A Living Philosophy For Humanity

No. 1 (147) - Summer 1976

[Cover photo: The Earth. Photograph taken during the Apollo 11 Moon Landing Mission, July 20, 1969, with Astronauts Neil A. Armstrong, Michael Collins, and Edwin E. Aldrin Jr. aboard. Released by NASA, this photo, taken about 98,000 nautical miles from the Earth, shows most of Africa, the Middle East, and portions of Europe and Asia.]


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.



"The problem of true Theosophy and its great mission are, first, the working out of clear unequivocal conceptions of ethic ideas and duties, such as shall best and most fully satisfy the right and altruistic feelings in men; and second, the modeling of these conceptions for their adaptation into such forms of daily life, as shall offer a field where they may be applied with most equitableness.

"Such is the common work placed before all who are willing to act on these principles. It is a laborious task, and will require strenuous and persevering exertion; but it must lead you insensibly to progress, and leave you no room for any selfish aspirations outside the limits traced. ... Do not indulge personally in unbrotherly comparison between the task accomplished by yourself and the work left undone by your neighbours or brothers. In the fields of Theosophy none is held to weed out a larger plot of ground than his strength and capacity will permit him. Do not be too severe on the merits or demerits of one who seeks admission among your ranks, as the truth about the actual state of the inner man can only be known to Karma, and can be dealt with justly by that all-seeing LAW alone. Even the simple presence amidst you of a well-intentioned and sympathizing individual may help you magnetically ... You are the free volunteer workers on the fields of Truth, and as such, must leave no obstruction on the paths leading to that field." - Excerpt from "Some Words on Daily Life," written by a Master of Wisdom, Lucifer, Vol. 1, p. 346. [3]


Boris de Zirkoff

The keynote of the doctrines outlined by the Esoteric Philosophy is their universality. They apply equally well in the great as in the small, in the microcosmic as in the macrocosmic. Not being based on anybody's opinions or creedal beliefs, they are rooted in the facts of nature, facts which can be observed and studied, and which can, by means of analogies, be referred to other facts beyond our present direct experimental cognition.

The basic doctrines of Theosophy are universally present throughout the length and breadth of the human race. They have mirrored themselves in all ages and civilizations in the thought of mankind, and have left undeniable traces everywhere in both myths and legends, as well as in more direct instructions and teachings of philosophers and thinkers.

A careful study of human thought throughout the ages, as far as this is possible in the often broken fragments which have come down to us, shows that a universal doctrine has existed from time immemorial, a doctrine available to those who were willing to abide by certain conditions required for the acquirement of that doctrine. From one end of the earth to the other, the basic principles of that doctrine have been the same, and its precepts of conduct identical, even though expressed in so many different languages; or framed in differing symbolism and allegory.

The nature of that doctrine and its basic postulates have been clearly outlined by H. P. Blavatsky in The Secret Doctrine. Open Volume I at page 14 and read the text through page 20; then open the same Volume at page 272 and read practically to the end of that Section on page 299 (pages 79-85 and 316-339 in Book I of the current Adyar edition). In these pages are presented the bases of the universal wisdom which runs like a golden thread through all genuine forms and modifications of the Esoteric Philosophy. These pages may serve as a touchstone of all other teachings or distortion of teachings which arise from time to time in various parts of the world, to confuse and bewilder the student. H.P.B.'s masterly presentation contains a clear and specific denial and rejection of various subsidiary ideas and theories that have become current in the modern Theosophical Movement as the years passed. A correct understanding of these basic propositions would make it evident to any careful thinker that some of the current literature, supposedly containing Theosophical ideas, deals with psycho-mental phantasies totally unsupported by, and often diametrically opposed to, the fundamental principles of the Wisdom-Religion as outlined in the passages mentioned above. These phantasies cannot be harmoniously blended with the genuine doctrines of the Esoteric Philosophy and therefore must be considered false. [4]


Joan Sutcliffe
(Concluded from last issue.)

It is interesting to note that mythology is pervaded with instances of heroes born of a mortal and an immortal parent. During childhood the hero is wholly nurtured by the mortal parent, until on reaching adulthood he leaves his home to set out on a quest, which brings him in contact with the immortal parent. Such was the case with Herakles, whose mortal mother, Alemene, entrusted his youthful education to the half-animal and half-human Centaurs, and on slaying his teacher Herakles had to leave home and overcome dangerous and agonizing feats, until he was called to join his immortal father Zeus, on Olympus. Similarly, this theme occurs in the Grail legend where the hero is brought up in a woodland environment solely by his mother, and on reaching manhood becomes a knight, and after killing the red knight who insults him, sets out on a mysterious quest. This brings him to the Grail kingdom, a strange waste land, ruled by a sick king. The task of the knight is to discover the meaning of the symbol of the Holy Grail, and on so doing he recognizes his relationship to the sick king, who is immediately made well and hands over the kingdom to the knight, and the waste land is restored to health.

A slightly altered version of this idea occurs in those myths depicting a god or hero abandoned at birth by his true parents on a hill-side where he is taken care of by an animal or a simple rustic. Such an example is the god Dionysus, deserted by his divine parent to be brought up by forest nymphs, again under the tutelage of the Centaurs, and later discovering his divinity.

This popular legendary trend is suggestive of the triple evolutionary scheme in man, namely that of body, mind and spirit. Man, himself, operating through mind, is the hero, seeking that which will bring about reunion with his immortal parent, representative of the higher self. His early preoccupation with his mortal parent symbolizes the involution of the spiritual monad into manifestation through matter, and its entire forgetfulness of its true high nature. On one plane of thought, the pastoral scene and the Centaurs lend the idea of monadic experience in the mineral, vegetable, animal kingdoms, and primitive man. On a different level, it is seen as the soul, unconscious of itself, seeking to learn through the animal nature; it is a necessary process in its evolution. The Centaurs might be the desires and emotions, an understanding and control of which will increase the growth of the soul. Significantly, it is after the hero has slain the Centaur or the selfish red knight that a dawning realization of purpose comes over him, and he sets out on his labour. Before he seeks contact with his higher self, it is the task of the aspirant to stamp out the appetites of the body and the passions of the desire-mind and the psychic illusions of the astral. [5]

In the Odyssey, it is on his return from the contest of Troy, that the hero comes under the guidance and protection of the goddess of wisdom, Athena. Mythologically, Athena is reputed to have taken birth from the head of Zeus, the god on the highest throne of Olympus. In occult physiology, the head is the seat of the crown chakra, esoterically representative of the sixth principle, Buddhi. Therefore Odysseus, acting on the advice of Athena, might be taken as mind aspiring Buddhi, or intuition. Troy, in occult literature, represents the fallen lunar race, and consequently in man the Lunar body, seat of the desires, which he must bring under the control of the higher mind. These lower forces are also the sensual suitors of the Odyssey, whom Odysseus must kill before they steal his home and his wife. Only Odysseus, with the divine aid of Athena, can string the bow that will bring about their destruction, and so it is only by mind lit by the flame of Buddhi that the lower self can be subdued. Mind is the bridge of Bifrost, mentioned in Nordic mythology, across which each morning the gods walk to the beautiful upper air, where is seen the tree of life, watered daily from the fountain of Urda by the three Norns. These are the three sisters, whose faces register wisdom, strength and hope, who weave threads front hand to hand. In The Secret Doctrine they are described as gazing respectively into the past, present and future, and making known the decree of Karma. Thus when the mind, unweighted by personal preponderance, becomes as light as the feet of the Nordic gods, man will aspire to the universal reach of his higher nature and get a glimpse into the wondrous panorama of the working of universal law.

To return to the subject of the fall of Troy, it is interesting to note what is written in The Secret Doctrine. Quoting Ragon, H.P.B. says: "... 'ancient initiated poets, when speaking of the foundation of a city, meant thereby the establishment of a doctrine. Thus Neptune, the god of reasoning, and Apollo, god of hidden things, presented themselves as masons before Laomedon, Priam's father, to help him to build the city of Troy - that is to say, to establish the Trojan religion' ... Laomedon was the founder of a branch of Archaic Mysteries, in which the earth-bound material soul, the Fourth Principle, was personified in Menelaus' faithless wife, the fair Helen ..." [Vol. II, pp. 795-96.]

It was Helen who brought about the fall of Troy, but it is significant that in the poem no blame is attached to her, but is attributed to the workings of Venus, the goddess of love. Love is a powerful force in nature, a unifying force that can defeat the differentiating pull towards disorder; when used nobly and unselfishly, it can be a beautiful and uplifting source of beneficence for humanity, but, if misdirected, it can be destructive. The myth of Paris and Helen is of the failure of the candidate. Paris, a prince of Troy, who typically is abandoned as a baby and brought up by shepherds, is rewarded by Venus for a service with the ability [6] to exercise the power of love. However, the force is employed selfishly, and leads to his own death and the desecration of the mystery-religion of Troy. The whole of the Iliad is taken up with the battle, but the myth is continued later by Virgil, whom H. P. B. describes as being versed in the esoteric philosophy. His epic work, the Aeneid, portrays the story of the adventures and suffering of Aeneas, a typical hero, born of a mortal father and an immortal mother. Aeneas sets out from the burning city of Troy, where he has lived with his mortal father, Anchises, on a mission which is to found a new city, which will become the future city of Rome. Here again is the idea of establishing a mystery-religion, and a torchbearer carrying a wisdom doctrine. Aeneas is the connecting link with the one wisdom source, suggesting the Hermetic chain of teachers.

On his travels Anchises dies, and the hero is now guided by his immortal mother, Venus. His search for the proper location for the new city is symbolical of the soul's search for the wisdom that will lead it to the knowledge of its own spiritual source. The most celebrated book of the Aeneid is Book Six, where the hero arrives at the oracle of Apollo at Cumae, near Naples, in order to seek from the inspired prophetess of the god advice on how he might enter the underworld to meet with his dead father. Every sentence is pregnant with Theosophical meaning, but perhaps just one or two examples will suffice for the present. The idea of a communication with the god, Apollo, through the oracle is suggestive of a mystery initiation, and the journey through Hades as the subterranean chamber of the Mithraic cave. The Sibyl, the priestess of Apollo, is not the oracle itself but the transmitter of the oracle, rather taking the form of mind inspired by the higher, universal wisdom of Buddhi, and it is she who becomes his guide through the underworld. It is not from her, however, that Aeneas seeks his knowledge, regarding his future task, but from his father, his progenitor dwelling now in the land of shades. All this would appear strikingly reminiscent of the search of the aspirant to understand and work out his past Karma, in accomplishment of which he must enter the unknown inner realms of his own being; therefore Hades can be compared also to the lower mental and astral planes.

We are told in perhaps the most dramatic and meaningful line of all literature: "facilis descensus Averno" (easy is the descent to Avernus). To retrace one's steps to the light of the upper air, that is the task, the supreme test. The astral and lower-mental level of consciousness is pervaded with strange and dangerous forces, illusive pleasures and psychic fears: in The Voice of the Silence it says: "under every flower a serpent coiled." The illusionary nature of the astral is witnessed on several occasions in mythology, as in the adventures of Thor in Jotunnheim, where he must contest the giants, representative of the dark forces of nature, which deceive him constantly through their trickery. It is also present in the dreamlike [7] qualities of the Grail Castle, the knight's failure to make the necessary observances, and his consequent succumbing to the mysterious sleep, on waking from which he is puzzled by the disappearance of all the inhabitants of the castle, and has the false perception of a fertile kingdom where in truth there is only desolation.

Aeneas is told, however, that men have accomplished the re-ascent, men born from gods, who have inspired the love of Jove (the Higher Self). The key to a safe penetration into the world of shadows lies in the discovery of the golden bough, which would seem to symbolize intuition, or discrimination, or the qualities that pertain to a higher condition of awareness. When plucked from the tree, it always grows again. Occult doctrines teach that the true worth of an accouterment is tested in the universality of its applicable capacity, and that which grows on the greater tree of life cannot be taken away by the personal self. Perfect truth is omnipresent and eternal, signified by the continual regrowth of the golden bough. The golden bough cannot be pulled from the tree except by him whose destiny means for him to do so, and then it will come away easily. In Theosophical writings we are often told that if the necessary work and preparation have been accomplished in one life, then the seeker will be led by the law of Karma to that point where of a surety he will receive the greater knowledge of which he is worthy. In The Mahatma Letters there is mention of a steep and fragile hanging bridge, and the Master assures us that if it is in one's Karma to achieve, then inevitably his feet will never slip in the crossing.

Before looking for the golden bough, however, Aeneas is bidden to commit to the funeral pyre his dead comrade, for the unburied body is polluting the mission. This is a warning to the neophyte, who would seek to grasp the golden bough of intuitive development and enter the mysterious realms of his inner being before he has not only rid himself of the vices that have been his companions, but cast them into the fires of purification. The search of the disciple for occult knowledge, which leads him into an exploration of the darker side of his self, brings into action all the hidden but unburied, faults and weaknesses. This is comparable to the primitive Egyptian myth, which describes the nightly passage of Osiris, as the sun god, through the twelve kingdoms of the abode of the dead, which brings to life briefly all the creatures dwelling there, and his presence assures them food and drink. It is only his return to the upper world that breaks their substance. No single vice must remain unburied. In the Nordic myth about Baldur, only the mistletoe has the power to hurt him, but it is this which is seized by the evil Loki and used to bring about the destruction of the beautiful god. In The Voice of the Silence we are warned against climbing the lowest rung of the ladder whilst there is a speck of mire on the foot.

The location of the golden bough is revealed to Aeneas by a sign from his immortal mother, and it [8] comes away easily in his hand. It is when he aspires to the higher and impersonal values of his immortal self that man grasps an intuitional insight to recognize the symbol of truth, and is able to arm himself with the golden bough of discrimination to overcome the bewilderment of the lower self. It is significant that Aeneas, the seeker after esoteric wisdom, recognizes the message of his mother in the symbol of the dove. In mythology, the gods and goddesses often appear in disguise, their identity unknown to those they visit. So, man, too, often fails to know the voice of his higher self. It is the development of the ability to recognize in all people the light of Atma-Buddhi, and disregard that which is of the personality, that takes man to the golden bough of intuition and will protect him through the Hades of his initiatory experiences.

Things come to us, good and bad, real and unreal, and to recognize their positive force for spiritual growth is man's mission and his pathway. One of the most moving passages in the Aeneid occurs in Book Eight, where the writer compares the glorious work of the divine blacksmith, Vulcan, in forging the splendidly heroic armour of Aeneas, with that of the simple mother in the cottage sitting up all night at her weaving, in order to support her poor family. The simple everyday task carefully accomplished is transported to the shining planes of the spiritual.

The material mirrors the spiritual, and in recognizing those things which are of the higher, spiritual, universal self, from those which are of the lower, material, personal self, man can advance safely through the lower worlds of shadows. Homer writes that there are two gates through which dreams come to us, the Gate of Horn and the gate of Ivory. Through the Gate of Horn pass those dreams which reflect truth. The Gate of Ivory is lovely, but through it slip those dreams which are deceptive and lead astray. Interestingly, Virgil mentions these gates also, as the twin gates of sleep on the exit to the Elysian Fields, the place of devachanic bliss. The Gate of Horn allows easy passage for shades which are true. Through the Gates of Ivory the spirits send visions which are false in the light of day. Aeneas departs from Hades through the Gate of Ivory, after receiving the knowledge he sought from his father, signifying that the knowledge he gained was through a descent into his mortal self, but the rest of the myth goes on to show that he is to use the knowledge positively, and transmute an insubstantial dream into a spiritual purpose.

As was said earlier, however, it is only through an understanding of insubstantial dreams that any kind of connection with the Absolute Reality can be remotely experienced. The cyclic process must go on continually then. One of the most mystic parts of the Odyssey is when the hero tells his wife, after their night of union, that he must go out again to a strange new land, carrying an oar. When he reaches a place where the men know not of the existence of the sea, and eat their food without salt, and he is questioned as to [9] the nature of his oar, there must he plant it. To Odysseus the oar was symbolical of his experiences, for his adventures had taken place through sea voyages and shipwrecks: the oar had carried him from one learning situation to another. The journey to a new place suggests a new manvantaric dawn and the re-emergence of the pilgrim, carrying the oar as an inborn body of knowledge, constructed from the results of the lessons and mistakes of the last manvantaric period of activity. It hints of a birth into a new set of experiences far removed from the last, and stretching beyond the planted oar, a birth into a higher realm of manifestation. This is the spiral evolution taught in Theosophy. The Mahatma Letters tell us that there is no end to the progressive scheme of evolving worlds, and the incredible growth of the soul through the insubstantial dreams of manvantara.

To close with a quotation from a novel by Emily Bronte: "I've dreamed in my life dreams that have stayed with me ever after, and changed my ideas; they've gone through and through me, like wine through water, and altered the colour of my mind."


Joy Mills

[Address by the Vice-President of The Theosophical Society (Adyar), at the Closing Session of the World Congress at New York, November, 1975. Reprinted from The Theosophist of January, 1976.]

We have, during these days, looked a little at our history, and we have frequently been reminded of the historic occasion which took place here, in New York City, 100 years ago. But let us now remember, my fellow members and fellow students, that we too have made history. We came here in 1975; we came a unified Theosophical Movement. Whatever may have been the difficulties of the past, whatever divisions may have occurred, we came here and we came together. This is history. And we have been part of it. In years to come, let it be said that just as we say today that what they began here a century ago, was so precious, so beautiful and so magnificent, so what we continue here is equally precious, magnificent and beautiful. And we will pass it on equally pure and beautiful to those who succeed us, to those who will celebrate the 150th anniversary, the bi-centennial of this Society, and the tri-centennial and on into the future, because we were here today, because we were part of this great movement, because we came together with love in our hearts, and with a light in our eyes that nothing could dim. If there have been through these days some crises, I feel we have made them into opportunities. If there have been [10] problems that have concerned us, we have turned them into challenges. If there have been dreams dreamed here, it is now for us to make them realities. We cannot forget all that has gone before, but we today have the even more important work, to remember our present heritage, and to pledge ourselves to the future. The Theosophical Society is in existence because we are part of it today. The Theosophical Society will continue on its course, of sharing that immortal wisdom with a world so hungry for the truths of life, because we have seen the promise, we have dreamed the dream, we have watched a distant horizon. A horizon is where the earth-line meets the sky-line. In our lives, the earth line of practical endeavour must forever be meeting the skyline of our hopes and dreams and aspirations. Perhaps during the Congress we have been aware that once again there are efforts to destroy our work. Once again, the savage canards of the past have been brought up to haunt us, the allegations and accusations against one of the noblest women who ever lived, have again sounded in our ears. Falsehood still seems to reign, at least in the world of journalism. Perhaps we may remember that in the 1880's, when H. P. B. came under attack from her report published by the Society for Psychical Research, which branded her a fraud and an impostor, she wrote a letter to Mr. A. P. Sinnett, President of the London lodge. In that letter, she said: "If the London Lodge is composed of only six members, the President the seventh ... face the enemy cooly, not allowing him to know how many you are, and impressing him with outward signs of a multitude."

I think this must be the attitude we have today. And H. P. B. went on in that letter with a statement that I think must still be our guide, "Make your activities commensurate with your opportunities." She did not say make your activities match your resources, whether human or financial; she did not ask how many books are in your library, or how many books have you published. She did not advise that activities be tailored to public opinion and the whims of public views. She did not say we should dilute the truth or make it seem saccharine sweet in order that those who are listening and those who are tasting of the fruits of our efforts will enjoy it. "Make your activities commensurate with your opportunities." Never before in history have the opportunities been so great. No, not even a hundred years ago were the opportunities so great. And certainly never have the challenges been so great and so grave. If the challenges and the opportunities are more than life-size, then we must be more than ourselves, because we must know, with an absolute certainty, that behind this Movement, behind those who would serve the truth, stand forever the mighty Himalayas of the Wisdom, those Masters of the Wisdom, those Adept-Brothers, whose only thought is the service of humanity. They are there. We are here. And we can do the job before us. Because the promise is great, we must live up to the [11] promise. Because the dream is great, we must greatly dare to make it a reality. If we act now, in the full confidence that we are not really little people, although as individual personalities we may be small, but we are big, because bigness is demanded of us, we dare not be less than big today. We dare not forget the dream or be disloyal to the vision. We dare not desert that great enterprise in which we are engaged together. Joining hands all over the world, men and women of all creeds, all nationalities, all backgrounds, young, and old alike, we have come together in the one great endeavour that makes sense in our present world, in the only work worth doing. It is the only work which we can do: to make Theosophy a living reality in our lives, to walk with heads high, proud that we have followed and still follow that star, so that one day all peoples may live in its light and know themselves as one humanity.


Mollie Griffith

ln the course of studying Theosophy our understanding grows and some of its teachings which may have escaped our notice at first, assume considerable importance later. The subject of the "Life Atoms" could be a case in point. They can be studied at different levels, as can all our teachings, but these few notes deal primarily with their practical value in everyday life.

Life Atoms are described as the building blocks of our vehicles or bodies from the time of our birth until they leave us when we pass through the higher planes after death. They are units of life just as we are, but at a lower level of evolution. Some spring from man himself, and although at times they pass into other forms of life, both during his lifetime for brief periods and for a longer time after his death, they always return to him. They are, in a sense, the inhabitants of his universe, and when he reincarnates they form the basis of his new bodies. However, they are not the physical atoms, which they ensoul, and which are sometimes referred to as their "house of life."

As we proceed in our studies of Theosophy there is one idea that gains momentum, and that is responsibility. Until this time, we have probably accepted the fact that loyalty to our families, our nation and our religion was natural to most people. As we pursue Theosophical ideas, our understanding broadens to such an extent that at last we get a glimmer of that most wonderful of all our teachings - the Oneness of Life.

We are not only responsible to our fellow men from now on, important as that is, but to all the kingdoms, both below and above us. We affect and are affected by them. Life atoms have their part in this also, [12] since they pass front one person to another continuously. These could be called "visiting" life atoms, and we are responsible for those that wear our stamp.

To present a contrasting picture of this, we could take two examples, one of an athlete and the other of a drunkard. The athlete trains his body to the nth degree. He exercises it continuously, is careful what he gives it to eat, careful of its rest and so on. The atoms which compose his bodies become adapted to this routine and include those of his emotional and mental bodies also. When they are left behind, as man pursues his way through the inner planes after death, they are attracted quite naturally to the sort of atmosphere to which they have been accustomed. Most likely when the man is reborn he will have little difficulty in following an athletic career, and may even be a candidate for an Olympic medal.

On the other hand, considering the life atoms of a drunkard, they too are accustomed to a certain kind of atmosphere, and when this man dies, they will be attracted to a form with which they have affinity, unless while still living, the man reverses the tide and changes the trend.

Actually the subject of life atoms is not as simple as this, for most people have good and bad qualities, both of which react on the life atoms. The thing we have to remember is that the impulse, good or bad, which we have given to our life atoms, will be accentuated by their experiences between lives, in similar forms. For example, the life atoms of the dedicated athlete would not be attracted between lives to the drunkard's environment.

Surely the wisest thing to do is to subject these important parts of our being to the kind of environment that will fit them for the work we seek to do, rather than that which will form obstacles in our path. And because we are all linked with all forms of life in the Universe, we shall then be assisting our life atoms on their upward path also.

It has been said that a human being is a life atom in the body of a greater Being, and it is interesting to consider how the life of that Being affects the human being. Perhaps, since we have arrived at the critical stage of self-responsibility, we have to try and sense It's direction and co-operate with It's purpose. One thing is certain, Theosophy opens up for us all a vast field of interest and endeavour, and if we persist in our work, will lead us to the dawning light of Wisdom. [13]


Vonda Urban

Wherever we may look the world over, it is glaringly apparent that our human life-wave, generally speaking, is functioning through, and is hyperactive in Kama, the desire principle in our sevenfold constitution. There is nothing in life that affects us more powerfully than our emotions and desires; and relatively few are those who are able to control them. Our self-consciousness is largely aware in, and operates through, the world of sensory perception, causing us for the most part to think and act with our feelings rather than by intelligent reasoning. No wonder that most of us suffer such tremendous psychological and physical stress from the highs and lows of emotion! Our hunger for sensation is rooted in the selfish desires of our human animal who lures us on, through unending phantasies of pleasure and pain, as we rush after the ephemeral promise of tinseled happiness in the things we "just got to do, be and have - or we shall die"!

Opposite to the material pole of desire, however, its highest aspect is divine Will. It is the spiritual aspiration in our soul, and through it the influence from our Higher Self is transmitted to our lower Ego that expresses it in all that is selfless, noble and worthy in our thoughts and actions. Every choice either upward or downward is made psycho-mentally in the brain mind, the mediator between the Higher Ego and the personal man. Here we see the three distinct but inseparable lines of evolution developing simultaneously within us, one spiritual, one mental and one physical. Although we choose in both directions, one of them prevails, growing increasingly stronger, wider and deeper as it is fed. The lesson here is that of self-becoming; and while we recognize the poles, pulling us in both directions, it is quite another matter to realize, and especially to accept, that mentally, through our own discrimination, reason and judgment, we have become, and are at this very moment, everything that we have desired! But the shock of reconciling the qualities we dislike, even hate in ourselves, as the visible proof of this, is at once our very salvation! This is an awakening of the desire to self-become better.

The Septenary Doctrine of Theosophy points out that humanity is now passing through the stage of evolution which is unfolding the Kamic principle in the sevenfold constitution of man. Kama exists everywhere throughout the Cosmos as the fourth of the seven principles in all manifested life of whatever degree. It is a neutral energy, a motivating force that impels to action. Thus a Universe comes into being "out of the Boundless, Unknowable THAT when desire arises in the bosom of IT," awakening the drama of life which unrolls into a living mural upon seven Cosmic Planes, where stars wink and nod through vast seven-round Manvantaras and Pralayas, outbreathing and inbreathing hosts of smaller worlds into their [14] periods of activity and rest, on and on downward, each within each, until all the multi-myriad grades and variations of lives are painting their history on the Cosmic mural in their own cycles of time, yet all synchronized the Universal heartbeat.

What a marvelous thought to bring us down to size whenever our little personal ego is blown up to universal proportions! What a sobering realization to shame our petty selfishness! What a beautiful vision that dreams with the poet: "and deep within me, deep and deep, universes wake and sleep"! What a haunting intuition that knows "thou canst not touch a flower without troubling a star"!

Somewhere within the incomprehensible duration of universal time, the speck of mud that is our little planetary chain of earth is recording the chronicle of its Kamic round, the fourth in its seven-round Manvantara. A mere sliver of time in the composite whole - perhaps but a shimmering brush stroke on the cosmic canvas; but it is an eternity for the seven-runged hierarchical ladder of earth-life that is slowly plodding through the journey around the seven globes of the earth chain, each globe unfolding one-seventh of the Kamic principle. And here are we, the human kingdom, creeping through the fifth segment of a seven-phased trip around the fourth globe, the lowest of the seven in the chain; all of which means that we have traveled just a "smidgen" past the half-way mark of this entire round, and likewise in the entire planetary Manvantara. Here we stand between heaven and earth struggling through the triple evolutionary scheme that his our feet clinging to the mire of earth, our heart soaring spiritward, and our fourth-round mind the mediator between the two, the controlling power, choosing the direction!

The Kamic principle related specifically to man is explained in Dr. G. de Purucker's Occult Glossary as: "The fourth substance principle of which man's constitution is composed. Kama is the driving or impelling force in the human constitution; per se it is colorless, neither good nor bad, and is only such as the mind and soul direct its use. It is the seat of the living electric impulses, desires, aspirations, considered in their energic aspect. Usually however, although there is a divine Kama as well as an infernal one, the word is restricted, and wrongly so, to evil desire almost exclusively."

So here we have it then. We use the impersonal force of Kama, whose sevenfold spectrum of desire becomes the saint and the sinner, and every shade of good and evil in-between, according to the direction given it by our human ego - the thinking animal-man seated in Kama-Manas - who can be the Machiavellian manipulator of our deeds; tempting us with earthy oils, prompting its to tarry in the veils of Maya. Or he can be the hero of our narrative, lifting us upward, away from the world of temptation; teaching our intuition to know that the world of matter can never guide us to the world of spirit, setting our course upon the path of duty where each effort upwards helps to shape desire into Spiritual Will. [15]


Dara Eklund

When Alexander the Great attacked Rhodes he employed what later became known as a "Storming Tower." In medieval times it was used to attack walled cities. With its tower of several levels, capable of emitting soldiers along various heights and parapets of the walls, one can see why this engulfing strategy was termed a "bad neighbor." Some storming towers actually required thousands of men to station against the walls of invaded castles and outposts.

Likewise in human life it often requires the consolidated effort of will, binding a thousand diverse energies to storm the strongholds of our weaknesses. At every fold of our sevenfold nature we must rally forces on hand to spearhead our conquests. For instance, one might know quite readily by his Buddhic intuitiveness that the right action with regard to helping another was to refrain from action until that man took a first step. At the next level he would need faculties of mental restraint so as to avoid revelations (so-to-say reverberations along the wall,) announcing his intentions, or the flooding in of excuses from the lower mind, surrounding like a moat the inner city. He would be watchful of emotional sympathies with regard to the friend he would free. The highest messages of the Captain of the Tower - the kamic impulse for a victory - must be observed with keen strategy and direction of obscure desires. While certain forces or retainers must be on hand to quell the sheer pranic impulse for action - those restive qualities impressed by past battles into ready momentum for a good "fight" - foot-soldiers are needed to respond to the call of advanced scouts reporting back to the Captain. Physically the tower must be balanced in alignment with the wall and have a sure foundation or stamina.

Storm though we would, there are some onslaughts, visitations of Karmic destiny, in which strategy alone cannot win the battle. Is it because one is on foreign soil and has not surveyed his territory? Perhaps this is the time when one should not use the "Storming Tower"! It may be that only the foot-soldiers or scouts will prevail here, and all the amassed strength of man's total nature will not make this his proper field of battle. He must return to head-quarters to revamp the setting. It may be that duties of the household life will draw him back for unfinished commitments toward wife or family. Then indeed he must not let despair for isolated details prevail against his partaking in a loftier destiny. His pride must not be wounded, if like a knight errant he has frittered away too many bright-hued scarfs upon the distant ladies. After all, what is the Quest?

It is so easy to lose oneself in the lower plains and valleys. The peerless mountains, sought out alone by steep passes and laborious footpaths may need no storming, but patient arduous climbing to the very top. [16]

Rare is he who takes that path. The spark of his lantern may be the only sign of him to his faltering brethren. But let him not be saddened by that minute light, even though it illuminates but one step at a time. In the more rarified air higher up it will blaze forth anew, freed at last from the entangled forest slopes and cloggy ravines that have nearly swept him off his troubled course.

There were hermits of old who from caves or thatched dwellings kenned exactly what to say to rare and wayward visitors. How could they know unless they had once been frequenters on the fields below? How could they tell whom to pass on the way and whom to return to the battle?

Now and then the Storming Tower proved too cumbersome and had to be abandoned. What happened to those warriors? Are they roaming the earth helpless, in search of a leader? Perhaps one listless hour their glance will catch that glimmering spark among the distant peaks ahead, and quickening their pace they will take on the climb!



Those interested particularly in hearing the sound of the Sanskrit words, their correct pronunciation and tonal sound values, will be glad to know that Geoffrey A. Barborka's Glossary of Sanskrit Terms and Key to Their Correct Pronunciation is now available on tape - both cassette and reel (2 cassettes, $6.00; 1 reel, $4.00). (Because of high production costs no discount is allowed on retail price of tapes to dealers, libraries or Theosophical groups).
The paperback booklet, a compendium of over 500 Sanskrit philosophical terms, now in its third printing, is a handy pocket size and sells for $1.25. Order both tapes and book from: Point Loma Publications, Inc., P.O. Box 9966, San Diego, Calif. 92109.