A Living Philosophy For Humanity

Volume XII
No. 1 (63) - Summer 1955

[Cover photo: Acacia in Bloom, California.]


A Living Philosophy for Humanity

Published every Three Months. Sponsored by an International Group of Theosophists.
Objectives: To uphold and promote the Original Principles of the modern Theosophical Movement, and to disseminate the teachings of the Esoteric Philosophy as set forth by H.P. Blavatsky and her Teachers.
Editor: Boris de Zirkoff.
Subscriptions: $1.50 a year (four issues); single copy 40 cents. Send all subscriptions, renewals and correspondence to: 615 South Oxford Avenue, Los Angeles 5, California. Make checks and money orders payable to "Theosophia."

None of the organized Theosophical Societies, as such, are responsible for any ideas expressed in this magazine, unless contained in an official document. The Editor is responsible for unsigned articles only.



The first necessity for obtaining self-knowledge is to become profoundly conscious of ignorance; to feel with every fiber of the heart that one is ceaselessly self-deceived.

The second requisite is the still deeper conviction that such knowledge - such intuitive and certain knowledge - can be obtained by effort.

The third and most important is an indomitable determination to obtain and face that knowledge.

Self-knowledge of this kind is unattainable by what men usually call "self-analysis." It is not reached by reasoning or any brain process; for it is the awakening to consciousness of the Divine nature of man.

To obtain this knowledge is a greater achievement than to command the elements or to know the future. - Unsigned, but possibly by H.P. Blavatsky, in Lucifer, Vol. 1, October 1887, p. 89 p. 119.

"Of all the arts that exist, living is the most difficult as well as the most exciting. To live is to express something from within oneself from moment to moment. The experience of living is, more immediately, the experience of ourselves in action, and ultimately of that nature in us which shows itself as beauty, as love, and as truth. All these belong to a depth in ourselves beyond the extensions of the superficial mind. Matter or a knowledge of matter can rive rise by itself only to a sense of extension and not to a feeling of depth ... Therefore, progress lies in knowing the meaning that is in our relationship to things, and in so shaping the things that belong to our living and our own behavior in every aspect of it, that they ring true to the eternal nature of ourselves, that of the one Spirit, the white light from which each soul derives its individual colors ..." - N. Sri Ram, The Theosophist, April, 1955, pp. 17-18. [3]


Boris de Zirkoff

The periodic appearance of spiritual teachers is governed, like everything else in Nature, by definite laws, and has nothing to do with so-called chance. It is just as much subject to the function of universal forces as any other manifestation of Cosmic Life. Periodicity or rhythm is the very basis of that Life, and therefore all its outflowing and inflowing energies are vibratory or periodic.

Cycles not only follow cycles, but overlap each other in many instances, smaller ones operating on other frequencies than the larger ones; hence arises a vast complexity, the occult mathematics of which has never been disclosed so far, outside of mere hints and general data. Therefore, a great deal pertaining to this subject is fragmentary and speculative, and it would be rash and incautious on the part of students to become dogmatic about it.

The spiritual effort made in the last quarter of the nineteenth century through the agency of H.P. Blavatsky, a direct Messenger of the Trans-Himalayan Brotherhood of Adepts, was in serial succession to previous similar efforts, and coincided with the convergence of several important cycles, one of them being the end of the first 5,000 years of the Kali-yuga, in the year 1897.

Periodic attempts to bring spiritual enlightenment to the Occident originated with the great reformer of Tibetan Buddhism, Tsong-kha-pa, a reincarnation of Gautama the Buddha, who founded in the fourteenth century the school of the Gelukpas or so-called "Yellow-caps." Among his commandments there is one which enjoins the Arhats to make an attempt to enlighten the world, including the "white barbarians," every century, at a certain specific period of the cycle. It is on this basis that students of the Esoteric Philosophy the world over hope for the appearance of another agent of the Brotherhood of Adepts in our confused and distraught world, towards the latter quarter of this century.

Such an expectation finds a confirmation in the following words of H.P.B. from the Introductory to The Secret Doctrine (Vol. I, p. xxxviii.)

"In Century the Twentieth some disciple more informed, and far better filled, may be sent by the Masters of Wisdom to give final and irrefutable proofs that there exists a Science called Gupta-Vidya; and that, like the once-mysterious sources of the Nile, the source of all religions and philosophies now known to the world has been for many ages forgotten and lost to men, but is at last found."

It stands to reason, however, that the appearance of such teachers is not a foregone conclusion, and depends to a very large extent upon the general condition of humanity and upon the "call" that may exist at any one time for spiritual help and guidance. It does not mean that, no matter what horrible mess we may have created [4] for ourselves through our selfishness and ignorance, the Brotherhood of Adepts will send their Messenger just the same. They will not, and for the simple reason that there are conditions in which no spiritual work can be done, and where the activities of such an agent would be wasted. However, as matters stand now in the world of human thought, there is every likelihood that such a new Messenger may come at his stated time, and be able to give another impulse to genuine occult work in one or another part of our world. We should be most careful not to allow our minds to disregard the enormous spiritual shift of human consciousness that is taking place all around us, and to become psychologized by the existing material and psychological confusion into believing that it is fundamental. The prevailing confusion of thought is symptomatic of a great change of human consciousness, and that change is from a moribund materialism into a more spiritual conception of life. Let us not miss the symptoms which stare at us from every turn of the road.

A word of caution in this connection seems to be called for. We hear every now and then some resounding statement made by those interested in the study of occult and mystical subjects, to the effect that a great Avatara is to appear very soon and bring mankind the solution for all its ills and troubles. In some quarters this superhuman manifestation is supposed to be imminent, and to it is attached the name of Maitreya. The careful student of the Esoteric Philosophy will at once see the reasons for this confusion.

On the one hand, there is in many quarters an intuitive feeling that an agent of lite Brotherhood of Adepts will or may come, with a specific mandate and a message, a mission to perform among men. On the other hand, untrained minds have confused this thought with the general, universal expectation of the appearance of a World-Teacher at the end of a great cycle. Maitreya, which means "the Friendly One," is the name of the Fifth Buddha, the Kalki Avatara of Vishnu, who will appear in the Seventh Root-race, millions of years from now. As expressed by H.P.B. (S.D., Vol. I, p. 470.): "... it is not in the Kali yug, our present terrifically materialistic age of Darkness, the 'Black Age,' that a new Saviour of Humanity can ever appear." The appearance of the tenth Avatara of Vishnu, or Maha-Vishnu, allegorically riding on a while horse, the symbol of the Sun, has been misconstrued in the Occident into the shape of the second coming of the Lord, and the final Judgment. Unless real care is exercised in these occult matters, vague intuitions are apt to become easily transformed into materialistic dogmas on the one hand, or pseudo-occult teachings and mere psychic imaginings on the other.

In preparation for the possible appearance of another Messenger towards the latter quarter of this century, let us all, as students of the Ancient Wisdom, forget our differences and past mistakes, and build a united front of spiritual endeavor, so as to form a suitable matrix for the new inflow of Life, and a suitable receptacle for the new message, in the course of time. [5]


William Quan Judge
[Originally published in The Path, Vol. X, September, 1885, pp. 188-90.]

From ignorance of the truth about man's real nature and faculties and their action and condition after bodily death, a number of evils flow. The effect of such want of knowledge is much wider than the concerns of one or several persons. Government and the administration of human justice under man-made laws will improve in proportion as there exists a greater amount of information on this all-important subject. When a wide and deep knowledge and belief in respect to the occult side of nature and of man shall have become the property of the people then may we expect a great change in the matter of capital punishment.

The killing of a human being by the authority of the state is morally wrong and also an injury to all the people; no criminal should be executed no matter what the offence. If the administration of the law is so faulty as to permit the release of the hardened criminal before the term of his sentence has expired, that has nothing to do with the question of killing him.

Under Christianity this killing is contrary to the law supposed to have emanated from the Supreme Lawgiver. The commandment is: "Thou shall not kill!" No exception is made for states or governments; it does not even except the animal kingdom. Under this law therefore it is not right to kill a dog, to say nothing of human beings. But the commandment has always been and still is ignored. The Theology of man is always able to argue away any regulation whatever; and the Christian nations once rioted in executions. At one time for stealing a loaf of bread or a few nails a man might be hanged. This, however, has been so altered that death at the hands of the law is imposed for murder only, - omitting some unimportant exceptions.

We can safely divide the criminals who have been or will be killed under our laws into two classes: i.e., those persons who are hardened, vicious, murderous in nature; and those who are not so, but who, in a moment of passion, fear, or anger, have slain another. The last may be again divided into those who are sorry for what they did, and those who are not. But even though those of the second class are not by intention enemies of Society, as are the others, they too before their execution may have their anger, resentment, desire for revenge and other feelings besides remorse, all aroused against Society which persecutes them and against those who directly take part in their trial and execution. The nature, passions, state of mind and bitterness of the criminal have, hence, to be taken into account in considering the question. For the condition which he is in when cut off from mundane life has much to do with the whole subject.

All the modes of execution are violent, whether by the knife, the sword, the bullet, by poison, rope, or electricity. And for the Theosophist the term violent as applied to death must mean more than it does to those who do not [6] hold theosophical views. For the latter, a violent death is distinguished from an easy natural one solely by the violence used against the victim. But for us such a death is the violent separation of the man from his body, and is a serious matter, of interest to the whole state. It creates in fact a paradox, for such persons are not dead; they remain with us as unseen criminals, able to do harm to the living and to cause damage to the whole of Society.

What happens? All the onlooker sees is that the sudden cutting off is accomplished; but what of the reality? A natural death is like the falling of a leaf near the winter time. The time is fully ripe, all the powers of the leaf having separated; those acting no longer, its stem has but a slight hold on the branch and the slightest wind takes it away. So with us; we begin to separate our different inner powers and parts one from the other because their full term has ended, and when the final tremor comes the various inner component parts of the man fall away from each other and let the soul go free. But the poor criminal has not come to the natural end of his life. His astral body is not ready to separate from his physical body, nor is the vital, nervous energy ready to leave. The entire inner man is closely knit together, and he is the reality. I have said these parts are not ready to separate - they are in fact not able to separate because they are bound together by law and a force over which only great Nature has control.

When then the mere physical body is so treated that a sudden, premature separation from the real man is effected, he is merely dazed for a time, after which he wakes up in the atmosphere of the earth, fully a sentient living being save for the body. He sees the people, he sees and feels again the pursuit of him by the law. His passions are alive. He has become a raging fire, a mass of hate; the victim of his fellows and of his own crime. Few of us are able, even under favorable circumstances, to admit ourselves as wholly wrong and to say that punishment inflicted on us by man is right and just, and the criminal has only hate and desire for revenge.

If now we remember that his state of mind was made worse by his trial and execution, we can see that he has become a menace to the living. Even if he be not so bad and full of revenge as said, he is himself the repository of his own deeds; he carries with him into the astral realm surrounding us the pictures of his crimes, and these are ever living creatures, as it were. In any case he is dangerous. Floating as he does in the very realm in which our mind and senses operate, he is forever coming in contact with the mind and senses of the living. More people than we suspect are nervous and sensitive. If these sensitives are touched by this invisible criminal they have injected into them at once the pictures of his crime and punishment, the vibrations for his hate, malice and revenge. Like creates like, and thus these vibrations create their like. Many a person has been impelled by some unknown force to commit crime; and that force came from such an inhabitant of our sphere.

And even with those not called "sensitive" these floating criminals have an effect, arousing evil thoughts where any basis for such exists in those [7] individuals. We cannot argue away the immense force of hate, revenge, fear, vanity, all combined. Take the case of Guiteau, who shot President Garfield. He went through many days of trial. His hate, anger and vanity were aroused to the highest pitch every day and until the last, and he died full of curses for everyone who had anything to do with his troubles. Can we be so foolish as to say that all the force he thus generated was at once dissipated? Of course it was not. In time it will be transformed into other forces, but during the long time before that takes place the living Guiteau will float through our mind and senses carrying with him and dragging over us the awful pictures drawn and frightful passions engendered.

The Theosophist who believes in the multiple nature of man and in the complexity of his inner nature, and knows that that is governed by law and not by mere chance or by the fancy of those who prate of the need for protecting society when they do not know the right way to do it, relying only on the punitive and retaliatory Mosaic law - will oppose capital punishment. He sees it is unjust to the living, a danger to the state, and that it allows no chance whatever for any reformation of the criminal.


G. White Hickerson

Observation on the great cycles of nature leads us in a natural way to a more introspective view of the fundamental spiritual impulses which move those cycles, and the enquiring mind has ample opportunity to take note, reflect, and speculate upon the facts thus laid out before him. He has the opportunity to speculate, that is, if he will but open his mind and heart.

This opening of the mind and heart may not come as easily as we are sometimes want to think. All of us, no matter where we happen to have been born, or where we presently live, are surrounded by, and enmeshed in, our social fabric. This fabric can be, and too often is, of such a tightly woven social and religious culture that we think we are bound beyond our power to do anything about it. In some instances this undoubtedly is true, at least at the physical level. But we need not be bound at the mental level. And again, this is easier to say than to do. For the bridge of mind which can lead to release is likely to be more unconscious than conscious, for most of us. This is so, even granting that our present condition has been brought upon us by ourselves - maybe it is the more dense because of that very fact. Nevertheless, when we strive to understand the principle which lies at the very cause of our blindness we take a step in the direction of opening the channels of mind so that clearer vision becomes possible.

The toughest woven, and most impenetrable fabrics of social culture are those classified as the most highly civilized. Thoughtful reflection reveal why this is so. In every social culture there lies buried a system of ethics upon which that culture was originally established, but from which [8] most of the working rules of the presently existing systems have long since departed, leaving in their wake confusion, social bigotry and religious prejudice.

Let us take an instance from history: The Lord Buddha brought to His people an ethical system, a science of the soul, if you please. He reached his own illumination by the sacrifice of everything that man holds dear, and then laid the fruits of his sacrifice before his people, in order that a WAY might be shown to them, by which each one might take hold of and guide the evolution of his own immortal soul. The Buddha's own personal, as well as his spiritual life, was so pure and stainless that his great sacrifice opened the doors through which the eternal forces of Life and Light could flow so that in the presence of him and, wherever he went, or had been, the terrible darkness of spiritual ignorance was made lighter.

He was counted as a Saviour, not in any personal sense as referring to himself as the means by which men could reach salvation, but because he pointed out in a reasonable, meaningful and possible way, that each man was his own saviour. And the system of spiritual development which he taught, and the ethical foundation for a social structure he showed, gave each man a means whereby he could come to this knowledge by and for himself. Then having come by the knowledge, he would be able to choose how best to use it so as to be the better able to help all others ... (the Only WAY out of the dilemma).

Now what became of that system? It deteriorated into Orthodoxy. There came to be a Church, with a Head; and the Church established its own Theology. In short, the Church set up its own interpretation of how a man should reach his God. This Theology became so bound by Dogma and Creed that there was little room left for free thinking.

Because of the rigidity, there came a rebellion within the ranks, and a separation. Thus arose the division of Northern and Southern Buddhism, each retaining a partial truth, but both beclouded by the entanglements of Priestcraft.

All this sounds very dark, until looking closer, we come to see that within each of these orthodoxies, there was still another division: One known as the exoteric, lay, or mass teachings; the other as the esoteric, inner, or temple teachings. This is important, because we will find that it exists in every religion, living or dead; past or present. (As well as in our most modern fields of scientific investigation.)

The exoteric, lay, or mass teachings are those given to the rank and file of people; the uneducated, as well as those who are willing to listen at all to ethical guidance. And if there are any bright enough, or who have endured misery long enough to cause any sort of spiritual yearning within their breasts, they may, perchance, ask questions. This would indicate that some glimmerings of truth were beginning to awaken, some movement away from blind belief and passive acceptance. If this attitude of questioning persists long enough and is pursued sincerely, some light is bound to be seen. And for the great multitude this is all that is desired. For these (the multitudes) the idea of self-struggle heavenwards far one's own [9] emancipation is yet too nebulous a concept, perhaps, because for too many lifetimes they have become deadened by the idea that only through the offices of the Church may they be saved, and then only by the whim or grace of some unknown Almighty, personal God. It may take, for these, many more lifetimes of suffering and heart pain until they are ready to stand up and declare their own divinity as sons of Light in their own right.

When this time does come we witness the apparent phenomenon of a man either seeking, or being "favorably born" so as to come into contact with the Esoteric, inner teachings. Actually, this is no phenomenon. The man has earned this opportunity by his own effort in trying to alleviate in some way the ignorance, pain, suffering, sorrow and darkness of his fellows.

What, then, is this opportunity? A chance to learn of the existence of a holy of knowledge which has always been, and which is constantly being renewed in each cycle by some member of a Brotherhood which has dedicated itself throughout aeons of time to the keeping of the Light, and periodically to bringing it into the world so that men might have an opportunity to free themselves from the entanglements which have helped them to forget their divine origin.

These dedicated members of the Ancient Brotherhood, when they appear among men, are called Saviours, Wise Men, Initiates, etc. They bring again and again the SAME message, couched in the language of the then existing civilizations. They help to establish a system of ethics for the masses of humanity to which they come, and thy teach and preach to as many as will listen.

In addition to this they take unto Themselves a body of men to whom they teach the inner, or esoteric knowledge (or as much of it as can be grasped by those so taught). This body of men are always Pledged. Pledged to the Master? No! Pledged never to use their knowledge for their own benefit, but always to work and teach so as to help every living creature, and to live according to that Pledge, or Vow. They are the Disciples, striving to understand the teachings of the Master, and in their turn serving the people as guides and instructors whenever and however it is possible.

Almost always, when the Master leaves the scene, and the instructions and teachings are in the hands of the Disciples, there comes a progressive deterioration, and in some cases, outright perversion of the original teaching.

These various interpretations become the basis for established religions, each having its own peculiar, or pet, but limited view. Then these religions become dominant in their own names, and claim adherents unto themselves, declaring that only through their particularized channel or priestly intervention can the Way to God be found.

But here and there, in all quarters of the earth, the real esotericism always exists, and may be found by those who are persistent, and whose hearts are dedicated to the service of their fellow humans. Many have been persistent enough, it is true, but they lacked dedication, or had some lingering hope of personal gain or fame. [10]

These may find the outer lobby of this or that school, but no amount of persistence without dedication can take a man across that inner threshold where he must go alone, and where only his heart's highest purpose can carry him safely through the corridor - for he must leave at the entrance even a fleeting wish for any personal gain.

This is the corridor we must pass through at death, alone. But each of the Great Teachers has indicated, and exemplified in his own life, that we need not wait until death overtakes us and we must go involuntarily. We may voluntarily walk through this corridor and return again, with a knowledge that will help to bring a little more light into the darkened corners of earth. This is the meaning of Initiation. Its counterpart is shadowed in the exoteric rituals of the established churches, in their instructions and interpretations of doctrine and ritual to candidates for the ministry, priesthood, etc., and for the laity, by the taking of "communion," by "joining the church," by "Baptism," etc.

Each of the Saviours and Great Teachers has taught this, and the means of doing it, to his Disciples. But the point is, that these rituals are all symbolic - the actual transfiguration must be accomplished by each one for himself! No one can do it for us!

One hopeful sign in our present-day civilization, even at the height of its complexities, scientific advances, and materialistic views, is that it is possible to say with conviction, that no longer can the dominance of lite various orthodoxies, including the Christian, becloud the issue by claiming that it, and it alone, can present the Way, the Truth, and the Light - or "Salvation." We have come far enough to be able to see that this is not true.

Many current publications by thoughtful and scholarly editors and their staffs, as well as study groups composed of reputable people who are interested in an unprejudiced study of comparative religions, are laying the foundation, for all who will, to see for themselves. Of course there will always be those who will not see, because they do not want to see. Seeing would mean assuming a personal responsibility for their own soul, which they presently feel they can trust to the Church.

We see the same pattern as was evidenced in the Buddhistic religious systems come to light again in the Christian. All sects claim to be based upon Holy writ. (In this case, the Holy Bible that is meant is a selection of books, carefully chosen from among the many originally extant, and critically edited, so as to reflect only the orthodoxy of the Mother Church - all other records having been discarded.)

It is not just recently that this has been discovered, but it is fairly recently that it has been even reluctantly admitted by scholars, that the stories of the Christian Bible are not necessarily original, but that the same stories, with the same morals, and in some cases with the exact nomenclature, are to be found in all the other Bibles of ancient Religions, and that the Christian Bible is, actually in point of time, one of the youngest of this family of Bibles.

This fact in itself should help the Christian to see that the little wedge of the whole which is called [11] Christianity (or some small fragment of that to which he might presently belong) is identical at its root with that of every other great system, and that all of them are a part of one great WHOLE.

Once he sees this he can no longer be bound. He will be on his road to that freedom of thought and community of spirit which will give him a consciousness of understanding his spiritual brotherhood with every other living creature, as well as men from all other religions, or none.

Starting from the central, inner point of the great circle, which is divided into many wedges (the countless religious systems with their sects), we find the Eternal Ancient Wisdom, that LIGHT which illumines the esoteric side of every system of ethics, no matter how far removed from the central point, and no matter how much infiltrated with the darkness of exoteric superstructure. It is the point from which every system evolved, by means of its living messengers, who gave it its impulse - and to which each man must return - by himself, thus assuming responsibility for his own spiritual motion.

The multitudes of humanity are concentrated at the outer reaches of the great wheel, and it is here at the rim that Instinct shows itself in a kind of social consciousness, which reveals the awareness of an actual inner need for interdependence. For gregariousness is, in fact, a false security, in that it is but a reflection of the Intuitive knowledge of our spiritual unity.

Thus is it, that when even the first intuitive spark is awakened in his heart a man will have made the first chink in the wall which he fancies separates him from all the rest. Conversely, as he begins his return journey, he at first finds himself utterly alone. Then the nearer he comes to the central point, the more of unity and actual fraternity he comes to know.

But while on the outermost circle, away from the central point, where there is the greatest materialism, a man will encounter stubborn ignorance, and the deliberate refusal to budge mentally from the rut in which he finds himself. Such a one will in time he forced, by the centrifugal motion of life itself, to the outermost and darkest place of all, utter disbelief in anything. Yet, even at this late hour the anguished cry of his soul may reach through and penetrate his heart, so that some light may reach his mind and cause him to reconsider.

While those who will accept the challenge and make any effort to awaken within themselves some heartlight, encounter first the sects of the greater or lesser religions (or in some cases the even more rigid orthodoxy of exact science). These, in turn are separated from each other, even within the same nominal headship, by fancies, opinions, notions, customs, traditions and blind beliefs. All of these represent a few of the prison bars of mind which hold him back from making the crossing into the next structure available to him.

When he can work his way through these bars he will come into a new area.

In this place he finds Theologies, Orthodoxies, Dogmas, Creeds (and for the scientist, definitive limits). These are the prison bars which keep the [12] various religious sects apart, and breed hatreds, wars, and secularizations of whole communities.

But if he has the moral courage to question and compare these various declarations of the individual sects - religious, or scientific, or even go so far as to examine the basis of the total structure of the section to which he belongs, he will learn that the Greek and Norse Mythologies, the Mayan and the American Indian lore, have as much validity as their more acclaimed, and more highly esteemed younger brothers in concepts. And he will also learn that the Zoroastrians, Confucianists, Taoists, and Hindus had an established religious and ethical culture which far antedates the Hebrew, Islamic and Christian traditions.

Then he will find that the FAITH in his own heart must be the key which unlocks the next door for him. (For faith is a power.) If this faith is of an unflagging and unselfish variety he will find that he can unlock the door. That door is the one which opens into the Great Opportunity.

This opportunity is to contact the underlying DOCTRINE of each and every system, religious or secular. This means study, work, and enduring faith. Faith in himself; faith that he can learn; and faith that having learned he will he able, in time, to discriminate between Learning (an accumulation of facts) and Wisdom (the intelligent and proper use of knowledge). Within these precincts he has the opportunity to prove himself and at last come to the gate of Philosophy.

When he has earned the right to begin his work in the fields of Philosophy, it may be that he will also have earned the right to have the help of a teacher or companion. It is then, if he hasn't discovered it before, that he will know that all the lines of demarcation between all the secular and religious systems do not exist in the inner light; but have been set up by the bigotries of men in their pride and self-righteousness, and in some instances, a mistaken feeling of rightful sovereignty, which is, in fact, but a mask for the desire for power. He will know this because he has not only been willing, but because he has actually abandoned all those attitudes of mind which separate one from another. And then philo-sophia, the love of truth, will begin to open his inner heart and mind so that he will apply himself the more assiduously. At last, he will be willing (because he sees the necessity), to "become as nothing in the eyes of men."

When he has reached this stage there will he very few who will be able to recognize him as being any different from the run of men. It is then that he may dwell in our very household and we will not know him. But as a humble and pure man his very presence brings peace wherever he may be. He is then truly a "comfort" to his fellow men.

He is approaching the Ancient Wisdom. He has undergone many inner initiations, and entered into new fields of enlightenment. Then, perhaps, after aeons of such work among many humanities, he may be ready to offer the final sacrifice and become one of THEM, who, through giving up everything, gain all.

This approaches the central lesson of the esoteric teachings of every religion, regardless of its variants in [13] sect structure. It approaches the central meaning of the idea of Initiation. On the more materialistic plane this has been symbolized in fasting (sacrifice), prayer (meditation), and self-analysis which in some religions has degenerated into the confessional - a method also copied by modern psychoanalysis, a sort of pseudo-scientific substitute for the benefit of the sophisticated and non-religious. This is all to be followed by Union with God (the Higher Self ) - ILLUMINATION.

It is said in the ancient teachings that the Great Ones rejoice at the return of a pilgrim from the "farther shores," and that All Nature re-echoes this rejoicing. Another Saviour has been born. Self-Born, that is, in a spiritual sense.

And the reason for this rejoicing? Such an one will go forth again into the world of men and strive with all his might to point the Way by which each man may become his own Saviour, and know for himself the meaning of Resurrection, from the death of the outer phantasmagoria of flesh, into the inner light of spirit. And he will be reviled, and crucified for his pains, because the world will have none of him. But he will TRY, and he will gather about him those who are teachable. Then, after he is gone, his Disciples will carry on the Work to the best of their light, and a new Religion will be founded. And in it will be the opportunity for those who can see through its tyranny to its heart. And perchance out of the many millions, a few will begin to thread their way hack to the Central Point of the Eternal Ancient Wisdom.

Thus the great spiritual cycles, impelled by living power, go out and return, only to go forth again and again, garnering each time new harvests of Beings, the workers in the fields of spiritual enlightenment.


H.W. Dempster

Some one asked Tom Paine once what was his definition of religion, to which he replied: "To do good."

There is probably nothing that brings us greater satisfaction inwardly than the performance of right action with good motive. The whole scheme of the Universe is based on action and reaction throughout Eternal time and infinite space, except during the periodic cycles of rest, which itself is part of the endless chain of action. Even a non-action willed by us is doing or acting in another form.

Arjuna in the Bhagavad-Gita was faced with the problem of whether he should fight, or not, there being "relatives" of his on the opposing side. Krishna's counsel to him was that he must act. This meant that he had to face his own Karma no matter what it was. There is no escape. Therefore, one should never evade an issue.

In fact, to face an issue or problem is often a great blessing. To consider whatever fortune that may befall us an advantage enables us to grow out of the arm-chair-philosopher into a real one. Stand your ground - [14] never retreat! There may of course be exceptional conditions existing where to hold your fire or mark time is the wisest course; but, generally speaking, it is better to make a choice and act, with the knowledge that you must also face the reaction of that action; that develops wisdom.

It is good for people to ask themselves the question as to whether or not they are doing all that they can or should be doing in a given situation, or in regard to their life generally.

Are we doing anything for someone else? Are we expecting some special favor or recognition for some noble act? Are we as generous and considerate as we might be? Do we think at all about the suffering and hard lot of another, when we could help him in some way? Are we lacking in our standard of honesty and fair play? Do we really "listen" to the needs of others? Have we as much understanding as we think we have? What is our attitude toward those who radically disagree with our own viewpoints? How calm are we inside?

Again referring to the Gita, it points out that two of the four ways of gaining wisdom are by doing service and by asking questions. Oftentimes it is better honestly to ask many questions of ourselves, as suggested above, than to drift from one rut into another, without purpose.

If you are doubtful about a choice you should make, or a course of action, ask yourself many pertinent questions and answer them honestly to yourself - then act.

It is usually better to act after due reflection and to allow inner feeling and honest conviction a chance to make themselves known. If the brain-mind is over active, it will play tricks and fool us badly.

Contemplation and meditation are useful, really indispensable, factors in helping us to do the right thing at the right time.

One meets in travels "talkers" and "braggers," who form an interesting contrast to the ones we know as the "doers."

Sometimes we see quite inconspicuous individuals whose achievements resulting from their "doing" are very remarkable. It is difficult if not impossible to judge by appearances and very unwise to accept the talker at face value. There is no better proof of an individual's type of character than to observe the fruits of his own actions. Let each one prove himself.

Everyone of us should recognize the many challenges that loom up in our destiny as opportunities of doing something to enhance the welfare of another; by so doing we improve the condition of man universally.

Try each day and each hour to keep alive in your heart the many ways to apply what you already know. Keep in the foreground of your mind the many wonderful teachings you have learned in your study of Theosophy and let them speak loudly in their own appropriate way by the way you fulfill your responsibilities.

Look life in the eye squarely and know that nothing can hurt you except yourself.

Karma, reincarnation, evolution and cycles really should make of one's life "a poem as lovely as a tree" or as beautiful as a flower growing ever upward towards the Divine source of itself - the Root of all that is. [15]



Out of experience wisdom is born. But it takes more than a lot of living to make a person wise. It takes discrimination and the ability to interpret experience intelligently.

There was once a King who prayed for Wisdom, as the legend goes; but when he received it, he found it useless since all of those around him were too foolish to understand it. Wisdom is indeed useless, if it cannot be applied.

"Life", John Galsworthy once wrote, "is mysterious harmony between part and part, and part and whole"; and Truth he said is "Spiritual Proportion." Beauty is that which is impersonal, and uplifting. "A choir-boy's voice, a ship in sail, an opening flower, a child's grace, a rippling stream - these are the drops of rain that keep the human spirit from death by drought."

Unfortunately, it is so characteristic of the human race to be eternally either shouting at the gates of heaven, or teetering on the brink of hell; a heaven and a hell created by themselves, out of their own actions and thoughts. Mankind has not yet learned the great lesson of moderation, the Middle Way which has been the message of so many of the noblest Sages of all times. This is caused mostly from a quality that man has as yet little understood, and this is Desire. Desire leads him into indulgence and plunges him into self-destruction. Then suddenly realizing the danger, he draws back and with another wave of desire, as it were, to save only himself, he jumps to the other pole - fanaticism and hysterical worship of self-created gods and idols. Very few seem to be the people who have the wisdom to tread daily the steady, unspectacular path which leads to union with themselves, and to a balanced life of usefulness and service to others.

It is interesting to note that it is the opposites in life that so often cause trouble. Extreme cold will kill; and so will extreme heat. The Sun itself can both heal and bring death. Excess in anything will burn out the faculties and in the end defeat the very purpose for which man strives. A Leader too far ahead of the people he wishes to enlighten can hope but for very little success in his chosen field.

If we can temper our moods of optimism - unrestrained optimism - with cheerfulness and the courage to face reality, and our occasional pessimism with faith and the ability to see things as they really are, we then have a mean that is workable, and a guiding light which is safe.

The great Sage of China, Lao-Tse, said: "Temper your sharpness, disentangle your ideas, moderate your brilliancy, live in harmony with your age. This is being in conformity with the principle of Tao." And this is the Middle Way. "Such a man," he said, "is impervious alike to favor and to disgrace, benefit and injury, honor and contempt. And therefore is he esteemed above all mankind."

Strange at it might sound, nevertheless it is true that favor, honor, benefits, fame, are as dangerous to man as are disgrace, injury and contempt, unless he has learned how to rise above both. "Indifference to [16] pleasure and to pain, Truth alone perceived," is an ancient precept which is full of wisdom.

Some people are fond of Science; some others of Philosophies; and others still are full of devotion for Religion; but how many people realize the simple fact that a balanced life needs all the approaches to Truth at the same time? If we could balance solid Science with a working Philosophy of life and blend these with true spiritual aspiration - we could tread the age-old Path of Wisdom, the Middle Way. Who can do this for us, except we ourselves!

We have so many extremists in the world. So many people who are trying every day to force their ideas upon other minds, receptive minds at that. Most of the world's troubles arise in this. Intolerant attitudes, aggressive propaganda, forcing others to accept for a time what they really do not want to have. How then can we have peace among men? Peace arises out of mutual understanding, harmony in thought, gentle kindness in conduct.

When a man realizes this simple fact, he will then reach out towards the highest he has within himself for true guidance. We are, each one of us, a whole Universe in miniature. Are we not? Think of the billions of atoms which compose our bodies; the things within us which we cannot see with the eye? All these atoms are like children of ours. And they certainly need training and harmonizing, before they are at peace with themselves. And how can we have peace among men in the world, before each one of us has reached to that peace within himself ?

Only by avoiding extremes, and by being kind, just, discriminating, selfless, firm but compassionate, can we ever attain to peace, and bring peace among men. This is the Middle Way of the Sages.


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