The Theosophical Forum – August 1946


From writings of H. P. BLAVATSKY in "Lucifer"

We stand at the parting of the ways, where the one path leads down the acclivity to the dark valley of ignorance, and the other climbs upward toward the pure celestial level of being. For us, it is to utter the cry of warning, and the word of encouragement: he that hath ears to hear, let
him hear
— AND BE WISE. — Vol. III, No. 13, p. 3

The Theosophical Society, indeed, as a body, is the only one which opens its arms to all, imposing on none its own special beliefs, strictly limited to the smaller inner group within it, called the Esoteric Section. It is truly Universal in spirit and constitution. It recognises and fosters no exclusiveness, no preconceptions. In the T. S. alone do men meet in the common search for truth, on a platform from which all dogmatism, all sectarianism, all mutual party hatred and condemnation are excluded; for, accepting every grain of truth wherever it is found, it waits in patience till the chaff that accompanies it falls off by itself. . . . Theosophy is monistic through and through. It seeks the one Truth in all religions, in all science, in all experience, as in every system of thought. What aim can be nobler, more universal, more all-embracing? — Vol. IV, No. 23, pp. 359-60

For the extension of the theosophical movement, a useful channel for the irrigation of the dry fields of contemporary thought with the water of life, Branches are needed everywhere; not mere groups of passive sympathisers, such as the slumbering army of church-goers, whose eyes are shut while the "devil" sweeps the field; no, not such. Active, wide-awake, earnest, unselfish Branches are needed, whose members shall not be constantly unmasking their selfishness by asking "What will it profit us to join the Theosophical Society, and how much will it harm us?" but be putting to themselves the question "Can we not do substantial good to mankind by working in this good cause with all our hearts, our minds, and our strength?" — Vol. III, No. 14, p. 92

There is no room for personalities in a work like ours; and all must be ready, as the Founders are, if needs be, for the car of Jaggenath to crush them individually for the good of all. — Vol. III, No. 15 p. 187

A true theosophist must be a cosmopolitan in his heart. He must embrace mankind, the whole of humanity in his philanthropic feelings. — Vol. III, No. 16, p. 267

Surely we learn better and profit more by criticism than by flattery, and we amend our ways more through the abuse of our enemies than the blind pandering of our friends. — Vol. IV, No. 19, p. 4

Occult truth cannot be absorbed by a mind that is filled with preconception, prejudice, or suspicion. It is something to be perceived by the intuition rather than by the reason; being by nature spiritual, not material. Some are so constituted as to be incapable of acquiring knowledge by the exercise of the spiritual faculty; e.g. the great majority of physicists. Such are slow, if not wholly incapable of grasping the ultimate truths behind the phenomena of existence. There are many such in the Society; and the body of the discontented are recruited from their ranks. Such persons readily persuade themselves that later teachings, received from exactly the same source as earlier ones, are either false or have been tampered with by chelas, or even third parties. Suspicion and inharmony are the natural result, the psychic atmosphere, so to say, is thrown into confusion, and the reaction, even upon the stauncher students, is very harmful. Sometimes vanity blinds what was at first strong intuition, the mind is effectually closed against the admission of new truth, and the aspiring student is thrown back to the point where he began. Having jumped at some particular conclusion of his own without full study of the subject, and before the teaching had been fully expounded, his tendency, when proved wrong, is to listen only to the voice of his self-adulation, and cling to his views, whether right or wrong. The Lord Buddha particularly warned his hearers against forming beliefs upon tradition or authority, and before having thoroughly inquired into the subject. — Vol. III, No. 14, p. 92

Is it not enough to bear the burden of the knowledge that from birth to death, the least, the most unimportant, unit of the human family exercises an influence over, and receives in his turn, as unconsciously as he breathes, that of every other unit whom he approaches, or who comes in contact with him? Each of us either adds to or diminishes the sum total of human happiness and human misery, "not only of the present, but of every subsequent age of humanity." — Vol. IV, No. 19, p. 9

Karma, thus, is simply action, a concatenation of causes and effects. That which adjusts each effect to its direct cause; that which guides invisibly and as unerringly these effects to choose, as the field of their operation, the right person in the right place, is what we call Karmic law. What is it? Shall we call it the hand of Providence? We cannot do so, especially in Christian lands, because the term has been connected with, and interpreted theologically as, the foresight and personal design of a personal god; and because in the active laws of Karma — absolute Equity — based on the Universal Harmony, there is neither foresight nor desire; and because again, it is our own actions, thoughts, and deeds which guide that law, instead of being guided by it. "Whatever a man soweth, that shall he reap." It is only a very unphilosophical and illogical theology which can speak in one breath of free will, and grace or damnation being pre-ordained to every human from (?) eternity, as though eternity could have a beginning to start from! But this question would lead us too far into metaphysical disquisitions. Suffice it to say that Karma leads us to rebirth, and that rebirth generates new Karma while working off the old, Sanchita Karma. Both are indissolubly bound up, one in the other. Let us get rid of Karma, if we would get rid of the miseries of rebirths or — REINCARNATION. — Vol. IV, No. 20, p. 89

There are a few articles of belief among the best theosophists, the bare mention of which produces upon certain persons and classes of society the effect of a red rag on an infuriated bull. One of these is our belief — very harmless and innocent per se — in the existence of very wise and holy personages, whom some call their MASTERS, while others refer to them as "Mahatmas."

Now, these may or may not actually exist — (we say they do); they may or may not be as wise, or possess altogether the wonderful powers ascribed to, and claimed for them. All this is a question of personal knowledge — or, in some cases, faith. Yet, there are the 350,000,000 of India alone who believe since time immemorial in their great Yogis and Mahatmas, and who feel as certain of their existence in every age, from countless centuries back down to the present day, as they feel sure of their own lives. Are they to be treated for this as superstitious, self-deceived fools? — Vol. IV, No. 22, p. 269

What then are the "matters" that seem to Mr. Bradlaugh "as unreal as it is possible for any fiction to be"? We hope he is not referring to those physical phenomena, which most unfortunately have been confused in the Western mind with philosophical Theosophy? Real as these manifestations are — inasmuch as they were not produced by "conjuring tricks" of any kind — still the best of them are, ever were and ever will be, no better than psychological illusions, as the writer herself always called them to the disgust of many of her phenomenally inclined friends. These "unrealities" were all very well as toys, during the infancy of Theosophy; but we can assure Mr. Bradlaugh that all his Secularists might join the T. S. without ever being expected to believe in them — even though he himself produces the same "unreal" but beneficent "illusions" in his mesmeric cures, of many of which we heard long ago. And surely the editor of the National Reformer will not call "unreal" the ethical and ennobling aspects of Theosophy, the undeniable effects of which are so apparent among the bulk of Theosophists — notwithstanding a back-biting and quarreling minority? Surely again he will not deny the elevating and strengthening influence of such beliefs as those in Reincarnation and Karma, doctrines which solve undeniably many a social problem that seeks elsewhere in vain for a solution? . . .

The phenomena of thought-transference, hypnotism, suggestion, and many other mental and psychic manifestations, formerly regarded as supernatural or the work of the devil, are now recognized as purely natural phenomena. And yet it is in truth the same powers, only intensified tenfold, that are those "unrealities" Mr. Bradlaugh speaks about. Manipulated by those who have inherited the tradition of thousands of years of study and observation of such forces, their laws and modes of operations — what wonder that they should result in effects, unknown to science, but supernatural only in the eyes of ignorance. — Vol. IV, No. 23, pp. 357-8

Things have strangely altered since the days of antiquity, when the truly wise made it their first duty to conceal their knowledge, deeming it too sacred even to mention before the hoi polloi. While the medieval Rosecroix, the true philosopher, keeping old Socrates in mind, repeated daily that all he knew was that he knew nothing, his modern self-styled successor announces in our day, through press and public, that those mysteries in Nature and her Occult laws of which he knows nothing, have never existed at all. There was a time when the acquirement of Divine Wisdom (Sapientia) required the sacrifice and devotion of a man's whole life. It depended on such things as the purity of the candidate's motives, on his fearlessness and independence of spirit; but now, to receive a patent for wisdom and adeptship requires only unblushing impudence. A certificate of divine wisdom is now decreed, and delivered to a self-styled "Adeptus" by a regular majority of votes of profane and easily-caught gulls, while a host of magpies driven away from the roof of the Temple of Science will herald it to the world in every market-place and fair. Tell the public that now, even as of old, the genuine and sincere observer of life and its underlying phenomena, the intelligent co-worker with nature, may, by becoming an expert in her mysteries thereby become a "wise" man, in the terrestrial sense of the word, but that never will a materialist wrench from nature any secret on a higher plane — and you will be laughed to scorn. Add, that no "wisdom from above" descends on any one save on the sine qua non condition of leaving at the threshold of the Occult every atom of selfishness, or desire for personal ends and benefit — and you will be speedily declared by your audience a candidate for the lunatic asylum. Nevertheless, this is an old, very old truism. Nature gives up her innermost secrets and imparts true wisdom only to him, who seeks truth for its own sake, and who craves for knowledge in order to confer benefits on others, not on his own unimportant personality. And, as it is precisely to this personal benefit that nearly every candidate for adeptship and magic looks, and that few are they, who consent to learn at such a heavy price and so small a benefit for themselves in prospect — the really wise Occultists become with every century fewer and rarer. How many are there, indeed, who would not prefer the will-o'-the-wisp of even passing fame to the steady and evergrowing light of eternal, divine knowledge, if the latter has to remain, for all but oneself — a light under the bushel? — Vol. VII, No. 37, p. 5

But what has the new cycle in store for humanity? Will it be merely a continuation of the present, only in darker and more terrible colours? Or shall a new day dawn for mankind, a day of pure sunlight, of truth, of charity, of true happiness for all? The answer depends mainly on the few Theosophists who, true to their colours through good repute and ill, still fight the battle of Truth against the powers of Darkness. . . .

If Theosophy prevailing in the struggle, its all-embracing philosophy strikes deep root into the minds and hearts of men, if its doctrines of Reincarnation and Karma, in other words, of Hope and Responsibility, find a home in the lives of the new generation, then, indeed, will dawn the day of joy and gladness for all who now suffer and are outcast. For real Theosophy is ALTRUISM, and we cannot repeat it too often. It is brotherly love, mutual help, unswerving devotion to Truth. If once men do but realise that in these alone can true happiness be found, and never in wealth, possessions, or any selfish gratification, then the dark clouds will roll away, and a new humanity will be born upon earth. Then, the GOLDEN AGE will be there, indeed.

But if not, then the storm will burst, and our boasted western civilization and enlightenment will sink in such a sea of horror that its parallel history has never yet recorded. — Vol. IV, No. 21, p. 188

The Theosophical Forum