The Theosophical Forum – January 1942


"Now there are — there must be "failures" in the etherial races of the many classes of Dyan Chohans or Devas as well as among men. . ." (et seq., see p. 87, The Mahatma Letters to A. P. Sinnett)

G. de P. — In the address of tonight a quotation was made from The Mahatma Letters to A. P. Sinnett with reference to failures, spiritual failures; and as I know that this word has been greatly misunderstood, or at least apprehended wrongly, I ask your kind attention to what I have to say.

What may be failure among the gods, may be a glorious achievement for a human being or for a demi-god. The "failures" amongst the Dhyan-Chohans, or the gods if you wish, is a phrase which refers simply to those high beings, even amongst the Dhyan-Chohans, who have essayed more than they could successfully accomplish. But you see in a way how creditable this effort is. It is one of the divinest things in the consciousness not only of human beings, but of the Dhyan-Chohans, that they aspire forever beyond themselves. Such failures are victories in the long run, for they represent a sublime effort. And it is far nobler to try to seek the companionship of the gods in this life and fail because we are ourselves not yet gods, than it is to be forever merely human and reck not whether the gods exist or not. So that these failures, all honest failures from the strictly logical meaning of not having done what was envisioned to be accomplished — these failures as beings are among the most glorious even among the Dhyan-Chohanic hosts.

Now it is just these failures who were unable to top the last celestial rise and who had to wait until the next Manvantara before they could cross that peak of achievement — it is just these failures who headed the hosts of those who returned and built our earth and taught earliest mankind, who laid down the lines of work on which the elementals and the lower Dhyan-Chohanic hosts later labored to construct our world as it is. It was these failures who caught the vision, and, guided by the karman of our past, brought that karman as it were up a little higher. Failures, but saviors of us.

So indeed there are failures amongst human beings; and if we just take that word "failures," and do not know the teaching, how unjust could we be. Far nobler is the man who strives for chelaship and fails because of past weaknesses, past karman — far nobler is he than the man who has no such divine hunger to be more and to be better, higher than he was before.

There are failures also in initiation; but all this type of failure is glorious, for it represents noble effort, enlarging vision, increasing strength, and beautiful yearnings. It represents accomplishment. There are failures among the chelas who cannot reach Mahatmaship in this life. But how beautiful is their failure, for they tried and almost won. Fancy, if they had never tried! It is these rare spirits, whether amongst the gods or amongst us men, who see and try, and succeed or fail; but that failure itself is a success; and it is such failures as these that the mahatmic writer alludes to.

And what is it that H. P. Blavatsky says in The Voice of the Silence:

Remember, thou that fightest for man's liberation, each failure is success, and each sincere attempt wins its reward in time. The holy germs that sprout and grow unseen in the disciple's soul, their stalks wax strong at each new trial, they bend like reeds but never break, nor can they e'er be lost. But when the hour has struck they blossom forth.

The Theosophical Forum