G. de P. — I am now ready to answer questions.
Student — You have told us about the monad at the death of the man taking into its bosom the reincarnating ego, and journeying through the inner and outer rounds. I want to ask specifically: is that monad the dhyan-chohan that was a reincarnating ego on the moon, and is it now our higher self?
G. de P. — Your question is a very intricate one, although you have expressed it clearly enough. First, it can hardly be said, if you wish to speak accurately, that the monad, or rather that the sleeping human monad in its bosom, goes through both the inner and outer rounds, the reason being that the inner rounds as a phrase is a term which applies only to the rounds of the life-waves passing from the globe A to globe G of a planetary chain; and the term outer rounds as a phrase applies only to the monads which pass from planetary chain to planetary chain.
It is also quite true that the monad after the death of the human entity does go through rounds which in most respects are identical with the inner and outer rounds respectively. Nevertheless, the adventures of the monad after the death of the human entity are not called the inner and outer rounds — these being terms restricted to the two kinds of adventure that I have spoken of. Now, will you kindly repeat the latter part of your question again?
Student — I want to know who that monad is. Is it the dhyan-chohan who is our higher self now, and who was the reincarnating ego on the moon-chain?
G. de P. — Which monad do you mean? The spiritual monad in the bosom of which the human monad sleeps?
Student — Yes, the monad in whose bosom we sleep in our devachanic period.
G. de P. — I would not speak of that spiritual monad as a dhyan-chohan for this reason: the term dhyan-chohan means an entity expressing the powers of its monad, just as a human being is an entity expressing the powers of the human monad. A monad in every case is the essential center or fountain of the energies and of the individuality of an entity expressed. This entity expressed is a soul, whether this soul be a spiritual soul or a human soul or a beast soul. Do you understand?
Student — Yes —
G. de P. — Well, but I see that your mind is still not clear. Continue with your question. You will forgive me for checking you on these points, but I desire that you have your mind clear on your own question. That cannot come until the facts which you state and the way of stating those facts are also clear.
Student — I am trying to visualize my higher self, which I understand is that monad.
G. de P. — That is right — the spiritual monad.
Student — Yes, but I have a monad too, and the animal soul in me has its monad, and the dhyan-chohan has its monad, has it not?
G. de P. — It has.
Student — Well, which is the — it is so hard to state it — which is the monad which you describe to us as carrying the reincarnating ego in its bosom?
G. de P. — It is the spiritual monad which carries the human monad in its bosom. Let me try to help you a little. I think I see your difficulty. The expression of the individuality and of the powers of the spiritual monad is the dhyan-chohan on its own plane; but the monad is not its child the dhyan-chohan, which, as just said, is only an expression of the energies of the monad which after the death of the human being carries the human monad in its bosom. The soul of the dhyan-chohan is the spiritual monad; the soul of the human being is the human monad.
Student — In the book, Man: Fragments of Forgotten History, we read that the reason of the elemental kingdom being so inimical to man is that at one time man neglected his duties towards the elementals, that duty being to evolve men from these elementals. Would you kindly throw more light on that subject?
G. de P. — Dear me! I read the book you speak of some thirty-five or forty years ago when I was a boy. That book is not a standard theosophical book. It was a clever attempt by two students, at one time, to put into simple language certain doctrines which then were very new in the Theosophical Society. Their attempt was successful in degree; also very unsuccessful in other respects. I really don't know what the meaning is of the citation, if it is one, which you have made from this book. I don't see the accuracy of the citation that you make.
Student — Well, it seemed very strange to me that these elementals could be created into men without going through all the kingdoms.
G. de P. — Quite true. It is utterly impossible for any entities in nature to make such evolutionary leaps ahead, because elementals cannot be "created into men" — they slowly evolve into men. It is the only way by which elementals can become men. Similarly, evolution is the only pathway by which human beings can become gods.
Student — What might have been meant, then, by "man's duty to them which man neglected"?
G. de P. — Man has a duty towards all things beneath him, just as the gods have duties towards all things beneath them. We owe a duty to the elementals who are our children; but I don't know that any man, any human being, has self-consciously neglected his duty, willfully neglected his duty, to the three kingdoms of the elemental world. I simply don't understand what you allude to, unless it be indeed, that the passage in the book you quote refers to the failure of man to do better than he did; and if this is all the citation means, the authors of the book should have stated it in language equally simple and should not have used language which implies that men formerly deliberately neglected a duty towards the elementals, which duty they were self-conscious of not doing.
I think that Man: Fragments of Forgotten History contains a great many examples of forgetfulness in writing about the past history of the human race and of the planetary chain man lives on. Apparently the writers forgot much of the "Forgotten History." It may be that the statement in the book is perfectly correct; but as you cite it from memory, I don't understand it. Would you like to try again?
Student — I don't think so because what I said expresses the idea as clearly as I took it from the book.
G. de P. — Very well. If you like, you can consult the book again, and at some future gathering you can ask the question a second time.
Student — Is there a definite point of time in a man's evolution when he chooses to become a pratyeka buddha or a buddha of compassion; or is it a daily and hourly choice up to the time of the final great choice when he is nearing perfection and buddhahood?
G. de P. — It is both. For this reason: the final choice between following the pathway leading to the bright realms of spirit, or the pathway leading into ever-deepening glooms of material existence, is a pathway which obviously begins at its beginning. In other words, the chela or disciple is preparing for his final choice from the very beginning of his first aspirations in chelaship. This answers the second part of your question.
But there comes a definite period, a definite time, when he must actually make the final decision as to which of the two paths he intends to pursue — the path leading to the right-hand or upwards, or the path leading to the left-hand or downwards. The same choice must be made collectively by the egos of the life-waves in our own planetary chain, and this final choice for the egos is taken at about the middle period of the fifth round.
I think I told you at our last meeting that it is during the fifth round that will come the final and supreme choice of the egos as to whether they intend to follow the evolutionary pathway upwards, or sink, by failing to make that choice, into the realms below — by taking the downward path. It is obvious that their making of that choice is largely governed by all their previous existences, by what they have builded their character to be — what amount of spirit, of vision, of discrimination, what amount of judgment, they have builded into themselves in past existences. If they have builded a strong character during past lives, then when the moment of the definite final choice comes, the presumption is that it will be a choice to go onwards.
Student — Why is it that Jesus the avatara seems to have left almost no certain traces in history. It would seem that an avatara, such a great spiritual light, should act very strongly on his contemporaries, so that history ought to speak more definitely about him. The avatara Sankaracharya seems to have been much better known in history. Was it because Jesus worked more esoterically and kept himself secret? Was it for this reason that he did not enter into the outer history of the world?
G. de P. — Your question is a very profound one. I think it can be explained in the way you suggest, at least in part, and what you have said is of course generally true. Other scholars also have found it an amazing fact that one like Jesus, a man of such outstanding spiritual powers, should have left so small a mark on contemporary history. Practically nothing is known about him. In fact, we might say that nothing is known about him outside of the Christian scriptures. I think the explanation is this: Jesus came at a time when the cycle of European history was tending downwards. It was a downward-moving cycle. Civilization was decaying at the time — that is, the civilization of the nations around the Inland Sea — and consequently Jesus had a great deal to contend with in psychological and physical conditions as they then existed.
Sankaracharya, contrariwise, came at a time, not indeed in a brilliant period of human thought, but at a time when there was a gently rising grade of evolutionary progress soon nevertheless to tend downwards. Therefore he had more chance. His name became better known in the great Indian Peninsula than did the name of Jesus in the countries surrounding the Mediterranean Sea. I speak of course in each case of contemporary history.
If you remember your Bhagavad-Gita, you will find there a statement, which I repeat in substance, where Krishna is alleged to say: "When wickedness waxes great in the world, and virtue is in decline; when men's hearts have grown cold, and their minds have become obtuse to spiritual things; when virtue is scorned and wickedness is prized; then do I send a portion of myself into the world, for the destruction of evildoing, for the regeneration of right, and for the protection of the good." The meaning of this is that the avataras come at cyclic periods, and almost always at the beginning of a cycle whose impetus is to move downwards, instead of moving upwards. I don't know that any better explanation of the problem in your question would occur to me.
There are avataras of different kinds. There are very great avataras, and avataras of less brilliance. There are some who do one kind of work; and others who do another kind. As far as Jesus is concerned, let me also remind you that the Jesus of the New Testament is an ideal figure — a figure built up of ideas. The Jesus of the New Testament is not a photographic portrait of the real avatara, Jesus; but is a type-figure, an imagined figure, containing doubtless some real elements or features, of the real avatara, Jesus; but just the same an ideal figure, first constructed and then around which was built up a legendary story, setting forth in mystical symbolism actual facts that then occurred in the initiation chamber.
Student — I have heard you allude to the divine monad, the spiritual monad, the manasic, and the astral monad. I have been wondering whether I am correct in thinking that the lunar pitris are the astral monads, generally speaking, and the manasaputras are the manasic monads, and the agnishvattas are the spiritual monads, and the kumaras are, I think, our theosophical agnishvattas. I cannot tell, really, the differences among these.
G. de P. — That is correct. The names used by you are simply terms that describe different classes of monads.
Student — Then what classes of divinities would correspond to the divine monads? Is a divine monad a cosmic force? Would it be like Brahma that radiates its ray which makes that divine monad in its triple aspects; or would it be what is spoken of as the agnishvattas, or something like that, a correspondence to that?
G. de P. — Yes, correspondentially that is correct. Generally speaking, the divine monads are what we call the gods. There is a divine monad at the heart of every entity, of every human being, which clothes itself in or manifests itself through its child, a spiritual monad. This in turn clothes itself in or manifests itself through its child, the human monad, which in turn clothes itself in or manifests itself through its child, the astral-vital monad which is the beast monad, which clothes itself in or manifests itself through its family of children, the life-atoms of the astral-vital physical vehicle. There is the whole scheme in brief.
You speak of the lunar pitris, and you have stated that they are the astral monads. The statement is true as far as it goes, but don't forget that every class of entities that came over from the moon is also a class of lunar pitris. The dhyan-chohans which came from the moon are lunar pitris, because they are lunar fathers. The astral-vital pitris are also lunar fathers or lunar pitris because they came from the moon. Lunar pitris does not mean only one class. Any entity that came from the moon was a lunar pitri, no matter how high or how low it may have been.
Think! When the entities composing the life-waves of earth, or rather of our earth's planetary chain, leave this chain at the end of the seventh round or manvantara, and wing their way like birds into their nirvanic rest, they will all be earth-pitris for the succeeding planetary chain, no matter how high or how low they may be. They are all earth-pitris or earth-fathers, earth-progenitors, because they will have come from the planetary chain of the earth.
A distinction, I think, which has confused many theosophical students is that which HPB draws between the solar pitris and the lunar pitris. She meant by these the two classes of entities who came respectively, the one from the sun, and the other from the moon.
Student — Are there any esoteric reasons why a surgeon should abstain from operating during the waning period of the moon?
G. de P. — You ask a question which I answer with great reluctance, Doctor, because the results might mean a question of life or death; but nevertheless, following the rule, I must give an answer of some kind. There is a very strong reason why it is better if possible to defer any operation until the moon is waxing. Don't operate after the moon has passed the full if you can avoid it. If, however, it is a matter of immediate urgency, then operate.
Student — It becomes a matter of karma then, I presume? That was my own opinion in the matter. And another question: is there any reason to study the relation of the quarters of the moon to the various parts of the body? I know that some of the astrologers are very keen on this. They won't allow themselves to be touched in certain parts when the moon is in a certain sign which controls that part of the body which is about to be operated on.
G. de P. — The astrologers are perfectly right in theory, but here again we face what may at times be a very difficult situation. My suggestion would be that if you know enough of the true ancient astrology, to know that the particular portion of the body you may have to operate upon is at the time under the influence of a sign which prognosticates either death or a long and lingering recovery — if you know enough, I say, then defer the operation if it is possible to do so. But as there are practically no astrologers having cognition of the spiritual side of their science today, my suggestion is to do your best, following your experience and training, and not to trouble your mind about these things.
I may add here that the great Alexandrian Ptolemy, whose works on astrology have been the basis of all medieval and modern astrological works, gave it as his very definite opinion that no part of the body should be operated upon if that part of the body is governed by a sign in which the moon then stands. This is, I believe, exactly what you yourself allude to, and the theory is based on actual fact.
Theoretically the astrologers are perfectly right, and, in a general way even the consensus of the teachings of modern astrology on this subject is correct. Every part of the body, every organ in particular, is under the immediate and continuous influence of one of the twelve signs of the zodiac. Should the moon be in that particular sign governing a diseased organ or part of the body, and furthermore, should the moon then be waning, the chances for recovery are poor.
Student — But you would not recommend that one should abstain if there were any urgency at all?
G. de P. — You are quite right. I repeat: if you are an adept astrologer, if you know the true spiritual astrology from beginning to end, and furthermore know your science perfectly, then I should say, defer the operation if you can do so. But if your opinion is merely guesswork on your part, or if you have to go by most of the modern books on astrology, then my answer is: be careful about endangering your patient's life. Operate when your medical experience and your medical training tell you that it is the best time to do so.
I don't like to answer these medical questions for the reasons that I have tried to set forth. There is the esoteric teaching; the astrology, even of modern times, is right in theory, but where will you find the astrologer who is at one and the same time an adept in these things, and at the same time a spiritual clairvoyant? They are as rare as blue moons — or almost as rare at least. You understand me, do you not, Doctor?
Student — Yes, I think so. And the greatest danger would be, I presume, between the full moon and the new moon?
G. de P. — Between the full moon and the next new moon — a general rule like that you can follow. It is on the whole a wise rule to follow. Defer any operation, if you can do so, while the moon is waning — decreasing from full to new. That is a good general rule. But, on the other hand, don't defer any operation if you know that there is imminent risk of your patient becoming worse, or if there is risk of death. Then I should say — operate.
Student — I should very much like to know the true relation between the average humanity and the higher self. It seems to avail men so little that they have a higher self. And, in a sense, to tell them to have faith in the higher self is like asking them to have blind faith. This higher self, living a life of its own, on higher spheres, seems, with the exception of students who have penetrated into the deeper truths, to have very little bearing on the daily life. I should really like to know more about the relation of the higher selves to their respective children, their reincarnating egos.
G. de P. — The higher self is all the best part of you. Do you mean to say you don't know what love is, and compassion, and beauty, and forgiveness, and kindliness, and brotherliness, and peace, and mercy, and charity and purity — all those great and lovely things which adorn human existence? Why, you know as well as anyone does. The higher self, the spiritual self, is working through the human self all the time, at least is trying to do so. So wonderful is its power that despite our crystallized brain-minds and all our selfishnesses and egoisms it succeeds more or less. Every human being is an outstanding example of this. All civilization is built upon the powers of the higher self: upon law, order, upon thought for others, upon honor, trust, and mutual confidence, upon honesty and upon cleanliness of thought and action. The higher self is expressing itself, even though it be feebly, all the time. Just think over these things.
Student — My question arose from considering the statement of the existence of so many so-called soulless beings. That was what gave rise to the question — how there could be so many.
G. de P. — Your question is a good one. The idea of the soulless beings is this — and you must not confuse soulless beings with lost souls. Soulless beings are they who self-consciously are not allied with their spiritual nature. We call them soulless beings, not meaning that they have no soul, but meaning that they are not self-consciously allied with their spiritual essence. Soulless beings in this sense are so numerous that, as HPB says: "We shoulder them at every turn." They are not self-consciously cognizant of the wonderful spiritual powers within them.
Human beings who are "ensouled" are those great men and women who are spiritual leaders of their fellows, who are the kindly ones, the thoughtful ones of humanity. They are leaders who are unselfish and who show unselfishness in their daily lives, because they have the inner feeling, the inner sense, of union with all that is. When they look to the stars they have that wonderful mystical feeling of cosmic unity, and when they look into the bosom of a flower they can sense the same life stirring there as in themselves. Such beings are truly ensouled. But the average human being who obeys the laws of the land in a merely mechanical sort of way, who recognizes academically that right is right and wrong is wrong, but does not care much about these things, and who is more drawn by temptation than by the willing urge to be spiritually alive — such human beings as these are very numerous in the world. They are called soulless because the soul in them is not self-consciously manifesting itself. Do you understand?
Student — Yes, it is of course to those that I refer.
G. de P. — They are very numerous indeed. But nevertheless even these humans manifest automatically, despite themselves, somewhat of the influence of the higher self, but they do not do it self-consciously.
The one, the so-called soulless human, is like a man in a daydream, in a sort of trance. He walks the streets, goes to his office, comes home, eats his meals and goes to bed. He has his family and his children, follows his ordinary daily avocations, has little or no inspiration of a spiritual kind, and thus is more or less an automatic psychovital entity. But the other, the ensouled human, is a man whose every fiber thrills consciously with the great soul and the great love in him; and when he meets a fellowman and puts his hand upon his shoulder, instinctively he feels that he is touching an imbodied god.
Such men as these latter are indeed ensouled. They are living consciously in the higher part of themselves. The others, the former, are vaguely and automatically influenced by the higher part, nevertheless they are what Pythagoras called the living dead. Physically alive, yes; psychovitally living, yes; but spiritually sleeping, spiritually unawake.
It is the simplest thing in the world to feel and to know the influences of the spiritual nature if a man will only closely examine himself. Examine yourself, as I examine myself. I am not fully awake to the loftiest and noblest that is in me, nor are you, because if any of us were so fully awake we should be like gods on earth. Nevertheless you and I, or anyone else, have moments, have times more or less long, when, like a rending of the enclouding veil, we see the glory, and then we wonder how we could have been so blind, so asleep. At such splendid times, and for the moment, we are ensouled, the soul is there working self-consciously through us like a fire of inspiration; but at other times we are, according to our degree of being awake, more or less like human automata living the day-to-day life uninspired, relatively unensouled. This, then, is what is meant by the two phrases soulless people and ensouled people.
Student — Four weeks ago you told us that on globe C was a very high class of beings, dhyan-chohans. Are these the dhyan-chohans who were human beings on the moon?
G. de P. — All classes of entities which form the different life-waves now evolving on our earth's planetary chain, of necessity came originally from the moon.
Student — So I thought. But one student spoke of these as our higher selves; he spoke of the dhyan-chohans from the moon as our higher selves; but I thought our higher selves were the agnishvattas, the solar pitris.
G. de P. — Just so they are. The agnishvattas or solar pitris should however be called our higher egos rather than our higher selves.
Student — They have incarnated and given us the manas principle, awakening in us the manas — I mean the agnishvattas. Is that correct?
G. de P. — They "overshadowed" the incarnating astral-vital monad, and thus gave us our self-consciousness. That is correct. The kumaras or agnishvattas, however, did not enter the physical body when this happened during the third root-race of this round on this earth. In an exactly similar way the reincarnating ego does not actually enter the physical body at birth or even before birth, but inspires the astral-vital monad which enters the human seed, and as the infant grows expresses in ever greater degree its own spiritual and intellectual powers. In other words, the reincarnating ego does not manifest without the intermediary principles of the human constitution which enable that reincarnating ego to manifest in the body.
Student — Yes. I understand that. But I was puzzled by what this student said in speaking of these dhyan-chohans from the moon as being our higher selves. I would like to ask what relation they had to us?
G. de P. — The dhyan-chohans from the moon? Now I think I get the drift of your question. If you refer to the lunar pitris of the lower classes, I answer that they are the builders of the human parts of us. They are we; whereas the agnishvattas, the Sons of the Sun, gave us our self-consciousness, because self-consciousness essentially is a solar power. The moon builded the bodies and furnished originally the classes of incarnating entities; but the sun gave the life and also the intellectual souls. Do you understand?
Student — Yes, thank you. Is there another globe of our chain inhabited by beings corresponding to our buddhi principle?
G. de P. — Let me think a moment over your question. You ask, is there another globe of our planetary chain inhabited by beings corresponding to our buddhi principle?
Student — Yes. You told us once, long ago, that there are globes of our chain higher than our earth, on which even the animals are more spiritual than we are. Since that time, you have told us that globe C is inhabited by dhyan-chohans; and I am now thinking about this C globe, which is very secret, and I am wondering if these dhyan-chohans can be beings who correspond to our buddhic principle. Is that clear?
G. de P. — I fear that there is a confusion in your mind. In the first place, I don't think that I ever said that globe C was inhabited by dhyan-chohans, but I may have made some remark to the effect that globe C is a field of life of certain dhyan-chohans. That of course is true. But I did not mean to imply, to convey the impression that globe C was inhabited solely by dhyan-chohans, which would not have been a true statement.
Now turning more directly to your question, the higher globes on the ascending arc of our planetary chain are the fields wherein the higher parts of our consciousness will manifest more than they do on earth, and that is the only proper way in which I can answer your question. For instance, globe F and globe G on the ascending arc are globes on which, when we shall have come there, we shall live in and manifest the higher parts of our individual septenary constitution; as on this material globe D, the fourth globe of the chain, we manifest the more material parts of our constitution.
Student — I understood that the agnishvattas provide the spiritual and intellectual parts of man. How does the intellectual part of the agnishwatta differ from that of the manasaputras?
G. de P. — The agnishvattas can hardly be said to provide the spiritual part of man, but do provide the intellectual part — using intellectual in the higher meaning of that word. The manasaputras and the agnishvattas and the kumaras are virtually all the same. The manasaputras are Sons of the Sun. These are likewise the agnishvattas; and the kumaras or "virgins" is but another name given to the same classes of entities. Do you understand?
Student — Yes. But because these names are used so frequently in The Secret Doctrine, one thinks that they are different classes entirely.
G. de P. — Yes. I am not at all astonished that students of The Secret Doctrine are puzzled sometimes, because HPB could not give out the complete teachings in a public work, in a work which anybody could read. Furthermore, the intricacies of the teachings are so great that it is small wonder that the student is sometimes nonplussed as to just what the meaning is. But continue studying The Secret Doctrine, and some day a greater light will come, and then everything will be clearly outlined in your mind. All the scattered pieces of the teaching will fall each in its proper and appropriate place, and will make a beautiful pattern.
Student — Is it time to ask about the fourteen lokas, or not yet time?
G. de P. — It is time, but the lokas are a very intricate subject indeed. It would take us hours to explain it and to understand it. Have you some question about the lokas that you would like to ask which I could answer in a very general way?
Student — A short question, yes. Are the lokas which begin from satya downwards to bhur the same as globes A to G?
G. de P. — No, you could not make them correspond in that way. There is indeed a certain relative correspondence. The truth is that every globe of the planetary chain has its own series of lokas and talas. For instance, globe A has all the lokas from satya downwards to bhur — but so has globe B and globe C and all the other globes of the chain. But as satya-loka is a spiritual loka and as globes A and G are relatively spiritual globes of the chain, it is obvious that on globes A and G the satya-loka of each is more spiritually manifest than on the more material globes such as globe C or D or E.
Consequently, and following the same line of reasoning, bhur-loka is the lowest of the lokas and in a general way does correspond to the most inferior globe of the planetary chain, which is our globe D. Also, because bhur is the lowest of the lokas, Globe D of the chain is the lowest of the globes, therefore bhur-loka is most strongly manifest on globe D, our earth. But as I have just said — and here is the answer to your question, and it will show how intricate is the general subject that you have touched upon — every globe has its own seven lokas.
Let me put the matter in the following way. The respective inhabitants of every globe of the planetary chain can be in seven different states of consciousness ranging from the spiritual to the material. Each one of these seven different states of consciousness is, or rather expresses itself through, an appropriate part of the human constitution, which is the appropriate vehicle of its respective state of consciousness. This appropriate vehicle lives or exists in an appropriate cosmic sphere or plane or loka.
The human beings of our material globe earth, for instance, can be in satya-loka although living here on earth; they can be either in the bhur-loka or in the satya-loka, or in any intermediate loka between satya and bhur. Similarly, an entity living on any one of the globes of our planetary chain can place his consciousness in any one of the seven lokas appertaining to that particular globe — in other words can enter into any one of seven states of consciousness. Do you understand?
Student — Yes, thank you. Then patala and atala and the intermediate talas are another series of states?
G. de P. — The talas and the lokas are like the two sides of a coin. They are like the two ends of a stick. The lokas generally are used in connection with the ascending arc, and the talas generally with the descending arc. Or, put it in this way: the lokas, as a rule, refer to the seven planes of the higher or more spiritual world, but ranging from the spiritual to the material. The talas generally refer to the seven planes or worlds of the negative or material side of existence, from the spiritual-material to the material-material. You see that it is a very intricate subject indeed.
Student — In the case of a nurse, or a mother with young children, or a guard, who has to sleep in what we call cat-naps, or who is constantly "aware," is sleep analogous to death? Is my question clear?
G. de P. — Is the sleep of such a nurse analogous to what happens to a human entity after physical death — is that what you mean?
Student — Yes; or what happens to an entity in a quiet, dreamless sleep, uninterrupted.
G. de P. — No, I could not say that it is, Doctor. Death is much more like the dreamless sleep, followed by dreams, and then finally followed by dreamless sleep again of the man in his bed after a hard day's work. Do you understand me?
Student — Yes. Then the one who has not that sleep really remains in the neighborhood of his place of rest, and is not able to take any departure?
G. de P. — Are you referring to the nurse or are you referring to the excarnate human being?
Student — I am speaking of those people who are not able to sleep the sleep analogous to death. In their sleep are they held at the place where they are physically?
G. de P. — I see what you mean. Yes, in a sense they are — if indeed any spiritual entity can be said to be held in a physical locality. And that is why such cat-nap sleeping is not as restful and reposeful as is quiet dreamless sleep. Such cat-nap sleep is constantly disturbed, and is therefore constantly caused to cease, and then is resumed, only to be broken again.
There is a certain analogy between the self-sacrifice of a truly devoted nurse and that of the chela. There are certain chelas striving to attain mahatmaship who renounce devachan, just as the nurse renounces quiet sleep. Naturally, these chelas suffer certain reactions on their constitution. The higher the chela is, the more complete is the renunciation, and the more he stays "awake." But chelas less high have moments when, despite their utmost efforts, they slip at times into a temporary devachanic state and have to pull themselves back, much like the nurse whom you speak of awakes when he or she feels that duty calls.
Student — Then on a higher plane she gains, although she loses physically. Is that it?
G. de P. — Certainly, if the renunciation of needed rest is done with a will for a good purpose, then the karmic result is fine. There is a comparatively rich reward flowing from the spiritual quality of self-forgetfulness in such action. Just as when the chela renounces his much needed devachanic repose in order almost immediately to come back into the world and take up the duties of self-forgetful service for humanity anew, the ultimate reward is very great.
I remember one case — and this may interest you — which I happen to have known myself. It was a man who for three incarnations had renounced his devachanic rest. That man was doing a grand work, and yet he was so tired, those parts of his constitution which nature was beginning to demand sleep for were so tired, that although he managed to do his work there were times when he actually seemed to be scarcely conscious. He would then do erratic things, unaccountable to the average person who did not know his secret; and yet that man was living a life of supreme self-renunciation. Those moments when he was thus strange, I mean when he was in those strange moods, were simply moments when his willpower temporarily failed, and he slipped into the devachanic rest before he could catch himself again — just as a very, very tired man may catch himself falling asleep, and then awaken with his will alert. Falling asleep at the switch, I believe the expression is — and it is a very dangerous thing to do.
Of course the higher chelas, and the Masters with their tremendously developed willpower all running in one direction, can do things that the younger chelas — chelas younger in experience — cannot do. But the principle is the same in all. There come times when even the mahatmas have to rest, not that they desire it, but nature compels it. Of course, and this is another side of the picture, there comes a time, a stage, in human evolution, along the path of chelaship and mastership, when a man can completely forego these things. He can place his consciousness so far above the ordinary demands of nature that he can go for life after life, at least for a number of lives, incarnating immediately if he will, and when he will, without suffering any unusual or untoward effects in his constitution. Such is a nirmanikaya.
Student — This is a sentence from the Master KH in The Mahatma Letters to A. P. Sinnett that is very remarkable, and I should like a little light on it. I think others have thought so too. He says on pages 230-1:
A chela under probation is allowed to think and do whatever he likes. He is warned and told beforehand: you will be tempted and deceived by appearances; two paths will be open before you, both leading to the goal you are trying to attain; one easy, and that will lead you more rapidly to the fulfilment of orders you may receive; the other — more arduous, more long; a path full of stones and thorns that will make you stumble more than once on your way; and, at the end of which you may, perhaps, find failure after all and be unable to carry out the orders given for some particular small work, — but, whereas the latter will cause the hardships you have undergone on it to be all carried to the side of your credit in the long run, the former, the easy path, can offer you but a momentary gratification, an easy fulfillment of the task.
Yet it says that the easy path will lead you more rapidly to the fulfillment of orders you may receive. It seems to be something like what you have been telling us just now, but it is a little complicated.
G. de P. — It is a case on the small scale which likewise finds place in the big scale in the case of the buddhas of compassion and the pratyeka buddhas. The pratyeka buddhas concentrate on the one thing — self-advancement for spiritual ends. It is a noble path in a way, but although it is a more rapid path, nevertheless being essentially a selfish path, the karmic records will show deeper lines ultimately to be wiped out than will the other striver after the spiritual life who follows the path of complete self-renunciation, and who even gives up all hope of self-advancement. Do you see the idea? The latter is of course by far the nobler path, but it is very much slower, much more difficult to follow. The objective, the end, are more difficult to obtain; but when obtained, then the guerdon, the reward, the recompense, are ineffably sublime. It is a slower path, but a perfect path.
The one who is determined to become a pratyeka buddha reaches a state of development where he more quickly is able to follow out orders received, should such orders ever be received, which is doubtful; but he reaches his term after a while, and can go no higher on that path. He becomes a useless tool in nature's, the master craftsman's hand. Whereas the other one who gives up everything has much more to combat, much more to fight against, and will not be so perfect a tool in the beginning in the Master's hands, but in time will be forged to become an infallibly accurate tool for the master craftsman. Do you understand that?
Many Voices — Yes.
G. de P. — I may add that the allusion in the quotation from The Mahatma Letters about being tempted and so forth, must not be construed to mean that the teachers are devils, deliberately laying traps for the feet of the chelas in order to test them. Abhor that thought. It is false. The statement merely means that anyone who follows the pathway of the buddhas of compassion, of necessity having challenged all the forces of his lower nature — which does not mean merely the physical body, because it more strictly means the lower mind, the passions, the emotions, the desires — obviously will be tempted at every step, in other words find temptations to abandon his objective and to return into the easy path.
Student — May I ask a question about the pratyeka buddhas? Is it then a certain eagerness or impetuosity of desire to be able to serve in a special way that makes them choose that path?
G. de P. — Yes, probably so in certain cases. But it is a wonderful paradox that is presented in the case of the pratyeka buddhas. You know that this name pratyeka means "each for himself." Now this spirit of each for himself is just the opposite of the spirit governing the order of the buddhas of compassion, because in the order of compassion the spirit is: give up thy life for all that lives.
The pratyeka buddha knows that he cannot advance to spiritual glory unless he lives the spiritual life, unless he cultivates his spiritual nature, but as he does this solely in order to win spiritual rewards, spiritual life, for himself alone, he is a pratyeka buddha. He is for himself, in the last analysis. There is a personal eagerness, a personal wish, to forge ahead, to attain at any cost; whereas he who belongs to our own holy order, the order of the buddhas of compassion, has his eyes set on the same distant objective, but he trains himself from the very beginning to become utterly self-forgetful. This obviously is an enormously greater labor, and of course the rewards are correspondingly great. The time comes when the pratyeka buddha, holy as he is, noble in effort and in ideal as he is, can go no farther. But, contrariwise, the one who allies himself from the very beginning with all nature, and with nature's heart, has a constantly expanding field of work, as his consciousness expands and fills that field; and this expanding field is simply illimitable, because it is boundless nature herself. He becomes utterly at one with the spiritual universe; whereas the pratyeka buddha becomes at one with only a particular line or stream of evolution in the universe. Do you get the thought?
Many Voices — Yes.
Student — It has been very puzzling to me, this subject of the pratyeka buddhas. I don't see what spirituality consists of, if it does not mean forgetfulness of self, and even what you say now seems to indicate that there is a technique of spirituality which the pratyeka buddhas master.
G. de P. — There is such a technique and your statement is quite true. Please don't forget what I now tell you — and I think that this will explain your very natural confusion of thought. You have heard the expression, beings of spiritual wickedness. Now, there are such beings. The greatest of the Brothers of the Shadow are spiritual entities, beings possessing spiritual faculties, which means cosmic spiritual faculties, relatively universal faculties, but they are used for the individual self. Instead of doing as the Brothers of the order of compassion do, consecrating the individual self to the universal self, these others, the Brothers of the Shadow at one end, and the pratyeka buddhas at the other end of the class, try to subordinate the powers and fields of the universe to their own individual purposes. Self with them is always predominant.
Contrariwise, in the order of compassion, self is the very thing — selfhood, self-seeking is the very thing — that one strives to forget, to overcome, to live beyond. The self personal must blend into the self individual, which then must lose itself in the self universal.
There is certainly a technique in the case of the pratyeka buddhas. There is a method of striving to become a pratyeka buddha, just as there is a technique in becoming one of the order of the buddhas of compassion. The latter are called buddhas of compassion because they feel their unity with all that is, and more and more so as they evolve, until finally their consciousness blends with the universe and lives eternally and immortally, because it is at one with the universe. As the beautiful Buddhist saying has it: "The dewdrop slips into the shining sea."
Student — It seems then that there is a technique of spiritual development that one can follow with the idea of self in view, that still does not involve becoming a Brother of the Shadow?
G. de P. — Quite true. And I will try to explain that thought. When the human soul yearns to become nobler than it is, yearns to become its spiritual self and finally becomes it, then if the same quality of aspiration remains it yearns again, and now yearns to become its divine self, and it may succeed. Now all that is grand. It is holy. But if this yearning is to attain for the individual self alone, the resultant is a pratyeka buddha. Training in chelaship in our order runs just to the contrary. Do not aspire to become your spiritual self for your own benefit, but do aspire to become your spiritual self solely that you may be a worker for others, that you may help others. You see therefore that it is really a fundamental difference in quality of aspiration.
The pratyeka buddha desires to retain constantly the self of himself — somewhat like the immortal soul idea, and all nature's structure and currents of evolution are finally against it. Therefore do I say that the time will come when the pratyeka buddha can go no farther. He has reached nature's end so far as he is concerned, and in that condition he sleeps in crystallized relative perfection for ages, and aeons and aeons, before he awakens and his chance comes again to evolve.
Whereas those who have followed the other path, the pathway of self-forgetfulness, of losing the personal and individual self in the universal self, expand ever more and more greatly, because their expansion of consciousness becomes cosmic. The dewdrop has become one with the shining sea, its origin.
Student — Do the pratyeka buddhas belong to the White Lodge, or have they their own organization; or have they no organizations, and go their own solitary way?
G. de P. — In the beginning, and for a fairly long time afterwards, they may be said to be organized, and I will explain this statement in a moment or two; but the time comes when the very essence of their purpose, their quality of growth, the type of beings that they are, leads them into individual pathways, and hence they are called the solitaries. There is a technical term, rhinoceros, by which I think they are even called. An example of this, in a small way, you will find in the various churches or religions. The Church of Rome, or the Eastern Orthodox Church as instances, have produced and can produce, on account of the moral teachings they have and their peculiar kind of mystical aspiration, men and women often of saintly lives, of aspiring character, doing deeds of good, relatively holy men and women. So also is it in Brahmanism, and in all other religious churches or beliefs. But all through these, throughout all the efforts of these people, the aim is increase in spirituality or holiness for the one so striving, for the striver; whereas our teaching, that of the buddhas of compassion, is from the very beginning to learn to be self-forgetful. Don't strive to become holy for yourself. Strive to become holy as others strive to become holy, but only that you can forget yourself for others. This is the teaching also of Light on the Path. That little book contained the same idea. Work as those work, who work most strenuously for self. But you work not for self but for all.
Student — The pratyeka buddha then is the very acme of self-righteousness, is it not so?
G. de P. — I would phrase it a little differently. I would not say self-righteousness. It is the very acme, to use your words, of a human soul seeking improvement for self. This phrasing just describes it. I do not know that you could find better words. You see how difficult it is to understand this explanation, because all the universal rules of ethics are for the individual to become more spiritual. Well, all such universal rules are true, they are right, it is our duty to follow them. Nevertheless, after that is said, then comes the important corollary, that all such rules of ethics and all such striving must be not for yourself alone, but only that you may lay all that you become and are and gain on the altar of service to humanity. Strive indeed to become more spiritual, not for yourself, but solely in order that you may become more spiritual for the sake of helping others.
It is the quality of the effort, of the striving, which makes the difference between the pratyeka buddha and the buddha of compassion. The one does it for self and therefore it is a spiritual selfishness, however high; and the other does it so that he may become an impersonal instrument of the heart of cosmic compassion, of the universal life, which is the cement, the binding power, in the universe. Love never seeks self for self. Love always seeks to give.
Student — Are there not certain saints who first achieved one path by living in the deserts and by losing themselves there and afterwards turned into the other path?
G. de P. — There may have been many such cases; and many individuals who have followed the path to become pratyeka buddhas end not in pratyeka buddhaship, but in becoming Brothers of the Shadow.
Student — I would like to ask a question about the Buddha. When a buddha loans the intermediate part of him, as particularly exemplified in the case of Gautama, our Chief, is he not handicapped in his own work during that time? How can he manage without the intermediate psychological apparatus?
G. de P. — That is a pertinent question. A buddha of compassion such as Gautama was, has reached human omniscience so far as this planetary chain of earth is concerned. This earth therefore can teach him nothing more. Nevertheless he remains in the schoolroom of earth in order himself to become a teacher of others still learning in this school of earth life. Consequently, the temporary giving up of his own human psychological apparatus or soul part for the purpose of producing an avatara is by no means an injury to the constitution of such a buddha of compassion, but, as a matter of fact, actually induces or produces a very wonderful karma for good. Do you understand?
Student — Not entirely, because he is doing a noble work all the time; that is, he is guarding or watching what is going on.
Student — Well, in one sense, part of one of his principles is gone, isn't that correct?
G. de P. — It is. But all the messengers of the Lodge have been in similar case, beginning with HPB. In the case of the messengers, they are psychological cripples. They are not working at their full possibility of efficiency. Nevertheless they keep going because there remains sufficient of the aura or atmosphere of the principle which is absent, or which has vacated its natural seat, for them to be able to live as men or women and do their work, but of course doing it under unusual difficulties. So also is it in the case of the Buddha when he gives his human portion in order to help produce an avatara. There is a sufficiency of the atmosphere or aura of the psychological apparatus of the Buddha remaining in his constitution for that constitution to carry on and continue to do the work that it has been doing, but under greater difficulties than before, of course. Do you understand better now?
Student — Yes, thank you.
Student — Where the selfishness of a pratyeka buddha is placed, situated? I mean how can it work? Has it an instrument?
G. de P. — I do not understand the first part of your question.
Student — I said, where is the selfishness in a pratyeka buddha — where is it located?
G. de P. — Spiritual selfishness is located in the lower spiritual part of the nature. Human selfishness is located in the human part of the constitution. Animal or beast selfishness is located in the animal or beast part of the constitution. There is a spiritual selfishness, as I have so often tried to explain; and the selfishness, if you like to call it that, of the pratyeka buddha, I understand to be located in the highest portion of his manasic part. This principle in him is high, because he is a pratyeka buddha and therefore more or less spiritually evolved, but yet this principle contains this streak in it, this bent, this tendency, this skandha, to use a technical term. Do you understand?
Student — Yes, thank you.
Student — May I say one more word on the same subject? In Light on the Path, there are passages which I think have attracted the attention of many students to that book, particularly such passages which speak of the flower growing and opening its heart to the light, and not itself trying to do anything. Yet it is the light that attracts the flower. My question is: would it not be possible for you to write something for us, or give to us something, which would give this very valuable central core of the core of the teaching that you have given to us tonight, and that we have tried to get from Light on the Path. Can you not write something that would give the teaching in a form that would be suitable for the new era?
G. de P. — Yes; I have given it here tonight, dear Brother.
Student — True, but this is not for the public.
G. de P. — Yes, that is right. If I can find time, and if I find the strength to do so, I will do so; but there are many, many things that I desire to do and have not yet done.
I will answer one more question before we close for tonight.
Student — I have wondered if there is in the teaching, any figure of speech, or any story, or tradition, or even a word or name, that would indicate the dramatic situation of the pratyeka buddha when he comes to the realization of the other path that he must follow. Is that a part of the teaching?
G. de P. — By the other path that he must follow, do you mean the path of the buddhas of compassion?
Student — Yes.
G. de P. — No pratyeka buddha realizes this while he is in his pratyeka buddhahood. This pratyeka buddhahood, as I think I have already said this evening, ends finally in a state of crystallized purity and intellectual immobility. The pratyeka buddha ultimately becomes, as it were, unconscious of the need for further struggles in evolutionary progress; and thus in time the advancing current of spiritual evolution will leave him in the rear.
Student — Does he not awaken?
G. de P. — Ultimately; but he remains in this state for ages. It is a species of super-devachan, or perhaps a particular kind of nirvanic absorption. When he awakens, he is far in the rear of the evolutionary current in which he first began his progress, and he does not therefore reawaken as a pratyeka buddha compared with that same evolutionary current. He awakens as an "inferior" entity because he now is in the rear. Do you understand?
Student — Yes, thank you, that is the point.
G. de P. — As compared with other entities, of course of inferior grade, he stands high. He is indeed a spiritual entity, but as contrasted with his fellows who have followed nature's evolutionary current, he is now far in the rear, because while he has been "sleeping" and thus wasting time, they have been steadily advancing. You might say that it is a spiritual case of the tortoise and the hare.
Now, let us close the meeting.