14 September 2014


A Decisive Factor in the Theosophical Path 

John Garrigues

J. Garrigues (1868 – 1944)


An Editorial Note:

The present article was first published
at “Theosophy” magazine, Los Angeles,
in January 1925, pp. 102-106.  It was later
published by the same magazine in October
1949, and by the electronic magazine “The
Aquarian Theosophist” in its Special Issue
dated February 2006, pages 13-16. A 2012
analysis of contents, style, and date of first
publication indicated it was written by Garrigues.

(C. C. A.)


“How few of the many pilgrims who have
to start without chart or compass on the
shoreless Ocean of Occultism reach the
wished for land. Believe me, faithful friend,
that nothing short of full confidence in us, in
our good motives if not in our wisdom, in our
foresight, if not omniscience - which is not to be
found on this earth - can help one to cross over
from one’s land of dream and fiction to our
Truth land, the region of stern reality and fact.”

[“The Mahatma Letters”, T.U.P., Letter LXIV, p.  358.]

TRUST is the spiritual touch-stone. Lack of it, in the Line which we hold in our lives, spells dust and ashes to all apparently high endeavor.

Confidence is the first requisite to success, anywhere and everywhere. Trust in the Law of our own imperishable natures, trust that justice does rule, certainty of our ability to learn, to grow, to perform, to find answers to all problems - these are the qualities for the lack of which students suffer and fall away, to join the swelling ranks of the “disillusioned”, and to die a spiritual death that is more bitter, and more truly “death” than merely physical dying ever was or ever could be.

The curse of our age is suspicion. Those who distrust themselves are afraid to trust anybody. Since the note of the times is the discord of materialism, the common ideal of superior living is to possess vast stores of material wealth. To have “plenty of money” is to be successful in life. Some theosophists feel the same way about it as anybody else, salving their concession to the race ideas with the excuse that then they could do so much for Theosophy. But the experience of human nature discloses the saddening fact that the more of this world’s goods one has, the more precious become the possessions and the less able does the possessor seem to be to voluntarily part with them. Men are suspicious of one another, knowing full well in their own hearts what they would do to their neighbour’s wealth if the opportunity presented itself. Conditions have actually reached a point where one cannot perform an altruistic service without rousing the certainty in the minds of many that an ulterior purpose is intended. If a Christ should walk the streets today, performing “miracles” and healing the afflicted he would be suspected of doing it for gain - or else it would be said, “He is advertising something!”.

The student of Theosophy who would climb the wall of theory and uncertainty - make a breach in the frowning ramparts of book-knowledge - has not only to stand firmly against the roaring torrent of materialism. He has in fact to make progress against it. He has to do more than to believe in Altruism; he has to become altruistic. He has by herculean efforts, steadfastly persisted in - when body, mind and even Soul itself are so weary over the unequal combat that he would gladly perish in his tracks - to keep doggedly on, even though all his world, himself included - believes him to be a fool.

Confidence is the only hard-won quality that will avail under these conditions. This confidence is not to be come by as a result of belief or blind faith. It is the result of reasoned faith, developed by a study and understanding of philosophy, and a rigid adherence to ethical teachings as a mode of life. The Theosophical dilettante will never gain it. The student who has taken up Theosophy as a study or to make himself or herself a better teacher, doctor, lawyer, artist, better at business, stronger intellectually - or for any of the thousand “side-issues” that the human mind attaches itself to - will never arrive at a position of trust, much less at conscious assurance.  His knowledge will be just so much “information and belief” to the end of his days, and no more. His confidence in himself will fail him, when power is needed and pretence shall go for nothing.

Conviction of the truth of primary Theosophical ideas is the first requisite for true self-confidence. This may be had first by intellectual study and its fruits - a logical and reasoned comprehension of philosophical rationale. Then follows a testing out of the basis provided by observation and experience - in the affairs of the world and its inhabitants as the moving picture of events, men, things and methods presents itself to the mind’s eye from day to day; and especially a watchfulness and honest analysis of the psychological process of the student himself.

The time will soon come when the student shall find he has checked up the truth of the Theosophical teaching, so far as he is able to confirm it at all, in these ways:

(a) by an intellectual and philosophical synthesis, based on a foundation of self-evident truths;

(b) by application of the teaching to the affairs of daily life, and most of all as one’s own intimate, interior experience justifies the idea that psychology is an exact science and that Theosophy includes it;

(c) by realizing the fact that Truth always explains - that, given the complete explanation about anything, we have the Truth, unconflicting with any other Truth. This last is a realization, not a form of words. It comes with a compelling force, as if shot or projected into the mind from somewhere outside, although it really comes from inside: Buddhi expresses itself in terms of conviction.

Intellectual appreciation of the necessity of the existence of Masters grows simultaneously in the meditator’s brain and heart. If there is knowledge, there must be Knowers; knowledge does not exist in itself, but is the result of observation and experience; and there must be Beings who have made the observations and recorded the experience. This is as far as intellectual acuteness can take the student of Theosophy, in crossing over from “one’s land of dream and fiction to our Truth land, the region of stern reality and fact”. For heretofore the effort of nearly all has been towards the acquisition of knowledge for oneself, however much the student believes that his motive has been altruistic. The mind and reasoning powers are satisfied; a philosophy of life that really explains has been secured. Aside from exercise therein mentally, as a swimmer exercises his body healthfully in clear water, no further urge is felt - for an essential quality has not been developed.

What is the essential quality which drives a man in spite of himself to pursue that Path, the traveling of which brings “full confidence” in Masters? It is something so rare, yet so commonly named that incredulity is perhaps our first mental reaction when the word is set down before our eyes: Gratitude.

But think about it: This emotion that one sometimes hears and even sees expressed by students of Theosophy when Masters are mentioned is not Gratitude. Neither can it be called intelligent. The same thing inundates the Christian prayer-meeting, the revival, the spiritualistic séance, the patriotic assemblage - wherever people congregate and are “deeply stirred”. Occasionally, on Theosophical platforms, the “Masters”, or the “Founders” have been spoken of so feelingly that both speaker and audience have thrilled with emotion - but that was not Gratitude.

Gratitude is not any one of the many phases of psychic emotion which go under other names; nor does it usually show itself in words, or expressions of so-called love. Gratitude is the recognition that at a sacrifice, and without personal motives, something has been done for us - a recognition so compelling that we can never rest until we, in our turn, on a similar basis, have passed on the divine service. Gratitude is Buddhi in action, a universal quality, and thus spiritual. It expresses itself in altruistic service: in work for and as Masters, who are the universal servants in Nature. Gratitude transmuted into effective action is calm, controlled, quiet - and powerful as cosmic electricity. Indeed, it is Fohat “stepped down” and applied to the work in hand; for Fohat is an intelligent force, we may remember, and forces do not exist of themselves.

Thus in those students in whom rational cognition of the necessity of the existence of Masters has been succeeded by gratitude, one sees the active workers for Theosophy, the Companions “all over the world . . . engaged in bringing it forth for wider currency and propagation”. To the Western man or woman of the day the mental process expresses itself something like this:

“Somebody had to make the true writings available and keep them in print; somebody had to fit up the Lodge meeting rooms, advertise the work, keep it going - do the studying, speaking, helping, sick or well, in season and out of season; somebody had to find the money needed - and evidently has to keep everlastingly at it. By their sacrifice I found and have been helped to understand the philosophy. I feel compelled to do my part - which means all that I possibly can do - in any and every department of my Lodge activities; and that which presently am unable to do, I will set myself to learning with all my heart and energy”.

This, if carried out, is an exhibition of gratitude - is gratitude. This, too, is “devotion”; for like true gratitude, devotion is not an emotional affair at all. Nor does this student seek to develop special modes of service which are exclusively “his own”, and thus contract an aggravated case of “the itch for a following”. He works in the channels provided, which he has seen in his own  case were pure and true - right there in the ranks with his fellows: he works for others, with others.

Confidence in himself arises in the student who thus felt gratitude and transmuted the feeling into action. Confidence in others inevitably follows, for he has constituted himself a worker in the ranks of others who feel and work as he feels and works, animated by the same noblesse oblige, determined as he is determined, intelligently happy as he is intelligently happy. The principles of his nature have impelled him to engage in this glorious, unsought fight, in which only fortune’s favoured soldiers may engage, so he is happy because he is “natural” in the highest and deepest sense.

As he proceeds, confidence begets confidence: in himself, in his fellows, in humanity, in all Nature. In his thought, Masters are beginning to emerge as facts and not merely ideals. They are “inside” first, and then “outside”, and then everywhere, on all sides, in every phase of his changing days and years. “Full confidence” in Them is a matter of growth, a growing realization, confirmed bit by bit through experience, in inner intimate and subtle ways - ways that would present no proof whatever to another; but the feeling that accompanies these veiled inner events does - it is unmistakable. It is clear, unsullied, indescribably convincing.

The student is actually “crossing over” from his land of dream and fiction to Their Truth land. At the same time he is gaining “full confidence” in Them. The processes are one - not two, not separate. They are merely aspects of the same old eternal process, mentioned in the ancient writings (another confirmation of its reality), and called in the present teachings, “building antaskarana”. This is the meaning of the phrase that the student has “to become that Path himself”.  For how could he “cross over” if there were no “bridge” or “Path”? How could he build it, save with his own materials, since the “Path is within”? How could he find and transmute the materials, save for the fact that as an evolving human being he is in touch through his own instruments with every department of Nature? Thus does an understanding of the scientific teachings of the philosophy merge with the ethical and psychological. The veiled mysticism of the ancients proves true in the actual student-life of the observant and reverent man or woman of today.

“Full confidence”, then, is a growth - a growth through service - “without expectation and free from hope”. “The region of stern reality and fact” must necessarily be “Truth land”, because only the true is unchanging, and only the unchanging is real.

To reach it is not to “go” to any place - no change in locus; nor to attract the attention of our fellowmen - nor want to; certainly not to proclaim ourselves, directly nor indirectly. It is a different point of view, and intelligent action therefrom. The student life and the personal life are not separate.


On the role of the esoteric movement in the ethical awakening of mankind during the 21st century, see the book “The Fire and Light of Theosophical Literature”, by Carlos Cardoso Aveline.  

Published in 2013 by The Aquarian Theosophist, the volume has 255 pages and can be obtained through Amazon Books.

On Facebook, see the pages The Aquarian Theosophist  and  E-Theosophy.

In order to have access to a daily study of theosophy, visit the page of  E-Theosophy e-group in YahooGroups and join it directly from there.

The link to the e-group is - https://groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/E-Theosophy/info. You can also write to lutbr@terra.com.br and ask for information on E-Theosophy


11 September 2014


Selfless Sacrifice and the Law of Mutual Help

John Garrigues

John Garrigues (photo) was born on 12th September 1868. JG lived up to 24th May 1944.


Nourishing the Gods was first
published by “Theosophy” magazine at
Los Angeles, in the August 1921 edition, 
pp. 289-291. It had no indication as to the
author. A 2014 analysis of its contents and
style indicates it was written by J. Garrigues.

(C. C. A.)


It seems hopeless to try to elucidate much concerning the real and true meaning of sacrifice in a civilization so little ready to concede that sacrifice is one of the fundamental principles of Life itself.

To a people trammeled by the ideas of a personal God, the words of Krishna in the third chapter of the Bhagavad Gita read like mystical jargon, where He says:

“With this nourish the Gods that the Gods may nourish you; thus mutually nourishing ye shall obtain the highest felicity.”

For the question immediately arises: “why do the Gods need nourishment”, or, “how can Gods be fed by worship with sacrifice?”

If we would have an answer, we must first free ourselves from all ideas of a personal God, and take a wider view of the God, or Gods, of Great Nature.  All of the Secret Doctrine tends to impress the mighty idea that manifested, visible nature is impelled from within, outward, by almost endless hierarchies of sentient beings - Gods - we may call them, ranging from the highest Dhyan Chohan, down through the  lower deities, or devas, to elementals.  All forms of life are composed of elementals; all that we do is done by the aid of elementals; all that we think has its life through elementals, for every thought on leaving the mind coalesces with an elemental, informing it, and impressing it for either good or evil. The thinking of man, therefore, characterizes and sustains all nature in its present state; so, too, the entire host of lower elements attaches man to a body and material existence.

No form of life can exist without nourishment, and every form feeds some other. Each department of nature feeds a higher one. The mineral kingdom sacrifices itself to feed the vegetable; both, to feed the animal, and all are sacrificed to feed man. But in the process, each is raised to a higher state than it could attain without the sacrifice. The dull apathy of the mineral is aroused to fuller perception in the vegetable;  the vegetable awakens to heightened consciousness in the animal; and so on, each one by its own peculiar “worship with sacrifice” nourishing the next higher form of life, and being elevated and nourished in its own turn by the metempsychosis. But, since MAN lives upon the sacrifice of all the lower lives - for he cannot lift an arm, nor entertain a feeling, nor evolve a thought without their aid - what recompense is he making them? All these lives had in them the potentiality of becoming Souls in the far distant future, and man’s duty is to give the right impetus by which they may all at last reach his own estate. [1]

The maleficence of both plants and animals bears witness that man is far from accomplishing this great task; they have been fed by his iniquity and now groan in travail awaiting their redemption, which can come through him alone. Even vegetable nature has been so impoverished that it can no longer bring forth perfect foods for the body. This condition will last as long as man continues to stimulate the fertility of nature for his own greed and covetousness, instead of making the increase contribute to sweeter and saner living. The higher elementals needed for the production of such foods have long left the earth, there being no proper sustenance furnished them by man’s thinking.

As pure air is a necessary form of nourishment for our gross physical bodies, so pure thinking is necessary for the lives that constitute the finer bodies or essences of nature - man included. Whether the food be physical, psychical, mental, or spiritual - all is produced by the sensations, desires, thoughts, or will of man; and the “gods” composing these various bodies feed upon their own proper and corresponding kind. Of all these, Krishna says, He is the food and sacrificial butter.

If each of the lower kingdoms has sacrificed itself for the one above it, man surely should do no less, but worship with sacrifice the God within - the Atma-Buddhi-Manas, enshrined in his own flesh.

Without sacrifice there is no worship; and sacrifice may take many forms. First of all, the Higher Self must be provided with a physical instrument. H. P. Blavatsky has said that it is possible to procreate Buddha-like children, but whether we attract to ourselves pure or vicious souls depends on our will and action, that is, on the nature of the sacrifice. There are great and wise beings awaiting rebirth upon this planet, who can incarnate only in bodies corresponding to their exalted nature. To furnish pure vehicles for these Gnanis [2] of old requires on the part of parents the sacrifice of all selfish and sensual desires.

Having gained a body, the God within becomes the victim of the lower self. It is indeed the Lamb (type of the sacrificial Ego) slain from the foundation of the world. The imprisoned God hungers for righteousness and can be fed only by noble aspirations and right actions. Only as the mortal recognizes the indwelling Immortal and sacrifices all his sinful intentions to it, can this high God nourish him, thus bringing about the highest felicity. As man performs the proper sacrifices, the more advanced beings of the race sacrifice themselves for him. In fact, no human progress were possible did not these Great Ones leave their high estate and come among ordinary mortals, though but a few profit by the supreme renunciation. By their example and teaching they nourish those who sit starving for the bread of wisdom, the bread that feeds the shadow, and the eternal man as well.

So we come at last to see that all life is a reciprocal process of sacrifice and feeding - losing life, in order to gain it. Hence, he who enjoyeth what hath been given him by the gods, and offereth not a portion unto them, is even as a thief.


[1] Gratefulness and compassion for the lower kingdoms are the key to human evolution.  Human beings have a duty to love, preserve and protect the lowers kingdoms, in order to deserve and obtain contact with the divine world above them. (C.C.A.)

[2] Gnanis - wise souls. (C.C.A.)


See the text  “Life and Writings of John Garrigues”, by Carlos Cardoso Aveline, which is available at our associated websites.


On the role of the esoteric movement in the ethical awakening of mankind during the 21st century, see the book “The Fire and Light of Theosophical Literature”, by Carlos Cardoso Aveline.   

Published in 2013 by The Aquarian Theosophist, the volume has 255 pages and can be obtained through Amazon Books.

On Facebook, see the pages The Aquarian Theosophist  and  E-Theosophy.

In order to have access to a daily study of theosophy, visit the page of  E-Theosophy e-group in YahooGroups and join it directly from there.

The link to the e-group is - https://groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/E-Theosophy/info. You can also write to lutbr@terra.com.br and ask for information on E-Theosophy



A Poem on the Higher Ties that Conquer Death  

W. K.

The image by Claudia Tremblay means that one’s
higher self is forever young and it is a friend of the planet.


The following poem was first published
at “Lucifer” (a magazine whose name means
“Light-Bringer”, and which has been long
distorted by naïve churchmen). The verses appeared in its
May 1890 edition,  p. 227. Original title: “A Fragment”.


Friends all, nay, more than Friends,
Brothers and Sisters mine, who thus have held with me,
Through our brief span of Life;
Grieve not that we must part.

Once more my path lies through the Gates of Death;
Alone I pass, nor hold it sad to leave you thus,
Save that I know not how or when,
Our Friendship shall again be found.

Yet we shall once again clasp hand in hand,
And your glad recognition spring to know me still,
A Brother. Have we not often met
On this Earth’s changing scene?

And shall we not again be Friends and Brothers?
Each helping each on that long upward Path
Through many a day of Life,
Till Earthly Life be done.

Ah! - now my senses close,
But memory passes swiftly back;
I know you once again,
In Lives deep buried in the Past.

Yes! Now I know why I have loved you thus;
How helpful deeds in far back Lives,
Have bound us each to each,
With ties that conquer Death.

But more than all our Bond is this,
A mutual Vow, a Solemn Pledge,
Each to his Higher Self, and each to all,
In that Great Quest which still we hold.

Brothers - I see the Light …
Hold fast the Quest …
Once more we meet …

(W. K.)


On the role of the esoteric movement in the ethical awakening of mankind during the 21st century, see the book “The Fire and Light of Theosophical Literature”, by Carlos Cardoso Aveline.   

Published in 2013 by The Aquarian Theosophist, the volume has 255 pages and can be obtained through Amazon Books.

On Facebook, see the pages The Aquarian Theosophist  and  E-Theosophy.

In order to have access to a daily study of theosophy, visit the page of  E-Theosophy e-group in YahooGroups and join it directly from there.

The link to the e-group is - https://groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/E-Theosophy/info. You can also write to lutbr@terra.com.br and ask for information on E-Theosophy


10 September 2014


The Universal Wisdom Expressed In a Few Words

Helena P. Blavatsky

The Himalayas, in a painting by Nicholas Roerich


A 2014 Editorial Note:

In 1890, a compilation was published in
London of Eastern thoughts which had been
collected and written down by H. P. Blavatsky.
It presented one idea for each day of the year
and had the title “Gems From the East”. The
book is now part of volume XII in the “Collected
Writings” of H.P.B. The following axioms are a
selection from the months of June and July.

(Carlos Cardoso Aveline)


You cannot build a temple of
truth by hammering dead stones. Its
foundations must precipitate themselves
like crystals from the solution of life.

H. P. B.

* Judge the tree by its fruits, man by his deeds.

* Theosophy is not the acquirement of powers, whether psychic or intellectual, though both are its servants.

* Neither is Theosophy the pursuit of happiness, as men understand the word; for the first step is sacrifice, the second, renunciation.

* Life is built up by the sacrifice of the individual to the whole. Each cell in the living body must sacrifice itself to the perfection of the whole; when it is otherwise, disease and death enforce the lesson.

* Theosophy is the science of life, the art of living.

* Harmony is the law of life, discord its shadow; whence springs suffering, the teacher, the awakener of consciousness.

* Through joy and sorrow, pain and pleasure, the soul comes to a knowledge of itself.

* The eyes of wisdom are like the ocean depths; there is neither joy nor sorrow in them. Therefore the soul of the disciple must become stronger than joy, and greater than sorrow.

* We hate but those whom we envy or fear.

* Self-knowledge is unattainable by what men usually call “self-analysis”. It is not reached by reasoning or any brain-powers.

* Real self-knowledge is the awakening to consciousness of the divine nature of man.

* Will is the offspring of the Divine, the God in man; Desire, the motive power of the animal life.

* Will is the exclusive possession of man. It divides him from the brute, in whom instinctive desire only is active.

* To obtain the knowledge of self is a greater achievement than to command the elements or to know the future.

* Fear is the slave of Pain, and Rebellion her captive.

* Spirituality is not what we understand by the words “virtue” and “goodness”. It is the power of perceiving formless, spiritual essences.

* The discovery and right use of the true essence of Being - this is the whole secret of life.

* When desire is for the purely abstract- when it has lost all trace or tinge of “self” - then it has become pure.

* Adepts are rare as the blossom of the Udumbara tree. [1]

* Will and Desire are both absolute creators, forming the man himself and his surroundings.

* Will creates intelligently; Desire blindly and unconsciously.

* Man makes himself in the image of his desires, unless he creates himself in the likeness of the Divine, through his will, the child of the light.

* Theosophy is the vehicle of the spirit that giveth life; consequently, nothing dogmatic can be Theosophical.

* Some pluck the fruits of the tree of knowledge to crown themselves therewith, instead of plucking them to eat.

* It is not necessary for truth to put on boxing-gloves.

* You cannot build a temple of truth by hammering dead stones. Its foundations must precipitate themselves like crystals from the solution of life.

* When a certain point is reached, pain becomes its own anodyne.

* Many a man will follow a misleader. Few will recognize truth at a glance.

* Be persuaded that those things are not your riches which you do not possess in the penetralia of the reasoning power.

* No one is free who has not obtained the empire of himself.

* It is excellent to impede an unjust man; but if this be not possible, it is excellent not to act in conjunction with him.

* Sin should be abstained from, not through fear, but for the sake of the becoming.

* Vehement desires about any one thing render the soul blind with respect to other things.

* Many men who have not learnt to argue rationally, still live according to reason.

* The equal is beautiful in everything, but excess and defect do not appear so.

* It is the property of a divine intellect to be always intently thinking about the beautiful.

* As two pieces of wood may come together in the ocean, and having met, may separate again; like this is the meeting of mortals.

* Youth is like a mountain-torrent; wealth is like the dust on one’s feet; manhood is fugitive as a water-drop; life is like foam.

* Who fulfills not duty with steadfast mind, duty which opens the portals of bliss, surprised by old age and remorse, he is burned by the fire of grief.

* Who performs a right action, free from impurity, the house of that man is a forest hermitage.

* As the streams of a river flow on, and return not, so pass away the days and nights, taking away the lives of men.

* Let the wise think on wisdom as unfading and immortal; let him fulfill his duty as though Death grasped him by the hair.

* The sage does not say what he does; but he does nothing that cannot be said.

* The heart of the fool is in his tongue; the tongue of the wise is in his heart.

* The wise man does good as naturally as he breathes.


[1] Adepts are sages who transcended the present human realm. The Udumbara tree (fícus glomerata) gives fruit with intervals of many centuries.  (C. C. A.)


On the role of the esoteric movement in the ethical awakening of mankind during the 21st century, see the book “The Fire and Light of Theosophical Literature”, by Carlos Cardoso Aveline. 

Published in 2013 by The Aquarian Theosophist, the volume has 255 pages and can be obtained through Amazon Books.

On Facebook, see the pages The Aquarian Theosophist  and  E-Theosophy.

In order to have access to a daily study of theosophy, visit the page of  E-Theosophy e-group in YahooGroups and join it directly from there.

The link to the e-group is - https://groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/E-Theosophy/info. You can also write to   lutbr@terra.com.br  and ask for information on E-Theosophy