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Eastern School of Theosophy (02)

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(Echoes of the Orient p. 283-292)

Eastern School of Theosophy

Suggestions and Aids


Suggestions and Aids 283

Q — Does the “pledge fever” reveal defects only ? What it does is to bring up to the surface the real character. This may as well be good as bad. In many cases the effect is to bring on a greater development of good character and earnestness. Hence we ought not to be expecting always evil; it may be that our hidden character is better than has ever shown on the surface. In such a case the person improves rapidly.

Q Is the effect of it immediate?

As all persons differ from each other not only in appearance but also as to the rapidity with which impressions are felt, it follows that many may not have yet felt the “pledge fever.” This is because their natures are slow in responding. But they will feel it. Let no one therefore rest contented, fancying that the battle is won. In this training there are battles always. Apprehensiveness of trouble to come must, however, not be indulged. There is no necessity for crossing a bridge before we arrive at it.


In the affairs of the Theosophical Society and of the E.S. there is an important cycle which comes to a conclusion in about ten years. It is broadly mentioned in The Key to Theosophy from page 304 to 307. The law is that the Adepts work with men (of the Caucasian race) directly and in large masses during the last twenty-five years of every century, and then stop for seventy-five years, beginning again in the fourth quarter of the next century. At this point this question has been asked:

Q Why do They not work without ceasing?

They never cease working, but they do stop such present public efforts as began with the T.S. in 1875. Before that they were dealing with individuals.

The reply in brief is, that if They continued beyond the twenty-five years such a tremendous reaction would be brought about that the very object in view would be defeated. Instead of destroying dogmatism, a new dogmatism would be created to take the place of the old one

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against which the attack has been made, and men would really be no better than before.

A careful reading of those pages of The Key to Theosophy which have been cited above will show just what the Masters desire us to do in view of the approaching end of this Theosophical cycle. H.P.B. there says that what is needed is not so much a full technical knowledge of esoteric science, as clear and unbiased judgment, so as to avoid the hard and fast conclusions as to men, things, and methods which are natural in the world.

If we succeed in carrying the T.S. well along into the twentieth century, there is a very great possibility that we can transmit it pure and undogmatic to such successors as will, after our death, keep it in being until the next twenty-five year cycle. At that time another messenger will come. In my opinion he will be the same being as now directs our efforts. In such an event there would be ready for his further work a Society that might be fit for greater things than our present T.S. is, and if so, all our efforts now will be crowned with success. If, on the contrary, the members fail now, great will be the responsibility upon every one of us then. In view of this, it is expected that the Section shall strive to become the life and core of the Theosophical movement, so that it may carry the spirit and genius of the movement through the seventy-five years which will begin at about the year 1900. If this shall be accomplished, then in 1975 there will be an instrument ready at hand for the returning Messenger to use during the last twenty-five years, instead of having to construct it anew amid jars and discords such as have surrounded H.P.B. for fifteen years. Now in The Key to Theosophy she plainly states that the strength and power of this ideal Section will not rest so much in the technical occult knowledge of the members as in the spiritual development, coupled with good common-sense, which they shall have attained. By the time spoken of, those of us who are now in the Section will have passed beyond the limits of mortal life. But our lives and thoughts will live after us in those who shall through the next ten years become our associates, and they will carry on the succession just as we leave it to them.

Let everyone, then, who reads this listen to the call. A mental sacrifice is demanded, an abandonment of self, a complete renunciation, an entire devotion to this cause. Altruism must be made the line of our lives, for by that alone can the end in view be reached. We are not associated in this Section for our own individual profit, nor for the glory of H.P.B., nor for the making of new mysteries or dogmas, but only that men and races of men after us may become brothers such as we should be.

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The Messenger will disappear ere long, and we must by that time have among us those in our own ranks who can point out the way. Such favored units cannot be developed out of our mass unless the total progress of the Section is up to the point which will permit their efflorescence.

[The remarks below by Bertram Keightley are included, as they bear directly upon the method of Occult instruction used by H.P.B. and Judge. — Compiler]


B. Keightley — Of course we must first of all make ourselves acquainted with the contents of the Instructions and the topics treated of therein. But this is soon done, and then the question arises, especially in group work, What is the best method of further study? An examination of the method pursued by our teacher, H.P.B., shows that since she is not permitted to give out the complete teaching, nor to make known even a perfect outline of the doctrine on any one plane, she omits such parts and mixes up the remainder to a certain extent, like the pieces of a child’s puzzle. For were she to state all that she gives out in its correct relation and order, we could readily fill in the gaps ourselves, and men would thus obtain knowledge, and therefore power, on the occult side of nature, before their moral natures were fitted for the trust. Therefore she conceals the clue by removing the pieces of the puzzle from their proper context, and so obliging us to have recourse to the light of intuition in order to restore them to their proper places in the perfect scheme.

Hence, after a general acquaintance has been obtained, the best method of studying her works, especially the E.S. Instructions, is to study them by topics, not as consecutive treatises. For instance, in the three sets of Instructions so far issued some of the main topics may be stated thus: (1) Auric Egg, (2) The Double-page Diagram, (3) The Tabular Diagram and the study of the seven Hierarchies or classes of Forces in nature, (4) The seven Tattvas. Now such main topics as these should be selected, especially for group study, and the members should not only bring together on paper all that is said in the Instructions on that topic, but they should also collate in a similar way all they can find in The Secret Doctrine and Isis. It 286 Echoes of the Orient is only by hard and systematic work that real progress in esoteric study can be made. Another point is that all unsolved difficulties, whether individual or common to a group, should invariably be written down in a book and taken up for discussion from time to time. Eventually, if still unsolved, they may be referred to Mr. Judge or to H.P.B. herself.


W. Q. Judge — The word [oṃ] which has been given in the Instructions to be pronounced by the student has, like all other practices in this system, an imperative condition precedent attached to it. This is that the student shall not pronounce it in a spirit of levity, nor with the motive merely of finding something out that has not been known before. The impulses which rise from curiosity or spring from a desire to know for one’s self alone are equally to be shunned. The reason may not be at once obvious to the person who is blinded by self-interest, but it exists, nevertheless, and will work out at some time with detriment. Another caution to be observed is that given in the Instructions, to be sure not to pronounce the word when one has evil thoughts or has not recovered yet from a fit of anger. In the first case, the evil thoughts act as magnets of great power by means of the word, and draw to our sphere forces of a sort that are inimical to man and lay us open to the very worst results. So, if any of the members find themselves as yet unable to keep thoughts like those away from their minds, the best they can do is to avoid the use of the word until such time as they shall have purified themselves. In the second case — that of anger — the same thing happens, with the addition of a loss of power due to the disrupting force of anger, which, in a sense, destroys the form of the inner man. The repetition of this word is directed in nearly all of the Hindu religious books, and is, indeed, not unknown to some secret societies of Europe and America, but is by them jumbled up with many other things in the same degree, and, in fact, is only referred to by them, as, for instance, in the Scottish Rite, for the mere purpose of showing a power to compile from all sources, and not because this word is made the keynote of any degree.

But although with us the sounding of the word will have some effect, a greater one, and the one that is to be desired, will only come when we, at the time of using it, fix our minds on the word itself and on the

Suggestions and Aids 287

idea which it represents. At first it is not easy to do this, but by constant effort it may be accomplished. The first step is to acquire the habit of using the word, and the next is to combine that with the simultaneous reflection upon its significance.

It should be used, if possible, at the same time every day, so as to take advantage of the law of habit working in the organism, which is almost the same as the law governing the tides in the ocean.

[On microfilm from the files of the T.S. Pasadena are to be found Examination Papers I-III, which were periodically issued to members of the E.S.T. The first of the series began in June 1890, and is placed in its correct sequence in this new edition. The answers are on pp. 294-8. — Compiler]


As the head of the Section desires to make the next Instructions as useful as possible, the following questions have been drawn up, in order that the answers of the members may show how far they have progressed, and thus direct her in the choice of a subject and in other respects.


1. What are the Pitṛis?

2. What is Kāma-Rūpa?

3. What is the difference between the Higher and the Lower Self?

4. What is the Astral Light?

5. Give your reasons for joining the E.S.

6. What Theosophical book do you consider has most helped you?

7. What is Occultism, and what do you consider to be practical Occultism?

By order of H.P.B. William Q. Judge

P. O. Box 2659, New York, N.Y.

London, June 12, 1890

[American members were requested to send their answers to the E.S. Secretary in New York. — Compiler]

288 Echoes of the Orient

E. S. T. S.

Notice from H. P. B.

Having learned since the return of Mr. Bertram Keightley from the U.S. that several members of the Section have misconstrued what was said to them by him on his own account in regard to the Auric Egg, and have supposed that because he came from me his remarks were to be taken as instructions from me, I have to say:

1. I have neither written, issued, nor sent through Bertram Keightley any orders or instructions whatever respecting the above matter. 2. What has been repeated to me, viz: “that the Auric Egg is to be formed (or to that effect) by colors,” and so forth, has never been stated by me to anyone, is incorrect, unphilosophical, and if such has been attempted, is to be stopped at once. 3. The only “orders” in Instructions which I issue in the U.S. are through Mr. William Q. Judge, or those which I myself sign my name to with my physical hand.

4. Any report or statement by anyone of orders or instructions alleged to be by me in any other form than as stated in the foregoing paragraph are and shall be false; and any member acting on any other sort of order and without first sending the same to Mr. William Q. Judge, will be expelled from the Section.

5. I desire above all that the members of this Section shall exercise as much common-sense as they are capable of and that they shall avoid all dealing with astral messages, reports, spooks and the like until they shall have attained to the requisite knowledge and ability. Mr. William Q. Judge will notify all members in the U.S. of the above.

H.P.B. London, August 9, 1890

Suggestions and Aids 289

Correspondence Group Series A 3.


Query from Taliesin — In the Double-Page Diagram [facing p. 524 in BCW XII ] it is said: “The physical body. is entirely ignored, being used only in black magic;” and on page [526] of No. I: “Physical Man (or his body) does not share in the direct pure wave of the divine Essence Purusha, the Primeval Spirit, touches the human head and stops there.” On page [616] of No. III it is stated that “the Rāja Yogi does not descend on the planes of substance beyond Sūkṣma (subtle matter).” If by “physical body” the entire physical organism is meant, then it would follow that all magnetical or magical operations belong to black magic that are productive of physical phenomena. Is this meaning intended; or are we to understand that the “body” is considered a reduplication of the centers of force in the brain, considering the latter as apart from the body (i.e., the trunk and limbs), and that only the plexi in the brain are to be employed in Rāja Yoga, the plexi of the body being used only by Haṭha Yogis?

W.Q.J. — The physical body, although necessary upon its own plane, has always been ignored in all true systems. In the trans-Himālayan school, which is the one we are now studying in, the body is deemed to be the greatest of illusions, and the great aim of the disciple is to gain mastery over it. While in essence it is an illusion, it is reality for the time being to the consciousness acting on that plane, and so long as its reality is believed in it will prevent the consciousness from rising higher, and thus prevent final conquest. It is an illusion, first, because being a thing compounded it must finally disappear, and second, because as a fact it has no actual being, its existence as such — with form, limits and apparent qualities — disappearing when the consciousness and power of sight have gone upon another plane without losing the power to see on this, for then the whole mass of so-called matter composing the body and previously impervious for the physical eye is permeable and no obstruction to sight. For this reason the body is not a “principle” and has no place in the sevenfold division [cf. 607].

As “body,” however, upon its own plane it has effects upon all that belongs to that plane and therefore as such is only used by black magicians, who deify it instead of spirit, the only reality. This does not 290 Echoes of the Orient mean that the use of certain powers which can only be used on this plane through the body’s agency is black magic, for were such the truth then the seeing with the eye and hearing with the ear would be black magic also. There is such a thing as making intellectual somersaults in these matters, so that all distinctions disappear and black is made white, and white black; such a somersault is in the question put. So the use of magnetism is not black magic, for it is not the use of the body per se, but is solely the exhibition through the body of a power which is outside of it. It is the motive that determines what is black and what is white magic. So we reach now the main difficulty here. It is in the meaning given to the term “body.” If the questioner after the above explanation does not perceive to some extent the difference between “body” as used in the Instructions, and the same word as commonly understood, then it will be difficult to make it clear. The term refers to the corpus as so-called matter. It is dead for us; and its only life is on the lower planes where it has affinities and relations with the grosser elements, with the deadly, conscienceless side of nature, with disunion, personality, selfishness.

Students have always to remember that throughout nature there is a constant work and action by means of degrees. As Purusha, pure and simple, is not in the body, but touches it, yet as the body would disappear were the substratum of Purusha withdrawn, the vivifying powers of Purusha have their action on the body by degrees of action or of forces, all of which are given their several designations, although all are in and of Purusha.


Query from Taliesin — Proctor (“Our Place Among Infinities,” pp. 304-12) states that in Astrology each day and each hour is ruled by a planet, “and as there were 24 hours in the Chaldean or Egyptian day, it follows that with whatever planet the day began the cycle of seven planets (beginning with that one) was repeated three times, making 21 hours, and then the first three planets of the cycle completing the 24 hours, so that the fourth planet of the cycle (so begun) ruled the first hour of the next day.” In the Appendix to No. I a different explanation is given, the day being said to be “divided into four parts each of which was under the protection and ruling of a planet.” [536] In either case I fail to see where there is that “confusion in the order of the days,” said in the Appendix to exist, and blamed upon the Christians, and the statements of Messrs. Keightley and Mead (both flatly contradicting the Instructions) fail to throw any light on the subject. Nor do I see where any guileless E.S. attempting to “protect himself from the elementals” with

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an outfit of jewels and metals would, with such insufficient and confused directions, succeed in doing more than to make himself a laughing-stock for the elementals aforesaid. Are we expected to study out the correspondences of the days of the week, or “skip” them?

W.Q.J. — I do not see how the statements of Brothers Mead and Keightley contradict the Instructions. The text of the latter on its face shows that the days of the week as we now name them were adopted and the correspondences between them and the planets and metals were given. Hence, since there is no agreement in fact between the days of the week, as to the order in which they stand and the other matters embraced in the diagram, there must necessarily follow a confusion which is only apparent. The days of the week as days must remain the same, but their names — when derived from planets — are wrong. This is so even among European nations, where great divergences exist. The Spanish call our Sunday Domingo, and our Monday Lunes, thus devoting Sunday to the Lord, while we give it to the sun, and Monday to the moon, as we do; their Tuesday is given to Mars, as they call it Martes; while we call Saturday after Saturn, they designate it as Sabado, after the Sabbath of the Jews, and from one of their proverbs it evidently is devoted to the sun, for they say: “Ni Sabado sin sol,” which is translated in Lopez’s dictionary: “No Sunday [sic] without the sun.” It seems very plain, therefore, that even if one sought in the nomenclature of the day for a clearing up of the days of the week he would find the greatest puzzle at his hand. The moment, therefore, that the Head of the Section attempted to inform us on this point she had to adopt either a diagram that would show us what our present week-days ought to be called — albeit in practice we cannot change them — or one in which there would be so much confusion that none could unravel it. But the directions to those who, having a fancy that way, wish to wear appropriate colors and jewels, are not confused at all nor insufficient — e.g., remembering that “Tuesday” is our Tuesday, by turning to the table we find that it is the day of Mars; its color red, and metal iron. Hence on our Tuesday, if we wish to do so, we will wear a redcolored object and made of iron. Certainly this is not confused. And as the law of correspondences is the important one in this study, we are expected to grasp it in its application to everything, but we must be sure to proceed carefully, and not jump to hasty conclusions, nor be turned aside by minor matters which, even if occurring in the Instructions, do not affect the main question.

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Query from Taliesin — I find it impossible, without neglecting other duties, to set aside any particular period of time daily for meditation, as enjoined in the “Preliminary Memorandum,” [496] and quite impossible to devote to that purpose any particular room. How far is this obligatory, and what is the object of it? I tried it carefully before joining the E.S., and the result was the seeing and hearing of all manner of things, which merely got me into difficulty.

W.Q.J. — The Preliminary Memorandum did not enjoin a settled hour and secret place for meditation, it recommended it when possible. There is a wide distinction here, as one is mandatory and the other permissive. The object of such a practice is perhaps self-evident. Living as we are in the whirl of the Nineteenth Century, it is well, if possible, to devote a separate and settled time and place for meditation. This calms the mind, and tends to interior self-dependence, which results always exteriorly in independence.

Another object is to take advantage of the law of habit in the organism which is similar to cyclic law. By having a certain daily recurring hour for meditation the whole being responds at that hour, once it has been fixed by a few repetitions, and thus one is saved the trouble, which consumes time, of making the preliminary adjustments. Patanjali shows that mental deposits are self-reproductive, hence even a practiced yogi will have to await for the self-reproducing thoughts to arise, subside and disappear — how much more, then, the mere beginner when engaging in meditation. But if one cannot manage to have such a settled hour, why, he must do the best he can under the circumstances. What you did in this way before joining the E.S. is not the same as doing it when in the E.S. Attention must be paid to the mind’s own action and care taken to destroy one by one the seeds of thought which are injurious. It cannot get you into trouble if you are seriously and sincerely devoted, using at the same time the rules of Patanjali for destroying the “obstructions and afflictions.” But if you pursue the practice in form, and then permit yourself to be blown and whirled about by mental and astral winds coming from the planes of illusion, you can only blame yourself. It is said that “time produced penance and perfect meditation.” You must take the time then, and not judge the matter upon your own mistakes made in the beginning. Rise from the ruins of your former errors, for it is only through contrast that at last we know the truth.

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