[Cover photo: Fir-Lined Highway in the Pacific Northwest.]
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"... Religious greed is but a refined form of material greed. One form of spiritual greed is the 'holier than thou' attitude. ... The warping of motives lies at the heart of religious greed. A truly great artist will work at his art for the love of art alone. He would rather die from starvation than be torn from his work. He is not working for praise, glory or financial reward, for his motive for action lies in action itself. The spiritual man is an artist of life. He loves to see all life developing and growing - from the flowers to the souls of his fellow men. His supreme motive for action lies in action itself. He feels the challenge of all Life ringing in his ears and he answers that challenge by giving his will to the Universe and thereupon becoming an Artist and Master of Life. He considers only his duty to Man and the Universe, for fulfilment of that duty is his Supreme Art. ... The best of materials needed to produce a great work of art can be given to a man who is not an artist and nothing will happen. Though we have the teachings of the Gods, we are the agents of transmission and must play the role of the artist. Although, with the aid of our intellectual gifts, we bombard the world with our logical reasoning and writings, little will it avail if we, who are the transmitters, are mostly intellect, with little spirit. If we be not artists of life we shall fail to reach the millions of sleeping ones though we have the food of the Gods to offer.
"It is always an inaudible voice that speaks in the causal realms while the physical man speaks with his tongue and pen. It is in the inner realms where the battle will be won. It is here where the spiritual warrior applies his art while the world thinks it is the physical man who speaks. The only solution is to live Theosophy with all the strength of one's being and make an Art out of Self-Discipline. A society of such individuals working in union would accomplish the seemingly impossible." - Martin Witter. The Theosophical Forum, February, 1941. 
Question: Why do students of Theosophy oppose psychic practices?
Answer: Because they undermine both intellect and spirituality, and strengthen the personal qualities of man to the disadvantage of his Spirit.
Q.: What are some of the psychic practices you are opposed to?
A.: Divination, psychic readings, psychometry, any trance condition, certain methods of meditation leading to mediumship, alleged "recall" of former incarnations, lower aspects of Yoga, claims of astral clairvoyance, drug-addiction, etc.
Q.: But surely some of these have a modicum of truth in them and can be of benefit to some people?
A.: Everything has a modicum of truth in it, but that truth can be uncovered and understood only against the background of a careful study of the intellectual and spiritual facts of Nature outlined in the Esoteric Philosophy. Without these facts in mind, and without the philosophical understanding of them, psychic practices cannot possibly be of any benefit.
Q.: You emphasize therefore the need of a thorough development of the intellect?
A.: We certainly do not, unless supported by the development of spirituality. Intellect without spirituality is the direct road to materialism, crass selfishness and other evils of the personality.
Q.: And what do you mean by spirituality?
A.: Primarily the ethical nature of man, the powers and forces inherent in his Higher Self, such as kindness, justice, self-control, self-forgetfulness, patience, equanimity, forgiveness of wrong, non-retaliation, impersonal love, sympathy, compassion, and other spiritual qualities which are today largely overlooked and practiced by a very small number of people.
Q.: What do you consider to be the chief results of the indiscriminate usage of psychic practices?
A.: Intellectual confusion, loss of spirituality, weakening of the spiritual will, and the eventual debilitating of the moral or ethical qualities; also the strengthening of the personality as a result of the inordinate love for wonder and phenomenalism.
Q.: But is not the psychic part of the human organism an important part of every man? It cannot be obliterated?
A.: It is just as important as any other part of his sevenfold constitution, and no one intends to obliterate it. It must be understood in the light of the higher teachings of Theosophy and brought under the control of his spiritual will. Its powers and forces, when raised to the spiritual level, can be of immense benefit in his evolution. Then they become a team of horses, as it were, under the powerful and intelligent guidance of the driver - the Higher Self in man. 
Amidst the romantic waterways and canals of the old city of Venice there is an historical stone bridge, called by the Italians "il ponte di sospiri" (the bridge of sighs). So called it is because those who once crossed its fateful track entered a prison whose door closed fast behind, to be opened never again, and they sighed for the touch of the free air now limited and almost lost. Venetians will tell you that a sensitive person, who might pass by gondola on a moonlit night beneath its arch, can sometimes hear the sobs of thousands of prisoners embedded intensely in the stonework, and he who has once experienced the sound of suffering cannot greet the morning's sunrise without a sigh for those whose hearts it would not strike with hope.
In The Voice of the Silence we read: "This Earth, Disciple, is the Hall of Sorrow, wherein are set along the Path of dire probations, traps to ensnare thy EGO by the delusion called 'Great Heresy'."
For him who would seek the Path to Wisdom there appear many, many false turnings, luring lanes which promise deceptive glories, but which in truth are merely well trodden bridges to imprisonment. A way may be looked at and explored for a knowledge of its wayside flowers, but it is so easy to wander too far inland, and if sight of the main highway is lost, then one's intelligence of direction is almost imperceptibly surrendered, and one becomes caught in the prison of mistaking the means for the end. What are some of these dangerous side roads? They are many, and they are varied, such as: the practice of lower forms of yoga, exercises in pranayama, instant enlightenment courses, premature stimulation of the chakras, experiments with hypnotism and so-called mind-expansion drugs, and others - all brightly advertised signposts, which offer the illusory gold of exciting extrasensory experiences, personal development, unearned knowledge, but which in reality lead to the trap of psychism. As the cool, scented breeze from the upper woodlands cannot penetrate the density of concrete walls, the fresh breath of spiritual insight cannot pervade the dank confinement of the psychic atmosphere, and the free soul is caught for a while, even an incarnation, in a prison of unbalanced judgment, impaired moral sense.
There are lesser prison walls, like the study of the "occult arts," such as popular astrology and such subjects. These are interesting side issues and possibly a helpful key to the esoteric wisdom, but if pursued for the purpose of personal intellectual development alone, without the understanding and application of the basic principles of Theosophy, they become as shackles to the Soul, deterring it from the Path of the true Gnosis.
How, then, does one distinguish between occultism and the "occult  arts"? It is necessary to discern the duality in man, the inner spiritual essence and the outer personal "creation." Olden day legends and myths tell of mysterious towers overlooking the lands of early times. Modern interpreters have offered them as prosaic symbols, such as prisons, but occult writers, like W. Q. Judge, have described the ancient tower as the home of sacred fires, to be, kept eternally burning. The tending of the flames was the care of a series of guardians, passing on the trust from one to the other, for, as long as the kindling glowed within the tower, the link with divine watchers was secured and the land would remain protected from enemies and destruction. Perhaps it might be suggested that the tower is like the body and the desires and astral sensations, in fact the personality; and the internal fire is like the motion within the atom, the spiritual spark in all matter, in fact the Monad. One might see the twofold possibility of the outer vehicle, either as a prison or a container of the living fire.
What is it that sets the direction? It is Manas, entering the tower with the fuel of knowledge and experience to feed the flame, and draw out the fire of Atma-Buddhi. First awakened by advanced beings from a previous Manvantara, mind, like the chain of keepers, through incarnation after incarnation hands down its sacred watch. With each earthily life mind collects its logs of wood, which are its particular struggles and achievements, searchings and study, mistakes and learning, without which the spiritual man cannot manifest on earth. They must be submitted to the fire of spirit. If only piled in fancy stacks in the personality to delight the ego of the collector, knowledge and development are heavy weights, devoid of purpose, for it is in the consumption of the flame that they become transmuted into finer substances, as wood is changed into heat and light to warm and benefit humanity.
It is the qualities of spirit which are the burning power within the flame. Intuition is one of them. Mind is the tender; intuition is the burning, which will transform the permanent truth in knowledge into living wisdom, while the psychic dross will drop away from the candidate as the ashes left in the grate.
Spiritual teachers urge in the would-be-disciple of the esoteric philosophy the cultivation of intuition. The way is through the mind. As it is the wind which blows oxygen into the flame to make the fire spread, so it is the higher Manas striving to the upper air which will blow the fire of intuition.
A mystical element pertains to the tower, for the sacred fire is not easily discernible from the outside. In the story by W. Q. Judge, the attention of the neophyte guardian is attracted out of the window to the hills, to outer nature, and under his lack of concern the smouldering embers are extinguished, and an ominous presentiment befalls. Perhaps this is seen many times today in the selfish devotee who would seek to arouse the heart chakra on the personality level, without knowledge of  the true nature of the inner fire. The lower pole of love is excited, and spiritual altruism is mistaken for merely feeding the bodies of our children, indulging their lower appetites, giving them their own way, endowing our companions with meaningless words of praise, and deriving comfort from doing "good." This kind of emotionalism is as wood soaked in water and could not be subject to burning in the flame; first it must be exposed to the wind of mind to be dried out; then it can be worked on by the fire of spirit.
Mind is the link between the spiritual and the material, and as such is dual in nature. Lower mind is the neophyte drawn to the window and the view outside. It functions as a reasoning organ, and for a long period in the evolution of man it has merely served as an image-maker for the lower principles, thus rooting ever deeper the physical and psychical desires; by the lower mind, wisdom would be interpreted in terms satisfying to the personal self. Noble ideals, such as Brotherhood, are mistranslated to appease transitory whims, like taking what is not lawfully due or as an excuse for not standing up to a moral issue. Knowledge is seen as a personal possession, to be bought and sold or just to wallow in, and the true principles of occult science are reshaped to bolster intellectual pride and serve the selfish desire for power.
Higher mind is the faithful tender aspiring to keep alight the inner fire, realizing it is the inner spiritual heart in his friend, in his family, in humanity, which is to be awakened and drawn out. The essential is not just feeding the body, but striving to feed the inner fire with wisdom. As fire is one on its own plane, so is the Monad one with the Universal Oversoul, and as it is the individual spark which keeps the fire manifest on the physical, so it is the task of the individual student to keep alive the Ancient Wisdom with an eye to the whole of humanity.
It is his approach to study which directs the burning power in the flame. The esoteric teachings of The Secret Doctrine are as the sacred fire, of which the tower walls are the religious, the philosophical systems, the mystic writings of the ages, and he who would open the door to study its pages becomes the tender to whom is handed over the trust by those who gave us its wisdom. His duty is to tend the fire. He must be willing to sacrifice to the flame his prefixed ideas, predetermined outlook, predilections in judgment, his concrete thoughts and personal feelings: all are as soaked wood, which make the tower a prison.
"Tis from the bud of Renunciation of the Self, that springeth the sweet fruit of final Liberation," says The Voice of the Silence.
He must seek the spiritual essence of the Wisdom. As the true artist's eye is not deluded by the outer impression of the painting, but discerns the light and shade, the symbolism of color, the secret meaning of form, so he must become sensitive to what is deeply hidden in the teachings. It means interpreting the  fine colors that paint the horizons, on the receding borders of his imaginings, in language that will stir even the vision of the blind, and transposing the evading harmonies that strain the inner ear into pictures that will even sound a melody on deaf ears. It is the transformation of knowledge into living wisdom in his daily life which brings alive the fire of his own spirit to merge with the fire of Theosophy, and thus be a warmth to the world. Every effort to understand is an explosive force like lightning, and every energy devoted to living the precepts is the friction as of flint against stone, which manifests a spark from the invisible fire, which might renew a dwindling ember or kindle a new flame.
The cultivation of the virtues of spirit, such as intuition, moral responsibility, compassion, unselfishness, discrimination, discipline, etc., are the manifesting force of the flame, which do the work of transmutation, and which set the prisoner free. In the true schools of occultism there is a golden rule that each step forward in mental learning be accompanied by three in character perfection. The practice of popular forms of yoga, without the spiritual discipline of Raja-Yoga, is as the overfed body that takes not into account the proper rules of diet, nor releases its energy in work. Indulgence in studies of magic without moral responsibility is a step in the direction of the Atlantean sorcerers who wrought destruction on their splendid continent. The natural urge to progress devoid of an unselfish nature leads to the dangerous shortcuts of drugs and surrender of integrity to a stronger will. The protection of the unawakened mind is its insensitivity to unspoken influences, but as the trained musician is perceptive to delicacies of tone that elude the hearing of the untrained, so the explorer of wisdom is a prey to a more subtle variety of mental illusion and psychic temptations. The finer the weave of the cloth the more water it will soak up, and it needs discrimination and compassion to squeeze out the waters of the astral.
There is a very beautiful fairy story by Hans Anderson called "The Snow Queen" which might demonstrate the difference between the imprisoned soul and the awakened spirit. In this particular tale, the presence of the dark forces, illusion, selfishness, doubt, hate, temptation, are represented by a broken glass, just as the evil qualities are a broken reflection of their opposite pole of virtue, and the splinters of this glass enter the hearts of the innocent, distorting the vision and freezing the kind nature. The little boy and girl in the story symbolize the Intellect and the Spiritual virtues, which become separated when a splinter of the glass pierces the boy's heart and seals it off from contact with others. He is carried off to the ice palace of the Snow Queen, where he becomes involved in a world of reasoning and intellectualizing: but he is a prisoner, because the magic word that would give him freedom and command, he  cannot discover, for its meaning transcends the capacity of mind without the light of Buddhi. The little girl is the pilgrim-soul guided by the Heart Doctrine, who sets out with selfless motive to rescue her beloved companion. There are many trials and tribulations on the way: there is a garden of illusion where time is wasted, but the discriminating faculty finally breaks through the Maya of a wrong turning, and clear vision recognizes the mistake. She is captured by robbers, but their role is transmuted and they are made to serve the noble cause. There is an understanding with the lower kingdoms of nature, and their help plays an invaluable part in the accomplishment of the quest. By the reindeer she is carried to the grim regions of the remote north, perhaps symbolical of the spiritual home of man. The final stage of tile journey, however, must be undertaken alone, without the animal vehicle and devoid of the material covering of shoes. Here she is attacked by all the weird psychic creatures of occult allegories, but purity of purpose is a protective shield from which all fall back. It is the warm tears of compassion that melt the ice in the boy's heart and spell out the secret word. Then heart and intellect are rejoined, and they walk out of the ice palace together and the sun warms them. They make the journey back to the world, where they discover that the old places are the same, but that they have reached adulthood.
All sentient life is a scintillating burst of color that dances throughout the Cosmic Spheres while singing a Song Celestial. Each individual center of consciousness is a prismatic sparkling somewhere within the vast spectrum of infinitude; each one a luminous "Pillar of Light" streaming outward from the innermost center of its own Spiritual heart, in resplendent brilliance that becomes increasingly stained with color, as it shines downward through heavier and thicker veils of matter. Thus, all unfoldment evolves through a fantasy of color and sound, the inner light of selfhood expanding forever through endless cycles of work and rest, day and night, life and death, Manvantara and Pralaya. Somewhere along the way, we learn at last that living is an art, and each of us an artist eternally mixing, matching and changing the tones and colorings of the fire and music in our soul, fashioning it into character. During our lifetimes we can choose to become the skilled craftsman, inspired to use our palette of Skandhas in creating a masterpiece of radiant light; or we may carelessly mar our work, blotching it with harsh and muddied pigments. But when death ensues,  all labor ceases, and from artist we become the dreamer, visioning the living lights and shadows we had imprinted on our consciousness while in the world of causes - studying them in the roseate bliss of Devachan, or the eerie nightmare of Avitchi. And out of this, from self to self we merge our changing character which is at every moment a composition of our self-expression - at once, all that we have become, all that we are, all that we "own."
In The Esoteric Tradition, Dr. G. de Purucker tells at length "how man is born and reborn," from which the following passages on character have been chosen.
"... Character is in its essence the Self, or perhaps, more accurately stated, it is the clothing which the Self weaves around itself, partly composite of the essence of the Self, and partly of the robes of experience and knowledge garnered in former lives. Character in its manifestation in earth-life is thus, at least in part, that which is evolved forth from the Self and in part the treasury of knowledge and experience ...
"The great Greek, Plato, was absolutely right in ascribing all knowledge, all wisdom, all innate learning, to reminiscence, recollection, remembering, of the things that we did, the thoughts that we had, and of the things both ideal and material that we made a part of ourselves in other lives, and which thus have become parts of our very soul - that is to say, parts of our particular character. These memories we bring over with us from previous lives in a general form as our character; for the character of a man actually is composed of, or more accurately is, the source of all his capacities, talents, genius, aptitudes, tendencies, likes, dislikes, loves, hatreds, instincts, attractions and repugnances.
"Now let us ask ourselves the very pertinent question in this connexion: Whence came all these elements of our character? Certainly they did not 'just happen,' for the very reason that we live in a world of order, of strict causational activity by which consequences follow upon previous originating causes: in which chain, act follows act in an endless concatenation throughout eternity: one thing producing another thing endlessly, and, in the case of the human being, as strongly and ineluctably as in the cases of all other entities and things ...
"Each one of us humans is following that particular line of life, that particular path of evolution, which for him is necessitated by the directing influence of the entire aggregate collection of all qualities and tendencies gleaned out of his former incarnations and massed together today, as his present character, around the Monadic Self which is the center or core of his being.
"As far as concerns those whose life contains more than seems just of sorrow and struggle, we are right to say that these difficulties and causes of suffering are due to, and therefore traceable back to, their  own faults of thought and feeling and action in their past incarnations. Deliberate perversity of will, or indifference to the moral law, or neglect of proper exercise of one's other faculties, in those former lives left streaks of imperfection, so to say, in their respective characters; and when they now reincarnate, these karmic results inevitably manifest themselves in the form of imperfections of understanding or of restricted capacity, which infallibly eventuate in bringing about periods of misfortune or of sorrow or of pain." (Vol. II, pp. 677-78, 674-75.)
The sum total of our character is, at any moment, the circumference of our self-conscious awareness; a "ring pass not" of vision, innate capacities, perception and power that reaches outward to the utmost limits of our spiritual, mental and material cognition; and while these three qualities of spirit, mind and body are each a separate stream of evolution unfolding together, although not equally, in the intricate composition of our septenary constitution, they work through an overall emphasis of desire - the Kamic principle in which our human nature is presently anchored. Desire is the driving power in our self-consciousness, a dual polarity of emotion and will that is a sensory urge in its material aspect, but becomes will power in its spiritual manifestation. It is the egocentric drive of selfishness on upward to the altruistic drive of selflessness; but at this stage of our human immaturity, as is so evident the world over, our desire nature is but a keyboard of sensory perception emoting songs of happiness or cries of anguish, as changing moods of harmony and discord color us "tickled pink, red with rage, green with envy, golden with promise, purple with passion, streaked with yellow, black with despair, white with purity, true blue" - and on and on through the degrees of highs and lows that circumscribe the "ring pass not" of all we love and hate.
And what of love and hatred? Love is a Cosmic energy, a magnetic, cohesive force that is "the cement of the Universe," and whose opposite poles of attraction and repulsion bind us with unbreakable bonds to whatever we love or hate. ln The Mahatma Letters it is stated: "Love and hatred are the only immortal feelings, the only survivors from the wreck of Ye-dhamma, or the phenomenal world ... Unless a man loves well or hates as well, he will be neither in Devachan nor in Avitchi." (Letter No. 20c, pp. 127, 134.) Love is the dynamic creativity through which our self-consciousness expands to Universal awareness when it is impersonal and selfless - or shrinks into egotistical ignorance when it is personal and selfish. There is no doubt about it - we put first what we love most; and whether it be an altruistic ideal that we would die for, or a material object that we might kill for, the total character is the vehicle channeling the energy, and it can transmit only what will flow through it. When, finally, we accept ownership in full for our character - all of it - EVERYTHING - that is when we begin to know the art of living; that is when  we realize that all creativity is rooted in the essence of Universal Love, and it streams through the Monadic core of our Selfhood, guiding us, inspiring us, teaching us by painfully burning away the dross in our soul, until we choose to cleanse our character with Spiritual fire; that is when we blend our pigments with compassion, and our heart reaches outward in a symphony of harmonious light.
Motion is of the essence of our world. Nothing is ever completely still. Even in Pralaya there is a slow ponderous heaving. If motion is greatly reduced, there is apparent sleep or death and if there is undue acceleration, explosion, a flying apart results. Buddha, Plato and others taught the Middle Way between extremes, walking the edge of the sword.
The Voice of the Silence shows how to reach this balance, yoga, union of space and energy, spirit and matter. All Nature demonstrates the truth. She works steadily, persistently, towards a goal. At times she accelerates, then slows down, but the seasons always follow each other in regular order according to Law, in time with the great plan. All passes through the circle of necessity.
Beavers dam up a small stream to make a pond. Silt gradually fills it up. Then for some reason the dam is neglected, the pond drains and becomes a beaver meadow. Grass replaces water-plants, then bushes and trees develop with their appropriate animal life. Higher forms replace lower.
Action in inaction. The still pond is very active beneath the surface, teeming with small plant and animal life, silt being deposited and future land evolving. In sleep, our bodies are still but the cells intensely active. When intellect is subdued, the mind becomes a channel for intuition and the greater the stillness the more can intuition flow. A germinating seed is preparing for a future flower. In the stillness of dawn, Nature is in readiness to receive the sun's power. Quiet preparation precedes the burst of flame of a campfire. The pause at the end of a pendulum's swing is necessary for the return movement. Then there is devachan between incarnations, the gathering of energy for the leap of the lion, stillness in the eye of a storm, the moment of awakening when one may be conscious in two worlds. Intense action is followed by a pause between inbreathing and outbreathing. The pause is very necessary for harmony and balance, its lack disruptive, shattering. The pause allows for an influx of power, life-force. The following activity expends this force, the lion's leap is limited by the  energy gathered. The leap is followed by the pause when he feeds on his prey and digests, rebuilding energy for the next activity. On a lower level, a condenser in the timer of an engine gathers energy for a mighty spark.
The autumn equinox is a time of balance, harmony, the pause between summer and winter, inbreathing, and the burst of fresh life, outbreathing, preceded by the pause of the spring equinox. The results of the energy expended during the growing season are stored and matured during the winter to be ready for the next burst of activity. After the fall equinox, nature sloughs off nonessentials, returning them to the earth. In much the same way, man may dispense with lower desires and ripen the seeds of experience for new growth in the latter part of life. At the end of earthly existence, a similar action takes place as spiritual elements draw off to devachan in a second birth. In this state of apparent inaction intense activity may go on in preparation for rebirth in another body, to gather fresh experiences for evolution in the next cycle.
Stars seem to be motionless and so does earth. Yet earth is rotating about 25,000 miles a day and revolving around the sun at a speed of roughly 60,000 m.p.h. Science regards stone as inert, inorganic, because science judges by the physical, not realizing that stone is evolving and so must have life. Man even thinks of himself as static, at the peak of evolution, due to his materialistic outlook. Really, motion exists in each of the seven states of matter, speeding up as it becomes more refined. This is obvious in the musical scale where the higher notes are of increased vibration. In The Mahatma Letters, it is stated that the body of a Dhyan-Chohan is of the seventh state of electricity. This is inconceivable to man thinking of the physical body as real. One wonders about mind. Intellection has a slower rate of vibration than intuition. What will mind be in the 5th, 6th, 7th Rounds and in the 6th and 7th Root-Races? The tremendous increase of the rate of vibration in even the next higher state warns us of the need of a suitably developed body or instrument to sustain the strain. Extreme heat applied to one spot in a cake of ice expands it to steam causing a disruptive explosion before the rest of the block can adapt by melting. Premature development of one faculty psychically without comparable spiritual growth to direct it, has resulted in many cases of mental sickness and degeneration.
Perhaps yoga is attained by living in the present moment, seeking balance between the personal and the individual natures. When this balance or harmony is achieved, then comes the flash as intellect and intuition merge, vibrate as one and a new Buddha is born. No wonder that all Nature rejoices, flowers burst open, stars stand still and the world glows in the still light of Peace, according to ancient traditions.
Like birds we seek a place to alight, dropping down here and  there, learning by experience what is stable, sometimes caught like a bird in "the wily fowler's lime" as we attach ourselves perhaps to a false teacher. It may take a long time to find the falseness and to extricate ourselves from the mud of half-truths, often well-camouflaged. Many a moth is passed over by a bird because of its resemblance to a piece of bark. The bird has to learn to discriminate in order to survive, to distinguish between the vital and the false.
Our colored glasses, our thoughts, perhaps our auras, condition our opinions until we learn the color of our glasses and allow for it. It helps to know also the opinions of others so that their thoughts can be seen for what they are. Two people looking at each other through green and red glasses may have very distorted views that produce many sorts of manifestations. As a fresh breeze disperses fog, so pure thoughts can help to clear the auras of others. Each of us blends one into another, so it is important that we associate colors that are harmonious. We share all that we are.
Energy and space attract each other and are under a constant urge to merge since they are the two aspects of the Absolute. Spirit is always reaching out to the essence of Matter and this essence is always reaching out to Spirit. When the two meet, there is balance, harmony, yoga, new birth, enlightenment. A new centre of manifestation is produced, the apex of a new triangle, a new seed, which in turn is the beginning of another cycle of evolution, another circle of the spiral. In our lives we go on from cycle to cycle, reach many minor enlightenments, flashes of intuition. Each brings us nearer to the peak where we become the All and function in the "Vale of Bliss." All the earlier aspects of our evolving nature are fused with, and raised to, the finest until they act as one, directed by the One. We have intuition, Wisdom, and are ready to serve humanity as Master-craftsmen. The Sun has risen, the day begun, and clouds of the new day's experiences are drifting across the sky. As our spirits transmute them, we grow and meet the day's problems successfully, exhilarated by the knowledge that there is innate inner strength to meet whatever comes.
What is the source of this inner strength or energy? Could it be Akasa? Akasa is everywhere. If we knew more of the Laws of Nature we would be able to make greater use of it. At present we are familiar with electricity derived from water-power. Nuclear power from fission of the atom is man's latest discovery. But there are many other examples that have been known for ages. In our own bodies we derive strength from the food we eat and the air we breathe. By learning to use these more efficiently, some great souls are able to work effectively for long hours with very little food. Think of the tremendous energy used by H. P. B. in the huge amount of work she did in a few short years, her body being far from perfect. A seed's latent urge to grow, that is to  reach the sun, provides the power for the fragile shoot persistently to reach upwards as it endeavors to unite itself with the universal life. This huge reservoir of energy is available to each of us when we stretch up towards Spirit, evolve the Will to do, to serve humanity.
As we learn to use correctly our resources, our energy snowballs. The first fragile shoot has such a small area to soak in the sun's rays. When it becomes a tree, it has thousands of leaves, acres of surface. In man, since he has the ability to choose, pitfalls are along the Path. Growth needs to be uniform. If growth runs wild with no strong spirit to guide, deformity or destruction lie ahead. It is like an engine without a governor or a boiler without a safety valve, like psychic powers lacking the moral strength to control them.
Everything has the spark and reaches out. All is one in different stages of evolution. Each soul's actions are right for it at its stage of growth. Realization of this is compassion, the governor on the engine. With compassion we judge no one but observe objectively and try to find ways to help another to rise to a finer stage, a faster rate of vibration. We use our vibrations to induce a higher rate in another. Sometimes we have to slow our rate a bit to be nearer to his rate so as not to blow his fuses. By trying to understand his motives, to learn his background, to see his good points, we can expand the last, lift him and so lift ourselves. The whole ladder rises, not just one rung. Our higher mingles with his lower aura, and our lower with his higher. Each helps the other. Opposites attract, magnetically, motion is the result.
Motion guided by Compassion is a powerful mechanism with a divine Being in control.
[Among the Letters from the Adept-Brothers now in the British Library, London, there is one from K.H. to A.O. Hume. The original of that Letter is not available, and we have it only as transcribed by A.P. Sinnett at Simla, September 28, 1882. It appears as Letter No. X in the Volume entitled The Mahatma Letters to A. P. Sinnett, and is marked as "Notes by K.H. on a 'Preliminary Chapter' headed 'God' by Hume, intended to preface an exposition of occult philosophy (abridged)." Contrary to a notation which says that this Letter was received at Simla "1881-? '82," it is obvious that it could not have been received prior to September, 1882, as its text refers to an article published in that month in the pages of The Theosophist. The passages from this important Letter which we publish below deserve a most careful study. - Editor, Theosophia.]
Our ideas on Evil. Evil has no existence per se and is but the absence of good and exists but for him who is made its victim. It proceeds from two causes, and no more than good is it an independent cause in  nature. Nature is destitute of goodness or malice; she follows only immutable laws when she either gives life and joy, or sends suffering [and] death, and destroys what she has created. Nature has an antidote for every poison and her laws a reward for every suffering. The butterfly devoured by a bird becomes that bird, and the little bird killed by an animal goes into a higher form. It is the blind law of necessity and the eternal fitness of things, and hence cannot be called Evil in Nature. The real evil proceeds from human intelligence and its origin rests entirely with reasoning man who dissociates himself from Nature. Humanity then alone is the true source of evil. Evil is the exaggeration of good, the progeny of human selfishness and greediness. Think profoundly and you will find that save death - which is no evil but a necessary law, and accidents which will always find their reward in a future life - the origin of every evil whether small or great is in human action, in man whose intelligence makes him the one free agent in Nature. It is not nature that creates diseases, but man. The latter's mission and destiny in the economy of nature is to die his natural death brought by old age; save accident, neither a savage nor a wild (free) animal dies of disease. Food, sexual relations, drink, are all natural necessities of life; yet excess in them brings on disease, misery, suffering, mental and physical, and the latter are transmitted as the greatest evils to future generations, the progeny of the culprits. Ambition, the desire of securing happiness and comfort for those we love, by obtaining honours and riches, are praiseworthy natural feelings but when they transform man into an ambitious cruel tyrant, a miser, a selfish egotist they bring untold misery on those around him; on nations as well as on individuals. All this then - food, wealth, ambition, and a thousand other things we have to leave unmentioned, becomes the source and cause of evil whether in its abundance or through its absence. Become a glutton, a debauchee, a tyrant, and you become the originator of diseases, of human suffering and misery. Lack all this and you starve, you are despised as a nobody and the majority of the herd, your fellow men, make of you a sufferer your whole life. Therefore it is neither nature nor an imaginary Deity that has to be blamed, but human nature made vile by selfishness. Think well over these few words; work out every cause of evil you can think of and trace it to its origin and you will have solved one-third of the problem of evil. And now, after making due allowance for evils that are natural and cannot be avoided, - and so few are they that I challenge the whole host of Western metaphysicians to call them evils or to trace them directly to an independent cause - I will point out the greatest, the chief cause of nearly two thirds of the evils that pursue humanity ever since that cause became a power. It is religion under whatever form and in whatsoever nation. It is that sacerdotal caste, the priesthood and the churches; it is in those illusions that man looks upon as sacred, that he has to search out the  source of that multitude of evils which is the great curse of humanity and that almost overwhelms mankind. Ignorance created Gods and cunning took advantage of the opportunity. Look at India and look at Christendom and Islam, at Judaism and Fetichism. I t is priestly imposture that rendered these Gods so terrible to man; it is religion that makes of him the selfish bigot, the fanatic that hates all mankind out of his own sect without rendering him any better or more moral for It. It is belief in God and Gods that makes two-thirds of humanity the slaves of a handful of those who deceive them under the false pretense of saving them. Is not man ever ready to commit any kind of evil if told that his God or Gods demand the crime?; voluntary victim of an illusionary God, the abject slave of his crafty ministers. The Irish, Italian and Slavonian peasant will starve himself and see his family starving and naked to feed and clothe his padre and pope. For two thousand years India groaned under the weight of caste, Brahmins alone feeding on the fat of the land, and today the followers of Christ and those of Mahomet are cutting each other's throats in the names of and for the greater glory of their respective myths. Remember the sum of human misery will never be diminished unto that day when the better portion of humanity destroys in the name of Truth, morality, and universal charity, the altars of their false gods.
To the physical eye the celestial globes of our solar system are pitted and barren. Why do the material remnants of more spiritually evolved beings of the inner planets (those closest to our Sun) appear lacking the grand and verdant vistas which form our ideal of beauty here on earth? Granted that Beauty lies in the eyes of the Beholder, and even earthly scope cannot lessen the over-powering awe which the dazzling canopy of night can inspire. Yet, scientifically speaking, even if we knew that beyond our solar system other verdant globes must exist, that globes and their chains are in various stages of appearance and disappearance, would we equate the more highly advanced Mercury, for instance, with a Heavenly abode? By a stretch of imagination does it seem to us the vestige of some wise Old Sage? Here on earth we still recognize the spiritual beauty and character of a dear friend bent with years and weathered by his closing trials. What about the entities whose Life-Wave evolved on Mercury or Venus? It seems simple to say that, as dwellers of those planets became more ethereal and withdrew to inner planes of less material globes, the shadows of their rivers and cities disappeared. But is it true?
Would we of earth-bound vision miss the cry of wild birds here, if first the plant life were to recede  and then the animals were also to become dormant? Or will at that time our imaginations become so glorified with passing whispers of gentle thoughts and noble deeds of Men that they will replace the lull of Nature's loveliness? Will the shell of Maya fade under the force of Reverence for Beauty beyond belief? The imagination of today's mankind is so diseased, no wonder a Kalki-Avatara is slated to arrive one distant day to help the strong forces to vanquish all traces of evil.
Driving home from the smog-filled city the other day, a glimpse of Reality opened up. Just as one lovely glade of trees upon the hillside can ease the yearning of the Heart for a day's lack of inspiration in crowded, unkept streets, the IDEA in the Mind of trees and glades, butterfly or bear, shall remain. One glimmer of a tiny leaf in the sun can recall the whole tree. For as we return on our inner spiral, ever becoming more aware of further advanced beings of THOUGHT and WILL along the evolutionary stairway, we draw with us as well all those wonderful vistas comprised of the Life-Atoms we nurtured along the way. Parceled once as objective activities at the fringe of Nature's garment, now they become ensouled! We have given them an evolutionary push forward in their own rapid cycles of sequential development by our thoughts, words and deeds while incarnated.
It was the Mind, or MAHAT, the Great Intelligencer which fashioned this grand display, and while it will not seed the exact same patterns here again, the next world and the next is waiting for a more perfect design.
Just as our cities are more crowded at their centers, and suburbs or hamlets spread out more distantly across the countryside, so the innumerable galaxies and star clusters are strewn about the Universe, with some mathematical harmony known only to the Gods themselves. We haven't thought largely enough to recognize our inner connection with the distant worlds. Although science may be correct in stating that the ratio in distance between the sun and its member planets determines whether any of them can maintain life, to extend this test elsewhere depends on accepting the hypothesis that the composition of the Universe is uniform throughout. Some astronomers predict there may be 100,000 possibilities verging on these ratios in our galaxy alone. With their star atlases they show us hundreds of galaxies strewn throughout space. Do these not remind one of the fiery wheels in the Stanzas of Dzyan? Examine Stanza V for instance, as transcribed by H.P.B. in The Secret Doctrine (Vol. I, p. 31) :
"The Primordial Seven, the First Seven Breaths of the Dragon of Wisdom, produce in their turn from their Holy Circumgyrating Breaths the Fiery Whirlwind ... Fohat ... passes like lightning through the fiery clouds ... He lifts his voice, and calls the innumerable sparks, and joins them.
"He is their guiding spirit and leader. When he commences work,  he separates the sparks of the Lower Kingdom that float and thrill with joy in their radiant dwellings, and forms therewith the germs of wheels ..."
Whether Atom or Cosmos each world will embody grander conceptions, each built of Myriad Lives unfolding into flaming celestial chariots, indeed the "Chariots of the Gods." No mechanical hand will build or guide them. They are the celestial dragons, the tremendous Thought formed by ages of evolutionary labor. We ourselves will become the flame of our spark:
"... The morning sunlight has changed into noonday glory ... This is thy present wheel, said the Flame to the Spark. Thou art myself, my image, and my shadow. I have clothed myself in thee, and thou art my Vahana to the Day 'Be-with-Us,' when thou shalt re-become myself and others, thy-self and me. Then the builders, having donned their first clothing descend on radiant earth and reign over men -who are themselves." - The Secret Doctrine, Stanza VII, Vol. I, p. 34.
When we look back on life in the light of Theosophy, we cannot help being struck by the fact that man's needs both physical and spiritual have been provided for throughout the ages, keeping pace with his state of evolution.
Life is indeed a school through which he passes life after life until he graduates to higher planes, provided he is willing to learn its lessons.
H. P. Blavatsky was one of those who brought to this world a wealth of ideas to help humanity in their struggle toward the light. Volumes could be written about this, but here are just a few ideas which could be called "the gifts of Theosophy" to humanity.
The Idea of Space
This idea seems to expand our consciousness to hitherto unknown reaches. We no longer feel that we are bound forever to our present globe and its various inner planes, for we are told that we are citizens of the Universe.
The Idea of Time
We cannot at present understand much that there is to know about this vast subject, but the teaching of many lives on earth, of cycles, of the outbreathing and inbreathing of the Universe, should expand our consciousness as we try to realize the greatness of what has been called the "Divine Plan." Sometimes we are prevented from following a special line of endeavor by the circumstances of our lives, but the right time will surely come in the cycles of reincarnation.
The Idea of Justice
Many people join the Theosophical Society because through an understanding of its teachings their sense of justice has been restored.  Initially it is difficult to get used to the idea that what happens to us in the present is the result of our actions in the past. Nevertheless this idea can act as a challenge for we no longer feel we are the victims of either bad or good luck, but we can take the matter into our own hands, knowing that our future depends on our present actions. We have only to think what a difference it would make if the law of Karma was believed and acted upon at least to some extent by the world in general; to realize what an important law it is.
The Law of Relationships
This is another law which, if understood, could help to change the world, for Theosophy shows that we are not just related to our families and countries, but in fact are related to every form of life, from the stars above to the daisy at our feet. Our actions, including thought, affect other forms of life, as their actions affect us, but as human beings we are especially related to our fellow men. This is why the real meaning of the brotherhood of man is stressed in Theosophy.
H.P.B. once said that if we would only treat our neighbors as ourselves, half the troubles in the world would be solved. Members of the Theosophical Movement have a very special interrelationship and many of them look forward to working together once more, at some time in the future.
The Idea of Guidance
Theosophy has a wealth of teaching on this subject. The great teachings of the past have been unveiled for us in some small measure and many of our present teachers have given much of their lives in helping us to understand them. Above all, we have been taught to look within for true knowledge, for as Byron has expressed it, "Truth lies within us all ..."
The Idea of the Individual Path
H.P.B. has said that every individual has a special job to do, or in other words, we all have our individual contribution to give to life. We may or may not know yet what it is, but it surely must be something for which we would be prepared to make sacrifices. It might be music or healing or teaching or many other things for which we have a certain aptitude. Sometimes though, we look around and feel that a type of work which someone else is doing seems more important than ours. But in a game in which a team is involved, everyone has a certain position to maintain. One may be a forward, one a defense, one a goalie, but if any were to rush around from one position to another, his actions would make for untold confusion. It must be the same in life, for in the Glossary of G. de Purucker we read: "The duty of man is his 'dharma', i.e., that which is set or prescribed or natural for him to do."
One of the great teachings of Theosophy is the Oneness of Life, of which every unit is a part. It is the innumerable parts which make up the whole, just as every little brush  stroke of paint is necessary in the painting of a picture.
The last idea which we can certainly call a gift is that of H. P. Blavatsky herself. Through pain and self-sacrifice, probably greater than we can understand, she brought us the teachings of Theosophy as given her by the Masters. We can never repay her for this, except by trying to preserve the teachings as she gave them and passing them on to all who are searching for the answers to their many questions - in other words, searching for the Truth.
To sum up: in the light of Theosophy, we have the space and the time in which to grow, the possibility of attaining our goal with the assurance that justice does rule the world. We have kinship with all forms of life and special relationship with some, and teachers who out of their compassion have brought us the Light.
[The following text was published in a Circular issued in what was known at one time as the Eastern School of Theosophy. It was headed: Answers to Correspondence. With Aids and Suggestions for Students. It was dated from London, October, 1893. Such Circulars were issued from time to time both by William Quan Judge in New York and by Annie Besant in London. The text which is published below has the following introductory sentence: (The following letter from H.P.B. .'. should be studied with great care.) - Editor, Theosophia.]
How to discover the source of the "Will behind your consciousness" (your own expression) which sweeps your physical self out of the moorings of your control - a frequent case with many persons? This involves the revelation of a great mystery: the discovery very often, of the identity of one's invisible foe, who seems to lead one there and make one do that which is dangerous and inadvisable. I cannot tell all, yet I may impart enough to put you on the right track. Know then that the atomic quality of your astral doubles is not uniform. On the contrary it varies immensely with the moral, spiritual and physical combination of the individual. Let us take the instance of the same ego - who was A. fifteen hundred years ago, and is now B. in the year 1888.
Now the Double of A. is, after the death of his body, either preponderatingly spiritual or preponderatingly terrestrial. In the first case it soon dissipates in the Kama Loka and disappears like smoke; for it has no Kama Rupa (body of strong desires and passions) to cling to and assimilate. "The Linga Sarira of the good man is like the morning mist after it has quitted the body of illusion; the merits of virtue of the man that was, are like the sun. When the sun rises its warm rays dissipate the image (Astral Body) like the perfume of the rose" (Occult  Aphorisms). This, if A. was even an average good man. But suppose he had been a great sensualist, or cruel or something of the sort, his Double at his death survives by a sort of elastic quality, a striking of its atoms together by the surviving medium of that intense force which made the man the sensualist or whatever he was.
Now, in this case the Double survives and holds on together for centuries sometimes. Whereas the Double of A., the good man, is disintegrated long, long before the rebirth of his Ego; the Double of A., the sensualist, may linger till the next reincarnation. And that which takes place then is this. The previous Double is drawn by affinity to the new personality (or rather to the Ego therein, its old Ego). Now you have to learn well and know the nature, the origin and ways of the Doubles, the genesis and the laws of dissolution of those reflections of men, before you can understand me well. This would take too long to explain and cannot be given now, but try to understand me. The old Double fastens very often on the new personality of his ex-Ego, and, if the actual Double is weaker, the former gets mastery over the latter; it overpowers it and makes sometimes the otherwise good man all that which his ex-personality was in the previous birth or worse. This, I see, is your case. You have one of your Doubles, or rather your ex-Double, trying to link itself again with you. Yet it is but a phantom of a phantom, and, unless soon after death - which is not your case, as your past incarnation is many centuries old - or when the deceased has been exceedingly wicked, it cannot affect third parties. But, until it is finally disintegrated and dispersed, it can affect its old Ego now, in new form, that individuality within your present body and your past bodies, which is moving ahead from birth to birth. It can give him (the new man) in his physical self, a lascivious, or cruel, or selfish, or avaricious tendency against his better feelings, make him vain and self-opinionated, etc., and have the best of him unless he struggles hard to shake off the incubus. It is the ex-Doubles of the present man and woman which, if the man was a woman in the previous birth, or the woman a man, take the shells or forms of their past incarnations and play the "spirit-wives" and "Spirit-husbands" with the unfortunate mortals. It is they again - but let us drop the subject.
I see then in your photograph that at least one cause of your trouble is the influence of your former undissolved Double. But, as I said to you in my last letter, "the best remedy is your Will" under the masterful inspiration, and with the help of spirituality. This (the Will) is the one irresistible power in nature and in the psychic world; whatever the phantom or demon, it may be swept into nothingness by concentrating upon it this Will and bidding it go.
H.P.B. .'. 
Suddenly a chill ran down my spine. I had been sitting in the open air, basking in the gentle warmth of the winter sunlight. The intermittent breezes were a kind of caress, moving around me with a light touch.
Being able to sit this way, I thought then, amid the peace of nature's beauty, seemed to be the greatest of pleasures. To be able to read, or reflect, or perhaps to meditate on one's own inner nature, is so easy at times like this. I was aware of how easy it is to approach an understanding of the flowering that takes place within, effortlessly, when without all is in peaceful harmony and accord. As the sunlight is absorbed deep within the physical body, warming it and increasing its vitality, so also do the sun's rays stimulate all in nature to growth and unfolding. This same majestic orb glows inside as well, warming and stimulating to life and development the inner planes of reality. The warmth which appears in the heart as the result of noble thoughts and actions is the glowing orb reflected on inner planes.
The chill which gripped me, causing me to shiver as if an icy hand had been placed on my shoulder, came suddenly, disturbing my musings with its unbidden arrival, accompanied by darkness. The harmony of the previous moment had been shattered in a instant, as if some invisible support had been unexpectedly pulled away.
The cause of these changes was a massive bank of clouds which had gathered and moved in front of the sun. Their appearance blocked the sun and instantly changed the atmosphere - where there had been warmth, it was now cold, and where the breezes had been gentle wisps, there were now chilling gusts. My tranquil world had been changed in an instant. The clouds which appeared so quickly, changing the scene in a flash, were like the internal clouds which can come and as quickly convert the internal atmosphere. Just as the external clouds obscure the sun with their apparent mass, so come the clouds on the inside to hide from us our internal source of light.
Then comes the darkness and the chill, and the light-source which had guided our steps along the Path is gone. The Path which in the brilliant light had been an easy one to walk, becomes an arduous and frightening one, its twists and turns hidden in darkness. Each step taken carries with it the threat of falling into some invisible abyss. With the light gone, it is hard to remember that there ever was light enough to illumine the Way.
Interrupting my thoughts, I looked up at the masses in front of the sun. They seemed so huge, and they certainly entirely blocked the sun's light and warmth. How fascinating, I thought, that something as vast as the sun can be blocked  from vision so easily. The clouds, mere wisps of vapor, though massed in such a way as to appear huge, are really of minuscule size compared to the sun's grandeur. It was only my position which allowed the clouds to assume such awesome proportions. It was my own perspective which limited my vision, the one-sided view which is characteristic of observations made by the personal self.
How many times in life have I been fooled by exactly this kind of trick of perspectives? How often is it that I have allowed some impediment in front of me on the Path to assume enormous proportions, and to loom over me as if it were a real hindrance? I need only remind myself that these are but clouds, whose character it is to gather, but that no matter how great their mass may seem, it is only my perspective which permits them to seem so imposing. If I remember that nothing can truly hide the light and the warmth of the sun, neither from my life nor from my consciousness, then clouds will remain what they are, mere wisps of vapor.
As we all walk along the Path, moving towards the Sun, let us carry in our consciousness the unchanging knowledge that, though clouds may come, they can only temporarily obscure from us the Light. The Sun will always emerge again, triumphant, dispersing all clouds, both on the physical plane and on the inner planes. As we maintain this knowledge in our consciousness, and as it becomes ever more part of our reality, we will also take ever firmer steps on the Path and will grow ever closer to the Light.
REBIRTH OF THE OCCULT TRADITION
Advance Printing of the Historical Introduction which is to be published
as the opening section of the forthcoming two-volume definitive edition
of The Secret Doctrine, as an integral part of the Collected
Writings. In this 80-page book, all the material available on how
the magnum opus of H.P.B. was written and published, is collected, analyzed,
and carefully documented. The possible existence of a Third and Fourth
Volumes is also explored, in the light of positive as well as negative
evidence on the subject. The text is illustrated with several portraits
and rare facsimiles of Letters from the Masters. Whatever conclusions
may be drawn, are based on eyewitness accounts or the deductions of H.P.B.'s
own close collaborators and friends.
The relentless inflationary spiral
has recently created a serious problem in the publication of "Theosophia." A
30% increase in the costs of production has placed the future of our
magazine in jeopardy.