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Eastern School of Theosophy (17)

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(Echoes of the Orient p. 433-442)

Eastern School of Theosophy

Suggestions and Aids

 

Suggestions and Aids 433

have been under trial. Accusations have been made from time to time in public or in smaller circles, and the test is whether we will or will not follow that part of the pledge which requires us not to listen to accusations and to be charitable to the weaknesses of others. The School is not only meant to be a help to the present T.S., but also to form the nucleus, ever growing larger, of souls which will be fired and energized with a common aim and a common philosophy, so that as they shall reincarnate after this life is done, they may possibly constitute a band of workers and knowers in a future life. This idea has not, I fear, been sufficiently thought upon and accepted. If it be thoroughly grasped it should be very encouraging, for it is something to feel that what we have begun now we shall probably carry on with sympathetic minds in another birth when all the cavillers and petty enemies of this have gone, have perhaps become friends and co-workers with us. It seems to me that we are all being tried as to loyalty, as to unity, as to charity, as to persistency, and, generally in all the different ways appropriate to each individual. And we are also, to my knowledge, being attacked from within and without by the Darker Powers that would fain split up and make useless this body which has proved a strong bulwark and a nucleus of soul for the Theosophical Society. For, if the E.S.T. can be destroyed, then the very life and energy of the T.S. is hurt almost to death. The E.S. absent, then the T.S. would soon degenerate into one of the many dogmatic and lifeless movements of the day, thereafter to rapidly cease to affect the age. This view will probably explain the extraordinary spite, rancor, and pertinacious attacks by persons who, not good men themselves, continually concern themselves with this body in which they have no rights or interests. Such men are some of the agents used by the Dark Powers for our harassment and war. Let us be calm and indifferent, firmly relying on the Great Law, and all their efforts will fail.

THE GREATEST OCCULT TRUTHS

And suggestions are to be found in the following, taken from the Instructions, Numbers I and III:

Double object of Esoteric Sciences:

(a) of proving man to be identical in Spiritual and physical essence with both the Absolute Principle and with God in Nature;

(b) of demonstrating the presence in him of the same potential powers as exist in the creative forces of Nature. (No. I, p. [519])

434 Echoes of the Orient

Man is identical with the Absolute unmanifested, and also with the Deity as we see It manifested in Nature. This theory is easy for some and difficult for others. The difficulty arises chiefly from the influence of centuries of education in the degrading doctrine that all are originally sinful. If we are originally sinful we must be inherently imperfect, and that which is inherently imperfect can never, by any possibility, become perfect. Many have not been directly taught this doctrine of original imperfection, but all their thoughts have been insensibly affected by it. God has been continually held up to us as a being outside or different from us, and hence we tacitly hold the doctrine of inherent weakness and imperfection.

Yet most of you believe that Mahatmas do exist, and, indeed, that They were influential in starting this School. How can it be possible for such Beings to exist unless they are the product of human and all evolution, unless Themselves once were seemingly imperfect as ourselves? The imperfection is only in the lower elements. In essence, in possibility of soul and spirit, we are all perfect. So long as we deny this we prevent progress and keep back the exhibition of that actual spiritual perfection which we have at the center. The next object comes from the general to the particular, for it is to demonstrate in man the presence of the same potential forces which are in or behind the creative forces or powers of Nature. This is an enormous claim, yet unless this be true, how, again, is it possible for a Mahatma to exist, to have become such, to wield these very powers and forces? The wielding of these powers is not the same as the raising by our hand of a club or the use by us of a fluid or agent in Nature. Our use of these is not the use of the subtle agents behind, but is only a mechanical effect which may be done in complete ignorance of the force in use. This we can see in even the simple act of using the muscles, where a mental motion is transferred into a physical act. Who can say that they know actually all that goes on in this; how the mental act is transferred into the physical; how it is that the nerve fluid is stirred, in turn stirring the muscles and making them contract or expand? Regard the fact of speech. Here very slight movements of the vocal chords make all the varieties of tone and inflection. Yet all of this is done instantaneously, and the most ignorant can often produce the greatest varieties of tone, no one being able to do more by way of explanation than to declare the fact. Look further into the fields of mediumship, of clairvoyance, of clairaudience, of telepathy, of hypnotism, and of hysteria, and you see that vast and complicated powers evidently reside in man. The Esoteric Science aims to go farther than merely to say that man has some such natural powers; it wishes to show that he has

Suggestions and Aids 435

creative power. If he has, then it can only be from the fact that he is the same in essence as Nature and God. Much of the Instructions is devoted to this. The divisions of the principles, the various diagrams, the many explanations are for the purpose of impressing on us that man, who is the small copy of Nature, contains in himself centers through which all the great forces of Nature may be operated. This cannot be interiorly grasped if we continue to think we are less than God in essence. Observe and think over this quotation from [Āryāsaṅga, in Instruction] No. III: “That which is neither Spirit nor Matter, neither Light nor Darkness, but is verily the container and root of these, that thou art. The Root projects at every Dawn its shadow on Itself, and that shadow thou callest Light and Life, O poor dead Form! (This) Life-Light streameth downward through the stairway of the seven worlds, the stairs, of which each step becomes denser and darker. It is of this seven-times-seven scale that thou art the faithful climber and mirror, O little man! Thou art this, but thou knowest it not.” This is the first lesson to learn. The second is to study well [and know] the principles of both the Kosmos and ourselves, dividing the group into the permanent and the impermanent, the higher and immortal, and the lower and mortal, for thus only can we master and guide, first the lower cosmic and personal, then the higher cosmic and impersonal. [625]

The person to whom the first part is addressed is the man who is ignorant of his own greatness; he may come out of that ignorance, and, by slow degrees or quickly, realize his oneness with the Great Supreme. This first lesson has to be learned even though we do not as yet realize its full meaning; and then we have to proceed with the study outlined in the next paragraph. The following of occult formularies and the running after this, that, and the other guide will come to nothing but loss. Thus seeking on the outside we delude ourselves and reach the end of life none the wiser. On this head I should like to tell you what our friend and co-worker H.P.B. told me and others many times, and it has always appeared true; it is also confirmed by clairvoyance of a high order. Thus, in my own words:

There are many men and women now on earth who studied and practiced occultism long ago in other lives and made some progress. But they went too much along the line of astral science, of alchemy, of magic pure and simple. Thus they not only deluded themselves but made a strong affinity between themselves and the lower group of agents in Nature. The consequence is that they are now reborn with 436 Echoes of the Orient two natures, the one opposing the other. One is the old force of a desire for a really spiritual life, and the other a strong passional nature that is due to the forces generated along the lower lines of force. A continual war is set up. The old astral knowledge is obscured; the old spiritual desire is present; while the astral knowledge and practice as well as the alchemical study or force has been transformed into passion, and trouble and delay are the result. She mentioned alchemy because in that study there is a continual investigation of forces that belong to the lower groups of agents. There is no doubt that many of the old alchemists obtained results that would be very astonishing. But what, after all, did they get? Nothing save a tendency along that line, and it, dealing only with the lower elements, must if followed for many lives plunge one at last down the steep declivity of black magic. For in the course of time, the lower parts of the nature being always accentuated, bad motives are engendered, all good ones are lost by a gradual atrophy, and selfishness becomes the pervading influence. The shortness of human life interferes here most beneficently, for periodically men are compelled to die, and being born among different surroundings they are thrown off the track by the deliberate action of others and have a chance of being put again and again in the right road. The next paragraph in the quotation contains the practical part to be applied by each one for himself. It directs us to study well the general and the particular, or the nature of Kosmos as a whole and our own nature as a special manifestation of the whole. We are prone to omit the particular application of this, and our tendency is to study the general principles only, and that too in a very intellectual way. We should study with great care our own natures, because it is in those that the obstacles and delusions are. The very first step is to apply to ourselves the judgments and criticisms we have for others. In this the words of Jesus will be found to express the exact practice. He said that one should look for the beam in one’s own eye before observing the mote in that of another [cf. Luke 6:41-2]. Whoever Jesus was — and if he did not exist, whatever he represented — it was the discipline of the ancient true school of the Adepts that he gave out. And here I may again quote what H.P.B. said on that at another time. She said and wrote:

In these sayings of Jesus are to be found many of the rules and sayings of our Lodge. Among them is that one about greater rejoicing taking place in heaven over one repentant sinner than over ninety-nine just men who need no repentance. That saying is “alive and kicking” to this very day among us. So also about the mote in the eye, for does not that touch on self-examination and self-discipline?

Suggestions and Aids 437

In studying these two — ourselves and the Kosmos — we are to divide them first into two groups, one the higher and immortal, the other the lower and the transitory. Applying this to Nature, we see that it consists first, of the visible and invisible that is mortal, perishable, transitory; and second, of the invisible, energetic, that is permanent. Applying it to man, he is dual, thus: first the visible and invisible that is transitory, i.e., body and the three other constituents of life, astral man, desires, and lower mind; and second the invisible manas, buddhi, and Ātman. Having so divided ourselves we must then steadily keep before us the idea expressed in the words, “I am not this body or these desires.” For we might intellectually divide ourselves during centuries and yet never begin to realize the division. That realization comes from dwelling on the thought to be realized. What we are to make a part of us is the knowledge that the body and desires are not ourselves. This should be dwelt on continually until realization begins to dawn on us. As it is now, we are constantly wrapped up in the body and desires, receiving sensations through the one and being swayed and deluded by the other.

Then we must proceed to analyze the desires. This is not done by many as completely and accurately as it should be. Most of us look at desire as referring chiefly to the grosser lower portion of our nature, whereas it includes a large part of manas. We might successfully eliminate the lower desires such as the sensual, and the sensuous, those for merely bodily pleasure, for eating, drinking, clothing, amusements, approbation, and so on, and yet be fast in the grip of the desires of manas, wholly devoid of sensuous or sensual elements. Indeed, many are now at that point. They have mastered mere appetites and passions, but are deluded and carried away by the desires of lower manas. Let us illustrate. Here is a member who will not in any circumstances eat meat.

If lard by chance has been used, even to grease a pan in which some of his ethereal food was cooked, the food is rejected. He eats but little; he does not care for amusements; he reads much; he knows many strange thoughts written down by other men; perchance he knows Kabbalah;

he has much knowledge of where Lodges of mysterious beings are said to have been; he can debate with you regarding Mūlaprakṛiti and other recondite matters. But what of his whole nature? How of his dealing with others and their effect on him? How about the question of union as opposed to separateness? On close — or even sometimes superficial — examination we see that he is full of uncharitableness. The views of others not according with his are wholly rejected. Other men annoy him. They are too much engaged in mere virtue. They eat meat; they are stupid; they are often ready to accept a conclusion

438 Echoes of the Orient

without showing that they have gone through the laborious logic of philosophical proof; their questions are absurd even though sincere. Yes, he has controlled desire on its lowest planes, but it has gotten the mastery over him through manas. This is not progress; it is spiritual darkness. He has given up animal food, but the food of his inner nature is harsh, astringent, bitter, too hot.

Or here is another who has a good nature but has neglected the study of his own mental processes. He can only see in one direction; he has a faculty of confusing his conclusions because he confuses his premises. He desires to go along his own road of thought, for to change it is unpleasant because difficult to begin. He is not of necessity in spiritual darkness, but the action of manas is made crooked because some desire lies lurking down below.

Now having studied a great deal on theosophical lines, we should begin to practically apply our studies. They teach unity and nonseparateness. This must mean all that is implied. It is not a mere general unity, but is a similarity and communion in every part of the nature. If there is uncharitableness, if there is disloyalty, if there are harshness and unbrotherliness in the race, they exist also in us, if only in the germ. Those germs require only the proper personal conditions to make them sprout. Our duty therefore is to continually encourage in ourselves the active feelings that are opposites of those. Those of us who think knowledge can be acquired without pursuing the path of love, mistake. The soul is aware of what it requires. It demands altruism, and so long as that is absent, so long will mere intellectual study lead to nothing. And especially in those who have deliberately called on the Higher Self does that Self require active practice and application of the philosophy which is studied. Every recipient of this ought to think over it and apply it to his or her own life and thoughts, to see how it may apply, and to apply as much of it as possible every day.

William Q. Judge

Suggestions and Aids 439

E. S. T.

London, July 18th, 1894

New York, August 1st, 1894

To the members of the E.S.T.:

You all know that during the last few months the activity of the E.S.T. has been to a great extent suspended in consequence of events which are matters of public notoriety. The issue of these is now before the T.S., and each must form his own judgment upon them. In America and India portions of the Instructions of the School have been published and full divulging threatened; and in the first named country the Instructions were called in because of such publication. So far as the T.S. is concerned, it has passed through a grave crisis; but it goes forward unbroken in its great work in the world. The E.S.T. should do the same.

In the E.S.T. time is needed for the full restoration to a state devoid of friction, as well as for the revival of as perfect mutual trust and confidence as human nature will permit. Without this full restoration and revival no two persons can act as a single channel for spiritual influences.

But we have our fundamental unity and channel in the Masters and in Their mouthpiece — our Teacher in this School — our recognized Head H.P.B. ∴ On this the School was founded and rests today. We will proceed under the arrangements made and left by her at the time of her passing away. She declared that William Q. Judge was the Antaḥkaraṇa, or channel for the Americans, and made him under herself the sole authority in America by the following Documents:

440 Echoes of the Orient

Know. Dare. Will. Silence.

Esoteric T.S. Section

As Head of the Esoteric Section of the Theosophical Society, I hereby declare that William Q. Judge of New York, U.S.A., in virtue of his character of a chela of thirteen years’ standing and of the trust and confidence reposed in him, is my only representative for said Section in America, and he is the sole channel through whom will be sent and received all communications between the members of the said Section and myself, and to him full faith, confidence, and credit in that regard are to be given. ∴ Done at London, this fourteenth day of December, 1888, and in the fourteenth year of the Theosophical Society. ∴

[seal.] H. P. Blavatsky. ∴

(See Council Minutes, 1891.)

[See Echoes I:xxxii for facsimile of above.]

London, October 23d, 1889

. The Esoteric Section and its life in the U.S.A. depend upon W.Q.J. remaining its agent and what he is now. The day W.Q.J. resigns, H.P.B. will be virtually dead for the Americans. W.Q.J. is the Antaḥkaraṇa between the two Manas(es), the American thought and the Indian — or rather the trans-Himālayan esoteric knowledge.

Dixi. H.P.B. ∴

P.S. W.Q.J. had better show and impress this on the mind of all those it may concern. H.P.B.

(See Aids and Suggestions, New York, March 1893, p. 414.) Subsequently H.P.B. changed the “Section” to the “School” and declared it not a part of the T.S. organization. She made the then Inner Group the Council, under herself, for the remaining part of the School, and shortly before her departure made Annie Besant its chief officer, as Chief Secretary of the I.G. and Recorder of the Teachings, by the following:

Suggestions and Aids 441

E.S.

Order I hereby appoint in the name of the Master, Annie Besant Chief Secretary of the Inner Group of the Esoteric Section and Recorder of the Teachings. H.P.B. ∴

April 1, 1891. [BCW XII:485].

Thus it was when she departed. Out of these two appointments was constituted (see Council Minutes 1891) the Dual Headship in 1891 for the management of the School, an arrangement that has not on the whole at any time worked well in practice. At the present time the only way to preserve the E.S.T. unbroken and give time for the restoration of the mutual trust referred to and to smooth out friction is by returning to the above arrangements. We remain throughout the world the one School — “the throbbing heart of the T.S.” — founded by H.P.B., recognizing her as our Teacher and the Masters as our foundation, having in common her Headship, the Instructions she left, and the Rules of the School. The E.S.T. thus will remain the heart of the T.S., energizing the movement, all its parts working together as belonging to one whole, but administration proceeding as during her stay with us, under those appointed by her as her chief agents in the way stated.

Publication by others of the Instructions relieves no one from the pledge of secrecy. Such a publication will do no harm, as the Instructions tend to promote spiritual growth and arouse high aspiration: on their face they do not divulge occult secrets, although deep students can, by looking beneath the surface, find in them that which H.P.B.

wished to impart. The Instructions will reissue where called in, and will go on as before with the various subsidiary papers seen fit and proper. Any subsidiary papers issued by either officer can be had by any member at request, if possible under our means. Old relations are not cut off between members and either or both of said chief officers. The Rules remain the same save as to verbal alterations, and will remain the same for the whole School: any further additions thereto or amendments under the provision therefore which time may disclose as needful will be made by said two chief officers by mutual agreement.

Annie Besant William Q. Judge

442 Echoes of the Orient

Subsidiary Papers

No. A September 1894

Issued in the Western Division

THE “SPIRITUAL WILL”

The matter under this head is not secret, but at the same time, it being done for the sake of the School, it should be used only where proper and not be credited to the E.S.T.

This term is used to designate an action of the will which is more definitely spiritual than the ordinary action. The ordinary is (a) that which causes automatic physical action, such as the heartbeat, blush, digestion, and so on, (b) the actions following on ordinary thought, desires, and wants, (c) that force of will which is developed by various forms of Yoga practice. Anyone can — and all truly sincere members ought to — develop, to that extent which is possible for each, the spiritual will. They need not look anxiously or curiously for proofs that such development is attained, for in many cases they will not be able to know, with the lower brain mind, that the spiritual will is active. It is developed by true unselfishness, a sincere and full desire to be guided, ruled, and assisted by the Higher Self and to do that which, and suffer or enjoy whatever, the Higher Self has in store for one by way of discipline and experience, by sinking as much as possible, day by day, little by little, the mere personal self.

Hence self-discipline must be pursued. Mere mortifications, such as eating unaccustomed food or doing any other outer observance for the sake of what is hoped to be gained, will not bring out the spiritual will. The observances and practices must be mental and moral. They must be in the nature of an actual sacrifice of the personal self, which, acting as a mortification of the latter begins to loosen the hold of the lower and bring out the powers of the higher nature. The very perfection of this sort of mortification is hardly possible in our present state, nor would it now be judicious. It consists in not doing that which one’s personal self desires for itself. Such a method would, with the ordinary student lead to confusion, because he has not

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