[Cover photo: The "Lamasery". The House at 302 West 47th Street, New York, on the corner of Eighth Avenue. The Corner room in the narrow front of the house, right over the shops, Was H.P.B.'s working room where most of Isis Unveiled was written. (Photographed in 1966 by A. Merrell Powers of New York.)]
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"... The channels of Theosophy are represented by the aggregate of the theosophical membership. If the channels are not worthy, if the channels are not clean, if the channels are somehow stuffed up or twisted or dirty, how can the pure waters of life flow through them? I appeal to you in the name of common sense, is this not how it is bound to be? If we only realize something of the high standard we might avoid also the traps that so many fall into by running after all kinds of second-rate teachings.
A great milestone has passed as we speed on into the second century, and so it is now the future that must concern us. In the new countries of the world and in this country, India, changes are taking place rapidly too, but we have to consider, what our real work as the Society should be. We are here, if I understand rightly, from our early beginnings to work. We are not here just to sit and listen, and yet because of India's long traditions, it is natural for many to seek the right guru and sit at his feet. This is a very different approach from the one which is inherent in the theosophical way of life. I suggest to you that we should sit at the feet of life and make of life the principal guru to whom we pay attention. ... What is the purpose of the Society if not to try and spread as far as we can in every direction the ideas of wisdom and love to which we are dedicated? This cannot be done by any individual who merely sits at the feet of someone else. There is a real danger of becoming negative and in-turned. Our purpose can only be achieved by people who work, who are full of zeal for the wisdom and beauty of theosophical ideals, and are conscious of the needs of their brothers around them. Such people understand that they must work, and that it is essential to know the world in which we live ..." - John B. S. Coats, President, The Theosophical Society (Adyar), in The Theosophist, February, 1977. 
"Isis Unveiled" - An Occult and Literary Challenge
On Saturday, September 29, 1877, the first monumental work of H. P. Blavatsky, Isis Unveiled, was published in New York by J. W. Bouton. Its title page declared it to be "A Master-Key to the Mysteries of Ancient and Modern Science and Theology," and the one thousand copies of the first printing were sold in ten days. Even some of the advance subscribers had to wait for the second printing.
Riding the incoming tide of interest in the occult, which was then engaging the minds of an ever-increasing number of people, and coming, as it did, in the wake of widespread controversies created by H. P. Blavatsky's challenging articles and essays, published off and on for a period of three years in some of the New York dailies and the journals of the Spiritualistic movement, Isis Unveiled produced a powerful impact from the very day of its appearance.
The reaction of the Press was on the whole favorable. Dr. Shelton Mackenzie, one of the most capable literary critics of the day, wrote in the Philadelphia Press of October 9, 1877, that "it is one of the most remarkable works for originality of thought, thoroughness of research, depth of philosophic exposition, and variety and extent of learning that has appeared for very many years." The New York Herald of September 30, 1877, said that independent minds "will welcome the new publication as a most valuable contribution to philosophical literature" and that it "will supplement the Anacalypsis of Godfrey Higgins." Finding a great resemblance between them, it declared that the work under review "with its striking peculiarities, its audacity, its versatility and the prodigious variety of subjects which it notices and handles ... is one of the remarkable productions of the century." Dr. G. Bloede, an erudite German scholar, said that "under all considerations, it will range among the most important contributions to the literature of the modern science of the spirit, and be worth the attention of every thinking student of this." The New York World thought it to be an "extremely readable and exhaustive essay upon the paramount importance of re-establishing the Hermetic Philosophy in a world which blindly believes that it has outgrown it." The American Bookseller for October, 1877, felt that "the sale . . . is unprecedented for a work of its kind, the entire edition having been exhausted within ten days of the date of publication." It also compared it to Higgins' Anacalypsis and declared the demand for it to be "far beyond the expectations of its publishers."
Some of the notices were flippant and prejudiced enough to make it clear that the critics had not read the work; and the Editor of the New York Times wrote to Bouton that they were sorry they could not touch  Isis Unveiled, as they "have a holy horror of Mine. Blavatsky and her letters."
One of the finest endorsements came from Bernard Quaritch, the famous bookseller and publisher, who wrote to Bouton from London, December 27, 1877: "The book will evidently make its way in England and become a classic. I am very glad to be the English agent." Writing about this in his Old Diary Leaves (Vol. I, p. 296, footnote), Col. Olcott adds: "... we were more glad that he should be; knowing his reputation for indomitable energy and high-mindedness."
According to Col. Olcott, "the first money received for a copy of Isis was sent to me by a lady of Styria with her order; we kept it 'for luck', and it now hangs, framed, on the walls of The Theosophist office at Adyar. The truest thing ever said about Isis was the expression of an American author that it is 'a book with a revolution in it.' "
In order to understand the nature of this impact, and to realize its repercussions in various departments of human thought, it is necessary to recall the nature of the era in which Isis Unveiled was published. As far as the Occident was concerned, the background was one of heavy and dull materialism which permeated most avenues of human endeavor. A climate in which scientific denial of all spirituality, self-righteous smugness of organized religion, artificial respectability of social customs, and barrenness of intellectual speculation were the prevailing influences of the day, presented difficulties which men of today may not easily grasp. The very existence of occult knowledge, of perfected men and initiates, of the latent powers in the human being, and of a secret path which leads to the attainment of that knowledge, were practically unknown, except among a few rare individuals who kept what they knew to themselves and kept themselves unknown.
Only one Movement - known as Spiritualism in America, and as Spiritism in Europe - evinced a certain degree of open-mindedness towards little-known facts of Nature, even though the interest of its devotees was riveted on mere phenomena, without a philosophy to uphold them.
An ever-increasing number of people, some of them well known and influential in various circles, were being attracted to this phase of mediumistic phenomenalism, which, in spite of its confused and most uncertain antecedents, provided a fertile soil for new speculation, for the expression of new ideas, and the exercise of heretofore unsuspected intuition in the minds of men.
Against this background of materialistic denial and curiosity in the occult, the appearance of Isis Unveiled was somewhat similar to an exploding bomb, the repercussions of which jolted many established opinions, entrenched dogmas and crystallized beliefs in the entire range of current thought. 
In spite of its many imperfections and shortcomings, as a literary production, H.P.B.'s first work - Isis Unveiled remains to this very day the most astounding compendium of occult facts and doctrines in the Theosophical Movement. Its contents are of the most varied kind, its array of evidence has never been surpassed, its authoritative character has never been questioned, and its intrinsic value has not been superseded or duplicated by The Secret Doctrine.
The appeal of this work to readers and students has hardly ever slackened, and edition after edition has been exhausted no matter by whom published. To those who are fairly well acquainted with the later writings of H.P.B., but who have neglected to look into the pages of Isis Unveiled, this work contains priceless revelations of natural facts, and illuminating thoughts and sidelights on the mysteries of Nature never suspected before. The facts described in it can be ignored and set aside by nonbelievers, but they cannot be successfully challenged and shown to be false. Therefore the work stands even today as a living challenge to all those whose minds are self-imprisoned within the walls of denial, and whose spiritual sight is impeded by homemade blinkers.
Where can we find passages as authoritative in their bearing and as eloquent in their import and language as those, for instance, which deal with the ancient Egyptian civilization and its unique achievements, or those which outline the fundamental propositions of Oriental philosophies and of genuine Magic? Where else can we find the sweeping view of the endless horizon which discloses in broad outline, supported by astounding facts, the universal character of the Occult Tradition, the immense antiquity of true Magic, its noble origin and transcendent power, and the fathomless and unquenchable springs from which it flows?
In many instances, however, H.P.B., acting on instructions from her Superiors, merely hinted at certain teachings, in this first work from her pen. Their elaboration was reserved for later years.
Some have declared Isis Unveiled to be without definite plan. Consider the evidence: Isis Unveiled proclaims the fact that there were ancient Mystery-Schools in the guardianship of men who knew and who were servants of truth; that these Mysteries existed in periods of history which were fit for them to exist in; that some two thousand years ago, a wall was built to shut them off from the knowledge of men, while some of the ancient lore was incorporated in a twisted and distorted form into a religio-political system which eventually became known as the Christian Church; that as this was done, no effort was spared to root out and destroy the traces of the action; that at the same time, along with efforts to stem the tide as far as possible, a parallel movement was set on foot to preserve and protect the ancient truths, until in later times, they would again become known for the benefit of all men; and that they were so preserved, partly in places inaccessible to us now, and partly in  the fragments of ancient literature which had been saved and had survived, and which are being gradually rediscovered today and reinterpreted by scholars all over the world.
If this is not a definite literary plan, what is it? H.P.B. conclusively proved that the record was there, and explained what that record was, at least partially so. Can anyone conceive a better plan for this sort of work than just that, to strike again the keynote of man's forgotten heritage, and throw down the gauntlet to those who appropriated it for their own personal benefit and power?
Consider also the spiritual message which forms the backdrop of the work as a whole. To quote Col. Olcott's words:
"'None of us live for ourselves, we all live for humanity.' This was the spirit of all my instructions, this is the idea inculcated throughout Isis Unveiled. Let the literary faults of that book be what they may; let its author be charged with plagiarism or not; the sum and substance of its argument is that man is of a complex nature, animal at one extreme, divine at the other; and that the only real and perfect existence, the only one that is free from illusions, pain and sorrow, because in it, their cause - Ignorance - does not exist, is that of the spirit, the Highest Self. The book incites to pure and high living, to expansion of mind and universality of tenderness and sympathy; it shows there is a Path upwards, and that it is accessible to those who are brave; it traces all modern knowledge and speculation to archaic sources; and, affirming the past and present existence of Adepts and of occult science, affords us a stimulus to work and an ideal to work up to." [Old Diary Leaves, I, 294.]
Against the array of facts and the vast background of universal tradition, no hostile criticism and no puny faultfinding on the part of narrow minds can ever prevail, or throw the slightest slur upon a work from the pages of which breathe unquestioned authority and unequivocal challenge.
Definitive Edition as part of the Collected Writings. Most of
the quoted passages and references checked for accuracy. Editorial Notes
intended to clarify various terms and provide additional information
on certain subjects.
[Vol. II, pp. 587-590.]
It would argue small discernment on our part were we to suppose that we had been followed thus far through this work by any but metaphysicians, or mystics of some sort. Were it otherwise, we should certainly advise such to spare themselves the trouble of reading this chapter; for, although nothing is said that is not strictly true, they would not fail to regard the least wonderful of the narratives as absolutely false, however substantiated.
To comprehend the principles of natural law involved in the several phenomena hereinafter described, the reader must keep in mind the fundamental propositions of the Oriental philosophy which we have successively elucidated. Let us recapitulate very briefly:
1st. There is no miracle. Everything that happens is the result of law - eternal, immutable, ever active. Apparent miracle is but the operation of forces antagonistic to what Dr. W. B. Carpenter, F.R.S. - a man of great learning but little knowledge calls "the well-ascertained laws of nature." Like many of his class, Dr. Carpenter ignores the fact that there may be laws once "known," now unknown to science.
2nd. Nature is triune: there is a visible, objective nature; an invisible, indwelling, energizing nature, the exact model of the other, and its vital principle; and, above these - two, spirit, source of all forces, alone eternal and indestructible. The lower two constantly change; the higher third does not.
3rd. Man is also triune: he has his objective, physical body; his vitalizing astral body (or soul), the real man; and these two are brooded over and illuminated by the third - the sovereign, the immortal spirit. When the real man succeeds in merging himself with the latter, he becomes an immortal entity.
4th. Magic, as a science, is the knowledge of these principles, and of the way by which the omniscience and omnipotence of the spirit and its control over nature's forces may be acquired by the individual while still in the body. Magic, as an art, is the application of this knowledge in practice.
5th. Arcane knowledge misapplied, is sorcery; beneficently used, true magic or WISDOM.
6th. Mediumship is the opposite of adeptship; the medium is the passive instrument of foreign influences, the adept actively controls himself and all inferior potencies.
7th. All things that ever were, that are, or that will be, having their record upon the astral light, or tablet of the unseen universe, the initiated adept, by using the vision of his own spirit, can know all that has been known or can be known. 
8th. Races of men differ in spiritual gifts as in color, stature, or any other external quality; among some peoples seership naturally prevails, among others mediumship. Some are addicted to sorcery, and transmit its secret rules of practice from generation to generation, with a range of physical phenomena, more or less wide, as the result.
9th. One phase of magical skill is the voluntary and conscious withdrawal of the inner man (astral form) from the outer man (physical body). In the cases of some mediums withdrawal occurs, but it is unconscious and involuntary. With the latter the body is more or less cataleptic at such times; but with the adept the absence of the astral form would not be noticed, for the physical senses are alert, and the individual appears only as though in a fit of abstraction - "a brown study," as some call it.
To the movements of the wandering astral form neither time nor space offer obstacles. The thaumaturgist, thoroughly skilled in occult science, can cause himself (that is, his physical body) to seem to disappear, or to apparently take on any shape that he may choose. He may make his astral form visible, or he may give it protean appearances. In both cases these results will be achieved by a mesmeric hallucination of the senses of all witnesses, simultaneously brought on. This hallucination is so perfect that the subject of it would stake his life that he saw a reality, when it is but a picture in his own mind, impressed upon his consciousness by the irresistible will of the mesmerizer.
But, while the astral form can go anywhere, penetrate any obstacle, and be seen at any distance from the physical body, the latter is dependent upon ordinary methods of transportation. It may be levitated under prescribed magnetic conditions, but not pass from one locality to another except in the usual way. Hence we discredit all stories of the aerial flight of mediums in body, for such would be miracle, and miracle we repudiate. Inert matter may be, in certain cases and under certain conditions, disintegrated, passed through walls, and recombined, but living animal organisms cannot.
Swedenborgians believe and arcane science teaches that the abandonment of the living body by the soul frequently occurs, and that we encounter every day, in every condition of life, such living corpses. Various causes, among them overpowering fright, grief, despair, a violent attack of sickness, or excessive sensuality may bring this about. The vacant carcass may be entered and inhabited by the astral form of an adept sorcerer, or an elementary (an earth-bound disembodied human Soul), or, very rarely, an elemental. Of course, an adept of white magic has the same power, but unless some very exceptional and great object is to be accomplished, he will never consent to pollute himself by occupying the body of an impure person. In insanity, the patient's astral being is either semi-paralyzed, bewildered, and subject to the influence of every  passing spirit of any sort, or it has departed forever, and the body is taken possession of by some vampirish entity near its own disintegration, and clinging desperately to earth, whose sensual pleasures it may enjoy for a brief season longer by this expedient.
10th. The cornerstone of MAGIC is an intimate practical knowledge of magnetism and electricity, their qualities, correlations, and potencies. Especially necessary is a familiarity with their effects in and upon the animal kingdom and man. There are occult properties in many other minerals, equally strange with that in the lodestone, which all practitioners of magic must know, and of which so-called exact science is wholly ignorant. Plants also have like mystical properties in a most wonderful degree, and the secrets of the herbs of dreams and enchantments are only lost to European science and, useless to say, are unknown to it, except in a few marked instances, such as opium and hashish. Yet, the psychical effects of even these few upon the human system are regarded as evidences of a temporary mental disorder. The women of Thessaly and Epirus, the female hierophants of the rites of Sabazius, did not carry their secrets away with the downfall of their sanctuaries. They are still preserved, and those who are aware of the nature of Soma, know the properties of other plants as well.
To sum up all in a few words, MAGIC is spiritual WISDOM; nature, the material ally, pupil and servant of the magician. One common vital principle pervades all things, and this is controllable by the perfected human will. The adept can stimulate the movements of the natural forces in plants and animals in a preternatural degree. Such experiments are not obstructions of nature, but quickenings; the conditions of more intense vital action are given.
The adept can control the sensations and alter the conditions of the physical and astral bodies of other persons not adepts; he can also govern and employ, as he chooses, the spirits of the elements. He cannot control the immortal spirit of any human being, living or dead, for all such spirits are alike sparks of the Divine Essence, and not subject to any foreign domination.
* * *
[Vol. I, p. xlv]
Deeply sensible of the Titanic struggle that is now in progress between materialism and the spiritual aspirations of mankind, our constant endeavor has been to gather into our several chapters, like weapons into armories, every fact and argument that can be used to aid the latter in defeating the former. Sickly and deformed child as it now is, the materialism of Today is born of the brutal Yesterday. Unless its growth is arrested, it may become our master. It is the bastard progeny of the French Revolution and its reaction against ages of religious bigotry and repression. To prevent the crushing of these spiritual aspirations, the blighting of these hopes, and the deadening of that intuition which teaches us of a God and a hereafter, we must show our false theologies  in their naked deformity, and distinguish between divine religion and human dogmas. Our voice is raised for spiritual freedom, and our plea made for enfranchisement from all tyranny, whether of SCIENCE or THEOLOGY.
* * *
[Vol. I, p. 573]
... The keys to the Biblical miracles of old, and to the phenomena of modern days; the problems of psychology, physiology, and the many "missing links" which have so perplexed scientists of late, are all in the hands of secret fraternities. This mystery must be unveiled some day - But till then dark skepticism will constantly interpose its threatening, ugly shadow between God's truths and the spiritual vision of mankind; and many are those who, infected by the moral epidemic of our century - hopeless materialism - will remain in doubt and mortal agony as to whether, when man dies, he will live again, although the question has been solved by long bygone generations of sages. The answers are there. They may be found on the timeworn granite pages of cave-temples, on sphinxes, propylons and obelisks. They have stood there for untold ages, and neither the rude assault of time, nor the still ruder assault of Christian hands, has succeeded in obliterating their records. All covered with the problems which were solved - who can tell? perhaps by the archaic forefathers of their builders - the solution follows each question; and this the Christian could not appropriate, for, except the initiates, no one has understood the mystic writing. The key was in the keeping of those who knew how to commune with the invisible Presence, and who had received from the lips of mother Nature herself, her grand truths. And so stand these monuments like mute forgotten sentinels on the threshold of that unseen world, whose gates are thrown open but to a few elect.
Defying the hand of Time, the vain inquiry of profane science, the insults of the revealed religions, they will disclose their riddles to none but the legatees of those by whom they were entrusted with the MYSTERY. The cold, stony lips of the once vocal Memnon, and of these hardy sphinxes, keep their secret well. Who will unseal them? Who of our modern, materialistic dwarfs and unbelieving Sadducees will dare to lift tile VEIL OF ISIS?
* * *
[Vol. 11, pp. 639-640]
Our work is done - would that it were better done! But, despite our inexperience in the art of bookmaking, and the serious difficulty of writing in a foreign tongue, we hope we have succeeded in saying some things that will remain in the minds of the thoughtful. The enemies of truth have been all counted, and all passed in review. Modern science, powerless to satisfy the aspirations of the race, makes the future a void, and bereaves man of hope. In one sense, it is like the Baital Pachisi, the Hindu vampire of popular fancy, which lives in dead bodies, and feeds but on the rottenness of matter. The theology of Christendom has  been rubbed threadbare by the most serious minds of the day. It is found to be, on the whole, subversive of, rather than promotive of, spirituality and good morals. Instead of expounding the rules of divine law and justice, it teaches but itself. In place of an ever-living Deity, it preaches the Evil One, and makes him indistinguishable from God Himself! "Lead us not into temptation" is the aspiration of Christians. Who, then, is the tempter? Satan? No; the prayer is not addressed to him. It is that tutelary genius who hardened the heart of Pharaoh, put an evil Spirit into Saul, sent lying messengers to the prophets, and tempted David to sin; it is - the Bible-God of Israel!
Our examination of the multitudinous religious faiths that mankind, early and late, have professed, most assuredly indicates that they have all been derived from one primitive source. It would seem as if they were all but different modes of expressing the yearning of the imprisoned human soul for intercourse with supernal spheres. As the white ray of light is decomposed by the prism into the various colors of the solar spectrum, so the beam of divine truth, in passing the three-sided prism of man's nature, has been broken up into vari-colored fragments called RELIGIONS. And, as the rays of the spectrum, by imperceptible shadings, merge into each other, so the great theologies that have appeared at different degrees of divergence from the original source have been connected by minor schisms, schools, and offshoots from the one side or the other. Combined, their aggregate represents one eternal truth; separate, they are but shades of human error and the signs of imperfection. The worship of the Vedic pitris is fast becoming the worship of the spiritual portion of mankind. It but needs the right perception of things objective to finally discover that the only world of reality is the subjective.
What has been contemptuously termed Paganism, was ancient wisdom replete with Deity; and Judaism and its offspring, Christianity and Islamism, derived whatever of inspiration they contained from this ethnic parent. Pre-Vedic Brahmanism and Buddhism are the double source from which all religious sprang; Nirvana is the ocean to which all tend.
For the purposes of a philosophical analysis, we need not take account of the enormities which have blackened the record of many of the world's religious. True faith is the embodiment of divine charity; those who minister at its altars, are but human. As we turn the bloodstained pages of ecclesiastical history, we find that, whoever may have been the hero, and whatever costumes the actors may have worn, the plot of the tragedy has ever been the same. But the, Eternal Night was in and behind all, and we pass from what we see to that which is invisible to the eye of sense. Our fervent wish has been to show true souls how they may lift aside the curtain, and, in the brightness of that Night made Day, look with undazzled gaze upon the UNVEILED TRUTH. 
"Never the Spirit was not; the Spirit shall cease to be never. Birthless and deathless and changeless, remaineth the Spirit forever." - Edwin Arnold, Song Celestial, ch. ii.
The phrase "an immortal soul" bears an earthly patina of excessive use, much of it largely figurative. Anyone employing the phrase with conscious intent and a literal application, in such application tacitly implies acceptance of the actual timelessness of the Spirit of man. Such an implication is rendered acceptable, if not unavoidable, by him who subscribes to the Theosophical doctrine of Reincarnation, which postulates a Spiritual Essential in every man that survives numberless births and demises in a long series of physical vehicles. Through these serial existences, while separated by seasons of silence and invisibility for the mortal personality (earth-time's costumes and make-up), the Spiritual Essential manifests eternally unchanged, save in terms of an increased or diminished spiritual obviousness in each succeeding personality.
Of these two aspects - the physico-temporal and the spiritual-eternal - it is to be presumed that mature vision will accord rulership and significance to the second rather than to the first. In that man in whom such significance is accorded, "living" will necessarily signify "Spiritual Living." The latter, by accepted definition, will be viewed as "timeless." Its attainments, to the degree that they are genuine, will be unrelated to earth-time in any sense, for the simple reason that Life Everlasting can under no circumstances have any relation to calendars, hour-glasses or alarm clocks. For this man who has accepted "immortality," the question "When?" is without meaning. Even "How far?", unless it be accepted as unanswerable, is more or less out of place.
Any mature philosopher will buttress his "How far?" with an appreciation of the Eternity that preceded this incarnation as well as that which follows it. In a word, a completely enlightened "immortal soul" will identify enlightenment with a super-physical sense of duration - Eternal Universality. Is such a sense possible or even desirable in a world of Time and Materiality? Not as an "improvement," certainly, nor as an "added feature." It can only be desirable and inescapable in a material world quite obviously capable of being transcended. To attempt to allow Time and Materiality to co-exist with Life Everlasting, however desirable such a consummation may be, is not possible.
The deathless Spirit of man is lord and redeemer of Time. "Living" is, in its "essential" meaning - Transcendence, demanded and governed by the Spiritual Self. The Bhagavad-Gita counsels the disciple: "Firmly persisting in Yoga, perform thy duty, 0 Despiser of Wealth, and  laying aside all desire for any benefit to thyself from action, make the event equal to thee, whether it be success or failure. Equal-mindedness is called Yoga." This is preaching Transcendence.
To "make the event equal to thee," if by "thee" is meant the Immortal Spiritual Self, is to "act timelessly" (without benefit of hour-glass or calendar). In this state of affairs, what do we mean by the term "Patience"? Can you or I acquire a Patience that enjoys the dimensions of Eternity? Would such Patience be worthwhile, if attainable? Since such Patience would be merely an acquired personal trait, "if" looms large. We can probably recall a morning when, awaking fired with a vital thought, we jumped into our clothes, eager to get that vital thought down on paper before it eluded us. Stooping to tie our shoe, a shoe-string snaps! A shoe-string between us and a truly vital idea! Is our Patience of a caliber to restrain us from audibly cussing out shoes, shoe-strings, mundane attire in all its trifling insignificance? Have we the spiritual sang-froid to remind ourselves that this vital idea (even though our very own), if it have any enduring value, must be, to an extent, "timeless"? How much eager Ego, how much "attachment to results" is mixed up with this vital ideal that excites this violent im-Patience? Is it of the Immortal Self or of the mortal personality?
Inquiry into this vital distinction is definitely related to "non-attachment to results." Those results of actions to which we are vitally attached, are anticipated within a measurable time period. They are "hour-glass attachments." But is it not our objective to transcend those very limitations? And yet, the tendency to feel that any accomplishment associated with All Time (Eternity), must of necessity be nebulous and meaningless, reveals the fact that ours is a personal attachment - our accomplishment measurable by the Personality of Time.
But the ultimate objective of "life" for the Spiritual Self is spiritual universality - a lifting up of all humanity above merely temporal attainments. In this sense of adjusting oneself to a program of unfoldment eternally active, man is called upon to see life as a literally transcendent experience - his usually accepted idea of it magnified many, many times. In so far as he can grasp and understand life in these dimensions, he has begun to generate effective resistance to "the taint of Time," i.e., personality defiling an impersonal, universal experience. Such a point of view may appear to many as inhumanly cold and remote. Let those who so view it ask themselves: "Can the infinite expansion of the human heart in terms of selfless love and compassion ever partake of inhuman coldness?"
The goal of a Theosophist is an infinitely expanded love for all men, all the time - what amounts to a sense of personal responsibility for the pain and suffering of the world. "No man is an island." That day and that hour in which I can  actually feel lovingly immersed in the lives of all my fellows, a part of them, living for them - in that hour I have experienced the first faint radiance of Universal Brotherhood. The "taint" of Time is the taint of a limited calculation relating to me first, to mankind - eventually. To fight this tendency on its own level spells a well-nigh eternal defeat. To fearlessly rise to the level of a boundless spiritual love that has its roots in the deathless Spirit of Man, is to find oneself irresistibly drawn to complete fulfilment of one's deepest, primeval spirituality. It is nothing less than surrender to an undreamed release from personal limitations. "'Tis love that makes the world go round." 'Tis love that bids a man go free!
Given sufficient time and constancy, the personal man reaches the conclusion that life's ultimate benediction is Release from the limitations of Time, Place, Desire, Personality. What are those rare but truly immortal utterances of poets, philosophers and Seers, but utterances of a momentarily liberated Spirit that transcended Reason, Egotism, Time and Place, for the Universality of the deathless SELF! Should not Religion, in its ultimate significance, be a key, unlocking the fetters of an earth-bound, Time bound human personality? Because the SELF of man is eternal, universal, supreme, its servitor, the personality, inevitably hungers for freedom of Transcendence that challenges the "taint of Time" and the conditions of Time. In so far as Patience is a calm acceptance of these conditions, it calls for transcendence. He who lives, loves and meditates universality, has ceased to "wait for fulfilment"; he is achieving a state of consciousness that imbues duration with its everlasting import - uninterrupted unfoldment of the Deathless Spirit.
This is how real, how earnest, how sublime, "living" can be for that man who disdains the "cabbage" state - the happy humility of the vegetable! This time-worn term "Destiny," as related to Man Spiritual, is a remotely glimpsed sublimity of uninterrupted Fulfilment that Personality cannot contain, that Time and the things of Time cannot taint. It is the heavenly "Equal-mindedness called Yoga."
REMINISCENCES OF H. P. BLAVATSKY
AND "THE SECRET DOCTRINE"
An intimate look at the life of a great Occultist while she was writing
her magnum opus in the town of Wurzburg, Germany. Reveals both the human
and the high spiritual qualities of H. P. Blavatsky; tells of several
carefully observed phenomena, and provides a vital account of the noble
qualities and deep nature of the chief Founder of the modern Theosophical
Even with a common slate of Theosophical teachings students of Theosophy express doubt concerning their ability to recognize a true teacher should he suddenly appear. Have we established, then, as "Pure" Theosophy a certain set of books, or perhaps doctrines, without examining them for the future guidance of our Movement? Surely the Masters who fashioned a craft designed to negotiate the cyclical tides of centuries ahead, would provide enough ballast to carry it over the rough shoals it has met with from the very beginning. We have not only been given direct warnings, but devotional texts to fortify the heart-life and subdue the darker currents of our human personality. We have emphasis on motive and equanimity in the Bhagavad-Gita, a text so universal as to be adopted by the Western man as one of the World's great literary pieces. We have allegories too, which warn of the degradation of the Esoteric schools into centers of black magic. They often show how the purity of One disciple can help keep a link unbroken.
Take for instance the opening chapter of The Idyll of the White Lotus, where the boy Sensa enters the temple for the first time, conscious that the gate is locked behind him. For some reason he does not mind being a prisoner in that awesome place, for he is made aware of a curious seclusion which does not seem like imprisonment to him. A subtle separateness from the city beyond does not impair his innocent nature from perceiving a duality at work within the temple itself. He is immediately drawn into a conflict of the priestly forces which would use his native seership for development of their own ominous ends, against his own intuitive reverence for the pure lady of the Lotus, Truth herself. This he must preserve within, with the aid of the gardener of the temple grounds: INTUITION. How will Sensa keep to the Pure is his test!
How often in our daily life, if we could attend to weeding out a path amidst our current duties, the Intuition would respond to that particular garden of its Karmic concern. What finer way to instill the purity of our teachings than to absorb the Golden Precepts into the daily consciousness? They are, after all, from the altars of "contemplative" schools, and, being written in the Mahayana spirit, by H.P.B., a genuine recorder of that tradition, must be as "Pure" a Theosophy as any Guru from the East could currently reveal to us. Should we succeed in living even one of the precepts, such as Charity, could we not be strong enough as individuals to overcome the eccentricities and diversities which isolate one Theosophist from another in needless and unbrotherly exclusion?
When we wonder if we could recognize a "True" Teacher, should he come among us, it is because we  have forgotten that the true teacher is within each one? That alone can acknowledge the Teachership of another. But the methods of development offered are so many, one may legitimately ask. How can we know what is best suited to our natures? Should we immediately suspect any handouts in terms of secret mantrams, or unsolicited forecasts concerning our spiritual destiny? Of course we should! Qualities of genuine insight have been clearly stated in our books. H.P.B. explains in her introduction to The Voice of the Silence:
"Indian methods of psychic development differ with the Gurus ... because every Guru has his own system which he generally keeps very secret. But beyond the Himalaya the method in the Esoteric Schools does not differ, unless the Guru is simply a lama, but little more learned than those he teaches."
This leads us to conclude that, while all over the world there are lamas, such as Sensa meets, pretending to be gurus, yet actually knowing little more than their followers, there are also teachers and acolytes who recognize each other by a common teaching of the Esoteric Schools rooted in the East. These teachers and schools would not leave such a trail of swift disillusionment as we witness pursuing the Guru-missionaries from the Orient today.
Far-flung across the globe are brothers of differing schools. Within those very schools, if we could restore the childhood heart of Sensa, we should find the image of the White Lotus which speaks to the pure in heart, no matter how priestly the craft attempting to hide, grasp or suppress it for themselves. We need the keys to clarify our mental life so that we will be incapable of corrosion by the dark forces attempting to stem the world's progress. Although The Voice of the Silence has a power in it to change the mental life of the aspirant, it is ultimately whether he chooses the open road or the secret, the eye-teaching or the heart, which determines his ability to recognize the Elect who represent the True Teaching.
Inspiring thoughts from the mind and heart of a true Teacher. Profound
and eloquent passages on such subjects as: The Inner God; Forgiveness
and Love; The Power of Thought; The Buddhas of Compassion; The Path to
the Heart of the Universe; The Path of Chelaship.