A Living Philosophy For Humanity

Volume XXII
No. 3 (105) - Winter 1965-1966

[Cover photo: H. P. Blavatsky in New York days.]


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.



“What has been the result of this modern ... standard of judgment? How is power being utilized in every Department or Branch of physical knowledge? A glance at History will show us that the energy of the civilized world is mainly directed to perfecting and multiplying weapons for the destruction of human life on one hand, and, on the other, to the creation and multiplication of human needs and their gratification. It is not certainly to the protection of human life and the reduction of the wants of the civilized world that Physical Science is directing her attention. Need we remind the reader that, in this respect, there is an enormous difference between the ancient Indian and the modern Western civilization and improvements? The object of the first was to ward off untimely death, to reduce the sum of human slaughter - with a view of avoiding future suffering - and to reduce human needs to the narrowest limits possible. It is an absolute truism that, when both sides are armed with weapons of equal force, their relative power, in the abstract, is not affected in the least, while the multiplied destructive power of the improved engines of destruction results in greater loss of life on both sides than would otherwise have been the case. And still, modern civilization - though fully alive to that fact - is daily encouraging every ways and means for a still greater sacrifice of human life, without, for a moment, giving a thought to the enormity of the sin and crime. We cease to wonder when we come to consider the direction of the current of the so-called civilized public thought of modern times. Built, as the whole fabric is, on the foundation of egotism and self-interest, it cannot be otherwise. If, on the contrary, the basis were self-denial, then the very groove of thinking would have been different. Animal brutal force would have yielded before charity and spiritual love; pride and conceit would make room for gratitude and sincerity ...” - From a Protest signed by a number of Fellows of the Berhampore Lodge, T.S., in The Theosophist, Vol. IV, Suppl. to November, 1882, p. 4. [3]


Boris de Zirkoff

Our old friend Janus, the double-faced god of time and of the ever-revolving cycles, the Janitor of the heavenly mansions, has opened another gate and ushered us into a new round of twelve months. A good time to take stock, as it were, and to make a list of the traditional New Year’s resolutions, which are so often made and hardly ever carried out.

Our New Year’s greetings go out to everyone, and our hopes are high for the continued expansion of our Movement and the ever-widening dissemination of the age-old teachings throughout a world which is in dire need of them, whether it knows it or not.

Our wishes are not only general, however; they are very specific in this regard, and are geared to the best interests of the Movement, with a view to its sanity in the future and its stability in the midst of a psychic chaos.

The Theosophical Movement has exhibited for the last few years a mounting struggle between the fundamental teachings and basic principles of the Esoteric Philosophy, as brought forth by the original Founders, and the tide of psychic vagaries and ceremonial magic which has engulfed certain portions of it through the years. This is an excellent symptom, and it is our sincere hope that this struggle will continue, that the battle lines will be clearly drawn, and that the ensuing catharsis of the overall Movement will be hastened thereby. The basic difference between genuine Theosophy and pseudo-Theosophy has to be pointed out, and the existing confusion of ideas has to be challenged, if the Movement is to survive as a spiritually-motivated agency for the good of the human race.

The vital future of the Movement imperatively demands from us all a number of tangible changes and soul-searing battles with psychological and mental clouds that have darkened the skies for many years. Among our wishes for the New Year are some that can be clearly stated:

(1) That an ever-clearer distinction be made by all students between the original spiritual message of the Founders, i.e., the traditional teachings of Theosophy as outlined in their works, and the mass of psychic meanderings, astral visions, and ritualistic clap-trap which have endangered the sanity of the Movement and have driven thousands of people away from it. Let’s clean our Augean Stables and let’s do it now, before some awesome power unknown to us does it instead, with far greater speed and much less gentleness!

(2) That a far-flung weeding process be undertaken by responsible individuals in regard to the printed literature of the Movement, with a drastic elimination of books and pamphlets which reflect confusion of mind, ignorance of the true teachings and sectarian bias, thus confusing the public instead of enlightening it. Let’s concentrate our combined efforts on works which are and will remain basic and sound in every particular far into the future centuries! And let us spread these works far and wide throughout the libraries of the world! [4]

(3) That an ever-greater participation in the work of the Movement be given to the young people within its ranks. The basic teachings of Theosophy, especially if expressed in present-day terms and backed with scientific facts, have a strong appeal to the younger generation. Therefore an inflow of young people is possible, but it is dependent upon a presentation of Theosophy in terms of reason, sound judgment, scientific approach, entirely devoid of religious or sectarian bias, dogmas or wishful thinking. Let’s give more power to the young people we have in the Movement, make a drive for new recruits among the young, and experiment with the ideas which they can offer us for the conduct of the work and the dissemination of the teachings! And let us then retire some of the octogenarians, so as to give them ample time to meditate upon their own younger days, and about what happened to their own dreams of years gone by. This will give them a full time job.

(4) That a world-wide effort be made to banish all dogmatism, intolerance and sectarianism from among the ranks of Theosophists of all affiliations or of none. The Theosophical Society has no dogmas, no creeds, no formularies, and requires no set rules of conduct from anyone. This freedom of action, based on a basic freedom of thought, must be preserved at all cost, and be reflected in our lives with every breath we take or give out. This organized Movement has no beliefs to be adhered to, and no creedal requirements to be subscribed to. It does not prescribe vegetarianism as the key which opens the doors to Nirvana, and it does not proclaim smoking as the means of damnation. H.P.B. and Col. Olcott ate meat whenever they required it, and not only did H.P.B. smoke like a chimney, but one of the Adepts who was the real Founder of this Movement enjoyed a pipe. To erect any dogmas in this Movement is tantamount to renouncing its basic freedoms, and to descend down to the level of a sect. Let’s get rid of this bugbear!

(5) That a serious effort be made throughout the Theosophical world to develop powerful and convincing lecturers from the public platform, speakers fully qualified to expound the genuine teachings in simple language, with a soul-stirring force, an enthusiasm born of conviction, and with an attitude of friendliness, humor and sympathy. The Theosophical platform is not made for lukewarm, watered-down, jaundiced speeches delivered with soul-sickening apology, or an excuse that Theosophy should exist at all. Nor is that platform the place for brilliant speakers who deliver themselves of orations which have no more relation to Theosophy or the purpose of this Movement then the man in the moon. The Theosophical platform is rightfully to be occupied by Theosophical speakers who let their listening public go home with some noble thoughts which they can treasure and apply in their daily life.

These are some of our wishes for the Movement. A Happy New Year to all! [5]



The arduous work of compiling, editing and publishing the Collected Writings of H. P. Blavatsky has gone through many vicissitudes in the past. Those engaged in this work have met with much encouragement and assistance from all who are vitally interested in the successful outcome of this venture.

Among the most disappointing events in the early years of this undertaking was the destruction of a considerable portion of the stock of Volumes I through IV during the London “blitz.” This unexpected event placed these volumes at once in the category of publications “out-of-print,” and they became totally unavailable to any prospective buyer. This was even more frustrating to those who were able to secure at a later date Volumes V through X now in print. A large number of Institutions, such as University and Public Libraries, which acquired the later volumes, are anxious to obtain the earlier ones.

At last, there is good news on this subject, and many students of the Ancient Wisdom and lovers of H.P.B., may rejoice. Volume I is in production again. While published jointly by The Theosophical Publishing House, Adyar, Madras, India, and The Theosophical Press, Wheaton, Ill., U.S.A., it is being set up and printed in Los Angeles, California, thus guaranteeing excellent paper and sturdy binding. It will be ready early in 1966.

While technical1y this Volume might be called a second edition of the original Vol. I, it is in reality a new volume. It contains a considerable amount of material which was unobtainable for the original edition. The new volume will be far more valuable to students than the first. It will contain H.P.B.’s Travel-Impressions in Central Europe - the earliest known writing from her pen, jotted down in her Notebook in 1867; all of her quaint and jocular pen-and-ink notations and comments in her famous Scrapbooks in the Adyar Archives will be incorporated; her entries of 1878 in H. S. Olcott’s Diary Book, made during his frequent absences on business, will also be included. The new volume will contain numerous historical Notes by the Compiler intended to provide difficult - to - get - information about various personalities in the early days of the Movement, including the more obscure individuals who took part in the formation of the T. S.

A large number of very rare portraits will enhance the volume and add to its historical value.

The volume opens with a concise yet detailed outline of H.P.B.’s early life, up to the auspicious day she met Col. H. S. Olcott at Chittenden, Vt., a day which can verily be considered as the initial phase of the Theosophical Movement in our era. One or more Genealogical Tables of H.P.B.’s immediate family and its collateral branches are included.

The new volume has over 650 pages and its price will not exceed $7.00.

We take this opportunity to publish in the present issue of our magazine some excerpts from the forthcoming Volume I, which will be of interest to many readers who are not familiar with the early writings of H.P.B. [6]

* * *

[H.P.B.’s Sketchbook, preserved in the Archives of The Theosophical Society, Adyar, India, contains a Legend written in French, in her own handwriting. The following is a faithful translation of it.]


At the very beginning of the creation of the World, and long before the sin which became the downfall of Eve, a fresh green shrub spread its broad leaves on the banks of a rivulet. The sun, still young at that time and tired of its initial efforts, was setting slowly, and drawing his veils of mists around him, enveloped the earth in deep and dark shadows. Then a modest flower blossomed forth upon a branch of the shrub. She had neither the fresh beauty of the rose, nor the superb and majestic pride of the beautiful lily. Humble and modest, she opened her petals and cast an anxious glance on the world of the great Buddha. All was cold and dark about her! Her companions slept all around bent on their flexible stems; her comrades, daughters of the same shrub, turned away from her look; the moths, winged lovers of the flowers, rested but for a moment on her breast, but soon flew away to more beautiful ones. A large beetle almost cut her in two as it climbed without ceremony over her, in search of nocturnal quarters. And the poor flower, frightened by its isolation and its loneliness in the midst of this indifferent crowd, hung its head mournfully and shed a bitter dewdrop for a tear. But lo, a little star was kindled in the sombre sky. Its brilliant rays, quick and tender, pierced the waves of gloom. Suddenly the orphaned flower felt vivified and refreshed as by some beneficent dew. Fully restored, she lifted her face and saw the friendly star. She received its rays into her breast, quivering with love and gratitude. They had brought about her rebirth into a new life.

Dawn with its rosy smile gradually dispelled the darkness, and the star was submerged in an ocean of light which streamed forth from the star of day. Thousands of lovers hailed it their paramour, bathing greedily in his golden rays. These he shed also on the little flower; the great star deigned to cover her too with its flaming kisses. But full of the memory of the evening star, and of its silvery twinkling, the flower responded but coldly to the demonstrations of the haughty sun. She still saw before her mind’s eye the soft and affectionate glow of the star; she still felt in her heart the beneficent dewdrop, and turning away from the blinding rays of the sun, she closed her petals and went to sleep nestled in the thick foliage of the parent-shrub. From that time on, day became night for the lowly flower, and night became day. As soon as the sun rises and engulfs heaven and earth in its golden rays, the flower becomes invisible; but hardly does the sun set, and the star, piercing a corner of the dark horizon, makes its appearance, than the flower hails it with joy, plays with its silvery rays, and absorbs with long breaths its mellow glow.

Such is the heart of many a woman. The first gracious word, the first affectionate caress, falling on her aching heart, takes root there deeply. [7] Profoundly moved by a friendly word, she remains indifferent to the passionate demonstrations of the whole universe. The first may not differ from many others; it may be lost among thousands of other stars similar to that one, yet the heart of woman knows where to find him, near by or far away; she will follow with love and interest his humble course, and will send her blessings on his journey. She may greet the haughty sun, and admire its glory, but, loyal and grateful, her love will always belong to one lone star.

* * *

[In H.P.B.’s Scrapbook, Vol. I, between pages 20 and 21, may be found the manuscript of the following “Important Note” in her own handwriting. It is undated, but its last paragraph places it as being prior to the formation of The Theosophical Society. Her words show better than anything else the pathos of her situation, and the complex psychological and spiritual difficulties she was working under even at that early period in the history of the Movement. On what specific purpose she was sent to America is stated here beyond any doubt.]


Yes. I am sorry to say that I had to identify myself during that shameful exposure of the mediums Holmes with the Spiritualists. I had to save the situation, for I was sent from Paris on purpose to America to prove the phenomena and their reality and - show the fallacy of the Spiritualistic theories of “Spirits.” But how could I do it best? I did not want people at large to know that I could produce the same thing at will. I had received ORDERS to the contrary, and yet, I had to keep alive the reality, the genuineness and possibility of such phenomena in the hearts of those who from Materialists had turned Spiritualists and now, owing to the exposure of several mediums fell back again, returned to their skepticism. This is why, selecting a few of the faithful, I went to the Holmeses and helped by M … and his power, brought out the face of John King and Katie King in the astral light, produced the phenomena of materialization and - allowed the Spiritualists at large to believe it was done thro’ the mediumship of Mrs. Holmes. She was terribly frightened herself, for she knew that this once the apparition was real. Did I do wrong? The world is not prepared yet to understand the philosophy of Occult Sciences - let them assure themselves first of all that there are beings in an invisible world, whether “Spirits” of the dead or Elementals; and that there are hidden powers in man, which are capable of making a God of him on earth.

When I am dead and gone people will, perhaps, appreciate my disinterested motives. I have pledged my word to help people on to Truth while living and - will keep my word. Let them abuse and revile me. Let some call me a MEDIUM and a Spiritualist, and others an impostor. The day will come when posterity will learn to know me better.

Oh poor, foolish, credulous, wicked world!

M … brings orders to form a Society - a secret Society like the Rosicrucian Lodge. He promises to help. H.P.B. [8]

* * *

[Excerpts from H.P.B.’s article entitled “From Madame H. P. Blavatsky to her Correspondents,” and published originally in the Spiritual Scientist of Boston, Mass. Vol. Ill , September 23, 1875:]

Far from me, though, the idea of disparaging in anyone the laudable impulse to search ardently after Truth, however arid and ungrateful the task may appear at first sight; for my own principle has ever been to make the Light of Truth, the beacon of my life. The words uttered by Christ eighteen centuries ago: “Believe and you will understand,” can be applied in the present case, and repeating them with but a slight modification, I may well say: “Study and you will believe.”

But to particularize one or another Book on Occultism, to those who are anxious to begin their studies in the hidden mysteries of nature is something, the responsibility of which, I am not prepared to assume. What may be clear to one who is intuitional, if read in the same book by another person, might prove meaningless. Unless one is prepared to devote to it his whole life, the superficial knowledge of Occult Sciences will lead him surely to become the target for millions of ignorant scoffers to aim their blunderbusses, loaded with ridicule and chaff, against. Besides this, it is in more than one way dangerous to select this science as a mere pastime. One must bear forever in mind the impressive fable of Oedipus, and beware of the same consequences. Oedipus un-riddled but one-half of the enigma offered him by the Sphinx, and caused its death; the other half of the mystery avenged the death of the symbolic monster, and forced the King of Thebes to prefer blindness and exile in his despair, rather than face what he did not feel himself pure enough to encounter. He un-riddled the man, the form, and had forgotten God - the idea.

If a man would follow in the steps of Hermetic Philosophers, he must prepare himself beforehand for martyrdom. He must give up personal pride and all selfish purposes, and be ready for everlasting encounters with friends and foes. He must part, once for all, with every remembrance of his earlier ideas, on all and on everything. Existing religions, knowledge, science must re-become a blank book for him, as in the days of his babyhood, for if he wants to succeed he must learn a new alphabet on the lap of Mother Nature, every letter of which will afford a new insight to him, every syllable and word an unexpected revelation. The two hitherto irreconcilable foes, science and theology - the Montecchi and Capuletti of the nineteenth century - will ally themselves with the ignorant masses, against the modern Occultist. If we have outgrown the age of stakes, we are in the heyday, per contra, of slander, the venom of the press, and all these mephitic venticelli of calumny, so vividly expressed by the immortal Don Basilio. To Science, it will be the duty, arid and sterile as a matter of course - of the Cabalist to prove that from the beginning of time there was but one positive Science - Occultism; that it was the mysterious lever of all intellectual forces, the Tree of Knowledge of good and evil of the Allegorical Paradise, from whose gigantic trunk sprang in [9] every direction boughs, branches and twigs, the former shooting forth straight enough at first, the latter, deviating with every inch of growth, assuming more and more fantastical appearances, till at last one after the other lost its vital juice, got deformed, and, drying up, finally broke off, scattering the ground afar with heaps of rubbish. To Theology, the Occultist of the future will have to demonstrate, that the Gods of the Mythologies, the Elohim of Israel as well as the religious, theological mysteries of Christianity, to begin with the Trinity, sprang from the sanctuaries of Memphis and Thebes; that their mother Eve is but the spiritualized Psyche of old, both of them paying a like penalty for their curiosity, descending to Hades or Hell, the latter to bring back to earth the famous Pandora’s box - the former, to search out and crush the head of the serpent - symbol of time and evil; the crime of both expiated by the Pagan Prometheus and the Christian Lucifer; the first, delivered by Hercules - the second conquered by the Saviour.

Furthermore, the Occultist will have to prove to the Christian Theology, publicly, what many of its priesthood are well aware of in secret - namely, that their God on earth was a Cabalist, the meek representative of a tremendous Power, which, if misapplied, might shake the world to its foundations; and that, of all their evangelical symbols, there is not one but can be traced up to its parent fount. For instance, their Incarnated Verbum or Logos was worshipped at His birth by the three Magi, led on by the star, and received from them the gold, the frankincense and myrrh, the whole of which is simply an excerpt from the Cabala our modern theologians despise, and the representation of another and still more mysterious “Ternary,” embodying allegorically in its emblems, the highest secrets of the Cabala.

* * *

[From H.P.B.’s article entitled “The Science of Magic,” published originally in the Spiritual Scientist of October 14, 1875:]

The exercise of magical power is the exercise of natural powers, but SUPERIOR to the ordinary functions of Nature. A miracle is not a violation of the laws of Nature, except for ignorant people. Magic is but a science, a profound knowledge of the Occult forces in Nature, and of the laws governing the visible or the invisible world. Spiritualism in the hands of an adept becomes Magic, for he is learned in the art of blending together the laws of the Universe, without breaking any of them and thereby violating Nature. In the hands of an experienced medium, Spiritualism becomes UNCONSCIOUS SORCERY; for, by allowing himself to become the helpless tool of a variety of spirits, of whom he knows nothing save what the latter permit him to know, he opens, unknown to himself, a door of communication between the two worlds, through which emerge the blind forces of Nature lurking in the astral light, as well as good and bad spirits. [10]

* * *

[An incident in H.P.B.’s life which she narrates in her article entitled “Dr. Carpenter on ‘Tree-Trickery’ and H. P. Blavatsky on Fakir-‘Jugglery’.” It was originally published in the Chicago Religio-Philosophical Journal, Vol. XXIII, December 22, 1877.]

While at Cawnpoor, en route to Benares, the holy city, a lady, my travelling companion, was robbed of the entire contents of a small trunk. Jewelry, dresses, and even her note-book, containing a diary which she had been carefully compiling for over three months, had mysteriously disappeared, without the lock of the valise having been disturbed. Several hours, perhaps a night and a day had passed since the robbery, as we had started at day-break to explore some neighboring ruins, yet freshly allied with the Nana Sahib’s reprisals on the English. My companion’s first thought was to call upon the local police - mine for the help of some native gosain (a holy man supposed to be informed of everything) or at least a “ jadugar” or conjurer. But the ideas of civilization prevailed, and a whole week was wasted in fruitless visits to the “ chabutara” (police house) and interviews with the “ kotwal” - its chief. In despair, my expedient was at last resorted to, and a gosain procured. We occupied a small bungalow at the extreme end of one of the suburbs, on the right bank of the Ganges , and from the verandah a full view of the river was had, which at that place was very narrow.

Our experiment was made on that verandah, in the presence of the family of the landlord - a half-caste Portuguese from the South - my friend and myself, and two freshly imported Frenchmen, who laughed outrageously at our superstition. Time, three o’clock in the afternoon. The heat was suffocating, but notwithstanding, the holy man - a coffee-colored, living skeleton - demanded that the motion of the punkah (hanging fan worked by a cord) should be stopped. He gave no reason, but it was because the agitation of the air interferes with all delicate magnetic experiments. We had all heard of the “rolling-pot,” as an agency for the detection of theft in India , a common iron pot being made under the influence of a Hindu conjurer, to roll of its own impulse, without any hand touching it, to the very spot where the stolen goods are concealed. The gosain proceeded otherwise. He first of all demanded some article that had been last in contact with the contents of the valise; a pair of gloves was handed him. He pressed them between his thin palms, and rolling them over and over again; then dropped them on the floor, and proceeded to turn himself slowly round, with arms outstretched and fingers expanded, as though he were seeking the direction in which the property lay. Suddenly, he stopped with a jerk, sank gradually to the floor and remained motionless, sitting cross-legged and with his arms still outstretched in the same direction, as though plunged in a cataleptic trance. This lasted for over an hour, which, in that suffocating atmosphere, was to us one long torture. Suddenly the landlord sprang from his seat to the balustrade, and began instantly looking towards the river, in which direction our [11] eyes also turned. Coming from whence, or how, we could not tell; but out there, over the water, and near its surface, was a dark object approaching. What it was we could not make out; but the mass seemed impelled by some interior force to revolve, at first slow, but then faster and faster as it drew near. It was as though supported on an invisible pavement, and its course was in a direct line as the bee flies. It reached the bank, disappeared again among the high vegetation, and anon, rebounding with force as it leaped over the low garden-wall, flew rather than rolled on the verandah and dropped with a heavy thud under the extended palms of the gosain. A violent, convulsive tremor shook the frame of the old man, as with a deep sigh he opened his half-closed eyes. All were astounded, but the Frenchmen stared at the bundle with an expression of idiotic terror in their eyes! Rising from the ground the holy man opened the tarred canvas envelope and within were found all the stolen articles down to the least thing. Without a word, or waiting for thanks, he salaamed low to the company and disappeared through the doorway before we recovered from our surprise. We had to run after him a long way before we could press upon him a dozen rupees, which blessings he received in his wooden bowl.


Montague A. Machell

“Oh my Divinity, blend thou with me, that from the corruptible I may become incorruptible; that from imperfection I may become perfection; that from darkness I may GO FORTH IN LIGHT.”

Any prayer or invocation that has the power to effect a spiritual transmutation in the heart of man, exercises, I imagine, a two-fold function: primarily it unlocks the doors of human captivity and affords man a momentary glimpse of the Eternal Splendor, wherein he may forge the weapons of spiritual conquest; secondly, it is very likely to embody an apt directive to the mortal man, invaluable in his physical life.

The Theosophical invocation quoted above contains a practical, personal directive for every philosophical thinker in relation to life and death, based on the Theosophical contention that death is not a coming to an END, but rather a “going forth in Light” toward further realms of release and illumination.

In instances too familiar to all of us, “old age” is associated with inevitable mental and physical decay - a point of view taken more or less for granted. Considering our rather comprehensive ignorance of, and indifference to, the laws of physical health and sane living, this harvest of decay in later years is hardly surprising. [12]

But, even those blest with robust physical health late in life are apt to reveal symptoms more suggestive of waning than of a waxing vitality.

“Is this not natural and inevitable?” you ask.

In the physical sense, perhaps. Yet, “man may not live by bread alone,” nourishment of the spiritual nature being an indispensable aspect of life.

May it not well be that this tendency towards waning vitality is hastened by that mental picture of life’s gloaming labeled FINIS? After all, if we are confronted with a positive END to life, why gird up our loins for a heroic battle with NEGATIONS? You and I, undoubtedly, have friends we love and revere who, in their advanced years, ask over and over again: “Why do I keep on living? Why can’t I strike the set, kill the house lights, and be off?”

This question will continue to be asked so long as the mass of people accept the unreasonable and unrewarding conception of one life on earth, emerging from negation and solved (?) by a negation.

For just a moment, let us throw the weight of the argument for life, not on the physical earth-dweller of sixty or seventy-five, but on the Unseen Spiritual Pilgrim endowed with infinite potentialities and all eternity in which to realize them - the Theosophical point of view, buttressed by the twin doctrines of Reincarnation and Karma. A little fearless pondering will convince us that, if what matters most in a man is his Spiritual Self, and if that Spiritual Self, by the law of rebirth, has innumerable opportunities of carrying forward the program, interrupted from time to time by death, then, surely, the passing away of the physical vehicle, even if an inconvenience, is not a calamity! And, since the Spiritual Self has sown seeds of lofty endeavor in many past lives, which are to bear fruit in lives to come, do not these considerations rob death of its fatal finality?

And since the reincarnating Self is timeless, would it not seem worthwhile to give appropriate consideration to Its plans and prospects as related to that “strange interlude” termed death? Should they not take precedence over, and even lend luster to, the seasonal changes of the physical vehicle? This is the Theosophical point of view, a view which, carried to its logical conclusion, illumines life with a lofty purpose and a sublime prospect up to the moment of the last earthly breath.

“The law of life,” says Theosophy, “is Spiritual Growth.” That law dignifies and lends heavenly splendor to physical living. More than this, it has power to sweeten and purify that living. He who has glimpsed the heroic beauty of this Life Pattern, matures that vision with gathering years - literal1y grows younger in spiritual vitality as the physical self experiences its normal decline. In the courageous and enlightened seeker, Life of the Spirit never wanes. The gathering years generate more, not less incentive for inner growth.

It might help, perhaps, to cultivate a view of life as a vast and adventurous pilgrimage across the enormous deserts of Time, with periodic oases of idyllic [13] beauty where the pilgrim may rest and gather renewed strength for the next day’s journey. The pilgrim who lies down in blissful slumber under the desert stars, is none other than the pilgrim who faces the rising sun with a prayer of thanksgiving the following morning. The pilgrimage continues. The identical pilgrim fares forth, toward new scenes, new adventures and the acquisition of new wisdom. The deathless flame of spiritual consciousness, which the renewed physical vehicle protects, is the deathless flame kindled at the Lamp of the Eternal. The torch is renewed, wherefore the flame burns with a purer luminescence. Life is not lessened. It has been reborn with added splendor.

With this outlook on life, a man will justifiably intensify his dedication to it as the temporary twilight gathers. If his Theosophical tenets have been to any degree understood and made a part, of his daily living, he will, by the time he nears the interval of repose, be far more engrossed in Life Spiritual than in life physical. The slight swinging of the pendulum from Earth Time toward Eternal Time will only heighten his awareness of his own Deathlessness.

The flaming up of the spirit will suffuse earth’s twilight with the radiance of Dawn. Unperturbed, uplifted, aglow with aspirations toward the sublime Spiritual Reality, he will serenely “lay his worn-out robes away” and in his hour of divine liberation, he will “GO FORTH IN LIGHT”!


Lina Psaltis

“… O suffering, struggling Humanity! whose eyes know only tears, whose ears hear only discords, blind and deaf, an infinite compassion broods above you. Awake and hearken.” - Cave.

Born amidst days of struggle and heartbreak such as the world has not seen for many a day, the aspirant to Gnosis is faced daily with the temptation to cease his struggles against the obstacles placed by modern Society. Various and conflicting thoughts and emotions assail him at every turn of the road. Onslaughts from radio, television, friends, compel each to be aware of human difficulties from the North Pole to the South. World Karma is now the field of play for the consciousness of man.

How to understand the great force at work? Perhaps Mother Nature can lend us some understanding. And what better example do we have than that of a mountain stream - for it, too, must persist in the face of seeming insurmountable obstacles if it is to succeed in fulfilling its destiny.

Born in the high reaches of the mountain crags, its life is a fascinating interplay and contrast of hurrying rapids and deep still pools. As it hurries to its goal, its nature unfolds in and through ceaseless trials - barriers along its journey. Each droplet seems to sparkle with inborn joy and [14] beauty and, as more and more droplets join the path, there is a harmonious blending which combines till the roar of its motion grows into a hymn to all Nature.

It’s course is arduous - its struggle for survival seems at times impossible. Yet the individuality of others - be they rock, hill or dale - does not cause it to cease it’s homeward thrust. If its channels of expression are blocked it seeks other avenues or other means, it circumvents, surmounts, wears away - or even goes underground, thereby disappearing only to reappear when circumstances are right. Eventually, after what must be eternities of time to the little droplet, it reaches its goal. And so the “scattered sparks (drops) ... combined to make its flame” - in harmony and cooperation. One cannot help but marvel and exclaim

“O Stream of adamantine will,
Thy purpose revealeth thy strength
Tho’ thou encountereth a multitude of obstacles
Thou art not a child which abandons,
But a mighty force which conquers.”

If we can carry the analogy of the stream into our human relationships and consciousness, it then gives us pause to consider whether or not we can be as full of purpose as it. The life story of the humble and prosaic stream is one of constant interplay of natural obstacles and inner drive and serves to point out the occult law stated in The Esoteric Tradition, to wit: “... a fountain of force or energy is not annihilated because its channels of expression have been blocked or diverted ...” (p. 659.). Rather than annihilation, there is new direction, new channels, forged in order for this stream of force to express its inner karmic duty.

A great test comes when individuals set aglow with the beauty and logic of the Theosophical teachings become aware of change. If the reaction to change is positive, then personal attachments melt away. If the Channel is kept free of personal, i.e. selfish, motives, the expenditure of Energy is correspondentially less.

In order to become a true co-worker, we must each moment be aware - vibrantly aware - of every nuance, every hint of the Plan in order for us to align ourselves with that which is growth, which is evolution, which is the Way of the gods. And to do this, of course, involves complete removal of self in order for that which is impersonal by virtue of being of universal import, to fill the void left by removal of self-interests. In this way, then, we can begin to flow as a harmonious part of the Whole - we can then be a building rather than a stumbling block. It is not weakness to change course, rather it is conservation of energy. The void left by removal of personal interests then becomes the pleroma - rejecting nothing, casting out nothing - but remaining impersonal and unattached, and by so doing, the limiting and finite elements die through sheer lack of the opposition which they need to continue to exist. Then, again, we have “the spark lost in the fire, the drop within the ocean, the ever-present ray become the All and the eternal radiance” (Voice of the Silence).

Karma metes out inexorable, passionless, impersonal Justice. We can either observe its ways and work in and through them or go blindly on, [15] clinging tenaciously and jealously to yesterday’s memory - thereby thwarting our own inner goal - harmony.

Do not the Servants of Truth employ the same wisdom as the stream? They are not bound by individual predilections. Theirs is a universal work - their duty to Mankind. And it is up to each unit of the theosophical movement to decide whether he joins the universal Movement or squats down on his pile of personal likes, ideas, and pet views on how this Movement should run. And if he becomes a squatter; then he becomes an obstacle. And as we have seen, obstacles imply change in direction (by the Stream), change in mode of expression.

This is one of the challenges with which Theosophists of today are faced - the challenge of an impersonal attachment which permits us to be ready at a moments notice to surrender our heart and will. A new challenge? No, the same one met by all who have followed the Light. H.P.B. threw down this gauntlet in the 19th Century thereby setting the keynote for those of us in the 20th. By following her Note in the Song of Life, by striving more valiantly and with ever-renewed strength, we can be ready to follow the stream, whatever its Path, whatever its Way, for,

“Listen to the great song of love, compassion, tenderness; and losing yourself in that, forget these passing shadows. United, harmonious, your power is limitless; without them we can do nothing.” - Cave.

We have been charged with a great privilege: that of working with the Hierarchy of Compassion - humbly aware of the trust we have inherited. Whatever our place, whatever our duty, we can be assured it is helping - helping to allay ignorance and suffering. And with this assurance, each of us can, by virtue of adding our strength to that of the Compassionate Ones, know that our life has meaning and purpose far beyond what we may realize. Resting peacefully in the awareness of this, we acquire a consciousness for transcending the Mundane ...

“In the silences of a deep, strong life, lie great wells of force, and all who approach that life bathe therein, whether consciously or unconsciously. It is enough for you if you can find such to be within yourself, enough to keep its waters pure and sweet, - let them say what they will.” - Cave.


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Compiled and Annotated by SVEN EEK

Large Octavo; xvi, 720 pages; illustrated and with copious Index. Bound in cloth.
Unique historical volume, fully documented - now available to students interested in the origins of the Theosophical Movement in our age.

Damodar K. Mavalankar was an outstanding Chela of the early days. In this Volume we read some fascinating articles from his pen. We marvel at his rapid psychic development and his experiences under the guidance of his Teacher. We learn of his efforts·to become a perfect instrument of the Masters, of his self-sacrifices; his mistakes and his victories. Of the many disciples on probation at the time, we know of only one - Damodar - who did not fail.
Authoritative biographical sketches of the Founders and of other Pioneers of those heroic years greatly enhance the value of this comprehensive Work. Some of their lives read like fairy-tales. We hear of magic and mystery and high resolve, and of the inevitable struggle which is the lot of the Pioneer.
This is the only work where the life-stories of these dedicated men and women are brought together in one volume. It co-ordinates all authentic information concerning the relationship of the Masters to the early period of our Movement, and their responsibility in its founding.
You will not want to miss this major contribution to our Theosophical literature.

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