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LET YOUR DAILY BATH BE A RITUAL BATH
While I am aware that in different spiritual systems (Hinduism, Judaism, Greek Mystery Schools, Christianism, Islam, Paganism, Bahai, American Indians) water is used as a dedication and/or cleansing ritual prescribed by Divinity, I have a personal and pragmatic view on ritual bathing.
In the first place I don’t believe in a God commanding or prescribing to do this or that. Nevertheless I consider that men came to different ideas of illumination by arising on higher levels of consciousness. The ritual bath is one of those ideas.
Ritual bathing is in my vocabulary in the first place as a form of meditation/spiritual recharching. I take the time to cleanse the body, the temple of the Holy Spirit, and while doing that I identify myself with the Holy Spirit/God/Divine Realm., with my Real Nature. That the bathing is at the same time a form to clear my aura of negative energy, to purify my chacras and to have intuition is secondary for me. Where Light is, darkness isn’t. My primary goal is to rise to the higher levels of consciousness, to be in Light, to be in Oneness consciousness.
Surely, there is cleansing. The cleansing that is most important is on the level of sensual thoughts and emotions, on the inferior thoughts within collective consciousness, on the thoughts of fear, worry, anger and separateness.
By this bathing I let the personalty know again and again that the philosophy of going back to the Source has to be put in practice. Personality has to listen to the inner small voice 24/7, it has to be open all the time for the Divine Mind, which is the Source of intellect.
During this cleansing of body, mind and spirit you can chant mantras or recite psalms of adoration of the Supreme One. After taking the ritual bath, You will feel happy, lighter, spiritually cleansed and recharged.
PRAYER IS THE ART OF CONNECTING WITH YOUR SOURCE
The aim and nature of prayer
Prayer is to have a remembrance of our likeness within God (The Father who dwells within me, does his works. etc Jn 14:10-12) To have that remembrance, we have to go to the status which we had in the house of the Father. It’s a going to the origin and cause of life in general and the existence of the human being.
Prayer is a shifting of our attention from the visible realm around us to the psychological and spiritual aspect of our being. The regular practice of fusing with Divinity brings a more rapid advance in remembrance of our True Nature. And while the nature of prayer manifests more and more of the Divine, the center of operation will shift gradually from the human consciousness to the Divine Consciousness. The reaching of the apex of prayer is accompanied with the loosing of the awareness of time and space. And we will feel established within us, as personality, higher states of love, wisdom and understanding. We as personalities will be moving within It with less pauses and It, which was all the time within us, moves based on our allowingness within the different aspects of our personal life. When our True Nature is 100% revealed, according to the allowing of the personality, we will probably be recognized as Christ (anointed One), as Buddha (illuminated One).
The logic of going to the Source
As a being living in a world of cause and effect, man is always on the search for answers about the chain of causes and effects within the totality of forms and forces. And being on the track of discovering, he notices that the chain has earlier causes and seems as never ending. The scientists notice also that the answers cannot be easily grasped by the intellect and a great part of those investigators are not happy to believe that there is a dimension in consciousness, which can afford all the answers. The upper chamber in the Christian tradition symbolizes the apex of that search. Also the going to the mountains mentioned in the Christian tradition is a symbol of the same.
Two moments in prayer
There are two moments in prayer:
If one of these moments are missing, the purpose of Oneness consciousness isn’t easily reached. Most of the time the second moment, the moment of receiving is missing or has to less emphasis.. The first momentum can be expressed by tools such as chants, traditional prayers, image or statue of a spiritual guide, positive affirmations and acts of adoration. These help in fixing the attention within the Source. The second momentum is called in certain traditions meditation. It is the moment to be quiet, feel the Divine Presence (and listen to the still small voice.
Our God concept is interwoven within our devotional practice
A wrong concept about God is one of the limitations of the human mind. The creative processes of the mind are blocked if the planning of the future is subconsciously subordinated by us to a capricious, revengeful and jealous God. In a certain sense the religious leaders who are selling the ridiculous concept of such a God are doing much harm to Truth. The New Thought philosophy brought about by Free Thinkers gives a better concept about God. Their concept is based on the concept given by Jesus. What you ask the Father will be given, if you have developed the right mindset to receive.
Is repentance equal to expressing unworthiness?
Repentance is admitting that you have missed the mark, that you haven’t expressed the divine qualities. And you cannot mix that understanding by considering yourself as unworthy. You are the son/daughter of God who (again) forgot his/her True Nature and that’s why you had repentance. You forgive yourself and others after that moment of repentance and go on realizing that you as personality and body are a temple of Divinity
Denial to stay fixed in the belief that all others and I are sinners.
Indeed we have gone out of the House of the Father, out of perfection. Indeed, you and I have missed the mark. But now we decide to claim our Divine Identity and we will act as a Messiah for the other one and we will see in the other the Messiah.
Teach Us to Pray by Charles Fillmore
How to Pray without Talking to God by Linda Martella Withsett
Curaçao, August 28, 2015
DIVINE LOVE AND HUMAN LOVE
Divine Love is a inherent principle of Divine Mind. Divine Mind is present in all living beings and is Oneness Consciousness. As Universal Principle it is beyond individual, social group or nation. In Divine Mind is the idea of Universal Unity. Universal Unity is the binding together of all universal substance and consciousness. Divine Mind or Omnipresence, Omnipower, is the only real power in the Universe. In Divine Mind we humans, as beings living not any more in Eternity, perceive different Divine Ideas such as Love, Wisdom, Power etc.
Divine love is impersonal. It is not concerned with whom is loved or what is loved. Divine Love sees perfection everywhere and in everyone. Divine Love is a harmonizing principle in situations where human mind brought misunderstanding, selfishness, gambling with facts and pretending to be the truth. When we love some one within Divine Mind, one has forgiven before the thought of forgiveness comes to the surface of intellect, one is Love without having chosen to love.
Human love is love of personality, iits not unconditional love. Its a love based on certain parameters such as instict, habit and emotional satisfaction with their lows and downs. Personality on itself can be most of the time a battlehouse of good and evil. Personality is the total of material thoughts/error thoughts of the forefathers, the race consciousnes and your selection of these thoughts.
Personality is the son out of the house of the father (Lk 15:11-32). The house of the Father is symbol for Divine Mind. Going back to the house of the Father is going towards your Real Nature (likeness of God), it is the allowing of your Real Self to reveal itself to personality. Its not an action of Divinity, becaise Divinity is not captivated by the illusion of time and space. When you let the personality be less, Divinity flows in automatically.
According to the degree of allowing your Real Self and consequently Divine Love, the hold of the personality releases on thoughts of hate, jealousy, envy, accusation, revenge etc. The same one (personality) which has gone out of Divine Realm, is the same one who has to decide to go on the Path of Return.
The allowing of Divine Mind
The allowing of Divine Mind happens during prayer, meditation, moments of repentance and forgiving. For me prayer is holding thoughts of perfection such as thoughts of adoration and meditation is shut up and let Divine Wisdom be revealed. Prayer, meditation and repentance have to do with vertical alignment and forgiveness is in the field of horizontal alignment. We can forgive others, because we have allowed Divine Mind in our life through a new insight and repentance. We can praise others based on our synchronization within Divine Mind.
Repentance is the denial of attachment to matter, to creation and to material conditions even to family ties ( Mt 6:19-21, 24 & Mt 12:46-50). Repentance holds within itself the giving of all credit and praise tothe Formless One. And forgiveness is the releasing of thoughts, which do not contain love towards person(s), social conditions or events.
Heart-centered Metaphysics by Paul Hasselbeck
The Revealing Word. by Charles Fillmore
The view of Theosophy on Atman or Spirit
“As a single sun illuminates the whole world, even so does the One Spirit illumine every body.”
– Krishna, Bhagavad Gita chapter XIII
“You consist of spirit and soul and body.”
– The Apostle Paul, 1 Thessalonians 5:23
Spirit is who and what you really are. Pure eternal Spirit is your real Self, your essential nature, the highermost part of your being. Spirit is impersonal, formless, and not an individualised thing. There is not a different spirit for each person. Spirit is ONE and shines over all, just as the one sun shines over everybody on this earth. My spirit is the same as your spirit. In fact, there is no such thing as “my spirit” or “your spirit” because Spirit knows no separateness. It is what Hinduism calls the Atman, the Self, and it is literally one and the same in essence and identity as the Supreme Spirit, the Supreme Self.
Just as a multitude of sparks are sent forth from a blazing fire, so countless “sparks” of the one Supreme Spirit were sent forth into this manifested universe an immeasurably long time ago and will eventually return to the One. Each Divine Spark is one and the same in essence and identity as the Divine Fire but it has to evolve through the mineral kingdom, the vegetable kingdom, the animal kingdom until eventually – at the end of its journey through the animal kingdom – it gains and acquires for itself a SOUL.
The soul, unlike the spirit, is an individual thing. It is a permanent entity (after it has been unfolded out of the spirit) and is the self-conscious individuality or Ego which incarnates and reincarnates in the human kingdom and beyond. It is the “I” of our being. It is the Consciousness Principle, the Mind Principle, in man. The soul is actually the same thing as the mind.
We should not make the mistake of thinking that the mind and the brain are the same thing because they are not. The brain is simply a physical organ and the mind is the individual soul which thinks and expresses itself through, and with the aid of, that organ. We have a different brain in each lifetime because we have a different physical body each lifetime but the mind is the same each time. The mind/soul can never express itself in its fullness and entirety in one of its incarnations. It can only express itself partially and the extent to which it does so is determined by its Karma and level of evolution and development.
The soul reincarnates but the spirit does not. Souls are many but spirit is essentially ONE. No spiritual philosophy in history has ever claimed that it is the spirit which reincarnates. Spirit never has any direct connection or contact with the physical form. One reason for this is that it is so subjective that it can have no direct or tangible relation with the objectivity of matter. The spirit is never within the human being but is always above him and “overshadowing” him, as his Real Self…as the ONE Self…as the Divine Allness itself.
It is the task and mission of the soul to learn and realise that in its highermost being there is no individuality or separateness but just the ONE UNIVERSAL SELF, which we call Spirit or Atman. To rebecome this in consciousness, to consciously merge and permanently unite the soul with the Spirit, is to achieve and attain Yoga (Union) and this is the great goal of all. This has been the goal and achievement of all true mystics and esotericists throughout the ages, both in the East as well as in the West, where this has sometimes been called the “mystical marriage.”
There is no excuse in this day and age for our confusing soul and spirit when the difference and distinction between the two has been so clearly and definitely explained and shown in the esoteric spiritual teachings of the world and more recently in the teachings of Theosophy, particularly the writings of H.P. Blavatsky. Once we cease to confound the two but comprehend more clearly the true nature of both, we can appreciate more deeply these beautiful and inspiring words from Sir Edwin Arnold’s poetic translation of the Bhagavad Gita, titled “The Song Celestial”…
Never the spirit was born; the spirit shall cease to be never;
Never was time it was not; End and Beginning are dreams!
Birthless and deathless and changeless remaineth the spirit for ever;
Death hath not touched it at all, dead though the house of it seems!
This is a copy from the article of the Blavatsky Theosophy group UK
Its a fact that philosophical schools such as Advaita (non-dualism) see the “spirit, soul, self” within each living entity as being identical with Brahman – the Universal Soul.. Advaita school states that there is One Soul that connects and exists in all living beings, regardless of their shapes or forms, there is no distinction, no superior, no inferior, no separate devotee soul consciousness (Atman), no separate God consciousness (Brahman). The Oneness unifies all beings, there is divine in every being, and that all existence is a single Reality, state the Advaita Vedanta Hindus. (In contrast, devotional sub-schools of Vedanta such as Dvaita (dualism) differentiate between the individual Atma in living beings, and the Supreme Atma (Paramatma) as being separate.)
Advaita Vedanta philosophy considers úAtman as self-existent awareness, limitless and non-dual. To Advaitins, the Atman is the Brahman, the Brahman is the Atman, each Self is non-different from the infinite. Atman is the Universal Principle, omniscience, omnipresence and omnipower. Human beings, in a state of unawareness and ignorance of this Universal Self, see their “I-ness” as different than the being in others, then act out of impulse, fears, cravings, malice, division, confusion, anxiety, passions, and a sense of distinctiveness. Atman-knowledge, to Advaitins, is that state of full awareness, liberation and freedom which overcomes dualities at all levels.
Dvaita Vedanta, a subschool of Vedanta
Dvaita Vedanta calls the Atman of a Supreme Being as “Paramatman”, and holds it to be different from individual Atman. Dvaita scholars assert that God is the ultimate, complete, perfect but distinct Soul, one that is separate from incomplete, imperfect Jivas (individual souls). Advaita sub-school believes that Self-knowledge leads to liberation in this life, while Dvaita sub-school believes that liberation is only possible in after-life as communion with God, and only through the grace of God (if not, then one’s Atman is reborn). God created individual souls, state Dvaita Vedantins, but the individual soul never was and never will become one with God; the best it can do is to experience bliss by getting infinitely close to God.
Unity compared with Advaita Vedanta about Atman.
Unity Worlwide Ministries considers that the human being IS Spirit and has Soul and Body. By the fact that Advaita Vedanta considers Atman in human being and in the whole universe as divine, I feel that in Advaita Vedanta Atman is synonym with what Unity considers as Spirit.
Unity compared with Dvaita Vedanta about Atman
By the fact that Dvaita Vedanta considers Atman in human being and in the whole universe as less then divine, I feel that in Dvaita Vedanta Atman is synonym with what Unity considers as Soul. In Unity soul is considered as the expression of Spirit. Soul is the total of subconscious and subconscous minds.
COMMUNICATION BETWEEN DIFFERENT WORLDS
by Annie Besant
Theosophical Publishing House, Adyar, Chennai [Madras] India
First Impression 1909 – Second Impression August 1913
For the purposes of our study we need not concern ourselves with the highest of these appropriations; we may content ourselves with recognizing the fact that there are finer grades of matter than those to which here we confine ourselves, and may indicate these by the general term of the spiritual body without further particularizing them. Those who can freely use the spiritual body are certainly not in need of any explanations such as those given in this article. We are concerned, then, only with three well-defined grades of matter, those which answer to, and are the instruments of, thought, desire and action — mental, astral and physical.
From the mental matter is organized the mental body; from the astral matter the astral body; from the physical matter the physical body, which is functionally divisible into its etheric and gross parts. These are the vehicles, the instruments of the unit of consciousness, his means of affecting, and being affected by, the outer worlds in which he lives; these may be highly or poorly organized, may be composed of fine or coarse materials; such as they are, they are his only means of contact with the worlds surrounding him, and his only means of self-expression.
These three bodies — mental, astral, and physical — are separable from each other, and under abnormal conditions the two parts of the physical body may to some extent be dissociated during physical life, and are completely dissociated at physical death. While a man is awake and in his ordinary every-day state of consciousness, he is using these three bodies all the time; when he goes to sleep he leaves the physical body, and uses only two — the astral and mental; at death, the grosser part of the physical drops away, the finer part clinging to him for a short period (normally), and then dropping away from him as did the grosser part, and he uses only the astral and mental bodies in the post-mortem condition for a period varying in length; later, the astral body also drops away from him, and he remains clothed in the mental body during the long mental, or heavenly life, intervening between the intermediate state and rebirth into the physical world. When this also drops away from him, he finds himself on the threshold of reincarnation, of the building of new bodies for his next period of physical life.
Another fundamental fact is that man is living, functioning, in three worlds during the waking periods of his life on earth. These three worlds are the worlds composed severally of physical, astral and mental matter, the worlds from which are severally drawn the materials for his physical, astral, and mental bodies. These worlds are not separate from each other, but interpenetrate and intermingle, while remaining distinct. Just as gas may pass into water but remains distinct from it, so does astral matter interpenetrate physical matter while remaining distinct from it, and so does mental matter, being still finer, interpenetrate the astral. Physical ether interpenetrates the gases, liquids and solids of the physical body, moving through every part of it unhindered; so does superphysical matter interpenetrate physical, moving unhindered through every part of it by reason of its greater subtlety. Nature everywhere repeats herself, and we may understand much of the superphysical by studying the physical and reasoning by analogy; but we must ever remember that the superphysical is the original and the physical the copy, and not vice versa. The astral world, while intermingling with the physical, is not conterminous with it; it forms a sphere round the sphere of the earth, and a radius of this astral sphere would extend from the center of our earth to the moon. The mental, or heavenly world, again, is a similar concentric sphere, stretching far beyond the limits of the astral, although interpenetrating both it and the physical. According to the development of the respective bodies will be a man’s consciousness of each world; as a man physically blind cannot see the physical world which stretches around him, so a man astrally blind cannot see the astral world though it ever environs him; similarly may a man whose astral sight is open, be mentally blind and fail to see the mental world encompassing him. The matter in each body must be organized in order that consciousness may use it as an instrument of perception; the physically blind, at the present stage of evolution, are a small minority; the astrally blind are a huge majority; but blindness of organisms does not change the worlds in which they live — except to themselves. Thus men are living in three worlds at every moment of their waking consciousness, though normally conscious only of the densest; in sleep and after death, they are living in two, but are normally conscious only of the intermediate world, and not always of that; at a later period of their postmortem condition they are living in only one, and conscious but of their immediate surroundings in that. As evolution proceeds, the astral world will become visible to those who occupy the crest of the wave of normally advancing humanity, and at a far future time, the mental will also become visible, so that men on earth will live consciously in the three worlds, the three bodies having become organized as vehicles of consciousness, available for ordinary use.
The last fundamental fact is that each body is affected by the embodied consciousness and affects it long before it is sufficiently organized to convey to that consciousness definite information as to the world from which its materials were drawn. We may notice this to a very considerable extent if we watch the workings of the waking consciousness in a new infantile body. The consciousness answers to the discomfort of the body — from want of food, pain, etc. — before it is able to obtain through that body any definite idea as to its surroundings or any grasp of its own relations to them. And the astral and mental bodies answer to changes in consciousness by changed vibrations for ages before they hand on to the consciousness definite news of the events that are taking place around them in their respective worlds. Hence communications constantly take place between the worlds in which the man is normally living without the man knowing anything of their passage; he becomes conscious of a thought only when it affects his physical brain, and knows nothing of its origin or of the course it has followed ere its arrival in his physical body.
Let us begin our study of communications between different worlds with the every-day constantly arriving communications, and thus establish ourselves thoroughly on the normal before we enquire into the abnormal. Just as the, to us, inappreciable interval between the touching of a hot plate with the tip of a finger and the withdrawal of the finger is occupied with the passage of a wave in the sensory nerves from the periphery to the brain and the passage of a return wave from the brain through the motor nerves to the periphery, so is there the passage of a vibratory wave from the physical matter to the astral and from the astral to the mental, and a corresponding change in consciousness; it is the consciousness which feels the pain of the burning, and memorizes the fact for future guidance; the communication has run inwards from the physical body through the astral to the mental, a communication from world to world. Similarly is the change in consciousness, the will to move the finger from the hot substance, the cause of a vibration in the matter of the mental body, and this causes a vibration in the astral body, and this in turn in the physical brain — a communication from world to world. In all processes of thinking, there is a series of changes of consciousness in the mental world, these are answered by a corresponding series of vibrations in the mental body; these cause a series of corresponding vibratory changes in the astral body, strengthened by the consciousness — the same consciousness, remember, in all the bodies — and these set up similar vibratory changes in the etheric part of the physical; these etheric vibrations [Page 11] are largely electrical in character, and affect the cells of the dense physical brain, setting up vibratory changes therein; here you have the normal communication between the worlds, going on repeatedly, continually, varied by the reverse process, where the initiative is from outside; something occurs in the outer world which starts such a series of changes, one of the senses receives a stimulus and a nervous wave is set up; it passes from the dense to etheric matter, or begins in the etheric, is answered by a change of consciousness, runs up through astral to mental, intensifying the change, and the consciousness receives and registers the communication.
It is not waste of time to place clearly before our minds that communications are constantly running up and down the ladder of our bodies, each body a step in the ladder, and each step in a different world. The maintenance of our mental balance and of our powers of reasoning and of judgment in the face of the abnormal is rendered very much more easy when we understand that the abnormal is only an extension of the normal. If a person feels that he is facing something strange and unknown, something that he is inclined to regard as supernatural, he loses too often both judgment and reasoning faculty; but if he understands that the phenomenon before him is only a subtler repetition of a familiar happening, he is then able to observe accurately and to reason sensibly and acutely. As M. Jourdain was astonished to find that in his ordinary conversations he was talking prose, so may the student be astonished to find that he is continually communicating from world to world. Your consciousness may turn its attention outwards in any world in which it possesses a body to serve as window; you may look out through your physical, astral or mental window, but life is always the same you that looks out, that receives impressions.
Let us consider the next class of communications. A person becomes conscious of a thought, or rather an impression, arising in his waking consciousness, rather vaguely and somewhat indeterminate, which he cannot relate to anything in his physical surroundings, and which does not seem to be originated in his own consciousness. It seems to him to come from outside, but it lacks the sharpness of definition to which he is accustomed in the presence of real objects. Such impressions as premonitions, warnings of danger, apparently causeless depression or elation, feelings as to the mental, moral or physical condition of friends, as to illness, death, misfortune, good fortune, etc., intimations which do not come with the clearness of the spoken word or written message, but none the less cause a change in consciousness — what are these ? They are due to impacts made upon the astral body in the astral world, impacts which set up vibrations in its matter and thus give rise to changes of consciousness. The absence of precision of definition is due to the lack of organization of the astral body, and its consequent incapacity to receive clear impressions. The physical body has been in process of organization for millions of years, and can receive sharply defined series of vibrations, and the consciousness through this immense period of time has been learning to relate impacts to objects, to analyze and co-ordinate impressions made on its body, and thus to understand their meaning. Experience has evolved it into an admirable vehicle and instrument of consciousness. But the astral body is in very different case. In every fairly civilized and educated person it is partially organized, sufficiently organized to receive and reproduce sequences of vibrations thrown upon it from the astral plane, but its special sense-organs — the whirling wheels, or chakrams — are not as yet generally evolved in such persons, and hence sharply defined impressions cannot be received.
With closed eyes you can distinguish between the light and the dark; if when the sun was shining on your eyelids, a hand were interposed and threw a shade over them, you would be conscious of the difference, but you would not discern the hand; or if shadows were thrown on a sheet, your open eyes would see the shadow-dance, but it would only imperfectly convey a story which you could easily gather from a drama acted by persons visible to sight; so is it with the astral body of the average educated man. If at some distance from you an event takes place of great interest to yourself, bringing to you joy or grief, or if some persons think strongly of you, the vibrations thereby set up in astral matter will be propagated through space, like a Marconi message, and will impinge on your astral body, setting up similar vibrations therein. But unless the astral sense-organs are developed, a sharply defined picture cannot be produced, and hence only a vague impression will be made on the consciousness. The astral body and the astral sense-organs differ as do the physical body and the physical sense-organs, although much more substitution is possible in the one than in the other. The astral bodies of the educated are fairly well developed in form and general constitution, but are poorly organized as regards the sense-organs. There are, however, in the astral body very well developed centers connected with the physical organs of the senses — a center connected with the eye, one with the ear, and so on. These are sometimes stimulated into action by violent vibrations in the astral body, and then we have the phenomenon of second sight, the vision of phantoms, wraiths, phantasms of living or dead persons. It is also possible to stimulate the physical senses, but in a rather unhealthy way, by stimulating these centers through their appropriate physical organs, as by crystal-gazing, the use of magic mirrors, and other similar means. In this way an extension of sight on the physical plane may be gained, or even of vision in the lower regions of the astral world. But this is not a gaining of astral senses, but an unhealthy stimulation of physical senses, causing an abnormal increase of sensitiveness in the astral centers to which they are attached. It is the law of nature that development comes from above, and the forces of evolution work from above and organize that which is below. Life organizes matter, matter does not produce life. The consciousness working in the astral world organizes the physical sense-organs; the consciousness working in the mental world organizes the astral sense-organs, and so on. There is a continual working of consciousness for the improvement and the refining of its lower vehicles. As your evolution proceeds from the stage it has now reached with the most thoughtful and cultured persons, it is possible to quicken the unfolding of the astral senses by strenuous and clear thinking and by purity of desire and action; as these become active the communications received through the astral body will become clear and definite, like those received through the physical body. These are blurred now because the instrument is imperfect.
As the consciousness unfolds on plane after plane, in world after world, and organizes its vehicles in the world below that on which its own center is established, the lower bodies for all practical purposes unite into one body; if a person have the center of consciousness established on the mental plane, the astral and physical bodies function as a single body, and he [Page 16] lives consciously in two worlds. In the high consciousness of Those whom we call Masters all the worlds are to Them as one world in which Their waking consciousness is ever functioning, and They focus Their attention at any point without leaving the physical body. The worlds on which attention is not fixed are out of focus but are not invisible. When we are using physical sight only, things we are looking at are clear and distinct; the surrounding things are visible but not clearly defined. So if a man be living in two worlds, physical and astral things intermingle in his normal field of vision, but if he looks at the physical the astral is out of focus, if he looks at the astral the physical is out of focus. But a communication from any world can reach a Master, and by focusing his attention on it He sees the world from which it comes, and can, if He so will, answer it by sending the reply through the appropriate body. All His bodies function as one body for His consciousness, but each is there, a perfect instrument for action in any world. We, who have not reached that high perfection, may have to move from world to world, or leave one body to function in another; or, if we have passed that elementary stage of the higher evolution, we may have partly unified our lower bodies, and may be able to function on some planes as the Master does on all those which are manifested. Then, by paying attention to any message, we can know from what world it comes; it is all a question of the development of our [Page 17] bodies, the one consciousness receiving impressions from any world in which it is using a well-organized body. The whole question, therefore, is one of evolution — the unfolding of consciousness, the organization of bodies.
But there are many forms of communication that do not depend wholly on ourselves, forms used by other persons who desire to communicate with us, and which demand no growth on our own part, communications which present themselves to our normal consciousness in the physical body, and are surrounded with more or less of difficulty and danger because of the letting loose of forces, not usually employed on the physical plane, by the person making the communication. It is to these that we will next turn, remarking only that it is our own want of development that makes necessary the employment of these means, that forces more highly evolved Beings to come down to our level because we are not able to rise to Theirs.
It may be taken for granted as a general rule that no Being who is functioning on higher planes will go to a great expenditure of energy to manifest Himself physically at a point far removed from that at which His physical body is living, if He can do the work He needs to accomplish without such manifestation. He will always use the smallest amount of power necessary to achieve the aim He sets before Himself; He will take the easiest way, employ the easiest method; if the person with whom He wishes to communicate has so organized his higher bodies as to be able to receive communications on the subtler planes, then most certainly He will not go to the expenditure of energy necessary for appearance on the physical. Still it is sometimes necessary, and in olden times it was usual, for a Master to teach on the physical plane when His physical body was far away from the place at which the teaching was to be given. In such case the question arose, and arises: “What is the best method of communication ?”
The Ancients answered this question in a simple and definite way. They said, and truly said, that the best method of communication was to use a pure, carefully trained and carefully guarded body, highly organized as to the nervous system, from which the legitimate owner could easily step out, or be sent out, leaving this body an empty tabernacle into which the Teacher – whose own physical body was far away — could step, and use it as His own. Such a body is like a well-made garment out of which the owner can slip, leaving it to be put on and worn by another. If a body is to be thus used, it is necessary that it should be guarded with scrupulous care; the surroundings should be beautiful and peaceful; no rough or jarring vibrations should be allowed to ruffle the atmosphere; coarse and impure persons should not be allowed to approach it; its diet should be non-stimulating, nutritive and free from all products of ferment and decay; careful physical culture should preserve it in health. In the ancient Temples, ruled by those who were themselves Initiates of the lower or higher Mysteries, such bodies were to be found — those of the Vestal Virgins, or Sybils. These Virgins were originally young girls brought up with extreme care within the Temple precincts, and allowed to come into touch only with those who were pure and noble, and such a Virgin would be chosen as the means of communication. Seated on a stool or chair isolated from the earth’s magnetism, the girl would leave her body — if trained to do so at will — or she would be thrown into a trance; then a Master, or a high Initiate, would take possession of the body, and through it teach the disciples gathered for instruction. That was the favorite way of teaching among the Ancients, and it was a good way, for it caused little disturbance of normal, physical forces; it merely afforded to a higher Being a vehicle which He could use, while the Vestal was no more disturbed than by an ordinary going to sleep. This was the way in which Pythagoras was wont to give instruction to His disciples in more lives than one.
In modern days such an organism is spoken of as that of a medium, and the lack of knowledge has brought about a degradation of the office; a person who is born a sensitive is taught to be passive, allows himself to be thrown into a trance and his body to be taken possession of, without knowledge of the entity who is going to use it, without discrimination or power of self-defense. Such persons usually pollute their bodies with flesh and alcohol, meet all people indiscriminately, allow anyone to sit with them, live amid sordid surroundings. The results are naturally trivial or repulsive. For this one cannot blame the mediums; it is ignorance which leads to such conditions. If Mr. Stead be able to carry out the plan that he and his astral-world friend Miss Ames — Julia — have formed, he will raise the medium to a far higher position, will guard sensitives from evil surroundings, and will fence his séance-room against undesirable intruders belonging both to the physical and astral worlds. Julia’s Bureau is the first attempt in modern days to open systematic and carefully guarded channels of communication between the living and super-living along this particular line; nor are the absent living excluded from using it, if they are able to go thither in their astral bodies.
In our own days, H. P. Blavatsky was largely used by her Master and other Teachers as such a means of communication. She was a most extraordinary and rare compound. Her body and nervous system were of the most sensitive type; she was born a medium, and was surrounded during her childhood and youth by a wealth of mediumistic phenomena. But she had also an intelligence of extraordinary vividness and a will of steel. Rarely indeed is such a combination found, but it was ideal for an occultist; in fact, a Master said that no such body had been available for two hundred years. Her character was positive and imperious, and her occult training made even stronger her already strong will. Throughout her life as one of the Founders of the Theosophical Society, she was constantly stepping out of the physical body, in order to place it at the service of her own Master or at that of one of the Teachers, the face and voice sometimes so much changing as to bewilder unaccustomed spectators. Colonel Olcott has told us in his Old Diary Leaves that most of his own occult instruction reached him in this ancient way; she would step out of her body, a Master would step in, and through her lips would teach the eager, devoted disciple. Of all ways of communicating, as I said above, this is the best, because it causes least disturbance; but there are few people who are fit to serve as such a channel. Not understanding the conditions necessary to make the body fit for the use of a Being on the level of a Master, people do not train and keep their bodies sufficiently well to be used in this way, and for the most part what is done now-a-days along these lines is not of the nature of possession but rather of inspiration, when the mind is raised above its normal level by contact with the mind of the Master, and some of His thought flows through it.
The very opposite of this means of communication, as dangerous as the other is safe, is where a materialization of a physical body is brought about. Our Masters have used also this method, and in the early days of the Theosophical Society it was not infrequently employed. The Master comes in His mãyãvî rûpã — phantasmal body — and densifies it on the spot where He chooses to appear by drawing out of the atmosphere, or out of the body of some one present, the particles which, built into the subtle body, make it visible and sometimes tangible. Colonel Olcott saw his Master first in this way in New York; so also I saw Him for the first time in Fontainebleau in 1889. In this way several of the Masters and of Their initiated disciples have appeared to members of the Theosophical Society. Mr. Leadbeater, Damodar, Pandit Bhavani Shankar, Mr. Subbiah Chetty, are some of the various witnesses of such appearances at Adyar and elsewhere.
The question will naturally be asked: Why should so impressive and satisfactory a means of communication be dangerous ? Because of the universality of the well-known law that “action and re-action are equal and opposite.” Whenever the forces of the higher planes are caused to affect the lower directly, there is a re-action equal to the action caused, and the direct action down here of a Brother of the White Lodge is followed by a similar direct action here of a Brother of the Dark Lodge. One of the Masters in an early letter explained this dangerous re-action from the phenomena worked by H. P. Blavatsky, and the destructive results on those around her, and many of us have seen plenty of confirmation of the law. Wherever these manifestations of force occur there is storm and trouble, and those who seem, at the moment, to be most highly favored are those on whom falls the weight of the inevitable recoil. They suffer physically or mentally, there is loss of equilibrium or nervous disturbance. The nervous strain to which H. P. Blavatsky was subjected by the wealth of phenomena produced by her broke down her physical health and aged her before her time. And it is noteworthy that because of the strain involved by this play of forces in the life of discipleship, physical health has ever been in the East a condition of discipleship.
Biographies of seers, of saints, are full of evidence of the working of this law, and without definite training no physical body can stand the strain of psychic experiences. So constantly have hysteria and seership been found together that some regard all exhibitions of seership as resulting from disturbance of mental equilibrium, and it is true in very many cases that psychic sensitiveness and overstrained nerves go together. Magnetic, electrical and other forms of etheric vibrations are set up on the physical plane with the exhibition of the subtler forces, and unless people within their reach know how to protect [Page 24] themselves they pay for their presence in disordered nerves and strained brains.
Another means of communication is the sending of a message by the Master through a disciple. Such a message would often be given by the disciple in his Master’s form. For astral and mental bodies follow the thought of their wearers, and if the disciple bearing the message is thinking intently on his Master, his body might assume His appearance and the sender of the message would appear as its deliverer. The mental or astral body assuming that form, the denser material built into it would also follow it, and thus an appearance of the Master might take place although He Himself was not present.
Similarly, again, a thought-form of the Master might bring the communication, and that happens more frequently than the actual coming of the Master to any particular place. It has been observed, quite apart from any question of a Master, that one person will see the form of another where only a thought-form had been sent, and no visit had been paid in the astral body. A person whose mind has been fairly well-trained may send such a thought-form, and it will assume the form of the sender. I have myself very often been told that I had appeared in particular places and had done certain actions, and those who had seen the phantasm were not easily to be convinced that I had not paid them any visit but had only thought of them. If the percipient had been trained to close observation, he would have been able to distinguish between a thought-form and a person, but in the absence of such training a person may say quite honestly: I saw my friend, when he had only seen his friend’s thought-form.
Moreover, it is possible for a person to project a thought-form and then to perceive it as an external object. A Master might send a thought to a student, and thus bring about a change of consciousness in that student on the higher levels of the mental plane. That change of consciousness caused by the Master will bring about corresponding vibrations in the student’s causal body, and these will be reproduced in the normal way in the mental and astral bodies and thus carried to the etheric; a person most readily affected through the auditory nerves might under such circumstances hear the Master’s voice, and hear it either inside or outside his brain; one most readily affected through the optic nerves might equally see the Master’s form; each might believe that he had heard or seen the Master Himself, when he had unconsciously manufactured in his etheric brain the voice or the form. In such cases the communication would be a real one, but the shape it would take on the physical plane would be illusory.
It is stated in the Acts of the Apostles that when the Holy Spirit came down upon the twelve, every one in the assembled crowd heard them speak in his own tongue. To the person who does not understand matters such as those with which this article deals, the story seems incredible. Yet it is not so. For the thought of the Apostles caused in each hearer a mental change, reproducing itself in the mind of each; that change became each man’s thought, and reached each man’s brain in the ordinary way; there it clothed itself in words, the words into which each man was accustomed daily unconsciously to translate his own thoughts. The man thought that he heard the Apostles speaking words in his own language, whereas they spoke in thoughts and he translated them into his own tongue. Similarly, if a worker on the astral plane finds that he cannot communicate with some one whom he desires to help through the medium of a common language, he will — if he have learned to use his mental body — transmit the thought to the mind of his companion, leaving him to translate the mental image into his own language. He does the translation, but he will consider that his friend has spoken to him, whereas he has only received from him a mental impression which he has himself translated after his accustomed fashion. That wonted interaction of mind and brain, the normal translation of mental image into words, is used by those working on higher planes as offering a convenient means of communication, with those on lower planes, who use a language unknown to themselves. Thus an eastern Master, not knowing English, will ” speak in English ” to a western pupil. He may even write [Page 27] it by taking from the pupil’s brain the words He needs.
There is one other possibility that should not be omitted: the personification of a Brother of the Light by a Brother of the Shadow or of a disciple of the one by a disciple of the other. It may happen that for the deceiving of a person possessing wide influence, and the consequent harm that may be wrought by such a one when deceived, a Brother of the Shadow may personate a White Brother, and give a mischievous order or direction. In such a case everything depends at first on the intuition of the one whom it is sought to mislead, and then the matter passes on to the intuition and judgment of others. Should such a possibility be before the Society, each member must form his own opinion on the veracity and reliability of the communication, after considering all the circumstances of the case, the knowledge and the character of the supposed victim, the bearing of the communication on the welfare of the Society, and all collateral happenings. Sometimes the question can be finally decided only after the expiry of a considerable period of time; thus in the case of the Judge secession, time has spoken by the continuance and growth of the original Society, its output of literature, its increasing vitality and power, compared with the breaking up of the secession into various smaller bodies, the decrease in adherents, the paucity of literature, the small influence [Page 28] on the public. Time proves all things, and its verdict is without appeal. So will it be with the controversy aroused by the Adyar manifestations. In patience possess ye your souls, and after using your best judgment await that verdict. The fire of time proves all things; it burns up dross and leaves the gold purified and resplendent. The Lord of the Burning-Ground throws all things earthly into His fires; let us await the results without fear, willing that our dross shall be consumed and hoping that some pure gold may, in the end, remain.
It will be evident to those who consider these various means of communication that it is well-nigh impossible for persons at a distance from the place where a communication had been made to decide on the form it may have taken, unless they have at their command occult methods of investigation. The nature of the manifestations which took place at Adyar in the winter of 1906-1907 could not be decided by the ordinary member of the Society, unversed in occult phenomena. He was forced either to rely on the good faith and accuracy of those present during their occurrence or able to study them occultly, or to suspend his judgment. The data were insufficient for an independent decision in the matter. And such is the case with regard to most of the phenomena which have occurred in the history of the Society. Unless we can accept the good faith and the competence of the witnesses, or have the power to investigate the [Page 29] past for ourselves, we must perforce suspend our judgment. Irrational credulity and irrational incredulity are both signs of an unbalanced mind, and, where evidence sufficient to satisfy us is lacking, our right course is to abstain alike from affirmation and denial. It is clear that in such matters each must decide for himself, and that none has the right to dictate how any other member shall think. A person who has definite knowledge may affirm that such and such a thing happened, but he cannot claim authority to impose his knowledge on others as sufficient proof of the happening, nor should he blame them if they deny his competence as a witness. The entire freedom of each member to exercise his own reason on these matters is necessary to the security and progress of the Society.
The paucity of communications permitted to be made public during many years was a proof of the want of balance, judgment, common-sense and calmness in the general Society. People had come to regard communications from the Masters with doubt, suspicion and fear, and consequently, as they caused much turmoil, they were withheld, save when absolutely necessary. In the earlier days they were common because the fact of the open door was very generally recognized. Now they are rare, because of the turmoil they cause. But if we believed what theoretically most of us accept, that we are living in three worlds all the time and are related to those [Page 30] worlds by the inclusion of their matter in our body, we should regard it as natural, not unnatural, that we should receive by way of our appropriated matter impacts from each of the three worlds. On our receptiveness, not on these outer worlds, depends our knowledge of them and our communication with them.
It is all-important for the progress of the Society that, however true the fact of communication between these worlds, neither the fact itself, nor any particular instance of it, should be imposed upon the members of the Society by authority, either open or tacit. Each member must be left free to accept or reject on his own responsibility that which is affirmed by any other. If, in the exercise of this discretion, a member rejects what is true, that is his own loss, and it is far better that he should lose than that the Society should be deprived of the liberty which keeps open the path of progress. If a majority of the Society rejected a true and important communication, a communication from a Master, then the Society would perish as an organization, and the minority would be left to carry on the work. That was the peril in which the Theosophical Society stood after the manifestations at Adyar, and the expression to Colonel Olcott of the Master’s wish as to the nomination of his successor. But the great majority of the Society obeyed the Master’s wish, and the danger was averted.
Such a peril might again confront us, but we must not buy security from it by restricting the freedom of members to think for themselves. Every member must be left free to believe or not to believe. None has the right to say: “I believe it, therefore you must accept it”. None has the right to say: “I do not believe it, therefore you must reject it”. There is no coercion in saying: “I know this to be true” any more than there is coercion in saying: ” I know that putting those substances together will form an explosive compound”; if anyone chooses to put them together then he will find out by his own experience that such a compound is formed. As a Master once said when He was accused of uttering a threat because He stated what would follow a certain line of action: ” A warning is not a threat.” Elder students may see a danger that younger students do not see, and they are sometimes bound to put their knowledge at the service of the younger; but the younger must be left free to accept or to reject the warning, and in the latter case to buy their own experience at the cost of suffering that would have been avoided by utilizing the experience of their elders. Progress is made along both lines and is, for the most part, gained by a blending of the two methods. The laws of nature do not change because we are ignorant of them, and if we make a mistake, however conscientiously, we shall suffer as we strike against the law. The conscientious decision will improve our character, and our knowledge will be increased by our experience. Those who have already gained that knowledge may rightly offer it to their fellows though they may not impose it on them, otherwise would they lay themselves open to the reproach: ” You knew we were ignorantly running into danger; why did you not warn us ? ”
The Theosophical Society, as the nucleus of the Coming Race, must encourage variety of opinion within its borders, in order that it may gather up within itself all seeds of truth, even though they be enclosed within husks of error. The husk will drop away and the seed will remain and grow. The Society will never be destroyed by varieties of thought, if only we practice perfect tolerance, and put no barrier in the way of freedom of expression. But do not let us encourage negations while discouraging affirmations, lest we should grow towards the darkness rather than towards the light.
While we guard liberty of thought and expression and encourage the fullest discussion of differences, let us not forget courtesy and gentleness, lest difference of thought should glide into vituperation of those who think differently from ourselves. Personal attack and imputation of evil motives are the weapons of attack used by the uncultured and the vulgar, and should find no place in Theosophical discussion. Love is as vital as knowledge for the growth of the future, and the knowledge which is without love is useless to the Master-Builders of the Coming Race.
Adyar Pamphlets No. 149
Theosophical Publishing House, Adyar, Madras. India
This pamphlet was first issued as No.17 of the Adyar Popular Lectures series. Pamphlets from this Series will be incorporated into the present Adyar Pamphlets series.
A lecture delivered at Adyar on January 1st, 1911
[Page 1] IF you could look backwards beyond historical periods; backwards still across the mist of legend and of myth; backwards into the darkness of the past where even legend and myth have ceased to be; backwards ever, into the far night of time, into the beginnings of humanity, as humanity, on our globe; then would you see a brilliant golden cloud flashing down to earth from a far-off planet — the planet which you know as Shukra, and which we call Venus in the West. From that planet far away in space a radiant cloud is coming, a cloud of fire and of light; and as it descends through the ambient air, as the clouds of heaven roll away dispersing at its coming, the fire-cloud sinks gently to earth like some huge Bird of Heaven, and settles down upon an island — the White Island, it is called in the Purãnas — the island on which later was built the sacred City of Shamballa. There the fiery cloud comes to rest; there the glorious Beings who were borne in it, as in a chariot of fire, descend. They [Page 2] are the Sons of the Fire, the Lords of the Flame: They come to this planet as the Messengers of the Logos, of Îshvara Himself; They come as the Helpers of our infant humanity, to guide its tottering steps along the path of evolution.
Many names have been given to this Root of the White Lodge by human reverence and by human wonder, to express something of the marvelous life with which those mighty Beings were instinct. In the Purãnas They are called the Four Kumãras, the Virgin Youths; sometimes we read of Shiva Kumãra, sometimes of other names; for names in this are nothing, and They transcend all names that human tongue can syllable. From that far, far-off-time, perhaps some sixteen millions of years ago, They have dwelt in that which was the White Island, and is now a portion of the Gobi Desert, an island, once washed by a great sea which spread northward into the Arctic Ocean That sea was drained in the mighty convulsions which also changed an African sea into the Desert of the Sahara, and in its stead stretches the Gobi Desert; but those wastes of sand are broken by the remains of the cyclopean architecture raised there some fifty thousand years ago and more, fragments of broken temples, magnificent even in their ruins, and near these a city now beneath the sand-dunes, connected with the island by a wondrous bridge, stretching across a flood that long since has vanished in the desert sands.[Page 3]
Because These were the Founders of the White Lodge, They have been spoken of in occult records as the Root of the spreading Banyan-Tree, and no symbol could be more graphic or more exact. Look around you at the mighty tree under which you are sitting; in the center you see a huge pillar which has increased slowly since the tree commenced its growth; from that central trunk spread out great far-reaching branches, and from time to time roots descend from a branch and fix themselves in the soil beneath, and make a new center for the tree’s perennial growth. Even so is that center of the life of the world like the central stem of the Banyan-Tree, and the far-spreading branches are like the branches of the Occult Hierarchy that looks to that center as its root and home; it also from time to time sends down, as it were, roots into the earth, and a new religion is founded and a new center of spiritual life is made on earth. Thus ever spreading and spreading, growing ever mightier and mightier, the great Banyan-Tree of the White Lodge spreads its branches over the world, and the nations of earth take refuge beneath its shade, generation after generation.
Such the wondrous beginning, such the founding of the great White Lodge, the Guide and Guardian of Humanity. Then, as nation after nation grew up, families forming into tribes, tribes into nations, miniature copies of .the Center were made on one [Page 4] continent after another, and Lodges were formed, centers of civilisation and instruction.
Come in thought to far Atlantis where now the Atlantic is rolling, but where then there existed a mighty continent; on that continent was a great city, capital of the wide Toltec Empire, the City of the Golden Gate. There ruled the White Emperor, son of a divine dynasty, and there Messengers of the Lodge built up that prodigious civilisation which has not yet been overtopped on earth. As you follow the spreading branches from that center, you see the building of kingdom after kingdom, empire after empire. Egypt knew Them, with her wondrous civilisation which, Bunsen declared, sprang fully formed on to the stage of history with no past to explain it — as Pallas Athene from the head of Zeus. See how mightily Egypt built, so that modern engineers look in wonder at her ruins, and ask how the men of old lifted the huge stones which top the giant pillars of her temples; see her learning, the “wisdom of Egypt”, her joyous civilisation, her divine dynasties, her pre-Âryan Pharaohs, her strange knowledge of the worlds invisible, her science of the world visible. Turn westwards from Atlantis instead of eastwards and see an empire where now Mexico is struggling, a reproduction of Egypt, already ancient when the Aztecs destroyed it. See South America, the corpse of an ancient greatness, where the last fair relics of an exquisite culture were trampled out in blood and fire under [Page 5] the terrible hoofs of the invading hordes of Spain. And if you turn your eyes to this Indian Peninsula, in the days when the Himãlayas had but newly risen, rearing their mighty crests into the azure sky, you see stretching southwards from their bases the land which had emerged from the bosom of the ocean, a huge mass of swamps untreadable by human foot, uninhabitable by man; as they dry up and become drained by rivers, coated by vegetation, fit for human home, the vast Toltec hosts pour down upon them through the Himãlayan passes, and over-spread the Indian plains; they build splendid cities, they rear great fortresses, they shape a luxurious civilisation — the civilisation known in the Purãnas as that of the Daityas which sinks into decay, and gives way before the flood of invasion of the younger and more virile Âryan race, “the high-nosed barbarians from the north”.
Thus glancing over the history that seems to you so far away — and, truly, far away it is — what is the one point which emerges on whatever empire you may fix your gaze ? It is that the splendid culture, the wondrous architecture, the control over natural forces, all came from the Divine Kings who founded and ruled nations, whose grandiose figures loom gigantic through the mists of time, who were the Messengers of the White Lodge, shaping the civilisation of the infant world. No savages were they who reared the gigantic buildings the ruins of which, though dumb, speak trumpet-tongued of the [Page 6] architectural genius which raised them. No savages were they who built the cities in Chaldaea, which have been unburied one below the other — one city forgotten in the dim past and buried ‘neath the earth ere another was raised on its site — and in the lowest of them, deep down below the surface of the ground, great corridors, libraries filled with thousands of volumes, telling of the thoughts, the laws, the knowledge, of those who lived in those incredibly far-off days. No savages were they who, in Europe, in a much less ancient antiquity, raised the huge stones of Stonehenge, poised those strange rocking-stones with such skillful accuracy that a child’s finger can set them rocking, yet the push of a giant could not overset them — tangible witnesses to a past that long since has disappeared, eloquent in their age-long silence of a knowledge that made them what they are.
China, again, is being slowly penetrated — as yet unknown to the western raveler through nearly all its huge extent — and I have been told by a traveler who passed far into the interior, engaged in geological research, some of the wonders that he saw in that ancient land; he spoke of a bridge, the age of which none could tell, made of slabs of marble so huge, that he, an American, familiar with his country’s mastery over machinery — and here the American engineers stand easily first — could not even form a theory as to how those slabs had been placed where they were, and fitted together into [Page 7] such a structure. In one of the old books of China which has been translated into English, known under the name of the Classic of Purity, one of the most exquisite gems of translated Chinese literature, you will find a significant tradition that it came from the West, transmitted from mouth to mouth, and was only committed to writing by Ko Hsüan: “I got it from the Divine Ruler of the eastern Hva; he received it from the Divine Ruler of the Golden Gate; he received it from the Divine Mother of the West”. The name, the City of the Golden Gate, was given to later capital cities after that first wonderful pile was known by that striking title, but even the youngest — and last — of these capitals of Mid-Atlantis was ancient when ancient Greece was born; and the long tradition, handed down ‘from millennium to millennium, shows how deeply the impression of its glory had been graven on the minds of generations.
When you come to later days, the time of the fifth Root-Race, the child of the fourth, we find that similar care is said to have surrounded its founding and its childhood — Divine Kings nurtured it, Divine Teachers instructed it. For we read of an august Lawgiver, known by the name of Vaivasvata Manu; we read of a revered compiler of the scriptures for the people, known by the name of Vyãsa; we read of many other Rshis, known under various names, appearing from time to time, generation after generation, bearing always one [Page 8] message, teaching the later people as they had taught the earlier; and the Hindû records tell us of Divine Kings. What Hindû heart does not swell with reverence, with admiration, with devotion, as there shines out from Samskrt; story the splendid outline of Shrî Rãma, the Ideal Monarch, the Ideal Son, divine in His nature, mighty in His rule, perfect in His manhood, Lawgiver and King ?
And so with others also, not in India only, but in the lands where settled other offshoots of the Âryan Race which spread over the world. They all carried with them the memory of Divine Kings; they all speak of Divine Teachers, the Founders of their faiths; they all tell of mighty heroes, of demigods who ruled and taught them in their early days. That universal tradition testifies of the days when the gods walked with men, ruled them, instructed them, and were the great Ideals which even yet survive to charm and fascinate the hearts of men. For think you that Kingship would still exert its wondrous magic, even over the nations which boast themselves as in the van of civilisation and vaunt their own enlightenment; think you that the name of King would yet remain so sacred and so dear — spite of many who have sullied and outraged it, spite of many who have blotted and obscured it — were it not that the memory of Kings, divine in Their love and wisdom, divine in Their power and justice, has thrown such a glamor over men, that still we love the name of Kingship, that still we [Page 9] bow our hearts in reverence to the one who wears the crown ? If you would realize how empty is all the talk against Kingship, and how futile the attempt to lower the ideal that reigns in the nations’ hearts, if you would understand how weak and paltry is all that is said against it, then throw yourself only a few years back in time, when Victoria, Queen and Empress, went through the streets of London to S. Paul’s Cathedral, to give thanks for the many years through which she had wielded the scepter of Empire, and see the street crowded with men and women from every part of that Empire; and in that homage of nations, in the great waves of love, almost of adoration, that surged round that stately age, you will realize that Kingship is something more than a constitutional convenience, something more than acceptance by a Parliament, that in very truth a King rules by a right divine, and is the symbol of divine power among men. And that tradition has come down from nations ruled by Kings who were indeed royal:
“Men the masters of things.”
I spoke not of Kings only as Messengers of the White Lodge, but also of Teachers, and Founders of the faiths of the world. For religion is of heavenly birth, and man’s continual seeking after God draws an answer from that great White Lodge, which is the center of divine life on earth. For what is religion ? Religion is not [Page 10] a mass of formulae which people can learn by heart and practice by rote; it is not a number of ceremonies which priests can perform and people look on at; it is not even sacred books, however noble, however inspiring, however precious. Religion is the cry of the human spirit to the Life whence it came; it is the appeal of the little self, bewildered in the mists of earth, to the supreme Self whose reflection it is; it is the search of the human heart for God, syllabled in the words of the Hebrew poet: “As the heart panteth after the water-brooks, so panteth my soul after Thee, O God”. It is the perennial thirst of humanity for divinity, and can never be quenched until man drinks the water of life in the realization of God.
The many religions of the world are the answers of the Elder Brothers, telling the child-souls of the Eternal Life, and giving them in child-language as much as the child-soul can grasp. And so from time to time, whenever the Mother-Race branches, and sends her children into far-off lands and waste places, to make them fertile, life-giving and beautiful, to build a new nation, then the Father-Lodge does not forget those children, removed from its physical neighborhood, but sends after them a Messenger, one of its greatest, in order to give them the ancient message of the eternal and ever-young Truth, clothed in the garment which best fits the necessities of the time. [Page 11]
When the second-born of the Âryan Race was sent out to Arabia and Africa, and traveling southwards founded a great empire in southern Africa, we find in Egypt, and in communication with the leaders in Arabia, the Messenger to whom Egypt gave the name of Thoth, to whom Greece later gave that of Hermes, who clothed His message in the symbology of Light. In the central home the Race had been taught that the Self is one, “the Person in the Sun”, and that all selves are rays of that Sun. The same idea was carried by Hermes to Egypt, but the symbology was that of Light. For He said that the Light dwells in heaven, and yet finds its home in every heart of man, that Light in the heaven above us is identical with Light in the heart within us, and that when once men have seen the Light in their own hearts, then they can look abroad and see it everywhere in heaven and earth. The message was still, the ancient teaching, but in the new form the message spoke of Light, where in the earlier time it had spoken of the Sun.
And when again a sub-race went out to found the mighty Empire of Persia — lasting from B.C. 30,000 to B.C. 2,000 — the same great Messenger went thither 27,000 years before the Christian era; to teach the builders of the Empire and to strike the key-note of the Faith which still is preserved in our own days. We see Him garbing the one Truth now in Fire — Fire the purest of all elements, [Page 12] Fire the purifier of all else. Fire, the divine Fire on the altar; Fire, the divine Fire in the heart of man. Zarathustra was the Messenger of the Fire, drew down Fire from heaven, was caught up when His Mission was over in a cloud of Fire and rapt away from the sight of men; but the Fire He lighted has not yet been quenched, and still His people remember the Word of the Fire; for no new fire may be lighted in the Fire-Temple by a modern Zoroastrian unless the Fire has flashed from heaven and has lit a flame on earth; many a Fire-Temple has waited for years ere the lightning has come down from the clouds and set some tree on fire, so that the heavenly Fire might be added to the fires gathered from the earthly hearths. Thus strong even yet is the tradition which has come down from the time when Zarathustra’s outstretched hand compelled the Fire to come down from heaven, and to light the piled-up wood on the altar by which He stood.
Yet again another civilization was to be built, one that was to dominate European thought, the civilization that gave to Europe the literature which still it strives to copy, the beauty that still it tries to reproduce. Greece, in the days of her glory, raised buildings so exquisite that modern genius and modern skill only try to copy that which they may never hope to excel; Greece gave birth to philosophers so great that all Europe’s greatest are still Plato’s men, and modern pygmies gaze in [Page 13] wonder at that giant figure, rearing his head so high above his race. Greece is the master of European civilization, with a mastery unchallenged even to our own times. When that rare nation was a-building, when that unrivaled people was establishing itself, then came to ancient Greece the same Mighty Messenger, and now He came with Song. He had spoken in Light and in Fire, and as Orpheus he now spake in music, wondrous music that the Devas gathered to hear, wondrous music drawn by His own magic from a simple instrument, looking all unmeet for the giving forth of such melodious strains; music of voice, too, so marvelous that Nature seemed to hold her breath in listening in rapt delight — so exquisite the melodies He chanted, so mighty the magic that He wrought. Just as in Egypt He founded the great Mysteries which kept alight the torch of knowledge for many thousands years; just as in Persia He founded the Mysteries which trained the Magi; so in Greece He founded the Orphic Mysteries, which were the source of all the occult Schools of Greece; the Mysteries led up to by the Schools of Pythagoras, of which Plato spoke, which moulded the master-minds of Greece, where from they drew the wisdom which fed Europe.
Time went on and on, until the day dawned in which a yet greater Message was to be spoken upon earth, and in Northern India, in a family of Kings, a Child was born. Round His cradle Devas gathered, [Page 14] scattering flowers, hymning the Holy Birth gazing at the Mother and the Child, the Mother in whose arms was cradled the Hope, the Light of the world. He grew up through exquisite childhood to noble youth, from noble youth to perfect manhood, and no touch of the world-pain had ever weighed on His heart, nor dimmed His eye. Then from the world a sob of sorrow caught His ear; then through the diseased, the dead, the aged, the cry of humanity smote upon Him, and on one still fair night — all blessing on that night — He rose and bent over sleeping wife and slumbering babe, breathed over them His tender blessing and farewell, and cutting off with sharp sword-blade his flowing hair, casting off his royal robes, sending back his favorite horse — He, who was Siddartha and who was to be the Buddha, went out on His lonely journey, the goal of which was the world’s salvation. Long He sought and much He suffered; many ways He tried, and none led Him to His end; emaciated, feeble, worn out, a mere skeleton, sinking to the ground, having tested austerity to the uttermost, and having found it fail, He took from a maid’s hand a few drops of milk, and renewed His failing strength; then onwards He went to complete His work, to find the Light which was to shine on Him and through Him upon the world, He, the first of our humanity to climb that loftiest peak of Buddhahood. Under the Bodhi tree He sat, assailed by all the powers of evil, tempted by the weeping figure of His wife [Page 15] and the wailing cry of His child, until the Light broke upon Him, until His eyes were opened, until He saw the cause of sorrow and the path to the ceasing of sorrow; then the Devãs gathered round Him, and Brahmã, the Creator of the world prayed Him to take to it the Light which He had found. After some days He arose and went near, to the holy City of Benares, and there He began the rolling of Wheel of the Law, and brought the Light of Life to men. Thereafter for many a long year His blessed feet trod the plains and forests of India, His exquisite voice brought knowledge to the ignorant and comfort to the sorrowing; until He cast away His last mortal body, and rose high into super-celestial worlds, to shed thence His priceless blessing on the humanity He had glorified, lifting it in Himself to wisdom and love illimitable.
His work as Messenger of the White Lodge was over, for He had risen to the place where none might bid Him go forth again, and He then yielded the seat of the Supreme Teacher to His beloved Brother, who for millions of years had trodden the Path beside Him, whom we know as the Lord Maitreya, the future Buddha of Compassion. You know the great Rshi who is mentioned from time to time in the Hindû Purãnas, in the Mahãbhãrata, the mighty One, gentle as He is mighty. The time came when He should manifest Himself in all the splendor of His Love, the power of His matchless tenderness, to the world to whose service He was [Page 16] vowed; and in the little country of Judaea, among the despised nation of the Jews, He came. Reverence gave Him the name of the Christ, the Anointed, but it is written in the Christian Scriptures: “He came unto His own, and His own received Him not”. Although it is true that they said of Him that no man spake such words as fell from His gracious lips, although His heart of love attracted round Him for a while the fickle populace, yet they who shouted welcome to Him a few days later shouted death, and slew the Holy One. Only for three brief years could they tolerate His presence, only for three brief years might His tender glory shine on a world unworthy of Him. Then they slew His body, and He, rejected of the world, went back to Those who were in very truth His own, to the great White Lodge that knew Him, and that did Him. reverence.
Many another lesser Messenger has come since then; there is not one new impulse given to the world that does not come from the hands of some Messenger of the Lodge. They come not only for religion, albeit that is their most perfect and sublime work; they come whenever man has need of teaching and of helping. As Prophets, Scientists, Warriors, Teachers, they come, carrying light and strength; Hunyadi, Paracelsus, Bruno — their names are legion. Many Rshis have come to this land of India, all of them Messengers of the one White Lodge: many great religious Teachers have arisen [Page 17] in the West, Messengers of the Lodge which is the Heart of the world.
When Europe was sunken in darkness, when the light of Greece was shrouded, when ignorance wrapped her people, when the Church had become the slayer instead of the guardian of knowledge, and priests were no longer light-bringers; then it was that, turning from Europe, a Messenger of the White Lodge, whom you know as the Prophet of Arabia, the Prophet Muhammad, was sent to light again the lamp of knowledge. Its rays spread over the Western world; for his work was not alone to teach the unity of God to the depraved and quarreling tribes of the country of his birth; there was a mightier work than conquest by the sword, a work grander than the Empire his followers built Islãm brought knowledge back to the Western world; Ali, the son-in-law of the Prophet, gathered round him men eager for knowledge; they took up the tradition of Greece, they founded schools and universities. From the lips of the Prophet fell the startling statement: “The ink of the scholar is greater than the blood of the martyr”. And the ink of the scholar was used in Arabia while the sword of the warrior was conquering in Turkey. Learning spread as power subdued. Behind the conquerors came the scholars, the teachers of science, astronomers, philosophers, mathematicians, architects. They appeared in Spain under the banner of the Prophet, and to them all Europe went to school. It [Page 18] is to Islãm that Europe owes its great awakening. It is Islãm that brought to Europe the treasures of science and made it possible for men to think and study where they had been willing merely to accept and to believe.
Later came other Messengers like those I have mentioned, and brought alchemy which built chemistry, astrology which built astronomy: medicine was taught, and later the vital powers which could cheek disease took a name from one of Their pupils. The White Lodge, the Master-builders, laid the foundation of modern Europe, and sent craftsmen and apprentices thither, that the new Temple of modern thought and modern civilisation might be built. The greater Ones have not left the world They Love, though They have not walked much among men; not because Their love is less, not because Their power is weaker, but because in the growth of the self-assertive intellect there was no place left for Them in modern minds and hearts.
The history of the Messengers of the great White Lodge, during many a century of European story, is a history of persecution, of torture, of hatred in every form. Every lover of humanity who came to Europe with a message of Light carried his life in his hands. If you ask why the higher Teachers do not come, look at the fires which the Inquisition lighted; look at the dungeons which the Inquisition built; see Copernicus holding back his knowledge till he lay on his death-bed; see [Page 19] Bruno defiant, and yielding his dying breath in the Field of Flowers in Rome; see Galileo forced upon his knees, and compelled to deny the truth he knew. Messenger after Messenger came, and met torture and death; Messenger after Messenger later found misery and social ostracism. Take the latest of them, that noble woman, Helena Petrovna Blavatsky; she gave up high rank, wealth and country, to wander over the countries of the earth in search of her Master; she found Him, learned from Him, and came back to the modern world: her hands filled with the treasures of the Ancient Wisdom; they rewarded her by branding her as cheat and fraud; she was disbelieved and scorned, slandered and outraged; until even that lion-heart was broken, and that body of tempered steel was shattered.
With such a record behind us, with such a shame of brutal treatment in our memories, we await again the coming of its greatest Messenger from the White Lodge; not one of the lesser Messengers, not one of the faithful and devoted disciples, not one of those who come because bidden by their Superiors to go out into the world. But One to whom none may say: “Go”, but who ever breathes: “I come” — the supreme Teacher, the great Rshi, the Bodhisattva, the Lord Maitreya, the blessed Buddha yet-to-be. We who know something of the occult life, we who of our own knowledge bear witness that He lives upon our earth, are waiting for His coming and already the steeps of the Himãlayas are echoing [Page 20] to the footsteps that tread them to descend into the world of men. There He is standing, awaiting the striking of His hour; there He is standing, with His eyes of love gazing on the world that rejected Him aforetime, and perchance will again reject Him; there He is waiting till the fulness of the time is ripe, till His Messengers have proclaimed His advent, and to some extent have prepared the nations for His coming.
Already among the peoples of the world there is the hush of expectation; already from many a pulpit in the Western world is ringing out the cry for a great spiritual Teacher, who shall shape the religions of the world into one vast synthesis, and spread true Brotherhood among men. Already the heart of the world is beating with hope; already the mind of the world is beginning to be alert; and before very many years have rolled over us and have become the past, in a future that is near, reckoned by our mortal years, there shall go up a cry from humanity to Him whose ears are never deaf, to Him whose heart is never closed against the world He loves. A cry shall go up: “O Master of the great White Lodge, Lord of the religions of the world, come down again to the earth that needs Thee, and help the nations that are longing for Thy presence. Speak the Word of Peace, which shall make the peoples to cease from their quarrelings; speak the Word of Brotherhood, which shall make the warring classes and castes to know themselves [Page 21] as one. Come with the might of Thy love; come in the splendor of Thy power, and save the world which is longing for Thy coming, Thou who art the Teacher alike of Gods and men”.
MASTERS AND THE PATH BY C.W. LEADBEATER
After reading this session, you may be interested in the entire content of this book. Fine, then I have attained my goal.
THE BROTHERHOOD OF ADEPTS
The world is guided and directed to a large extent by a Brotherhood of Adepts to which our Masters belong. Theosophical students make all sorts of mistakes about Them. They often regard Them as a great monastic community, all living together in some secret place. They suppose Them sometimes to be Angels, and many of our students have thought that They were all Indian, or that They all resided in the Himalayas. None of these hypotheses is true. There is a great Brotherhood, and its Members are in constant communication with one another; but Their communication is on higher planes and They do not necessarily live together.
As part of Their work, some of these great Brothers whom we call Masters of the Wisdom are willing to take pupil-apprentices and teach them; but They form only a small section of the mighty Body of Perfected Men.As will be explained later on, there are seven types of men, for every one belongs to one of the seven Rays into which the great wave of evolving life is distinctly divided. It would seem that one Adept on each of the Rays is appointed to attend to the training of beginners, and all those who are coming along His particular Ray of evolution pass through His hands.
No one below the rank of Adept is permitted to assume full responsibility for a novice, though those who have been chelas for a number of years are often employed as deputies, and receive the privilege of helping and advising promising young aspirants. These older pupils are gradually being trained for their future work when they in turn shall become Adepts, and they are learning to take more and more of the routine work off the hands of their Masters, so that the latter may be set free for higher labours which only They can undertake. The preliminary selection of candidates for discipleship is now left to a large extent in the hands of these older workers, and the candidates are temporarily linked with such representatives rather than directly with the great Adepts. But the pupils and the Master are so wonderfully one that perhaps this is almost “a distinction without a difference.”
THE THREE DOORS
There is a poem which says:
Three doors there are to the Temple–
To know, to work, to pray:
And they who wait at the outer gate
May enter by either way.
There are always the three ways; a man may bring himself to the Master’ s feet by deep study, because in that way he comes to know and to feel; and certainly He may be reached by deep devotion long continued, by the constant uplifting of the soul towards Him. And there is also the method of throwing oneself into some definite activity for Him. But it must be something definitely done for Him with that thought in mind: “If there be credit or glory in this work I do not want it; I do it in my Master’ s name; to Him be the glory and praise.” The poem quoted above also says: “There be who nor pray nor study, but yet can work right well.” And that is true. There are some who cannot make anything much of meditation, and when they try to study they find it very hard. They ought to continue to try both these things, because we must develop all sides of our nature, but most of all they should throw themselves into the work, and do something for their fellow-men.
That is the surest of all appeals– to do a thing in His name, to do a good act thinking of Him, remembering that He is much more sensitive to thought than ordinary people. If a man thinks of a friend at a distance, his thought goes to that friend and influences him, so that the friend thinks of the sender of the thought unless his mind is much engaged at the moment with something else. But however much occupied a Master may be, a thought directed to Him makes a certain impression, and although perhaps at the moment He may not take any notice, yet the touch is there, and He will know of that and will send out His love and His energy in response to it.
But a wrong conception of God is one of the most serious hindrances under which a man can suffer. The idea of the Jehovah of the Old Testament, bloodthirsty, jealous, mean and cruel, has been responsible for an amount of harm in the world that cannot easily be estimated. Any thought of God which induces fear of Him is absolutely disastrous, and precludes all hope of real progress; it shuts a man up in the darkest of dungeons instead of leading him onward and upward into the glory of the sunlight. It draws round him a host of the type of elemental which revels in fear, gloats over it and intensifies it by every means within his power. When a man is in that parlous condition it is all but impossible to help him; wherefore to teach a man (still more, a child) such a blasphemous doctrine is one of the worst crimes that anyone can commit. The disciple must be utterly free from all cramping superstitions of this kind.
THE MASTERS AND THE BROTHERHOOD
ALL this while, the Adept, besides using His pupil as an apprentice, has been preparing him for presentation to the Great White Brotherhood for Initiation. The whole object of the existence of that Brotherhood is to promote the work of evolution, and the Master knows that when the pupil is ready for the stupendous honour of being received as a member of it, he will be of very much more use in the world than before. Therefore it is His wish to raise His pupil to that level as soon as possible. In the Oriental books on the subject, written thousands of years ago, are to be found many accounts of this preparatory period of instruction; and when reference has been made to it in the earlier Theosophical literature it has been called the Probationary Path– the term referring not to being put upon probation by any individual Adept, but to a course of general training preparatory to Initiation. I myself used the term in Invisible Helpers, but have lately avoided it on account of the confusion caused by the employment of the same word in two distinct senses.
The method really adopted is readily comprehensible, and is in fact much like that of some of our older Universities. If a student wishes to take a degree at one of those, he must first pass the entrance examination of the University and then be admitted to one of the Colleges. The Head of that College is technically responsible for his progress, and may be regarded as his tutor-in-chief. The man will have to work to a large extent by himself, but the Head of his College is expected to see that he is properly prepared before he is presented to take his Degree. The Head does not give the Degree; it is conferred by that abstraction called the University– usually at the hands of its Vice-Chancellor. It is the University, not the Head of the College, that arranges the examination and confers the various Degrees; the work of the Head of the College is to see that the candidate is duly prepared, and generally to be to some extent responsible for him. In the process of such preparation he may, as a private gentleman, enter into whatever social or other relations with his pupil he may think proper; but all that is not the business of the University.
Just in the same way the Great White Brotherhood has nothing to do with the relations between a Master and His pupil; that is a matter solely for the private consideration of the Master Himself. The Initiation is given by an appointed Member of the Brotherhood in the name of the One Initiator; that is the only way in which an Initiation can he obtained. Whenever an Adept considers that one of His pupils is fit for the first Initiation, He gives notice of that fact and presents him for it; the Brotherhood asks only whether the man is ready for Initiation, and not what is the relationship between him and any Adept. It is not Their affair whether he is at the stage of probation, acceptance or sonship. At the same time it is true that a candidate for Initiation must be proposed and seconded by two of the higher members of the Brotherhood– that is to say, by two who have reached the level of Adeptship; and it is certain that no Master would propose a man for the tests of Initiation unless He had with regard to him the certainty of his fitness which could only come from very close identification with his consciousness.
When an ego is initiated he becomes part of the closest organization in the world; he is now one with the vast sea of consciousness of the Great White Brotherhood. For a long time the new Initiate will not be able to understand all that this union implies, and he must penetrate far into the sanctuaries before he can realize how close is the link, and how great is that consciousness of the King Himself, which all Brothers to a certain extent share with Him. It is incomprehensible and inexpressible down here; metaphysical and subtle it is beyond words, but nevertheless a glorious reality, real to such an extent that when we begin to grasp it everything else seems unreal.
We have seen how the accepted pupil may lay his thought beside that of the Master; so now may the Initiate put his thought beside that of the Brotherhood and draw into himself just as much of that tremendous consciousness as he at his level is able to appreciate; and ever as he draws it into himself he will be able to receive more of it, and his own consciousness will widen out so that narrowness of thought will become impossible for him. And just as the accepted pupil must take care not to cause disturbance in the lower vehicles of the Master, lest he should interfere with the perfection of His work, so must a member of the Brotherhood never introduce anything discordant into that mighty consciousness, which is acting as a whole.
He must remember that not by any means the whole of the Brotherhood is doing the same work as our Masters. Many of Them are engaged in other labours which require the utmost concentration and the most perfect calm, and if some of the younger members should sometimes forget their high calling, and cause ripples of annoyance to disturb the Brotherhood, it would affect the work of those Greater Ones. Our own Masters might perhaps overlook that, and be willing to endure a little occasional worry of that kind for the sake of the future when the new member will be making really great use of the powers of the Brotherhood; but we can quite understand that Those who have nothing to do with the training of individuals might say: “Our work is being disturbed, and it is better that those who have such immature personalities should stay outside.” They would say that nothing was lost, that progress can be made just as well outside, and that pupils could go on making themselves better and stronger and wiser before gaining Initiation.
So wonderful is the expansion of the Initiate’ s consciousness that it is most apt to speak of the change as a new birth. He begins to lead a new life “as a little child,” the life of the Christ; and the Christ, the intuitional or buddhic consciousness, is born within his heart. He has also now the power to give the blessing of the Brotherhood– a tremendous and overwhelming force, which he is able to give or send to anyone, as he judges to be most appropriate and useful. The power of the Brotherhood will flow through him just as much as he will let it flow; it is for him to use the power and to remember that he has the entire responsibility of directing it for whatever purpose he may choose. The benediction given by the Officiant at Initiation means: “I bless you; I pour my force and benison into you; see that you in your turn constantly pour out this good-will upon others.”
The more confidence the new Initiate has the greater will be the flow of force through him. If he feels the least hesitation, or is weighed down by the responsibility of letting such a tremendous power flow through him, he will not be able to use this wonderful gift to the full; but if he has that qualification of Shraddha– perfect trust in his Master and in the Brotherhood, and the utter certainty that because he is one with Them all things are possible to him– he may go through the world as a veritable angel of light, shedding joy and benediction around his path.
The consciousness of the Great White Brotherhood is an indescribably wonderful thing. It is like a great calm shining ocean, so strangely one that the least thrill of consciousness flashes from end to end of it instantaneously, and yet to each member it seems to be absolutely his own individual consciousness, though with a weight and a power and a wisdom behind it that no single human consciousness could ever have. This magnificent sea of “cosmic consciousness” of the Brotherhood is something so great, so wonderful, that there is nothing else in the world like it: even those who belong to it by virtue of having passed the First Great Initiation can catch only glimpses of it, can remember only a little of it here and there. It can be felt fully only on the nirvanic plane, on which the Brotherhood primarily exists, though it has its manifestation on the lower planes, even down to the physical world.
As the band of pupils is all one in the Master, so is the Brotherhood all one in its Lord. The members may freely discuss a point among themselves, yet it is as though different aspects of a case presented themselves in the same mind, and were by that mind weighed one against the other; but one is all the time in the presence of a tremendous, an almost awful serenity, a certainty which nothing can ever disturb. And yet somehow in all that every suggestion is welcomed; indeed, there is the sensation that the whole Brotherhood is alertly and eagerly waiting for each individual’ s contributions to the subject before it. There is nothing down here to which this consciousness can be adequately compared; to touch it is to come into contact with something new and strange, yet inexpressibly wonderful and beautiful, something which needs no evidence and no comparison, but asserts itself to be of a higher and unknown world.
Though individualities are so strangely merged in this, yet are they at the same time sharply separated, for the assent of each Brother is required to every decision of importance. The rule of the King is absolute, yet He carries His vast council with Him, and is at every moment willing to consider any point that occurs to any member of it. But this great governing body differs utterly from any parliament of earth. Those who stand above the rest in positions of authority have not been elected, nor have they been appointed by some party organization; they hold their positions because they have won them– won them by superior development and greater wisdom. None doubts the decision of his superior, because he knows that he really is a superior– that he has greater insight and a fuller power to decide. There is, there can be, no shadow of compulsion that these Supermen shall think or act alike; yet is their confidence in their mighty organization so perfect that it is unthinkable that in the long run they should differ; it is only in the case of such a Brotherhood under such a King that we can fully realize the beautiful wording of one of the Collects of the Church of England: “In His service is perfect freedom.”
“AND THE LIGHT SHINETH IN THE DARKNESS; AND THE DARKNESS COMPREHENDETH IT NOT” -John 1:5
Darkness, in the Theosophical literature, is a term applied in different ways. It generally refers to the Absolute, to the universe in pralaya or to pre-cosmic principles, before the manifestation of the cosmos.
According to the tenets of Eastern Occultism, DARKNESS is the one true actuality, the basis and the root of light, without which the latter could never manifest itself, nor even exist. Light is matter, and DARKNESS pure Spirit. Darkness, in its radical, metaphysical basis, is subjective and absolute light; while the latter in all its seeming effulgence and glory, is merely a mass of shadows, as it can never be eternal, and is simply an illusion, or Maya.
Meaning of the term
In the context of universal principles, the word “darkness” is used to refer to those principles that are beyond our comprehension, so that they appear as darkness to our minds:
[The] source is unknown, though as strongly demanded by reason and logic, therefore it is called “Darkness” by us, from an intellectual point of view.
It is Darkness most unquestionably to our intellect, inasmuch as we can know nothing of it. I told you already that neither Darkness nor Light are to be used in the sense of opposites, as in the differentiated world.
At the level of these universal principles we are not talking about light or its absence. Therefore this “darkness” is not the opposite of light:
In the sense of objectivity, both light and darkness are illusions—maya; in this case, it is not Darkness as absence of Light, but as one incomprehensible primordial Principle, which, being Absoluteness itself, has for our intellectual perceptions neither form, colour, substantiality, nor anything that could be expressed by words.
The term darkness is sometimes used in a relative way:
In using figurative language, as has been done in The Secret Doctrine, analogies and comparisons are very frequent. Darkness for instance, as a rule, applies only to the unknown totality, or Absoluteness. Contrasted with eternal darkness, the first Logos is certainly Light; contrasted with the second or third, the manifested Logos, the first is Darkness, and the others are Light.
[It] is absolute darkness to the scientific mind, and but a gray twilight to the perception of the average mystic, though to that of the spiritual eye of the Initiate it is absolute light.
The Absolute being the source of everything, in the Theosophical Literature it is said that darkness is the source of light:
If the absolute deity can be referred to as Darkness or the Dark Fire, the light, its first progeny, is truly the first self-conscious god.
For the Occultist, the Rosecroix of the Middle Ages, and even the mediaeval Kabalists, said that to our human perception and even to that of the highest “angels,” the universal Deity is darkness, and from this Darkness issues the Logos. . .
But esoterically, it is Darkness itself, the unknowable Absolute which is the Source, firstly of the radiation called the First Logos, then of its reflection, the Dawn, or the Second Logos, and finally of Brahmâ, the manifested Light, or the Third Logos.
Thus, the Darkness is regarded as eternal, while the appearance of light (or manifestation) is a non-eternal phenomena occurring periodically.
Darkness is taken as the appropriate allegorical representation of the condition of the Universe during Pralaya, or the term of absolute rest, or non-being, as it appears to our finite minds.
When the whole universe was plunged in sleep—had returned to its one primordial element—there was neither centre of luminosity, nor eye to perceive light, and darkness necessarily filled the boundless all.
In some occasions the term “darkness” is applied to the pre-cosmic principles, especially when they are mentioned in reference to the manifested elements. The first or unmanifested Logos is called in [[Stanzas of Dzyan#Stanza III|Stanza III.8 “the dark hidden father” as opposed to the manifested “white brilliant son”. Darkness is also used to refer to the the first cosmic element, “the waters” or “chaos“, before it differentiated into the different planes.
In Christian thought
Even in the mind-baffling and science-harassing Genesis, light is created out of darkness “and darkness was upon the face of the deep” (ch. i. v. 2.)—and not vice versâ. “In him (in darkness) was life; and the life was the light of men” (John i. 4). A day may come when the eyes of men will be opened; and then they may comprehend better than they do now, that verse in the Gospel of John that says “And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehendeth it not.” They will see then that the word “darkness” does not apply to man’s spiritual eyesight, but indeed to “Darkness,” the absolute, that comprehendeth not (cannot cognize) transient light, however transcendent to human eyes.
In authors such as Pseudo-Dionysius the Areopagite or texts like The Cloud of Unknowing the word darkness was also used to refer to the highest and unknowable aspect of the Godhead.
Excerpts from a Theosophical Source.