23 January 2015

THE AQUARIAN THEOSOPHIST, JANUARY 2015




The opening thought of January 2015 edition says:      

“Human soul lives in unity with the entire solar system…”

The article “The Occult Agenda for 2015: Dreams, Optimism and Responsibility” is on pp. 1-2.  On p. 2, the note “The Power of the Humble”. 

Then we have the  note “Strengthening the Love for Truth, The Next Step for Some Theosophical Institutions”.

Page four brings “The Occult War: Our Minds as Disputed Territory”, and p. 5  presents “The Symbolism of Saturn’s Hexagon”. 

Peace as a Creative Movement” is on p. 6, and “Finding the Light on the Path”  on pp. 7-13.

Other topics in the “Aquarian” for January 2015 include:

* Helena Blavatsky: Each Star and Planet is a Temple;

* The Key to Harmony;

* The Action and the Words: Eating Cutlery Is Not Good for the Teeth;

* Concentrating Magnetic Force;

* A Mahatma, on How Best to Study Theosophy; and

* Thoughts Along the Road.

The 20 pp. edition concludes with the  List of New Texts in our websites.




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

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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

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19 January 2015

TO THE MAN IN THE STREET

Belief Is the Yardstick By Which
We Measure the Importance of Events

John Garrigues
  



Unless Theosophy has something definite to offer to the man in the street it may as well disappear from the field of human interest.  If its mission is only to coteries of learning or curiosity it is unworthy the devotion of those who promulgate and defend it.  If it is inadequate to any need of humanity, if it retires baffled before any problem of fate and fortune, if it fails  to make life better worth living and death better worth dying, its advocates may admit that they have misdirected their energies and dedicated their lives amiss.

But it is to the man in the street that Theosophy makes its chief appeal.  It is to the masses of humanity - not to the few nor the elect - that its chief gifts are offered.  It invites to its study all who would see an orderly law of life in the place of chaotic chance, all who would recognize the operations of an absolute justice dominant over human affairs, all who would enter consciously into an individual existence whose immensities are not limited by death or change.

In protesting against the binding power of creeds we must not overlook the effect of belief upon action and upon character.  Every deed of our lives is governed by our conceptions of self interest, although those conceptions may be as lofty as they are often debased.  The toiler among the poor is actuated by an exalted sense of self-interest that demands service and compassion. The burglar believes that he will benefit by his theft.  Cruelty, greed, and passion all are honest in so far as they are interpretations, or rather misinterpretations, of self-interest.  According to our readings of life, of time, and of divine law, so will be our actions.  Belief governs conduct.  It is the yardstick by which we measure the import of events and their value to ourselves. An hour of sunshine is the life of a gnat, a cloud is its tragedy, a drop of rain its extinction.  A span of minutes is its standard of values.

It would seem then that religion, which is only another name for philosophy, is actually a standard of values.  A religious belief is a yardstick by which we measure the import of events.  If we conceive of human life as bounded by birth and by death, with nothingness before and annihilation after, it is obvious that all the events of that life will seem large in inverse proportion to the brevity of the period.  A child cries for a broken toy because its conception of life is so narrow as to make the tiny mishap seem a tragedy.  Its standard of values is inadequate.  Enlarge our time conceptions of life and we dwarf the relative magnitudes of its events and completely change our angle of vision. 

In the same way a religious or philosophic conception may change our entire estimate of self-interest.  If we accept the idea of a perpetual and conscious individual life, we must at once rearrange our computations of value.  If we believe that the perpetual and conscious individual life is governed by a precise law of cause and effect we shall be tranquil under the disabilities that we shall know to be self-created, and we shall be hopeful of a future in which there will be fewer seeds of ill to fructify. 

If we recognize the unity of the life that sweeps through the universe we shall be careful to injure none of its manifestations, and we shall recognize that fraternity is not merely a sentiment but a compelling law that cannot be thwarted.  And if we perceive the dominance of an unchanging and resistless law that moves inexorably towards its goal we shall have learned to cast out fear from our hearts.  All these things are practical achievements.  There is no one whom they do not concern.  They come within the scope of the average human intellect.  And they give to life a confidence, a strength, and a tranquility that can come from no other source.

Therefore it is evident that every man has some kind of a philosophy of life, even though it be unformulated, even though he be unaware of its existence.  Every man without exception is trying to be happy, and his life is governed by some policy that he believes will conduce to his happiness.  Every man has some time standard, usually the duration of his own life, or even the duration of his youth, by which he measures the importance of the things that happen to him. 

Theosophy thus makes a double appeal to the average man. It tries to show him how he may acquire a true and a permanent happiness. And it tries to furnish him with a new time standard so that he may revise the relative values of his daily experiences.  But Theosophy seeks to achieve its end, not by the imposition of dogmas nor by the weight of spiritual authority.  It asks only for a courageous facing of known facts and for the inferences logically to be drawn from those facts.  In other words, it appeals only to universal knowledge and to the reasoning faculty.

Let us then take the two groups of facts most apparent to us, that is to say the facts of consciousness and the facts of experience.  It is obvious that consciousness and character are being continually changed by events of experience.  Every event that befalls us adds somewhat to the knowledge that governs our future actions. In other words it changes our character, however slightly. And every such change increases our happiness, or detracts from it.  So true is this that every man has made for himself a certain classification of the things that he must not do because they bring unhappiness, and of the things that he ought to do because they bring happiness. He may be wholly wrong in his judgment, he may have based it upon ignorance, but at least he has attempted to reach a judgment, and to discriminate between the things that are good for him and the things that are had for him.

And every experience whether good or evil has changed his character.  It is then evident that nature is trying to teach him something, that inasmuch as his character is being constantly changed by experience there must be somewhere in the great mind of nature a destination, a plan, an intention.  If we see the foundations and the framework of an unfinished house we know them for exactly what they are, and we may even foresee the ultimate form and appearance of the house when the builder shall have finished his work.  We know that somewhere there is an architect’s plan, a blue print, that there is purpose and design behind every hammer stroke, that there is no detail too insignificant to find its place.  The acorn bursting in the ground is the prediction of the oak tree. 

Wherever there is motion or change there also there must be intention, a destination, and an architect’s plan.  Theosophy asks the average man to look at the changes in his own character, at the praise and blame of conscience which bring happiness and unhappiness, and so to ask himself what is the intention of evolutionary nature toward him, what is it that nature would have him be. In other words, what is the architect’s plan of this unfinished human house. Surely there can be no other question so practical as this.

And as soon as we recognize that there is a plan, that we ourselves are uncompleted structures, we see at once that the limits of one earth life are pitifully inadequate for its completion.  And it is a plan that can be completed nowhere else but on earth, since it concerns itself mainly with our bearing toward our fellow men. We have been born with certain characters, that is to say with certain tendencies in our bearing toward others. As we live through our lives these characters have been gradually changing by experience.  Since experience is thus obviously the only factor in a change of character it is evident that the character with which we are born must have been fashioned at some time by experiences of the same nature as those that are now changing it.  And since it is equally evident that our characters are still unfinished structures, far short of nature’s design, the process of experiencing must be continued, and continued under like conditions to the present, that is to say, by human contact under earth conditions.  And so we reach what may be called the central Theosophic tenet, that all evolution has a destination, and that it proceeds toward that destination through a process of  reembodiment or reincarnation in which the law of ethical cause and effect holds sway: “Whatsoever a man soweth that shall he also reap.” And in this there is no dogma, no authority, no supernatural revelation.  It is simply an irresistible deduction from obvious facts.

Now it would be possible to argue at great length in support of the contentions (1) that there is one, Universal Life sweeping through all the kingdoms of nature and that we ourselves are expressions of that One Life and separated from one another only by the illusions of the selfish personality.  (2) That the method of evolution is through constant re-embodiments or reincarnations which are knit together by the law of cause and effect, such law assuming an ethical aspect in human evolution and producing such circumstances in each earth life as have been earned by the thoughts and acts of the lives that preceded it. (3) That all evolutionary movements are regulated by a precise and cyclic law, and that nowhere in the universe or in human life can there be such a thing as chance or a permanent injustice.  It would be easy to show that these great postulates have been the basis of every religion that the world has ever known and that they are commended alike by reason and by experience.  But the present object is not to argue about these things but merely to state them, to leave them for consideration, and to suggest the effect that they must have upon the lives of those who accept them as truths.

The effect must be an immense and a radical one.  In the first place they will change all our conceptions of time and therefore of the relative values of the events that move in time.  Instead of imagining ourselves as coming at birth from an impenetrable darkness, with darkness for our destination, we shall now see ourselves as being’s that have lived for ever, and who will live for ever, and in whom consciousness can never be extinguished even for a moment.

The memory of the brain may fail to bridge the abysses of time, but somewhere within the depths of our being, or rather upon its heights, we shall recognize the existence of a soul in which all memories of the past are stored, all knowledge and all power, and that nothing hides us from that radiance except the self-imposed limitations of personality and the love of self.  In the presence of such a realization what room can there be for the paltry ambitions, greeds, fears, and griefs that now fill our tortured lives?  Against that stupendous background of time all these things sink into insignificance and to their true values.  They seemed large only when we viewed them against a background of a few score years, only when we measured them by the false standards of a few score years.  Look at them now against the background of a conscious eternity and forever they lose their power to wound.  At last we learn the true value of events, and we are lifted by that new wisdom beyond the reach of personal sorrow.  We are no longer as children who cry over broken toys.

But the Theosophic philosophy will do more than this.  The light of law will lift us forever beyond the reach of fear, because we shall know that a cruel or indifferent chance has no part nor lot in our fortunes, that we are masters of our fate and the captain of our soul.

And how pitifully, how abjectly, we now cringe before our fears. We are afraid of poverty, afraid of death, afraid of disease.  We imagine ourselves as fortified citadels besieged by a pitiless and hostile nature.  Terrors lie in wait for us in the dark places of life, and every corner has a foe.  A perpetual paralysis of fear destroys our strength and hides the sunlight by its baleful shadows.

And how needless it all is!  With what new confidence we move forward in the light of a law that is merciful because it is just, that declares its presence in the least of the events of our lives, that holds the universe in its grasp for the sake of the human soul, that inflicts pleasure and pain for no other purpose than to point out the only road that leads to happiness. This is no philosophy for the elect.  It demands no large learning for its comprehension.  It owes nothing to authority or to revelation.  Its appeal is to every human being whose eyes are open to the facts of his own life, who can take but one step from the seen to the unseen.

Are we apprehensive that the adoption of a spiritual philosophy will militate against what we call our “success in life?”  It would indeed be strange if ignorance were more profitable than knowledge, if weakness were a larger advantage than strength.  The greatest of all success in life is reserved for those who know what life is, its origin, purpose, laws and destiny. Strength in our life work comes to those who ally themselves with nature, not to those who resist her: to those who keep her laws, not to those who violate them.

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The above article was first published at “Theosophy” magazine, Los Angeles, in its March 1913 edition, pp. 169-173. It had no indication as to its author. The text was twice reproduced at “The Aquarian Theosophist”: in its ULT-Birthday Special Issue of  February 2006, and in the edition of May 2013.

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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

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14 January 2015

CLIMATE CHANGE IN ANCIENT TIMES

The Secret Doctrine on Geological Cycles

Helena P. Blavatsky

 


The “Deluge” is undeniably an universal tradition. “Glacial periods” were numerous, and so were the “Deluges”, for various reasons. 

Stockwell and Croll enumerate some half dozen Glacial Periods and subsequent Deluges - the earliest of all being dated by them 850,000, and the last about 100,000 years ago. [1] 

But which was our Deluge? Assuredly the former, the one which to this date remains recorded in the traditions of all the peoples, from the remotest antiquity; the one that finally swept away the last peninsulas of Atlantis, beginning with Ruta and Daitya and ending with the (comparatively) small island mentioned by Plato. This is shown by the agreement of certain details in all the legends. It was the last of its gigantic character. 

The little deluge, the traces of which Baron Bunsen found in Central Asia, and which he places at about 10,000 years B.C., had nothing to do with either the semi-universal Deluge, or Noah’s flood - the latter being a purely mythical rendering of old traditions - nor even with the submersion of the last Atlantean island; at least, only a moral connection. 

Our Fifth Race [2] (the non-initiated portions), hearing of many deluges, confused them, and now know of but one. This one altered the whole aspect of the globe in its interchange and shifting of land and sea. 

We may compare the traditions of the Peruvians: “The Incas, seven in number, have repeopled the Earth after the deluge”, they say (Coste I, IV., p. 19); Humboldt mentions the Mexican version of the same legend, but confuses somewhat the details of the still-preserved legend concerning the American Noah. Nevertheless, the eminent Naturalist mentions twice seven companions and the divine bird which preceded the boat of the Aztecs, and thus makes fifteen elect instead of the seven and the fourteen. 

This was written probably under some involuntary reminiscence of Moses, who is said to have mentioned fifteen grandsons of Noah, who escaped with their grandsire. 

Then again Xisuthrus, the Chaldean Noah, is saved and translated alive to heaven - like Enoch - with the seven gods, the Kabirim, or the seven divine Titans; again the Chinese Yao has seven figures which sail with him and which he will animate when he lands, and use for “human seed”. Osiris, when he enters the ark, or solar boat, takes seven Rays with him, etc., etc. 

NOTES:

[1] NOTE BY HPB: “Smithsonian Contributions to Knowledge”, xviii.; “American Journal of Science”, III., xi., 456; and Croll’s “Climate and Time”. Lemuria was not submerged by a flood, but was destroyed by volcanic action, and afterwards sank.

[2] “Races” in theosophy transcend colour of skin or nationality or social position. Fifth Race is basically our present humanity, including people of all “races”; it is rather a long term phase in human evolution. And in theosophy people of all races are equal in right, of course, and brothers and sisters. (CCA)

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The above text is reproduced from “The Aquarian Theosophist”, February  2014 edition. It was originally published as part of “The Secret Doctrine”, by H. P. Blavatsky, Theosophy Co., Los Angeles. See vol. II, p. 141.

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Read also the text “Al Gore, Theosophy and the Cycle”, by Carlos Cardoso Aveline. The article is published at www.TheosophyOnline.com and its associated websites.

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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

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13 January 2015

DISCIPLESHIP IN THE 21st CENTURY

How to Approach the Door of Inner Learning

Carlos Cardoso Aveline

The Himalayas: a painting by Nicholas Roerich



It may be  worthwhile to study the process of discipleship.  There are also reasons to  investigate the subtle magnetic relationships and non-verbal communications between the Adept Teachers of the Himalayas, or  some Western Adepts,  and their lay disciples and  Truth-aspirants all over the world.

The theosophical movement was conceived and created during the 1870s and 1880s by H.P. Blavatsky and several Masters, with the assistance of many disciples and aspirants in different continents.

Since the first moment, the inner structure of the movement  was designed in such a way that  it must have a central nucleus of sincere aspirants to a higher learning, in order for it to be able to live at the spiritual level. Otherwise, it can only experience the outer,  mechanical life of a “shell”.  

Indeed, history has proven once and again that in the absence of  an  inner group with people committed to the process of discipleship, the movement is scarcely more than a corpse. But what exactly do we mean, when we use the word  “discipleship”?

If we see the idea of being a disciple as a status-symbol or a mark of personal achievement,  then there is  no need whatsoever for any sincere students to ever think about such a dangerous topic. In that case, we must just say, with so many others:

“It is enough to study the literature of authentic theosophy and to try to live up to its general principles.” 

Yet Truth is frequently hidden beneath  surface and appearances, and the seed of discipleship - with all its tests - is at the heart of the apparently simple fact of trying to live theosophical principles.   

On the other hand, in its primary and original meaning, the word discipleship just indicates a learning-process - and  there are  no feelings of self-importance or self-achievement attached to it. In much the same way the word “disciple” means only “a learner”. As to the term  “discipline”, it  originally means but the set of practical conditions necessary for the disciple or  learner to develop new abilities. 

As disciples in general need teachers, another interesting question deals with our  attitude towards the Adept-Teachers and Initiates. Is it correct for us to exert our curiosity and collect the scattered, scarce  information available from reliable sources about  their existence, their work for mankind and their disciples?  

A reasonable amount of evidence indicates that Adept-Teachers - variously called Raja-Yogis, Mahatmas, Masters, Adepts, Immortals or Rishis - are not supposed to be beyond our field of conscious investigation. It is clear  that  everyone can aspire to learn from them - directly or indirectly.  According to Robert Crosbie, for instance, “HPB showed herself a true Teacher when she said, ‘Do not follow me nor my path; follow the path I show, the Masters who are behind’.” [1]

However, the actual process of spiritual learning is rather complex. The probation path does not begin with a Master generously appearing to every aspirant in order to make a  formal announcement. As a rule, probations and tests must be unannounced. Otherwise, they will not be effective. Besides, probation is a natural, unavoidable fact, and not something artificially created in order to test this or  that  disciple. Probation  results from the law of karma.  Every bit of knowledge, in any department of life, always brings with it a corresponding amount of responsibility. And being responsible means facing tests.  Probation, then,  comes with the first step of one’s search for wisdom, and its intensity will be in direct proportion to the seriousness of that step -  and of the following ones.  

Along the way to Wisdom,  the student of esoteric philosophy has to avoid not only the emotional mechanisms of self-delusion, fear and ambition in general. He will be challenged or tempted by many different forms of  error, most of which will present themselves as perfectly spiritual attitudes or at least as humanly aceptable. The deeper the knowledge he has access to, the bigger will be the occult and  “undeclared” tests he will face. 

He may feel entirely alone in certain occasions - even desperately so, if he happens to have enough courage to follow his own heart.  But at the hardest of times, he - as every sincere aspirant to  Truth eternal - will be more included  than ever in  the vast magnetic field which is always kept under the general observation of the Adepts and their direct disciples.

One of the Masters wrote to a “lay chela” (a lay disciple),  in  1882:

 “Nature has linked all parts of her Empire together by subtle threads of magnetic sympathy, and, there is a mutual correlation even between a star and a man; thought runs swifter than the electric fluid, and your thought will find me if projected by a pure impulse (...). Like the light in the sombre valley seen by the mountaineer from his peaks, every bright thought in your mind, my Brother, will sparkle and attract the attention of your distant friend and correspondent. If thus we discover our natural Allies in the Shadow-world - your  world and  ours outside the precincts -  and it is our law to approach  every such an one if even there be but the feeblest glimmer of the true ‘Tathagata’ light within him - then how far easier for you to attract us.” [2] 

So, it is Their Law to approach every such an one -  i.e., every possible natural Ally -  if even there be but the feeblest glimmer of the true Buddhic light within him. But Masters and their direct disciples make this approach and observation in silence. They are in touch with the Self present  within the Heart and Mind of the aspirant -  not with  his outer personality shell.                                                                                                                                                                                          
How, then, do the Adept look at the Aspirant? Robert Crosbie wrote: “The Masters do not look at our defects, but at our motives and efforts.” [3]

In one of the Letters, after mentioning the existence of an “outer” as well as  an “inner” man, an Adept-Teacher  wrote:

“With the ‘visible’ one we have nothing to do. He is to us only a veil that hides from  profane eyes that other ego with whose evolution we are concerned. In the external rupa do what you like, think what you like: only when the effects of that voluntary action are seen on the body of our correspondent -  is it incumbent to us to notice it.” [4]

It is at an inner dimension that the Masters observe the general collective field of aspirants and, with a few exceptions, their observation cannot be felt nor  “sensed” by  the observed students. It usually takes a long time for the Truth-seeker to get to that special moment thus described in “The Voice of the Silence”: 

“Silence thy thoughts and fix thy whole attention on thy Master, whom yet thou dost not see, but whom thou feelest.”

And more:

“Merge into one sense thy senses, if thou would’st be secure against the foe.  ’Tis by that sense alone which lies concealed within the hollow of thy brain, that the steep path which leadeth to thy Master may be disclosed before thy Soul’s dim eyes.” [5]  

The Mahatma Letters and other classical texts suggest that in most cases the Masters will observe and help the Aspirant for a very long time before he can sense the subtle presence of a teacher. Chronological time is not important, but this unperceived observation may go on for a few lifetimes, while the true foundation of discipleship - a stronger relationship between the student’s successive mortal souls and his one Monad - is being built. After that,  the Aspirant usually develops the ability to sense the non-verbal, subtle influence of the Master in his life -  and he may even consciously  interact with it  in an abstract way, with no images or words. But this happens often a long time before he will be able to hear or to see his Teacher.

Referring to the Masters and to the silent help they grant to aspirants worldwide, William Q. Judge wrote:

“They have also stated that they do not make themselves objectively known to believers in them except in those cases where those believers  are ready in all parts of their nature, are definitely pledged to them, with the full understanding of the meaning of the pledge. But they have also stated that they help all earnest seekers after truth, and that it is not necessary for those seekers to know from where the help comes so long as it is received. (...) Personally I know that the Masters do help powerfully, though unseen, all those who earnestly work and sincerely trust in their higher nature, while they follow the voice of conscience without doubt or cavil.” [6]

What is it that determines the actual  distance between each aspirant and the Adepts? It must be said that it is but a vibratory distance. It is a lack of affinity in vibration rates, since geographical distances do not exist for the consciousness of the Masters and their  direct disciples. Such a  distance is created by our own ignorance - not by the Masters.  One of the Mahatmas wrote to a lay disciple:

“I can come nearer to you, but you must draw me by a purified heart and a gradually developing will. Like the needle the adept follows his attractions.” [7]

Each aspirant must find in himself a way to shorten the inner distance between he and the  Dharma or Teaching.   In the silent heart of the Teaching,  as in meditation, he can find, in part, the vibration rate of the Teachers. But this is not enough. How else, then, can he get nearer to the Source?  

One Mahatma wrote something especially significant to the aspirants living in the 21st  century:

“Look around you, my friend: see the ‘three poisons’ raging within the heart of man - anger, greed, delusion, and the five obscurities  - envy, passion, vacillation, sloth, and unbelief - ever preventing them seeing truth. They will never get rid of the pollution of their vain, wicked hearts, nor perceive the spiritual portion of themselves. Will you not try - for the sake of shortening the distance between us - to disentangle yourself from the net of life and death in which they are all caught (...)?” [8]

It is up to each student to say whether he accepts this invitation - and takes the steps necessary to  liberate himself from short-term goals and commitments. There is no hurry, though: the  work  of the Masters  is a long-term process.     

Although general conditions have changed since HPB times, there still is a common, permanent magnetic link between the Teaching, its Students and the Masters, as we can see in the “Mahatma Letters”. 

One of the letters from the Mahatmas consists of a memorandum, and item number III of the document says:

“We can direct and guide their  efforts and the movement, in general. Tho’ separated from your world of action we are not yet entirely severed from it so long as the Theosophical Society exists.” [9]

The above expression “Theosophical Society” can be reasonably equated to “Theosophical Movement”, nowadays.

The same idea of a long-term work appears at another Letter:

“... We cannot consent to over flood the world at the risk of drowning them, with a doctrine that has to be cautiously  given out, and bit by bit like a too powerful tonic which can kill as well as cure  (....). The Society will never perish as an institution, although branches and individuals in it may.”[10]  (Here, again, the term “Society” should be understood as “Movement”.)

With regard to the fact  that the Mahatmas keep under their observation the general magnetic field - or the buddhic lights -  of sincere aspirants to Truth and discipleship, it is interesting  to take notice of these words by Robert Crosbie:

“... Those Great Ones who I know exist see every pure-hearted earnest disciple, and are ready to give a turn to the key of knowledge when the time in the disciple’s progress is ripe. No one who strives to tread the path is left unhelped; the Great Ones see his ‘light’, and he is given  what is needed for his better development. That light is not mere poetical imagery, but is actual,  and its character denotes one’s spiritual condition; there are no veils on that plane of seeing. The help must be of that nature which leaves perfect freedom of thought and action; otherwise, the lessons would not be learned.”[11]                                                              

According to HPB, “paradox would seem to be the natural language of occultism” [12], and the help given by the Masters is an example of that.  No one is left unhelped: but in order to actually deserve help, everyone must - hence the paradox - take full responsibility for his own walk along the path.  An independent action is then of fundamental importance to deserve and to receive  assistance.

Once this basic principle is accepted, another question emerges:  how far can the aspirant go in his inner progress? What are the limits of his growth? There is no easy answer to this. Occult learning is a multidimensional process. It depends on many interacting, dynamic elements.  However, some of these factors can be named and examined.

1) One of them is the ever changing “tide” of collective karma.  

Conditions of collective karma are always helping or hindering in several ways the learning-process.  We should remember, though,  that in difficult moments greater efforts use to be more rewarding. The aspirant should be able to see an opportunity in each new obstacle. There is a law of simmetry, by which external obstacles create inner opportunities, and  external improvements provoke dangers.  “The Voice of the Silence” says about  the “Hall of Probationary Learning”: “In it thy Soul will find the blossoms of life, but under every flower a serpent coiled.” [13]

As to difficult moments, an Adept-Teacher wrote, in a letter to Francesca Arundale: “Ah! If your eyes were opened, you might see such a vista of potential blessings to yourselves and mankind lying in the germ of the present hour’s effort, as would fire with joy and zeal your souls! Strive, towards the Light, all of you brave warriors for  the Truth ...” [14]

2) Another factor is the karmic background of the student, and also his present karmic situation, with its obstacles and opportunities.  

The more long-term karmic resources the soul has previously accumulated, the better and stronger means it will have to face present challenges, and more strength  to develop a decisive action in the right direction. This background includes the amount of development already achieved in the paramitas of perfection.  They are: Dana, or charity and immortal love; Shila, harmony in words and deeds; Kshanti, an unshakeable patience; Viraga or indifference to pleasure and pain; Virya, a dauntless energy in the way to Truth; Dhyana or ceaseless inner contemplation; and finally Prajna, the integrating key that makes a man become a Bodhisattva. [15]

3) A third element leading to a better learning is the intensity of the efforts made by the aspirant.

In December 1880, H.P. Blavatsky  published in her magazine The Theosophist these words from Thomas Taylor, the platonic thinker:

“A little learning is a dangerous thing,
Drink deep, or taste not the PLATONIC  spring;
There shallow draughts intoxicate the brain,
And drinking largely sobers us again.” [16]

Accordingly, in the New Testament’s Revelation we find: “... because you are lukewarm, neither hot nor cold, I am going to spit you out of my mouth” (Chapter 3: 14-16). This idea also relates to Matthew, 6:24: “No one can be a slave to two masters; he will hate one and love the other; he will be loyal to one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and  the money.”

4)  Then we have the sustainability of the efforts made by the student.  

Long-term sustainability and endurance to tests seems to be even more important than a great intensity in the search for truth. The best results are long-term, and they need long-term efforts to ripen. It is better to have a slow process of sustainable acceleration in our efforts than a sudden enthusiasm born out of self-delusion. Passing enthusiasms are not only misleading: they are strong signs of superficiality in our commitments. 

5) A key factor is the purity of the student’s motives. 

Robert Crosbie wrote:

“Very often the ostensible motive is not the real one, and in this we frequently deceive ourselves. Ambition also comes in; the desire for the approbation of our fellows may cloud our vision in our effort to maintain it. There are many temptations, some of which may come disguised as angels of light.” [17] 

Our thoughts and intentions are established and live in several different levels of consciousness. There are intentions which are openly declared. Other intentions are conscious but not declared. There are also subconscious and unconscious motives, emerging from old habits and from the instincts of the “animal soul”, kama-manas. And there are higher, nobler, “supraconscious” intentions which come from the higher self. We must become gradually conscious of all these kinds and levels of motives in our lives. As we learn to listen in our heart to the voice of  the silence, all smaller intentions are brought together before our mind’s eye and gradually understood, then purified and controlled. Self-observation, made from the viewpoint of our higher potentialities,  submits our personal desires to the active will of the true self. 

6) It is important to examine on which levels of consciousness the greater part of the effort is being made.

Studying HPB’s works only on the mental plane tends to create pride, a  feeling of self-importance and other symptoms of a learning limited to words. But if students go beyond that, listening to the silence and taking courage to challenge everyday routines from the viewpoints suggested by  the wisdom they learn, then intuition  will assist them and  the process of learning will become ever wider and deeper. 

7) Finally, the degree of expansion in his perception of space and time. 

This is the ability of the aspirant to identify himself with time eternal and infinite space. At first it can come as an intelectual/philosophical process, through the calm study of “The Secret Doctrine” and other works. But gradually the student will develop an inner, contemplative relationship with the greater cycles of time/space, so that he will recognize himself as he is: just a passing “individualized” and  “personalized” microcosmic fragment of that unlimited space-time. Thus he will attain a widening perspective of the Adepts’ and Initiates’ work for mankind. He will learn more about their influence on human evolution along many centuries and through different  religions, philosophies and sciences.

As to human history, an Adept-Teacher  wrote to Allan O. Hume in 1880:   

“Of your several questions we will first discuss, if you please, the one relating to the presumed failure of the ‘Fraternity’ to ‘leave any mark upon the history of the world’. (...) How do you know they have made no such mark? (...) The prime condition of their success was, that they should never be supervised or obstructed. What they have done they know; all those outside their circle could perceive was the results, the causes of which were masked from view. (...)”

And the Master goes on:

“There never was a time within or before the so-called historical period when our predecessors were not moulding events and ‘making history’, the facts of which were subsequently and invariably distorted by ‘historians’ to suit contemporary prejudices. Are you quite sure that the visible heroic figures in the successive dramas were not often but their puppets? We never pretended to be able to draw nations in the mass to this or that crisis in spite of the general drift of the world’s cosmic relations. The cycles must run their rounds. Periods of mental and moral light and darkness succeed each other, as day does night. The major and minor yugas  must be accomplished according to the established order of things. And we, borne along on the mighty tide, can only modify  and direct some of its minor effects.  If we had the powers of the imaginary Personal God, and the universal and immutable laws were but toys to play with, then indeed might we have created conditions that would have turned this earth into an Arcadia for lofty souls. But having  to deal with an immutable Law, being ourselves its  creatures, we have had to do what we could and rest thankful. There have been times when ‘a considerable portion of enlightened minds’ were taught in our schools. Such times there were in India, Persia, Egypt, Greece and Rome. (...)” [18] 

As the student gradually learns to understand the sacred long-term work done by the Mahatmas for the good of mankind, he can’t help giving up his personal worries and short-term goals. They all lose their meaning and importance as he sees the longer, unlimited time-line of human evolution. 

Then he will be able to offer his efforts to his own reincarnating Monad, in the inner temple of his higher consciousness.  Or to his Master. And within the small circle of his possibilities, he will accept the fact that he is co-responsible for the future of the theosophical movement - a collective instrument for human evolution - and he will try to  ACT ACCORDINGLY.  

NOTES:

[1] “The Friendly Philosopher”, Robert Crosbie, The Theosophy Company, L.A. and N.Y.C., 1945, see p. 373.

[2] “The Mahatma Letters to A. P. Sinnett”, transcribed by A. T. Barker, facsimile edition, Theosophical University Press, Pasadena, CA, 1992, 493 pp., see Letter XLV, pp. 267-268.

[3] “The Friendly Philosopher”, Robert Crosbie, The Theosophy Company, L.A. and N.Y.C., USA, 1945, 415 pp., see p. 39.

[4] “The Mahatma Letters to A. P. Sinnett”, Letter XLIII, pp. 259-260.

[5] “The Voice of the Silence”, H.P. Blavatsky, Theosophy Co., Fragment I, pp. 17-18.

[6] Forum Answers” by William Q. Judge, reprinted from The Theosophical Forum (1889-1896), The Theosophy Co., Los  Angeles, 1982, 141 pp., see pp. 75-76.

[7] “The Mahatma Letters to A. P. Sinnett”, Letter XLV, page 266.

[8] “The Mahatma Letters to A. P. Sinnett”, Letter XLV, pp. 264-265.

[9] “The Mahatma Letters to A. P. Sinnett”, Letter  LXXVIII, page 378.

[10] “The Mahatma Letters to A. P. Sinnett”, Letter XXXIV, p. 245.

[11] “The Friendly Philosopher”,  Robert Crosbie, see  p. 07, lower half. 

[12] See the first paragraph of the text “The Great Paradox”, “Collected Writings of H. P. B.”, volume  VIII, TPH, 1990, p. 125. “The Great Paradox” is available at www.TheosophyOnline.com  and its associated websites.

[13] “The Voice of the Silence”, H. P. Blavatsky, Theosophy Co., Fragment I, pp. 6-7.

[14] “Letters From the Masters of the Wisdom”,  transcribed by C. Jinarajadasa, first series,  TPH-Adyar, India, sixth printing, 1973, Letter 20, p. 52.

[15] “The Voice of the Silence”, H. P. Blavatsky, Theosophy Co., Fragment III, pp. 52-53.

[16] “The Theosophist”, Bombay, volume II, 1880-1881, edited by H. P. Blavatsky, facsimile reproduction and re-edition by Eastern School Press, 1983 (Wizards Bookshelf), see page 52.   

[17] “The Friendly Philosopher”, Robert Crosbie, see  p. 07, upper half.

[18] “Combined Chronology, for use with ‘The Mahatma Letters to A.P. Sinnett’ & ‘The Letters of H. P. Blavatsky to A. P. Sinnett’ ”, by Margareth Conger. Published by Theosophical University Press, Pasadena, California, 1973, 47 pp., see pp. 34-35. 

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An initial version of the above article was published in “The Aquarian Theosophist”, July 2005, 
pp. 1-7.

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On the role the theosophical movement must play in the ethical awakening of mankind during the present 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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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

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