A Living Philosophy For Humanity

Volume XXIII
No. 3 (109) - Winter 1966-1967

[Cover photo: Ascona, Lake Maggiore, Switzerland.]


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.



“... We claim that there are adepts, masters in life who make it divine, as in all other arts. Is it not the greatest art of all, this which affects the very atmosphere in which we live? That it is the most important is seen at once, when we remember that every person who draws the breath of life affects the mental and moral atmosphere of the world, and helps to colour the day for those about him. Those who do not help to elevate the thoughts and lives of others must of necessity either paralyze them by indifference, or actively drag them down ... The occultist fully recognizes the responsibility and claims his title by having both tried and acquired knowledge of his own possibilities. The Theosophist who is at all in earnest, sees his responsibility and endeavours to find knowledge, living, in the meantime, up to the highest standard of which he is aware ... And let no one imagine that it is a mere fancy, the attaching of importance to the birth of the year. The earth passes through its definite phases and man with it; and as a day can be coloured so can a year. The astral life of the earth is young and strong between Christmas and Easter. Those who form their wishes now will have added strength to fulfill them consistently.” - H. P. Blavatsky, Lucifer. Vol. I, January, 1888, pp. 337-38.

“... facing what is taking place in the world today we must recognize it as no chance event, no haphazard or fortuitous occurrence, not the blind blows of fate, but the working out of the events which are coming. We must recognize that behind these events there is power, spiritual power, spiritual force. It will all work out to an already predestined and sublime ending. For to me, despite the agony and the sadness that we humans in our blindness feel, there is the wind of the spirit sweeping over the earth, rearranging, remaking, reshaping. And the agonies and sorrows that come, come from ourselves, blind humans that we are who will not enter into Nature’s majestic processes, helping her, but instead oppose her, and in opposing her suffer.” - G. de Purucker, Wind of the Spirit, p. 2.[3]


Boris de Zirkoff

Another yearly cycle is opening for all of us.

The Sun, ascending once again from its lowest point, heralds another Spring to come, and the slumbering energies of Mother-Nature are awakening to a new life.

Is it so with us? Are we also prepared to throw off the deceiving slumber of our “wintry” disappointments and frustrations, and to step forward in a new garment of spiritual vigor and undying hope? Can we turn the dial of our hearts and brains to tune in the vital energies broadcasting their perennial strength throughout the universe, both visible and invisible, and register within ourselves some of their potent key-notes?

As students of the Ancient Wisdom, it is our bounden duty to try to do just that. Unless we do it, unless we plan and try to do it, we are no better than walking corpses cluttering with millions of others the crowded highways of universal life, useless both to ourselves and to those whom we could help and sustain were we awake and spiritually alert.

As students of the Esoteric Philosophy, the ageless Wisdom of Mankind, it is imperative for us to attune ourselves to the mighty sweep of Nature and to try to embody, however slightly, in our very attitude to life, the vibrant forces which course through the structure of the worlds and sustain its harmonious interrelations.

The Theosophical Movement in which we work, irrespective of affiliations, is in dire need of rejuvenation. Its outer framework has become rusty and has gathered a heap of barnacles which should be sloughed off. Outmoded ideas, old-fashioned attitudes, crystallized moulds of thought, and deceptive and distorted teachings, are clogging some of the best channels for work. New ideas, wider view-points, youthful enthusiasms are suspect, and promising workers, finding but little response on the part of others, change their course and lend their energies to other Movements wherein they are welcome. It is abundantly clear that the Theosophical Organizations as such are unwilling to face this issue, or even to acknowledge its existence, because, if accepted, the issue would bring about a total reconstruction of such Organizations, resulting in the fact that a number of powerful vested interests would have to be dissolved and disappear.

Unless the organized Theosophical Movement of today exhibits the healthy signs of the Spirit of Youth, it will not survive the present generation. Unless its modes of thought, its methods of work, its channels of presentation, are overhauled and adjusted to the living needs of a changing world, its career will come to an untimely end and other channels, freer to conduct the living flow of Cyclic Forces, will carry the spiritual potential into succeeding generations, through the Youth of the present age.

Youth is intent - with grave and unswerving intention, let us remember-to put an end to the insane outbursts of emotional frenzies called wars. These wars are invariably caused by a few, and then fought by the many. They are the result of the selfish, opportunistic and corrupt thinking of older generations; yet they are fought by the younger one, which is [4] forced to sacrifice its life and ideals to uphold the established order rooted in glaring injustice, racial animosity, social maladjustment and the lust for power. What else but the grand Ethics of Theosophy can ever hope to put an end to this state of affairs? Who else but the Youth of today - in collaboration with those older people who are youthful in spirit and outlook can ever bring about that change?

It may of course be stated by those who are afraid of anything that is new and young that everything in Nature follows precisely this course: from vigorous youth to maturity and the senility of old age; from initial momentum to the crystallization of older forms. The argument is very good; we witness this state of affairs everywhere; but we are only too prone to disregard the obvious fact that Nature has a drastic way of taking care of these crystallized forms whenever she is ready to do so. Floods, earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, hurricanes, even ordinary dry rot, are effective methods whereby natural forces, geared as they are to continued and relentless progress and evolution, clear the stage from the accumulated refuse of the ages, and prepare the ground for some new growth. And the argument applies equally well to those fleeting organizations and structures which men built from·time to time to embody for a while their ideals, only to be superseded by other structures which embody greater ideals.

For Mother-Nature - which is the totality of evolving consciousness throughout the Universe - is utterly devoid of personal feelings or partiality of any kind. It has no favorites and no predilections. It is based strictly on Law, even though that Law is backed by an immense Mercy the full nature of which we humans can hardly grasp.

Theosophy, we must bear in mind, is primarily an ethical doctrine, a code of conduct, a way of living. It is not solely an intellectual philosophy. Therefore its teachings contain at their very heart practical precepts and patterns of behavior which, if applied to the solution of our harassing social problems, can resolve them into harmony. And it is precisely with these social problems that the mind of present-day Youth is so greatly concerned. Theosophy is also a philosophy of optimism that senses, as the moving force behind all evolution, an irresistible power for good in the vast drama of human life.

Facing today the Portals of a New Year into which we shall enter with grave resolve and unflagging enthusiasm in the innate Divinity of every man, we must remind ourselves that the Lodge-Force is a leaven at work throughout the world, and that disciples of the Hierarchy - often obscure and unknown - are active in every constructive aspect of human life. Let us watch for them, discover them, sustain their efforts! Let us try and become ourselves agents of the Brotherhood, men and women of dynamic faith of living brotherhood, and of universal vision!

A Happy New Year to all! [5]


H. P. Blavatsky

[We publish herewith the greater part of this outstanding pronouncement which appeared in the first issue of The Theosophist, October, 1879. We draw special attention to the spirit of universality and the breadth of vision which it exhibits. - Editor, Theosophia.]

Are they what they claim to be - students of natural law, of ancient and modern philosophy, and even of exact science? Are they Deists, Atheists, Socialists, Materialists, or Idealists; or are they but a schism of modern Spiritualism - mere visionaries? Are they entitled to any consideration, as capable of discussing philosophy and promoting real science; or should they be treated with the compassionate toleration which one gives to “harmless enthusiasts”? The Theosophical Society has been variously charged with a belief in “miracles,” and “miracle-working”; with a secret political object - like the Carbonari; with being spies of an autocratic Czar; with preaching socialistic and nihilistic doctrines; and, mirabile dictu, with having a covert understanding with the French Jesuits, to disrupt modern Spiritualism for a pecuniary consideration! With equal violence they have been denounced as dreamers, by the American Positivists; as fetish-worshippers, by some of the New York press; as revivalists of “mouldy superstitions,” by the Spiritualists; as infidel emissaries of Satan, by the Christian Church; as the very types of “gobe-mouche,” by Professor W. B. Carpenter, F.R.S.; and, finally, and most absurdly, some Hindu opponents, with a view to lessening their influence, have flatly charged them with the employment of demons to perform certain phenomena. Out of all this pother of opinions, one fact stands conspicuous - the Society, its members, and their views, are deemed of enough importance to be discussed and denounced: Men slander only those whom they hate or fear.

But, if the Society has had its enemies and traducers, it has also had its friends and advocates. For every word of censure, there has been a word of praise. Beginning with a party of about a dozen earnest men and women, a month later its numbers had so increased as to necessitate the hiring of a public hall for its meetings; within two years, it had working branches in European countries. Still later, it found itself in alliance with the Indian Arya Samaj, headed by the learned Pandit Dayanund Saraswati Swami, and the Ceylonese Buddhists, under the erudite H. Sumangala, High Priest of Adam’s Peak and President of the Widyodaya College, Colombo.

He who would seriously attempt to fathom the psychological sciences, must come to the sacred land of ancient Aryavarta. None is older than she in esoteric wisdom and civilization, however fallen may be her poor shadow - modern India. Holding this country, as we do, for the fruitful hot-bed whence proceeded all subsequent philosophical systems, to this source of all psychology and philosophy a portion of our Society has come to learn its ancient wisdom and ask for the impartation of its weird secrets. Philology has made too much progress to require at this late day a demonstration of this fact [6] of the primogenitive nationality of Aryavarta. The unproved and prejudiced hypothesis of modern Chronology is not worthy of a moment’s thought, and it will vanish in time like so many other unproved hypotheses. The line of philosophical heredity, from Kapila through Epicurus to James Mill; from Patanjali through Plotinus to Jacob Boehme, can be traced like the course of a river through a landscape. One of the objects of the Society’s organization was to examine the too transcendent views of the Spiritualists in regard to the powers of disembodied spirits; and, having told them what, in our opinion at least, a portion of their phenomena are not, it will become incumbent upon us now to show what they are ...

While, as observed, one of our objects, it yet is but one of many; the most important of which is to revive the work of Ammonius Saccas, and make various nations remember that they are the children “of one mother.” As to the transcendental side of the ancient Theosophy, it is also high time that the Theosophical Society should explain. With how much, then, of this nature-searching, God-seeking science of the ancient Aryan and Greek mystics, and of the powers of modern spiritual mediumship, does the Society agree? Our answer is: - with it all. But if asked what it believes in, the reply will be: - “as a body - Nothing.” The Society, as a body, has no creed, as creeds are but the shells around spiritual knowledge; and Theosophy in its fruition is spiritual knowledge itself - the very essence of philosophical and theistic enquiry. Visible representative of Universal Theosophy, it can be no more sectarian than a geographical Society, which represents universal geographical exploration without caring whether the explorers be of one creed or another. The religion of the Society is an algebraical equation, in which so long as the sign = of equality is not omitted, each member is allowed to substitute quantities of his own, which better accord with climatic and other exigencies of his native land, with the idiosyncrasies of his people, or even with his own. Having no accepted creed, our Society is very ready to give and take, to learn and teach, by practical experimentation, as opposed to mere passive and credulous acceptance of enforced dogma. It is willing to accept every result claimed by any of the foregoing schools or systems, that can be logically and experimentally demonstrated. Conversely, it can take nothing on mere faith, no matter by whom the demand may be made.

But, when we come to consider ourselves individually, it is quite another thing. The Society’s members represent the most varied nationalities and races, and were born and educated in the most dissimilar creeds and social conditions. Some of them believe in one thing, others in another. Some incline toward the ancient magic, or secret wisdom that was taught in the sanctuaries, which was the very opposite of supernaturalism or diabolism; others in modern spiritualism, or intercourse with the spirits of the dead; still others in mesmerism or animal magnetism, or only an occult dynamic force in nature. A certain number have scarcely yet acquired any definite belief, but are in a state of attentive expectancy; and there are even those who call themselves materialists, in a certain sense. Of atheists and bigoted sectarians of any religion, there are none in the Society; for the very fact of a man’s joining it proves that he is in search of the final truth as to the ultimate essence of things. If there be such a thing as a speculative atheist, which philosophers may deny, he would have to reject both cause and effect, whether in this world of matter, or in that of spirit. There may be members who, like the poet Shelley, have let their imagination soar from cause to prior cause ad infinitum, as each in its turn became logically transformed into a result necessitating a prior cause, until they have thinned the Eternal into a mere mist. But even they are not atheist in the speculative sense, whether they identify the material forces of the universe with the functions with which the theists endow their God, or otherwise; for once that they cannot free themselves from the conception of the abstract ideal of power, cause, necessity, and effect, they can be considered as atheists only in respect to a personal God, and not to the Universal Soul of the Pantheist. On the other hand, the bigoted sectarian, fenced in, as he is, with a creed upon every paling of which is written the warning “No Thoroughfare,” can neither come out of his enclosure to join the Theosophical Society, nor, if he could, has it room for one whose very religion forbids examination. The very root idea of the Society is free and fearless investigation.

As a body, the Theosophical Society holds that all original thinkers and investigators of the hidden side of nature whether materialists-those who find matter “the promise and potency of all terrestrial life,” or spiritualists - that is, those who discover in spirit the source of all energy and of matter as well were and are, properly, Theosophists. For to be one, one need not necessarily recognize the existence of any special God or a deity. One need but worship the spirit of living nature, and try to identify oneself with it. To revere that Presence, the invisible Cause, which is yet ever manifesting itself in its incessant results; the intangible, omnipotent, and omnipresent Proteus: indivisible in its Essence, and eluding form, yet appearing under all and every form; who is here and there, and everywhere and nowhere; is ALL, and NOTHING; ubiquitous yet one; the Essence filling, binding, bounding, containing everything; contained in all. It will, we think, be seen now, that whether classed as Theists, Pantheists or Atheists, such men are near kinsmen to the rest. Be what he may, once that a student abandons the old and trodden highway of routine, and enters upon the solitary path of independent thought - God ward - he is a Theosophist; an original thinker, a seeker after the eternal truth with “an inspiration of his own” to solve the universal problems.

With every man that is earnestly searching in his own way after a knowledge of the Divine Principle, of man’s relations to it, and nature’s manifestations of it, Theosophy is allied. It is likewise the ally of honest science, as distinguished from much that passes for exact, physical science, so long as the latter does not poach on the domains of psychology and metaphysics.

And it is also the ally of every honest religion - to wit: a religion [7] willing to be judged by the same tests as it applies to the others. Those books, which contain the most self-evident truth, are to it inspired (not revealed). But all books it regards, on account of the human element contained in them, as inferior to the Book of Nature; to read which and comprehend it correctly, the innate powers of the soul must be highly developed. Ideal laws can be perceived by the intuitive faculty alone; they are beyond the domain of argument and dialectics, and no one can understand or rightly appreciate them through the explanations of another mind, though even this mind be claiming a direct revelation. And, as this Society which allows the widest sweep in the realms of the pure ideal, is no less firm in the sphere of facts, its deference to modern science and its just representatives is sincere. Despite all their lack of a higher spiritual intuition, the world’s debt to the representatives of modern physical science is immense; hence, the Society endorses heartily the noble and indignant protest of that gifted and eloquent preacher, the Rev. O. B. Frothingham, against those who try to undervalue the services of our great naturalists. “Talk of Science as being irreligious, atheistic,” he exclaimed in a recent lecture, delivered at New York , “Science is creating a new idea of God. It is due to Science that we have any conception at all of a living God. If we do not become atheists one of these days under the maddening effect of Protestantism, it will be due to Science, because it is disabusing us of hideous illusions that tease and embarrass us, and putting us in the way of knowing how to reason about the things we see ...”

And it is also due to the unremitting labours of such Orientalists as Sir W. Jones, Max Muller, Burnouf, Colebrooke, Haug, Saint-Hilaire, and so many others, that the Society, as a body, feels equal respect and veneration for Vedic, Buddhist, Zoroastrian, and other old religions of the world; and, a like brotherly feeling towards its Hindu, Sinhalese, Parsi, Jain, Hebrew, and Christian members as individual students of “self,” of nature, and of the divine in nature.

Born in the United States of America, the Society was constituted on the model of its Mother Land . The latter, omitting the name of God from its constitution lest it should afford a pretext one day to make a state religion, gives absolute equality to all religions in its laws. All support and each is in turn protected by the State. The Society, modelled upon this constitution, may fairly be termed a “ Republic of Conscience .”

We have now, we think, made clear why our members, as individuals, are free to stay outside or inside any creed they please, provided they do not pretend that none but themselves shall enjoy the privilege of conscience, and try to force their opinions upon the others. In this respect the Rules of the Society are very strict. It tries to act upon the wisdom of the old Buddhistic axiom, “ Honour thine own faith, and do not slander that of others”; echoed back in our present century, in the “Declaration of Principles” of the Brahmo Samaj, which so nobly states that: “no sect shall be vilified, ridiculed, or hated.” In Section VI of the Revised Rules of the Theosophical Society, recently adopted in General Council, at Bombay, is this mandate: “It is not [9] lawful for any officer of the Parent Society to express, by word or act, any hostility to, or preference for, any one section (sectarian division, or group within the Society) more than another. All must be regarded and treated as equally the objects of the Society’s solicitude and exertions. All have an equal right to have the essential features of their religious belief laid before the tribunal of an impartial world.” In their individual capacity, members may, when attacked, occasionally break this Rule, but, nevertheless, as officers they are restrained, and the Rule is strictly enforced during the meetings. For, above all human sects stands Theosophy in its abstract sense; Theosophy which is too wide for any of them to contain but which easily contains them.

In conclusion, we may state that, broader and far more universal in its views than any existing mere scientific Society, it has plus science its belief in every possibility, and determined will to penetrate into those unknown spiritual regions which exact science pretends that its votaries have no business to explore. And, it has one quality more than any religion in that it makes no difference between Gentile, Jew, or Christian. It is in this spirit that the Society has been established upon the footing of a Universal Brotherhood.

Unconcerned about politics; hostile to the insane dreams of Socialism and of Communism, which it abhors - as both are but disguised conspiracies of brutal force and sluggishness against honest labour; the Society cares but little about the outward human management of the material world. The whole of its aspirations are directed toward the occult truths of the visible and invisible worlds. Whether the physical man be under the rule of an empire or a republic, concerns only the man of matter. His body may be enslaved; as to his Soul, he has the right to give to his rulers the proud answer of Socrates to his Judges. They have no sway over the inner man.

Such is, then, the Theosophical Society, and such its principles, its multifarious aims, and its objects. Need we wonder at the past misconceptions of the general public, and the easy hold the enemy has been able to find to lower it in the public estimation? The true student has ever been a recluse, a man of silence and meditation. With the busy world his habits and tastes are so little in common that, while he is studying, his enemies and slanderers have undisturbed opportunities. But time cures all and lies are but ephemera. Truth alone is eternal.

About a few of the Fellows of the Society who have made great scientific discoveries, and some others to whom the psychologist and the biologist are indebted for the new light thrown upon the darker problems of the inner man, we will speak later on. Our object now was but to prove to the reader that Theosophy is neither “a new-fangled doctrine,” a political cabal, nor one of those societies of enthusiasts which are born today but to die tomorrow. That not all of its members can think alike, is proved by the Society having organized into two great Divisions - the Eastern and the Western - and the latter being divided into numerous sections, according to races and religious [10] views. One man’s thought, infinitely various as are its manifestations, is not all-embracing. Denied ubiquity, it must necessarily speculate but in one direction; and once transcending the boundaries of exact human knowledge, it has to err and wander, for the ramifications of the one Central and Absolute Truth are infinite. Hence, we occasionally find even the greater philosophers losing themselves in the labyrinths of speculations, thereby provoking the criticism of posterity. But as all work for one and the same object, namely, the disenthrallment of human thought, the elimination of superstitions, and the discovery of truth, all are equally welcome. The attainment of these objects, all agree, can best be secured by convincing the reason and warming the enthusiasm of the generation of fresh young minds, that are just ripening into maturity, and making ready to take the place of their prejudiced and conservative fathers. And, as each - the great ones as well as small - have trodden the royal road to knowledge, we listen to all, and take both small and great into our fellowship. For no honest searcher comes back empty handed, and even he who has enjoyed the least share of popular favour can lay at least his mite upon the one altar of Truth.


Montague A. Machell

“Thou hast to saturate thyself with pure Alaya, become as one with Nature’s Soul-Thought. At one with it thou art invincible.” - The Voice of the Silence, p. 57.

Any approach to a fruitful and rewarding Theosophic life is dependent always upon a clear understanding of man’s Duality: Angel and Demon, Immortal and Mortal, Spiritual and Material.

Because, in this duality, the reasoning of the mortal, material mind (Kama-Manas), tends to shape his conclusions, the disciple is at all times under the necessity of reminding himself that truly spiritual living can only be the fruit of spiritual thinking, (Buddhi-Manas in control). This necessity involves more than a choice between Right and Wrong; it amounts to a challenge to think in an appropriate dimension - in terms of Eternity rather than Time - in terms of Omnipotence rather than Inadequacy.

Because Buddhi-Manas is the Witness of the Eternal, it alone can awaken to life the Eternal Thinker in man, That, which refuses to be squeezed into mortal and temporal dimensions. More than this, Buddhi-Manas alone can preserve constantly the vision of the Eternal Pattern that enshrines Spiritual Unfoldment, maintaining it in perfect focus despite the distorted patterns of personal thinking.

It is thinking in this temporal, fore-shortened pattern that begets in man a despair of ever triumphing over daily temptations, more especially in any effort to better mankind. He who makes this effort discovers all too often that the mass of humanity does[11]not want the betterment he would offer it. And nothing that he, as a separate individual, can say or do will arouse such a desire. It is in this hour of crisis that he will be impelled to think in larger dimensions - dimensions accessible only to Buddhi-Manas. Achieving those dimensions, he will be impelled to remember first of all that Life, in terms of the Higher Self, is an Eternal Gift, and its realization inscribed within an Eternal Pattern. This being the case, Man, on the plane of Buddhi-Manas, is a Deathless Entity. LIFE, in its final significance, is Unfolding Spirit, all-encompassing.

For you or me to entertain ideas of Success or Failure in relation to all-encompassing Spirit is, obviously, a desecration born of ignorance of the nature of LIFE. On the other hand, with even a small but unwavering Awareness of its true dimensions, it may be given us to focus its never-dying splendor on that tiny sphere of existence wherein we function. The consciously spiritual disciple, imbued with a genuine desire to benefit mankind - helplessly inadequate though he may be as a separate individual - may, when wholly identified with THE ONE, serve as a magnifying-glass through which the glory of the SOURCE, brought to a focus, may shed its miraculously healing radiance upon those he would help.

Does it not become evident, then, that “helping humanity” in any enduring and meaningful degree is necessarily an esoteric procedure? The “help” is not visible or tangible; still less is it personal; rather it is a conscious elimination of a merely personal thought or motive, to the end that through the utterly impersonal vehicle of Buddhi-Manas, the ONE can inaugurate vibrations of a spiritual nature in hearts and minds that might be completely unresponsive to any personal appeal by word or thought.

No one capable of accepting this approach, and acting upon it, will entertain so much as a brain-wave of “result attachment,” since he realizes that any “help” received by another will probably be received unconsciously, and may not ever be perceived in this incarnation, despite its unsuspected impetus toward unselfish living. A reminder, this, of course, that all significant “living” is a secret, wordless experience. “The end is a divine silence.”

As The Voice of the Silence reminds us:

“Thou hast to saturate thyself with pure Alaya, become as one with Nature’s Soul-Thought.”

In a spiritual universe “Nature’s Soul-Thought” is a divine magnetism flowing from the ONE. He who has saturated himself with pure Alaya becomes, thereby, a conductor of divine magnetism, polarizing the magnetic field of those he would help. H. P. Blavatsky has written in this regard:

“Polarity is universal, but the polariser lies in our own consciousness. In proportion as our consciousness is elevated towards absolute truth, so do we men assimilate it more or less absolutely.” - Collected Writings, Vol. IX, p. 31.

He who, deeply conscious of the limitations of the personal mind, gives himself up whole-heartedly to “Nature’s Soul-Thought,” polarises his thinking in the direction of Absolute Truth, in which direction Buddhi- Manas is responsive. In selfless service [12] to his fellow-man, the disciple becomes attuned to the Music of the Spheres - making way for the voice of the Divine to achieve those miracles utterly beyond the power of the personality. It is in this way that the liberated Self, seeking to serve, amplifies and magnifies the Splendor from on High.

Kama-Manas, incapable of perceiving this pathway to service, finds itself discouraged again and again by the inefficacy of personal striving to produce recognizable results in human betterment. The thinking of the personal mind is ever in quest of immediate, measurable results, losing sight of the fact that the gradual unfolding of the invisible Spirit of Man is only discoverable on the plane of Spirit - beyond Time, beyond the senses, eluding measurement by any mental yardstick. The reminder that “The Mind is the great slayer of the Real” should warn us that awareness of spiritual unfoldment is only possible to the Spiritual Thinker. Access to that source of enlightenment is to be had only through consistent contemplation and evaluation carried out on that plane. Man, in essence, is a Spirit. LIVING is, ultimately, a spiritual experience.

If the basic motivation of Theosophical living is “to benefit mankind,” it is important that the disciple accept the fact that such betterment has its origin in the secret chambers of the Inner Self. It is measured in the secret dimensions of that Self. On that plane alone can the disciple’s efforts prove invincible - and timeless.

“Good Works” are always called for and vitally needed; but their power to guide and heal must ever be measured by the degree of actual spiritual magnetism that vitalizes them. Perfectly polarized Buddhi-Manas, focused on the good of all men is likely to accomplish more enduring good than a lifetime of good works dedicated to producing immediately measurable results of a personal nature. But to achieve the first-named results many lifetimes of actual embodiment of the teachings may be requisite.

Reformation must begin at home. He who can make of his own life one additional Spiritual Presence by means of utterly sincere and selfless dedication, is justified in accepting the betterment of all mankind as a possibility. “Live the life, if you would know the doctrine.” Suffering humanity hungers more poignantly for one human Manifestation than for a volume of sermons.



“Life proceeds in cycles, never in an undeviating straight line. This great principle rules everywhere. There never was an evening that did not turn again to another morning, nor a winter that did not herald another spring. The ‘day’ of a man’s life follows exactly the same sequence ... The whole advancing consciousness of humanity passes through many such cycles, and in the process, though forms may be destroyed, the immortal life persists, and presently expresses itself anew.” - Clara Codd, The Technique of the Spiritual Life, p. 4. [13]


L. Gordon Plummer

A concept that is familiar to all Theosophical students defines the universe as a great illusion or Maya. This can be quite a confusing idea, because everything that we see about us appears to be quite real, and if we are told that this tangible, visible and audible world about us is unreal, we might become victims of a sense of insecurity and frustration which might cause us to throw up our hands in despair.

Lest we think that the terms “un-real” and “illusory” mean non-existent, let us cite two clear instances of illusion with which we live day by day, and around which we build our very lives.

There is the matter of sunrise and sunset. We set our clocks by the apparent motion of the sun, and we pursue our lives accordingly, giving little thought to the fact that it is the rotation of the Earth on its axis that produces the phenomenon of day and night. Knowing this fact does not make us aware of it with our physical senses, but it is nonetheless important that we should understand it.

Another instance is the apparent seasonal change of the sun’s position in the sky at noon . During the summer months, the Sun appears to be much higher overhead at noon than during the winter months. Pure illusion. This is brought about by the inclination of the Earth’s axis as well as its yearly revolution around the Sun. After due study these facts may be clearly understood in the mind, but that does not increase our physical awareness of them. We perceive the illusion only.

The most primitive races are not concerned with the facts of science. They live in the world as they find it, and to them, all is reality. And from this we may draw an interesting inference. What may now pass for a truism is such only until a greater truth is found. This greater truth will then serve for awhile, until its own illusory nature is recognized due to the discovery of a still greater truth behind it, and so on. We grow through a process of discovery, stage by stage, passing through one portal of understanding after another, and it is always the one ahead that wears the semblance of reality.

Just as the facts of Astronomy cannot be sensed by us, but their truth is recognized in the mind, so it is with some of the more abstruse teachings of Theosophy; those which concern the invisible worlds and their inhabitants, teachings linked closely with others of a more intimate nature, dealing with the inner structure of Man himself. We cannot sense these things by any ordinary means, but we may become convinced of their reality through study.

There is a point at which the parallel between these Theosophical truths and the facts of Astronomy appears to break down, for the reason that the astronomical facts, although not to be tested with our physical senses, may nevertheless be proven with the aid of delicate instruments, and with the help of Mathematics. The teachings of [14] Theosophy, however, cannot be subjected to scientific tests, especially those relating to the inner planes of consciousness and the worlds therein.

Therefore I believe that we can say with certainty that there will never be scientific proof of the existence of Globe Chains, for instance. We may, however, learn one lesson from this, namely, that the inability to prove something does not constitute proof of its non-existence. Therefore, lacking the means to prove certain teachings need not cause undue dismay to the Theosophical student. Actually he is in a better position today, when explaining his teachings, than he might have been fifty years ago, when the abstruse concepts of the nature of the universe from a purely scientific viewpoint were not so widely known.

Many college students today, and even some young people in the high schools have become more or less familiar with some of the ways of Nature that lie entirely outside our human experience, and having grasped some of the concepts of Relativity, they can discuss these intelligently. To many of us not accustomed to their way of thinking, these concepts seem to make no sense at all; they are an outrage to our common sense. And yet students of Relativity learn that the behavior of fast moving objects, be they stars or atomic particles, actually demonstrate the natural way of the universe. Thus they learn that the so-called mechanical and physical laws pertaining to our environment actually constitute an exception to the general rule. What we accept as the familiar laws of nature are in reality special cases, and are the exceptions to the rule in the universe. This is because we live in an environment in which we are accustomed to speeds which, although normal to us, are incomprehensibly slow as compared to the norm in the realms of the atoms as well as of stars. Thus the Relativity effects which are the way of life among the stars and the atoms, are so infinitesimal within our own accustomed environment as to be undetectable.

We may find a parallel to this within our own little human lives as related to the Spiritual-Divine life that surrounds us, and which is the very framework of the living universe in all of its planes of consciousness. May it not be that because our way of life is an exception to the general rule, the “Spirituality-effects,” although present with us here on Earth, occur in so slight a degree that they are almost undetectable? Is it not strange that this Earth-life which seems to be so real to us, and so commonplace, is actually an exception to the Universal rule? Even some of us, students of the Ancient Wisdom, who have probed deeply into the teachings, have little idea of the true nature of the living Universe, because even they have not yet developed the capacity to understand things as they really are.

Insignificant as the Relativity effects might be in our daily lives, they must nevertheless be taken into account in certain scientific experiments, such as those dealing with high velocity particles in the betatron, for instance. Similarly, the change in time-rate with velocities attained in some of the earth satellites, wherein the rate of decay of some radioactive materials is found to speed up as a result of the velocities of the orbiting spacecraft. [15] While such phenomena do not make much sense to the untrained mind, they are of great importance to the scientist.

In a like manner, certain concepts of the Ancient Wisdom that appear to make little sense to the untrained mind, and apparently have little bearing upon the daily life of the average person, are nevertheless of great importance to the dedicated student; and he realizes as few can how extremely important are some of the subtler spiritual energies, in the role they play in human life, appearances to the contrary notwithstanding. Nor is it enough for us to say that these spiritual energies will maintain their role in the scheme of things because they are a part of natural law, and therefore there is little point in our bothering our heads about them. The fact is that one who concerns himself with the deeper teachings places himself in alignment as it were, with the higher aspects of nature, and in so doing, he finds that there are similar reaches of higher activity within his own consciousness, and new avenues of growth are open to him. The inevitable result is that he becomes a power for good in his relations with his fellow men, and, living intelligently, and with an increased knowledge and awareness, he can do much to bring enlightenment to others, and help them to decrease the overpowering burden of human suffering.

In the final analysis, then, the answer to the question, “The Universe: True or False?” lies in the discovery of the truth within oneself, and the gradual elimination of illusion. What finer goal is there in human life?



Our indefatigable friend, Geoffrey A. Barborka, has performed another great service to the Theosophical Movement as a whole, and to serious students in particular, by producing an outstanding work on the real occult status of H. P. Blavatsky, her intimate connection with the Adept-brothers, and the rationale of her occult powers. The chief trend of his presentation is connected with the nature of Tulku, which is a Tibetan term used in more than one meaning, but essentially descriptive of the spiritual power which enables an advanced disciple to embody for a time a portion of the consciousness of a higher initiate, and to become a direct agent and channel thereof.
This difficult subject is outlined with great precision and detail by our author whose life-long study of the Esoteric Philosophy and complete dedication to the spirit of our Movement make him fit and well qualified to tackle the many problems connected with this aspect of Esotericism. In particular, the writer goes into minute detail with regard to the manner in which H.P.B. produced some of her writings, under the supervision or direct inspiration of her Teacher; [16] he also explains at considerable length the process of precipitation.
The author’s assertions, statements and explanations are supported by numerous references and quotations, and the work, as a whole, is replete with documentary evidence and source-material difficult to obtain and collate at this late date in the history of the Movement.
In addition to various interesting facts in the early years of H.P.B.’s personal life, the author gives most welcome information concerning Tibet and the Lamaistic Hierarchy - a subject concerning which much misinformation has existed for years.
Twelve rare illustrations and Sixteen Facsimiles of Letters from the Adepts further enrich this unique volume.
All students of the Esoteric Philosophy owe Mr. Barborka a dept of gratitude for this latest production from his able pen. The work should be in every Theosophical Lodge Library and in the hands of all those who are anxious to have authentic material for the vindication of H.P.B. and her work.

xxiii, 476 pages. Fully Indexed.

A work of great depth, keen intuition and intellectual scholarship, outlining the occult status of H.P.B. and the psycho-spiritual methods of her work, especially in regard to her writings.
The author grew up at the Theosophical Headquarters in Point Loma, California , where he received an excellent scholastic education along “classical” lines, supplemented later by the study of Hebrew, Sanskrit and Tibetan. He was an active worker under both Katherine Tingley and Dr. G. de Purucker. His previous work, The Divine Plan, is already widely known throughout the Movement.

Published by The Theosophical Publishing House, Adyar, Madras 20, India.
PRICE: $7.00.
Order from: THE THEOSOPHICAL PUBLISHING HOUSE, P.O. Box 270, Wheaton, III. 60187.