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“... You put a hard question on the virtue of discipline. What you say is true; I do value it and - I think that you do too - more than for its earthly fruit, proficiency. I think that one can give only a metaphysical ground for this evaluation; but the variety of metaphysics which give an answer to your question has been very great, the metaphysics themselves very disparate: the Bhagavad-Gita, Ecclesiastes, the Stoa, the beginning of the Laws, Hugo of St. Victor, John of the Cross, Spinoza. This very great disparity suggests that the fact that discipline is good for the soul is more fundamental than any of the grounds given for its goodness. I believe that through discipline, though not through discipline alone, we can achieve serenity, and a certain small but precious measure of freedom from the accidents of incarnation, and charity, and that detachment which preserves the world which it renounces. I believe that through discipline we learn to preserve what is essential to our happiness in more and more adverse circumstances, and to abandon with simplicity what would else have seemed to us indispensable; that we come a little to see the world without the gross distortion of personal desire, and in seeing it so, accept more easily our earthly privation and its earthly horror ... But because I believe that the reward of discipline is greater than its immediate objective, I would not have you think that discipline without objective is possible: in its nature discipline involves the subjection of the soul to some perhaps minor end; and that end must be real, if the discipline is not to be factitious: study, and our duties to men and to the commonwealth, war, and personal hardship, and even the need for subsistence, ought to be greeted by us with profound gratitude; for only through them can we attain to the least detachment; and only so can we know peace ...” - J. Robert Oppenheimer in a letter to his brother. From Denise Royal’s book, The Story of J. Robert Oppenheimer.
We are all actors in a great World-Drama - the birth of a New Age.
In this universal upheaval none can stand alone.
The world of Tomorrow is being moulded in the thinking of the people of Today, and everyone of us, young or old, has a responsibility to his fellowmen. The shape of things to come depends to a very considerable extent upon the number of people whose minds and hearts may be touched now with the soul-healing teachings of the Ancient Wisdom.
In the vast vision of the Great Ones who were the real founders of our Movement, and are still inspiring those who have kept true to the original message, the events of the present day have no doubt been foreseen. The formation of the Theosophical Society, as originally conceived and launched in 1875, was intended as a bulwark to stem the rising tide of materialism; as a spiritual foundation upon which to find a sure footing against the poisonous gusts of insane psychism; as a catalytic agent to insure the alchemical transmutation of spiritual rebirth; and as a fountainhead of ethical teachings, simple and practical enough to be understood by many and applied to their own improvement and guidance.
Facing a world in which lawlessness, rapine, violence, deceit, brutal selfishness, legalized murder on battle fronts, and the rest of the hellish brood are rampant everywhere, cloaked only too often in high-sounding words hiding behind their spurious facade the dry rot of moral sepulchers; meeting every day men and women whose souls are yearning for a ray of some redeeming light, a glimpse of some greater vision of hope and peace - let us ask ourselves, students of Theosophy, to what extent do we embody in our lives the noble truths imparted to us, and how deeply are we aware of the trust placed in our hands. Are we doing anything outstanding in these outstanding times? Are we engaged in an all-out effort for the Spirit, when so many are going all-out in an effort to destroy? Have we mobilized our spiritual, intellectual and moral resources to meet head on the growing turpitude and degeneracy surrounding us on all sides? The question that we may well ask ourselves is: Were H. P. Blavatsky with us today, what would she do now?
Profound intellectual study of the Esoteric Philosophy is of course a sine qua non of all genuine Theosophical work. However, it can be of true value only to the extent to which it is applied to daily life and made practical to the upliftment of those who are struggling for light. Self-centered study and a pursuit of one’s own personal salvation can never be justified. In the words of one of the Teachers: “... the chief object of the T.S. is not so much to gratify individual aspirations as to serve our fellowmen ...” (The Mahatma Letters, pp. 7-8.)
It is in the teachings of Theosophy that are contained the simple and age-old precepts which could, if applied now, relieve the anxiety of the world and provide it with an ethical basis upon which to rear an edifice of  enduring peace. And yet, somehow or other, Theosophy in many quarters does not become the power that it ought to be, and does not wield the influence which it can and must. Why is it so? Is it not because, maybe, students of Theosophy are dealing mainly with abstractions and are unable to relate the teachings to the immediate problems of large groups of people? Or is it because their outlook is old-fashioned, intellectual and merely theoretical, lacking in that magnetic touch which is needed to build a living bridge with the minds of others?
H.P.B. has written:
“... true evolution teaches us that by altering the surroundings of the organism we can alter and improve the organism; and in the strictest sense this is true with regard to man. Every Theosophist, therefore, is bound to do his utmost to help on, by all the means in his power, every wise and well-considered effort which has for its object the amelioration of the condition of the poor. Such efforts should be made with a view to their ultimate social emancipation, or the development of the sense of duty in those who now so often neglect it in nearly every relation of life.”
“... the main, fundamental object of the Society is to sow germs in the hearts of men, which may in time sprout, and under more propitious circumstances lead to a healthy reform, conducive of more happiness to the masses than they have hitherto enjoyed.” (The Key to Theosophy, pp. 235, 257.)
It is practical, tangible realism about life and Nature, coupled with, and inspired by, the loftiest objective Idealism, which alone can provide a safe foundation for the structure of the New Age. And objective Idealism is Theosophy of the highest type.
It should be distinctly understood that such an Idealism, and the noble ethical precepts and code of conduct which are its motivating power, can be practical and valid only when backed by an understanding of the deeper teachings of our philosophy; hence study of the intellectual or technical basis of Theosophy is of paramount importance, even though we may be called in our daily life to transmit and sow but a few tiny seeds along ethical lines in the simplest language at our command. The one is the background of the other, and the lack of the former would necessarily reflect itself in the shallowness of the latter.
The Theosophical Movement of today faces a golden opportunity. Times of stress and confusion sharpen minds through pain and awaken a yearning for spiritual realities. Trials and crises make new demands upon the people and open up channels of service and of thought undreamt of before. Students of Theosophy hold within their grasp keys which can solve people’s problems. Theirs is the philosophy of life which, if understood, can illumine all life and restore peace and good will among men. Will they make that remedy available for all? Will they set aside for a while the technical jargon of the laboratory, and tell the seekers the simple truths which their hearts are yearning for? Will they come down from the Olympian heights and walk as mere men in the marketplaces of the world? It is there that the urgent need is to be found. The need is NOW. Tomorrow may be too late. 
[Excerpts translated from H.P.B.’s powerful French article entitled “Fausses Conceptions,” written in reply to various misconceptions current at the time and published in Le Lotus, Paris, Vol. I, September 1887. The complete text of this article may be found in the Collected Writings, Vol. VIII, where the French original text is also published. - Editor, Theosophia.]
Once Theosophy and its principles are known, it will be demonstrated that our philosophy is not only a “close relative of modern science,” but its forbear, though greatly transcending it in logic; and that its “metaphysics” is vaster, more beautiful and more powerful than any emanating from a dogmatic cult. It is the metaphysics of Nature in her chaste nakedness, both physical, moral and spiritual, alone capable of explaining the apparent miracle by means of natural and psychic laws, and of completing the mere physiological and pathological notions of Science, and of killing for ever the anthropomorphic Gods and the Devils of dualistic religions. No one believes more firmly in the Unity of the eternal laws than do the Theosophists.
The Neo-Buddhism of the religion of Prince Siddhartha Buddha will never be accepted by Europe-America for the simple reason that it will never force itself on the Occident. As to the Neo-Budhism or the “Revival of the Ancient Wisdom” of the Ante-Vedic Aryas, the actual evolutionary period of the Occidental peoples will end in a blind alley, if they reject it. Neither the true Christianity of Jesus - the great Socialist and Adept, the divine man who was changed into an anthropomorphic god - nor the sciences (which, being in their transition period, are, as Haeckel would say, rather protistae than definite sciences), nor the philosophies of today which seem to play at Blind Man’s Buff, breaking each other’s noses, will allow the Occident to attain its full efflorescence if it turns its back upon the ancient wisdom of bygone centuries. Happiness cannot exist where Truth is absent. Erected upon the shifting sands of human fiction and hypotheses, happiness is merely a house of cards tumbling down at the first whiff; it cannot exist in reality as long as egotism reigns supreme in civilized societies. As long as intellectual progress will refuse to accept a subordinate position to ethical progress, and egotism will not give way to the Altruism preached by Gautama and the true historical Jesus (the Jesus of the pagan sanctuary, not the Christ of the Churches), happiness for all the members of humanity will remain a Utopia. Whereas the Theosophists are the only ones at present to preach this sublime altruism (even if two-thirds of The Theosophical Society should have failed in this duty), and some of them alone, in the midst of a defiant and sneering mob sacrifice themselves body and soul, honor and possessions, ready to live misunderstood and derided, if only they can succeed in sowing the good seed of a harvest which will not be theirs to reap, those who are interested in the destiny of the miserable people should at least abstain from vilifying them. 
There is but one way of ever ameliorating human life and it is by the love of one’s fellow man for his own sake and not for personal gratification. The greatest Theosophist - he who loves divine truth under all its forms - is the one who works for and with the poor. There is a man known to the entire intellectual Europe-America who possibly may never have heard the name of The Theosophical Society; I mean Count Leo N. Tolstoy, author of War and Peace. This great writer is a perfect model for all aspirants to true Theosophy. He is the first in European aristocracy to have solved this problem: “What can I do to make happy any poor man whom I may meet?” This is what he says:
“I think that it is the duty of everyone to work for all who may need help; to work with the hands, remember, a certain portion of your day. It is more practical to work with and for the poor man than to give him a portion of your intellectual labor. In the first case you help not only him who needs to be helped, but you preach by means of example to the lazy one and the beggar; you show them that you do not consider their prosaic work as being below your dignity, and thus you inculcate in him the feeling of respect and esteem for himself and of satisfaction with his destiny. If, however, you persist in working solely in your own high intellectual region and give to the poor the product of your labor, as one gives alms to the beggar, you will succeed only in encouraging his laziness and his feeling of inferiority. In doing so you establish a difference of social caste between yourself and him who accepts your alms. You take away from him his self-esteem and his confidence in you and you suggest to him aspirations to shake off the hard conditions of his existence, spent in daily physical labor, to associate himself with your life which appears to him easier than his own, to wear your garb which seems to him more beautiful than his own, and to obtain access to your social position which he considers superior to his own. It is not in this manner, owing to scientific and intellectual progress, that we can ever hope to assist the poor, or to inculcate into humanity the idea of a true fraternity.”
In India the Theosophical “missionaries” labor towards the eradication of the caste idea and with a view to uniting all the castes in their fraternity. We have already seen - a thing incredible and impossible before their arrival in the country of the Sacred Cows and the Bull-Gods - Brahmana and Pariah, Hindu and Buddhist, Parsi and Mohammedan, seated at the same table. When we see in republican France aristocrats and financiers keep company with their laundrymen, or a lady of society, proud of her democratic sentiments, help a poor farmer’s wife plant her cabbage, as is done by the daughter of Count Tolstoy and by the real European Theosophists at Madras and elsewhere - then we may say that there is hope for the poor in Europe.
Astrology is the mother of Astronomy, and Alchemy is the mother of Chemistry, just as the plastic soul is the mother of primitive physical man. Astrology and Alchemy are equally the soul of the two modern sciences. As long as this truth is not recognized, Astronomy and Chemistry will continue to run in a vicious circle and will produce nothing beyond materiality. 
To say that occult sciences claim to command nature arbitrarily, is equivalent to saying that the sun commands the daystar to shine. Occult sciences are nature itself; intimate knowledge of their secrets does not give to the Initiates the power to command them. The truth of it is that this knowledge teaches the Adepts the manner in which to furnish certain conditions for the production of phenomena, always due to natural causes, and to the combination of forces analogous to those used by the scientists. The real difference between modern science and occult science consists in this: The first opposes to a natural force another natural force more powerful on the physical plane; the second opposes to a physical force, a spiritual or psychic force, in other words, the soul of that same force. Those who do not believe in the human soul nor in the immortal spirit cannot recognize a fortiori a vital and potential soul in every atom of matter. This soul, whether human, animal, vegetable, or mineral, is but a ray loaned by the Universal Soul to every manifested object during the active cycle or period of the Kosmos. Those who reject this doctrine are either materialists or sectarian bigots who dread the word “Pantheism” more than the devil of their unwholesome dreams.
... As long as people, instead of fraternizing with and helping each other, claim but the right to safeguard their national interests, while the rich man refuses to understand that in helping a poor stranger he helps his poor brother in the future, and sets a good example for other countries; as long as the feeling of international altruism remains an empty phrase in the air, progress will accomplish no other function than that of executioner of the poor. ... Let us understand each other. I am speaking of the progress of civilization on the physical plane ... Let this material progress enter into ethics and the “missionaries” of Le Lotus and of India will recognize in you their masters. But you do nothing of the kind. You have exhausted or have contributed to the drying up of the only source of consolation for the poor, faith in his immortal Ego, and you have not given him anything else in return. Are three quarters of humanity happier due to the progress of science and its alliance with industry? ... The “happiness” you speak of will not come as long as moral progress slumbers in inactivity, paralyzed by the ferocious egotism of everybody, the rich as well as the poor ...
The Theosophical “missionaries” aim also at a social revolution. But it is a wholly ethical revolution. It will come about when the disinherited masses understand that happiness is in their own hands, that wealth brings nothing but worries, that he is happy who works for others, for those others work for him, and when the rich realize that their felicity depends upon that of their brothers - whatever their race or religion-then only will the world see the dawn of happiness. 
The “finiteness” of the Kosmos has never been accepted by our “new religion,” which is not at all a religion but a philosophy. Neither Brahmanas nor Bonzes, in their most acute exoteric delirium, have ever accepted the finiteness of the Kosmos. “Aleph” has but to open the Vedanta, Manu, the Puranas, the Buddhist Catechism, etc., to find therein a statement regarding the eternity of the Kosmos, which is but the periodic and objective manifestation of absolute eternity itself, of the forever unknown principle called Parabrahman, Adi-Buddha, the “One and Eternal Wisdom.”
If there is a still greater absurdity than to speak of a cruel God; it is to admit that God, the Great, Absolute Whole, could ever interfere in terrestrial of human affairs. The infinite cannot associate with the finite; the unconditioned ignores the conditioned and the limited. The absolute “Intelligence-Wisdom” cannot act in the restricted space of a small globe. It is omnipresent and latent in the Kosmos, infinite as itself. We find its only truly active manifestation in humanity as a whole, composed as it is of stray sparks, finite in their objective duration, eternal in their essence, issuing from that Hearth without beginning or end. Therefore, the only God whom we should serve is Humanity, and our only cult should be the love of our fellow man. Doing evil towards him, we wound God and make him suffer. When we deny our brotherly duties and refuse to consider a pagan as well as a European as our brother, we deny God. This is our religion and our dogmas.
... After all, it is only the majority who refuse to understand, that majority which has always bitten the hand that offered it help. But let us not despair. When the day, so greatly yearned for, will have arrived, when universal and intellectual brotherhood will be accepted de facto, if not proclaimed de jure, then at long last the portals of the sanctuary, closed for many ages both to orthodox Brahmanas and sceptical Europeans, will be flung open for the Brothers of every land. The “Grandsire” will welcome his prodigal children, and all his intellectual treasures will be their heritage.
A vexation of the spirit which we term “The Fall of Ideals” is provoked by recurring experiences of placing trust in others only to find them in some manner or another fail. We usually forget to add “fail us,” which would in due course level it up to a proper question: “Do we not fail ourselves in expecting a perfection we ourselves fall short of?” Is it wrong to expect perfection?
It is not wrong to expect perfection either of ourselves or others in view of centuries of endeavor. But it is wrong in terms of the moment. It is natural to aspire to the highest vision presented by the Divine Imagination. But let’s reconsider the web of Life. Though  formed of countless strands, it is the Master of Life who sits at the treadle, and Karmic Law which measures out the threads upon the wheel. To be concerned for the perfection of objects, of petty details, is to place a static condition upon the most changing forms of life. Recently a curious arrangement of articles in an antique store reinforced this impression. There was a shaded lantern illuminating a small sphere of numerous objects. Looming in the distance, beyond these shop articles, was a huge and weathered wagon wheel. For that moment it symbolized the seeing fixed events of but a day, moved by the hidden wheel of life. As long as we are away from the hub of the wheel within, we are as one spoke exacting perfection from another, whereas it takes not only a smooth rim, but a center of balance to develop universal objectives.
There is another very important reason why those we trust most seem to fail, and that is a good and positive one.
Because we remember the Gods! Because we envision the Brotherhood! Because we would like the world to live up to their stature. And because men, common plodding humans such as you and I, can reflect their glory in our lives, and we now and then see it reflected there, we feel devastated when the shadow side of that individual reveals itself on the surface of our existence. When we look in the face of another, perhaps loved being, and see the passing of a shadow, we can try to regard it as just that. The shadows are the “revolutions of the Karmic wheel,” the very experiences needed to test the soul in its resurrection. The struggle to walk “as gods when incarnated do” is to hold the head high above the clouds without loosing sight of the feet below. But it is the feet which must keep pace with the turning soil, to clear the pathway so that each footprint may not darken the way for those who follow. That we go ahead at all may be only due to one further along, who has left the door slightly ajar, and whose gentle footstep was remedial to our passing on; it is imperative that we keep that door open to others also.
That is why the sages urged simplicity. The gentle shining of a Bodhisattva can offer as much as Thor’s sledge hammer in our world. More over it requires us to be attentive to our own motives, and this engenders in us a patience with the motives of others. It may present to one side of our existence a tremendous struggle. It may cause us to deal with all the fates and furies, and we may indeed need Thor and his thunderbolts. It is, there that they should be applied, not at our friends or the miserable society we have created, although it may seem to them that they are the objects. If this is the case, then let their ideals of us fail. Let our dead selves drop away like winter from the springs of our existence. Doesn’t this give the courage to overlook sometimes the wounds which seem to come through them? It is only part of the welding of consciousness.
Our Ideals fall, our Idols fall because we do. There is imperfection in life because we are imperfect, and hence, developing beings. The writings of Dr. G. de Purucker express this most clearly and give patience with our developing natures. Our own specific “natures” are part of Grand  Nature itself. Not, as some abstract goddess, this teacher points out, but as an expression of the Beings composing the vast cosmic evolution. It is to that tone we must lend our perfections and bear with our imperfections. If we go ahead, they will, both things done and things undone. It is the Law which will bring them back to us for reworking, not as the “Fall of Ideals” but as the striking of a hoof of Pegasus from which can spring renewed life, as we take wing in the fields of Immortality.
“These tears, O thou of heart most merciful, these are the streams that irrigate the fields of charity immortal. ‘Tis on such soil that grows the midnight blossom of Buddha, more difficult to find, more rare to view than is the flower of the Vogay tree. It is the seed of freedom from rebirth. It isolates the Arhat both from strife and lust, it leads him through the fields of Being unto the peace and bliss known only in the land of Silence and Non-Being.” - The Voice of the Silence, Fragment I, p. 13.
Did you pick up the paper this morning and finally put it down with a confused sense of uncertainty; a passing thought, perhaps, that yester-year had departed and that the future was inescapably one of confusion? Did you recall the humanities which graced your former years and ponder upon their seemingly wholesale abandonment for the exigencies of necessitous preparation for a war economy? If you did, your thought was arrested by the realization that there must be retained some principle of conduct or guidance vital and strong enough to transcend the tumult and direct your life through the shoals of such a stormy passage. Did it occur to you that your Theosophy was of that vital dynamic which could rend the clouds of confusion and chart your course for today?
This paper is a plea for vital living in trying times; a plea for the expression of a vital philosophy as effective and more supple than the sinews of a trained athlete. Theosophy is a philosophy as old as time and as modern in its usefulness and application as the latest discovery in the scientific laboratory. Do you realize this?
This is not a plea for the incautious to run to the nearest corner to attempt to convince all comers that Theosophy has a vital message for today, but a challenge that you may rein form and refortify yourself responsibly to discharge that duty which Theosophy imposes upon you so that by patient understanding and unselfish service men may observe and say: “What is that power which directs his life? He is strong. He is sure. He is not perturbed in spirit. He must have something that is strong and noble. I will ask him.”
Observe the humble truism: Nothing is of value unless you use it. To use anything effectively, we are faced with a duty of administration, a responsibility. Is your Theosophy a responsibility with you? Is your responsibility, your Theosophy, discharged among your fellow men? If not, you have missed the challenge of service to a bewildered world today. Of all  studies, Theosophy is best able to provide the mind with that broad perspective which will give a balanced power of assurance to the ordering of life in useful association with one’s fellow beings. This outlook is far removed from the self-centered psychosis of the escapist. It is far removed from the selfish dicta. It is rather that substantial realization that the acquirement of each ounce of learning and information is but a sacrificial act of dedication upon the altar of humanity toward the goal of the divine perfectibility of man.
Of your Theosophy I ask you to reflect. From its wide and seemingly unfathomable depths you have drawn inspiration and strength. If you have been earnest in your search, your vision has been opened to a great spiritual realization - a realization engendered of a great necessity. Be alert to this necessity. Here is the challenge of use, the moral responsibility of a useful application to life. What had the Nazarene in mind when he said: “The light of the body is the eye: if, therefore, thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light.” - (Matt. vi, 22.)
Let your Theosophy be a bounteous feast springing from the inner resources of your being, so abundant that it may feed the famished who are altogether too near to you. You have but to extend your arm to describe the arc of duty and with that duty performed, you are refreshed by the fragrance of the impersonal deed. The wise man is great and noble, though he be humble, because as he looks eye to eye with his fellow man, he has but viewed the counterparts of a vast spiritual fraternity.
How do you walk through the market place? With averted eyes? With the captious confidence of the selfish one or with the carelessness of indifference? Or do you go with the eager eye of recognition of good will, that intensity of useful dedication betokened by simple friendliness and sympathetic understanding? Do you realize that the medicines and unguents of the humble are as rich in their healing as the patronage of the one whose wealth may serve a larger cause? Do you take your Theosophy with you into the market place?
In referring to Theosophy as a vital philosophy it is not altogether suggested that a field of philosophical study is necessary. That is amply available and may be pursued in due course. It is suggested, however, that a substantial guide to a useful and noble life is waiting for you; a chart to seas of adventure never dreamed of perhaps and that assurance to you that for each ounce of earnestness given by you, you will in time reap a harvest which will feed the hungry and confused and incidentally grant that benison of tranquil peace to your life which is beyond all cost.
“... All that is necessary is to have a heart open to goodness and truth. This alone is real, and for it one needs not the gold and glitter of temples and vestments; the most detailed rituals do not help it ... To me the best church of all is the sky’s starry dome above. The whole of nature is my temple, and so are my room and my small heart, as long as it is alive and beating.” - Svetlana Alliluyeva. 
“Thy shadows live and vanish; that which in thee shall live forever, that which in thee knows, for it is knowledge, is not of fleeting life: it is the Man that was, that is and will be, for whom the hour shall never strike.” - The Voice of the Silence.
In conformity with his Theosophical philosophy, the disciple accepts the fact that countless incarnations have shaped and colored his relation to Now, and that his utilisation of this Now must shape innumerable incarnations to come. He is required, therefore, to accept Now as an ever-present season that is an aspect of Eternity. Now, as an evanescent moment in time, is merely the personality’s Maya or Delusion. Related to the Immortal Self, it is the Soul’s eternal season. For this reason, his contemplation of it demands the perennial depth and serenity of Eternity, which is not, in truth, a “season,” but an unearthly dimension of the Spiritual Self, and, hence, of spiritual living. Casual indifference to NOW, from this standpoint, is a confessed atheism - disbelief in any godliness in life. It is surrender to those “shadows” (of repeated embodiments), “that live and vanish” and are, therefore Now-and-THEN phenomena. Since the object of all these incarnations is constant spiritual unfoldment, this atheism is literally lethal since it denies the meaning of life.
To the enlightened spiritual entity, the Season of the Soul is Eternity - an everlasting NOW, from which we do not so much “look back” at THEN, as into the infinite THEN embodied in NOW. This fatally fascinating delusion of TIME is, as it were, a sideshow this personality sets up in each of its incarnations. It is a costly and quite elaborate sideshow, which none of us can afford to ignore. But it has its franchise from the personality, and is at all times rooted in the Soul’s main theme, its sole value being as a key to the unfoldment of that theme. Time, it would seem, is the earthly key in which man is required to evolve the eternal music of NOW, which is at all times entitled to the utmost reverence and majesty.
How Long is Now? It always was, and (until we outgrow this habit of incarnating) it always will be. An important obligation of each incarnation is to come to grips with this rather overwhelming destiny. Now, as All Time, suggests that incarnation by incarnation, we are reworking old material (from uncounted THENS), as well as incorporating new material of the unfolding “future.” Life, apparently, is extensively taken up with reworking old material, a fact which may lend added pertinence to the current life pattern. It may further remind us of some shoddy workmanship put into the material handed us in past lives, a revelation which rather undermines our past and present complaints of being “victimized” by life. The heroic element we impart to life is our determination to “grow” spiritually. Losing sight of that objective, we “victimize” ourselves; in carrying it out, the dimensions of our NOW will be  measured by the completeness of our acceptance of our innate immortality.
In terms of that immortality we are that Past inseparable from our NOW. We are our Future, as it is being created NOW. Surely these considerations must make their vital contributions to the profound significance of every passing moment, a serene contemplation of which may well offer a valuable antidote to today’s frenetic “mind chatter,” largely concerned with those “shadows that live and vanish.”
Only in a serene Largo maestoso of the ETERNAL can the SELF that “is not of fleeting life” find adequate expression. Only in that serene meditation can Today’s written word contain Yesterday’s revelation and Tomorrow’s prophecy. Growth becomes our pillar of fire by night, our pillar of cloud by day, in this lordly pilgrimage toward Ultimate Revelation. Now is luminous with the dream of Yesterday and the revelation of Tomorrow, the one vitalising the other.
Since all life unfolds from within outward, seeming external causes can be misleading. So much is this the case that so-called “reforms” do little more than change the patterns of selfish living by suggesting new approaches to ample financial returns. With the slogan “Time is Money,” society has desecrated the basic life motive by identifying it almost exclusively with self-aggrandizement. It is so easy to lose sight of the fact that the NOW we are building, day by day, can become either a yawning crevasse of ignorance or a sunlit peak of spiritual understanding. Everything depends upon the motive behind the act.
The personal mind, being an instrument of this one-life personality, operates instinctively upon a one-life basis. Only the intuition of the Higher Mind, counteracting animal instinct, can direct the life into channels of Wholeness, wherein NOW and THEN lose themselves in an Eternal outlook upon uninterrupted spiritual unfoldment. In this sense, as a practical policy of growth, must not NOW become a synonym for ETERNITY?
An affirmative reply to this query is only possible for him who has become completely reconciled to his own immortality, which constitutes a notably advanced degree of esotericism. He who has attained it comes to perceive that NOW never was not nor shall ever cease to be, wherefore, “Today” and “This life,” undergoing a sublime expansion, become an aspect of that “Truth, Light and Liberation” for discouraged humanity, which is Theosophy’s pledge. Adequately envisioned, ETERNITY is not a dimension “thrust upon us,” but a Season of the SELF.
Answering the question “How long is Now,” from the Theosophical standpoint, the only possible affirmative is that it is Eternal, for the reason that NOW, THEN and HENCEFORTH are merely partitive views of an uninterrupted WHOLE. To see oneself inseparable from that WHOLE, every hour of every day, is to lend one’s life the dimensions of the radiant REALITY, SPIRIT, forsaking forever small personal preoccupations with one’s personal salvation in a heart-filling aspiration for the good of al1 mankind. “To live to benefit mankind, is the first step.” That step should be taken Now! 
“In the world of mules, there are no rules.” - Ogden Nash.
If we are to believe everything we hear , the picture we get of our world today will present to us the sobering thought that we are rapidly turning our planet into a world of mules. Were it not for the counteracting effects of the constructive influences in our lives - which are seldom reported in the newscasts - we might well think that we are moving toward a state of anarchy.
“The establishment (whatever that is) must go!” is the cry we hear on all sides. What but some other and probably worse “establishment” would take its place! In fact, it seems to the writer that a new one is already in preparation, and would step in, were the destructive influences allowed to take the upper hand. Many thinking people fear that the new establishment would bring about chaos and utter disaster. Is it not time that we join with all others who are assessing our way of life from a thoughtful and constructive vantagepoint, and see clearly what we really mean by “law and order”?
The best man-made rules, are those that work for the reconstruction of human life along lines of genuine freedom based upon the unselfish regard for the rights and responsibilities of all humans, without distinction of race, creed or ethnic background. The planning of, and obedience to, such rules does not require any nebulous and unrealistic Utopia, but it will require of each individual something that many at the present time seem to be unwilling to render: a willingness to sacrifice personal gains in the interest of the less fortunate among us. The old motive of “More for all, but most for me” must go. Until we are willing to work, and even sacrifice, for the ideals of human progression along physical, moral and spiritual lines, all notions of a civilization based upon mutual trust, unselfish regard for our fellow beings, and an earnest desire to live constructively will be nothing more than unreachable goals. How long then can the human race survive?
There is a very important characteristic of our earth-life that must be taken into account, because it is basic to human nature. In fact, I venture to say that it runs consistently throughout all of Nature. This being so, it is not something to be avoided, but it must be utilized in its most constructive form. This is what William Quan Judge called “the contest of wills,” a most apt phrase. In nature this is seen to be the physical survival of the fittest. It is the great urge for self-preservation and for the continuance of the species. In the plant and animal worlds, this appears to operate on the plane of physical existence alone. In the case of man, a few other factors enter the picture, due to the activity of his mind, and other faculties that identify a person as being human. Thus “survival of the fittest” is carried into his world of business, into his social life, and even into his religious life. Because selfishness is glorified in modern life, the inevitable result is the evidence of  crime, human injustice, indifference to the needs of others, and the thousand and one ills that beset us, with the inevitable result that warfare explodes over vast portions of the globe at periodic times in our history. This is likely to continue far into the future. It is likely to, but it need not.
There is a good illustration in the game of chess, from which we can draw some valuable lessons. First of all, it provides a good outlet for the “contest of wills,” and it does so constructively, assuming that the players are mature enough to accept defeat graciously. The challenge presented by the game gives greater satisfaction than the actual winning of the game. Certain faculties that are not easily defined are developed. As nearly as we can explain them, they involve the ability to assess situations on the chessboard, and to solve them, not only in terms of the immediate move, but because a good player can see several moves in advance.
There are the rules of the game which, so far as I know, are universally accepted. Nobody seems to resent the moves and the rules which govern them, even though they are inflexible, and they allow of no exceptions. The players are not restricted in any sense by the moves. They have freedom of choice in making the best moves that in their judgment will solve the various problems which the game presents. A good player knows that there would be no game at all, were it not for the rules, and that it is the rules which enable the expert to play with skill.
Why should not life be the same?
Certainly there will always be the contest of wills, but why should it not be used constructively? Is there not a contest of wills going on in each individual? Mental and emotional disorders result when the contest becomes too much to bear, but health is gained when there is a balance achieved between the opposing forces in ones nature. Why cannot global health be achieved as well? In the great game of life, whether on the individual or the global level, it’s your move!
“What sets apart the extraordinary man from the ordinary? His inherent ability to recognize himself as an essential part of Universal Nature, to perceive and know something of, and respond to, those great enduring Laws in their majestic sweep, to feel the Oneness with distant orb and nearest atom, and so likewise to embrace the human race with understanding; and as a natural flowing out from this knowledge and wisdom, a pledge to play his part with nobility and strength and endurance, true to his inner vision.” - W. Emmett Small. 
EVERYONE’S GUIDE TO THEOSOPHY
This excellent small hook by Harry
Benjamin, a successful practitioner of the healing arts and a profound
student of the Ancient Wisdom, is again in print after many years of
being unavailable. In the meantime, the author has passed away, and
his widow, Mrs. Elsie Benjamin bas edited his “Guide” and
issued it in a very attractive form.
H. P. BLAYATSKY. THE LIGHT-BRINGER
This is the B1avatsky Lecture of 1970, given by the author at the Annual Convention of the Theosophical Society in England , May 23, 1970 . Outstanding contribution to the Blavatsky literature, outlining the life and work of our Chief Founder, her occult status, her various methods of writing, her literary output, and some of the keynotes of her message. A most useful Glossary of technical terms is included in the pamphlet. Available from The Theosophical Publ. House, 68 Great Russell Street, London W.C. 1, England (Price: 5 shillings.).