A Living Philosophy For Humanity

Volume XXII
No. 1 (103) - Summer 1965

[Cover photo: Plocken Pass and the Valentin Valley, Corinthia, Austria. (Photograph by Ernst Hohne.)]


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.



“Leadership is not necessarily proved by carrying placards of protests, or by unruly demonstrations. It is more often proved by orderly, responsible and dignified expression in which opponents sit and reason with each other instead of indulging in name calling and character assassination ... Put yourself in the other fellow’s shoes before you form your final judgment and before you speak your mind ... Never be mental mutes. But resist the temptation to be irresponsible critics. Never shrink from protesting or criticizing - but be sure that you really know what you are protesting against and what you are criticizing. Courage is not proved by bombastic epithets hurled against the law and authority. Courage is found in the strength to be silent when you are being unjustly criticized.” - Sen. Margaret Chase Smith, Herald-Examiner, June 13, 1965 .

“Above everything else, Fellows of the Theosophical Society must guard their right to freedom of conscience, freedom of thought and freedom of speech; and while the brain-mind always laves things which are ‘clear and definite,’ as the saying goes, and while we certainly should strive for clarity and definiteness, yet we can achieve these without losing our inestimable right and privilege of searching for truth for ourselves in the blessed teachings we have, and finding them from our own efforts in study and self-discipline. We should always keep in mind the very wise words which H.P.B. wrote in her First Message to the American Theosophists in 1888:

‘Orthodoxy in Theosophy is a thing neither possible nor desirable. It is diversity of opinion, within certain limits, that keeps the Theosophical Society a living and a healthy body, its many other ugly features notwithstanding. Were it not, also, for the existence of a large amount of uncertainty in the minds of students of Theosophy, such healthy divergencies would be impossible, and the Society would degenerate into a sect, in which a narrow and stereotyped creed would take the place of a living and breathing spirit of Truth and an ever growing Knowledge.’”·- G. de Purucker, Messages to Conventions, p. 164. [3]


Boris de Zirkoff

The far-flung scene of the organized Theosophical Movement is astir with a new life, and the old stage setting is giving way to a new.

Gradual in Some places, rather rapid in others, the change is welcome. If continued and expanded, it might spell life for the Movement as a whole, as opposed to suspended animation, lethargy and final death.

As is the case with all changes in nature, those in the organized Movement are connected with much soul-searching and attendant suffering and confusion. Wherever leadership is absent, the confusion is greater, and the outcome uncertain. Emotions may for a while take the place of reason, but will eventually resolve themselves into a new pattern of thought.

The organized Movement, solidly established in well worn grooves, has never been too impressive as a Mausoleum, and might, perhaps, do better and get farther afield as a madhouse. The psychological and mental ferment going on within its structure at present manifests itself in considerable effervescence, with new ideas taking the place of worn out concepts, and with unorthodox methods displacing established routines.

What the Movement needs above everything else are men and women who can step forward with courage and enthusiasm, and assert in no uncertain terms the enduring worth of the original Theosophical traditions, and the unalterable foundation-principles of the Movement as a whole. We do not mean any “Back to Blavatsky” idea! Far be it from us to go “back” to anything or anywhere! What we need to do is to go forward in the Blavatsky tradition; and if we do so intelligently and honestly, we will find ourselves going forward with all the other Messengers of Truth. We will be going forward with Plato and Pythagoras, with Buddha and Confucius, with Hermes and Krishna , with Christ and Orpheus, and with a score of other Torchbearers whose precepts and teachings resound even today through the vast corridors of time, beckoning mankind to come up higher and become conscious of its spiritual heritage.

But in order to march forward in the light of this enduring message, and feel oneself upon an enduring foundation of universality, it is paramount for the organized Theosophical Movement to abandon once for all - and to do so with a will and a purpose - the pseudo-teachings of deluded psychics, the shimmering visions of self-appointed visionaries, and throw overboard as useless ballast the accumulated dross of many years, during which the original teachings were displaced by all sorts of psychic vagaries, and the spiritual principles of the Esoteric tradition were allowed to gather dust on forgotten shelves, while empty ceremonialism, gaudy ritualism and phantastic nonsense of all kind cluttered the stage and bewildered the audience at captandum vulgus.

In order to do it, men and women of moral strength are needed, individuals who will be willing to accept some degree of martyrdom and be prepared to be mauled upon occasion by “old-timers,” misrepresented by the “faithful” and opposed, traduced and besmirched by those whose sole [4] endeavor in life is to keep inviolate entrenched customs, well worn ruts and the general climate of inertia which has often spelled early death to other similar movements.

The struggle between the contending forces within the organized Theosophical Movement has begun, and its symptoms are as dearly outlined as one would wish them to be - at least for those who are not willfully blind. We watch this struggle with interest, and with no surprise. It had to come sooner or later; it is here to stay, until the stage setting has been wholly changed and a closer and more vital rapport is established between the actors and the audience.

An objective of imperative importance for the Movement is to attract the attention and interest of young people everywhere. This can be done only if Theosophy is presented to them as a scientific philosophy of life; with emphasis on philosophy and not on science, and with no tendency to make it appear as some sort of religious fad; a philosophy based on solid scientific foundations, not a science of some sort or other, with philosophical and religious aspects here and there; nor as a religion, with scientific and philosophical implications. Theosophy as a Philosophy of Life, a world-conception - what the German calls Weltanschauung - based upon such unshakable foundations of thought that the best there is in man, the deepest there is in him, immediately responds to its appeal and recognizes intuitively the worth and value of the ideas presented. Conviction brought to the mind from within man himself. It would be sheer folly to imagine that psychic wonders, visions and delusions would have the slightest appeal to intelligent people, or that church ritualism would bring young people into the sphere of the Movement and satisfy their hunger for knowledge. This has been tried by some unwise but well intentioned people, and has resulted in the obvious fact that the organized Movement throughout the world has very few young people in it. More than that: the Movement seems to have but very few people who have any solid and clear understanding of what the teachings of Theosophy really are, and still fewer who can explain them in a definite and convincing manner to those who ask. How did this come about?

Is it not the result of an absence of individual thinking to the advantage of accepting other people’s ideas on authority? Is it not the result of following personalities with their personal glamour, as contrasted with a living search for Truth by means of self-devised effort and study? And is it not the natural outcome of being befuddled and confused by various psychic vagaries, so that the Light of true Theosophy is obscured by thick veils of illusions, and the mind of the seeker is fascinated by wonders and tales the spell of which he is unable to throw off? Let’s think this matter over! it is well worth the time we may spend on doing so.

The process of purification has now started. It will expand and become world wide before long. Its end-result can hardly be foretold, but its aim is self-evident - a rejuvenation of the Movement along traditional lines!

The weather ahead is stormy ... the flight will be rough ... tighten your belts! ...

Well, anyway, happy landings! [5]


Montague A. Machell

“All these sacrifices of so many kinds are displayed in the sight of God ... The sacrifice through spiritual knowledge is superior to sacrifice made with material things: every action without exception is comprehended in spiritual knowledge.” - Bhagavad·Gita.

Sacrifice: The act of making an offering to God or a deity as a tribute, a gift, or an expression of thanks-giving (Webster).

This, the first definition Webster gives of the term “sacrifice,” could be adequately reduced to “The act of saying ‘Thank you’.”

He who says “Thank you,” and means it, speaks out of a full heart in obedience to a need to unburden the heart of its sense of gratitude. It is what may he rightly termed a “gratuitous” gesture, untainted by any sense of compulsion, and utterly remote from any sense of loss or expenditure.

How is it, then, that this word has come to be associated in the mind of almost everyone with the idea of “giving up something, one would have very much liked to retain,” of “loss,” in other words? It is utterly impossible to pour out one’s love to God or to one’s fellow-man while wishing he were not required to do so. Yet, is not this idea at the root of our most common interpretation of “sacrifice”? If such an idea has any justification at all, it seems pertinent to ask “To whom do I sacrifice what?” In other words, who is going without something for the sake of whom?

To feel a deep love in one’s heart, a welling up of gratitude towards another, and giving expression to that heart-fullness, can hardly involve a sense of loss or self-denial. Then, where did this all-too-common implication of “sacrifice” originate? Either all of us are in error as to the original meaning of the word, or we are, in the majority, incapable of putting that meaning into action.

While one is loath to accept this last conclusion, he is at liberty to wonder why so much breath and ardor are expended in pulpits throughout the land exhorting the faithful to say “Thank you” to the Deity. Is it that the faithful are not thankful, or is it that some feel the burden of obligation to be a little one-sided, life being so often the disheartening experience that it is? This point of view, where it exists, may not be associated with man’s relation to his God so much as being an unrecognized objection to such a relation with u power outside himself, and beyond his immediate control. There are, undoubtedly, instances of human rejection of gratitude to a deity, in whose control of his destiny man has no voice whatsoever. By all the standards of the church this must be deemed irreligious. But may not such a charge do some violence to the innate integrity and personal sense of responsibility in the spirit of man?

Theosophy proclaims man's divinity and places upon his shoulders the responsibility of shaping his life in that pattern of divinity. The gratitude it evokes from him is for the opportunity [6] life offers to grow limitlessly in the pattern of divinity, and for the inspiring challenge of the splendors of the universe in which he finds himself. “Sacrifice” in the sense of denying oneself any justifiable and earned blessing has a very small place in the philosophy, the program of placing the happiness of others ahead of one’s own being perceived to be an obvious and joyous pattern of divine fulfillment.

When a Theosophist speaks of “the duty of Compassion” he refers to the inherent right of an enlightened Seeker to lose his personal desires in Humanity’s Pattern of Fulfillment. Universal Brotherhood, the core and essence of Theosophy, constitutes a fearless recognition of the Sin of Separateness, which simply renders ultimate happiness unattainable to any devotee of selfish, personal desires. “To work for self is to work for disappointment.” The only “sacrifice” a truly selfless Seeker makes is the sacrifice of a tragic disillusionment inseparable from “getting my own way” at the expense of my fellows.

The above, however, is a somewhat superficial survey of the entire picture. When in the Bhagavad-Gita, Krishna says “sacrifice through spiritual knowledge is superior to sacrifice made with material things; every action without exception is comprehended in spiritual knowledge,” he is reminding the disciple that the values of the spiritual life are the only values calculable in true living. As contrasted with the world of material values and objectives, spiritual knowledge, as a single, enduring REALITY, is the one refuge of the Real Man. If, as Wordsworth declares, “Our birth is but a sleep and a forgetting,” then our birth into spiritual knowledge is our first “awakening and remembering.” No thought, word or act that contributes to that awakening can be remotely associated with “sacrifice” as that word is commonly used. The inconstant Personality is induced, in the pursuit of spiritual knowledge, to “give up” some of its more trivial gratifications, but in return therefore it is enabled to experience a sublime awakening to the realizations and illuminations that its unguided earthly plodding could never have attained. “Every action, without exception, is comprehended in spiritual knowledge”; when “sacrificed” (dedicated) to spiritual knowledge, all action becomes the “open sesame” to enlightenment, since its fruits are sublimated in the fire of spiritual knowledge.

So long as a disciple harbors the slightest trace of the generally accepted sense of “sacrifice” in the application of spiritual knowledge, he may know that the enemy, Personality, still occupies strategic territory on the battlefield of spiritual enlightenment. Perhaps a more constructive simile might be to say that “illiteracy” still prevails in the undeveloped areas of his kingdom. For, is not our ultimate aim to rehabilitate rather than subjugate the Lesser Self? Does not all spiritually conscious living comprise a two-fold rehabilitation or re-education? As the Seeker, through study, meditation, devotion, gains added insight into the Spiritual Pattern, is he not required to pass on these new insights, to the as yet ill-informed Personality? Is he not, with each reading of the sacred texts, inspired to sit down quietly, confront his “natural tendencies” of [7] surrender to desire and attachment to results, and, with the inspiration and guidance of Krishna’s counsel, lead the Personality to an understanding of its own best interests? Blind obedience of any aspect of the self to any other aspect can never be permanently dependable. Always the enlightened Self, with loving understanding, is called upon to reduce the spiritual illiteracy in Its empire - to redeem the backward minorities, winning from them a willing and intelligent support of an enlightened spiritual policy.

Krishna ’s statement that “The highest perfection of freedom from action is attained through renunciation by him who in all works has an unfettered mind and subdued heart,” touches the essence of sacrifice, which, in its deepest sense, spells “disinterested detachment.” The Seeker has to remind himself again and again that his one goal, as a temporal self in a physical body, is to transcend its earthly limitations. This can only be achieved by overcoming the never-ending temptation to think of, and strive for, me as separate from All. This kind of thinking (the very acme of Illusion) is about all that the lesser self is capable of. He who understands that “Self is the friend of the man who is self-conquered; so self like a foe hath enmity to him who is not self-conquered,” he will perceive that “renunciation” (the heart of sacrifice) is a denial of the demands of any separate self to the end that “separateness” may be transcended by the universality of the Greater Self - one with ALL. Only through such transcendence can the disciple achieve “an unfettered mind and subdued heart,” clear vision and controlled emotion.

This is always more than an individual victory. Every single individual achieving perfect renunciation of Separateness more nearly comprehends what constitutes Divine Administration of the empire of the Self, thereby becoming one more channel for Those who, having surveyed and reclaimed new empires of the spirit, await the younger pioneers who have at last perceived their destiny, to defend this spiritual Land of the Free and Home of the Brave. To the enlightened Seeker this is a perennial call to arms in that campaign wherein Illusion shall he “sacrificed” to Wisdom.

The Bhagavad-Gita stresses again and again the power of action to forge chains that bind man to rebirth into the world of Illusion through “attachment to results.” He who is uninstructed regarding this Karmic captivity on a treadmill of uninspired living tends to waste endless incarnations accomplishing a minimum of actual growth, “getting nowhere,” chained to his previous actions. But on him who, distinguishing between spiritual and material values, consciously offers up his Vision of Fulfillment to THE ONE, the chains begin to fall away. Out of the grey, prosaic heavens of a personal pattern come the first far rays of that sun that lights the pathway of the Masters of Compassion. The unfruitful loneliness of self-serving gives way to an awareness of those Powers and Principalities who have surrendered (not “sacrificed”) themselves to the Heavenly Pattern of Wholeness, and have become Artificers of Loveliness, whose hearts are lit with the sunlight on the Lotus, the kingly glory of “Memnon calling upon the dawn.”

Beauty, beyond all color and all [8] form, is the mirror of unearthly splendor shining down upon the world from the Hosts of Compassion whose Renunciation is an act of sublime wisdom, casting out hate and taking love, as the Divine Alchemist seizes the Alkahest that shall change the darkest dross into the brightest gold, the slag or despair into the molten metal of Truth.

If this be SACRIFICE - make the most of it!


H. P. Blavatsky

[This story, translated here for the first time from the original Russian, is taken from the XXVIIIth Chapter of the “Caves” which was published in the Russkiy Vestnik (Russian Messenger), Vol. 165, June, 1883. - Editor, Theosophia.]

Emperor Akbar, India’s King Solomon, was on account of his wisdom the greatest and most beloved Mogul ruler of India, the only one whose memory is as dear to Mohammedans as to Hindus. The latter loved him possibly even more than the former, as he was always partial to their cause. Akbar the Magnificent, the Blessed, Akbar the Beloved of the gods and “the Beauty of the Throne of the World” - these are the epithets linked to his name. Among the natives the town of Agra is known even today as Akbarabad. As to the number of his wives, he surpassed even Solomon. What matter the 800 legal wives and the 300 concubines of the latter, when compared with the 5,000 wives of Akbar? The native chronicles assert that it was to these ladies alone he owed his power and greatness. Having once decided to get possession of the whole of India, the Great Padishah married in turn the daughters of every one of his new allies in order to strengthen his alliances. As soon as he learned that such and such a Raja or neighboring Prince had a daughter, he offered at once to marry her. HOW was it possible to refuse such a suitor as the Emperor Akbar? In this way, having created a whole army of ally-fathers-in-law, he guaranteed himself peace and insured his country from invasion. The wives were contented and happy and no one of them seemed to envy any other. Each one of them had her own room in the palace and her own special privileges. Now all that remains of this family palace is ruins. Akbar is said to have belonged to the fourth generation of Mohammed’s descendants; for that reason the orthodox people forgave him much, though he sinned greatly against his religion. His greatest offenses were his doubt and his constant search for truth, “as though the whole of divine truth were not centered in our Blessed Prophet,” to use the words of one of his historians. He had a passion for the study of philosophy and profound reverence for ancient manuscripts, selling aside large sums of money for the oldest scriptures concerning the “Six great religions of the East:” Christianity, Islam, Judaism, Parseeism, [9] Buddhism and Brahmanism. He had reverence for all six, but did not belong; to anyone of them.* (* Akbar, though his Mussulman subjects looked upon him as a saint and miracle-worker, was far from favouring Islam; often, when in need of money, he cooly took it from mosques and sacked their treasuries for the benefit of his cavalry. Nor were the Christian missionaries more fortunate than the Mohammedan mullahs. He not only adored the sun and prayed to it four times a day, but set himself up as an object of worship. “He studied magic and surrounded himself with men dedicated to Satan - men who worked various evil miracles in the name and with the help of the evil forces” (From the Accounts of the Goa missionaries in Murray ’s Discoveries .). [Reference is here to the work by Hugh Murray, Historical Account of Discoveries and Travels in Asia, etc., Edinb., 1820. 3 Vols. The subject is treated of on pp. 95, l00-103, 176. - Translator.]) It is said that after his death there were found a great number of manuscripts written in his own hand, and what is even more astonishing, that they exist even today. He was born in 1542 and died in 1605, having reigned almost half a century. I cannot refrain from telling a strange story I have heard, though it may be but a legend or a mere fable. But as it is closely connected with Russian history, and exactly tallies with the dates of its most important historical events, and mentions a well-known Russian princely family, I will tell it just as I heard it myself, and without embellishments.

Like all people in India Akbar blindly believed in astrology and magic. During his youth as a Prince he had once befriended some pale-faced young man who had somehow or other come to his palace. Later the youth disappeared and no one but the Prince knew who he was and where he had gone. But after the accession of Akbar to the throne, the youth reappeared and acquired a great influence over the Emperor. No one knew his real name or whence the mysterious foreigner came, and at a court constantly full of foreigners and “wise men from the East, West, South and North,” no one at first paid any special attention to him; soon, however, envy grew and people began to undermine the Emperor’s favor for him. People began to say that the youth was a despicable slave, a prisoner from the far North, who had been given to Akbar by a Pathan chieftain of Afghanistan . Finally the intrigues grew so bitter that his life was endangered. The Emperor became alarmed, and one fine morning the youth disappeared again, as mysteriously as he had formerly appeared. To impress his subjects and to warn them, Akbar pretended he did not know whither his favorite had vanished; he ordered the enemies of the youth to appear before him, and the same morning several heads fell. Twelve years later a man, still looking young, whom the old courtiers recognized as the lost youth, once more appeared at court. A manly, dignified and thoughtful individual, he was introduced to the courtiers by the Emperor himself as a learned astrologer and guru (teacher); now the court bowed more or less sincerely and with some awe before the foreigner, as the fame of the young [10] astrologer had preceded his appearance at Agra and people had already spoken of him in reverent whispers with subdued fear. “The pandit Vasishtha Ajanubahu* (*Ajanubahu is a name consisting of two Sanskrit words: ajanu - “reaching down to the knees” and bahu - “arm.”) studied the secret sciences of jadu and yoga-vidya (white and black magic) with the jinn themselves in the fastness of the Himalayas, near Badrinath, and the Great Emperor himself chose him as his guru. Allah is great! This foreigner is the possessor of the ring of Sulaiman (Solomon), the ruler of all the jinn (spirits). The Orthodox should avoid offending the pandit!”

The chronicles assert that pandit Vasishtha Ajanubahu remained with Akbar until the latter’s death, and then, being himself of a very advanced age, disappeared no one knows where. Before leaving, he is said to have called his disciples together and uttered the following remarkable words: “Vasishtha Ajanubahu is leaving and soon will retire from this decrepit body; hut he will not die and will re-appear in the body of another Ajanubahu, greater and more famous, who will put an end to the Mogul rule ...* (* Sivaji, the hero and conqueror of the Moguls, and the founder of the Maratha dynasty, who was born in the second quarter of the XVIIth century and ascended the throne of the Peshwas in 1664, received the name of Ajanubahu, on account of having very long arms. Tradition asserts that Sivaji was the incarnation of a powerful “magician from the far North.” He was born 17 years after the death of Akbar, most likely in 1622.) Ajanubahu II will avenge Ajanubahu I, whose country was humiliated and sacked by the hateful sons of the pseudo-prophet.” Having uttered these words, blasphemous to the ears of his disciples, the old magician disappeared - “and may his name be damned,” adds devoutly the Mussulman author.* (* Legends of the Mogul Empire. A collection of traditions translated from the Urdu and Maratha tongues.)

The reader should keep in mind the above underlined sentence and the chronology of the events. Perhaps our recent discovery does not mean anything, but the coincidence and the names are very significant. In any case it is of more than ordinary interest to Russian readers. There are as many legends about pandit Vasishtha as there are trees in the virgin forest; from among them I have chosen but one which directly concerns our subject. That this pandit was a Russian, taken prisoner as a boy by the Tartars, during the victory of Ivan the Terrible over the Golden Horden in 1552, near Kazan , seems to me now beyond doubt. As to the question who actually was this legendary “pandit,” and what he had in common with certain Russian princely families, I leave to the reader himself to decide. Our tale is not ended and the most curious part of this wonderful story has not yet been told, and certainly the mere name of Ajanubahu does not mean much. It is a name generally given here to all those proficient in “secret science.” Popular tradition asserts that a person predestined to be “the ruler of the mysterious [11] forces of nature” is born with very long hands ... We return now to our story.

During the storming of Delhi in 1857-1858, when the English at last burst into the city, the following historical event took place. The town was captured, but the old King had disappeared and could not be found anywhere. Finally, as is usually the case in such difficult situations, a Judas-like traitor turned up among the Moguls. For a bag of gold and promises of pardon and pension, the father-in-law of the heir-apparent, Mirza Elahi-Buksh, with the help of a man called Rujjub-Ali, a “munshi” (teacher), betrayed the Great Mogul and delivered him, and four other Princes of the Delhi dynasty of Shahzada, into the hands of the adventurer Hodson. The King was found hidden where no one would have discovered him; had he not been betrayed, he would have had time to escape into the Himalayas. It was ascertained that he had succeeded in sending to the Princes a certain box of treasures and documents, so Captain Hodson - the mention of whose name alone makes English army men blush with shame, something which does not happen often - started in pursuit of the Princes. They were found hidden in the neighborhood of Delhi, in one of the secret hiding places among the tombs of the “Valley of Death.” It was difficult to capture them alive, as they were prepared with all their companions to blow themselves up, yet Hodson wanted to get safe possession, if not of the Princes themselves, at least of the treasures which were in their keeping. He therefore resorted to cunning. Having promised to pardon them in the name of the Government, and to guarantee their lives and a complete amnesty, he persuaded them to surrender and took them to the city. It is quite sufficient to read the Sepoy War, by Sir John Kaye, a witness of these events, to learn the details of what then happened. In spite of all his promises, the scoundrel Hodson ordered the palanquin of the Princes to stop, and had them get out and stand in front of him, who was on horseback in the middle of the road. Suspecting treason, the Princes got out alone, leaving a servant with the treasure-box a small ancient silver trunk in the palanquin. Then, pretending he wanted to talk to them, Hodson began speaking, while his soldiers at a given sign murdered them and all their followers like sheep. Hodson then rushed to the palanquin, but there was neither treasure box, nor trunk, nor man to be found. During the turmoil and while the murder was going on, the sepoy disappeared and no one ever heard of him again. What happened to the treasures - I have no way of knowing. But as to the trunk with the documents, some traces of it were found. According to reports, one of the parchment rolls is now in the possession of a chieftain in the North-Western Provinces. The manuscripts are partly in Persian, partly in Hindi, and each one of them bears the personal seal of the Emperor. They contain records, notes and documents, which in their fullness form a sort of note-book of the Emperor Jalal-ud-din Akbar. About their existence and the contents of one of them I learned in the following curious way. One of the members of our Theosophical Society, a close relative of the individual who is the possessor of the mysterious roll, wished to learn from me if among [12] our Russian Princely families there were any by name of “Vasishtha Ajanubahu”.

“NO, I never heard of such a name,” said I. “We have the name Vassiliy, - but not Vasishtha; as to “Ajanubahu” I never heard it before. But what does the name mean? Ajanubahu, translated from Sanskrit, means “long-armed,” I believe (ajanu - reaching dawn to the knees and bahu - arm). Wasn’t that the name of Sivaji, the great Maratha ruler and the founder of their Kingdom? DO you mean him? ...”

“No, not quite. Have you in Russia the name of Longimanus?”

“No, not that either; but we have the name of Dulguruky, which is the literal translation of the latinLongimanus and the Sanskrit Ajanubahu.”

“Now at last we have reached the point,” remarked my friend. “Now everything is clear to me ...”

“As far as I am concerned, it seems as obscure as ever! ...”

It was then that I learned from him the story of the pandit Vasishtha and Akbar and the episode about Delhi just narrated by me. For quite some time he had been interested in the memoirs of Akbar. Knowing several languages well, he had studied the notes of the Emperor, and being acquainted with the legend about the astrologer Vasishtha at Agra, he at once noticed that one of the notes concerned this mysterious person. He had to refuse my repealed requests to see the manuscripts, as the latter were hidden in a secret place known only to one man, his eldest brother. He promised me, however, to translate for me one of the entries of Akbar which he had copied fur his own use. He kept his promise. This is the text written according to the Mussulman chronology in the 938th year of the Hegira.

I transcribe it from the English translation of my friend.* (* [Having, no access either to the original text of Akbar or to the English translation of H. P. B.’s friend, we had to translate these excerpts from Akbar’s Notes·from H. P. B.’s own Russian rendering. - Translator.])

Note 1. “In the beginning of the full moon of the month of Marana, of the year 935 (1557), there was brought from Ghazni by the Pathan Asaf-Khan, from “Ulamam” (?) a young Moskovite. He was captured and enslaved in the Kipchak Khanate (Golden Horde) near the village of Kazan (?), during those days when Shaitan in the form of the Moskovite Czar was said to have defeated the Khans ... The name of the young Moskovite, translated into our Hindi tongue (i.e., Sanskrit) is Kosr Vasishtha Ajanubahu,* (* This would mean in Russian translation Prince (Kosr) Vasishtha (or Vassiliy) Long, Arms or Dolgoruky!!?) also Longimanus ion the tongue of the Portuguese padris (missionaries). He is the sun of the old Kosr (prince) murdered in the Kipchak Khanate ..... Vasishtha spoke this: ‘I know my own Moskovite tongue; also the tongue of Iran and Pathan. I was taught astrology and wisdom at Gilan (on the Caspian Sea ). From there I was once more taken to Iran , where I serveed King Tahmasp. [13] The Padishah grew angry on account of a bad dream he had and gave me as a present to Asaf-Khan. I want to study the wisdom of the Sufis and the Samans [probably the Buddhists] and I want to get the shast [a chain, but in this connection a talisman] with the Great Name on it ...’ Let him study.” And a little further: “Sent to Kashmir.”

Note 2. “Came back for consultation, received Allah-u-Akhar.* (* The symbolic motto of Akbar, carved on a talisman and which was, granted by Akbar only to renowned magicians and astrologers to wear on their turban, as a sign of merit.) Vasishtha discovered the great name He* (* He or Nei, which translated means It, or the Deity.) and he intiates the Sufis of the blessed Rabia.”* (* Rabia, a woman, was the founder of the mystical sect of the Sufis and lived in the first century of the Hegira. The Persian poet Hafis belonged to this brotherhood.)

In the year 968 there is a note seemingly in the handwriting of the Emperor himself: “Great is Vasishtha Ajanubahu! ... He holds in his hands the moon and the sun. He threw off the taklid (collar) of deceiving religions and discovered the real wisdom of the Sufis as expressed in the Following stanza:

The lamp and its light are one,
Only fools see in the idol and its Brahmana
Two objects distinct from each other ...*

(* This is the pantheistic idea of the Sufis and the Vedantists about the oneness of the whole world. The Universe is One; forms and shapes of both the objective and the subjective worlds are only waves of one and the same ocean. The Deity is in the Universe and the Universe is in the Deity. Outside of that there is nothing, not even chaos.)

Thus end these notes. Who was this Vasishtha Ajanubahu will probably remain forever an unsolved enigma. If he was one of the Princes Dolgoruky made prisoner by the Tartars at the time of Ivan the Terrible, this fact ought to be mentioned at least in the chronicles of that family, if not in general history. That he was a Russian was proved to me by the fact that in a line “written in an unknown language,” and exactly drawn by my friend from the parchment, I saw and recognized the signature “Knyaz Vassiliy”; this was written in old Slavonic letters and in an unskilled hand, just as our ancestors wrote three centuries ago; the signature is not easy to read, but the word Knyaz and the name Vassiliy can be easily recognized by any Russian.

“Wonderful are thy mysteries, oh gray-haired and silent antiquity! And the more we study it in India, the stronger grows my unshakable conviction that we Russians, as well as pre-historic Russia, Bulgaria and all the Slavonic nations in general, are much more closely related to Aryavarta than is known to history or even suspected by modern Orientalists. [14]


L. Gordon Plummer

[Excerpts from an unpublished MSS entitled Theosophy in a Modern world.]
(Continued from last issue.)

We are about to embark upon a study which is one of the loftiest that can be undertaken, because it involves actual experience in terms of the higher consciousness.

The turbulent history of mankind has been brightened by the appearance through the centuries of great Teachers, the two most prominent, as far as humanity at the present time is concerned, being Buddha for the East, and Jesus the Christ for the West. Actually there have been many others, and they have all left the stamp of their spiritual lives upon the thoughts of men. A study of their lives has shown us that they taught in schools of learning usually of their own founding, which have become known to us as the Mystery Schools. Not a great deal is known about these Mystery Schools, and for a very good reason. The deeper teachings simply could not have been understood by the great masses of people who were not willing or able to undertake the intensive training which was the prerequisite for the grasping of these sublime concepts. Thus, the Mystery Schools were founded in order to make these teachings available to those who were capable of living the life and understanding the doctrine. This served as a safeguard of the teachings themselves, for otherwise there would have been no way of perpetuating the Divine Wisdom. Critics of the principle of esoteric schools should be able to see all about them the results of bringing the teachings out into the open, as was done to a great extent by Helena Petrovna B1avatsky. How very, very few ever grasp the significance of her work. Imagine the ridicule and scorn with which she was met. And the persecution has not ended, even though she passed away as long ago as 1891! Her supporters, and those who have elaborated her teachings so that they might be understood by greater numbers of students, are pitifully few. However, many of her greatest ideas have sifted down through the years, and actually influence to a large extent modern thinking along philosophical, religious and spiritual lines.

In the days of the earlier Teachers, humanity was less capable than it is today to cope with the message, and the rules of the Mystery Schools were more strictly enforced. This much we may learn from them. They were not arbitrarily conceived. Their structure was in keeping with the nature of man’s consciousness, and hence was able to supply the needs of the students in their individual stages of growth. I shall try to outline the structure of the School of Pythagoras, as being a typical Mystery School, and will then point to three great principles of human consciousness upon which the school was founded.

The School consisted of three Divisions, the outermost, or exoteric, being composed of the Akousmatikoi, or listeners. This took the form of the [15] public work which was a part of the Mystery School. This might be symbolized, if you like, by the gardens surrounding the temple. Then there was the second Division, the Mathematikoi, or the learners. Here the principles of music and mathematics were taught. This might be symbolized by the Temple itself. It is probable that while Pythagoras is best known for his work in those two branches of study, other branches were taught as well. There is a tendency in modern times to treat Pythagoras in a flippant manner, which of course does not hurt Pythagoras, but it is a sure way of rendering us incapable of recognizing the third Division of his school. This was the Holy of Holies, in which Pythagoras revealed himself as the Master to his disciples, the FEW. This might be symbolized by the inner court of the Temple. Here the disciples received the deepest teachings about human consciousness.

The operation of a mystery school along these lines was for reasons far deeper than mere convenience. In every human being there is the everyday man whom we contact day by day; then there is the Temple, which is his Soul, the man himself; and then there is the Holy of Holies within the heart of each one of us. Who has discovered it? Who knows how to enter into it, and learn at the feet of the Master within? This is the ultimate goal of spiritual training. Unless one had discovered the Holy of Holies within his own heart, he was not prepared to enter the Holy of Holies within the Mystery School. Pythagoras represented to his disciples their own inner spiritual Teacher, that they were gradually coming to know for themselves.

In human affairs, this same pattern holds true. There is the garden, life as we know it from day to day, sometimes with flowers, sometimes choked with weeds. But within the Garden is the Temple . In this Temple or, if you like, the Hall of Learning, man experiences his first awareness of the reality of his spiritual life. His mind forms itself into penetrating questions, and to some extent he finds the answers. Some find themselves in the Hall of Learning through religious experiences; some through philosophical understanding; some through scientific research. To leave the Hall of Learning, and to proceed to the Holy of Holies is the most difficult task a man can undertake. It involves self-study, self-knowledge and self-conquest. Gradually he becomes aware of things that he did not previously suspect. He becomes aware of deep fountains of life beneath the surface, as it were, of his daily life. He becomes aware that there are further steps to be taken. As he seeks to tread the age-old path to self-knowledge, he discovers that there are others who are treading the path also. He discovers the existence of a brotherhood of disciples, with no outward organization as such, but who are united in their high purpose. That purpose is to work to lift the heavy burden of suffering that is over the world. And this work not only takes the form that would be the most easily recognized, which is charitable work in the world; but it strikes deeper at the initial causes of suffering, to wit: ignorance, selfishness, indifference, to name but three of the human attributes that have brought sorrows and spiritual blindness upon humanity. A dedicated life directs the feet of the [16] pilgrim to the very portal of the Holy or Holies. Then, if he has within him the elements of success, he can enter, and learn for himself to join the company or those whose lives have blessed humanity, because henceforth they too exemplify the divine compassion that is the very core of their being. Thus have the Great Teachers come into being.


Collected Writings

July, 1888, through March, 1889
Large Octavo; xxxiv, 461 pages; illustrated and with copious Index. Bound in cloth.
Published by THE THEOSOPHICAL PUBLISHING HOUSE, Adyar, Madras 20, India.

As is the case with previous Volumes of this Series, the present Volume contains a number of important articles the intrinsic value of which has in no way diminished through the years. Students desirous of finding out what H. P. B. has to say on the nature of God, on the Psychology of Ancient Egypt, on the Mission of the Theosophical Society, on Occult Vibrations, on Lodges of Magic, and whether Theosophy is a Religion or not, should read this Volume.
In addition to this, Volume X contains the complete text of the famous Transactions of the Blavatsky Lodge of the T.S. in London , replete with invaluable hints and explanations concerning The Secret Doctrine and its study. The present Volume incorporates also H. P. B’s unique article on the nature of Dreams.
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 …”

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