A Living Philosophy For Humanity

Volume XX
No. 1 (95) - Summer 1963

[Cover photo: Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, Aug. 11, 1831 - May 8, 1891.
(From a photograph taken in 1875 by Beardsley at Ithaca, N. Y.)]


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.




In times of discouragement we return again and again to those words in Light on the Path about the disciple finding himself compelled, by the nature of his position, to act in two ways at the same time. He cannot send his voice up to the heights where sit the gods, till he has penetrated to the deep places where their light shines not at all. He has come within the grip of an iron law. If he demands to become a Neophyte, he at once becomes a servant ... For the Masters are also servants; they serve, and claim their reward afterwards. Part of their service is to let their knowledge touch him; his first act of service is to give some of that knowledge to those who are not yet fit to stand where he stands.

There we have it. And whether we are chelas in the true sense, or simply Theosophists, or students trying to become Theosophists, the duty before us is plain. We have “to give some of that knowledge” to those who know less than we.

Our duty is to reach everyone who suspects there might be Truth in the world. We have to be as alert as cats at mouseholes, ready with the right word, the friendly welcome, with everything that can awaken man from his nightmare of horror, blackness, and despair.

It’s something to live for. It’s the greatest thing anyone can do - greater than amassing millions, conquering continents, shaking the world. It’s doing, in a limited way, what the gods do on a grand scale. It’s being part of all that really matters, all that counts, all that endures. - G. Cardinal LeGros, The Theosophical Reminder, June, 1963. [3]


Boris de Zirkoff

The keynote of the Theosophical Movement and of every genuine Theosophist is universality. Our sympathies are for ever linked with all those who are unjustly attacked, persecuted and misunderstood, and who are suffering from the onslaughts of entrenched egotism and ignorance so prevalent in various parts of the world.

It is natural that students of the Esoteric Philosophy would feel special interest and concern in those intellectual and spiritual movements throughout the ages which have embodied various aspects of mystic truth and the protagonists of which - engaged in a similar task to our own at present - upheld the Torch of Light in the midst of surrounding darkness in centuries gone by.

We, students of Theosophy in the present era, are their heirs. As such, we have inherited not only some of their knowledge, at times far greater than our own, but some of their problems and difficulties as well. It is perhaps because of that fact that we feel special kinship with them and understand their tribulations better than matter of fact historians.

Disregarding for the time being all the changing stage-setting on the outward scene of history, and even the scientific revolution projected as it is against the background of volcanic political upheavals, we can recognize the profound kinship that binds us with these students of bygone days, their hopes, aspirations, disappointments and triumphs.

The Gnostics of the early Christian era were the Theosophists of that day; Bardesanes, Marcion, Valentinus, Basilides, the Ophites and the Manichaeans taught in symbolic language many of the present-day Theosophic truths. The Neo-Platonic School of thought proclaimed ideas familiar to any Theosophist of today; Porphyry, Iamblichus, Ammonius Saccas, Proclus and Plotinus are indeed our brothers. The Albigenses and Cathari attempted to raise the same banner, in an age fraught with dangers, that we today have chosen as our standard, and their abject suffering at the hand of the Church neither killed their ideas nor prevented the Law of Cycles from asserting its subtle magic at a later period in history.

The Mystery-Schools of ancient Greece and Egypt, of Chaldaea and Media, of Persia and Gaul, are links in the same endless chain of spiritual efforts upon which is strung the modern aspect of the same Movement, and the individuals who took part in those efforts, distant in time, may well be to a marked degree the same individuals who are engaged today in revitalizing the work of the ages, and kindling the ancient flame once again upon the same altar of Truth.

From one end of the earth to the other, from one distant age to the next, a chain of many links extends through the centuries, each link being another effort, another attempt to introduce spiritual truth into the atmosphere of that particular age, to sound the ancient gong whose reverberations resound from one age to another, and to rally together those scattered students and aspirants who - newly [4] reborn, perhaps - are searching for a lost banner or a flame that had temporarily vanished from their sight.

In every age and in every country where this universal Movement manifested itself, there have always been these two opposites: the genuine teaching on the one hand, and the many substitutes on the other; the clear waters of the true Esoteric Wisdom, and the muddied stream of psychic delusions, dabblings in the “occult” and deceptive teachings backed by personal claims. Opposition to truth does not always come from outside enemies or declared antagonists; only too often it takes the subtler form of internal deception, twisted teachings, distorted truths, back of which lurk the same opposing forces but in a far more disguised manner, more difficult to recognize.

To become aware of the universality or this Movement, to trace its many and varied manifestations throughout the cycles of time and the races of men, is to become cognizant of the fact that our own actions of the present era, or of any other era, are not in vain, and do not stand in history as a single effort unrelated to the past and with but a nebulous future, if any. We are heirs to innumerable similar efforts, custodians of the same truths which inspired generations of men in distant centuries, and are holding the banner for which many suffered and died in the midst of surrounding darkness. This realization goes a long way to inspire and encourage our own work, and to project against a background of universality the little that each one of us may be able to do for the sake of the noble Cause - the ultimate triumph of Truth.

For above all personal concerns and individual needs, above the swirl of human thoughts and emotions, and the shifting phantasmagoria of human events upon the stage of history, stands the enduring reality of Truth towards which all men in all ages have yearned, consciously or dimly, in written or spoken word, or in the inner and inviolate sanctum of their aspirations. Whatever may have been the outer form of their message, or the strange circumstances of their daily lives, their goal has been for ever the same in its broad outline upon the horizon of their noblest hopes. It is a Vision that endures throughout the ages and never wholly fades away. It is a dream that never dies, a dream sustained by the spiritual fires within the heart of man, linked to the Solar Fires, of which man is but a distant spark.


“... the Great Brotherhood of the Masters or Mahatmans is not an arbitrary institution ... but one link in an immense Cosmic Chain of Beings which the ancient Greeks called the Golden Chain of Hermes, or the Hermetic Chain, ... called the Hierarchy of Light or of Compassion. In other words, the Masters are links ... in this Golden Chain of Hermes, and ... their position and work in the world is a natural part of the cosmic structure.” - G. de Purucker, The Esoteric Tradition, p. 934.[5]


Montague A. Machell

“Self-doomed to live through future Kalpas, unthanked and unperceived by man; wedged as a stone with countless other stones which form the ‘Guardian Wall’ built by the hands of many Masters of Compassion, raised by their tortures, by their blood cemented, it shields mankind ...” - The Voice of the Silence.

In that Pattern of Duality that is Life there can be no Light without Darkness, no Bliss without Pain, no Harmony without Discord, no Good without Evil. As the disciple acquires the strength to face this fact and accept it, he is little by little led to ask himself these great questions: “Am I a conscious agent of Light or Darkness, of Good or Evil, a Builder or a Destroyer?” Most of us, it is to be feared, can only answer truthfully “A bit of each!”

Yet, in this world of prevailing mixed motives, of dull whites, pale blacks, tentative good and indifferent evil, it is heartening to remind oneself that there is, and ever has been on this earth a small but portent Brotherhood of Builders - those who have pledged themselves to LIGHT – wholly. Theosophy refers to them as Adepts or Masters of Compassion, since, in their all-consuming solicitude for a humanity too far won over to a Hell of Compromise that leans precariously toward deadly evil, they have chosen the lonely Redeemer’s Path. Refusing the most glorious rewards that Heaven can offer them, they offer themselves as a wall against the tides of Hell. “Wedged as a stone, with countless other stones,” they have flung themselves into the breach, steeped in age-old wisdom, cleansed utterly of personal desire, unacknowledged and unknown to mortal men, that they may shield mankind from greater woes with which the forces of Conscious Evil would involve our present humanity.

One naturally associates with the term “Adept” pictures of dazzling purity, unfathomable wisdom and limitless power, all of which represent actual aspects of these Advanced Souls. But how many of us, I wonder, are capable of picturing the heroic courage, immeasurable endurance and unearthly selflessness that have burned from such as these the last trace of self-thought, self-will, self-desire in pure dedication to the welfare of the race? They are the wall that shields you and me from evil unimaginable. Can we refuse to ask ourselves “Am I worth it?” “Do I appreciate or even comprehend their offering?” “Has it ever occurred to me in thought or act that I might be consciously on their side, if I so willed?”

The wall these Adepts have created is a bastion between conscious Spiritual Growth and Selfish Degradation. To the degree that anyone understands this truth he is challenged to make a conscious choice between Good and Evil, to remind himself that at all times he is either strengthening the wall or undermining it, i.e., he is fulfilling his Spiritual Destiny or betraying it.

Many of us, no doubt, have asked [6] themselves: What can I do for humanity that really matters? The answer might well be: remove from your concept of an Adept every smallest trace of glamour. Forget momentarily their superhuman spiritual stature, their unique and unearthly purity, their celestial valor and impregnable integrity. Burn into your consciousness their eternal yearning to lift something of the titanic load of human indifference and inertia, to lessen same of the opaque blindness and fatal unawareness of humanity. Never mind about the towering peaks of perception and compassion they have scaled or your own hunger to merit the reverence due you, should you achieve similar heights. Rather, let your heart be truly moved by the loneliness and stony inhospitality of the path they tread. Perceive poignantly the unyielding force of destruction that eternally opposes them. Pierce your own heart with the unrelenting agony of the war they wage, so deeply that you come to know that there can be no perfect meaning to life unrelated and unresponsive to the call of these Peers of Spiritual Perception.

The choice made, what you can do counts for far less than the support you can be on unseen, unspoken, spiritual lines, in your selfless willingness to cast all that you are and all that you can be, in support of that Guardian Wall. This is an unearthly, immaterial quest. It has to do with values and relationships of mortality to immortality, of matter to spirit, of illusion to truth. Basically, it is the art or science of perennial spiritual awareness, unwavering identity with the Higher Self that shall lend to the smallest word one utters, one’s most inconsequential act, the power to impart added strength to those divine champions of the human spirit who carry on the fight unseen and unacknowledged.

To accept one’s Theosophy seriously and understandingly is to accept Them. To accept Them is to be with Them, for Them, of Them. To the sincere Theosophist the accolade of spiritual knighthood is to know himself needed, to know himself called. One has but to give a moment’s selfless, percipient thought to these Guardians of the Race, “wedged as a stone with countless other stones,” to form the Guardian Wall, to hear in one’s own heart Their clarion call to build high the bastions against the heartless legions of hell. Unto each of us comes the call: “What you can do, you must do!”

The unfolding of the human spirit, the reaching upward of the everyday personality toward transcendence, is a holy and mysterious manifestation in every human being. Complex, various, inconstant personalities, that we all are, it is frequently hard to tell from what depth a human aspiration springs, and how constant it may prove. Emotion of any kind is an undependable foundation upon which to build a lasting spiritual resurrection, since innumerable counter-emotions are capable of exercising counter-drives of an obviously unspiritual nature. Until the discipline of consciously spiritual discrimination and meditation have confirmed one’s choice of a program of dedicated living, aspiration may still be little more than a straw showing which way the wind blows. And even then, one’s motivation may profit by an utterly honest analysis: Am I seeking attainment of a grand, [7] ultimate reward for me? Is my aim to outshine my neighbor in spiritual lustre? Am I casting an envious eye upon some “spiritual elite”? Has this appealingly handsome revivalist cast the spell of his personal magnetism upon me? These are some of the questions calling for answers in anyone who finds himself in the midst of a mass conversion phenomenon.

Choice of the spiritual life as humanity’s sole release from the emptiness and poverty of everyday living must be born of one’s sense of responsibility to his fellowman - not just for today, not just for an incarnation, but for all time! “To live to benefit mankind is the first step.” To “live” (each must discover for himself) is to achieve the ultimate goal of every life on earth: Spiritual Unfoldment.

To the degree of my constancy and sincerity in this choice, I am strengthening the bastions of the Kingdom of the Spirit for all my fellows - I am a volunteer for The Masters of Compassion!


W. Emmett Small

In his book Memories, Dreams, Reflections* (* Published posthumously, by Pantheon Books, Inc., 22 E. 51st Street, New York, N.Y.), C. G. Jung approaches close to ideas of the Esoteric Philosophy in ruminations concerning the human ego, its after-death state, and what controls its reappearance on earth in three-dimensional existence.

One of his key thoughts is that his self, our self, has several selves. In Eastern philosophy this is called the thread-self, the sutratman.* (* Sanskrit, sutra, thread, and atman, soul or self, philosophically, that invisible yet cohering thread which unites all of a being’s composite parts or principles, as separate beads of a necklace are held together by a thread. It is also considered the thread-self which, so to say, stretches across intervening after-life periods of the Reincarnating Ego, providing continuity, in its successive rebirths.) Jung puts it in this way in recalling a dream he had after an illness in 1944: “My self retires into meditation and meditates my earthly form ... assumes human shape in order to enter three-dimensional existence …” He uses the word ‘meditate’ as a transitive verb, as though by some strange magic the human form is meditated into existence by the power of the invisible self. To what purpose? To pass through, he suggests, “ the experiences of the three-dimensional world, and by greater awareness take a further step toward realization …”

Jung skirts another Eastern concept in the idea of karmic responsibility carried by the ego in its after-death experience into the hereafter. “Somewhere out there there must be a determinant,” he conjectures, “a necessity conditioning the world, which seeks to put an end to the after-death state.”

That determinant, the Theosophist would explain, is the ego itself, what it intrinsically is, what it has made itself through many rebirths, the agglomerate of its energies, thoughts, emotions, created out of itself as an endogenous being in its countless existences. It is these innate forces which [8] thrust him out of the after-death state into earth-existence. Eastern philosophers call this trishna, thirst for life (in its varying forms), and it is closely connected with the life-atoms of the various bodies and selves used by and constituting the complete ego in its former existence. These belong not only to the physical body and the physical plane, but to the ethereal or psychical body of man, and the astral plane only a little less material than the physical; also to the mental and spiritual planes.

What Jung speaks of as his “unconscious prenatal wholeness” is the Spiritual Monad or Ego-part of that Thread-Self and embracing the lesser selves - in which the Human Ego in its after-death state of dream or Devachan rests while that greater self peregrinates through the celestial spheres. This seemingly marvelous mystery is more than hinted at in the Neoplatonic philosophy of Plotinus* (* Enneads, III, iv, 5, Our Guardian Daimon.), the theosophy of the early centuries of our closing Messianic cycle, and even more explicitly in the enunciation of the Ancient Wisdom presented by Blavatsky and de Purucker since the founding of the Theosophical Society in 1875. The various units of the constitution of man, separating at death, experience an after-death condition fitting to their own particular advancement in evolution, ranging from the life-atoms of the material structure of the body, to its finer energies and forces, through the psychical to the mental, spiritual, and divine. Each represents a self actually, a monadic center, which, during the life of the dominant Human Ego, has co-operated (as a council of individuals, so to say, with a unitive purpose) to permit in fullness the Earth-existence of the co-hering ego. Now, set free, they pursue their separate journeys. Yet an invisible bond links them together throughout this period of temporary separation. In each of these disparate selves in degree - as wel1as in the Human Ego in its Devachan - inhere those determinants Jung speaks of which will bring them back into unitive association when each has fulfilled its own after-death experience, and - amazing mystery - the time of reassembly and rebirth will be reached concurrently with the movement of the Human Ego, restless for action, leaving its Devachan and making its reappearance or rebirth as a child on Earth. This mystery involves an understanding of the ancient teaching of the peregrination of the Monad through the seven sacred planets of our Solar System.* (* Cf. G. de Purucker: The Esoteric Tradition, II, Ch. XXIX, Circulations of the Cosmos, particularly Section v, pp. 866-876.)

Jung’s reflections point to that period when the ego eventually has learned life’s earth-lessons. He suggests: “It is possible that any further spell of three-dimensional life would have no more meaning once the soul has reached a certain stage of understanding; it would then no longer have to return, fuller understanding hiving put to rout the desire for re-embodiment. Then the soul would vanish from the three-dimensional world and attain what the Buddhists call Nirvana ...”

Blavatsky supports this idea, but presents a far more complete and [9] satisfying technical explanation of Tibetan and Hindu esoteric eschatology. She points to long cycles of time required to reach that “fuller understanding” which eventually expels all desire for re-embodiment. This is explained in the teachings concerning the passage of the Monad from unselfconscious godspark to conscious oneness with the god within, in the progressive Rounds of the Earth and the 7 Races comprising each Round. Also, it should be remembered, that in the esoteric philosophy Nirvana is not a final end, a blowing out of egoity forever. The Monad emerges from even that unbelievably high state of bliss to continue its purposive existence in relative worlds of matter and form, but, of course, on planes appropriate to its advanced state. The essential idea, however, even if presented sketchily by Jung, is in line with the esoteric philosophy.

Jung also points to a recognized theosophical conclusion: “But if a Karma still remains to be disposed of,” he says, “then the soul relapses again into desires and returns to life once more, perhaps even doing so out of the realization that something remains to be completed.” And he infers that this is his own case, his curiosity to know the reason for existence driving him to reincarnation. For most of us, and for many reincarnations, something will indeed remain to be completed - that main something being the awakening and development of the sleeping divinity within. A long, long journey stretches before us.

As an inquiring scientific philosopher or philosophic scientist, Jung points to no authority but his own reflective mind on these subjects. He had not the advantage of the traditional esoteric teaching handed down from generation to generation of trained seers. It is not surprising, therefore, that the immense cycles of time required by the ego for these “completing” processes spoken of by Brahmanical pandits and recorded in esoteric literature, are not part of his own ruminations. What the ego must experience and endure is not only a process of exhausting karma on one plane and the routing of desire from its very nature. These come about through ethical causation and effect. The human ego is stubborn, almost recalcitrant, in its ability to learn lessons which touch on its spiritual advancement. It is, therefore, subjected to multimyriad experiences in order to learn and grow, to reach the desireless state. But - perhaps one of the most essential ideas of the Esoteric Philosophy which touches on the mechanics as well as the mechanician, method as well as agent - all such experiences are brought about, conditioned, and modified, by the Reimbodying Ego itself, not by an outside extraneous Being. As H. P. B. points out, in describing the third great affirmation of the Secret Doctrine, man is responsible - to himself. * (* The Secret Doctrine, X, 17.)

What is the dream, what is the real? What really are we? The thought has plagued the mind of men for ages. Our own American humorist-philosopher Mark Twain (now considered by [10] many more bitter than Schopenhauer because he refused to sidestep life’s most stark and serious questions, but met them honestly, almost hopelessly, head on) was haunted all his life by the idea.* (* My Platonic Sweetheart; also The Mysterious Stranger.) It is also an ancient Eastern fancy. Are the visible worlds but the dream-appearances of some greater Being? Are they, too, projections thrown on the screen by a magic lantern manipulated by who knows whom or what? Are we but C. G. Jungs dreamed into existence by meditating yogis sitting in quiet meditation before some shrine?

These problems are not as easy to solve as they may seem. All real existence is fundamentally consciousness in some form of evolution, as Eddington and Jeans and other philosopher-scientists of the 1920’s profoundly declared. But consciousness varies infinitely. Perhaps in a generalized way we can truthfully say we are for the moment that aspect of Universal Consciousness·with which for the moment·we have allied ourself - and leave it at that. But in a sense there is not Consciousness; there are only consciousnesses. And all consciousnesses are growing. The great key is not to attach oneself statically to the form used by consciousnesses, no matter how great, but to realize that growth requires ever-changing forms. Mrs. B here on this little, but to her vastly important globe speck, could care very little about the consciousness of the Divine that (as far as she is concerned) doesn’t affect her a whit as she selects her carrots and eggs and bread at the supermarket.

Let the Paramatman look out for itself - I’ve got work to do ! And she’s right - in degree. We are at present very much our human consciousness, and that human in us is, as we know, a blend of many emotions and thinkings, so that even within the human spectrum which we think we know so well, we are not always the same, but shifting continuously like the mercury of a thermometer. Perhaps we are only embryonically human, not fully human yet. Our present job, then, is to know ourselves humanly; the ancient philosophy would say, become more the Manas, the mind, that assures us our humanness. Other steps are ahead; but this is a first step - and mandatory. I think Jung would agree.



We wish to repeat our Announcement of three months ago, to the effect that the subscription price for Theosophia stands now at $2.00 (two dollars) per year. All subscribers whose subscriptions become due from now on, are therefore kindly asked to send us $2.00 when renewing. Thank you. - Editor, Theosophia. [11]


H. P. Blavatsky

Psychology has no worse enemies than the medical school denominated allopathists. It is in vain to remind them that of the so-called exact sciences, medicine, confessedly, least deserves the name. Although of all branches of medical knowledge, psychology ought more than any other to be studied by physicians, since without its help their practice degenerates into mere guess-work and chance-intuitions, they almost wholly neglect it. The least dissent from their promulgated doctrines is resented as a heresy, and though an unpopular and unrecognized curative method should be shown to save thousands, they seem, as a body, disposed to cling to accepted hypotheses and prescriptions, and decry both innovator and innovation until they get the mint-stamp of regularity. Thousands of unlucky patients may die meanwhile, but so long as professional honor is vindicated, this is a matter of secondary importance. - Isis Unveiled, Vol. I, p. 88.

It is simply ridiculous and absurd to require from every investigator who comes forward as a witness to the marvels of the day and psychological phenomena the diploma of a master of arts and sciences. The experience of the past forty years is an evidence that it is not always the minds which are the most “scientifically trained” that are the best in matters of simple common sense and honest truth. Nothing blinds like fanaticism, or a one-sided view of a question. - ditto, Vol. I, pp. 221-22.

The universal ether was not, in their [the ancients’] eyes, simply a something stretching, tenantless, throughout the expanse of heaven; it was a boundless ocean peopled like our familiar seas with monstrous and minor creatures, and having in its every molecule the germs of life. Like the finny tribes which swarm in our oceans and smaller bodies of water, each kind having its habitat in same spot to which it is curiously adapted, some friendly and some inimical to man, some pleasant and some frightful to behold, some seeking the refuge of quiet nooks and land-lacked harbors, and some traversing great areas of water, the various races of the elemental spirits were believed by them to inhabit the different portions of the great ethereal ocean, and to be exactly adapted to their respective conditions. If we will only bear in mind the fact that the rushing of planets through space must create as absolute a disturbance in this plastic and attenuated medium, as the passage of a cannon shot does in the air or that of a steamer in the water, and on a cosmic scale, we can understand that certain planetary aspects, admitting our premises to be true, may produce much more violent agitation and cause much stronger currents to flow in a given direction, than others. With the same premises conceded, we may also see why, by such various aspects of the [12] stars, shoals of friendly or hostile “elementals” might be poured in upon our atmosphere, or some particular portion of it, and make the fact appreciable by the effects which ensue. - ditto, Vol. I, pp. 234-35.

From the remotest antiquity mankind as a whole has always been convinced of the existence of a personal spiritual entity within the personal physical man. This inner entity was more or less divine, according to its proximity to the crown - Christos. The closer the union, the more serene man’s destiny, the less dangerous the external conditions. This belief is neither bigotry nor superstition, only an ever-present, instinctive feeling of the proximity of another spiritual and invisible world, which, though it be subjective to the senses of the outward man, is perfectly objective to the inner ego. - ditto, Vol. II, p. 593.

The keys to the Biblical miracles of old, and to the phenomena of modern days; the problems of psychology, physiology, and the many “missing links” which have so perplexed scientists of late, are all in the hands of secret fraternities. This mystery must be unveiled some day. But till then dark skepticism will constantly interpose its threatening, ugly, shadow between God’s truths and the spiritual vision of mankind; and many are those who, infected by the mortal epidemic of our century - hopeless materialism - will remain in doubt and mortal agony as to whether, when man dies, he will live again, although the question has been solved by long bygone generations of sages. The answers are there. They may be found on the time-worn granite pages of cave-temples, on sphinxes, propylons, and obelisks. They have stood there for untold ages, and neither the rude assault of time, nor the still ruder assault of Christian hands, have succeeded in obliterating their records. All covered with the problems which were solved - who can tell? perhaps by the archaic forefathers of their builders - the solution follows each question; and this the Christian could not appropriate, for, except the initiates, no one has understood the mystic writing. The key was in the keeping of those who knew how to commune with the invisible Presence, and who had received, from the lips of mother Nature herself, her grand truths. And so stand these monuments like mute forgotten sentinels on the threshold of that unseen world, whose gates are thrown open but to a few elects.

Defying the hand of Time, the vain inquiry of profane science, the insults of the revealed religions, they will disclose their riddles to none but the legatees of those by whom they were entrusted with the MYSTERY. The cold, stony lips of the once vocal Memmon, and of these hardy sphinxes, keep their secrets well. Who will unseal them? Who of our modern, materialistic dwarfs and unbelieving Sadducees will dare to lift the VEIL OF ISIS? - ditto, Vol. I, p. 573. [13]


G. White Hickerson

It is always difficult to know whether any kind of explanation is better, or worse, than none at all - or whether what one might consider an explanation, is so to another. This, no doubt, arises because of the wide difference in experience which may be associated with any word, as a symbol. So that come well intentioned writings remain unrealistic, no matter how sincere the attempt of the writer.

If one can imagine it, one might say that an incredible situation sometimes exists wherein it seems apparent that there is a need to defend one’s self against the best intentions and motives of those who wish only for one’s own good. And this makes the task of explaining even more difficult.

Every philosophical student who is not one of the ephemeral enquirers, must sooner or later have come to this impasse, so the situation is not unique. Nevertheless, it is not easy to handle.

Trying to set down the dilemma in words may not be of much help, and may even lay one open to more ridicule, but at the same time it may also act as a sort of mental astringent in helping to clarify one’s own thoughts.

When, after many years of disciplined life of study and work, one is suddenly faced with a series of karmic happenstances, he is likely to lose perspective, unless he, or she, can realize the truism that the “block” of “karma” must fall, sooner or later, on all sincere people who undertake the work earnestly. But even the mental acceptance, and perhaps a somewhat unclear realization of the essential fact doesn’t prepare the individual for the emotional shocks which follow.

Then, in taking a long, close look at one’s self - objectively, which is never easy - one begins to pick up the threads, and see which way one really wants to go ...

In the interim, the best wishes and good intentions, as well as the advice of well-wishers are offered and sometimes almost forced upon one.

This pressure, when one looks steadily at it, is one of the marks of NOT-knowledge - because along the path of soul unfoldment it has always been the burden of the pilgrim or enquirer, to seek - and the privilege of his instructor only to point the way by which the enquirer may obtain knowledge for himself.

Anything less is hearsay. Even the misinterpretation and poorly taught doctrine of the “Second Covenant” - if, but an illustration of the fact of this age-old stipulation. Just as the only “vicarious atonement” acceptable according to all justly transmitted teachings, is the sacrifice of one’s personal desires, and all his lower nature, to the HIGHER SELF, the SELF of one being the SELF of all, and a ray of the first principle, or Divinity - thus the only knowledgeable UNION with GOD, or CHRIST.

Once in a while, in the process of revaluation, a student might be tempted to consider, here and there, some of the proffered “escapes,” either mentally, or physically, such as trips to lonely places of quiet beauty where one may contemplate Nature, or [14] some completely innocent, yet frivolous revelry, or he might even be curious enough to permit his mind to contemplate the idea of the wonderous presentment of the possibility of ALL KNOWLEDGE and POWER suddenly being “bestowed” upon him.

He may have considered these outlets as needs, like some sort of escape-valve to let out excess tensions, like built-up steam. But it appears to be altogether too easy to permit what one might consider a momentary need to become an actual wish, and the wish to become a desire to continue the path of least resistance - that of satisfying long subdued personal desires.

But again, where he really wishes to go may not be apparent, and most certainly not likely to be understood fully by himself, and, no doubt, not understood at all by his well-wishers.

Perhaps it could be put this way: Once a realization of sorts has struck fire in the inner compartments of one’s consciousness, this light is never quenched (even though it may be covered up for a time), and the flash creates a magnetic center which ever draw’s the mind and heart of the enquirer in the direction of a way of life which may lead to the uncovering of the eternal verities, so that the pilgrim soul may have a “modus operandi” which is tested and true.

Such a one finds that a course has been set (whether in this, or in some former incarnation) - set in the direction of the unfolding of the possibilities of the soul, rather than any purely mental, physical, emotional, or even so-called spiritual pursuit. And even though surrounded by the daily routines of duty and of family life, and even dulled by physical fatigue and mental lethargy, still there is that inner voice which speaks and the light that shows from time to time - to indicate that the way is still open. For, it is said, that once this inner way has been opened, even a little, it is never fully closed to him thereafter, and that he may return again to the path, even though ages should intervene.

Maybe, then, as some have experienced, after many years, one finds himself, or herself, free from immediate and pressing duties - and free also (if one is able to live a disciplined life) from the need to earn daily bread.

It would appear that this could actually be a fruition of the soul’s demand to be shown the way - after having been willing to make the sacrifices which lead to it.

And having fulfilled, apparently, some few of the requirements, one is then faced with a many-sided choice: Freedom. At last, freedom to do as one pleases! But what does one please?

To accept freedom when it has been purchased with sacrifice, and to use it for one’s personal enjoyment looks as if it might be the way to loss of all the effort thus far expended, besides being a form of moral hypocrisy, intolerable to live with, especially if part of the new freedom was also provided by the sacrifice of one now gone.

This is not to say that enjoyment may not be accepted when it comes about in a natural way, spontaneously, so to speak - but to seek enjoyment as an end in itself (even if as an excuse for relaxation) appears to be confusing the issues. That is to say, relaxation and enjoyment as an actual need, either for one’s own sake or for the [15] sake of another - is not to be confused with the pursuit of enjoyment as an end in itself.

There is another area of conflict which arises in the mind of the student. What about the personalities one has met in the work - and found wanting? Even among those dedicated? Who is to judge? Each one is faced with the same decision, and each will have to bear the karmic results of his own judgment of himself, and of eternal justice when the hour shall strike. If such have happened to serve as “karmic agents” in one’s discipline, is something each one must deal with himself, as far as the lesson is concerned.

The hour of “loneliness” comes upon each one who goes this way. Those about him wish to help with all their hearts - except, they do not wish to share the companionship of the hard discipline of the philosopher’s path. They wish, instead, that you shall share with them gifts of bounty, but refuse to accept the genuine philosophic explanation which you believe you must offer and regard with curiosity your “peculiar” dedication. But this is not “companionship.”

The only real companionship for such a one can be found on that harder path, where, because of the pursuit of the inner way, which each one so walking knows for himself - there exists a genuine bond of fellowship.

He would, then, with all his heart, wish for and hope that the many friends and well-wishers who would have him share hours of time with them, could know the actual inner peace of this other path - a path which is at the same time no-place, but every-place. A path which for a brief time he may have tried to ignore, but found he could not, because of the anguish produced amongst his component parts, or bodies.

This path is not a visible one. It cannot be attained by any physical means. Nor can its actuality be “bestowed” by faith or favor, or even power. This peculiar “glimpse” may be what some people mean when they are sure they have obtained a Divine Revelation. But lacking anything but “belief” and “faith,” this glimpse is misconstrued even though it may be actual.

Some believe they are an instrument through which an aspect of Divine Spirit, sometimes called Christ, moves. It may be so. But it is no substitute for philosophic discipline in the Science of the Soul, which is an exacting process, and must be self-controlled by a self-moving unit. This sort of discipline is not “revelation,” but a determined progress on the path of enlightenment.

What it actually is, only the traveller on this path can really know, and he has no way of communicating it, except to point the way which others have trodden before. It has been said that “they who KNOW, say not - and they who say, know not.” [16]


Collected Writings

January through June, 1888.
Large Octavo; xxx, 487 pages; illustrated and with copious Index. Bound in cloth.
Published by THE THEOSOPHICAL PUBLISHING HOUSE, Adyar, Madras 20, India.

This volume contains a number of important articles the intrinsic value of which has in no way diminished through the years. The student interested in finding out what H. P. B. has to say on Theosophy and Jesuitism, on the basis of Practical Occultism, on the inter-relationship of occultism and the Occult Arts, on the Esoteric Background of the Christian story, on the nature of the Life-Principle, or the good that Theosophy has done to India, should read this volume. H. P. B.’s writings of 1888 are in “high gear” as it were, and she deals in a masterly way with a variety of subjects. The volume contains biographical sketches of some of the early workers, such as the Keightleys, Dr. Kingsford, Don Jose Xifre, Charles Johnston and others, and a number of rare portraits.
To quote the words of N. Sri Ram, President of The Theosophical Society (Adyar): “I feel that every Lodge throughout the world would do well to have a copy ... of all the volumes of the Collected Writings ... the money spent on these volumes would be wisely spent ...”

PRICE: $7.50.
Other Volumes available: Vol. V (1883) - $6.00; Vol. VI (1883-85) -$5.00; Vol. VII (1886-87) - $8.00; Vol VIII (1887) - $7.00.