31 March 2015


The Blue Planet Teaches Unity
With All, But It Also Produces Illusions

Carlos Cardoso Aveline

Life is like a sphinx. It confronts us with a challenging riddle and a dilemma:

Answer me, or I will devour you.

Perplexed before the unknown, we seek to expand our understanding. It is inevitable to transcend the old small world which we are attached to.  It is also desirable. Yet the mystery of the Universe - astrologically associated with the planet Neptune - must be unriddled with common sense and moderation, while we avoid falling into traps.

The search for happiness is a mathematical equation to be solved. To correctly live every moment and to recognize the presence of sacredness in daily events are two factors which produce peace. In order for us not to be devoured by routine, it is enough to have a clear and altruistic goal in our lives; to concentrate on it; to believe in ourselves - and to develop full attention. 

Each circumstance contains lessons which help us get rid of ignorance. Instead of trying to dominate others, the correct thing to do is to observe every event as part of a riddle we must solve. Three steps are useful in this task:  

1) To look at reality from the point of view of a transcending and lasting victory, because optimism is the fuel of life;

2) To identify, understand and abandon habits and psychological mechanisms which cause suffering to ourselves or to other people;

3) To use the available energy in those actions which produce an expansion of consciousness, inner well-being and stability.

The Blue Giant

Happiness is the common goal to individuals and societies, but it is not always sought in wise ways. As a result of unintelligent manners to seek for satisfaction, one can see today many a sign of decadence, both cultural and moral.  

Millions of people find it difficult to combine in a correct way two essential factors in human life: stability and transcendence. If stability is a lesson from Saturn, transcendence is something we must learn from Neptune, one of the most distant planets in our solar system.

Travelling since almost incalculable ages at a distance of more than four billion kilometers from the Sun, Neptune is a giant if compared to Earth. It is covered by clouds of frozen methane which move around the planet in speeds of up to 2,000 kilometers an hour. It possesses four rings and 13 known Moons. Its biggest Moon is Triton, which moves in the direction opposite to all the other satellites.     

The climate and weather in Neptune are not fine to our humanity. Compared to the Earth, the blue gaseous which stimulates universal compassion receives 900 times less energy from the Sun. This frozen celestial body has a rotational conglomerate of tempests whose size is similar to the planet Earth, and which slowly moves in the anticlockwise direction, leaving behind a vast trail of clouds.

In spite of appearances, Neptune is not quite one of our local planets. Helena Blavatsky wrote that its connection to our solar system is illusory.[1] Dane Rudhyar, an astrologer who studied Blavatsky, considers it an ambassador to our solar community. Neptune represents and brings to us the cosmic energy of the Milky Way: hence its unfathomable character. On the lower levels of consciousness, its mysterious aspects can be seen as mischievous. On the level of the heart, the blessing flows.  

Blavatsky wrote in several occasions about sources of human inspiration which are far away from our solar system, among them the Pleiades.[2] Although Neptune is near to us, it has much of the outer Cosmos. Since it does not entirely belong to our local system, it brings to us information about transcendence and the infinite.

Different celestial bodies have influence over various aspects of life. While the Moon regulates the cycles of our planet which determine ocean tides, agricultural harvests and the evolution of emotional states, Neptune inspires and directs in human beings the need for a transcendent union with the Cosmos as a whole. It stimulates the feeling of an eternal, silent unity with Life unlimited. Together with Jupiter, the blue giant is co-regent of Pisces, the most mystical and the last sign of the Zodiac. Pisces symbolizes the culmination of the evolutionary journey and the occult identity of each individual soul with the cosmic ocean.

Although all beings search for transcendence in one way or another, those who live under a strong Neptunian influence experience it with more intensity. And this is not always done with wisdom and discernment. The Neptunian search for transcendence can become a trap, as in the cases of drug-addiction, alcoholism and other forms of exaggeration and dependence.

The Need for Discernment

The universe is a large family. Every healthy human being has a spiritual relation to planets and stars. The energy of transcendence is situated in a strategic place in his soul. The way the individual manages such an energy in his daily life, however, depends on his talent to live correctly. Transcendence can liberate a human being from his limitations and make him happy. It can also cause confusion and make it impossible for him to see anything in a clear way.

Individual life must maintain a balance between stability and transcendence. The two things are necessary. If someone is too attached to routine, an illness can be the natural instrument to make him recover his contact with the infinite. Death and other forms of loss are passports to transcendence, when common sense is abandoned.

If a society falls victim of materialism and forgets ethical values, then a social disease emerges which forces it to re-examine its basic assumptions and re-establish its commitment with the progress of human soul.  Violence, drug-addiction, alcoholism, the exaggeration and commercial exploitation of sex and the lack of ethics in politics, all result from the wrongly managed impulse to transcend, which comes from Neptune. Its distortion threatens the nations which forget their true goals. And the destruction of a nation is first moral, then physical.  

The Drug-Addiction Trap

The conventional strategies adopted by political leaders to fight the problem of drug-addiction have had poor results, because politicians prefer not to see the wider context of challenges like alcoholism and the abuse of drugs.  

Many a political leader uses drugs in the first place. Drug cartels are often influential in the political world and operate with huge amounts of money. They have more than one friend in the banking system, and they finance political campaigns.

One must also acknowledge the fact that fighting the use of drugs is fighting an effect. It is useful. However, unless one fights the causes of drug-addiction, one’s effort is condemned to play the role of an aspirin: it fights the fever, and does not eliminate the sickness. It prevents the worst, and cannot win the struggle. 

The temptation to use psychotropic drugs is created in the minds of millions of people by the fact that psychoactive drugs seem to cancel in the consciousness of the user the immediate practical effects of the Law of Karma and the limitations that he must face as a citizen.

The appearance of transcendence is only a trap. The drug-addiction puts the individual into a prison and disconnects him from the natural rhythms of life. Through it he acts with violence against his own organism. The use of psychoactive drugs steals from him common sense; it destroys lucidity and prevents the correct work and coordination of his five senses.

Defeated by the false transcendence caused by the drugs, the individual gets stuck into a subtle underworld in which he loses the notion of limits, and deludes himself in the belief that this is a form of freedom.

The loss of his ability to see limits in life is a hallucinatory form of anesthesia. The truth-seeker who has correct information about the Path feels deep respect for the limits of life in the outer realms of reality. He transcends them in peace and in a balanced way. He expands his consciousness while preserving a thorough and accurate perception of the lower levels of life, which he observes with detachment.

The citizen who has common sense develops a clear project regarding his future. Instead of trying to escape from an unpleasant reality, he gradually builds the reality he would like to see. He does that in harmony with the law of karma. He humbly obeys the law. He knows it is necessary to sow, before harvesting. Many are not so blessed.

Millions of people have no clear goal in life and get vulnerable to drug-addiction and other harmful forms of wasting time. A few examples among many are the addiction to “journalistic” news about a thousand different subjects; dependence on futile information about the “personal lives of famous people”, about football championships or the excessive use of television in general.

Dispelling Hypnotisms, Seeing the Whole

Both TV-centered domination of minds and drug trafficking serve the power schemes of materialistic civilization. These two mechanisms attack the creative potentialities of younger generations. False transcendence makes it impossible for them to deeply question reality and largely erase from their minds the ability to change the world for the better.

Individuals who have definite and noble goals in their lives are dangerous from the point of view of those who manipulate psychological games of power. They reject blind obedience to the god Money. They do not believe in the God of Appearances and Personal Comfort.  From the point of view of organized mediocrity, every idealist is a troublemaker.

New generations can and must avoid the drug-addiction trap.  It is up to young people to discover the power of self-respect and respect for life, and to adopt and manage the non-violent force of universal wisdom: according to Theosophy, the whole Nature is sacred, and the true meaning of life is transcendent.  The author and psychotherapist Viktor Frankl wrote that “the drug scene is one aspect of a more general mass phenomenon, namely the feeling of meaninglessness resulting from a frustration of our existential needs which in turn has become a universal phenomenon in our industrial societies.” [3]

The Western society lives many a dilemma. The good news is that human beings are expanding the use of the right-side hemisphere in their brains and learning to see life from integrative points of view.

It is ineffective to try to solve challenges as if they were isolated and disconnected from one another.  Directly or indirectly, each problem affects all the others.  Viktor Frankl demonstrated in his books that conflicts among human beings take place when no common goal is shared by them. Disharmony does not disappear because an authority represses it, but after someone shows or proposes a common goal that is recognized as important by most members of the community.

The Aquarius Age has started. The Neptunian dream of universal brotherhood, which inspired Pisces Age, is being liberated from a chain of misunderstandings and making progress towards its gradual fulfilment. [4] Old collective hypnotisms are destroyed. Yet there is a gap that needs to be neutralized. The large scale power structures which lead the economic and political operations of our mankind are still working in the old ways.

One of the characteristics of the old Pisces age is the divorce between dream and reality, and between the sky and the earth, human being and natural environment, poor and rich, speech and action.  An example of the grandiosity and misery of Pisces Age is the glorious discovery of the Americas, followed by the insane genocide of millions of slaves and indigenous nations, in the name of “God” and “Christ”.

The citizen of the 21st century still carries in his karma the signs of the Pisces Age. He wants to transcend mere materiality and is not mature enough. His dreams are vague. Many of his attempts to elevate himself only plunge him in a deeper confusion and materiality. It is the time now to awaken from such a difficulty.

The Revolution in One’s Soul

Since the 18th century a series of social revolutions were made aiming at the establishment of a universal brotherhood among all human beings. Their failures were not complete. The French Revolution made the universal proclamation of human rights. A much more effective revolution brought political independence to North America.  In the 19th century, Marxism inspired socialist revolutions in Russia, China and Cuba. The Second World War brought a stronger understanding about the importance of democratic values, human rights and peace. The Cold War (1946-1985) showed we can’t afford a large scale nuclear war.

The majority of revolutionary attempts was inspired by Neptunian dreams of solidarity and equality. With a few exceptions, they ended up causing utter frustration. Yet even by stumbling one can go ahead. Little by little an international community emerged. 

Due in part to the global spreading of means of communication, we are one step away from eliminating the barriers among nations, as proposed by the Neptunian visionaries of every country.  This is the Dharma or Duty of the Aquarian Age. The pacification of human soul liberates the energy of brotherhood.  The transcendent forces of the giant Neptune are getting stronger every day in human heart. If they sometimes manifest themselves in destructive ways, it is important to remember that it is not enough to repress destructive dreams.  One must, above all, use the creative energy of transcendence in correct ways, so that it can produce good things and reduce the ignorance which causes pain in human soul. The true revolution is not material. It does not depend on political parties. It happens in one’s own consciousness and helps enlighten the world around.   

The basic human need of transcendence expresses itself through the feeling of love and the ability to be creative. You transcend your personal limitations as you understand you are part of a larger environment: your family, your community, your job, your ideals, the whole universe.

To live the transcendence is to be everything and to be nothing at the same time. It means not having a frozen image of oneself, or the others. It teaches us the art of silence, and of plenitude.

One can live transcendence looking at the sunrise, taking a deep breath, studying classical theosophy, taking a meditative walk, fulfilling one’s duty in every department of life or helping an altruistic Cause. He who transcends is in search of that “power which makes him appear as nothing” in the eyes of others.[5] To transcend is to be happy right now, without imposing any previous conditions.  

Someone could argue:  

“If you had half the problems I have, like raising children and working 12 hours a day in order to make ends meet, you would see that I have not the time and the tranquillity necessary to seek for transcendence.”

And I would say:


Difficult circumstances often force us to question the limits of established realities, and to transcend them.

Psychologist Viktor Frankl lost his brother, his father, his mother and his wife in Nazi concentration camps, where he also lived for various years. It was precisely in a concentration camp, while the chances grew stronger every day that he would be sent to death in a gas chamber due to his physical debility, that Frankl discovered the starting point from which he would create, years later, his own school of psychological thought. The central idea was that, once an individual adopts a personal goal which is larger than his own life, he gains access to an unlimited amount of transcendent energy. And this elastic force makes him superior to any outward obstacles.

The Psychology of Universal Love

When nothing was left any longer to Frankl as a source of hope or victory, he decided to live for his wife.

Her image in his memory made it possible for him to transcend and become larger than the forces which pulled him down and invited him to accept the idea of dying in that concentration camp. One day, as Frankl staggered along his way, he started talking in his mind to the woman he loved.

“I asked her questions, and she answered; she questioned me in return, and I answered.” 

The living unity of the two went on. While the physical and verbal aggression of Nazi guards proceeded against the prisoners, Frankl realized that something had lost its importance:

“I didn’t even know if she was still alive. I knew only one thing - which I have learned well by now: love goes very far beyond the physical person of the beloved. (…) I did not know whether my wife was alive, and I had no means of finding out (during all my prison life there was no outgoing or incoming mail); but at that moment it ceased to matter. There was no need for me to know; nothing could touch the strength of my love, my thoughts, and the image of my beloved. Had I known then that my wife was dead, I think that I would still have given myself, undisturbed by that knowledge, to the contemplation of her image, and that my mental conversation with her would have been just as vivid and just as satisfying. ‘Set me like a seal upon thy heart, love is as strong as death’.” [6]

The Journey From Pain to Victory

Viktor Frankl founded the logotherapy after the war and based his work in accepting the existence of a tragic triad in life: pain, guilt, and death.  By doing this, he  acknowledged in his own way the first noble truth of Buddhism, Dukkha. As an alternative to the threefold suffering he saw in life, Frankl recommended a “tragic optimism” and a three-point strategy:

1) To turn pain into victory and inner growth;

2) Transforming guilt into an opportunity to change oneself for the better;

3) Seeing the transitoriness of life as an incentive to act in a responsible way. [7]

Frankl said that an effective recipe to overcome difficulties and transcend materiality consists in living for something we love unconditionally. In this he coincided with the highest Neptunian teaching, which consists of universal, boundless love, accompanied by self-sacrifice. 

Unlike other schools of psychological thought, logotherapy does not lose too much time with the vicious circles of self-centered thoughts. It aims at going beyond egocentrism through self-transcendence.  One should concentrate and organize his life around that which one wants to do in the future and which one chooses as his special goal and mission.

As optimism corresponds to the lessons coming from Jupiter, the fulfilment of one’s duty relates to the wisdom from Saturn. The “tragic optimism” combines both factors and makes transcendence possible in the daily life. A sage once said: “As we see the divine world, the rest loses its importance.”

The way to avoid being devoured by the sphinx of life’s mystery is to decipher it. 

This can be done by transcending the charming prison of short term facts. When the personal horizons expand, immediate actions are performed to attain an enduring and long-term goal, and we can see the radiant presence of sacredness, in ourselves and in all life. 


[1] “The Secret Doctrine”, H. P. Blavatsky, Theosophy Co., Los Angeles, volume I, p. 102.  See also “Collected Writings of H. P. Blavatsky”, TPH, USA, vol. XII, p. 292.

[2] “The Secret Doctrine”, H. P. Blavatsky, Theosophy Co., vol. II, p. 551.

[3] “Man’s Search for Meaning”, Viktor E. Frankl, Rider Publishing, London-Sidney-Auckland-Johannesburg, 2004, 148 pp., see p. 113.

[4] On the beginning of the Aquarius Age, see the article “The Theosophical Movement, 1875-2075”, by Carlos Cardoso Aveline. This chapter of his book “The Fire and Light of Theosophical Literature” is available at  www.TheosophyOnline.com  and its associated websites. 

[5] See rule 16, in “Light on the Path”, Theosophy Co., India, 2008, Part I, p. 4.  

[6] “Man’s Search for Meaning”, Viktor E. Frankl, Rider Publishing, London-Sidney-Auckland-Johannesburg, 2004, 148 pp., see p. 31. The verse Frankl quotes is from the Song of Solomon or “Song of Songs”, 8:6.

[7] “Man’s Search for Meaning”, Viktor E. Frankl, Rider Publishing, London-Sidney-Auckland-Johannesburg, 2004, 148 pp., see p. 111.


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,   Helena Blavatsky 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


26 March 2015


Upon Awakening in the Morning, Our First
Thoughts Reorganize and Activate Our Personal Aura

Carlos Cardoso Aveline


“Do not act as if you had ten
thousand years to throw away.”

Helena P. Blavatsky
(Collected Writings, TPH, vol. XII, p. 476)

The way one inaugurates each new day is important, because the start of anything decisively influences all that comes afterwards. The first step contains the whole journey, for it defines the vibration pattern which will be followed.

Each period of twenty-four hours is a miniature of one’s present incarnation. One day also contains the eternity: the infinite is somehow present in it.  

As a student of philosophy awakens, his mind cannot be left adrift as if it were an airport windsock, freely oscillating according to the changing wind of novelties. Thought-consciousness must be put in action as a practical instrument, used and directed by one’s voluntary consciousness.

The mind is not our teacher: it is our tool. It must be stronger than the emotional winds or the tides of physical facts, and this can be established as a fact in the morning. To wake up early is better. At evening, lighter and easier tasks should be done. It is correct to follow the rhythms of Nature.

The magnetism of sunrise is full of vitality and highly favourable to the student of esoteric philosophy. It is correct for him to open the day by placing his mind, emotions and the bodily system in line with the most elevated aspects of his life.

Five to 15 minutes of moderate gymnastics, made while he concentrates the thought in abstract goals, are generally enough to provoke an inner alignment. [1]

Upon awakening, the first words in our minds must be a definite and conscious vow that in the coming hours we will act in correct ways, with noble goals and methods, avoiding waste of time and with a balanced and optimistic attitude. 

Each individual must freely choose or build the best ideas with which to open his day, according to his temperament and evolutionary needs, and taking in consideration the moment he is living. The main goal is to put the mind in an intensified relation to the ideal of human perfection and to noble goals. This will activate and strengthen antahkarana, the bridge between his mortal soul and his immortal spirit.

An article at “The Theosophical Movement” magazine says: 

“We are advised to begin our day by thinking of Great Beings and the virtues they embodied. They are called Pratah Smaraniya or those who must be remembered every morning. We may think of Buddha, Jesus, Krishna, in the Mahatmas, Sages and Seers, and we might add to this list the names of great Theosophists like H. P. Blavatsky and W. Q. Judge. Though almost every day we contact their real being and their minds, through the teachings they have left behind, reflection upon their life and work inspires and spurs us on, bringing alive the virtues of forgiveness, patience, perseverance, one-pointed devotion, compassion (…).”[2]  

When we awaken having the image and the feeling of a dream, it is worthwhile to identify the result, the lesson, and the insight corresponding to the dreaming activity. One can recover larger fragments of dreams by remaining motionless in the moment one awakens. It is a waste of time to put too much attention in theoretical interpretations.

After interacting with the dream, the leading thoughts for the new day should be strongly impressed in one’s mind, establishing the foundations of a bright and productive day. The positive ideas recorded in our brain and in our physical and emotional system will form our aura for the new day. 

To awaken is to reoccupy our physical body after being absent from it during several hours. Our personal aura is reorganized and put to work on the basis of the first gestures, thoughts, feelings and intentions. We thus build a special atmosphere which will be operating during all the cycle of 24 hours and will influence even the quality of the sleep at the end of the journey.


[1] Slow or motionless abdominal exercises have direct effects on the emotional system and pave the way to serenity. To raise the head and shoulders and keep them upwards while lying down on stomach stimulates a sense of peace and self-confidence. The exercises can be made two or three times, one minute each time. Moderation is of the essence. In any comfortable position, even while standing up with open eyes, to keep the whole body absolutely still for one minute or so liberates one from automatisms and strengthens his will. These physical practices must be accompanied by the decided sowing of the ideas one wants to guide and inspire his day. Incorrect ideas must be replaced by correct ones.

[2] These are the opening lines of the anonymous article “W.Q.J. - Greatest of the Exiles”. The  text was published in the magazine “The Theosophical Movement”, Mumbai, India, March 2007 edition, p. 163.


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,   Helena Blavatsky 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


23 March 2015


The opening thought says:      

“Right contemplation paves the way to effective action.”

On page one, a special topic as the Sun crosses Aries in the sky: “Right Action While Facing Challenges: How to Fight Conscious Falsehood”.

On pages 2-3, “Question and Commentary: Whether the Blessings Of Devachan Are Mayavic”. 

On pages 4-8 the reader has “The Classic Text Karma, With Notes”. Its subtitle is “The Seeds of Mabel Collins’ Failure Can Be Seen In Her Book Light on the Path”. The notes to the text are based on H.P.B.’s warning about the dangers present in “Light on the Path”.

Other topics in the March “Aquarian” include:

* The Hidden Aspect of Manifestation;

* Inner Transmutation, the Path Leading From Desire to Bliss;

* Jonathan Sacks: Avoiding the Clash of Civilizations;

* Beyond the Paralysis of the Soul;

* The Good Karma of Pure Light;

* Healing the Souls of Politicians;

* The Seven-Day Cycle: Our Week And The Solar System; and finally

* Thoughts Along the Road: Observing the Sacredness of Life.

The 19 pp. edition concludes with the  List of New Texts in our websites.


You can find the entire collection of The Aquarian Theosophist” at  www.TheosophyOnline.com.


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


22 March 2015


How the Birth of Ethics Leads to Discernment

Carlos Cardoso Aveline


Written down by Ms. Mabel Collins, with commentaries made in some cases by an Initiate, the book “Light on the Path” is one of the greatest among theosophical classics. 

The rules and axioms of this small volume have been studied since remote ages by those who try to live according to the Esoteric Wisdom of the East. On the other hand, there are a number of commentaries in the volume which were written by Ms. Collins and transmit false ideas. These passages present decisive tests to the discernment of readers. They result from causes which can be now easily investigated. 

Due to the probations and tests faced by theosophists during the 19th century, Ms. Mabel Collins lost her sense of ethics and common sense soon after the publication of “Light on the Path”. The mistakes she then made for lack of respect for truth were already present as seeds, and on an abstract plane, in her approach to the law of karma and her view of the theosophical philosophy, as one can see in her commentaries to the rules in “Light on the Path” and in the final essay of the volume, “Karma”. 

The fact that all of the book’s material was published while Helena Blavatsky lived is no guarantee of an absence of mistakes. There is no “infallibility” in esotericism. All things human must be unceasingly improved. 

As an editor, H. P. Blavatsky was extremely tolerant and made mistakes for being less severe than she ought to. A short time before dying, H.P.B. received letters of warning from her Master and made a harsh self-criticism in correspondence sent to her friends.[1] H.P.B. realized in 1889 and 1890 that she had underestimated the deficit of ethical feelings and love to self-discipline among the majority of her students. She had been too optimistic regarding the awakening of wisdom in human soul. 

Since then, H.P.B. started strengthening the ethical aspect of her teachings and added special intensity to the issue of self-discipline. On 26 April 1890, she wrote in her third message to the North-American theosophists:

“What I said last year remains true today, that is, that the Ethics of Theosophy are more important than any divulgement of psychic laws and facts. The latter relate wholly to the material and evanescent part of the septenary man, but the Ethics sink into and take hold of the real man - the reincarnating Ego.” [2] 

Mabel Collins’ Mistakes in “Light on the Path”

“Light on the Path” was first published in 1885, some five years before H.P. Blavatsky’s pedagogical self-criticism.  

An examination of the book shows that Mabel Collins did not see Ethics as a decisive factor in theosophy. Some of her gravest mistakes are in the final essay, entitled “Karma”. 

The illusion according to which immortal sages are “above” or “outside” the Law of Karma is a trap and opens the door to spiritual defeat. 

The Teachers and Initiates are servers who know, live and exemplify the Law. There is nothing outside the Law in the Universe, and there never was. Each deviation will have to be compensated. Each mistake will be corrected. The One Law regulates everything taking place during the periods of manifestation of the Universe, the Manvantaras; the same Law regulates every aspect of the periods of rest in the Cosmos, its Pralayas. Therefore no defeat is permanent. 

At each failure, new attempts must be made until victory takes place, little by little. From a theosophical point of view, the learning of one’s soul includes many incarnations. Unlike superstitious religions, there is nothing similar to an “eternal condemnation” in theosophy.

Fear from defeat is an obstacle in itself, when it paralyses the truth seeker. Confidence is a virtue, when caution and prudence are not abandoned. The two most important factors in a pilgrimage are the adoption of a noble goal and the courage to unceasingly try one’s best. Failures indicate mistakes to be corrected in the future. Mabel Collins’ contribution to the theosophical Cause will last, while her personal defeat will be overcome and give way to wisdom. 

The failure of a number of students and disciples during the first years of the theosophical movement - in the 19th century - must be looked at from at least two main viewpoints. One of them reveals the mistakes made by the aspirants to discipleship. The illusions which defeated them must be avoided by 21st century students. The other point of view invites us to evaluate the method used in teaching. As we mentioned above, the limitations of HPB’s pedagogical practice as a teacher led her to make a severe self-criticism. This took place one year after Mabel Collins’ crisis regarding the theosophical movement. On the occasion, H. P. Blavatsky had to deal with the defeat of several others, among her co-workers and students. 

The teacher who expects too much from students leads them to failure. 

The teachings must be transmitted in a rhythm and in a way which reduce as much as possible the danger of a failure on the part of the student. During pioneer efforts, an extraordinary amount of rigour may be historically unavoidable. As time passes, the pedagogical effort can better calculate the effects of its action regarding the pupils. Expectations get to be more realistic, and the teaching is transmitted in a slower way. In teaching, preference is given to that which students can absorb on the basis of a stable practice of Ethics, inseparable from a direct understanding of the abstract universal laws and their dynamics in daily life. 

During the 21st century, the esoteric movement must learn from HPB’s self-criticism and adapt its view of discipleship. That which is simple can be profound. Topics that are unnecessarily complicated often become superficial. It is correct to build an approach to theosophy that is simple in its operational aspects, and whose complexity remains invisible in normal conditions. 

Discipleship has always occurred in widely implicit ways, and trying to “organize” it in too detailed ways through material and institutional structures would provoke problems that are hard to solve in the present phase of human evolution. 

“Light on the Path” and “The Voice of the Silence”

In the first paragraph of the Preface to “The Voice of the Silence”, H.P. Blavatsky writes:

“The following pages are derived from The Book of the Golden Precepts, one of the works put into the hands of mystic students in the East. The knowledge of them is obligatory in that School, the teachings of which are accepted by many Theosophists. Therefore, as I know many of these Precepts by heart, the work of translating has been relatively an easy task for me.” [3]

The main source of Mabel Collins’ book “Light on the Path” is the same “Book of the Golden Precepts”, which has never been known to the wider public. The similarity between the teachings of “Light on the Path” and “The Voice of the Silence” is great. In the first lines of “Light on the Path” we see these axioms:

“Before the eyes can see, they must be incapable of tears. Before the ear can hear, it must have lost its sensitiveness. Before the voice can speak in the presence of the Masters it must have lost the power to wound. Before the soul can stand in the presence of the Masters its feet must be washed in the blood of the heart.” [4]

And we find the following words in the first paragraphs of “The Voice of the Silence”:

“Before the Soul can see, the Harmony within must be attained, and fleshly eyes be rendered blind to all illusion. Before the Soul can hear, the image (man) has to become as deaf to roarings as to whispers, to cries of bellowing elephants as to the silvery buzzing of the golden fire-fly. Before the Soul can comprehend and may remember, she must unto the Silent Speaker be united ….” [5]

The similitude does not occur by chance. In an article included in the “Collected Writings”, H.P. Blavatsky herself says that part of the aphorisms in “Light on the Path” come from the same source of “The Voice of the Silence”. She writes that axioms like Before the voice can speak in the presence of the Masters it must have lost it power to wound” and other sentences are “as old as the Book the Golden Precepts, from which they radiated (… ) into Light on the Path”. [6] 

Although these two works have much in common, there are various significant differences between them. 

“Light on the Path” results from the cooperation of a Greek high Initiate with a student from a Western country. Its language is easier to understand for readers of the West. “The Voice of the Silence” was written by an Initiate Disciple, and much more advanced than Mabel Collins. “The Voice of the Silence” is a totally Eastern work and more challenging to the reader. In it, Helena Blavatsky pays less attention to the specific psychological complexities which seem to be so important to Western souls. 

The Lesson Present in the Traps

H. P. Blavatsky mentioned the mistakes made by M. Collins in a letter published in 1889. She wrote that “the lustre of that priceless little jewel, Light on the Path, is henceforth dimmed by a great black stain that nothing can wash out.” [7]

In the same year, in a personal letter to a theosophist named John Ransom Bridge, HPB considered “insidious” and “dangerous” the rule number 20 of the book.[8] She added that only “the main body” of the volume was dictated by a true Adept, and the rest was “added from the inner consciousness of Miss Mabel Collins”. 

On other occasions, HPB informed that the Adept was not a Master [9], nor a Mahatma.[10] There is public evidence that the name he used in the 19th century was Illarion [11], also spelled as Hilarion, and that he was Greek.[12] 

Rule I-20 in “The Light on the Path”

There are two “rules number 20” in “Light on the Path”: one belongs to the first series of rules, the other to the second. HPB does not clarify to which part of the book she refers. Rule 20 in the second series has one sentence only. Its idea does not seem to be ethically questionable and it is not commented by M. Collins. We must infer that HPB questioned rule 20 of the first series, which is long, complex, and was commented by M. Collins. 

HPB added that rule 20 has an “Occult venom”, and a “close relationship to Tantrika Black Magic”. However, it is not easy to find “venom” on rule I-20. By mentioning this harmless part of the book, HPB may have wanted to say to her correspondent that the book had serious occult problems, without specifically revealing them or dwelling on them. 

This is likely because on occasions when HPB could not speak openly, she would often write enigmatic sentences as the ones used in this case. She thus caused a certain perplexity which could lead people to investigate in the right direction and discover facts on their own merit. 

A critical examination of rule I-20 shows that its text does not make the fact clear enough that a total renunciation is necessary in one’s lower self. However, this is a minor error if one examines the book as a whole. 

A sentence can be seen as dangerous in rule I-20 of “Light on the Path”. Referring to the Path, it says: “Seek it by testing all experience”. 

However, the real meaning of the axiom is: “Seek [the path] by seeing as a test each experience you have in life”. And this idea is correct. 

One should also examine the following question: 

“What kind of ‘experience’ must the pilgrim accept and undergo in his life?”

This will depend on his main  intention in  life and the intentions  of his emotional being. Every pilgrim who dedicates  himself to a noble cause soon  realizes that inner purification is unavoidable.[13] 

Rule I-20 contains warnings about the need to lead a pure life. Various ideas in the rule and in the commentary to it are useful and profound. While looking at these lines, however, HPB may have seen the confused mental state of Mabel Collins, who wrote them down. This fragment of the book does not have a necessarily venomous effect to all readers. Each one must observe it with independence and take into consideration the different factors involved. 

While a number of ethical mistakes can be seen in the book and must be identified in public, HPB recognized in more than one occasion the great value of the work. “Light on the Path” is a classic text and belongs in the library of every student of esoteric philosophy, including newcomers and experienced learners. The failings of the book exemplify the need to avoid blind belief: the truth-seeker must think by himself. 

Although Mabel Collins cooperated with an Adept, she did not have solid foundations in her life. Her defeat as a disciple is a sign of alert about the need to constantly re-examine the firmness (or otherwise) of the ground on which we walk. Only altruism is stable. An effective progress along the way to wisdom must be obtained by our own merit, while we work with a feeling of unconditional love for truth and in close cooperation with other good-willing individuals. 

Life obeys to the Law of symmetry and justice. It is by helping those who may know less, that a pilgrim starts receiving the help - perhaps invisible - of Those who know more than he does. 

Intelligence is Impartial

In the Note to item 10 of the second series of rules, “Light on the Path” presents an idea which deserves special attention:

“Intelligence is impartial: no man is your enemy: no man is your friend. All alike are your teachers.”

Such an axiom must be correctly understood, as one perseveres in the spiritual effort, so as to avoid naïve ideas about the mutual help process among companions, or about one’s family relations. [14] 

The community of students must establish a harmony as strong as possible, and a complete cooperation as long as karma allows it to. The same challenge operates in the universe of family relations. Life flows according to the law of symmetry. At each step along the road to sacredness, the student has to take one step away from the world of personal interests. His decision to look for the best will be tested in several painful and unexpected ways. This results from the action of the impersonal forces which fight the divine world. 

Although the search for lay discipleship is only a preliminary preparation for a more advanced learning, it contains in itself, in small scale, the main elements of the future. Hence the decisive importance of thinking about discipleship, as one studies theosophy. 

The Law of Symmetry is the law of karma and regulates discipleship. [15] The Mahatma Letters show that anti-spiritual energies are consciously used by Eastern Esoteric sages in order to avoid the premature or unstable progress of their students. On Letter 30, one Master says that some “dugpas” (anti-evolutionary, anti-ethical sorcerers) receive “carte blanche” from the magicians of goodness and altruism to test in cruel ways the “chelas” or disciples of divine wisdom. 

This takes place, says the teacher, for some time and “with the sole object of drawing out the whole inner nature of the chela, most of the nooks and corners of which, would remain dark and concealed for ever, were not an opportunity afforded to test each of these corners in turn.” And the Mahatma adds: “Whether the chela wins or loses the prize - depends solely of himself.” [16]

There are no specific forewarnings for tests and traps emerging along the path. They appear in unexpected ways, often in the student’s most intimate relationships, and when inner affinity is the greatest. They come through family and in the interaction with companions along the spiritual road. The history of the theosophical movement gives us countless examples of the fact. 

Each student must remember, therefore, that supreme intelligence is impartial: nobody is his friend, in the conventional sense of the word; and nobody is his enemy. Everyone is his teacher. 


[1] See the text “Helena Blavatsky’s Self-Criticism” by Carlos Cardoso Aveline. The article is published in www.TheosophyOnline.com and its associated websites.

[2] “Five Messages”, H. P. Blavatsky, Theosophy Co., Los Angeles, 1922, 32 pp., see p. 26. The booklet is available at www.TheosophyOnline.com and www.FilosofiaEsoterica.com .

[3] “The Voice of the Silence”, translated and annotated by H.P.B., Theosophy Company, Los Angeles, 1987, 110 pp., p. i.

[4] “Light on the Path”, M.C., Theosophy Co., Mumbai, India.

[5] “The Voice of the Silence”, Theosophy Company, pp. 2-3.

[6] “Collected Writings”, H. P. Blavatsky, TPH, USA, volume XI, pp. 318-319. 

[7] See the letter to the journal “Light”, dated June 1889 and reproduced on pp. 284-286 of volume XI, “Collected Writings of H.P.B.” The sentence quoted is on p. 286. 

[8] The letter is published on “The Theosophical Forum” magazine (Pasadena-Point Loma Society), October 1944, pp. 469-474. See especially the upper part of p. 472. More on the spiritual and ethical failure of Mabel Collins can be seen on Chapter 11, Part 6, of the book “HPB”, by Sylvia Cranston. The novel “The Blossom and the Fruit”, by Mabel Collins, is the story of a spiritual failure. Her book “The Idyll of the White Lotus” narrates another defeat and describes treasons. The language of failure is not needed in the 21st century. Severity must be compensated by a sense of confidence. A certainty of the long term victory protects the pilgrim.

[9] See the document “To All Theosophists, The Esoteric Section of the Theosophical Society and its Enemies”, in “Collected Writings of H.P. Blavatsky”, TPH, vol. XI, especially pp. 314-315. 

[10] “Collected Writings”, volume XI. See the upper part of p. 285. 

[11] “Collected Writings”, volume XI, p. 320. This Adept also wrote mystical stories in cooperation with HPB, as hinted in “Letters from the Masters of the Wisdom”, first series, letter 20. The word Adept, used in theosophy to designate Initiates and High Initiates, means literally “one who knows”. 

“Collected Writings”, volume XI, p. 285.

[13] See the article “Undergoing All Experience”, by John Garrigues, which is published at  www.TheosophyOnline.com and its associated websites. The “ultimate human experience” is to observe and understand life as a whole. 

[14] See for instance the text “One for All, And All for One”, by Carlos Cardoso Aveline, which is published at  www.TheosophyOnline.com and its associated websites.

Read “The Law of Symmetry”, by C.C.A., which is published at  
www.TheosophyOnline.com and its associated websites.

[16] “The Mahatma Letters”, TUP edition, Pasadena, California, Letter 30, first lines of p. 232.


The above text is a translation from the prologue by Carlos C. Aveline to the book “Luz no Caminho” (‘Light on the Path’), by M.C., The Aquarian Theosophist, Portugal, 85 pp., 2014. It is here reproduced from the January 2015 edition of “The Aquarian Theosophist”.


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.

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