[Cover photo: Kandarya Mahadeo, Shivaite Temple, Khajraho, India. (From an old engraving.)]
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“At the present time one of the most urgent needs is for a simplification of Theosophical teachings. Theosophy is simple enough; it is the fault of its exponents if it is made complicated, abstruse or vague. Yet enquiring people are always complaining that it is too difficult a subject for them, and that their education has not been deep enough to enable them to understand it. This is greatly the fault of the members who have put it in such a manner that the people sadly turn away. At public meetings or when trying to interest an enquirer it is absolutely useless to use Sanskrit, Greek or other foreign words. Nine times out of ten the habit of doing so is due to laziness or conceit. Sometimes it is due to having merely learned certain terms without knowing and assimilating the ideas underneath. The ideas of Theosophy should be mastered, and once that is done it will be easy to express those in the simplest possible terms. And discussions about the Absolute, the Hierarchies and so forth, are worse than useless. Such ideas as Karma, Reincarnation, the Perfectibility of Man, the Dual Nature, are the subjects to put forward. These can be expounded - if you have grasped the ideas and made them part of your thought - from a thousand different points of view. At all meetings the strongest effort should be made to simplify by using the words of our own language in expressing that which we believe.” - William Q. Judge, The Path, Vol. X, February, 1896, pp. 331-32.
“The learned and studious of thought have no monopoly of wisdom. Their violence of direction in some degree disqualifies them to think truly. We owe many valuable observations to people who are not very acute or profound, and who say the thing which we want and have long been hunting in vain.” - Ralph Waldo Emerson. 
As we approach closer and closer to the last quarter of the century, the unification of the Theosophical Movement becomes progressively more and more desirable, and a serious reassessment of our ideals, objectives and dedications becomes imperative.
It should be made clear, however, that no organizational unification is meant. The outward forms are of minor significance, and the various psychological differences that have grown up in the organized Movement would not disappear or even become less sharp as a result of artificial “mergers.”
Unification therefore is to be sought in an overall unity of ideals, long range plans, worldwide objectives, and concerted efforts for the dissemination of the fundamental principles of the Movement as a whole, and of the basic teachings of an age-old Wisdom which transcends individual civilizations, separative schools of thought, or particular disciplines of spiritual unfoldment.
Unification of the present Theosophical Movement can be achieved, and the shortcut to it lies in the direction of a sincere and deep-seated reassessment of the underlying value and worth of the teachings themselves, and the cleansing of them from the accumulated dross which has polluted them in many parts of the world, as the ship of the Movement made its way through troubled waters and occasional shallows.
Our own Movement has not escaped the destinies of the early Gnostic Schools which ended their course in endless fragmentations and the final disappearance of the original ideas in a sea of intellectual confusion and psychic deception; but, let it be stated at once, our own Movement has shown far greater vitality and coherence and has not lost its initial momentum or its original Codex of teachings and ideals. In these regards, we have done somewhat better than the Gnostic Schools, and have therefore a greater chance to enter a second century of endeavor.
The degree to which the Theosophical Movement will be a power for good towards the end of this century, and the extent to which its teachings will have by then permeated the thought of thinking mankind, will depend almost entirely upon the purity of its main ideals, upon the clarity of its principal teachings, and the dedication of its active workers.
To the serious student, nothing is more wonderful than the deep study of the technical teachings of the Esoteric Philosophy which lift our minds out of the sordidness of worldly life into supernal regions of thought. But this, unfortunately, is not what millions of other human beings require. Their need - only too often unrecognized by themselves - is to become aware of certain simple principles of thought, such as the Universal Fraternity of all men, the underlying Unity of all Life, the duality of human consciousness, the presence of an Inner Self in man, the fact that Mankind is not adrift in a sea of utter confusion, but is guided from higher spheres of being and can become aware of this  guidance. We need to project the ideas of Cause and Effect (Karma), of Reincarnation, of Cycles, of the power of Thought as a creative element in man, and we must do it on a wider and wider scale, through all the channels available, and in every possible way. Leaving technical teachings for those who are ready for them, keeping them available at a moment’s notice, and glad to convey them or lead others to them, we must nevertheless endeavor to permeate the thought of the world with those simple and tremendously powerful ideas which in time will remould the psychological attitude of men towards both life and death.
It should be distinctly understood, however, the unification of both ideas and efforts does not mean identity, or any subservience to some established, official and set views or policies. Our Movement is strong just because it has in it many strong minds and eager hearts who have unfolded from within themselves their own innate creative abilities to work according to their own best initiative, untrammeled by any set scheme. Unless this freedom of action is preserved throughout the structure of the Movement, and not only preserved but progressively widened and encouraged, there will be no permanent growth, and the most creative minds will leave us for pastures greener and more lucious. It is imperative to keep in mind that the Theosophical work has no set methods, established procedures or unalterable guidelines. It is absolutely free, both in the search for Truth and in the methods of its dissemination, and the only guidelines that can be thought are those of universal ethics, fairplay, honesty and mutual consideration. In H.P.B.’s own words: “If one does not work for others one has no right to be called a Theosophist. All must strive for freedom of human thought, for the elimination of selfish and sectarian superstitions, and for the discovery of all the truths that are within the reach of the human mind.” (“Le Cycle Nouveau,” in Revue Theosophique, Vol. I, March 21, 1889 .)
The main danger facing our Movement is the presence today of innumerable psychic bypaths and delusions which abound everywhere. It is an unavoidable characteristic of the present age, foretold by H.P.B. and others. And the only sure way of avoiding these is to build a secure spiritual-intellectual foundation of noble teachings and high ideals, which will serve as a touchstone and a point of reference to assess ideas and tenets that may arise from time to time in our midst and clamor for recognition. The original outpouring of teachings from the pen of H.P.B. and her own Teachers provides that foundation; these teachings were given out as guideposts and beacons in a rather dark world of psychic dangers, and all true Theosophists should become thoroughly familiar with them, both for their own benefit and for the sake of others whom they try to help. 
[This informative article from the pen of H. P. B1avatsky originally appeared in the second issue of The Theosophist, namely Vol. I, No.2, November, 1879, pp. 35-36.]
Perhaps the most widespread and universal among the symbols in the old astronomical systems, which have passed down the stream of time to our century, and have left traces everywhere in the Christian religion as elsewhere - are the Cross and the Fire - the latter, the emblem of the Sun. The ancient Aryans had them both as the symbols of Agni. Whenever the ancient Hindu devotee desired to worship Agni - says E. Burnouf* (* La Science des Religions, chap. XIII, pp. 187-88.) - he arranged two pieces of wood in the form of a cross, and, by a peculiar whirling and friction obtained fire for his sacrifice. As a symbol, it is called Svastika, and as an instrument manufactured out of a sacred tree and in possession of every Brahmin, it is known as Arani.
The Scandinavians had the same sign and called it Thor’s Hammer, as bearing a mysterious magneto-electric relation to Thor, the god of thunder, who, like Jupiter armed with his thunderbolts, holds likewise in his hand this ensign of power, over not only mortals but also the mischievous spirits of the elements, over which he presides. In Masonry it appears in the form of the grand master’s mallet; at Allahabad it may be seen on the Fort as the Jaina Cross, or the Talisman of the Jaina Kings; and the gavel of the modern judge is no more than this crux dissimulata - as de Rossi, the archaeologist calls it: for the gavel is the sign of power and strength, as the hammer represented the might of Thor, who, in the Norse legends splits a rock with it, and kills the Midgard snake. Dr. Schliemann found it in terra cotta disks, on the site, as he believes, of ancient Troy , in the lowest stratum of his excavations; which indicated, according to Dr. Lundy, “an Aryan civilization long anterior to the Greek, say from two to three thousand years B.C.” Burnouf calls it the oldest form of the cross known, and affirms that it is found personified in the ancient religion of the Greeks under the figure of Prometheus “the fire-bearer,” crucified on Mount Caucasus, while the celestial bird - the Syena of the Vedic hymns - daily devours his entrails. Boldetti* (* M. A. Boldetti, Osservazioni sopra i cimiteri de’ santi martiri, ed antichi cristiani di Roma, etc., Rome, 1720, Part I, 15, p. 60.) gives a copy from the painting in the cemetery of St. Sebastian, representing a Christian convert and grave-digger, named Diogenes, who wears on both his legs and right arm the signs  of the Svastika.* (* [See S. P. Lundy, Monumental Christianity, p. 17.]) The Mexicans and the Peruvians had it, and it is found as the sacred Tau in the oldest tombs of Egypt .
It is, to say the least, a strange coincidence, remarked even by some Christian clergymen, that Agnus Dei, the Lamb of God, should have the symbols, identical with the Hindu God Agni. While Agnus Dei expiates and takes away the sins of the world, in one religion, the God Agni, in the other, likewise expiates sins against the gods, man, the manes, the soul, and repeated sins; as shown in the six prayers accompanied by six oblations.* (* H. T. Colebrooke, Essays on the Religion and Philosophy of the Hindus, London, 1837, Vol. I, p. 190. [In the one-volume ed. of 1858, this occurs on p. 119. It is an essay originally published in the Asiatic Researches, Calcutta, 1801, Vol. VII, pp. 232-85. - Editor, Theosophia.])
If, then, we find these two - the Cross and the Fire - so closely associated in the esoteric symbolism of nearly every nation, it is because on the combined powers of the two rests the whole plan of the universal laws. In astronomy, physics, chemistry, in the whole range of natural philosophy, in short, they always come out as the invisible cause and the visible result; and only metaphysics and alchemy - or shall we say Metachemistry, since we prefer coining a new word to shocking sceptical ears - can fully and conclusively solve· the mysterious meaning. An instance or two will suffice for those who are willing to think over hints.
The Central Point, or the great central sun of the Kosmos, as the Kabalists call it, is the Deity. It is the point of intersection between the two great conflicting powers - the centripetal and centrifugal forces, which drive the planets into their elliptical orbits, that make them trace a cross in their paths through the Zodiac. These two terrible, though as yet hypothetical and imaginary powers, preserve harmony and keep the Universe in steady, unceasing motion; and the four bent points of the Svastika typify the revolution of the Earth upon its axis. Plato calls the Universe a “blessed god” which was made in a circle and decussated in the form of the letter X.* (* [Cf. Thomas Taylor, The Works of Plato, Vol. II, pp. 483. 487.]) So much for astronomy. In Masonry the Royal Arch degree retains the cross as the triple Egyptian Tau. It is the mundane circle with the astronomical cross upon it rapidly revolving; the perfect square of the Pythagorean mathematics in the scale of numbers, as its occult meaning is interpreted by Cornelius Agrippa. Fire is heat - the central point; the perpendicular ray represents the male element or spirit; and the horizontal one the female element - or matter. Spirit vivifies and fructifies the matter, and everything proceeds from the central Point, the focus of Life, and Light, and Heat, represented by the terrestrial fire. So much, again, for physics and chemistry, for the field of analogies is boundless, and Universal  Laws are immutable and identical in their outward and inward applications. Without intending to be disrespectful to anyone, or to wander far away from truth, we think we may say that there are strong reasons to believe that in their original sense the Christian Cross - as the cause, and Eternal torment by Hell Fire - as the direct effect of negation of the former - have more to do with these two ancient symbols than our Western theologians are prepared to admit. If Fire is the Deity with some heathens, so in the Bible, God is likewise the Life and the Light of the World; if the Holy Ghost and Fire cleanse and purify the Christian, on the other hand Lucifer is also Light, and called the “Son of the morning star.” * (* [Most likely a misprint for either “son of the morning,” or “morning star”. Cf. Revelation, xxii, 16. - Editor, Theosophia.])
Turn wherever we will, we are sure to find these conjoint relics of ancient worship with almost every nation and people. From the Aryans, the Chaldeans, the Zoroastrians, Peruvians, Mexicans, Scandinavians, Celts, and ancient Greeks and Latins, it has descended in its completeness to the modern Parsi. The Phoenician Cabiri and the Greek Dioscuri are partially revived in every temple, cathedral, and village church; while, as will now be shown, the Christian Bulgarians have even preserved the sun worship in full.
lt is more than a thousand years since this people, who, emerging from obscurity, suddenly became famous through the late Russo-Turkish war, were converted to Christianity. And yet they appear none the less pagans than they were before, for this is how they meet Christmas and the New Year’s day. To this time they call this festival Survaki, as it falls in with the festival in honour of the ancient Slavonian god Surva. In the Slavonian mythology this deity Surva - evidently identical with the Aryan Surya, the sun, is the god of heat, fertility, and abundance. The celebration of this festival is of an immense antiquity, as, far before the days of Christianity, the Bulgarians worshipped Surva, and consecrated New Year’s day to this god, praying him to bless their fields with fertility, and send them happiness and prosperity. This custom has remained among them in all its primitive heathenism and though it varies according to localities, yet the rites and ceremonies are essentially the same.
On the eve of New Year’s day the Bulgarians do no work, and are obliged to fast. Young betrothed maidens are busy preparing a large platiy (cake) in which they place roots and young shoots of various forms, to each of which a name is given according to the shape of the toot. Thus, one means “the house,” another represents the “garden”; others again, the mill, the vineyard, the horse, a cat, a hen, and so on, according to the landed property and worldly possessions of the family. Even articles of value such as jewellery and bags of money are represented in this emblem of the horn of abundance. Besides all these, a large and ancient silver coin is placed inside the cake; it  is called babka and is tied two ways with a red thread, which forms a cross. This coin is regarded as the symbol of fortune.
After sunset, and other ceremonies, including prayers addressed in the direction of the departing luminary, the whole family assemble about a large round table called paralya, on which are placed the above-mentioned cake, dry vegetables, corn, wax taper, and, finally, a large censer containing incense of the best quality to perfume the god. The head of the household, usually the oldest in the family - either the grandfather, or the father himself - taking up the censer with the greatest veneration, in one hand, and the wax taper in the other, begins walking about the premises, incensing the four corners, beginning and ending with the East, and reads various invocations, which close with the Christian “Our Father who art in Heaven,” addressed to Surva. The taper is then laid away to be preserved throughout the whole year, till the next festival. It is thought to have acquired marvellous healing properties, and is lighted only upon occasions of family sickness, in which case it is expected to cure the patient.
After the ceremony, the old man takes his knife and cuts the cake into as many slices as there are members of the household present. Each person, upon receiving his or her share, makes haste to open and search the piece. The happiest of the lot, for the ensuing year, is he or she who gets the part containing the old coin crossed with the scarlet thread; he is considered the elect of Surva, and everyone envies the fortunate possessor. Then in order of importance come the emblems of the house, the vineyard, and so on; and according to his finding, the finder reads his horoscope for the coming year. Most unlucky he who gets the cat; he turns pale and trembles. Woe to him and misery, for he is surrounded by enemies, and has to prepare for great trials.
At the same time, a large log which represents a flaming altar, is set up in the chimney-place, and fire is applied to it. This log burns in honour of Surva, and is intended as an oracle for the whole house. If it burns the whole night through till morning without the flame dying out, it is a good sign; otherwise, the family prepares to see death that year, and deep lamentations end the festival.
Neither the momche (young bachelor), nor the moma (the maiden), sleep that night. At midnight begins a series of soothsaying, magic, and various rites, in which the burning log plays the part of the oracle. A young bud thrown into the fire and bursting with a loud snap, is a sign of happy and speedy marriage, and vice versa. Long after midnight , the young couples leave their respective homes, and begin visiting their acquaintances, from house to house, offering and receiving congratulations, and rendering thanks to the deity. These deputy couples are called the Survakari, and each male carries a large branch ornamented with red ribbons, old coins, and the image of Surva, and as they wend along sing in chorus. Their chant is as original as it is peculiar and merits translation, though, of course, it must lose in being  rendered into a foreign language. The following stanzas are addressed by them to those they visit:
Surva , Surva, Lord of the Season,
With good crops and full ears,
The singing Survakari, recompensed for their good wishes with a present at every house, go home at early dawn ... And this is how the symbolical exoteric Cross and Fire worship of old Aryavarta go hand in hand in Christian Bulgaria ...
The Art of Growing Old.
I can picture your Christmas as being rather lonely and, as you hint, “a bit sad.” It is indeed sad, very sad, to watch the change and decay and departure of so much and so many ones surrounding you. There is no hope for it except to extract the inner - sweetness I was going to say, but that is probably the wrong word - essence would be better, for that is a combination of various elements, the real stuff of you at heart. So I suppose that even if the sunsets of our personal lives are not flaming (like that glorious sun-splash of color you saw recently as you walked back from the post-office on the 4th of January), they each have a quality, and the essence or quintessence of that quality is very important and something to be captured and understood and built into the very fabric of one’s being. To do this is to perhaps more consciously make use of the art of growing old, putting it to use so to say for future re-use - after the distillation which the bliss of devachan finally brings us and we return and put on our armor again. But there is no use denying there are the sad moments. I think perhaps we should not fight them; but accept them, and let a bit of humor creep in to help. If the heart and mind are full of reverence, I think the spoken word can afford to be a little lighter, a bit cheerful, and not weighed down with the woe of it all. And when death comes, what a strange and wonderful thing, after all, to be Oneself again, untrammeled, not having to pose or act or pretend, but just Be! You hit the nail on the head there, I believe. 
“The Sacred Knowledge of Death.”
I have been out sweeping up some maple leaves from the walk and lawn and wondering at their color and form and how beautifully they fall from the tree and die, and that tree itself already showing signs of a tender swelling along the stems where the new shoots will come. I swept up a few of the red leaves and shoved them around the trunk and I thought for a moment of Death and Life and the endless garlanding of them together, so that if we look at them properly - with the right attitude, as the Taoist says - the symphony, always meaningful, is also beautiful. We’d just heard of our friend’s death. I had the day before written him some encouraging lines. Well, he needs no encouragement now, but, within the embrace of all-wise Nature, will be taken care of. In all our reflections that perhaps is the most consoling, the simplest, the justest, the most loving: to be taken care of no matter who we are. We get what we deserve; but after life, in the new Death, we get it kindly and lovingly. In other words at the right time we are blessed with sleep and no intrusion will disturb that slumber. What could be more beneficent, more desired, more beautiful? Walt Whitman, I am sure, had thoughts such as these. “And I knew Death,” he sang, “its thought, and the sacred knowledge of death.”
The Monad and Analogy.
You ask a fascinating question about the Monad attaining its ultimate divine stature in a given universal manvantara: will it, after the long pralaya is over and it reimbodies on a higher plane, do so as an un-self-conscious god-spark - as far as the new manifestation is concerned? And you answer your own question - correctly, as I understand it - with an affirmative. Of course that un-self-conscious god-spark will have mighty powers concealed in it; and the grandness of a greater sphere will come pouring out of it, so to say. You are right to emphasize that any “ultimate divine state” is only ultimate for that universe, for that particular ring-pass-not in that manvantara. Newer “ ultimates” will be its inevitable lot as evolution proceeds. And yet, again, the emerging monad, no matter in how highly evolved a universe, will begin its life there as the first of the three Elemental Kingdoms, or, if you wish, clothed in Elemental form - for that advanced sphere. As you add, “I don’t see how it could be otherwise.” But always higher, higher, higher, more universal. What a picture it provides us for our moments of introspection and meditation!
As a young fellow I used to ponder some of these things, especially regarding the Monad, and the reach and complication of the Monad, and wondering why I should identify myself with my present Human monad when the Human monad that I was in a previous manvantara has grown to express itself as a Spiritual Monad. Why am I not that at this moment, I’d say to myself. And get really tangled and involved in the whole matter, and the pit of my stomach began to feel funny. Then is the time to relax and keep calm and wait for any intellectual fog to lift. The great key, I have found - and as H.P.B. certainly makes quite clear - is analogy. We are surrounded by, bathed in, analogies. It’s only a  matter of recognizing them, employing them as keys to understanding the riddle of the universe and ourselves. Sometimes, indeed, I think Analogy is all; and I can readily understand why in the Eclectic School of Alexandria in the 2nd and 3rd centuries A.D., the teachers in them were called analogeticists, as undoubtedly they instructed by means of analogy. In that way we learn of the relation of the small to the great and vice versa, and of our organs, for example, to the planets, and the divisible parts of our human constitution to the parts of the universe that can be divisible and brought together for purposes of evolution. I often wonder, as these ideas throb in and out of my consciousness, how people get along without Theosophy and seem relatively content as though they’d gotten something out of life or even mastered it.
Three Things ...
Yesterday I was thinking of what three things if I could have I would ask for. They are (1) Vision, (2) Strength, and then, as there are always Those who have gone ahead, (3) Guidance - in that order. Guidance without strength can encourage weakness. Strength without vision can create havoc. Vision without strength and guidance, can bring frustration, though preferable to the other single alternatives. All three - and one can go ahead vigorously living in the Eternal.
About the Masters.
What you say about the Masters is interesting. I do not pretend to know about these things. If I can learn to lift my consciousness a little during this lifetime I will feel I have accomplished something worth while, knowing there are many, many lives to carryon that eternal project. I have never felt it right - let me put it this way: I have never felt interested in asking of a Being (Master, advanced Chela, or “God”) for something for myself, no matter how holy the purpose to which I might think I should dedicate the gift received; but, to me, the way that appeals is to see if I could (in a small way) become a channel for something greater - which yet is a part of me - to flow through; in fact to recognize that it isn’t I but it is the inner Krishna, the inner Buddha, that is working, and I am only the immediate vehicle or channel. Don’t misunderstand this, for it would be dangerous to think of oneself as “special” in any way. The inner divinity is in all men. To seek to reach it, or to let it shine through, is, I believe, a not unnatural direction of the human consciousness. If in even a small way (and how else can it be!) we succeed in this effort, we experience a spiritual catharsis which purifies and readies us for “the next step.”
How wonderful, as you say, it would be to have amongst us those Advanced Ones to tell us of what to them is Reality. When the time is right that will come. In the meantime, facing squarely the facts of the immediate, we are challenged on all sides to do what we can with what we have, and with calm philosophic cheer pursue our individual and collective paths, sharing wherever possible with others whatever we may have gained. 
“When he [the Disciple] has ceased to hear the many, he may discern
the ONE - the inner sound which kills the outer.
All these mortal Pilgrims in Time are, actually, immortal Protagonists costumed and caparisoned for the momentary scene in an eternal Drama of Unfoldment. This immortal protagonist can, and too often does, become so strongly persuaded as to enduring reality of it’s temporal costume and make-up that the passing scene is taken for it’s native sphere. During a fleeting seventy or eighty years of earth-life, its sounds, its sights, its sensations, have a way of dimming Spiritual Reality with temporary Maya, so that, “hearing the many,” it may become deaf to the ONE. Deceptive Matter (Asat) may thus obscure Spirit (Sat). But: “It is not Spirit that dwells in Matter, but Matter which temporarily clings to Spirit; the latter alone is an eternal, imperishable abode for all things visible and invisible.”
The Disciple, therefore, must remind himself again and again that this surrounding, permeating and deluding Matter is but a precious raw material loaned to him for a season that he may render it permeable to its “eternal, imperishable abode,” transforming Illusion into Reality. This evanescent physical disguise for a few brief years must not be taken for the abiding Reality it seeks to appear. With adequate warnings and instruction, the undying Self will again and again see through the temporary camouflage, and refuse to be misled by all the earthly hoopla and carrying-on. More and more, as man achieves spiritual discernment, he will “cease to hear the many, that he may discern the ONE.”
He will do this by abating the noises·of Time, that he may grow sensitive to the Silence of Eternity. However, with the best will in the world, this must be a slow and gradual achievement, consistently opposed by the entire organization of his outer life - body, mind, emotions and sensory perceptions. All of these have their own life, and maintain their own cacophony, besides inviting that of other minds and bodies.
From the time that the Disciple begins to discriminate between outer Illusion and Inner Reality, he is challenged to listen to and attend to the injunctions of the Inner Self, while at the same time doing his whole duty by the daily demands of an active body and personality. Never is he allowed to lose sight of the fact·that he has obligations to the outer man - to train and discipline it to become an apt and effective servant of the Inner Self. It is in this relation that Duty performs its redemptive service of supplying the lesser self with responsibilities to fulfill worthily as the servant of the Real Man.
LISTENING to the ONE becomes a mode of spiritualizing and harmonizing the myriad voices of the temporal personality. It encourages verbal  Silence that it may create a fitting atmosphere for creative meditation. LISTENING begins with curbing, to a degree, at least, Mind-Chatter that indulges in empty irrelevances; it encourages conscious thinking, consciously evoked by the Higher Manas, consciously related to a Pattern which, beginning with the Here and Now, gradually acquires a capacity to take in an enduring Past and Future identified with Spiritual Unfoldment.
One has to bear in mind that this physico-temporal entity, “thinking” through the instrumentality of Kama- Manas (Body-Mind), has its own well-defined motivations dedicated to strengthening and perpetuating the earthly personality. However deserted and rejected by the Self, it fights for predominance to the last, wherefore the discriminating Self has, at all times, to supply spiritual enlightenment to counteract personal Doubt. Until complete identification with the Self has been achieved, Kama- Manas will ever find loopholes of Doubt in the personal mind. “What absolute assurance have you that beneficence is the eternal characteristic of the Pattern? Look about you; examine the lives and fortunes of your fellow men; how many can you name who are Children of Beneficence? Are not suffering, disappointment, disillusionment, the lot of all? Because you have known a life of beauty, of ease, of opportunity, what makes you imagine these are the appointed characteristics of spiritual living?” So queries Kama- Manas. And, never too sure of his own mastery of esoteric living, man is always prone to fear lest this beneficent pattern of his own life is merely “happenstance,” which may change tomorrow. So terrifyingly vast in duration and consequence is Universal Life that few of us are completely free of moments of doubt as to whether the Universal Pattern is - not indulgent - but, at least Beneficent.
So long as one’s Lamp of Faith is consciously fed with the fuel of Knowledge, one can go on triumphantly aware of limitless resources at his command. But such awareness must be nurtured in silent affirmation of one’s identity with the Pattern of the Supreme. Though this may seem like an escape to many, it is forbidden to the disciple to view it as anything so negative. It must take on the conscious heroism of positive reliance upon the Pattern derived from complete, living identity with THE ONE, in which no escape from Karmic experience is allowed to the least or the greatest. Fear is born of compromise - from almost accepting the Eternal Plan, a compromise that guarantees the intrusion of Doubt, hence of defeat - failure to “forsake the region of Asat, the false, to come into the realm of Sat, the true.”
In our everyday earthly arguments, vocal volume can play a decisive role. Talk loud enough, and you have a chance of convincing your listener. In terms of esotericism the opposite is true: the unheard utterance of the Inmost Self, charged with the dynamism of a perfectly integrated spiritual perception, is required to undermine the logic and eloquence of the Body-Mind, silencing it with Truth’s eternal Wisdom - so far as the Disciple has made that Wisdom his own. His Life-Pattern will hold the unanswerable logic of spiritual living. He who “lives the Life” is its own convincing  argument. So living, he is free to tread the Path with an ear attuned to the Voice of the Silence - the Silence that is wrought of the music of the spheres - the harmonious unfolding of divine energies that brought this universe to birth. Herein lies the mystery of Meditation, wherein the Soul “must unto the Silent Speaker be united ... For then the soul will hear, and will remember ... then to the inner ear will speak - THE VOICE OF THE SILENCE.”
“Before the Soul can hear, the image (man) has to become as deaf to roarings as to whispers, to cries of bellowing elephants as to the silvery buzzing of the golden fire-fly.! (The Voice of the Silence, pp. 2-3.)
There is always the temptation to regard such “listening” as limiting one’s radius of attention to the small confines of the personal self. Actually, the opposite is true. “Before the Soul can hear,” a man must have broken through personality and become cognizant, at least, of Life Universal - the Whole Pattern - which is timeless, limitless and all-embracing. It is only by conscious contact with that Focal Point of Divinity (the Divinity of Wholeness), in the innermost Self of man, that Life Universal can come within his cognition. Ultimate Wisdom is the fruit of a perfect identification of the Individual with ALL (BROTHERHOOD).
The Program is that of out-growing personality, so that one may encompass (or become identified with) UNIVERSALITY. This demands the silencing of Personal Chatter.
Have you heard that if man could travel at the speed of light he would never grow old?
Come, and let us embark upon a grandiose expedition into the Sea of Space - outer Space - of which we can only be cognizant through our inner spaces of mind and consciousness.
In the 1958 edition of The Theory of Celestial Influence, the author, Rodney Collin, states that man could then photograph with telescopes galaxies from which the light takes 1,000 million years to reach the earth. This, of course, is based on the yardstick of measuring cosmic distances by the speed of light multiplied by our own man-made calendar years.
Keep in mind, however, and this is very important, that if we were to view such telescopic photographs, what we would be seeing is the relative position, construction and conditions of that scene in space as it was then, not now, or in other words, as it was 1,000 million years ago.
At about the same time, Modern Science expressed itself as believing that the entire sphere of the universe was formed only 5,000 million years ago.
Well then, if man develops telescopes that are five times more powerful or penetrating than those that existed in 1958, astronomers would then see the creation or initial formation of the universe. They would see the  creation of our own universe at the beginning of time.
Now if it were an absolute truth that tile universe began 5,000 million years ago - and if we were now capable of building telescopes that could see into space at distances of 6,000 or 10,000 million light-years away - isn’t it true that we would see a void, an unmanifested universe, or what our physical senses would call an emptiness? We would be receiving a cosmic picture of total darkness, because it would be, as it were, prior or preceding the beginning of the formation of the total universe?
And for mere conjecture: were man capable of coming round full circle and able to penetrate time and space, might he come to this void and black unmanifested universe we have been speaking of, and then further and further in time, until he discovered the pictures, carried in infinite time on the currents of the light-waves, of former systems, long since dissolved and disintegrated?
However, we will have to increase our time extention as well as man’s capabilities, in order to continue our speculative adventure, because by the year 1965 it had been recorded by Isaac Asimov in Vol. I of his New Intelligent Man’s Guide To Science that the farthest galaxies we can now see are about 6 billion light-years away. It is now believed, as propounded by the Swiss-American astronomer Fritz Zwicky, that the universe began some 24 billion years ago.
In seven years we have increased our capabilities to see into space at distances from 1,000 million years to 6 billion years. And we have extended what we believed to be the age of the universe from 5,000 million years to 24 billion years. In a child’s game I used to play we would call this “One Giant Step.”
I would like to share with you an idea worth pondering over for mental exercise, namely, the intimate relationship or relativity of PAST, PRESENT and FUTURE, still a mystery to mankind.
Astronomical Science offers the best examples I can think of to describe a case in point showing that the Past, Present and Future are inextricably linked together.
Let’s go back to the telescope. The most recently discovered objects in space, which created more excitement than anything since the discovery of galaxies in 1925, are called quasars. Tremendous exploding objects at great distances from the earth. If, for instance, one of these quasars had a life-span of a million years only, and if it were out in space a billion light-years - we would be presently seeing an object that no longer exists - or at least not in that form. It had possibly, or in actuality, disintegrated into dust long ago. So then, at that point in space the existence of that object is in the past, since it has disintegrated and disappeared. Then because of the time-element involved for the light to reach the earth, and by which we see the object exploding, it finally reaches us and we discover it in our telescopes. For it exists in the present because we can see it, and can follow its activity in rare cases. Obviously, this scene is still in the future for the worlds which, on account of their astronomically greater distances from the exploding quasar, have not yet received its light.
What is this mystery of Past,  Present and Future? If all energies travel in a curve, as science maintains, is it not challenging to imagine that a portion of our past might be with us at this moment? And that, through choice and free will, we are both reacting to this past and at the same time creating thoughts, and issuing forth from each one of us physical acts and words into the present, which by the natural extension of this idea, will come full circle in space and time for us to meet again in some future?
These are the imponderables - for the present at least. But man has “A Magnificent Obsession” within his inner spaces to persevere for truth, and it shall forever beckon him on to higher and higher spheres of understanding.
(A seven-minute talk given at the Inglewood, Calif., Toastmistress Club.)
DAMODAR AND THE PIONEERS OF THE THEOSOPHICAL MOVEMENT
Damodar K. Mavalankar was an outstanding Chela of the early days. In this Volume containing much source-material we read some fascinating articles from his pen. We marvel at his rapid psychic development and his experiences under the guidance of his Teacher. We learn of his efforts to become a perfect instrument of the Masters, of his self-sacrifices, his mistakes and his victories. Of the many disciples on probation at the time, we know of only one - Damodar - who did not fail. Authoritative biographical sketches of the Founders and of other Pioneers of those heroic years greatly enhance the value of this historical Work. Some of their lives read like fairy-tales. We hear of magic and mystery and high resolve, and of the inevitable struggle which is the lot of the Pioneer.
PUHLISHED BY THE THEOSOPHICAL PUBLISHING HOUSE, ADYAR, MADRAS, INDIA.