THEOSOPHIA
A Living Philosophy For Humanity

Volume XXV
No. 3 (117) - Winter 1968-1969

[Cover photo: Moteratsch Glacier and Bellavista, Switzerland. (Photo by Muller-Brunke, Nurnberg.)]

*

THEOSOPHIA
A Living Philosophy for Humanity

Published every Three Months. Sponsored by an International Group of Theosophists.
Objectives: To uphold and promote the Original Principles of the modern Theosophical Movement, and to disseminate the teachings of the Esoteric Philosophy as set forth by H.P. Blavatsky and her Teachers.
Editor: Boris de Zirkoff.
Subscriptions: $2.00 a year (four issues); single copy 50 cents. Send all subscriptions, renewals and correspondence to: 615 South Oxford Avenue, Los Angeles 5, California. Make checks and money orders payable to "Theosophia."

None of the organized Theosophical Societies, as such, are responsible for any ideas expressed in this magazine, unless contained in an official document. The Editor is responsible for unsigned articles only.

*

THOUGHTS TO REMEMBER …

“... The moment is more opportune than ever for the review of old philosophies. Archaeologists, philologists, astronomers, chemists and physicists are getting nearer and nearer to the point where they will be forced to consider them. Physical science has already reached its limits of exploration; dogmatic theology sees the springs of its inspiration dry. Unless we mistake the signs, the day is approaching when the world will receive the proofs that only ancient religions were in harmony with nature, and ancient science embraced all that can be known. Secrets long kept may be revealed; books long forgotten and arts long time lost may be brought out to light again; papyri and parchments of inestimable importance will turn up in the hands of men who pretend to have unrolled them from mummies, or stumbled upon them in buried crypts; tablets and pillars, whose sculptured revelations will stagger theologians and confound scientists, may yet be excavated and interpreted. Who knows the possibilities of the future? An era of disenchantment and rebuilding will soon begin - nay, has already begun. The cycle has almost run its course; a new one is about to begin, and the future pages of history may contain full evidence, and convey full proof that

‘If ancestry can be in aught believed,
Descending spirits have conversed with man,
And told him secrets of the world unknown.’”
- H. P. Blavatsky, Isis Unveiled (1877), Vol. I, p. 38. [3]

*

WHAT OF THE MOON?
Boris de Zirkoff

The subject of the Moon is again prominently before the public mind. Perhaps to make up for the total loss of colonial empires on this earth, we are trying to colonize the Moon! A rather bleak prospect, to judge by recent photographs! Whatever the objectives may be, it is a good time for students of the Ancient Wisdom to review the basic occult facts concerning the nature of the Moon and its role in the evolution of the Earth.

The Moon that we see is a disintegrating body, the left-over fragment of a world which was once upon a time a living planet swarming with living beings of all kinds. It is a remnant of our own former home. Its relation to the Earth is based upon the fact of reimbodiment. Planets, like all else in the Universe, have their own repeated phases of manifestation; they have an origin, an evolutionary unfoldment, a maturity, and an ultimate old age and decay, as far as their physico-astral encasement is concerned.

The indwelling spiritual Being which manifest, as a planetary body will have a new embodiment, after a prolonged period of rest, just as is the pattern of a human being, as analogy is the basic key to all natural processes. The spiritual Being which informed the Moon when it was dynamically active has had its period of rest, and has built for itself a new physico-astral form, this latter being the Earth we live on.

We have to bear in mind that, according to occultism, every planet, as well as the Sun itself, is a twelve-fold entity. It consists of twelve distinct globes having their location on seven planes of the universal structure. Of these twelve globes, seven are known as manifested globes, and we will limit our consideration to them. The lowest of these globes, as far as our own planet is concerned, is the globe Earth we inhabit at present. This physical globe is on the lowest or physical plane of the complete structural scheme. None of the other or superior globes of this Earth-Chain of Globes can be seen with physical eyes, and this fact applies to all the other planets of the Solar System. Let us see how this applies to the Moon.

The Moon was also a twelve-fold (or 5evenfold, if you like) planetary entity when dynamically evolving. It had its own physical globe in the Chain. Let us now remember that everything in nature has its physical, astral, vital ( pranic), emotional (kamic), mental (manasic), and spiritual·divine aspect, seven in all, which are, as it were, the seven frequencies on which the complete evolving entity functions while embodied. This applies to the planet as a whole, as well as to every globe thereof. Let us now limit ourselves to the physical globe of a planet, such as the planet-Moon that was, but is no more. When its physical globe disintegrated, much as would the physical body of man, it left in the astral surrounding its astral counterpart, the disintegration of which proceeds at a much slower rate than the physical. We do not mean now the lowest astral form closely knitted with the physical body, but rather the vital-emotional ( kama-pranic) part, in other words that which has become known in [4] Theosophical parlance as the kama-rupa or body of desires and lower mental impulses.

It is this kama-rupic aggregate of the physical globe of the Moon that was, that we see with our physical sight, revolving around the Earth-globe. It is not the actual physical globe of the Moon, which has disintegrated ages ago.

How is it that we can see with physical sight that which in the case of the Moon was at one time the kamic portion of its physical globe? Simply because the entire Earth-planet evolutionary chapter we are in today is taking place on a sub-plane of the physical plane one step higher than was the case in the period of the Moon-Chain evolution. We are still on the same cosmic plane, but we are one seventh of that plane higher. Thus the physical sight of men can perceive a certain portion of the moon structure that is somewhat more ethereal than what used to be physical substance on the Moon in ages gone by.

It is curious to observe that modern science is moving away from the older idea that the Moon is just a satellite of the Earth. It is considered these days rather as a twin-brother. In some scientific circles the Earth and the Moon are looked upon as a closely related system of two bodies. This is an interesting approach to the occult position. From the standpoint of the ancient esoteric doctrine, the Moon, i.e., the astral fragment of the physical globe that was, is located within the astral sphere of the physical Earth-globe, which sphere extends considerably beyond the Moon that we see. The magnetic spheres of the Earth-globe and of the fragment we call the Moon interpenetrate each other and act upon each other in various ways. While the influence of the Moon is deleterious in many respects, it is by no means totally evil. Everything in Nature is dual in its effects. There are spiritual influences emanating from the Moon, and this mainly because it transmits to the Earth certain occult influences from the Sun, and is not merely a body reflecting sunlight from its surface. The Moon’s magnetism has an enormous influence upon all generation, all plant and animal life, and most of the biological and genetical cycles are lunar, i.e., they are of seven-day duration, or its multiples. It also plays a key role in the processes of initiation, of which so very little has been allowed to be known as yet.

For completeness of this survey - even though it be very brief - it should also be stated that the superior globes of the Moon-Chain that was have left their own astral fragments on higher planes; which means that at least some of the higher Globes of the Earth-Chain dynamically evolving today are attended by their own corresponding “satellite-globes” of a “Moon-type.” This subject opens up many avenues of occult thought and speculation.

While a transfer of human beings from earth to moon can hardly be considered as a trip to “another” planet, it nevertheless is a very dangerous undertaking, mainly from the standpoint of unfamiliar magnetism, altered psycho-physical surrounding, and absence of those dynamic forces which form the very life-blood of the globe we live on today. It is to be hoped that science will eventually take cognizance of these factors. [5]

*

THE WORLD’S TROUBLE AND ITS CURE
G. de Purucker

What is the trouble with the world today? It is this: the desperate desires that men have to make other men accept their views. That was and has been the trouble with the Occident since the downfall of Paganism. It was the scandal of the Christian Church - and I say it with reverence for the many noble hearts who have lived in and brightened that Church with their lives. The great fault of men from the time of the downfall of Rome in all the European countries, and in these two continents of ours, has been the desperate effort of men to force other men to think as they do - in religion, in politics, in society, it matters not what.

It is this which has lighted the pyres of the martyrs. It is this which has sent murdering, marauding bands out for the killing of other men. It is this which has made and signed treaties, and imposed them on nations. It is this which troubles us today. You see it everywhere. You see it even in countries at peace. You see it in our social relations among ourselves. Western men and women do not seem to be happy unless they are trying with more or less success to impose their will upon others, their thoughts, their ideas of what is right: the way the world should be run, the way things should be done, and especially the way other men should believe and feel. And when you realize how greatly we men value the sanctuary of our own hearts, the freedom of our own lives, and our right to think freely, you can see how tragical the consequences always are.

Why, I have seen the same evil strain running even through the minds of Theosophists who seem to think other Theosophists are all on the wrong path because they do not accept their opinions. Theosophically, this is simply repeating the same old evil desire to make the other fellow think as you do.

Now, try as you may, you cannot completely succeed in this. You can kill men, you can shackle their bodies, you can defile and distort their minds and their hearts. But you cannot enchain the human soul. It will break free. And then the same old tragedy is repeated. It is pathetic; and the pathos of it lies mainly not so much in the great human suffering brought about but in the immense loss to humankind of the treasures repressed and defeated in the hearts and minds of others. Think! What is more beautiful than for a man to study the mind of his friend or his fellow, to bring out what is there, to see it grow, to see unfolded the treasuries of thought? This is productive. The other destructive. The one enriches the treasuries of human thought and human feeling; it brings about gentleness and peace and mildness in men’s dealings with each other. The other brings about hatred and suspicion and a seething resentment and urge to throw off the slavery of imposed beliefs, or ideas or forms.

And do you know why all this happens? Simply because men, most of them, are unensouled. I do not mean they have no souls; but their souls are not active, are not working, are not productive. They are asleep. And thus men [6] and women mostly live like human animals; in fact, worse; because animals are governed more or less by an instinct which holds some measure of respect for other animals; but men have planning and tricky minds, and when planning and tricky minds are endowed with reason, we have tyranny, religious, social, political, any kind. We have, I say, tyranny: the attempt by minority, or by majority, or the one upon the many, or the many upon the one, to impose ideas and thoughts and modes of conduct to which others must submit - and we call it the “freedom of the Occident”!

Freedom! One of heaven’s most blessed gifts and the one that we Occidentals have most outrageously abused, for we have considered that to gain freedom is the causing of other men to accept our beliefs, is the obliging of other men to accept our institutions and our ways of doing things. And the result: the crushing down of the flowering of millions of human souls which otherwise would have produced abundantly, brought forth nobly their contribution to the enrichment of our common human treasury.

Am I revolutionary in these ideas? Never. For that would be just myself trying to repeat the moral crimes I speak of, trying to impose my views upon others. Evolutionary? Yes! Appealing to human hearts and minds always to remember that they can never be ultimately happy, or produce their best, or allow their fellow men to produce their best, if they fight others. It never has worked. It never will. It is against the laws of human nature. It is against all the laws of psychology, both the higher and the lower. It is a man’s duty to obey the laws of his country. No matter what country it is, no matter what laws it may have, as long as he lives in it he should be obedient to its laws. But let him in his own life be an example of an ensouled man, and if he die a martyr in the cause of justice, the world will hear of his example and it will be, like the old Christian said, “the Seed of the Church”; for it is a curious fact in human psychological thought, that even though a man die in a poor cause it is a seed of propaganda.

The greatest wisdom in human life as taught by the Masters of Wisdom is sympathy for the souls of men, and making your own life an example of what you preach: justice, brotherly love, sympathy, pity, compassion, helpfulness, refraining from doing any unjust act to whomsoever it may be. Your example will be followed by others because you will stand out like a beacon light on a dark night.

The most interesting thing in human association, in the human relations, in the give and take of daily life, is the bringing out of what the other man has within him, wants to show, wants to express. It is fascinating; and the quickest way to kill that, to check its growth, is to impose your ideas on him. For then you kill something wondrously beautiful; you bring about the destruction of the noblest thing in human life, instead of sympathetically aiding in its flowering. And it is a crime to do this. Contrariwise, if you can bring out what is within a man’s soul you can enrich him and yourself, both. And this is the essence of real leadership. It means leading the hearts of men; bringing out the best in others, so that they themselves come to love the beauty thus [7] brought forth, and become fired with enthusiasm. To impose ideas on others is tyranny.

We are living under a rule of force; there are forcible repressions everywhere. And you know what that means in mechanics. Similarly does the crushing of the aspirations of the human soul, the forcing down of what must come out some day, produce explosions. Can you wonder that the greatest men who have ever lived have taught us that the way to peace and happiness and growth and prosperity and riches and all good things of life is Love and Justice? Love for the souls of men, sympathy for the souls of men; doing not unto others as you would not that they should do unto you - this negative form is the wiser one. Doing unto others what you would they should do unto you - ‘saving the souls of men’ - is a rule which admits of the abuses of ignorance and fanaticism.

Treat others - put it in the positive form if you like - treat others as you want others to treat you, and by and by you will grow to see the flowering of their and your ideals. A man who does this is an ensouled man: one, in whom the qualities of the soul predominate; who loves because love is beautiful; one who, enriching the life of his fellows, enriches his own life; one who treats others generously and gives to others the first chance. This is not only chivalrous, but it increases one’s own power and strength, for it requires will power to do this continuously. It is a process of ensouling oneself ever more. The greatest men in the world have been the most ensouled in this sense. They are those whose hearts have held the most love, whose minds have been the keenest, the quickest, the strongest, the manliest; whose ethical sense has been the most subtle, the most quick, the firmest. They are those who have refused to impose their will upon others, but instead have led forth the beauty in the souls of others.

Therefore, in my judgment if men and women would follow the simple rule of ceasing to try to impose their views on other men, ninety-nine per cent of the world’s misery, suffering, bloodshed, crime, would cease; for the rule runs through all human relationships.

*

H. P. BLAVATSKY
COLLECTED WRITINGS
VOLUME THREE 1881·1882
621 pages; rare portraits; fully indexed; cloth bound.
PRICE: $7.00.
Order from: “THEOSOPHIA”, 551 So. Oxford Avenue, Los Angeles, California 90005. [8]

*

SPIRITUAL PAROCHIALISM
Montague A. Machell

“Spiritual Parochialism” is a strange, unrecognized ailment, more or less habitual with earth-bound mortals.

The mind of man is so constituted and so stamped with materialistic Formalism that it tends to look for, and all too often demand a formula to live by. The acceptance of a few time-honored and traditional “articles of Faith” demands much less effort than dedicating oneself to LIFE itself and learning from IT the ever-expanding truths one lives and grows by. Indeed it requires real effort to break loose from accepted Forms and to compel oneself to fearlessly face the fact that Absolute Truth transcends Form, and that he alone who surrenders his thought and aspiration to Truth Absolute may be said to be a worthy devotee of Life Everlasting - reserved for him who knows that the basic Reality of the SELF is Immortal.

A very fine line divides devotion to Truth in all its aspects from servitude to literal texts. The sacred scriptures of every great religion embody more than the written words. Those words may be said to be vehicles for a certain Wine of the Spirit poured into them by those Great Souls who, out of their sublimely advanced spiritual wisdom, gave of themselves, through the vehicle of the written word, to those who should come after. It is not too much to say that utter dedication to the spirit of the sacred scriptures is the first step towards personal identification with Ultimate Truth. Constant and repeated recourse to those texts can have a two-fold result: first, self-identification with Truth; second the achievement of an attitude of mind that puts them to work, thereby leading the seeker onward to still vaster horizons. The limitless splendor of Absolute Truth positively forbids a static acceptance. Each revelation, each extended glimpse uncovers new implications, unsuspected profundities - less personal, but more universal meanings. This means that any man-made text or formula, even though based on the sacred scriptures, is bound to limit Truth, and insofar as it limits it, renders it static.

Unquestionably one of the basic weaknesses of much orthodox religion today derives from its dependence upon man-made texts which, repeated over and over, drop to a level of lifeless literalism. Merely believing a spiritual truth is not enough. If meditation upon that truth does not kindle a spark, if it does not ignite one’s aspiration into near-revelation, something is wrong with the text or the devotee.

There is far too much clinging to literal formula in religion, it seems to me; and all too little self-exploration. The injunction “Man know thyself” is timely, since on that knowledge alone, man may dare limitlessly, aspire infinitely! It is time each of us realized that no Formula can embody Absolute Truth, that approach thereto is the result of a kind of Spiritual Transfiguration - beyond words!

An impassioned expression of Spiritual Parochialism is to be found in the lasting appeal of a hymn titled “The Old Rugged Cross,” wherein the [9] instrument of Christ’s crucifixion is extolled as a hallowed symbol of man’s salvation.

In the first place, the brutal and merciless murder of an enlightened spiritual savior is not, I submit, an event either gratifying or uplifting. Its perpetuation as a triumph of Christian faith is difficult to endorse on either moral or religious grounds. Should one, with ruthless irony, sum up the event with the words: “Sic semper veritas,” he would be merely underlining the forlorn destiny of Truth at the hands of a blind humanity. If one reeks to emphasize by the perpetuation of the death of Christ the blessing his death purports to have purchased for you and me, should we not be somewhat abashed at our own willingness to accept such a death as a means of achieving a degree of Spiritual “Security” we lack the manhood to attain on our own behalf?

In either of its aspects, whether revealing mankind’s murderous fanaticism or its colossal complaisance, that Old Rugged Cross is hardly a justifiable symbol of Spiritual triumph for man. The closing line of the hymn, moreover, “And exchange it one day for a crown” can hardly be said to lend loftiness to the symbol, emphasizing, as it does “What’s in it for me”!

This mis-reading of a sublime human sacrifice, I suggest, is a damning example of emotionally inspired Spiritual Parochialism, injecting, as it does, a distorted personalism into a Program of Impersonal Vision that sees man, a responsible maker of his own destiny, consciously identifying himself with Spiritual Unfoldment, and joyously paying the price demanded for so sublime a realization!

*

FROM LETTERS TO A FRIEND
W. Emmett Small

I Plunge ...

And now we enter the Dark of the year, or truly the Solstitial Light, as the Sun pauses a moment in Time at the southernmost margin of its journey and then “plunges once more, revivified,” into its new cycle. Do you know Browning’s Paracelsus? Here are a few lines from it in harmony with the Season. They are from the first section toward the end, “Paracelsus Aspires.” The great physician, then a young man, is about to leave his native village of Einsiedeln despite the loving protests of friends who want to tie him down. The world and destiny beckon and urge. He says:

Are there not, Festus, are there not, dear Michal,
Two points in the adventure of the diver?
One - when, a beggar, he prepares to plunge;
One - when, a prince, he rises with his pearl?
Festus, I plunge ...
And so, the New Year; and may you plunge! [10]

Centers of Light

Often I visualize you in your work, your preparation of so many talks, and perhaps I may be permitted to say, sometimes I share your cogitations about all those things that concern the Heart of our Work. Just to know that there are those in various parts of the world that share these reflections, that ask these questions, that ever consider ways and means for the bettering of the Work - just this alone is a wonderful inspiration. As Judge used to say long, long ago: if there are only two or three who thus hold to the Light (and we know there are many more), that is sufficient for a Center for the Masters to work through. I am also minded - and I try to keep this in mind always - that worry does no good; it creates an occult obstacle in our way. In a larger sense we must learn to relax, to do our duty, and let the rest go. If we hold love in our hearts and sacrifice always the lesser to the greater when faced with choices, all will be well. I know only too well what you mean about the newer ones coming along, who intellectually can give a fairly good account of the teachings, but who seem to lack the flaming enthusiasm which is the sine qua non of the dedicated chela. But the degrees of chelaship are numerous, and the types of human beings are many, and we must learn to work with and accept what we have. Of all people I know I need not tell you this. You could come right hack and tell it to me with capital letters.

LEARN to Forgive and Love

You said it: Learn to forgive; learn to love. I forget sometimes the power of those watchwords as they came out of the G. de P. mint so fresh and golden in 1929; but the stern value of them is inescapable. And it is so obvious that it is a matter of learning, not only how to forgive and how to love but what to forgive and what to love. But, despite all problems we pull down on ourselves, the Overall Problem of the intricate destiny of every monad within the Greater Pattern is one of fascinating absorption.

The Life of a Chela

I’ve had many talks with fellow-students about discipleship, chelaship. So often they say sadly: it isn’t joy, at least outwardly; it’s hard work. Well, again I say it’s both. But work and love are the same thing basically. The one who changed amor omnia vincit to labor omnia vincit made no real change: both love and work conquer all. To work is to love a thing, to warm a thing into being. To love is the same. Chelaship is a serious business, of course. It is a matter not only of work and love; it is a matter of surrender. It is also something that doesn’t happen in a flash, though a flash sometimes comes after long dreary wastes of time in which a vision is caught; but that flash has been possible only because of the long Dark Night of the Soul. Judge suffered as a young man. He thought H.P.B. had deserted him, that the Masters had deserted him. But he hung on, and the human self won through to “radiance vast,” and a closer union with his own Nirmanakaya. What he teaches is wrung from the sorrows and joys of experience.

I believe I know what you mean by being “merely” an intellectual [11] Theosophist. Perhaps we all to a degree start that way. I once wrote an article years ago called “When Our Experiences are Real.” I tried to show that what we go through in life doesn’t amount to a row of beans unless it is real. There must be a warm flash of truth about what you experience to mean anything at all, to be built into, that part of you that survives and carries on knowingly. And, as you say, the time comes (because you have been, perhaps subconsciously, concentrating on the idea for years) when you know more than the “intellectual.” The next step is simply there. It is a great moment to realize this. As you say, it may come without the usual kind of joy, without exultation. There is even sadness. But you know it is there. You share in a clarity, a peace, a feeling of oneness with things which surpasses human joy.

No, the life of a chela is not meant to be easy. The Teachers, geared to Nature and her impersonal ways, seem awfully tough. Our human sides don’t like it. We want sympathy and love and understanding. But we’re supposed to stand on our own feet and move forward by ourselves. The key, I think, is to love the Idea, work toward the Idea. The rest will come.

Great men, whether known to themselves as members of the Movement or not, go through these trials. The other day I read something about Goethe by Andre Maurois. You will see from the extracts I send some of the perceptive things he says. Goethe was great; he had spiritual vision and strength, but he had a vitally strong human kama-manas as well. His own inner daimon (and his karma), however, helped him - fortunately!

Warning

“Let us as individuals, not merely as Theosophists, do our part in helping to bring the new day, when violence will be seen for the folly that it is, and the reign of justice and reason and fellow-feeling will be with us and around us. If not, we shall have a recurrence, and worse, of what now we are passing through, and after that another recurrence still worse than the former, and so on to the remains of our civilization, until our civilized society will vanish in flame and blood.

“Those of you who may be alive to see the handwriting on the wall had better awaken.

“MENE MENE TEKEL UPHARSIN!

“Weighed, Weighed, Wanting - the Persians!”

You will recall the above, of course, from G. de P.’s Wind of the Spirit. I happened to read it again tonight and thought of you, with the New Year still young with unwrapped gifts to surprise or dismay the world. It is timely warning which, by golly, we’d better heed - or else! What are we coming to? Do we really want peace? Or are we playing with men’s lives and the destiny of nations like pawns on a chessboard? As G. de P. further says:

“The tragedy of Occidental society is that it has lost its trust in an abiding spiritual power in this world of ours ...” That’s it in a nutshell. And the warning: “... worse will come unless we heed.”

I don’t know why I pulled out the book from my bookshelves this evening; but I did, and having done so, felt impelled to write you. [12]

Preparing for “Next Time”

A recent letter from a friend refers to the memories of a lifetime, some heart-warming, some heart-breaking. In reply I copied and sent him words from a book* (* Apollonius of Tyana. The Philosopher-Reformer of the First Century A.D., by G. R. S. Mead, New York : University Books, 1966.) he had given me as a gift, words attributed to Apollonius: “The law obliges us to die for liberty, and nature ordains that we should die for our parents, our friends, or our children. All men are bound by these duties. But a higher duty is laid upon the sage; he must die for his principles and the truth he holds dearer than life. It is not the law that lays this choice upon him, it is not nature; it is the strength and courage of his own soul.”

If we may lay some claim to experiences that have tested the inner strength and courage of the soul, it is no boast, but merely recognition of the opportunity some of us shared to take part in a work that, as far as human limitations permit, touched (and touches) on Reality. To have tried to have made the best of such opportunity is a soothing, cooling hand of compensation which this life presses gently on the brow; to have determination to live more truly dedicated “next time,” to put to effective use the knowledge we may have gained this time, is to send forth that clarion call from the Human Monad which will link it “next time” more strongly and gallantly with the Spiritual and Divine which it serves and of which it is an intrinsic part.

*

QUIETUDE
Dara Eklund

The splendour of truth does not light all our ways at once. Passing over the regions of mundane thought the quiet ray of the One Thought catches fragments, now here, now there, for the perceiver-dweller within. If we snatch at these gleams, claim their partial consciousness as realities, we never allow the whole picture to focus. But if we wait, stepping along our path in quietude, centering that ray through us to meet the reflections of each moment, all these fragments would gather into one clear vision to bear us on still higher.

To know the Law one must free one’s mind from both attachment and rebellion, from both fascination and discouragement with man’s conditions. The condition of the Self, the ancients taught us, is no condition. The condition of the present race mind is concern with conditions. We see around us the endless disillusionment and waste which has attended this concern. Few seem able to step aside from a fervid acquirement of things into the simple requirement of Being. We speak of meditation as if it were a cult: something to put on and off like a robe or string of beads. Indeed what the world of today needs most from the East, and which it seeks most unsuccessfully to imitate, is a serenity [13] stemming out of a freedom from things. Are we expressing that by our billboards, our radio, T.V., or the newspapers? They can only reflect the events of our physical entities. Our teachers from the East taught that the event of our true being must be in a realm imposed upon the substance of our lives from within, from the root of our natures.

Does that mean we must neglect that substance, sit entranced at the door of the Within, gazing in one direction only to the root of that Thought? It does not. It means that we must sweep out the debris which has gathered on the outskirts of this inner dweller, so that he can find a few pathways into our day’s activities. This does take pause, some moment we would otherwise give to undisciplined drifting or daydreaming. It is a posture of mind, not body. It takes lending an ear to what we really are. The Zen teachers conveyed it most by having their disciples attend to whatever lay first at hand.

We of the West do not have centuries of deprivation behind us to develop our spiritual stamina in the face of loss, starvation, wars, disease or neglect. But we have come to a disillusionment with material wealth through its general acquirement and corresponding failure to bring true satisfaction. We do have a sense of responsibility for the world’s condition. We do love our families and wish to be useful world citizens. This means we do have a sense of duty. And this sense, duty (once spoken of as a “royal talisman”), can bring a sense of quietude into our lives. Unless we acquire a sense of Duty broad enough to mean a regard for All Life, what can meditation bring but ashes in the mouth? It would have no foundation in our life, no vital connection, no revitalizing strength.

By meeting our duties of life both great and small we lift a little of the burden of the world. To the free and dutiful man that other Self becomes clearer and clearer. We can work at will among men, by direct and simple action-free of scheming and plotting.

Psychologists speak of learning as “conditioning,” as if man had to be leveled down to his circumstances. Occultists speak of learning as uplifting; of “holding high the torch of liberty and truth,” of high ideals such as brotherhood, not in the muck of grossly sensual aims and short-lived pleasures, but in the wisdom and quietude of the very stars. Slow down, it cautions! All this grasping, even after things of the mind (to learn more, to read more, to do more) lead us away from the divine Law of our inner being. That is always at rest. A great Ocean beneath the dancing waters of life whose tides cannot be even felt, or known until we trust in its stately pulse. Like IT we may “Seek naught and naught reject.” In the quietude of that Great Heart we may know the “amplitude of Time in all things.” Fostering a care for all Life, attending to both the minute and magnificent, we may know the passing of this day in the vast brotherly compound of our Nature from which the experience of man’s Soul is born. [14]

*

PRACTICAL OCCULTISM
George Cardinal LeGros

1975 - only six years away - marks the opening of the 25-year centenary cycle when special efforts will be made by the Initiates of the White Lodge to strike anew the keynote of Ancient Truth, and rekindle in man the fires of spiritual aspiration.

There will be a tremendous awakening of interest in Divine Truth - the God-Wisdom of Antiquity - and also a dangerous quickening of interest in psychic matters, which will invariably lead toward Black Magic and spiritual destruction.

Through the ages the Masters of the Right Hand Path have taught that the true mystical aspirant does not study Occultism for the purpose of acquiring “powers” or for any personal advantage. During his onward spiritual progress toward deliverance from the bondage of Illusion, the Siddhis (psychic powers) unfold in him of themselves. To prematurely force their appearance before one is mentally, emotionally, and physically purified is to put the cart before the horse - to reverse the entire process of occult development.

The true student of the Ancient Mysteries realizes that real and lasting progress embraces not only extensive self-purification, but also - and equally important - the awakening of a feeling of universal love. He knows that his final goal, however distant, is identification of the individual ego with Paramatman, the Universal Spirit, which manifests Itself in All; and that this identification can only be accomplished by placing oneself en rapport with Nature through a cultivation of unselfish philanthropy.

It thus becomes obvious that the Siddhis are nothing more than the accessories of Esoteric Wisdom and spiritual unfoldment, and that their natural, harmonious acquisition is possible only through the enacted expression of universal love or compassion. We speak here of the True Path followed by earnest, self-forgetful disciples of the Good Law - not of the Dark Path taken by the Brothers of the Shadow, the Dugpas and Sorcerers, whose development is identified with the illusory and impermanent matter-side of Nature. All that they are and possess is doomed to pass away when the physical aspect of our earth dissolves, while the Brothers of Light, Truth, and Compassion, having merged their being with Life’s spiritual aspects, live on as an imperishable part of the Divine Reality.

The first steps in Practical Occultism are, therefore, a firm, resolute, and continuous effort toward self-discipline and purification, and the cultivation of a dynamic, all-embracing love for one’s fellowman. [15]

*

A CRY FROM OUT OF THE DARKNESS
M. De L. Phillips

Noble words written: exact instructions for the wayfarer to follow if he would get to the Golden Gates, or lift the bar thereto. All, apparently, perfectly clear to those who have succeeded; but a dungeon of darkness and agony to him who seeks and for whatever reason cannot find his way!

Perhaps, intuitively, he knows that there is light - else how would he know that he dwells in darkness?

Perhaps, he has had some furtive glimpse that has stirred his soul and made a permanent mark upon his memory. Why else would he seek?

Perhaps he has been told he must “serve” - and that he has given what service he could in all honesty and to the full extent of his knowledge and ability - and been told he had not yet fulfilled. How then shall he find that which is undone, in order to do it?

Oh, yes - all the teachings say:

“Look within, thou art Buddha”; “Seek ye first the kingdom of Heaven (which is within you) and all else shall be added unto you”; and “Seek out Him who is to give thee birth.” To which many, many more quotations can be added by any who read this, no doubt. It is also said, “Seek, and ye shall find”; “ Knock, and it shall be opened unto you.”

Perhaps the postulant is not without cognizance of the fact that the “seeking” and “asking” or “knocking” must be from the HEART. If he honestly believes that he has asked from his heart - then why the silence and the darkness?

Suggested replies to the questions arise in natural sequence. Indeed had he not some memory of his godhood, he would surely not know that he dwells in darkness - and has lost his way in the illusion of separateness.

Perhaps the furtive glimpse given to him was in order that he really could not forget - and that he should continue the search until he should find the source of that glimpse.

And his service may really have been tainted with selfishness, even if he didn’t think it was. And he may be having to meet the karmic results of tendencies set in motion by a former life of carelessness. And maybe he has to learn to live with the idea that he may never in this lifetime fulfill the longing in his heart. Perhaps this is a test of patience and perseverance.

Can he still “believe” and “hope” and “trust” that all the teachings of the sages are in fact of one essence?

Still, the “teachings” say we must be calm; we must be happy, and thus join ourselves with the constructive side of nature.

Another thought arises: Perhaps the telling, by whomsoever - if it comes from any outside source is not valid. Perhaps the only one who can tell the seeker anything that is valid is his own Higher Self. And could it be possible, that in looking so hard to find, or hear, or see, he has somehow missed the cue of how he shall know? For unless spiritual knowledge be his guide, he is indeed lost. And then he cries out, not as a Lost Soul, but as a Soul - Lost.

All of the foregoing can he garnered from the books. We all have them, and we all read them. But those who [16] have spiritual knowledge also know something else - and we recognize this fact - and we long to find our way so that we may come to this knowledge, because we know we cannot be of use to the Great Brotherhood in this time of stress, unless we can.

So the question still persists: How can one be calm and happy when every fibre of his being longs for that kind of understanding which will make of him a really useful link in the Great Brotherhood of those, who seek to serve with intelligence and assurance born of an inner certitude - when in fact he does not have it.

There is a sense in which it might be said that this is asking how the chick, not yet born, can crow at dawn.

And then the questioner asks - how can this birth be facilitated? Perhaps the answer might be that it cannot - not without the risk of either abortion or deformity - either of which would incapacitate or render useless the instrumentality which is in process of growth, be born in its “due” time.

But the waiting isn’t easy!

*

JUST OFF THE PRESS!
THE PEARL OF THE ORIENT
THE MESSAGE OF THE BHAGAVAD-GITA FOR THE WESTERN WORLD
Geoffrey A. Barborka

A Quest Book
Published under a grant from the Kern Foundation

Our indefatigable friend, Geoffrey A. Barborka, has produced another valuable work, as scholarly as his earlier ones. He aims to show the applicability of this ancient scripture to present-day conditions and its usefulness as a guide to life. He claims that by putting the precepts and injunctions of the Gita into operation, the student may acquire a new approach to his daily activities and problems, so that, instead of being monotonous or dull, they become infused with a deeper meaning. Every page is replete with meaningful ideas, as the author outlines the ancient teachings about Death and Rebirth, the nature of Yoga, Self-Control and Equal-Mindedness, Cycles and Spiritual Liberation. Among the many recent works on the Gita, the present one deserves special attention; it should be in every Theosophical library, and be widely known to intelligent readers everywhere.
Using as the basis of his work the recension made by W. Q. Judge in collaboration with James H. Connelly, the author defines and analyses all Sanskrit terms. An index prepared by himself adds greatly to the value of the work.

PRICE: $1.75.
Available from the Publishers: The Theosophical Publishing House, P.O. Box 270, Wheaton, Ill. 60187, and from: “THEOSOPHIA”, 551 So. Oxford Avenue, Los Angeles, California, 90005.