A Living Philosophy For Humanity

Volume XX
No. 3 (97) - Winter 1963-1964

[Cover photo: The Char-Minar, Hyderabad, India. (From an old engraving.)]


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: $2.00 a year (four issues); single copy 50 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.



“Unless we develop a loyalty to the human race as a whole, we shan’t survive.” - Arnold Toynbee.

“There will come a time when the world will look back to modern vivisection in the name of science as they do now to burning at the stake in the name of religion.” - Dr. Henry J. Bigelow, Late Prof. of Surgery, Harvard Medical School.

“If a man will begin with certainties, he shall end in doubts; but if he will be content to begin with doubts, he shall end in certainties.” - Francis Bacon.

“The Practical Theosophist will do well if he follows the advice of the Masters now many years in print, to spread, explain and illustrate the laws of Karma and Reincarnation so that they may enter into the lives of the people. Technical occultism and all the allurements of the Astral Light may be left for other times. Men’s thoughts must be affected, and this can only be done now by giving them these two great laws. They not only explain many things, but they have also an inherent power due to their truth and their intimate connection with man, to compel attention. Once heard they are seldom forgotten, and even if rebelled against they have a mysterious power of keeping in the man’s mind, until at last, even against his first determination, he is forced to accept them ... Teach, preach, and practice this good law for the benefit of the world, even as all the Buddhas do.” - W. Q. Judge, The Path, July, 1890. [3]


Boris de Zirkoff

The perennial challenge of the New Year is facing us again.

In the outer world of human affairs, objectives and strivings, a powerful trend for Unification manifests itself everywhere. Leaders in the fields of Science, Philosophy and organized Religion, sick and tired of the age-old contentions and wranglings, attempt to bridge over their differences and to enter into an era of mutual understanding and respect. This trend is a mounting tide and is one of the best signs of the times.

The Theosophical Movement throughout the world should be in the vanguard of this trend. Is it? It should provide new impetus to the rising tide, and offer ideas and ideals universal enough, and powerful enough, to be caught by the most intuitive among the leaders of the world. Does it do this, and is it able to do so?

Based “upon the broad Humanitarian principle of Universal Brotherhood,” and intended to be “a Philosophical School constituted on the ancient Hermetic basis,” if the voice of its original Founders is to be heeded, the organized Movement should be in the very vanguard of all the truly spiritual movements of the day, in a period of history when Gnostic trends of centuries ago are reasserting themselves in various parts of the Occidental world.

But the truth is that the organized Theosophical Movement does not play this leading role upon the stage of modern history, and does not command the respect of leading thinkers. Why is this the case?

There are many reasons for it. First of all, the Movement is not unified. It is fragmented and divided into factions and mutually suspicious camps. Preaching Universal Fraternity, it nevertheless presents no unified front even to its own workers and students, and therefore it does not have any unified program of action or show a concerted effort towards a specific goal.

Another reason is that the original objectives on which the Theosophical Society was founded have been largely set aside to the advantage of secondary purposes, good in themselves, but irrelevant when viewed from a vaster viewpoint. The various bodies within the overall Movement have temporized and often fraternized with other schools of thought and entrenched sects which the original Founders of the Society fought with all the weapons at their command. Brotherhood has been only too often misconstrued to be an alleged injunction for “peaceful co-existence” with disruptive psychological and intellectual forces dedicated to the enslavement of men’s minds.

Another important reason for the situation is the fact that the basic teachings of the Esoteric Philosophy, for the dissemination of which the original Society was founded, have been superseded in various parts of the organized Movement by numerous quasi-spiritualistic beliefs, fanciful theories and deceptive stories originated by self-deluded psychics and mediumistically inclined students whose pronouncements have been accepted on blind faith. A vast literature has sprung up in support of these psychic theories [4] and pseudo-occult imaginings, a literature which has brought into the ranks of the Society scores of occult addicts, utterly ignorant of the fundamental principles of Theosophy and knowing nothing of the real objectives of the Founders.

It is high time to clean our own Augean Stables! It may be later than we think! And it is a question in the minds of many serious students whether the Theosophical Society, in its several present day factions, can ever regain the position of leadership in the world of thought and command the respect of the leading thinkers of the day. There can be no question, however, that only a supreme and sustained effort on the part of its finest workers and students can ever achieve it, and this will call for self-abnegation, unshakable resistance to organized opposition, and a quality of inspiration which is not often met with. If such men and women exist within the Society, the process of purification and synthesis may succeed.

The Movement must be reappraised from its very foundation. Leading students throughout the far-flung Theosophical Organizations should ask themselves whether the ideas and principles they stand for and profess, actually are those which animated and motivated the original Founders and Those who stood back of them. Some wholesome doubt and some misgivings along this line may not be out of place at times.

The teachings propounded in printed literature and from the public platform should be reappraised also. Are they in line with the basic principles which are not only the foundation-stones of the present day Movement, but the very substance and fabric of that Movement throughout the ages? To what extent have these basic teachings been set aside, and to what extent have quasi-spiritualistic views and subtle mediumship taken over? Analyse the teachings, ask yourselves candid questions, embarrassing questions, unwelcome questions! Welcome such questions from others whose minds are disturbed, whose souls are disquieted, but who themselves are dedicated workers in the ranks!

It is an important fact, and a welcome one, that there exists already a widespread dissatisfaction with existing conditions in many parts of the organized Movement, and many doubts as to whether the Ship of State may not have been off course for many years past. A tide of doubt has been rising among certain students, and many minds have turned to the study of the original sources of Theosophic inspiration, to compare them with other teachings which have grown up here and there through the years. It is to be hoped that this inquiry will not only continue, but become insistent in its demands for a change. The Movement can only gain thereby; it has nothing to lose.

And this is our New Year’s wish to all the workers and students in the Theosophical Movement, irrespective of organizations, factions or sects: seek within the inspiration of the early days! Rise in thought and feeling to the sublime heights of the original ideals! Claim by selflessness, dedication and service the help of Those who watch over the tides of life as they ebb and flow upon the sands of Time! [5]


Montague A. Machell

Our birth is but a sleep and a forgetting:
The Soul that rises with us, our life’s Star,
Hath had elsewhere its setting,
And cometh from afar.

This individual I call “ME” - this body with its moods, sensations, plans, desires, ideas, appetites, convictions, prejudices and delights - is such an ever present reality that I may surely be forgiven for having become more or less identified with it. There is no denying that, of all the things and people on this earth, it is the person with whom I am most intimately acquainted.

Having attained or passed the age of seventy-five years, if I am still rational, and have all my wits about me, I am faced with the fact that the most significant event I can now look forward to in my life is - my death! It may come today, tomorrow, next month, some years hence; but come it will. And when it comes it is going to affect this ME somewhat drastically; too drastically, in fact, to justify my “brushing it off” at this time as a simple irrelevancy. It is fairly certain that it will be the last “irrelevancy” I shall be permitted to “brush off” for some time to come.

Should I claim to be able to take death in my stride, neither anticipating it with any disquietude, nor according it complete finality - a claim any enlightened Theosophist must be able to make - then I must in actuality be lord of Two Worlds, of the Here and the Hereafter.

This is a large order, the fulfillment of which calls for life-times of conscious dedication. Dedication to what? To a ME that tends to be eternally pushed around, superseded and rendered unrecognizable by this earthly ME I live with and honor with perennial precedence. Until I can be suddenly parted from this three-meals-a-day, self-adoring, acquisitive, egotistic, material-minded, Time-shackled ME - accepting the separation with a degree of dignified, intelligent relief, I have not won my right to the Double Crown of Life and Death.

He who wears the Double Crown of the Two Kingdoms must be a wise ruler, perfectly understanding the needs and nature of his subjects in each. Even though he forsee in the Hereafter the splendor, wisdom, beauty and deathless worth pertaining to the site of his Eternal Capital, he must still rule the Lower Kingdom with wisdom, forbearance, justice and love, since it is from this Kingdom that must come the enlightened princes and potentates of the Eternal Capital. Moreover, the Will of THE ONE is the law of both Kingdoms, and he who would become a worthy subject to the Upper Kingdom must return to the Lower again and again to attend to the task of purification and the acquirement of wisdom. A scholar he is, and a scholar he remains, until this earthly ME has become illumined with the Heavenly God. Meanwhile, the classrooms of countless incarnations offer him the lessons that must ultimately transform the blind, greedy ME of earthly Time into the Lord of Eternity. [6]

This is more than a mere figure of speech. If, as it seems to me, the ultimate definition of Culture is a Capacity for Universal Values, and if a broadening “civilization” is measured by mortal man’s restiveness in the presence of the commonplace, the obvious and the immediate, then one of the primary lessons of the Lower Kingdom is an understanding of Time as, not a reality, but a state of mind (this earthly mind). The Lord of the Upper Kingdom is immortal. He is immortal because the Law of his Kingdom is Eternal Law, applicable alone to the Eternal Self. This mortal ME, momentarily a hostage to Time, is beguiled by the goals of Time - goals that can be encompassed in less than a hundred years on earth - the imagined “life-time” of the lesser ME. Yet the Immortal ME is not merely native to a vaster sphere, but is destined to badger, disturb and torture this transient Mortal with aspirations towards Its own limitless destinies, until, in sheer self- defence, the Mortal, seeks to crash the artificial gates of Time and break into the boundless spaces of the Soul’s immortality. This, in fact, is what life is all about - breaking the chains of an artificial state of mind. To the Lord of the Double Crown all real living is a willing confrontation of Eternal Values, an evaluation of the things of Time as aspects of Eternity. He alone, who has risen to the level of this divine perspective has made a first approach to “Everyday Immortality.”

From this standpoint, death is but an incident in the vaster drama of spiritual unfoldment. This immature and inadequate mortal ME is not even completely equipped to endure the mortality it loves so dearly. Seventy or eighty years of it is about as much as it can take, before death permits it a “breather.”

At death, Theosophy declares, in a sphere of pure serenity and sweetness, the incarnating Self, momentarily relieved of its physical embarrassment, enjoys complete repose, enriched by as much selfless ideality as it has aspired to in the last embodiment. This might be regarded as a foretaste of the Upper Kingdom , a chance momentarily to slake the soul’s thirst for immortality. According to the richness and completeness of this revitalizing respite called “death,” will be the promise and potential of the new incarnation.

Not in entire forgetfulness,
And not in utter nakedness,
But, trailing clouds of glory

do we return from Devachan - the Hour of Repose between classes.

Anyone who can make this viewpoint on life and death a part of his inmost consciousness, stands a chance of investing the experiences and obligations of the mortal ME with a degree of dignity, of enduring significance. Theosophy calls this “making every action an offering to the Supreme.” This, incidentally, is an enlightened way of double-crossing Time. This mortal ME, cosily ensconced in the things of Time, tends to heed most readily the desires and inducements of its temporal nature (of “life,” so-called, as opposed to “death” - so-called). But the moment this ME becomes so absent-minded as to allow the Lord of the Two Kingdoms to take over, then, at once, there steals into the life a note of “beyond-death”-ness - a gesture on the part of Immortal Reality that is untainted by ego! [7]

This, it would seem, is one meaning of Spiritual Living, of Everyday Immortality, that alone can accept the change called Death with understanding, fearless dignity. I see nothing wildly fanatical in seeking to associate “gracious dying” with “gracious living.” The former is dependent upon values far more enduring than the latter! These values are destined to become the lovely, uninterrupted undertone of everyday existence until one reaches the point where he can declare with complete conviction: “THERE IS ONLY ONE LIFE!” Then, and then only, is this glorified mortal fit to wear the Double Crown. Having transcended the illusion of mortal Time, he has begun to achieve EVERYDAY IMMORTALITY.


L. Gordon Plummer

[Excerpts from an unpublished MS, entitled Theosophy in a Modern World.]

It is said that Socrates once drew a circle in the sand, saying: “The minds of little men move in little circles. The minds of great men move in greater circles. The minds of the Gods move in circles so vast that we cannot see the circle. The circumference has become a straight line.”

Here is a fitting keynote with which to open your lesson. Imagine if you will, that each one of us may be represented by a circle. Within the circle is all that we know. Without the circle is that boundless Unknown which we cannot grasp but the existence of which we sense. The circumference of the circle, the frontier of our knowledge, is the measure of our growth. It is likewise the measure of our awareness of the existence of the unknown. A man of small intellect is barely aware of the profundity of his ignorance. A man of eager mind who can grasp concepts of thought utterly beyond the average is the more humble, because he is more aware of the limitless extent of the unk1nown. The circumference of his circle, his horizon of thought, is so much vaster and for that reason he stands in reverent awe before the presence of the Unknown.

This illustration need not be limited to the mind alone. If the mysterious workings of the human body and brain are so marvelous that our best scientists and medical men are forced to admit that so little is really understood, how much more marvelous is the structure and functioning of the inner man. That which we can see and observe with the help of the tools of modern science is but the outer vehicle of the real entity. There is probably no mystery greater than that of human consciousness and an inquiry into the nature of man will lead us along the road to high adventure - adventure of the mind and adventure of the spirit. In the largest sense then, we may take the circle to represent the whole man, the degree of growth attained by the consciousness of the man. This becomes the “Ring-Pass-Not,” familiar to students of The Secret Doctrine. This refers to the ultimate limits of understanding that are possible to any individual by reason of his place in evolution.

The meaning of the words “limits [8] of understanding” involves far more than mere academic knowledge. It involves the ability to experience the happenings and adventures of the spirit that are possible because of our kinship with the Divine. Religion, it may be said, is Man’s effort to establish his relationship with the Divine. So long as man is man, this relationship may be achieved and understood up to a point only. Up to this point then, his inner faculties and powers are capable of development and great indeed are the possibilities. But beyond this point he cannot go, and remain Man. This is his Ring-Pass-Not. Only as something higher than Man can he extend the Ring. Then, to our untrained eyes, like the circle of the Gods, his circumference will disappear and will seem to stretch out infinitely as a straight line.

* * *

Life is so full of lessons that it becomes a great text book. Wherever we choose to look, we may find pointers to great truths and the study of life becomes a great adventure. Who would expect to find a lesson in so familiar an object as a phonograph? But right here we can find a most interesting one. As I am writing these words, there is a background of music in my home. The phonograph is playing the Symphony in E Minor, by Sibelius. It was recorded by the London Philharmonic Orchestra, Sir Thomas Beecham conducting. Let us see just what is happening. The microscopic needle-point is following a highly complex groove and the vibrations imparted to the needle generate an electric current in the cartridge which is amplified so that it can actuate the voice coil in the speaker. The speaker cone then sets the air in motion and the ear, translating this motion in terms of sound, hears a faithful reproduction of the orchestra that has played at some time in the past and perhaps many hundreds of miles from my home. This is stating the case in the simplest possible terms, and yet in this incomplete account of what is taking place, we see the beginning of an adventure in imagination and reasoning.

Imagine yourself in the great hall where the London Philharmonic Orchestra is playing. Consider first the equipment and furnishings of the hall itself, costing perhaps several millions of dollars. Then think of the equipment of the orchestra alone. Each musician has a finely-made instrument which represents the acme of the craftsman’s art. Consider the nature of sound and the application of its laws, enabling the craftsmen to make the instruments of the highest quality. A mastery of these laws is necessary in order to understand fully what gives each instrument its characteristic sound.

Now consider the musicians themselves. Think of the years of practice that enable each one of them to qualify for a place in a fine orchestra. Think of each one as a human being, not merely as a medium for producing a harmonious rendition of a symphony.

Then think of the conductor. It is upon his interpretation of the musical composition that the ultimate rendition depends. Then send your mind back to the composer. Try to understand the inspiration that produced the well-loved symphonies. The composer may have died years ago but the inspiration lives on and may be shared by every listener.

Now, all of this was recorded and [9] impressed upon the disc that we place upon our phonograph. All of the overtones and undertones that build up the musical timbre of each instrument are recorded, and if you would like to think that there are one hundred members of the orchestra, the complexity of vibrations defies the scope of our minds, yet it is all brought down to one wavy line, spiraling round and round on the surface of the record. This groove represents the algebraic sum of everyone of the vibratory impulses sent out by the orchestra; and the needle of the phonograph, in following the groove, recreates all the complexity of vibration, so that we hear the reproduction of everyone of the musical instruments, playing the melodies and counter-melodies and accompaniments. And in a more subtle sense, all those other factors that we mentioned, the skill of the craftsmen, the musical skill of the members of the orchestra, and the understanding and interpretation on the part of the conductor, as well as the inspiration of the composer, are all represented at the needle point.

It is hardly necessary for me to point out where all this is leading. Obviously, the needle point is to be taken as representing the inmost consciousness of Man, tracing his evolutionary pathway through time and space. All of the marvelous complexities of universal life, seen and tangible as well as unseen and intangible, are at the needle point of Man’s consciousness. So each one of us reproduces within himself all that the universe is. That is why there is no mystery to be compared to that of consciousness.

* * *

Let us imagine that we have traveled to a distant country and that we have come in order to admire the beauty of a great building made of white marble, and that we are deeply moved by its graceful lines and symmetry. As we approach, we see that the walls are intricately carved, and that the long sweeping lines of the designs cover the entire area of the walls. Many blocks of marble may be included within the pattern of a single leaf.

On close examination we notice that there is an ant crawling over one of the blocks. It follows the carved line, but does not go beyond the boundary between its block and those surrounding it. Back and forth it wanders, following the lines that cross its block but having no concept of the design. It is completely incapable of stepping back for an over-all view. We, however, have only to withdraw a few yards and we see at once the pattern; and stepping back farther still, we see the whole building, although we may well have lost sight of the individual blocks.

How similar is the case of so many of us as we pursue our daily rounds in this strenuous earth-life. We follow certain limited lines of effort, and we follow the same pattern over and over again, little suspecting that there is a greater pattern of which our lives form only a little part. At the most we cannot even conceive of the pattern, much less can we understand it.

But, unlike the ant which is incapable of the larger view, we can step back and gain a different perspective. We can understand, to a degree at least, the plan of the universe as a whole, and when we attempt to do this, the smaller gamut of our lives [10] fits into place, and we see it in its correct relationship to the whole.

Philosophical ideas, rightly studied, help to give us this broader view. Let us take, for example, the subject of reincarnation. It is pointless to argue about such a controversial matter. From the close view we are obviously bound within the limits of the one life. But we can ask ourselves whether or not a process such as reincarnation fills a need of human consciousness. If it does, it must be an aspect of a universal law that operates wherever there are intelligent beings. This is the only basis on which it may be accepted. We must study reincarnation as a universal law. This involves stepping back for the larger view.

Then there is the matter of religion. It is pointless to argue about creeds and dogmas. We can, however, ponder over that instinctive yearning most of us have for divine guidance. If this is a general human need, then it must be a need that is felt by intelligent beings wherever they may exist, whether on this earth or in the farthest galaxy. Ideas may vary as to the manner in which such guidance is accomplished, but the principle is universal; and basic principles stand upon their own merit. We can grasp these principles by one method alone; we must stand back and acquire the larger view. How else can we grow?

As a further step in this line of thought, can we not say: it is completely impossible to understand the nature of man until we have grasped in a general outline at least, the nature of the universe. But, paradoxically, it must be said that it is completely impossible to understand the true nature of the universe until we have grasped, in general outline at least, the nature of man. The two must provide parallel lines of study; neither can stand alone.

* * *

Has it ever occurred to you that we are so dependent upon one another that it is utterly impossible for anyone to live for himself alone? Let us follow an imaginary human being through the main events of a single day. He is an average man with an average family living an average life. His house, an average home, was built by many hands. There were the carpenters, the plumbers, the electricians, the painters and so on, all of whom used materials and tools that were made by hundreds of people. So the man rises, and puts on clothes that were made not by dozens of people but, if you wish to investigate the sources of the materials of which his clothes are made, you must count the persons involved by the hundreds. And so he and his family sit down to breakfast. Consider the places, scattered widely over the globe, from which the foods came. The coffee from Java, perhaps; the fruit from Arizona ; the eggs from Southern California . His breakfast cereal may have been made from wheat grown in Iowa . He reads the morning paper. There again, more hundreds of hands were responsible for the collecting of the news, editing and arranging the text, and the actual printing and delivery of the paper to his home. Then, as he reads, he is thinking in a manner similar to that of thousands of readers who are also glancing at the morning paper. So, although his day is barely begun, he has been in indirect touch with thousands, perhaps hundreds of thousands of people. It might be tiresome to follow him through the entire [11] day, and we could not do so, without also following the progress of his children through school, and recognizing that thousands more are involved in the educational system that is at the service of these youngsters.

* * *

The sum and substance of it all is that, whether we like it or not, our lives are inseparably linked with the lives of our fellowmen, and that this interdependence is indifferent to barriers of race, custom or creed. And once we are able to grasp the meaning of this, and its implications, is it too difficult a step to take, to carry our thinking still further, and consider that our earth-life, with all of its social structure is but a counterpart of the life of the Cosmic Consciousness which is behind all things? Is it too far-fetched to think that there are intelligences within the universe, living, learning and growing in the invisible, yet far more real departments of Nature, and that their lives must necessarily be filled with activities of all kinds? Could it not be that they seek the appropriate means or gaining experience and development in keeping with their own ways of life? Is it not also possible to consider that, just as we have discovered that each one of us is dependent upon the human race as a whole, there might well he a dependence upon other races of beings in the universe, albeit unknown to us, and that perhaps they depend upon us as well?

If these ideas make sense, then do we not gain a new understanding of the term “Universal Brotherhood”? For it means just what it implies: not a fellowship within a family group alone, nor in a nation alone, nor in a group of nations, nor even on a mundial scale, but that it is universal in its scope. And it would appear that a true understanding of the meaning and scope of Universal Brotherhood would establish lines of study and awareness reaching out into the depths of space, bringing to us a sense of kinship with the stars themselves, and with life wherever it may be. These thoughts give to living a sense of high adventure.



History shows that United States Presidents elected at 20-year intervals in zero-ending years die in office:

1840 - William Henry Harrison.
1860 - Abraham Lincoln.
1880 - James A. Garfield.
1900 - William McKinley.
1920 - Warren G. Harding.
1940 - Franklin D. Roosevelt.
1960 - John F. Kennedy.

While four of these have been assassinated, it has been rumored that others have died an unnatural death. The years mentioned above are in very close proximity to successive conjunctions of the planets Jupiter and Saturn in Earthy Signs of the Zodiac.
Another “Coincidence:” during recent sad events, President Kennedy was riding in a Lincoln car; it was manufactured by Ford Motor Co.; Abraham Lincoln was assassinated in the Ford Theatre; and both Lincoln and Kennedy were followed by a President named Johnson! Curious, isn’t it? [12]


Jasper Niemand

[From The Irish Theosophist, Vol. III, May, 1895.]

COMRADES, - One of the first questions which meets us upon this path of ours is the question of right action. Into the many details of this question we will not at present enter, but we will occupy ourselves with one aspect only, to wit:

How shall we learn to discover and to encourage that Intuition which alone leads to right action?

Now there are three phases of consciousness which students are prone to confuse with a fourth, which is Intuition. These three are Intellect, Impulse and Instinct. What we require is some clear idea of the distinction between these and the Intuition. With Intellect it is easy to deal, for we readily distinguish its action in the reasoning faculty. Intellect has so little in common with Intuition that no danger of confusion arises here. To study, to reason, to debate, to analyze, to think in detail - all this is not Intuition and we are in no danger of mistake.

A real difficulty arises when we come to Impulse. Very many students mistake their impulses for intuitions. Yet the distinction is really very marked.

Intuition is the synthesizing faculty carried to its highest power. Facts are marshalled and synthesized in a flash; their array passes too rapidly for the brain consciousness to take note of separately; it notes the sum total alone, as the optic nerve sees the ray of light only when it becomes objective and so to say - stationary, and not during its long journey towards the eye nor in its many millions of vibrations. The Intuition is Buddhi- Manas. It synthesizes and perceives. Also it informs. Very often its light falls upon some truth of which in this life we had no previous knowledge, for Intuition gazes directly upon the Real. It is, in fact, itself a ray of the One Light, and one of its highest aspects is, as you know, the Kundalini force. But to·day we are only dealing with that form of Intuition which the ordinary man and woman can trace in themselves.

The distinguishing trait of Impulse is an interior propulsion towards action. It differs from Intuition in that this is a seeing, is apperception, while Impulse is invariably a desire to do. Impulse is wholly kamic.

Instinct, on the contrary, is largely pranic. It is the interior selective faculty. By it the lower mind takes what the physical and animal self needs in life. By it the cells on their plane select, reject, assimilate. By it the creatures live, move and procreate. From its action comes the automatic self-preservation which we notice even in states of unconsciousness. By its action also does the astral or vital body of all creatures attract or repel that which is needful or harmful to its preservation and development. By the aid of instinct the kamic principle chooses what the intellect most desires - or what it wills - be it high or low. By it also the purified Soul seeks the real source of [13] Truth and Light. For Instinct is of all planes and is the unbiassed servant of the Mind and Will. Where these are not as yet evolved, the Instinct is guided by the Life principle and by Kama , which is pure in the pure and mindless creatures, and in the lower elementary lives, animal, vegetable or mineral. Instinct is one and undivided, but desire is manifold. Desire - and later on, Will, if all goes well with man - is the driver of Instinct.

The chief difficulty, therefore, is to distinguish between Intuition and Impulse. The best present guide for the student is the fact before named, that Intuition sees, while Impulse drives forward. Intuition is the seer. Impulse is the actor. Instinct, and not Impulse, should be the vehicle of Intuition. It would be so if our minds were free from sensuous desire. For our Instinct would be guided by Intuition toward the higher life. Or to put it differently, what Intuition sees, Intellect should establish and Instinct should carry out. For Intuition sees by its own true light, it is self-luminous, and the Instinct of men who have developed their Intuition is of the same order of life and gravitates by its own nature towards that light which it needs in order to live the life desired. When the purified mind instinctively discovers the true path, the path of its true needs, this path is from time to time illumined by flashes of Intuition. Intuitive ideas rise, full-orbed and flashing, upon the expectant mind.

Impulse is the vehicle of human desire. Its invariable tendency to action shows this. We never feel an impulse to sit still. We may feel an instinct to do so.

Intuition carried to its highest power is, of course, Buddhi. In manifestation upon this plane it is Manas. “Buddhi never acts on this plane, where the acting agent is the Manas.” It is moved by the will-force of occultism. That shakti is a spiritual force which sets a certain centre (in the case of Buddhi) in motion. But, as was before said, we are not now concerned with this highest form of Intuition. Few are they who even know the approaches thereof.

The developing Intuition may be known by a flash of a certain color in a certain centre, accompanied by an impression of knowledge, of a sure conclusion, upon the brain. A great mystic once said that the Intuition might be known from the simplicity of its utterance, which was always, “Thus saith the Lord.” Its action is instantaneous; it illumines the darkness of the intellect. It is unaccompanied by any feeling or emotion whatsoever; note this well. The flash is in the head centre; the stir arises in the heart as a rule, and is thence flashed into the head centre. But no hard and fast rule can be given. Such intuitive knowledge is a partial recovery of what the soul has seen during sleep or trance, or what it knew “when journeying with Deity.” For the pure Soul is pure Light in its own nature and is itself the Truth which we seek. The flash spoken of here is the moment of registration of this intuitive knowledge, or recovery of Truth, upon the brain. This registration, in cases of trance, is said to occur at the last moment of the passage back from the spiritual state to the objective state, and through this registration the knowledge gained is “brought through.” In the cases of students not adepts, the knowledge has more difficulty in getting through; it may occur some time later and is but [14] partially recovered, and usually mixed with error, for reasons pertaining to scientific occultism into which we will not at present enter.

Many persons who might hear all this about Intuition might say: “ah, yes, I know that Intuition.” But it is far less frequently known than is supposed, because few discern its action from that of mere brain flashes (“flashes in the pan” literally), which often arise from a variety of causes, even physiological ones. The light of the Manas is not the light of Buddhi. Neither its color, its mode of motion nor its action is that of Buddhi. But even were I able to fully describe these, I would not do so, lest they be falsely imagined to exist where they do not.

Of Impulse again it may be said that the student will find it to be of an explosive nature. That is, an outward propulsion of force takes place, usually attended by more or less heat or warmth spreading suddenly through the body, and, sometimes, a sudden heat in the brain. A swift quickening heat and an attraction towards action; thus can Impulse best be described by me.

Of Instinct again it may be said that the upper brain appears unconscious of its action. This action is felt in the lower brain, the centre of automatic action and the real “Home of Isis,” if mankind only knew it. The self-preservation of the drowning; the leaping aside from a danger before the brain has cognized the fact of danger; the going unexpectedly to a place or to a person where we meet what we most desire, all these are instances of instinctual action. Generally speaking, we are led by Instinct just as we breathe the air, without conscious thought. Instinct is pranic and wholly impersonal, which Impulse never is.

The Intuition is only true for the average man when judgment, heart and conscience verify it. These three are the witnesses of Intuition. But Intuition is Lord over all. It affirms; the witnesses only attest.


Re-examination Discredits the Major Charges Against H. P. Blavatsky.
By Adlai E. Waterman

Published by The Theosophical Publishing House, Adyar, Madras 20, India - 1963. Obtainable from “THEOSOPHIA”, 551 So. Oxford Ave. , Los Angeles . California 90005 , U.S.A.
Price: $1.25.

“That Mr. Hodgson’s elaborate but misdirected inquiries, his affected precision, which spends infinite patience over trifles and is blind to facts of importance, his contradictory reasoning and his manifold incapacity to deal with such problems as those he endeavoured to solve, will be exposed by other writers in due course - I make no doubt.” - H. P. Blavatsky, Jan. 14, 1886 .




Is it assumed that there is life on other planets ?

If your question refers to other planets in our Solar System, then I must ask you: assumed by whom? If you mean assumed by our scientists, then I must answer NO. With the sole exception of Mars, on which there seems to be evidence of some plant life, the scientists do not see any evidence of intelligent life anywhere but on this earth. The chief argument for their stand is that free oxygen must be available to all living things. Spectroscopic analysis of the atmospheres of the other planets of our Solar System show the presence of gases that are definitely poisonous to living things, besides the fact that there is no evidence of free oxygen.

Now if you ask this question to a student of the occult, his answer will be quite different, and probably much more to your liking. He will say that every planet, whether it be within the range of our telescopes, or not, exists for a purpose. He cannot see this universe as a vast desert, utterly devoid of life save on this spot we call our Earth. He will urge you to study the marvels of life, a study which becomes more fascinating the longer you pursue it, and he will ask you if you do not agree that the wonderful complexity of life is in itself the strongest argument that you could wish for in favor of the universality of life. No accident could have produced the marvels of Nature.

To be more specific, then, concerning the planets of our Solar System, the teachings of the Ancient Wisdom have never stated that there are beings like those we have on·Earth inhabiting the other planets. To understand the viewpoint of the occultist we must see the planets as highly complex living organisms. The physical orbs that we see in the sky are but the outer veils hiding a great mystery of life. Just as there are many rooms in a house, and when one room is occupied other rooms maybe temporarily vacant, so we are to interpret the saying “In my Father’s House are many Mansions” as meaning that each of the planets of the Solar System is a mansion of life, having many rooms.

This points to a highly technical teaching about what in occult phraseology are called Globe-Chains. But of this very little can be said that would be understood unless we were to take the time to lay a good foundation of teaching which would condition your minds so that they would be capable of receiving these new ideas. Lacking the time to do this here, we might say that we see just that room in each planetary “house of life” that corresponds to the one we are occupying in this present cycle of Earth-life. The races of beings on other planets may not be occupying the corresponding rooms, and it is very likely that were we able to go by space ship to Venus, or Mercury or any other planet, we might quite justifiably say that these planets are devoid of life. But had we the vision that could take in all of the rooms at one time in all of the planetary mansions, we might identify the room in each case that is occupied, and we would understand that each of the planets is a mansion of life. - L. G. P. [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.