"The way lies through the heart;"
Ask there and wander not;
Knock loud, nor hesitate
Because at first the sounds
Reverberating, seem to mock thee.
Nor, when the door swings wide,
Revealing shadows black as night,
Within, the Master's messengers
Have waited patiently:
That Master is Thyself;
Devout men, in the endeavour to express their convictions, have used different images to suggest this latent force; as, the light, the seed, the Spirit, the Holy Ghost, the Comforter, the Demon, the still, small voice, etc. - all indicating its power and latency. It refuses to appear, it is too small to be seen, too obscure to be spoken of; but such as it is, it creates a faith which the contradiction of all mankind cannot shake, and which the consent of all mankind cannot confirm. It is serenely above all meditation. In all ages, to all men, it saith, I am; and he who hears it feels the impiety of wandering from this revelation to any record or to any rival.
A rich man asked to become a pupil of the Galilean Master, who answered him: "One thing is necessary. Sell all that you have and give to the poor; then come and follow Me." This candidate, we are told, had many earthly possessions and went away sorrowfully. He had misunderstood. None can ride two horses at the same time; none can serve two masters to the satisfaction of both. He was really only told to give up what he no longer needed and to help those who needed it - in fact no strangers, but his other selves. He was really only told to give up what he could spare, nothing more. No one is told to do what is impossible to him.
The tree is known by its fruits; and as all Theosophists have to be judged by their deeds and not by what they write or say, so all Theosophical books must be accepted on their merits, and not according to any claim to authority which they may put forward.
Judge a man by his questions rather than by his answers.
A theme has emerged for this issue: occultism as Blavatsky explained it. That is to say: occultism of a type in which occult knowledge is combined with dedication to humanity as a whole, forgetting personal gain and ultimately forgetting self totally. In Adyar Theosophy it is also referred to as 'human regeneration', in current psychology it is almost hinted at as 'personal growth'. Blavatsky based theosophy is softened up with less heavy material from various sources: from Lao Tse in ancient China to the relatively modern and perhaps 'new age'. Still, even the aparently simple isn't devoid of depth and there is a big divide between recognizing the poetic nature of a quote and living up to it or seeing the whole depth of it.
To my deep regret I have to report the demise of Henk Spierenburg. He was planning to contribute to this e-zine as well as to its Dutch sister, but unfortunately he will be unable to do so. One article he had worked on has been finished by me in time for a link to it to be included in this e-zine. See 'The Three Hypostases or Four Quarters of Atman', under 'New on Katinka Hesselink Net'. This issue of Lucifer7 also includes an obituary.
for unity, then, is an ethic rather than dogma, a
principle long acknowledged by ecumenical organizations. ...More
recently, theologian Leo
Lefebure has noted that efforts toward interreligious dialogue seem to
be helped by the assumption that "there is a fundamental ethical
structure on which very diverse religions can come to at least limited
agreement apart from special claims of revelation." Citing the
declaration "Toward a Global Ethic" issued by the 1993 Parliament of
the World's Religions, he notes that at its center "is the Golden Rule,
a principle of wisdom found in various forms in different religions.”
Among our survey respondents, in fact, Golden Rule Christians said they participate in church fellowship activities only a few times a year, on average, while they participate in civic and community groups once a month or more. On average, they find only one or two of their five closest friends in their congregation. Still, they claim that church membership and participation is important to them. Why? In part, it is habit. In part, it is conformity to community norms. But in large measure, it is an extension of their care for their families and communities. They simply see no other organization that puts caring for others so clearly at the center of its life.34 They are eager for what churches can contribute to the task of bringing up their children and are convinced that churches offer something uniquely valuable not present in other kinds of community and social activities.
|1.||You will receive a body. You may like it or hate it, but it's yours to keep for the entire period.|
|2.||You will learn lessons. You are enrolled in a full-time informal school called, "life."|
|3.||There are no mistakes, only lessons. Growth is a process of trial, error, and experimentation. The "failed" experiments are as much a part of the process as the experiments that ultimately "work."|
|4.||Lessons are repeated until they are learned. A lesson will be presented to you in various forms until you have learned it. When you have learned it, you can go on to the next lesson.|
|5.||Learning lessons does not end. There's no part of life that doesn't contain its lessons. If you're alive, that means there are still lessons to be learned.|
|6.||"There" is no better a place than "here." When your "there" has become a "here", you will simply obtain another "there" that will again look better than "here."|
|7.||Other people are merely mirrors of you. You cannot love or hate something about another person unless it reflects to you something you love or hate about yourself.|
|8.||What you make of your life is up to you. You have all the tools and resources you need. What you do with them is up to you. The choice is yours.|
|9.||Your answers lie within you. The answers to life's questions lie within you. All you need to do is look, listen, and trust.|
|10.||You will forget all this.|
"To perish doomed is he, who out of fear of Mara (**) refrains from helping man -," says The Voice of the Silence.
Does the theosophical doctrine really adhere to the Christian tenet of non-resistance to evil? Does it deny that evil exists - or say that it is only the effect of wrong behavior and will disappear as soon as we behave correctly.
"The potency of evil is as great in man - aye - greater - than the potentiality for good," says Master K.H. in the Mahatma Letters (p. 130). And in another letter he remarks that there are Dhyan Chohans and Chohans of Darkness whose law is darkness, ignorance, destruction, etc., as that of the former is light, knowledge and creation.
Can we, with this assertion by the Master, still refuse to recognize evil as a mighty power. And, acknowledging that it exists, can we as theosophists rightly refuse to do our share in combating it?
" - give your aid to the few strong hands that hold back the powers of darkness from obtaining complete victory," says Light on the Path.
"Shalt thou be saved and hear the whole world cry?" asks The Voice of the Silence.
"Let not the fierce Sun dry one tear of pain before thyself hast wiped it from the sufferer's eye.
"But let each burning human tear drop on thy heart and there remain; nor ever brush it off, until the pain that caused it is removed," is the answer of The Voice of the Silence.
An answer to the problem and a guidance for conduct is given by Master K.H. in The Mahatma Letters (p. 401). He writes, "Every Western Theosophist should learn and remember, especially those of them who would be our followers - that in our Brotherhood, all personalities sink into one idea - abstract right and absolute practical justice for all. And that, though we may not say with the Christians, 'return good for evil' - we repeat with Confucius - 'return good for good; for evil - JUSTICE.' "
(*) Title by the editor of Lucifer7.
(**) Mara or maya means illusion in this context.
There is a wide-spread superstition (?), especially among the Slavonians and Russians, that the magician or wizard cannot die before he has passed the “word” to a successor. So deeply is it rooted among the popular beliefs, that we do not imagine there is a person in Russia who has not heard of it. It is but too easy to trace the origin of this superstition to the old Mysteries which had been for ages spread all over the globe. The ancient Variago-Rouss had his Mysteries in the North as well as in the South of Russia; and there are many relics of the by-gone faith scattered in the lands watered by the sacred Dnieper, the baptismal Jordan of all Russia. No Zn‚char (the knowing one) or Koldoun (sorcerer), male or female, can die in fact before he has passed the mysterious word to some one. The popular belief is that unless he does that he will linger and suffer for weeks and months, and were he even finally to get liberated, it would be only to wander on earth, unable to quit its region unless he finds a successor even after death. How far the belief may be verified by others, we do not know, but we have seen a case which, for its tragical and mysterious dťnouement, deserves to be given here as an illustration of the subject in hand. An old man, of over one hundred years of age, a peasant-serf in the government of S —, having a wide reputation as a sorcerer and healer, was said to be dying for several days, and still unable to die. The report spread like lightning, and the poor old fellow was shunned by even the members of his own family, as the latter were afraid of receiving the unwelcome inheritance. At last the public rumor in the village was that he had sent a message to a colleague less versed than himself in the art, and who, although he lived in a distant district, was nevertheless coming at the call, and would be on hand early on the following morning. There was at that time on a visit to the proprietor of the village a young physician who, belonging to the famous school of Nihilism of that day, laughed outrageously at the idea. The master of the house, being a very pious man, and but half inclined to make so cheap of the “superstition,” smiled — as the saying goes — but with one corner of his mouth. Meanwhile the young skeptic, to gratify his curiosity, had made a visit to the dying man, had found that he could not live twenty-four hours longer, and, determined to prove the absurdity of the “superstition,” had taken means to detain the coming “successor” at a neighboring village.
Early in the morning a company of four persons, comprising the physician, the master of the place, his daughter, and the writer of the present lines, went to the hut in which was to be achieved the triumph of skepticism. The dying man was expecting his liberator every moment, and his agony at the delay became extreme. We tried to persuade the physician to humor the patient, were it for humanity’s sake. He only laughed. Getting hold with one hand of the old wizard’s pulse, he took out his watch with the other, and remarking in French that all would be over in a few moments, remained absorbed in his professional experiment. The scene was solemn and appalling. Suddenly the door opened, and a young boy entered with the intelligence, addressed to the doctor, that the koum was lying dead drunk at a neighboring village, and, according to his orders, could not be with “grandfather” till the next day. The young doctor felt confused, and was just going to address the old man, when, as quick as lightning, the Zn‚char snatched his hand from his grasp and raised himself in bed. His deep-sunken eyes flashed; his yellow-white beard and hair streaming round his livid face made him dreadful sight. One instant more, and his long, sinewy arms were clasped round the physician’s neck, as with a supernatural force he drew the doctor’s head closer and closer to his own face, where he held him as in a vise, while whispering words inaudible to us in his ear. The skeptic struggled to free himself, but before he had time to make one effective motion the work had evidently been done; the hands relaxed their grasp, and the old sorcerer fell on his back — a corpse! A strange and ghostly smile had settled on the stony lips — a smile of fiendish triumph and satisfied revenge, but the doctor looked paler and more ghastly than the dead man himself. He stared round with an expression of terror difficult to describe, and without answering our inquiries rushed out wildly from the hut, in the direction of the woods. Messengers were sent after him, but he was nowhere to be found. About sunset a report was heard in the forest. An hour later his body was brought home, with a bullet through his head, for the skeptic had blown out his brains!
What made him commit suicide? What magic spell of sorcery had the “word” of the dying wizard left on his mind? Who can tell?
Much confusion exists, especially outside the Theosophical
to the precise nature of the beings theosophists call Mahatmas.
Theosophists themselves agree that they are embodied human beings.
However, there is no easy agreement on another matter: do they guide
humanity? Recently quotes were spread on several
theosophical e-maillists in which it is clear what Leadbeater says on
the subject of the guidance of humanity by Mahatmas:
The world is guided and directed to a large extent by a Brotherhood of Adepts to which our Masters belong.
Masters and the Path, C.W. Leadbeater
This statement suggests that the Mahatmas form a sort of spiritual government of humanity. A similar statement is made by Alice Bailey in The Externalization of the Hierarchy (*) where she says:
The first thing, therefore, of which I would like to remind you is that The Hierarchy stands. Behind all that is going on today, the same group of spiritual Forces and the same Elder Brothers and Masters are to be found as heretofore, guiding humanity along the path of life and bringing us safely and satisfactorily to our present point of development. The Buddha, Whose festival we are celebrating, and the Christ, Who expresses to us the unchanging love of God, are still with us, and the Hierarchy stands as a bulwark of strength between us and possible disaster; this center of spiritual life is "like the shadow of a great rock in a weary land".
These statements should be compared to the following statement by Mahatma Koot Hoomi in a very important Letter:
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 currents.
So we, who can not stop the world from going in its destined direction, are yet able to divert some part of its energy into useful channels. Think of us as demi-gods and my explanation will not satisfy you; view us as simple men -- perhaps a little wiser as the result of special study -- and it ought to answer your objection. (**)
There is a big difference between 'we ... can only modify and direct some of its minor currents' and 'The world is guided and directed to a large extent by a Brotherhood of Adepts to which our Masters belong'. The issue is really karma: to what extent is the chaos in the world karmic? To what extent can Mahatmas help to keep things from happening? Since most of what happens is karmic, it follows naturally that the Mahatmas can only guide in choices. And what they can do, where karma permits, is help people avoid worse suffering. Inspiring people to do good, to think right, to use words carefully will help in that direction - all those things help create good karma for the future. So that is what they can do: inspire and influence those that deserve it. It is up to us to deserve and practice and by example to inspire in our turn. Unfortunately, even the extent to which we can hear their influence, or that of our own higher Self, is karmic. Bad karma closes our eyes as much as good karma (including good intention) opens them ultimately.
A. Bailey and Djwhal Khul, The Externalization of the Hierarchy -
Section II - The General World Picture, p. 79,80
(**) The first letter of K.H. to A.O. Hume, p. 29 combined chronology for use with the Mahatma Letters and The letters of H.P.Blavatsky to A.P. Sinnett [also present in the chronological version of the Mahatma Letters]
One man, hearing of the way, will strive to follow it
Another will practice it sometimes, and not others
A third will hear of it, and laugh at how useless it sounds
And that's as it should be.
The clearest path is often easily missed
The easiest seems to go in the wrong direction
The smoothest looks rutted and rough
True strength is hidden, like seeds in a valley before the rains
True white shows every blotch and blemish
True virtue feels pathetic, thin, weak, insufficient
Such is the way of words; they always fail in their ideals
Does an infinite square have corners or edges?
Could a cup be molded to hold everything, including itself?
Can a note sound that has all tones, and none?
Would everything seen at once look like anything at all?
The tao is eternal, too large and too small for names
Only it can begin things and bring them to their ends
......Now and then, while we rested, we watched the laborious ant at his work. I found nothing new in him, - certainly nothing to change my opinion of him. It seems to me that in the matter of intellect the ant must be a strangely overrated bird. During many summers, now, I have watched him, when I ought to have been in better business, and I have not yet come across a living ant that seemed to have any more sense than a dead one. I refer to the ordinary ant, of course; I have had no experience of those wonderful Swiss and African ones which vote, keep drilled armies, hold slaves, and dispute about religion. Those particular ants may be all that the naturalist paints them, but I am persuaded that the average ant is a sham. I admit his industry, of course; he is the hardest working creature in the world, - when anybody is looking, - but his leather-headedness is the point I make against him. He goes out foraging, he makes a capture, and then what does he do? Go home? No, -he goes anywhere but home. He doesn't know where home is. His home may be only three feet away, - no matter, he can't find it. He makes his capture, as I have said; it is generally something which can be of no sort of use to himself or anybody else; it is usually seven times bigger than it ought to be; he hunts out the awkwardest place to take hold of it; he lifts it bodily up in the air by main force, and starts: not toward home, but in the opposite direction; not calmly and wisely, but with a frantic haste which is wasteful of his strength; he fetches up against a pebble, and instead of going around it, he climbs over it backwards dragging his booty after him, tumbles down on the other side, jumps up in a passion, kicks the dust off his clothes, moistens his hands, grabs his property viciously, yanks it this way then that, shoves it ahead of him a moment, turns tail and lugs it after him another moment, gets madder and madder, then presently hoists it into the air and goes tearing away in an entirely new direction; comes to a weed; it never occurs to him to go around it; no, he must climb it; and he does climb it, dragging his worthless property to the top - which is as bright a thing to do as it would be for me to carry a sack of flour from Heidelberg to Paris by way of Strasburg steeple; when he gets up there he finds that that is not the place; takes a cursory glance at the scenery and either climbs down again or tumbles down, and starts off once more - as usual, in a new direction. At the end of half an hour, he fetches up within six inches of the place he started from and lays his burden down; meantime he has been over all the ground for two yards around, and climbed all the weeds and pebbles he came across. Now he wipes the sweat from his brow, strokes his limbs, and then marches aimlessly off, in as violent a hurry as ever. He traverses a good deal of zig-zag country, and by and by stumbles on his same booty again. He does not remember to have ever seen it before; he looks around to see which is not the way home, grabs his bundle and starts; he goes through the same adventures he had before; finally stops to rest, and a friend comes along. Evidently the friend remarks that a last year's grasshopper leg is a very noble acquisition, and inquires where he got it. Evidently the proprietor does not remember exactly where he did get it, but thinks he got it "around here somewhere." Evidently the friend contracts to help him freight it home. Then, with a judgment peculiarly antic, (pun not intentional,) they take hold of opposite ends of that grasshopper leg and begin to tug with all their might in opposite directions. Presently they take a rest and confer together. They decide that something is wrong, they can't make out what. Then they go at it again, just as before. Same result. Mutual recriminations follow. Evidently each accuses the other of being an obstructionist. They warm up, and the dispute ends in a fight. They lock themselves together and chew each other's jaws for a while; then they roll and tumble on the ground till one loses a horn or a leg and has to haul off for repairs. They make up and go to work again in the same old insane way, but the crippled ant is at a disadvantage; tug as he may, the other one drags off the booty and him at the end of it. Instead of giving up, he hangs on, and gets his shins bruised against every obstruction that comes in the way. By and by, when that grasshopper leg has been dragged all over the same old ground once more, it is finally dumped at about the spot where it originally lay, the two perspiring ants inspect it thoughtfully and decide that dried grasshopper legs are a poor sort of property after all, and then each starts off in a different direction to see if he can't find an old nail or something else that is heavy enough to afford entertainment and at the same time valueless enough to make an ant want to own it.
There in the Black Forest, on the mountain side, I saw an ant go through with such a performance as this with a dead spider of fully ten times his own weight. The spider was not quite dead, but too far gone to resist. He had a round body the size of a pea. The little ant - observing that I was noticing - turned him on his back, sunk his fangs into his throat, lifted him into the air and started vigorously off with him, stumbling over little pebbles, stepping on the spider's legs and tripping himself up, dragging him backwards, shoving him bodily ahead, dragging him up stones six inches high instead of going around them, climbing weeds twenty times his own height and jumping from their summits,-and finally leaving him in the middle of the road to be confiscated by any other fool of an ant that wanted him. I measured the ground which this ass traversed, and arrived at the conclusion that what he had accomplished inside of twenty minutes would constitute some such job as this, - relatively speaking, - for a man; to-wit: to strap two eight-hundred pound horses together, carry them eighteen hundred feet, mainly over (not around) bowlders averaging six feet high, and in the course of the journey climb up and jump from the top of one precipice like Niagara, and three steeples, each a hundred and twenty feet high; and then put the horses down, in an exposed place, without anybody to watch them, and go off to indulge in some other idiotic miracle for vanity's sake........
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