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Searchable Full Text of Commentary on the Voice of the Silence by Annie Besant aanf C W Leadbeater

Commentary on

The Voice of the Silence


Annie Besant and

C W Leadbeater

Talks on the Path of Occultism - Vol. II





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The Secret Doctrine by H P Blavatsky


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THIS book is merely a record of talks by Mr. C. W. Leadbeater and myself on

three famous books—books small in size but great in contents. We both hope that

they will prove useful to aspirants, and even to those above that stage, since

the talkers were older than the listeners, and had more experience in the life

of discipleship.


The talks were not given at one place only; we chatted to our friends, at

different times and places. chiefly at Adyar, London and Sydney. A vast quantity

of notes were taken by the listeners. All that were available of these were

collected and arranged. They were then condensed, and repetitions were



Unhappily there were, found to be very few notes on The Voice of the Silence,

Fragment I, so we have utilized notes made at a class held by our good

colleague, Mr. Ernest Wood, in Sydney, and incorporated these into Bishop

Leadbeater's talks in that section. No notes of my own talks on this book were

available; though I have spoken much upon it, those talks are not recoverable.

None of these talks have been published before, except some of Bishop

Leadbeater's addresses to selected students on At the Feet of the Master. A book

entitled Talks on "At the Feet of the Master" was published a few years ago,

containing imperfect reports of some of these talks of his. That book will not

be reprinted; the essential material in it finds its place here, carefully

condensed and edited.


May this book help some of our younger brothers to understand more of these

priceless teachings. The more they are studied and lived, the more will be found

in them.

ANNIE BESANT                         



      1.The Preface     

      2.The Higher and the Lower Powers  

      3. The Slayer of the Real

      4.  The Real and the Unreal  

      5.The Warning Voice    

      6.Self and All-Self    

      7. The Three Halls         
      8. The World's Mother  

      9.  The Seven Sounds      

      10. Become the Path      

      11.  The One Road

      12.   The Last Steps 
      13.    The Goal        

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      1. The Open Gate.       
      2.  Head-Learning and Soul-Wisdom  

      3.   The Life of Action      

      4.  The Secret Path          

      5. The Wheel of Life     

      6.  The Way of the Arhat


      1. The Paramita Heights

      2.  Tuning the Heart      

      3.  The First Three Gates 
      4.    The Fourth Gate         

      5.  The Fifth and Sixth Gates      

      6.  The Seventh Gate    

      7.  The Arya Path  

      8.  The Three Vestures    

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C.W.L.—Even from the superficial and wholly physical point of view, The Voice of

the Silence is one of the most remarkable books in our Theosophical literature,

whether we consider its contents, its style, or the manner of its production;

and when we look a little deeper and call to our aid the power of clairvoyant

investigation, our admiration is by no means diminished. Not that we should make

the mistake of regarding it as a sacred-scripture, every word of which must be

accepted without question. It is by no means that, for, as we shall presently

see, various minor errors and misunderstandings have crept into it; but anyone

who on that account regards it as unreliable or carelessly put together will be

making an even less excusable mistake in the opposite direction.

Madame Blavatsky was always very ready to admit, and even to emphasize, the fact

that inaccuracies were to be found in all her works; and in the early days, when

we came across some especially improbable statement of hers we not unnaturally

laid it reverently aside as perhaps one of those inaccuracies. It was surprising

in what a number of such cases further study showed us that Madame Blavatsky was

after all correct, so that presently, taught by experience, we grew

much more wary in this matter, and learnt to trust her extraordinarily

wide and minute knowledge upon all sorts of out-of-the-way subjects.

Still there is no reason to suspect a hidden meaning in an obvious misprint,

as some too credulous students have done; and we need not hesitate to

admit that our great Founder's profound knowledge in occult matters did not

prevent her from sometimes misspelling a Tibetan word, or even misusing

an English one.


She gives us in her preface some information as to the origin of the

book—information which at first seemed to involve some serious difficulties, but

in the light of recent investigations becomes much more comprehensible. Much of

what she wrote has been commonly understood in a wider sense than she intended

it, and in that way it has been made to appear that she put forward extravagant

claims; but when the facts of the case are stated it will be seen that there is

no foundation for such a charge.


She says: '' 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." And,

further on: " The work from which I here translate forms part of the same series

as that from which the stanzas of The Book of Dzyan were taken, on which The

Secret Doctrine is based." She also says: " The Book of the Golden Precepts . . . contains about ninety distinct little treatises."


In early days we read into this more than she meant, and we supposed that this

work was put into the hands of .all mystic students in the East, and that "the

school in which the knowledge of them is obligatory " meant the school of the

Great White Brotherhood itself.1 Hence when we met with advanced occultists who

had never heard of The Book of the Golden Precepts we were much surprised and a

little inclined to look askance at them and doubt gravely whether they could

have come altogether along the right lines, but since then we have learnt many

things, and among them somewhat more of perspective than we had at first.

In due course, too, we acquired further information about the Stanzas of Dzyan,

and the more we learnt about them and their unique position the clearer it

became to us that neither The Voice of the Silence nor any other book could

possibly have in any real sense the same origin as they.



The original of The Book of Dzyan is in the hands of the august Head of the

Occult Hierarchy, and has been seen by none. None knows how old it is, but it is

rumoured that the earlier part of it (consisting of the first six stanzas), has

an origin altogether anterior to this world, and even that it is not a history,

but a series of directions—rather a formula for creation than an account of it.

A copy of it is kept in the museum of the Brotherhood,



1 This term is used to denote a great Brotherhood of Adepts, and is not related

to color. and it is that copy (itself probably the oldest book produced on this planet)

which Madame Blavatsky and several of her pupils have seen—which she describes

so graphically in The Secret Doctrine. The book has, however, several

peculiarities which she does not there mention. It appears to be very highly

magnetized, for as soon as a man takes a page into his hand he sees passing

before his eyes a vision of the events which it is intended to portray, while at

the same time he seems to hear a sort of rhythmic description of them in his own

language, so far as that language will convey the ideas involved. Its pages

contain no words whatever—-nothing but symbols.

When we came to know this fully, it was somewhat startling to find another book

claiming the same origin as the sacred Stanzas, and our first impulse was to

suppose that some strange mistake must have arisen. Indeed, it was this

extraordinary discrepancy that first led to our investigating the question of

the real authorship of The Book of the Golden Precepts; and when this was done,

the explanation proved to be exceedingly simple.




We read in the various biographies of Madame Blavatsky that she once spent a

period of some three years in Tibet, and also that on another occasion she made

ah unsuccessful attempt to penetrate into that forbidden land. On one or other

of these visits she seems to have stayed for some considerable time at a certain

monastery in the Himalayas, the head of which at that time was a pupil of the

Master Morya. The place seems to me to be in Nepal rather than in Tibet, but it

is difficult to be sure of this. There she studied with great assiduity

and also gained considerable psychic development; and it is at this period of

her history that she learnt by heart the various treatises of which she makes

mention in the Preface. The learning of them is obligatory upon the students of

that particular monastery, and the book from which they are taken is regarded

there as of exceeding value and holiness.



This monastery is of great age. It was founded in the early centuries of the

Christian era by the great preacher and reformer of Buddhism who is commonly

known as Aryasanga. I think a claim is made that the building had already

existed for two or three centuries before his time; but, however that may be,

its history as far as we are concerned begins with his temporary occupancy of

it. He was a man of great power and learning, already far advanced along the

Path of Holiness; He had in a previous birth as Dharmajyoti been one of the

immediate followers of the Lord Buddha, and after that, under the name of

Kleinias, one of the leading disciples of our Master Kuthumi in his birth as

Pythagoras. After the death of Pythagoras, Kleinias founded a school for the

study of his philosophy at Athens—an opportunity of which several of our present

Theosophical members took advantage. Centuries later He took birth at Peshawar,

which was then called Purushapura, under the name of Vasubandhu Kanushika. When

he was admitted to the order of monks He took the name of Asanga—•" the man

without hindrance "—and later in his life his admiring followers lengthened this

to-Aryasanga, by which he is chiefly known as author and

preacher. He is said to have lived to a very great age —nearly a hundred and

fifty years, if tradition speaks truly—and to have died at Rajagriha.

He was a voluminous writer: the principal work of his of which we hear is the

Yogacharya Bhumishastra. He was the founder of the Yogacharya school of

Buddhism, which seems to have begun with an attempt to fuse with Buddhism the

great Yoga system of philosophy, or perhaps rather to adopt from the latter what

could be used and interpreted Buddhistically. He travelled much and was a mighty

force in the reform of Buddhism; in fact, his fame reached so high a level that

his name is joined with those of Nagarjuna and Aryacleva, and these men have

been called the three suns of Buddhism, because of their activity in pouring

forth its light and glory upon the world. The date of Aryasanga is given vaguely

as a thousand years after the Lord Buddha; European scholars seem uncertain as

to when he lived, but none assign him a later date than the seventh century

after Christ. To us in the Theosophical Society he is known in this life as a

specially kind, patient and helpful teacher, the Master Djwal Kul—one who has

for us an unique position, in that when some of us had the honour of knowing him

about forty years ago, he had not yet taken the step which is the goal of human

evolution— the Aseka Initiation. So that among our Masters he is the only one

whom we knew in this present incarnation before he became an Adept, when he was

still the head pupil of the Master Kuthumi. The fact that as Aryasanga he

carried Buddhism into Tibet may be the


reason why in this life he has chosen to take a Tibetan body; there may have

been karmic associations or links of which he wished to dispose before taking

the final initiation as Adept.


In the course of one of his great missionary journeys in his life as Aryasanga

he came to this Himalayan monastery and took up his abode there. He stayed there

for nearly a year, teaching the monks, organizing the religion generally over a

very large section of the country, and making this monastery a kind of

headquarters for the reformed faith, and he left upon the place an impression

and a tradition which last until the present time. Among other relics of his is

preserved a book, which is regarded with the greatest reverence; and this is the

scripture to which Madame Blavatsky refers as The Book of the Golden Precepts.

Aryasanga seems to have commenced it as a sort of common place book, or a book

of extracts, in which he wrote down anything that he thought would be useful to

his pupils, and he began with the Stanzas of Dzyan—not in symbol, as in the

original, but in written words. Many other extracts he made—-some from the works

of Nagarjuna, as Madame Blavatsky mentions. After his departure his pupils added

to the book a number of reports (or perhaps rather abstracts) of his lectures or

sermons to them, and these are the " little treatises" to which Madame Blavatsky



It was Alcyone, in his last life, who prepared and added to The Book of the

Golden Precepts the reports of the discourses of Aryasanga, three of which form

Our present subject of study. So we owe this priceless little volume to his care in

reporting, just as in this life we owe to him our possession of the exquisite

companion volume At the Feet of the Master. That life of Alcyone began in A.D.

624, and was spent in Northern India. In it Alcyone entered the order of

Buddhist monks at an early age and became deeply attached to Aryasanga, who took

him with him to the monastery in Nepal, and left him there to help and direct

the studies of the community which he had re-organized—a service that Alcyone

performed with distinguished success for about two years.1

It is in this sense, and in this sense only, that The Voice of the Silence

claims the same origin as the Stanzas of Dzyan—that the two are copied in the

same book. We must not forget also that though we have undoubtedly much of

Aryasanga's teaching in these treatises, it cannot but be coloured considerably

by the prepossessions of those who reported it; and it is probable that at least

in some passages they misunderstood him and failed to convey his real meaning.

As we examine the work in detail we shall find verses here and there which

express sentiments that Aryasanga could hardly have held, and show ignorance

which for him would have been impossible.


It will be noticed that Madame Blavatsky speaks of translating the precepts—a

remark which raises some interesting questions, since we know that she was

unacquainted with any Oriental tongue except Arabic. The book is written in a

script with which I am 1 See The Lives of Alcyone.


unfamiliar, nor do I know what language is used. The latter may be Sanskrit,

Pali, or some Prakrit dialect, or possibly Nepalese or Tibetan; but the script

is not any of those now commonly employed to write those languages. It is at any

rate reasonably certain that on the physical plane neither script nor language

could have been known to Madame Blavatsky.


For one who can function freely in the mental body there are methods of getting

at the meaning of a book, quite apart from the ordinary process of reading it.

The simplest is to read from the mind of one who has studied it; but this is

open to the objection that one gets not the real meaning of the work, but that

student's conception of the meaning, which may be by no means the same thing. A

second plan is to examine the aura of the book—a phrase which needs a little

explanation for those not practically acquainted with the hidden side of things,

An ancient manuscript stands in this respect in a somewhat different position

from a modern book. If it is not the original work of the author himself, it has

at any rate been copied word by word by some person of a certain education and

understanding, who knew the subject of the book, and had his own opinions about

it. It must be remembered that copying, done usually with a stylus, is almost as

slow and emphatic as engraving; so that the writer inevitably impresses his

thought strongly on his handiwork.

Any manuscript, therefore, even a new one, has always some sort of thought-aura

about it which conveys its general meaning, or rather, one man's idea of its

meaning and his estimate of its value. Every time the book is read by any one an

addition is made to that thought-aura, and if it be carefully studied the

addition is naturally large and valuable. A book which has passed through many

hands has an aura which is usually better balanced, rounded off and completed by

the divergent views brought to it by its many readers; consequently the

psychometrization of such a book generally yields a fairly full comprehension of

its contents, though with a considerable fringe of opinions not expressed in the

book, but held by its various readers.

With a printed book the case is much the same, except that there is no original

copyist, so that at the beginning of its career it usually carries nothing but

disjointed fragments of the thoughts of the binder and the bookseller. Also few

readers at the present day seem to study so thoughtfully and thoroughly as did

the men of old, and for that reason the thought-forms connected with a modern

book are rarely so precise and clear-cut as those which surround the manuscripts

of the past.

A third plan, requiring somewhat higher powers, is to go behind the book or

manuscript altogether and get at the mind of the author. If the book is in some

foreign language, its subject entirely unknown, and there is no aura round it to

give any helpful suggestion, the only way is to follow back its history, to see

from what it was copied (or set up in type, as the case may be) and so to trace

out the line of its descent until one reaches its author. If the subject of the

work is known, a less tedious method is to psychometrize that subject, get into

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the general current of thought about it, and so find the particular writer

required, and see what he thinks. There is a sense in which all the ideas

connected with a given subject may be said to be local—to be concentrated round

a certain point in space, so that by mentally visiting that point one can come

into touch with all the converging streams of thought about that subject, though

of course these are linked by millions of lines with all sorts of other


Supposing her clairvoyant powers to have been at that time sufficient, Madame

Blavatsky may have adopted any of these methods of getting at the meaning of the

treatises from The Book of the Golden Precepts, though it would be a little

misleading to describe any of them as translations without qualifying the

statement. The only other possibilities are somewhat remote. There is at present

no one in that Himalayan monastery who speaks any European language, but since

it is probably at least forty years since Madame Blavatsky was there, there must

have been many changes. It is recorded that Indian students have occasionally,

though very rarely, come to drink from that fount of archaic learning, and if we

may assume that the visit of some such student coincided with hers, it might

also be that he happened to know both English and the language of the

manuscript, or at least the language of other inmates of the monastery who could

read the manuscript for themselves, and so could translate for her.

Strangely enough, there is also just a possibility that she may have been taught

in her own native tongue.    In

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European Russia, on the banks of the Volga, there is a fairly large settlement

of Buddhist tribes, probably Tartar in their origin; and it appears that these

people, though so far removed on the physical plane from Tibet, still regard it

as their holy land and occasionally undertake pilgrimages to it. Such pilgrims

sometimes remain for years as pupils in Tibetan or Nepalese monasteries, and as

one of them might very well know Russian as well as his own Mongolian dialect,

it is obvious that we have here another possible method by which Madame

Blavatsky may have communicated with her hosts.

In any case it is obvious that we must not expect an exact verbal reproduction

of what Aryasanga originally said to his disciples. Even in the archaic book

itself we have not his words, but his pupils' recollection of them, and of that

recollection we have now before us either a translation of a translation, or the

recording of a general mental impression of the meaning. It would of course be

quite easy for one of our Masters or for the author himself to make a direct and

accurate translation into English; but as Madame Blavatsky distinctly claims the

work of translation as her own, this evidently was not the plan adopted.

At the same time, the account which we have from an eyewitness of the speed with

which it was written down, does certainly seem to suggest the idea that some

assistance was given to her, even though it may have been unconsciously to

herself. Dr. Besant writes on this subject:

She  wrote  it at Fontainebleau, and the greater part was done when   I was with

her, and I sat in the room while she was writing


it. I know that she did not write it referring to any books, but she wrote it

down steadily, hour after hour, exactly as though she were writing either from

memory or from reading it where no book was. She produced in the evening that

manuscript that I saw her write as I sat with her, and asked me and others to

correct it for English, for she said that she had written it so quickly that it

was sure to be bad. We did not alter in that more than a few words, and it

remains as a specimen of marvelously beautiful literary work.

Another possibility is that she may have done the translation into English

beforehand while at the monastery, and that at Fontaineblcau she may really have

been reading it at a distance, just as Dr. Besant says she appeared to be. I

have often seen her do that very thing on other occasions.

The six schools of Hindu philosophy to which she refers on the first page of the

preface are the Nyaya, Vaiseshika, Sankhya, Yoga, Mimamsa and Vedanta. She

states that every Indian teacher has his own system of training, which he

usually keeps very secret. It is natural that he should keep it secret, for he

does not desire the responsibility of the results that would follow if it were

tried (as, if known, it certainly would be), by all sorts of unsuitable,

ill-regulated people. No real teacher in India will take charge of a pupil

unless he can have him under his eye, so that when he prescribes for him a

certain exercise, he can watch its effect and check the man instantly if he sees

that anything is going wrong. That has been the immemorial custom in these

occult matters, and unquestionably it is the only way in which real progress can

be made with rapidity and safety. The first and most difficult task of the pupil

is to reduce to order the chaos in himself—to eliminate the


host of minor interests, and control the wandering thoughts, and this must be

achieved by a steady pressure of the will exercised upon all his vehicles

through a long period of years.

Our author tells us that if the systems of instruction differ  on  this side of

the Himalayas in  the esoteric schools, on the other side they are all the same.

   We must emphasize here the word esoteric, for we know that in the exoteric

religion the corruptions and evil magical practices are worse on the northern

side of the mountains than on the southern.    We may perhaps even understand

the  expression " beyond the Himalayas " rather in a symbolical than in a

strictly geographical sense, and many suppose that it is in the schools owing

allegiance to our Masters that the teaching does not differ.    This is very

true in a certain sense—-the most important  of all senses; but capable of

misleading the reader if not carefully explained.    The sense in which all are

the same is that all recognize the virtuous life as the only path leading to

occult development, and the conquest of desire as the only way of getting rid of

it. There are schools of occult knowledge which hold that the virtuous life

imposes unnecessary limitations.    They teach certain forms of psychic

development, but they care nothing for the use which their pupils may afterwards

make of the information given to them.    There are others who hold that desire

of all sorts should be indulged to the utmost, in order that through satiety

indifference may be attained.    But no school holding either of these doctrines

is under the direction of the


Great White Brotherhood; in every establishment even remotely connected with it,

purity of life and nobleness of aim are indispensable prerequisites.

The next paragraph in the Preface happens to contain two of the trifling

inaccuracies to which I have referred. Our author mentions " the great mystic

work called Paramartha, supposed to have been delivered to Nagarjuna by the

Nagas ". Nagarjuna's great book was not called Paramartha, but Prajna

Paramita—-the wisdom which brings to the further shore; but it is very true that

the subject treated in that book is the paramartha satya, that consciousness of

the sage which vanquishes illusion. Nagarjuna, as already mentioned, was one of

the three great Buddhist teachers of the earlier centuries of the Christian era;

he is supposed to have died A.D). 1

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. He is now known to Theosophists under the

name of the Master Kuthumi. Exoteric writers some-times describe Aryasanga as

his rival, but, knowing as we do their intimate relation in an earlier birth in

Greece, and now again in this present life, we see at once that this cannot have

been so. It is quite possible that, after their death, their pupils may have

tried to set up the teaching of one against that of the other, as pupils in

their undiscriminating zeal so often do; but that they themselves were in

perfect accord is shown by the fact that Aryasanga treasured much of Nagarjuna's

work and copied it into his book of extracts for the use of his disciples.

It is not, however, certain that the Prajna Paramita was the work of Nagarjuna,

for the legend seems to be


to the effect that the book was delivered to him by the Nagas or serpents.

Madame Blavatsky interprets this as a name given to the ancient Initiates, and

that may well be so, though there is another very interesting possibility. I

have found that the name of Nagas or serpents was given by the Aryans to one of

the great tribes or clans of the Toltec sub-race of the Atlanteans, because they

carried before them as a standard when going into battle a golden snake coiled

round a staff. This may well have been some totem or tribal symbol, or perhaps

merely the crest of a great family. This tribe or family must have taken a

prominent part in the original Atlantean colonization of India and the lands

which then existed to the south-east of it. We find the Nagas mentioned as among

the original inhabitants of Ceylon, found when Vijaya and his companions landed

there. So a possible interpretation of this legend might be that Nagarjuna

received this book from an earlier race— in other words, that it is an Atlantean

scripture. And if, as has been suspected, certain of the Upanishads came from

the same source, there would be little reason to wonder at the identity of

teaching to which Madame Blavatsky refers on the same page.

The Gnyaneshwari (transliterated Dhyaneshwari in the first edition) is not a

Sanskrit work, but was written in Marathi in the thirteenth century of our era.

On the next page we find a reference to the Yoga-charya (or more accurately

Yogachara) school of the Mahayana. I have already mentioned the attempt made by

Aryasanga, but a few words should perhaps be

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said as to the vexed question of the Yanas. The
Buddhist Church presents itself

to us to-day in two great divisions, the Northern and the Southern. The former

includes China, Japan, and Tibet; the latter reigns in Ceylon, Siam, Burma and

Cambodia. It is usually stated that the Northern Church adopts the Mahayana and

the Southern Church the Hlnayana,1 but whether even this much may be safely said

depends upon the shade of meaning which we attach to a much-disputed word. Yana

means vehicle, and it is agreed that it is to be applied to the Dhamma or Law as

the vessel which conveys us across the sea of life to Nirvana, but there are at

least five theories as to the exact sense in which it is to be taken:

1.    That it refers simply to the language in which the Law is written, the

Greater Vehicle being by this hypothesis  Sanskrit,  and  the  Lesser  Vehicle 

Pali—-a theory which seems to me untenable.

2.    Hina may apparently be taken as signifying mean or easy, as well as small.

  One interpretation therefore considers the Hinayana as the meaner or easier

road to liberation—the irreducible minimum of knowledge and conduct required to

attain it—while the Mahayana is the   fuller   and   more   philosophical  

doctrine   which includes   much   additional   knowledge   about   higher

realms  of nature.    Needless to say, this interpretation comes from a Mahayana


3.    That Buddhism, in its unfailing courtesy towards other religions, accepts

them all as ways of liberation,

1 Usually known as Theravada. though it regards the method taught by its Founder as offering the shortest and surest route. According to this view, Buddhism is the Mahayana, and the Hinayana includes Brahmanism, Zoroastrianism, Jainism and any other religions which were existing at the time when the definition was formulated.

4.    That the two doctrines are simply two stages of one   doctrine—the  

Theravada   for   the   Shravakas or hearers, and the Mahayana for more advanced


5.    That the word Yana is to be understood not exactly in its primary sense of

" vehicle," but rather in a secondary sense nearly equivalent to the English

word " career ".    According to this interpretation the Mahayana puts before a

man the "grand career" of becoming a Bodhisattva and devoting himself to the

welfare of the world, while the Theravada shows him only the "smaller career "

of so living as to attain Nirvana for himself.

The Northern and Southern Buddhist Churches are related somewhat as are the

Catholics and Protestants among the Christians. The Northern resembles the

Catholic Church. It has added to the teachings of the Lord Buddha. For instance,

it adopted much of the aboriginal worship which it found in the country—such

ceremonies as those in honour of nature-spirits or deified forces of nature.

When Christian missionaries went among the Northern Buddhists, they found

ceremonies so similar to their own that they said it was plagiarism due to the

work of the devil, and when it was conclusively proved that these ceremonies

antedated the Christian era, they said it was " plagiarism by anticipation " !


In the Buddhist, as in all other scriptures, there are contradictory statements;

so the Southern Church has founded itself on certain texts; anxious to avoid

excrescences, it ignores the others, or calls them interpolations. This has made

it narrower in its scope than the Northern Church. To take one example. The Lord

Buddha preached constantly against the idea that was evidently prevalent in his

time, of the continuation of the person-alky. That notion is common also among

Christians—-that our personalities survive to all eternity. But while he taught

that nothing of all that with which men generally identify themselves lasts for

ever, he made most unequivocal statements about the successive lives of men. He

gave examples of preceding lives; and when some King asked him what it was like

to recover the memory of former lives, he. said it was like remembering what one

had done yesterday and on preceding days when visiting this village or that. Yet

the Southern Church now teaches that only karma persists, not an ego; as though

man in one life made a certain amount of karma, and then died, and nothing was

left of him, but another person was born, and had to bear the karma which he did

not make.

Still, while the Southern Buddhists teach that only the karma survives, they

speak at the same time of the attainment of Nirvana; so that if you ask a monk

why he wears the yellow robe, he will answer you: "To attain Nirvana," and if

you say: " In this life? " he will reply at once: " Oh, no, it will need many

lives." So also, after every sermon that a monk preaches he blesses


his congregation with the words: '' May you attain Nirvana "; and again, if you

asked him whether they could attain it in this life, he would say, " No, they

will need many lives." So a practical belief in the continued existence of an

individual persists, in spite of the formal teaching to the contrary.

Madame Blavatsky devotes a couple of pages to the question of the various forms

of writing adopted in the Himalayan monasteries. In Europe and America the Roman

alphabet is so widely spread, so almost universally employed, that it is perhaps

well, for the sake of our Western readers, to explain that in the East a very

different condition of affairs prevails. Each of the numerous Oriental

languages—Tamil, Telugu, Sinhalese, Malayalam, Hindi, Gujarati, Canarese,

Bengali, Burmese, Nepalese, Tibetan, Siamese, and many others —has its own

alphabet and method of writing, and a writer in one of them, when quoting a

foreign language, expresses that language in his own characters, just as an

English writer, if he had to quote a German or Russian sentence would probably

write it not in German or Russian type, but in Roman. So that in dealing with an

oriental manuscript we have always two points to consider—the language and the

script, and these two are by no means always the same.

If I take up a palm-leaf book in Ceylon, it is almost certain to be written in

the beautiful Sinhalese script, but it does not at all follow that it is in the

Sinhalese language. It is quite as likely to be in Pali, Sanskrit or Elu. The

same is true of any of the other scripts.


So that when Madame Blavatsky says that the precepts are sometimes written in

Tibetan, she may very likely mean only in Tibetan characters, and not

necessarily in the Tibetan language. I have not seen any instances of the

curious cryptographs which she describes, in which colours and animals are made

to represent letters. She speaks in the same paragraph of the thirty simple

letters of the Tibetan alphabet. These are universally recognized, but it is not

clear what is meant by the reference a little later on to thirty-three simple

letters, since if she takes them without the four vowels there are but thirty,

while if the vowels are included we should of course have not thirty-three but

thirty-four. As to the compound letters, their number may be variously stated; a

grammar which is before me gives over a hundred, but probably Madame Blavatsky

refers only to those in general use.

I remember an interesting illustration of her statement as to one of the Chinese

modes of writing. When I was in Ceylon there came one day to visit us two

Buddhist monks from the interior of China—-men who could speak no language with

which any of us were acquainted. But fortunately we had some young Japanese

students staying with us, in pursuance of Colonel Olcott's splendid scheme that

each Church, the Northern and the Southern, should send some of its neophytes to

learn the ways and the teaching of the other. These young men could not

understand a word of what these Chinese monks said, but they were able to

exchange ideas with them by means of writing. The written symbols meant the same


to them, though they called them by quite different names, just as a Frenchman

and an Englishman would each perfectly understand a line of figures, although

one would call them " un, deux, trois," and the other " one, two, three ". The

same is true of notes of music. Sol had a very curious and interesting interview

with these monks, at which every question which I put was first translated into

Sinhalese by one of our members, so that the Japanese student might understand

it; then the latter wrote it down with a paint-brush in the form of writing

common to Chinese and Japanese; the Chinese monk read it and wrote his reply in

the same characters, which the Japanese student then translated into Sinhalese,

and our member into English. Under these circumstances conversation was slow and

a little uncertain, but still it was an interesting experience.


These instructions are for those ignorant of the dangers of the lower Iddhi.

C.W.L.—To this opening sentence of the First Fragment there is a note by Madame

Blavatsky as follows:

The Pali word Iddhi is the equivalent of the Sanskrit Siddhis, or psychic

faculties, the abnormal powers in man. There are two kinds of Siddhis— one group

which embraces the lower, coarse, psychic and mental energies, while the other

exacts the highest training of spiritual powers. Says Krishna in Shrimad


" He who is engaged in the performance of Yoga, who has subdued his senses and

who has concentrated his mind in me [Krishna], such Yogis all the Siddhis stand

ready to serve.

There is a vast amount of misunderstanding on this subject of psychic powers,

and it will save the student a great deal of trouble if he will try to get a

reasonable conception of it to begin with. First, let him not


attach a wrong interpretation to the word " abnormal " These powers are abnormal

only in the sense that they are at present uncommon—not in the least in the

sense that they are in any way unnatural. They are perfectly natural to every

man—-indeed they are latent in every man here and now; a few people have

developed them from latency into activity, but the majority have as yet made no

effort in that direction, and so the powers still remain dormant.

The simplest way to grasp the general idea is to remember that man is a soul,

and that he manifests himself on various planes through bodies appropriate to

those planes. If he wishes to act, to see or to hear in this physical world, he

can do so only through a body made of physical matter. Similarly if he wishes to

manifest in the astral world, he must have an astral vehicle, for the physical

body is useless there and even invisible, just as the astral body is invisible

to our physical sight. In the same way a man who wishes to live upon the mental

plane must use his mental body.

To develop psychic faculty means to learn to use the senses of these different

bodies. If a man can use only his physical senses, he can see and hear only

things of this physical world; if he learns to use the senses of his astral

body, he can see and hear the things of the astral world as well. It is merely a

matter of learning to respond to additional vibrations. If you will look at the

table of vibrations in any book of physics, you will see that a large number of

them evoke no response from us. A certain number appeal to our ears, and we hear



as waves of sound; another set impress themselves upon our eyes, and we call

them rays of light. But in between these two sets, and above and below them

both, are thousands of other sets of oscillations that make no impression at all

upon our physical senses. It is possible for a man so to develop himself as to

become sensitive to all these undulations of the ether, and of matter even finer

than the ether; we call a man who has done that clairvoyant or clairaudient,

because he can see and hear more than the undeveloped man can.

The advantages of such an unfolding of the inner sight are considerable. The man

who possesses it finds himself free of another and far wider world; or to speak

more accurately, he finds that the world in which he has always lived has

extensions and possibilities of all kinds of which he has previously known

nothing. His studies may already have informed him of the presence all round him

of a vast and complicated non-physical life—of kingdoms of devas and

nature-spirits, of the enormous army of his fellow-men who have laid aside their

dense bodies in sleep or in death, of forces and influences of many sorts which

can be evoked and used by those who understand them; but to see all these things

for himself instead of merely believing in them, to be able to contact them at

firsthand and experiment with them—all this makes life far fuller and more

interesting. He who can thus follow on higher planes the results of his thought

and action, becomes thereby a more efficient and more useful person. The gain of

such an unfoldment of consciousness is obvious; but what of the other side


of the story ? Madame Blavatsky writes of the dangers of this development, and

of two kinds of it, a lower and a higher. Let us take this latter point first.

All information which reaches man from without comes to him by means of

vibrations. Vibrations of the air convey sounds to the ears, while those of

light bring sights to his eyes. If he sees things and creatures of the astral

and mental worlds, it can only be through the impingement of vibrations of

astral and mental matter upon the bodies respectively capable of responding to

them. For man can see the astral world only through the senses of his astral

body, and the mental world through those of his mental body.

In each of these worlds, as in this, there are coarser and finer types of

matter, and, roughly speaking, the radiations of the finer types are desirable,

while those of the coarser kinds are distinctly undesirable. A man has both

kinds of matter in his astral body, and he is therefore capable of responding to

both the higher and the lower vibrations; and it is for him to choose to which

of them he will turn his attention. If he resolutely shuts out all the lower

influences, and accepts only the higher, he may be greatly helped by them even

at astral and mental levels. But Madame Blavatsky will have none of these—not

even as temporary aids; she groups them all together as " lower, coarse, psychic

and mental energies " and urges us to sweep onward to far higher planes which

are beyond the illusions of the personality. She evidently regards the dangers

of ordinary psychic development as outweighing its advantages; but as a


certain amount of this development is sure to come, in the course of the

evolution of the disciple, she warns us of some points as to which extreme care

is necessary.

In our own experience during the forty years that have elapsed since Madame

Blavatsky wrote this, we have seen something of these dangers in cases of

various students. Pride is the first of them, and it bulks very largely. The

possession of a faculty which, though it is the heritage of the whole human

race, is as yet manifested only very occasionally, often causes the ignorant

clairvoyant to feel himself (or still more frequently herself) exalted above his

fellows, chosen by the Almighty for some mission of world-wide importance,

dowered with a discernment that can never err, selected under angelic guidance

to be the founder of a new dispensation, and so on. It should be remembered that

there are always plenty of sportive and mischievous entities on the other side

of the veil who are ready and even anxious to foster all such delusions, to

reflect and embody all such thoughts, and to fill whatever role of archangel or

spirit-guide may happen to be suggested to them. Unfortunately it is so fatally

easy to persuade the average man that he really is a very fine fellow at bottom,

and quite worthy to be the recipient of a special revelation, even though his

friends have through blindness or prejudice somehow failed hitherto to

appreciate him.

Another danger, perhaps the greatest of all, because it is the mother of all

others, is ignorance. If the clairvoyant knows anything of the history of his

subject, if


he at all understands the conditions of those other planes into which his vision

is penetrating, he cannot of course suppose himself the only person who was ever

so highly favoured, nor can he feel with self-complacent certainty that it is

impossible for him to mistake. But when he is, as so many are, in the densest

ignorance as to history, conditions and everything else, he is liable in the

first place to make all kinds of mistakes as. to what he sees, and secondly to

be the easy prey of all sorts of designing and deceptive entities from the

astral plane. He has no criterion by which to judge what he sees, or thinks he

sees, no test to apply to his visions or communications, and so he has no sense

of relative proportion or the fitness of things, and he magnifies a copy-book

maxim into a fragment of divine wisdom, a platitude of the most ordinary type

into an angelic message. Then again, for want of common knowledge on scientific

subjects he will often utterly misunderstand what his faculties enable him to

perceive, and he will in consequence gravely promulgate the grossest


The third danger is that of impurity. The man who is pure in thought and life,

pure in intention and free from the taint of selfishness, is by that very fact

guarded from the influence of undesirable entities from other planes. There is

in him nothing upon which they can play; he is no fit medium for them. On the

other hand all good influences naturally surround such a man, and hasten to use

him as a channel through which they may act, and thus a still further barrier is

erected about him against all which is mean and low and evil. The man

of" impure life or motive, on the contrary, inevitably attracts to himself all

that is worst in the invisible world which so closely surrounds us; he responds

readily to it, while it will be hardly possible for the forces of good to make

any impression upon him.



But a clairvoyant who will bear in mind all these dangers, and strive to avoid

them, who will take the trouble to study the history and the rationale of

clairvoyance, who will see to it that his heart is humble and his motives are

pure—'Such a man may assuredly learn very much from these powers of which he

finds himself in possession, and may make them of the greatest use to him in the

work which he has to do.



The siddhis are enumerated at considerable length in the third chapter of the

Toga Sutras of Patanjali. He speaks of them as being attained in five ways—by

birth, by drugs, by mantras, by tapas, and by samadhi.

We have come to birth in a particular kind of body as the result of our actions

in previous incarnations, and if we find ourselves by nature in the possession

of psychic powers we may take it for granted that we have worked for them in

some way in previous lives. Many clairvoyants of the present day, in whom the

faculty has been easily awakened, but perhaps reaches no great heights of

spirituality, have been in such positions as those of the vestal virgins of

Greece and Rome, the minor yogis of India, or even the medicine-men of various

half-savage tribes or the "wise women" of the middle ages; there has always been

a very wide range in these matters.


What will happen to such people, how their spiritual lives will be shaped,

depends largely upon those with whom it is their karma to come into contact. If

that karma is good enough to lead them to Theosophy, they will have the

opportunity of learning something about these dawning faculties, and of being

trained in its Esoteric School in the preliminary qualities of character and

purity of physical and magnetic life that are prescribed by all true occultists,

so that a little later on they may develop their psychic powers in safety, and

become of great service to mankind.



If on the other hand they come into touch with the spiritualistic school of

thought, they are quite likely to find themselves following a line which

frequently results in passive mediumship, the very opposite of what we are

trying to attain.



There are those who turn to pseudo-occultism for the attainment of magical

powers in order to gratify personal ambition. That path is full of the most

serious dangers. Sometimes such people sit in a passive condition and invite

unknown entities of the astral world to work upon their auras and organisms and

to adapt them to their purposes; sometimes they practise various forms of

Hatha-yoga, consisting mainly of peculiar kinds of breathing, which have

unfortunately been widely taught in the Western world in recent years. As a

result of such proceedings mental and bodily disorders of a serious character

often arise, while at best the contact which is gained with the inner worlds

seldom extends beyond the lower astral


levels, from which nothing can come that is uplifting to mankind.

As to the second method—-the use of drugs—there is a note by Vyasa, in his

commentary upon the Yoga Sutras, to the effect that these are used " in the

houses of the asuras " for the purpose of awakening the siddhis. The asuras are

the opposite of the suras, and the word may roughly be translated as " the

ungodly "; the suras are the beings on God's side, those who work for His plan

of upward-evolving life.



Patanjali does not recommend this method; he is merely enumerating the ways in

which the siddhis can be acquired. A study of the Sutras shows very clearly that

he favours only the last of his list of five methods— that by means of samadhi

or contemplation.



We can understand to some extent the action of drugs on the body, when they are

used as a means of awakening psychic powers, if we remember that in the fourth

root race clairvoyance through the sympathetic nervous system was quite common.

Then the astral sheath, not yet properly organized into a body or vehicle of

consciousness, responded in a general way to the impressions made upon it by the

objects of the astral plane. Those impressions were then reflected in the

sympathetic centres in the physical body, so that consciousness in that body

received astral and physical impressions together, and often scarcely

distinguished between them. Indeed, in the earlier days of that race, and in the

Lemurian race, the activity of the sympathetic system was far greater than that

of the cerebro-spinal system, so that the astral experiences were more prominent than the physical. But since then the  cerebro-spinal system has become the dominant mechanism of consciousness in the  physical body, and man in consequence has paid more and more attention to the  physical-plane experiences, as they have grown stronger and more insistent.


Therefore the sympathetic system as a purveyor of impressions has gradually

lapsed, its business now being to carry on in an involuntary manner many bodily

functions to which the man need not attend, because his life is mental,

emotional and spiritual rather than physical.



The objection to the use of drugs, therefore, is not only that they upset the

healthy working of the body and bring the sympathetic system once more into a

prominence which it ought not to have, but even from the point of view of the

psychic powers attained they merely re-awaken that system and bring again into

the physical consciousness indiscriminate impressions from the astral world.

These come generally from the lower part of the plane, in which are aggregated

all the astral matter and all the elemental essence concerned with exciting the

lower passions and impulses. Sometimes they come from slightly higher regions of

sensuous delight, such as are described in the visions of the Count of Monte

Cristo in Dumas' famous novel, or in De Quincy's Confessions of an Opium Eater;

but these are scarcely better than the others.


All that is entirely contrary to the plan of evolution laid down for humanity.

We are all intended to unfold clairvoyance and other cognate powers, but not in

That \way. First there should be a development of the astral and mental bodies, so

that they may be definite vehicles of consciousness on their own planes; then

may come the awakening of the chakras in the etheric double by means of which

the valuable knowledge gained through those higher bodies may be brought down to

the physical plane consciousness. But all this should be done only when and as

the Master advises; remember, in At the Feet of the Master the Teacher said:

"Have no desire for psychic powers."



The third method mentioned is by the use of mantras. The term mantra is applied

to certain words of power which are used in meditation or in ceremonial rites,

and are often repeated over and over again. These are to be found in Christian

rituals as well as in the East, as has been explained in The Science of the

Sacraments. In many religions sounds are thus used, and are associated with

pictures, symbols, signs and gestures, and sometimes dances.



The term tapas, used to describe the fourth method, is often associated with

ideas of extreme austerity and even self-torture, such as the method of holding

the arm extended until it withers, or lying on a bed of spikes. These practices

certainly develop the will, but there are other and better ways of doing that.

These Hatha Yoga schemes have the great demerit of making the physical body

useless for that service of humanity which is above all other things important

for the Master's work. The will may be just as effectively developed in dealing

with the difficulties of life that come to us by nature


and  through  karma;   there  is   no   necessity   to   make trouble.

In the Gita Shri Krishna speaks strongly against this superstition. He says, "

The men who perform severe austerities, which are not prescribed by the

Scriptures, wedded to vanity and egoism, impelled by the force of their desires

and passions., unintelligent, tormenting the aggregated elements forming the

body, and Me also, seated in the inner body—know these as asuric in their

resolves."  Such antics cannot be the real tapas. The word means literally "

heat," and perhaps the nearest English equivalent to that when it is applied to

human conduct is " effort ". The real meaning of the teaching with regard to it

seems to be: " Do for the body what you know to be good for it, disregarding

mere comfort. Do not let laziness, selfishness, or indifference stand in the way

of your doing what you can to make your personality healthy and efficient in the

work that it ought to be doing in the world." 2 Shri Krishna says in the Gita'.

" Reverence to the Gods, the elders, the teachers and the wise, purity,

straightforwardness, continence and harmlessness are the tapas of the body;

speech truthful, pleasant and beneficial, and study of the sacred words are the

tapas of speech; cheerfulness, balance, silence, self-control, and being true to

oneself are the tapas of mind." 3 These descriptions, given by one whom most of

the Hindus regard as the greatest incarnation of

1 Op. cit., xvii, 5-6.

2 See Raja Yoga, by Ernest Wood.

8 -Op. cit., xvii, 14-16.


Deity, certainly do not indicate any of the dreadful developments of which we

sometimes see such sad examples.



It is the fifth means, that of samadhi, that the Book of the Golden Precepts

advocates, and, as in the Toga Sutras and other standard works of the kind, this

is preceded by dharana and dhyana, which are commonly translated as

concentration and meditation, while samadhi is interpreted as contemplation.

These one-word translations from the Sanskrit are, however, often rather

unsatisfactory; the Sanskrit words, coming down to us through the ages, have

acquired a marvellous complexity, have added to themselves many fine shades of

meaning which are not to be found in any modern English expression. The only way

really to understand them is to study the terms in their context in the ancient




The siddhis may be divided into two classes, not only as higher and lower, but

also as faculties and powers. The world acts upon us through the senses, through

our faculties of sight, hearing and the rest; but we also act upon the world.

This duality applies also with regard to super-physical accomplishments. We

receive impressions through the newly unfolded powers of our astral and mental

vehicles; but we can also act through them. It is usual in Hindu books to speak

of eight siddhis: (1) anima, the power to put oneself in the position of an

atom, to become so small as to be able to deal with that tiny thing; (2) mahima,

the power to be as if of monstrous size, so as to deal with huge things at no

disadvantage; (3) laghima, the power to become as light as cotton borne

on the wind; (4) garima, the power to become as dense and heavy as

anything can be; (5) prapti, the power of reaching out, even as far as the moon;

(6) prakamya, the will power with which to realize all wishes and desires; (7)

ishatwa, the power to control and create; and (8) vashitwa, the power of command

over all objects. These are called " the great powers ", but others are

mentioned, such as steadiness and effulgence in the body, control of the senses

and appetites, beauty and gracefulness, and so on.



We students of these later days approach all these problems from a point of view

so totally different from that of the Hindu writers of thousands of years ago,

that it is sometimes difficult for us to understand them. We are the product of

our age, and the quasi-scientific training through which we all pass makes it a

mental necessity for us to try to classify our knowledge. Each man endeavours to

build for himself some kind of scheme of things, however crude it may be, and

when any new fact is presented to him he tries to find a niche in his scheme for

it. If it fits in comfortably he accepts the fact; if he cannot make it fit in,

he is quite likely to reject it, even though it may come to him with the

weightiest evidence. Though some people seem capable of holding, quite happily,

beliefs which are mutually contradictory, there are others who cannot do this,

and it is often a painful process for them to reconstruct their thought-edifice

to admit a new fact—-so painful that they not infrequently avoid it by

conveniently forgetting or denying the fact. Our ancient Indian brethren seem to

me to have catalogued their observations and left them there —-to have made no

special attempt to relate them to one another or to classify them by the planes

on which they occurred or the kind of faculty which they required.

We have no difficulty in recognizing the first and second powers on this list of

siddhis; they are instances of the alteration of the focus of the consciousness;

we sometimes call them powers of magnification and reduction. They mean the

adaptation of the consciousness to the objects with which it has to deal—a feat

which presents no difficulty to the trained occultist, though it is not easy on

the physical plane to explain exactly how it is done. The third and fourth

mention the possibility of becoming light or heavy at will; this is achieved by

the comprehension and use of the repulsive force which is the opposite of

gravity. I am not so sure about the fifth; it may refer merely to the power of

travelling in the astral body, since the limit of astral migration is indicated

by the mention of the moon; but I rather suspect that it means the power of

producing a definite result at a distance by 'an effort of will. The sixth and

eighth are only developments of will-power, though very remarkable developments;

the seventh is the same, with the addition of the special knowledge required for

the dematerialization and rematerialization of objects. In this list there seems

to be no direct reference to clairvoyance at all, either in space or in time.

It is to be noted that The Voice of the Silence does not say that the lower

iddhis, those belonging to the astral and mental bodies, are to be neglected

altogether; it merely points out that there are serious dangers connected with them. We

shall have to deal with them a little further on, for he who would climb the

ladder must step on every rung.


He who would hear the voice of Nada, the " Sound-less sound," and comprehend it,

he has to learn the nature of Dharana.


To this there are two footnotes, as follows:



The " Soundless Voice," or the " Voice of the Silence." Literally perhaps this

would read " Voice in the Spiritual Sound,''' as Nada is the equivalent word in

Sanskrit for the Senzar term.



Dharana is the intense and perfect concentration of the mind upon some one

interior object, accompanied by complete abstraction from everything pertaining

to the external universe, or the world of the senses.



The word that is here translated concentration comes from the root dhri, to

hold. The word dharana, with a short final vowel, means holding or supporting in

general, but here we have a special feminine substantive, with the long terminal

vowel, as a technical term signifying concentration or holding of the mind.

It is described in some places as a kind of pondering or dwelling upon a given

thought or object, and it is said in the Hindu books that meditation and

contemplation will not be successful unless this is practised first. It is

obvious that while the mind is responding to


the appeals of the physical, astral and lower mental planes, it is not likely to

hear the message that the ego is trying to transmit to the personality from his

own higher planes.



Concentration is requisite, that attention may be given to the chosen object,

not to the restless activity of the lower vehicles. It is usual to begin the

practice of concentration with simple things. On a certain occasion some people

came to Madame Blavatsky, and asked her upon what they should meditate; she

threw a matchbox down on the table, and said: " Meditate on that! " It startled

them somewhat, because they had expected her to tell them to meditate upon

Parabrahman or the Absolute. It is very important that this concentration should

be done without strain to the body. Dr. Besant has told us that, when Madame

Blavatsky first instructed her to try it, she began with great intensity; but

her teacher interrupted her, saying: " My dear, you do not meditate with your

blood-vessels! "



What is required is to hold the mind quiet, so that one looks at the object of

thought with perfect calmness, just as one would look at one's watch 'to see the

time, except that one keeps on looking for the length of time prescribed or

decided upon for the period of concentration. People often complain of headaches

and other pains as a result of meditation; there should never be any such

result; if they will take care to keep the physical body calm and free from

tension of any kind, even in the eyes, they will probably find their

concentration much easier and more successful, and free from

physical trouble and danger. Various books have been written on this subject,

and some of them offer exceedingly dangerous suggestions. Anyone wishing further

information on this should read Professor Wood's book, Concentration—-a

Practical Course, of which Dr. Besant wrote: '' There is nothing in it which,

when practised, can do the striver after concentration the least physical,

mental or moral harm."



In her footnote, H.P.B. associates dharana with the higher mental plane, for she

says the mind must be fixed upon an interior object and abstracted from the

world of the senses; that is, from the physical, astral and lower mental worlds.

That is a prescription for the candidate who is already on the Path, and is

aiming at the samadhi of the nirvanic or atmic plane. But the three terms

concentration, meditation and contemplation are also used in a general way. To

fix one's thought on a verse of scripture—-that is concentration. To look at it

in every possible light and try to penetrate its meaning, to reach a new and

deep thought or receive some intuitional light upon it—that is meditation. To

fix one's attention steadily for a time on the light received—• that is

contemplation. Contemplation has been defined as concentration at the top end of

your line of thought or meditation. It is usual for the Oriental student to

begin his practice on some simple external object, and from that to carry his

thought inward or upward to higher things.






Having become indifferent to objects of perception, the pupil must seek out the

Raja of the senses, the Thought-Producer, he who awakes illusion.

The Mind is the great Slayer of the Real. Let the Disciple slay the slayer.

This refers to what has to be done during the practice of concentration. In the

Hindu books on the subject it is explained that prior to the actual

concentration the student who sits for the practice must withdraw his attention

from the objects of sensation; he must learn to take no notice of any sights or

sounds that may come within his range; he must not be attracted by anyone or

anything that comes within his view, or affects his sense of touch. He will then

be ready to observe what thoughts and feelings rise in the mind itself, and to

deal with them.



As I have already explained, in most persons the mental and astral bodies are in

a constant state of activity, full of vortices, which must be removed before

real progress can be made. It is these that create the mass  of illusions

which beset the average man, and render it exceedingly difficult

for him to get a true view of anything at all. It is an axiom of Shri

Shankaracharya's teaching that just as the physical eye can see things well when

it is steady, but not when it is roaming about, so the mind can understand

things clearly when it is still. But if it is full of vortices they are sure to

distort the vision and so create illusion.



The mind is called the raja or king of the senses. Sometimes it is spoken of as

one of them, as in the Gild:



A portion of Mine own Self transformed in the world of life into an immortal

Spirit, draweth round itself the senses, of which the mind is the sixth, veiled

in matter.


1 That the mind does act as a kind of sense is obvious, since it corrects the

evidence of the five senses and also indicates the presence of objects beyond

their reach; for example, when a shadow falls across your threshold, you may

infer that somebody is there.


What is the mind, that has to be dealt with so severely by the aspirant?

Patanjali speaks of it when he defines yoga practice as chitta-vritti-nirodha,

which means restraint (nirodha) of the whirlpools (vritti) of the mind (chitta).

Among the Vedantins, or in Shri Shankaracharya's school, the term antahkarana is

not used as we generally employ it, but indicates the mind in its fullest sense.

It means with, them literally the entire internal organ or instrument between

the innermost Self and the outer world, and is always described as of

1 Op. cit., v, 7.four parts: the "I-maker" (ahamkara); insight, intuition or pure reason

(buddhi); thought (manas); and discrimination of objects (chitta). It is these

last two that the Western man usually calls his mind, with its powers of

abstract and concrete thought; when he thinks of the other processes he imagines

them to be something above the mind.



The Theosophist ought to recognize in these four Vedantic divisions his own

familiar atma, buddhi, manas and the lower mind. Madame Blavatsky called the

last kama-manas, because it is the part of manas that works with desire and is

therefore interested in material objects. Kama is to be taken not only as

relating to low desires and passions, but also to any sort of desire or interest

in the external world for its own sake. The whole of the triple higher self is

from this point of view nothing but the antahkarana (or internal agency) between

the monad and the lower self. It has become a tetrad, because manas is dual in




The three parts of the higher self are considered as three aspects of a great

consciousness or mind; they are all modes of cognition. Atma is not the Self,

but is this consciousness knowing the Self; buddhi is this consciousness knowing

the life in the forms by its own direct perception; manas is the same

consciousness looking out upon the world of objects, and kama-manas is a portion

of the last immersed in that world and affected by it. The true self is the

Monad, whose life is something greater than consciousness, which is the life of

this complete mind, the Higher Self. Therefore Patanjali and

Shankara are quite in agreement; it is the chitta, the kama-manas,

the lower mind, which is the slayer of the real, and has to be slain.

Much that is now called the astral body by Theosophists must be included in the

Indian idea of kama-manas or chitta. Madame Blavatsky also speaks of four

divisions of the mind. First there is manas-taijasi, the resplendent or

illuminated manas, which is really buddhi, or at least that state of man when

his manas has become merged in buddhi, having no separate will of its own. Then

there is manas proper, the higher manas, the abstract thinking mind. Then there

is the antahkarana, a term used by Madame Blavatsky merely to indicate the link

or channel or bridge between higher manas and kama-manas during incarnation.

Finally there is kama-manas, which is on this theory the personality.



Sometimes she calls manas the deva-ego, or the divine as distinguished from the

personal self. Higher manas is divine because it has positive thought, which is

kriya-shakti, the power of doing things. Really all our work is done by

thought-power; the sculptor's hand does not do the work, but thought-power

directing that hand does it. The higher manas is divine because it is a positive

thinker, using the quality of its own life, which shines from within it; that is

what is meant by the word divine, from div, to shine. But the lower mind is only

a reflector; like all other material things, it has no light of its own; it is

something through which the light comes, or through which the sound comes—merely

persona, a mask.




The antahkarana is usually considered in the Theosophical works as the link

between the higher self or the divine ego, and the lower self or personal ego

The chitta in that lower self puts it at the mercy of things, so that our life

down here may be compared to the experience of a man struggling to swim in a

maelstrom. But this will be followed sooner or later after death by a period in

the heaven-world. The man has been whirled about; he has seen many things; he

has not dwelt upon them, however, with a calm, steady mind, but with kama-manas;

therefore he has not understood their significance for the soul. But in the

heaven-world the ego can widen out the antahkarana, because all is now calm; no

new experiences are to be gathered. The old ones can be quietly turned over and

dwelt upon, and their essence taken up, as it were, into the deva ego, as being

of interest to him. So, very often, the ego really begins his personal

life-cycle with the entry into the heaven-world, and pays a minimum of attention

to the personality during its period of collecting materials.



In that case the aspect of mind that is antahkarana (in Madame Blavatsky's

classification) functions but little before the period of the heaven-life. But

if a man is to become expert on the astral and mental planes during the life of

the physical body, he must bring the positive powers of the higher Self down

through that channel, by the practice of dharana or concentration, and so make

himself entire master of his personality. In other words he must clear out the

astral and mental whirlpools. A man who is genius on some line may find

it easy to apply tremendous concentration to his particular kind of work, but

when he relaxes from that, his ordinary life may quite possibly be still full of

these whirlpools. That is not what we want; we are aiming at nothing less than

the complete destruction of the whirlpools, so as to comb out the lower mind and

make it the calm and obedient servant of the higher Self at all times.

These whirlpools may and do constantly crystallize into permanent prejudices,

and make actual congestions of matter closely resembling warts upon the mental

body. Then if the man tries to look out through that particular part of that

body he cannot see clearly; everything is distorted, for at that point the

mental matter is no longer living and flowing, but stagnant and rotten. The way

to cure it is to acquire more knowledge, to get the matter into motion again,

and then one by one the prejudices will be washed away and dissolved.

It is in this way that the mind is the great slayer of the real, for through it

we do not see any object as it really is. We see only the images which we are

able to make of it, and everything is necessarily coloured for us by these

thought-forms of our own creation. Notice how two persons with preconceived

ideas, seeing the same set of circumstances, and agreeing as to the actual

happenings, will yet make two totally different stories from them. Exactly this

sort of thing is going on all the time with every ordinary man, and we do not

realize how absurdly we distort things. The disciple must conquer this; he must

" slay the slayer ". He must not of course destroy his mind,

for. he cannot get along without it, but he must

dominate it; it is his, but it is not he, though it tries to make him think so.

The best way to overcome its wandering is to use the will; its efforts are just

like those of the astral body, which is always trying to persuade you that its

desires are yours; you must deal with them both in a precisely similar manner.

Even when the whirlpools that fill the mind with prejudice and error are gone,

much illusion still remains. The translation of the Sanskrit word avidya as

ignorance is perhaps not very fortunate, though it is universally accepted. So

often in Sanskrit there are delicate shades of meaning which it is difficult to

convey in English. In this case perhaps what is intended is rot so much

ignorance as unwisdom. A man may have vast stores of knowledge, and yet be

unwise, for knowledge is concerned with objects and their relations in space and

time, whereas wisdom is concerned with the soul or consciousness embodied in

those things. The wise politician understands the people's minds; the wise

mother understands her children's minds. However much one may know about

material things, if one has only the matter-sight and not the life-sight, one

has in reality only unwisdom or avidya. "It is at the expense of wisdom that

intellect generally lives," said Madame Blavatsky. Then, out of that unwisdom or

ignorance spring four other great obstacles to spiritual progress, making five

altogether, which are called the kleshas. If avidya be the first

obstacle the second is asmita, the notion that " I am

this " or what a Master once called " self-personality". The personality is

developed through life into quite a definite thing, with decided physical,

astral and mental form, occupation and habits; and there is no objection to that

if it be a good specimen. But if the indwelling life can be persuaded to think

that he is that personality, he will begin to serve its interests, instead of

using it merely as -a tool for his spiritual purposes.



In consequence of this second error men seek inordinate wealth and power and

fame. When a man looks over his country houses and his town houses, his yachts

and cars, his farms and factories, he swells with pride; thinking himself great

because he is called the owner of these things; or he hears his name on

everybody's lips, and feels that thousands of people are thinking of him with

praise (or even with condemnation, for notoriety is often pleasing to men who

cannot attain fame) and he thinks himself a very great person indeed. That is "

self-personality ", one of the greatest superstitions in the world, and a great

source of trouble for one and all. The spiritual man, on the other hand, counts

himself fortunate if he can be the master of his own hand and brain, and he

wishes to hold the images of thousands of others in his own mind that he may

help them, rather than to rejoice in the thought that his image is multiplied

and magnified in their minds. Hence self-personality is the greatest obstacle to

the use of the personality by the higher Self, and so to spiritual progress.


The third and fourth obstacles may be taken together. They are raga. and dwesha,

liking and disliking, or attraction and repulsion. These too spring from this

same self-personality. That it should show its likes is inappropriate; it is as

though a motor-car should have a voice of its own, and should raise it in great

discontent when its master drives over a broken road, or in a purr of delight

when he goes over a good road. The road may be a bad one for the car, but from

the point of view of the driver it is a good thing that there is a road at all,

because he wants to get somewhere, which would be a difficult matter without a

road. It is nice to have our armchairs and fires and electric light and steam

heat, but he who would make progress has to go over new country, sometimes

materially, and always in thought and feeling. People like the things that

consort with their settled conveniences and habits; anything that disturbs those

is " bad "; anything that fits in with them and enhances them is " good ". Such

an outlook upon life does not harmonize with spiritual progress; we do not

refuse comfort when it comes, but we must learn to be indifferent to it, and to

take things as they come: this emphasis upon liking and disliking must go, and

the calm judgment of the higher Self as to what is good and what is bad must

take its place.



The fifth obstacle is abhinivesha, the outcome of the last, the state of being

fixed, settled in, attached to a form or mode of life, or to the personality.

From this arises fear of old age and of death—events which can never exist for

the man himself, but must come in due course to the personality.

A veritable death in life may arise out this of fifth

trouble; people -waste their youth in preparation for comfort and safety in

age,- and then waste their age in seeking for their lost youth, or are afraid to

use their bodies, lest they should wear out. They are like a man who buys a

beautiful motor-car, and sits in his garage, enjoying his new possession, but

unable to bring himself to run it out on the road, lest it should be spoiled.

Our business is to do what the higher Self wants, and to be utterly willing to

die in his service if need be.



All the whirlpools arise from these five obstacles. Concentration and meditation

are the means to dispel them completely. When the kama-manas no longer

gravitates downwards, the manas can turn upwards, to become manas-taijasi.

Another Sanskrit word connected with this self-personality is mana, sometimes

translated pride, but perhaps better rendered by conceit. This root appears in

the word nirmanakaya, which means a being who is beyond this illusion—nirmana.

Madame Blavatsky said that there were three kinds or modes of incarnation:

first, that of the avatar as, those who descend from higher spheres, having

reached them in a cycle of evolution prior to ours; secondly, those of an

ordinary kind, when a person passes through the astral and mental worlds and

then takes up a new body; and thirdly, that of nirmanakayas, who incarnate again

without interlude, sometimes perhaps after only a few days. In The Secret

Doctrine she cites the Cardinal de Cusa as an instance of this,

he having been born again quickly, as Copernicus; and she says

that such rapid rebirth is not an uncommon thing. She speaks of such people as

adepts, not using the word quite as we employ it now, but meaning that they are

adept or expert on the astral and lower mental planes; she says that they

sometimes act as spirits at seances, and that they are particularly opposed by

the Brothers of the Shadow, presumably because of the progress that they are

making for themselves and also for mankind in general.



She explains that there are two kinds of nirmana-kayas: those who have renounced

the heaven-world, as above explained, and those who at a later and higher stage

renounce what she calls absolute Nirvana, in order to remain to help the

progress of the world. Modern Theosophical literature confines the term to this

latter class, but here we are concerned with the lower class. The man who has

slain the slayer has largely destroyed the five obstacles, and has become the

servant of the higher Self, with nothing in him but what is favourable to its

purposes. He has his antahkarana widened out so that during his bodily life he

is in full touch with the higher Self, and all the time that self is taking what

it needs; the bee can visit the flower when he will, for there is no storm

raging: and when the physical body is dead, the subtle part of the personality

can be used again in the next incarnation, because it is not full of whirlpools

which represent fixed desires and rigid opinions, and selfish habits of feeling

and thought.






For when to himself his form appears unreal, as do on waking all the forms he

sees in dreams; when he has ceased to hear the many, he may discern the One—the

inner sound which kills the outer.



C.W.L.—The simile of dreaming and waking is frequently used in Oriental

philosophy. It has its use, but we must take care that it does not lead us into

a misapprehension. When we wake from an ordinary dream we realize that our

senses have been deceived, that what we thought at the time to be a real

experience was in truth nothing of the kind. But this is not exactly what

happens when we wake to a perception of spiritual reality. We awaken to a higher

and broader life; we perceive for the first time the crushing yet entirely

unsuspected limitations under which we have hitherto been living. But that does

not mean that our life before that time was nothing but a useless deception. The

awakening to higher things causes our previous state of mind to appear

irrational, but, after all, it was only relatively so. We were acting then

according to our lights, upon such information as we had; now we have so much

more that all our lines of thought and action are completely changed.

Even the Vedantist does not deny that this physical plane dream of ours has its

value for the production of enlightenment. A man may dream that a snake is

threatening him, and be much alarmed thereby; at last in his dream the snake

strikes him, and with that shock he wakes, and is much relieved to find that the

whole experience was an illusion. Yet it was the blow of the illusory snake that

awoke him to a more real life. Similarly, in the Gild, Shri Krishna tells His

pupil that wisdom is better than worldly goods, because, He says, " All actions

in their entirety culminate in wisdom." 1 That great Teacher did not deprecate a

life of activity, but encouraged it to the utmost; yet He said that one should

not be attached to the activities and the things with which they deal, but

should seek only the wisdom that can be obtained from them. It is in the wisdom

that man has his own true being, as he is a part of the Logos. If he listens to

the voice of wisdom he will become increasingly the master of himself and his

life; the inner sound will thus put a stop to the outer clamour which directs

the feverish activities of ordinary men.



It is very true that a man should cease to give his attention to the many things

which surround and play upon him, and should turn it inwards to the one witness

of all these things; but he is not entirely free to do this until he has fully

performed his dharma in the outer world. Any man at any time, whatever his

duties may 1 Op. cit., iv, 33. be, may set his affection upon things above,

and not upon things of the earth.



But he may not be at liberty to devote his whole life to higher work until he

has satisfied the demands of the karma which he has made in past lives, or in

the earlier part of his present life. He may certainly feel vairagya, but while

any physical duties Still remain to him, he must retain sufficient interest in

them to do them as perfectly as they can be done.



If his desire for liberation is strong enough, and unless his karma places some

insuperable obstacle in his way, he will probably find that the path to freedom

will soon open before him. I myself had an experience of that kind; I received

a, message from my Master offering me certain opportunities which I most

thankfully accepted. But if that gracious offer had been made a little earlier,

I should have been unable to accept it, because I should not have been free;

there lay upon me a clear duty which I could not possibly have neglected.

Vairagya has two parts; there is the apara or lower vairagya, and the para or

higher vairagya.



There are three stages in the abandonment of attachment to external things.

First, the man becomes tired of the things which used to give him pleasure, yet

he is sorry that he is tired of them; he desires still to enjoy them, but he

cannot. Then, because of that satiety, he seeks elsewhere for satisfaction.

Finally, when he has caught a clear glimpse of the higher things his spiritual

desires awaken, and they prove so attractive to him that he thinks of the others

no more. Or else, having learnt of the existence of the higher things and

decided to follow them, he in the second stage either sets

himself to observe the defects of the lower things, so as to

create a sort of artificial disgust for them, or he fixes

his will in rigid determination to reject their attractiveness and starve out

desire for them. Finally, as in the former case, perhaps only after many

fluctuations, the man sees the higher; he hears the inner sound which kills the

outer. Then he has the higher vairagya.

In the middle stage of struggle, it often happens that the man conceives a

positive repugnance for the things of his erst-while pleasure; that is usually a

sign that he has only recently escaped from bondage to them and he still fears

their attractiveness; he feels that he is liable to be tainted by their

proximity, so he shudders and avoids them, or he attacks and tries to destroy

them with unreasoning vehemence. All these different aspects of the second stage

are forms of the lower vairagya.

Then only, not till then, shall he forsake the region of Asat, the false, to

come onto the realm of Sat, the true.

Let us be careful here not to misunderstand. Many have supposed that this

passage implies that the lower planes are mere illusion, but that is by no means

what is intended. I have already written on the real and the unreal and have

explained that each plane is real to the consciousness which functions upon it.1

What is true is that until a man is able to hear the inner voice and to look

upon life from the standpoint of the higher planes


1 " The Occult Path and the Interests of the World " in the first Volume of

Talks on the Path of Occultism. he has no real grasp of the

truth which lies behind all this complexity of manifestation that surrounds us.


Before the Soul can see, die 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 onto the Silent

Speaker be united, just as the form to which the clay is modelled is first

united with the potter's mind.



The harmony within is that between the ego and his vehicles, and also, of

course, between those vehicles themselves. In the average man there is a

perpetual strain going on between the astral body and the mental body, between

the desires and the mind; and neither of these bodies is in the least in tune

with the ego, or pre- : pared to act as his vehicle. The personality must be

purified, and the channel between it and the ego must be opened and widened.-

Until this is done the personality sees everything and everybody from its own

very limited point of view. The ego cannot see what is really going on; he

perceives only the distorted picture in the personality, which is like a camera

with a defective lens that distorts the light rays, and a faulty plate or film

which makes the result all blurred, indistinct and unequal.


That is why in most people the ego cannot derive any satisfaction from the

personality until it is in the heaven-world. The ego knows the true from the

false, he recognizes the true when he sees it, and rejects the false; but

generally when he casts an eye downwards into the personality he finds so crazy

a confusion of inconsequent thought-forms that he can distinguish nothing

definite; he turns away in despair, and decides to wait for the quietude of the

heaven-world before attempting to pick the fragments of truth out of this

unseemly chaos. Under those more peaceful conditions, as the emotions and

thoughts of the recent physical life come up one by one and envisage themselves

in the vivid light of that world, they are examined with clear vision, the dross

is thrown away and the treasure is kept. The disciple must try to bring about

this condition while still in the physical body, by purifying the personality

and harmonizing it with the soul.


The possibilities of personal error are almost infinite. Suppose that a worm, a

bird, a monkey, and a traveller simultaneously look at a tree. The first will

think of it as food, the second as a house, the third as a gymnasium, the fourth

as a kind of umbrella; the pictures will all be different from one another, and

different again from the tree's conception of himself.


While seeing has reference to looking outward, hearing refers to what comes from

within. The man must become quiet if he is to hear the still small voice.

Dharana or concentration will produce this quietness. If the soul is to hear the

inner voice with  certainty and accuracy, the outer man must

be unshaken by all external things—by the clamour of the big breakers

of life that dash against him, as well as by the delicate murmur

of the softer ripples. He must learn to be very still, to have no desires and aversions.

Intuition can scarcely ever be invoked except when the man is utterly willing to

receive its behests as the best and most acceptable guide, without intruding his

personal desires. It would be of little use to ask from the intuition any

solution of a problem of conduct, if at the same time the man wished that the

answer should be this or that. Except on rare occasions when it is unusually

strong, it is only when personal desires and aversions have ceased to exist when

the voice of the outer world can no longer command him, that a man can hear the

inner voice which should be his unfailing guide.


Before the soul can fully comprehend the drift of all the tuition which comes to

him from without, and the intuition that comes from within, another harmonizing

process must take place, in which the manas gradually becomes attuned to the

will, which gives direction to his life.


There are three stages in the development of consciousness. On the probationary

path the man's highest consciousness works upon the higher mental plane; after

the First Initiation and until the Fourth, it is climbing steadily through the

buddhic plane; at the end of that stage it enters on the atonic or spiritual

plane. He has then become united with the will, the directing

agent, controller of his destiny. While in the middle stage he might have said:

"Thy Will, not mine, be done," but now he says: "Thy Will and mine are one."

Just as the design of the pot that is to be made is first in the potter's mind,

and just as the model for a race of men is in the Manu's mind, He having

received it from above, so is the goal of achievement for every one of us

already marked out by the Monad, and then brought down into the evolving life of

the conscious man by the spiritual principle within him.


There is thus a reason for the use of the word soul in these three verses. It is

the soul that treads the path of progress, not the personality. On the first

half of the path it unites itself more and more completely with the buddhi,

forming the spiritual soul, manas-taijasi. But all the work is done under the

direction, of the atma, the voice of the silence.




For then the Soul will hear, and will remember. And then to the inner ear will




If thy Soul smiles while bathing in the sunlight of thy life; if thy Soul sings

within her chrysalis of flesh and matter; if thy Soul weeps inside her castle of

illusion; if thy Soul struggles to break the silver thread that binds her to the

Master; know, O disciple, thy Soul is of the earth.


C.W.L.—In occult books we have frequent reference to the voice of the silence,

and we often find that what is said in one place does not agree with what

appears in others. In the early days of the Society we used to puzzle over its

exact significance, trying to make it always mean the same thing. Only after

much study did we discover that the term is general. The voice of the silence

for anyone is that which comes from the part of him which

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is higher than his consciousness can reach, and naturally that changes as his

evolution progresses. For those working with the personality the voice of the

ego is the voice of the silence, but when one has dominated the personality

entirely and has made it one with the ego so that the ego may work perfectly

through it, it is the voice of the atma—-the triple spirit on the nirvanic

plane. When this is reached there will still be a voice of the silence—that of

the Monad on the plane above. When the man identifies the ego and the Monad and

attains Adeptship, he will still find a voice of the silence coming down to him

from above, but then it will be the voice, perhaps, of one of the Ministers of

the Deity, one of the Planetary Logoi, as They are called. Perhaps for Him in

turn it will be the voice of the Solar Logos Himself; and if even for Him there

is such a thing as that, it must be the voice of a higher Logos. But who can


" The sunlight of thy life " refers to those periods in our personal existence

when fortune smiles upon us, and everything seems bright and fair. The ego who

basks in that pleasure, and mistakes it for the true happiness of the higher

Self, has not yet the higher vairagya which kills the outer sounds. In The

Ancient Wisdom Dr. Besant has explained how the man who feels that nothing on

earth can satisfy him, not even those things that give the greatest delight to

ordinary mortals, may through a strong but calm effort of the will rise to and

unite himself with the higher consciousness and find himself free of the body;

but that is only for those who

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obey the first condition, who cannot be satisfied with anything less than that


The three bodies, physical, astral and mental, which with their habits

constitute the personality, are in truth a chrysalis, in which a butterfly is

gradually being formed. In our present caterpillar state the soul must be in the

body and the world; yet it must not be of them; it must not accept that life as

its own, but must realize that it is independent of its vehicles. Here again we

must be careful not to misunderstand. It is indeed well, it is even necessary

that the soul should rejoice on its upward path, that it should smile, that it

should sing within its chrysalis; there is no harm in that—there is even much

good in it. What it must not do is to sing because of the chrysalis, or of

anything that happens to that outer shell. It would be wrong, terribly wrong,

that the soul should weep within its castle of illusion, because depression and

sadness are always wrong. But that, true as it is, is not what is meant here.

What Aryasanga is trying to tell us in his graceful poetical language is that

the soul must neither rejoice nor sorrow because of anything whatever that is

connected with the chrysalis or the castle, or any outer form; it must be

indifferent to that form, unaffected by what happens to it. If it is not

indifferent, it is still of the earth, still entangled with this lower world,

and so not yet ready for perfect freedom.

All around us eternal change is taking place; but the soul must press forward on

its way resistless, undeterred by change, for to be influenced by these outer


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shows weakness.    Remember how Shakespeare writes in his Sonnets:

When I have seen by Time's fell hand defaced The rich proud cost of outworn

buried age When sometime lofty towers I see down-raze And brass eternal slave to

mortal rage; When I have seen the hungry ocean gain Advantage on the kingdom of

the shore, And the firm soil win of the watery main, Increasing store with loss

and loss with store; When I have seen such interchange of state, Or state itself

confounded to decay; Ruin hath taught me thus to ruminate, That Time will come

and take my love away,

This thought is as a death, which cannot choose But weep to have that which it

fears to lose.

Since brass, nor stone nor earth, nor boundless sea, But sad mortality

o'er-sways their power, How with this rage shall beauty hold a plea, Whose

action is no stronger than a flower? O, how shall summer's honey breath hold out

Against the wreckful siege of battering days, When rocks impregnable are not so

stout, Nor gates of steel so strong, but Time decays? 1

But time is really the friend of the aspirant, for it is precisely the finer,

the higher, the inner things which are least subject to its ravages. This truth

the occultist learns as a matter of certain experience and knowledge, so the

changes in outside things at last come to trouble him not at all.

Silver is the thread—as befits an emblem of purity— that binds the soul to the

higher Self; every traffic that the soul has with impurity of body, emotions or

thought, is a struggle to break that silver thread, a temptation to ignore the

still, small voice.

1 Sonnets, xliv, xlv.

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Madame Blavatsky adds the following footnotes:

The "great Master " is the term used by chelas to indicate the Higher Self. It

is the equivalent of Avalokiteshvara, and the same as Adi-Buddha with the

Buddhist occultists, Atma with the Brahmanas, and Christos with the ancient


Soul is used here for the human Ego or Manas, that which is referred to in our

occult septenary division as the human Soul in contradistinction to the

spiritual and animal Souls.

Madame Blavatsky here employs the word Master in an unusual sense, saying that

it is so used by the chelas or pupils. In later Theosophical literature this

title has been reserved for that limited number of members of the Great White

Brotherhood who accept pupils from among those who are still living in the

world. That number is small; it would seem that one Adept on each of the rays is

appointed to attend to that work, and all those who are coming along his

particular ray of evolution pass through his hands. No one below the rank of

Adept is permitted to assume full responsibility for a pupil, though those who

have held the position of pupil for a number of years are often employed as

deputies, and receive the privilege of helping and advising promising young

aspirants. These older pupils are gradually being trained for their future work

when they in turn shall become Adepts, and they are learning to take more and

more of the routine work off the hands of their Masters, so that the latter may

be set free for higher labours which only


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they can undertake. The preliminary selection of candidates for chelaship is now

left to a large extent in the hands of these older pupils, and the candidates

are temporarily linked with such pupils rather than directly with the great

Adepts. But the pupils and the Master are so wonderfully one that perhaps this

is almost " a distinction without a difference ".

The terms which Madame Blavatsky uses in these footnotes will be better

understood if we study a little the various trinities in the universe and in

man. It is in the experience of everybody that there is a duality of the knower

and the known, of the one who sees and the things that are seen, of the subject

and the object. This is the old division of the world of experience into two

parts, spirit and matter, using those words in a general or common sense. Spirit

or consciousness and matter are a pair of opposites—-the spirit is an active

principle, the matter a passive one; the spirit has a centre but no

circumference, the matter has a circumference but no centre; the spirit is

self-moving, the matter is moved from outside. In these two we have also the

division of reality into the divine and the material; the free and the bound;

that which shines with its own light and that which has only reflected light.

When one looks closer still, one sees that those two are playing, as it were, on

the stage in one's presence, that they are not No. 1 and No. 2 principles, as

many people think, but they are No. 2 and No. 3; for the one that now witnesses

their interplay is No. 1. No. 2 is the God who is seen, but No. 1 is the God who


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the real Self, who is the cause of all the interplay between No. 2 and No. 3.

In Christian terminology, Christ is the God who is seen. " No man hath seen God

at any time." 1 Yet said Christ: " I and my Father are One." 2

That brings us to the term Avalokiteshvara. This word is a compound of avalokita

(seen), and Ishvara (God, the Ruler). It thus means the Higher Self in the

duality of spirit and matter in the universe. " There are three that bear record

in heaven," said St. John,. "the Father, the Word and the Holy Ghost."3 The

Word, the Logos, Avalokiteshvara, is the Second. He is the Christos, the God

that is seen. This is the universal spirit, or purusha, as distinguished from

the matter, or prakriti. Man is consciousness looking at matter, and this God is

glorified or universal Man, the supreme subject. Analyze yourself, and you will

find the reflection of this—the inner God in yourself. Still, that God that is

seen only bears witness to the real God—in man to the Self, the " I " which

embraces both the subject and the object.

This " I " is not a new subject, witnessing the old subject and object, put

together and now made into one new compound object. It is " I "—that is all

there is to say. Every thinking man can look at his own body, and in some cases

his astral and mental bodies as well, and call it "it", that is, he can look

upon it as an

11 John, 4, 12.

I St. John, x, 30.

I1 John, 5, 7.

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object. He can also have a conception of the consciousness or subject in his

neighbour, and infer that it is of the same nature as that consciousness

(containing will, feeling and thought) which he finds in himself. But on this

point he now makes a great mistake, by giving two different names to one

thing—-he calls the same thing " you " when he sees it in his neighbour, but " I

" when he looks at it in himself! Let him look upon the consciousness or subject

within himself (all of it) as he does upon that in others, and call it " you ",

regarding it as just one of the great sea of " yous " that make up the Logos, as

drops of water make up the ocean, and he will be ready to transcend

consciousness and reach the real " I ", the Self or God that is not seen.1 The

consciousness, the " you ", is a portion of Avalokiteshvara, the God that is

seen, the Christ, the light that lighteth every man that cometh into the world,

just as much as the bodies are parts of the ocean of cosmic matter; and both

equally are not the Self. No one hath seen the supreme God at any time—not even

the Son.

This trinity has been considered in various ways: Avalokiteshvara has been

described as follows by Swami T. Subba Rao: " Parabrahman by itself cannot be

seen as it is. It is seen by the Logos with a veil thrown over it, and that veil

is the mighty expanse of Cosmic Matter." And again: "Parabrahman, after having

appeared on the one hand as the Ego, and on

1 This argument is expounded in The Seven Rays, by Ernest Wood, Ch. xxi.

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the other as Mulaprakriti, acts as the one energy through the Logos". The danger

of all such descriptions is immense; the use of the word " it " alone in this

connection can undo everything. In oneself deliverance, the truth, must be

sought—only I being I can solve this mystery, which is so easy, but that people

will not see. There is also the strongest objection even to the word God as

applied to Parabrahman—for to think of God is to think of the seen, that is, of

Avalokiteshvara; and that God is, after all, a " you ", or rather all " yous ".

The conception of a subject or " you " involves a time limitation; that of an

object or " it" involves a space limitation. But motion in both time and space

is a mystery. Some ancients argued that nothing could really move, " because it

cannot move in the space where it is, and it certainly cannot move in the space

where it is not." But subjects can move in time, and objects can move in space,

because all move in Parabrahman. Both time and space are secondary to motion,

properly conceived.1

" And these three are one." 2 Mulaprakriti, the root of manifestation, basic

matter, external being, is not something other than Parabrahman, but is the

same, as seen through the time limitations of consciousness. Parabrahman is

beyond that time limitation, and therefore seems to be still, and from that

arises the appearance-of space, the characteristic of Mulaprakriti—which is in

reality a space containing everything which ever existed

1 See The Seven Rays, Ch. viii. 2  I John, 4, 12.

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or will exist in all of the three periods of time—past, present and future. Then

universal consciousness, the great Man, also called Daiviprakriti (the divine

manifestation), as against Mulaprakriti (the material manifestation), is

Avalokiteshvara, the Ishvara or Ruler or God who is seen, in contradistinction

to Parabrahman, the first member of the Trinity, who is not seen directly even

by him.

Now, in the higher triad in the consciousness of man we have a reflection of

this great Trinity. Therefore Madame Blavatsky says that the Higher Self, by

which she means buddhi or the intuitional love, is the equivalent of

Avalokiteshvara. Any confusion in thought of the universal reality with atma,

buddhi and manas— the three modes of consciousness in man—would result in

serious error, but there is an analogy between the two. The great Trinity is

reflected in man in various ways, and appears in one form in those three aspects

of his consciousness. So atma, buddhi and manas reflect in their smaller sphere

the characteristics of the universal trinity. Atma is the consciousness of Self,

and also the will, which gives self-direction. Manas, at the other pole, is

consciousness of the world, and its thought-power does all our work, even that

which is effected through the hands. But buddhi, between the two, is the very

essence of consciousness, of subjectivity. Thus the greater Trinity is

reproduced in the consciousness of the ego.

Beyond this middle member, triple in character, is the Monad in man,

representative in him of Parabrahman,

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the state of his true and absolute nirvana, beyond consciousness. The atma is

the state of his false and relative nirvana of the nirvanic plane, his last

illusion, that persists between the Fourth and Fifth Initiations. As the Monad

lies above the trinity of consciousness, so the personal bodies lie outside or

beneath it—they are known only in reflection in manas. On the first half of the

Path (from the First to the Fourth Initiation) the man is busy shaking himself

free from those personal limitations, from the illusion of " it ". On the second

half he is engaged in releasing himself from the illusion of "you".

There are still a few more points to consider in Madame Blavatsky's notes. Her

reference to Adi-Buddha and Atma requires some comment, though that to the

Christos of the Gnostics will be abundantly clear from what has been said above.

The " Atma of the Brahmanas " is rather what the Buddhists thought that the

Brahmanas meant by the term (and what perhaps many of the Brahmanas who missed

the true point of their philosophy really did think); it is that spiritual soul

in man which the Buddha declared to be not utterly permanent. Yes, even the

Christ (the higher self) in man is at last mortal. Beautiful and wonderful, and

far beyond the vision of ordinary men as it lies, it must at last give up its

life, to be one with the Father. It is the " you " masquerading as the " I " in

spiritual men —just as, far earlier in evolution, the absurd personality, the "

it " pretended to be " I ". But when he says that their belief in atma is wrong,

the orthodox Buddhist has

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not understood the height of true Brahmana thought, and especially the teaching

on this point of Shri Shankara-charya, who was really one with the Buddha in His

anatma doctrine, because by atma He meant the Monad, the indescribable

Parabrahmic aspect of man. The Buddha saw that people called " you " the atma,

the Self, and tried to dislodge them from that error by saying that what they

called " I " was perishable.

In the footnote Madame Blavatsky says that Avalokiteshvara is the same as

Adi-Buddha. She amplifies her statement on the subject in The Secret Doctrine,

as follows:

In the esoteric, and even exoteric Buddhism of the North, Adi-Buddha, . . . the

One Unknown, without beginning or end, identical with Parabrahman, emits a

bright Ray from its Darkness. This is the Logos, the First, or Vajradhara, the

Supreme Buddha, also called Dorjechang. As the Lord of all Mysteries he cannot

manifest, but sends into the world of manifestation his Heart—the " Diamond

Heart," Vajrasattva or Dorjesempa. This is the Second Logos of Creation.1

In this extract she clearly shows that the First and Second Logos are

respectively Adi-Buddha and Avalokiteshvara, for the latter is the same as

Vajrasattva. Therefore when she speaks of them as one it can only be as the

Christians speak of the Christ as one with the Father. I wrote as follows on

this subject in The Inner Life, Section II:

There has been much discussion as to the exact meaning of the terms Adi-Buddha

and Avalokiteshvara. I have made no special study of these things from the

philosophical standpoint, but so far as I have been able to gather ideas from

discussion of the matter with the living exponents of the religion, Adi-Buddha

seems to be the culmination of one of the great lines of superhuman

development—-what might be called the abstract principle

1 Op. cit., Vol. I, p. 624.

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of all the Buddhas. Avalokiteshvara is a term belonging to the Northern Church

and seems to be the Buddhists' name for their conception of the Logos. European

scholars have translated it: " The Lord who looks down from on high," but this

seems to have in it a somewhat inaccurate implication, for it is clearly always

the manifested Logos; sometimes the Logos of a solar system and sometimes higher

than that, but always manifest. We must not forget that-while the founders of

the great religions see and know the things which They name, Their followers

usually do not see; they have only the names, and they juggle with them as

intellectual counters, and build up much which is incorrect and inconsistent.1

We have already seen that by the term Higher Self Madame Blavatsky means the

buddhi in man, the central member of the trinity of his immortal consciousness.

That is the wisdom in man. But it is a reflection of the universal wisdom,

without which there could be no human wisdom. Similarly, without the

Dhyani-Buddha Avalokiteshvara, the " centre of energy'' of the ultimate wisdom,

Adi-Buddha, no human Buddha could become. The Illumination of the sage Gautama

was therefore not essentially the flowering of a man into a god, but the union

of a perfected human consciousness with the wisdom of the Logos.

The second of the footnotes under consideration speaks not only of the manas as

the human Soul, but refers also to the animal soul in man. This is the lower

manas, the kama-manas. On its plane reside the group-souls of animals, while

those of the vegetable kingdom are on the plane beneath it, and those of the

mineral lower still. To these meanings of the terms Soul, Higher Self, etc.,

Madame Blavatsky keeps with perfect consistency right through the book. 1 Op.

cit., Vol. 1, p. 1

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When to the world's turmoil thy budding Soul lends ear; when to the roaring

voice of the great illusion thy soul responds; when frightened at the sight of

the hot tears of pain, when deafened by the cries of distress, thy Soul

withdraws like the shy turtle within the carapace of selfhood, learn, O

disciple, of her silent God thy Soul is an unworthy shrine.

When waxing stronger, thy Soul glides forth from her secure retreat; and

breaking loose from the protecting shrine, extends her silver thread and rushes

onward; when beholding her image on the waves of space she whispers. " This is

I"—declare, O disciple, that thy Soul is caught in the webs of delusion.

C.W.L.—At the beginning of this passage, in the expression " budding Soul " we

have a suggestion of the idea of evolution. For many centuries in Europe people

did not think of evolution; they had the idea that the world and all the various

creatures in it had been created quite suddenly, and they did not suppose that

the more


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complex forms had evolved out of inferior ones, and would evolve further into

something more perfect. Then came the idea, within about the last century and a

half, that the material forms of living creatures were undergoing evolution, an

unfoldment which has been believed by some to be due to an impulse of the

indwelling life, and by others merely to the selective agency of natural


But long ago there existed a theory of evolution of the Soul, which has all

along been a central doctrine of the Hindu and Buddhist traditions, and has been

spread extensively in the Western world by Theosophists along with the doctrine

of reincarnation. This is put forward as the most logical and ethical theory of

human destiny, once it has been established, on scientific or religious grounds,

that the Soul of a man survives the death of his body. The soul incarnates many

times for the sake of experience, and each one will thereby become at last not

merely a genius in some field of human thought or work, but a perfect man, ready

for full conscious divinity.

There are two great stages on the path of the soul's evolution—-the first is

called the pravritti marga, the way of forth-going, and second the nivritti

marga, the way of return. In the former the development of personality takes

place, accompanied by the accumulation of much karma as the soul pursues its

restless career of seeking the satisfaction of its multitudinous desires in the

external world. In the latter the soul little by little turns its back upon the

world, and with its face towards

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the divine, its source and goal, proceeds with the task of perfecting itself so

as to finish up the human stage of its evolution.

It is this second stage, the nivritti marga, that is divided up into the

probationary path and the Path of Initiation, which have been fully described in

The Path of Discipleship, Initiation, The Perfecting of Man; and The Masters and

the Path. This marga implies a course of voluntary evolution, in which the

candidate is deliberately training himself in the higher qualities of character;

the evolution of the lower creatures and of men on the pravritti marga is

involuntary, they seek and respond to experience, and learn without clear

realization of what is happening to them.

In a footnote to the word illusion, Madame Blavatsky calls it Maha-Maya, the

great illusion, the objective universe. The meaning of the term illusion, as

applied to the external world, has already been discussed. It is not the same

idea as that referred to in the text as " webs of delusion," which has

reference, as another footnote says, to " Sakkayaditthi, the delusion of

personality ".

When the Lord Buddha revealed to men the Noble Eightfold Path, the way to

liberty, the practical means to bring sorrow to an end, He told them about the

ten fetters which the candidate must cast off—one after another. The first of

these was called Sakkayaditthi, the delusion of personality. Let us see how this

arises. A child is born subject to karma—the result of its deeds in previous

lives. It has a certain kind of body, and

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various things happen to it. In course of time it hears what people say of it,

and it finds out what it can and what it cannot do. It sees itself in these

things as in a mirror—one of those distorting mirrors which are sometimes set up

in exhibitions to amuse people with their grotesquely flattened or elongated

images. It thus obtains ideas about itself—that it is clever or stupid,

beautiful or ugly, weak or strong. As its education proceeds it acquires social

standing or position or character, assumes the habits of body and mind of

doctor^ lawyer, house-wife—whatever it may be—and thus acquires a settled

personality. When it thinks itself to be that personality, it has- what has been

called " self-personality "—exactly the same delusion that obsesses the

unfortunate people in the lunatic asylums, who imagine themselves to be

tea-pots, ear-drums, north poles, Queen Elizabeths and Napoleons.

A definite well-trained set of bodies and personality, with useful habits, is,

of course, a good thing, just as is . a good set of tools, or a good motor-car.

We do not want to have weak or nondescript personalities. But however good our

personality may be we should not think it to be ourself, and we should be able

to enjoy all our native will-power, love-power and thought-power while using it

for our purposes, for our spiritual life in the material world. These

personalities should not set themselves up as candidates for immortality, and

try to intrench themselves against the ravages of use and time that beset all

material things. A middle-aged gentleman once said to his son, who volunteered

to relieve him of

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some work: " No, no, my boy. Always use up the old ones first! " The

personalities must be willing to be used, to be adapted to the spiritual

purposes of the moment, to be worn out—and must be content with the sole reward

of a long and glorious devachan, that will follow the death of the outer body in

the case of all those who have thus served the divine indwelling self, except,

of course, the servants of the Masters who renounce this reward and take speedy

rebirth in order to work for the world.

This earth, disciple, is the hall of sorrow, wherein are set along the path of

dire probations, traps to ensnare thy Ego by the delusion called "great heresy


That the physical plane is a place of sorrow is a widespread Buddhist and Hindu

thought. Uncongenial and often disfiguring or debilitating labour, oppression,

disease, indignity and dread fall to the lot of the majority of mankind. Those

whose fortune has set them in places of ease may say that they find much

pleasure in it; but Patanjali says: " To the enlightened all is misery." There

are many things that give no trouble to the relatively unevolved—-such as the

smell of alcohol, meat or onions, the noise of factory sirens or coarse music,

gross manners, hideous clothes and buildings, and a thousand other things that

afflict those who are more sensitive. In addition to these there is hunger to

gain what we want, and fear to lose it when it is in hand, and suffering for

others all round us, if not for ourselves. Surely men must be made to hug such

chains as these. Surely this

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world is indeed a hall of sorrow.    Think how poor is its best in the sight of

those who know the higher planes.

But it is so chiefly because man has made it so. Think of the vast sea of life

that fills the mineral, the vegetable and the animal kingdoms of nature, and how

all that is throbbing with pleasure. Even the dreadful picture of the poet, of "

nature, red in tooth and claw with ravin " loses most of its lurid colour when

we realize that the animals do not " think before and after " as men do, with

painful longing and fear, and that while their battles are on, and the blood and

wounds distress the human beholder, the excitement of the animal consciousness

is at its greatest height and is often experiencing its greatest pleasure. Earth

is a hall of sorrow only for man, who with his greed and anger, born of a strong

imagination that feeds the flames of hot desire, has poisoned with innumerable

horrors both his personal and his social life.

Yet it only needs the conquest of selfishness to remove every one of these

horrors, and open to all mankind the joys of this world—the thrill and deep

strong peace of beauty, of discovery, of creative work; of social and bodily


Madame Blavatsky's footnote then speaks of:

Attavada, the heresy of the belief in Soul, or rather in the separateness of

Soul or Self from the one universal, infinite Self.

Attd is the Pali equivalent of the Sanskrit atma, and vada means doctrine. The

doctrine of atma, which we

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have already considered, is the great source of cleavage between the Hindus and

Buddhists, but as a matter of fact the distinction is merely one of words,

because when the Hindu says that the Self or atma in man is one with the

universal Self, he does not mean by the word what people usually mean when they

think or speak of themselves, but something altogether deeper, which only the

advanced yogi can even imagine. There is a passage in the Shri Vakya Sudha which

warns the aspirant that when he repeats the great religious formula " I am

That", he must take care what he means by " I " j it explains that the separate

individual should be understood as threefold, and that it is the union with

Brahman only of the highest of these three that is proclaimed by " Thou art That

" and such sayings. As already explained, the personality is not " I", and even

the " you " in me is not " I", but the " I ", is something indistinguishable

from the universal Self in which the many and the One are one. The Lord Buddha's

teaching denies the permanency of the "you" that men call " I " It is an

unfortunate thing that two such great religions as Hinduism and Buddhism should

be separated mainly by so small a misunderstanding, and also that because of it

the modern Theosophical movement has spread very slowly among the Buddhists. We

have developed a large Theosophical literature, in which the words atma and Self

figure extensively, and this has alienated a good many Buddhists who have not

taken the trouble to clear away this obstacle of words which we have

inadvertently put in their path.

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This earth, O ignorant disciple, is but the dismal entrance leading to the

twilight that precedes the valley of true light—that light which no wind can

extinguish, that light which burns without a wick or fuel.

In this and some later verses we have poetical names for the planes of nature.

As previously stated, it was common among oriental occultists to bunch together

the astral and lower mental planes, and Madame Blavatsky often followed that

plan in- her teaching. This combining of the two is indicated in this picture of

a " twilight that precedes the valley of true light ". That description of the

valley of true light shows it to be the region of the Soul and the Higher Self,

the planes where buddhi and higher manas have their habitat.

If we divide the planes by a line separating the lower from the higher mental,

we find that there is a radical difference between those which lie below the

line and those which are above. In the former, matter is dominant; it is the

first thing that strikes the eye; and consciousness shines with difficulty

through the forms. But in the higher planes life is the prominent thing, and

forms are there only for its purposes. The difficulty in the lower planes is to

give the life expression in the forms, but in the higher it is quite the

reverse—to hold and give form to the flood of life. It is only above the

dividing line that the light of consciousness is subject to no wind, and shines

with its own power. The symbol of a spiritual fire is very fitting for

consciousness at

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those levels,  as distinguished from  the lower planes, -where the symbol of

fire burning fuel is more appropriate.

Saith the great Law: "In order to become the knower of All-Self, thou hast first

of Self to be the knower." To reach the knowledge of that Self, thou hast to

give up self to non-self, being to non-being.

In a foot-note Madame Blavatsky distinguishes between the Atmajnani who is

mentioned here, and the Tattvajnani. In Hindu literature generally the

distinction is slight and is usually ignored, but she says: " The Tattvajnani is

the knower or discriminator of the principles in nature and in man; and

Atmajnani is the knower of Atma, or the universal One Self." Jnani means a

knower and tattva means the truth or the real nature of things.

It has always been a teaching of Theosophy that to make progress we must apply

the old Greek formula " Know thyself". In consequence, a very large part of our

modern Theosophical literature deals with the constitution, history and destiny

of man. It is by the study of the various principles and bodies of man that we

are able gradually to distinguish what he is, and to separate him in thought

from the vehicles that he uses, until at last we arrive at the real Self. Then,

through that real Self in us, we shall realize the universal Self; in fact, the

two are one.

But to know the real Self in oneself, the lower self must be set aside, must

become as naught. As we have

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already seen, the utter destruction of " self-personality " is the very first

task of the Initiate on the Path proper, since sakkayaditthi, the delusion of

the personal self, is the first fetter which must be cast off.

And then thou can'st repose between the wings of the Great Bird. Aye, sweet is

rest between the wings of that which is not born, nor dies, but is the Aum

throughout eternal ages.

On the Great Bird, which occupies a prominent place-in Oriental religious

symbolism, Madame Blavatsky has the following foot-note:

Kala Hamsa, the bird or swan. Says the Nada-vindupanishat (Rig Veda) translated

by the Kumba-konam Theosophical Society—" The syllable A is considered to be the

bird Hamsa's right wing, U its left, M its tail, and the Ardhamatra (half metre)

is said to be its head."

The word Aum, generally pronounced Om, is used at the commencement of every good

work or thought, because it is a word of power, symbolizing divine creation.

Innumerable Sanskrit books repeat the statement that hearing, touch, sight,

taste and smell are correlated respectively with the orders of matter named

akasha. (ether or sky), vayu (air), tejas or agni (fire), apas or jala (water),

and prithivi (earth), which are our familiar five planes of human manifestation,

the atmic, buddhic, mental, astral and physical. These planes were created in

this order, beginning with the atmic, where sound was applied as the. creative

power. Of course, that could

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not be the same thing as our physical sound, which is a pulsation in the air or

some other physical substance; It was of the nature of the voice of the silence,

the will of atma. Yet even on our physical plane sound is a great builder of

forms, as every student of elementary science knows, who has made Chladni's

figures or performed similar experiments. There is a great deal of symbolism in

the Hindu Scriptures connected with this idea that the world was created by


The word Aum is said to have special value as a mantra because it is the most

complete human word. It begins with the vowel A in the back of the mouth,

continues with the vowel U sounded in the centre of the mouth, and closes with

the co sonant M, with which the lips are sealed. It thus runs through the whole

gamut of human speech and so represents in man the entire creative word. Its

three parts are also taken as symbolical of the manifestation of the Trinity, in

a variety of ways, to explain which one might fill a book. Thus we have

Parabrahman, Daiviprakriti and Mula-prakriti; Shiva, Vishnu and Brahma; will,

wisdom and activity; ananda, chit and sat, or happiness, consciousness and

being; atma, buddhi and manas; tamas, rajas and sattva; and many another. Aum is

thus a constant reminder of this triplicity running through all things; it is a

key therefore to the solution of many mysteries, as well as a word of power. The

head of the bird is then taken as the unmanifested origin of the triple word.

Kala, a word which means " time " is one of the names of Vishnu or

Avalokiteshvara. Kala-hamsa

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therefore means the swan of time or in time, hamsa being a swan. This symbol of

a bird contains the implication of time, since it is proceeding through space.

It is a characteristic of consciousness that it progresses or evolves, and so

exists in time. The consciousness of the Logos is time, it does not begin nor

end in time, and is therefore without birth or death.

This bird is thus a symbol of the Second Logos, which is also the great Wisdom.

There is a well-known Hindu fable which connects the hamsa or swan with this

idea of wisdom also, for it relates of that bird that when a mixture of water

and milk is placed before it, it can separate the milk from the water. So does

wisdom operate even in human life, selecting from our mixed experience the

essential nutriment of the soul. Wisdom remains in the spiritual soul of man

when experiences have died away, since, as the Bhagavad-Gita says: " All actions

in their entirety culminate in wisdom."1

A man on the Path who has passed the Third Initiation is also called a Hamsa, or

swan. He is busy getting rid of raga and dvesha the fourth and fifth fetters,

which are liking and disliking and is therefore especially practising wisdom.

People in the world are full of likes and dislikes, and they therefore suffer

greatly from their own opinions about things. Throwing these two fetters off,

the Hamsa becomes like the sage described in the Gita as one satisfied with

wisdom and knowledge, to whom a lump of earth, a stone and gold are the same,

who regards impartially friends and foes, the righteous 1 Op. cit., iv. 33.

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and the unrighteous. It is not that this man does not value gold and friends; he

does, but he values also clay and foes. The wise man can profit from every kind

of experience; all are useful for the soul. Epictetus asserted this when he

declared: "There is only one thing for which God has sent me into the world— to

perfect my own character in virtue; and there is nothing in all the world that I

cannot use for that purpose."

Again, Hamsa is also a form of the saying " Aham Sah " or " I am That," or, as

it is frequently used, " Soham," which consists of the same words reversed. So

when the aspirant repeats this sentence he also remembers that the way to

bestride the Hamsa or bird of life is to realize that he is the Self. It is said

that the devout yogi utters this formula with every breath, of which there are

said to be 21,

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0 in a day and night, for the air is considered to come in with

the sound of" sah " and go out with that of" ha ".

As long as the bird is flying, the creative word is sounding, time exists.

Although this time has neither beginning nor ending it is nevertheless a

measurable period—which is a great mystery. On this point Madame Blavatsky has

the following note:

Eternity with the Orientals has quite another signification than it has with us.

It stands generally for the 100 years or age of Brahma, the duration of a

Maha-Kalpa or a period of 311,040,000,000,000 years.

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This part of the subject is concluded with the words:

Bestride the Bird of Life, if thou would'st know. Give up thy Life, if thou

would'st live.

To these are appended the following notes:

Says the same Nadavindu, " A Yogi who bestrides the Hamsa, (thus contemplates on

Aum) is not affected by karmic influences or crores of sins."

Give up the life of the physical personality if you would live in Spirit.

A crore is ten millions. It must not, however, be assumed that the yogi is

permitted to perform these sins; if he did he would not be a yogi. This

expression is only an Oriental way of indicating that he is utterly free from

taint by the material world. The man who thinks and works without personal

desire, with utter unselfishness, suffers no karmic consequences. The fruit of

all his efforts goes into the great reservoir of spiritual force for the helping

of the world, as has already been explained.



Three halls, O weary pilgrim, lead to the end of toils.   Three halls, O

conqueror of Mara, will bring thee through three states into the fourth, and   

' thence into the seven worlds, the worlds of rest eternal.

If thou would'st learn their names, then hearken, and remember.

The name of the first hall is Ignorance—Avidya.

It is the hall in which thou saw'st the light, in which thou livest and shalt


The name of hall the second is the Hall of Learning. In it thy Soul will find

the blossoms of life, but under every flower a serpent coiled.

The name of the third hall is Wisdom, beyond which stretch the shoreless waters

of Akshara, the indestructible fount of omniscience.

C. W. L.—The three halls may be interpreted in two ways: as objective planes, or

as the subjective condition of man.


In the former case the hall of ignorance is the physical plane, and the hall of

learning, described in a foot-note as " the hall of probationary learning " is

what may perhaps be called the astro-mental plane (the astral and lower mental

planes taken together). When I wrote The Inner Life it seemed to me probable

that by the term hall of learning Madame Blavatsky meant the astral plane, and

by the hall of wisdom the lower mental plane, but having thought the matter over

and discussed it many times since then, I now lean to the opinion that we shall

more accurately represent her thought if we take the hall of learning to include

not only the astral but also the lower mental, and if we raise the hall of

wisdom so as to include within it the planes of higher manas and buddhi.

That Aryasanga was not thinking of the astral plane as the hall of learning and

the lower mental world as the hall of wisdom is shown a little further on, when

he speaks of the latter hall as one " wherein all shadows are unknown, and where

the light of truth shines with unfading glory". The lower mental world does not

answer to this description; far more glorious and delicate than the astral plane

as it is, it is still a material world and the habitat of the personalities of

men. Further, the Teacher also says that that which is un-create abides in the

hall of wisdom, and it is the ego, not the personality, which is uncreate. And

in the lower mental plane, as well as in the astral, there is a serpent coiled

under every flower; for if passion and foolish desires infest the one, pride and

prejudices inhabit the

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other. In the higher mental plane, though there may be much that the ego does

not know, what it does know it knows correctly; but the lower mental is a region

of personality and error.

The extent to which the lower planes are worlds of illusion is also seen in the

way in which our senses and powers work in them. To take sight as an instance—we

see because our sight is obstructed. If one could see perfectly through the wall

one could not see the wall. It is the same with walking; we have some freedom to

move about, because the earth resists the free motion of our feet. In the higher

planes one lives in the light.

The combination of the astral and mental planes is not uncommon in the Oriental

schools of occult training. The Vedantins speak, of one body (called the

manomayakosha, the body made of mind),1 where our Theosophical literature

usually distinguishes the two (the astral and the mental), and to that body when

awakened and functioning they ascribe the experiences proper to both planes. The

candidate for the path of yoga in the Raja Yoga schools was always trained to

work from the mental down to the astral. This very cautious procedure is also

shown in the teaching of Patanjali, who makes his first two steps moral, and

requires definite progress in these before the practices leading to the siddhis

or yoga powers are taken. In Raja Toga: The Occult Training of the Hindus, Prof.

Wood had called these first steps " The ten

1 See The Secret Doctrine, Vol. I, p. 1

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commandments ", and has translated them as the five restraints: " Thou shalt not

injure, lie, steal, be incontinent, be greedy ", and the five observances:" Thou

shalt be clean, content, self-controlled, studious and devoted." These methods

were in full force long before the time of Aryasanga; Pandit N. Bhashyacharya

and some other Sanskrit scholars maintain that Patanjali, who in turn was not

the originator of the system, gave his famous Sutras to the world as far back as

in the ninth century B.C.

In The Masters and the Path I have explained that; in the old Initiations it

often happened that much time was taken in instructing the candidate in astral

work, as the awakening of the pupil to work at that level was left to a

relatively later stage than is customary among the modern Theosophists, who

often have already done much astral work and have thus learnt the detail of the

astral world long before Initiation.

If we think of the three halls subjectively, as stages of progress in human

development, we have the following familiar divisions: (1) The man who lives

ignorantly in the world, attracted and repelled by the things around him,

impelled to action by his own uncontrolled passions and desires—-this is the

ignorant stage. (2) The man who is learning that nature has definite laws, and

is realizing that by working with them he can gain much more power than he had

in the days of his ignorance— this is the hall of learning. (3) The man who has

realized that there are spiritual laws, and is learning to obey them. He knows

about reincarnation and karma.

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and the ethical and moral laws that govern the progress of his own soul and

those of others. He is aware that outer things exist only for the purposes of

the evolving soul, and lives according to this knowledge. He is in the hall of


Madame Blavatsky describes the four stages of consciousness :

The three states of consciousness, which are Jagrat, the waking; Svapna, the

dreaming; and Sushupti, the deep-sleeping state. These three Yogi conditions

lead to the fourth—the Turiya, that beyond the dreamless state, the one above

all, a state of high spiritual consciousness.

These states of consciousness are not fixed, but may be correlated to the sets

of planes or objective halls above mentioned, in the case of the candidate who

is being prepared for the Arhat Initiation. In this case the waking state may be

the physical, the dreaming state the astro-mental, the sleeping state the higher

mental and buddhic, and the turiya state, the atmic.

The rather curious terms waking, dreaming and sleeping seem to have been

selected from a physical plane point of view to name the heights of

consciousness reached by the candidate at different times. When the man was

going about his business in the physical plane, with all his faculties awake to

this world, he was in the first state. To understand the second state we have to

remember that there are two kinds of dreams—the often nonsensical productions of

the brain (physical and

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etheric), and the true experiences of the man away from his physical body,

working and learning in the astro-mental regions.    It is to these latter  that

 this  term dreaming applies.    The candidate sleeping, or almost going to

sleep in a day-dream, would afterwards remember some such experiences, and then

ascribe them to the " consciousness of the dream state ".   Suppose, however,

that the aspirant out of the body should at any time go into what may be called

a second sleep, and rise into the next set of planes, to be conscious for a time

at that higher level.    Probably on waking physically he would remember nothing

of what had been happening out of the body—his brain not being attuned to record

the experiences coming from planes higher than his "dreaming state ". So it

would seem to him that he had had deep dreamless sleep, and usually his only

feeling would be one of great satisfaction and well-being.    The " sleeping

state" is therefore consciousness in that still higher region. Now, the fourth

state is sometimes called trance, for the following reason.    It has often been

explained that an aspirant when out of the body can rise a stage higher than

when in it.    It is possible also in deep meditation for the disciple to rise

in trance to the higher state and afterwards bring that experience down into the

waking memory.    Thus the Arhat can touch the buddhic level while in the

physical body, and the atmic or nirvanic plane when out if it, or in deep

meditation or trance. The term akshara, which is here applied to this fourth

region, means simply that which does not melt away; it is the undecaying.

THE  THREE  HALLS                                

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The same set of terms may be used as a relative series for less advanced occult

students. One may have his waking consciousness on the physical plane, his

dreaming state on the astral plane, his deep sleep on the mental; another, who

is able to use his astral faculties in his physical waking consciousness, will

have his dream consciousness on the lower mental, and his sleep state on the

higher mental, and so on. The turiya is a higher state reached in every case by

a special effort of will and meditation, which is a means to ultimately raising

the whole set of three states to a higher level than before. While the

transition is in progress, before the new level is established, there will

always be this fourth stage.

This is seen in meditation. The candidate will sit and fix his waking

consciousness on some object—suppose it is a cat. Then he will rise to the "

dream state ", and try to realize the astral aspect of the animal. Next he will

ascend to the " sleep stage ", and give his attention to the mental being of the

creature. The fourth step would be samadhi—or contemplation—an attempt to

realize its significance and reality for the ego, to go beyond the three forms

of the cat into its subjective meaning. The fixing of the mind on the cat in the

first case is concentration; the process of elevation of the consciousness is

meditation; the final concentration in a higher field of vision, beyond what was

reached before, is contemplation (or samadhi). The last effort may be like

piercing a cloud or fog, out of which the new vision will gradually form itself,

or from which it may come

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like a flash of lightning. In either case the practitioner must hold himself

very still in order to retain the impression as long as possible—one thought of

self, of the old personal relativity, can dismiss the whole thing, so that there

remains not even a memory of what it was like.

The three halls, it is said, lead to the end of toils— not to the end of work,

it must be observed. In these lower worlds we have a sense of work which is

certainly quite different from that of higher levels. To us down here the word

is almost synonymous with toil, and often with drudgery, but from a higher point

of view work is really play. Drudgery is merely action; it does not create the

man who does it. But the least bit of work done occultly, done heartily "as to

God and not unto men ", done better than ever before, is good for the evolution

of him who does it. If, in writing a letter, for example, one is at pains to do

it neatly, even beautifully and to express oneself briefly, clearly and

gracefully, one has developed hand, eye and brain, thought-power, love-power and

will-power. True work, such as that of an artist, is full of creative influence

and of joy. We find some toil even in these things, however, because of the

obstructions of the lower planes. Yet even down here there is no clear dividing

line between toil and play. If one goes out, for example on a long ride, the

earlier part of the journey will be full of delight for both man and horse, but

insensibly that passes away as fatigue increases, until suddenly the man

realizes that the ride which was play in the beginning has now become work, or

rather drudgery. In other cases, there may be a task,

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not prolonged, but a little beyond our strength; then there is a sense of toil.

But all work in reality is play when there is willingness and no fatigue or


We have much to learn from the animals, and even from the plants, in this

respect. " Grow as the flower grows," says Light on the Path, " opening your

heart to the sun." Said the Christ: " Consider the lilies of the field, how they

grow; they toil not, neither do they spin; and yet I say unto you, that even

Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these." 1 It is deadly fear

of the morrow that makes men's work a toil, that makes them sweat in bitterness.

But the Law says: " Do the wise and right thing today, and leave the result to

take care of itself." This is not a doctrine of idleness, but of work that is

play instead of toil.

An illustration of this is also to be seen in the way in which different people

take a long journey. One man will get into the train at Chicago, and remain in a

fever of impatience for the time which the train takes to go to San Francisco,

his destination. He has fixed his mind on something that he wants to do there;

in the meantime his journey is a toil and a misery. Another finds a thousand

things of interest on the way— the scenery, the people, the train itself; for

him the journey is a happy holiday. And in the end he has accomplished much more

than the other man. The Hindu villager lives very near to nature, and certainly

grows as the flower grows. A man will set out from his village to get the mail

from the Post Office or to post 1 St. Matthew, vi, 7.

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some letters there, perhaps sixteen or twenty miles away. He does not tramp

along stolidly and painfully, jarring his nerves with the graceless movements

that spring from a discontented or impatient mind. The vision of his mail is not

a mania that shuts out all other interests, and makes him curse the length of

the track. No; there are insects, birds, flowers, trees, streams, clouds in the

sky, fields, houses, people and animals, and lastly the blessed earth itself, to

lie on which for awhile is to be on velvet in the divine arms. How little the

white man knows of life, how much of toil!

The Hindus have long held that God plays. The Lila or play of Shri Krishna, as

it is called, is the great work of evolution, which looks so toilsome to us that

we shudder at the long ages of work that lie in front, and cry out for rest.

Think of the 311,040,000 million years of our mahakalpa. What an illusion! When

we come to the end of toils life will be all play, all happiness.

The end of toils, though not of work, comes with the entry of the candidate, on

the fourth Path, into the nirvanic plane. He has finished the toil of casting

off the first five fetters—self-personality, doubt, superstition, liking and

disliking—all of which marked his bondage to material things, with which his

life was one long struggle on an up-hill road. But now his remaining five

fetters are internal; he has to conquer them, truly, but his weapon will be

serenity, quietness, calmness— the use of the will, which is the quietest thing

in the world. These fetters are: desire for life in form and formless life,

pride, agitation and ignorance. Little

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profit is to be derived from examining these in detail in this place; it is

enough to notice their internal character, and to say that to destroy them the

man must quieten himself and his vehicles above the line that divides the

personality from the ego.

At earlier stages, before the end of toils, the student will do well to organize

his life wisely, so that his work for the Master may be as far as possible play.

It should be pure delight, unmixed happiness—such a condition wou\d make for the

swiftest progress. Toil is not meritorious, nor especially profitable, though

sometimes it may be necessary. How often a student does meditation, feeling it

an irksome thing, but regarding it as a duty to be done, though with travail and

suffering. Do it happily and rejoicing, as play, or at least look forward to the

time when you can do so. Some men sink luxuriously into the arms of the present,

and say, " We will enjoy ourselves now, and let the future take care of itself."

Others stand aloof in proud strength and say, " We refuse to respond to that

which can distress us." But the disciple must bare his back to the strokes of

time, rejoicing in the long future, in the game in which every move can be a

dancing poem of delight.

On the subject of the seven worlds, Madame Blavat-sky says:

Some Oriental mystics locate seven planes of being, the seven spiritual Lokas or

worlds within the body of Kala Hamsa, the swan out of time and space,

convertible into the swan in time, when it becomes Brahma instead of Brahman.


All the manifestations of seven in Nature, such as the seven principles in man,

or the seven planes in the world, come from a sevenfold division arising from

Parabrahman. Three of the seven principles are manifest in the universal

consciousness, and three more in mulaprakriti. One remains at its source and

includes all the others, for the presence of many does not mar the unity of That

which is truly One. So, at his lower level, the man who transcends his middle

set or principles (atma-buddhi-manas), and rises into the first (the Monad),

though he escapes from the worlds or planes, finds them all present in that new

state of real nirvana, which is beyond the consciousness-state as much as that

is beyond the mere matter-state. We speak thus of it, in the third person, only

as a concession to ignorance, and must point out that what has been said should

be translated into terms of " you " for consciousness and " I " for the true

life of super-conscious nirvana, if it is to be understood. These " worlds",

however, are not entered by the Arhat, but by the full Adept.

There are several other ways in which the Arhat may be thought of as entering

the seven worlds of rest eternal:

In one way those worlds are the sub-planes of the atomic plane, through which

the Arhat begins to climb. The characteristic of the man who dwells in them is a

changeless serenity, for everything is seen as in the One Self, and where that

is realized, fear and anxiety can have no place. As the Gita says: "For the sage


enthroned in yoga, serenity is called the means."1 It is not that there is any

lack of activity in those regions —it is one vast wave of ever-moving life—-but

there are no obstructions to the will of the One. On the buddhic plane we have

still duality in a sense, since there one sees others, though the same Self is

seen dwelling in them as in ourselves. But buddhi has to be transcended, for

love implies a duality.

The serenity that the Arhat increasingly acquires puts a new face on the common

planes of our existence. He enjoys in them a liberty that others do not know; he

has found that work is play. Having touched the vale of bliss, he has discovered

that life not only there but on all planes is pure delight. He not only sees and

loves the advancing life behind the perishing forms, but feels and rejoices in

the Divine Will behind the changing life. The rest eternal that he enjoys is not

idleness, but the utter internal peace of one who knows that all is well, that

the Divine Will is present even in what may to others seem the obstructions to

progress, as well as in the apparent progress itself. A philosopher once caught

a glimpse of this idea when he said: "Be serene; for if you fail through no

fault of your own, the failure is a success better than you knew, since the

Divine Will is being done." The Arhat knows something of the peace that passes

understanding, because he is beginning to dwell in the Eternal. This is, Madame

Blavatsky says, " The region of the full

1 Op. cit., vi, 3.


spiritual consciousness, beyond which there is no longer danger for him who has

reached it."

If thou would'st cross the first hall safely, let not thy mind mistake the fires

of lust that burn therein for the sunlight of life.

If thou would'st cross the second safely, stop not the fragrance of its

stupefying blossoms to inhale. If freed thou would'st be from the karmic chains,

seek not for thy Guru in those mayavic regions.

The wise ones tarry not in pleasure-grounds of senses.

The wise ones heed not the sweet-tongued voices-of illusion.

Seek for him who is to give thee birth in the Halt of Wisdom, the hall which

lies beyond, wherein all shadows are unknown, and where the light of truth

shines with unfading glory.

The Guru here spoken of is the Master, the Teacher. Madame Blavatsky puts it:

The Initiate who leads the disciple, through the knowledge he imparts, to his

spiritual, or second birth, is called the father, Guru or Master.

A statement of the lives and work of the Gurus or Masters has been given in The

Masters and the Path. A glimpse of the marvel of Their exalted powers is seen in

the account there given of a meditation of the Master Kuthumi. As he sits in his

garden or his room, He seems to be meditating, but is, in fact, giving


attention to some millions of people, dealing with each one as individually as

an ordinary man could if he were to give his full attention to that one.

Every ego is being helped by one of the Masters, so the man who can vivify the

link in himself between the lower self and the higher may receive that help in

his personal life. The gurus who are to be met with on the physical plane are

generally Initiates, advanced pupils of the full Adepts, as stated before.

That which is uncreate abides in thee, disciple, as it abides in that hall. If

thou would'st reach it and blend the two, thou must divest thyself of thy dark

garments of illusion. Stifle the voice of flesh, allow no image of the senses to

get between its light and thine, that thus the twain may blend in one. And

having learnt thine own Ajnana flee from the Hall of Learning. This hall is

dangerous in its perfidious beauty, is needed but for thy probation. Beware

Lanoo, lest dazzled by illusive radiance thy Soul should linger and be caught in

its deceptive light.

This light shines from the jewel of the great ensnarer (Mara). The senses it

bewitches, blinds the mind, and leaves the unwary an abandoned wreck.

That which is uncreate refers to the higher triad, atma-buddhi-manas, as

distinguished from the personality and its bodies. The statement that the hall

of learning is needed but for probation applies to the hall of



ignorance as well. The set of material planes, physical, astral and lower

mental, are but the buildings and equipment of a school for man, in which he is

taught by means of toys. There is no experience that does not modify the soul

and give it some wisdom; but he who is alive to the educative purpose of it all,

and is eager to learn and to extract from the experience of embodied life

lessons of eternal value, will not find the toys attractive in themselves. He

will be like the bee that takes the honey from the flower and goes away, not

intoxicated by its scent and colour.

Mara is a personification of the attractiveness of external things. Madame

Blavatsky describes him as follows:

Mara is in exoteric religions a demon, an Asura, but in esoteric philosophy it

is personified temptation through men's vices, and translated literally means "

that which kills " the soul. It is represented as a king (of the Manas) with a

crown in ; which shines a jewel of such lustre that it blinds those who look at

it, this lustre referring of course to the fascination exercised by vice upon

certain natures.

In The Light of Asia1 Sir Edwin Arnold has given us a vivid picture of this

prince of darkness, as he came forth leading the ten chief sins, his angels of

evil, against the Lord Buddha, as He sat under the Bodhi Tree, when nearing His


1 Op. cit., Book vi.


The moth attracted to the dazzling flame of thy night-lamp is doomed to perish

in the viscid oil. The unwary Soul that fails to grapple with the mocking demon

of illusion, will return to earth the slave of Mara.

Behold the hosts of Souls. Watch how they hover o'er the stormy sea of human

life, and how, exhausted, bleeding, broken-winged, they drop one after another

on the swelling waves. Tossed by the fierce winds, chased by the gale, they

drift into the eddies and disappear within the first great vortex.

The subject of " lost souls " is very complex. Some are like the children in a

class at school who are not ready to pass on with the bulk of their

fellow-students into the next grade at the end of the year, either because they

are too young or because they have been lazy. Then, too, there are cases where

the personality has become so inmeshed in matter during bodily life that it has

nothing to give to the ego, and it may then be cut off. Thirdly, there are the

terrible fruits of the practice of black magic. It would take too long to

discuss the subject here; I have dealt with it at some length in the article on

Lost Souls in Volume I of The Inner Life.

Some of the expressions in these passages have all the strength of Oriental

imagination. We must not think too literally of abandoned wrecks and broken

wings. He who falls from the Path on account of material


desires certainly does wreck his spiritual prospects for the time being, but

even in that case he has learnt something which will be useful to the soul later

on. In all cases it is best for a man to learn with wise thought; only when that

is neglected will bitter experience be necessary to take its place.

It is by no means requisite that any human being shall go through every kind of

experience. The more advanced and the wiser a man becomes, the more he will see

in everything, and he will learn much from trifles that others might pass by as

insignificant. It is said that a fool cannot learn even from a wise man, but a

wise man can always learn, even from a fool. To know that fire is hot it is not

necessary to put one's hand into it; a fool may do so, but the wise man has

other ways of learning the fact that fire burns. Yet it is a great blessing that

those who will not think and thus learn willingly, should be taught in the stern

school of experience, without which they would learn nothing at all and make no


The law of karma, that brings to men the experiences that they have given to

others, is thus a benefactor and ultimately a liberator, not an instrument of

vengeance or punishment. Suppose, for example, that a foot-pad waylaid a

gentleman, knocked him down, perhaps killed him, and took his money. Under the

law he would have to meet with some such painful experience himself, sooner or

later. The robber was capable of such an act because he himself was a coarse

being, lacking sensitiveness and imagination; otherwise he would have thought


of the feelings of his victim or of the latter's wife and family, and such

thought would have stayed his hand. Because he is coarse, crass, unimaginative,

the foot-pad needs the violent kind of experience that he gives to others;

nothing less will stir him. Later, when through karmic retribution he has had

some suffering, he will remember it when he is about to strike another, and will

say to himself: " That is not a very nice thing for that poor man." He will then

begin to reform, thanks to the law, which is always educative, never punitive.



If through the Hall of Wisdom thou would'st reach the vale of bliss, disciple,

close fast thy senses against the great dire heresy of separateness, that weans

thee from the rest.

C.W.L.—Herbert Spencer came very near to a revelation of the spiritual truth

about evolution, when he described it as a progressive change from a state of

incoherent homogeneity to one of coherent heterogeneity of structure and

function. To him evolution meant that things which in the beginning were similar

and separate, later become different but united. This specialization is seen in

the human body, which has different organs which work for the whole; thus the

digestive system digests food for the whole body, and the hands grasp, the feet

walk, the eyes look, not for the sake of the hands, the feet and the eyes, but

for the whole body. Similarly, society becomes more and more highly organized as

time goes on. Men become more and more differentiated from one another, as the

professions in life advance in knowledge and skill. The doctor cures all, the

teacher teaches all, the bridge-builder builds bridges for all. One man works

for the benefit of many, and the work of many flows back to benefit him.


When men get the organic sense and feeling for their fellows they cease to be a

mob of incoherent homogeneous human beings and become heterogeneous and

coherent. A man with that spirit will do his best for his community, or nation,

or humanity, leaving it to the law of unity to bring him what he needs from the

other organs of the great body. The incoherent homogeneous elements of matter or

of society cannot organize themselves; it is the inner principle that draws them

together and makes swift progress possible for them through mutual help. The

unity is love, the force behind evolution, the energy of life; it is buddhi, the

greatest wisdom. There is a profound difference between co-operation and

brotherhood —the former springs from an intelligent appreciation of the mutual

relations of men, the latter from a realization in feeling that the same life is

dwelling in all.

In the evolution of an individual it is usually the spirit of co-operation that

develops first; the business of the world brings people together, then by

contact the divine fire of buddhi is struck. Two men, for example, go

prospecting together, and support each other in the work. True friendship

supervenes. But if it should chance, as it sometimes does, that brotherhood

comes first, it will not develop into perfect and useful co-operation unless the

intelligence is also awakened and applied to the business of life. An instance

in point was the beautiful love between David Copperfield and his impractical

wife Dora, whom the novelist was constrained to kill in order to make room for



more practical Agnes, and so give the story a happier termination.

In the occult life candidates who have developed the higher intelligence so that

they have a keen appreciation of the principle of co-operation and of spiritual

laws, often still find themselves dull and apparently incapable of rapid

progress. They await the awakening in themselves of true love, buddhi. That is

the burning energy of the inner man. Still, in this second of the stages of true

spiritual unfoldment there will often be much agitation and trouble; the divine

energy gushes forth irregularly and not always in the wisest way, causing much

sorrow to its possessor—-until the third spiritual stage, the place of serenity,

has been reached. As that serenity is the goal to which the voice of the silence

is directing the candidate, he is told to pass through the Hall of Wisdom into

the vale of bliss. Even in the buddhic plane there is a certain duality, or

separateness. We cannot love ourselves; love needs an object, even though it be

not a material object, but the divine life manifested in many spiritual souls.

Buddhi is the first veil, the Avalokiteshvara of the Higher Self, not the

Parabrahman. The " dire heresy of separateness " has to be disposed of on every

plane in turn, the physical, the astral, the mental and even the buddhic.

Let not thy " heaven-born," merged in the sea of Maya, break from the universal

Parent (Soul), but let the fiery power retire into the inmost chamber, the

chamber of the heart, and the abode of the world's Mother.


Then from the heart that power shall rise into the sixth, the middle region, the

place between thine eyes, when it becomes the breath of the One-soul, the voice

which filleth all, thy Master's voice.

The " heaven-born " is chitta, the lower mind. It is born from the soul above,

when manas becomes dual in incarnation. The planes of atma-buddhi-manas are

typified by heaven, while those of the personality are spoken of as earth. We

have already observed the distinction of character which divides the five planes

of human manifestation into two. The monadic and divine planes, beyond these

five, taken together form a third division. So the seven worlds can also be

grouped as three. The lowest division is in the region of sattva or law. Here we

find everything regulated, but man has some freedom because the " heaven-born "

is in him—• so much of the energy of the Law-maker works through him. It is

because man has this liberty and power to go his own way that his life is

usually more disorderly, less regulated, than that of the lower kingdoms of

external nature.

The middle set of planes contains those of spiritual energy, the indwelling

life, without which the rest would be dead and motionless. They are the planes

of the divine, the shining, the Avalokita, or " seen", God—the life seen by

wisdom, not the form seen by knowledge.

The highest group of planes is that of the Monad, the Self that is bliss and

freedom, where are the realities behind every human ideal and the ecstasy beyond

consciousness that is the extracted quintessence of beauty,


goodness, truth, harmony, comprehension, union and freedom.

What is here called the fiery power is the force named kundalini in Sanskrit.

This may be described as a latent fire, coiled up like a sleeping serpent at the

base of the spine in all men except those few in whom it has been specially

awakened, and is actively working in the etheric body. It should not be

difficult to realize the existence of such a fire, since it is well known that

the breath in our lungs constantly feeds a slow fire, and that digestion also is

a kind of fire. Kundalini is more like electrical fire—a force developing heat

where there is resistance— than fire that burns fuel, but it is not of the same

order of force as electricity.

I have written on this subject in the articles on the Serpent-Fire and the

Force-Centres in The Inner Life and that on Vitality in Chapter IV of The Hidden

Side of Things, and I hope to publish shortly a somewhat fuller study,

illustrated with coloured plates.1 There is also aft extensive, if somewhat

obscure, literature on the subject in Sanskrit, including the

Shat-chakranirupana, the Ananda Lahari, and many other works. There is an

excellent translation of the first of these, with a commentary, by Arthur

Avalon, called The Serpent Power, published by Ganesh & Co., Madras.

The following is a very brief summary of the subject.

Kundalini is the lower end of a stream of a certain

kind of the force of the Logos, and it commonly lies

sleeping in the chakra or force-centre at the base of the

1 Book on Chakras has been since issued by T.P.H., Adyar.


spine. If it is awakened prematurely, that is, before the man has purified his

character of every taint of sensual impurity and selfishness, it may rush

downwards and vivify certain lower centres in the body (used only in some

objectionable forms of black magic), and irresistibly carry the unfortunate man

into a life of indescribable horror; at best, it will intensify all that the man

has in him, including such qualities as ambition and pride. Kundalini should be

wakened only under the personal direction of a Master, who will instruct the

student in the use of the will to arouse it, in the manner in which it should be

moved when aroused, and in the spiral course along which it must be carried

through the chakras or force-centres, from that near the base of the spine, to

those which lie on the surface of the etheric double at the spleen,1 the navel,

the heart, the throat, between the eyebrows, and at the top of the head. This

course differs with different types of people, and it is quite a definite

physical thing, for the force has literally to burn a pathway for itself through

the impurities of the etheric double.

There are chakras in the astral body also, which are already aroused by

kundalini working in that plane in all fairly evolved people. The process of

developing those centres has rendered the astral body sensitive to the plane,

awakening its feeling, its power to travel about, its sympathetic response to

other entities

1 Hindu works usually mention the chakra at the root of the genital organs as

the second. We recognize the existence of such a centre, but we follow the

ancient Egyptians in thinking it eminently undesirable that it should be stirred

into activity.


there; its vision and hearing, and astral faculties generally. But the memory of

those experiences or the use of the astral faculties while in the physical body

becomes possible in a definite and well-controlled way only when kundalini in

the etheric double has been carried through the corresponding centres.

The special mention of the place between the eyes in our text has reference to

the pineal gland and the pituitary body. The forces from both the sixth and

seventh astral centres (which are between the eyebrows and on top of the head)

usually converge on the pituitary body, when the etheric centre is aroused, and

then vivify it and act through it. But there is a certain type of people (who

are being addressed in our text) in whom the seventh astral chakra vivifies the

pineal gland instead of the pituitary body, and it in that case forms a line of

communication directly with the lower mental plane, without apparently passing

through the astral plane in the ordinary way. Through that channel come for them

the communications from within, while for the other type of people they come

through the pituitary body.

When kundalini awakens of itself, which it rarely does, or is accidentally

aroused, it usually tries to pass up the interior of the spine, instead of

following the spiral course in which the occultist is trained to guide it. In

this case it will probably rush out through the head, and the man will suffer

from, nothing worse than a temporary unconsciousness.

The Hindu books hint at, rather than explain, what happens. They make no

references to the chakras on


the surface of the etheric double, but speak of their roots, which are in the

spine. In the spine, running from its base to the top is what is called

Merudanda, the rod of Meru, the central axis of creation. In that rod is the

channel called sushumna, and in that again is the channel called chitrini, which

is "as fine as a spider's thread ". Upon that are threaded the chakras, like the

knots on a bamboo rod. The lowest of the chakras, called muladhara, lies at the

base of the spine, and in it kundalini sleeps, closing the mouth of the


The aim of the aspirant is to raise kundalini through all the chakras till she

reaches that which is between the eyebrows. Then the candidate will find that

he, as it were, remains behind, while she leaps forward into the sahasrara, the

great " thousand-petalled " lotus at the top of the head. If he goes with her,

it will take him out of the body and put a stop for the time being to his

practice of meditation in the body. She rises up chitrini little by little as

the candidate uses his will in meditation. In one practice he may not get very

far, but in the next he will go a little further, and so on. When she comes to

one of the chakras or lotuses she pierces it and the flower, which was turned

downwards, now turns upwards. The candidate meditates upon her in some form, and

upon her associates, seated in that lotus. An elaborate dhyana or meditation,

full of rich symbology, is prescribed for each lotus. When the meditation is

over, the candidate leads kundalini back again by the same path into the

muladhara; but in some schools she is


brought back only as far as the heart chakra, and there she enters what is

called her chamber.

Kundalini can be awakened by various methods, but it should be done only under

the direction of a guru or competent teacher, the Master who is responsible to

the Brotherhood for the training of the candidate. He is not likely to conduct

this awakening until the first three fetters on the Path have been destroyed by

the candidate's own power, so that he is no longer in serious danger of being

stirred by sensuous or material things. Then his " heaven-born ", closely united

or harmonized with the higher manas, can remain master of the triple house of

personality, and when the energy of kundalini" is set free in the body it will

be likely to run in pure channels of service to the higher self. Hence the

awakening of kundalini will take place usually somewhere near the Third

Initiation, or, in the present kali yuga, or dark age, it is said, even later.

Even then it is awakened in various layers, so that in the early stages it may

give nothing more than a general sensitiveness to the higher planes.

Kundalini is thought of as a goddess. She is what is called the shabdabrahman in

the body. Shabda means sound. Sound is the creative force, as before described.

Speech is considered to be the most outward form of it. It is an expression of

thought, which in its true active form is kriyashakti. Certain letters of the

alphabet, which are the foundation of human speech, are said to reside in each

of the chakras, and the power of those letters (their portion of the creative

word) is awakened


when kundalini enters them after her union with Shiva in the highest centre,

causing them to shine brilliantly with her light. The creative speech of Brahma,

the Third Logos, has four forms or stages; hence He is called the four-faced

one. When kundalini represents him in the body she also exhibits those four

forms, as she rises through the chakras.

Kundalini is called the world's mother because the •outward action of the powers

of consciousness is always regarded as feminine. Thus will, wisdom and activity

are feminine, being shaktis or powers, outward turned aspects of the divine. She

is the representative of all these, as they were expressed in the creation of

the world, in the activity of Brahma, the Third Logos. It has also been said

that she is the world's mother because it is through her that the various planes

are brought into conscious existence for the occultist.

The following footnote by Madame Blavatsky will also throw light on the

foregoing explanations.

The inner chamber of the heart, called in Sanskrit, Brahma-pura. The " fiery

power " is Kundalini.

The "power" and the "world-mother" are names given to Kundalini—-one of the

mystic Yogi powers. It is Buddhi considered as an active instead of a passive

principle (which it is generally, when regarded only as the vehicle, or casket,

of the supreme spirit, Atma). It is an electro-spiritual force, a creative power

which when aroused into action can as easily kill as it can create.


It is by no means certain what Madame Blavatsky meant by saying that kundalini

is active buddhi, but several speculations may be offered:

In normal men buddhi is not positively active in the outer life, but when the

first three fetters have been cast off, the personality is so purified that the

astral  J body will no longer be active merely on its own account, but will

faithfully respond to buddhi, now active.    At or near this stage kundalini is

often aroused, as we have seen, and when the faculties of the astral body are

then laid open to the candidate while in his physical body it is an astral body

reflecting buddhi, which now becomes a veritable fire of love in the man's life.

 That clairvoyance and  other  psychic  powers  need not  be awakened in the

physical brain even at this advanced stage of human progress, is also indicated

by Dr. Besant. in her Initiation, the Perfecting of Man.    She there says that

before a man can come to the Third Initiation he must  learn  to  bring the 

spirit  of intuition (buddhi) down  to  his  physical   consciousness,  so  

that  it  may abide on him and guide him.    Then she adds: " This process is

usually called ' the development of psychic faculties,' and it is so, in the

true meaning of the word ' psychic'.    But it does not mean the development of

clairvoyance  and  clairaudience,  which   depend   on  a different process."

The entire higher triad (atma-buddhi-manas) is but the central member or the

buddhi of the still more inclusive triad of Monad, ego and personality. That


larger buddhi is triple (will, wisdom and activity), and now its third aspect

(activity, kriyashakti) comes into operation in the body, to awaken its organs

and liberate its latent powers.

'Tis only then thou canst become a "walker of the sky," who treads the winds

above the waves, whose step touches not the waters.

On this, Madame Blavatsky says:

Kechara, " sky-walker " or " goer ". As explained in the 6th Adhyaya of that

king of mystic works, the Jnaneshvari—the body of the Yogi becomes as one formed

of the wind; as "a cloud from which limbs have sprouted out," after which—"he

[the Yogi] beholds the things beyond the seas and stars; he hears the language

of the Devas and comprehends it, and perceives what is passing in the mind of

the ant."

The term " walker of the sky " has various grades of meaning. In Indian story it

is, for example, applied to the great Rishi Narada, as an emissary of the Logos,

who could travel through the pure akasha from globe to globe. On the lower

planes, the astral body or the mayavi-rupa may be taken as an illustration, as

they can be used to travel in what is the air or sky to ordinary people.

In the astral world the ordinary man is a kind of cloud, a being full of kama,

that is, desire and emotion, but not by any means a definite entity such as he

is on the physical plane. But when he masters his kama,


and gives it definiteness, the astral body is organized as a vehicle; it is no

longer kama but kamarupa. Still further, about the time when the first three

fetters are dispensed with, the mayavi-rupa is formed, and that enables the man

to operate with his mental body in the astral as well as the lower mental plane.

This may be taken as one interpretation of the statement that his step " touches

not the waters ", which are a symbol for the astral plane.


Before thou sett'st thy foot upon the ladder's upper rung, the ladder of the

mystic sounds, thou hast to hear the voice of thy inner God in seven manners.

C.W.L.—It has already been mentioned that The Voice of the Silence is intended

to guide the candidate as far as the Fourth Initiation. At that point his

consciousness is raised to the seventh principle and begins to function in the

atmic or nirvanic plane. The man is then ready to commence treading what is here

called the ladder's upper rung, to go through the course of training which

prepares for the Fifth Initiation, that of the Asekha Adept. The Path has two

equal divisions, which may be called the ladder's lower and upper rungs.

It is said that the Initiate on the ladder's lower rung must hear the voice of

his inner God in seven manners. That inner God at his present stage is the

higher Self, the buddhi, the second principle. In his meditation the aspirant

may or may not hear a series of seven sounds, marking his attainment of the

seven sub-planes of the buddhic plane; that depends upon his psychic


temperament. But what he must do, in all cases, is to bring the influence of

buddhi down into his life on each of the lower planes, so that the activity of

all his principles will be governed by it, and thus his inner God will be

ever-present in his life.

The latter stage is called the ladder of the mystic sounds; this is perhaps

because they are the sounds of the voice of the silence, hidden in the atma or

Self. One must not push too far the exact interpretation of any English word in

our text, as it is only a translation; though every Sanskrit and Pali word in it

is rich with technical significance. Still, the word mystic, coming from a root

that means to close the eyes, indicates here certain sounds which do not mingle

in the outward life at all, but give direction as from above, in the ex cathedra

manner of pure conscience. It is implied that the sounds about to be mentioned

are more accessible, are not " mystic " at all events to the candidate at the

stage under consideration. True conscience does not tell you what to do, as is

commonly supposed, but it commands you to follow that which you already really

know to be best, when your mind is trying to invent some excuse to do otherwise.

It speaks with the authority of the spiritual will, determining our path in

life. It is not the atma, but the buddhi, the second principle, that gives

intuitive knowledge as to right and wrong. Manas gives inspiration, buddhi

intuition as to right and wrong, atma the directing conscience.

The first is like the nightingale's sweet voice,

chanting a song of parting to its mate.

THE SEVEN  SOUNDS                              123

The second comes as the sound of a silver cymbal of the Dhyanis, awakening the

twinkling stars.

The next is as the plaint melodious of the ocean-sprite imprisoned in its shell.

And this is followed by the chant of the vina.

The fifth like the sound of bamboo-flute shrills in thine ear.

It changes next into a trumpet-blast.

The last vibrates like the dull rumbling of a. thunder-cloud.

The seventh swallows all the other sounds."

They die, and then are heard no more.

The series of seven sounds mentioned here has caused much puzzlement among those

who meditate upon this little book. We must notice first of all the character of

the sounds; then we shall see that there are several interpretations of them.

They are increasing in materiality and losing, in penetrating quality in the

order here given. One may notice, for example, the difference between the vina

and an Indian trumpet of the old-fashioned kind. It is nearly always a surprise

to the European, when he first hears the wonderfully delicate music of the vina,

perhaps in a large and crowded hall, how, without any exhibition of force, it

reaches every corner, and how it gives the impression of sound half-removed from

our material planes.

The highest sound in the series is likened to a certain chant of the

nightingale.    It is said that there are occasions when the voice of this bird

rises higher and higher


in pitch until it is beyond the range of human hearing, although one may still

see the throat of the warbler trembling with song. That such high sounds exist

is well known to students of science. The note of a siren, for example, can be

raised by increased pressure of air or steam, until one after another of those

who are listening declare that they can no longer hear it. There is a certain

kind of whistle with which German police dogs can be called. When one blows upon

this instrument, which looks like an ordinary whistle, no man can hear the

slightest sound, but the dog, in another room or some distance away, will

instantly prick up its ears, and come leaping and bounding to the exact spot

where what is presumably to it the sound originated.

The interpretations of the sounds fall into two groups. The first mentioned in

the list may represent the last heard by the candidate. The sounds are

enumerated downwards in the order of their creation, after the Oriental manner,

so that the first sound in creation is the seventh when the aspirant is

approaching the Lord of that creation. So, first comes the dull rumbling of a

thunder-cloud, a sound representing or correlated to the physical principle in

man, in the middle is the vina, representing the antahkarana (according to

Madame Blavatsky's classification), and lastly there is the nightingale's

melody, associated with atma, the silence. That well typifies the seventh, the

soundless sound, into which all the others have to be raised, until they die

away and are heard no more. The candidate must learn to hear God in the dull

rumbling sound of the physical plane,


then in the trumpet-blast of the astral, then in the sound of the lower mental

that is likened to the music of a bamboo-flute, and so on right up to the world

of his highest principle.

The same sounds may be taken in another way as typical of the intensity with

which the aspirant hears the voice of the higher Self. It is one voice, but is

heard in seven manners. At first it is delicate and sweet, like the

nightingale's song, and it often disappears into silence; next it becomes

stronger, like " the silver cymbal of the Dhyanis ". Louder and louder it

becomes, until at last it is constantly heard, as filling all the air, like the

dull rumbling of a thunder-cloud. In the early stages of our progress the voice

of the higher Self may seem thin and faint, but later it will have for us all

the reality of thunder.

Again, in the text the description of these sounds follows upon the mention of

kundalini, which is carried through the chakras. That force awakens in seven

layers, or degrees, and so gives the psychic results already mentioned in

increasing power. The voice that is heard when kundalini rises to the place

between the eyes will therefore be heard with seven degrees of intensity,

typified by the seven sounds here mentioned.

Once more, it is natural that in the densest plane the candidate should hear the

inner voice but faintly, like the nightingale's voice. When he rises to the next

plane, where the covering of the inner Self is not so dense, its voice will be

more easily heard; until finally, when he reaches the highest principle it will

be like the rumbling


of a thunder-cloud. It is only the illusion of the lower planes that causes us

to ascribe delicacy to the higher things. Ultimately we shall find that they

have the full body and reality of thunder.

These interpretations are not mutually exclusive. All the experiences which they

suggest are possible for the candidate at the same time.

I remember that on one occasion a question about these sounds was asked in one

of our talks on the roof at Adyar. The President and I respectively answered as


A.B.—In meditation, one of the sounds that you begin to hear (for instance, one

thing that I heard quite distinctly) was a sound which was like the beating of a

tom-tom in a Indian village. I described that to H.P.B., who said: "That is very

good, go on." Next I heard some strains of beautiful music, and then something

like silver chimes. . Another sound was like the ringing of a temple bell, such

as you hear in Benares. I never found out that these sounds meant anything more

than that I was becoming able to hear in the astral world.

In India there is a school formed by a man of whom the Master M. spoke highly.

The people who belong to that, after a certain amount of practice, hear sounds

quite clearly in the brain, but I have never found that any of them got further

on that account. Many people come to me in the North, asking what the sounds

mean. I reply: " I think it is nothing more than that you are becoming


These seven sounds mentioned by H.P.B. I have never been able to sort out. They

may mean that you have to wake your consciousness in plane after plane, and that

each is meant to symbolize the note of a particular plane, just as down here Fa

is the combination of the countless sounds in the physical plane blended

together. But that does not really explain matters.

C.W.L.—I cannot make them exactly correspond with the planes; they may possibly

be sub-planes. They may also be intended to symbolize the sounds which accompany

the awakening of the seven centres by the Kundalini, for sound is one of the

expressions that take place in that particular case. I have never felt at all

certain of what she meant. One would be inclined to


say that the silver cymbal in different tones would do for all The thunder

certainly does not seem to fit in very well.

A.B.—-Of course there are a certain number of sounds in the head which belong

entirely to the vascular system. If a person hears such sounds very strongly it

means that he is getting into a dangerous state of anaemia.

The sounds are not progressive. H.P.B. put things very often in a circle; she

sometimes begins with number four and then works round on the two sides. It may

also be that she gives these sounds in no sort of order. You might possibly

begin with the thunder, then the trumpet blast, and next the ocean sprite; then

you might come to the cymbal for the fourth, the flute for the fifth and the

vina, which is a more delicate sound, for the sixth, and then the nightingale

for the seventh, the top.

C.W.L.—-If we are allowed to turn them round like that, they will begin to mean

something definite.

A.B.—H.P.B., when consulted astrally said: "What fools you all were to take them

in that way: you might have arranged them before: thunder, trumpet, ocean-shell,

cymbal, flute, vina, nightingale." She said that we were abominably literal.

C.W.L.—.Similar lists of sounds are to be found in various Sanskrit works. We

have taken the following example from the Shiva Samhita:

The first sound is like the hum of the honey-intoxicated bee, next that of a

flute, then of a harp; after this, by the gradual practice of Yoga, the

destroyer of the darkness of the world, he hears the sounds of ringing bells;

then sounds like the roar of thunder. When one fixes his full attention on this

sound, being free from fear, he gets absorption, O my beloved! When the mind of

the Yogi is exceedingly engaged in this sound, he forgets all external things,

and is absorbed in this sound." 1

When the six are slain and at the Master's feet are laid, then is the pupil

merged into the One, becomes that One and lives therein.

Madame Blavatsky speaks of the six as:

The six principles; meaning when the lower personality is destroyed and the

inner individuality is merged into and lost in the seventh or Spirit.

1 Op. cit., v, 27-8.



And of the One here spoken of she says: The disciple is one with Brahman or


When the six principles are " slain", in other words, when they no longer assert

their independence, but have become entirely obedient to the will of the Self,

the aspirant lives in that One. The seventh voice of buddhi will carry him up

into Atma. Madame Blavatsky applies the term Brahman to the human atma by

analogy. Brahman (neuter) is the One containing the Three; so does atma contain

buddhi and manas within itself, when the man has become an Arhat, and learned to

live in the triple spirit.

Before that path is entered, thou must destroy thy lunar body, cleanse thy

mind-body, and make clean thy heart.

To the term " lunar body " Madame Blavatsky adds the note:

The astral form produced by the kamic principle, the Kama Rupa, or body of


On the term " mind-body " she comments:

Manasa Rupa. The first refers to the astral or personal self; the second to the

individuality, .or the reincarnating Ego, whose consciousness on our plane, or

the lower Manas, has to be paralysed.

Madame Blavatsky did not think in planes so completely as do most of the

Theosophists of today. She had her eye more on the principles, and saw the

matter of different levels taking form under their influence.


Here she speaks of " our plane", meaning the region of personal

existence—physical, astral and lower mental. The " astral form " is by no means

necessarily the astral body, but rather the personal form built up in the

subjective regions of our personal life (the astral and lower mental planes) on

account of our bodily form and the personal feelings and thoughts connected with

it. In my little book The Devachanic Plane and in Dr. Besant's Ancient Wisdom an

account is given of the four types of life in the heaven-world: (1) personal

friendship, (2) personal devotion, (3) the true missionary spirit, and (4) human

achievement. They are all emotive—though unselfish, they are not impersonal, but

kamic. They take their form from the character of the physical plane experience.

But the pure lower manas would be the antahkarana—it would be the soul's mind,

not the body's mind. It would have its activity stimulated only from above. It

must now be cleansed from all the kama, to become a pure channel for the soul.

Think of the condition of the astral body of an advanced person. It gives

practically no direct response to impacts from outside. It is, by itself, dead

to the world. It has no independent life of its own; it has been " slain ". If

some one went up to the average man and struck him, probably his astral body

Would burst instantly into flames of anger; that is its immediate response. Not

so that of the advanced man. The impact in his case would go inwards through the

astral to the buddhic vehicle. That would respond in its own way. Then its

impact upon the astral would call


forth the beautiful colours of the love emotions which are its correspondences

in the astral body. Dr. Besant has often explained that the astral aura of an

advanced man is colourless, or rather, slightly milky-white, when in repose, but

that all the most lovely colours which the , plane can exhibit flood through it

in response to the great man's buddhic response to the world.

Eternal life's pure waters, clear and crystal, with  the   monsoon   tempest's  

muddy   torrents   cannot mingle.

Heaven's dew-drop glittering in the morn's first sunbeam within the bosom of the

lotus, when dropped on earth becomes a piece of clay; behold, the pearl is now a

speck of mire.

Strive with thy thoughts unclean before they overpower thee. Use them as they

will thee, for if thou sparest them and they take root and grow, know well,

these thoughts will overpower and kill thee. Beware, disciple, suffer not even

though it be their shadow to approach. For it will grow, increase in size and

power, and then this thing of darkness will absorb thy being before thou hast

well realized the black foul monster's presence.

There are some people in the world who imagine that It is possible to carry on

the lower things and still make progress on the Path. Sometimes they actually

think that by various forms of vicious excitement they can generate a great deal

of energy which will help to carry them onward and upward. They are afraid of




colourless, should they repress the lower activities entirely. It has been said,

of course, that the colourless person, the feeble good man, cannot make

progress. " I would thou wert cold or hot," says the Spirit in Revelation, and "

Because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my


This very well represents the facts. The most promising persons, in order of

preference, are (1) the vigorous good man, (2) the vigorous bad man, (3) the

ordinary good man. No man can be an effective criminal unless he has a strong

development of some divine quality. His badness is the result of unbalance—-such

as great will-power and courage, or great intelligence, without love for his

fellow-beings. Or great love and willpower, without intelligence, can make an

equally dangerous and harmful man, for he may become a fanatical leader of

forces of discontent and disruption. The mere good man, weak in all qualities—in

will, intelligence and love—makes little progress, though it may be steady.

Great men have great faults, but they may get rid of them quickly; little men

have little faults, which often seem to last for ever.

There is in all this no recommendation to evil living. It indicates that mere

repression of lower tendencies will not make for rapid progress, but that there

must be positive and- vigorous exertion in the expression of what is high and

good. While making that effort a person may possibly fall. The very will-power

or knowledge or love that he has gained by his exertions will make the

1 Revelation 3, 15-16.



man's fall deep and terrible, should he become unbalanced. Thus the magnitude of

a man's sin may be a sign of possible rapid future progress for him; but that

progress will begin only when the man through karmic suffering has realized his

error and purged away the impurities incidental to his fall. Nothing much can be

done, however, until that purification has taken place. Madame Blavatsky deals

vigorously with this point in her First Steps in Occultism, as follows:

There are those whose reasoning powers have been so distorted by foreign

influences that they imagine that animal passions can be so sublimated and

elevated that their- fury, force and fire can, so to speak, be turned inwards;

that they can be stored and shut up in one's breast, until their energy is, not

expanded, but turned towards higher and more holy purposes: namely, until, their

collective and unexpanded strength enables their possessor to enter the true

Sanctuary of the Soul and stand therein in the presence of the Master—the HIGHER

SELF. For this purpose they will not struggle with their passions nor slay them.

They will simply, by a strong effort of will, put down the fierce flames and

keep them at bay within their natures allowing the fire to smoulder under a thin

layer of ashes. They submit joyfully to the torture of the Spartan boy who

allowed the fox to devour his entrails rather than part with it. Oh, poor, blind


As well hope that a band of drunken chimney-sweeps, hot and greasy from their

work, may be shut up in a Sanctuary hung with pure white linen, and that instead

of soiling and turning it by their presence into a heap of dirty shreds, they

will become masters in and of the sacred recess, and finally emerge from it as

immaculate as that recess. Why not imagine that a dozen skunks imprisoned in the

pure atmosphere of a Dgon-pa (a monastery), can issue out of it impregnated with

all the perfumes of the incense used? Strange aberration of the human mind.

This portion of our text concludes with the following uncompromising passages:

Before the mystic power can make of thee a God, Lanoo, thou must have gained the

faculty to slay thy lunar form at will.


The Self of matter and the Self of Spirit can never meet. One of the twain must

disappear; there is no place for both.

Ere thy Soul's mind can understand, the bud of personality must be crushed out,

the worm of sense destroyed past resurrection.

The mystic power is once more kundalini, the representative in the body of" the

great pristine force which underlies all organic and inorganic matter ". Madame

Blavatsky's note on the subject is as follows:

Kundalini, the serpent power or mystic fire; it is called the serpentine or the

annular power on account of its spiral-like working or progress in the body of

the ascetic developing the power in himself. It is an electric fiery occult or

fohatic power, the great pristine force which underlies all organic and

inorganic matter.


Thou canst not travel on the Path before thou hast become that Path itself.

C.W.L.—To this the following foot-note is appended:

This Path is mentioned in all the mystic works. As Krishna says in the

Jnaneshvari; " When this path is beheld . . . whether one sets out to the bloom

of the east, or to the chambers of the west, without moving, O holder of the

bow, is the travelling in this road. In this path, to whatever place one would

go, that place one's own self becomes." " Thou art the path," is said to the

Adept Guru, and by the latter to the disciple, after Initiation. " I am the way

and the path," says another Master.

It has already been explained (in the commentary on At the Feet of the Master)

that the thoughts and feelings which are at first difficult to grasp and

maintain become quite easy in the course of time. When the aspirant has so

trained and developed himself that the buddhic outlook and response to life

become perfectly natural and spontaneous to him, we may say he has become the

Path itself. Sometimes such a consequence


of continued effort and practice is called " second nature ". That expression,

however, gives one something of a feeling that the new qualities have been put

on, and afterwards become habitual. That is unfortunate. It is our original and

best nature, our higher nature, that shows itself in the higher life; it seems

to be something new to us only because it has heretofore been obscured by our

material integuments and the pressure of circumstances in the worlds of our

personal being.

An interesting metaphysical truth is indicated in the foot-note. Our evolution

is not a transit, nor even a growth. It is not a process of going somewhere, nor

an increase of size. It is an unfoldment of the powers potential in our lives.

As already stated, in the planes of the ego materiality takes second place, the

powers of consciousness—-will, "wisdom and activity (or will, love and

thought)—-dominate almost completely the matter of the planes. Therefore space

is not the jailor which it is down here, and consciousness need not travel

through it in order to appear in another place. The following conversation

between a Guru and his pupil has been related to illustrate this point. The Guru

told the pupil to walk across the room, and then asked:

" What were you doing? Were you moving? "

After meditating upon the matter, the disciple gave the following answer, which

was declared to be correct:

" No, I was not moving.    I was watching the body move.    I was thinking,

feeling and willing; the body alone was moving." 1 The Seven Rays.


This fact is true for all of us; we know of the body's motion merely on account

of observing it by means of the senses, just as we do that of any other object.

The sensation of rushing along, in an open motor-car, for example, resolves

itself, when one shuts one's eyes, into an actual feeling of air rushing by, and

a sense of power which, acting through the imagination, exhilarates the body.

The same experience could be reproduced by suitable apparatus, composed of wind

and motion machines, without any transportation of the body. Again, most people

who have travelled at night in Pullman berths have had the experience of waking

and wondering whether they were going head first or feet first, or even whether

the train was moving or not, and they have usually settled the question by

slipping up the blind and inferring their direction from an observation of

passing lights and shadows.

The fact that, in order to go from one place to another, travelling is not

necessary for the ego, is shown also in the way in which it can simultaneously

appear in the devachanic images of a number of people in the lower mental plane

in different parts of the world.

Though, at the stage of development presupposed in this teaching, the candidate

is working at the perfection of his personality, at the same time his inner work

is particularly concerned with the development of buddhi, the spiritual soul. To

put it in other words, he is climbing through the buddhic plane. Hence his

becoming the Path is shown in a great development of


sympathy  and   love  for  others,   as  indicated  in  the following verses:

Let thy Soul lend its ear to every cry of pain like as the lotus bares its heart

to drink the morning son.

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.

These tears, O thou of heart most merciful, these are the streams that irrigate

the fields of charity immortal. "Tis on such soil that grows the midnight

blossom of Buddha, more difficult to find, more rare to view, than is the flower

of the Vogay tree. It is the seed of freedom from rebirth. It isolates the Arhat

both from strife and lust, it leads Mm through the fields of being unto the

peace and bliss known only in the land of silence and non-being.

When Christ said, " I am the way, and the truth, and the life: no man cometh

unto the Father, but by me," He declared a mystic truth, for the Christ is one

with the buddhic aspect of the world-consciousness. There is only one

consciousness; on full recognition of this fact the Initiate can become an

Arhat—but unless he goes through that Christ-principle he cannot reach the

Father, the atma, above. That truth, explained with

S. John, 14, 6


wonderful inspiration and clarity in Dr. Annie Besant's Esoteric Christianity,

is, however, only" one aspect of the matter, for the Christ incarnate embodied

the same principle in his outward life in Palestine, which has moved millions of

men—-because he did not shrink from pain. Most men try to escape pain as much as

possible, but Christ accepted his own and added to it that of all other people

as well. Men who follow the buddhic path instinctively say, when trouble comes

to them: " Many are suffering; why should I desire to be exempt?" More than

that, in the fullness of their sympathy, they feel that other suffering to the

breaking point, before they reach the serenity of Arhatship, the illumination

that puts death under them, that makes them glow with the joy of liberty,

whatever pain may betide. Such liberty would lead to careless rest, could men

have it before experiencing the suffering of the Christ, in which the pain of

the cross is as nothing beside that of his compassionate response to the cry of

a world in pain. Then comes the point at which the man says: " What does it

matter whether I suffer or not? " His mind is so busy with service that he can

scarcely attend to himself.

Such an expression as " the peace and bliss known only in the land of silence

and non-being" can be understood only by those who are willing to think of

metaphysical realities. Most of such Oriental expressions as this are based on

the fundamental idea that the universal God expresses himself as sat, chit and

ananda, that is, as being, consciousness and bliss.


Being is well understood; people see it all around them; consciousness they also

know by experience; but happiness they seek. All seek themselves. Happiness is

not something that we shall gain, obtain and possess; it is our true state of

Self. But beyond both matter and consciousness is the real inner life, which is

silence and non-being from the standpoint of the external, and yet is the bliss

of true being.

Kill out desire; but if thou killest it, take heed lest from the dead it should

again arise.

Kill love of life; but if thou slayest Tanha, let this not be for thirst of life

eternal, but to replace the fleeting by the everlasting.

Desire nothing. Chafe not at Karma, nor at nature's changeless laws. But

struggle only with the personal, the transitory, the evanescent and the


Common desire is the love of external things for the sake of astral or sensuous

enjoyment. We have already seen that the disciple must not seek the satisfaction

of such desires, but must give up all the energy of his personality—physical,

emotional, and mental—to the work of spiritual evolution and the service of the

inner life in himself and other men.

Tanha is the root of these desires, because it is the thirst for sentient life.

The ego on its own plane is far from being fully conscious, but what

consciousness it has gives it a feeling of great pleasure, and arouses a kind of

hunger for a fuller realization of life. It is that


which is behind the world's great clamour for a fuller life. As before

explained, the forces of the higher mental plane pass through the causal body

for the most part without affecting it in the case of ordinary persons, as the

ego is not yet developed and trained so as to respond to more than a few of the

vibrations of its own level. There are no coarse vibrations on that plane, such

as it can respond to in its younger days, so it descends to the lower planes for

the sake of feeling more fully alive. For a long time therefore its

consciousness is most vivid when things of the physical plane are presented to

it, but later, when the astral nature is awakened, the pleasures of that plane

prove to be still more intense.

It is not possible in the physical body to realize how keen are the delights of

the astral life. So much is that the case that they often turn aside and delay

persons who have overcome the same sort of pleasure of the physical plane. Yet

that danger is not great for those who in physical life are definitely seeking

the things of the Path, if they are persons of advanced type, as they are in a

position to realize still higher delights, which have a far greater attraction.

The same thing is true of each plane in turn.

Still, the disciple must be on guard not to give up the lower pleasures merely

for the sake of relatively higher ones, but always to keep his eye upon his

ideal goal, beyond all transitory pleasures. He must not thirst to enjoy the

age-long pleasures of the heaven-world, but must give up all that is transitory

and personal. While, on


the one hand, he will not seek to obtain the objects of desire, on the other he

will not shrink from the lessons that karma places before him; he will not wish

that his field of experience should be other than it is. He knows that it is

because nature's laws are unchanging that he can use experience for growth. Were

it not for the orderly nature of the world, it would be impossible for the

intellect to grow or for man to use his powers at all. So he has no resentment

against karma, which is the embodiment of the Law.


Help nature and work on with her; and nature will regard thee as one of her

creators and make obeisance.

And she will open wide before thee the portals of her secret chambers, lay bare

before thy gaze the treasures hidden in the very depths of her pure virgin

bosom. Unsullied by the hand of matter, she shows her treasures only to the eye

of Spirit —the eye which never closes, the eye for which there is no veil in all

her kingdoms.

Then will she show thee the means and way, the first gate and the second, the

third, up to the very seventh. And then, the goal; beyond which lie, bathed in

the sunlight of the Spirit, glories untold, unseen by any save the eye of the


All students of the material sciences arc familiar with the fact that " nature

is conquered by obedience ". All the forces that we employ in modern life, such

as the pressure of steam or electricity, are examples of our


working with nature. It is perhaps rather unsympathetic to use the word

conquered, when the fact is that all our power in the world is the result of

harmony between man and nature. The man in a boat who sets his sail so that he

may go against the wind is not overcoming the wind, but is harmonizing his

affairs with its laws. By working with the laws man gains in power, not by

fighting against them.

The occultist knows that the same principle is true on every plane, and not only

with regard to the matter of each world but also to the forms of life that dwell

there, high or low in the scale of evolution. Therefore the knowledge of

nature's mechanical laws, which has led to so much power and wealth for mankind,

represents only one aspect of the harmony that should subsist between the two. A

feeling of friendly sympathy towards the animal, the plants and even the

minerals, and towards the nature spirits and the devas, is equally important, if

not more so, for the progress of man. Nature is composed of life as well as

matter, and it is through sympathetic feeling that that life becomes known, and

harmonized with human life. To look upon the world as a place full of forbidding

entities is the unfortunate custom of our age, but the man who faces life with a

feeling of kindliness to all living things will not only see and learn more than

others, but will have a smoother passage on life's sea. There is a tradition in

India of the " lucky hand " of certain persons who have this sympathy, and for

whom plants will grow well when for others they ail. It has also been explained


many times by authorities in occult science that because of his love for all

beings the true yogi or sannyasi may wander among the mountains and in the

jungle quite without danger from wild animals or reptiles.

In ordinary human life this sympathy works in many-ways. The modern business man

knows that the first requisite for his success is to establish friendliness with

those with whom he wants to deal. The same quality is necessary for teaching

children, who often regard grownup people as strange, arbitrary beings, not all

of their own class, but somewhat foreign, as an earth man might regard one of

Mr. Wells' fanciful men from Mars. But when sympathy is established, all that

strangeness goes, and real education becomes possible.

The nature spirits are in the same position as the children, except that they

are not dependent upon us and can easily avoid our vicinity, as the more

pleasing kinds of them usually do when modern civilized man arrives, with his

noisy, clumsy and cruel ways, and his unclean, repellant aura and cloud of

thought-forms. It is a fact that were men sympathetic with the other kingdoms,

did they plant forests and not only destroy them, and did they feel kindly

towards nature in general, we should enjoy more equable climate and more

successful cultivation. It must, of course, be said that the modern movement in

favour of gardens round houses, and trees and flowers even in the roads of our

cities, all tends in the right direction, and that in special ways of

cultivation of the earth and of particular flowers and fruits and grains and

trees, and even animals, men have done much


to help the work of the nature-spirits.    But with more sympathy still better

results would have accrued.

This sympathy has occasionally been shown, especially by the poets. Dr.

Rabindranath Tagore's essays and poems exhibit it in a very high degree; in

fact, the spread of this quality may be regarded almost as his special

contribution to modern civilization. Another well known instance is that of the

philosopher Emerson who, on returning from his winter lecture tours to his home

at Concord, used to shake hands with the lower branches of his trees. He

declared that he could feel that the trees were glad at his return, and no doubt

that quality of sympathy was a great aid to his inspiration.

Men who live in their gardens, like Luther Burbank of California, often say that

they are distinctly conscious of the feeling that comes to them from certain

plants bushes and trees. Men in Canada, whose duty calls them to live constantly

in the forests—to inspect them, mark trees and do other work—have told me that

they feel a life in the woods distinct from that elsewhere, that they know that

there are some places and trees which like men, and others which do not.

Such sympathy is perfectly natural. If you feel special love and admiration for

a certain human being, there is a tendency on his part to become interested in

you and to return the affection. A stage lower, if you are affectionate with an

animal it becomes strongly attached to you. Still lower, in the vegetable and

mineral kingdoms, the same rule obtains, though its effects are less obvious.

From this arises the tradition that flowers and


plants will grow better for some persons than for others, other things being

equal. It is personal magnetism that calls it out; and that is what at a higher

level we call affection.

There is no need to say anything here about the seven gates mentioned in this

passage, for the whole of the third Fragment of this book is taken up with the

seven portals, and there we shall study them in detail.


There is but one road to the Path; at its very end alone the Voice of the

Silence can be heard. The ladder by which the candidate ascends is formed of

rungs of suffering and pain; these can be silenced, only by the voice of virtue.

Woe then to thee, disciple, if there is one single vice thou hast not left

behind; for then the ladder will give way and overthrow thee; its foot rests in

the deep mire of thy sins and failings, and ere thou canst attempt to cross this

wide abyss of matter thou hast to lave thy feet in waters of renunciation.

Beware lest thou should'st set a foot still soiled upon the ladder's lowest

rung. Woe unto him who dares pollute one rung with miry feet. The foul and

viscous mud will dry, become tenacious, then glue his feet unto the spot; and

like a bird caught in the wily fowler's lime, he will be stayed from further

progress. His vices will take shape and drag him down. His sins will raise their

voices, like as the jackal's laugh and sob after the sun goes down; his thoughts

become an army, and bear him off a captive slave.


C.W.L.—We have seen, in The Masters and The Path, that there are four ways of

coming to the beginning of the probationary path: by contact with those •who are

already on the Path; by deep thought; by hearing and reading the sacred word;

and by the practice of virtue.1 Then, on the probationary path, there are four

qualifications to be attained, of which the last is given in At the Feet of the

Master as Love, and it is said that without this the other qualifications are in


This, then, is the one road to the path proper—the way of love, of unselfishness

in thought, word and deed.

All the old selfish habits of body and mind must be overcome, by positive

virtue. The word virtue as used here cannot mean mere passive goodness or

absence of wrongdoing; it must be taken in its old meaning of strength. Virtues

are forms of strength of" the soul. When the soul dominates the personal life it

will be seen to be full of such virtue. In the mean time a great battle is

necessary. In very many cases the candidate for the Path must bring forth all

his determination to stamp out completely any fault of selfishness that he may

find in himself in the course of his daily self-examination. This can best be

done by picturing a scene in which the fault has been exhibited, and then

reconstructing it in the imagination, so that in it the corresponding virtue is

shown; then one may dwell on that for a little while, and resolve that

henceforth, under such circumstances, the virtue, not the fault, will be


1 Op. cit., Ch. vi.

2 Volume I, Ch. 24, Liberation, Nirvana and Moksha.


It is sometimes very hard to overcome habitual faults; hence the frequent

mention of suffering and pain. It gives great pain, for example, to the

drunkard, to resist "just one more, one last drink ". But if he holds firm to

his resolves never to take strong drink again, not even once, in time the

suffering will disappear, and he will know a higher kind of pleasure than that

which he obtained from the stimulus of drink. It is exactly the same with impure

or selfish emotions and thoughts; many a man fails because he dwells upon an

unworthy thought "just once more ". It is just that one that he must give up,

and refuse to harbour in his mind. To give up their faults people have sometimes

to suffer great wounds to their pride. In all these cases humility is a great

help, because it makes men willing to change themselves.

Still, there are many whose lives have already been considerably purified, who

feel little or nothing of this pain. It has, indeed been suggested that in this

passage Aryasanga has exaggerated the suffering. That is not so, but he has

expressed it in extreme terms, so that no one will meet with suffering on the

Path, expecting the reverse, and all will be ready to pay toll to the past, to

face what suffering there is, and to bring it to an end for ever by the practice

of virtue. We may remember here the encouraging words of the Gita: " Even if

thou art the most sinful of all sinners, yet shalt thou cross over all sin by

the raft of wisdom. As the burning fire reduces fuel to ashes, O Arjuna, so doth

the fire of wisdom reduce all karmas to ashes."1 And again:

 Op. cit., iv, 36-37.


" Never   doth   any   who   worketh   righteousness,   O beloved, tread the

path of woe."1

The necessity of getting rid of vices at the very beginning has been emphasized

in all yoga systems, as mentioned before.2 Only when the virtues were firmly

established in his character could the student be allowed to pass on to the

later steps of the Path, including practices of posture, breathing, control of

the senses and meditation. The reason for this demand is that as the pupil

advances on the Path the forces of his will and thought become much more

powerful than ever before, and there will come times when the ego pours his

energy down into the body. If there be still remnants of any vice in the body

that energy will give it new strength, so that the fall of the aspirant will be

far greater than anything that is possible for one not so far advanced. Powers

are powers, for good or ill, so the candidate should purify himself before

seeking them, lest he injure others and himself. There is one place on the Path,

just after the Second Initiation, where the danger is greatest of all,

especially from the vice of pride, as has been explained at length in The

Masters and The Path.

Kill thy desires, Lanoo, make thy vices impotent, ere the first step is taken on

the solemn journey.

Strangle thy sins, and make them dumb for ever, before thou dost lift one foot

to mount the ladder.

1 Ibid., vi, 40. 2 Ante, p.

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Silence thy thoughts and fix thy whole attention on thy Master, whom yet thou

dost not see, but whom thou feelest.

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 the brain,

that the steep path which leadeth to thy Master may be disclosed before thy

soul's dim eyes.

Aryasanga's repetition of the injunction to get rid of desires and vices shows

the importance which he attached to this part of the work. Not only are any such

defects enormously intensified as the powers of the candidate develop, but also

his responsibility increases, and he becomes capable of making far more karma

than before.

The sixth sense, the mind, has its physical organ in the brain. People do not

usually employ this, when faced by the various objects and experiences of life.

They live too much in their astral bodies. They "like" certain things, and

"dislike" others, quite without reason, quite without considering what they are,

and which are really good and bad, or useful and useless. That will not do, of

course, for anyone who wants to tread the occult path. He must consider all

things dispassionately, and revalue them according to their usefulness to the


In the brain there are' also the organs by means of which direct perception of

things beyond the reach of


the physical senses may be had. The pituitary body is a link between the

physical body and the astral body, and so on. In the same hollow in the brain,

but a little further back, lies the pineal gland, which is connected directly

with the mental body, and serves to bring impressions down from the mental

plane. Some people develop the pituitary body first, some the pineal gland— each

must follow the method prescribed by his own guru.

Long and weary is the way before thee, O disciple. One single thought about the

past that thou hast left behind will drag thee down, and thou wilt have to start

the climb anew.

Kill in thyself all memory of past experience. Look not behind or thou art lost.

Once more we find Aryasanga emphasizing the worst aspect of the matter, so that

none shall find the path harder than he may have thought it to be before

entering upon it. Relatively, that path is not long, when one considers that it

is only the last fourteen lives, out of a series of many hundreds or even

thousands, which are usually spent between the First and Fifth Initiations.

Further, in many cases the work of those fourteen lives is done in but few,

taken consecutively, without devachanic interludes—which makes the time short


It is true that " the road winds uphill all the way", but it need not

necessarily be weary. It is when one thinks only of the goal that the journey is

weary. A student entering college will find his three or four yean there

intensely weary if he is thinking only of getting


his degree and going out into the world with it, and is not really interested in

his studies. But if he has planned out his work, which will bring him naturally

to his degree if properly carried out, and if he is really interested in the

subjects of his study, he may then forget all about the years that lie ahead,

and may have a fascinating time. So also on the Path the work is full of

interest for heart and mind, and he who finds it so will make it shorter in fact

as well as in appearance than he who cares only for reaching a certain

prescribed goal.

It is the same in meditation; some who practise it faithfully feel it to be a

tedious thing, but do it all the same, for the sake of its results. Others find

it full of interest, and therefore gain much more from it. Let the candidate not

think of his own progress on the Path; as so often recommended, let him forget

himself and work for the world, and his progress will take care of itself.

Self-examination and self-training are necessary, but that is only like

preparing and oiling machinery; it should not take much time, the work being the

important thing.

It is true that sometimes people find it necessary to force themselves at first

along certain lines of work and thought, or meditation, which they feel that

they ought to take up. Very well, go on with the dreary task, if such it appears

to be, and if the motive is pure, you will soon find that the dreariness

departs, a new interest arises, and the work becomes full of delight.

The statement that one single thought about the past can drag the candidate

right down to earth again should certainly give pause to anyone who proposes to



the Path, and yet is unwilling to give up some pet vice, however trifling. It is

not the act so much as the thought of it that drags one down. Madame Blavatsky

says, in The Secret Doctrine:

Purity of mind is of greater importance than purity of body.

.    . An act may be performed to which little or no attention is

paid, and it is of comparatively small importance.    But if thought

of,  dwelt on in the mind, the effect is a thousand times greater.

The thoughts must be kept pure.1

I recollect a story about Colonel Olcott which illustrates this point. A young

man who much wanted to live the higher life came to him one day and asked him if

he must give up smoking. The Colonel replied: " Well, if you can't you must, but

if you can you needn't." Certainly strength of will and purity of thought are of

paramount importance, and there is no progress without them, no matter how clean

the body; and the Colonel emphasized the fact very successfully. But it might be

added also that smoking is a dirty habit; it befouls the bodies, and often

causes much annoyance and discomfort to others. The worst of its dirty

selfishness physically is that the smoke is made damp with saliva and then sent

off to enter other people's lungs. It is a horrible feature of modern life that

we are often compelled to contact and breathe smoke which has been so treated.

As to the effect of a thought of a quality belonging to the past, Madame

Blavatsky also says:

The student must guard his thoughts. Five minutes' thought may undo the work of

five years; and though the five years' work will be run through more rapidly the

second time, yet time is lost.*

1 Op. cit., Vol. III, 5

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. 2 Ibid., p. 5

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A distinction must be made here between a thought which is merely a floating

form which has entered the mind, and thought proper, which is a deliberate act.

It is the latter that can do so much harm. An unworthy thought may drift into

the mind, but if it is not dwelt upon, encouraged and strengthened, little harm

is done.

That one who falls thus may quickly rise again is encouraging. That old Greek

allegory in which every time that the hero falls to earth, worsted in the

conflict, he gains new strength from it, applies to man. Better that he should

win the battle once and for all without falling; but in any case he is destined

to triumph ultimately. Much may be learned by the intelligent and willing pupil

without bitter experience, just as one may learn that fire is hot without

putting one's hand into it; but all that is necessary will be learnt sooner or

later in one way or another.

Do not believe that lust can ever be killed out if gratified or satiated, for

this is an abomination inspired by Mara. It is by feeding vice that it expands

and waxes strong, like to the worm that fattens on the blossom's heart.

The rose must re-become the bud, born of its parent stem, before the parasite

has eaten through its heart and drunk its life-sap.

The golden tree puts forth its jewel-buds before its trunk is withered by the


The pupil must regain the child-state he has lost ere the first sound can fall

upon his ear.


Sir Edwin Arnold speaks of Mara, as he is understood by the Buddhists, in

vigorous and graphic terms, in connection with the temptation of Buddha just


His illumination:

But he who is the Prince Of Darkness, Mara—knowing this was Buddha Who should

deliver men, and now the hour When he should find the Truth and save the worlds—

Gave unto all his evil powers command. Wherefore there trooped from every

deepest pit The fiends who war with Wisdom and the Light, Arati, Trishna, Raga,

and their crew Of passions, horrors, ignorances, lusts, The brood of gloom and

dread; all hating Buddh, Seeking to shake his mind.1

Still, Madame Blavatsky says: " But Mara is also the unconscious quickener of

the birth of the Spiritual." The resistance that Mara opposes to the aspirant

enables him to develop his strength. An athlete might move his arms up and down

much easier without dumbbells than with them, yet he would not develop the same

strength so quickly, if at all. That even evil is made use of for good was once

illustrated by the remark of a very spiritual man who took a high Initiation.

For some time before it he had been terribly maligned, and the important work on

which he had set his heart had been spoiled. One day someone offered him a word

of sympathy, which was quite unnecessary, for he said: "The fact is, I owe a

debt of gratitude to those people who tried to injure me, though I did not

realize it at the time; for without their aid I should not yet have taken that

Initiation." An ordinary man would have been full of anger or of depression, but

in such a man as this 1 The Light of Asia, Book the Sixth.


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Mara calls out an equal strength only of loving sorrow or compassion. Thus may

even the greatest enemy become our friend while we are in the way with him.

It is, of course, not the ignorance but the innocence of childhood that is

requisite for real spiritual progress. Mere goodness is not progress; it is only

preparatory purification. Progress is the development of the ego on its own

planes, which, when shown in the personality, appears as strength of

character—in will and love and thought. In the three stages of the relation of a

pupil to his Master, it is the third and highest that contains the idea of

childhood, for he is first a probationary pupil, then an accepted one, and

thirdly a Son of the Master.


The light from the one Master, the one unfading golden light of Spirit, shoots

its effulgent beams on the disciple from the very first.

Its rays thread through the thick, dark clouds of matter.

Now here, now there, these rays illumine it, like sun-sparks light the earth

through the thick foliage of the jungle growth. But, O disciple, unless the

flesh is passive, head cool, the Soul as firm and pure as flaming diamond, the

radiance will not reach the chamber, its sunlight will not warm the heart, nor

will the mystic sounds of the akashic heights reach the ear, however eager at

the initial stage.

C.W.L.—As the sun is always shining behind the clouds, so is the higher self

constantly shedding its beams on the aspirant. The flashes of inspiration and

intuition that come now and again into the darkness of our minds in what we call

our best moments are derived from that


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high source. It is a wise policy to try to capture those best moments, to hold

them in imagination, and to dwell upon them in meditation, and thus to bring the

whole life into that diamond-like condition that is mentioned in the text.

With reference to the " mystic sounds of the akashic heights " Madame Blavatsky

adds the following footnote:

The mystic sounds, or the melody, heard by the ascetic at the beginning of his

cycle of meditation, called Anahatashabda by the Yogis. The Anahata is the

fourth of the Chakras.

The fourth centre or chakra is that at the heart. When the consciousness is

centred in the heart during meditation it is most susceptible to the influence

of the spiritual soul or higher Self. The heart is the centre in the body for

the higher triad, atma-buddhi-manas. The head is the seat of the

psycho-intellectual man; it has its various functions in seven cavities,

including the pituitary body and the pineal gland. He who in concentration can

take his consciousness from the brain to the heart should be able to unite

kama-manas to the higher manas, through the lower manas, which, when pure and

free from kama, is the antahkarana. He will then be in a position to catch some

of the promptings of the higher triad. That higher consciousness tries to guide

him, through the conscience; he cannot guide it until he is one with

buddhi-manas. The foregoing explanation is condensed from notes on some oral



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of Madame Blavatsky, appended to the third volume of The Secret Doctrine.1

Indian tradition on the subject says that when kundalini rises she dissolves the

qualities of the various chakras through which she passes and carries their

essence upwards. When she reaches the fourth, the heart chakra, the yogi hears

the sound from above, called anahata-shabda. Shabda is sound; an-ahata means*'

not beaten "; so it is—that sound which is made without beating things together.

The term is therefore symbolical of that which is above the planes of

personality. The practitioner's touch with the higher triad begins at this

point. Those who want to increase the contact between the higher and lower manas

should not dwell in meditation on anything below it. The following meditation,

translated from the Gheranda Samhita, is one of those prescribed for the heart

centre. It illustrates the way in which the yogi gradually withdraws his

attention from his surroundings and concentrates it upon his Ideal.

Let him find in his heart a broad ocean of nectar,

Within it a beautiful island of gems, Where the sands are bright golden and

sprinkled with jewels,

Fair trees line its shores with a myriad of blooms, And within it rare bushes,

trees, creepers and rushes,

On all sides shed fragrance most sweet to the sense.

Who would taste of the sweetness of divine completeness Should picture therein a

most wonderful tree,

On whose far-spreading branches grow fruit of all fancies— The four mighty

Teachings that hold up the world,

There the fruit and the flowers know no death and no sorrows, While to them the

bees hum and soft cuckoos sing.

1 Op. cit., Vol. III, pp. 5

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Now, under the shadow of that peaceful arbour

A temple of rubies most radiant is seen, And he who shall seek there will find

on a seat rare,

His dearly Beloved, enshrined therein, Let him dwell with his mind, as his

Teacher defines,

On that Divine Form, with His modes and His signs.1

Unless thou hear'st thou canst not see. Unless thou seest, thou canst not hear.

To hear and see, this is the second stage.

We have already considered the significance of seeing and hearing.2 Unless the

candidate is responsive to the inner voice, that is, unless he understands

spiritual laws, he will never see the outer things as they are. He must learn to

look at the things of matter with the eyes of the spirit, as a Master once

expressed it. When he sees the material or outward things in that way, he will

more and more understand the inner voice. This is like the alternation which is

necessary between meditation and experience. To go through life in a busy way,

without stopping to meditate upon it, is to miss much of the significance of its

events; one should spare a little time each day to let the inner light play upon

them. On the other hand, to shut oneself in one's study and give one's whole

time to thought would yield little profit; in that wav a man would acquire

endless misconceptions, for experience is required to correct and enlarge our

meditation. It is the balanced interplay of the inner and the outer that the

pupil must seek. He must aim to be

1 See Concentration, Ch. x. 2 Ante, p.

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harmonized—to use the expression repeated again and again in the Gita.

The inner and outer worlds correspond perfectly to one another, point for point

in God's system. Says Madame Blavatsky in The Secret Doctrine:

In the realm of hidden forces, an audible sound is but a subjective colour, and

a perceptible colour, but an inaudible sound.1

Colour is spoken of here, not form; it makes the statement more accurate, for we

really see only colours, not forms.

It is impossible to say with any certainty why this state of hearing and seeing

harmonized together is called the second stage; We cannot tell what system of

stages Aryasanga was expounding, for a veil is drawn over his instructions at

this point. The line of stops marks a missing portion dealing with the third

stage. When the teaching emerges again (after this hiatus) we find Aryasanga

dealing with later stages exactly as the Toga Sutras give them, namely (5)

pratyahara, entire control of the senses, (6) dharana, concentration, (7)

dhyana, meditation, and (8) samadhi, contemplation.

When the disciple sees and hears, and when he smells and tastes, eyes closed,

ears shut, with mouth and nostrils stopped; when the four senses blend and ready

are to pass into the fifth, that of the inner touch—then into stage the fourth

he hath passed on.

1 Of. cit, Vol. III, p. 508.


There are some yogis who do literally stop the mouth and nose when going into

meditation or trance. The fingers are so placed as to keep the eyes, the

nostrils and the mouth closed, and these men have also trained the tongue so

that they can turn it upwards and backwards into the cavity above the mouth, and

thus prevent the inlet of air. This is called khechari mudra, as practised by

certain hatha yogis. It is not done by the raja yogis, and is not recommended

here. There is a stage at which the pupil can close his eyes and reproduce

within himself or experience in the astro-mental region the sensations of smell,

taste, sight and touch. Now, in order to withdraw himself to a still higher

state he must attend to the inner touch, which is hearing. By giving his

attention to the sound within, and tracing it into its finer and finer recesses,

he brings himself to the point where he may practise pratyahara, the restraint

of all sensation, the inner as well as the outer, that of the hall of learning

as well as that of the hall of ignorance. This practice is described in the next


And in the fifth, O slayer of thy thoughts, all these again have to be killed

beyond re-animation.

The attention is quite commonly withdrawn to a large extent by most people when,

for example, they are especially interested in a book; they do not then respond

to the impressions made upon the senses by the various odours, sights and sounds

surrounding them. To put oneself into that condition at will is pratyahara, and

it is a preparation for really successful meditation. The


killing beyond re-animation means nothing more than that the senses, like good

dogs, will lie down when told to do so, and will not get up again until they are

called. There is a foot-note at this point, as follows:

This means that in the sixth stage of development which in the occult system, is

Dharana, every sense as an individual faculty has to be " killed " (or

paralysed) on this plane, passing into and merging with the seventh sense, the

most spiritual.

Dharana is the sixth step of yoga, as given in the Toga Sutras. It is that

concentration of mind which we have already studied,1 and it follows upon

pratyahara. Since mind or chitta is regarded as a sixth sense, when dharana is

complete and that mind thereby ceases to function in relation to the things of

the external world, intuition, here called the seventh sense, arises. Life

teaches us in two ways, by tuition that the world gives us, and by intuition,

the working of the inner self. As men proceed on their evolutionary pilgrimage,

their intuition increases and they do not depend so much as before on the

instruction that the world gives. This is only another way of saying that the

man who uses his inner powers can learn much more from a little experience than

other men can from a great deal. Because of the activity "of his innate

intelligence the developed man is able to see the great significance of even

small things; but the undeveloped mind is full of curiosity. It is constantly

eager for novelty, because, not being

1 Ante, p. 40.


good at thinking, it soon exhausts the obvious significance of common place

things. This mind is the one that craves miracles in connection with its

religious experiences as it is blind to the countless miracles that surround it

all the time.

Withhold thy mind from all external objects, all external sights. Withhold

internal images, lest on thy Soul-light a dark shadow they should cast.

Thou art now in Dharana, the sixth stage.

In the practice of concentration it is always necessary to consider both the

external and the internal sources of interruption. One must prevent the mind

from taking an interest in any external thing, for if this is not done, the

slightest sound will awaken its curiosity and spoil the concentration. Also one

must stop the mind from bringing up within itself images relating to the past or

the future; during the practice one must be completely uninterested in what

happened yesterday or what is likely to happen to-morrow. When this

concentration has been successfully achieved, the next and seventh stage of

practice begins, which is called dhyana, that: is, meditation.

When thou hast passed into the seventh, O happy one, thou shalt perceive no more

the sacred Three, for thou shalt have become that Three thyself. Thyself and

mind, like twins upon a line, the star which is thy goal burns overhead. The

Three that dwell in glory and in bliss ineffable, now in the world of Maya have

lost their names.


They have become one star, the fire which is the Upadhi of the flame.

And this, O Yogi of success, is what men call Dhyana, the right precursor of


Passing from dharana to dhyana, from concentration to meditation, the aspirant

on this Path enters the buddhic consciousness. That is then " thyself". The mind

here spoken of is the higher manas, for the lower manas has been silenced. The

manasic principle has been raised into that of buddhi, so the two are like "

twins upon a line ", the two lower corners of a triangle, as is indicated by the

following footnote:

Every stage of development in Raja Yoga is symbolized by a geometrical figure.

This one is the sacred triangle and precedes Dharana. The A is the sign of the

high chelas, while another kind of triangle is that of high Initiates. It is the

symbol " I " discoursed upon by Buddha and used by Him as a symbol of the

embodied form of Tathagata when released from the three methods of the Prajna.

Once the preliminary and lower stages passed, the disciple sees no more the A

but the—, the abbreviation of the—, the full septenary. Its true form is not

given here, as it is almost sure to be pounced upon by some charlatans and

desecrated in its use for fraudulent purposes.

The star that burns overhead is the atma. But it refers also, as Madame

Blavatsky says in another footnote, to the star of Initiation, which shines over

the head


of the Initiate. As the object to be attained is the Fourth Initiation, that of

the Arhat, it is the star of that Initiation, which leads to the atmic or

nirvanic plane, that is his goal.

At this stage, instead of looking upwards in thought, and regarding the higher

triad (atma-buddhi-manas) as above oneself, as was the case heretofore, one

finds oneself to be in the buddhic state, manas being united with buddhi as

manas-taijasi. The " meditation" of the Initiate at this stage will ultimately

lead on to a further union of buddhi and atma. Upon the attainment of that union

the higher triad will have become one star, described in a foot-note as " the

basis, Upadhi, of the ever unreachable flame, so long as the ascetic is still in

this life ". The fuel is the personality; the fire is this triple spirit; the

flame is the Monad. Even the Adept, while remaining in physical incarnation,

does not enter fully into the state of the Monad. Says Madame Blavatsky:

Dhyana is the last stage before the final on this earth unless one becomes a

full Mahatma. As said already, in this state the Raja Yogi is yet spiritually

conscious of self, and the working of his higher principles. One step more, and

he will be on the plane beyond the seventh, the fourth according to some

schools. These, after the practice of Pratyahara—a preliminary training, in

order to control one's mind and thoughts—count Dharana, Dhyana and Samadhi, and

embrace the three under the generic name of Sannyama. Samadhi is


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the state in which the ascetic loses the consciousness of every individuality,

including his own. He becomes the All.

It is significant that the three should lose their names. They are not forms,

for their region is that of consciousness. The lower planes of the personality

are planes of form; then come the planes of name or " meaning ", but the Monad

is beyond name, beyond what men call consciousness.

The text goes on to indicate that, having attained to the practice of samadhi,

the aspirant has now become an Arhat, and has reached the goal of the endeavour

discussed in this Fragment.


And now thyself is lost in Self, thyself onto Thyself, merged in that Self from

which thou first didst radiate.

Where is thy individuality, Lanoo, where the Lanoo himself? It is the spark lost

in the fire, the drop within the ocean, the ever-present ray become the All and

the eternal radiance.

And now, Lanoo, thou art the doer and the witness, the radiator and the

radiation, light in the sound, and the sound in the light.

C.W.L.—As a man rises in life to a realization that the personality is merely

"it", and thus raises his centre of consciousness to the higher Self, so there

comes the time when he discovers as a fact of experience that that consciousness

is only "you", not "I".1 When that comes about, at or about the Fourth

Initiation, the lower self becomes lost in the true Self, and what the man has

thought or felt to be his individuality goes. And just as he who has achieved

the buddhic state recognizes and accepts the Consciousness of others as

1 See ante, pp.

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his own, and feels their joys and sorrows as his own; so now does this man find

only one true " I " in all.

The distinction between the realization obtained by the initiate of lower

degree, and that of the Arhat, between the consciousness of the buddhic plane

and that of the atmic, has been given in the Bhagavad-Gita. In the former state

the man sees the same Self equally dwelling in all beings; in the latter he sees

that all are in the one Self.

This, according to Toga Sutras, is the state of kaivalya, of " oneness ", of

freedom, on the full attainment of which the distinction between seer and seen,

between subject and object, is destroyed.

Thou art acquainted with the five impediments, O blessed one. Thou art their

conqueror, the master of the sixth, deliverer of the four modes of truth.

The light that falls upon them shines from thyself, O thou who wast disciple,

but art Teacher now.

And of these modes of truth:

Hast thou not passed through knowledge of all misery—truth the first?

Hast thou not conquered the Maras' king at Tu, the portal of assembling—truth

the second?

Hast thou not sin at the third gate destroyed, and truth the third attained?

Hast thou not entered Tau, the path that leads to knowledge—the fourth truth?


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Madame Blavatsky adds:

The four modes of truth are, in Northern Buddhism: Eu, suffering or misery; Tu,

the assembling of temptations; Mu, their destructions; and Tau, the Path. The "

five impediments " are the knowledge of misery, truth about human frailty,

oppressive restraints, and the absolute necessity of separation from all the

ties of passion, and even of desires. The " Path of salvation " is the last one.

There are the Four Noble Truths taught to the world by the Lord Buddha. These

were Sorrow, Sorrow's Cause, Sorrow's Ceasing and the Way. These have been put

before the Western world with wonderful beauty and accuracy in Sir Edwin

Arnold's matchless poem, The Light of Asia, from which the following verses are

quoted. But all who seek inspiration on the Path should not fail to read the

whole work.

Ye that will tread the Middle Road, whose course Bright Reason traces and soft

Quiet smoothes;

Ye who will take the high Nirvana-way, List the Four Noble Truths.

The First Truth is of Sorrow.    Be not mocked!

Life which ye prize is long-drawn agony: Only its pains abide; its pleasures are

As birds which light and fly.

Ache of the birth, ache of the helpless days,

Ache of hot youth and ache of manhood's prime:

Ache of the chill grey years and choking death, These fill your piteous time.

Sweet is fond Love, but funeral-flames must kiss

The breasts which pillow and the lips which cling

Gallant is warlike Might, but vultures pick The joints of chief and King.


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Beauteous is Earth, but all its forest-broods Plot mutual slaughter, hungering

to liv^;

Of sapphire are the skies, but when men cry Famished, no drops they give.

Ask of the sick, the mourners, ask of him

Who tottereth on his staff, lone and forlorn,

" Liketh thee life? "—these say the babe is wise That weepeth, being born.

The Second Truth is Sorrow's Cause.    What grief Springs of itself and springs

not of Desire?

Senses and things perceived mingle and light Passion's quick spark of fire:

So flameth Trishna, lust and thirst of things.

Eager ye cleave to shadows, dote on dreams; A false Self in the midst ye plant,

and make

A world around which seems;

Blind to the heights beyond, deaf of the sound

Of sweet airs breathed from far past Indra's sky;

Dumb to the summons of the true life kept For him who false puts by.

So grow the strifes and lusts which make earth's war, So grieve poor cheated

hearts and flow salt tears:

So wax the passions, envies, angers, hates; So years chase blood-stained years

With wild ted feet.    So, where the grain should grow

Spreads the biran-weed with its evil root And poisonous blossoms; hardly good

seeds find

Soil where to fall and shoot;

And, drugged with poisonous drink, the soul departs, And, fierce with thirst to

drink, Karma returns;

Sense-struck again the sodden Self begins, And new deceits it earns.

The Third is Sorrow's Ceasing.    This is peace

To conquer love of self and lust of life, To tear deep-rooted passion from the


To still the inward strife;

For love to clasp Eternal Beauty close;

For glory to be Lord of self; for pleasure To live beyond the gods; for

countless wealth

To lay up lasting treasure



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Of perfect service rendered, duties done

In charity, soft speech, and stainless days: These riches shall not fade away in

life, Nor any death dispraise.

Then Sorrow ends, for Life and Death have ceased How should lamps flicker when

their oil is spent?

The old sad count is clear, the new is clean; Thus hath a man content.

The Fourth Truth is The Way.    It openeth wide Plain for all feet to tread,

easy and near,

The Noble Eightfold Path; it goeth straight To peace and refuge.    Hear!

Manifold tracks lead to yon sister-peaks

Around whose snows the gilded clouds are curled;

By steep or gentle slopes the climber comes Where breaks that other world.

Strong limbs may dare the rugged road which storms, Soaring and perilous, the

mountain's breast;

The weak must wind from slower ledge to ledge, With many a place of rest.

So is the Eightfold Path which brings to peace;

By lower or by upper heights it goes. The firm soul hastes, the feeble tarries. 


Will reach the sunlit snows.1

The five impediments in the way of the candidate for Arhatship may be taken in

various forms. They are the five mentioned by Madame Blavatsky in the footnote

just quoted, or they are the first five fetters, or they are the five kleshas

mentioned in the Toga Sutras, and already discussed.2

And now, rest 'neath the Bodhi tree, which is perfection of all knowledge, for,

know, thou art the master of Samadhi—the state of faultless vision.

1 Op. cit., Book the Eighth. 2 Ante, pp. 49-52.


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Bebold! thou hast become the light, thou hast become the sound, thou art thy

Master and thy God. Thou art thyself the object of thy search: the voice

unbroken, that resounds throughout eternities, exempt from change, the seven

sounds in one, the Voice of the Silence.

Aura Tat Sat.

The termination Aum Tat Sat is one of the Maha-vakyams or " great sayings" of

the Hindus. The meaning of Aum we have already considered.1 Tat refers to the

Supreme. Philosophically, the pronouns he and she are unsuitable to refer to the

Supreme, so Tat, meaning "That", is employed. Beyond "it" and "you" is That,

which is "I". So the expression means that it is That which is the Red. All good

works begin and end with this thought.

1 Ante, pp.

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C.W.L.—We come now to the second Fragment which Madame Blavatsky translated from

The Book of the Golden Precepts—entitled The Two Paths. This is not necessarily

a continuation of the first Fragment, called The Voice of the Silence, although

it does begin by addressing one who has just reached the goal of Arhatship.

There is nothing to show that the three Fragments stand in any special relation

to one another. They are to all intents and purposes three separate books

dealing in much the same manner with the same subject. It is, however, a great

advantage to the aspirant to hear the teaching about the Path again and again in

slightly different forms. It renews his enthusiasm, draws attention to points

which he may have overlooked, and generally gives him breadth of vision.

The present Fragment begins by addressing one who has just achieved the summit

of the Path, and the question arises: Will he go onwards into nirvanic bliss,

heedless of those who remain behind, or will he turn back at the threshold and

help others who are climbing; will he take liberation for himself, or will he

stay to help the world ?


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And now, O Teacher of compassion, point Thou the way to other men. Behold all

those who, knocking for admission, await in ignorance and darkness to see the

gate of the sweet Law flung open!

The voice of the candidates:

Shalt not Thou, Master of Thine own mercy, reveal the doctrine of the heart?

Shalt Thou refuse to lead Thy servants unto the Path of liberation?

The opening paragraph of this Fragment may at first seem a little strange to us

in these modern days. We are familiar with the thought that the Path is open to

anyone anywhere, regardless of race, creed, sex, caste or colour, who lives the

life that is prescribed for it. Why, then, should any people be waiting in

darkness and ignorance for a gate to be flung open for them?

The fact is that at the time when the Lord Buddha taught in India, the religion

of the Brahmanas had become very rigid. Originally, that faith had been

intensely joyous and free, but in course of time 'the caste system had been

extended by the priests and rulers to all kinds of details. The plains of India

were thickly populated with Atlanteans and Atlanto-Lemurians when the Aryans

descended into the country about ten thousand years B.C. So the Manu found it

necessary to forbid intermarriage, and about 8,000 B.C. he ordained the caste

system in order that no further admixture might be made, and that those already

made might be perpetuated He founded at first only three castes—


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Brahmana, Rajan and Vish. The first were pure Aryans, the second Aryan and

Toltec, the third Aryan and Mongolian.

The castes were hence called the Varnas, or colours— the pure Aryans white, the

Aryan and Toltec intermixture red, and the Aryan and Mongolian yellow. The

castes were allowed to intermarry among themselves, but a feeling quickly grew

up that marriages should be restricted within the caste. Later, those who were

not Aryan at all were included under the general appellation of Shudras, but

even here in many cases a certain small amount of Aryan blood may appear. Many

of the hill tribes are partly Aryan—some few are wholly so, like the Siaposh

people and the Gipsy tribes.

There are passages in the Hindu scriptures to show that it was possible for

individuals of exceptional character and ability to be raised in caste rank, but

it must have been a very rare occurrence, and certainly for some time before the

advent of the Lord Buddha it had been generally held that only a Brahmana could

hope for liberation, and anyone who wished to reach that goal must first

contrive to be born as a Brahmana. This was not a very hopeful doctrine for the

majority of the people, since the Brahmanas were never numerous and they did not

allow the lower caste people to study the sacred books.

But the Buddha's teaching flung the gates wide open. He taught that equal

respect should be shown to one of any caste who lived the life, and conversely

that a Brahmana who does not live the life was not worthy


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of respect,   as in the following verse from the Vasala-Sutta:

Not by birth does one become low caste, Not by birth does one become a Brahmana;

By actions alone one becomes low caste, By his actions alone one becomes a


Many Brahmanas have told me that they actually feel the truth of this in

practical life; they find themselves more drawn to those of lower castes who

live the ideals of the Brahmana life than to members of their own caste who

neglect its ideals and live at a lower standard.

The aim of the Lord Buddha was not to found a new religion, but to reform

Hinduism. For a time almost all India called itself Buddhist. There were

Buddhist Hindus just as at present in the north-west there are many who call

themselves Sikh Hindus. Buddhism as a religion has long vanished from India. But

the effect that the Lord Buddha desired to produce still remains to a large

extent in the Hindu religion of the present day. As an instance of this one may

mention the effect upon animal sacrifices, against which the Buddha spoke very

strongly; they were very common before his time, but now they are quite rare.

Again, in India to-day every holy man is regarded with reverence by all,

whatever may have been his caste before he became a sannyasi. And people all

over the country respect the Bhagavad-Gita as of the highest authority, yet it

is a book of the most liberal character. In it the Lord says:


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The same am I to all beings; there is none hateful to me nor dear. They verily

who worship me with devotion, they are in me, and I also in them. Even if the

most sinful worship me, with undivided heart, he too must be accounted

righteous, for he hath rightly resolved; speedily he becometh dutiful and goeth

to eternal peace, O Kaunteya; know thou for certain that my devotee perisheth

never. They who take refuge with me, O Partha, though of the womb of sin, women,

Vaishyas, even Shudras, they also tread the highest path.1

It must not be assumed that Shri Krishna is here placing women and others on a

lower level, but that he is refuting a number of popular superstitions, among

them the idea that those who are in female bodies are necessarily inferior and

so cannot succeed in high spiritual aims.

Madame Blavatsky explains in a footnote that there are two Schools of the

Buddha's doctrine, the esoteric and the exoteric, respectively called the "

heart" and the " eye " doctrine, and that the former emanated from the Buddha's

heart while the latter was the work of his brain or head. Another interpretation

that was given to me relates the terms to the eye and heart of the candidate:

the scheme of things may be learnt by the eye, but the higher path can be

entered only when the heart is in tune with the inner life.

The whole passage is based upon an alleged hesitation on the part of the Buddha

as to whether he should preach. It is said that as he sat under the Bodhi tree

on the morning following his Illumination, he doubted whether the world would

understand and follow him, until he heard a voice as of the earth in pain, which

1 Op. cit., ix, 29-32.


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cried: " Surely I am lost; I and my creatures! " And then, again: "Oh, Supreme,

let Thy great Law be uttered!"1

Quoth the Teacher:

The paths are two; the great perfections three; six are the virtues that

transform the body into the tree of knowledge.

To this Madame Blavatsky adds the following footnote:

The tree of knowledge is a title given by the followers of the Bodhidharma

(Wisdom Religion) to those who have attained the height of mystic

knowledge—Adepts. Nagarjuna, the founder of the Madhyamika School, was called

the dragon-tree, the dragon standing as a symbol of wisdom and knowledge. The

tree is honoured because it is under the Bodhi (wisdom) tree that Buddha

received His birth and enlightenment, preached His first sermon, and died.

Swami T. Subba Row had a somewhat different interpretation of this symbol of a

tree. He said that the body of the candidate had become a channel of knowledge

(and we may add of force as well), so that it was one of the twigs on the Tree

which is the total wisdom of the world. We may add, too, the idea that the

Initiate is part of the great tree that is the Hierarchy, the Great White

Brotherhood, that has its roots far up in the

1 The Light of Asia, Book the Seventh.


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higher planes, and whose branches ramify into every part of human life, and even

down to the lower kingdoms. Those who have read the later chapters of The

Masters and The Path will appreciate this ancient symbol of a tree, for there it

is shown how the Occult Hierarchy branches outward from one great Root.

In this statement about the two paths, the three great perfections, and the six

virtues, we have an instance of the methodical character of the Buddha's

teaching. He always helped his followers to remember his teaching by giving it

to them in a tabular form. There were, for example, the Four Noble Truths, each

represented by a single word which would call to recollection a quite definite

set of ideas. There were also the Noble Eightfold Path, the Ten Sins, classed as

three of the body, four of speech and three of the mind, and the Twelve Nidanas,

or successive causes of material life and sorrow for man.

The transcendental virtues, or Paramitas, are sometimes reckoned as six,

sometimes seven, but more commonly as ten. When in Ceylon.; I learned of them as

ten from the High Priest Sumangala: the first six, he said, are perfect charity,

perfect morality, perfect truth, perfect energy, perfect kindness, and perfect

wisdom; the other four that are sometimes added especially for the priests are

perfect patience, perfect resignation, perfect resolution, and perfect

abnegation. In the Awakening of Faith of Ashvagosha, translated into English by

Teitaro Suzuki, the Paramitas are thus enumerated: Charity (dana), morality

(sila), patience (ksanti), energy (virya), meditation (dhyana), wisdom (prajna),

and the four additional


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ones: expediency (upaya), prayer or vow (pranidhana), strength (bala), knowledge

(jnana). In the footnote to the Voice of the Silence, 1

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4 edition, a list taken

from Eitel's Chinese Buddhism is given thus: charity, morality, patience,

energy, contemplation and wisdom; and in addition for the priests: use of right

means, science, pious vows, and force of purpose.

When in Ceylon I compared the statements of Orientalists with the feelings and

thoughts of the Buddhists themselves. There is a great difference between the

two, for the former are generally very wooden, but the latter are full of life.

Yet the learned monks have an accuracy of knowledge at least equal to that of

the most erudite Orientalists. Sir Edwin Arnold, in his Light of Asia, has given

a very remarkably accurate representation of the living side of Buddhism. Some

have said that he read Christian ideas and feelings into Buddhism, but that was

not so in the least; I can testify that the sentiments described in the poem

really exist among the Buddhist people.

Who shall approach them?

Who shall first enter them?

Who shall first hear the doctrine of two paths in one, the truth unveiled about

the Secret Heart? The law which, shunning learning, teaches wisdom, reveals a

tale of woe.

Alas, alas, that all men should possess Alaya, be one with the great Soul, and

that, possessing it, Alaya should so little avail them!


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Behold how, like the moon reflected in the tranquil waves, Alaya is reflected by

the small and the great, is mirrored in the tiniest atoms, yet fails to reach

the heart of all. Alas, that so few men should profit by the gift, the priceless

boon of learning truth, the right perception of existing things, the knowledge

of the non-existent!

The Secret Heart is the esoteric doctrine. It is a symbol that comes down to us

from Atlantean days. In the innermost shrine of the great temple in the City of

the Golden Gate there lay upon the altar a massive golden box in the shape of a

heart, the secret opening of which was known only to the high priest. This was

called " the Heart of the World", and signified to them the innermost mysteries

that they knew. In it they kept their most sacred objects, and much of their

symbolism centred around it. They knew that every atom beats as a heart, and

they considered that the sun had a similar movement, which they connected with

the sun-spot period. Sometimes one comes across passages in their books which

give the impression that they knew more than we do in matters of science, though

they regarded it all from the poetic rather than from the scientific point of

view. They thought, for example, that the earth breathes and moves, and it is

certainly true that quite recently scientific men have discovered that there is

a regular daily displacement of the earth's surface which may be thought of as

corresponding in a certain way to breathing.


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When Aryasanga uses the term " secret heart " he also means all the inner

mysteries. Madame Blavatsky's footnote says:

The Secret Heart is the esoteric doctrine.

Here the Teacher by " shunning learning " certainly means that there are times

when we must turn our attention away from the mere gaining of knowledge from the

outside through the senses, that we may give time to the development of the

inner learning through intuition. We cannot be wise without having sufficient

learning or knowledge with regard to the things that we have to deal with in the

world, in our particular sphere of duty; but on the other hand we should be much

in error if we thought that the greatest thing in life was to accumulate great

stores of knowledge, or were even to imagine that such knowledge had intrinsic

value, apart from the use that we can make of it in the service of mankind.

In the West there is a tendency to approach things and study them from the

outside, while the Eastern method is rather to consider them from within. Both

methods are necessary at our present state of evolution. When the buddhic

vehicle is developed, and intuition comes down into the physical brain from that

level, it will give us true wisdom, perfect knowledge, but in very few people is

it yet sufficiently developed.

Even if we are able to keep our heads among the clouds, it is necessary that our

feet should rest firmly on the earth, and we must treat impressions coming from

within with balanced judgment, just as we apply


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common sense to the experiences of everyday life. This is necessary, because it

is quite easy to mistake impulses, coining from the astral body, for intuitions

which come from the higher Self. Sometimes it happens, for example, that a dead

person seeing that we are interested in some particular point, offers a

suggestion on the astral plane, and this may come down into the brain and seem

like intuition. Yet, as a matter of fact, that dead person may be a very

incompetent observer on the astral plane, and may therefore be giving quite

wrong information.

This advice to shun learning is useful not only to those who are on the Path,

but also to every one who is at all studious, if we take it to mean, as it does,

that we should avoid mere learning. A great amount of study of the mere outside

of things often leads to materialism. Because they see around them great

cataclysms, sacrifice, oppression, sorrow and suffering, and a vast amount of

praying to which no answer seems to be vouchsafed, many people come to think

that conflict and struggle is the law of life, that nature is not compassionate.

But to study the world as fully as possible, all the time regarding it as a

great school for the life dwelling in its multifarious forms, leads to wisdom,

which enables one to see that all things are moving together for good. When one

develops astral and higher forms of vision this fact that all is well is no

longer a matter to be understood by careful reasoning; it leaps to the eyes. No

one with such vision could be a materialist.

The word Alaya means simply a dwelling or house. Esoterically, Madame Blavatsky

says, it has at least a


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double meaning, as being both the universal soul, and the Self of an advanced

Adept. It is the real dwelling or home of man, the universal aspect of that

which is buddhi in the spiritual triad in man. It is the male or positive aspect

of the universal soul, the Logos. It is the Over-soul of Emerson, the universal

Higher Self of all beings. It is what Plato called Nous, a principle free from

matter yet acting with design, the jivatma of the Hindus, the source of the

divine creative thought. In other words it is in the Second Logos, the universal

spiritual soul, of which the buddhi in each man is a ray. That one should have''

knowledge of the non-existent'' must certainly look strange to those who do not

know the exact philosophical meaning of the last word. To exist means to stand

outside of, to have external or objective being. The kind of being that is

called exist' ence belongs to all the world that is seen as outside ourselves,

but the indwelling life or consciousness has its own state of being—call it "

istence " if you like, but not " existence ". Nothing could be more real than

the reality of this conscious life, which we also possess because we are part of

the same Logos—'and that is the " non-existent " of which the aspirant must gain

knowledge. Every man is essentially divine; but to realize it he must stand out

of his own light—then there will be no shadow, no illusion.


Saith the pupil:

O Teacher, what shall I do to reach to wisdom?

0 wise one, what, to gain perfection?

Search for the paths. But, O Lanoo, be of clean heart before thou startest on

thy journey. Before thou takest thy first step, learn to discern the real from

the false, the ever-fleeting from the everlasting. Learn above all to separate

head-learning from Soul-wisdom, the " eye " from the " heart " doctrine.

C.W.L.—-There is nothing that can be said here on the subject of the real and

the unreal that has not already been dealt with at length in the comment on "

From the unreal lead me to the real " in At the Feet of the Master.1

Yea, ignorance is like unto a closed and airless vessel; the Soul a bird shut up

within. It warbles not, nor can it stir a feather; but the songster mute and

torpid sits, and of exhaustion dies.

1 Talks on Path of Occultism, Vol. I, Ch. IV.


But even ignorance is better than head-learning with no Soul-wisdom to

illuminate and guide it.

No occult progress at all is possible for a man while he is extremely ignorant,

however much he may be developed in other ways. Without some knowedge of the

Truth, and of the Path, he will not move in a definite direction. Most people

have very little knowledge of what it means to be really a man, what are the

qualities and actions which make for progress and what for retrogression, and

they have 110 conception of the great destiny to which all are slowly moving.

Therefore their progress is very, very slow. We have investigated clairvoyantly

as many as a hundred successive lives of some second class pitris, or men of the

second grade, and find scarcely any perceptible growth at the end of that


There is, however, a steady though slow evolution of the whole mass of life

going on all the time, and the man has shared in this general progress.

Absolutely he has gone forward, but relatively he has done little. Mr. Sinnett

compared this advance to that of a person going round and round a tower by a

winding staircase; he comes to the same position and outlook again and again,

but every time just a little bit higher than before. It would seem almost as

though men were being treated a little better than they deserve, for we see that

even the ignorant man, whose thoughts are selfish in nine cases out of ten, is

advancing in this way. But the fact is that even a little force directed towards

the higher things


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is far more potent than a great deal of force turned towards the lower things.

If one tenth of a man's thoughts are spiritual he is beyond the average; even in

such a case the man is taking nine steps backward for one step .forward, but

fortunately the nine steps backward are very short and the one step forward is

very long. It takes a bad life to balance good and evil, and to fall back a man

must be exceptionally bad. Then again, the effect of a little good is very far

reaching on account of the close association that obtains among men, and he who

sets it going receives much good karma.

But if ignorance is a great obstacle to progress, knowledge that is not applied

is little better; it also does not count for very much. Even if a man is

interested in occult matters he may stay apparently at the same level life after

life; for if it is not applied the knowledge does little good. To put knowledge

into practice is an absolutely necessary condition for rapid progress.

The seeds of wisdom cannot sprout and grow in airless space. To live and reap

experience, the mind needs breadth and depth and points to draw it towards the

Diamond Soul. Seek not those points in Maya's realm; but soar beyond illusion,

search the eternal and the changeless Sat, mistrusting fancy's false


In her footnote, Madame Blavatsky says that the Diamond Soul, Vajrasattva, is a

title of the supreme Buddha, the Lord of all mysteries, called Vajradhara and

Adi-Buddha. In The Secret Doctrine, however.


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she points out the distinction between Vajrasattva and Vajradhara. Vajra is a

diamond; sattva in such a connection as this means " by nature", that is, a

character or soul, so Vajrasattva is one whose nature or character is like a

diamond. Dhara means holding or bearing, so Vajradhara is one who holds a

diamond. Avalokiteshvara, " the Lord who is seen", is Vajrasattva, the

Diamond-Soul or Diamond-Heart, and is the synthetic reality of all the

Dhyani-Buddhas. The First Logos is Vajradhara or Vajrapani, the Diamond-Holder,

or the Diamond-Handed One, also called Dorjechang in Tibetan. He is the one

beyond all conditioning or manifestation, but He sends into the world of

subjective manifestation, the expression of His Heart—Vajrasattva or Dorjesempa,

the Second Logos.1

That there should be special points required to draw the candidate into full

touch with That is analogous to what we have seen in the process of

individualization of an animal. In this case, the points are the finer qualities

that it develops, such as affection and devotion, by means of which it reaches

up into the human condition of consciousness. The mind of man must also put out

special points in order that it may unite with the Soul, and for the Initiate

those points must rise up into buddhi, which is the principle in the

reincarnating self corresponding to the Vajrasattva at a still higher level.

Swami  T. Subba Row said that it referred to the atma drawing the ego into the

Monad. The same simile can thus be employed at many different levels. 1 See

Ante, pp.

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For mind is like a mirror; it gathers dost while it reflects.

This, says Madame Blavatsky, is from the doctrine of Shin-Sien, who taught that

the human mind is like a mirror which attracts and reflects every atom of dust,

and has to be, like that mirror, watched over and dusted every day. Shin-Sien

was the sixth patriarch of North China, who taught the esoteric doctrine of

Bodhidharma. In The Secret Doctrine she explains the position of Bodhidharma, as


When the misuse of dogmatical orthodox Buddhist Scriptures had reached its

climax, and the true spirit of the Buddha's philosophy was nearly lost, several

reformers appeared from India, who established an oral teaching. Such were

Bodhidharma and Nagarjuna, the authors of the most important works of the

Contemplative School in China during the first centuries of our era.1

The dust on the mirror typifies the prejudices, illusions and fancies which are

in the astral and mental bodies; these are clearly visible to the sight of the

respective planes as decided obstacles to better thought or feeling. The effects

of these impediments and the means to get rid of them we have already considered

carefully in the talks on At the Feet of the Master2

It needs the gentle breezes of Soul-wisdom to brush away the dust of our

illusions. Seek, O beginner, to blend thy mind and Soul.

Shun ignorance and likewise shun illusion. Avert thy face from world deceptions;

mistrust thy

1 Op. cit., Adyar Ed., Vol. v. p. 410.

2 Ante, Vol. I, Part 4, Chapter 1, Control of Mind.


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senses; they are false. Bat within thy body—the shrine of thy sensations—seek in

the impersonal for the Eternal Man; and having sought him out, look inward: thou

art Buddha.

Common experience tells us that the senses must be mistrusted. The impressions

of sight, for example, must be corrected by careful study of the facts, and

judgment about them, as in the matter of the apparent movement of the sun round

the earth. Care must be taken, however, not to read into this statement the idea

that the senses are not to be used. They must be employed on every plane for the

gaining of knowledge, and for doing the work and duty without which there is no


The eternal man is the reincarnating ego, whose life is age-long as compared

with that of the personality, persisting as it does through our complete series

of human births and deaths.

The word Buddha is used in three distinct senses. Sometimes, as in this case, it

means simply enlightened, illuminated, or wise. Sometimes it is used as a name

for the Lord Gautama. In other cases it means the high office in the Occult

Hierarchy of the Head of the Second Ray, the great department of teaching and

religion, which has been described in The Masters and the Path. The Buddhists

have a list of twenty-four Buddhas, of whom the present holder of the office is

the Lord Gautama, who will be succeeded in the far future by the Lord Maitreya.


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Shun praise, O devotee: praise leads to self-delusion. Thy body is not Self, thy

Self is in itself without a body, and either praise or blame affects it not.

Self-gratulation, O disciple, is like unto a lofty tower, up which a haughty

fool has climbed. Thereon he sits in prideful solitude and unperceived by any

but himself.

Very many men have been spoiled by undue praise; it leads to pride in all who do

not see clearly what lies ahead of them or above them. Those pupils who are

sufficiently clairvoyant to see the Masters frequently are not so prone to this

danger as many others are, because they cannot but compare their own littleness

with the Master's greatness, their own farthing rushlight with His glorious

sunlight. It is the man who is looking downward, and comparing himself with

those who are beneath himself, who is most likely to fall through pride.

But the best way of all is not to think of oneself, but to be constantly

occupied with the work of the Master. There is for all of us every day far more

of that to be done than we can possibly accomplish; and it is only taking energy

and time away from that if we spend it in thinking about our little selves.

There are no doubt several reasons why the Masters do not show themselves more

than they do to those who are in the earlier stages of their service. One of

these is that the pupil, seeing the Master so far above him, might be

overwhelmed with his own, insignificance and lose confidence in his


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own ability to work for the Master. So, while it is necessary to avoid pride on

the one hand, one must equally avoid the under-estimation of one's powers on the

other. Here, as ever, the middle path is the right one.

The simile of a tower is indeed a good one, for pride does shut a man away from

his fellows. If, for example, he is proud of his learning, he will he anxious to

keep others more ignorant than himself, so as to enjoy his superior position,

and even when he does give out his knowledge it will only be for the sake of

displaying it. Such a man is engaged all the time in enlarging the gulf between

himself and other people, so that he may look down on them from above.

False learning is rejected by the wise, and scattered to the winds by the Good

Law. Its wheel revolves for all, the humble and the proud. The doctrine of the

eye is for the crowd; the doctrine of the heart for the elect. The first repeat

in pride: " Behold, I know "; the last, they who in humbleness have garnered

low, confess: "Thus have I heard."

Every religion in course of time gathers round itself many speculations and

other accretions. For example, in Hinduism, in the Puranas one reads of dozens

of things that people are told that they must do or must not do; many of those

have been invented by the priests, either for • their own convenience and

advantage or because of an excessive estimation of the value of many


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prayers and ceremonies. Also particular interpretations of earlier sayings are

developed into dogmas and attached to the original teaching, as, for instance,

the horrible eternal hell teaching which still persists among many Christians.

The esoteric teaching at once scatters these to the winds, as it brings the

attention back to the essential and vital truths. Still, to act from the heart

is the way only of a strong and advanced man. For the masses, wandering slowly

along the broad road of evolution which winds gently up the hillside, the books

are still the main guide. Those people are not yet in the position that is

described as follows in the Garuda Purana: "Having practised the Vedas and the

Shastras, and having known the Truth, the wise man can abandon all the

scriptures, just as one rich in grains abandons the straw."

Every Buddhist scripture begins with, " Thus says ------", or, " Thus have I

heard." It is a humble beginning. It does not say, " This is absolutely so, and

you must believe it," but, " This is what has been said, and it would be well to

try to understand it, and so come to a knowledge of the real facts." It is the

attitude of enquiry, not of dogmatism. Yet, strange to say, there have been

those who have taken it in another, and quite a wrong sense. They say, " It is

no use propounding anything different on this subject, for thus it has been said

with authority "!

" Great Sifter " is the name of the heart doctrine, O disciple.


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The wheel of the Good Law moves swiftly on. It grinds by night and day. The

worthless husks it drives out from the golden grain, the refuse from the floor.

The hand of Karma guides the wheel; the revolutions mark the beatings of the

karmic heart.

True knowledge is the flour, false learning is the husk. If thou wonld'st eat

the bread of wisdom, thy flour thou hast to knead with Amrita's clear waters.

But if thou kneadest busks with Maya's dew, thou canst create but food for the

black doves of death, the birds of birth, decay and sorrow.

The heart doctrine is called the Great Sifter because as one works in the world

in the manner which it directs, the mistakes one makes and the defects one has

are gradually sifted out and removed. If one were doing work without the ideals

of the inner doctrine, one might go on making the same kind of mistakes again

and again, life after life. Madame Blavatsky somewhere wrote that it was one

thing to desire to do good, and another to know what is good to do. Yet, with

our imperfect knowledge, we must go forth and do the best we can. It is

something like learning a language. It is a mistake to try to learn it quite

perfectly from books before one makes any attempt to speak it; one must plunge

into it, and make mistakes in it, and in the effort one will learn in due course

to speak without mistakes. But that will come about, of course, only if one

converses in it with others who already know the language correctly.


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Similarly the Master, though he may be unseen, will guide the pupil who is

sincerely trying to do his best, into the experiences that will sift out his

faults and mistakes. Keep in mind the conviction that the final good will

inevitably come, and let the heart be full of love; then you may work without

fear of mistakes. They will become smaller and smaller, and fewer and fewer, and

will eventually die away.

There is a moral to be drawn from the analogy of flour and bread. The true

knowledge that you gain does not give you bread, but merely the flour with which

the bread of wisdom has to be made. The kneading is the action of the higher

Self, which works upon experiences and converts them into real wisdom. In

ordinary men most of this kneading is done during the devachanic period, but the

pupil of the Master has so broadened the channel between the higher and the

lower self that he is gaining wisdom all the time.

He who takes only external knowledge, and studies it over with the lower mind,

in the light of mere personal necessity and pleasures, is certainly kneading

husks with maya's dew. He is not preparing for the triumph of the higher Self;

he is not treading the Path, but is preparing the karma of future births and

deaths, for the future vehicles and personalities that will decay and die.


If thou art told that to become Arhan thou hast to cease to love all beings—tell

them they lie.

If thou art told that to gain liberation thou hast to hate thy mother and

disregard thy son; to disavow thy father and call him householder; for man and

beast all pity to renounce—tell them their tongue is false.

Thus teach the Tirthikas, the unbelievers.

If thou art taught that sin is born of action and bliss of absolute inaction,

then tell them that they err. Non-permanence of human action, deliverance of

mind from thraldom by the cessation of sin and faults, are not for Deva Egos.

Thus saith the doctrine of the heart.

C.W.L.—-To call a man a householder is to say that his interests are still

centred in worldly things, but to do this with contempt, as is implied in the

text, would certainly indicate the proud and austere qualities of the left-hand

path, leading up to the heights of the black magicians, who regard the best of

human love as nothing but mere sentimentality. Even though the candidate


may have risen above personal desires, he cannot despise those who are still at

the earlier stage of evolution, nor can he ignore them. Compassion and eagerness

to help are the qualities of his nature.

That the expression householder must be taken in a metaphorical sense is

indicated in a footnote by Madame Blavatsky, as follows:

Rathapala, the great Arhat, thus addresses his father in the legend called

Rathapala Sutrasanne. But as all such legends are allegorical (e.g., Rathapala's

father had a mansion With seven doors) hence the reproof to those who accept

them literally.

Madame Blavatsky describes the Tirthikas as " ascetic Brahmanas, visiting holy

shrines, especially sacred bathing-places." A Tirtha is literally a "

crossing-place ". It is thus a landing or bathing place, or any shrine, which is

a crossing place to the other worlds or the higher life. A shrine is thus a

place where there is a special connection between the inner and the outer

worlds. Probably the orthodox Brahmanas and Hindus in general who visit such

Tirthas as, for example, Benares or Hardwar, were called unbelievers because

they did not in most cases follow the Buddha in His assertion that " within

oneself deliverance must be sought."

In the talks on At the Feet of the Master we have considered at length the

necessity for action, and how there may be intense activity of the body, and yet



man within may be calm, steady, serene and strong. The Deva Egos means the

reincarnating egos, according; to Madame Blavatsky, but Swami T. Subba Row

explained the term as meaning those who aspire to work with the Devas and for

the helping of the world.

The teaching of the Book of the Golden Precepts is obviously intended for those

who wish to follow that line of work. At present there are not very many egos in

incarnation who are ready for special teaching and training—it would be of

little use, for example, to seek among the dwellers in the east end of London

for people who are ready to become pupils of the Masters. But as time goes on

the numbers requiring attention will increase very rapidly, and within a few

hundred years-there must be many Arhats prepared to teach them. Thus a large

number of helpers will be needed, and it is to that work that many of us are


The Dharma of the eye is the embodiment of the external and the non-existing.

The Dharma of the heart is the embodiment of Bodhi, the permanent and


The word dharma may here be translated " form of religion " or " belief", and

bodhi is simply " wisdom".

The lamp burns bright when wick and oil are clean. To make them clean a cleaner

is required. The flame feels not the process of the cleaning. " The branches of

a tree are shaken by the wind; the trunk remains unmoved."

THE  LIFE  OF ACTION                           203

Both action and inaction may find room in thee; thy body agitated, thy mind

tranquil, thy Soul as limpid as a mountain lake.

Whatever suffering there may be on the path of progress is experienced only by

the lower self. The Self seated within knows the value even of the painful

experience and is therefore quite satisfied. Many people do not understand that

suffering is very largely a question of attitude; in Esoteric Christianity Dr.

Annie Besant has explained how some of the great martyrs were filled with joy

while undergoing what would be terrible pain to others, because they were

thinking of the great honour that was theirs to suffer so for the sake of their

Lord. So it is true that at last wrong ideas or ignorance are the basis of all


Physical suffering is the most difficult to deal with. We may be able sometimes

to draw away from the physical body when it is in pain, but that does not mean

that we have conquered the pain. If it is the result of a particular disease in

which a microbe has to run its course, no amount of assertion will enable an

ordinary person to drive it away; but in all cases a cheerful attitude makes a

big difference. Most people can conquer astral pain, if they set themselves the

task; they can refuse to permit their feelings to dwell upon the idea that gives

them sorrow. Undesirable-emotions, such as jealousy, envy, pride and fear, may

be described as astral diseases; they can always be eradicated by persistent

effort to feel the opposite emotions. Mental suffering, chiefly worry, is even

easier to control.


In the causal body a man might have an uneasy sense of incompleteness or

insufficiency—but nothing more than that. Though he may feel disappointment at

the defects of his lower representative, he knows enough to be patient and to

persevere. He is not ignorant; but it is ignorance that makes our suffering so

poignant down here. In childhood, when we were still more ignorant, a trouble

lasting one day seemed a terrible tragedy; if we failed to pass an examination

the idea of waiting a whole year for the next opportunity seemed to us a

calamity, though in later life a year does not seem a long period of time. To

the personality a life's failure may .seem a tragedy, but to the ego, who has

known hundreds or thousands of incarnations, it may not appear so vastly


The ego has put ;down a personality much as a fisherman makes a cast. He does

not expect that every cast "will be successful, and he is not deeply troubled if

one proves a failure. To look after a personality is only one of his activities,

so he may very well console himself with successes in other lines of activity.

In any case, it is the loss of a day, and he may say, " Oh, well, we will hope

to do better tomorrow." Often the personality would like more attention from the

ego above him, and he may be sure that he will receive it as soon as he deserves

it, as soon as the ego finds it worth while. Mr. Sinnett put forward this desire

of the personality in a humorous way by saying that what was needed was a school

for teaching egos to pay attention to their personalities.


One stage further on, in the buddhic plane, the man begins to touch the

intensity of bliss that is the life of the Logos. At the same time he comes

closer into touch with other men; on the lower planes he begins to share their

suffering, but on the higher side he knows them as sparks of the divine, and

that gives indescribable bliss, which makes the suffering seem as naught. Thus

sorrow and suffering are for the personality only, and they exist merely while

the consciousness is fixed in the lower planes.

Would'st thou become a Yogi of time's circle? Then, O Lanoo:

Believe thou not that sitting in dark forests, in proud seclusion and apart from

men; believe thou not that life on roots and plants, that thirst assuaged with

snow from the great Range—believe thou not, O devotee, that this will lead thee

to the goal of final liberation.

Think not that breaking bone, that rending flesh and muscle unites thee to thy

silent Self. Think not that when the sins of thy gross form are conquered, O

victim of thy shadows, thy duty is accomplished by nature and by man.

Aryasanga is here once more preaching against the seeking of liberation as mere

escape from the wheel of births and deaths. The yogi of time's circle is the one

who is willing to remain within the process of time, for the sake of helping

others. When one considers the


vast period of time for which the Lord Buddha and the Lord Maitreya had been

preparing themselves for their great work, which has been explained in The

Masters and the Path,1 one cannot but feel oppressed by the thought of such

enormous periods of incarnate existence. Undoubtedly, however, time cannot be to

them exactly what it is to us. Even if "a thousand ages in Thy sight are like ah

evening gone " does not apply to Them, Their sense of time must be vastly

different from ours. Certainly They are also intensely happy in Their work, and

where there is happiness, as everybody knows by experience, time is of no

account-—in fact, under those circumstances we always wish that it could be


Very wrong ideas have arisen in most of the religions on the subject of

asceticism. In the original Greek the word asketes meant simply one who

exercises himself as an athlete does. But ecclesiasticism impounded the word and

changed its sense, applying it to the practice of self-denial in various ways

for the purpose of spiritual progress, on the theory that the bodily nature with

its passions and desires has been the stronghold of the evil inherent in man

since the fall of Adam, and that it must therefore be suppressed by fasting and

penance. In the Oriental religions we sometimes encounter a similar idea, based

on the conception of matter as essentially evil, and following from that the

deduction that an approach to ideal good or an escape from the miseries of

existence can be effected only by subduing or torturing the body.

1 Op. cit., Ch. xiv.


In both these theories there is dire confusion of thought. The body and its

desires are not in themselves evil or good, but it is true that before real

progress can be made they must be brought under the control of the higher Self

within. To govern the body is necessary, but to torture it is foolish.

There appears to be a widespread delusion that to be really good one must always

be uncomfortable-—that discomfort in itself is directly pleasing to the Logos.

Nothing can be more grotesque than this idea. In Europe this unfortunately

common theory is one of the many horrible legacies left by the ghastly blasphemy

of Calvinism. I myself have actually heard a child say: " I feel so happy that I

am sure I must be very wicked " —a truly awful result of criminally distorted


Another reason- for the gospel of the uncomfortable is a confusion of cause and

effect. It is observed that the really advanced person is simple in his habits

and often careless about a large number of minor luxuries that are considered

important and really necessary by the ordinary man. But such carelessness about

luxury is the effect, not the cause of his advancement. He does not trouble

himself about these small matters because he has largely outgrown them and they

no longer interest him—not in the least because he considers them as wrong; and

one who, while still craving for them, imitates him in abstaining from them does

not thereby become advanced.

It is true that our duty to the world is not accomplished when we have purified

ourselves. Then


indeed does it become really possible for us to do our best work for our fellow

men, and since in the higher life the maxim " From, each according to his power,

to each according to his need " prevails, our most serious duty begins at this

point, when the shadows, the lower bodies, have been mastered.

The silent Self in this passage, refers, says Madame Blavatsky, to the seventh

principle, which is atma. Our studies in the first Fragment have already shown

how this idea of silence is attached to that part of the higher Self.

The blessed ones have scorned to do so. The Lion of the Law, the Lord of Mercy,

perceiving the true cause of human woe, immediately forsook the sweet but

selfish rest of quiet wilds. From Aranyaka he became the Teacher of mankind.

After Julai had entered the Nirvana, he preached on mount and plain, and held

discourses in the cities, to Devas, men and Gods.

All the Northern and Southern Buddhist traditions agree in the statement that

the Buddha quitted His solitude as soon as He had reached inner enlightenment

and had solved the problem of life, and that He at once began teaching publicly.

The term Aranyaka means a forest dweller. The books relate that Gautama went

into the forest in order to meditate, and there He seated Himself under the

bodhi tree and resolved to attain illumination. When that was achieved, He

considered whether He would give His


teaching to the world; he knew that most of the people would not understand it,

and that it might therefore do harm.- But then, as was remarked at the beginning

of our study of this Fragment, the voice of the earth came to him, and begged

him to teach. I do not know exactly what was meant by the voice of the earth,

but it is said that that led him to decide to teach mankind on the physical


In this passage there are several titles given to the Buddha. He is called

Julai. That is the Chinese name for Tathagata, which is the title given to every

Buddha. Tathagata means literally " he who has gone likewise", he has followed

in the steps of his predecessors.

It is a fact that when the Buddha preached, others besides men gathered round to

listen to his teaching and enjoy his aura.

Sow kindly acts and thou shalt reap their fruit. Inaction in a deed of mercy is

action in a deadly sin.

I have already quoted this in commenting on At the Feet of the Master. Each man

has the responsibility for exercising the powers of consciousness that he has so

far developed. If he fails to exert himself and neglects to use them, he is

guilty of sins of omission, which are just as serious as sins of commission. For

example, it is our duty to interfere, when we can do so without doing more harm

than good, in cases of wrong or cruelty, such as cruelty to animals or children.

The wise man, seeing such things, will not let indignation master him.


He must feel also for the man who is guilty of the cruelty. His state is. in

many ways more pitiable than that of his victim, and he will have to suffer in

turn, on account of karmic law. So, if we can induce him to see the error of his

ways and stop his cruelty, we have done good to both. When it is our duty to

interfere, and we fail to do so, we share the karma of the wrong doing. The same

is true when we allow others to injure ourselves, without resistance. We are

making it easy for them to do wrong; we are tempting them, and assisting them,

and the karma is partly ours.

Thus saith the Sage:

Shalt thou abstain from action? Not so shall thy Soul gain her freedom. To reach

Nirvana one mast reach Self-knowledge, and Self-knowledge is of loving deeds the


It is not until we begin to work for others that we can acquire real knowledge

of life. In the attempt we learn where we stand, and what qualities must be

developed. There was an old blind man living in the south of India, who said

that his blindness had been indirectly a source of great happiness to him. He

was also in the deepest poverty, and had spent his life in wandering from

village to village, where he used to advise the people in their difficulties,

and also assist them in some cases with his yoga powers. He used to tell how, by

meditation, he had managed to awaken the memory of his past lives; and he

remembered that, some hundreds of years before, he had been a very rich and

powerful man, and had used


his power to injure those who happened to do what he did not like. He recognized

that his blindness and poverty were due to his wrong deeds in that former life.

He said he was sure that if he had gone on being a rich man he might never have

learned to love his fellows, as he had been quite set in a selfish path of life.

But now he had had to mingle with others, most of whom knew suffering; they had

been very kind to him, and he had learned to love them. The happiness of that

love, he said, as compared with his previous condition, was something so great

and incomparable that no suffering was in his opinion too great to purchase it.

This man claimed to be a pupil of one of our Masters, and lie certainly was an

illustration of the teaching that self-knowledge is of loving deeds the child.

Have patience, candidate, as one who fears, no failure, courts no success. Fix

thy Soul's gaze upon the star whose ray thou art, the flaming star that shines

within the lightless depths of ever-being, the boundless fields of the unknown.

The disciple fears no failure because he knows that the plan of the Logos will

be carried out; no one's failure can make any difference to that. We may have

the opportunity to do a piece of His work. If we should fail to do it, it will

be done in some other way through someone else. It makes no difference to the

Logos, though it may make a very great difference to ourselves. It happens

constantly that people miss their opportunities, but the great plans are made in

view of every


contingency. Our Masters never appear to notice when we lose an opportunity, but

I think that they are quite aware of it. Madame Blavatsky used sometimes to say

about some person: " He has earned the right to have his chance." The Masters

always assume that we are going to take our opportunities.

The student who has tried to do some good work and has found the opposing forces

too great for him, will not be disappointed or lose patience if he understands

that all efforts put forth for good must produce a proportionate result in some

way, though the results may be unseen and though there may be for the

personality none of the satisfaction which conies from seeing the good that has

been done. It is the same in the case of astral work at night. That work is none

the less good and effective when done by those who are not able to bring any

memory of it back into the physical brain. The laws of nature do not cease to

operate because we cannot see the result, or do not remember what we have done.

Usually the people who have done the greatest work in the world do not see the

result of it. Take, for instance, the example of the Christ's three years of

preaching. He died as a malefactor, execrated by the populace, and at his death

the number of his followers was only a hundred and twenty; now there are many

millions. William Wilberforce, who worked steadily for over forty years against

the greatest odds for the abolition of slavery in the British Colonies, heard

only three days before his death that total abolition of slavery had at last

become law. Impatience and depression would


have lost his cause. We are all in the same position, in our lesser ways. There

is none who cannot take up some good work, and push on with it with tireless and

endless patience, regardless of immediate success or failure.

" The star whose ray thou art " is always that which shines above us; for one it

is the Ego, for another, more advanced, the Monad, and so on to the Planetary

Logos, and even the Logos of our system. To know our own star is also to know

the ray to which we belong—which of the seven great rays is the one that

especially connects us with the Logos. These seven rays are indicated in the

chapter dealing with the Ghohans of the Rays in The Masters and the Path, and

also in The Seven Rays, by Prof. Ernest Wood. When the higher self is the master

of the personality, it becomes possible for the disciple to specialize in the

work of the ray to which that higher self belongs, and then he can make very

rapid progress in power and usefulness.

Have perseverance as one who doth for evermore endure. Thy shadows live and

vanish; that which in thee shall live for ever, that which in thee knows (for it

is knowledge) is not of fleeting life: it is the Man that was, that is, and will

be, for whom the hour shall never strike.

Besides patience we need perseverance, and nothing can develop this quality in

us better than a clear perception of the fact that we endure all through the

ages, and that death is only a passing incident, with no power to deflect us

from our path. Sometimes people say: " Why


should I take up such and such work? I cannot possibly finish it in this life."

But the fact is that there is only one real life-time—that of the ego, which

endures for ever, for all practical purposes. It is wise to begin any work in

which you are interested, or the great task of eliminating faults, even in old

age, for all the good that is done is carried forward to the next body, and in

it the impulse to continue the work will be felt while it is young. If one

postpones the work to a future life, once more old age may arrive before one has

the opportunity that will draw attention to it. If you are now ninety, and you

have just heard of Theosophy, and you want to hear of it in your youth in your

next life, throw yourself into it now with whatever vigour you may have. There

is also the great benefit to be derived from the stay in devachan (unless you

happen to be one of those who have the privilege of being able to renounce that

period) for in that state whatever work you have done is dwelt upon and worked

up into faculty which will be a great help in the next incarnation.

Perseverance is necessary also because no great work can be completed in a short

time. Think, for example, of the artist who is painting a great picture; he will

have very little to show for it in the first few days, perhaps even weeks, and

it is also quite possible that he may not be pleased with what he has been able

to achieve at the end of a few weeks, so that he has to begin all over again.

A very useful lesson in perseverance may be derived from a study of the history

of the Theosophical Society


in the early days. The two great founders, Madame Blavatsky and Colonel Olcott,

could not have succeeded in establishing the Society permanently, and giving it

the material for future growth, had they not had a clear vision of the inner

side of things, a realization that their work was part of a plan lasting

throughout eternity, and was therefore sure to succeed. They founded the Society

in New York in 18

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, and worked prodigiously at Isis Unveiled, which was duly

published. Still, some five years later they were almost alone in the work, and

they found it necessary to go to India, to some friends there, to make a new

start. Even then there were endlessly varied troubles, year after year, which

would have crushed almost anybody else. Madame Blavatsky, with a body seldom

free from pain, could still work tirelessly, could produce The Secret Doctrine

and other great works, because of her knowledge of the Masters and the inner

side of things.


If thou would'st reap sweet peace and rest, disciple, sow with the seeds of

merit the fields of future harvests.

Accept the woes of birth.

C.W.L.—Aryasanga is all-the time endeavouring to persuade the disciple to follow

the higher path of renunciation, and not to accept the peace of nirvana. Life in

the atmic or nirvanic plane has been defined as rest in omniscience, but we must

understand that it is rest only in the sense that there is no consciousness of

exertion followed by fatigue. There is on that plane the most tremendous

activity; that is the very essence of the nature of being on that plane, as I

have already tried to explain.1

People want rest because they feel fatigue, but when one is out of the body in

full consciousness one finds that the fatigue is gone, and then one no longer

desires rest. In such conditions we look upon rest rather as we do upon death

down here; we do not want less but more of the power and energy that we enjoy.

The Solar Logos 1 Ante, p.

-------Cardiff Theosophical Society in Wales-------
206 Newport Road, Cardiff, Wales, UK. CF24-1DL



does not rest, even for a moment. If He did so, even for a second, we should all

cease to be.

Many of those who have reached nirvana have nothing further to do with the

world's evolution; yet it does not seem possible for anyone to have reached that

level and not to be pouring forth glory and splendour on those below. Even in

the case of one so devoted that he continually turns all his thought upwards,

and none downwards, one would think he could not help shedding devotion on those


There are seven paths open to the Adept, and most of them take the candidate

away from the earth, yet they are all equally ways of serving the Logos.

Presumably every Adept is willing to go where he is most needed and can be most

serviceable, but at least it seems necessary to be perfectly willing to remain

and accept " the woes of birth", if called upon. Any other attitude, and

especially the idea of selfish escape from the world, liberation for one's

separate self, could not carry the aspirant so high. To us it may seem that to

stay with and help our humanity is the kindest thing to do, and that is very

natural, for if we cannot thus love those who are already near and known to us,

how shall we love others who are not known? Still, we must not forget that if

the Lords of the Flame from Venus had not left their system and come down into

ours to help us, we should be at least one round behind the position that we

have so far achieved. It may be the duty of some of us in the future to go to

the help of some other system less advanced than ours.


At the same time, there is no question that more and more advanced pupils of the

Masters will be needed to carry on their work on earth. It is open to the Arhat

to; take no more physical births if he so chooses; but it is evident that our

Masters wish us to continue taking birth for the sake of the work.

Step out of sunlight into shade, to make more room for others. The tears that

water the parched soil of pain and sorrow bring forth the blossoms and the

fruits of karmic retribution. Out of the furnace of man's life and its black

smoke, winged flames arise, flames purified, that soaring onward, 'neath the

karmic eye, weave in the end the fabric glorified of the three vestures of the


The opening portion of this passage seems to imply-that there is not enough

sunlight for all; but that is surely not so. All can be happy. We make our own

shadow, as the earth does. Sorrows and trouble are of our own making; they are

our own karma, as is everything that comes to us. What Aryasanga means is that

one should always be ready to help others, even at the cost of trouble or loss

to oneself.

There are few kinds of action that bring great karmic suffering. Cruelty does,

of course, and there are some others. But most of people's actual suffering

comes from the way in which they take the inconveniences of life that karma

brings to them. The suffering is then very distinctly " ready-money karma ".

Such, for example, is the selfish mourning for those who have passed

THE  SECRET  PATH                               219

on to a happier state of existence, which causes suffering to everybody

concerned, often including the dead, who feel the depression and sorrow very

greatly. What karma brings to a man is never more than he can bear, and bear

easily; but that is not the case with what he adds to it of foolish thought, and

feeling and action.

These vestures are: Nirmanakaya, Sambhogakaya and Dharmakaya, robe sublime.

The three vestures will be discussed fully in our study of the third Fragment.

They represent three possibilities which lie open to the man who has attained

Adeptship. He can at once accept nirvana, or take it after having gone through

other high spiritual experiences, or remain in touch with the earth as a

Nirmanakaya in order to fill the spiritual reservoir, or he can take up work in

other globes or systems. This last choice is by no means selfish, of course; it

is an impossible supposition that and selfishness could be possible at such a


There was a reference in the first edition of this book to " selfish Buddhas ",

but Madame Blavatsky, after her death, asked Dr. Besant to remove the passage

which contained it, because it was causing so much dangerous misunderstanding.

It referred to those who are called the Pratyeka Buddhas. These are great Adepts

at the level of the Buddha, but on the first ray. Because " eka " means "one",

some Northern Buddhists have thought that a Pratyeka Buddha is one who works for

himself alone, which appears a blasphemous idea to anyone who knows where they

stand. The three Lords of the


Flame, who are the pupils of the Lord of the World, are Pratyeka Buddhas. They

came to the earth to serve it and hasten its evolution along the line of the

first ray, while the Buddha works on the second. It is foolish to criticize them

for not doing work which is not theirs. It would be as sensible to find fault

with a magistrate for not being a schoolmaster, saying, " See how little he

cares about the education of children! " Of these great Beings I have tried to

give some slight account in The Masters and the Path.1

The Shangna robe, 'tis true, can purchase light eternal. The Shangna robe alone

gives the Nirvana of destruction; it stops rebirth, but O Lanoo, it also kills

compassion. No longer can the perfect Buddhas, Who don the Dharmakaya glory,

help man's salvation. Alas! shall selves be sacrificed to self; mankind, unto

the weal of units?

Know, O beginner, this is the open path, the way to selfish bliss, shunned by

the Bodhisattvas of the Secret Heart, the Buddhas of compassion.

The Shangna robe is something very far beneath any of the three vestures above

mentioned. It means here the balancing of karma, and the destruction of the

personality by quenching all desires, including that for life. It implies an

evolution of the causal body far higher than most men have attained, but without

the development of love and compassion and the desire to help the world. A man

who has thus freed himself from the necessity of

1 Op. cit., Ch. XV,


rebirth may live as an ego on the higher levels of the mental world for an

enormously long time.

In this passage, it is almost as though Aryasanga were complaining against those

who take the Dharmakaya vesture, and retire to distant planes or systems. But it

would be really impossible for Him to do that. He could not have thought that

there were selfish Buddhas. The Pratyeka Buddhas certainly are at the same level

of attainment as the Lord Buddha; They have the same quality of compassion that

he has, but it is not their duty to fill the office. For thousands of years

before their attainment of such heights these Great Ones must have been utterly

incapable of anything like selfishness. We must remember that The Voice of the

Silence was written down by a disciple of Aryasanga after the death of the

latter, so he is not wholly responsible for it, and it appears that here the

disciple must have allowed his own misconception to colour the ideas, of his


To live to benefit mankind is the first step.

To practise the six glorious virtues is the second.

To don Nirmanakaya's humble robe is to forego eternal bliss for self, to help on

man's salvation. To reach Nirvana's bliss but to renounce it, is the supreme,

the final step—the highest on renunciation's path.

Know, O disciple, this is the secret path, selected by the Buddhas of

perfection, who sacrificed the Self to weaker selves.


The six glorious virtues are the paramitas, already considered in Chapter I of

Fragment II. They represent one of the systems of travelling on the path.

Another is given in the set of qualifications expounded in At the Feet of the

Master, followed by the four stages of the Path proper.

It is not quite true that the Nirmanakaya gives up bliss, for Adeptship is

itself the attainment of bliss. What is true is that the Adept could remain

always on the stupendous levels which he has reached but instead he comes down

to help. By doing that, however, he does not forego the eternal bliss which is

inherent in him; He merely decides to work at lower levels.

Yet, if the doctrine of the heart is too high-winged for thee, if thou needest

help thyself and fearest to offer help to others—then, thou of timid heart, be

warned in time: remain content with the eye doctrine of the Law. Hope still. For

if the secret Path is unattainable this day, it is within thy reach to-morrow.

Learn that no efforts, not the smallest—whether in right or wrong direction—can

vanish from the world of causes. E'en wasted smoke remains not traceless. " A

harsh word uttered in past lives is not destroyed, but ever comes again." The

pepper plant will not give birth to roses, nor the sweet jessamine's silver star

to thorn or thistle turn.

Thou canst create this day thy chances for thy morrow. In the great journey,

causes sown each hour bear each its harvest of effects, for rigid justice


rules the world.   With mighty sweep of never-erring , action it brings to

mortals lives of weal or woe,, the karmic progeny of all our former thoughts and


Take then as much as merit hath in store for thee, O thou of patient heart. Be

of good cheer and rest content with fate. Such is thy Karma, the Karma of the

cycle of thy births, the destiny of those who, in their pain and sorrow, are

born along with thee, rejoice and weep from life to life, chained to thy

previous actions.

If one cannot rise immediately to the resolve to be utterly unselfish there is

no need to despair. One must work on in the right direction until one reaches

the position where that ideal will seem perfectly natural and comparatively easy

of accomplishment. Sometimes people feel that because they cannot fulfil a great

ideal that is put before them there is nothing that they can do which is worth

doing. They collapse, and do nothing at all, in consequence. But that is a great

mistake. The Lord Buddha was very wise in dealing with all kinds of people, and

he took care to avoid this kind of discouragement, by speaking of the highest

path to his monks alone. He preached the middle path to the general public, and

told them to live the highest and noblest life of which they were capable, so

that later on they would be in a position to enter his Order. He said that they

were to-day creating their opportunities for to-morrow, that is for their next

incarnation. There is


no need to despair, for the man who takes one opportunity receives tenfold more

opportunities, and he who uses what powers he has as fully as possible, without

overstraining himself, certainly develops those powers at a surprising rate.

The last paragraph makes reference to those who are born together. It is fact

that people evolve in groups, the same people coming closely together in

different relationships again and again. What happens to one in any such group

reacts very much upon the others, for both good and ill. It should be an

additional incentive to those who are aspiring to realize that whatever they are

able to attain will be of great benefit to a number of people whose destinies

are thus bound up closely with their own.



Act thou for them to-day, and they will act for thee to-morrow.

'Tis from the bud of renunciation of the self, that springeth the sweet fruit of

final liberation.

To perish doomed is he who out of fear of Mara refrains from helping man, lest

he should act for self. 'The pilgrim who would cool his weary limbs in running

waters, yet dares not plunge for terror of the stream, risks to succumb from

heat. Inaction based on selfish fear can bear but evil fruit.

The selfish devotee lives to no purpose. The man who does not go through his

appointed work in life has lived in vain.

Follow the wheel of life; follow the wheel of duty to race and kin, to friend

and foe, and close thy mind to pleasures as to pain. Exhaust the law of karmic

retribution. Gain Siddhis for thy future birth.

C.W.L.—There are people who feel that because they cannot do great things or

make rapid advance no effort


is worth making. That is a great mistake. At least they can live to help those

with whom karma has brought them into contact. They will never find themselves

in a better position until they make the most of their present environment. If

they will do this, when the time comes for them to make the great effort

involved in taking the First Initiation, loving friends will be there to help.

Real friends are those who are the friends of the ego. These never bind one down

for the satisfaction of their own very limited and human, and often really

selfish emotions. They always give one the freedom that is required to follow

the higher path.

Some good people refrain from helping others, fearing that they themselves may

be prompted by a selfish motive. Very often charity is bestowed upon the

unfortunate not really with the desire to help them, but to relieve the giver of

the unhappiness that he feels at the sight of suffering. Such a person would

never go out of his way to find people in trouble, in order that they might be

helped. Again, there are others who systematically give a portion of their large

incomes to charitable organizations, so that they may enjoy the remainder with

no qualms of conscience. Knowing this, a disciple sometimes questions himself as

to whether his own motive is pure. But to refrain from helping because he doubts

his own motive is surely a form of selfishness. Whatever our motive may be, we

must help, though only that counts for real progress on the Path which is done

purely to help the sufferer, without thought of self.


It is necessary to use discrimination in helping. As the Hindus say, help should

be given to the right person, at the right time, and in the right place. Yet the

necessity for thought should not cause hesitation. We may not always be certain

which is the wiser of two courses of action, but we must nevertheless decide

upon one of them, so that the opportunity to do good may not be entirely

overlooked. Sometimes it is only by thought that we can help, but that, as I

have said before, is very important.1 The strength of many a man who is doing

vigorous work in the world comes largely from others who are engaged in

radiating spiritual force in meditation.

The wheel of duty to race and kin, to friend and foe, does, as a matter of fact,

offer the best of opportunities for progress. The Lords of Karma see to it that

each person is given the conditions which are suited to his growth. They give a

man the particular work that is likely to develop the qualities that he needs.

At a low level of development there may be ten thousand places where a man can

have the conditions needed for his progress. But when a man is more highly

evolved his environment has to be chosen with the greatest care, for everyone

must be put absolutely in the position where he can best advance. It is

therefore quite inaccurate to say that a man succeeds in spite of his

circumstances; difficulties are put in his way in order that he may transcend

them, and that his character and powers may grow.

The man who does his daily duties well, will soon be trusted with higher ones.

Every one who can be trusted

l Ante, Vol. I, Part II, Ch. 2, 5; Part IV, Ch. 1; Part V, Ch. 6.


to do good and conscientious work is eagerly wanted by those who guide the

destiny of mankind. Be faithful in small things, and you will be made ruler over

many things, as the Bible says. To be ruler over many things is a responsible

position, and in occultism it is given only to those who have proved themselves

faithful in the small things. That is the test that the Master gives. Many

people neglect plain everyday duty for some visionary work in the future,

perhaps of doubtful utility, and not intended specially for them. Many also

regret the ties that they formed before they knew of Theosophy, when they now

find them hampering. But they do their duty. Unsuitable ties will drop away when

the time comes, when that freedom will be most useful for the aspirant's

development, and what is more important, for the world's work. But if they are

broken prematurely they will only entangle the man again and much trouble and

pain will be caused.

If sun thou canst not be, then be the humble planet. Aye, if thou art debarred

from flaming, like the noon-day sun upon the snow-capped mount of purity

eternal, then choose, O neophyte, a humbler course.

Point out the way—however dimly, and lost among the host—as does the evening

star to those who tread their path in darkness.

Behold Migmar, as in bis crimson veils his eye sweeps over slumbering Earth.

Behold the fiery aura of the hand of Lhagpa extended in protecting


love over the heads of his ascetics. Both are now servants to Nyima, left in his

absence silent watchers in the night. Yet both in Kalpas past were bright

Nyimas, and may in future days again become two suns. Such are the falls and

rises of the karmic law in nature.

Be, O Lanoo, like them. Give light and comfort to the toiling pilgrim, and seek

out him who knows still less than thou; who in his wretched desolation sits

starving for the bread of wisdom and the bread which feeds the shadow, without a

Teacher, hope or consolation, and let him hear the Law.

In a foot-note, H.P.B. says:

Nyima, the sun in Tibetan astrology. Migmar or Mars is symbolised by an eye, and

Lhagpa, or Mercury, by a hand.

There are here several points of interesting analogy. The two planets mentioned

give their light at night, when the sun is out of sight, and all is dark. It is

so with us. We have to help those who are in greater darkness than ourselves;

there is no one who cannot find someone more ignorant than himself whom he may

teach. Even if those around us are not ready to enter the Path, we can lead them

in the right direction towards it.

At the time of the transference of life from the moon to the earth, the planets

glowed and shone like small suns. But Mars is mainly a desert now, and that is



he reflects the yellow or reddish light. From the standpoint of the poetic

author of these verses, they are doing their best work in giving light to man

now. The idea illustrates the fact that we are not necessarily doing our best

work when we shine most. Also, when a building; has to be erected, the

foundations must be put in first. They do not count for anything in the matter

of appearance, being hidden out of sight, but on them the building will be

erected. So in the common work of every day the candidate is performing useful

service to society, and at the same time developing the higher siddhis which are

the spiritual powers of the ego.

The Teacher now tells the candidate what to say to those whom he is trying to

bring to the Path.

Tell him, O candidate, that he who makes of pride and self-regard bond-maidens

to devotion; that he, who cleaving to existence, still lays his patience and

submission to the Law as a sweet flower at the feet of Shakya-Thub-pa, becomes a

Srotapatti in this birth. The Siddhis of perfection may loom far, far away; but

the first step is taken, the stream is entered, and he may gain the eye-sight of

the mountain eagle, the hearing of the timid dove.

Tell him, O aspirant, that true devotion may bring him back the knowledge, that

knowledge which was his in former births. The (Jew-sight and deva-hearing are

not obtained hi one short birth.


Shakya-Thub-pa is the Lord Buddha.   The Srota-patti is, as has been explained,

" he who enters the stream ".    An analogy can be drawn between the outward act

of laying one's service at the feet of the Teacher, and the inner change when

the well-developed manas realizes the presence of buddhi, and bows down before

that higher principle, resolving henceforth to use all its powers in obedience

to its behests.   In the ordinary life of men it is generally the mental nature

that is allowed to have the last word.    For example, in   the   matter   of

vivisection,1   many   people  whose feelings shrink from the practice with

loathing, still decide that it must go on, because they think it is the only way

to obtain certain knowledge which will help  humanity.    But the minority,  who

are in the right, say:   "No, it is impossible that vivisection can lead to

good.    Our higher nature says with a clear voice that it is utterly wrong."   

If these people were in the majority they would stop it, and then some other way

would be found to secure human health; the mind would be set to work in

obedience to the higher intuition to find a better way.

Every one who feels enthusiasm on hearing about the Path is sure to have worked

for it in a former birth, perhaps in many previous lives. It is encouraging to

know this, for then one may expect to recover quickly the attainments of former

lives, the deva-sight and deva-hearing which are the faculties of responding to

the inner voice and of seeing life and the world with the eyes of the spirit. 1

See ante, Vol. I, Part V, Chapter 4.


Be humble, if thou would'st attain to wisdom: be humbler still, when wisdom thou

hast mastered.

Be like the ocean which receives all streams and rivers. The ocean's mighty calm

remains unmoved; it feels them not.

Restrain by thy divine thy lower self. Restrain by the eternal the divine.

Aye, great is he who is the slayer of desire: still greater he in whom the Self

divine has slain the very knowledge of desire.

Guard thou the lower lest it soil the higher.

As I have said before, he who stands in the presence of the Masters cannot but

be humble, conscious as he is of the great gulf that exists between them and

himself. Not that even the physical presence of the Master, however, causes any

uneasiness or depression; on the contrary, in his presence we feel at our best

and we realize that we can achieve because he has achieved. It is so also with

the gaining of knowledge. The man who can grasp some big ideas can also see what

remains to be learned that he does not yet know, and how much mystery there is

in familiar things that others think to be quite simple and well understood. So

he who has much knowledge is likely to be humble, and the aspirant is warned

that when pride rises in him, it is a sign that he is unconsciously shutting in

front of himself the door to further and higher knowledge.

The candidate must also practise moving among the disturbances of the world,

which play upon him all the


time—physically, astrally and mentally—without permitting them to agitate him.

He must so train the lower vehicles that they will respond not to these outer

calls, but to the inner commands. The ego is divine; with its aid the lower self

must be controlled; and when that is done even the ego will have to be

controlled by the Monad, the eternal Self. That all this may be done, the pupil

must constantly guard the vehicles attending to purity of food and drink and

magnetism, of words and feelings and thoughts, as has been fully explained in

The Masters and the Path.

The way to final freedom is within thy Self. That way begins and ends outside of


Unpraised by men and humble is the mother of all rivers in Tirthika's proud

sight; empty the human form, though filled with Amrita's sweet waters, in the

sight of fools. Withal the birth-place of the sacred rivers is the sacred land,

and he who wisdom hath is honoured by all men.

The orthodox Christian usually considers that there are three stages in the

growth of a soul. First, the man acts rightly for fear of hell. Secondly, he

does so with the desire of reaching heaven. Thirdly, he does right for love of

Christ, who sacrificed himself to bring men to that condition of feeling. There

is, however, a fourth stage, when the way is found by realizing ourselves as one

with the Self. Then the man does right because it is right, not even for the

sake of making the Master happy or of expressing gratitude to him. Our



is thus from within. No external consideration can; determine our steps of

progress on the Path. It is not a question of how long we have been at a certain

level; we shall take the next step when we have developed the necessary

qualities and powers within ourselves. No one need be anxious about this, for as

the Tamil proverb says: " Ripe fruit does not remain upon the branch."

The Tirthika, as we saw before, is the Brahmana ascetic who visits the sacred

shrines, -and is evidently regarded here as feeling somewhat proud of having

done so. Just so, some of the Hadjis—the Muhammadans who have made a pilgrimage

to Mecca—are proud because they have done that. Such men are somewhat like the

society people of our own day who are proud to say they have seen the latest

play or have read the book of the day—though what they have learned in the

process it may be difficult to say. Perhaps Aryasanga's scribe, being a

Buddhist, was not above sectarian feeling, for he seems to regard all the

Tirthikas as being of this type!

The great attraction of Benares, Hardwar, Kumba-konam and other Tirthas is the

bathing in the sacred rivers. At the place last named the pilgrims resort to a

huge tank, but they believe that it is fed from underground by the Ganges. But

our Buddhist scribe points out, with some apparent pride, that the source of the

principal sacred rivers of India is the sacred land, that is, Tibet. It is a

remarkable fact that the great rivers, the Ganges, the Indus and the Airavati Or

Irrawadi do


rise all very near together in the Himalayas, and, going in different direction,

east, south and west, sweep round and enclose the upper part of India in their

giant embrace of thousands of miles. Those proud ascetics do not recognize that

Tibet, a country which they despise, is the mother of their sacred rivers, says

the writer, and he draws an analogy between Tibet and India, making India the

body, which contains the sweet waters of immortality only in the incorrect

vision of fools, and Tibet the source of wisdom, to be honoured by all men, that

is all those who are not fools!


Arhans and Sages of the boundless vision are rare as is the blossom of the

Udambara tree. Arhans are born at midnight hour, together with the sacred plant

of nine and seven stalks, the holy flower that opens and blooms in darkness, out

of the pure dew and on the frozen bed of snow-capped heights, heights that are

trodden by no sinful foot.

C.W.L.—-At the present stage of evolution men who have attained the Arhat level

are very rare. That is quite natural, since humanity is expected to attain the

Asekha initiation only at the end of the seventh round, and the Arhat stage

precedes that usually by only seven lives. Still, Arhatship is quite within our

reach; it is principally a matter of our understanding what to aim at, and then

using our wills to achieve that goal. Under the influence of the Lord Buddha

thousands became Arhats. All that was due to his tremendous magnetism.

The symbolism of this passage is probably capable of several different

interpretations. The midnight hour


may very well be taken as that darkest moment before the dawn when the candidate

seems to .be forsaken by everybody, even by his Master. It is at the fourth

Initiation that the seventh principle comes into operation, as the candidate

advances to the atmic plane. The sacred plant of seven stalks may symbolize

this, and the number nine also, because that seventh principle is really three

in one, which with the other six makes nine. The number nine is considered most

sacred by the Hindus.

It is only by going through the greatest trials, by descending into the very

depths of darkness, that the qualities required in the candidate for this

initiation may be attained. The holy flower opens and blooms in that darkness,

yet it comes as a result of development on the buddhic plane.

No Arhan, O Lanoo, becomes one in that birth when for the first time the Soul

begins to long for final liberation. Yet, O thou anxious one, no warrior

volunteering fight in the fierce strife between the living and the dead, not one

recruit can ever be refused the right to enter on the path that leads toward the

field of battle.

For either he shall win or he shall fall.

Yea, if he conquers, Nirvana shall be his. Before he casts his shadow off, his

mortal coil, that pregnant cause of anguish and illimitable pain, in him will

men a great and holy Buddha honour.


And if he falls, e'en then he does not fall in vain; the enemies he slew in the

last battle will not return to life in the next birth that will be his.

But if thou would'st Nirvana reach, or cast the prize away, let not-the fruit of

action and inaction be thy motive, O thou of dauntless heart.

Know that the Bodhisattva who liberation changes for renunciation to don the

miseries of secret life, is called thrice honoured, O thou candidate for woe

throughout the cycles.

Swami T. Subba Row interpreted the fight between the living and the dead as the

opposition between those who know and those who do not know. It will be

remembered that this distinction was also made by the Master Kuthumi when

teaching Alcyone; he said that there were only two classes of people, those who

know and those who do not know, those who have seen the way and those who have

not yet seen it. He also said that those to be pitied most were not the bigoted

and intolerant, but the millions who do not know that there is anything beyond

the world worth striving for, and are happy in their ignorance. Madame Blavatsky

interpreted the strife to be between the immortal higher ego and the lower

personal ego, these being the living and the dead respectively.

The door is never closed against those who really wish to draw nearer to the

occult path. He who wants to do so must be given his opportunity to try. And

then, even if he fails it will not be in vain, for some of his enemies,


his vices and weaknesses, will have been destroyed, and will not trouble him

again. It is rare for anyone to blunder so badly as to be put himself back into

a distinctly lower grade in life; but if a man takes up black magic containing a

great deal of powerful evil and exerts himself very much in that line, he may

wrench away the personality altogether from the ego, and create such bad karma

as to make it necessary for him to go back to primitive conditions. Such cases

are very rare. A person who has been really unworthy of his class is usually

thrown back into unpleasant surroundings in the same class or just below it. It

would, however, be •great unwisdom not to try to rise because there may be

danger of a fall from a higher and more responsible position.

On the other hand, a man who attains, it is said in the text, will be honoured

as a great and holy Buddha. Of course, the Arhat is not technically a Buddha.

But he is Buddha, that is to say, wise or enlightened.

Madame Blavatsky explained that " the secret life " is that of the Nirmanakaya.

His greatness is hidden from the sight of man, and yet he continues to live in

this world. The term is here used in a general way not only for those who remain

on the threshold of liberation in order to fill the reservoir of spiritual

force, but for all who remain behind, thus including the official Members of the

Hierarchy, such as our Masters. We generally reserve the term in these days,

however, for those who follow one of the seven great lines after taking the

Fifth Initiation—Those who fill the reservoir.


We meet here once more the idea of the path of woe. The statement is somewhat

misleading, and rather a. misuse of the term woe. It is true that a Master who

is using the physical body does not obtain the enjoyment of working on the

nirvanic plane, but He would smile at the suggestion that he was in woe. When a

man gains the nirvanic consciousness, he does not lose it because he keeps a

physical body, except when he is actively engaged on the lower planes. At any

moment, between writing two letters or any two pieces of work on the physical

plane, he can slip away at once into the higher consciousness, and carry on its

work, which is infinitely more satisfying, and altogether more glorious and

blissful than anyone can imagine down here.

It is true that coming back from the higher planes to physical existence is like

going down from the sunlight into a very dark dungeon; but you would not think

of that if in that place there was someone whom you very much loved and wished

to help. Physical life does involve the renunciation of the higher glory :but

the definite object of helping fills the soul to such an extent that certainly

there is no suffering. Indeed, at a much lower stage of evolution, a person who

knows that someone else is suffering and needs real help that he can give, and

yet neglects that call and goes away to enjoy himself somewhere else, would

afterwards be deeply troubled by remorse, so that his suffering would ultimately

be greater than if he had renounced his pleasure in the first place. Really, the

greatest happiness for all of us comes from doing the best that we know.


There is a large number of candidates who do not actually fall, but are riot

conscious of making progress. Many of these are subject occasionally to

depression, and have the feeling that their efforts have been in vain, since

there is nothing to show for them. They should not allow themselves to be

depressed, because that spoils the astral atmosphere for other people, and is

therefore selfish. But quite apart from that, it is foolish, because they ought

to know that all the time they are making real inner progress. Long before they

become aware of it in the physical brain, the astral and perhaps the mental body

have been organized by their meditation, and they may be doing very definite and

useful work in the inner worlds in a variety of ways. The whole life may seem to

be a failure, but nevertheless much has been done which will be carried forward

into the next life, and will then make possible some conspicuous progress,

perhaps even on the physical plane. In any given life a man develops both good

and evil qualities. The latter show themselves in the four lower sub-planes of

the astral world. As these reflect their influence in the mental plane only on

its four lower sub-planes, they do not affect the ego at all. The only emotions

that can appeal in the three higher astral sub-planes are those which are good,

such as love, sympathy and devotion. These affect the ego in the causal body,

since it resides on the corresponding sub-planes of the mental world. Therefore

every feeling and thought of a higher kind can be seen, even in this mechanical

way, to have, a permanent result in the higher Self. And since


it is the ego that treads the Path, he is making quite definite steps of

progress with every right effort. So there is no reason to despair, nor to put

off until tomorrow what we can do today just because we cannot do everything at


The Path is one, disciple, yet in the end, twofold. Marked are its stages by

four and seven portals. At one end bliss immediate, and at the other bliss

deferred. Both are of merit the reward: the choice is thine.

The one becomes the two, the open and the secret. The first one leadeth to the

goal, the second to self-immolation.

When to the permanent is sacrificed the mutable, the prize is thine; the drop

returneth whence it came. The open Path leads to the changeless change—Nirvana,

the glorious state of absoluteness, the bliss past human thought.

Thus, the first Path is liberation.

Yes, there is only one way, and that is by the unfolding of character. There is

no limit to the possibilities of the ego in that respect; the noblest qualities

of the greatest men exist in bud in all our fellow men and will unfold into

flower sooner or later. And at the end, when one has done all that is possible

in the human kingdom, with the limitations of the human brain and environment,

the path becomes twofold, and one must choose between liberation and

renunciation. Here the term liberation


means the acceptance of nirvana, though sometimes it is used for mere escape

from the wheel of births and deaths at a lower level, as we have already seen in

studying At the Feet of the Master.

Those who do not follow the White Lodge use other methods, which often develop

psychic powers to a relatively high point. But as the path of grey magic Is not

hedged round by restrictions, as is that taught by the Great White Lodge, sooner

or later the man misuses his powers—for the temptation is too great. Sometimes,

"however, the followers of other lines end by coming into touch with the true

teaching and pledging themselves to the Lodge. In America especially there is a

great amount of more or less public teaching of occultism of the grey variety.

But the real path is one—the Path of Holiness, the building of character.

The four portals mentioned here are the four initiations leading to Arhatship,

described at length in The Masters and the Path. Another arrangement divides it

into seven stages, as we shall see in the third Fragment of this book.

At the highest levels of attainment on this path the aspirant will recover the

memory of his past lives, though at the same time his consciousness will have

widened enormously, so as to take in that of great hosts of beings, and he will

realize that his power and love are not his own, but God's. Only separateness

will have been lost, and looking back he will see that he has been living under

a delusion of separateness. He will see, too, that his past lives were very

commonplace; that the


turning point in them were not usually the events that he considered to be the

most striking and important while he was experiencing them, but that very often

the little things of daily life were the events that really made for the

greatest progress.

But Path the second is renunciation, and therefore called the Path of woe.

The secret path leads the Arhan to mental woe unspeakable; woe for the living

dead, and helpless pity for the men of karmic sorrow; the fruit of Karma Sages

dare not still.

For it is written: " Teach to eschew all causes; the ripple of effect, as the

great tidal wave, thou shalt let run its course."

By the "mental woe unspeakable" of the Arhan,. which is another form of the word

Arhat, on the secret path is meant the suffering that comes through sympathy. He

sees all the pain and sorrow of the world; but at the same time he sees all the

joy as well. He feels the greatest compassion for the "living dead," that is,

for the great majority of mankind, who do not even know that there is something

to strive for. Then, secondly, there is " helpless pity " that is aroused by

seeing the karmic suffering, the results of foolishness, which he cannot—we

should say, rather, dare not—still. He can explain to people the principle of

karma, so that they will take their painful experiences in the best way,, and

thus mitigate the suffering to some extent, but he cannot do away with the

results of past actions.


Even in exoteric Christianity, the " forgiveness " of sins is not explained as

meaning that the results of sins will be abolished. In the Anglican Church, for

instance, when a priest is ordained and the power is conferred on him to forgive

sins, in accordance with the words which in the Christian scriptures are

attributed to the Christ; " Whosoever sins ye remit, they are remitted unto

them, and whosoever sins ye retain, they are retained " it is explained to him

that what he has power to do is to set the offender right again with God, when

by his sin he has put himself in the wrong, or, in other words, he can turn the

man once more into the current of evolution, after he has set himself athwart it

and so blocked his own advance. Behind that Christian conception there is a

beautiful idea, but more beautiful still is the Theosophical realization that

one can never get away from the Divine, that even the man who falls into avichi

is still part of the Deity.

It has repeatedly happened that good and earnest students have refrained from

giving help lest they should be interfering with a person's karma. No one can

interfere with the law of karma, any more than with the law of gravitation. If

you hold up a book in your hand, it contains the potential energy of

gravitation, and the moment that the force you are employing to hold it up is

withdrawn the book falls. The law of karma operates In the same way. Karma not

paid off is similar to potential energy; it may be suspended for thousands of

years or for hundreds of lives, but when the time comes it will manifest itself.


People sometimes think of karma as merciless. But it is not so. It is just as

impersonal as any other law of nature. On the physical plane laws work without

any regard to good or bad intentions. If a child falls over a precipice the

amount of injury it sustains depends upon the height of the fall, and whether

the ground is hard or soft, and not at all on such moral considerations as

whether it was trying to pull a companion out of danger, or wanted to pick a

flower for its mother, or whether it threw itself over in a fit of passion.

Similarly, if a man catches hold of a hot bar of iron, he may do it to prevent

its falling on someone else, or with intent 1 to strike someone with it; the

injury done to the hand will be the same in either case. That is the way in

which karma works on the physical plane. But on the mental plane intentions

count for a great deal, for we make our own character for the future by our


So one should never abstain from giving help when possible. If when you have

done your best you fail, then you may say: "His karma did not allow of his being

helped," or else: " My karma did not give me the privilege of helping him," but

that is all. All that really matters is that we work for others. Work is

expansive and cumulative; if you bring one person into Theosophy, he may bring

another ten, and each of those, ten more.

Another sense in which we can take this verse, " the fruit of karma sages dare

not still," is that even if a great Adept were to do away with some apparent

evil— with all poverty, for instance—he would effect no real


good, but only go against the law of the Logos. I do not mean that the Logos

wills such evil; it would be blasphemous to say that His scheme includes

necessary suffering, that He causes it. Suffering comes only by doing what He

has expressly told us not to do. It is true that all have suffered; no one, so

far as we know, has always chosen the right thing and never made mistakes; but

the suffering has always put us right when we have refused to learn in any other

way, and thus the law has made certain for all of us the ultimate attainment of

the indescribable bliss of nirvana.

The open way, no sooner hast thou reached its goal, will lead thee to reject the

Bodhisattvic body, and make thee enter the thrice glorious state of Dhannakaya,

which is oblivion of the world and men for ever.

The secret way leads also to Paranirvanic bliss —but at the close of Kalpas

without number; Nirvanas gamed and lost from boundless pity and compassion for

the world of deluded mortals.

But it is said: " The last shall be the greatest." Samyak Sambuddha, the Teacher

of perfection, gave up his Self for the salvation of the world, by stopping at

the threshold of Nirvana, the pure state.

We have already considered the three vestures, and seen that no idea of

selfishness can attach to one who takes any of them. The Nirmanakayas are like

the contemplative orders, filling the reservoir of spiritual force


for the use of the Adepts who are in touch with our world. There are some fifty

or sixty posts which the latter may fill. The Nirmanakaya still retains his

permanent atoms, and so could, I suppose, if he wanted, fill one of these posts

if it became vacant. The post of Bodhisattva falls vacant once in each

root-race, but there are already many appointed to fill the office far into the

future, who are now being prepared. Many of those who became Arhats during the

incarnation of the Lord Buddha remain as Nirmanakayas, because of his teaching.

All these offices and positions must be filled, and those who renounce nirvana

are only volunteering to do what we might call the dirty work. The Adept, if one

may put it so, feels not so much the loss of pleasure, as the knowledge that

working on the nirvanic level would be a million times more effective than down

below. And yet someone must do that lower work. In the scheme of the Logos, the

smallest bit of work is as necessary as the greatest, just as the oiling of a

great locomotive is as necessary as the driving of it.

The Bodhisattvic body here alluded to is that of all those who remain to help

the world—not only that of the very limited number of those who will be Buddhas.

Stopping at the threshold of nirvana means that one does not enter in and

entirely leave the lower planes, as some do, and as the Buddha might have done

had he so chosen. He who thus remains has the higher consciousness to the

fullest extent, and also retains his consciousness even d