[Cover photo: In the Swiss Alps.]
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"Is a great war necessary to make all people better and to make them see the errors which they have experienced?
"My answer is No, and that this is a damnable doctrine. This is a doctrine from hell. Certainly not. When men are wise enough and use their hearts as well as their brains, war will be looked upon as a nightmare of the past. Ask the doctors if a man needs to have a high fever in order to get health. A high fever weakens him, depletes his store of vitality, and the body is weaker for ever afterwards as long as it lives.
"On the other hand, out of evil will come good. Suffering and sorrow are our best friends. This is the other side. But when I am asked if suffering and sorrow in the form of war, which is insanity, are required in order that men may evolve, my answer is No, and this is an infernal doctrine."
"Has Christianity as a world religion run its race? Is it about to die?
"I believe - I may be wrong, but it is my innermost conviction, that there is the possibility for a renascence of primitive Christianity in the West. It will be when among the ranks of the clergy there shall be found some courageous and high-minded enough to trace back the origins of their grand teaching, their theology, to Pagan antiquity, finding brotherhood in the fellow-thoughts of the ancient races, of Egypt especially, of Greece, yes, even of Rome. For then the religion of the West will have fresh blood flowing through its veins, a new revelation will have come, arising from the spirit, and a new illumination thrown upon the secrets of the past. Then Christianity will be properly understood, and will be seen to be grand; for primitive Christianity was grand because it was the same as Theosophy, the original wisdom of the Gods." - G. de Purucker in Studies in Occult Philosophy, pp. 580-81 and 530-31. 
The hallmark of a true Theosophist is a readiness to receive new truths and to adapt himself to the ever-changing karmic pattern of life. This he must do without relinquishing any of the principles of thought and conduct already won in former struggles, and without falling a victim to the psychic nostrums and high-sounding promises of visionaries.
Amidst the confusion of men's self-seeking motives, and the bewildering chaos of selfish passions whipped into fury by their mutually antagonistic objectives, the Theosophist is expected to stand firm upon the ground of his own inner certainty, without losing sight, even for one moment, of the Light which burns in the deeper recesses of his heart.
Face to face with established opinions and deep-rooted traditions, most of which are but different names for entrenched self-conceit and crystallized mental and emotional moulds, he must be ready to widen his understanding of any fact of nature in the light of a greater installment of Truth, and to align his former knowledge with yet deeper levels of potential knowledge.
Without abandoning one iota of spiritual and intellectual Truth already living within his consciousness as a power for good, he must expect at any time new pathways of research to open up before his gaze, and new realizations to dawn upon the horizon of his vision.
Unshaken in his positive knowledge concerning certain laws of Nature, he must, nevertheless, be prepared to be challenged at any time in any department of thought, and be placed before facts of Nature never before thought of; and he must feel a keen enjoyment in the process whereby his former views, relatively true and good, are for ever being broadened and deepened, by the mysterious alchemy of karmic action, and the exhilarating power of transmutation constantly working throughout Nature to unveil still hidden verities.
Whenever and wherever there exist students of Theosophy whose minds and hearts are open to the reception of new Light, the Theosophical Movement is a living power and a great promise. Whenever and wherever individuals or groups exist whose "established" opinions and hallowed "traditions" take the supremacy over the ever-changing, flowing, swirling current of Truth, the Theosophical Movement is virtually moribund, and a particle of static Truth has already become the corner-stone of a sect or an institution.
The true attitude of a student of Theosophy should be one of expectancy and research; expectancy of new Truths to become visible on the horizon, and research into departments of Nature not yet touched by the most venturesome among the pioneers of thought. He must feel at home in change, and welcome progressive ideas which dynamite concreted forms and release the hidden life-stream which has originally given them their temporary value among men.
It should therefore never be forgotten that Theosophy is not a set of doctrines, but a living Reality; it is not a belief with clauses which define it, but an ever-widening realization of Truth; it is not an organization, a sect, a mere school of thought, but a spiritual current whose momentum carries man's consciousness onward and upward, along the pathway to his spiritual home, the mystic land of Eternal Dawn, beyond the Gates of Gold ... 
The passage "to Live, to live, To LIVE must be his unswerving resolve," occurring in the article on "The Elixir of Life", published in the March and April Number of Vol. III of The Theosophist - is often quoted, by superficial readers unsympathetic with the Theosophical Society, as an argument that the above teaching of occultism is the most concentrated form of selfishness. In order to determine whether the critics are right or wrong, the meaning of the word "selfishness" must first be ascertained.
According to an established authority, selfishness is that "exclusive regard to one's own interest or happiness; that supreme self-love or self-preference which leads a person to direct his purposes to the advancement of his own interest, power, or happiness, without regarding those of others."
In short, an absolutely selfish individual is one who cares for himself and none else, or, in other words, one who is so strongly imbued with a sense of importance of his own personality that to him it is the acme of all his thoughts, desires and aspirations and beyond that all is a perfect blank. Now, can an occultist be then said to be "selfish" when he desires to live in the sense in which that word is used by the writer of 'the article "The Elixir of Life"? It has been said over and over again that the ultimate end of every aspirant after occult knowledge is Nirvana or Mukti, when the individual, freed from all Mayavic Upadhi, becomes one with Paramatma, or the Son identifies himself with the Father in Christian phraseology. For that purpose, every veil of illusion which creates a sense of personal isolation, a feeling of separateness from THE ALL, must be torn asunder, or in other words, the aspirant must gradually discard all sense of selfishness with which we are all more or less affected. A study of the Law of Cosmic Evolution teaches us that the higher the evolution, the more does it tend towards Unity. In fact, Unity is the ultimate possibility of Nature, and those who through vanity and selfishness go against her purposes, cannot but incur the punishment of total annihilation. The Occultist thus recognizes that unselfishness and a feeling of universal philanthropy are the inherent law of our being, and all he does is to attempt to destroy the chains of selfishness forged upon us all by Maya. The struggle then between Good and Evil, God and Satan, Suras and Asuras, Devas and Daityas, which is mentioned in the sacred books of all the nations and races, symbolizes the battle between unselfish and the selfish impulses, which takes place in a man, who tries to follow the higher purposes of Nature, until the lower animal tendencies, created by selfishness, are completely conquered, and the enemy thoroughly routed and annihilated. It has also been often put forth in various theosophical and other occult writings that the only difference between an ordinary man who works along with Nature during the course of cosmic evolution and an occultist, is that the latter, by his superior knowledge, adopts such methods of training and discipline as will hurry on that process of evolution, and he thus reaches in a comparatively  very short time that apex to ascend to which the ordinary individual may take perhaps billions of years. In short, in a few thousand years he approaches that form of evolution which ordinary humanity will attain to perhaps in the sixth or the seventh round during the process of Manvantara, i.e., cyclic progression. It is evident that average man cannot become a MAHATMA in one life, or rather in one incarnation. Now those, who have studied the occult teachings concerning Devachan and our after-states, will remember that between two incarnations there is a considerable period of subjective existence. The greater the number of such Devachanic periods, the greater is the number of years over which this evolution is extended. The chief aim of the occultist is therefore to so control himself as to be able to control his future states, and thereby gradually shorten the duration of his Devachanic states between his two incarnations. In his progress, there comes a time when, between one physical death and his next re-birth, there is no Devachan but a kind of spiritual sleep, the shock of death, having, so to say, stunned him into a state of unconsciousness from which he gradually recovers to find himself reborn, to continue his purpose. The period of this sleep may vary from twenty-five to two hundred years, depending upon the degree of his advancement. But even this period may be said to be a waste of time, and hence all his exertions are directed to shorten its duration so as to gradually come to a point when the passage from one state of existence into another is almost imperceptible. This is his last incarnation, as it were, for the shock of death no more stuns him. This is the idea the writer of the article "The Elixir of Life" means to convey, when he says:
"By or about the time when the Death-limit of his race is passed, HE IS ACTUALLY DEAD, in the ordinary sense, that is to say, that he has relieved himself of all or nearly all such material particles as would have necessitated in disruption the agony of dying. He has been dying gradually during the whole period of his Initiation. The catastrophe cannot happen twice over. He has only spread over a number of years the mild process of dissolution which others endure from a brief moment to a few hours. The highest Adept is, in fact, dead to, and absolutely unconscious of, the world; he is oblivious of its pleasures, careless of its miseries, in so far as sentimentalism goes, for the stern sense of DUTY never leaves him blind to its very existence ..."
The process of the emission and attraction of atoms, which the occultist controls, has been discussed at length in that article and in other writings. It is by these means that he gets rid gradually of all the old gross particles of his body, substituting for them finer and more ethereal ones, till at last the former sthula sarira is completely dead and disintegrated and he lives in a body entirely of his own creation, suited to his work. That body is essential for his purpose, for, as the "Elixir of Life" says:
"But to do good, as in everything else, a man must have time and materials to work with, and this is a necessary means to the acquirement of powers by which infinitely more good can be done than without them. When these are once mastered, the opportunities to use them will arrive ..."
In another place, in giving the practical instructions for that purpose, the same article says: 
"The physical man must be rendered more ethereal and sensitive; the mental man more penetrating and profound; the moral man more self-denying and philosophical."
The above important considerations are lost sight of by those who snatch away from the context the following passage in the same article:
"And from this account too, it will be perceptible how foolish it is for people to ask the Theosophist to procure for them communication with the highest Adepts. It is with the utmost difficulty that one or two can be induced, even by the throes of a world, to injure their own progress by meddling with mundane affairs. The ordinary reader will say: This is not god-like. This is the acme of selfishness ... But let him realize that a very high Adept, undertaking to reform the world, would necessarily have to once more submit to Incarnation. And is the result of all that has gone before in that line sufficiently encouraging to prompt a renewal of the attempt?"
Now, in condemning the above passage as inculcating selfishness, superficial readers and thinkers lose sight of various important considerations. In the first place, they forget the other extracts already quoted which impose self-denial as a necessary condition of success, and which say that, with progress, new senses and new powers are acquired with which infinitely more good can be done than without them. The more spiritual the Adept becomes, the less can he meddle with mundane, gross affairs and the more he has to confine himself to a spiritual work. It has been repeated, time out of number, that the work on a spiritual plane is as superior to the work on an intellectual plane as the one on the latter plane is superior to that on a physical plane. The very high Adepts, therefore, do help humanity, but only spiritually: they are constitutionally incapable of meddling with worldly affairs. But this applies only to very high Adepts. There are various degrees of Adeptship, and those of each degree work for humanity on the planes to which they may have risen. It is only the chelas that can live in the world, until they rise to a certain degree. And it is because the Adepts do care for the world that they make their chelas live in and work for it, as many of those who study the subject are aware. Each cycle produces its own occultists who will be able to work for the humanity of those times on all the different planes; but when the Adepts foresee that at a particular period the then humanity will be incapable of producing occultists for work on particular planes, for such occasions they do provide by either giving up voluntarily their further progress and waiting in those particular degrees until humanity reaches that period, or by refusing to enter into Nirvana and submitting to reincarnation in time to reach those degrees when humanity will require their assistance at that stage. And although the world may not be aware of the fact, yet there are even now certain Adepts who have preferred to remain statu quo and refuse to take the higher degrees, for the benefit of the future generations of humanity. In short, as the Adepts work harmoniously, since unity is the fundamental law of their being, they have as it were made a division of labor, according to which each works on the plane at the time allotted to him, for the spiritual elevation of us all - and the process of longevity mentioned in "The Elixir of Life" is only the means to the end which, far from being selfish, is the most unselfish purpose for which a human being can labor. 
In these trying times we look about in awe at the destruction taking place all around us. We cringe as we contemplate the newest inventions of destruction created by man's fertile and feverish mind. And if we have a smattering of Oriental philosophy, we are amazed to think of the Hindu worshiping a god named Siva, the god of destruction. Why should this be? Why idolize something which destroys life? As in many instances, this is a case of little knowledge being a dangerous thing.
Siva was not set apart as a separate god to be worshiped alone, but rather as one aspect of life which is inseparable and linked with the Hindu trinity of Brahma, Vishnu and Siva.
Allegorically presented, these three gods were the three functions of nature. Brahma, the creating force; Vishnu, the sustaining force, and Siva, the destructive force. These are the functions of natural laws and go on simultaneously rather than following each other in succession. We know that the human body undergoes constant, unceasing changes, for new elements and atoms are coming into being at all times, while others die, or, rather change form and leave the body. A sustaining force is necessary to hold the body together under this bombardment of atoms. So that, as in the human body, these three forces are constantly at work in nature in all its manifested forms.
This trinity is actually a spiritual power completely devoid of emotions as we know them. Life could not be without the constant action of this trinity. But this trinity can only apply to forms, obviously. For consciousness is indestructible and is at home anywhere in this vast and spaceless universe. What a joyous cosmic thought! "I am infinite and eternal, and the highest reaches of this mighty realm are mine and welcome me!"
But since we are imprisoned in form and most of us have not yet learned to free our consciousness and take flight, it is soothing to realize that actually Siva means new creation. It should not be sad, for whatever has met seeming destruction has actually been freed from its prison to evolve further and higher.
Brahma is the spring of life, the child, the new leaves on the trees, all that is young and experiencing growth. It is the dawn of a new day, the start of a new year. It is the relative beginning and we love it.
Vishnu is more mellow. It is a maturity like summer lying over a meadow of ripened corn. It is the prime of life - that split second in eternity when time stands still and a man may say, "I am complete; I am in full flower."
Siva is old age, the winter, the closing act of a great universal pageant, or the dying chords of a loved symphony.
Think of a woodland brook hurrying on toward the great waters. As it enlarges, it finds a silver pool and seems to rest awhile basking in reflected light. But it continues onward and finally reaches a mighty ocean and pours itself into it and  is lost in its vastness. Is this sad?
So meditate upon these wonderful life forces. Look about you and recognize them. Go forth and see the earth blanketed in snow or lying fallow. See the naked tree leaning its bare branches against a cold, grey sky, and know that the earth is throbbing and pulsing with new life and very much awake and active. In the tree the sap is rising, and it will soon be spring again.
So it is with you and me: Spring, Summer, Fall and Winter in an endless cycle, forever and ever, until form is no longer our Karmic burden. Then we shall survey the dance of life from the higher reaches and know it for what it really is - a joyous, cosmic manifestation, to be loved, revered, and smiled upon.
There is one way by which the teachings of the Ancient Wisdom have been preserved for humanity, and it is perhaps the best way that could have been devised. This is through the medium of the myths and legends that have been handed down to us from so many races. Although we moderns have the tendency to scoff at them as if they were meaningless stories founded upon outmoded superstitions, the fact nevertheless remains that each group of legends still carries its own vitality, and a subtle atmosphere still surrounds them. One cannot read the old Greek, Welsh, Scandinavian, Hindu, American Indian, Peruvian, or Egyptian legends without feeling certain indefinable responses which, I have always felt, are an inward recognition of deep philosophical teachings which are concealed in these stories.
In this connection I would like to take just one instance from the Scandinavian Myths because it is so apt to our present study. So I would like to consider the meaning of the World-Tree, Yggdrasill. You remember that this tree is pictured as having its roots in the abode of the Gods, and its leaves and branches as forming the world. What a marvelous symbol! It is capable of so many interpretations. It can be shown to be a symbol of the Esoteric Philosophy, wherein the trunk represents the one fundamental proposition that underlies the whole philosophy, and which can be stated in one brief sentence. This one thought is the gateway to an understanding of the deepest mysteries concerning Cosmic and Human life. Briefly, it is this: Man and the Universe are one. A full and complete grasp of this primal truth involves an understanding of the inner structure of the worlds, the Solar System, the Galaxy, and the endless systems of Galaxies with which modern science is so concerned at the present time. And equally marvelous, it also involves an understanding of the nature of Man, which is as complex a study as any that may be undertaken about the nature of the Universe around us. It is so complex because the various elements of the universe have a direct bearing upon the  various elements in the human constitution, and the evolution and destiny of the one are inextricably linked to the evolution and destiny of the other.
I propose to show how the Tree Yggdrasill represents the various aspects of the Esoteric Philosophy, all stemming from this one primary concept, the oneness of Man and the Universe, as the limbs and branches all stem from the trunk of the tree. Before enumerating some of these aspects of the Ancient Wisdom, however, I would like to touch briefly on some other interpretations of the symbol.
The trunk of the tree may be taken to represent the Ancient Wisdom which is rooted in the Divine Consciousness which is the Heart of the Universe. All the important religions of the world are as the branches of the Tree of Knowledge, and all derive their vitality from the trunk, whether the followers of these religious systems know it or not. The great philosophies and sciences that have lighted the pathway for the human race are likewise branches stemming from the trunk of the Tree, and whereas their approach to the problems of life and death may be different, their purpose is the same - to bring to the human race a fuller understanding of the meaning of life.
Again, the trunk of the Tree may be taken to represent the essential spark of Divinity which is the core of every human being, and from this Divine spark radiate all the energies and faculties that result in the highly complex structure that we call Man. There are many kinds of trees, and there are many kinds of human beings. Some trees are evergreens, and are beautiful throughout the years. They are like the Great Ones whose strong influence is felt throughout the centuries. Then there are the deciduous trees that lose their leaves in the winter. Perhaps a great many of us humans who seem to have lost the knowledge of our Divine Selves are like these trees that have shed their leaves for a time, and in which the life-giving sap has been indrawn during the winter months, so that to all outward appearances the tree seems to be dead. But for these trees there is another Spring ahead in which they will come to leaf and flower, and so also for the large portion of the human race that neither knows nor cares, there is always another Spring. Well may we be optimistic knowing that the Divine Life is always present in reality, and though outwardly the world seems to be in the winter-time of its spiritual understanding, we may look forward to a time of new growth and beauty.
The student of the Esoteric Philosophy may prefer an interpretation of the Tree which extends beyond our world alone, to include the Solar System as a whole. The trunk of the Tree may represent then the Divine Consciousness which is at the heart of the Father-Sun, and the limbs and branches are then seen to represent the Planets, forming as they do a marvelous Tree of Life inhabited by numberless races and classes of beings, the so-called "kingdoms" on the earth being but a few, and representative of the limitless armies of living beings that find their homes throughout the entire Solar System.
And finally, the trunk of the Tree  may represent the Cosmic Consciousness that is behind the operation of the aspect of Nature that is called by some students "the Hierarchy of Compassion." The branches of the Tree are seen to be the lofty beings that operate throughout the various departments of Nature - beings which guide the spiritual destinies of numberless races of sentient beings throughout our own Solar System.
The portion of this Hierarchy of Compassion whose specific province is the spiritual guidance of us Earthlings, appears to us as the Buddhas, the Christs, the Saviors of all ages, whose representatives are among us today. They are known to us collectively as the White Lodge, or the Brotherhood of Adepts, who are interested in and who foster all truly spiritual movements in the world.
So with these several interpretations of the Tree of Life as a background, we may briefly consider a few of the many branches of the Esoteric Philosophy, remembering once again that the trunk represents the fundamental and primal concept: Man and the Universe are one. The various branches that spring from this fundamental concept might be enumerated thus:
a) a study of the nature of man;
b) a study of the relation that exists between the human race and the other races of beings on the Earth that we call the kingdoms of nature;
c) a study of the Rounds and Races with its companion study of the building of the Globe Chains;
d) a study of the origin of the Solar System with its companion study, the Outer Rounds; and, following from all these;
e) a study of the mysteries of Death - the wonderful journeyings of the human entity when he has freed himself of the chains of his own forging that bind him to the Earth. And lastly, we may add, and perhaps the most lofty of the branches of the study, is
f) that which has to do with Initiation, and which ties together all the other branches, for it is in Initiation that the Adept experiences what we can study by instruction only. It is in Initiation that the Adept makes the wonderful peregrinations through the Spaces of Space, and comes to know at first-hand the sublime adventure of Death.
Do we not feel an expansion of the consciousness when we consider these lofty themes? Do we not spring at once into realms of thought where the petty differences that hold men apart vanish, and where we can realize the great importance of working together as a body of Searchers for Truth who know the value of that which has been entrusted to them? If we can grasp the meaning of this, the purpose of our study will be magnificently fulfilled.
"It is difficult for us to free ourselves from the power exerted by our own possessions. The direction of that power is towards the center of our selfhood. The power of perfect Love, however, works in the opposite direction. It is thus that Love frees us from the weight of things. What we need to become free, is not a lessening of the pressure from without, but Love which has the power to carry the burden of the world, not only without tiring, but with actual joy." - Rabindranath Tagore. 
The annals of history record that there have been periodic, regular, or cyclic efforts made to present to the peoples of the earth what appears to be a set of basic principles. These principles have been variously clothed to meet the needs of the times, and those who have presented them have appeared among men in the guises of King-Initiates, Teachers, Artisans, Prophets and Law-makers - to name but a few. But beneath the cloak, of whatever cut or color, one can find the same principles: One Sustaining Life; One Immutable Law pervading that Life, expressing itself in eternal motion; One Conscious, pulsating Being, united in diversity, with all its units striving toward self-conscious realization.
Always a Way has been presented to each people, consistent with the particularized evolution of each group. Always there have been those who taught how the Way could be found; they have pointed to the entrance of the Path, and have outlined the first steps. Always there have been those who heard, and hearing, understood; and understanding, tried. Some few of those who tried found the Way. And always there have been those who heard, and because they did not understand, turned away. Perhaps another time and from another teacher they shall hear again, and hearing again may be aroused to try to understand.
Of those few in each cycle who found the Way, some succeeded in treading it - and in treading it found themselves among those who humbly sought to help others who knew more than they did, to bring the Truth of the Way to those who knew still less, and who, having heard, had turned away, or perchance had not heard at all.
A few of those who were trying to help in whatever way possible, in order to be worthy to tread the Way, strove to improve their own manner of communication with the rest of humanity, by whatever means seemed best to meet the need. And in a cycle where for the first time the Great Secrets had been alluded to in writing by an Initiate, those who strove to help thought it fitting to use the medium of the printed word as well as the spoken language.
To that end a few banded together to give and to receive aid of each other in clarifying their thoughts, checking the accuracy of their ideas by expressing them to each other and accepting correction by the Teachings as written down by the Initiate whom all of them accepted as knowing more than they did. Thus they sought, both orally and in writing, to further the end of spreading the Truth about the principles of Life and Being, and about the Way one can come to an understanding and realization of those principles - among all who might he reached by the ideas embodied in written words.
"There are but two ways of rising in the world: either by one's own industry or profiting by the foolishness of others." - Jean de la Bruyere. 
A book on Reincarnation appears, sanctioned neither by Mahatmas nor by chelas. Those who call themselves - and by others are called - "theosophists" read same and proceed to check it, as they say, against the Teachings. Aha! they exclaim, almost immediately, this is not to be found on any one of our Sacred Pages; that is an unwarranted speculation, surely, since it has nowhere been indulged in by our Great Authors; and that other statement of this self-delighting writer is bound to make mischief, because not even we understand it!
A new experiment along age-old lines is quietly attempted by a few who know no more than that they need to learn in order to help and teach others. After half-a-dozen years of trials and essays that would have daunted the most ambitious of men (ambition being noticeably weak when compared to the strength of the selfless), the tiny company slowly begins to hew out its path to a Goal which, to their observation, shone ever more clearly as they surmounted each Hardship Hill.
But lo! comes one who can perceive neither the new idea nor the old truth out of which it came. What matter, to such an one, are the years and the cares endured - or the motive, the aspiration, and the devotion that have successfully withstood the tests of the human nature in which they have temporary lodging? The pious passerby is quick in his judgment and certain of its merit; he does not pause to dally with fools whose method differs from The Way. He himself is too busy imitating, not having either the wit or the wisdom, yet, to choose the path of his own soul and to advance boldly, confidently, and with single-hearted zeal upon the task of disentangling the subtle mesh of Nidanas - which are cause and effect linked in a chain of universal concatenations.
So move and pass the karmic visions: seen by some, by others dreamed, and slept through by still others. In karmic visions, nevertheless, are the beckonings of the Unknown Theosophy.
Movement is life and a static position, death, but it must not be imagined that all of the so-called living prefer Life. Growth is change, and change permits liberation, but the means of resisting all three are universally known, almost as universally practiced, and generally admired.
Yet a Form is a lifeless container, useful not in or of itself, but as something to break out of, as the baby chick pecks through its birth-prison. A Place is a meaningless zero-point in the maya of what men call Space, merely an emptiness to stare away from, as a bird wings off from a dead tree. A Creed is a measure of what we used to think; today, we must be up and stirring about for fresh nourishment.
Hence, if we would know Theosophy, we shall do well to keep our eye fixed upon the Unknown Theosophy. We cannot walk backward into Spiritual Evolution, gazing always on what we have already learned; we must face the seemingly untrodden track,  and use every sense and sensibility to pick out and learn by heart the lessons of the way. This not simply to keep ourselves amused on the strange and lonely road, but against the time when it will be our turn to render assistance, invisibly, to later travelers (as we ourselves are even now being helped to the extent that our self-will allows and our humility permits).
We are not often allowed to see the helping hand, lest we watch it instead of the Path. We are seldom conscious of how we find a new freedom, because the discovery is neither marked by familiar signs nor achieved by the usual compound of impatience, importunity, and wilfulness. Suddenly, we see - where a moment before nothing registered on our vision; or, we hear - and are conscious that the sound existed for some time before we were able to gather it into our ear. We dream - and with the light of day a light breaks, also, on our nightly fancies; comprehension flashes upon us, and in the thrill of new understanding, we omit to notice the source of our illumination!
If we would know Theosophy, let us keep our eye fixed upon the unknown Theosophy, and if we would know that Unknown, let us perseveringly step beyond what H.P. Blavatsky, on the first page of The Secret Doctrine, calls "the limitation of the human mind." Her footnote on that page, by the bye, sounds a keynote which, if we were wise enough to be her pupils in the Doctrine still a secret to us, would unceasingly reverberate through our mental consciousness, as the buoy's bell sings its one note over the everlasting waves. Do we imagine that the Soul of Man is shut out from "Divine Thought"? Why churn restlessly and forever the "tardy process of ratiocinative thought," when we might aspire - and not in vain - to "a clairvoyant wisdom superior to all consciousness"? Are we apprehensive that the Water of Life may drown us, all in an instant, in a Niagara of Knowledge - if once we open the mind to higher intuitions? Rather, that elixir is collected slowly, drop by drop, in the golden chalice of the quiet heart, wherein compassion lives and calmness reigns.
Let us, then, answer the call of the Unknown, and leaving behind the pain and sorrow of the "living death," taste the never-ending joy of treading a never-ending Path into the Unknown, into the Self.
Our sincere thanks for all who have remembered us of late in connection with our Promotion Fund. We trust they will continue to have it in mind. The following donations have been received between December 1st, 1952 and February 1st, 1953.
F.P. $0.50; L.B. $2.00; R.F.H. $3.50; A.W. $3.50; Anon. $5.50; W.E.S. $0.50; K.J. $1.50; J.O. $3.50; C.G.L. $1.50; P.V.C. $3.50; N.C.L. $0.50; M.T.P. $0.50; M.L. $1.50; C.N.E. $5.00; $5.00; M.T. $5.00; H.L. $0.50; H. M.L. $12.50; M.S. $5.00. 
Man as Mind stands between the two poles of Spirit and Matter, Divine Love and Personal Attachment, Altruism and Selfishness. His true destiny is to gravitate toward the Pole of Spirit, purifying the body of Matter and transforming it into a worthy servant of the Higher Self. How shall he accomplish this? Let us consider: -
As life follows life, and the soul becomes richer in experience, the desires and urges of both Spirit and Matter, Good and Evil, wax stronger, until an incarnation is reached when a compromise between the two polarities can no longer be maintained. The individual begins to realize that he must make a final break with the selfish, lower nature and identify himself with the Higher, or else be totally absorbed by the powerful animal that can no longer be held at bay with reasonable indulgence. Even human love, the holiest and most beautiful of terrestrial emotions, unless purified utterly of all selfishness, becomes, by reason of its increasing strength and intensity, adulterated by jealousy, possessiveness and fear of loss. The mind, now broadened in its scope, realizes that even the object of its devotion - the one beloved - will yet one day be torn away by death, or itself pass on, leaving the loved one behind. Where before its consciousness rested comfortably in the narrow confines of the Present, self-blinded to the briefness of life, it now knows that all things, good and ill, must have beginnings and ends, that nothing offers permanent support and anchorage. The Garden of Love becomes a thicket of thorns because every attempt to find true peace and happiness therein must now bring eventual sorrow and loss. Human love and passion must be replaced with Divine Love, Compassion, devotion to all that lives.
The mind must then overcome its basic delusion of identification with the physical body. By thinking of the body as nothing other than the house it temporarily lives in, the mind will never yield to its temptations. And with consistent effort it proceeds to conquer the prominent weaknesses of its nature by developing thought in the direction that will kill each particular passion. After its first efforts an indescribable vacuum and blankness is felt in the heart, but this is only the soft twilight heralding the sunrise of Spiritual Freedom. Sadness is not an evil. What seem intolerable sufferings and obstacles are often in reality the mysterious means of nature to guide us toward oneness with our Inner God.
Thus do we all eventually awaken to the great Truth of Life, leaving behind us forever the false dreams of happiness that deceived us before. The Way is ahead, not back, and always before us is that true God of our heart, waiting compassionately for us, saying: Come unto me, all ye who are weary and heavy laden, and I will give you rest, and peace, and strength.
"The more extensive a man's knowledge of what has been done, the greater will be his power of knowing what to do." - Disraeli. 
Ideas, said Plato, rule the world. A similar thought is expressed in the statement "As a man thinketh so is he". Both statements are based on the perception of the power of mind over matter, a perception which true science arrived at ages ago.
Yes, ideas rule the world, but unfortunately the ruling ideas are not always the soundest. This is especially true of the ruling ideas of the present age which are mostly an offspring of materialistic thinking. Take for example the idea of reward and punishment. This idea has ruled the mind of the Western world for many centuries, and still rules it to a great extent. It rules it under the false pretense of being spiritual, while, in reality, it is a purely materialistic idea. Considered as exact result of thought and act, there is justice in it but considered as the prerogative of a personal God who rewards the good, that is to say, those who worship him, with eternal happiness, and condemns those who do not worship him, to everlasting punishment, it is the acme of injustice, hence a dangerous idea. It stands not only in the way of spiritual progress but even in the way of material happiness, for, as the Bhagavad-gita teaches, and as many of us know from experience, "the miserable and unhappy are those whose impulse to action is to be found in its reward." Taking all this into consideration the idea of reward and punishment will be found wanting, as a ruling idea. The thoughtful discard it; the thoughtless - those who blindly believe in authority, will hold on to it to the bitter end, for, as Thomas Moore said:
"Faith, fanatic faith, once wedded fast
Verily, the idea of reward and punishment, as the prerogative of a personal God, is a very dear falsehood; which explains its fascination for minds that swing, pendulum like, between the hope and fear of gaining or losing, of eternal reward or punishment.
True, we cannot escape the results of our thoughts and acts. Nor should we try to escape them, even if it were possible to do so, as that would be attempting to escape responsibility, yielding to unmanliness, a course of action no true man would countenance. "Death before dishonor," should be our motto for guidance at all times. And what is more dishonorable than yielding to unmanliness? Better, a thousand times better, to shuffle off our mortal coil than yield to unmanliness. If we stand firmly on our manhood, we shall not be disturbed by the results of our actions. We live, move, and have our being, as reincarnating egos, in the very midst of the results of our thinking and acting. Our environment is one of the outstanding results of our thoughts and acts, and our attitude toward our environment is an outstanding reward or punishment, for things done, and left undone. Two individuals having the same environment may have entirely different attitudes of mind regarding it, which goes to prove the truth of the old saw that nothing is good or bad but thinking makes it so. 
We must have proper food for thought, in other words a proper ruling idea, as we journey through life. It is not necessary that we pay attention to the results of our thoughts and actions. As a matter of fact the less we think about reward or punishment, and the more we confine attention to the performance of our duties, the better off we shall be physically, mentally, and morally when we reach our journey's end. For:
"Not enjoyment and not sorrow
These words of Longfellow, express an idea to which we might well subject the rule of our conduct. For there is a deeper fact in the soul, as Emerson said, than compensation, to wit its own nature. The ancient Greeks had written over the doors of their Temples, the words, "Know thyself!" The proper study of mankind is man. It was so in the beginning, it is so now, and will be so until the end. When we become whole-heartedly engaged in this study, we shall have neither the time nor the inclination to think about such ordinary side-issues as reward and punishment.
Where do feelings of faith and trust originate? In all periods of history, we have read of great loyalties to family, race or what men have held as ideals. Whether for good or evil, all men have this feeling of loyalty. Could it have come down from very ancient times, when the gods lived openly among mankind and the people had faith built on knowledge that justified their loyalty to those divine instructors and what they represented?
This sense of devotion or loyalty is a thread running through our lives. Sometimes we look back on this thread-path and see the trail extending from the physical plane of matter to the highest spiritual idea that we can conceive. This path of loyalty is often a very bumpy one, for many of us know the experience of misplaced loyalty to another person, and the heartaches that it can bring. We must question what we are being loyal to: a person, a place, an idea or a true spiritual ideal. This rocky road turns heroes to tinsel figures sometimes, but the process is an excellent one for forcing a person to find the spiritual center at the core of his being. Loyalty should never make us set aside our own integrity.
Perhaps this idea of loyalty is inherent in all beings because of our very Oneness. The meaning of the word loyalty itself should afford us a clue, as it is derived from the latin word lex or law. If we think that this is a lawful and just universe, then by being loyal to our highest ideals and to the elder brothers of humanity, as embodiments of these ideals, we can help bring about a cycle of enlightenment in which we can freely give our loyalty to all.