The Theosophical Forum – November 1939

WAYS OF LIGHT AND DARKNESS — Lydia Ross

Where the Gita says that "light and darkness are the world's eternal ways," it refers to mankind's choice of two opposite pathways. On one, humanity travels toward the spiritual light; on the other, men wander largely in spiritual darkness. The individual, in turn, feels the conflicting impulses of his own dual nature. At times, he feels the urge of aspiration to reclaim his spiritual birthright; often he loiters along the human levels of a thinking animal. He does not "know himself as a being destined to go forward at his own pace. The majority do not rise very high or sink very low. They have certain ideals — not too high. They are shocked by low crime and degradation which are accounted for as phases of, or due to, "human nature." The cases of unselfish service and wise nobility are not so labelled. Yet man's dual human mind acts with his spiritual impulses and desires as well as with his selfish emotions and plans. It is really his higher human nature acting when he does his best — his animal self would not do as well, and his wholly spiritual self would do even better.

Is it not logical to suppose that very exceptional men would so far evolve their higher nature as to overtop even the best of the majority? They would live in the "light," no longer confused by the shadows of selfishness and prejudice. Their horizon would be large enough to show an undercurrent of Purpose beneath the changing ripples of events. In short, they would be Masters of Life, what are called Mahatmans, or great souls. They would be supernormal compared with the majority, but never supernatural. Self-directed evolution is more natural in a human being than is stagnant existence.

Why thinking people can question the existence of the Masters who sent H. P. Blavatsky to found the Theosophical Society, is hard to understand. Is it because the thought-world has been so long confined to the "miserable sinner" estimate of the "sons of God," that it cannot imagine the reality of a super-type? Not that we recognize the taint of this old theological half-truth in our thinking, or that we believe that the world is but 6,000 years old. But the shadow of such pious fictions still darkens our understanding of our present knowledge. The Ancients had a perspective in their view of man and his planet that showed a basic Purpose running through the history of the individual, the Race, and the Globe itself.

H. P. Blavatsky's story of herself as a Messenger from the Great White Lodge of Masters stands on its entire consistency with all the facts in the case. She and her work can be measured by no standard but that of a spiritual Warrior fighting against powers of darkness. She was chosen to bring "light from the East" at the end of the nineteenth century, as others had been sent regularly for several hundred years previously. It is significant of high hope for humanity now struggling through a transition period, that her hard-won victories in the eternal contest of light and darkness carried the Movement over into the present century. Not only did the outer work of the Lodge carry over for the first time, but it is growing steadily in numbers and influence, while all the world's affairs are stricken with uncertainty.

H. P. Blavatsky's work was to throw light on the problems of her day, as other Messengers did in their times. She revealed the inner meaning of Christian teachings which theology had misinterpreted. She foretold startling scientific facts which have since been rediscovered. She showed her knowledge and control of finer forces within man. She consciously produced greater phenomena than were appearing through entranced mediums in her day. She explained the rationale of these things which were not spiritual, but evidence of the astral realm of a finer grade of matter. These were timely topics; but her reasoning fell on deaf ears among the Scientists and Spiritualists.

Of the Messengers sent to Europe in the last quarter of the eighteenth century, we read:

Mesmer . . . was an initiated member of the Brotherhoods of the Fratres Lucis and of Lukshoor (or Luxor), or the Egyptian Branch of the latter. It was the Council of "Luxor" which selected him — according to the orders of the "Great Brotherhood" — to act in the XVIIIth century as their usual pioneer, sent in the last quarter of every century to enlighten a small portion of the Western nations in occult lore. It was St. Germain who supervised the development of events in this case; and later Cagliostro was commissioned to help, but having made a series of mistakes, more or less fatal, he was recalled. Of these three men who were at first regarded as quacks, Mesmer is already vindicated. The justification of the two others will follow in the next century. Mesmer founded the "Order of Universal Harmony" in 1783, in which presumably only animal magnetism was taught, but which in reality expounded the tenets of Hippocrates, the methods of the ancient Asclepieia, the Temples of Healing, and many other occult sciences. — Theosophical Glossary

In the work of these three Messengers, each showed supernormal knowledge and the power to handle hidden forces of mind and matter. They showed the many who were then selfishly seeking the elixir of life and the transmutation of metals, that the real secret was not in the laboratory but in man himself. They worked unselfishly to heal the sick and to help the poor. As friends, confidants and advisers of Kings and the highest and mightiest in many lands, they forewarned those in power of political intrigues and of the impending upheaval of the French Revolution. Of course, their biographies are many.

One biography, written in 1934, by Margaret Goldsmith, gives a detailed picture of Mesmer, based on an extensive bibliography dating from his time up to the present. The book shows painstaking research, and it presents the course of the man's career carefully. He is presented as a nature-loving youth with no intimates, fond of music always; in college, he greedily read physics, mathematics, astronomy, and especially Paracelsus. Graduated, he did casual tutoring, studied law briefly, and then medicine seriously, and began to practise as a physician. He was tall, dignified, kindly but impersonal and aloof, devoted to his patients, especially the poor, indifferent to fame, personal ambition, and money; was calm and tolerant even with his jealous enemies and slanderers; he was a tireless worker with a one-pointed desire to prove the reality of his work that the world might benefit thereby. Having done his work, he retired, feeling that the world was not ready for the light of truth which he held.

We question the author's conclusion that Mesmer could not make the dogmatic scientists understand the action of the magnetic fluid because the subject was not clear in his mind. How could he define what he knew was an imponderable fluid to prejudiced men who could not imagine matter not subject to the laws of physics? A hundred years later, H. P. Blavatsky found the foremost scientific minds equally closed to more light upon subjects in their own lines. She spoke to deaf ears of the electronic nature of matter, of the divisible atom, etc., ancient teachings which Science has since rediscovered. No doubt Mesmer was understood when he spoke of the deeper mysteries to those who had "ears to hear" in his "Order of Universal Harmony." That part of his work was the giving of "meat to strong men" who were united in those dark days to stand firm as champions of the unfading light.

The Messengers are not free to tell all they know. Moreover, in spite of their unselfish lives and work, the opposing forces of darkness fight to keep the masses ignorant of the truth. Yet in every age there are the "few" who recognise and support the Teacher. To such as these the Avatara Jesus told of the "mysteries of the kingdom of heaven." Our author, sketching methods of healing, speaks — not irreverently — of Jesus as "intuitively one of the greatest psychologists," and proceeds to analyse his curative methods of "suggestion," faith, laying on of hands, the hypnotic effect of his presence, etc. With remarkable insight and rare common sense, she says, "He intuitively used methods which, nowadays, young medical practitioners are taught cut-and-dried in their textbooks." (page 12)

We question the author's interpretation of the work of Jesus. His cures, far from being a "step in the direction of modern psychotherapy," were leagues ahead of our cut-and-dried psychologists who reckon without the soul. Statistics, show that only a small fraction of them even believe in post-mortem survival. Again, instead of a "hypnotic" benumbing of the sick man's will, the very "presence" of Jesus aroused vibrations in others who largely cured themselves by faith in the natural reality of wholeness. They saw it imbodied in Him who was "the way, the truth, and the life."

It is historically false to say that H. P. Blavatsky was ever "a member of the Spiritualistic Church," or that "her theosophical doctrines sprang from her earlier belief in Spiritualism." (page 254-5.) She was not a member of the Spiritualist organization, nor ever accepted their belief in the return of disimbodied "spirits." She defended them from wholesale charges of fraud, seeing in their phenomena the scientific evidence of a finer grade of substance, while meantime warning all of the dangers of negative mediumship. She understood the laws of the astral realm which interpenetrates the physical universe. Its substance is not more intangible than those radio wave-lengths that encircle the world with the speed of light. She got her occult training from the Masters who also directed her practical experience of traveling into all the corners of the globe before she began to teach Theosophy. She owed nothing to any, or all of the movements of her day. She understood them better than did their advocates who were but dimly responding to the cyclic revival of the Ancient Light of which she was the conscious Witness.

The Theosophical Movement has come down the ages, a Plan too vast to be measured in the uncertain light of our bewildered modern civilization. Nevertheless, the thread of Purpose can be seen if one reads between the lines of history and research, spelling out the larger truth in its own universal language.


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