A Living Philosophy For Humanity

Volume XXXVI
No. 4 (162) - Spring 1980

[Cover photo: Radiant Winter Day, Near Davos Switzerland.]


A Living Philosophy for Humanity

Published every Three Months. Sponsored by an International Group of Theosophists.
Objectives: To uphold and promote the Original Principles of the modern Theosophical Movement, and to disseminate the teachings of the Esoteric Philosophy as set forth by H.P. Blavatsky and her Teachers.
Editor: Boris de Zirkoff.
Subscriptions: $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.



"In ethics all these religions are the same, and no new ethic is given by any. Jesus was the same as his predecessor Buddha, and both taught the law of love and forgiveness. A consideration of the religions of the past and today from a Theosophical standpoint will support and confirm ethics. We therefore cannot introduce a new code, but we strive by looking into all religions to find a firm basis, not due to fear, favor, or injustice, for the ethics common to all. This is what Theosophy is for and what it will do. It is the reformer of religions, the unifier of diverse systems, the restorer of justice to our theory of the universe. It is our past, our present, and our future; it is our life, our death, our immortality." - Closing words of an address delivered by W. Q. Judge, April 17, 1894, before the Parliament of Religions, San Francisco, California. For the full text, see Echoes of the Orient, Vol. I, pp. 414-20.


The first necessity for obtaining self-knowledge is to become profoundly conscious of ignorance; to feel with every fiber of the heart that one is ceaseless self-deceived.

The second requisite is the still deeper conviction that such knowledge - such intuitive and certain knowledge - can be obtained by effort.

The third and most important is an indomitable determination to obtain and face that knowledge. - Lucifer, Vol. 1, October, 1887. [3]


Boris de Zirkoff

In the midst of the mighty struggle that is taking place in the outer world between right and wrong, between the call of a noble duty to mankind and the lure of selfishness and greed, perennial ideals of the spiritual life stand out in ever greater glory when projected against the sombre clouds of hatred, callous cruelty and violence.

Let us not mistake the symptoms so abundantly seen on all sides. The tremendous inrush of dynamic spiritual and intellectual forces from their ever-living source is lashing the opposing powers of materialism into a desperate last-ditch stand, all along the line of human thought and endeavor. The rising tide of spiritual thought uproots human superstitions, stirs the stagnant pools of indifference, and brings to light the hidden things of darkness.

We face today, not a world of confusion and chaos, in which everything is falling apart, as some believe, but a world in reconstruction, in which a global adjustment is taking place, as the human framework, social and individual, is attempting to broaden its structure so as to become a fit vehicle for a greater consciousness, a deeper insight, a more encompassing vision.

As students of the ageless Esoteric Philosophy, Guardians on the battlements of the Spirit, it is our bounden duty to strengthen every effort directed towards the liberation of human thought the world over from slavery to the lower senses; to think and feel and act constructively and from the deepest depths of ourselves, at a time when the future of the human race is in the balance, and millions of men and women are longing for precisely that spiritual solution to their problems which is offered by Theosophy.

Evil is but the absence of good, and its presence stands out in contrast to whatever is good on the stage setting of the world. It is the darkness made manifest whenever light is thrown to illumine the scene. Evil must be fought with courage and daring, but the best way to fight it is by exemplifying the good, and by throwing light unto the things of darkness. Then we have the powers of light to back our efforts, and the solar forces as our allies.

In the compassionate spirit of the Great Ones who are born at the Winter Solstice from the ever-immaculate depths of their own Inner Selfhood, let us rededicate our lives to the noble service of all that lives, to the supreme Cause of Light and Truth, and the reverence for things felt but unseen!

The stark realities of a world in turmoil cannot affect our noblest dream. It is a living thing, pulsating, beating with its own heart-beat, brooding over the imperfections of men and their present confusion. Out of that dream were born all the noble reforms of centuries gone by; all the selfless deeds of valor; all the visions of the future and the solace of the current day. Out of that ageless dream of human perfectibility came the mighty thoughts which have shaped new civilizations and raised men and women to new heights of achievements. It is more vivid today than ever before - for that dream, though intangible and seemingly distant, endures from age to age and can never die! [4]


John B.S. Coats

[We regret to lose for a while the personal presence of a trusted friend and co-worker, John B.S. Coats, who is gone to his well-earned rest in the starry vastnesses of Space. We want to quote for the benefit of our many readers a few passages from his closing Address at the 103rd Annual Convention of The Theosophical Society, at Varanasi, India, December, 1978. - Editor, Theosophia.]

"Has the new race already appeared among us? Has it appeared with the younger people who feel far more different from their parents than my generation felt from theirs. There is indeed a new interest in things of the spirit and our Society must be ready to offer guidance and point out the old yet ever new path of evolution and attainment. Surely it is all part of the Masters' plan, and, if it is, it must be implemented in one way or another. And if it is not going to be done through us then it will have to be done through someone else. It would be sad indeed if the Society should find itself stranded, in H.P.B.'s words, 'like a carcass on a sandbank.' Perhaps we are unaware of the momentous age into which we are moving; perhaps we have failed to read the signs of the times. It may be that we have a set picture of what the new age ought to be and because we do not see it we think that it has not arrived. Two thousand years ago the Jewish people were expecting a Messiah. They had an absolutely clear image of what he would be, what he would do, what he would say, what his role would be. Jesus appeared amongst them and from many points of view he was indeed the one 'who was to come,' but he was not at all the kind of person they were expecting. They were thinking in terms of a leader who would fight their battles against the Romans, a king who would make their country great and prosperous. Instead he came as a humble rabbi to teach wisdom and so they rejected him. He did not measure up to their fixed ideas. Let us not have preconceptions about these things but try to be open-minded and flexible. Let us look carefully at what is happening around us and try to see how the Plan is unfolding; for, be assured, great things are already happening but we must learn to see and to hear. Perhaps we do not hear because we have never learned to be still. We must listen when there is something to listen to. We must try to become aware of what actually is and not immediately compare it with artificial conceptions of what we think it ought to be. Opportunities seldom come twice. Nothing in nature repeats itself so let us be alert to our opportunities and prompt to take what they have to offer us. Life flows by like a river. The same water will not come to you again; it is gone forever. So it is with opportunities; we have to seize them the moment they present themselves or they vanish. The great river of life flows strongly and continuously but sometimes it would seem that we are content to travel in canals away from the mainstream of the river, slowly from lock to lock. We may, indeed, become attached to one particular lock for we feel a certain security within its bounds and we have a certain mastery over it for it is small in comparison with the river. We are timid of [5] leaving it and afraid to plunge into the river of life itself but it is only in the free-flowing river that a transformation can take place. It is pure cowardice to lurk in the locks. Let us dare to move out and plunge into the unknown, into the unexpected, into something which, perhaps, you have not been able to imagine before. Once you have left the spring-board, you leave it - you don't take it with you. Or it is like crossing a crevasse on a glacier - the only thing to do is to jump. You have to launch out boldly or you will never get to the other side - there is no other way. I think life now and again offers us challenges of this sort and we must meet them unafraid. We must be trusting enough to plunge into the river.

"We must learn to relax and listen to nature whenever we have a chance. What has nature to tell us when we learn to listen? What do the trees and the flowers have to say? What is the message of the mountains? For everything in nature speaks if we can but realize the oneness of all things and learn to listen. For we ourselves are the mountains, we are the flowers and the trees. But too often we do not give ourselves time to come close to nature and feel the glory of God made manifest in our world."


Vonda Urban

All life, every grade and degree of spiritual and material evolvement, from a universe to an electron, unfolds within greatly varying cycles of time that move in concert with the Great Descending and Ascending Arcs of Nature. The term of a Manvantara - whether of Universal, Solar or Planetary duration - flows by in aeons of kosmic time, clocking the passing ages as they sweep across the face of eternity in greater, to smaller, to minuscule cycles within cycles, ticking away seconds into minutes; minutes into hours; hours into days - weeks - months - years - decades - centuries - millenniums. Each cycle has its individual momentum, timed in perfect synchrony within a larger timepiece, their rhythmic pendulums of life swinging, first, downward into matter, then upward into light, and end by having reached up to a new beginning at the next higher level of unfoldment. There is no separation anywhere in nature; the oneness of life is interlinked and interblended into a hierarchical ladder along which all stream upward, moving within their own cycles like gear teeth meshed into the mechanism of the great Kosmic Clock.

It is in visioning the grand concept that the scope of self-knowledge can touch universal dimensions of understanding through which we become better able to see our human nature at its present level, in comparison with what it will become, and thereby aspire to higher ethical standards in daily living. Such a study must focus on the wide gap between the incipient stage of humanity and full blossoming into human-hood; a distance that encompasses the point of [6] entry into the human kingdom from the highest animal grade below it, on up-ward to the portal of exit into the lowest level of the Dhyan-Chohanic Host above it. The complete unfoldment of mans sevenfold constitution evolves throughout a time period spanning the vast cycle of a Planetary Manvantara, whose seven rounds endure for aeons beyond reckoning; and move downward along the shadowy Arc, building the material vehicles, then upward with the luminous Arc, unfolding the spiritual stream of consciousness and refining the quality of matter to its higher states. It takes one-half of a Manvantara to evolve the human temple into a fit channel to carry the flame of self-consciousness; but from the moment of his awakening, "man lifts himself by degrees from the state of a beast to the glory of a god".

The above quote is taken from H.P. Blavatsky's powerful article, "Let Every Man Prove His Own Work" (Collected Writings, Vol. VIII, p.168), in which she reveals some startling facts about human nature. The citation continues:

"... the rapidity with which this is done is different with every living soul; and the wretches who hug the primitive task-master, misery, choose to go slowly through a treadmill course which may give them innumerable lives of physical sensation - whether pleasant or painful, well-beloved because tangible to the very lowest senses. The Theosophist who desires to enter upon occultism takes some of Nature's privileges into his own hands by that very wish, and soon discovers that experiences come to him with double quick rapidity. His business is then to recognize that he is under a - to him - new and swifter law of development, and to snatch at the lessons that come to him.

"But, in recognizing this, he also makes another discovery. He sees that it takes a very wise man to do good works without danger of doing incalculable harm. A highly developed adept in life may grasp the nettle, and by his great intuitive powers, know whom to relieve from pain and whom to leave in the mire that is their best teacher ... Kindness and gentle treatment will sometimes bring out the worst qualities of a man or woman who has led a fairly presentable life when kept down by pain and despair. May the Master of Mercy forgive us for saying such words of any human creatures, all of whom are a part of ourselves, according to the law of human brotherhood which no disowning of it can destroy. But the words are true. None of us know the darkness which lurks in the depths of our own natures until some strange and unfamiliar experience rouses the whole being into action ... Yet it is an absolute fact that without good works the spirit of brotherhood would die in the world; and this can never be. Therefore is the double activity of learning and doing most necessary; we have to do good, and we have to do it rightly, with knowledge."

The above excerpt gives great insight into some of the baffling incongruities in human behavior, and helps to explain the sorry plight of those who seemingly are unable to learn the lesson of experience, but fall repeatedly into the same circumstances over and over again. Perhaps we can understand this more fully if we will examine the compulsive traits in our own character that get us into trouble whenever they get out of control; for it is the emotional-sensational-selfish side of our nature that "hugs the primitive task-master, misery." [7]

Living to help others is the only path upward. Our Spiritual progress unfolds in the proportion that we dedicate our life to serve our fellow man. But in recognizing this, we must distinguish between (a) - helping to assuage pain and misery, and (b) - helping another to find the path upward. It is our duty to minister to both such cases, but each requires different handling. In the case of (a), our problem is indeed a most difficult one. Many who fall into this class are not yet ready to reach higher, or may not even be willing to help themselves to worldly betterment; so we must succor their agony as best we can, yet hope for enough knowledge and perception to distinguish that fine line that crosses from relieving their misery to becoming a crutch on which they lean more heavily as we continue to help them - to grow weaker. This delicate balance rests with our insight, judgment and ability to know and deal with others at their own level of understanding - certainly, not at ours! This is the key - the difficulty lies in knowing how to use it! As for (b), the problem is much easier, for it involves guiding a seeker to the genuine teachings of occultism, and a most pleasant task it is.

The pendulum of life swings heavily and slowly between cause and effect in a perpetual instruction through pain and suffering, until we learn to ride with the arc of compassion and selfless duty that will lift us to the full maturity of our humanity - and then on upward to the kingdom of the gods ...


L. Gordon Plummer

A dialog between Theosophocles, a philosopher and student of the Ancient Wisdom and Harry Stotle, a scientist of no mean ability. They are standing outside the home of Theosophocles on the evening of the memorable day of the first Lunar landing.

Theo: Isn't it incredible? Here we stand looking up at the Moon, nearly 240,000 miles away, knowing that two astronauts are looking down at us.

Harry: I am amazed to hear you say so.

Theo: Didn't you know that they are up there?

Harry: Oh yes. Certainly. I am only amazed to hear you say that they are looking down at us.

Theo: Well, aren't they?

Harry: Of course not. They are looking up at us.

Theo: Oh, come on now. Make sense.

Harry: My friend, you are laboring under an illusion as so many people are. They think that because the astronauts are up there, they have to look down at us.

Theo: I can prove to you by simple logic that they do.

Harry: You can?

Theo: Certainly. If you are standing on a ladder, don't you have to look down to see me?

Harry: Certainly.

Theo: Well then, suppose I climb to the top of a skyscraper, don't I have to [8] look down to see you?

Harry: By all means.

Theo: Very well then. I am six miles above the Earth in an airplane, don't I have to look down at the Earth?

Harry: You do indeed.

Theo: Well then, if I orbit the Earth in a space craft don't I have to look down to see the Earth?

Harry: You might.

Theo: What do you mean, I might?

Harry: Well, if you were in a space craft in orbit, you would lose all sense of up or down because you would be weightless. You have a sense of "up" or "down" when you feel the pull of gravity, and not otherwise. So you see, if you were going to the Moon your space vehicle would escape the Earth's gravity due to its speed, and you would be weightless. You would then lose all sense of "up" or "down." Therefore, when you approach the Moon you would not think that you were going up any longer. You would then be under the influence of the Moon's gravitation. Its surface would appear to be below you as you approach for the landing. When you are on the Moon's surface you would walk upright, just as you do on Earth, and you would find that, after all, the sense of down would be toward the ground, in other words, towards the pull of gravity. Up is opposite to that direction, regardless of where you stand. All celestial objects have their own gravitational fields, as they are called.

Theo: I believe that I understand what you are saying. It's that old Relativity cropping up in another form.

Harry: Exactly. Because this is so, we find that we are living under a constant illusion about the universe. It is a universe "as if", one might say.

Theo: What do you mean by that?

Harry. On every hand things look as if they were as we see them, but when we look deeper and discover the real causes of the natural phenomena we can develop a totally different perspective.

Theo: Can you give me an example?

Harry: Certainly. When the Sun rises in the morning you will discover that you are living with a continual illusion. Because you do not feel the motion of the Earth, you are

convinced that the Sun rises in the morning and sets in the evening. Pure illusion, but the illusion is so convincing that we are right to live by it. It does acquire a certain reality for us. Do you know, I have been doing most of the talking, and it is generally you who are teaching me. What do you say about all of this?

Theo: Well, I couldn't help thinking that among our friends there are always some that we look up to, in a manner of speaking.

Harry: That is true.

Theo: But it does not follow that a person that we look up to is necessarily looking down his nose at you.

Harry: Very true.

Theo: The child in school often imagines that his teacher looks down at him. That is natural because the child has not yet developed the maturity that would enable him to see that there is often mutual respect between teacher and pupil. As he grows older he may come to see this.

Harry: We might add to this that it is normal for a patient to look up to his doctor. There are many instances wherein a doctor, recognizing the value of human life, will look up to his patients as experts in their own fields.

Theo: It appears from this that we tend to look up to people whenever we can turn outward from our own [9] personalities. We may love people who do things for us, but this love can be a selfish thing, and does not necessarily develop into genuine respect. We learn what real friendship is when we can do something for another. For nothing fosters more a feeling of mutual respect - which is the same thing as looking up to a friend who also respects you.

Harry: What it all boils down to is that the tendency to regard ourselves as the most important people on Earth is like yielding to the pull of gravitation. The practice of real unselfishness wherein we put the welfare of others before our own is the most rewarding way to live. We find that there is much in people that we can look up to that we had never seen before.

Theo: Well, it is time to turn in. I must say that there is much in you that I admire.

Harry: Come to think of it, I look up to you.

Theo: Good night, Harry.

Harry: Good night, Theo.


Arien Smit

"Silence thy thoughts and fix thy whole attention on thy Master, whom yet thou doest not see, but whom thou feelest."

If I had to explain what Theosophy is, I could of course discuss various theosophical doctrines, as far as I have understood them myself. Instead of this, however, I feel more and more inclined to answer: "If you really want to know, you have to find out yourself!" It may seem that with this evasive answer we are beating about the bush, but I am convinced that - of all possible answers - this is one of the most direct ones, at least when the word 'really' is emphasized. Who else should do it?

You could of course object and ask: "How about our theosophical teachers; are they superfluous?" Of course not. The necessity of their work is beyond any doubt and therefore we will not go into the subject here. I would only like to point out how encouraging it is to realize that from time to time Teachers appear among mankind. I believe, however, that their work does not consist of the forcing upon us of compelling instructions and of drawing up teachings which are formulated once for all. It is always the inferior gods that come with compulsion and dogmas. A real Teacher will always appeal to something within ourselves. In physical science this would simply be considered as a matter of resonance.

In one of our oldest theosophical manuals, Light on the Path, we can find the same view:

"There is a law of nature which insists that a man shall read these mysteries for himself. By no other method can he obtain them. A man who desires to live must eat his food himself. This is a simple law of nature - which applies also to the higher life. A man who would live and act in it cannot be fed like a babe with a spoon; he must eat for himself." [10]

I even believe that this same idea is stressed when we take the literal meaning of the word Theosophy into consideration. Theo-Sophia means Divine Wisdom. Who and where is then the god who should talk us into this wisdom? The putting of the question is in itself an indication that we have gone astray and are trying to find this wisdom outside ourselves. Within ourselves the divine is waiting for its opportunity. It was not by chance that H.P. Blavatsky urged us to 'learn to live from within.' Again Light on the Path says:

"Within you is the light of the world - the only light that can be shed upon the Path. If you are unable to perceive it within you, it is useless to look for it elsewhere."

Now there is a beautiful passage in the New Testament which has intrigued me for years, but which in the light of the preceding remarks is quite comprehensive. These words at the end of the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew (vii, 28-29.), which we will take as our main theme, are as follows:

"And it came to pass, when Jesus had ended these sayings, the people were astonished at his doctrine. For he taught them as one having authority and not as the scribes."

This astonishment is not some superficial reaction to teachings of which you can make neither head nor tail. No, these sayings made a very deep impression on the people and the essential point is, that you can make either head or tail of them, otherwise the word 'authority' could not have been used in the next sentence.

About 2000 years after Jesus astonished the people, we can perhaps again feel what this astonishment could do to us. In our modern, so-called scientific age it will not be too difficult to imagine someone who has studied physics or the laws of nature for years, and who believes himself to have gone far in this subject. Then some day by chance (was it really by chance?) he reads in one of G. de Purucker's books the words: "There are no laws of nature." I suppose our scientist will be quite astonished, but if he learns that this one sentence can be spoken on the strength of a philosophy about a living cosmos in which there is no so-called dead matter, and if he takes the trouble to study this ancient wisdom, then he cannot escape the impression that G. de Purucker knows what he is talking about - that he is 'one having authority.' This could be the beginning of an inner revolution, in which all man-made theories have to be reconsidered in a new light.

The idea can be illustrated by a simple diagram:

the people

Evidently there are two kinds of knowledge or two levels of consciousness; the level on which Jesus lives and that on which the people are living. In John (viii, 23.) Jesus says:

"Ye are from beneath; I am from above. Ye are of this world; I am not of this world."

From the fact that we can feel the authority of the higher level follows, that we can reach that higher level within ourselves. Thus, the authority is not imposed upon us from outside, but works from within. This means that the dividing fine in our diagram not only separates individuals, but that there is such a dividing line within every individual. [11]

higher self
lower self

We can speak about a higher Self and a lower self. When Jesus - speaking from his level in the first diagram - says: "I am the way, the truth and the life," then Light on the Path completes this with the second diagram when it says:

"Each man is to himself absolutely the way, the truth and the life! But he is only so when he grasps his whole personality firmly, and by the force of his awakened will recognizes this personality as not himself, but that thing which he has with pain created for his own use, and by means of which he purposes, as his growth slowly develops his intelligence, to reach the life beyond personality."

Now where is that dividing line within us and how is it possible to cross this line and reach the higher level of consciousness? The Voice of the Silence gives a clear answer to this twofold question. As to the first part it says:

"The mind is the great slayer of the real."

In other words, the dividing line is in our mind, in our way of thinking or, as Eastern psychology would say, in our manas (manas is derived from the verb-root man = to think; manas = the thinker or the thinking principle in man). And as to the next part:

"That which is uncreate (that which does not belong to the lower manifested world, but forever is) abides in thee, Disciple, as it abides in the Hall of Wisdom. If thou wouldst reach it and blend the two, thou must divest thyself of thy dark garments of illusion ... allow no image of the senses to get between its light and thine, that thus the twain may blend in one."

In other words, our manas, which is mostly turned towards the lower level and led by our physical senses, enwraps us in dark garments of illusion which prevent the transmission of the light of our higher consciousness. As G. de Purucker says in Studies in Occult Philosophy:

"Cannot you see why the mind is the slayer of the real? Of course the word 'slayer' is but a figure of speech. You might phrase it otherwise and say the mind filled with its tramping, useless, fugitive, silly thoughts keeps out all higher intuitions, all higher thoughts, all higher things. In other words, there is no room for them. You know what Benard of Clairvaux, a Frenchman, once wrote in substance: Empty your mind of all that it has and is, and the spirit of Truth will enter in. This is the gist of his meaning. Just cleanse the mind of all little lower passional small things, and the spirit of Truth will enter in."

In his book The New Man Maurice Nicoll draws our attention to the word 'perverse', which is a wrong translation of a Greek word signifying 'turning in many directions.' "In ordinary life people all the time are turning in different directions, at one moment believing in one thing or in one mood, and the next moment in another thing or in another mood, not ever knowing where they are going." Their higher intuitions never get a chance and in the long run people have not the faintest notion about the existence of a higher level of consciousness. Then Jesus is not any longer with them.

The word "perverse" is mentioned in one and the same breath with "faithless" and rightly so, for the essence of faithlessness is the absence of any idea about the [12] existence of such a higher level of consciousness. "Having faith denotes a conviction, a certainty, that a higher interpretation of life exists. Faith opens the influence of the higher level to act in man."

Similar ideas we find in the parable of the prodigal son (Luke: xv, 11-32.). "Filling his belly with the husks that the swine did eat, he 'came to himself' and arose to return to the house of his Father." In mythology the hero who is about to go to the underworld often gets the advice to fast, otherwise he will not be able to return from this underworld. Fasting or not eating means not to identify oneself with the underworld. Eating from the husks that the swine eat, like the prodigal son did, would mean a complete identification with the lower world. But "he came to himself", remembered his higher Self, and arose. Alas, this idea is in Christianity often coupled to the idea of repentance. Again it is Maurice Nicoll who points out that "repentance" is a wrong translation of Metanoia (meta as in metaphysics, meta-morphosis, and metaphor = transference of meaning). Metanoia would then mean a transformation of the mind (nous). In Eastern psychology the word higher manas Would be used; manas not any longer turning in many directions on the lower level of consciousness, but directed towards the higher level. Theosophy also teaches that one should not repent; repentance is a psychic bond to the past, a mournful cherishing of our imperfections. Man's thoughts should be directed towards the higher and more perfected level of consciousness. "Be ye then perfect, like your Father in Heaven is perfect," says Jesus. "One single thought about the past that thou hast left behind, will drag thee down and thou wilt have to start the climb anew" says The Voice of the Silence, and also: "Look not behind or thou art lost," as we should already have learned from the story of Lot in the Bible.

Metanoia is not repentance but a turning of the mind towards the higher level of consciousness. What we need is not repentance, but faith and will; always these two together.

"Faith without will is like a windmill without wind - barren of results," says H.P. Blavatsky in The Secret Doctrine.

Now we do not find much about 'will' in our theosophical literature and William Quan Judge gives a very plausible reason for it in his Introduction to Patanjali's Yoga Aphorisms. Perhaps we could say that it is a cosmic driving power which humans usually use (or misuse for that matter) for personal ends. About "faith" we can find rather much in our literature. It is very strange that so many theosophical lecturers talk rather scornfully about Faith. Theosophy is knowledge, they always say. And of course they are right. But when the speaker tries to suggest to his audience that he possesses this knowledge and a still deeper knowledge about which he cannot speak in public, things are beginning to look serious. We normal mortals of the lower level are for the time being dependent upon faith and will. I am even inclined to believe that it was Katherine Tingley's mission to convince us of this. In Theosophy, the Path of the Mystic she says:

"If effort be continual, if no failures or falls discourage the aspirant and are always followed by as many undaunted struggles upward, he has always the help and counsel of the divine 'Daimon, the 'Warrior'; and victory however far away, is [13] certain. For this is an unconquerable power, 'eternal and sure', an actual presence and inspiration, if you will but recognize it, having faith and faith and faith.

"Why then, it will be natural to ask, if this Warrior, fighting for us, is invincible, do we ever fail? It is lack of faith, unwontedness of resort to this place of energy." Katherine Tingley speaks very much about the dual nature of man, about the higher Self and the lower self in our diagram. When she mentions faith, of course this does not mean 'blind belief' or credulity but faith in the sense we have used it already and as it is described in Light on the Path:

"With faith all things are possible. The skeptical laugh at faith and pride themselves on its absence from their own minds. The truth is that faith is a great engine, an enormous power, which in fact can accomplish all things. For it is the covenant or engagement between man's divine part and his lesser self.

"The use of this engine is quite necessary in order to obtain intuitive knowledge; for unless a man believes such knowledge exists within himself how can he claim and use it?

"Without it he is more helpless than any driftwood or wreckage that is cast hither and thither on the great tides of the ocean."

In her article Mahatmas and Chelas, which was published in 1884 in her magazine The Theosophist, H.P. Blavatsky gives a more specific description of faith:

"Higher things can be perceived only by a sense pertaining to those higher things. And whoever therefore wants to see a real Mahatma, must use his intellectual sight. He must so elevate his Manas that its perception will be clear and all mists created by Maya must be dispelled ...

"This perception of Manas may be called 'faith,' which should not be confounded with blind belief. 'Blind belief' is an expression sometimes used to indicate belief without perception or understanding while the true perception of the Manas is that enlightened belief, which is the real meaning of the word 'faith.'

"This belief should at the same time be accompanied by knowledge, i.e., experience, for true knowledge brings with it faith! Faith is the perception of the Manas (the fifth principle), while knowledge, in the true sense of the term, is the capacity of the Intellect, i.e., it is spiritual perception."

Let us now review all our thoughts in a somewhat different way, by reading the first three verses of the ninth chapter in The Bhagavad Gita. There Krishna speaks to Arjuna as follows:

"Unto thee who findeth no fault I will now make known this most mysterious knowledge, coupled with a realization of it, which having known thou shalt be delivered from evil.

"This is the royal knowledge, the royal mystery, the most excellent purifier, clearly comprehensible, not opposed to sacred law, easy to perform and inexhaustible.

"Those who are unbelievers in this truth find me not, but revolving in rebirth return to this world, the mansion of death."

Restricting ourselves to the underlined parts, we recognize our main themes. Is [14] not "finding fault" the activity of lower manas? When we do not find fault, when we check the hither and thither wandering thoughts, we become receptive for higher traits, which are then clearly comprehensible. Sri Krishna Prem uses here the expression "to be directly known" (pratyakshavagamam), which fits equally well in our line of thought. When we have divested ourselves of the dark garments of illusion, nothing prevents the light of higher consciousness to stream in directly.

Here again "faith" and "will." Those who are unbelievers in this truth find me not, says the Gita, but revolving in rebirth return to this world. In other words, those unbelievers have to reincarnate and play the part of the prodigal son again and again.

Let us now conclude by reading a fragment of the sixty-second letter from one of the Masters to A.P. Sinnett:

"My poor, blind friend - [and are we not all poor blind friends?] you are entirely unfit for practical occultism! ... However great your purely human intellect, your spiritual intuitions are dim and hazy, having never been developed. Hence, whenever you find yourself confronted by an apparent contradiction, by a difficulty, a kind of inconsistency of occult nature, one that is caused by our time honored laws and regulations - (of which you know nothing, for your time has not yet come) - forthwith your doubts are aroused, your suspicions bud out - and one finds that they have made mock at your better nature, which is finally crushed down by all these deceptive appearances of outward things! You have not the faith required to allow your Will to arouse itself in defiance and contempt against your purely worldly intellect, and give you a better understanding of things hidden and laws unknown. You are unable, I see, to force your better aspirations ... to lift up the head against cold, spiritually blind reason; to allow your heart to pronounce loudly and proclaim that, which it has hitherto only been allowed to whisper: 'Patience, patience. A great design has never been snatched at once.'"

Reading this, perhaps we regret that often we are so quick-tempered. But, on the other hand, why postpone everything until future incarnations.


Dara Eklund

It is an old Hindu aphorism that "An Arch never sleeps."* (* Quoted by James Fergusson in a History of Indian and Eastern Architecture, p. 210.) Here truly is an image for the triumphant assault on any peak of consciousness. When we are there, our firm hold realized, that conquest must exalt the whole of life. There is never any Rest for the conqueror. Just as the view encompassed is greater the higher we go, so must our love become more boundless for the whole. Our vigilance for every life atom on its way up to manhood is just as strong as our aspirations to span the starry heights.

"The Window is not the view; the window allows the view!" a recent parable from Notes on Love and Courage* (* Hugh Prather, N.Y., 1977, privately published.) reminds us. We are allowed to press ahead, not for our own vain glory, but because the whole of Life is on an evolutionary spiral onwards and inwards. If [15] we intently participate in these evolutionary Laws of unfolding consciousness, indeed the "Force is with us," to quote the Hero of a recent film epic! Not pride as some may imagine. Rather is it valor. Our battle over, the warrior prepares his steed for the next. "Fohat is the steed, thought is the rider, " It is electrifying to envision our true range of possibilities once the Real in us takes the reins. We are only minutely aware of how vast an influence we already provide to the minute particles even within the tip of a little finger.

Another parable in the aforementioned work really provokes a thought about the One Life that the Real in us "arches" over:

"It isn't possible to be enlightened and know it. What you hold yourself superior to is a part of you."

The lotus arises from the mud out of the confusion of the world, yet shows to the sun a pure face. In Transactions of the Blavatsky Lodge, p. 138, H.P.B. provides a stunning imperative for non-separateness:

"He who would be an occultist must not separate either himself or anything else from the rest of creation or non-creation. For, the moment he distinguishes himself from even a vessel of dishonor, he will not be able to join himself to any vessel of honour. He must think of himself as an infinitesimal something, not even as an individual atom, but as a part of the world-atoms as a whole, or become an illusion, a nobody, and vanish like a breath leaving no trace behind. As illusions, we are separate distinct bodies, living in masks furnished by Maya. ... There is a series of vehicles becoming more and more gross, from spirit to the densest matter, so that with each step downward and outward we get more and more the sense of separateness developed in us. Yet this is illusory, for if there were a real and complete separation between any two human beings, they could not communicate with, or understand each other in any way."

The Buddhic Splendour is an ineffable radiance, for which no black hole or selfhood can exist in space. Just as any one fire lights many flames, no man achieves true enlightenment for himself alone. If he hoards the light of his own wick it perishes for want of fuel. A shadow envelopes his small flame and the steady beneficence of inner radiance is cut off. A jar can be placed over a candle and it will go out even though the glass is transparent and may render the illusion of light for the moment. What makes the element of fire unique? It triumphs over all other forms. In consuming them they become part of the flame. Shankara says in Awakening to the Self:

"In the knowledge of the Self, there is no need that it should be known by anything else. A light does not need another light; it shines of itself ...

"The difference between knower, knowing, and known exists not in the Self, for through its own Consciousness and Bliss it shines Self-luminous."

That is why it is not possible to become enlightened and know it. But it is possible to radiate enlightenment. Just as we know the sun's warmth by experiencing it, or that fire burns by touching it, when we touch that vast LOVE which arches over the Universe we verily become part of It. We triumph in it. We are it! [16]


The Writings of William Quan Judge
Compiled by Dara Eklund.

"We begin this year of 1980 with a salute to William Q. Judge in the publication of the second volume of Echoes of the Orient.

"Let us go back a whole century to 1880. A few more swift-moving years will mark the founding of his journal The Path in New York, and ten years after that his memorable work for the T.S. in America ended. In those years Theosophy was largely known through the length and breadth of the American continent through his efforts and those of devoted colleagues and supporters. Lodges were active and members were vigorously studying the tenets of Theosophy. The Theosophical Forum had answered hundreds of questions bearing on the teachings, stressing their practical relation to everyday life. The Vahan had carried a current of Eastern and Oriental philosophy with its issues. The Ocean of Theosophy, written at white heat, was widely studied and disseminated. The World's Parliament of Religions had been held in Chicago in 1893, and the theosophical representation was openly spoken of as the most effective, best attended and most stirring area of that historic occasion. And Judge died before he was 45!

"On reading the pages of this second volume one is filled with pondering thoughts and reflections on the life, the dedication, yes, the sacrifice of this amazing individual. The over-all tone that emerges is one of compassion in contrast to emotion, devotion as against waywardness, knowledge and wisdom and not self-opinion, duty and not neglect, work and not negativism. Above all the percipient reader will sense the spirit of a oneness-of-truth in the Brahma-Vidya tradition, and the voice of one trained and speaking out clearly and courageously, one completely the servant of Those and the Cause he served.

"The work has been made possible by the devoted labor of Dara Eklund, compiler and editor, with whom, as with the first volume, Point Loma Publications has been happy to co-operate. We feel that the new year and the new decade are off to a good start." - Editors, The Eclectic Theosophist, January, 1980, 468 pages; $12.00.

Order from Point Loma Publications, Inc. P.O. Box 6507, San Diego, Calif. 92106.