Theosophical University Press Online Edition
The World's Trouble and Its Cure
Guard Your Thought Processes
Initiation and Suffering
The Weighing of the Heart
The Ensouling of Man
The Essence of H. P. Blavatsky's Message
The Yoga of Theosophy
Beauty and Science
The Understanding Heart
What is the trouble with the world today? It is this: the desperate desires that men have to make other men accept their views. That was and has been the trouble with the Occident since the downfall of paganism. It was the scandal of the Christian church — and I say it with reverence for the many noble hearts who have lived in and brightened that church with their lives. The great fault of men from the time of the downfall of Rome in all the European countries, and in these two continents of ours, has been the desperate effort of men to force others to think as they do — in religion, in politics, in society, it matters not what.
It is this which has lighted the pyres of the martyrs. It is this which has sent murdering, marauding bands out for the killing of other men. It is this which has made and signed treaties, and imposed them on nations. It is this which troubles us today. You see it everywhere. You see it even in countries at peace. You see it in our social relations among ourselves. Western men and women do not seem to be happy unless they are trying with more or less success to impose their will upon others, their thoughts, their ideas of what is right: the way the world should be run, the way things should be done, and especially the way other people should believe and feel. When you realize how greatly we value the sanctuary of our own hearts, the freedom of our own lives, and our right to think freely, you can see how tragical the consequences always are.
Why, I have seen the same evil strain running even through the minds of theosophists who seem to think that other theosophists are all on the wrong path because they do not accept their opinions — theosophically, this is simply repeating the same old evil desire to make the other fellow think as you do.
Now, try as you may, you cannot completely succeed in this. You can kill men, you can shackle their bodies, you can defile and distort their minds and their hearts. But you cannot enchain the human soul. It will break free. And then the same old tragedy is repeated. It is pathetic; and the pathos of it lies mainly not so much in the great human suffering brought about, but in the immense loss to humankind of the treasures repressed and defeated in the hearts and minds of others. Think! what is more beautiful than for a man to study the mind of his friend or his fellow, to bring out what is there, to see it grow, to see unfolded the treasuries of thought? This is productive. The other is destructive. The one enriches the treasuries of human thought and human feeling; it brings about gentleness and peace and mildness in men's dealings with each other. The other brings about hatred and suspicion and a seething resentment and urge to throw off the slavery of imposed beliefs, ideas, or forms.
Do you know why all this happens? Simply because people, most of them, are unensouled. I do not mean they have no souls; but their souls are not active, are not working, are not productive. They are asleep. Thus men and women mostly live like human animals; in fact, worse, because animals are governed more or less by an instinct which holds some measure of respect for other animals. But men have planning and tricky minds, and when planning and tricky minds are endowed with reason, we have tyranny, religious, social, political, any kind. We have, I say, tyranny: the attempt by minority, or by majority, or the one upon the many, or the many upon the one, to impose ideas and thoughts and modes of conduct to which the others must submit — and we call that the "freedom of the Occident"!
Freedom! One of heaven's most blessed gifts and the one that we have most outrageously abused, for we have considered that to gain freedom is the causing of other men to accept our beliefs, is the obliging of other men to accept our institutions and our ways of doing things. And the result: the crushing down of the flowering of millions of human souls which otherwise would have produced abundantly, brought forth nobly their contribution to the enrichment of our common human treasury.
Am I revolutionary in these ideas? Never. For that would be just myself trying to repeat the moral crimes I speak of, trying to impose my views upon others. Evolutionary? Yes! Appealing to human hearts and minds always to remember that they can never be ultimately happy, or produce their best, or allow their fellowmen to produce their best, if they fight others. It never has worked. It never will. It is against the laws of human nature. It is against all the laws of psychology, both the higher and the lower. It is a man's duty to obey the laws of his country. No matter what country it is, no matter what laws it may have, as long as he lives in it he should be obedient to its laws. But let him in his own life be an example of an ensouled man, and if he die a martyr in the cause of the world will hear of his example and it will be, as the old Christian said, "the seed of the Church"; for it is a curious fact in human psychological thought, that even though a man die in a poor cause it is a seed of propaganda.
The greatest wisdom in human life as taught by the masters of wisdom is sympathy for the souls of men, and making your own life an example of what you preach: justice, brotherly love, sympathy, pity, compassion, helpfulness, refraining from doing any unjust act to whomsoever it may be. Your example will be followed by others because you will stand out like a beacon light on a dark night.
That is the ideal; and I shall always hold it before me as an ideal. For I have found, and I found it even in my boyhood, that the most interesting thing in human association, in human relations, in the give-and-take of daily life, is the bringing out of what the other man has within him, wants to show, wants to express. It is fascinating; and the quickest way to kill that, to check its growth, is to impose your ideas on him. For then you kill something wondrously beautiful; you bring about the destruction of the noblest thing in human life instead of sympathetically aiding in its flowering. It is a crime to do this. Contrariwise, if you can bring out what is within a man's soul you can enrich him and yourself, both. And this is the essence of real leadership. It means leading the hearts of men; bringing out the best in others, so that they themselves come to love the beauty thus brought forth and become fired with enthusiasm. To impose ideas on others is tyranny.
We are living under a rule of force; there are forcible repressions everywhere. You know what that means in mechanics; similarly does the crushing of the aspirations of the human soul, the forcing down of what must come out some day, produce explosions. Can you wonder that the greatest men who have ever lived have taught us that the way to peace and happiness and growth and prosperity and riches and all the good things of life is love and justice? Love for the souls of men, sympathy for the souls of men; doing not unto others as you would not that they should do unto you — this negative form is the wiser one. Doing unto others what you would they should do unto you — "saving the souls of men" — is a rule which admits of the abuses of ignorance and fanaticism.
Treat others — put it in the positive form if you like — treat others as you want others to treat you, and by and by you will grow to see the flowering of their and your ideals. A man who does this is an ensouled man: one in whom the qualities of the soul predominate; who loves because love is beautiful; one who, enriching the life of his fellows, enriches his own life; one who treats others generously and gives to others the first chance. This is not only chivalrous, but also it increases one's own power and strength, for it requires willpower to do this continuously. It is a process of ensouling oneself ever more. The greatest men in the world have been the most ensouled in this sense. They are those whose hearts have held the most love, whose minds have been the keenest, the quickest, the strongest, the manliest; whose ethical sense has been the most subtle, the most quick, the firmest. They are those who have refused to impose their will upon others, but instead have led forth the beauty in the souls of others.
I have observed my own processes of thought and I have noticed that many and many a time I have been saved from drawing a false conclusion by being reluctant to accept that conclusion until I have examined it. That is an excellent rule that we all try to follow. But I likewise have observed that if I am cowardly or lazy, and refuse to face a thought or a problem squarely, nobody suffers but me. I am the loser. So I have learned to think, and to try to think clearly, to be afraid of thinking no thought whatsoever, but always to strive to see that the thoughts that pass through my mind as the instruments of cogitation shall be high ones; not to give in to snap judgments, not to be led astray by emotional volcanic outpourings, nor what is worse, I think, led into judging others with injustice. This is an exercise the Hindus would call yoga. It is an exercise I recommend to anyone who wants to improve himself. Watch your thoughts. Watch your processes as you think those thoughts. Discard the thoughts you do not like. But be careful in so doing lest you refuse to receive a divinity knocking at the door of your heart when you are at first too blind to perceive its divine character.
All initiation is really a test or trial, but the preparation for that test or trial is daily life — from January 1st to January 2nd to January 3rd, and throughout the days to December 31st. What we call initiation is simply the showing by the neophyte in the tests then and there laid upon him, whether his daily life's training has been sufficiently strong to make him fit to hitch his chariot to the stars.
That is why the masters have told us that no especial tests whatsoever are put upon chelas; only when initiation comes and they are given a chance to face the trial. The tests come in daily living. Do you see the lesson to be drawn from this? Fit yourselves while the day is yet with us and before the night comes. Do you know what some of these tests are? There have been all kinds of romantic stories written by people about them. These have been mostly guesswork, but the fundamental idea is often true. The tests are these: Can you face the denizens of other planes and prevail with them in peace? Do you know what that means? Are you absolutely sure of yourself? The man who cannot even face and conquer himself when required on this familiar plane where he lives, how can he expect to face with safety the habitants of other planes, not only the elementals — they are not by any means the worst — but the intelligent creatures, beings, living on other planes?
Now then, anyone who has mastered himself, perhaps not completely, but who knows that if he sets his will to it he can control anything in his own character, and knows it by proving it, is ready to go through initiation. When this knowledge comes to him then he is given the chance.
So many people seem to think that initiations are privileges granted to people who pretend to live the holy life and that kind of thing, but I will tell you something more that I myself know because I have seen it in my fellow human beings: there is more chance for the man or the woman who has striven honestly and has fallen and risen again, in other words for the one who has eaten the bread of bitterness, who has become softened and strengthened by it, than there is for one who has never passed through the fire. So compassionate and pitiful is universal nature, that it is precisely those who stumble on the path who are often in the end the richer. Holiness comes from the struggles with self fought and lost, and fought and lost, and fought and won. And then compassion enters the heart, and pity, and understanding. We become gentle with others.
You see now why it is that the quick one to judge the faults of others is precisely he who himself has never stumbled on the path and therefore is not fit and ready. Compassion, pity, are marks of character, of strength gained through suffering. "Except the feet be washed in the blood of the heart" — there you have it! Look how compassionate the Christ was and the Buddha. Let us learn and do likewise.
I have often been asked or written to as to what my opinion would be concerning one who has been unhappy on life's pathway, has wandered from the straight and narrow path, and I have wondered how any theosophist could ask me a question like that. Is it not obvious that it is precisely those who have learned through suffering who are stronger than those who have not? — and I here mean those who have suffered and conquered self. 'Judge not lest ye be judged." The one who has been through the fire never judges one who is passing through it. He knows what it means. It is the immature, the spiritually undeveloped, those who have never been through the fire of pain, who are quick to criticize and judge others. Judge not, lest ye be judged some day.
Our lives, our human destinies, are not the flotsam and jetsam of an arbitrary fate, but as symbolized in the Egyptian ceremony or rite of the Weighing of the Heart of the Defunct: all that we think and all that we feel and all that we do is weighed in the scales of destiny. And these scales weigh two things, as this Egyptian ritual so ably demonstrates: in one pan of the balance is the life center, the human heart of the man who lived but now is dead; and in the other pan of the balance is the feather of truth, of reality, that naught can bribe, that naught can sway, that naught may persuade or induce. We therefore see in this symbolic ritual a wonderful exemplification of the doctrine of karma, inescapable destiny which none and naught in infinity may change, for it is divine law itself, which we call retribution when our evildoings receive it, and compensation when our goodness or good works receive it. But under the majestic atmosphere around all this ritual, the man depends on no judge or sentence nor is there any pardon. He depends on naught but the very laws of being themselves. Utter true the balance weighs, naught sways it, naught causes it to rise, naught to fall. He is weighed — think now — he is weighed against truth itself; and have you ever heard of truth being bribed or swayed or persuaded or changed or modified or influenced?
This is the doctrine of compensation and of retribution which we call karma: that what a man sows, that he reaps, not something else; and he cannot escape the reaping of it, for he himself, symbolized by his heart in the pan of the scales, is weighed against truth. When the heart and the feather of truth have an even balance, the heart is of the lightness and spirituality of truth itself, akin to truth. But when the heart is weighed down by evildoing and attraction to the lower things of earth, it falls; and the rising feather in the other scale is the witness, the testimony, against the earth-charged heart which cannot rise to make an even balance.
There is something truly majestic about this symbolic ritual. It is filled with wonderful meanings, and I think the noblest is its effect on us as human beings in our daily lives. What ye sow, that shall ye reap. There is not a word about pardon, and if there were any pardon in the universe, the universe itself would be thrown out of the gear of infinite justice. No mere man can commit an infinite sin, for neither his spirit nor his soul nor again his strength is infinite in compass. His sins are human and therefore the weighing in the balance is human; and the retribution is human in magnitude and the compensation is likewise human in magnitude. This is the infinite justice of Mother Nature, nature which is spirit, which is divinity, and the nature around us, for they are one.
When a man is persuaded of this greatest of facts in human life, his whole life as a man is thereafter changed. He begins to feel concern for his acts, he begins to feel concern as to what his thoughts may be. He feels concern as to how he allow his feelings to run; for he, before his passing and what men call death, is himself the holder of the scales, the balance; and into his heart by his thoughts, and into his heart by his feelings, and into his heart by the actions, by the consequent actions following upon thought and feeling, he burdens his heart with these weights. And after death he is weighed in the scales, not by any theatrical weighing such as is given in the symbolic picture, but weighed in the scales of destiny, those very same scales which bring me or you into this body or that, into this country or into this land or that, strictly according to what each man in former lives has built into himself in thought and feeling and aspiration and all the other human feelings and emotions. These things are not chance or haphazard.
Now then, is it not clear that when a man realizes these things, and they begin to flow into his heart and work upon him, his conduct thereby is of necessity changed? Precisely as the child who, in his infantile innocence, puts his finger into the candle flame — does he not learn? He has learned. See the immense moral import of this symbolic representation of a man's heart, which is his selfhood, being weighed in the scales of cosmic justice, which no prayers can sway, which is utterly true, for the feather of truth is in the other pan of the balance. No man is unjustly condemned ever, nor suffers a hair-weight which he himself has not merited; and no man is ever unduly compensated for what he has not earned, for this would be ridiculous; and the universe is incomparably sane and beautiful.
The weighing of the heart, which is the man's own self, in the scale of destiny likewise shows us that we build our lives to grandeur or to debasement strictly in accordance with our own wish and will and aspiration. Our destiny lies in our own hands. One man is not credited with the x power to succeed and the next man credited with a y power to fail. We are all sparks of the divine heart, we all have an equal chance, and eternally have an equal chance; and if we fail it is we who fail and pay the penalty; but once the penalty is paid, we begin anew with a new hope, another chance: I have paid my debt, I am now free, I begin again. See how manly this doctrine is, and what encouragement it gives to us. It is a doctrine of hope, for there is no human destiny so low or so base which cannot from this instant of beginning be altered marvelously for the better, if you will; for the heart, when you wish to order for the better, begins to work and to work upon you, and to fill your mind with ideas nobler than those which have lived there, and feelings which are higher and sweeter and purer by far than those you have passed through.
This is a wonderful symbolic picture of reality. And what are these scales, and how does nature do her work? Why, we see it around us all the time. How did I come into this body and incarnation? Through many chambers of the Father, as the avatara Jesus would phrase it. I came from the heaven world, the devachan, into this world through many planes of being, dropping downwards to this material world because I am attracted here. Who is the guide and the leader? Horus, the divine spirit, the chief guide of my footsteps, when I allow it following the Egyptian ritual. And it is all done as it were by the same forces which prevail in these material spheres, which cause the suns to radiate and the celestial orbs like our earth to rotate, and which cause all with confluent motion to pass from one sphere of the cosmic planes of destiny to some other plane. It all happens because it is all within the law of nature, the laws of nature.
Thus, how do I find my way through this life? By attraction, by what I have made myself to be. I am attracted here, and that attraction won't allow me to go elsewhere. I myself have carved my own destiny, and I am carving it now, and in the next life I shall carve it anew; and let us hope more symmetrically than in this present life I carve this one.
What are these halls or chambers through which Ani, Everyman, of the Egyptian ritual, has to pass before his heart is weighed against the feather of truth — light as a feather, yet holding the universe in bonds that are never broken? What are these chambers and halls through which the divine soul passes? They are the various planes, the various worlds through which men after death find their way. How does the defunct soul, when it comes to a portal and knocks for entrance, know the proper word? By exactly the same instinctive knowledge and attraction that the incarnate soul coming from the devachan finds its way into its present family and into its present body. It cannot lose its way. And what is represented by the knock of the defunct — a beautiful symbol again? It is simply, as it were, its approach to a new plane, a new world, a new stage of its way on its peregrinational pilgrimage, and it knows instinctively how to approach it, how to enter, according to the Egyptian ritual, how to say the words of power. They are in the soul itself. It is experience, intuition, knowledge, the same thing we are using here now in understanding each other, and speaking to each other and reading together and studying together. We understand each other; but to one who did not understand what understanding is, how could you explain understanding? When I say words that knock at your mind, when a speaker knocks at your heart, it is done with a thought, it is done with feeling, it is done with knowledge; and the portals of understanding fly open wide, and ideas and thoughts enter into your minds, into your souls. The right knock has been given.
That is what is meant by the chambers or halls through which the soul passes and comes to the different portals, and gives the knock of power; and when challenged gives the words of power which allow him to pass. When you have built these words of power into yourself, you pass unchallenged. If you have not evolved to the point, or are unworthy, if you have not built them into your soul, you are challenged, and stopped, and back you go.
It is an old truism of the god-wisdom that from the human heart come all the greatest issues of the world. They do not reside in the brain-mind, for the brain-mind is the great separator of men, the great deceiver. It is the heart that is the unifier of men. And the reason? Because the heart speaks a universal language which needs no words. But the brain-mind speaks a language of words which have to be interpreted from mind to mind. Therefore is the heart so much the greater. Out of the heart come the great issues of life, for in the heart are love and intuition and discrimination and understanding and self-sacrifice and pity and compassion and purity and goodness and truth and troth and honor; and out of the mind of man come disputes and wranglings and quarrelings, disinclination to understand the other man, hatreds and all the other foul brood of man's lower nature, because it is about things out of the brain that men are continually quarreling. They never quarrel about the issues of the heart, for they are things of our common humanity.
Example: I love truth, so does every human being in this room. That is a statement directly from the heart. The mind immediately says: well, what kind of truth, what do you mean by truth? Tim's truth, or Charles' truth? You see, it flops right down and begins to argue and quarrel and spread around and to dispute about mere details; but the heart simply says: I worship truth, and every other human heart in the audience understands. The heart says: I love it. The brain-mind immediately begins to argue about it, and all kinds of men and all kinds of women have different ideas about what love is and how far you should go and how far you should not go, how much you should trust and how much you should not trust, what kind of person I love and what kind I do not love. The heart is infinitely beyond this. It simply says, I love. It is a universal language every human being understands. You don't need to argue about it. You accept it. The brain-mind is the former of arguments. The heart says troth is one of the most beautiful of actions in human conduct, to be full of troth. Where do we love this and admire it? With what part of us do we give allegiance, pay homage? With the heart. It speaks a tongue universal; therefore we say, out of the human heart come all the great issues in human life.
I will go a little farther. I will tell you that the human heart is the temple or dwelling or tabernacle of a divinity; it is the dwelling of Horus, to follow the Egyptian ritual. Every time a man gives you his word and keeps it, especially at loss to himself, that man is by so much acting as an ensouled man. Every time a man gives you his word and breaks it because it is convenient for him to break it, that man for the time being is unensouled. His soul is asleep. Every time a man takes advantage of a fellow human being, by so much his soul is asleep within him, it is not working. He is not ensouled. Every time a man does some deed or thinks some grand thought which is of help to others, he is a man, for he is ensouled. And when a man is fully ensouled, as all men on this earth shall some day be, when a man is free of soul we no longer have a man, we have a god living amongst us. I think the most beautiful sight that we human beings can perceive ever is the light of ensoulment that dawns in the eyes of a fellow human being. If you have never seen that and never understood it, it is because your own soul is asleep, for in these things spirit calls to spirit, spirit recognizes spirit, divinity recognizes divinity, the man in me recognizes the man in you, and this is ensouling. Oh, that all men and all women so lived that they might manifest the divinity within them, and by so doing acknowledge the divine source of their own inner light!
On many occasions I have spoken of those Great Ones who are fully ensouled men, and also of the majority of men and women who are as yet soulless; and by this latter term I did not mean "lost souls." Now when you understand what ensouling is, you understand the meaning and substance of the chela path. The chela is one who is ensouling himself. The master is a fully ensouled man. The Buddha is a master with the light of the spirit illuminating his soul, one in whom the spirit with its refulgent glory increases the already great splendor of the ensouled man.
The path of chelaship is a process of ensouling "soulless" people. Such "soulless" people fill our cities, our towns, our hamlets, our homes. Every one of us in those moments when he is no longer a "soul," but lives only in the four lower principles of his being, is for the time soulless; that is the meaning of it: the human monad is no longer active in him. A lost soul, on the other hand, is one who no longer has even the possibility of reunion with the divine, the spirit, the Buddha, the Christ, within himself. A lost soul drops to the Pit.
When the great Syrian sage, Jesus, said, "He who gives up his life for my sake" — for the sake of the Buddha, the Christ, within himself, within each one of us — "shall find his life," he meant that even in the most ordinary of us, feebly in the beginning, lives the Christ within, continuing to live as an inmost being; and that as time passes, and the man draws nearer to the inmost center of his being, he becomes gradually ensouled, a leader; then a Buddha; and upon the Buddhas shines the light of eternity. It is as simple as that.
Soulless people are not wicked. They are just drifting, sleeping, unawakened. They live more or less in the four lower principles of the constitution. But the chela is the man who begins by will and effort and thought and devotion and love for all that is, great and small, to ensoul himself; and he rises along the chela path precisely in the ratio in which he ensouls himself ever more greatly.
I use the term "ensouling" because it is a simple term amenable to understanding. I have deliberately avoided using a term which might require lengthy explanatory comment. The desire is to suggest rather than to give an explicit teaching.
I will try to give you what to me at least seems to be a graphic illustration of what ensouling means. We human beings are composite entities. We have a divine and a spiritual and a human and a beastly side to us, as well as the physical body which suffers so often unjustly because of the crimes committed upon it by our erratic, vagrant, wandering, passionate, lower human aspect: the lower emotional and mental principles in us. These four lower principles are the human animal. Being a human animal it is superior to the beast-animal, because throughout the former there is an instinct of humanity. Nevertheless this human animal, when the man lives as a man, should be ensouled by the humanity of the man. When a man lives solely in his four lower principles he is less than a true man. He merely vegetates. He exists. He has no chance for immortality, none whatsoever, because there is nothing immortal in the four lower principles of us. But the human monad, the vehicle of the spiritual monad or, to put it otherwise, the human soul, the vehicle of the spiritual soul, has a great chance for conscious immortality.
When a man lives in his human monad the four lower principles are ensouled. He is a full man then, consciously living and happily living in such fashion as to bring no bitter regrets. There is the test. It does not mean a man who is perfect, or that the man has no temptations. Certainly not; because we are all human. The four-principled man succumbs to temptation usually because he is not ensouled by the humanity of himself. The humanity-part of ourselves, to use easily understood language, the human monad, has more chance of conquering temptation than of succumbing to it; and when I say temptation I do not mean physical passion only; I mean all kinds of temptation. Overweening ambition, only to be gratified at others' cost, is one common vice today; selfishness in any of its manifold forms; egoism, a hydra-headed thing; uncontrolled anger — all these things are the lower human; less than the higher human, less than the truly human.
So then, ensouling means living those things which we intuitively and instinctively sense belong to the better part of us. That is all there is to it: living in the human soul instead of in the human animal soul; to speak technically, living in the buddhi-manas instead of in the kama-manas.
Our streets are packed with soulless beings in this sense, vacillating in character like the winds of heaven, without firmness of will, without even convictions, moral convictions especially, changeable as weathercocks, pulled hither and yon by every passing gust of temptation of any kind. They are less than human. They are soulless — which does not mean that they have no soul; but it means that the soul within them is not operative; it is not active; it does not manifest itself. Look into the eyes of these people: there lacks the wonderful shine of the soul which, once seen, you will always recognize.
Every kindly act you do marks you as by that much ensouled, if it is an act which springs from the heart and not merely from the egoistic wish to show off. Every time you conquer a temptation, which if yielded to you know perfectly well will debase you in your own eyes, even if your fellows do not know of your fall; every time you conquer it you live in the human soul, you are by so much ensouling yourself. Every time you conquer an impulse to do a selfish act, a deed with selfish thought for your own benefit, then you are by so much ensouling yourself.
We shall be fully human, fully ensouled, in the fifth round. At the present time we can be so by effort and aspiration. The vast majority of mankind are soulless in the technical sense that we understand. The soul is there but they won't live in it — they won't make it themselves. They prefer to live in the animal. And mark you, the animal does not only mean sex. That is only one side of it and a relatively unimportant side. The animal means the grasping, acquisitive, selfish, appetitive, indulgent, part of us, running after this and running after that, without stability of character, in other words without soul.
Set about ensouling yourself with the soul which is yourself; that is the chela path. The man who succeeds in doing so is a chela. The path is the same for all men, yet distinctive for each individual. Find it.
You will never have any doubts about the god-wisdom if you study. This study is so persuasive, it leads you captive. Once you understand it, your doubts go, and the study includes not only the intellectual digestion, assimilation, and of course appreciation of these godlike doctrines, but it means living the life. As long as you are not godlike in your inner nature, you are bound to have doubts, and be torn to shreds by the pursuing hounds of thought and feeling, as the Greeks phrased it in their way, the man pursued by the divine vengeance. The hounds are his lower self, what is within himself: the inability to weave his soul, his spirit, into one compact divine unity, one thing, alliance with the divine; the hounds are the indecisions and the doubts and the horrors and fears.
We speak of rendering homage. There are various ways of so doing. There is the homage of words, and there is the homage of the heart which leads to emulation. The homage of words is good when the heart is behind it; but the homage imitating grand action is finer and higher still.
I think the best homage we can render to H. P. Blavatsky, outside of the words with which we express our deep gratitude, is by copying her, copying her life and her work for mankind: being as like unto the example she gave to us as it is possible for us to be. She indeed said the same in regard to her relation to her own teachers: they teach, I follow. My message is not my own, but of those who sent me.
In the theosophical world since her passing there has been no small amount of talk about the successors of H. P. B.; and all this has seemed to me to be so perfectly trivial, a trifling with words and with the most sacred instincts and impulses of the human heart. For every true theosophist is a successor of H. P. B. and should be glad of it and proud of it. We are all successors of H. P. B., every one of us without exception whatsoever. And the least is often the greatest amongst us. Here is a case where it is not conceit or arrogance but the impulse of a loving and grateful heart to come to the front and serve, and dedicate one's service to the cause which our teachers have served and which they still serve. What is grander than this? Actually it is the abdication, the rejection, of the low and the personal. It is the forgetting of the personal and the sinking of the self into the immensely greater self of the universe. When we forget ourselves, then something supremely grand is born in us; for the spiritual then, of which we humans are such feeble examples, has a chance to come forth in us, to speak and to work in and through us, because then it begins to find its channel in and through the human heart and mind.
It has always seemed to me that H. P. Blavatsky's great work was to ensoul men — words which are profound and very meaningful; to give men and women a philosophy-religion-science which should so mightily persuade both mind and heart that they would come to realize that the universe is alive and conscious, and that we, her children, perforce and from that fact, are alive and conscious also, and are coeternal, coeval with the universe, from which we come, in which we live, and into the spiritual parts of which we shall again return.
When you get this simple thought in your heads and in your hearts so that it amounts to a conviction within, you are already becoming reensouled. The soul, nay rather, the spirit within you, is beginning to take command of you, and from that moment your lives will be changed. New and grand vistas will open to your vision, vistas which your intellect and your intuition will show you are realities, and you will begin to govern your life in accordance with the living, flaming thoughts that will thereafter make their shrine in your hearts. You will begin then really to live. You will no longer be what Pythagoras called the "living dead" — those alive in their bodies and relatively unconscious in their souls. You will then actually be imbodied souls.
This to me has always been one of the loftiest and most beautiful parts of H. P. Blavatsky's work that she came to inaugurate: to ensoul men so that they might live anew with the vision glorious and with eternal hope.
No man will act against the dominating impulse within him. Let him change that dominating impulse from self-seeking interests to altruistic service for all, and life will take on a grandeur that up to that moment he had never seen or understood. Such a man is becoming truly ensouled. He sees the reason for his life. He sees the reason for the universe around him. He sees the reason for his own thoughts. He understands causal relations and effectual consequences. He sees vast and utterly grandiose visions opening before his mind's eye; and he knows that all he has to do in order to attain still greater vistas, and to be of greater service, is to put the strength of his intellect in these intuitions and lofty feelings, center his power of action upon them and thus grow in ever enlarging stages of inner grandeur and inner understanding. His life will then have changed because he will have changed. He will have been awakened; and he will then so rule his life and coordinate it to the life of the universe around him and to the lives of his fellow human beings, that universal brotherhood will be his first instinct and the controlling impulse in both his thought and action. This to me is the essence of the message of H. P. Blavatsky.
Theosophists use the word yoga as a convenient word, but we do not use it so much in order to express the theosophical discipline. Why? Because in the West the word has come to signify one or other of the five different Hindu schools of yoga; whereas the theosophic yoga discipline includes them all, and tops them with a nobler, a sixth.
Now, what are these five Indian yoga schools? They are these, beginning with the simplest and lowest: hatha-yoga, the yoga of physiological psychical training, dealing almost wholly with the body and the lower mind; next, karma-yoga, from the word karman, "action"; third, bhakti-yoga, the yoga of love and devotion; fourth, jnana-yoga, the yoga of wisdom or knowledge, of study; fifth, raja-yoga, the yoga of self-devised effort to attain union with the god within, the yoga of discipline, such as the kings of the kshattriya or warrior caste were supposed to exemplify as the leaders of their states; and the sixth, which theosophists add, is the brahma-yoga, the yoga of the spirit, in practice including the other five.
It is a sheer absurdity, taking human psychology and nature into account, to think that India is the only land that has ever known what yoga is — yoga here meaning discipline, training, in order to attain self-conscious "union" with the god within, with the inner Buddha, or the immanent Christ, call it by what name you like.
Take karma-yoga: something of this form of discipline has been known for centuries in the Christian church, as "salvation by works." It is a well-known training in the Christian discipline, as is bhakti-yoga: known as "salvation by devotion," or "love," "self-dedication" — exactly the same things that the Hindu and the theosophist mean by these words, and which arose spontaneously in the heart of Christendom, as they did in the heart of Hindustan, or in any other country. Then again there was the training of the Stoics — these and others are all different kinds of yoga. They did not call these trainings by the word yoga. That is a Sanskrit term pertaining to, belonging to, Hindustan; but the disciplines were known. The Christians called them "salvation" by this and by that; the Hindus said "union" by this discipline and by that, etc.
The theosophical occult discipline comprehends them all, because these different types of training or union correspond with the five main types of human minds or psychology, some men finding salvation in works, using the Christian term; others in love or devotion; others in theology or high thought. Why, even Christendom, in the monasteries especially, has known in the past a kind of hatha-yoga in their physiological training their flagellations, whippings, the wearing of sackcloth, and other practices of mortification and self-denial — in order, as they expressed it, to control and subordinate the lower passions and the body. These are typical examples of hatha-yoga of the lowest kind. However, when a man has the fortunate type of mind which will lead him into the training of the inner life, he does not have to bother with breathings and postures, flagellations, and tortures. We know that to do our duty, we must work reverently, dedicate ourselves to duty, to effort, in the simplest things. This is karma-yoga. We must control the body from within, as well as our psychical impulses and our emotions, and keep the body clean and healthy, so that it be a fit instrument of the human spirit, and of the human soul. That is the real hatha-yoga. We likewise know that to do our duty by ourselves and our fellowmen and by the movement to which we have dedicated ourselves, we must learn to give ourselves in devotion, in utter love, to the sublime objective — and this is bhakti-yoga. In order to understand life around us and our fellowmen, and our own selves, and the glorious truths of the laws of nature upon which nature herself is built, we must study the sublime god-wisdom intellectually — jnana-yoga. We likewise know that to practice all these lower yogas we must arouse the feeling of love for self-discipline, finding marvelous joy in the fact that we can control ourselves, that we are human beings striving to be masters of ourselves and not slaves. We do not need to think twice about that idea. Look at the one who can control himself, and look at the one who cannot control himself: master and slave.
Yoga when properly understood is what we might call the moral, spiritual, intellectual, psychical, and the occult training that the theosophist has, if he is worthy of the name. Of course if he merely accepts the philosophy because it appeals to him, because he thinks it is logical and fine, and that nothing has yet overthrown it, he is simply what Pythagoras and the great men of his school would call akousmatikoi, "hearers," "listeners." This stage is indeed something, much, but lacks greatly of the higher degrees of understanding and development.
The final yoga, the sixth, brahma-yoga, is the one that most chelas, disciples, aim for. It means taking all the best in the lower forms of yoga that we have just spoken of, unifying them into one, as it were, carrying them all up and nailing them as it were to the spirit within. The thought, the emotions, the wish, are fixed like the flag nailed to the mast. It cannot be hauled down: brahma-yoga, union with brahman, the spirit, the atman.
I would like to point out one thing more: how is it that these particular forms of yoga exist always in India? All yoga in India is discipline, as stated, methods of training; and these arise mainly in the key thought contained in what the Hindus called the greatest, grandest, most comprehensive verse in all the Vedas, in, 62, 10, of the Rig-Veda called the Gayatri, or often the Savitri. This the Hindu recites upon rising in the morning, after he makes his ablutions, before he sleeps at night. The Rig-Veda is the chiefest of the Vedas, and the Hindus reverently regard these two lines as the heart of Rig-Veda. In Sanskrit they run thus:
Tat savitur varenyam bhargo devasya dhimahi,
Dhiyo yo nah prachodayat.
And they mean this — I will give a translation, slightly paraphrased so that you will get the heart of the great Rig-Vedic verse out of which sprang all Hindu philosophy and all Hindu yoga:
"That lofty inner soul of the god's sun, may it unite the thoughts of us, its offspring, and urge us into that union, the union of the lower with the superior, of the individual with the spirit of man, with divinity." When this union or yoga is won, achieved, then we have those grand cases of god-men, or men-gods: Jesus the avatara, Krishna, Buddha-Gautama and all the other Buddhas, Apollonius of Tyana — there have been hundreds. When this union is less complete, we have the great teachers, less great than those just spoken of, but great.
Out of this one phrase, this one yoga of the Rig-Veda, sprang all the philosophy and religion and occult science of archaic India, all the systems of training by which men have sought to ally that divine solar spark with themselves, to become in individualized union with the cosmic spirit — first with Father Sun, and then with the spirit universal. For so reverent were these ancients that to them naught was divorced from divinity. Every atom, every stone, every animal, every man, every deva or god, whatever it be, high or low or intermediate, was a child of the cosmic heart of Being, and could by degrees rise higher and higher into self-conscious union, yoga, with That. And when this glorious consummation is achieved, then you have a man-god, a god-man.
These thoughts are not anything particularly unique in Hindustan. On the contrary, they are commonplaces of archaic and modern theosophy. They were commonplaces of the Stoics, of the Platonists, and of other schools of Greece and Rome. They have been known from immemorial time in Egypt and Persia. Read the ancient writings of these folks.
Yoga therefore, is training, discipline, by which that holiest of all human possibilities may be achieved: growth from manhood, expansion out of manhood into godhood, divinity, which in our highest we already are. We simply become our highest selves. That is yoga achieved. I and my Father are one. Any Christ says the same. Any Buddha makes the same declaration. When you understand the profound wisdom behind it, there is naught of egoism in it. It is the spirit speaking through the lips of devotion in man.
There are so many beautiful and holy and glorious things in human life, and they are a balm to the hearts of men. They should be cultivated, they should be sought; not eagerly and selfishly for oneself, but only that by ourselves becoming beautiful inwardly, we can shed the light of our love with its softening and refining influence. Love is always beautiful, and therefore is always grand, especially the higher love, for it is universal.
I wonder sometimes if the great scientists, I mean those who devote their lives to the impersonal study of nature, realize that they are cultivating within themselves an aspect of the beauty in nature, because, by the fact of losing themselves in their study, they are becoming progressively more universal in their thoughts, less concentrated on self. A selfish love can even damn, and this is the inverse case of evil spirituality; but a beautiful love can raise.
Reverence is a godlike quality. I have a notion that the gods revere where we wonder only, and I think that the adult reveres where the child merely wonders. To me reverence is a mark of advancement in evolution; and the irreverent person is by so much short of wit, for it is vastly easier to criticize and to make fun, than it is to understand and in understanding discover reverence. Reverence grows apace in him who has the understanding heart.
Had we all the understanding heart, the most difficult points of philosophy would become easy to us. Further, I have discovered that when I am vexed, troubled, anxious, worried with a problem, I never receive help from the brain, but always from the heart. The head seems all too often to increase the burden, because it is full of imaginations and often vacuous problems; but the heart understands, for there is a higher intellect in the heart than in the head. For, if I might so phrase it, there is more intellectual power in heart-life than there is heart-life in thought.
It is small wonder that the ancients used to place the focus of man's ordinary attention in the head; but his real intellect, his understanding, his intuition, his spiritual capacities, his sense of ethical responsibilities, in the heart.
Thus the Egyptians in their hieroglyphic representations never showed the weighing of the brain or the head. They weighed the heart against the light feather of truth. It was the heart that was weighed; and it is a curious thing that in ancient occultism it is the heart that is supposed to contain the higher parts of the human being. These thoughts are rather new to the Occident because we retain only a little of the ancient ideal wisdom; although even today we have retained the truth that love abides in the heart and not in the head.
So mark you, just along this line of thought: if you are doubtful whether someone loves you, watch that person, and if you find that person governed merely by prudential reasonings — is it wise? shall I gain? what will be thought of me? you can be fairly certain that that person's affection for you is not deep. There is a wisdom of the heart which is instinctive, immediate and unquestioning, and it is far greater a protection to the innocent and to the sincere than is the always broken-up and merely prudential thinking of the head.
I think that the greatest gift the gods can give to any of us is the understanding heart. It is eternally forgiving, it is full of charity, it is pitiful, it thinks of others before itself. It is wise with the wisdom of the ages — for it is the breathing within us of the god-wisdom.
And remember, the heart is not the emotions. Just there so many stumble on the path constantly. For the emotions are all too often connected with the head, as you will find, and perhaps have found; but the heart knows, and the heart is always hoping against hope that truth will be understood, that others will understand and help. The emotions are full of hot fire, of jealousy, suspicion, resentment. They have no vision, the emotions. So when we speak of the understanding heart, we never mean the emotions in which some people live and boast that it is a rich life. It is a poor life, thin and hungry, for the emotions are satisfied never. They are like the pisachas of ancient India, described by the visionaries as beings of immense (or small) body, consumed with immense thirst or hunger, and with but a pin-size mouth, so small that a pin might not enter in; and they starve, and they thirst, and are not ever satisfied. This is figurative of the emotions; and it is a strange thing that it is just these pisachas which are the astral imbodied kama-rupic emotions of dead men, built up during life on earth by those who have lived in the psychic nature, the brain-mind, and the emotions.
The heart is the center of the spiritual-intellectual fluids which in conjunction with the manasic akasa filling the skull and permeating the brain, make the complete man, and the perfect man when they are fully harmonized and unified. Oh, pray the gods to give an understanding heart, and make that prayer real in your lives by yourselves opening the way for the gods that give it. Then your lives will be full of guidance, full of reverence, and rich with peace. All blessings will be yours.