A Living Philosophy For Humanity

Volume XXXV
No. 2 (156) - Fall 1978

[Cover photo: Dazzling White Bloom of the Joshua Tree, or Tree Yucca, in California Desert.]


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: $3.00 a year (four issues), single copy 75 cents. Send all subscriptions, renewals and correspondence to: 634 South Gramercy Place, #301, Los Angeles, California 90005. 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.



"Whether or not Helena Petrovna Blavatsky coined the word 'flapdoodle' to apply to spineless folk who yield to the threats and to the stings of organized ill will, it is sure she used it freely; and the name fits. She never yielded. She earned by her courage and honesty the full right to unmask weaklings to themselves and to deny their claim to be respectable, however much she pitied them. She stood unfrightened, and defied such batteries of blackmail as in all recorded history have not been aimed more cruelly at any individual. And she died unconquered, her nerves and body racked by the persistent malice of those whom she strove to help, her heart triumphant, her mind clear and active to the last. The good she did lives after her; her tortures were cremated with her bones. ...

"What then shall be said in favor of the men and women who make use of utterly unproved allegations to destroy the reputation of an innocent person, either for the sake of greed, self-advertisement, or to strangle the life-work of the individual whom they accuse? What shall be said in favor of any liar who circulates false stories, simply to quiet his own consciousness of inferiority by slandering someone whose conduct, he intuitively knows, is nobler than his own?" - Talbot Mundy, The Theosophical Path, Vol. XXVI, June, 1924. [3]


Boris de Zirkoff

Questions are asked from time to time as to some of the simplest rules of conduct for treading the Path which leads to a life of Discipleship. Such rules are not easily defined. They differ from one student to another, and are self-imposed.

It is of primary importance to realize one's ignorance: how little we have learned and how much there is to be known. Having acquired some information and increased our intellectual capacities, we must avoid a sense of pride, and remember that intellection has nothing to do with spirituality. Information is not knowledge; knowledge applied is wisdom. It is wise never to impress others with what we imagine we know, as this assumed knowledge is most likely another stage of relative ignorance.

It is necessary to practice an attitude of unemotional calm, self-possession, restraint and un-excitability, particularly when facing circumstances of either internal emotional upheaval or emotional outbursts in others. Impulsive action on our part may destroy much of self-control already acquired. To delay or postpone action - unless in emergency - is wiser than to rush into action without calm appraisal of what it may involve.

It is wiser for the student to take time in pronouncing any judgment. We witness the actions done by others, but we do not know their motives. It is motives which determine the Karmic drive and the Karmic consequences, not outward action. Therefore it is better to judge the action as such, and refrain from judging the person. It is also wise to bear in mind that negative results often follow a well-motivated action; results and actions do not stand in direct relation to each other, and often hide other intermediary links.

It is better not to be too sure of anything: it is better to temper a feeling of assurance by a certain degree of doubt as to the outcome. Things do not always turn out the way we expected them to do, simply because other factors, often quite hidden from view, are at play behind the deceptive appearances.

We must trust our inner voice, which is no voice at all. It is an impelling urge, an inner assurance, beyond our mind and transcending reason, as it stems from the spiritual center within ourselves. Hence it is wise to mistrust our personal reactions and to be on the watch lest we find ourselves self-deceived. The easiest person to deceive is ourselves.

It is conducive to growth to refrain from speaking whenever it is not required. Speak less and listen more! Speak more of ideas and very little about people.

The key to spiritual growth is impersonality - which is the urge to rise above the outward "me" into the stratosphere of the inner Ego wherein all life is one. To attempt to build one's own personal reputation is to undo our efforts towards universality. [4]




The Real Madame Blavatsky

[The original French text of this article was Published in La Revue Spirite, Paris, October, 1878. Our English translation includes the Editorial introductory note which accompanied it. - Editor, Theosophia.]

"One of our many friends, a distinguished writer and publicist, received a letter about the Theosophists from one of his confreres in America (United States); we inserted it without imagining that it contained errors and a somewhat fantastic story; a letter from Madame H. P. Blavatsky enables us to rectify what we inserted in good faith, and we hasten to do so as a duty, and with pleasure; our friend seems to us to have been misinterpreted by someone who hardly knows her; we have absolute proof of it. This is rather a surprise to us.

Here is, textually, Madame Blavatsky's letter:

Hardly had I returned from a journey when I found in the June number of La Revue Spirite an article entitled "Les Theosophes - Madame Blavatsky," a fairly accurate translation of a story published last year in the New York World; this article repeats - quite innocently no doubt - the hallucinations of Mr. American Reporter.

There exists a race of bipeds - the recent production of our century of steam and iconoclasm par excellence - that the Academies of Science have hitherto neglected to classify under the heading of "Teratology," or the Science treating of human monsters. The monsters or lusus naturae, are called reporters here - as they are everywhere but there is this difference, however, that the one of the land of Christopher Columbus and General Tom Thumb differs from his trans-Atlantic cousin as much as the wild buffalo of the virgin forest does from the domestic bull. If the latter sometimes becomes guilty of havoc committed on the fence of a neighbor, the former destroys whole forests in his furious career; he rushes blindly and kills and crushes everything that stands in his way. As to Messrs. the American reporters I really do not know why the good citizens of the United States take the trouble to fasten their doors; there is neither a lock sufficiently patented, nor a family secret sacred enough to prevent them from intruding, from ferreting out, from meddling, and above all from substituting in their daily publication the most strangely dressed-up fiction for the bare truth.

For five years I have been the victim of these hunters for literary sensations. When I try to shut my door in the face of one of these Arguses of the press, he comes in by the window. Swept from his observation post, he substitutes what he might have seen by what he never saw at all, and by what never existed; how can I, then, good-naturedly consent to pass in the eyes of the worthy readers of La Revue Spirite for an accomplice in these efforts of the imagination? Although in substance the article which treats of what the reporter and several other persons saw in my [5] house one evening, may be accurate enough towards the end, the details that precede the apparition of the two Shades are hardly so.

To begin with I am not a Countess so far as I know. Without overlooking the fact that it would be more than ridiculous - it would be unconstitutional - in a citizen or citizeness of the Republic of the United States - who abjures all titles of nobility upon being naturalized - to claim one, above all one which never belonged to him or her - I am too democratic, and I love and respect the people sufficiently, having devoted all my sympathy to them, and this without distinction of race or color, to trick myself out in any kind of title! I have always publicly protested against this ridiculous inclination in a Republic like ours of giving every foreigner a more or less high-sounding title.

However - and although I may not be a Countess - I have never been in the habit of offering pipes to my guests. One may be a democrat, bereft of every title, and yet not accept - above all at my age - a ridiculous and unseemly role.

Speaking of age, and although the newspapers of the country may have voted me respectively and at various times, the ages of 25, 60, 86, 92 and -103 years, I must assure your readers that I have not "passed more than thirty years in India." It is precisely my age however respectable it may be - that is radically opposed to that fantastic chronology. Neither have I embraced the "Buddhist faith" either "from conviction" or for any other reason.

It is true that I regard the philosophy of Gautama Buddha as the most sublime system; the purest, and above all, the most logical of all. But the system has been distorted during the centuries by the ambition and fanaticism of the priests and has become a popular religion; the forms and the exoteric or popular cult proceeding from that system, too closely resemble those of the Roman church which has slavishly plagiarized from it, for me ever to be converted to it. Just as in every pure and primitive system, introduced by the great religious reformers of the ancient world, its rays have diverged too far from their common centre - the Vedas of the Aryans; and although among all modern beliefs the Buddhist Church may be the only one to encourage its members to question its dogmas and to seek the last word of every mystery which is taught therein - I much prefer to hold to the mother source rather than to depend upon any of the numerous streams that flow from it.

"Do not believe what I tell you just because it is I, your Buddha, who says it - but only because your judgment is not opposed to the truth of my assertion" - says Gautama in his Sutras or aphorisms. Now although I admire with all my soul the lofty philosophy of Siddhartha, or Sakya-Muni, I bow quite as much before the moral grandeur and the powerful logic of the Hindu Kapila, the great Acharya, who was, however, the most implacable enemy of the Buddha. While the latter looked on [6] the Vedas as the supreme authority - the Buddhists rejected them after all, though it was proved, nevertheless, that Gautama in his reform and protest against the abuses of the wily Brahmanas, based himself entirely upon the esoteric meaning of the grand primitive Scriptures. Then, if the reporter - the author of the article in question - had simply said that I belonged to the religion that had inspired the Buddha, instead of presenting me to the public as a Buddhist turning the Wheel of the Law - he would have spoken nothing but the truth. One can be a Platonist without necessarily being a pagan or an idolater at that, as one may remain a Christian without belonging to any of the Churches which have been fighting one another for eighteen hundred years in the name of the Man-God.

If our trans-Atlantic brothers are interested in knowing what is the religion, or rather the system to which we Theosophists (of the inner section) - adhere, I am ordered by the administrative Council of the "Theosophical Society of the Arya Samaj of India" to tell you about it immediately upon your request. We make no secret of it. Only - do not call us Buddhists any more, because you would make a very serious mistake.

In concluding, I assure you that I have not mentioned half the absurdities attributed to me in the article in question. I never asserted, for example, that I myself did the delicate operation with the sheep and goats of Tibet, for the simple reason that I never went to the mountainous and almost inaccessible places where the phenomenon of artificial trance takes place, it is said. I only repeated what has been told to me, but personally I believe in the possibility of the act - with certain reservations however. The possibilities of animal magnetism are infinite, and I believe in Magnetism - and you also, I think. On that subject, we fraternally shake hands across the Atlantic, and ... do not trust too much in future to articles of American origin. - H.P. Blavatsky.

NOTE. - We hasten to accept the promised exposition of the system promulgated by Theosophists, and we shall insert whatever our correspondent will kindly send us; we shall be greatly interested in reading it.


"... There is no finality in any system. The more rigid it is, and the more we think that here we have some final statement of truth, the more we are killing in ourselves that deeper intuition which alone can carry us forward to the super-intellectual region of absolute truth, remembering always that region is within." - William Kingsland. [7]


Phoebe D. Bendit

[Lecture delivered at the 84th International Convention at Adyar, 23 December, 1959.]

This is not a simple subject and there are no easy answers. I would like to state at the very beginning, having spent the whole of this incarnation in experience and study of this particular subject, that there are many things I do not know and many more I do not understand. I am only sure of one thing, and that is, I do not know.

Clairvoyance is very much misunderstood both in the East and in the West. It means literally "clear seeing," but this does not mean that one understands what one sees. We possess five physical senses but what we do not realize is how misleading those five physical senses are. We are always making mistakes about what we perceive at the physical level. You have only to go into a court of law and listen to the witnesses of a car accident, and you will find how their perception, their vision, their judgment, and all else differ, so that there are many difficulties in sorting out the evidence. If that is true at the physical level, then it is even more true at the invisible level of life, where the material is so finely graded, shifting, changing, altering, in shape, color, design, texture, qualities and a thousand other things at every moment. So there are many difficulties in obtaining reliable and steady psychic vision.

There are some basic difficulties which affect every clairvoyant, from the lowest order to the highest rank. Firstly, there is no possibility of making true pictures of what we see in other terms than those of the language of the physical plane. We are translating what we see into terms of things about which we know something physically and the images are of necessity distorted. If on the physical plane we meet an object we have never seen before and we have no conception of its purpose, we relate it to the nearest familiar object and hence we are apt to give it a false value. Psychic objects are even more unlike known physical objects. So this imaging and the using of words of the physical plane is one of the fundamental difficulties. Another difficulty which has to be understood is that every clairvoyant, again from the lowest to the highest, has to perceive and translate his perception through the coloring of his own auric field; that is, through the complexities of the personal outlook. Environment, emotional bias, the trend of our mind, color the auric field the whole time, and there is no hope of translating what we see except through that field. So the good clairvoyant needs to learn something of his psychological make-up in order that he may realize what is called in science his margin of error, and allow for it in the vision that he sees and expresses. Thirdly, there is the quality and type of clairvoyance [8] which we possess. This does not depend upon this incarnation alone. It is something that has been projected with us when we arrived into life for a fresh piece of work. It depends on our training in the past and varies according to the type and temperament of person that we happen to be in this life.

In the main, there are two principal types of clairvoyants in the world. There are those whom we call the reactive or negative type of clairvoyants who very largely use the solar plexus and sympathetic nervous system as the mechanism of perception. They are the people who nearly always depend upon conditions which suit the personality that they are using. They demand certain things, and unless those things are supplied they are not able to see. Their work is apt to be personal, and they are often extremely sensitive to any kind of criticism or even objective analysis. Their feelings are very easily hurt and they are very much the victims of their own sensitivity. They usually cannot control their clairvoyance and this makes their life very difficult. We are not particularly concerned with that type of work in this meeting, but it is the precursor at some time or other in the history of the individual of that which can follow after. I t is a stage along the road to a more positive and objective form of clairvoyance.

In Theosophy the thing that we should be seeking is the control of the personal life, the development of the inner man, so as to be able to see life as it truly is. In clairvoyance this leads to another type of work altogether. The first type very often depends upon dropping the censorship of the clear waking mind and falling back into a half-way state which is neither in the world nor out of it. This produces sometimes some slight degree of semi-trance. But the other type of worker uses another mechanism altogether, the cerebro-spinal system and the Ajna, or Pituitary and Brahmarandhra (or Crown) chakras, and, in advanced degrees of clairvoyance, a psychic centre which is in the aura of the individual above the head front which there is a straight transmission of direct vision to the brain. These people, if they have their capacity well under control and integrated into daily life, do not on the whole demand special conditions. A great deal of their work can be done anywhere, provided there is not too much noise or movement. They do this in full self-consciousness.

There is apt to be much confusion in the work of the first type of person. He is very often truly clairvoyant, but it is difficult for him to realize that actual clairvoyance mingles with intuition, telepathy, and various other aspects of psychic sensitivity, and it is not easy to differentiate between them. He sees but he does not always know what it is that he is seeing, nor how. He does not know instantaneously the difference between a person out of the body, asleep, or under all anesthetic, a dead person, a person in trance, or a thought form. Yet these are very different. An illustration [9] will help to show this. A friend of mine went to a clairvoyant who had given her with great accuracy and detail a description of two people and asked whether she knew them. She said she did, and asked the clairvoyant whether she was sure that they were "dead" people. The clairvoyant said she was perfectly sure. They had waited a very long while to bring messages to her. These she proceeded to give. As usual, they were of no importance whatever. The thing that was important was that those descriptions were perfectly accurate, but one was an exact picture of the man who had sat on her left hand at dinner the night before and who was very much alive; and the other was an equally clear one, both as temperament and type, of the hero of her new novel which was half written. They were not "dead" people at all.

From the Theosophical aspects of the work the question arises as to how one can make practical use of clairvoyance, if it is sufficiently trained and at one's command. There are many avenues in which it can be useful. In the field of education, if we had people with trained sensitive perception (and there are other forms of perception besides actual clairvoyance), many of the more difficult problems of children might be either avoided altogether, or dealt with positively and intelligently. There are nowadays many quick reincarnations. Children come back with mature and powerful mental and emotional equipment, and those are too much for the little delicate bodies. Hence arise problems which a more sensitive approach would realize. Moreover, psychic perceptivity helps to differentiate between the child who is physically defective from lack of brain development, the potential psychotic, and the one who is primitive and only "defective" because born in a civilized community. The educative field would be a fine field in which to use this particular faculty.

Another use is in medicine and surgery. Trained clairvoyance can be and has been used to avoid unnecessary operations, to lessen the horrors of vivisection, to trace obscure medical problems, to help the medical person to determine whether the disorder be psychological or physiological, and so on. It is easy from one point of view and difficult front another to count the beat of the heart, to observe the blood-stream, the lymph glands, the structure of the spinal column, the lay-out of any given organ, to find out whether there are stones in the kidney, gall-bladder, and so on, or whether the problem is psychological rather than physiological.

There is also another of its uses, in art, where the artist is unable to express his vision because he gets confused with himself. I would like to say categorically that I have never yet found a fine psychic who was not very artistic, and I have never found a good artist who was not definitely psychic. But they get confused, because the clarity of the concept they are trying to embody in their work becomes lost in the mass of psychological associations [10] which gather round it. If one can explain to them the difference between their actual vision and their mental and emotional memories, it helps them to analyze what belongs to their more-than-personal inspiration and what is purely the product of their personal minds. The true artist, because of his sensitivity, is usually quick to seize upon these things and he is also one of the quickest people to make use of them and to change his way of working.

True and deep perception is of remarkable value also in the ordinary understanding of life. We all know the feuds, the difficulties, the hatred, that religion, politics and many other avenues of work produce. If we had the perceptive quality so developed that we could put our consciousness into that of the other person and look at his difficulties, his ideas, and his expression of them as they really appear to himself, we should be able to discover some common ground where we can meet and produce a union instead of a clash. That is extremely necessary, especially in the religious life of the West.

In spite of all this, clairvoyance must never be confused with spiritual vision. No form of clairvoyance gives clear spiritual vision. But Spiritual vision and understanding may, if trained in that direction, lead to true and accurate clairvoyance. The trained clairvoyant as he goes on, uses Buddhi manifesting through Manas and reflected upon a steady, controlled, lower mind. But though true clairvoyance is partially spiritual, it is not purely so and must never be thought of as such. Spiritual vision is another order altogether. It cannot be conveyed in picture symbols, neither can it be conveyed in any form of words. You cannot come and tell me about it and I cannot come and tell you about it, because if you can communicate it in words it is not spiritual vision. It may be near it, but it is not the pure thing which can only be exchanged by a form of silent communion and recognition. You know and I know that we have had the same experience, we are unified, we are together in it. There is a wholeness, there is no kind of argument at any level whatsoever. Spiritual vision moreover changes a person, and he can never be the same afterwards as he was before. But even the higher forms of clairvoyance do not necessarily change the clairvoyant. He can still be as personal, as stupid, as silly and as self-important as ever. For clairvoyance unsupported by deep spiritual insight, into oneself as much as into others, belongs to the personality, and indeed tends to make that personality feel more important than ever, because it feels superior to the ordinary people around it.

Spiritual vision unifies all the time. It never divides. The simplest person can be possessed and often is possessed of it. He understands that the mud under his feet, the stars in the heavens, the relationship to the person he loves, to an animal, a flower, even to the ugliness, the dirt, the drudgery of life, are all one. They are part of the unity of the world below when seen [11] from above. And there we have an entirely different vision from that of mere clairvoyance. It behooves the student of Theosophy to realize this and not to try to develop siddhis. They will come anyway to the one on the Path who is truly seeking the integration of the personality. They come alongside of the training of the lower mind, the reaching of the lower self into the realm of the higher Self, and as the two become united. We should never bother about the development of the psychic powers, because at some time or another they are inevitable. They come with our progress in understanding and our growing perception.

There is one great need both in the East and in the West. It is that we perceive the spiritual stature of man, that he is a spirit emanating from the mind of God, bringing with him unique qualities. That is the important thing and that is where we as members of the Theosophical Society should be standing today, because the danger of the world is not in the progress of the outer and material aspects of life. These may have their dangers, but the great danger lies not in any of the things that affect the life of man at the lower level, but in losing sight of the dignity of man as a spirit incarnate. That realization is the only thing that is going ultimately to deflect war into peace. It is the only thing which is going to give us the understanding of other people, other purposes, other races, and all else which alone can bring peace and happiness to this troubled world.


Eldon B. Tucker III

Metaphysical literature often speaks of the need for spiritual progress. One reads of the Spiritual Path, and of certain disciplines necessary to undertake it. Progress on the Path comes from undertaking radical changes in one's life style. One is encouraged to control his passions, to calm his mind, to refine his appetites, to become more ascetic. One hears of the power of color and sound and how the two uplift one's consciousness to higher planes. And one is told how a pure diet and peaceful surroundings can make the brain more receptive to impressions of the soul. Further is said of the benefits of various forms of concentration, yoga asanas, fasting, massage, mantras, and inspirational books. One is asked to become a vegetarian, to stop smoking and drinking, to curb one's expression of anger, perhaps to change one's job and environment, and generally to alter one's personality to something more mellow and inoffensive to others.

But how powerful are these changes? Is it true that attempting [12] these activities will necessarily cause one to become more spiritual and to evolve? Are these changes in one's life truly radical? Do they affect the very essence of one's being and produce fundamental changes?

There is a danger in all the approaches to the spiritual life. The danger lies in the fact that they are greatly fascinating and colorful. One can become so completely engulfed in admiring and playing with these toys of the spiritual life that he loses sight of the essential nature of life. The danger is that the sense of personal self could be strengthened at the expense of one's consciousness of the universal, of the spiritual. It is not the outer activity that leads one from darkness to light. It is rather the quality of consciousness that he brings to his life.

Spiritual evolution is a process that takes vast periods of time. It involves repeatedly experiencing things until they have become so natural and automatic that one forgets that he is personally acting in them. One has done something so completely that it has become a part of himself. One has evolved beyond something when he can do it so thoroughly that there is no consciousness of separation of the person from the act. That action then becomes a tool to use to have higher experiences.

Evolution does not, though, come from doing the opposite of this, as some schools seem to teach. It does not come from self-consciously separating oneself and holding oneself apart from some activity, perhaps one that he does not like or that he considers to be evil. Evolution is a process of integration with all of life, not one of separation and holding apart.

Metaphysical literature has a second way of describing progress on the Spiritual Path. This is the process of enlightenment. And it is important to keep clear the distinction between the process of enlightenment and the process of evolution. Evolution refers to the development of the contents of consciousness, to the shifting of one's interests and karmic ties from simple and personal things to universal and cosmic things. Evolution takes one from one life style to a higher one, and eventually takes one onto higher planes. Enlightenment refers to the development of the quality of consciousness, to the depth and magnitude of consciousness that one brings to his everyday life. Both processes are necessary.

Breaking the process of spiritual growth into its dual aspects of enlightenment and evolution, one discovers a key that explains many theosophical mysteries. One is that of spiritual evil. How is it possible that there be a Master of the Left Hand Path, an Initiate of Evil? Such a man is simply one who has undergone immense spiritual evolution, but at the same time has not enlightened his consciousness. He may, in fact, be less enlightened than the average man, his sense of personal self and separation from all of life is likely to be far more pronounced. In undertaking his evolution, this Initiate of Evil had to control, discipline, refine, and [13] purify himself of earthly and personal things as thoroughly as would any Initiate of Good.

A different type of situation occurs when one becomes too enlightened, which one's evolution or type of outer life does not keep pace with the depth and quality of his consciousness. One can zoom so deeply into inner spaces and become so much more universal in consciousness than his type of living that he "spaces out," that he slips away into the Void. That is, one call make his consciousness so much more universal than the type of life that he lives that he is drawn into Nirvana, becomes a Pratyeka Buddha, and must wait for the next Planetary Manvantara before outer human life will again reach a point .where he can resume his evolution.

Enlightenment, though, is a beautiful thing. It can be found in the simplest of outer activities. One call chop firewood and fetch water and experience far more of the depth and richness of living life than someone else having a spiritual experience on another plane. For the power to do things, whether it is to wash some dishes or to freely roam the earth and materialize one's astral double wherever he wishes - it does not matter what the thing - has nothing to do with enlightenment. It is primarily because one is forced by nature to stick to a limited range of activities - one can walk, but cannot levitate; one can talk, but cannot use telepathy - that provides an environment that encourages his progress towards enlightenment.

It is all too easy to find so many things to do, so many things to learn, so many things to fight with or fight for; one can become simply overwhelmed. There is the constant danger of strengthening the sense of self and losing what little enlightenment one may have. It is necessary to devote a certain amount of time and attention to work on the quality and purity of consciousness that one brings to each activity. But even this is dangerous, for if one is not careful, he can find his efforts towards purifying his consciousness, towards killing the self, towards stripping himself of the illusion of separation, become merely another jewel one wears to impress others. The true key to spiritual growth can be found in living those things that life brings one with patience. Taking life slowly, peacefully, without greed, one can uplift his awareness to the universal and sense something of the majesty behind manifest things!


"These have been the requirements given in all ages for the one who would know who the Teacher is: a pure heart, a heart aflame with love and compassion, and a will that is born of a steadiness of purpose and a faithfulness to duty, the will that is never daunted by either failure or success, serene amid all circumstances, carrying us ultimately to the realization of the Supreme Truth, where teaching, Teacher and taught are one. - Joy Mills, The Theosophist, June, 1978. [14]


(By an Octogenarian)
Montague A. Machell

"Have perseverance as one who doth for evermore endure. Thy shadows live and vanish; that which in thee shall live forever, that which in thee knows, for it is knowledge, is not of fleeting life: it is the man that was, that is, and will be, for whom the hour shall never strike." - The Voice of the Silence, p. 31.

There are as many different ways of viewing life as there are ways of living it. The generally accepted one-life point of view ascribes to this one incarnation of seventy or eighty years an isolated significance which in few instances allows man enough time to realize many of its vast and numerous possibilities, even for that minority who take the trouble, or enjoy the wisdom, to perceive and understand those possibilities. Those of the one-life persuasion, their seventy or eighty years of incarnation, devoid of any significant origin and offering no clearly understood conclusion, enjoy a rather lugubrious and often painful twilight to life. This, for them, is a twilight of all the life there is, and hence, frequently hardened with regrets and disappointments, and in-as-much as the "dawn" that follows this twilight is either pitifully vague or naively fantastic, it has little to offer that might ameliorate these regrets. About this entire "twilight" there tends to linger a rather futile and unreasoning sentimentality, which leaves the whole matter to "the will of God," with little or no effort to understand and utilize the hours of darkness presumed to follow this twilight.

The regrettable effects of this attitude of mind are born, needless to say of the conviction that this one life on earth is all that is vouchsafed to man, a dispensation which in every instance proves meaninglessly inadequate. This inadequacy is further aggravated by an utterly inadequate evaluation of both the life of man and man himself. So long as people can be persuaded to accept man, the crest-jewel of evolution, as an entity so meager in spiritual potential that eighty years on earth can be conceived as an adequate term for his complete spiritual unfoldment, so long will their concept of Life Universal remain the poor thing that it is. As such, it will continue to be unworthy of that Pattern of Unfoldment which the most spiritually enlightened teachers of all ages have declared to be the destiny of man on earth.

Their teachings, which Theosophy refers to as the ancient Wisdom-Religion, proclaims life to be a vast, timeless pattern of Universal Unfoldment, of which man is an inseparable part. Because he is inseparable from the whole pattern, that in him which does not die, the incarnating entity, partakes of Life Universal. Surviving death, returning to earth in new human bodies incarnation after incarnation, his [15] sum total of living amounts to Immortality for the incarnating entity. From this point of view, under this program, one life is but a "day" in the sublime season of Universal Unfoldment. Its "twilight," spiritually understood, foretells the dawn of a new day. He who surrenders himself to this majestic pattern of spiritual destiny learns to look beyond today's twilight, to tomorrow's dawn. He is borne up and illuminated with the realization that he is "of Eternity," and that divinity which he is born on earth to vindicate, is lord of his days and his nights, wherefore his sleeping and his awakening are touched with the benign purpose of his immortal destiny. For him every "twilight" has its hours of preparation for another "dawn."

This point of view embodies very real and very practical considerations relating to life on earth. Since birth, death and an intermediate repose between incarnations constitute the established pattern of an utterly benign program of unfoldment, it surely becomes the spiritually enlightened entity to make use of these provisions, not to fear them. And for him whose earth-bound idolatry of the here and now has been exchanged for an exultant acceptance of these unlimited opportunities for growth, life's "twilight" can become a season of anticipation - a beckoning onward in place of an unfruitful status quo. He who joyfully does reverence to the Twilight, in that hour resolves radiantly for the Dawn.

On any one of these "days" of fulfillment, "the path winds upwards all the way"; the inborn destiny invites clearer vision, richer splendor, more fearless anticipation of a "going forth out of darkness into light." For the enlightened pilgrim the "twilight" must have its effect upon the noisy personality, bidding it still its clamor in this holy hour of sunset meditations. To be sure, all one's yesterdays may not have been as replete with selfless wisdom as he might wish, but so long as an undying conviction of a divine destiny was there, he can contemplate the twilight, serenely knowing that its waning splendor lights the way to heroic tomorrows.

This anticipation encourages the Theosophist to vitalize and purify his daily living, especially in these days when the terms "purity" and "idealism" are being rationalized into terms of simple mindedness. It becomes more and more difficult to dissociate "sophistication" from moral decay. Moreover, this purity of living is its own contribution to the reality of this "twilight." Physical debility and decrepitude are not inescapable marks of gathering years. The sanely spiritual attitude of mind, inviting a certain gentlemanly moderation in the daily regimen, can go far towards holding disease at arms' length. Serenity of mind, born of selfless service to the Supreme, is a vital factor in lessening those tensions and fevers of the blood that unrestrained competition for earthly gratifications so generally encourages. If nothing else, the twilight of life should bring maturity - a ripening of one's [16] understanding of, and reverence for, eternal values.

As the lateness of the hour draws one's gaze towards that limitless future beyond Change, he is reminded of an immeasurable past, which, though forgotten, has laid the shaping fingers of destiny on this halcyon twilight. That destiny Theosophy declares to be one of ultimate Spiritual realization, slowly arrived at through that mystical linking of Time and Eternity that meditation alone can effect. It is not beyond reason to assume that one's mental stance in these twilight hours can color the aura most characteristic of our passing. As a growing awareness of spiritual splendor illumines day after day, that final crossing of the threshold we call "death," will render audible the Music of the Spheres, that the spirit may "go forth in Song."

Surrendering heart and mind to the Universal, this twilight reveals itself as an aspect of the Eternal. In that immortal vision of All Life, the soul goes forth as a native of Eternity to whom Life, Death, Devachan, Rebirth, are but aspects of One Reality. In that revelation the shadows of Twilight are dispersed in the Dawn of Realization. The pilgrim discovers himself one with ALL, stepping forth into the Dawn through the Portal of Twilight; he goes forth but to return, a ray of Light everlasting, "the man that is, that was, and will be, for whom the hour shall never strike."


Theosophical Reference Index (Following the Blavatsky Tradition)
Compiled by Elsie Benjamin.

Here at last is the long looked for Index! Where to find authentic information in theosophical and occult source-books on specific subjects, such as: Adepts, Atlantis, Astral Light, Aura, Avataras, through Bible, Buddhas, Circulations of the Cosmos, Clairvoyance, After-Death Processes, Druids, Dreams, Essenes, Euthanasia, Fire, God and Deity, Gospels, Hypnotism, Intuition, Karma, Lemuria, Magic, Meditation ... And 790 more, including esoteric assessment of historic greats, such as Bacon (Francis and Roger), Boehme, Bruno, Cagliostro, Cicero, Confucius, Sir William Crookes, Cardinal de Cusa, Edison, Eusebius, Hermes, Hypatia, Iamblichus, Josephus, Justinian, Kant, Kepler, etc.
The Compiler is Elsie Benjamin, of Worthing, England, Corresponding Secretary of the Corresponding Fellows Lodge of Theosophists and Editor of their monthly Bulletin. She was formerly private secretary to Dr. G. de Purucker, 1929-1942; and it was in these far-off years that she began this Index.
154 pages; paperbound.
PRICE: $3.95.
Order direct from: Point Loma Publications, Inc., P.O. Box 9966, San Diego. California 92109.