The Theosophical Forum — August 1943


The month of August, 1831, marked the birth of that extraordinary character known to the world as H. P. Blavatsky; by some called impostor, charlatan, fraud, by others "the greatest figure of her age"; and by Theosophists recognised as the chosen Messenger of the Mahatmans for the nineteenth century to give a new re-statement of the truths of the Ancient Wisdom-Religion to the world. No judgment, however, is complete, unless weighed in the light of the immense learning contained in her books, and as long as critics ignore these they may be considered to have "no case," and their attacks ruled merely as the expression of uninformed, prejudiced and often fanatical minds.

Better than biographical sketch, the following excerpts from H. P. B.'s Key to Theosophy (published in London, in 1889), selected for the Editors by M. W. S., reveal something of the grandeur of her message and its nobility of exposition, and it is not difficult to perceive from a careful reading of them how it is that her teaching gave such dynamic beginning to the Society she founded, and how profoundly has Theosophic thought affected the world since that day. — Eds.

As mankind is essentially of one and the same essence, and that essence is one — infinite, uncreate, and eternal, whether we call it God or Nature — nothing, therefore, can affect one nation or one man without affecting all other nations and all other men. — p. 41

Make men feel and recognize in their innermost hearts what is their real, true duty to all men, and every old abuse of power, every iniquitous law in the national policy, based on human, social or political selfishness, will disappear of itself. — p. 231

Selfishness, indifference, and brutality can never be the normal state of the race — to believe so would be to despair of humanity. . . . — p. 235

We maintain that all pain and suffering are results of want of Harmony, and that the one terrible and only cause of the disturbance of Harmony is selfishness in some form or another. — p. 207

The power of mental inertia is great in anything that does not promise immediate benefit and reward. Our age is preeminently unspiritual and matter of fact. — p. 37

But there are no free-thinking boys and girls, and generally early training will leave its mark behind in the shape of a cramped and distorted mind. A proper and sane system of education should produce the most vigorous and liberal mind, strictly trained in logical and accurate thought, and not in blind faith. — p. 270

What kind of Satanic pride must be ours if we place our infinitesimally small consciousness and individuality higher than the universal and infinite consciousness! — p. 219

If this life were all, then in many respects it would indeed be poor and mean; but regarded as a preparation for the next sphere of existence, it may be used as the golden gate through which we may pass, not selfishly and alone, but in company with our fellows, to the palaces which lie beyond. —p. 237

Belief in Karma is the highest reason for reconcilement to one's lot in this life, and the very strongest incentive towards effort to better the succeeding re-birth. — p. 216

We describe Karma as the Law of re-adjustment which ever tends to restore disturbed equilibrium in the physical, and broken harmony in the moral world. We say that Karma does not act in this or that particular way always: but that it always does act so as to restore Harmony and preserve the balance of equilibrium, in virtue of which the Universe exists. — p. 205

It is an occult law, moreover, that no man can rise superior to his individual failings, without lifting, be it ever so little, the whole body of which he is an integral part. — p. 203

But true or false, no accusation against another person should ever be spread abroad. If true, and the fault hurts no one but the sinner, then leave him to his Karma. If false, then you will have avoided adding to the injustice in the world. — p. 255

Nature may err, and often does, in its details and the external manifestations of its materials, never in its inner causes and results. — p. 221

The law of Karma is inextricably interwoven with that of reincarnation. . . . It is only this doctrine that can explain to us the mysterious problem of good and evil, and reconcile man to the terrible and apparent injustice of life. — p. 211

The spiritual Ego of man moves in eternity like a pendulum between the hours of birth and death. — p. 167

To get convinced of the fact of reincarnation and past lives, one must put oneself in rapport with one's real permanent Ego, not with one's evanescent memory. — p. 128

We call reminiscence the memory of the soul. — p.125

An "entity" is immortal, but is so only in its ultimate essence, not in its individual form. — p. 107

Reincarnation means that this Ego will be furnished with a new body, a new brain, and a new memory. — p. 128

I have given you once already a familiar illustration by comparing the Ego, or the individuality, to an actor, and its numerous and various incarnations to the parts it plays. Will you call these parts or their costumes the actor himself? Like that actor, the Ego is forced to play during the cycle of necessity, up to the very threshold of Paranirvana, many parts such as may be unpleasant to it. But as the bee collects its honey from every flower, leaving the rest as food for the earthly worms, so does our spiritual individuality, whether we call it Sutratma or Ego. Collecting from every terrestrial personality, into which Karma forces it to incarnate, the nectar alone of the spiritual qualities and self-consciousness, it unites all these into one whole and emerges from its chrysalis as the glorified Dhyan Chohan. — p. 168

Duty is that which is due to Humanity, to our fellow-men, neighbours, family, and especially that which we owe to all those who are poorer and more helpless than we are ourselves. This is a debt which, if left unpaid during life, leaves us spiritually insolvent and moral bankrupts in our next incarnation. Theosophy is the quintessence of duty. — p. 229

Happiness, or rather contentment, may indeed follow the performance of duty, but is not and must not be the motive for it. — p. 228

Theosophy teaches self-abnegation, but does not teach rash and useless self-sacrifice, nor does it justify fanaticism. — p. 240

Self-sacrifice has to be performed with discrimination; and such a self-abandonment, if made without justice, or blindly, regardless of subsequent results, may often prove not only made in vain, but harmful. — p. 238

A man has no right to starve himself to death that another man may have food, unless the life of that man is obviously more useful to the many than is his own life. — p. 239

Death comes to our spiritual selves ever as a deliverer and friend. — p. 161

The Ego receives always according to its deserts. After the dissolution of the body, there commences for it a period of full awakened consciousness, or a state of chaotic dreams, or an utterly dreamless sleep. . . If our physiologists find the cause of dreams and visions in an unconscious preparation for them during the waking hours, why cannot the same be admitted for the post-mortem dreams? I repeat it: death is sleep. — p. 165

. . . . the Devachanic state is not one of omniscience, but a transcendental continuation of the personal life just terminated. It is the rest of the soul from the toils of life. — p. 156

At the solemn moment of death every man, even when death is sudden, sees the whole of his past life marshalled before him, in its minutest details. For one short instant the personal becomes one with the individual and all-knowing Ego. But this instant is enough to show to him the whole chain of causes which have been at work during his life. He sees and now understands himself as he is, unadorned by flattery or self-deception. He reads his life, remaining as a spectator looking down into the arena he is quitting; he feels and knows the justice of all the suffering that has overtaken him. — p. 162

As to the ordinary mortal, his bliss in it [Devachan] is complete. It is an absolute oblivion of all that gave it pain or sorrow in the past incarnation, and even oblivion of the fact that such things as pain or sorrow exist at all. The Devachanee lives its intermediate cycle between two incarnations surrounded by everything it had aspired to in vain, and in the companionship of everyone it loved on earth. It has reached the fulfilment of all its soul-yearnings. And thus it lives throughout long centuries an existence of unalloyed happiness, which is the reward for its sufferings in earth-life. In short, it bathes in a sea of uninterrupted felicity spanned only by events of still greater felicity in degree. — p. 148

We say that the bliss of the Devachanee consists in its complete conviction that it has never left the earth, and that there is no such thing as death at all. . . . — p. 146

For pure divine love is not merely the blossom of a human heart, but has its roots in eternity. Spiritual holy love is immortal, and Karma brings sooner or later all those who loved each other with such a spiritual affection to incarnate once more in the same family group. — p. 150

Love is a strong shield, and is not limited by space or time. — p. 150

And what may be the duty of the Theosophist to himself?

To control and conquer, through the Higher, the lower self. To purify himself inwardly and morally; to fear no one, and naught, save the tribunal of his own conscience. Never to do a thing by halves; i. e., if he thinks it the right thing to do, let him do it openly and boldly, and if wrong never touch it at all. — p. 241

The world in which blossom the transitory and evanescent flowers of personal lives is not the real permanent world; but that one in which we find the root of consciousness, that root which is beyond illusion and dwells in the eternity. — p. 180

It was a mystic belief — practically proved by initiated adepts and priests — that, by making oneself as pure as the incorporeal beings i.e., by returning to one's pristine purity of nature — man could move the gods to impart to him Divine mysteries, and even cause them to become occasionally visible, either subjectively or objectively. — p. 2, footnote

We believe that every human being is the bearer, or Vehicle, of an Ego coeval with every other Ego; because all Egos are of the same essence and belong to the primeval emanation from one universal infinite Ego. Plato calls the latter the logos. . . and we, the manifested divine principle, which is one with the Universal Mind or Soul. — p. 110

. . . the root of all nature, objective and subjective, and everything else in the universe, visible and invisible, is, was and ever will be one absolute essence, from which all starts, and into which everything returns. This is Aryan philosophy, fully represented only by the Vedantins, and the Buddhist system, — p. 43

We find. . . two distinct beings in man; the spiritual and the physical, the man who thinks, and the man who records as much of these thoughts as he is able to assimilate. — p. 90

That alone which is eternal is real. . . As fleeting personalities, today one person, tomorrow another — we are [illusions]. Would you call the sudden flashes of the Aurora borealis, the Northern lights, a "reality," though it is as real as can be while you look at it? Certainly not; it is the cause that produces it, if permanent and eternal, which is the only reality, while the effect is but a passing illusion. — pp. 84-5

The Spiritual "I" in man is omniscient and has every knowledge innate in it; while the personal self is the creature of its environment and the slave of the physical memory. Could the former manifest itself uninterruptedly, and without impediment, there would be no longer men on earth, but we should all be gods. — p. 131

There is but one real man, enduring through the cycle of life and immortal in essence, if not in form, and this is Manas, the Mind-man or embodied Consciousness. — p. 100

That which displays activity, while the body is asleep or paralysed, is the higher consciousness, our memory registering but feebly and inaccurately — because automatically — such experiences, and often failing to be even slightly impressed by them. — p. 180

Spiritual and divine powers lie dormant in every human Being; and the wider the sweep of his spiritual vision the mightier will be the God within him. — p. 181

When two minds are sympathetically related, and the instruments through which they function are tuned to respond magnetically and electrically to one another, there is nothing which will prevent the transmission of thoughts from one to the other, at will; for since the mind is not of a tangible nature, that distance can divide it from the subject of its contemplation, it follows that the only difference that can exist between two minds is a difference of STATE. So if this latter hindrance is overcome, where is the "miracle" of thought transference, at whatever distance? — p. 291

[Karma is] the Ultimate Law of the Universe, the source, origin and fount of all other laws which exist throughout Nature. Karma is the unerring law which adjusts effect to cause, on the physical, mental and spiritual planes of being. As no cause remains without its due effect from greatest to least, from a cosmic disturbance down to the movement of your hand, and as like produces like, Karma is that unseen and unknown law which adjusts wisely, intelligently and equitably each effect to its cause, tracing the latter back to its producer. Though itself unknowable, its action is perceivable. . . Though we do not know what Karma is per se, and in its essence, we do know how it works, and we can define and describe its mode of action with accuracy. We only do not know its ultimate Cause, just as modern philosophy universally admits that the ultimate Cause of anything is "unknowable." — p. 201

. . . . for logic, consistency, profound philosophy, divine mercy and equity, this doctrine of Reincarnation has not its equal on earth. It is a belief in a perpetual progress for each incarnating Ego, or divine soul, in an evolution from the outward into the inward, from the material to the Spiritual, arriving at the end of each stage at absolute unity with the divine Principle. From strength to strength, from the beauty and perfection of one plane to the greater beauty and perfection of another, with accessions of new glory, of fresh knowledge and power in each cycle, such is the destiny of every Ego, which thus becomes its own Saviour in each world and incarnation. — p. 154-5

The Theosophical Forum