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Eastern School of Theosophy (13)

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(Echoes of the Orient p. 393-402)

Eastern School of Theosophy

Suggestions and Aids


Answers to Correspondence 393

may not recognize. But it does mean that, while avoiding all semblance of dictation, they should use their influence in the direction which, as Esotericists, they believe to be the best, that they should discuss all important questions, as Esotericists, among themselves, and then follow a common policy. How salutary their presence is, in the Exoteric Lodges, may be very plainly seen by a glance at such Lodges; for wherever there are Esoteric members there the outer Lodge grows strong and expands.

It is more than probable that the reason why the School does not as yet frequently receive definite orders from Masters is that so much disposition exists in Western minds to demand reasons for every request, and to always hold in reserve an intent to disobey, if the orders expected to arrive do not suit. This was very plainly shown to one of us by one member, who asked if a certain practice he intended to begin was against the pledge, and coolly added, without waiting for a reply, “it does not make any difference, for if it is against it I’ll do it anyway.” So, therefore, those of the School who aspire to go very far along the Path of Occultism would do well to seriously consider the methods of Occult training and of the Eastern Schools. The outer Degrees of the E.S.T., since the watering-down of Clause 2 of the Pledge, are left very free; but disciples may rest assured that further along that Path willing obedience is a sine qua non of progress. The immemorial rules of the East will not be altered to suit the independence craze of the West, and you will do well to recall the words of Master in the Introduction to Instruction III: “The pupil was always enjoined to obedience and loyalty. This is what you have to tell them, advising them to study [The Laws of ] Manu.” [593]

Obedience is forced on none; but it is a condition of training, and those who cannot consciously accept it must rest content, for this incarnation, with such teaching as can be given in the outer degrees. Those who want to pass on will do well to accustom themselves to the idea of discipline — though, indeed, it will come of itself to those fit for progress. Meanwhile let all feel assured that neither of us two will make any attempt to give orders to the School, except in its societies and ordinary work, and that you are free to accept or reject our advice as you will. Your faithful servants,

Annie Besant

William Q. Judge

394 Echoes of the Orient

Correspondence No. 3

September, 1892


Members of the E.S.T. everywhere are asked to take ten or fifteen minutes each day at that hour in their longitude which corresponds to 11 p.m. in London, and for that period think over their pledge, the Masters, the unity of the School and all the members of it irrespective of acquaintance, and to try to arouse and hold charitable, kind, and united feeling for the whole body of students, and lastly, to hold a strong determination to have help of every kind for the T.S. movement. Between New York and London the difference in time is five hours: this will be a guide.


Informal meetings of the School are held on the 1st and 3rd Fridays in each month at the central office, 144 Madison Avenue, New York City (Room 8, 3rd floor). They are for the purpose of promoting unity of feeling and of purpose among the members, and for discussing the work of the School and topics relating to esoteric study. All in the vicinity of New York are invited to attend, and, if their circumstances permit, expected to be present. In this way foreign members may have opportunity of meeting their brethren. The meetings are held from 4 to 5:15 p.m. No member will be admitted after 4:15.

William Q. Judge

Ques. 27 (J.D.) In pronouncing the sacred word during private meditation am I to use the sign which accompanies it in its use at Group meetings, or is this sign only to be made at said meetings? Ans. — The sign is only to be used at the Group meetings Ques. 28 (J.J.S.) (a) Referring to the second paragraph [pp. 378-9] of Answer No. 1, can the personal defects which hinder our progress be shown us by others, or must we find them out for ourselves? (b) I am earnestly and honestly trying to keep right, but my progress is so slow that I hardly know I advance at all.

Answers to Correspondence 395

Ans. — (a) We have to find out for ourselves those defects in us which act as stumbling-blocks on our path. Our association with others however, and particularly with students like ourselves help us more readily to this end, for we consciously or unconsciously compare ourselves with those around us and thus learn. But if faults in us are pointed out by others and we fail to see them in ourselves, we are missing a good opportunity. (b) It has been many times said that we grow only when we are unconscious of our growth, just as all things in nature do. But would you not vote the gardener incapable who should be constantly pulling his flowers up by the roots to see how they were growing? Yet this is what you try to do with the soul-plant you wish to nurture. Leave it to itself to grow: you cannot force it, nor check nor regulate its growth. It will surely grow if you care for it and bear on strongly in your duties toward it. It may not be large enough or strong enough yet to bear as good fruit as you would wish it to, but some day it will and then you will know that it has grown. But you cannot watch its growth. If you are earnestly trying to keep right you will surely someday achieve.

Ques. 29 (B.D.F.) What is the meaning of the triangle in the middle of the diagram [Plate II, facing p. 581], and what do the other lines signify?

Ans. — The triangle represents the Higher Triad. Owing to a printer’s error the whole figure is somewhat grossly portrayed. The man should be simply a shadowy violet form to indicate the higher astral, with of course no features in the face. The colors are intended to be flashing and vibrating in the aura, and are the principles with their ever-varying order of intensity. The square around the figure symbolizes the quaternary, the triangle inside its permanent base. The other lines represent the order of the various forces as they spring from the different Hierarchies. The entire import of these however cannot be given.

Ques. 30 (M.K.S.) What would lead to the destruction of antaḥkaraṇa? Ans. — Antaḥkaraṇa being a mode of consciousness which may be said to exist only when the Higher and lower Manases are related to one another as separate principles, its destruction may take place in two ways: (a) by merging the lower in the Higher, and making them one, (b) by so separating them as to destroy the possibility of any relationship between them. The first may be performed by aspiration, and by constantly dwelling on the highest ideals reflected in the mind. The

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second by an absolute refusal to regard or listen to any of the higher promptings — which thus gradually lessen and finally disappear They can be reawakened however by steady and persistent effort to that end.

Ques. 31 (E.H.M.) Is it wrong to try and enter Nirvana?

Ans. — For the majority — no, no more than it is wrong to try and sleep when due season arrives. But while we have work to do we have no right to take that rest, and to the true worker with nature the time to enter into Nirvana is not until all are prepared to enter as well as he. Speaking plainly, the Eastern School is hardly intended to fit [one] for entrance into Nirvana. All members of it have taken pledges which, whether they remember them or not, will affect their future lives and force them to work for humanity in one way or another. Directly they attempt to gain spiritual benefit selfishly instead of trying to help their brothers, they will feel the innate calling to work, which cannot be evaded. And so long as this is so, it is manifestly impossible that they should enter Nirvana. This should not prevent their trying however, for until they have attained so lofty a state of perfection as to allow of their becoming Nirvāṇis, it is impossible for them to forego the prize and become Nirmāṇakāyas of Compassion. But the bulk of humanity are not members of the E.S.T. and the foregoing cannot apply to them, for whom, if they desire freedom from the cares of existence and of rebirth, there can be nothing wrong in the endeavor to enter Nirvana. It is well to remember however that even the Nirvāṇi’s rest is not a permanent one, and that he must reemerge, and then he recommences life as a Pratyeka Buddha (see Voice of the Silence, page 43).

Ques. 32 (J.W.G.) It is said somewhere that before one can become an Adept one must have passed through all experience. Is there no shorter road?

Ans. — There is no shorter road, but it is not necessary that one should pass through all experiences physically. We can live them mentally and so hasten Karmic action. Thus if by a sympathetic feeling with those who suffer we can understand what certain kinds of suffering mean, it is not necessary for us to go through that particular experience. And if we get en rapport with those who are passing through certain phases of life, we too can understand these phases without having to climb up laboriously as the others have done. “Test all experience” becomes a pernicious doctrine if not understood in the right spirit. Each person born into the world is to some extent a sacrificial victim. He passes through certain experiences for the sake of those born under the

Answers to Correspondence 397

same ray as himself, and in this way each can draw for knowledge on the other’s experiences. Thus all experiences are in the field of the mind. It is above all things wise to remember that the mind is the real actor and doer. Furthermore the saying quoted means that all men have really, by this time, been through every sort of experience and thus have evolved our present civilization and human nature.

Ques. 33 (M.P.P.) I should be glad to know the rationale of punishing one personality for the misdeeds of a previous one or the individuality (Higher) for the misdeeds of the personality which it could not control?

Ans. — A most extraordinary question to arise with a member of this School. As regards “punishment,” inasmuch as deeds committed on an objective plane, or thoughts (evil) relating to an objective plane, can only receive rightful retribution on that same plane, such retribution under Karmic Law takes place only in earth life. Again, neither Ātma nor Buddhi are operative on the objective plane, where the acting agent is Manas, the Ego. Moreover, unless Manas has become illuminated and has united itself with Ātma-Buddhi, and has then become the Spiritual Ego, it (Manas) does not act upon the higher planes of being. This Manas it is that reincarnates. It is the real man. The lower principles change at the new birth as there is a new Liṅga-Śarīra, new currents of Prāṇa, but Manas in its dual division is the same. And it is the Manas which suffers in each new life, while also all its higher efflorescence enters Devachan. As its function is dual, so are its awards; spiritual bliss for all its higher aspirations which are spiritual, and objective suffering on the objective plane where it sinned. Ātma-Buddhi, the one secondless self, never suffers. Manas, the link, can purify and perfect itself and the lower principles, over which it is ruler, even to the body Manas has the power of choice. Hence Manas is the doer, the enjoyer, the sufferer. We should ever remember that Manas, the thinker, the Ego, is the real man. If you will turn to life and consider that, you will see that everything arises first in the mind, and hence mind is the real doer, although using certain instruments. You should study the doctrine of reincarnation, for your question raises the elementary objection usually founded on the idea that the last personality is not related to the present. It is always you who are punished for what you did: the personality is only an outer coat.

Ques. 34 (J.) — I am always trying, but am constantly sensible of failure; can I ever reach a point of development where I shall no longer fail?

Ans. — We may “fail” in specific acts or endeavor, but so long as we continue to persevere such are not “failures” but lessons necessary in

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themselves. Through resistance and effort we acquire fresh strength; we gather to ourselves — and by occult laws — all the strength we have gained by overcoming. Entire “success” is not for us now, but continuous, persistent effort is, and that is success and not the mere carrying out of all our plans or attempts. Moreover no matter how high we go in Nature, there are always new rungs of the ladder to mount — that ladder whose rungs are all mounted in labor and in pain, but also in the great joy of conscious strength and will. Even the Adept sees fresh trials before him. Remember also when we say “I have failed” it shows that we have had and still have aspiration. And while this is so, while we have before us loftier heights of perfection to scale, Nature will never desert us. We are mounting, and aspiring, and the sense of failure is the surest proof of this. But Nature has no use for anyone who has reached the limits of, or outlived, his aspirations. So that every “failure is a success.” At the outset the greater your aspirations the greater the difficulties you will encounter. Forget not then that to continue to try even when one constantly fails is the only way to come to real success.

Ques. 35 (S.P.C.) I am aware that Mind-cure and Christian Science practices are not allowed in the School. Recently however I have met with a teacher who teaches her patients to think of themselves as being well instead of sick never to think an unkind or selfish thought or to speak an unkind word or perform an evil act, and to bear the trials of life patiently, etc., etc. She is helping many. Is she not right?

Ans. — While it is right to be unselfish and charitable, yet to “think of oneself as being well instead of sick” is an error in philosophy and in truth, hence: harmful. For the real man within is a thinker; thoughts are the food of the Ego, and false ones bewilder the Mānasic entity. It may appear ethical to say with courage that one is well when the contrary is true, but this question is not confined to ethics. When body is diseased — that is not the Ego, the real man, it is true. It is body, and also it is diseased. To deny this and to set up in the brain pictures of a contrary state is to draw down the soul-forces to the material plane and misuse them. The disappearance of the particular form of the disease is no proof that the underlying cause of the disease is removed; it breaks out in some other form, and too often the trouble is withdrawn to inner planes, and manifests in various ways in the mind of the person who has thus held up as truth that which is false. H. P. Blavatsky pointed this out clearly. And when the bodily ill is thus forcibly removed, those who believe in Karma know that reaction as forcible must sooner or later set in. While it is very right and proper to use for the cure of the body

Answers to Correspondence 399

all means related to its own plane, yet to state what is false is not right, and, as said, leads to bewilderment. These systems deny all relativity, which must exist while we are in space and time. It is true that Ātma, the Higher Self, is ever perfect: but the human soul is not so and only becomes so by a prolonged effort of will (and may never become so), and not by unphilosophical statements that it is the only-existent, and that it is “well.” For if we come to consider ultimates, the human soul is just as relative as the body, so far as eternity is concerned; and because after great periods of time all merges into the one, is not to say that such a state at present is. We may contemplate Ātma — and that only — as well and perfect, bearing with patience bodily ills, but not denying their existence at this point of time, any more than any other existence. Although it is true that there is a potency hidden in affirmation and denial, H.P.B. condemned it because when used in healing it is based on false philosophy, and becomes then a cause of evil. A falsely based affirmative may bring about a result merely because it acts as a concentrator and for no other reason. There are half-truths in mind-cure, but as these schools are spreading wrong philosophy they are hurting many, although apparently dazzling people with cures of some bodily ailments. (See Path articles, Vol. VI, pp. 304-7 [Echoes I:227-30]; and Vol. VII, pp. 13 and 136.)

Ques. 36 (J.J.S.) What subject is the best first to practice concentration on? What is the a b c of concentration?

Ans. — Concentration having really for its object the steadying of the lower mind so that it can receive the impress of the Higher, its practice may be brought into all the affairs of every-day life. If we practice concentration for a while, completing our round of daily duties with determination and fixedness of purpose, in time we shall learn to concentrate, or hold our mind still without effort on any given subject, and then it becomes a fairly easy matter to learn consciously from our Higher nature. This was known to every ancient sage, and we find it enjoined by Jesus when he said, “Whatsoever thine hand findeth to do, do it with all thy might.” It is the a b c of concentration. But it may be practiced on anything — so long as the lesson is learned of steadying the mind. (See Path, July 1888,1

and Book of Rules [BCW XII:493].)

Ques. 37 (J.V.D.) In the face in the double-paged diagram ( page 14, Instruction II)2 is the mouth (7) supposed to correspond to the Auric Egg?

400 Echoes of the Orient

Ans. — The mouth is named as the paradigm of the creative orifice in the lower triad. There is no orifice marked as corresponding to the Auric Egg, but if you examine the oval above you will see that the A.E. encloses an outlined triangle. This corresponds to the third eye. A line passes through it which touches only the top of the head. Were there an opening here that would be the correspondence with the A.E. The fact is that it is the activity of the mouth and three lower orifices (the physical quaternary) which prevent the play of the higher faculties. In the head the mouth stands for the whole four. With the two eyes you will notice that an inverted triangle is formed. The metaphorical suppression of the mouth, which is equivalent to the awakening of the Eye of Śiva, will cause the triangle to be turned upright with the apex in the top of the head (Ātma-Buddhi-Manas). This is why many mystic sculptures and works of art picture the finger placed upon the mouth. The Auric Egg represents and corresponds to the whole nature of man and also to the whole of nature as it (the A.E.) itself corresponds with the “Egg of Brahmā.”

Ques. 38 (Mystic Group) Do elementals ever become men? In Isis I:311, it seems to say that some classes of elementals never become men, and in Secret Doctrine I:277, that every spirit is either a disembodied or a future man.

Ans. — Both statements are right. In every manvantara there are elementals that never will be in the human stage in that period, and some that will not come to man’s estate until many manvantaras afterwards. Hence — the period being so enormous — the word “never” is used in the sense of “never in that period of evolution,” just in the same way as the Hindus call an enormous and incomprehensible period an “eternity.” But when the question has reference to the immeasurably distant future then the quotation from The Secret Doctrine answers it correctly. When Isis was written the author was dealing with this earth’s evolution and not with subsequent periods and possibilities. If she had gone into the subject raised by the above question her answer would be not only that elementals became men at some future time, but further that every atom concerned in this globe will also one day be raised to humanity. But those events are so far off that the human mind cannot grasp the years involved; and even if the Adepts should set the figures down on paper they would form a long string but be no clearer. These views must result from the Theosophical philosophy. For since it teaches the object of evolution to be the raising up of all things to self-consciousness, the lowest and grossest form of matter cannot

Answers to Correspondence 401

William Quan Judge

be left out of the scheme. All must be included. And that perfecting is brought about through man, who must at last work to that end with intention. The process of its accomplishment is through his thoughts and acts affecting the matter which enters into his complex nature.

402 Echoes of the Orient

E. S. T.

Examination Paper No. 3


1. (a) What are the Planetary spirits, and when do they appear on earth? (b) What is their mission?

Ans. — (a) The Planetary Spirits are the highest Kumāras, who incarnate no longer during this Mahā-Manvantara. They are the informing Spirits of the Stars in general, and of the Planets especially, and are divided into three chief Groups, each Group being again divided into seven sub-groups. They rule the destinies of men who are all born under one or other of their constellations, the second and third groups pertaining to other systems have the same functions, and all rule over various departments in Nature. Each of the seven regions of the Earth, each of the seven primordial human Groups, each of the seven great Races, each man and each principle in man, receives its life and light and its own specific quality from its own special Dhyāni or Planetary Spirit. They are the seven Hierarchies — “call them Angels if you will, or Planetary Spirits, or again the Seven Rulers of the Seven Sacred Planets of our system” [BCW XII:567-8]. (Notice that the Seven Sacred Planets are referred to.) “These Hierarchies can only be symbolised by concentric circles of prismatic colors.” [567-8] The mysterious connection between each Ego and Planetary Spirit (not to be confounded with the astrological star of the personality) joins together different human individuals, i.e. they belong to the same Hierarchy.

The Planetary Spirits appear on Earth as Avatāras only at the beginning of every new human race, and at the junctions or close of the two ends of the small and great cycles. They remain no longer than the time necessary to impress upon the plastic minds of child-humanity the verities they teach, yet their spirit remains vivid though latent in mankind. [Cf. BCW XII:600-1.]

(b) Their mission is to strike the keynote of Truth, and once that it has been directed to run its course uninterruptedly along the concatenation of the race to the close of the cycle, the Planetary Spirit disappears from our Earth till the following Planetary Manvantara, the

  1. [See Echoes I:70-7.] []
  2. [Facing p. 524 in BCW XII.] []
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