against the death penalty was constant and
impassioned. Perhaps the peak of her public success in this area
of reform came during 1914, when she gave direct support to then
Gov. Hunt of Arizona, touring the state herself with a group of
'Raja Yoga' students performing music along with her speeches
countering the death penalty. Gov. Hunt also visited the
Theosophical center at Point Loma as well.
Tingley was also involved in the advocacy of prison reform and
Herbert Coryn, who had been in Blavatsky's esoteric 'Inner Group'
edited a Theosophically based periodical called 'The New Way',
that was printed monthly at Point Loma and distributed free to
those in prison. Tingley's critique was emphatic:
> Look at our prisons, those monuments of racial iniquity, and then
> say that our religion and our politics have lifted the standards
> of life . . . Is it not obvious, a truism, that every house of
> correction should have within itself the means and power to
> correct and redeem? And yet of what avail are our legal systems
> and prison systems for the moral correction of the criminal? What
> feature in them is designed to lift him out of despair? Nothing;
> and it was never intended that there should be; all that is
> thought of is this utterly futile idea of punishment that can
> serve no good purpose in the world.
> -- GODS AWAIT, pages 96-97
She would find and see the solution to the prevention of crime in
early childhood education and upbringing and incorporate these
ideals into her 'Raja Yoga' system unifying 'body, soul and
spirit' in a curriculum of daily spiritual practice.
RAJA YOGA SCHOOL DEVELOPMENT, CURRICULUM AND DAY
After the founding of Point Loma in 1898, her Raja Yoga
'experiment' was begun. The first class began in 1900 with five
students and there were 98 residents living, mostly in tents
there at the time. Within two years the number of students had
reached one hundred and by 1910 for its duration maintained an
average of about three hundred students. This was about half of
the number of residents living at Point Loma 1910 through 1920's
where the number of residence fluctuated between five and six
hundred. (See CALIFORNIA UTOPIA, page 79 and "Iverson Harris
interview With Bob Wright" in "The Journal of San Diego History,"
Summer 1974, page 17.)
Additionally there were approximately one hundred students coming
daily from San Diego. There were more than twenty nationalities
represented in this international group.
To have a little overview of the activity of Point Loma community
at this time, just during September 1915 between seven and eight
thousand visitors came to see the Point Loma educational center
and community. (SEE THE THEOSOPHICAL PATH, SEPTEMBER 1915, PAGE
Children were arranged into groups from six to twelve and within
an age group of two or maximum three years difference. Each of
these groups then lived in a group house with a teacher or what
Greenwalt termed 'superparent.' (UTOPIA, page 80)
After class hours, students returned to their group homes and
also engaged in various kinds of physical activity and work,
including gardening, wood working, sports, art, as well as daily
orchestral practice and periodic participation in dramatic
The total faculty by 1906 numbered more than sixty, most of whom
had degrees from various colleges and universities. (Iverson
Harris Interview, page 17 and UTOPIA, page 79)
THE DAY OF A RAJA YOGA STUDENT
A typical student day began at 6 am, with the community gathering
at the Greek Theater for a time of silent meditation at the Greek
theater, where readings were made from 'The Voice of the
Silence', 'Bhagavad Gita' and other inspirational and devotional
classics of Theosophy. Breakfast was at 7 and in silence, much
like Buddhist retreat centers of today and classes began by 8.
Class instruction alternated with work in the flower gardens for
the younger children and work in the vegetable gardens, fruit
orchards and forestry department for the older boys. The older
girls involved themselves in sewing for what was called the
Woman's Exchange and Mart.
After the mid-day lunch at noon, there was athletic sports,
including baseball, tennis, basketball, volleyball and track etc.
Also included was daily group musical practice with both
instruments and chorus. The youngest children were in bed by
seven and everyone else by nine-thirty.
An example of the Raja Yoga method in relationship to learning
music is given as follows:
> Mme. Tingley's originality was strikingly shown in the method of
> imparting musical instruction to children between the ages of two
> and a half and seven years. Each child carried a miniature piano
> keyboard, which showed the scale and the colors of the rainbow.
> The children, one by one, wrote on the blackboard on the stage
> each one of the seven notes of the scale in its proper place on
> the staff. Each note was written in a different color of chalk,
> and the class altogether did the following: Called the note by
> its name, corresponded it with a color, named and spelled and
> wrote the color, pointed out the note on the miniature keyboard,
> and while one played it on a real piano the rest sang it at a
> pitch to correspond. In this way the children were not being
> taught music in a separate watertight compartment, but were
> having their eyes, ears, voices, fingers and minds trained and
> attuned at one and the same time. It was explained that this was
> one of the essential characteristics of the Raja Yoga system . . .
> where all branches are related to one another, but also to the
> physical, mental and moral life.
> -- THE THEOSOPHICAL PATH, November 1915, page 377
Early on for the Lotus schools in New York in the late 1890s,
Katherine Tingley would write: "Children of Light, let us go
forth into the world and render noble service to all that live!"
(WISDOM OF THE HEART, page 114 and MYSTERIES OF THE HEART
DOCTRINE) This inspirational keynote was often recited by
children at the Raja Yoga School.
It is a curious fact that this phrase was also used in the
Pathfinder youth groups of the United Lodge of Theosophists,
undoubtedly the inspirational phrase was printed without
Tingley's name ascribed to it in the literature of early Lotus
Circle Groups in New York and Boston in the late 1890's. This
was during the time when the United Lodge founder, Robert Crosbie
was living at Point Loma and still a member of the Point Loma
group until 1904. (From verbal communications from various ULT
members of Pathfinders and various documents on Robert Crosbie in
the Point Loma Archives.)
RAJA YOGA: IDEALS AND PRACTICE
In the ideal of the Raja Yoga educational 'system,' there were
core elements that Katherine Tingley viewed as essential. She
would describe her educational 'system' as 'Raja Yoga,' 'royal
union' or as she expressed it: "the perfect balance of all the
faculties, physical, mental, and physical." (Katherine Tingley,
THE VOICE OF THE SOUL, page 81.)
How this broad generalization was described, will be briefly
outlined with some quotations from her own writings and those of
some of the teachers at Point Loma:
> Raja Yoga is an ancient term meaning simply 'royal' or 'kingly
> union.' I selected it as best expressing the aim and object of
> true education, namely, the perfect balance of all the faculties,
> physical, mental and spiritual -- in a word, CHARACTER.
> -- WISDOM OF THE HEART, page 94.
> Our work is distinctively international, and this has its effect
> upon the children. Students come here, both young and old, form
> all parts of the world, and each is encouraged to be, in the
> deeper sense, a national expression, standing for all that is
> best and highest in his own national life. Children are taught
> to regard themselves as integral and responsible parts of the
> nation to which they belong. They are taught to aspire to the
> position of national benefactors, teachers and helpers, and so to
> become exponents of the truest and wisest patriotism. In the
> nurseries and schools of the world the principle of selfishness
> seems often to be exalted into a virtue. 'Preparation for life'
> seems all too often to consist in the cultivation of those
> aspects of nature which have already done so much to create the
> misery which we see. The habit of self-interest, the 'duty' of
> competition, are taught from the earliest and most impressionable
> days . . . and children so taught, being left in ignorance of
> their own nature, its complexities and its intricacies, are
> unable to discriminate between the Higher Self and the lower,
> between the true and the false in life.
> -- WISDOM OF THE HEART, page 95
> Discipline is always necessary; BUT it should always be made
> clear that the ultimate source of discipline is the child's own
> higher nature and will. The guardian and teacher simply
> interpret and guide. A child makes to his guardians a double
> appeal . . . from the lower nature and from the higher. If
> the appeal of the lower nature alone is responded to, the
> indulgence ensues and the child's nature is spoilt and the seeds
> of future sorrow are sown. The teacher must be able to recognize
> the appeal of the child's higher nature and to respond to it;
> thus manifesting true kindness, earning real gratitude, and
> sowing the seeds of future weal. Such are some of the principle
> of Raja Yoga education.
> -- Henry T. Edge, THE THEOSOPHICAL PATH, January 1920, page 24.
> We must teach the child that it is an immortal Soul incarnate in
> a body. We must who it the difference between selfish instincts
> and care for others. "Oh, if only I had been taught, as a child,
> to pass the plate around, instead of helping myself first, what a
> difference it would make to me now!" Raja Yoga children are
> taught to pass the plate around first. The problem in a nutshell
> again, and unromantically simple, as before. We commend the
> solution to all educational writers. But remember: unless there
> is behind this moral teaching the rational intellectual teaching,
> the result will probably be only a subtle hypocrisy . . .
> Teach the child that the soul is his real self; that he is
> immortal; that he lived before he was born, and will continue to
> live after the change called death. Teach him the perfect and
> benign justice of the great law of Karma. Teach him these
> things, and you will give him a sure basis for moral training
> that will make him a self-disciplined man. And these sublime
> truths do not have to be taught like maxims out of a book or
> catechism. The intuition of the unspoilt child is able to
> perceive and grasp than to teach them. We have far more need to
> refrain from unteaching children than to teach them. All this is
> illustrated by the results obtained in the Raja Yoga teaching.
> It is this that will solve the problem of education, by producing
> self-disciplined people.
> -- Henry T. Edge, THE THEOSOPHICAL PATH, September 1919, page
(to be concluded)
THE COMMONSENSE OF THEOSOPHY, Part II
By Frank Knoche
[From THE THEOSOPHICAL PATH, February 1918, pages 134-47.]
The commonsense man at this point will say:
> Obviously, the thing for me to do first is to make the
> acquaintance of myself -- in short, to study myself. If it is
> true that man is dual in nature -- and it must be so, for here
> and there I do see men calmly walking out of prisons while I stay
> in -- and if it is true that man possesses a wonderful equipment
> of spiritual power in his makeup, along with another sort of
> equipment of which he is not so very proud, it behooves me to get
> out these reserves of mine, look them over and take stock of what
> I have on hand.
He is right. The rational plan, when one has determined to
discard old business methods and start in with new and better
ones, is to make an inventory and see what there is in stock to
go upon. That is exactly what Theosophy not only encourages one
to do, but gives one the power to do. And, in this matter of an
inventory of oneself, it turns on a flood of light.
Now light is just what old lumber-rooms need. No one can deny
that the average, undisciplined human mind is not inaptly
described as a lumber-room: wishes, desires, ideas, opinions,
facts, and fancies, all bundled in together, good and bad alike,
with the cobwebs of ignorance and obscuration binding long
artistic lines over the whole.
The moment one begins to think, he realizes this fact, and then
it is up to him, whether to allow the old accumulation to remain,
with its waste and dirt or to clean it up.
If he brings in a light and decides that the cleaning process
must go forward, the first thing that he discovers is that this
collection of resources, equipment, treasure, and trash, this
lumber-room, that is 'myself,' is Dual in its nature and make-up.
This part is animal, that part, Divine; and then man begins to
find his true dignity, and realizes that while he does have a
physical heredity from the kingdoms of Nature, he has also a
spiritual heredity from Deity.
He sees himself, as the old Stoics used to say, as a "portion of
Deity." He sees that part of his equipment is of a permanent
nature, infinitely valuable and only needing to be brought out
and rid of dust and debris to make him richer than any Aladdin;
and that another part is trumpery and mostly deserves the
trashcan. Or perhaps it is misused material that at last, now
that the light is turned on, he can find a way to make over, and
render of service to the part that is permanent and not trash.
How plainly then he sees that all his life long, quite
unconsciously most of the time, he has been adding to the
accumulations in this lumber-room which he calls 'myself,' --
sometimes by things of priceless and permanent value, but mostly
A conquest over some weakness that has piled up the permanent
gold for him: how clear it all is now! Weak compliance with
something he knew was wrong, a yielding to impulse or desire,
selfishness, criticism, cynicism, bitterness -- there these are,
like ghosts rising up to frighten and shame him.
Without the Theosophical teaching of the Duality of Man, how
would a person who seriously set out to understand himself ever
be able to find his way? In despair he would exclaim with Pascal:
> What a chimera is man! What a confused chaos, what a subject of
> contradiction! a professed judge of all things, and yet a feeble
> worm of the earth! the great depository and guardian of truth,
> and yet a mere huddle of uncertainty! the glory and the scandal
> of the Universe!
But Theosophy leaves one in no such dilemma as this. How
rationally the subject is stated in the following words, from
some writings by Katherine Tingley which, when originally issued,
were for private instruction only but parts of which have been
occasionally quoted publicly in recent years:
> Have you thought who or what is this 'I'? . . . What is
> 'myself,' and what 'my life'? Have you meditated on that Higher
> Self to which . . . you aspire? This thought and meditation is
> the first step to an understanding of the real nature of the
> inner and outer man. It clarifies your whole being, unloading
> and separating from you much that you have hitherto thought to be
> yourself, helping you to an understanding of the valuelessness of
> much that you have hitherto desired and perhaps thought necessary
> to your welfare or peace of mind, separating the chaff from the
> wheat in consciousness, conferring added power of insight into
> human nature and discrimination in your dealings with men.
> We all know that the inner man is true, eternal, strong, pure,
> compassionate, and just. The outer is too often weak, wavering,
> and selfish. Its energy arises out of desire and ambition. Yet
> it is the instrument which the soul, the inner, seeks to perfect
> in compassion. It is in this outer nature, usually physically
> dominated, that arises the common feeling of 'I,' and it is to
> the blending of this with the real 'I' within that evolution
> tends . . .
> From the time the Resolve is taken, the disciple has ever with
> him two forces. Two invisible companions formed of his own
> essence, one evil, one Divine, the secretion or objectivation of
> the opposite poles of his own self-consciousness. They represent
> his good and evil angels, the Augoeides and its counterpart, each
> seeking to absorb his being. One of these in the end must
> prevail over the other and one or the other is strengthened by
> every act and thought of his life.
> They are his higher and lower potentialities passing slowly into
> potency as the energies (both good and evil, note) of the soul
> are awakened by the effect of the Resolve and the vibrations
> thereby called down or called out. AND IF THE RESOLVE BE KEPT,
> IF EFFORT BE CONTINUAL, IF NO FAILURES OR FALLS DISCOURAGE THE
> ASPIRANT AND ARE ALWAYS FOLLOWED "BY AS MANY UNDAUNTED STRUGGLES
> UPWARD," HE HAS ALWAYS THE HELP AND COUNSEL OF THE DIVINE
> 'DAIMON,' THE 'WARRIOR'; AND VICTORY, HOWEVER FAR AWAY, IS
> CERTAIN. For this is an unconquerable power, "eternal and sure,"
> an actual presence and inspiration if you will but recognize it,
> having faith and faith and faith.
> Why then it will be natural to ask, if this Warrior, fighting for
> us, is invincible, do we ever fail? It is lack of faith,
> unwontedness of resort to this place of energy, the habit of
> yielding to temptation without pause or thought, the
> non-recognition (by meditation) of the DUALITY OF OUR NATURE. .
> Do you understand what 'Theosophy' means, or have you sought out
> the definition of it given by H.P. Blavatsky and W.Q. Judge?
> To make it a 'living power,' think of it not so much as a body of
> philosophic or other teaching, but as the highest law of conduct,
> which is the enacted expression of divine love or compassion. It
> is this which is to be made the guide of life as a whole and in
> each of its acts . . . Do every act as an intent and loving
> service to the Divine Self of the World, putting your best into
> it in that way.
Is it commonsense, then, to possess resources that are infinite
and yet go through life fearful and whining, or wicked and bold,
as though one had no spiritual resources at all? We need not
worry as much as we do. There is help for every emergency if we
will look for it in the right place. We have only to make out a
draft in the proper way: it will be honored. Never fear that.
And here we meet the next great problem, one that all men meet
but of which the businessman sometimes feels that he has rather
more than his share -- the problem of dealing with others.
There should not be the confusion and uncertainty that there is
about this question of our relationship with our fellows. There
should not be the endless suspicions and difficulties that only
stultify our own power to give and to serve, and keep men
separate and apart. And we know it.
In truth, most of us, upon reflection, are ashamed of the
blindness we show in our relations with others, of our
misjudgments, our ignorance of their nature, and the rest. To
quote homely Epictetus:
> Diogenes well said to one who asked from him letters of
> recommendation: That you are a man he will know as soon as he
> sees you; and he will know whether you are good or bad if he has,
> through experience, the knowledge to distinguish the good and the
> bad; but if he has not, he would not know though I were to write
> him a thousand times. For it is just the same as if a drachma
> asked to be recommended to a person. If he is skillful in
> testing silver, he will know you (the drachma) for what you are.
> We ought then in life to be able to have some such skill as in
> the case of the silver coin, that we may be able to say, like the
> judge of silver, "Bring me any drachma and I will test it."
Only we are not, and the terrible war in Europe is but part of
the shameful result, Here again Theosophy turns on its saving
light -- and, by the way, was any method ever invented more
thoroughly commonsense than just THE TURNING ON OF A LIGHT, when
you want to find your way in the dark? By the light of this
ancient torch, Theosophy, we see that others are dual as we are
Familiar with the keynotes of Duality in our own nature, we
recognize them at once in the nature of another. Worry,
suspicion, hatred, fear, discontent, restlessness, ambition,
laziness, and the all too common railing at fate -- these we know
at once as keynotes of the lower, animal nature in man; while
joy, peace, brotherliness, discrimination, clear vision, love of
work, desire to serve, willingness to sacrifice for a principle,
delight in rendering service to others -- these show that the God
in man is in the ascendency.
How the air clears!
We find the next questions almost answered in advance, for these
relate to the point of contact with our brothers, and how we
shall keep that sweet and unsoiled. Here again Theosophy shows
us the commonsense way, so that others will be better for having
met us, so that our home, our community, our city shall be better
and the awful blots that now exist on our so-called civilization
become a little less black. It is simply the white solvent of
Sincerity, a quality so whole and so pure that we lose the taste
for anything else.
I can do no better here than quote again from Madame Tingley,
whose teachings on life and duty are so preeminently practical
> Just as far as we give up trying to SEEM, and give our time to an
> honest attempt TO BE, will our eyes open to a true discernment in
> relation to those with whom we have to deal. The attempt to
> SEEM, the aping of virtues we know ourselves not to possess, is
> not only an act of self-poisoning, not only an utter
> stultification of the soul and intuition, but a poisoning of all
> those with whom we have to deal. Moreover, it makes us utterly
> negative, utterly the prey of others, utterly unable to judge
> them aright or to repel the touch of their lower natures. The
> first requirement, then, is PERSONAL SINCERITY, an unreserved
> owning-up to one's own soul of one's faults; and then, a steady
> fight to conquer them. Thus in time men become invulnerable,
> spiritually strong; and best of all, while we are making that
> honest fight, we cannot poison anybody else.
So much for the so-called smaller issues that affect the personal
life. What about those greater ones that affect whole nations?
It is the same. If I can live on amicable terms with my neighbor
who has a different social status, a different religion,
different ideas of duty and of life and who belongs to a
different race, why cannot a nation do the same? Nations can, and
they have done so, again and again.
On Point Loma today, as Students under Madame Katherine Tingley
in the School of Antiquity of which she is Foundress and
President, and as men and women playing their parts as active
working factors in life, are representatives of many different
nations; and there is an entire absence of the difficulties which
beset the ordinary city of the world, and of which the newspapers
keep us so thoroughly aware.
We who live here may be pardoned for believing that the right way
is the commonsense way, and that selfishness and greed in the
conduct of civic or national or international affairs is not only
a travesty on commonsense, but is absolutely unnecessary and
So that, inevitably, when one looks at life and history from the
viewpoint of Theosophy, one's ideas undergo an immense
broadening, and the laws whose guidance we invoke in the smaller
issues stand out in a clear light as the great guiding laws of
the world, to break which means discord, suffering, and
confusion, and to keep which, builds for harmony, justice, and
There is Karma, the law of cause and effect, the law which Paul
stated in the well-known words, "Whatsoever a man soweth that
shall he also reap."
There is the Law of Cycles, by which one can study
understandingly the rise and decline of nations, and can see how
it is that a period of retrogression is only an arc or a smaller
cycle in the Great Cycle of Universal Life, which moves on with a
forward general trend all the time.
There is Reincarnation, which explains so many of the seemingly
hopeless puzzles of life, and which is in reality a mighty key,
unlocking vast treasuries of knowledge before the mind and
opening the pages of history in a new way.
Brotherhood as a fact in Nature, which is admittedly the only
commonsense basis for relations of a personal kind, becomes
equally fundamental with regard to the wider and deeper relations
that exist between state and state.
And so one might continue, for the great universal Laws which
Theosophy enunciates, and which have guided whole nations in the
far past through periods of unexampled glory, are by no means
figments of the imagination. They are rules of action, not only
for you and for me, but for the nations to which we belong. They
are rules of guidance for the world.
We live in a world of material uses and demands, and we have to
meet material issues; but because a man must put his feet on the
dusty road to get to his journey's end, it does not follow that
he must put his head there, too. The commonsense way is to keep
one's head up in the sunshine and pure air and out of the dirt
and dust; otherwise, how shall one see to guide his feet?
Theosophy, with its call to humanity to awaken to something finer
and higher than material things, shows man how to stand erect and
keep his head where it belongs; and however soiled or thorny may
be the road under one's feet, there is always the clear sky of
hope above and the pure air of Spiritual Knowledge. For
Theosophy IS Spiritual Knowledge, glowing in the alembic of a
perennial confidence and trust and transmuting the baser metals
THE SECRET DOCTRINE COMMENTARIES:
THE UNPUBLISHED 1889 INSTRUCTIONS
By Johanna Vermeulen
[Entitled "Preserving the Future," this talk was given at the ITC
Conference in The Hague, the Netherlands, on August 14, 2010.
for more information and to order a copy of the book.]
This lecture was not planned. The program listed a lecture by
Michael Gomes, well-known publicist, editor and historian,
specializing in the history of Helena Petrovna Blavatsky and the
Unfortunately, he was not able to be here during the conference,
and his lecture, "Preserving the Future," is replaced by my
lecture with the same title. That presents no difficulty since
Michael Gomes worked for many years in T.S. Adyar in the
Archives and Library, and he is Curator of a New York Library,
while I am the archivist of the T.S. Point Loma Blavatskyhouse
and work on the conservation of the Point Loma Archives. So
preserving the future is a subject close to my heart.
Archivists very often have the reputation of living in the past.
This lecture will show that a REAL archivist is concentrated on
the future. What should be the aim on an archivist? Certainly
not surrounding oneself with books and magazines safely hidden
from the present - that is, the turmoil and stress of daily life.
The task of an archivist, especially a theosophical archivist, is
to make available the written products of the great inspirators
of the Theosophical Movement to all. Books are not meant as
interesting esoteric consumption products to enlarge only your
knowledge, but rather to be study-material, training-material,
for everyone who wants to train themselves to follow in the
footsteps of these inspirators. To do the same work in the world
as they did, albeit on a smaller, more modest scale.
To understand the KEYNOTE of this lecture, you have to be taken
back in history: in the 1970s, when Herman and I became members
of the T.S., we saw a rich variety of theosophical organizations.
And to understand what seemed chaotic, I started as an archivist
in embryo, to create order in this chaos by going back in
history. I discovered a seed that grew into a theosophical tree
with many branches. I hope that lifelong members still recall
how confusing it is for newcomers.
How did I overcome this confusion? For my first White Lotus Day,
I read a selection of fragments of Blavatsky's letters called
"She Being Dead Yet Speaketh." William Quan Judge selected them
to read on the first White Lotus Day in 1892, the day all friends
of Blavatsky come together to concentrate on her life and on the
continuation of her work.
One sentence, from one of those letters, struck me very
positively. HPB says:
> TO LIVE LIKE CATS AND DOGS IN THE T.S. IS POSITIVELY AGAINST ALL
> RULES AND WISHES OF THE MASTER, AS AGAINST OUR BROTHERHOOD,
> SO-CALLED, AND ALL ITS RULES. THEY ARE DISGUSTED. THEY LOOK ON,
> AND IN THAT LOOK (OH LORD! IF YOU COULD ONLY SEE IT AS I HAVE)
> THERE'S AN OCEAN OF DEEP AND SAD DISGUST, CONTEMPT, AND SORROW.
Now you perhaps wonder - why so positively moved by this sad
sentence? Because Blavatsky taught me in one tiny second that we
always have to look at the theosophical tree FROM THE MASTERS'
PERSPECTIVE. Not imagining that we are Masters, of course, that
would be extremely arrogant, but observing our theosophical work
and behavior, not from our branch or even twig of the
theosophical tree, but from its stem and preferably from its
roots. For the tree is rooted in the age-old Lodge of Wisdom and
And then, at once, your task and the decisions you have to make
become so much easier: you recognize that on all other branches
there are birds, some singing, some twittering, but always some
birds with that same broad Stem-and-Root view. All confusion
vanishes when you simply forget the branches and concentrate on
those roots that feed the whole tree. Branches can break, fruits
can fall, but the roots will stay. And from the roots, other
trees will grow in the future. And I think I am not alone in
this experience; it is the eye-opener for many of us here.
Now having established the keynote, let us start with the
CONTENTS of this lecture. For that, I want to take you again
back in history, but now much further back to a period that is
very important for the future of our work. Tomorrow, Will
Windham will take you to the first ten years of the life of the
T.S., but I take you now to the period of the last five years of
the life of H.P. Blavatsky, especially the years 1886 to 1889.
These are the most fruitful years of Blavatsky's life.
1. After she left India for good in 1885, she went to Europe
where she continued writing the book that later proved to be her
master- work, "The Secret Doctrine." She stayed in Wurzburg,
Germany and in Ostende, Belgium while working on it.
In 1887, a small group of London Theosophists, led by the 27
year- old Bertram Keightley, visited her in Ostende and asked her
to move to London and finish her "SD" there, with the help of the
London members. A few days later, she moved to London and, three
weeks later, she formed, with a small group of young members, the
Blavatsky Lodge, which had its meetings weekly on Thursday
evenings. Some of those young members helped her prepare "The
To bring structure to the enormous amount of information in the
book, they decided to take as the basis a number of Stanzas from
the Book of Dzyan. Around these Stanzas they modeled, they built
information: Seven Stanzas in the first volume on the origin and
evolution of the Kosmos; Twelve Stanzas in the second volume on
the origin and evolution of Humanity.
2. In 1887, she also started her second magazine, LUCIFER, THE
LIGHTBRINGER. The first two volumes contain unforgettable,
famous articles, forming a book of their own.
3. In 1888, the first volume of "The Secret Doctrine" was
published and was immediately a worldwide success - all copies
sold out within one day.
4. In 1888, she also started her Esoteric School, meant for
members who promised to themselves to dedicate their life to the
spiritual growth of mankind, to have compassion, to be co-workers
with the Masters of Wisdom and Compassion. And, in this Esoteric
School, she gave her deeper teachings.
5. In 1889, she started a series of studies in the Blavatsky
Lodge to give the young members the opportunity to ask her their
questions on the Seven Stanzas of Volume One of "The Secret
6. In 1889, HPB wrote in a few weeks her most practical book,
"The Key to Theosophy," for all who found "The Secret Doctrine" a
little too difficult. In "The Key to Theosophy," she bundled all
practical questions people asked her during many years, on
everyday problems, plus her very useful answers.
7. Later, in 1889, she wrote her most mystical book, "The Voice
of The Silence," dedicated "To the Few." In this little book, she
explains the core, the basis, the soul of compassion and the
seven paramitas, the seven noble character aspects we have to
evolve to become a Master of Compassion ourselves.
Now, all of this is very well known to Theosophists all over the
world: You can buy "The Secret Doctrine," "The Key to Theosophy,"
and "The Voice of The Silence." The Esoteric Instructions she
gave in her Esoteric School you can read in volume 12 of her
There is just one gap in her work that was never filled: the
months that she studied the Stanzas of the SD with her young
students in the Blavatsky Lodge. It is known there was a
stenographer present at those meetings. It is also known that
two small brochures with the very abridged text of the first ten
meetings were published in 1890 and 1891, now known as "The
Transactions of The Blavatsky Lodge," which you can find in
volume 10 of her Collected Writings. But no one knew where the
complete, unabridged stenographic notes were. The idea was that
they were lost.
So the general idea among Theosophists was that the answers we
have in "Transactions" are all the support we have from HPB when
we study the "SD" and the Stanzas of Dzyan.
You can imagine how glad and surprised we were when, at the
International Theosophical Conference last year in Los Angeles,
Michael Gomes approached us with the request to print and publish
the book he was preparing.
Years before, some staff members of the United Lodge of
Theosophists had asked him to transcribe the original handwritten
notes of the available 21 of 24 meetings of the Blavatsky Lodge.
All these years, these notes were in the possession of Mr.
Wadia, one of the important inspirators of the ULT. After his
death, they were found and there were a few unsuccessful attempts
to prepare the text for publication.
Michael Gomes than started the project, assisted by some ULT
members. He and the ULT team worked on steadily, quietly, in
silence. Why in silence? Because all great things are born in
silence. Every Theosophist knows from experience that every
important Theosophical project suffers unexplainable adversities
when that project is made too broadly known. That is simply the
Karma of our theosophical work.
So we were very glad to dedicate our time, money and work to this
project. During one whole year we continued in this line of
quiet work. And, together with Michael Gomes, our team of
members prepared, printed and now present to all of you this
book, "The Secret Doctrine Commentaries: The Unpublished 1889
What had been only some 90 pages published as "Transactions" in
pamphlets in 1890 and 1891 proved to be some 650 pages of
invaluable information? Michael wrote a very good and thorough
Introduction and we added a very helpful Index.
One very positive detail is that this project rises above the
Branch-level of the Theosophical tree to the Stem-and-Root level.
For Michael has worked for many years in the T.S. Adyar; the
manuscript and first efforts came from members of the ULT; and
the last phase, the production of this book, happened in the
Blavatskyhouse, the Point Loma T.S. Hopefully, this co-operation
is a good start for the future of theosophical work.
And, in this whole project, all personal ambitions and
reputations have been successfully neglected. What remains is
the quality of the contents of this book.
What can we tell you about the book, about these "Secret Doctrine
Commentaries" itself? The text was unpublished for so many years,
so the first questions is,
Is it an esoteric book? Do we have to keep it uncirculated?
The answer is, No, certainly not. Blavatsky says in the book, on
> 'THE SECRET DOCTRINE' IS NOT AN OCCULT BOOK, AS I TOLD YOU, BUT A
> PRINTED WORK FOR THE PUBLIC."
and, on page 640,
> THERE ARE ESOTERICISTS HERE, AND EXOTERICISTS. THE ESOTERICISTS
> WILL BE TERRIBLY CONFUSED IF WE SPEAK IN THIS WAY, AND THE
> EXOTERICISTS STILL MORE.
For the meetings of the Blavatsky Lodge and the Esoteric School
were held in the same period.
And William Kingsland, the Blavatsky Lodge President, says in his
article on "THE SECRET DOCTRINE," APPENDIX 3 OF THE BOOK: THOSE
WHO ARE MEMBERS OF THE ESOTERIC SECTION OF THE T.S. HAVE A
BETTER CHANCE OF UNDERSTANDING THE MATTER THAN THE ORDINARY
READER, BUT SINCE NUMBERS WHO HAVE ATTENDED OUR THURSDAY EVENING
MEETINGS ARE NOT ESOTERICISTS, IT HAS BEEN IMPOSSIBLE TO TREAT
THE MATTER FROM ANY BUT AN EXOTERIC STANDPOINT."
Thus, we may conclude that this book could be published without
So, if this is not an esoteric book, then what makes this book
unique? The uniqueness of this book is the fact that it is the
only manuscript of Blavatsky where we can read her spoken words
in their original form, unedited, unchanged, unpolished. The
great advantage of this text over her other books and articles
are that this text, just because of its relative rawness, has
100% retained the original inspirational power of the Teacher, a
thing you will not find so strongly elsewhere in her
The text is so lively that we may well imagine ourselves to be
present at those meetings, to take part in those studies. For
the questions that Bertram Keightley read to her could well be
ours, and the answers she gives are often the answers we
ourselves were looking for so many years. You are not just
reading the notes of the meetings, you become part of them. And
that makes this book unique and attractive.
Another unique thing is the method she uses to stimulate her
students. She follows the age-old method of evoking the inner
understanding of her students, in the form of questions and
answers, a method you will also recognize in the dialogues of
Plato and in the Raja Yoga method we discussed this morning.
A great advantage for us is the fact that her young students did
not quite understand her answers immediately, so they asked her
again and again on the same subject. And she answers and answers
for many pages, until Archibald and Bertram Keightley, or Doctor
Williams, or Alfred Sinnett, respond with a clear conclusion.
This gives us ample time to build up our own clear view on the
What makes the Blavatsky Lodge so special? The Blavatsky Lodge
studies were attended by a small group, only 8 or 10 members,
five of them around 30 years old: Bertram Keightley, 29;
Archibald Keightley (his nephew), 30 years old; Walter Old, 25
years; George Mead, 26 years; and William Kingsland, 31 years
and, for some time, the President of the Lodge.
Do you realize her wisdom? She did not look at their age or their
relative lack of experience in life; she looked at their
reincarnating part, the richness of the experience of their souls
and the inner potency to play an important, inspiring role in the
T.S. in the future.
This is what she said to Walter Old, and I quote page 643 of the
book where Blavatsky asks him what made him what he is; and he
answers, it is my Atma.
She corrects him and says that "his Atma" is not his, that he has
no Atma distinct from others. No, she says.
> IT IS YOUR EGO, AND YOUR INCARNATING EGO. IT IS THAT WHICH YOU
> WERE IN PAST LIVES THAT MAKES YOU WHAT YOU ARE, A YOUNG MAN OF 25
> THAT HAS SUCH A WONDERFUL CAPACITY OF GRASPING ALL THESE THINGS.
Do you see the timeless way she looks at her students, the way
she makes them look at themselves? And isn't that exactly what we
have to learn when we chair a theosophical group-study, or even
look for our own possibilities?
Indeed, Bertram Keightley became a lifelong, very important
co-worker in the T.S. Adyar. Archibald Keightley was one of the
strong supporters of William Quan Judge in his theosophical work
in the United States. George Mead became Blavatsky's secretary
and, after her death, a world-famous pioneer in the introduction,
translation and explanation of Western mysticism - the Gnostic,
the Hermetic, the Orphic Wisdom; he was the first translator of
the Pistis Sophia in English. In addition, William Kingsland and
Walter Old both became famous writers.
What subjects were studied by the Blavatsky Lodge? It is not
possible to discuss 650 pages; I can only give you the main
First, all seven Stanzas and their commentaries in Volume One of
"The Secret Doctrine" - these seven Stanzas represent the seven
stages in the evolution of the universe. So the first Stanza
describes the most unexplainable first phase. And, page after
page, you find information on the First Fundamental Proposition,
the Omnipresent, Eternal Principle. Terms such as The Absolute,
IT, the Sanskrit terms Parabrahman and SAT, the Hebrew term
Ain-Soph - she places them all in perspective; she shows what
they are and what they are not. And, chapter after chapter, your
vision will ripen.
And, after that, the same is done with later Stanzas where the
birth of all living beings in the Universe is described, and the
hierarchies of beings - the Sanskrit Dhyan Chohans, the Hebrew
Sephiroth, and the Gnostic Aeons. These later Stanzas are
described in the Second and Third Fundamental Propositions: the
great fullness of all living beings, constantly appearing and
disappearing, born and dying.
She answers questions on the real nature of Consciousness, the
seven states of Consciousness; on the infinitude of the Atom; on
the sevenfold nature of Man; and many pages on the after-death
state of man.
In addition, she explains to the scientist in her group the
deeper meaning of terms like Life, Light, Fire, Fohat, Gravity
and the universal forces of attraction and repulsion
After their study of the seven Stanzas, the situation changes
because, in that period, Blavatsky was writing her book "The Key
to Theosophy" and she asks the members of the Blavatsky Lodge to
give ideas and advice on the way to formulate the subjects in the
book, especially the chapters on the practical Theosophy, on how
Theosophists think of Duty, Charity and Self-Sacrifice.
Together they train themselves to explain to the new readers of
"The Key to Theosophy" three important subjects: Reincarnation,
Karma and Devachan. During that training, she gives details on
Karma and Devachan I have never found in her other writings.
"The Secret Doctrine Commentaries: The Unpublished 1889
Instructions" ends with the last recorded meeting of June 20,
1889, and to me this is the most remarkable meeting of all. The
subject of study that evening seems to have nothing to do with
the Stanzas of "The Secret Doctrine." But it contains the
ultimate basis for understanding them. Blavatsky starts this
meeting with the following words:
> NOW YOU HAVE GOT TO STUDY FOR YOURSELVES. THE ONLY THING I CAN
> GIVE YOU IS JUST TO PUT THE "KEY" IN YOUR HANDS AND SAY: THIS
> OPENS THIS WAY, AND THIS THAT WAY, AND SO ON.
You see her hint to her students not to ask any more questions
but to start searching for answers within themselves.
The first thing that then comes up in their discussion is:
> HOW TO CONCEIVE OF THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN THESE CELESTIAL
> HIERARCHIES OF DHYANI CHOHANS AND THE PHYSICAL FORCES, OR WHAT WE
> CALL PHYSICAL FORCES WITH WHICH WE ARE ORDINARILY FAMILIAR.
In other words, how can we obtain knowledge of the highest
spiritual beings; how can we form for ourselves an inner idea of
the highest spiritual aspects of the universe and their relation
with our ordinary daily life, with all the infinite forces,
phenomena, and aspects of objective Nature?
And the training Blavatsky gave to them is not to give answers
but to stimulate them to discover the fact that the main factor
in this question is "BY USING OUR INTUITION."
For some 30 pages, she challenges them to tell her what intuition
is and how to activate that intuition in yourself. And that is
exactly what a teacher, or director of a theosophical study-group
does - awakening the inner Buddhic faculties.
Exactly what we ask ourselves: how can we see our highest inner
wisdom and apply it in our daily life, with our relatives, our
colleagues, our friends, our enemies? Therefore, this last
chapter is a MUST for everyone who wants to contribute to a
better future of humanity and our planet.
So, in conclusion, today we offer you this unique book, "The
Secret Doctrine Commentaries," subtitled "The Unpublished 1889
Instructions," a book with which you can change the future of
And for this once - and I hope you agree - to make an exception
and thank some Theosophists:
to the staff members of the ULT who guarded this manuscript for
so many years and who initiated the whole project,
to Michael Gomes for preparing this book during many years, and
to the team members in the Blavatskyhouse who gave so much of
their free time, canceled their holidays, to make it possible to
present this book today to you all as well as the rest of the
And I hope I speak for all of you when we want to thank all of
our speakers at this Conference as well as the strong motor
behind the ITC activities, Sally and Jim Colbert, by giving all
of them the first copies of this book.
And, for everyone in attendance, we have arranged a large table
with many copies, here in the hall, so that you can have a first
impression of the book, its content and its quality. We do hope
you all will enjoy this unique book as much as we do.
ART AS A FACTOR IN EVOLUTION
By R. Machell
[From THE THEOSOPHICAL PATH, July 1918, pages 21-28.]
As knowledge increases the range of human sympathies, so should
the more highly civilized become more liberal in their
appreciation of the races formerly classified as savage or
barbarian; because the advance of knowledge tends to make clear
the fact that in all races, even in the most degraded, there are
traditions as well as evidences of lost arts and sciences such as
distinguish the civilized nations.
We are now beginning to see the weakness of the ape-ancestry
theory, which held the field for about half a century in Europe
and America, and we are forced to admit that all the evidences
are in favor of the opposite theory, to wit, that the arts,
sciences, religions, and philosophies have continually
deteriorated, and often almost entirely disappeared, to be again
revived, restored, revealed, or rejuvenated in a renaissance or
rebirth that comes more as a revelation, through man as the
active agent, than as a growth or gradual development.
The history of nearly all inventions is similar. Some one or
more individuals have foreseen the new machine or the new scheme
almost in its entirety, and have been laughed at as dreamers
until the idea has taken root in the minds of practical men who
gradually gave it form and brought it up to the level of the
ideal as it first presented itself to the 'dreamer' who is seldom
credited with its origination.
I imagine that as time goes on, we may recognize the fact that
civilization is a product of evolution guided by Wisdom, or
Superior Intelligence, which continually reveals to man the
truths that he continually degrades and disfigures in his
attempts to adapt them to his limited conceptions of what is
necessary for the welfare of his kind.
The theory of revelation is complementary to that of evolution.
The reason why it has been regarded as antagonistic is that the
knowledge of the true nature of man has been lost, and that the
source of revelation has been placed outside of him in an
impossible kind of God who was both personal and absolute, which
is of course unintelligible to the mind of man though capable of
a metaphysical explanation that to most men would also be
But Theosophy explains intelligibly that man is in himself a kind
of epitome of the Universe, linking up the highest and the lowest
spheres of being the most spiritual and the most material in his
own person, and thus is able to reveal the mysteries of his own
inner life to the mind that is housed in his body and so to all
other men. Man is himself the revealer, the recipient of Wisdom,
and the mystery revealed.
The prime factors in civilization, as well as its chief
attributes, are the arts and sciences, the religions and
Tradition has it that in the Golden Age, all men were of one
tongue, and religious intolerance was unknown. But the element
of discord was introduced, according to exoteric tradition, and
still works havoc in the world. The occult philosophy puts it
differently, saying that the Human Monad left its state of pure
spirituality to descend into Matter for the regeneration of the
world and for the increase of its own experience. This was
according to the Universal Law of evolution and involution, which
must bring the human race through the region of chaos and
conflict up again to the golden heights of Wisdom and peace.
So the old philosophy recognized the existence of discord as an
element peculiar to this stage of evolution, a temporary
experience, that can be at any time surmounted by the individual,
who knows that the source of Wisdom and peace are in his own
heart, and may shine through to illuminate his mind with true
ideas, that may be made practically useful in his material
Civilization depends upon the periodic revelation of ideals from
the spiritual world to the earth-bound souls of mortals. The
arts, sciences, religions, and philosophies are means by which
such ideals are brought forth from the inner world and made
While we are taught that all men are thus potentially revealers
and teachers, we are also reminded that the whole human race is
here under the hypnotic spell of ignorance or chaos, and that
only the elder brothers of the race succeed in bringing to earth
the seed of divine wisdom. By Elder Brothers is meant Souls that
in previous cycles of evolution have learned the lessons that
they are now qualified to teach.
As we are all students in the school of life we must admit that
we have much to learn, but we may avail ourselves of what our
Teachers have given us to clarify our own ideas on the subject of
these various branches of the tree of Wisdom, one of which is
An artist is not always the best person to explain verbally the
meaning and purpose of art. It is his mission to exemplify this
in his work, and we do not generally give the name of artist to a
speaker or writer, although it may be in every way fully as well
applied in their case.
Painters are naturally inclined to express themselves in paint
rather than in words, and it often happens that they pass through
life without even formulating mentally any clearly defined
explanation of the purpose and power of art.
Many of these producers of 'works of art' are hardly worthy of
the honorable title 'artist,' but should rather be considered as
servants of art or as apprentices (in the larger sense). For
they have not mastered the principles of art, though they may
have acquired more or less skill in the exercise of some artistic
As to who shall decide their right to the name of artist, that is
a matter which is open to discussion, for it depends upon one's
philosophy of life as to who may be considered entitled to speak
authoritatively on any subject. In the meantime, in this
democratic age, everybody is free to claim authority, and is
entitled to all he can command.
On the other hand, no one need consider himself bound by any
other authority than the law of the land, or such other law as he
may have accepted, willingly or otherwise.
Obviously there is no general agreement on such matters. Else
the world would now be at peace and might continue so.
Fortunately, Art is not a cause of war; and that distinguishes it
from religion. If the two were better understood, the difference
between them would disappear along with the misunderstandings as
to their true nature.
It would be safe to say that the vast majority of those who take
some pleasure in art are entirely ignorant of the nature of
aesthetics. Many, perhaps most, of these would say they know the
meaning of the word religion, while they would surely break down
utterly in any attempt to say what is the quality in a work of
art that gives it aesthetic value.
The terrible ordeal through which our civilization is now passing
will probably open people's eyes to the reality of spiritual
forces in a material world, and will make them better able to
appreciate the deeper nature of life and art.
It must surely already have prepared many to sympathize with that
which appeals to the latent spirituality in themselves, and which
indicates the spiritual nature of the world they live in.
I think that no longer will the world at large be content to be
simply amused or distracted for a moment by work that can only
appeal to their sensuous perceptions of material beauty. Nor
will they be satisfied with that which may excite admiration for
the skill of the executant. Skill is necessary, but it is a
means to another end. That end is ecstasy, a word that will
surely repel many who yet love art.
But the word is a good one and that which it expresses is of
vital importance in life. One dictionary gives this:
> [It is] a state in which the mind is carried away, as it were,
> from the body; a state in which the functions of the senses are
> suspended by the contemplation of some extraordinary or
> supernatural object; a kind of trance.
This, which is a familiar phenomenon in connection with certain
forms of religion, is hardly recognized as a right and proper
faculty of art, by the generality of those who flock to our art
galleries or museums to get enjoyment and distraction.
Indeed, I think it would be true to say that ecstasy generally to
the public suggests delusion; and that aesthetic ecstasy is
another name for affectation in their vocabulary. The rise of
materialism, with the decay of religion, and the loss of
spirituality coupled with an excessive emotionalism, have made
the rational world look askance on anything approaching mysticism
The fact is that without some knowledge of the complex nature of
man, the phenomenon of ecstasy cannot be explained so as to place
it where it really belongs in the field of human experience.
To the Theosophist, man is a soul incarnate in a body, and
connected therewith by means of a mind, which itself is dual, the
lower mind being merely a function of the body, and the higher
being the reflection of the spiritual intelligence of the soul or
spiritual essence, which is the real and enduring
self-overshadowing, if not inherent in, the living human being.
The term soul is loosely applied by various schools of religion
and philosophy to describe any or all of the many conditions of
man's consciousness above the purely animal.
Accepting the term soul as descriptive of a state intermediate
between pure divinity or spirituality and pure animalism or
materiality, we may call ecstasy a state in which the mind is
closed to the animal and made to reflect the light of the divine.
Such a condition is an approach to union with the higher or
spiritual self and is a state of infinite bliss.
Accepting again this rough sketch of man's complex nature, it
will be easy to see that there must be many stages of ecstasy, or
perhaps one should say that ecstasy has many IMITATIONS in lower
states, which may be produced by use of drugs, as well as by
excessive excitation of the lower emotions and passions.
Love and hate can produce a frenzy, that is a kind of diabolical
parody of spiritual ecstasy, but which may appear elevated to one
who is sunk in mere animalism. Ignorance of man's nature may
cause one to mistake such intoxication for divine ecstasy.
The results of such mistakes are disastrous to the victims of
these indulgences, as well as to those who mistake the utterances
of such debauchees for revelations derived from truly spiritual
It may be said that all keen enjoyment or intense pleasure is a
phenomenon that in some sort reflects the state of ecstasy, but
the difference is a difference in kind as well as in degree: for
the plane of matter is separated from the plane of spirit, and
man has in himself the bridge by which he may pass from one state
to the other.
Pleasure, amusement, distraction, interest, and so on, are states
of the lower mind: ecstasy is the passing over the bridge into
conscious perception of the spiritual world. (I am using the
words in their ordinary sense, for in truth, the condition of
consciousness in the state of spiritual awakening, or ecstasy is
one that cannot be correctly described in ordinary language.
All religious ceremonies aim at producing a state of ecstasy, and
it has truly been said that one of the main differences between
the religions of civilized and of savage races is that the
ceremonies are abortive in civilized communities and effective in
those of the primitive devotees, who more strictly adhere in
practice to their ancient rituals.
In both cases, art and religion are used together for the same
purpose, and while the process in civilized communities is
generally an intellectual exercise resulting in intellectual
exaltation at best, and in fatigue more usually, in the so-called
savage ceremony, the evocation is aimed at planes of nature that
are not intellectual, whether they be higher or lower, and from
which results are definitely expected and probably received,
though they may be highly undesirable from the point of view of
While the phenomenon of ecstasy is perhaps not altogether unknown
to the general public, it is probably correct to say that it is
almost invariably regarded as a state of delusion or dream caused
by an abnormal condition of the mind.
It would be really much nearer the truth to say that mankind is
in general only about five percent awake, and that his normal
condition at present is one of semi-sleep or of partial
intoxication in which both vision and understanding are clouded
and distorted by ignorance and sensuality and that ecstasy is a
momentary or partial awakening of the true man to a dim
perception of his own inner possibilities and to a conception of
bliss that may seem to him too beautiful to be true too pure to
The attainment of this intense joy is one of the aims of both
religion and art, and in both cases the real aim is constantly
obscured by the misuse of these high functions for the lower
purpose of amusement or sense-gratification, which holds the mind
down to the material plane.
Art, therefore, is a revealer of hidden truth, a bridge across
the gulf that separates the illusions of earth-life from the
realities of the spiritual spheres of consciousness. When it is
employed as a means of increasing the pleasure of life on earth,
it becomes indeed a deluder, for the earth is but a state of
transition or of preparation for real life.
When speaking thus of earth-life as an illusion, it must be
clearly understood that by 'earth-life' is meant a life wholly
concerned with the pleasures and pursuits of material existence
-- that is to say of animalism.
Here one must guard against the error of supposing that animals
are degraded creatures because their state of evolution is
different from that of man. What is proper to the animals is no
longer proper to man, who is endowed with higher possibilities
than the animals have yet evolved. For man to be content to live
like an animal is retrogression, and therefore his animalism is
unnatural to him and disgraceful. Nor are we in a position to
say how far the animals may be spiritually illuminated in their
unintelligence or the reverse.
It may be that man in evolving mentality and in cultivating his
intellect has thereby temporarily obscured the light of the soul
and so has brought himself into a state of materialism to which
no animal could possibly attain.
It may well be that the mind of man has led him to plunge deeper
into the abyss of matter, has caused him to "descend into hell,"
as said in the old mystery-drama, in order that he may be forced
to free himself by his own effort from the delusion of the senses
and so rise to true self-knowledge and spiritual
So when we speak of animalism as a reproach to man, we do not
impute degradation to the animals in general. Exception may be
made in the case of the anthropoid apes, which in THE SECRET
DOCTRINE are said to be the abnormal progeny of man, paying to
nature the penalty of man's violation of her laws.
But man's mission is to evolve to higher states than those that
he at present can command. For this he is equipped with the
higher faculties of the mind which are his to use as he will. He
can rise to great heights by its aid, or he can plunge far lower
than the beasts in pursuit of gratifications that they dream not
of; and in the exercise of his great powers, he can find joy that
marks him out as a being distinct from them. They too recognize
So it is proper for man to aspire, and it is right for him to use
the means he has evolved for that purpose. For this his
imagination exists, not for his deception, not to blind him to
unpleasant facts, but to reveal to him the truth that lies
concealed within the illusions of material existence. By this
high faculty, he comes to a perception of his own divinity, his
god-like ancestry, and his relation to the Great Soul of
Humanity. By this, he senses the reality of Universal
And what if he deludes himself? Even so he learns to know his
limitations, which must be understood along with his
possibilities. But in fact, delusion does not come as a
consequence of true aspiration; for aspiration is itself the
turning of the mirror of the mind so that it may reflect the
image of the divine. Delusion comes from looking down into the
darkness of the magic mirror and seeing therein the lower sphere
The mind is a mirror, but it must be controlled, or it will give
distorted reflections. So the control of the mind is the first
duty of man; on that his evolution must depend. That is the
basis of all true morality, which is something more than a social
convention adopted as a veil to conceal the ugliness of life.
Morality is self-discipline, which is control of the mind.
Without this discipline no true knowledge can be attained, for
the mirror in which the truth is reflected will not remain steady
of its own accord; it must be controlled by Will: and Will is
man's magic, which can accomplish miracles.
Therefore let those who are looking for some light beware of the
false beacons that are raised by undisciplined seers of distorted
truths. Test all ideals by the touchstone of your own heart; and
if your aspiration is sincere, your own mind self-controlled, and
your imagination free from vanity and passion, your heart will
not deceive you.
To aid man in his evolution, the Teachers of humanity, those
elder brothers who belong to an older race long since passed on
to other spheres, and who remain with us to keep the link
unbroken in the chain of evolution, have given us civilization,
with our arts and sciences, our religions and philosophies, all
which are means to the same end, the attainment of spiritual
enlightenment, which we call Wisdom.
The history of the world is a long record of the efforts of these
Teachers, and of the consequent rise of civilization and its
subsequent relapse to be again revived by new efforts of the
tireless Leaders who watch over man's evolution.
And all these arts, sciences, and religions aim at producing a
state of ecstasy, not frenzy nor hysteria, but simply a higher
state of consciousness such as is described in "the divine
PYMANDER of Hermes Trismegistus."
> The knowledge of IT is a divine silence and the rest of all the
In that silence there is something that is more eloquent than
speech, more musical than song. It is not instruction. It is
The attainment of this state is difficult, and the means by which
it may be accomplished are innumerable, as they must be, for
humanity is composed of many different elements. And, as all
nations do not now speak the same language, so all the
individuals in a nation cannot understand or employ the same
means of awakening themselves to a higher state.
It is said in the Book of the Golden Precepts that "the Path is
one for all; the roads that lead thereto must vary with the
pilgrim." So we have multitudinous religions and diverse arts,
but the aim of all is to open a way to the Path. This opening of
the way is ECSTASY.
When one realizes what these things really do mean, one is almost
appalled at the distance from the truth to which we have wandered
in our pursuit of false ideals of progress and prosperity. And
when a Teacher returns to earth to carry on the work, it must be
a hard task to gain a hearing. Such is in fact the experience of
every True Teacher. But the work is done somehow, and a new age
is started. The Teacher may not be recognized as such, but the
new revelation of the old Truth is never quite fruitless.
There have been nations that responded readily to the appeal of
art while others rose eagerly to the call of religion, but it
would seem as if this were merely a question of temperament.
A nation appears to have an artistic, or a religious, or a
scientific temperament, but, at the time of its periodic
awakening or renaissance, there seems to come to birth in it a
group of old Souls, who may not consciously cooperate in the work
of revival, but who undoubtedly do work together, even though
separated by circumstances, for the restoration of the old
ideals, each in his own department.
Someone or other may attain to fame and the rest may be more or
less unknown in their day; but the historian in time discovers
them and shows that they were there at the right time doing their
share, sowing seed perhaps for a later age to profit by.
Each Master has his own disciples; so it would be natural to find
the birth of such a master-soul followed by the appearance of a
number of lesser men of genius or of talent, who may not have
come into direct contact with their Master in that lifetime, but
who worked in the same direction, with more or less success, to
raise the ideals of the people. The result was in each case a
revival that was not the result of what went immediately before,
but rather a cyclic consequence of the eternal ebb and flow that
is the condition of all life.
It would seem that Great Souls can only come to birth at certain
epochs, just as the flowers can only bloom at certain seasons of
the year. But also it is true that flowers may be induced to
bloom at other seasons by artificial means; and man can achieve
great spiritual progress even in the dark ages of materialism;
but then it must be by artificial means.
All civilization is artificial in a sense, and individual men can
at all times free themselves from the limitations of their age,
to some extent, and rise to a considerable height above the
general level of their generation by artificial means. For men
are to some extent individuals, not perhaps as much as their
vanity may lead them to believe, but more than they generally
realize. And each individual may at any moment find the open
door through which to pass into the presence of his own soul and
so attain self-knowledge.
As men and women, we are the slaves of Time, or perhaps I should
say the fools of Time, but as souls, we are free from such
limitations, and who shall say at what moment in time we may come
to perception of eternal Truth? One thing is certain: we are
passing through a time of great changes.
So much has been already destroyed that the work of
reconstruction assumes more and more imposing scope as the days
of disaster pass into years and as the institutions and
traditions of yesterday pass from sight in the needs of the
moment. But though all things pass, and all forms change, the
principles of civilization remain the same, the arts and
sciences, the religions and philosophies.
The forces of destruction are let loose and will do their work,
but the forces of reconstruction must be assembled, and the plan
of the new building must be understood. It already exists in the
Universal Mind; we have to find it and fulfill it. Therefore I
have ventured to put forward these thoughts from the teachings of
Theosophy, as I have been able to understand them, in their
application to the meaning and purpose of Art in the scheme of
civilization and considered as a factor in evolution.
Dedicated to the Theosophical Philosophy and its Practical Application