[Cover Photo: H.P. Blavatsky in her forties. (From Incidents in the Life of Madame Blavatsky, by A. P. Sinnett. 2nd ed., London: Theos. Pub. Society, 1913.)]
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"... Act individually and not collectively; follow the Northern
"The Theosophical idea of charity means personal exertion for others; personal mercy and kindness; personal interest in the welfare of those who suffer; personal sympathy, forethought, and assistance in their troubles or needs. Theosophists do not believe in giving money through other people's hands or organizations. We believe in giving to the money a thousandfold greater power and effectiveness by our personal contact and sympathy with those who need it. We believe in relieving the starvation of the soul, as much, if not more than, the emptiness of the stomach; for gratitude does more good to the man who feels it than to him for whom it is felt. Where is the gratitude which your 'millions of pounds' should have called forth, or the good feelings provoked by them? Is it shown in the hatred of the East End poor for the rich, in the growth of the party of anarchy and disorder, or by those thousands of unfortunate working-girls, victims to the 'sweating' system, driven daily to eke out a living by going on the streets? Do your helpless old men and women thank you for the workhouses; or your poor for the poisonously unhealthy dwellings in which they are allowed to breed new generations of diseased, scrofulous, and rickety children, only to put money into the pockets of the insatiable Shylocks who own houses? Therefore it is that every sovereign of all those 'millions' contributed by good and would-be charitable people falls like a burning curse instead of a blessing on the poor whom it should relieve. We call this generating national Karma, and terrible will be its results on the day of reckoning." - H. P. Blavatsky, The Key to Theosophy, pp. 240-4. 
Face to face with the appalling conflict of ideas which rages on the historical stage of the twentieth century, the student of the Ancient Wisdom is in duty bound to refrain from taking sides and to try to appraise the existing situation in the light of ageless principles of thought.
This is no easy task. It is one indeed in which every student will find himself faltering at every turn of the road, and mistaking shadows for realities. He will be drawn by powerful magnetic attractions and impelled to become attached to one side or the other, and to espouse causes which, in their very nature, have no permanency at all. He will be called upon to transcend his personal predilections, and to penetrate behind the outward veil of the seeming, into causal factors which are ignored by the casual observer with no philosophy of life.
The student will have to keep in mind the fact that none of the participants of the world-wide conflict of ideas is wholly right or wholly wrong. Their individual and respective causes and objectives have elements of both truth and falsehood, and their vehement and often violent actions are due, not to inherent evil, but to a lack of mutual understanding and absence of wisdom. It would indeed be an easy solution were it possible to limit all the evil-doing and all the blame to one or another party, and to eliminate this party from the world of men. But the complexity of human nature and the inextricable karmic web of past and present action necessitates that human problems be worked out on the basis of understanding, sympathy and self-forgetfulness - lessons hard for the aggressive, self-centered and conceited type of men to learn.
If we set aside for a moment all the natural laws of being, and forget the very existence of unifying factors which constantly work towards human accord, and concentrate our attention on nothing else but the advances of modern material science, one definite fact will emerge. Science, by means of its purely material discoveries, has decreed that there should be no separation between the various portions of the human race living on our globe. It has united them by mechanical means which have wiped away their former parochialism, and have brought them into immediate and intimate contact with each other, in spite of geographical boundaries or physical distance.
There are many people in the world to whom this sudden change in situation seems intolerable, and for good reasons. They instinctively feel that they are forced to live next door to people whom they would rather think of as being either far away or simply not important enough to bother about.
But both science and the natural evolution of mankind have decreed it otherwise. The era of continental and national civilizations is over. We have moved a long way towards a new type of civilization - a global type. It may be embryonic as yet, but it is nevertheless here, and here to stay. We have to understand each other the world over, because we have to live with each other, and no illusory barriers of separation, whether they be national prides, long ingrained traditions, skin pigments or tariff walls, will protect us from the necessity of living together as members of one and the same family.
All evolutionary growth is primarily an expansion of consciousness. The human race moves from age to age in the direction of an expanded consciousness and a wider vision. Bigoted nationalisms, racial antagonisms and a blind and unreasoned enthusiasm for reparative causes are contrary to the very spirit of the age. Whatever there is of nobility and grandeur in a genuine feeling of national patriotism is noble only in so far as it becomes an integral part of our love for Mankind as a whole.
The World of Tomorrow is a world of Global Consciousness, and the sovereignty of the future is the paramount Sovereignty of the Human Race. 
Q. Is Science entirely wrong in its definition of the hypnotic phenomena?
ANS. It has no definition, so far. Now if there is one thing upon which Occultism agrees (to a certain degree) with the latest discoveries of physical Science, it is that all the bodies endowed with the property of inducing and calling forth metallotherapeutic and other analogous phenomena, have, their great variety notwithstanding, one feature in common. They are all the fountain heads and the generators of rapid molecular oscillations, which, whether through transmitting agents or direct contact, communicate themselves to the nervous system, changing thereby the rhythm of nervous vibrations - on the sole condition, however, of being what is called, in unison. Now 'unison' does not always imply the sameness of nature, or of essence, but simply the sameness of degree, a similarity with regard to gravity and acuteness, and equal potentialities for intensity of sound or motion; a bell may be in unison with a violin, and a flute with an animal or a human organ. Moreover, the rate of the number of vibrations - especially in an organic animal cell or organ, changes in accordance with the state of health, and general condition. Hence the cerebral nervous centres of a hypnotic subject, while in perfect unison, in potential degree and essential original activity, with the object he gazes at, may yet, owing to some organic disturbance, be at the given moment at logger-heads with it, in respect to the number of their respective vibrations. In such case no hypnotic condition ensues; or no unison at all may exist between his nervous cells and the cells of the crystal or metal he is made to gaze at, in which case that particular object never has any effect upon him. This amounts to saying that to ensure success in a hypnotic experiment, two conditions are requisite; (a) as every organic or 'inorganic' body in nature is distinguished by its fixed molecular oscillations, it is necessary to find out which are those bodies which will act in unison with one or another human nervous system; and (b) to remember that the molecular oscillations of the former can influence the nervous action of the latter, only when the rhythms of their respective vibrations coincide, i.e., when the number of their oscillations is made identical; which, in the cases of hypnotism induced by mechanical means, is achieved through the medium of the eye.
Therefore, though the difference between hypnosis produced by mechanical means, and that induced by the direct gaze of the operator, plus his will, depends on the plane on which the same phenomenon is produced, still the 'fascinating' or subduing agent is created by the same force at work. In the physical world and its material planes, it is called MOTION; in the worlds of mentality and metaphysics it is known as WILL - the many-faced magician throughout all nature.
As the rate of vibrations (molecular motion) in metals, woods, crystals, etc., alters under the effect of heat, cold, etc., so do the cerebral molecules change their rate, in the same way: i.e., their rate is raised or lowered. And this is what really takes place in the phenomenon of hypnotism. In the case of gazing, it is the eye - the chief agent of the Will of the active operator, but a slave and traitor when this Will is dormant - that, unconsciously to the patient or subject, attunes the oscillations of his cerebral nervous centres to the rate of the vibrations of the object gazed at by catching the rhythm of the matter and passing it on to the brain. But in the case of direct passes, it is the Will of the operator radiating through his eye that produces the required unison between his will and the will of the person operated upon. For, out of two objects attuned in unison - as two chords, for instance - one will always be weaker than the other, and thus have mastery over the other and even the potentiality of destroying its weaker 'co-respondent.' So true is  this, that we can call upon physical Science to corroborate this fact. Take the 'sensitive flame' as a case in hand. Science tells us that if a note be struck in unison with the ratio of the vibrations of the heat molecules, the flames will respond immediately to the sound (or note struck), that it will dance and sing in rhythm with the sounds. But Occult Science adds, that the flame may also be extinguished if the sound is intensified (Vide Isis Unveiled, Vol. II., pp. 606 and 607.). Another proof. Take a wine-glass or tumbler of very fine and clear glass; produce, by striking it gently with a silver spoon, a well-determined note; after which reproduce the same note by rubbing its rim with a damp finger, and, if you are successful, the glass will immediately crack and be shattered. Indifferent to every other sound, the glass will not resist the great intensity of its own fundamental note, for that particular vibration will cause such a commotion in its particles, that the whole fabric will fall in pieces.
Q. What becomes of diseases cured by hypnotism; are they really cured or are they postponed, or do they appear in another form? Are diseases Karma; and if so, is it right to attempt to cure them?
ANS. Hypnotic suggestion may cure for ever, and it may not. All depends on the degree of magnetic relations between the operator and the patient. If Karmic, they will be only postponed, and return in some other form, not necessarily of disease, but as a punitive evil of another sort. It is always "right" to try and alleviate suffering whenever we can, and to do our best for it. Because a man suffers justly imprisonment, and catches cold in his damp cell, is it a reason why the prison-doctor should not try to cure him of it?
Q. Is it necessary that hypnotic 'suggestions' of the operator should be spoken? Is it not enough for him to think them, and may not even HE be ignorant or unconscious of the bent he is impressing on his subject?
ANS. Certainly not, if the rapport between the two is once for all firmly established. Thought is more powerful than speech in cases of a real subjugation of the will of the patient to that of his operator. But, on the other hand, unless the 'suggestion' made is for the good only of the subject, and entirely free from any selfish motive, a suggestion by thought is an act of black magic still more pregnant with evil consequences than a spoken suggestion. It is always wrong and unlawful to deprive a man of his free-will, unless for his own or Society's good; and even the former has to be done with great discrimination. Occultism regards all such promiscuous attempts as black magic and sorcery, whether conscious or otherwise.
Q. Do the motive and character of the operator affect the result, immediate or remote?
ANS. In so far as the hypnotizing process becomes under his operation either white or black magic, as the last answer shows.
Q. Is it wise to hypnotize a patient not only out of a disease, but out of a habit, such as drinking or lying?
ANS. It is an act of charity and kindness, and this is next to wisdom. For, although the dropping of his vicious habits will add nothing to his good Karma (which it would, had his efforts to reform been personal, of his own free will, and necessitating a great mental and physical struggle), still a successful 'suggestion' prevents him from generating more bad Karma, and adding constantly to the previous record of his transgressions.
Q. What is it that a faith-healer, when successful, practices upon himself; what tricks is he playing with his principles and with his Karma?
ANS. Imagination is a potent help in every event of our lives. Imagination acts on Faith, and both are the draughtsmen who prepare the sketches for Will to  engrave, more or less deeply, on the rocks of obstacles and opposition with which the path of life is strewn, Says Paracelsus: "Faith must confirm the imagination, for faith establishes the will... Determined will is the beginning of all magical operations... It is because men do not perfectly imagine and believe the result, that the arts (of magic) are uncertain, while they might be perfectly certain." This is all the secret. Half, if not two-thirds of our ailings and diseases are the fruit of our imagination and fears. Destroy the latter and give another bent to the former, and nature will do the rest. There is nothing sinful or injurious in the methods per se. They turn to harm only when belief in his power becomes too arrogant and marked in the faith-healer, and when he thinks he can will away such diseases as need, if they are not to be fatal, the immediate help of expert surgeons and physicians.
Before pointing out what would lead to the failure of the real mission of the Society, it is necessary to advert to the fact that in consequence of the success of the T. S. movement a number of so-called occult societies have sprung into existence, all of them bad copies of the original, and our members should be warned against them. These spurious and misleading bodies and teachers have come up since the T.S. was founded, and a very large number of them take a part of what this Society has given out or portions of what has come out of the Eastern occult methods and use them for their own ends. There could be no objection to promulgation of good ideas, even without any acknowledgment, provided they are correctly given. But there is a distinct objection to the presentation of a mangled and distorted portion of the information merely to back up some wild theories of their own, as many have done. Through most of them some one or other Theosophical doctrine has been partially expressed, the rest of their teachings being platitude or unverifiable, unphilosophical matter, and the trusting student has frequently to pay large sums of money to get but a bad imitation of the teaching which is all given out in Theosophical literature free of charge. It is therefore necessary to point out definitely to all members that before hurrying away from the Theosophical Society to obtain what may seem to them spiritual food from "occult" bodies they should examine carefully the literature now before the world to see if all that is or may be taught in these schools does not already exist in print, and if it be not merely a copy of that which has been said hundreds of times before.
The possibility of failure of the Theosophical Society lies in the following:
Dogmatism. That is, the definite statement by the Society as a body that this or that is an absolute teaching or doctrine of the Society. This has been the ruin of every organization of the kind so far formed, and this time it must be carefully guarded against. The Society was formed without distinction of creeds, and for any member to lay down the law to any other member or to any person as to what he should or should not accept as a belief of the T.S., is to commit a distinct breach of contract he made on applying to join the ranks of the body. So too, members must not abuse their individual rights, asserting that belief in any doctrine or person is necessary in order to be a member or a Theosophist.
Priesthood. The possibility of forming a priesthood in a Society as free as this one may seem almost to have no existence. Nevertheless, so strongly is superstition grounded in the natures of the present race of men (although freer than their forefathers), and so weak is our race-character, that unless constantly freed  from these tendencies and reminded of the necessity of leaning on our own Higher Selves for spiritual guidance, the danger is always present of priestcraft. This can be readily seen in the fact that not a new self-styled instructor turns up without his easily finding some pupils, and nearly every Hindu that visits our shores is run after by and often receives pledges, and also money, from persons who are too weak to think for themselves. This has to be guarded against.
Materialism. By this is meant a forgetfulness, on the part of the members, of their Spiritual Selves. Of course the study of the writings of agnostics and so-called materialists is invaluable in order that the Western ways of viewing life may be known, but it should be recollected that we too easily tend to be drawn away from a study of the causes of things - the spiritual side of Nature - to mere examination of their effects. And one risks losing much of his true perceptive power, and perhaps more than he imagines, unless ever on the alert to avoid crystallization, or falling into ruts or grooves. That is a reason why the study of the ancient occult teaching is recommended.
Non-Cosmopolitanism. Many of the attempts made in past centuries have failed because they were kept confined to the minority, or to some particular race, or to some selected stratum of society. As far as possible, the work done by each Branch should extend all over the city or locality in which it is placed; the members not failing to recollect the existence of the law in Nature of compensation, - the more help that is given to the race necessitating a greater help in return from Nature.
These are the main causes of possible failure in the Society as a whole and in the Branches as parts. And now another warning:
In the true Spiritual Philosophy there has always been one fixed and unchanging law with regard to spiritual teaching: that it cannot be bought or sold. Hence if any member hears of a society or of a person giving occult instruction for money first to be paid, let him be sure that it is "of the earth, earthy." He will not be aided in the long run, but only led astray; and he will form Karmic bonds to it which it may take years for him to sever. Many members who failed to take benefit by this warning, given out when the Society was first established and repeated at intervals ever since, have found by experience its truth. Besides that, it seems only just and right that members should first help the T.S. before they spend money on self-styled occult guides who wish to be paid.
The Theosophical Society is formed on such a basis that each member can think as he chooses, yet maintain a willingness to learn from and to help others. In it all members are helped to learn, and will receive what aid can be given them through its ranks, and through older members, and through the information, periodically given out by the Great Order of which it is a part. Like a great mother, the Spirit of the T.S. constantly keeps watch over the members, her children, permitting them to take what they can from every source of learning, spiritual and otherwise, silently instructing them in the best methods by which to help their fellowmen, but ever watchful lest they should go too far along some of the innumerable side-paths that lead off from the most dangerous and difficult of roads, the road of the Study of the Self. - William Q. Judge, General Secretary.
"Miraculous achievements in promoting human well-being have been offset by the failure of mankind to organize a just and peaceable world society ... If there is one thing the century has shown, it is that happiness does not necessarily come from the multiplication of inventions. It cannot come securely without one final invention - a system by which men of different groups and different nations and different occupations can get on peaceably together." - Editorial, New York Times. 
In the performance of our daily rounds and duties, how dependable are we? Ever ask yourself, can I be relied on to do what I say I will do, even in small ways? How many times do we make promises or commitments that we will do something, and then, when we have fallen down on the job, make all the possible alibis that we can think of to justify our negligence.
It might seem like a small and unimportant factor when we fail to keep our word. But, in business affairs, if money is borrowed on a promise to pay and the obligation is not kept, the security pledged is taken away as a penalty for not performing the conditions of the contract. It also shows lack of consideration for the other person who is depending upon us to keep our bargain.
What do we honestly think of an individual, who, in presumed good faith, makes a statement, promise or declaration that he will do a certain thing and then fails to do so? It is too bad, we say; that Mr. X is a fine fellow, but he doesn't keep his word. He cannot be depended upon.
But, it does not stop there. Is there no Karma attached to his failure? Is there anything or anyone exempt from the effects of this great and unerring Law? What does he forfeit? As in the business transaction where the collateral security was taken away, a portion of his character is open to question. It goes so far as to place a blot upon his integrity. He is deprived of opportunities and benefits of various kinds, because we feel he cannot be trusted to follow through, and to do what he promises to do, but neglects to perform.
There are many different situations where dependability is of prime importance. In military affairs, an order is expected to be carried out, and the failure to do so might involve the safety of many lives, or materially affect the Karma of an entire Nation or the whole world. In civil life, if we do not follow and obey the laws and ordinances, we know we are inviting trouble. The government expects us to take out the required permits, fill out and file papers, pay license and income taxes and comply with all the red tape that we kick against. But, the various governmental agencies, local, state and national, depend upon our compliance, however much we may dislike doing so.
We depend upon the Fire Department to put out fires, the Police to keep the peace and the Water Department to supply us with that precious necessity of life. Everything depends upon something else in human existence, as well as in the Universe throughout. Suppose in an extreme sense, no one could be depended upon; such a thought makes our present world seem heavenly by contrast. As a matter of fact, there are quite a lot of things that we just take for granted, which are rooted in the reliability of individuals. The engineer of a train, the captain of a ship, the bus driver, the individual drivers of cars, the pilot of a plane, are, generally speaking, reliable, or we would have no insurance companies large enough to pay for the resulting losses. Even the individuals doing very menial or ordinary work are relatively dependable, or a great many other services would be affected thereby.
Seeing the importance of  dependability in our ordinary affairs, how much more important is this factor in regard to Occult matters. How could a Master be justified or expected to teach a Disciple some of the inner secrets of Nature, without first trying and testing, or by first hand knowledge knowing the various qualifications of the would-be recipient? We do not doubt but that dependability would be high on the list of such qualifications. If an individual would make himself worthy to receive and understand Spiritual Teachings of the age-old Wisdom, it is good practice to put himself to many tests as to his reliability. Is it not logical, therefore, that as his degree of dependableness increases, the more worthy will he become to receive and develop a clearer and deeper understanding of the teachings already known to him? Integrity, reliability, ethics: these are all closely related terms that have much to do with the degree of usefulness that each will be able to contribute, to a world in great need of those moral values that will aid in re-establishing a real cultural civilization.
"He who damns himself in his own estimation and agreeably to the recognized and current code of honour, to save a worthy cause may some day find out that he has reached thereby his loftiest aspirations. Selfishness and the want of self-sacrifice are the greatest impediments on the path of adeptship." - K.H.
"My chelas must never doubt, nor suspect, nor injure our agents by foul thoughts. Our modes of action are strange and unusual, and but too often liable to create suspicion. The latter is a snare and a temptation. Happy is he whose spiritual perceptions ever whisper truth to him! Judge those directly concerned with us by that perception, not according to your worldly notions of things." - K.H.
[The above two separate brief letters from the Master K.H. were addressed to his chela, Mohini Mohun Chatterjee, some time in the early eighties of last century. The originals are in the Archives of The Theosophical Society, Adyar, Madras, India.]
"It is easy in the world to live after the world's opinion; it is easy in solitude to live after our own; but the great man is he who, in the midst of the crowd, keeps with perfect sweetness the independence of solitude." - Ralph Waldo Emerson.
Fearless and unconquerable Gentleness, touch, calm and embolden us and all men. Take from our frightened hands the bomb and bayonet. Arm us in spirit instead. Arm all us fellow sinners with compassionate faith in one another, through the courage of our faith in Thee, that where we come in every land, life enter and not death. - Sarah Cleghorn. 
There are many strange ideas around about the meaning of Yoga; some of them are fantastic in their weird jumble of fact and distortions or perversions. Yet the real meaning is so simple and all-inclusive that it is generally shunned in favor of a more exotic or novel one.
Tersely put, it is "Skill." William Q. Judge defined Yoga as "Skill in the performance of action," and if we look into this definition we can see that it covers action of whatever kind - Contemplation, Logical Reasoning, Achievement in any direction - even driving a nail or any other chore.
One of the reasons why the exotic appeals, rather than the domestic and commonplace, is that we have lost sight of the fact that all action has an ethical value; yet ethics must be included, and also what we term "Spirituality," because of the necessity of Decision and Effort; for the greatest characters in public life have quite frequently been "skillful" in these and many other lines or directions. For instance: Swedenborg, Leonardo da Vinci, Count de Saint-Germain, and at the present time, Winston Churchill.
Evolution, as a principle, is the automatic reaction of the lesser to the progressive influences related to the PLAN inherent in any cyclic manifestation. All our senses and the mind have been developed in this way during long ages; and the process will continue until the ultimate for this cycle is achieved. But - all do not progress at the same rate or in the same way, and this difference is chiefly caused by deliberate, conscious effort to succeed. Success is acquired by repetition until skill brings its due result.
The practices of mystic yogis follow this process toward attainment of the powers or states which are more or less abnormal at the present time. Corresponding to the mystic yoga is the development of skills in all human affairs or connections; for even in Science, Art, Music, Commerce, Public relations, etc., the expansion of consciousness runs parallel with the skills acquired, and all these are required in the total of human progress.
There is little or no difference in the process except that of MOTIVE - selfish or unselfish; the latter tending towards universality. If there is no effort made to attain skill, the drive of the current urge will carry us along its pathway, and in the long run we shall be dragged, as it were, to higher and more refined conditions and states - or fall asleep and crystallize until a new cyclic urge starts the process again.
Decision and Effort, based on unselfish and impersonal desire to work with Nature for the benefit of the whole, will bring the necessary skills in all directions, and an expansion of consciousness which has no ultimate limits. The innate "sense" we all have that there are vast ranges of consciousness and experience beyond the mundane, attracts and attaches the attention to almost any profession or exhibition of the abnormal; but while these have a value as examples of super-sensuous facts, they do not help us unless the character broadens to include them in due course, as we fulfil the functions of Humans in their totality, on our way to HUMAN PERFECTION.
"Nothing is more evil and tragically devastating in actual consequence than one's own moral and religious ideals, fine as they may be, when they are accompanied by an ignorance and resultant provincialism and blindness with respect to people and culture acting upon, or proceeding from, assumptions different from one's own." - F.S.C. Northrop, in Civilizations of East and West. 
Theosophia would welcome receiving from subscribers
and friends any Questions they may like to ask regarding the teachings
of the Ancient Wisdom and their application to daily life. Any type of
Question is welcome, with the exception of subjects bordering on political
or sectarian matters, or organizational and personal differences.
The Theosophical idea of the heavenly state or Devachan is referred to as a rest period, whereas I understand that it is where unrealized earthly aspirations are actually realized. If this is true, the Devachanic Realm must also be one of action, and where there is action how can there be rest?
It is very doubtful whether we can use the human and therefore finite terms of "action" and "rest" in connection with a spiritual entity which has no longer any lower quaternary of substance-principles to manifest through as it did in incarnated existence upon earth. We must remember that we are dealing here with states of consciousness in disembodied condition. No matter what analogies we may employ, we will fall short of reality, and will be able to express only one or another portion of the over all problem.
Let us ask ourselves these questions: in dreaming some pleasant and elevating dream at night, and reveling in its beauty, do we engage in "action"? If so, does it prevent us from waking up feeling "rested"? These questions may suggest certain avenues of approach to this very complex problem of the Devachanic dream, which "dream" is probably much more "real" than anything we experience in embodied existence.
We should also keep in mind the fact that dynamic evolutionary action is taking place in embodied existence, and not in the spiritual state between two lives. Similarly, we act during waking hours, and are in a passive state during our sleep. This from the standpoint of the physical consciousness of the personality. "Action" from the standpoint of the "sleeper" is not the same as action from the standpoint of the awakened man. We may have been running very fast during a dream, or been lifting heavy things; but do we feel tired or exhausted after having done so? The same trend of ideas could be applied to the state of Devachan, but with many and great reservations, because there is no personality experiencing physical conditions and states in the devachanic interlude.
"Devachan is the fulfilling of all the unfulfilled spiritual hopes of the past incarnation, and an efflorescence of all the spiritual and intellectual yearnings of the past incarnation which in that past incarnation have not had an opportunity for fulfilment. It is a period of unspeakable bliss and peace for the human soul, until it has finished its rest-period and stage of recuperation of its own energies.
"In the devachanic state, the Reincarnating Ego remains in the bosom of the Monad (or of the Monadic Essence) in a state of the most perfect and utter bliss and peace, reviewing and constantly reviewing, and improving upon in its own blissful imagination, all the unfulfilled spiritual and intellectual possibilities of the life just closed that its naturally creative faculties automatically suggest to the devachanic entity." - (G. de Purucker, Occult Glossary, p. 47.)
There are many points which should not be lightly passed over, in connection with the teachings about devachan. We must, for instance, remember that the "reviewing" is not done with a mortal brain, or any other quasi-material thinking apparatus; we must bear in mind that "peace" and "bliss" cannot possibly be the emotional conditions by that name known to us here on  earth; and we must not forget that any idea of "action" should be completely dissociated from concepts pertaining to muscular effort, the movement and displacement of physical bodies, etc., etc., all of which shows how utterly impossible it is to picture in terms of physical analogies anything pertaining to the states of consciousness of the devachanic entity.
For speculation's sake, let us suppose for a moment that next time you thought of a rose that rose would be a tangible physical reality in front of you, and next time you thought of India, you would actually be there; and next time you thought of your father, he would be right here with you. The devachanic "dream" is a state in which our mental realizations and spiritual yearnings become actualities; therefore, to the experiencing entity in devachan, it cannot be a "dream" in any sense whatsoever. For that entity is a reality, a reality much more "real" than anything which our personality, here and now, experiences in the world of physical events.
Another problem presents itself in this connection. Just exactly what do we mean by "rest"? It is sometimes very restful to engage in strenuous physical work, when you want to "rest" from some harassing psychological problem which eludes solution. It is sometimes very restful to engage in profound intellectual study or lighter reading or conversation with others, when you want to "rest" from an over-dose of physical effort or muscular fatigue. Rest often consists in a change of consciousness and of occupation, not in utter cessation of activity. In a world where there are no physical objects, material pursuits, frustrations, suffering, pain, conflict of personal wills, and their resulting struggle for selfish objectives - absence of which is characteristic of the devachanic state - human, earthly conceptions of "action" and "rest" do not apply at all. This should be borne in mind.
For many years students of Theosophy have had a most remarkable article on Devachan available for study, but it has rarely been used. To be just, one should state that it was not very accessible since it was buried in the very rare volumes of H.P.B.'s early magazine, The Theosophist (Vol. IV, August 1883, pp. 266-72), and, for some strange reason never reprinted in more recent publications, or issued in pamphlet form. This article, which is really a series of three distinct essays, has now been re-published in the recently issued volume of the Collected Writings of H.P. Blavatsky, for the year 1883 (pp. 70-94). There is evidence to show that the Replies to questions pertaining to the subject of Devachan, of which this article consists, were dictated to H.P.B. by three different Adepts. We recommend a close and attentive study of this essay, the subject of which is by no means easy. To the best of our knowledge, it contains certain analogies, explanations and viewpoints not to be found elsewhere in the entire scope of modern genuine occult literature.
Theosophists speak of Spirit and Matter as being one, or as opposite poles of the same thing. Where does Consciousness come in? Is it the same as Spirit?
Whatever may be the ordinary meaning ascribed to the word "consciousness'" in everyday speech, the more technical meaning of it in theosophical phraseology has wider implications. Consciousness is a term which students of the Esoteric Philosophy use to describe the truly indescribable Reality which is beyond the differentiation of spirit and matter and includes them both.
In any hierarchy of evolving beings, there is a highest and a lowest stage, degree or plane thereof. The summit of a hierarchy, its root or seed, as it were, can be termed Spirit. The nether pole of a hierarchy can be termed Matter. Spirit and Matter grade into one another throughout the structure of a hierarchy, and are therefore relative  terms. Spirit is not essentially different from matter, and vice versa. Both are but temporary and forever changing manifestations of the underlying "something" which, for want of better terms, might be called Consciousness-Reality. It has been sometimes termed Consciousness-life-substance, describing the fact that it is the very essence of the Universe.
Consciousness underlies everything that is. It is the root and essence of what we call matter and of what we term energy, force or spirit. The whole Universe is therefore embodied Consciousness, and such embodiments may be relatively material or relatively spiritual, according to whether they take place in the lower or higher portions of any given hierarchy. The whole process of evolution, therefore, consists in the gradual raising of units still evolving in the lower grades of "matter" to become at one with their own inner essence of being which is "spirit".
These facts from the storehouse of occultism are well exemplified by modern science. The more the latter delves into the inmost structure of the atom, the less so-called "matter" does it find therein. The electron cannot be considered in the light of any tangible material particle, and no genuine physicist considers it so. The ultimate constituents of matter or substance are found to be units of something else, whether we call it energy, force or motion. Theosophists would call it a form of consciousness. Modern science has demonstrated beyond any possible doubt that the essential nature of so-called "matter" is non-material, paradoxical as it may sound. In doing so, it has approached very close to the domain of occult truths. In many respects it has already overstepped the imaginary borderline which divides, as well as connects, the realm of physics and the realm of metaphysics.
Theosophical teachings stress the statement of "Brotherhood in Nature", and to uphold this the analogy of the co-operation between the atoms, cells, and the organs of the physical body, the "Little Universe", is used. It does sound convincing; however, all about us, in all the kingdoms of nature, including that of man, we may note stalking, conniving, selfish cruelty and rapacity.
In the lower kingdoms, one directly devours the other and grows fat on his brother. Man does this with more subtlety, but just as effectively. He squeezes his Brother Man in an economic vice, and then self-righteously returns to him a fragment of his ill-gotten gains from a so-called sense of charity. Charily is but a further evidence of the selfishness of man, because it cloaks his greed in publicized philanthropy.
This is a very profound question which contains several co-related subjects touching upon some of the most recondite teachings of the Ancient Wisdom. First of all it should be stated that "brotherhood", as understood by careful students of Theosophy, means the unbreakable and ever-present Oneness of all that is, the indissoluble Unity of things, their intimate and essential co-relation with each other, from the electron to the galaxy. It does not mean - especially with regard to the lower spheres of material evolution - mere amicable, fraternal, peaceful relations with each other, even though this remains as a goal. When considered from this larger viewpoint, the most fearful global war, and the most cataclysmic conflict among humans, merely emphasizes the underlying truth of "universal brotherhood", in the sense that it presents an object lesson in oneness, showing to what amazing degree we are all bound together, tied to each other by karmic ties which are as inescapable in love as they are in our periodic fits of hatred and lust.
In the light of the age-old theosophical teachings it becomes apparent, after careful study of the problem, that the unbrotherliness, selfishness and cruelty  which are so familiar to all of us, are limited almost exclusively to the human kingdom, wherein the sense of self-consciousness and of freedom of choice have not yet become identified with the highest precepts of ethical conduct, so that men debase these spiritual qualities and turn them to selfish ends, blinded by the illusion of separateness.
In this connection, it is very easy to fall a prey to another illusion, namely, the alleged fact of cruelty, rapacity and mutual destruction among the members of the lower kingdoms. Many philosophers and thinkers have speculated upon this general subject, and most of them seem to have completely disregarded the obvious fact that we make the mistake of ascribing to the lower kingdoms, let us say, the animals, mental and emotional characteristics familiar to us as humans. It is extremely doubtful that the animals - with a very, very few exceptions - feel anything even remotely akin to our human emotions in seemingly killing each other. They do so either to secure food for themselves, or to protect themselves and their young ones.
This problem is intimately related to the problem of the nature of so-called Evil. It has received but very scant attention on the part of most students of Theosophy. Nature as such does not recognize our human standards of Evil or Good, and is utterly indifferent to our limited and illusory conceptions on this subject. All events in Nature, outside of the human sphere, are far more impersonal than we care to realize. Our human ideas of suffering, pain, selfishness, as well as those of happiness and pleasure, do not pertain to kingdoms other than the human, and, by ascribing them to other kingdoms or grades of consciousness than our own, we make a grievous mistake, distorting the picture.
At this point there enters a great paradox, of a very subtle and profound nature, the full meaning of which our finite minds cannot as yet understand. It is the fact that in all the spheres of material manifestation every living entity feeds upon some other living entity, and is, in its turn, part of the food absorbed by some higher entity. This is another aspect of the doctrine which teaches the indissoluble oneness of all things, called "universal brotherhood". A paradox truly!
This idea is by no means limited to the kingdoms below the human. The ancient sacred scriptures of the East tell us that "the gods feed on men", a statement well worth our most profound cogitation. It should also be remembered that every time we witness destruction of any kind whatsoever, we behold the temporary annihilation of form only, and cannot follow with our limited physical senses the progress of the entity which becomes at that moment liberated from its temporary form. When we think of the American Red Indian killing a buffalo in order to eat its flesh, and offering a prayer or invocation to the spirit of the buffalo in so doing, the question may well arise as to whether the entity manifesting as a buffalo is not rather helped along its natural path of evolution than hindered. This thought should not be lightly dismissed, just because we happen to dislike the act of physical killing. Nor should the above trend of thought be applied to those brutal and cruel frenzies of mutual destruction that characterize certain unevolved portions of the human race, and which are distorted by propaganda into the appearance of patriotic wars. Only profound thought will ever help the student to untangle the various elements which enter into this intricate subject.
Close attention should be given to the following statement which can be found in The Mahatma Letters to A.P. Sinnett, pp. 56-57:
"... 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 accidents, neither a savage nor a wild (free) animal die 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 ..."
To those students who have access to the work from which the above excerpt has been taken, we recommend reading the long paragraph to its very end (pp. 57-58), where the Teacher points out the evil of man-made organized religion.
As far as the Questioner's statement regarding charity is concerned we agree with him heartily. With the exception of genuine helpfulness on the part of truly selfless people intended to help directly the need of another - an act which in the majority of cases, we believe, remains unknown and unpublicized - most of what is known as "charity" in the world of today, and without distinction of country, is a curse for both the giver and the recipient. Reforms directed towards the amelioration of the conditions of the poor, social justice, the elimination of racial enmity, broader and more sound education, a deepening sense of mutual ethical responsibility, and an economy based on co-operation instead of on selfish competition, would result in conditions which would make so-called "charity" completely superfluous. Theosophists are working towards this goal.
We recommend an attentive study of H.P. Blavatsky's definitive statement on the subject of Charity, in The Key to Theosophy, pp. 238-241. (See p. 2 of the present issue for an excerpt therefrom). Therein are contained certain ideas and precepts rarely discussed even by theosophical students, and whose correct comprehension would be of immense benefit to all of us. 
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THE THEOSOPHICAL SOCIETY: Intern'l Hdqrts., Adyar, Madras, India. C.
Jinarajadasa, President. Off. Organ of the Pres.: The Theosophist.
THE THEOSOPHICAL SOCIETY: Intern'l Hdqrts., Covina, Calif., U.S.A. Arthur
L. Conger, Leader. Off. Organ: The Theosophical Forum.
THE UNITED LODGE OF THEOSOPHISTS: selected list of centers -