Theosophical University Press Online Edition
(Lecture delivered March 22, 1931)
CONTENTS: The pathway to the Mystic East. — Extract from Browning's Paracelsus. — Were the Mystery schools of antiquity institutions of priestcraft? — True nature of uncivilized tribes of today. — The complexity of their languages. — Modern evolutionary theories at fault. — The Chinese and Egyptian languages. — The case of the Negroes an exception. — Similarity of traditional teachings. — Study of folklore profitable. — Preparedness essential to initiation. — Why are Teachers necessary? — H.P.B.'s words on the necessity of teachers. — Guerdon of a true theosophist. — To those who object to being joiners. — Consecration of the life to service.
Speaking to hungry hearts, human hearts which have suffered and through suffering have learned to hunger for more truth and to understand somewhat; speaking to human souls which have undergone the pain of learning and through undergoing that pain of learning have had the inner senses opened at least somewhat; such speaking is not an easy task, Friends. But there is a lofty delight in it — a feeling that I also vibrate in synchronous harmony with the human hearts and minds to whom I speak; that I, too, have gone along the pathways of life down into the valleys of suffering and pain, and out of them have climbed up, up, still farther up, along that mystic pathway concerning which I have so often spoken to you, which leads to that Mystic East which is not a geographical locality, but which is found within you: the Mystic East towards which all human spiritual feeling is orientated, that inner directing power of the spirit, which leads us, if we follow faithfully its mandates, directly to the heart of the Universe. Any human being can follow this path, and indeed every human being must some day follow it; for there is no other path to truth than that which the individual himself treads, the path of self-learning. It is the mystic pathway leading to the Mystic East.
It is because, Brothers, Comrades, and Friends, my feet have trodden this pathway a little that I can speak to you, knowing that what I say from an understanding heart will reach other understanding hearts also, and that you will vibrate sympathetically to what you hear. Every one of us human beings is a pilgrim on this pathway; every one of us is treading it always; and think of it, Friends, Comrades, and Brothers, as a pathway which has had no beginning, for it is the pathway of our spiritual essence — I mean, in other words, that that spiritual essence of us is itself the pathway — our innermost consciousness. This pathway, in other words, is a developing, an evolving, a bringing out, of what is locked up within; in fact, it is the pathway of learning, of growing, of becoming, and finally of being.
"There is a center of truth within us all," as Robert Browning, the English poet, so beautifully puts it. Let me read to you a few lines from his Paracelsus:
Truth is within ourselves; it takes no rise
From outward things, whatever you may believe.
There is an inmost center in us all
Where truth abides in fullness; and around,
Wall upon wall, the gross flesh hems it in,
This perfect, clear perception — which is truth.
A baffling and perverting carnal mesh
Binds it, and makes all error: and to KNOW
Rather consists in opening out a way
Whence the imprisoned splendor may escape,
Than in effecting entry for a light
Supposed to be without.
Browning in these beautiful lines merely echoes the teachings of all the sages and seers of all the ages. "Man, know thyself," said the Delphic Oracle of ancient Greece — voicing a truth that I repeat to you again and again and again and again from this platform; because in knowing yourself, ultimately you will know all others and all things. Your self is the spiritual child of the universe; you are therefore an inseparable portion of that universe; you are rooted in it; you are of it: blood of its blood, bone of its bone, essence of its essence, life of its life; and therefore, in knowing yourself, you come through endless stages of greater learning to know the outside universe; and therefore we see how it is that truth is within us — the entity cognizing truth is within ourselves.
But do you think that the learner on life's pathways knows all or even can know all without help? The very fact that he learns, that he is growing, that he is a learner, implies the necessary existence of teachers, preceptors, guides, helpers, on the upward way. Isn't it so even in human existence and in all walks of our human life? Men must learn as well as grow, and the learning is within, because the consciousness is within, and because the pathway is within, and hence all that is great and noble, sublime and holy, in human existence takes its rise within because the roots of it all are within. But in his opening-out process, which is the real meaning of evolution, the human race needs guidance, it needs teachers, it needs preceptors, it needs human living signposts, so to speak, pointing the way; and this verity has been proclaimed in and by the history of every religious and philosophical organization which has ever existed on this earth.
This is the heart-meaning of the great teachings given in the past by the great seers and sages, the teachers, the leaders, who were and are the preceptors, of their fellow men; and these great sages and seers were and are merely men who have advanced farther and more quickly than the average of men — a simple truth that I tell you again and again and again and again from this platform.
Do you think that you could learn anything unless you had the capacity to learn it? This capacity itself implies the existence of growth, of improvement, of evolving, of bringing forth what is within the learner and grower; and it is the teacher's sublime duty to bring forth the imprisoned splendor. He cannot put it into you from without; just as Browning sets it forth so finely, it is in you already; and every man and woman here, in fact every human being, is an imprisoned splendor — a god working poorly, oh! so poorly, through human flesh, through the human mind, but in its own realms a god nevertheless; and all evolution, all development, all growth, all progress, in human life is simply the bringing out more and more in ever greater measure the spiritual splendor imprisoned within every human being.
You have heard of the great Mystery schools of antiquity. What were they? Institutions of priestcraft? No; pity the Occidental scholars whose mental habit it has been to suppose that. They judge from their own unfortunate experience, my Brothers. But theosophists say, judge by your self; judge by the heart-hunger of your own heart for truth, for light, for peace, for a greater and a larger life. Judge by your own soul, and you will not be so ready to accuse other human beings of a desire willfully to deceive their fellow humans.
No, I repeat: the ancient Mystery schools were founded by the great sages and seers of whom I have spoken — in each case founded by one or more of these great sages and seers; and in those Mystery schools of the archaic wisdom of antiquity was taught the sublimest knowledge that men can have: first, learning to know yourself, the imprisoned splendor, the god within you. Quoth the Delphic Oracle: "Man, know thyself!" Spiritual self-knowledge is the royal road, the road leading to the Mystic East.
In addition, in these archaic schools, there were taught the wonderful teachings concerning the nature, structure, and operations of the universe in which we live and move and have our being. These great sages and seers themselves had been initiated by their own greater teachers; and before these great sages and seers had become what later they became, when undergoing the initiatory ceremonies they had sent the percipient, the perceiving, the conscious, part of themselves behind the veils of the material universe, yea, into the very womb of cosmic being; they had sent the cognizing consciousness, each one of himself, deep, deep, deep into nature's heart; and bringing back what there they had discovered, what there they had found out, what there they had learned, they taught these sublime truths to their fellow human beings — to each neophyte or disciple or pupil according to the latter's capacity to receive.
My Brothers, as there is but one fundamental truth in the universe, simply because there is but one boundless All, all the great sages and seers therefore of necessity taught that one truth: felt it, experienced it; and hence the teaching of all of them was one in every essential characteristic. No matter in what age these great seers and sages taught, no matter what the languages they used, no matter what the figures of speech that they employed, in each and in every case the essentials of their teaching were the same, because the truth was one. This truth regarding the nature, structure, operations, and laws of the boundless All, visible and invisible — that not only was but today is the secret doctrine of the ages, the archaic wisdom-religion of mankind, of which faint echoes even today are heard in every human mind which is not wholly asleep and in every human heart which is not dead.
Do you imagine, you men and women of the Occident, that you are the only human beings who have ever felt aright, who have ever thought deeply, who have ever cognized truth at first hand? Of course not. We of the present day are merely the children of past ages. I tell you that all the so-called barbarous and uncivilized and so-called savage tribes of men on earth today are not at all young tribes, young peoples, just beginning their evolutionary journey towards greater things: they are old with the ages, and are now decrepit if not dying out; they are races whose representatives experienced the lofty heights and culminations of their own respective racial glories in ages far past; and of those once proud and haughty races, in their respective times the kings of the earth, there remain today but their degenerate descendants, whom we men of the West in our proud Occidental fashion call savages and barbarians — and really that is what they now are.
Do you know that some of these savage and barbarian races ages ago constructed languages which can stand on a par for flexibility and ability to express the most abstract operations of the human mind — can stand on a par, I tell you, with the most highly developed languages of the white men — Sanskrit and Greek, for instances; and yet these present-day barbarians and savages still speak, however inadequately, the tongues they have inherited from their great sires of ages agone; savages, barbarians, at present incapable of using adequately the linguistic instruments for expressing human thoughts that their ancestors used so grandly. There are the languages still existing as linguistic fossils. How did it happen that savage and barbarian peoples come to possess languages so intricate in grammatical structure and so evolved in certain instances as instruments for the expression of human ideas and conceptions? How does it happen that these races still speak, however inadequately, tongues which contain the power of expressing the most recondite operations of the human mind as successfully as do the majority of our European languages today?
According to modern evolutionary theories these savages and barbarians are young races, and yet here in the instances which I have in mind some of these so-called barbarians and savage peoples possess languages, instruments for expressing thought, and seem to have always possessed them, which are perfectly fit and capable of voicing the profound and abstract conceptions of the human intelligence. The theory and the fact when thus brought together are seen flagrantly to contradict each other. There is something wrong in the modern evolutionary theory because such supposedly young peoples should be speaking languages of the most elementary character linguistically speaking, and the contrary is the case. Is it not obvious that these savage and barbarian peoples are descendants of once mighty and highly intelligent sires? That they are the mere remnants of races once possessing high spiritual and intellectual attainments and who thus gave birth to languages adequately and fitly expressing the inner spiritual and intellectual faculties?
It is time, evolution, growth, the working and strivings of the human soul, of the human mind, which develop languages fit to express the higher powers of the human mind; and this takes time and could only have been accomplished as the ages flowed by into the ocean of the past. This is the real explanation of the fact that some of these dying languages are such marvelous instruments of human expression, and why some of them are highly complicated in grammatical syntax, far more so indeed than certain ones of our present European tongues.
Again, mark you: look at the languages of some of the other peoples — the ancient Egyptians and the Chinese, for instance, all peoples which have evolved high and intricate civilizations. The ancient Egyptians and the Chinese spoke languages formed mainly of linguistic roots alone, languages which are without the linguistic graces of the highly inflected tongues of the earth. Such languages as these two last show all the elements of linguistic fossils which have come down, as in the case of the Chinese, to our own day. And yet even they, the ancient Egyptians and the Chinese, speak or spoke languages which enabled their users to express all the thoughts, however complicated or intricate, that we moderns can with our own highly inflected tongues.
What does this all mean? There are barbarians using languages incomparably more evolved, linguistically speaking, than the Chinese, for instance — a family of tongues composed of verbal roots only; and, on the other hand, the tongues of these barbarians in certain instances compare favorably from the standpoint of linguistic evolution with the highly inflected ancient Greek and Sanskrit. The reason is that they whom at present we call barbarians and savages are, as I have already told you, remnants of races who long ago passed their racial culmination. Their records lie in the far distant past, and only the ethnological remnants of once great peoples survive today. But the Chinese and the Egyptians spoke or speak tongues which ceased their evolutionary development and survive to our own day as linguistic fossils in an elementary stage of growth.
There is one great racial exception to my statement that all the so-called savages and barbarian peoples are remnants, remainders, of former great races, and the racial exception to which I refer is the family of peoples originating in Africa — I mean the so-called Negroes. Generally speaking, the Negroes are a race with a future; instead of being a mere racial remnant, they are a race which has been asleep and which only now is beginning to move rapidly along its own evolutionary pathway of development. The Tibetans also are in a similar category in the sense that their racial development lies largely before them instead of lying in the past. Races evolve, just as individuals do.
Mark you here a noteworthy proof of this statement: wherever the white man goes and thither carries his civilization, his teaching, his so-called physical comforts and conveniences, he brings disease to the barbarian and savage peoples. They cannot long stand his presence. They wilt, they fade, and die out. This is because the white man is the dominant power; and these descendants of the ancient races yield before him and drop away. The white man's diseases seize upon the bodies of these descendants of once great sires, and pestilences and epidemics brought by the white man sweep them away by the thousands.
But, contrariwise, what happens in the case of the Negro? Not only can he successfully withstand the white man's influences and the white man's presence and power, but he can even live together with the white man and hold his own — he can live on and grow and prosper, develop and learn. The reason is that he belongs to a young racial stock; the physical and racial vitality runs strong in the Negro race; he can as a rule withstand the attacks of the white man's microbes, so to speak — both psychological and physical.
These old and now degenerate peoples all have mystical and religious records and sodalities which have come down through the ages, passed down from father to son, from priest to priest, through many ages; and the roots of their legends, the inner meanings of these transmitted or traditional teachings, are the same in general and often in specific terms, mark you, all over the earth. Isn't that an interesting and highly significant fact?
No matter whence you draw the ancient records of these so-called barbarous and dying-out peoples, you will find that beneath the superficials of these records, they all teach pretty much the same fundamental doctrines. In one race these old doctrines were embroidered in one way, and in another old race the same doctrines were embroidered in some other fashion; but if you search carefully with the key that theosophy gives you to work by, you will discover the one fundamental, identic truth, in other words the same identic body of doctrines, under the coverings of habit and custom in every clime. I repeat that in the records of those ancient and barbarian peoples, you will find the same secret doctrine of the ages. In one race you will find one doctrine or set of doctrines more greatly emphasized than others are; in some other race you will find some other doctrine or set of doctrines of the archaic wisdom more greatly emphasized than in the former case, and so forth; but in all instances you will find the same fundamental teachings and at least hints of the existence of the greatly emphasized teachings existent in full flower elsewhere.
Consider the ancient Greeks, for instance, who in our Occident have always been considered, and rightly so, as one of the most subtle-minded and intellectually developed people of the white race. Look at their archaic schools of the Mysteries. The same essential things that you will find taught — as far as they can now be found out — in the Mystery-teachings of the Greeks, you will find in far-off Tasmania or Australia. Hunt for these proofs. Examine the folklore of these archaic peoples. Test it yourselves. Put the necessary time into the study, and you will discover that what I have told you is true.
Now, my Brothers, do you think that this secret wisdom of the ages has vanished off from the face of the earth? Not at all. The human race has been protected and guided in the past by great sages and seers, lofty spiritual and intellectual Initiates, men who have become more or less at one with the inner divinity. They compose a brotherhood, and this brotherhood still exists today. Theosophists call these great ones mahatmas, masters, teachers, elder brothers, sages, seers, and by various other names. They exist even today as an association, as a brotherhood, and their sublime work is the aiding and teaching of their fellow men to become like unto themselves — which means in brief a hastening of the evolutionary process.
They have their schools of initiation into which men in the outside world can enter, provided that these great ones see in the hearts and minds of the men in the outside world the qualifications for initiation. This procedure is not a selfish one. It is not a policy directed by an ignoble wish to keep truth for oneself, but is directed by nature's own law. You cannot teach an infant studies which are beyond its capacities. You cannot teach it lessons in Sanskrit, nor how to deliver a lecture on astronomy or chemistry, as instances. You must wait until the child grows, grows up, until its faculties evolve, which is the same thing as inner growth.
What a wondrous picture of hope and consolation we have here! Any man who will show the necessary qualifications is acceptable to these teachers — not only acceptable, but he is helped, is taught; and every great seer and sage throughout the ages has had the same wonderful Message to give to mankind: "Come unto me, all ye that are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest, and peace, and light."
But the man's heart must hunger for these, his mind must be ready to receive them; otherwise how can he take them? His moral instincts must be sufficiently developed so that the development of the wonderful but latent power within him can be brought about with an assurance that these powers will not be debased to ignoble uses.
I repeat, Brothers, that all the great sages and seers of the ages have taught: ask, and ask aright, and ye shall receive; knock, and give the right knock — which is the life of a pure heart and the strivings of an eager intellect — and then the door will be opened unto you. Any son of man has a right to these sublime teachings as his heritage as a human being.
I will tell you frankly, Brothers, Comrades, and Friends, that the Theosophical Society was originally founded to bring these same ancient, very archaic, wonder-teachings back to the cognizance and living of mankind; and even today those who have proved themselves by kindliness of action, by a heart-hunger for truth, by the courage to follow that truth to the world's end, ready to receive initiation, can get it. As I have told you on other occasions, this is a promise — not my own, but the same promise that any genuine theosophical teacher and leader is authorized to make.
Do you understand now what I refer to when I speak of the archaic doctrine, the wisdom-religion of mankind, the secret doctrine of the ages? It is that "Lost Word," which yet is not a word, but a system of teaching, a wisdom, the existence of which still remains as an echo in the hearts of all good and true and intuitive men. This Lost Word, this wisdom-teaching, you can have. It is, as a body of doctrines, the formulation in human language of the essential truths of the universe. It comprises the facts regarding the nature of the universe, visible and invisible, spiritual, intellectual, psychical, ethereal, astral, and physical. It comprises also the teachings regarding the structure and operations and laws of the universe, of which every human being is an inseparable portion. It also includes teaching a man to find himself — i. e., to discover, and uncover from its enshrouding veils, the god within him.
In every human being there is his inner god. Some call it the immanent Christ, others the inner Buddha. But by whatever name we call it, it is the same. Having found this inner god, you will enjoy communion with the divinities, and you will understand the universe in which you live, and move, and have your being, and of which you are an inseparable part. Receiving this Wisdom means the broadening of your consciousness, the deepening of your being, the evocation of your latent intellectual powers, and the self-acquaintance with your soul, so to speak — call it by what name you like. It also means to become at one with the All, and self-consciously.
Doing this is following the mystic pathway that I spoke of this afternoon. Essential truth is within you. Every man and woman of you here can find that truth, if you only have the key. It is the teacher who gives the key. He shows you how to become your self. He shows you how to unlock the faculties and powers latent within your self. He shows you how to bring out your self. He shows you how to be your spiritual self.
There is a teaching current in the world today, not only in the ranks of some theosophists but it is very popular all over the world, to the effect that a man does not need teachers, that a man should be sufficient unto himself, that he has it within him to find his own path; and this is said to be a manly course of life. Verily, so it is: "Truth abides within in fullness"; but why haven't you found the path? Why aren't you what you claim you can be? For the simple reason that you don't know how to be it and because you have not been taught. You need a teacher. Pause in thought over this, if you please.
Do you think that the human race has been abandoned through the ages, that the great seers and sages who have lived in the past and who have brightened human existence by their teachings, and who have given to men a deathless hope — do you think that they were ordinary men, or are ordinary men today? They were and are men indeed, men who had become at one with the inner god, the god within: in other words, who had become at one with their spiritual self and thus they could teach other men to do the same.
Men need teachers. O my Brothers, if I could tell you the debt of gratitude that I have to my own teachers, and to this gratitude I bear glad witness! I am not ashamed of it. I proclaim it as the loveliest and most beautiful thing in my life that I have learned to subordinate my human pride of mind to abstract truth, to love, to gratitude. Truth is within, in very fact; but a man must be taught how to unfold it within himself. Look at your little children. Their growth will exemplify the idea. A little child has everything within it that the grown man has, but as yet undeveloped and he needs his teachers; he needs the mother's loving care, first to guide the footsteps, then to teach the letters of the alphabet, to watch over its growing intelligence, to guide its mind into the proper paths; and I pity the mothers who fail in this — one of the noblest duties that a human being can undertake.
The spiritual teacher of grown men is just what Socrates claimed that he was himself, a "midwife" bringing out the man himself, bringing his disciples to birth — to spiritual birth. This is a sublime thought.
Yes, and furthermore, Brothers, Comrades, Friends, this great association of the Masters of Wisdom and Compassion and Peace have their envoys and representatives in the world all the time. Now, pause in thought over this statement. As a great people will send its ambassador or envoy to some foreign land, so do these great ones, these great seers and sages of the ages, send their envoys, high disciples of theirs, into the world, in order to proclaim at different periods in the world's history the same old secret wisdom of the ages. H.P. Blavatsky was one such. There were many others before her. There were others after her. The future will show many more.
It is trifling with truth, it is juvenile, it is childish, to say that the Great Ones send their representatives no more until a certain time-period has been reached. How do you know? Do you dictate the policy of the Masters of Wisdom and Compassion and Peace? I repeat my question: How do you know? Why do you sit in judgment of your brothers? Here is a good proof by which you may judge such an envoy: What is his teaching? What is his life? What does he give to the world? Does he inspire his fellows with great and noble thoughts and does he show them the still small path of the ages? If he does, you need have no fear about superficial theories whether he is or is not a Teacher from the Great Ones. Such a man is a man to be trusted.
Reject anything that your conscience tells you is false; abhor it. Cast it aside even if a very god from heaven taught it to you; reject it, if your conscience tells you that it is wrong. You may make mistakes time after time; but at any rate you are exercising your divine prerogatives of free will and of vision, and you are also thereby exercising your intellect; and these will grow by the exercise and thus become stronger; and the time will surely come when your judgment and your discrimination will have grown to be far greater than now they are; and then you will recognize truth whenever you see it or hear it.
If, on the other hand, what a man teaches you find to be true, that is if it appeal to you as a fact, then hold to it and help him to sow that truth abroad. Such action is a human duty. Every decent man feels it. Do you think that there is a man in this room who, seeing some other man working against heavy odds, would not instantly, with an outburst of generous feeling, rush to aid him? Of course he would; and so would every true woman, too.
I tell you, not only that these Masters of Wisdom and Compassion and Peace send their envoys continuously into the world of men one after the other, but also that these envoys in consequence are working in the world among men all the time; and happy are they whose hearts recognize these envoys; happy they who recognize the footfalls of the messengers of peace and wisdom crossing the mountaintops of the Mystic East.
I have been reminded sometimes that the chief founder of the Theosophical Society in our age, H.P. Blavatsky, taught that it was sufficient unto a man to look within himself in order to find truth, because all truth abides within. She did so teach, and so has every other great theosophical teacher and leader, and I am as cognizant of the fact as any one else is, and teach exactly the same thing myself. But H.P. Blavatsky also taught the need — a real and imperative need — for men to have spiritual teachers, teachers who could help to guide the faltering steps of average men, teachers who would be showers of the way: human signposts so to speak.
Genuine theosophical teachers are not mere preachers of ideas or mental notions that may have currency as a fad in any age, but base their teachings and doctrines solely on the facts of being. They recognize full well that men are imperfect albeit learning entities, entities who are growing and, as in the case of all imperfectly developed entities, guidance is needed and help is to be given where help can be given and will be accepted in the spirit in which it is offered; and also they know and teach that while all truth abides within, nevertheless the average man can be helped to shorten his ages-long evolution by the means of receiving teachings through the inflaming of his own inner divinity, and this inflaming is the work of the greater men, of the Masters of Wisdom.
Life is a school and men are the pupils in that school, and in that school there are teachers, and in these few words you have the key to the whole situation and to the policy of the Great Lodge.
I will read to you a brief observation of H. P. Blavatsky's which is found in a letter written to a Dr. Franz Hartmann. You will find this letter published in full in the theosophical magazine, The Path, March, 1896:
. . . I am enough of an occultist to know that before we find the Master within our own hearts . . . we need an outside Master. As the Chinese alchemist says, speaking of the necessity of an outside teacher: . . . 'One word from a wise Master and you possess a draught of the golden water.' [True!] . . . He is a Savior who leads you in finding your own Master within yourself. It is ten years already that I preach the inner Master.
Do you think, Brothers, Comrades, Friends, that I as a theosophical lecturer and teacher would ask you to accept one word of what I tell you from this platform if you yourselves feel it to be untrue? No. I say to you again what I have always said: reject anything and everything that you hear if your conscience rebels against it. It is your human duty to do that. But, on the other hand, if what you hear appeals to you as true, then be true men and hold to it and proclaim to the world the truth that you have found and help us in so doing. Help in passing on the beautiful teachings of theosophy, its glad tidings of great joy. Theosophists need the help of every honest man and woman who hears what we have to say and who feels that what we teach is truth.
We have nothing to gain personally, theosophists, in our work. But let me pause a moment, and, after all, ask myself if this statement is exactly true. From another standpoint as I now think it over in speaking to you I am inclined to think that from this other standpoint the opposite statement is also true. We have everything to gain; for indeed in helping others we find ourselves, each one of us comes nearer to realizing the god within him. Don't you know that the sweetest, the loveliest, the happiest, moment in a man's life, is when he feels that he has helped a fellow human being? Have you not experienced that? It is a sublime experience. It satisfies something noble within you that naught else can reach. Yes, from this other standpoint, we Theosophists do gain, gain grandly, gain wonderfully, because not only do we come nearer to finding our spiritual selves, which itself is a sublime experience, but we see and feel that we help our fellows to find themselves, to find their true inner selves, as individuals.
The secret doctrine of the ages you can find outlined in brief in our modern theosophical books, in our age especially in the works of H.P. Blavatsky, in her The Secret Doctrine, for instance. There you can read and study somewhat of what this ancient, this archaic, wisdom was, this Lost Word, which as said is no "word," which is indeed a wisdom, a wisdom-teaching. If the study of this ancient wisdom interests you and you desire to go farther along this path, which is the inner pathway of inner and spiritual self-realization and which means a development of your inner, nobler selfhood, then come to our temple door and knock.
In this connection quite frankly I am going to make a statement to you and it is as follows: during the last few years I have received a limited number of communications couched somewhat in the following fashion: "I have been to your Temple of Peace; I have heard you speak there. I would like very much to become better acquainted with the wonderful doctrines, the esoteric doctrines, at which I have so often heard you hint; but with all due respect to The Theosophical Society, I would much prefer not to join it. The reason is that I am not a 'joiner.' I like to be free. I don't care to associate myself with any Society. With all due respect to you splendid people and with deep sympathy for your work, nevertheless I prefer to remain apart, and to pursue my own personal path."
I usually answer these communications with all due courtesy; but my own reaction is — and here again I will talk quite frankly to you — that a man or a woman who would like to take from a household what he is not entitled to take and then avoid helping the members of that household who have helped him or her, is not fully guided by the instincts of a true and generous heart.
For my part, I am proud to join a body of men and women whom I believe to have found something great and beautiful — the pathway of spiritual and intellectual self-realization under the guidance and teaching of the Masters of Wisdom and Compassion. It is possible that theosophists do not always follow this pathway with perfect fidelity. This is only natural because we are all human; but nevertheless our theosophists are trying to follow the path faithfully; and this already is a great deal. I am proud to join a movement headed by the immortal gods, for that is indeed a fact — a movement composed of men and women who are honestly striving to do their best to bring light and help and peace and comfort to their fellows. My heart yearns to help in so great and so noble a work. I should be ashamed to want to obtain for myself without giving myself and what I can do in return for what I have received. I am, therefore, a "joiner" of all that is grand and sublime.
Before you can enter our Esoteric Section — but how shall I phrase this? Let me put the matter in this way: Before you can pass the threshold of the inner Temple you must enter the outer Temple. This is a rule which has come down to us from the ages of the past and simply exemplifies the results of ages of human experience. Furthermore — and this I must say in honesty — even if and when you have entered the outer Temple, it is not certain, absolutely certain, that you will be able to pass the threshold of the holy of holies — the inner Temple. It all depends upon yourselves, and this statement should be perfectly clear to everybody.
If you have it in you to pass into the greater light, then not all the devils in hell can keep you out; but if you have it not in you, then with equivalent reason not all the gods in heaven can help you to pass inwards. Do you know why this is so? It is so because it is the individual who chooses for himself, in other words who walks his own path. Do you now get the idea? You must have it in yourself to succeed, you must have it in your own heart, before you can succeed. You must become it before you can be it, in other words pass the threshold of the inner Temple.
I do not think that anyone, after this frank observation, my Friends, can ever say that I have told people enticing things and then, when it came to the scratch, I would not let them in. I will, therefore, now tell you the simple and exact truth: I cannot keep you out if you give the right knock, and if you ask aright; but, on the other hand, I could not, even if I would, pass you into realms of thought and consciousness which you yourself have not evolved within yourself, which you are not prepared to understand. In these remarks I refer to the esoteric part of our teachings, the secret part; but nevertheless any man or woman who accepts the one prerequisite for membership in The Theosophical Society, which prerequisite is a sincere belief in universal brotherhood, can join us and help us, and we are happy to have his brotherly aid.
Now, Brothers and Comrades and Friends: before leaving you this afternoon, I want to talk to you briefly, as I usually do, upon something that to me is the loftiest part of our majestic theosophical philosophy. It is this: every human being is an imbodied incarnate divinity; some human beings manifest this divinity in splendor, and such men we call Buddhas, or we speak of them as Christs, or call them by other names. They are among the number of the great sages and seers of the human race. Again, other men show forth the faculties and powers of the inner god but averagely, but poorly; and they are the average men like me, like you — unless, mayhap, in this audience, there may be a few who are greater than the average. It is quite possible. There are still other human beings who show forth the faculties and powers of the inner god very poorly, and these are the undeveloped men, the men whose hearts are asleep and whose minds are dulled. But they will grow to greater things.
But to the average man and woman it is my duty to recall this wonderful truth of the essential god at the core of the core of the being of everyone. Each one is an incarnate god, each one of you is an imbodied divinity, kin with the immortals who guide and protect the universal spheres; and you can find how self-consciously to became this inner god of you, which you yourself are in your inmost. Become it in your daily life little by little, every day a little more. Yearn to be it; yearn to become it; feel it; think of it; ponder upon it. Even the rewards that come from this discipline and this training are past ordinary comprehension.
Pause a moment in thought and realize what it means to have your consciousness virtually of cosmic reach, attaining the outmost limits of our solar system, and this not only in the physical sphere but very much more so in the invisible worlds; try for an instant to realize what it is to send your consciousness behind the veils of the physical universe — deep, deep, deeper still, into the very heart of being — and there to learn, by becoming it, what is there, by experiencing all that is there in your own perceiving consciousness; and then, holiest thing of all, perhaps, feeling so strongly your oneness with the boundless universe that instinctively and with all the impulses of your life you consecrate yourself to its service — a godlike activity.
This consecration also means becoming ever greater in spiritual power, in growth of inner faculty, in inner vision, in inner hearing, in deeper feeling. Following upon this consecration the inner spiritual senses will open and develop grandly. You have all within you, and you lack but the proper teacher. Therefore, seek out your teacher. Aspire, become worthy of his care and guidance. You may find him sooner than you realize. Turn whither the noblest impulses of your soul direct you to turn. Doubtless he will be there.
Vol 2, No 32