A Living Philosophy For Humanity

Volume XXXII
No. 4 (146) - Spring 1976

[Cover photo: In the Redwoods of California.]


A Living Philosophy for Humanity

Published every Three Months. Sponsored by an International Group of Theosophists.
Objectives: To uphold and promote the Original Principles of the modern Theosophical Movement, and to disseminate the teachings of the Esoteric Philosophy as set forth by H.P. Blavatsky and her Teachers.
Editor: Boris de Zirkoff.
Subscriptions: $1.50 a year (four issues); single copy 40 cents. Send all subscriptions, renewals and correspondence to: 615 South Oxford Avenue, Los Angeles 5, California. Make checks and money orders payable to "Theosophia."

None of the organized Theosophical Societies, as such, are responsible for any ideas expressed in this magazine, unless contained in an official document. The Editor is responsible for unsigned articles only.



"... we are now using in our incarnations matter that has been used by ourselves and other egos over and over again, and are affected by the various tendencies impressed in it. And, similarly, we are leaving behind us for future races that which will help or embarrass them in their future lives,

"This is a highly important matter, whether reincarnation be a true doctrine or not. For if each new nation is only a mass of new egos or souls, it must be much affected by the matter-environment left behind by nations and races that have disappeared forever.

"But for us who believe in reincarnation it has additional force, showing us one strong reason why universal brotherhood should be believed in and practiced.

"The other branch of the responsibility is just as serious. The doctrine that removes death from the universe and declares that all is composed of innumerable lives, constantly changing places with each other, contains in it of necessity the theory that man himself is full of these lives and that all are traveling up the long road of evolution.

"The secret doctrine holds that we are full of kingdoms of entities who depend upon us, so to say, for salvation.

"How enormous, then, is this responsibility, that we not only are to be judged for what we do with ourselves as a whole, but also for what we do for those unseen beings who are dependent upon us for light." - William Quan Judge, in "Universal Application of Doctrine," The Path, Vol. IV, October, 1889. Cf. Echoes of the Orient (1975), Vol. 1, pp. 111-12. [3]


Boris de Zirkoff

The Theosophical Society has no creeds or dogmas and its work is not based on any set of beliefs. This simple fact has often been misinterpreted by some as meaning that Theosophists have no particular doctrine to present, and that Theosophy is wholly undefinable, except, perhaps, as an approach to Truth.

This attitude, which occasionally crops up, is totally wrong. In the words of the Maha-Chohan transmitted to A. P. Sinnett by Master K.H. in 1881, it is authoritatively stated: "The doctrine we promulgate being the only true one, must, supported by such evidence as we are preparing to give become ultimately triumphant as every other truth."

Even a superficial acquaintance with the teachings of the Ancient Wisdom shows that this Wisdom or Teaching outlines very specific doctrines concerning the nature of man and the universe, in opposition to, and in contradistinction with, many other ideas, concepts and beliefs which are shown to be false, as a result of not being based on solid universal foundations.

Some students, trying to bend backwards in their abhorrence of blind beliefs and any creedal or dogmatic structures, have attempted to deny the obvious fact that Theosophy has doctrines that such doctrines are definable, that they are the formulation of certain principles of thought and of certain facts of nature of current languages of our time, and that they can and should serve as very definite touchstones of the validity of other ideas which have often passed as Theosophy.

As we enter now into the Second Century of our work as an organized Movement, and feel, stronger than ever before, our moral and spiritual responsibility to all seekers who come our way, it is incumbent upon all of us to avoid presenting to them ideas and conceptions which are in direct opposition to the basic doctrines of our Movement, which have, in one form or another, come down to us from immemorial antiquity, having withstood the test of time and danger.

We must not be afraid to ask ourselves the question: Do all the works published in such profusion by the several Theosophical Publishing Houses contain ideas and teachings thoroughly in conformity and harmony with the original teachings presented by the Founders of the Movement at its very inception or soon after? An impartial study of this matter might reveal some unsuspected facts and leave some students in dismay. It is nevertheless a healthy attitude to take and a very much needed project to be undertaken.

We cannot afford to present to the seekers ideas which clash with the doctrines which the modern Theosophical Movement was entrusted to present by those spiritual Instructors who were its real Founders behind the outward scene of events. If we do so, we fail in our mission and will be made responsible for deceiving others, no matter how noble may have been our motive and how commendable our desire to help.

A doctrine, no matter how clearly defined, cannot become a creed, simply because, instead of being based on beliefs, it is founded on Knowledge. [4]


Joan Sutcliffe

In the ancient Roman city of Pompeii there is a villa, the walls of which are painted with strange and beautiful pictures, depicting moving yet rather fearful scenes from the Mysteries. The neophyte descends into the subterranean chamber of initiation, where she comes into communication with centaurs, half animal, half human creatures, whom she feeds from her hands. This theme merges into that of the kneeling candidate to whom are revealed certain sacred objects, for sight of which the ordeals of initiation must be undergone, symbolized in the paintings by the woman, un-robed, being beaten with rods. The horror, however, passes, and the aspirant rises, delectably happy, waving triumphantly the scarf of initiation, and enters the Elysian Fields. Witnessing these events is the mortal Ariadne united with her immortal husband, Dionysus, the god whose mythical death and rebirth are the heart of the mystery cult.

Of course these are representative only of the exoteric rituals and ceremonies which appealed to the populace of the Graeco-Roman civilization, and which are called in occult literature the Lesser Mysteries. There lies, however, beneath the colourful trappings of cultism a deeper body of esoteric wisdom, available only to him, who has been tested and tried in the dark caves of earth life, and who has emerged through the baptism of blood, pure and awakened to the god within. (The baptism of blood is the central purification rite in the Mithraic Mysteries, but is of course symbolical of an inner cleansing of mind.) These are the Greater Mysteries running like the thread through the inner heart of all myths and legends of all cultures and civilisations of man. Wrapped up in the fancy clothing of adventurous stories of gods and heroes is golden, pulsating truth, which has existed unbroken since the first dawn of Manvantara, like the treasures of childhood locked away in the attic in decorative chests. The key to the unlocking is Theosophy.

Mythology is the charm and the ornaments that attract the lover to the beloved. Theosophy is the heart and fine qualities that bind him and keep him faithful.

The idea of a descent into a darkened cave, or a fall from a state of perfection, pervades numerous myths of numerous nations. Present in all are: an imperfection, a confusion, a compulsive searching, tortuous journeys of suffering, then a discovery of knowledge, a struggle and finally an overcoming and a glorious return. Hephaestos, son of Zeus and Hera, was hurled out of Olympus on the isle of Lemnos, as a result of which he became crippled, but there he set up his great furnace and, as blacksmith to the gods, he grew in strength and wisdom through dedicated work, and finally regained his place among the gods. Herakles, incurring the hatred of the goddess Hera, was sent out to perform twelve exacting labours, on the successful completion of which he was rewarded with the gift of immortality. The sons of Odin had to leave the hallowed halls of [5] Valhalla to go to Jotunnheim to do battle with the giants. In the Egyptian myth there is the search of Isis to recover the scattered body of Osiris: and in English literature there is little more poignantly expressive of man's lot than the lines by Milton in Paradise Lost which describe Adam and Eve, hand in hand, sadly wending their way on the outside of paradise. Buddha describes incarnation as a fall from perfection, for the spirit encased in matter must necessarily experience limitation, and cannot shine through in the true fullness of its bloom. This limitation is suffering, and he left us with a wisdom-teaching and a code of ethics by means of which one might overcome and regain spiritual consciousness.

The fundamental principles of Theosophy tell the identical story. The primal state of perfection symbolizes the Absolute with all being absorbed into its bosom, sleeping through the seven eternities of Pralaya. The Secret Doctrine tells us that this state can never be understood by finite mind, for to understand would be to designate its qualifications which would render it no longer Absolute. The nearest awareness can only be reached through an understanding of the imperfections. Therefore, there is a continual going out and coming back in, a falling into the imperfection of manifestation and a regaining of the perfection of the Absolute. It is not literally an actual going away, for the Absolute is the ultimate source of all, and it is omnipresent, eternal, boundless and immutable, and everything is at heart in unity within it: the going out is more a veiling, a dimming of the reality, "a limitation", as Buddha stated. This is Manvantara, the period of differentiation and activity, corresponding to the days of the struggling and learning of the heroes. There is a state of imbalance, for the dual aspect of the Absolute has become active, and there is a continual pull between the opposing poles of nature. It is interesting to note that in the myth, the throwing out of Hephaestos from heaven was due to a quarrel between his father and mother (spirit and matter) in which he took his mother's side, thus creating an imbalance between the dual forces, the two aspects of the Absolute.

Hints of this doctrine can be traced in the ancient legends. The poet, Homer, has often been called in the metaphorical language of the classical critics the creator of Greek mythology. Theosophists, however, recognize a more ancient source. H. P. B. speaks of him as an esoteric writer, and suggests that the Iliad is taken from the Hindu epic, the Ramayana. It might be interesting, therefore, to look at Homer's Odyssey. It concerns the terrible hardships and sufferings of the returning hero, Odysseus, who leaves his home to fight in the Trojan war. Here again is the going out and gaining of experience, and the illusionary separation from the Absolute, which in truth is ever present in the form of Penelope, the faithful wife of Odysseus, who waits in longing night and day for the reunion with her husband. It is significant that Penelope is portrayed as weaving a tapestry, at which she works diligently by day, but at night withdrawing most of the threads, and on completion of which she has promised to remarry. Weaving is rather suggestive of the working of the law of Karma, the manipulation by the [6] spiritual of the material, and there occurs again the idea of day and activity, and night and inactivity. The tapestry is completed the night of Odysseus' return: Karma has run its course and the pilgrim becomes reabsorbed into the Absolute.

This cyclic process of alternation between manvantara and pralaya, activity and inactivity, is witnessed everywhere in nature: day and night, summer and winter, birth and death, waking and sleeping. There are cycles within cycles, and the cosmic period of activity called Manvantara contains lesser durations of evolutionary development. There are solar Manvantaras and Pralayas, and planetary ones. The same law is present too in the individual man, in his progression through reincarnation, and is carried even to the continual dying and rebirth of the cells and life-atoms that compose his vehicles, material and spiritual.

The earth with its life (elemental, mineral, vegetable, animal, human and superhuman) is similarly passing through a manvantaric period of evolution. As on the universal scale, cosmic day is following by cosmic night to re-emerge into brighter cosmic day, so the earth must experience the same cyclic processes within its own evolutionary activity, and these can be witnessed in the sequential pattern of the rising and failing of its great civilizations. Theosophy teaches that there are seven great Root-Races, and recurring within each Root-Race are minor evolutionary cycles in the seven sub-races, and again the seven branches of each sub-race. The reincarnating ego of man must take birth in every one, so perhaps some small insight can be grasped into the tremendousness of the evolving scheme as taught in Theosophy. The third Root-Race is known as Lemuria, and the fourth as Atlantis, the continent which sank beneath the sea. We are now in the fifth Root-Race, the Aryan.

I should like to mention one or two of the esoteric interpretations that are given in The Secret Doctrine concerning passages in the Odyssey where the mythological figures and events are seen as the Root Races and their emerging processes of cyclic activity.

"The 'one-eyed' Cyclopes ... three in number ... were the last three sub-races of the Lemurians, the 'one-eye' referring to the Wisdom-eye; for the two front eyes were fully developed as physical organs only in the beginning of the Fourth Race. The allegory of Ulysses ... putting out with a firebrand the eye of Polyphemus, is based upon the psycho-physiological atrophy of the 'third' eye. Ulysses belongs to the cycle of heroes of the Fourth Race ... His adventure with the [Cyclopes] ... is an allegorical record of the gradual passage from the Cyclopean civilization of stone and colossal buildings to the more sensual and physical culture of the Atlanteans, which finally caused the last of the Third Race to lose their all-penetrating spiritual eye." [Vol. II, pp. 769-70.]

Quoting again from The Secret Doctrine: "The myth of Atlas is an allegory easily understood. Atlas is the old continents of Lemuria and Atlantis ... Atlas is the son of an ocean nymph, and his daughter is Calypso - 'the watery deep.' Atlantis has been submerged beneath the waters of the ocean, and its progeny is now sleeping its eternal sleep on the ocean floors. The Odyssey makes of [7] him the guardian and the 'sustainer' of the huge pillars that separate the heavens from the earth. He is their 'supporter ... said to have been compelled to leave the surface of the earth, and join his brother Iapetos in the depths of Tartarus ... standing on the solid floor of the inferior hemisphere of the universe and thus carrying at the same time the disc of the earth and the celestial vault' ... Atlas is Atlantis which supports the new continents and their horizons on its 'shoulders'." [Vol. II, pp. 762-63.]

Another passage states that Ulysses "... was thrown into Ogygia, the island of Calypso, where for some seven years he lived with the nymph in illicit connection. Now Calypso was a daughter of Atlas, and all the traditional ancient versions, when speaking of the Isle of Ogygia, say that it was very distant from Greece, and right in the middle of the ocean: thus identifying it with Atlantis." [Vol. II, p. 769 footnote.]

The seven years are easily recognizable as the seven sub-races of the Atlantean period. The idea of an illegitimate type of relationship with the water nymph, Calypso, suggests that the monadic pilgrim is not of Atlantis, but is something higher merely seeking experiences through Atlantis.

The myths relating to Apollo typify a higher kind of god, endowed with the virtue of purity and skill in music and prophecy, who is said to have descended from the Hyperborean continent of the north. The Secret Doctrine carries these comments: "The Aryan race was born and developed in the far north, though after the sinking of the continent of Atlantis its tribes emigrated further south into Asia ... Astronomically, Latona [mother of Apollo] is the polar region and the night, giving birth to the Sun, Apollo, Phoebus, etc. ... The quarrel of Latona with Niobe (the Atlantean Race) - the mother of seven sons and seven daughters personifying the seven sub-races of the Fourth Race and their seven branches ... allegorizes the history of the two continents. The wrath of the 'sons of god,' or of 'Will and Yoga,' at seeing the steady degradation of the Atlanteans was great and the destruction of the 'children of Niobe' by the children of Latona - Apollo and Diana, the deities of light, wisdom and purity ... is thus very clear. The fable about the never-ceasing tears of Niobe, whose grief causes Zeus to change her into a fountain - Atlantis covered with water - is no less graphic as a symbol." [Vol. II, pp. 768-72.]

The esoteric teaching concerning the cosmic processes of ebb and flow, and the seven Root-Races, has its analogy too in man's individual development. Manvantara is the period of differentiation, when the one becomes the many: many monads seeking to understand the reality of perfection in the one through the imperfection in the illusionary experience of separation. One of the basic principles of Theosophy states that the soul of man, Buddhi, is a spark of the universal soul, whose root is in the Absolute, and similarly it must pass through a pilgrimage of learning and growing, through repeated incarnations in all forms of matter, from the elemental, through the vegetable, mineral and animal, and the Root-Races of man up to the most spiritual.

As an integral part of the Absolute, [8] man's nature is likewise dual in aspect; it is Zeus and Hera - spirit and matter. Consequently, the whole man is composed of a higher and a lower self. The lower self is a quaternary including a physical body, an astral body, life-energy, a desire nature; this is the outer or personal self, which is limited and mortal. The higher or immortal self is a triad, made up of Manas (or mind) and Buddhi, which is the intuitional vehicle of Atma, the divine spirit. Atma and Buddhi are the monadic pilgrim, the spark from the universal soul, which must make the Round, and this is the inner and impersonal self. The link is mind, either drawn down to the lower self or up to the higher self, a continual pull between the two, personified in the myth of Castor and Pollux, the mortal and immortal twins who must share immortality. It might also be traced in the story of Persephone retracing her steps continually between the underworld of Hades and the upper air. - (To be concluded.)


Vonda Urban

It is truly said that behind will stands desire, for it is impossible to do anything at all without first desiring to do it, and then implementing its accomplishment. The success of the end is always commensurate with both the intensity of the desire and the amount of will power used for its accomplishment, while an imbalance between these two factors is non-productive, as is so pitifully observed with the celebration of each new year in the profusion of bold resolutions made, and which are almost as readily discarded because "the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak."

Whether we are aware of it or not, the desire-will pattern operating in our own nature has constructed our lives upon a totem pole of priorities. The personal selection of our preferences arranged in the respective order of their importance discloses by what we choose all that we have become. We pursue our interests in either an organized, systematic drive for achievement, or may, perhaps, waver floundering about willy-nilly on unchartered seas of chaos and confusion; but whatever may be the overruling purpose that each one of us lives for - or if it is an emotional compulsion that enslaves us - that objective or emotion is the predominating center of our consciousness, the primary consideration upon which our thoughts, desires and emotions are focused. This is the "top man" on our totem pole who so visibly reveals our character, showing how we conduct ourselves in our struggle to attain that which we desire "more than anything else in the world." Here is where our strengths and weaknesses disclose what ethical standards shape the principles by which we live while capturing the prize for which we live.

All that we essentially are is our character. It is the sum total of our soul, the record of all our past now streaming forth through our consciousness in the [9] thoughts we think, the emotions we feel and the deeds we do, or fail to do. What we choose is in keeping with our spiritual unfoldment - or lack of it - for the motivating dynamics within our human ego can manifest only at the level through which it functions, and which is, in fact, the ethical-moral base of our character. Thus if the overall primary objective of our life is rooted in worldly attractions with our desire consciousness centered in our personality - which is the lower self, and which craves material objectives such as power, fame, wealth, superiority and pleasure - or if it is more largely focused upon duty and living for others, this outer manifestation of the general selfish or selfless trend in our nature stems from the amount of spiritual light that is able to shine through our consciousness - so very clearly marked by our priorities.

Within the obvious frame of our visible character and subtly hidden in varying depths beneath it, lie our motives. Here is where our spiritual light emblazons every noble deed; here is where we also lose our way groping through plutonian mists of fancy, the murky light obscuring secret purposes in seeming goodness that hides an evil core; here is where our moral code of right and wrong is measured, not in deeds alone, but even more, the acts committed or omitted are held accountable with the degree of our responsibility; here is where unerring scales of justice weigh our human soul, and with meticulous exactness balance it with debts or credits that will come to us in future days ...

H. P. Blavatsky speaks about moral responsibility with unmistakable clarity. The passage referred to is in her E. S. Instruction No. III (Adyar ed. of The Secret Doctrine, Vol. V, pp. 503-04.):

"Good and evil are relative, and are intensified or lessened according to the conditions by which man is surrounded. One who belongs to that which we call the 'useless portion of mankind,' that is, the lay majority, is in many cases irresponsible. Crimes committed in Avidya (ignorance) involve physical but not moral responsibilities or Karma. Take, for example, the case of idiots, children, savages, and other people who know no better. But the case of each of you, pledged to the HIGHER SELF, is quite another matter. You cannot invoke this Divine Witness with impunity, and once that you have put yourselves under its tutelage, you have asked the Radiant Light to shine and search through all the dark corners of your being; consciously you have invoked the Divine Justice of Karma to take note of your motives, to scrutinize your actions, and to enter up all in your account. The step is as irrevocable as that of the infant taking birth. Never again can you force yourselves back into the Matrix of Avidya and irresponsibility ... Though you flee to the uttermost parts of the earth, and hide yourselves from the sight of man, or seek oblivion in the tumult of the social whirl, that LIGHT will find you out and lighten your every thought, word and deed ... And know further, that if Karma relentlessly records in the Esotericist's account, bad deeds that in the ignorant would be overlooked, yet, equally [10] true is it that each of his good deeds is, by reason of his association with the Higher Self, a hundredfold intensified as a potency for good."

As students of the Ancient Wisdom seeking the path upward, our first priority, then, is to put our priorities in order. This is a matter of putting spiritual values first; a matter of living every day in accordance with the highest ethical standards and in the true spirit of brotherhood; it is a matter of undertaking the superhuman task of detaching ourselves from the world of selfishness, while at the same time dealing with it and working through it. Nothing is more difficult in all the world than mastery over our animal Self; and spiritual unfoldment is an unending effort throughout many lifetimes; but, gradually, as we climb upward, the radiance from our Higher Self ensouls our human consciousness, slowly transmuting the personal into the universal, selfishness into compassion. The degree of growth in any one lifetime depends upon the intensity of spiritual aspiration abiding in our human desire nature, the amount of will power driving that desire, and the intelligence to judge accurately and choose wisely.

The only sure way that we can grow in compassion is to become vitally interested in, and genuinely concerned about everyone. To recognize, and to be able to feel in a very real sense that we are a part of every other human being, and they a part of ourselves, is to understand the reality of brotherhood. It bridges the gap of separateness by cutting away the very cause that breeds prejudice, competition, strife and hatred between men; and the feeling of oneness curbs the tendency of worshiping those we look up to, or condemning those we look down upon, for all are but pilgrims marching together through eternity. The more we lose ourselves in selfless service for others, the more do we participate in the Grand Scheme of Universal Life spiraling ever upward, adding our strength to the forces of light in the world. Each must find his own way and grow in his own time; and as the spiritual light in each of us increasingly shines more brightly, expressing ever more largely that Spark of Divinity within the core of the core of us, we behold the metamorphosis and see, emerging from our human animal - a godly man!


Dara Eklund

Two contrasts are confronted in our age with respect to meditation. One is that contemplative thought does not come naturally. The other is that everyone, whether favorably disposed towards it or not, is in awe of it in some form or another. Transcendental Meditation, accused by metaphysicians as not really being "Transcendent," is lauded by some psychologists for the sense of well-being it synthesizes within its practitioners. Other psychologists are severely deploring the whole meditative trend as escapism from realities needing desperate attention today. To some it [11] appears to be a "fad," a thing to be "in" to. (Have you ever tried to be "out" of meditation?) It is adopted in even its ludicrous imitative forms as a "Life Style," which can only sadden the heart of anyone getting a gleam into the old wisdom schools where the mysteries were never degraded by pompous display.

With the exception of Zen, which is practiced under the close guidance of a Roshi or teacher, most of the forms of meditation adopted so hurriedly in the West are conveyed to the public as an easy formula for success. A mantra is frequently sold to the aspirant and some would-be practitioners become trapped in expensive seminars and long grueling sessions not at all feasible for Occidentals. The Westerner who has no groundwork in philosophy will find he must have his own special Guru, or line of teachers (one particular man claiming a lineage from ancient Aryavarta to the American Indian Cochise). He is willing to throw himself in self-abnegation to any promising leader without any critical forethought. He is assured by some promoters of the popular techniques that they are harmless, or "fool-proof" in their benefit, with no warning about the vibratory rates of mantra and their effect on the unprepared psycho-mental make-up. Being of a nature burdened with psychic tendencies and emotional imbalance, the devotee is bombarding himself with stimulants of only a little higher vibratory rate. He is asked to "sink back" into an "Unconscious," filed with impure motives and unfinished attachments to worldly life. This broad "Ocean" of the Unconscious, he is told, can bring a calm mind and solution to his problems. Christmas Humphreys, in his Concentration and Meditation, warns:

"Let him before he seeks the Changeless be certain that he wearies of the world of change, and longs with yearning past denial to find and win Reality." (p. 5.)

Unless the student's yearning is for true intuitive levels of impersonal Service, he will bring only a superficial calm and temporary solution to his problems. The real problems are those which tie us with our fellow Man and can be worked out in the laboratory of the race Mind, from the inner reaches of the world Heart. Ever Contemplative, that World Heart is constantly active in promoting harmony, causing individual hearts to set aside the discordant life.

A workable Conscious Aspiration to Truth alone protects one firmly established on the Path from being brain-washed away from it by every Yogi or Sannyasi met on the street-corner.

It is possible to glean some fine ideas, however, amidst all that is being thrown at the West along these avenues. A Tibetan Buddhist, Chogyam Trungpa, for instance, in his book Meditation in Action, has shown us an alternative course embracing the Buddhist idea of attentiveness. It is alertness to arising events, a performance of each task simply because it needs doing. Not a "Doing your own Thing" cult, but World Service culture. Impersonal selflessness is reiterated in Trungpa's Cutting Through Spiritual Materialism, which traces a selfhood which hangs on to our inner life in subtle ways if we become unwary and unmindful. Mindfulness is the ability to see in the seeming Void the seeming Full. It is not at all the calm passivity [12] fostered by some Meditators, who would have us "See no Evil, Hear no Evil, Speak no Evil," to the extreme of permitting all sorts of social vices without curbing them in the slightest.

Meditation in Action (pp. 35 ff.) reflects upon the Narrow Path among the Paramitas, or "transcendent actions," calling it a "Path of discipline" not in the sense of laying down a moral code, but discernment of the middle way of simplicity:

"For instance, if there was only one little track through a mountain pass and the rest of the terrain was completely overgrown with trees and bushes ... then we would have no difficulty at all in deciding which way to go. If there is only one track, either you go or you turn back. The whole thing is simplified into one event, or one continuity one way of true simplicity ahead of us. Fundamentally, discipline comes down to the Samatha practice of developing awareness, through which one merely sees what is. Every moment is now, and one acts through the experience of the present moment."

This is a meaning of the "Narrow Path," as understood in Hinayana Buddhism. Trungpa goes on to expand the meaning in the Mahayana school with the practice of the Paramitas on the "Open Path" of the Bodhisattvas. Building upon the foundation of character and dignity of the "Narrow Path" the Path of Compassion opens up.

Now surely the reader will feel that none of these latter methods can be seen as slipshod, complex or reckless. They hold promise, diligence, beauty and dignity for one who may attempt them. In this approach one does not merely say to his teacher, "I would like to receive Teaching," but rather that he wishes to unlock a treasures the benefit of which the Teacher will help him release or perfect. This unlocking is devised through all the actions of life in such a tilling of the soil on the "Bodhi field," that little time remains for cloud-gazing.

A rephrasing of this toil might be termed "Meditation through action." Common to both Hinduism and Buddhism, it is yet suited to Western Consciousness. It teaches the path of renunciation: not renouncing the act itself, but all selfish intent. Removing a yearning for results, one sees a Way therein to "free" his acts. In freeing his actions he releases his own burden of attachment. This may be the meaning of the Bhagavad-Gita passage:

"Action is said to be the means by which the wise man who is desirous of mounting to meditation may reach thereto; so cessation from action is said to be the means for him who hath reached to meditation." (Chap. vi.)

Obviously in the world, which we see spinning through its suicidal paces, there is not the leniency to pause long in "cessation" from action. We who see the suffering of the world must take a strong hand in reshaping its destiny. There is an urgency for united effort and Universal Consciousness to uplift the conditions of men. By this are not meant large mass meditations and so-called "Group Consciousness." Is a man any less "Group" conscious because he finds a deep love for his brothers welling up within him as be works in his garden or drives people home on a bus? (It is a lonely sight to watch people carted home in a lighted bus at twilight, seldom talking with each other at the end of a harassing [13] day, and scarcely a serene face to be seen at the window.)

That we dream is evidence that we are not yet truly meditators. If we do not examine the minutest impressions of our days they can act subconsciously upon us. That is why we must take Action to reach that point where "cessation from action" is confirmed and final peace achieved, not for self alone, but in the Universal Reaches for all Mankind! That point would be a reservoir of mental quiet enabling man to dwell harmoniously amidst any surrounding. Becoming naturally contemplative, busy with deeds, not words, such a being causes all men to improve. He does not necessarily have to set aside specific times to meditate, although he may do so. He may wish to review the days acts when night arrives. Beyond this his whole life becomes Meditative - a constant reunion with that One Life infallibly recognized in each person, place and event. For the greatest Meditative thought ever uttered was and is: THAT THOU ART!


Montague A. Machell

"Before the soul can comprehend and may remember, she must unto the Silent Speaker be united just as the form to which the clay is modeled, is first united with the potter's mind." - The Voice of the Silence, pp. 2-3.

It might help each of us towards a growing maturity, could we constantly envisage this mortal personality seated at the knee of the Immortal Instructor - the Spiritual Self - learning the ultimate meaning of the term "LIFE." Such instruction might embody the basic value of Proportion, i.e., the right relation between personal existence here on earth (repeated many times), to the uninterrupted unfoldment of the Immortal Self. Such education, however impractical it may appear as applied to earthly existence, would verily and truly, unite "the clay with the potter's mind" (man's personality with the Spirit's destiny).

If there be any rationality in the Law of Life, mortal existence and immortal spiritual unfoldment cannot be opposed to one another; such opposition must have its root in the point of view of the earthly inhabitant. And, insofar as earthly existence is healthily related to spiritual unfoldment ("Life" in its deepest meaning), to that extent spiritual motivations must find a place in mortal existence, which would obviously mean that learning the technique of existence must in no way militate against spiritual unfoldment.

For this to become possible, the mortal personality must of necessity discover and apply the potencies of spiritual maturation, such maturation depending upon the willingness of the earthly personality to "learn." The primary subject of such "learning" Theosophy defines as Self -Knowledge, which is neither more nor less than an intelligent understanding of one's capacity to "live," in place of merely "existing," an understanding one acquires as a pupil of the Spiritual Self. [14]

Such pupilage experiences the advantages and inconveniences (to the personality) of being eternally continuous instead of consisting of separate, unrelated "periods" in life after life on earth. Such continuity lends to the term "education" a sublimely enlarged significance, making "life" an heroic, rather than a commonplace experience.

Eternal values

In this regard, the Theosophist must remind himself that the "education" he is acquiring here and now dates back many incarnations, and is calculated to shape and glorify uncounted incarnations yet to be. He can safely discard all the perplexities and frustrations of Time, being an immortal Spiritual entity exploring timeless possibilities; wherefore "today" always holds implications for transcending merely today. In the light of this fact he is called upon to achieve a fearless confrontation with All Time; the experiences related to an earthly personality with only one life to live, are done with; his Karma or "destiny" now has to do with eternal values. And, since only one "eternal" agent has power to deal effectively with these values, he inclines toward meditation on the Deathless Self, in place of much protesting of earthly virtues. He finds these words from The Voice of the Silence immediately applicable: "Restrain by thy Divine thy lower Self. Restrain by the Eternal the Divine."

Through daily applications and pursuit, this "education" reveals itself as everlasting. To pursue it fruitfully one's thinking must be in the dimensions of the Divine - genuinely "esoteric." In this program uninterrupted study of the words and life of H. P. Blavatsky and her Masters must burn into his consciousness the undreamed Potencies and mysteries of this "life" which is his daily text. In such study, Education becomes identical with cosmic "becoming" - a growing awareness that "I am one with all that is."

World Without End

A temptation to be resisted for a rewarding application of these remarks is the assumption that the title refers to Education for this life alone. Most of us, to be sure, will be doing well if we can live this one life with a consistently "educated" approach. But Theosophy demands more of the dedicated student than this. Since it demands of him Education beyond Time, ultimate fulfilment will always depend upon a vastly enlarged concept of both Man and Life. Add to this the fact that such education must be self-inaugurated and self-pursued, without dependence upon any source of redemption other than man's own Spiritual Self, and the vastness of the undertaking becomes clear. He who seriously undertakes it must make GROWTH the law he lives by - GROWTH in vision and capacities beyond anything of which be dreamed himself capable. In this pursuit he will contemplate rewardingly the words of our opening quotation: "Before the Soul can comprehend and may remember, she must unto the Silent Speaker be united," which will recall a picture of the confused Personality at the knee of the Immortal Instructor (the "Silent Speaker") seeking to awaken a slumbering Awareness.

The Truth an adequate education seeks is largely a forgotten Truth, native to the Greater Self, but obscured [15] by the transient personality. A valuable injunction on the pathway to enlightenment is "Man, know thyself!" where "Man" stands for the personality which "must unto the Silent Speaker be united." In pursuit of Truth in these dimensions desires of the personality must be forgotten entirely, that one may attain that knowledge that can be shared with all humanity. There is no room in the pattern for a selfish personal "salvation," since one seeks to find himself "one with all that lives" - the ultimate realization of a Universal Brotherhood united in a Spiritual Quest. Such is the goal of an Education for Eternal Life.

The Impediment of Choice

About us on every hand we behold the beauty and symmetry of Nature, the predominant note of which would seem to be Joy. All these natural creations obey the law of their being instinctively. Being unself -conscious, they lack the impediment of Choice. Man, a denizen of a higher plane, must choose and plan his conscious unfoldment. With a dual nature in keeping with a dual universe, he finds himself again and again wracked and tortured in choosing the course he will pursue. Mesmerized by the mortal personality, he again and again makes choices governed by selfish expediency in place of the less alluring one of ultimate Growth. A long series of unwise choices has weighed him down with an inescapable Karmic load that seems to have robbed him of the enduring joy of life. Yet, ever in his hours of suffering, the choice is still his, between mere dull endurance and intelligent Growth. Where misery numbs the will, Growth must be hard of attainment. A joyous understanding alone can impart rewarding meaning to life.

We have been here before

The key that Theosophy holds out to that understanding is made known in those words afore mentioned, "Man, know thyself!" upon which the entire Theosophic philosophy is founded. This injunction may appear deceptively simple. "Of course I know myself! If I don't, who does?" we are apt to remark. But at least, our present self-knowledge should include a clear, close-up appreciation of our many weaknesses, to which few of us have as yet honestly admitted. What goes by the name of "personal pride" has, in many of us, postponed an honest acknowledgment of weaknesses we know ourselves prone to. Until they are faced and admitted, our self-knowledge remains superficial. Such superficiality can stand in the way of our realization that the tests we face in this life have been undergone in preceding incarnations. We have been here before; the problems and shortcomings we deal with intelligently today have, doubtlessly, been adequately dealt with in the past, whereas much that plagues us now may be attributed to a superficial self-knowledge brought over from another life. This same "personal pride" that prevented admission of failings in a former life, may serve as an incentive to improve on our past record. "Not in entire forgetfulness" are we born into this life, hence it behooves us to utilize such discernment as we have acquired elsewhere. There is always a "next time" wherein unfinished business can, and will confront us. Education for Life must include a clear view of life's limitless dimensions as revealed by the law of Reincarnation. [16]

The Indispensable Vision

"The form to which the clay is modeled, is first united with the potter's mind."
As Omar might put it:
"So when the Angel of the darker Drink
At last shall find you by the river-brink,
And offering his Cup, invite your Soul
Forth to your lips to quaff - you shall not shrink."

First or last, the Cup offered man by the Angel of the darker Drink, is of his own fashioning. So far as the form, Soul-designed, is "united with the potter's mind," our Education for Life is moulded to an Infinite Beauty by the Silent Speaker. For this union to be attained, the disciple must ponder the ancient Truths with vision Heaven-centered. Thus shall the entombed splendor of the Infinite kindle his many-hued days of earthly existence with the glory of Life Everlasting, thereby winning lost provinces of Time for the Empire of the Eternal.


The Writings of William Quan Judge
Compiled by Dara Eklund.

This initial volume of the Writings of Mr. Judge is a first step to fulfill the desire of many students to have his literary heritage available in bound volumes.
The contents of this volume are largely drawn from his magazine The Path, which flourished from 1886 to 1896. It was conceived, edited and largely written by Mr. Judge himself who invigorated it mainly through his own many-sided contributions.
The wide arc of Mr. Judge's philosophy covers subjects such as: the inner constitution of man; what happens to him when he dies; how does be reincarnate; occult powers and their attainment; dangers of psychic practices; astral intoxication; hypnotism; true nature of spiritualism; cycles; Teachers true and false; the Path which leads to self-realization. He shows that there is a scientific basis for ethics -something to be understood, mastered and lived. He shares with the student what he has himself experienced as highest in his own search along the winding old Path. Included are all of Mr. Judge's "Occult Tales."
The Introductory Section presents a succinct outline of Mr. Judge's life and work, accurately based on available documentation.
650 pages; illustrated; fully indexed; case bound.
PRICE: $7.00.
Order direct from: Point Loma Publications, Inc. P.O. Box 9966, San Diego, California 92109.