The Hill of Discernment by A. Trevor Barker
Theosophical University Press Online Edition

1. New Year and Other Messages

[To all students of occultism keenly alive to inner bonds of kinship with Nature, the four great seasonal turnings of the year make strong appeal. Trevor Barker's New Year messages given in this chapter are in close harmony with this and with H. P. Blavatsky's teaching of the importance particularly of the first quarter of the year, from the Winter Solstice to the Spring Equinox, when the "astral light of the earth is young." Worthy resolutions then made are blessed with spiritual impetus and may more consistently and effectively be carried out.]

The Hill of Discernment

At this season of the year we begin to look forward to the vigorous new life that will come to birth within a few short weeks. Often Theosophical students experience many difficulties and find it hard to maintain their grip on the things of the spirit during the dark days of November, when the spiritual currents that flow from the Great Lodge are at their lowest ebb, this period being at the end of the six dark months of the Sun's southern journey, which is said to be under the dominion of Yama, the God of Death. The sternest battles with self often fall upon the soul at this time, and many feel themselves to be isolated, with their feet rooted in terror to the ground. The great ensnarer Doubt, causes them to wonder if they will ever hear again the beat of the wings of the Great Bird sounding anew the Aum through the cosmic spaces, calling their spirit to that new birth which those with any mystic perception almost invariably discover taking place within them round about the Sacred Festival of the Winter Solstice.

Men generally recognise quite easily the rhythmic sweep of the cosmic cycles: the moon with its periodic influence on all forms of life, the rise and fall of the seasons, the ebb and flow of the tides; but it comes as a new thought to many that this cyclic Law, which is universal in Nature, has its direct application in the life of the soul and its unfolding. No state of spiritual inspiration, nor indeed of consciousness, ever remains with us permanently, and the highest vision gives place inevitably to periods when it is not always easy to see the Pathway before our feet, and these are the testing times of faith. We can climb the pathway to the mountain tops and walk there, serene perhaps in the consciousness of work well done, but the road will inevitably descend again into the valley, and well for us that it is so. One of the most valuable lessons that comes to us as we travel onward, is the equanimity and detachment that come from the recognition that there would be no peaceful valleys if there were no hills on each side of them, and we thus learn to accept both the mountain of difficulty and the valley of fulfilment, and realize that even the pleasant vale can be shadowed and dark until the sun rises over the mountain tops to chase away the terrors of the night.

Shall we not have faith in the Law then — faith based upon knowledge and checked by experience, which gives us the certainty that periods of the greatest darkness are always followed by Light; and if we feel prone to forget this, is it not just then that we should reach out for the strong hands of those who are nearest us in spiritual fellowship, valuing most deeply the touch of those whose inner strength holds us firmly to our highest? Is not that the meaning of brotherhood? Again there must be "willingness to receive as well as to give advice and instruction," for it is impossible to share with others gifts which they are unwilling to receive. How rich life can be when the mind has learned to dwell in the way of truth, illumined by the Mystery Teachings of Antiquity! Therefore, Fideles sursum corda! and may the bright Chohans bring Peace to the hearts, and a new vision to the minds of all Theosophists wherever they may be this Christmas season, whose undaunted efforts show that they have earned the blessing.


The Divine Awakening and the Birth of the Year

Our thoughts rather naturally turn at this season of the year to such a subject as we have chosen for our study together tonight. Just at the moment when the Sun has taken its turn on its yearly pilgrimage, and once again begins to travel northwards, so do we as spiritual pilgrims manifest our unity, not only with Father Sun but with the whole of Nature; so do we at this season of the year turn our own thoughts sunwards, taking stock of our limitations, losing towards the source of strength and light, that we may find the means to leap over the obstacles which have so far hindered us in finding the philosopher's stone that will enable us by a power more than our own to change the base metal of our lower, material nature into the pure gold of the spirit. Is that not the meaning of this mystical season of the year? So it has always appealed to me. For many years now this month of December has signified to me a month of inward searching; a month of spiritual preparation for the six months — the six sacred months — of the Sun's northern pilgrimage during which all spiritual effort should be commenced; because if initiated during this period it has a greater productivity, and that which we try to do yields, instead of tenfold or twentyfold, a hundredfold.

This brings me to the first thought that I want to place before you in relation to the vigorous, inward, psychic and spiritual life that is at this season of the year brought to birth in the planet itself, which is our material mother. It has been declared in substance by the one who brought us the knowledge of this Ancient Wisdom in our modern era, H. P. Blavatsky, writing in her magazine Lucifer, the Light-Bringer, for the month of January, 1888, that it is no vain myth, the idea that resolutions, wishes, determinations, actions, aspirations, begun during the seasons bounded by Christmas and Easter have a hundred times more chance of succeeding, simply because the aspirant has set himself in tune with the great Cosmic urge and rhythm of Nature itself. When the psychic life of the earth is young and strong, the disciple, uniting himself with those uprising currents, and cutting through all the difficulties and obstacles that he has put in his own way by his blind struggling and unilluminated and unguided wandering; seizing the sword of spiritual knowledge, setting himself in tune with the great rhythm of the Cosmos, sets forth with the Sun on its northern pilgrimage. He knows that if, with faith, he travels along that Pathway in the footsteps of those that have preceded him, the light of the Supreme, which he finds burning in his own heart, will show him the Pathway before his feet always and forever, even though it be but the next step. It is not far that we need to see, if only we can see just the next step. Then the Divine Krishna, as we have heard in that reading from the Bhagavad-Gita tonight, in the Lord's Song, will enter into our hearts, and be the Warrior that will fight in us, giving us strength to do that which in our feeble, personal humanity we have been unable to accomplish.

Why is it, do you think, that men at this season of the year make so many resolutions upon which they turn their back within a few days or weeks, or sometimes hours? It is not that we have come to the conclusion that the things we set out to do were not worth while — not a bit. We are just as convinced that it was necessary to make certain changes in ourselves; but we have merely demonstrated once again that as long as a man is divided against himself, as long as he is pursuing not one end but a dozen or two, as long as the different parts of his personal nature are divided up, each one with the little 'I,' the little Ego, pursuing its own little desires, likes and dislikes, just so long will the individual man be unable to make those deep and permanent changes in his own psychology which he recognises to be so necessary when he reflects upon what he really is; when he really faces himself round about the first of January.

It is not necessary for me to ask, is it, whether you have tried the experiment of changing yourselves? I think we have all tried; and have we not all found to our ineffable disgust that if we do seem to change something, it has a most amazing way of changing back again, and we smile and shrug our shoulders and say "Well, one more resolution gone west." A great Sage once said that for a religion or a philosophy to be true it must contain the answer to every problem, and if Theosophy can answer those problems it has done for you and for me almost all that we can ask of any religion or philosophy; because if we can change ourselves, fashioning the base material of our natures into a fitting expression of the Gods that we inherently know ourselves to be, why, it would not be long before we could transform the face of this weary modern world of ours. It is spiritual and individual regeneration that we want to find the key to. "Yes," you will say, "perhaps, but it is a tremendous task — a task indeed the most difficult, the most tremendous, that the spirit of man can undertake." That is true, but should you and I be put off entering the most sublime spiritual adventure that man can embark upon, merely because it happens to be the greatest adventure, the greatest task, and the most difficult one? I do not think so. In fact it is my conviction that too much is made of the difficulty of the task, and not enough of its possibility of accomplishment for you and for me in this very hour. It is that which is the clarion call of Theosophy to men and women of all religions and all races and all creeds: that if they will arise and seek out the ancient Teachers of the race, they can conquer, they can win in the greatest task that the spirit of man has ever had before it. Otherwise what is the good of philosophies and what is the good of religions, if they have no message for the millions of the outcast, the poor, the suffering and the oppressed — the people that seek for the bread of life and do not know where to find it?

If Theosophy were only for the few, for the one in ten millions, I would doubt its value. After all the same light lighteth every man into the world, the same problems beset humanity; and you have the great Masters of Compassion telling us always that their concern is not so much to care for the successful disciples, those who take knowledge by their own strength — for those people you cannot stop; they will seize their divine heritage and make it their own. But it is to take to the great orphan humanity the knowledge that they also have a Divine heritage; that it is for them also to open the gates of their inner being, to let in the light that is there shining, if they will but have courage to dare to enter upon the great adventure. In all the Scriptures and all the great religions of antiquity you have had the same story, put in myth and parable, in simple language, as well as the more difficult kind of metaphysical ideas. And a very good example is that reading that you had tonight from our Chairman: the end of the Fourth Discourse of the Bhagavad-Gita — the Lord's Song, the Song of the Soul. And note the paragraph that comes at the end of every chapter: "The Holy Bhagavad-Gita, the colloquy, i. e., the conversation; and the Divine Teacher: not an external man, not a Savior who shed his blood for us in his human nature to wipe away or to make atonement for our misdeeds, but verily the only Savior that the Wisdom of the Ages recognises — the Divine Spirit in man himself, the Christos in man, the Krishna. And what is his message in that Fourth Discourse of the Bhagavad-Gita? Why this: that even the most evil man — note: even the most evil man, when concentrated with singleness of heart and mind in devotion to the Supreme, will speedily cross over the mire of his sins and failings in the bark of spiritual knowledge.

And in another chapter, which is called "The Yoga of the Kingly Knowledge and the Kingly Mystery," viz., the ninth, he uses practically the same phrase, pointing out that such a one should be accounted a righteous man because he had decided rightly; he had learned after all his disillusionment, his sufferings, and his defeats that there was only one means, by whatever road he might travel, to get to that state of consciousness. This was the recognition that his individuality, which with suffering and pain he had built up, developed, grown, through all his age-long evolutionary pilgrimage up to that point, was after all but an instrument of the Divine Self, which at last he was called upon to set aside. He had got to renounce the personal Ego, to realize that of his own power he could do nothing, and he comes to that most difficult of human tasks — to jump over the brink; to plunge into the abyss, as it seems to the human aspirant, willing at last to lose his own life, yet sure by the light of the faith burning in his heart that there would be reborn in him something all-permeating, powerful, strengthening, revivifying, alchemical — transmuting all the baser elements, all the obstacles in his personal nature that he had battled with in darkness and found no victory up to that time. That idea was beautifully put by a disciple that wrote under the pseudonym of "The Dreamer" in his Studies in the Bhagavad-Gita:

Happily for him, from his bleeding and lacerated heart now wells up the prayer — "My heart is weighed down with the vice of faintness, my mind confused to all Dharma. I ask Thee which may be better; that tell me decisively. I am Thy disciple, suppliant unto Thee. Teach me."

Aye, prove it to me. I am defenceless. I have set aside all weapons. I am face to face with myself at last.

This prayer, not lip-deep as before, this complete self-surrender of the immortal man to the Divine, this recognition by the heart of the supremacy of the Spiritual Self, forges the last link in the chain of the sixfold virtues which binds us to the Guru, who is Iswara. This prayer of the human self, the soul whose "feet are now washed with the blood of the heart," this complete renouncing of all Dharmas, this final falling back upon the Self of all as the only refuge, this final union, which in the words of the Sage Sanjaya is the guarantee of the final victory of the human self, goes up to the Divine.

You see, it is in this that we really find the explanation of the statements in mystical literature: that it is not until this moment that the voice of the individual aspirant is even capable of really making itself heard in the courts of the Holy Ones — the great Teachers of the human race. So far his voice has only been the voice of the personal man, but at this moment his cry goes up to the Divine.

And now, and now only, does the soul get the loving guidance of the Logos, and from the Divine comes a down-pouring of spiritual life and energy which unifies the discordant forces in the man; . . .

You will note here that it is the Divine power that does this once the great surrender has been made:

from the Divine pours in the sweet melody of the Song of Life, the Eternal Gita, the Harmony of Love which synchronizes the jarring forces in the bodies of the man; the Supreme Melody, which opens the eye of the now divine man to the one Life, Consciousness and Love, which unifies the Lokas and the Talas, the high and the low, the virtuous and the vicious, dharma and sin, knowledge and ignorance, attachment and dispassion — the ineffable harmony of the One.

As I understand it, that is the message, the essence, of the teaching of the Bhagavad-Gita, as it is the essence of the teaching of the New Testament, the essence of the teaching of Buddhism. You will find it everywhere without exception when you begin to look for it, for it is the age-old message that man can never find redemption by looking outside himself; and the joyful news — the glad tidings — that there is within man a power that will enable him to do that which he and all men really want to do, aspire to do, long and yearn to do, if it were not for the binding forces of those attractions which constantly lead the dual nature of man away from his Divine possibilities. Of course, this idea is implicit in every line of every Theosophical book; it is implicit in every line of the Christian Gospels; it is implicit in every line of the Bhagavad-Gita. There are men and women of real spirituality everywhere; wherever you may go, you will find fellow pilgrims, brothers who understand the meaning of the Lord's Song, because they have found it in their own lives. They call it by many names, but that to the Theosophist means nothing. We care not what terminology a man uses. He can call it what he likes; it is not the words that matter. What matters is whether the man has experienced it; whether he can do it.

What is the meaning of that fellowship which the Theosophical Movement aspires towards when it talks of Universal Brotherhood? Believe me it is not only a recognition that all men are physically, psychically, mentally, spiritually united by indissoluble bonds, as they are with the whole of nature; it is not merely that intellectual recognition. Why is it, think you, that not only in the Churches, but to a large extent in the Theosophical Movement, there is not that living fire of spiritual fellowship which is a thing that gladdens the heart and liberates men from all feelings of separateness and antipathy? Why is it? I will tell you. All spiritual fellowships and ideas of Universal Brotherhood are built on the assumption of a common experience, of a common realization of God, of deity, of divinity, which each man, each aspirant, finds in his own life, and then walks with that Divine Companion, as it were, following in the direction that is shown to him. Do you not see that in a Theosophical Lodge that is composed of men and women who believe in their own Divinity, who have experienced it and know its power and its tremendous joy; that in such a Lodge there must be a real spiritual fellowship that is entirely different from that which exists theoretically, because of a philosophical conception that all men must necessarily be one? But when you know that in the fellowship to which you belong are men and women who are trying to live day by day in the light of their own Divinity, who never do anything unless they seek out the Warrior within, first pausing to stop and think before initiating any action lest the personal man get in the way — Ah! there is the basis of true Brotherhood.

Did not Light on the Path tell us just that thing? Listen to what it says in the beginning of the second series of numbered paragraphs:

Stand aside in the coming battle, and though thou fightest be not thou the warrior. Look for the Warrior and let him fight in thee. Take his orders for battle and obey them.

Now that means it is possible to receive the orders, otherwise you cannot take them, but you won't receive them unless you believe in your own Divinity; and believing means doing, otherwise you do not believe, obviously.

Obey him not as though he were a general, but as though he were thyself, and his spoken words were the utterance of thy secret desires; for he is thyself, yet infinitely wiser and stronger than thyself. Look for him, else in the fever and hurry of the fight thou mayest pass him; and he will not know thee unless thou knowest him. If thy cry meet his listening ear, then will he fight in thee and fill the dull void within. And if this is so, then canst thou go through the fight cool and unwearied, standing aside and letting him battle for thee. Then it will be impossible for thee to strike one blow amiss. But if thou look not for him, if thou pass him by, then there is no safeguard for thee. Thy brain will reel, thy heart grow uncertain, and in the dust of the battlefield thy sight and senses will fail, and thou wilt not know thy friends from thy enemies.
He is thyself. Yet thou art but finite and liable to error.

You see this keynote running right through the whole of mystical literature, warning that the personal man can do nothing of himself except to prepare the instrument, prepare the vessel, and sweep clean the Tabernacle. That is all.

He is eternal and is sure. He is eternal truth. When once he has entered thee and become thy warrior, he will never utterly desert thee, and at the day of the great peace he will become one with thee.

Again there is our beloved H. P. B. telling us that once a man's Divine Spirit enters into the Tabernacle of his body, it will very soon redeem him. I would to the Immortal Gods that we might get a new spirit abroad in this Theosophical Movement of ours, realizing and practising these ideas, and that we might begin at home right here with this New Year that is dawning before us this very night. Why should we not do it? A new spirit that will enthrone not external leaders, not Presidents of Lodges or National Sections, not priests or those with temporal authority. Let us be willing to step down from our places of authority. I believe that all men who have ever experienced the saving power of the spirit within them must recognise that of themselves they are nothing; that at best they are but instruments of the Universal Spirit of Truth, of Wisdom, of Love and Compassion and Pity that men call God, or Christ, or the Kingdom of Heaven, or Nirvana — I say enthrone That, and let him who would be greatest amongst us be willing to be the servant of all in this that we call a Universal Brotherhood. In that way we can bring into existence a real living Fraternity, not a lip thing, or a mere ideal theory, but a reality based upon an experience of the Soul, whereby each Theosophist recognises in his brother one who has enthroned the Supreme in his own heart — the One Reality, in whose light all are living, working, laboring, in a common Cause. That would be a real Brotherhood, and possible here and now, not for one or two, but for all, otherwise of what value?

Just imagine plans, campaigns, individual and corporate, made under the direction of the Higher Self, which being ultimately the Self of all, could not, by its very nature, be against the interests of any. Each for all and all for each. But let us be honest with ourselves. It is impossible to realize this idea, impossible, if in this day and hour we do not invite the companionship, the Divine power of the Spirit within to fight and work in us, so that we may truly change. If we take these ideas into our lives and into our hearts this night, at the turning point of the year, backed by the tremendous energy and faith of our spiritual wills, who shall say what miracles may not be accomplished in the eventful year of 1934 that will be with us in such a few short hours.

Let us close with the prayer that those who feel called to enter that sublime adventure, will dare to risk all that they have and are, to lose and forget themselves, in order that they may take the Kingdom of Heaven by storm or by violence, or whatever term you may like to use. For it is such men and women that will bring about a new order of ages in this weary world; verily, the Kingdom of Heaven coming in the hearts and minds of men.


Forgiveness and Love

I expect you all remember that phrase of G. de P.'s — "Love is the cement of the Universe: learn to forgive, learn to love. Each one of you is an incarnate God. Be it!" Do you realize how many of us at the present time are prevented from liberating ourselves from all our old troubles and miseries, and the things that are holding us back in our own personal lives; the things we have erected, the obstacles that we have put there with our own hands by a hundred-and-one misunderstandings of our own sublime teachings. Take the doctrine of reincarnation: how many of my Brother Theosophists have I heard say, "Ah! but to gain real illumination, real knowledge, and the power to help people will take me lives of effort. I am only beginning now." And they think they have said something. Well, they have! They have erected the most gigantic barrier with their own hands to gaining that knowledge here and now. Do you think, do you believe, that the great Masters of Wisdom have given us the Teachings of Theosophy, with its message of hope and inspiration to men, for the sake of one or two or three or a few? Oh! It is an impossible thought. We have to understand that Theosophy and its realization is possible for us here and now; and it is because so many have not believed in its practical possibilities that Theosophy is not today a tremendous success all over the world — I mean as a Movement. Often do we ponder together as to why the millions do not take Theosophy, and that is why: because we do not believe — really and truly believe — that it is for the man in the street. We have got what is really (although we do not recognise it) a kind of egotistic feeling "Ah! But it is only for the few." That is not true. Theosophy is for all. Just think of that sentence "Each one of you is an incarnate God. Be it!" Would G. de P. say that if it were impossible? Obviously not. It means that every man, woman and child can, if he will, gain something of the inspiration of his own Inner Divinity, and find the way out of all difficulties through the power that that alone can give him, through that energy which is his only Savior in this world or the world to come.

You remember what H. P. B. said in The Secret Doctrine on page 280 of Volume I:

the Eternal KARANA alone, "the Causeless Cause of all causes, should have its shrine and altar on the holy and ever untrodden ground of our heart-invisible, intangible, unmentioned, save through 'the still small voice' of our spiritual consciousness . . . making their spirit the sole mediator between them and the Universal Spirit, their good actions the only priests, and their sinful intentions the only visible and objective sacrificial victims to the Presence.

That is a virile doctrine, a manly doctrine, and in the year that is opening before us I do pray with all my heart that those who have been touched by the real fire of Theosophy, who feel it as a living force pulsing and beating within them, will come and join hands with us here; I mean our fellow Theosophists, members of this Society or any other, sitting in this room here and outside it. I hope they will come and get vocal about it, and say what is in their hearts. And if they have difficulties, I hope they will come and share these difficulties with their Brother Theosophists, with the faith that if Theosophy means anything at all "the way out," in terms of the Masters' teaching, will be given to them. I have proved that to be possible in my own life, and others are proving it in theirs; and it is on that that the real spiritual fellowship of the future will be built.

I tell you, there is no brotherhood, Companions, amongst those who only have a lip-Theosophy, an intellectual Theosophy. It is all very well to explain the Universe in the most marvellous language; but, if you have not experienced the Divine Life in your own heart, and if you have not found the Companionship of fellow-Theosophists who have likewise experienced it, and felt its saving and transforming power, then you do not know the meaning of what real brotherhood can be; real brotherhood is a thing of the soul, of the spirit, which finds expression here in human life. But believe me, though you may have all the compassion in the universe, you cannot build the Temple of Wisdom that the Masters are trying to get us to build, out of men and women who have not brought about that spiritual revolution in their own lives which comes from realization — because they have experienced and know for themselves.

Shall we not together, in the year that is now opening before us, in our work, in our studies, in our Lodge Meetings, concentrate upon the essential things, the vital things, the things that will help us to live our lives? Let us share with others those difficulties that we want to get over; and let us be willing to give to others the light that we ourselves have found, and on occasion to accept helpful advice and criticism.

We have many things to face in 1934. First ourselves individually: to find the God within us and to make restitution to those that we have injured in thought or otherwise; being willing to say Mea culpa and then with the hand of fellowship join with those people that you could not get on with before, and could not work with, and could not co-operate with; and perhaps by telling them the difficulties that you have had, get a new light; get the grouch out of your system and start again. Learn to forgive and learn to love. Aye, forgive others first and then forgive yourself if you can. The past can then be wiped out. We can afford to forget, good lord, the personal difficulties that we have had in the last year, can't we, and join together as a great army of the Spirit? Of course we can.

We have got to organize for success, and success means that we believe and know it is possible, for us and for the man in the street. We have a message for ourselves because we are solving our problems; and if you individually have got problems that you have not solved, well, give your brother Theosophists a chance to help you; so may we find something worth while in 1934!


A Call to Action:
Individual Regeneration or World Chaos

For our doctrines to practically react on the so-called moral code or the ideas of truthfulness, purity, self-denial, charity, etc., we have to popularise a knowledge of Theosophy. . . . For as everyone knows, total emancipation from authority of the one all-pervading power or law called God by the priests — Buddha, Divine Wisdom and enlightenment or Theosophy, by the philosophers of all ages — means also the emancipation from that of human law. Once unfettered and delivered from their dead-weight of dogmatic interpretations, personal names, anthropomorphic conceptions and salaried priests, the fundamental doctrines of all religions will be proved identical in their esoteric meaning. Osiris, Krishna, Buddha, Christ, will be shown as different names for one and the same royal highway to final bliss — NIRVANA. Mystical Christianity, that is to say that Christianity which teaches self-redemption through our own seventh principle — this liberated Para-Atma (Augoeides) called by some Christ, by others Buddha, and equivalent to regeneration or rebirth in spirit — will be found just the same truth as the Nirvana of Buddhism. All of us have to get rid of our own Ego, the illusory apparent self, to recognise our true self in a transcendental divine life. But if we would not be selfish, we must strive to make other people see that truth, to recognise the reality of that transcendental self, the Buddh, the Christ or God of every preacher. — Letters from The Masters of The Wisdom

We recognise no higher authority than the writer of that letter, and therefore at least all Theosophists will pay a good deal of attention to these words that come from a great Master of Wisdom, although it is from an abridged letter. The point that I want to draw attention to is that it does not very much matter what you call this universal Divine principle in nature — something which the Christian is accustomed to call "God"; which in older times in Egypt they referred to as Osiris; which the Buddhists look upon as Nirvana; which the Hindus look upon as Brahman, with the Teacher, the incarnate God, as Krishna — Krishna, whom many of you are probably familiar with now, through the Hindu epic of the Mahabharata, where he appears as the Divine Teacher speaking to Arjuna in very much the same way as the Jesus of the Gospels is the God incarnate giving his Divine message to the Theosophists of that age.

Now, the thing that I want to talk to you about tonight is the problem of how we are going to contribute something — to do our part in solving the crisis towards which Europe and the Western peoples generally are hurtling at breakneck speed. You and I know, if we have read the signs aright, that something is on the way, and that something we are going towards very, very fast; and unless there is a universal Spiritual awakening now immediately, particularly amongst the Western peoples — this civilization is in danger of destruction. Can the Theosophical Movement contribute to the solution of that problem in a dynamic and practical way which you and I as ordinary men and women can apply, or are we going to talk high metaphysics and be generally and beautifully vague — not really getting down to brass tacks in our own lives, and certainly not bringing any real influence to bear upon the hearts and minds of the people at large or the world in general?

One of the purposes of the Theosophical Movement is to change the hearts and minds of the peoples of the world, so that we can usher in a new world order based, not upon selfish and materialistic thinking and living, but upon the realization by each individual man, that he is literally in himself the Temple of an incarnate God — that he is an incarnate God. This Deity is his very essence, the root of his being, which means if you understand it correctly, that we — not as separate isolated personalities, but as Spiritual beings — are one with the heart of the Universe. Again not to be abstruse and metaphysical, but striving to find words to express the sublimity of the idea, the Universal Self is that which is the same in you and in me: that something in which we live and move and have our being; which is nearer to us than hands and feet, and closer than breathing. All men and women can, if they will, have at their command the knowledge, the wisdom, the power, to solve the world problem we are facing today, and stop this headlong rush along the broad road to destruction. Do you believe that to be a practical possibility? I do, and that is why I am here tonight; and every man and woman who seizes hold of the ideas that I am going to try and lay before you can in proportion to their sincerity, their determination and self-abnegation, become resolvers of chaos, first in their own lives, then in their homes, then in their towns and in their nations. Thus by transforming and changing the lives of individuals, they become instruments for the universal splendor of Divine power, wisdom and love to flow into the world. Wherever we live we shall be able to bring to bear that resolving, ameliorating, inspiriting, purifying, energizing, dynamic force of the Supreme itself.

It is useless to talk about serving humanity in some vague way, and appealing to people in the mass — it cannot be done if we cannot go to a single individual and meet his needs and problems. And unless you and I as individual Theosophists are convinced from having proved it in our own lives, from having conquered ourselves, and are therefore able honestly and sincerely to declare a victory where we previously had defeat, we cannot do anything. It is useless to attempt to solve the world problem until we have solved our own problem. Theosophy is there if you want it; and if you don't want it, it has nothing to say to you. If you have suffered, if you have struggled, if you have had to register defeat in your moral and spiritual life — (and show me the man or woman who has not) and more, if you see men and women and children around you that you want to help by bringing to them the saving and regenerating power of Spiritual knowledge — then you will come to recognise that you never will be able to do it, until you have learnt the secret of regenerating your own life and making of yourself a reborn man, a spiritual man. Does this mean years and years and years of studying endless books, and a tremendously complex, metaphysical and philosophical system; or is it something that you can apply here and now? Again, there is no time to teach men abstruse metaphysics and philosophy in this hour of universal crisis. The World today is on the brink of collapse, and it is not an economic collapse primarily, but a spiritual one, as all collapses are. If a man collapses it is because his spiritual life is at fault, and if our own nation, and if our own homes, are in chaos or misery or disharmony, it is because the spiritual life of that home, the spiritual lives of the individuals concerned in it, are wrong. It is the mission of the Theosophical Movement at all times, but particularly in these hours when we are hurtling to destruction, to change this state of affairs and to change it rapidly — but this means you and me. You cannot leave it to somebody else. The human race is made up of individuals, and you are one of them.

Perhaps by now you will be wondering how these things are to be accomplished. First you will have to ask yourself the question: Do you believe that in your own inmost essence there is Divinity, Power, Wisdom, Knowledge? If you believe in it because you have experienced its strength and its peace, then your problem is how to incarnate it in your life so that you become a center of conscious, dynamic, spiritual energy — going out into the world as ordinary men and women but capable spiritually of doing extraordinary things. That is the first question you have got to ask yourself: Do you believe in the Divinity and power of your own innermost nature, and if so how are you to reach it and make it effective so that it will not only transform your own life, but transform the environment around you? Do you believe that the Sermon on the Mount is a practical affair, a practical statement that can be lived in this modern world by ordinary men and women; or do you regard it as a beautiful ideal to be put on the shelf somewhere and worshiped from a distance — to dream about as a possibility for us in some infinitely remote future; or do you think that that great master mind that lived and worked in Palestine meant what he said when he commanded all men to be perfect as their Father in Heaven is perfect? So many of us just shrug our shoulders and say "Stuff, platitudes, impractical nonsense!" What do YOU think about it? I believe it is not only practical, but that it is sheer folly to ignore it.

Of course it means, if you are going to tackle it, that you have to begin with being honest with yourselves, and with others. It means sincerity; it means truth in daily living; it means love at all times and in all circumstances and in all situations. I do not mean personal love, I mean Divine love, shining like the sun impersonally for all men, whether you like them or whether you dislike them; whether they are your friends or you think they are your foes. And therefore it means unselfishness, real unselfishness, absolute unselfishness, to the extent and power of your being.

There are four keynotes: honesty, unselfishness, love, and purity of life, of beauty of thought, heart and mind. Is that an impossible standard? If we mean business, it must not be an impossible standard. It has got to be the only standard that is worth living by, and it is the condition of our success, it is the condition of our power to save the situation today.

Now let me tell you — you cannot change yourselves, make yourselves over over-night, conquer yourselves. I cannot conquer myself as I am, with my own feeble personal will. I cannot do it, you cannot do it — and I am differentiating now the personal man from his Divine counterpart of which he is the child. Somehow you have to find the means of dropping that personal self, losing your ego, losing your life and finding it in a spiritual regeneration and rebirth. You have got to find the means of uniting the scattered parts of your being which are now being pulled hither and thither in this direction and that, so that you are enabled to conquer yourself and transform your own life, and affect the environment for good in which you live. And if you have reached the point where you have suffered enough, when you really hate the rotten, weak side of your nature, with its faults and weaknesses, and have within you that yearning of your heart towards what you may call God or Deity, or Goodness or Wisdom — then you can do something. But make no mistake about it, it does mean that you will have to exert every ounce of physical, emotional, psychic, intellectual and spiritual powers that you possess. You will have to go all out for it, and you will have to dedicate everything that you are and have. Every day surrender your personal will and your personal ego; and then if you know how to pray in the real sense of the word — which means the upward urge of your purified desire or aspiration to the God within you, to the universal and supreme Spirit that dwells within you and around you everywhere — it will flow into you, it will make you a new being instinct with power to change yourself and the world. You cannot do it by yourself, but you need the power of the Supreme itself — God, Buddha, Christ, it does not matter what you call it. It is a Divine power, a Godlike power; and every one of us is an incarnate God, and we have only got to learn how to lose ourselves, forget ourselves and make ourselves instruments, willing to go anywhere, do anything, that is dictated by that inward power of Divinity, to get a new direction in our lives, and a God-directed one; not an impossible dream, but a minute to minute and hour to hour and day to day direct guidance and inspiration. That can be done by every man and woman that lives if they want to do it. Moreover it is the only thing that makes life worth living.

There is an old saying that one man and God is a majority, and he is, because one man dedicated, cleansed, purified, filled with the power of the spirit, can work what seem to the ordinary man and woman miracles. They can change the lives of people and help them to a recognition of their own divine nature. I have seen it work, and I have seen men and women who have all their lives registered spiritual and moral defeat transformed by just these ideas — and they are ordinary men and women, and their faces reflect the splendor of a risen sun, and they are able to bring into the lives of others, into their businesses, into their factories — aye, into the very Parliaments, the strength, the peace and spiritual vision that is theirs. And that work is going on, but it is not going on fast enough, and the Theosophical Movement must wake up and do something about it. Wherever there is a Theosophical Lodge, provided those who are responsible for it have dedicated themselves strongly enough, they will become centers of that holy and spiritual power which will enable them to take the message of good news, glad tidings, hope, and spiritual beneficence everywhere they go.

The world problem is the individual problem. Once we change ourselves, and what is more, invoke the Holy Spirit within us to bring about that alchemical transmutation and change which can only take place in a dedicated life, then we will begin really to do something. And when we can live in terms of absolute honesty and sincerity with ourselves and others, a life of purity, selflessness, and a life of love, then we have taken the first step — the first step mark you — on the small, ancient and narrow way that leads to Life; but we shall have done enough, even in that short time, to have made a profound impression upon the collective state of the world's misery. Just imagine, if all the Theosophical and religious communities throughout the world were filled with regenerated, vital, spiritual, purposeful men and women. Is there any limit to the possibilities? None. There would be no universal chaos under those conditions. We have got to work a spiritual revolution, and we cannot do it unless we work a spiritual revolution in ourselves, and that we can do if we want to. Every man and woman of us has the responsibility to be up and doing in this hour.


Ancient Ideals in the Modern Home

Friends: Those of you who may possibly have come here for the first time, or who have for the first time come into contact with a Theosophical Society, may be wondering for what purpose such a body of people exists, and what are the teachings that they study. A Theosophical Society is an association of individuals, men and women, who are seeking to find a deeper explanation of the phenomena of existence, a deeper understanding of the laws upon which the whole of nature and of life are based, and who recognise that one of the essential prerequisites to obtaining such an understanding is a recognition of the fundamental unity that exists as the very basis of nature itself. That is why the first object of this Society is to demonstrate practically that universal brotherhood is a fact in nature.

It is possible to come to an understanding of the laws upon which nature, man, and the universe, are constructed. The philosophy which we study, the philosophy which we endeavor to practice and to spread a knowledge of, is an eternal one, the essentials of which have never changed. It has always existed, and from time to time has been restated by each in turn of the great Sages and Seers of antiquity. Therefore you will not meet here with any ideas and theories which are mere speculations of some student who may happen to be an Associate of this Society. On the contrary, however imperfectly it may be done, you will always receive a statement of those ancient laws in the light of which we endeavor to study every problem of nature and of life.

Tonight we are going to try to come to an understanding, in the light of that ancient teaching, of the problem of the spiritual life in modern conditions; because Theosophy has an answer to that problem. You know that we have only to look around us to see that there is something radically gone amiss with the spiritual life of the people today. We do not have to look particularly deeply to satisfy ourselves that the fundamental basis of spiritual living for the great masses of the people in every class — I do not care which class it may be — has been lost; they have lost their hold upon those great spiritual truths that make a nation truly great.

We do not have to think or reason very far to come to the conclusion that the life of the individual has its roots in the home; and the degree of spirituality in the home from which any individual springs will very largely determine the difficulties that that individual will have to meet, and also the degree of spirituality that he may be able to express in the life which is opening before him. Take a look at our daily newspapers, and notice, for example, the enormous lists of the divorce cases. They have become a commonplace. This is an indication — a symptom if you will — of the disease which is sapping the spiritual vitality of the peoples in every nation — at any rate I speak from a knowledge of the Western people, of Europe and America. However you may look upon it, there is no shadow of doubt that it is a symbol of something very clearly and tremendously wrong with the spiritual life of that people.

What is the life of the youth in the average home of the wealthier classes today? Although they may be engaged to some extent in the conduct of the affairs of life, in proportion to their freedom from the cares of material existence, the youth today almost entirely — there are fortunately many exceptions, but accept it as abroad general rule — take it as a matter of pride that they believe in nothing — nothing at all! It is a terrible thing really when you come to think of it, because it is an expression of ignorance, and it results from ignorance, lack of knowledge as a direct result of the absence of spiritual reality and virility in the life of the homes from which they sprang. They have not Known anything else. They see the dead formalities of dogmatic religion to which possibly their parents adhere, and with the virility of modern education stimulating their intellects, they have rejected the teaching of dogmatic religion. They look around and they say: "Well, what is there in life? Nothing. Let's forget it!" And so they seek to replace the inner realities of the spiritual life by a chasing of the will-o'-the-wisp of mere sensual pleasures and indulgences of every sort, kind, and description; and — it seems a trite thing to say, but nevertheless it is a true one — mixed up with it is a tremendous amount that is summed up in the one word 'cocktails.' Leaving aside its psychological aspects which are so deplorable, from the physiological standpoint even the drinking of 'cocktails' clogs the mechanism of the human body to such an extent that the awakening of the spiritual faculties is made to a degree more difficult.

Then you take the great middle classes. In a sense there you have an almost greater deadness, because they are so to speak evenly balanced. They are afraid sometimes to do the things which those who are on a so-called higher social level do. They do not do them — sometimes because they cannot afford it, and sometimes merely out of fear. They are held tight very largely in the trammels of dogmatic religion. And as for the great masses of the people: they are so immersed at the present time in the struggle for existence — both the men and women — that there is indeed little time left for a search of their inner needs, for the bread of spiritual wisdom. It is a state of affairs which the Theosophical Movement came into existence in our own era, came to life again, deliberately to aid us to cope with.

Theosophy has an answer to this problem. It is that answer which we want to consider tonight, because Theosophy invariably begins with the individual. The Theosophical remedy for all ills — no matter what they are — is never a remedy which deals with effects, but it goes right to the root cause in every case, and therefore it begins with the regeneration of the individual. There is a tremendous power, a tremendous spiritual capacity, in Theosophic knowledge to bring about a rebirth and a regeneration of those who give their lives to study it and to teach it and to propagate it.

Taking the life of the family, the life of the home, as the basis of the spiritual lives for the individual, we have to consider exactly what forces, what obstacles, the individual who is going to set out to change those conditions has to vanquish. In the first place, any aspirant, any Theosophist, any man, whatever category in religious matters he may belong to, if he wants to set out and conquer these obstacles, has to tread a sixfold path, according to the ancient teachings that we study. We have seen in the short fifty odd years which have passed since the founding of the Theosophical Society in 1875, many anomalies in that Association of people who have come together for mutual help and assistance in the living of the spiritual life. And why is it? It is this: The student takes as his ideal the perfected Sage, the Initiated Adept. He reveres his power of renunciation, his living of the ascetic life, his capacity for a universal point of view. Yet this superior development is the result of lives of effort.

The individual student who comes fresh and eager to the study of Theosophic truths, has mistaken those qualities in the illuminated Sages for the qualities which he himself has to practice immediately as the means to the end which he is seeking; and this has resulted in unprepared people rushing upon the rocks of asceticism, and entering upon the path of renunciation of worldly duties before they have learnt how to perform those duties. In other words, out of a fear of life they do those very things which are going to take them away from the spiritual goal instead of leading them step by step into the light which they seek. Therefore have the ancient teachers given a very firm warning upon this question. They say that the individual who would enter the light and regenerate himself must do six things. First he has to overcome in himself the weaknesses, the faults, the disabilities of heredity and character, which he finds in his own particular family; that is the first step. Having recognised and accepted those characteristics, then he has to proceed to conquer the particular faults and errors of the national temperament to which he belongs. It is not very difficult for us to examine ourselves honestly and to discover what are the weaknesses of our family; what are the particular faults of the nation to which we belong. Then lastly, he must overcome those faults which are common to the man himself, and to all human nature besides — commonly and more largely understood as the weakness of human nature — "Adam's first transgression" as W. Q. Judge put it.

There you have a sufficiently big task. And a corollary of these activities under these three heads — remembering meanwhile that the entrance to the pathway of spiritual life depends upon the grasp and understanding of these points — is to strengthen and bring out fully and completely the good points and the good characteristics under each of the three heads. The whole thing really comprises a definition, in terms of the ancient teaching, of family duty: to undertake that course of action which will eventually eliminate in yourself and in your father or mother or brothers or sisters and all with whom you may be associated, the weaknesses and faults of human nature that exist there. That is to be understood then as family duty; and 'family' defined thus of course has a peculiar meaning, a peculiar value that we have to understand. Therefore we rule out of consideration those conceptions of family duty which other people impose upon us according to some narrow conventional or dogmatic standard. You will find if you really examine it and go into it fully that this definition covers all the duties of life, and not only that but it brings to bear upon them a light which is entirely different from anything that we are accustomed to have upon those particular duties.

Beginning, therefore, with a consideration of the duties of family life, since the basis of existence for the individual lies in the home, the subject must have a very great importance for us. Marriage in ancient times was in a very real and true sense a religious contract, it was by no means a method of satisfying personal ambition or animal passion; and for that reason marriage in ancient times had a spiritual significance which it has lost today. Thank heaven there are exceptions to every rule; but the instances that have already been quoted tonight are sufficient to convince us — we do not need to labor the point — that there is something wrong with the point of view in these matters. Let us consider where Theosophical teaching help us to change the point of view. In ancient times marriage was entered into first for mutual help in leading the spiritual life, and second for the bringing into the world of children of a type spiritually regenerate, who would be a blessing not only to their families and nations but to the world at large. And therefore it behooves us to consider one of the pitfalls that so many people fall into right at the outset of the building of the family life. It is this: they enter into the bond of marriage upon a basis of sentiment almost entirely. They marry in so many cases simply upon a passing attraction, something akin to what some modern philosopher said: that when he met the lady who was to become his wife, he fell into a state of unconsciousness, and when be awoke, it was too late, he was married!

Well now, Friends, there is a profound truth in that statement. It is simply an expression of the fact that the spiritual guidance of the individual was for the moment in abeyance, and something else drove the machine. Take another illustration of the poverty of our conceptions of the married state. Go, my friends, into any music hall and almost any show in the theater land of London today, and you will find that every comedian is perfectly sure to get a rise and laugh out of the audience by making derogatory remarks about the state of marriage. You know it is a degrading thing, and yet you will always find the house absolutely rocks with laughter at the most vulgar jest about the holy state of matrimony. But it is a tremendous confession. It is a confession that the comedian is quite right. He is playing up to the feelings of the majority, and the majority do not realize the sanctity of this particular state and its possibilities from a spiritual point of view.

I am going to put it to you that one of the tests by which any two individuals may examine their feelings when they are prompted to enter into that relationship is this — and you will find that it is a very fundamental one — would either one choose the other party as the parent of their children? Now that, stripped of all sentimental nonsense, brings you down to the bedrock of fundamentals; because I do not think that anybody, any potential parent, would wish to make the parent of the child someone in whom he or she did not have that respect from a spiritual point of view. It is a test which if applied I think would stop an enormous number of the sentimental kind of marriages.

But if the key and solution to this problem is the regeneration of the individual, then the necessary practices cannot be carried out, and probably cannot even be begun, by those who have no knowledge of the spiritual light that should exist as a matter of conscious knowledge in their own being. It is useless to lay down, to hand a man so to speak, a lot of negative restrictions, and without giving anything else to supplement them, suggest that he should carry them out, when you know perfectly well that he has not that knowledge of his being, that fundamental realization of the divine-spiritual consciousness which does exist if only he knows where to find it.

If you examine all the evils, so-called, of the life of the home and of the family today, you will see that the cure for a great many lies in the direction of the development of the impersonal point of view; and that impersonality can only be developed for us by entering upon the study of the sacred scriptures, or of the Theosophical philosophy, which has the capacity of purifying the emotional and mental depths in our natures, thereby kindling the spark of higher intuition within us and awakening our spiritual nature. It is one of the ways that we can go to work, and you will find that those who have studied and applied the Theosophical philosophy in their lives for any length of time at all, do begin to get that impersonal sense of detachment, of detachment from the objects of the senses; with the result that in their own homes, in the lives of the children who are entrusted to their care, they are able to take an impersonal attitude, a detached point of view, which will not permit them to allow those growing children to enter upon those little indulgences that the great teachers tell us are at the root of many of the crimes of later life.

Examine, for example, any particular family of young children, and notice how the little children delight to make themselves attractive in order to gain permission to break some already recognised rule, perhaps even such a simple thing as to eat sweets between their proper meals. They will ask and ask, and then the mother says "Oh, well, yes, bless you my child," and she gives him a sweet, and the child quite unconsciously to itself, and quite unconsciously to the mother, begins the habit of indulging the emotional, the passional nature. Katherine Tingley has pointed that out in that beautiful book The Gods Await, and I recommend anybody who is interested in following that subject farther to read what she has to say there, because she works it out in a hundred and one ways, showing how step by step the indulgences — the almost criminal indulgences in parents — lead to the undoing of the children in later life. Instead of being brought up to listen to the impersonal voice of the Divinity within, they listen only to the voice of their own desires, and they think that the mere fact that they want something is quite sufficient excuse for the parent to give it to them. Then side by side with the petty indulgences comes the tendency of I think almost any parents to be always dressing up their children and stimulating the vanity in them to such a point that the child does develop the germ of vanity, of pride and self-satisfaction — and Heavens what nemesis there is in store for the child just from that simple thing! Think of the girls and boys (and men and women too) that have entered on the path of perdition simply from those two facts. They have been led away by vanity in the first place, and then a tendency to self-indulgence, and they take that first step which leads them away from spiritual principles. Then there is all the deceit of the covering up of their first wrong action, and then they drift, as we all know, farther and farther on the road; and on the one hand you get fallen women, and on the other you get criminals. It has all come about from a lack of the performance of family duty as understood by the sages and the great teachers of the human race.

What has Theosophy to say, what has it to offer to the men and women who have become, for any one of the reasons that have been mentioned, outcasts? I think that if Theosophy can demonstrate its living power to bring healing and regeneration to those who have sunk to the lowest depths, then indeed there is hope for all of us. That is the whole idea of our Theosophical Association: that no matter who the individual may be — at whatever stage he may be upon the spiritual pilgrimage, he will find, at any rate in a Theosophical brotherhood where the truths are studied and lived and taught, that there is someone ready to hold out the hand of spiritual fellowship to him; and it is the great aim of Theosophical endeavor for those who have at a given moment the conscious knowledge of the spiritual light in their own hearts, to, as it were, contact, stand beside, claim identity and fellowship with, the individual who has been brought by his own actions face to face with his own lower nature. It is only in that way that the dark river that has to be crossed on the way to the gates of gold can be crossed indeed with safety. How many of us when we have had to face the greatest trials of our own lives have cried out in the darkness for just that touch of spiritual fellowship; just that conscious recognition — that we may have the association with us of those to whom the light means and has meant something, those who know as they know that they live and breathe, that reliance and faith and strength can be gained.

How is it to be done? I am going to refer you to what H. P. Blavatsky, the first great teacher of Theosophy in our era, told us about the philosophy of prayer. It is a tremendously significant thing for each one of us. She was asked the question as to whether Theosophy believes in prayer, and she said: "As ordinarily understood No! If you are going to pray to some external agency, some sphere outside of yourself to remit your sins, to forgive you your transgressions, then decidedly we do not believe in it." She said: "We do believe in what we call 'will prayer'; we do believe in following the teaching of the New Testament in that respect: to go into the secret chamber of the heart and there to pray to the Father which is in secret — the spiritual part of the individual man." She told us that prayer actually is one of the spiritual mysteries. It is a means by which finite thoughts and desires which are not assimilable by the Spirit are changed by an alchemical process into the one Will itself, and is capable of bringing about results in accordance with our spiritual aspirations. Is it not a tremendous thought?

Therefore what are we to do with the priceless gift of Theosophy in our hands? Why, to anyone with whom we come in contact, who is in a state of despair — no matter for what reason — we can give knowledge, something vital, vital to regenerate his own life with. Believe me, friends, there is absolutely no joy in the world like the knowledge that, having the light in your own heart, you can strike a flame into someone who is sorely in need of it. It is a tremendous thing that, and more than — ten times more than — compensates for giving up the few transitory things, which after all have no significance and no reality and do not matter at all, in our own personal lives — the things that have to be given up in order that the light may burn in our own consciousness. Once we understand the psychology and possibilities attaching to prayer of the right kind, we find it is something that everybody can practice. It is something that has effects in accordance with the sincerity and the real faith — not in something which we call in ordinary religion 'God,' which generally means something outside of ourselves — but faith in a principle which is immortal within ourselves, within our own being, something to believe in which is actually strengthening and ennobling to everybody who practices it.

I want to put one closing idea in front of you, and that is this: to make use of prayer to the utmost limit, and to bring about a regeneration in the individual, take what H. P. B. told us upon the meaning and the power of a vow. It is not possible for us to gain anything at all by taking a pledge or a vow rashly without due thought and consideration, and with a certainty in our own minds that we cannot carry out that pledge. The rule of the spiritual life is that you should never take a vow that you do not feel the strength in you to carry out to the bitter end. Do not be like the wretch that Mr. judge quotes in one of his articles, who rushed upon the rocks of asceticism and then discovered that he could not keep that pledge; because, friends, when vows are entered into and not carried out, the result is a permanent weakening of the whole spiritual nature.

But H. P. B. has cleared the ground for us: she has told us what are the pillars as she called them, upon which every pledge must stand and without which no vow is recorded in the realms of spiritual nature. She said there has to be absolute sincerity, unflinching determination, and most important of all, and of most practical significance for us, an altruistic purpose, and lastly moral power. Without these four pillars it is useless to take a vow of a spiritual kind; and if you like to apply them to the consideration of the elimination of the faults of individual, family, national and racial characteristics, you will see that Theosophy places into the hands of every one of us a magic key, the philosopher's stone, a very talisman, to bring about that result. Because for the man or woman who is face to face with the lower nature, determined to rise above it, what is the usual tendency? The tendency is to become so fixed in contemplation upon, so worried or disturbed about the contemplation of, weaknesses in ourselves, that the power to cope with them is forgotten altogether; and then one becomes immersed in the fight, the head is no longer cool, the vision no longer clear. But then the saving message of Theosophy comes and it says: If you would conquer the desires of the flesh, do it that you may eliminate the tendencies to evil in the family to which you belong, in the nation of which you form a part, of the very human race itself.

Thus every action that you undertake should be done with altruistic motive. In that way your every endeavor is not for yourself at all. In purifying your own nature you raise that of the family to which you belong, you raise the nation of which that family is a part; and so the tendency, by a multiplication of individuals striving to live in terms with their own spiritual nature, will as the Theosophical Movement progresses make such an impress, such a record, upon the memory of Nature — upon the Astral Light if you will — that instead of being tempted constantly by the emanations of that astral sphere, gradually, little by little, the tendency will be reflected upon man to live in terms of that inner light that all of us are seeking.

And now, Friends, because it is the purpose when we come together here that we should all by the effort of thought and mind and meditation draw some sustenance and some strength for our own spiritual living from the doctrines that are taught in this ancient Wisdom of mankind, I am going to close our study together tonight by reading for you that beautiful Invocation by Katherine Tingley which actually is addressed to the Higher Self in man, that Higher Self which we can all come in contact with, to the lasting benefit not only of ourselves but of all with whom we come in contact, of all with whom we shall be associated now and in the future. That Invocation is as follows:

Oh my Divinity! thou dost blend with the earth and fashion for Thyself temples of mighty power.
Oh my Divinity! thou livest in the heart life of all things, and dost radiate a golden light that shineth for ever and doth illumine even the darkest corners of the earth.
Oh my Divinity! blend thou with me that from the corruptible I may become incorruptible; that from imperfection I may become perfection; that from darkness I may go forth in Light.

Part 2

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