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G. de P. — Are there any questions?
Student — This is a question concerning the statements in The Secret Doctrine with regard to the commencement of the evolution of the human race on this earth: were the "sons of mind" called down to reincarnate into the forms that had been partially prepared for them? What I want to know is whether those sons of mind, the manasaputras, became identified with those forms or whether they remained as an overshadowing influence and afterwards became identified with the divinity of the entities that afterward evolved? Do you follow me?
G. de P. — I think so. But the question that you have asked, or rather the form in which you have put your question, I think shows that the character and nature of the manasaputras or 'sons of mind,' as they are called, are not quite correctly understood. The manasaputras are the soul-entities, or entities having reached the grade of soulhood, entities in a state between divinity and elemental existence, at the end of the preceding manvantara. They were in the bosom of the monads and resting in their nirvana, and reissued forth from the monadic essence when the point in the evolution of the human race had been reached where a proper vehicle to express mind, the mental faculties, etc., had been evolved. Then they "descended" and enlightened man. Do you get the idea, or is the answer not quite responsive?
Student — Quite. But there is still a little confusion as to whether they remained as an overshadowing influence, whether the process of the enlightenment of the minds of the growing entities was like lighting a candle from another candle, or whether there was an identification of the sons of mind with the growing entities, the evolving entities.
G. de P. — You mean the evolving vehicles?
Student — Yes, vehicles.
G. de P. — Why, no; because were there an identification, that would mean that the sons of mind and the evolving vehicles are one and the same thing. The manasaputras overshadow and illuminate the human temples into which they sent their streams of spiritual fire, or rather quasi-spiritual fire, buddhic fire.
You see, man is a composite entity. He is composed of a number of converging bundles of forces: the spiritual, which issues forth from the divine; the spiritual-intellectual, to which range of life belong the manasaputras. These manasaputras overshadowing nascent humanity before they had incarnated actually brought up to a certain degree, up to the human grade, the slowly evolving vehicles, which they were overshadowing from the beginning, but in which they had not yet actually incarnated. It was not an identification.
Student — Thank you.
G. de P. — Ask again if the answer is not responsive, because your question is a very important one.
Student — Well, if I put another question on the same line it will perhaps help to illuminate the subject. In the fullness of time, I understand, when man has reached a certain state of spiritual evolution, he is conscious of meeting his own divinity face to face.
G. de P. — Yes.
Student — Now, as regards that divinity, which represents his guide, as it were: is there any identification there with the overshadowing sons of mind?
G. de P. — No, because the overshadowing sons of mind are precisely they who rise, who become progressively ever more self-conscious through their vehicles and through evolving. Their own inner spiritual fire, the inner god, manifests itself in ever larger degree. This inner god is not the manasaputra, but the divine-spiritual above the manasaputra — it is the parent of the manasaputra.
The monad itself really is a composite entity despite its name which means "unit." It is compact of, first a central flame — a consciousness-center, which is so to say a point or atom of the cosmic life, deathless and ever-enduring. Next, this inner center is surrounded by garments, by veils, which are vehicles, through which it expresses itself on the lower planes. One of these vehicles lower than the inner god is the manasaputra, the son of mind. The son of mind is the child, in a sense, the offspring of the inner god. Do you follow that idea? You are an incarnated manasaputra. The manasaputras manifest themselves and manifested themselves, in the astral-physical vehicles, as spiritual souls.
Student — Yes, I see. Then there really is an identification between the manasaputra and the soul that belongs to it, but they are not identified with the vehicle; is that the idea?
G. de P. — No, not quite. The manasaputra is the center of the individuality, is the egoic center itself. The vehicle is merely a garment through which it expresses itself.
Student — Then at the end of the evolution at the end of this round, when we shall have completed our evolution, there will not be two? There is not the manasaputra that overshadowed us and we ourselves, but we are one? Is that the idea?
G. de P. — We are what?
Student — We are the manasaputras?
G. de P. — We are.
Student — The one that came and overshadowed?
G. de P. — Yes.
Student — So that the evolution was really for the sake of the form. Is that so?
G. de P. — For the sake of the vehicle, not the form, because the vehicle has many forms. But the manasaputra itself also evolves on its own plane.
Student — I mean the vehicle. So what has been gained by such an evolution? The manasaputra remains the same. I mean, there is not an additional entity as the result of this evolution?
G. de P. — Why, no indeed. But first understand that the powers of the manasaputra even yet are by no means fully manifested in us. The manasaputra is a ray from the monadic essence in much the same way as our physical sun sends forth its rays. The manasaputras are children of the monadic essence. The monadic essence is the only deathless part of the human constitution. The center of consciousness, individual intelligence, individual consciousness, consciousness individualized as an ego is the manasaputra; but it is merely a ray from the monadic essence. And that is what I mean by saying that the manasaputras rested in the bosom of the monadic essence during the pralaya.
Now, let me tell you something more. The mysteries of selfhood are very great indeed, very subtle, and in the beginning difficult to understand only because of man's miseducation to which we Occidentals have been subjected for hundreds and hundreds of years. The manasaputras are the soul part, the egoic part. But this ego in itself (listen carefully), this ray in itself from the divine sun within, from the inner god within, from the monadic essence — these manasaputras, I repeat, as evolution follows its course through eternity, in time will evolve so high and become so impersonal that egoity will vanish into universal consciousness. In their turn they then become monads, and will repeat in future aeons, in future manvantaras, what the parents of the manasaputras did in this our present manvantara.
I think the confusion that you have in your mind arises in your word identification. Take our bodies, for instance, as an illustration. Our bodies are composed of tiny lives expressing themselves through atoms, but each such tiny life is a learning, a growing, evolving entity, originally beginning its evolution as an unself-conscious god-spark. Through duration it passes onwards, upwards, through its own striving, finally reaching monadic self-consciousness. From self-consciousness as it evolves further through the aeons of time it will become divine, a monadic essence; and as this monad itself evolves on its own high planes it will in time become super-divine; and so on evolving for ever.
Merely for convenience is it said that in the human being there are three lines of evolution: monadic or divine, the spiritual-intellectual or manasic, and the astral-vital-physical. But carry your imagination higher than the monadic essence, higher than your inner god, and you will immediately see that that god itself is evolving on its own plane. And every one of these atoms of your physical body is evolving, although at present an elemental; and in the far, far manvantaras of the future it will blossom into godhood, a self-conscious god, a collaborator in the cosmic work. Then it will go higher, and then still higher. Evolution is endless. It has neither beginning nor end. Now, is that answer more or less responsive to your thought?
Student — Yes it is, but still I have the same difficulty with regard to the individuality of ourselves, shall we say. I understand, for instance, that the result of the influence of the manasaputra on the vehicle is to create a lower mind as the reflection, is it not?
G. de P. — Yes, that is right. One of the influences.
Student — And that lower mind has an evolution of its own?
G. de P. — Correct.
Student — And ultimately becomes at one with the higher mind from which it sprang. Is that so?
G. de P. — Quite so.
Student — Now then, is that lower mind which has now become a higher mind absorbed into the ray from which it got its inspiration, in other words the manasaputra, the angel that was sent down; or does it remain as a highly evolved entity which recognizes its source?
G. de P. — Both. You see, the manasaputra itself is evolving ahead of the ray from the manasaputra, which ray is the human soul, and therefore the manasaputra itself is the highest human soul, the highest part of the human soul — the spiritual soul, if you like. As this lower entity, the human soul or mind, evolves pari passu, step by step, with its parent-fire, so it is always in its parent-fire, although itself is evolving even as its parent-fire is evolving.
The whole purpose of evolution is to bring out the core of each entity ever more fully. Thus the manasaputra passes into divinity. The ordinary human soul becomes highly manasic or manasaputric, if you understand; but its own manasaputra above always remains and enfolds it. It is its parent-fire. It is therefore not an identification. It is not an absolute absorption in a sense of no longer being itself, but it is an assimilation as it were.
Student — Then surely as a result of that a new entity, a new evolving, a new manasaputra has been brought into existence, hasn't it?
G. de P. — No. Simply that the manasic ray develops forth more fully and continuously its inner powers. The atoms in our bodies are we. They are our children. They are not coming to us from outside. Otherwise, why should your atoms be different from my atoms? They are your own offspring, your own off-throwings. They will always be with you through eternity. But as they grow, so likewise you grow and evolve and expand and grow greater. They never become identified with you in the sense of becoming you, your ego. They are however always in your life, in your consciousness, themselves always growing greater, and themselves throwing forth other atoms in which they in turn will live in future time.
Each atom, each life-atom, of your body began as an elemental in your consciousness — a thought, if you like. When I say began, I mean at the beginning of the manvantara it manifested itself as an elemental, as a 'thought' from you. It has a core, a heart. It itself is the reflection of a monadic essence. Therefore it is you and it is not you. Hence you cannot say that it is an identification, which means becoming the same thing. This is a part of the mystery of consciousness, and you have perhaps unconsciously to your own mind hit upon one of the most difficult things to explain to Occidental minds. But still, if you do not understand, ask again, and I will try to answer.
Student — Thank you.
Student — May I ask you a question on exactly the same lines in another way. In that wonderful meeting on Christmas night, towards the end you gave us a key which I have tried to use, and I want to know if I have got it right. I then understood that the I-am-I of each of us, the reincarnating ego, on the reimbodiment of this earth becomes the higher self of the new humanity. That which is our psychological soul becomes then the reincarnating ego of the new humanity; the animal soul becomes the psychological soul, for that which is now the soul of the animals on this earth becomes the human soul of that humanity. Is that correct?
G. de P. — That is about right in a general way.
Student — May I add to that question a second one? Then the next deduction at once shows that we have a wonderful chain of higher selves, in each manvantara being higher in evolution than the last one and stretching inwards to the center of things unendingly.
G. de P. — The general idea is correct and in part is exceedingly well put. You have grasped one of the ideas exactly, and if you will hold to that idea like grim death, it will lead you through many dark places. We have indeed in each one of us — or rather each one of us is attached to — the golden chain as the Greeks put it stretching from Father Zeus to us, and through Father Zeus into infinity in the other direction, as well as in front of us into futurity, range upon range.
We are endless, rooted in eternity. And it is to that thought precisely that I allude so often in the Temple, when I speak of the core of the core of the core, or of the heart of the heart of the heart, of the human being. I allude not to the physical organ, which idea is grotesque; but to the central, the more central, the very central, the farther inwards, in other words the highest in us. Do you understand?
Student — Yes.
Student — I wanted to ask about the relation of the monad from the moon with what has just been said. Is it then the human soul which is illuminated by the manasaputra and which really is the lower manas as we used to call it? That is to say, is it the ray of the manasaputra which illumines or lights up the monad-which-comes-from-the-moon and which last perhaps becomes the human soul? Is that right?
G. de P. — What do you mean by "it"? I do not just quite understand. Please pause a moment. Take your time, and please phrase your question briefly and clearly. Get it clearly outlined in your own thought and then you can express it clearly. Take your time.
Student — Is the human soul the monad from the moon? Does the monad from the moon become the human soul?
G. de P. — "Does the monad from the moon become the human soul"? Are you referring to the pitris — the lunar pitris?
Student — No, I am not referring to the lunar pitris, because I understand them to be those who make the vehicles for these. It says in The Secret Doctrine that they stay in the lower kingdoms, although they are really higher than the monads for which they provide vehicles; that they stay in the lower kingdoms throughout the manvantara and allow these who are really lower than they to go beyond them.
G. de P. — No, I think there is a misunderstanding of what you have read. That would not be possible at all.
Student — Then in another place I understand it to say that we would be obliged to do the same thing for these lunar pitris which they have done for us at the beginning of this manvantara.
G. de P. — That is true; but that pertains to a deep mystery indeed pertaining to future manvantaras. You have wandered from your question.
Student — I have because you asked me if I referred to the lunar pitris, and I explained what I understood the lunar pitris to be. But my question pertains to these monads for whom the lunar pitris provided vehicles.
G. de P. — Are you referring to the human being?
Student — I suppose I am. Perhaps I am. I am asking. But perhaps I can put it in another way. These manasaputras illumine something, and I understand it to be the monads that come from the moon.
G. de P. — That is correct. The home of the manasaputras is the sun — not the physical sun, but the sun behind or within or above the physical sun, the superior sun, of which the physical sun is the garment. What you call the lunar monads belong to the moon. Now, please remember that the moon is a corpse, a cosmic corpse. It is a dead body. And the circumstances therefore are different there from what they are in the case of the manasaputras, who come from a living body.
You see, Companions, you are touching upon mysteries here; and it is very difficult indeed for me to answer questions such as these without stepping over the frontiers into things which I have no right to speak of. But I will tell you this: that your lunar pitris or what you call the monads coming from the moon, come from the moon only in transit. They do not spring from the life-essence of the moon as the manasaputras do from the life-essence of the sun.
Student — I understand that.
G. de P. — Now, dear Companion, just ask your question again.
Student — These monads have passed a certain amount of evolution on the moon and after they have gained what they could there, were transferred to the earth, as I understand it. And it is those monads which are transferred to the earth to continue their evolution, which are to be illumined and awakened to consciousness by the manasaputras.
G. de P. — By the manasaputras; that is correct.
Student — Then I ask if the idea is correct that they which have been awakened by the manasaputras are the human souls?
G. de P. — Yes. But remember this: that these human souls are the children of the manasaputras, whose duty it is to call them to self-consciousness, as the children of human beings are the offspring of their parents, whose duty it is to train them up, to bring them to self-consciousness. The children are not identical with their parents and yet they come from them; they belong to the same life stream. Therefore have I said, you cannot speak of identification, and yet they are the same, literally: bone of the bone, life of the life, blood of the blood, flesh of the flesh, and more — soul of the soul.
Student — May I ask one more question, so as to clear up the subject?
G. de P. — Certainly. Your questions are always so full of meaning and depth that I am very careful how I answer them.
Student — I would like to know concerning these human souls, which I understand are not identical with the others, but which have been awakened to consciousness by the manasaputras, what will be their standing at the end of this manvantara?
G. de P. — They will be members of the dhyan-chohanic hosts, in other words, manasaputras, or rather will be manasaputras at the opening of the manvantara succeeding the one we are now in. Is that clear?
Student — Thank you, it is. I would like to ask another question, if I am not asking too many. Now, it is said that the manasaputras choose their vehicles.
G. de P. — They have to.
Student — Then they must in some way of course belong to them, those particular vehicles that they choose, each one of them.
G. de P. — Precisely.
Student — They give up certain vehicles if these vehicles fail. For instance, if the human souls become evil, go on the wrong path, they are thrown off by the manasaputras.
G. de P. — Correct.
Student — Then they choose another one.
G. de P. — Correct.
Student — And suppose that the first one succeeds?
G. de P. — The first what?
Student — Suppose that the human soul they have chosen in the first place — I have supposed that it has failed and been thrown off. Suppose now that it does not fail. Then the one that it would have had to choose after the first one had failed, must also belong to it. That is to say, there must be many belonging to it.
G. de P. — Correct, and the word "many" is not strong enough. But let me ask you: how does the human soul reincarnate and make a body for itself? How many cells, how many atoms, are there in the human body? If one fails in the reincarnating process another is chosen by the life fluid of the reincarnating ego because they all belong to the same life stream. All are children of the reincarnating ego. Do not believe for an instant that a reincarnating ego is drawn to a family, to a parent, by chance, or is allotted a human cell by chance.
The rule is the same in the case of a black magician, going now to the other extreme of life. When a monad abandons a vehicle which has failed through wickedness, in other words a human soul which has failed, that monad immediately assumes another human soul belonging to itself which has not failed, which has been in latency, asleep (do you understand me?), which has been dormant.
Student — I do.
G. de P. — Your question is very profound.
Student — Following along this same line: is this which has been described not then analogous to the transmigration of the life-atoms, only on a higher plane?
G. de P. — It is. But that again is another profound question. Let me tell you that the monadic essence, the monads, on their own divine-spiritual plane, are the life-atoms of a higher series of worlds. Do you understand that thought? Precisely as the life-atoms of your physical body are the vehicles, or in their conglomerate aggregate become the vehicles, for the manifestation of the higher powers of us humans. Just so the monads themselves are the life-atoms of entities still more sublime.
Realize, that even as shown by our ultramodern scientific research, just as the physical atom, the atom of chemistry, is composed of subordinate parts, which our chemical researchers call electrons and protonic nuclei, so these electrons themselves are freighted with subordinate lives, living entities; and there are hosts, hierarchies, families, of living entities in and on those tiny spheres of life. Nature repeats herself everywhere. Do you understand that thought?
Many Voices — Yes.
Student — If we, the reincarnating egos, are to be the higher selves of the humanity to come, it would naturally follow, would it not, that each one of us would be compelled to be the higher self of our own, or what is today our psychological soul, that will then step forward to be the reincarnating ego of that new humanity, and we should have the same cycle of matter to deal with? Is that correct, please?
G. de P. — The idea seems to be correct. I don't understand what you mean by saying the same "cycle of matter to deal with." Just what do you mean by that thought?
Student — We today have our cycle of matter, the atoms that compose our body and our various sheaths, and as we progress that would always be in relation, follow us to the end, but always tied to us.
G. de P. — Correct; always tied to us. Every human being is a microcosm. In time to come every human soul will become a spiritual soul or monad, and each one of these monads will become a sun, S-U-N. And the higher ones, the most evolved, of these life-atoms, which higher ones are always relatively few in numbers as contrasted with the hosts of less evolved life-atoms, will be the planets around the sun.
You in future aeons will be a glorious sun in space — that is, if you make the grade! And so will all the other companions. There is a god within you, and that god will manifest itself in time as a sun in infinite space. And then in times after that, that sun will become arupa, bodiless. That is, what we humans call form will pass on to destinies still more ineffably grand, to what we call formless worlds.
Evolution is endless. Every entity at its core is a stream of consciousness, for consciousness per se is the fundamental thing in the universe; and the capacities for evolution of any such individualized stream of consciousness are practically without frontiers, because every such stream of consciousness issues from the ocean of infinity. Everything is involved in everything else. We are all bound together inseparably. The mysteries of consciousness are the greatest mysteries of the universe. And all initiation, to put the matter in a somewhat different form, all initiation is a bringing forth of the cognizing consciousness of the one initiated, a higher and grander view of his own inner stream of consciousness.
Student — A thought has been forming itself in my mind since you have been answering these very deep questions, and not merely forming, but the same thought seems to have been more or less repeated each time, and it is something like this: however sublime and in a sense important it may be for us to know these mysteries, because we receive I believe added strength, we cannot remain at the necessary height in our present state of development. We must descend. And not only must, but it is our duty to descend with what we can bring with us of these wonderful things so as to make our own efforts more effective on the plane on which we are now living and have to work.
G. de P. — Correct, and very true, very true.
Student — I was wondering, if our ego will become a sun, what organs of our body will constitute the planets in that system?
G. de P. — The question is clear enough; but I must, for the sake of accuracy, call your attention to the fact that it is not your ego which will become a sun. Your ego will evolve out of your present egoity into sunhood; and the organs of your body are merely sub-organs of your organism as a human being, which express certain lower powers of the stream of consciousness. I would not say that the organs become the planets. It is some of the subordinate life-atoms of your inner being which will become the planets; but only the higher of those life-atoms of the inner constitution will become the planets. Your physical organs are merely temporary forms, temporary aggregates of life-atoms drawn together into a closer community of evolutionary state, or belonging more nearly to the same evolutionary stage than other life-atoms of your body do. Do you understand me?
Student — I understand that the organs of our body correspond to the planets of our solar system, that the planets work through them. In our esoteric instructions it gives Mars as controlling certain organs — certain planets controlling certain functions.
G. de P. — I see what you mean. But that does not mean that the organs of the physical body will evolve into planets. Do you see my point? The organs of your body are merely temporary forms, groups of life-atoms.
Student — I understand that that aggregate of life-atoms will continue as an aggregate in their evolution and form a planet.
G. de P. — Not necessarily at all, because each and all of the life-atoms belonging in a particular organ are all evolving at different rates of speed, so to say, so that in five or six or a dozen human incarnations from now certain life-atoms now forming part of your heart may form part of your brain. Do you now see my point? The organs of the body themselves interchange life-atoms. The planets mentioned above will be those life-atoms in your constitution which when you — the higher part of your stream of consciousness — become a sun, will themselves have become planets.
Student — I think I have read somewhere that the atoms of the heart are more highly evolved than any other part of the body.
G. de P. — No, they are not. The life-atoms of the brain stand the highest. Strictly speaking, the physical heart is the organ of the personal man; and the brain is the organ more particularly of the manasaputra.
Student — Why does the Master in the Instructions to us say: "Think of the Master in your heart"?
G. de P. — Yes, but the word heart here does not mean the physical heart. It means the core of your being. The word heart is commonly used in our Oriental order as meaning the center, the heart of a thing, the core of a thing, like the core of an apple. It does not mean the physical heart.
Student — I think that the physical heart must be around that core surrounding it.
G. de P. — As a matter of fact it does not. You will remember that nature is symmetrical throughout, and that even in our physical body the higher from the feet the organs are, speaking in a general way, the higher they stand in the evolutionary grade. Do you follow my thought?
Student — Yes, I see.
G. de P. — Passing up from the abdomen, through the chest, into the brain. The brain is the highest, and the brain itself is bathed in akasa, which is the highest form of ether, or rather ether is the dregs of akasa. And the ether is the means of transmission into the brain of the thoughts, the vibrational forces, springing from the manasaputra overshadowing us, the manasaputra being the highest part of the human soul, buddhi-manas. Is that clear now?
Student — Yes, thank you.
G. de P. — I might add that all that has been said, true as it is, is not contradictory of the other fact that each organ of the body is under the influence of a particular planet, or, to put it inversely, a particular planet controls each one of the organs of the body. Do you understand me?
Student — Yes.
Student — Is there an analogy between the courses that the life-atoms take before returning to be taken up by the ego, and the elements that make up these monads that come from the moon? Is there an analogy between the courses that the life-atoms take and the course that the higher elements take on their way back to the sun that they belong to?
G. de P. — Yes.
Student — And for that reason you say that the monads came from the moon in transit?
G. de P. — Yes, exactly so.
Student — What corresponds to fohat on the human plane?
G. de P. — On the human plane?
Student — Yes.
G. de P. — A nice little word spelled P-A-S-S-I-O-N, or desire.
Student — Fohat on the cosmic plane is called cosmic electricity.
G. de P. — Fohat is what you might call the cosmic kama, and thought is its rider. That is to say that thought directs desire and passion, although passion in us human beings too often takes the bit in its teeth and runs away with the rider. Do you understand?
Student — I had thought that it was the magnetism that played between people. That idea was wrong, then?
G. de P. — Also that is right. Fohat in another way of looking at it might be called kama-prana or prana-kama — desire combined with vitality. They are inseparable, because there is vitality in every one of the principles of the human constitution. Otherwise we could not cohere, we could not become and be an entity.
Student — If our thoughts become elementals, what did our thoughts evolve from? They must have had infinite time before they became thoughts. Is there no beginning or end?
G. de P. — No. That is a good question. When we say that thoughts become elementals, this is but a manner of speaking, a manner which is conveniently brief. A thought is an elemental actually. We have thoughts because these elementals pass over and through the stream of consciousness and catch our attention at the instant; but these elementals exist as part of us from eternity. Thoughts are not born out of nothingness. They are in us and have been in us always. But a time comes when they express themselves. They express themselves as elementals, because they are elementals. Does that answer respond to your question?
Student — Yes, but not exactly.
G. de P. — All right, try again.
Student — If those thoughts were always in us, they must have had a beginning somewhere — not a beginning, but they must have been something before they were thoughts.
G. de P. — This is the old idea of "where and when did I begin?" Nothing has a beginning except in a relative sense. What we call beginnings and endings are the passings of energies through a certain plane, as it were. If the consciousness is functioning on that plane and sees the passing of the energy, be it a thought or an elemental, we recognize it and say it began and it ends. All we see is the beginning, or rather the appearance, and the ending or the disappearance.
A thought comes into perceptive consciousness from the recesses and deeps of our own being, has its time — an instant or an hour or a week perhaps — and vanishes for the time being out of our consciousness. But what becomes of it? It returns to the reservoir of our aura, also to the reservoir of consciousness, re-enters the stream, the general stream of consciousness, to reappear at some future time. That is where they come from.
We think thoughts and we imagine that we never thought them before. Actually we are merely thinking once again what we have thought before. The thoughts are elemental entities, growing things, learning things. Each thought at its reappearance is a little more clearly defined, a little more symmetrical, and thus we recognize its growth. But they spring from the consciousness, from the fountain of consciousness, which we are. And when their energy is spent in our minds or in the state of consciousness in which we happen to be, as we say we forget them. It merely means that they have lapsed back into the fountain again.
So a human being comes to Earth, is born a child, lives his life, makes his gestures, has his aspirations, his hopes and his hates, and so forth, and finally disappears and we say he is dead. Do you suppose that man began when he was born and ends when he dies? That is contrary to all our teaching. As a monadic essence he never had a beginning and never will have an end; and the elemental in its evolutionary stage called a thought, follows the same rule.
Student — Then they are always thoughts, but they evolve as thoughts?
G. de P. — Certainly they evolve; and it is precisely because they evolve, that they appear and begin or disappear and end, or are forgotten from our standpoint. And furthermore your thought opens a door ajar, which I will push open wider for you. We human beings originated as the thoughts of human beings in preceding manvantaras. We were elementals once and now are human beings.
Student — Now, I have understood that the god which is seen by the human in the initiation when the human being comes face to face with his inner god is the manasaputra which he comes face to face with, something higher than his own soul. Did I understand correctly?
G. de P. — Not quite. It is the higher part of the human soul, not yet fully evolved into the manasaputric plenitude, which through the particular training involved in the initiatory ceremonies meets its own monadic essence, figurated as an entity, face to face. To put it in another way still: the human soul of the aspirant meets his spiritual soul face to face, for the human soul is a man, and the spiritual soul is a demigod. Do you understand? It is an actual meeting, an actual cognition, recognition.
Student — I think I understand.
G. de P. — You are wise if you do.
Student — No, I don't mean that. Of course I don't understand it fully. But then, it is this human evolving soul — my ideas were upset in your earlier answer — it is the human evolving soul which meets its higher god.
G. de P. — That is it. It is the superior human soul only which is capable of so meeting the inner god. The average man is not spiritually strong enough, you see.
Student — I understand. After it has evolved up to this point of almost becoming a manasaputra.
G. de P. — That is right.
Student — May I ask one more question in relation to what you said about thoughts? If we are evolved thoughts, a thought flashed into my mind: what happens to evil thoughts? Is it possible to wipe them out, or will the future progeny of those evil thoughts be Brothers of the Shadow for which we shall be held morally responsible?
G. de P. — Oh, no, not necessarily. We call thoughts evil which are immoral, which are contrary to the rules of action followed as right by human beings.
But I want to let you into a little secret in answer to this question, and you must think long and carefully on what I am going to tell you, otherwise you will be led astray. Now, beware, Companions, because it is a dangerous thing that I am going to tell you. Sin, what men call sin, in the past, but not in the future and not at present, has been one of the means of evolution. Do you understand me? And what you call an evil thought is merely the elemental passing through that phase of its evolutionary journey as a thought. It will refine itself in time as it progresses.
Now, this is a dark saying and a difficult one; but you will remember a passage in The Secret Doctrine, where HPB quotes from one of our esoteric works: "Fish, sin, and soma" — all belonging to the moon, all symbolic of lunar energies.
Student — Thoughts we express on this plane as words; but they may be on another plane something besides that, may they not?
G. de P. — Quite true. Thoughts are elementals; they are energies of the human mind. The human brain mind construes them as words, imbodies them in words. But how feeble words are adequately to express or imbody a thought! Isn't that true? We are faced with this difficulty all the time. We try to express our thoughts clearly, adequately; and it is one of the most difficult of things to do.
Student — If I understand you rightly, then I understand that after a thought leaves the mind of the thinker, it retires into the reservoir of his aura. Then why, in the case of a criminal, who meets a violent death and perhaps goes out with his mind full of hateful thoughts is it so dangerous for his thoughts to be released, if they are simply going back into the reservoir of thought? Or do they not go back into the reservoir but remain in the atmosphere?
G. de P. — The thoughts retire into the consciousness of the criminal, who has been the channel through which these evil thoughts had come forth. These thoughts work on the inner constitution of the criminal, give that inner constitution, as it were, a shape and a form, also an impulse, an urge, a drive; so that when the criminal is executed, the kama-rupa automatically becomes an evil entity, and follows the urge and impulse which these thoughts have imprinted on the astral substance of the kama-rupa; and the kama-rupa, being of ethereal matter, affects the minds of human beings in physical bodies, who are negative to such things. Do you understand me? Is the answer responsive?
Student — Yes, Professor, thank you.
G. de P. — But the thoughts themselves, formless, retire into the consciousness-stream of this human being who was a criminal, and they will reappear in some future reincarnation of his as avenging fiends in and to their creators, to use the popular expression — their parent. Do you understand that?
Student — Yes, Professor, thank you.
G. de P. — We get only what we deserve, and we get only what we are. Nature's inflexible rule: we reap not merely what we sow, but because we sow ourselves therefore we reap ourselves. We reap what we are, what we become. Is that thought clear?
Student — Yes, Professor.
Student — Going back to what you said about thoughts that we call into activity and the amount of activity that we give to them and their disappearance — that comprises the whole subject of habits and the building of character, does it not?
G. de P. — It does. It does indeed.
Student — May I ask a question that has puzzled me very much and seems to have some very deep meaning? It is said in the Bible that Christ — and in mystical literature that the candidate for initiation — during three days enters into, goes down into, Hades and ministers to the spirits, the souls, of the suffering in Hades. That teaching seems to me perhaps to open something, and I don't know whether it is permissible to open it or not. But it seems very suggestive, and it would help if we could hear something about the matter.
G. de P. — It is true. Initiation in the higher degrees is learning by individual experience. Experience means becoming the thing, temporarily at least, which you are learning about. You cannot truly experience a thing until you become it, until you are it. For instance, you can hear about good, but you cannot know good until you become good. The consequence is that initiation, which is simply a copy in brief of nature's lessons learned by the average human being over a long period of time, means that one undergoing initiation must experience himself and become what he had been formerly taught of. That is why so many fail. They are not strong enough to go through the tests. The aspirant must go, not only through the gates of the sun and confabulate with the gods, but he must likewise take the downward path, and, supreme and strong, pure and high, conquer all, but nevertheless meet, face, overcome, and help the beings in Hades, in the lower realms of the cosmic life. Do you understand me?
Many Voices — Oh, yes.
G. de P. — Hades is the underworld, meaning by that word the spheres of cosmic life beneath the human cross-section of the Universe, as the spiritual life is that phase of the cosmic existence above this cross-section which we call the human stage. Is that clear?
Student — Yes, thank you.
G. de P. — Hades is the underworld — everything beneath the human stage. The word is applied more particularly to those invisible realms or kingdoms of nature which are more material than what we call the human stage. Death opens the doors; and therefore, as I have told you before, the mysteries of initiation are relative to and deal particularly with death and its mysteries. Initiation is death for the time being. You die as a man. And if in this part of yourself which goes through these experiences you are not sufficiently strong to meet successfully the tests that will face you, you fail. And one undergoing initiation is fortunate if he can rise when the trial is over, having failed, a living man and a sane.
I cannot tell you how serious and dangerous a thing initiation is. It is no wonder that the Masters of Wisdom and Compassion never undertake any initiation unless they are very well assured, through the tests in daily life of the one whom they have watched and studied, perhaps for several lives, that he is capable and ready and prepared.
Why, if you will just think a moment — the passing through the portals of the sun, to use one of our expressions, must be done consciously. Otherwise it is useless. And the sun itself is a mass of titanic energies which would annihilate anything beneath the grade of a spiritual soul. The sun's energies would simply disrupt it entirely, as fire does wood, consume it — a thought which has been alluded to in the beautiful Greek story about those who have tried to look upon the face of Isis, to raise her "veil," and have died.
Occultism is a very, very serious matter indeed. It is no child's play. It is in every respect awful, in the original sense of the word — arousing awe. And therefore the old saying is true that discipline, training, precedes the Mysteries, for the aspirant's, for the neophyte's own protection.
Student — May I ask another question? I believe that in the early days, from a very close study of Olcott and the theosophical history, Olcott was anxious to make the Society very largely a philanthropic society only. He had the idea of a great deal of work on that line, in broadening out lodges for philanthropic work. I want to know if it is correct, if HPB did not think that merely to make another philanthropic society would be of little value to the world, but that there must be, behind, the idea spread everywhere that there were the Mysteries, that there was something very great to aspire to, even if it takes lifetime after lifetime. There is a flash of something that she gave to the world, which is something infinitely higher than we see. And Olcott differed; and that is what is now to be given to the world again as HPB wished it — the idea that there is something deeper, something that arouses in the souls of those who hear it a spark that nothing else can arouse. Is that the correct view of it?
G. de P. — It was Olcott who was strongly of the opinion that the Theosophical Society should be made into a magical society; and it was HPB who insisted that philanthropy, in the original sense of the word — brotherly love — should lie at the basis of all theosophical work. And she further pointed out that it was not magical practices which elevated men, but that it was occultism which did this.
This is the second part of what you say, and rightly say: that it is occultism, the wisdom of the ancient religion-philosophy-science of the human race, which gives the explanation, the philosophy, the keys, of life, and shows how philanthropy, brotherly love, human kindness, are explained not as emotional indulgences but as the first law of ethical conduct for human beings.
Olcott possibly had the idea that the Theosophical Society in its various lodges and branches, and in its general work, could ameliorate human conditions by ordinary fraternal feeling, such as you have in some of the fraternal orders. Olcott was not a mystic. He was not a spiritually-minded man, though he did good work in his day; but it was HPB who said: "No; brotherhood is the keynote of occultism, a fundamental law of the universe."
Student — That is really what I meant, except on one point. I would like to say a little farther, that in pointing out (Olcott certainly did so in many ways) the ideal of the Masters as living beings, that such as they existed, he did good. For if HPB herself had not raised something in the spirit of mankind, something higher than had ever been thought of before — namely, the idea of the great beings who have attained by spiritual development to such great heights — she would have lost a great influence for good. But Olcott was looking more for a merely benevolent Society, as it were? Is not all this true?
G. de P. — That is true; but your alluding to the Masters in the way you have here is somewhat different from what you said before. It is true that Olcott wished to promulgate before the world the teaching of the living, actual existence of greatly superior human beings — men who through evolution had attained Buddhahood, Christhood. That is true. And he was right. But HPB had given that idea to him. He got that idea from her.
There was no conflict of opinion between them on that idea at all. But a danger lay there — and HPB pointed this out and emphasized the danger — to the effect that every traveling or itinerant lecturer would announce himself as a pupil of the Masters of Wisdom and would distract attention away from real occultism; which is precisely what has happened.
You will find men of various types, and various adventurous Oriental teachers and other lecturers following lines of thought basically their own, yet trying to teach some of our doctrines — who wander up and down the countries, teaching in some cases extracts from the Oriental religious books, which in most cases they only partly understand.
The world at the present day has many of these uninspired and divergent movements or societies. It is the teachings given out by the Theosophical Society which are taken, to some extent, by these people; and therefore what they do is our karma to a certain degree, and we shall have to face that karma as a Society because we are responsible for it.
It matters not that we as individuals are struggling all the time against such misrepresentation and pirating of our teachings. It is our Society which in the last analysis brought our teachings into public notice, and even though our teachings be misrepresented and pirated, nature will follow the threads of responsibility to the source, because our teachings misrepresented by these people have misled many, many minds. And we are responsible, unwillingly it may be; but our movement is responsible to a certain degree nevertheless.
Consequently when you see your Leaders speaking with emphasis at times and in a tone which to some may seem a little unkind, it is because of the fact that we cannot morally permit our fellow human beings to be led astray.
It is not a good answer to say: "But these people even teach high thoughts." Some do; but the answer is beside the mark. They are distracting people's attention from the real thing, the source of it all. Do you follow my thought?
Many Voices — Yes.
G. de P. — The protest that we make is not bigotry. It is not dogmatism at all. It is simply stating a fact and uttering a warning. Nevertheless we should treat these people kindly who misteach and misconstrue our doctrines; but also we should tell the truth and take the consequences.
The next question, please.
Student — I do not understand what you said about initiation meaning death. I had thought, until you spoke of Isis in connection with it, that perhaps it meant death of all the lower in man, and of everything that tended to degradation in any way; but perhaps I misunderstood.
G. de P. — It does mean that; but it also means death in the sense in which I spoke of it. It means that the higher part of the constitution of the man undergoing initiation follows the pathway that the average human being follows when he dies, but the man is nevertheless alive in the body, kept alive by white magic. He passes the portals of death for the time being, and returns.
The story of Orpheus in Greek myth refers to the same fact wholly. Orpheus went into the underworld in order to see his beloved Eurydice; and he was told that he could return and bring her back safely if he did not turn around and look at her. But the human love in him prevailed over the teachings and he turned to look at her and lost her. This teaching also has reference to Orpheus as the monad entering the underworld, or our material sphere, in order to lead into the upper world the human soul Eurydice. Now, think over the tale. It is beautifully conceived, full of esoteric meaning. You must be absolutely impersonal in order to succeed in initiation, swayed neither to the right nor to the left, doing neither evil nor anything personal at all — an impersonal energy, neither knowing fear nor being subject to any other distracting influence. Love alone must fill your soul, compassion — one of the aspects of love — pity, kindliness.
Student — Thank you.
Student — Does not philanthropy in its highest sense include occultism? There came into my mind the statement quoted by HPB, and said by her to have been from the Maha-chohan, that the true theosophist is the philanthropist, who not for himself but for the world lives; and I think in my deepest thought that philanthropy — to use every means that mind and heart can devise, and the soul of man encompass — must include in its fullest sense occultism.
G. de P. — It does; it does indeed. But philanthropy is an aspect of, one of the faculties of, the spiritual being; whereas occultism is not only the wisdom and knowledge of the visible and invisible universe, but a method of lofty spiritual training. Occultism means the knowledge of the inner and invisible side of the universe, as well as of the outer, both the spiritual and material worlds. Imperfect knowledge is not wisdom. But when the soul is filled with love and compassion, it is ready and fit for the study of occultism and for the practising of occultism successfully.
Student — May I ask if there is any preparation during sleep for the tests of initiation?
G. de P. — For the neophyte, you mean?
Student — Yes.
G. de P. — Certainly there is. He is under training all the time, night and day, waking and sleeping. He is tested while he sleeps. Not tested, please understand, as the word is usually construed, that is, stumbling blocks and difficulties thrown in his way in order to see what he will do — that sometimes happens, but more rarely — but he is tested as to how he faces the things which nature herself naturally produces: how the man meets situations, sleeping and waking, how the inner being conducts itself when out of the body, where it is watched; because — you see the reason? The reason is obvious. Were strange and artificial conditions prepared and thrown in his way, they would not call forth the same reactions that nature herself calls forth.
For instance, I can test a man in two ways. I can say to him: "Now, dear Brother, I am going to test you. I won't tell you what I am going to do nor tell you what the test is; but I am going to see how you react." Then I prepare a situation, and naturally he is alert and on his guard; he is watchful. Now, that is an artificial test. Under certain rare circumstances perhaps it may have a certain value. But the value is relatively small. My imagination is not large enough nor deep enough, nor are the imagination and constructive ability of the Masters of Wisdom and Compassion profound enough — not even theirs — to prepare such tests as nature herself provides.
The other test is: I say nothing to the man, but I watch him — how he thinks, what be thinks, how he acts, what he does. He is not aware that he is watched. Do you see the difference? And such testing is severe, because Nature herself — which is equivalent to saying the man's own nature — is relentless in her tests. The neophyte in his reactions places himself where he really belongs, in Nature's category of being, and he is judged thereby.
Student — May I ask just one short question? Is not the state of unpreparedness in which even we to a very great extent live, and the whole world to a very large degree, the one thing that we have to guard against?
G. de P. — Unpreparedness?
Student — Yes. The idea has been in my mind for some little time that we could be tested, that is, that we could stand any test, if it were not for this state of unpreparedness in which we tend to live and go on.
G. de P. — Yes, there is truth in that — a great deal of truth. It is the duty of every one of us to be constantly alert and watchful of ourselves. You need not bother about anything else — neither your brothers nor nature, but you should watch yourself. Be prepared. Always be alert. It is for your own sake.
Now, the aspirant, the neophyte, in these initiations knows that he is going to be tested, but he has no understanding how, except that he is told the truth: you yourself will test yourself. Nature will be merely the background upon which you as the actor will perform.
Student — To go back to this question of orderly place for every atom and every entity in the hierarchy of evolution — is that not the ultimate reason for the objection against serum treatment and vivisection? Do not these two reverse the order of nature, since the duty of everything is to evolve consciousness from its own standpoint?
G. de P. — I think so. That is well expressed. My own chief objection to the serum treatment is that it introduces into the blood stream something which the body itself has not placed there — in a relative sense, of course, an alien, an enemy, an alien power or energy or seed.
Of course the question is not as easy as it looks. If we go back far enough in time we would see that the very beasts sprang from original humanity; and in that sense the serums could hardly be called absolutely alien to the human blood stream. But they are alien in the sense that the distance in evolution that the human race has traveled since that time is so great that serum treatment actually is an introduction into the human being's body of seeds of disease, or the off-throwings or outflowings of diseased conditions, of diseases in lower beings, which ultimately become highly detrimental to the body into which they are introduced.
You can cure one disease and implant three worse, or lay by the seeds of three worse diseases. Now, which do you choose to do? I have heard of men who had the toothache and pondered whether it might not be wise, in order to cure the toothache, to cut off the head. It certainly is one way of curing a toothache.
Student — In connection with this question: when one is drafted into the army, one is more or less from the ordinary standpoint helpless. On about the second day that you have been in the army, you are inoculated against typhoid fever, and on the third day or a week later you are inoculated against smallpox. Your whole nature rebels against it; but what is a man to do?
Cannot he realize that after all his body is not himself; and if his karma places him in that situation, he has to let the powers that be take their course, does he not, and try to rise above it? At least, that is the attitude I took when I was in the army.
G. de P. — Yes, that is a puzzling problem to solve. I have often wondered what I should do. I don't know what I should have done. By law I also had to register my name. I suppose that if I had been drafted, they would have inoculated me. I should have protested with all my strength and power. I don't know what else I might have done.
Student — Would it not be justifiable under such conditions to use ordinary means of deception such as telling untruths, in order to prevent such inoculation?
Student — I didn't know which untruth to tell.
G. de P. — I don't know what I should have done in those circumstances. It is one of those situations where a human being is subjected to something that he knows to be wrong; yet he owes a duty to his country and to the laws that exist, wrong though they may be.
Of course, all such things are taken care of in the long run. A man who contracts a disease in some future life from his own evil acts in this life is wholly responsible. But the present question is a problem. I hardly know what to say in answer to that question. I should certainly not in any circumstances advise a willful, deliberate flouting of the laws of one's country to which one is rightfully subject, even if one believes these laws to be wrong. Personally I could not do that. It would not be right.
I suppose that I should say that the only thing is to leave the problem to the individual's own conscience.
Student — Well, in the last analysis is it not the karma of those who have to be inoculated?
G. de P. — It is, of course. Quite true. There is an old saying: "Evil must needs be in the world; but woe be to those through whom the evil cometh." And it is true.
Student — I happened to hear Mme. Tingley tell her students about that very thing when they went away. Now, the question has brought to mind this point: if anyone has to go through such a difficulty and masters himself, as truly as KT charged her boys to do when they went away, then he comes out as safely as possible in the circumstances.
G. de P. — That is true, quite true. The natural physical karma is greatly mitigated, is small, in such circumstances.
Student — May I ask a question that has troubled me very much? I refer to the question of evolution. We have been told that we are very much behindhand, that we ought to be much farther advanced at the present time than we are, and that this is the cause of so much of this strain. And I wondered if you could tell me whether the whole course of evolution was not abnormal?
I would like to refer just a moment to the matter of Jehovah, who HPB makes no bones of declaring was one of the lower gods. She speaks of him in one or two of her footnotes, and of his action in driving Adam and Eve out of the Garden. Now, if Adam and Eve had stood up, because they did not do wrong in receiving the light, and had said they would not go out of Eden, what then? These stories have bothered me for a lifetime. If they had simply said: "Mr. Jehovah, we will not go," they would probably have not gone because they had in themselves what he did not have. They were superior, according to the teaching, to Jehovah himself; and then they could have gotten a breath and gone out and taken up the course of evolution outside Eden willingly and gladly, and everything would have been different.
Now, is that simply a wild theory or could that have happened? Do we need to feel that the whole of our karma as human beings after that golden age, that childhood period, is just, as it were, like beasts driven through the difficulties of life with never a chance to get a breath or to find ourselves? Or was our karma abnormal from the beginning?
G. de P. — You are taking a mythological story, which you recognize to be mythological, and yet asking a question about it as if it were an actual event.
Student — I meant what the story represented.
G. de P. — Yes, I understand that. Answering your question about karma I answer: I don't think so. It is perfectly true that an entity at any stage of its existence can say, "I refuse to perform further," but I doubt if that refusal would do the entity much good. Children, such as the supposititious Adam and Eve were, may say: "No, I won't do that. I will do this or that or the other thing." Does that declaration advantage the child much?
The Biblical story of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden refers to the early mankind in its then unevolved state of existence; and all the events mentioned in the Hebrew Bible are told in story form. Adam and Eve had to leave the Garden of Eden, in other words their then condition of innocence, in order to learn, to evolve, to grow; and it would have been foolish, just as foolish as a child is when it says, "No, I won't learn," it would have been foolish, I say, for Adam and Eve — the early humanity in other words — to have said: "We refuse to leave our innocent childhood state and learn and grow and evolve."
Suffering is the greatest teacher that we have. Pain of any kind, particularly spiritual pain, mental pain, emotional pain, is another one of our great teachers. Good luck is an awfully poor teacher. It sends us to sleep. It gives us self-satisfaction. But it is suffering: it is the divine dissatisfaction arousing us out of smug comfort, smug complacency, which urges us onwards. Do you follow the thought?
Many Voices — Yes.
Student — Yes, Professor. May I ask another question very briefly? The thing that confused me was the fact that Jehovah was considered by HPB as rather despicable, that his driving them out, his whole action, was a jealous and cruel action. And I wondered if an entity or a god in his place, who had had as his keynote compassion instead of cruelty, would have driven them out in such an unprepared way.
For instance, it is like this: a mother is obliged perhaps by karma to carry the heavy burden of taking care of an aged friend or relative; and that person can be obliged to do this by law, and she can do it unwillingly or unkindly. Or she might go forward in her strength and in her love and compassion and do it most lovingly and willingly, and do it with happiness all along, and thus do it better.
This is what my thought was, that if we had not had that particular god standing in the way, and if he had acted with compassion at that time instead of with cruelty, would not evolution have been taken up willingly and been endured gladly? We would have caught up with ourselves long before now, and things would have been more normal. Or is that a mistake? Will every world have the sad time that we have had?
G. de P. — It is only evolved human beings that possess the high degree of understanding that you speak of. But in the innocence of childhood the young and baby race had not yet learned to understand that evolution, that growth, comes only with pain and suffering and with the struggle to achieve. Furthermore, Jehovah, the esoteric meaning of Jehovah, as represented in the Hebrew Bible, is a term symbolic of natural forces. In themselves they are not cruel. The heart of them is compassion and wisdom. Jehovah and the angel with the flaming sword are merely expressions, mythological expressions, of the working of these natural laws, of the working of nature.
Furthermore, our planet, this fourth planet of our chain in this fourth round, is directly under the influence of the planet Saturn, with which Jehovah is very closely connected in Jewish mythology, if you understand me, and therefore the representative term Jehovah was used.
But I have said enough about this. The matter would lead us into abstract and perhaps uninteresting questions of astrology.
Student — May I ask a question that I heard when I was visiting the Boston Lodge? It may not be esoteric, but then it may be. It was a question about eating meat. There were members who were distressed at the thought of eating meat, eating our younger brothers, as they said. It was so dreadful from the compassionate idea of the suffering that the creatures went through when they were killed. Then another side of the question was advanced that by eating our younger brothers we gave them a chance to live a great many more times; and if we did not eat all these chickens, and so forth, they would not come to live so many times. The question was not decided there.
G. de P. — Well, of course I will tell you frankly that meat eating is something that every esotericist should try not to do. Nevertheless, it cannot be called a crime; and yet I must make a reservation there. It is one of the horrible things that belong to the present stage of our humanity.
I think that the idea of killing our unfortunate fellow beings, the beasts, in order to live on their carcasses is indeed a beastly one; and in the higher degrees in this our Order meat eating is not permitted at all — not so much because it is a crime, but from motives of compassion and from reasons of bodily purity. Actually we do not need meat. Flesh foods have a stimulating effect on the body, and also a grossening, coarsening effect. And yet I have known a man, a chela (he was an exception, it is true, but he stood relatively high), who ate meat occasionally for one purpose (you may be surprised to hear it), in order deliberately to coarsen his body. It could not be done by drugs, which are strictly forbidden. It could not be done by drink, which is also a drug. In this sense he was looked upon as being unfortunate. He did it deliberately, in order to keep himself in his philanthropic work more in contact with the physical plane — if you can follow my thoughts. The idea is rather difficult to express.
I do not bring this instance forward as an example to follow. On the contrary, I bring it forward as an example of a really great man who in his present incarnation was in one respect karmically unfortunate.
Meat eating is not a good thing. You might as well face the fact. But constituted as the human race is, and in view of past evolution it probably cannot be called a crime. It is a misfortune; and every one who can cease eating meat — especially those who belong to our Order — should do so if he feels that he can do so.
We do not help the progress of the beasts by eating their flesh. That is an error. We prevent them advancing as otherwise they would naturally advance, because we cut short their lives. They have to repeat the incarnating process.
But much more important than the eating of meat, far more serious, is the controlling of the gross human passions. These are the real things against which the neophyte must struggle and which he must conquer. And what are these gross human passions? The sex passion is not the worst of them, although bad enough. It is not the worst. The most deadening to a soul are passions such as hatred, anger, jealousy, envy, etc., for gross mental movements like these prevent all spiritual instinct. These are the inner beasts whom we must slay. And I mean these words literally. Do you understand me?
Many Voices — Yes.
G. de P. — You may ask one more question, if you like.
Student — In continuation of what I said before, I have found a great many persons are just as radical in opinion about wearing furs, which cause the cutting off of animals' lives — anything that has to do with shortening life these persons have warned us against.
G. de P. — I must say that I admire the spirit, the kindly feeling of pity, of compassion, behind what you have just said. But I think perhaps that the form of conduct or the verbal expressions which this compassionate instinct took in the cases you mention was a bit extreme.
I knew a man once, a member of the TS, an average man otherwise, who was a vegetarian. He did not drink. He took no drugs. And he thought he was advancing rapidly. But I learned one day that he had the extremely unpleasant habit of beating his wife and children. He was a very angry man in temper and easily afflicted with that degrading passion. I found also — at least it was told to me, and I had no reason to doubt it for my informant I knew to be an honest man — that in a younger period of his life he had amassed quite a fortune by cheating.
And yet he thought he stood high. He was quite a prominent man in his lodge. He did not eat meat. He did not drink. He did not swear. He took no drugs. To use the expression of one who spoke to me: "He is the most soft-spoken man I ever met." His hands were clammy and his eyes were fishy; and I did not think that he was at all spiritual.
No, Companions, it is the inner beasts that we must kill — our own evil side. When that is conquered, and wholly conquered, then you won't eat meat. You won't need to do so. But, as HPB says in The Key to Theosophy, in substance, "Dreadful as meat eating is, it is not a crime; it is a misfortune."
One more question, please.
Student — If we are the thoughts of those who were the humanity of the last cosmic manvantara, are our thoughts to be the humans of the next?
G. de P. — Of the next cosmic manvantara, not planetary manvantara. Make this distinction.
Remember that thoughts are elementals, which merely take the form of thoughts as they pass across the horizon of our consciousness. They are our children, sprung from us as their fountain of vitality. We call them thoughts. Actually they are elementals, that is, consciousness-centers, which in this present manvantara are in the lowest stage of growth.
Well, Companions, I think that we had better close for tonight. We have had a very interesting meeting indeed.
[Sounding of the gong.]