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Eastern School of Theosophy (16)

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(Echoes of the Orient p. 423-432)

Eastern School of Theosophy

Suggestions and Aids


Answers to Correspondence 423

go against the law, cannot help a person if he will not furnish the conditions.

Therefore, groups need fostering by their individual members. In some places groups have not been formed because, as there is no compulsion enforced, a certain amount of inharmony exists from various causes. Sometimes a small and petty jealousy; then ambition based on personality, persons wanting to be at the head and not seeing how to do this; again petty personal dislikes and sectional feelings unworthy of Theosophists rise up and prevent the formation of a good group. Groups are not meant like a theological heaven to be only for saints or intellectual giants; they should be composed of such elements that the better and the brighter may help and brighten up those below them in the scale, and thus the T.S. Branches be made more powerful for good work in the world.


It is perfectly well known to the outer Heads that in several places members — none of whom will be named — seek for psychical and other occult teachings in different directions outside the School, and that in some instances money has been paid for such false prophets. No one can hinder any persons from doing this if they wish, but it is directly against the agreement and also comes to no good. There are today in America no teachers of occultism who can be a sure guide to anyone on the plane of psychism. Such men as W. T. Street and one Richmond, who sell a pretended teaching, have simply culled from a lot of books which anyone can read — among them The Path and Lucifer, etc. — various matters of a confused sort dressed up as well as may be and called occult lore, but being a sham and delusion. Others, who, indeed, take no money but who have an itching for disciples, have their correspondents in the School to whom they send various sorts of advice, such as telling one that he or she was seen a few days before “in the astral,” and that “instead of digging as it were in the ground, the desired fruit was in fact just overhead.” Quite true probably, but any good judge of human nature could say the same. It is boys’ play, and will lead to no good result, to no progress.

If with discrimination and intelligence the instructions of this School, freely given, are studied and realized, then progress will be made. Not by trying to cultivate psychic powers that at best can be but dimly realized, nor by submitting to any control by another, but by educating and strengthening the soul. If all the virtues are not tried

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for, if the mind is not well based in philosophy, if the spiritual needs are not recognized as quite apart from the realm of psychism, there will be but a temporary dissipation in the astral realms, ending at last in disappointment as sure as the shining of the sun. If irritation at others is fostered, if anger is indulged in, if vanity and self are pandered to in the small things that make up life, there will be a constant destruction of all progress, an incessant pulling down of any building done by virtuous acts and thoughts. The inner body has to get its growth as a separate thing from the physical in which it is now entangled cell for cell. This goes on slowly; anger breaks the new-formed power, and back again flies the double to its old chain. Its power of sight within begins to grow, and then vanity and envy and pettiness throw a veil over it, just like a cataract on the physical eye. The astral body begins to get some solidity of its own, and then old habits of sensuality draw out of it the material it had accumulated and all previous work is lost. How, then, will it be possible to make real occult progress if the constantly reiterated directions as to virtue, as to calmness, as to freedom from anger, vanity, and pride are deliberately forgotten? And if you feel yourself too weak to overcome all these, what folly it is to make attempts after power that cannot be had but in the prescribed way?


Examination and letters received show that on this point a good deal of confusion prevails. Many have not thought out at all on the lines of Theosophical philosophy what an Adept (Mahatma) is in Nature and what is involved in the term. Very loose ideas seem to prevail in many quarters. Many have accepted the doctrine that there are Masters; indeed, all who join the School and do not believe this have certainly ignored the claim that such beings are behind the movement, but they have very often said they thought a Master of Occultism could easily enough appear to any one who desires it and either perform phenomena or give other help such as a precipitated or written letter of advice; or render specific assistance in business and personal crises. Of course as to rendering help or giving attention in a specific manner by the Masters, the matter can be settled by enquiring whether, on the assumption of the great powers and occupations of those beings, it would be reasonable to expect them to thus favor ordinary individuals. The answer is in the negative, unless each one, obscure as well as great of name and fame, is to be visited by transcendent personages out of whim or on the ground that “one man is as good as another.”

This latter view is absurd, of course. The Masters of Occultism do

Answers to Correspondence 425

not act specifically with individuals unless karma requires it in the case of obscure or undeveloped ones, and personal development combined with karma demands it in other instances. Here is what is given by them as to their nature and condition in part. They are in consequence of evolution, and great effort continued through many lives, now at the point physically, mentally, and spiritually where we shall be in the very far distant future. They are said by H.P.B., their latest messenger, to be “men, only higher and holier than we. living men.” This has been hastily construed to mean they are like us in so many ways as to be able at any time without any resultant dangers to mix with us and help us on this plane. They are, truly, living men, but not such as ourselves. They have bodies, but these bodies are made of the most highly refined and spiritualized matter; matter of which we have but slight conception. In those bodies all the forces of nature belonging to man, and these mean the very highest expression of the great forces of nature, constantly play and must have corresponding effect upon any one who may come in their direct range. In our bodies these forces act, it is true, but in a very weak and harmless manner, and also in such strength as may be resisted by all on the same plane of development. But the difference between us and the Masters in this respect is the same as that between a puff of wind and the explosion of dynamite, or between an ordinary human thought and the electric flash.

Therefore, if a Master were to come to us or were to send us a letter done by himself, we should be exposed to the force of the powerful currents belonging to him, and must then be able to meet those consequences and ward them off. This being so, it must follow that one to whom such a letter is sent or appearance made would have to be protected by the Master from all effects. Here we have the same point as was referred to above, i.e., the Master has to go to great and unwarranted trouble. The question is also raised: Has a Master any right to so interfere and ward off the natural consequences of the act? He has not, for the reason that, being strictly the servant of Karma, being indeed an embodiment of it, he cannot so interfere. This has been before stated by the Masters. Therefore no such appearance would be made or letter sent except strictly in accord with Karma. Now some have said, “Surely a Master could come here and do a very charitable act without any evil being possible. There can be no evil or danger in charity.” But as above said, the Master could not so act here on this plane as a Master and avoid the rush of all the forces of nature which would be disturbed by His presence or set into activity, and His otherwise charitable act would then be turned into one of

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a harmful sort. It is even so with ourselves in smaller measure, for we can do good acts at the wrong time and place which may have very dire consequences. Statistics of mendacity alone will show this, for there we see that an act charitable in itself may be sometimes productive of evil and an encouragement to the lazy. Or a case where one person has to be allowed to suffer for the greater good of many. The sending of a letter by a Master has very strong currents in all directions as result, but His actual appearance has far larger scope of effects. In the latter case all the forces and currents of such a being play upon the one looked at and seeing the Master. Instances have been known where fainting, sleep, coma, and the like have been the consequence on the physical plane. Indeed, in all such cases no ordinary senses would be left in the person visited, so that the visit would come to nothing. But some may ask, “What of the recounted visit to Col. Olcott in 1875 or 6?” This was not an appearance in the Adept’s body. It was an illusionary one in his Māyāvi-rūpa sufficiently strong to make the subject see the Master for all practical purposes, and besides it was for a great object and was beyond question one of those cases where the Master took all needful precautions, since much was to flow from it, as we all know. And all that has no bearing on the somewhat unrelated fact that Col. Olcott is not a member of this School.

How would the effects manifest on this plane in an individual? By stirring up his whole nature from bottom to top, excluding now from the inquiry all disturbances on the physical system. The nature so being upturned, all the evil in it has to come up together with the good, and yet no time available to counteract old evil tendencies. Then it is likely that the evil would have the upper hand, as we are now chiefly in the kāma plane of development. The result would be in most cases that doubts impossible to solve would arise, fear might supervene, superstition would come on, and at last the state mentally might be worse than before. If there were hereditary or other seeds in the line of mental unbalancing, insanity might result. Or if the nature underneath were in fact quite evil, as is very often so, then crime could easily be gone into, following on mental disturbance. It would, in fact, be the same as exciting the “pledge fever” to highest and most enormous proportions. The mere physical receipt of a letter from the Master in itself as a piece of paper received has no effect. But that is not all that happens when a letter is sent by anyone, no matter whom. A letter full of malice, hatred, or sensuality carries with it all those forces and ideas, and must affect the recipient one way or another. I have known cases where persons have written sensual letters to another, not so on their face, but intended for that, and sensual ideas have been aroused by them.

Answers to Correspondence 427

Then the recipient has to throw these off. But with a Master, no matter how good and grand the letter may be, the forces and currents of the Master go with it the same as with ordinary letters, only with tenfold power. These forces are good, but acting on us the question is who we are, how we think, what is our real nature, and what will be the result. The result will be in accordance with our nature. Our nature is known to be small, mean, weak, and often bad. Hence we get no letters. For if what is said above were not true, then the Masters would be sending all the time letters and epistles to the prominent workers, instead of confining themselves, as they properly do, to certain occasions when help needed can be given without any ill effects. Did they send letters constantly, then all of us, being upset and inflamed continually, would be soon broken down and unable to do any work, and thus on a small scale evolution would be stopped.

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Correspondence No. 6

March 1894


The members in the U.S. should know the facts about the divulgement of the Instructions. Some time ago a former member in India retired and refused to give up his papers. Later it became evident that they were given out to persons not members. This was shown clearly by the fact that a person in California published the contents of the notice sent from London of the suspension of Messrs. Old and Edge, coupled with the statement that the same person had the other papers. It was also evident that some spy was left somewhere in the E.S. who continued to help the retired member. All of these things were published from time to time in papers in India and England, and it became apparent that it was absolutely necessary to call in the Instructions to the end that means might be devised for greater security for all members. This recall was no reflection on members who are faithful. Hence the notice.

But at the same time the sending of the notice has revealed the following:

(a) that some members have kept their papers most carelessly;

(b) that others have lost some and not reported that fact. This of itself would be enough reason for a recall.

Again, it is known that many members regard every word of the papers somewhat like a fetish, thinking that they are all secret and unattainable, whereas anyone who has read much knows that many parts are quite exoteric. Such parts were used by H.P.B. for the purpose of explanation. But as many look at every word as secret it is necessary now to hit on a plan for so arranging the matter that members who do not know what is common to literature may be plainly so informed; and also that certain esoteric points may be left blank for oral communication. These two changes will be an improvement.

To leave the Instructions out now unchanged, when the wholly inimical have them, would be unwise. The changes will however be a matter of slow work as Mrs. Besant is now far away and I am to be away myself for some time attending the convention of the T.S.

Answers to Correspondence 429

It is the duty of members to now help each other all they can from memory and also by active work in applying the good they have personally gained to the T.S. cause. Enough has been done to furnish all with sufficient material for a long time. Old Aids are useful. Exoteric literature is abundant. There need be no stagnation from the absence of the Instructions. Groups and individuals can work upon what is left in hand; they can also come up more and more to the object of the E.S.T., that is to help and move the work of the T.S. H.P.B. said to me long ago that the time would come when a change would be imperative. Former changes have been as to form of issue and shape, but this one will be of substance.

Care will have to be exercised to prevent any bad effect arising to the T.S. from the fact that a body exists like ours, composed of members of the T.S. and none others, yet not connected officially with the T.S. No bad effect has arisen at all, but on the contrary it is the E.S.T. that saved the T.S. from danger when our great friend, fellow-worker, and teacher, H.P.B. ∴ departed; but if members are led away by the many spiteful things said about the E.S.T. the bad effect will be their fault. If coercion or authority had ever been exercised in the E.S.T. on the T.S. work of members, there would be cause for the flings at us, but as no coercion has been attempted at all and will not be, members being asked simply to abide by rules agreed to on entering, we can carry this work on from year to year with increasing good effect.

As to our attitude to those who have violated the solemn pledges made: It should be one of complete charity. Their error is their own, not that of others. Doubtless we could easily fall into errors of another sort or even of that kind were our lower nature sufficiently aroused. Let us throw the mantle of charity over those faults and try to so work as to do a greater amount of good. It is true we all suffer together under the Karma of the race. But that is not to be unduly lamented since it cannot be altered; but as we are free souls we can now and here arise and do more good in every direction to others.

It was inevitable that such rebuffs should come, as in this age all is in darkness and transition. The powers of darkness are always eager to hinder such a movement as ours, and they try to incite men in all directions to attack us for all sorts of reasons. The very fact that we exist as a body quite harmless and innocent is enough to enrage some men. But this should not make us falter, for in the order of evolution such struggles must come. All we have to do is to keep courageous and go calmly on, knowing that if we are doing what is right no enemy can succeed. If we are firmly loyal we cannot fail. Loyal to what? Loyal to our ideals and aspirations; loyal to each other; loyal to the movement

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we are trying our best to help. Look at our success in the past; it is seen by regarding the work of the T.S. In 1891 our old leader departs and the hearts of many fail as they think they have lost the only one who knew of that which they wished to have; nothing stops, none of the work goes down, but on the contrary more is done; poor though we are, more money is spent in the work; little time as each one has, more work is done; unknown as we seemed to be, the T.S. and Theosophical ideas are more and more spoken of in the literature of the day. This is much to have been a factor in doing. Let it encourage us; with it let each one encourage the other.

William Q. Judge.


As there is much in published books which is ordinarily overlooked, let me point out something which if rightly understood contains the secrets of Occultism, practical and theoretical. It is to be found in Isis Unveiled, Vol. II, p. 587 et seq., and was also printed in The Path for January 1894, in order to put it into the hands of those who could not procure Isis. I refer to the fundamental propositions given on the pages mentioned, beginning with No. 2. In these the interrelated and corresponding natures of objective and subjective Nature are given first. Then No. 3 points out the triune nature of man. This includes the sevenfold division. The highest, or third, in the three is the Ātman, that being the seventh of the sevenfold division. Immortality as a conscious person is attained by the union of the second of the threefold man with the Ātman. This is the condition of the Masters or Mahatmas: they have united the inner man with the Ātman, that is, while living they have consciously overcome the illusions of the objective and subjective planes of the greater Nature and made the trinity complete. If, then, H.P.B.’s propositions be correct, and I am sure their correctness can be demonstrated, it is the duty of every member to think more and more of the higher nature, the immortal spirit each one has; we should dwell upon the Higher Self continually. This dwelling on the Self is to be done for a reason among others which is often overlooked. It is this.

We are all to a great extent governed by our education and life’s environment. These have engendered habits of thought. With us those habits do not incline as a race to the Higher Self. Our thought also wanders as an effect of the superficial and multiplex civilization we live in; that is, we have so many desires the will does not act deeply or quickly; it responds slowly to stimulus in a direction not usual. But it

Answers to Correspondence 431

may be gradually made to grow in any certain direction. Now as we admit the reality of the Higher Self we should embrace the idea, dwell on it day in and day out, until the will and desire naturally incline to it and have it as the subtone or aim of thought. This process will make the line of influence from the Higher Self brighter and better with every thought. When the influence grows strong it pervades the entire nature and strengthens as well as improves. It will give knowledge and also energy. This is the real and only road to the Masters, the Adepts, the Mahatmas.

The remaining propositions referred to go briefly through the many questions that arise, and are worthy of serious study. Each person can enlarge them for himself. I will print here two of the propositions, omitting No. 1.

No. 2. “Nature is triune: there is a visible, objective nature; an invisible, indwelling, energizing nature, the exact model of the other, and its vital principle; and, above these two, spirit, source of all forces, alone eternal, and indestructible. The lower two constantly change; the higher third does not. No. 3. “Man is also triune: he has his objective, physical body; his vitalizing astral body (or soul), the real man; and these two are brooded over and illuminated by the third — the sovereign, the immortal spirit. When the real man succeeds in merging himself with the latter, he becomes an immortal entity.”

432 Echoes of the Orient

E. S. T.

Suggestions and Aids, No. 7

Issued to the American Division

New York, 144 Madison Ave., June 1894


We have been and are yet under trial; especially so in the last few months; and not only in one place, but all through the E.S.T., east or west. This trial should be regarded as one of the proofs of the reality of this School’s work. Were it an ordinary organization which depended for its government on rules and formalities, then indeed might we justly criticize its management. But as it is in fact occult in its basis, criticism would be premature, because the end is not yet, nor will the end be perceived for a very long time. We all know that the secrecy regarding the Instructions has been broken both by western and eastern members. Instructions, rules, papers, and documents have been given up to others, though as yet they have not all been published. What does this show, bad management or bad faith? I should say bad faith only, because in the very beginning H.P.B. ∴ said that each one had to have his or her chance. She wrote specifically to me some years ago that she knew well what she was doing, and intended to construct her teachings in such a way as to provide against the very treason and disloyalty which have been exhibited. We can thus see that in that respect the management of the matter was right. That she knew in advance, not only the general fact of possible treason but also the individual cases, is perfectly true, for she mentioned some prophetically, but said that all must have a chance. What has become plainly evident is that human nature is weak, and that today the meaning and force of a pledge are not understood nor accepted. Some members, who would not be the first to violate the pledge, thought that its violation by others dissolved their own. This is a weakness of the day. Certainly in the face of such common weakness we need not expect to be trusted with very many grave secrets. Then again, our mutual loyalty and our power of union are and

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