Fundamentals of the Esoteric Philosophy by G. de Purucker

Copyright © 1979 by Theosophical University Press. All rights reserved.


Chapter Seventeen

The Silent Watcher.

For countless generations hath the adept builded a fane of imperishable rocks, a giant's Tower of INFINITE THOUGHT, wherein the Titan dwelt, and will yet, if need be, dwell alone, emerging from it but at the end of every cycle, to invite the elect of mankind to co-operate with him and help in his turn enlighten superstitious man. And we will go on in that periodical work of ours; we will not allow ourselves to be baffled in our philanthropic attempts until that day when the foundations of a new continent of thought are so firmly built that no amount of opposition and ignorant malice guided by the Brethren of the Shadow will be found to prevail.

But until that day of final triumph someone has to be sacrificed — though we accept but voluntary victims. The ungrateful task did lay her [H.P.B.] low and desolate in the ruins of misery, misapprehension, and isolation: but she will have her reward in the hereafter for we never were ungrateful. As regards the Adept — not one of my kind, good friend, but far higher — you might have closed your book with those lines of Tennyson's "Wakeful Dreamer" — you knew him not —

"How could ye know him? Ye were yet within / The narrower circle: he had wellnigh reached / The last, which with a region of white flame, / Pure without heat, into a larger air / Upburning, and an ether of black blue, / Investeth and ingirds all other lives. . . ." — The Mahatma Letters, p. 51

WE OPEN our study by reading a part of the passages of The Secret Doctrine that were read at our last meeting, that is to say, from volume I, pages 207 and 208:

The Arhats of the "fire-mist" of the 7th rung are but one remove from the Root-Base of their Hierarchy — the highest on Earth, and our Terrestrial chain. This "Root-Base" has a name which can only be translated by several compound words into English — "the ever-living-human-Banyan." This "Wondrous Being" descended from a "high region," they say, in the early part of the Third Age, before the separation of the sexes of the Third Race.

And then we read the last paragraph on page 208:

It is under the direct, silent guidance of this MAHA — (great) — GURU that all the other less divine Teachers and instructors of mankind became, from the first awakening of human consciousness, the guides of early Humanity. It is through these "Sons of God" that infant humanity got its first notions of all the arts and sciences, as well as of spiritual knowledge; and it is they who have laid the first foundation-stone of those ancient civilizations that puzzle so sorely our modern generation of students and scholars.

As we noted at our last meeting, we are approaching a part of our studies where, to use the words of the old thinkers, we feel almost that we should remove our footgear, because we stand on holy ground. These sublime passages contain, in fact, the outline of the meaning of the seventh of the seven jewels or treasures of wisdom, which has the technical name of atma-vidya. This phrase literally signifies "self-knowledge."

Now this Sanskrit word atman is exceedingly difficult to translate, but the English word "self" seems to come nearest to an adequate rendering of it. Atma-vidya means much more than ordinarily we might understand by the words "knowledge of the self"; yet, were we to know the self in its fullness, we should know all knowledge that it is possible for man to know. Hence, that technical name is given to it as descriptive of the entire branch of the esoteric philosophy which this seventh jewel contains. As it is, we can know only parts of this branch of the esoteric philosophy. We are told that it is hinted in the ancient writings, particularly in the Sanskrit, that even the most spiritual beings on earth in this our age know not fully all that is contained in this treasure. There are possibly not a dozen thinking beings on earth today, who of course would comprise the very highest and holiest men that the earth has brought forth up to the present period of evolution, who can in any sense fully understand it. But we can have and understand appropriate parts of this sublime wisdom-mystery; and it is these that we are going to attempt to elucidate to the best of our capacity this evening.

We stated at our last meeting that this seventh treasure or jewel can be considered as a study of the problem of how the One becomes the many; but it was also said that, as a matter of fact, the One essentially never becomes the many. One might as well say that the sun which gives us our light comes down to earth in order to do it; but it does not. It sends out its rays, emanations from itself, which illuminate, vitalize, and quicken our world of matter; and similar is the case with the One.

Further, what do we mean by the One? Obviously, we do not mean the personal God of any exoteric theology. No matter how great, how vast in compass spiritually, we may consider this One to be, it is still a unity, a being, and therefore it is finite. Therefore, in order to elucidate our problem, we turn to another one of these seven treasures, and we find an illustration of this particular branch of our problem in the lokas — a technical word for hierarchies, as is also brahmanda, or "egg of Brahma" — of which the One is the root-base if we consider it as the origin of all the beings and things in that hierarchy; or the flower or summit or acme if we consider it as the aim and end of our evolution. This, therefore, is the One. But there are other Ones, Ones innumerable, in the kosmical universe; some higher than our highest, or lower than our lowest degree.

You doubtless remember that in studying the doctrine of hierarchies we showed that these hierarchies are endless in number. They themselves, each one of them, can be considered as a unit; and there are many above us and many below us: innumerable ones above us and innumerable ones below us; innumerable ones within and innumerable ones without our kosmical hierarchy. They are endless in number in all directions. From this One of our hierarchy, however, and we mean in this instance the universal kosmos or the kosmical universe, comes all our life, all our being, all that we are without and within. It is the source and origin of everything that we can be and know, working in and upon that background of the Boundless which comprises the limitless aggregate of all other hierarchies whatsoever.

The most extended, the vastest, and the most immense hierarchy of our unfettered imagination is but as a mote of dust, as a single atom, in comparison with the Boundless. The Boundless cannot ever or in any sense be considered as one, as a mere unity. One implies the finite, the beginning of computation or enumeration; and we must think of the Boundless as a zero, signifying endless and limitless infinitude, with no qualifications whatsoever that belong to all that is manifested or limited; and, on the other side of the illustration, signifying the all-encompassing, endless, boundless Fullness of the All. This is Space, which is either the unlimited Fullness of the All, or the unlimited Emptiness of the All, according as we view it. The latter view is the profoundly spiritual sunyata of the Buddhist philosopher.

Let us turn for a moment to another kindred subject. Have we ever considered and pondered over the meaning of the word immutable when people use it as sometimes happens when speaking of such subjects as Space, the Boundless, etc.? Has it ever occurred to us to try to realize that if the Boundless were immutable even for the minutest fraction of a second, the entire fabric of universal kosmical being would vanish away in the twinkling of an eye, like a shadow on a wall! All that we can know or mentally figurate of so limitlessly vast a subject as the Boundless, is such thoughts as we vaguely express in words or phrases like "boundless life," which is motion: endless and beginningless activity. Immutability is a phantom of the imagination, a mere reflection in our minds of finite pause. There is ceaseless motion, ceaseless and endless and beginningless life in the horizonless fields of the Boundless.

But when we consider the One, the summit, or the root-base of our own hierarchy — or of any other hierarchy — we can by spiritual intuitions grasp the truth concerning it; but if we go beyond that hierarchy, going up step by step from lower to higher spheres, we shall always, we must always, reach a point where our understanding and imagination fall powerless before the immensity of the (to us) nonunderstandable, because we can in nowise encompass or comprehend it; only can we see that in It and from It is the infinite life, which in its ceaseless unending motion is immutably the same always. Only in this paradoxical sense is the word immutable permissible. So much, then, for the Boundless. But as regards the One, it is analogically immutable only for its own period of activity as source of a hierarchy, and only for those below it; and hence you will find our books occasionally speaking of the "immutable law," that which for the "seven eternities" during which our period of manifestation endures "varies not, and knows no shadow of turning." And why? Because that highest summit, that One, is the supreme Silent Watcher, the supreme Life-giver, the great supreme Sacrifice, to use H. P. Blavatsky's terms, of our own great kosmic hierarchy, which is the highest that our imagination can attain to. But do not confuse this supreme Silent Watcher with the Silent Watcher of the less hierarchy of the Teachers.

When our hierarchy goes into pralaya — which means the release of its entirety of lives and life for higher and spiritual things of greater value and of nobler compass than those we now have or can even conceive of — when that happens, I say, it is but as the passing, as it were, of a cloud hitherto over the "face of the Boundless," and hosts of other universes are then coming equally into manifested life as ours will then be passing out of it for its pralayic rest. Try and form some simple concept of the meaning of endless and beginningless eternity and of the Boundless, and drop it there: unceasing life, endless activity, never-ending life and consciousness in unceasing motion everywhere. It is only "parts" — which, as compared with the totality which is the Boundless, are as nothing — only such parts, so to say, this, that, or another part which, in its maya of manifested life and unmanifested repose, alternately is active or passive, which passes away and then returns again. The wise ancients never bothered their heads much about any foolish attempt to fathom the Boundless or the limitless Eternal. They recognized the reality of being, and let it go at that, knowing well that an ever-growing knowledge of the universal life was and is all that human intelligence could ever attain to by an ever-expanding consciousness.

This alternate appearing and disappearing of worlds or hierarchies is the teaching imbodied in the first of the seven jewels or treasures of wisdom. As the human spirit sends down its ray and reincarnates by means of that ray into a human being of astral matter and of mind-matter and of flesh, so similarly, when the time comes for a hierarchy to reimbody itself, to undertake its task anew of palingenesis or repeated self-generation, the same relative course is run. Never let us forget the ancient axiom of the esoteric wisdom which the Hermetists so beautifully expressed: As above, so below. What happens in heaven is mirrored on earth, mutatis mutandis. Man's palingenesis, as a microcosm, is but a faithful copy of the palingenesis of worlds, of his own kosmic hierarchy as the macrocosm.

Let us now turn to our main theme for tonight. As the summit of our hierarchy is One, the root of our ens, in which we move and live and have our being, as the Christian Apostle Paul puts it; so similarly in the spiritual-psychological hierarchy there is a One in whom we are all rooted, in whom psychologically and mystically and religiously, yea and aspirationally, we live. This One is the Great Initiator, the Great Sacrifice, the Wondrous Being referred to by H. P. Blavatsky; the supreme Head of the hierarchy of the Teachers. From it originally come our noblest impulses through our own higher selves; from it come the life and aspiration we feel, stirring oft in our minds and hearts; from it, through our higher natures, come the urge to betterment, the sense of loyalty and troth, all the things which make life holy and bright and high and well worth living.

It was during the third race of humanity of this fourth round on this globe, when the incarnate ray in each of the units of the then mankind had evolved forth its vehicle (by generating from within itself this vehicle, fit for the expression of itself, of the divine spirit within); and then that vehicle, or soul, was become self-conscious. Then, as time passed, there came a period when an interpreter, a guide, a teacher, of the race of mankind was needed, because the race was rapidly sinking with every subcycle of the Great Age more totally into matter and consequent illusion and spiritual defilement, for such is produced by the evolving of matter. The dhyan-chohans, the lords of meditation, who were men from a former great period of activity of our planet Terra, beings from a former manvantara, were then leaving or withdrawing from this earth. They had already done their cyclical work, done all they could, in informing, inspiring, and illuminating the then mankind; but they now needed successors more like the sinking men of the period. By reason of a mystery which we cannot elucidate here, the noblest representatives of the then humanity became the direct and willing vehicles of self-conscious rays from these dhyan-chohans, lords of meditation. It was not exactly what is called in Brahmanism an avatara — a "descent" which means the overshadowing incarnation of a portion of a high spirit in a high human being; but it was the actual indwelling (fully conscious on both sides, and relatively complete) of a portion of the essence of a dhyan-chohan in a fully conscious, willing, and utterly self-sacrificing, man of high degree. Now, please mark well: the highest one of these incarnations, the noblest man-fruit of human evolution produced up to that time, became the head of this spiritual-psychological hierarchy literally, and in very truth, in his case, was a man infilled with a dhyan-chohan: what might actually be called an incarnate god. This was — and still is — the Silent Watcher, the Initiator, the Wondrous Being, the Great Sacrifice — "sacrifice" for a reason which I explain elsewhere.

Pause a moment. Let us think away for a moment from the thread of our theme. Let us consider the immense hope, the profound intellectual splendor, and the spiritual beauty which we find in these teachings. They are well worth thinking over, indeed! If anything, theosophy, the esoteric wisdom, is a vast doctrine of hope, not of mere optimism as the word is ordinarily understood, but a doctrine of vitalizing hope and interior illumination. There, in these wonder-teachings, is the path along which we may ascend. More particularly, it depends on ourselves whether our ascent along the stairway of that ray which is living and working in each one of us is achieved or not; and — pray listen carefully — whether or not we ascend by our being consciously linked through that Being with the Highest. That Being, that Wondrous Being, does not "come down" and "descend" into us, because for it this would be pollution of a sort not to be tolerated; yet we are linked with it by and through the ray within us. As the sun sends forth innumerable rays, yet remains ever the sun, so through this Being pours, as the root-base of our spiritual-psychological hierarchy, a ray which is instinct and alive in every normal child that comes into the world.

Now it depends upon us whether we follow along that ray upwards or, as pointed out at our last meeting, abandon our divine birthright, and follow the lure of chaos and the Pit — respond to the exhalations from "hell." There are people, perhaps, who may not have understood the meaning of the word annihilation as we use it. Let us understand that annihilation, strictly speaking, exemplifies what Katherine Tingley calls the "infinite mercy of the higher law." There is no such nightmare as "eternal suffering." Those human beings who have forfeited their divine birthright go to pieces; they lose their personal entity; but when that has happened, there remains but an empty psychic shell. When we lay our body down at death and it goes to pieces and its atoms are returned to the earth which gave it birth, is there anything very dreadful in that? Take the same rule and apply it to the case of the lost souls, of which we were speaking at a former meeting.

If anyone desires to get a masterly outline of this subject, let him turn to The Key to Theosophy, pages 92-3 and 113-14, and he will there find what H. P. Blavatsky tells her readers of annihilation, and more particularly in connection with the Buddhist teaching as taught by the Lord Gautama the Buddha. Why I say the "Lord" Buddha will be explained in a moment.

This Wondrous Being is the Chief, the Master-Initiate, the Head and Leader of the spiritual-psychological hierarchy of which the Masters form a part. He is the "ever-living-human-Banyan" Tree from which they hang as leaves and fruits, spiritually speaking. So also do we, spiritually speaking. On every globe, on every man-bearing planet of every sun in the infinitudes of space, we are taught that, as far as great spiritual seers know, the same thing exists there. There is over each one a Master-Teacher, and in each case he merits the term which H. P. Blavatsky gives him, taking it from her own Teachers, of the "GREAT SACRIFICE." Why is he so called? Because, from boundless compassion for those lower in the scale of evolution than he is, he has renounced all hope and opportunity in this manvantara of himself going higher, out of this sorrow-laden world, and remains behind among us as our great Inspirer and Teacher. He himself can learn nothing more of this hierarchy, for all knowledge pertaining to it or possible in it is his already. He has sacrificed himself for all below him.

There are some people who talk of sacrifice of that sort as if it were something gruesome or evil! Why, is there anything more sublimely beautiful than the giving of self in noble service to others — to all? Is there anything which actually can lead man higher? Is there anything which opens the heart more? Is there anything which opens more the doors of inspiration? And, on the other hand, is there anything which more quickly closes these doors, or more fully belittles man, which more quickly shrivels the self, than does its opposite: personality, selfishness, egoism? Ay, there is a joy, an unspeakable joy, in self-sacrifice of this high kind. The Wondrous Being is technically called the Great Sacrifice because, having reached the pinnacle of evolution in this our hierarchy, he can learn nothing more in or from that hierarchy. He has deliberately renounced further progress for himself in our manvantara, and this truly is the greatest of sacrifices; and he has renounced it in order to live for those less beings who are weary, and who stumble on the upward way; following the dictates inherent in that noble cry: "How can I live in heaven when one single being on earth must suffer?" We are reminded of the old story of the Scotsman who, when told by his Dominie that his dog could not go to heaven with him, answered instantly: "Oh, Dominie, if my dog cannot go to heaven with me, then shall I stay here on earth with my faithful dog; for he never would abandon me!" That is a touch of the same spirit of devotion.

In the great Indian epic, the Mahabharata, we find a closely similar tale of one of the great heroes of that work who, having met with severe trials of many kinds on his way to swarga or heaven, successfully passed them all; but when he finally reached the confines of heaven he was met by the devas, who told him: "Brother, your faithful dog enters not here." And he said: "Oh, then shall I go back with my dog, my faithful companion who loved me and who has followed me everywhere. Shall I abandon him and leave him outside?" And the devas, according to the beautiful legend, then opened wide the gates of heaven, and the heavenly choristers began to sing a paean of welcome and praise to the faithful hero-heart, who would have renounced his own unspeakable bliss for the sake of a loving and faithful creature less evolved than he.

This is the spirit of renunciation of self for others, as exemplified in legend and story. Is there anything more beautiful than it?

Now let us go a step farther. Let us leave our theme for a few moments and take up again a matter which we feel was not fully understood, perhaps, due to our insufficient exposition of it at our last meeting. We spoke then of there being two classes of lost souls. That is quite correct. But we must also point out that there are likewise two subdivisions in the second of these two classes, and these two subdivisions of the second class are those who fully merit the old Christian term "workers of spiritual iniquity." The first subdivision comprises those who are commonly called conscious sorcerers; and the second comprises the same type of beings but includes those who have reached such a point of inner power, yea, of evil spiritual strength, that they are able even to defeat nature's call to dissolution for the entire term of the manvantara. They merit truly the old mystic saying, "workers of spiritual evil."

In order to make this difficult subject somewhat clearer, consult and reflect over the subjoined diagram, which gives a brief outline of the various consciousnesses in a hierarchy:

diagram of consciousnesses

The entire system hangs like a chain from the primeval seed, the root-base of the hierarchy.

The first subdivision comprises those who are annihilated when this globe goes into its obscuration. But to the second subdivision belong they who are almost human incarnations of what the Tibetans called the lhamayin; or sometimes they may even be overshadowed by the mamo-chohans which preside at the pralayas. These last, however, are not exactly "devils" or evil entities, but rather beings whose destiny it is for the time in view to carry on the work of destruction, of desolation. As regards the higher spiritual sorcerers and workers of evil, the second subdivision, their final destiny is truly terrible, for there awaits them at the close of the manvantara the avichi-nirvana, the absolute contrast and nether pole of the nirvana of spirit; and then a manvantara of unparalleled misery. They are the polar opposites of the dhyan-chohans. Final and utter annihilation is their end. Nature is bipolar; and as is the action, so is the reaction.

Now annihilation, as it is used in the esoteric philosophy, does not mean what people commonly imagine it to be. It means the breaking up, the dissolution, of a personal entity, but never of the immortal individuality, which is impossible. We speak, and speak correctly, of the dissolution or the annihilation of an army, or of the annihilation of a flock of sheep. When the separate entities are gone, killed, or whatever it may be, the flock of sheep is no more, the flock is dissolved. It is annihilated as a flock, as an entity. And similarly, annihilation in its psychological sense does not mean that it is the immortal spirit which is annihilated. That idea is perfectly ludicrous. An immortal spirit cannot be annihilated. Its residence, its dwelling place, is infinite space; and its time is eternity. But as our body dissolves, is annihilated as a body, is resolved and dissolved into its component elements, so with the lost soul which is at first a mere psychic shell, when the impulses which came to it in the time when it was linked with an incarnate spirit have spent their force; then its term comes, it is dissolved, it is annihilated, it ceases, it passes out of being. There is nothing left of it, for like a dead physical body it is resolved into its component elements. But in the first stages it becomes spiritually dead, though mentally alive. It is a psychic corpse, from which the immortal element has fled. That is what a lost soul is.

Students of the esoteric philosophy know what happens to the kama-rupa of a man after the death of the physical body. It is finally dissolved, or annihilated. It is in nature's course that it must be so. I tell you that when we spoke at our last meeting of the ancient wisdom-teachings of the Lord Buddha, to the effect that there is "no abiding principle in man" — using the words of Rhys Davids, the eminent Welsh scholar, who is a bright literary honor to his country despite the mistakes that he makes in misunderstanding much of the inner sense of the Buddhist teaching — we mean simply this: that the only abiding thing in man's nature is from and in his higher self, his higher nature. His body; his vital force; his astral double, the linga-sarira; the kamic principle; the manas; all these pass away at death. Nothing of an abiding principle in the combination of these five; yet while these five component parts of man's psychology hang together in physical life, they form the "man." Is there any one of you so egoistic as to think that this poor being of clay now speaking before you is the immortal spirit? Or the life which informs it? Or this poor mind of matter, which I am using as an instrument wherewith to speak to you? No!

The thought just expressed is commonly supposed — and rightly supposed — to be a Buddhist teaching; it is also the teaching of the ancient wisdom; it was likewise the teaching of the Stoics, and also of Plato. Why, it is likewise the teaching of the scriptures of Judaism and of Christianity. You doubt it? Turn to the Book of Ecclesiastes, one of the so-called sacred canonical works of the latter two religions. We have made our own translation of the following passages, for we trust not the translation of the theological scribes. They are too harsh on the one hand, and insufficiently clear on the other. We find, then, in Ecclesiastes, chapter 3, verses 18-21, the following — and please remember that this book is supposed to have been written by the so-called "wisest man in the world," Solomon. Whatever we may think of that notion, those who accept this book believe it. It is old-fashioned and popular theology.

Said I in my heart, concerning the nature of the sons of man (Adam) (it is) that the Elohim may form them, and to show that they are beasts, they themselves. For the destiny of the sons of man (Adam) and the destiny of the beast is one destiny to them: as dies the one, so dies the other; and the thinking faculty [the Hebrew word is ruahh, very extraordinary indeed!] is one for all; and the superiority of man over the beast is nothing, because all are illusion. All go to one place. All are from the dust, and all return to the dust.

But now listen to the following, showing that the writer of this, although he certainly was not that mythical figure Solomon, was nevertheless a man who knew. Listen!

Who knows the thinking faculty of the sons of man which, herself, ascends above; and the thinking faculty of the beast which, herself, descends under the earth?

There we have the age-old teaching regarding psychology, and when properly understood, it will easily be seen that every word of it is true. And when the key-wisdom behind this brief exposition is understood, it will be seen to be unutterably beautiful. What vain illusions did those misguided men of the early sects of Christendom foist upon the early western European world; what irreligious folly, to teach that the physical body of man is such a permanent and necessary thing that it will be resurrected and, if the life of the indwelling soul was good, shall sit with multitudes on the "right hand of God Almighty." What unbelievably crass materialism! More spiritual harm was done to the European races by teachings such as this than anything, perhaps, that history records. Like many other teachings of early Christianity, this one was a horribly mistaken and distorted tenet of the ancient wisdom concerning the regeneration of the personality into an immortal individuality — one of the ancient Mystery-doctrines which we explain briefly elsewhere. On the other hand, it is necessary to teach a man of his dual nature; to teach him that he is in his higher nature really an essential spirit, verily, an incarnate god, and that he can become consciously that god in the flesh if he will. And teach him that if he chooses to follow the beast-nature he becomes as a beast, for the inner self tolerates not this latter course. The silver thread (which is golden above) is in that case broken; and instead of the man we have the man-beast, for from the man-beast the soul departs, nature's merciful liberation of the self-conscious indwelling individuality.

There is no "endless torture" or punishment anywhere.

Now my time for this evening is drawing to a close. I have not said one-tenth part concerning this subject of the seventh treasure in its connection with the Wondrous Being; yet I wish to add a few more words tonight before ending. First, as to my reason for using the term the "Lord Buddha." This Wondrous Being overshadowed about twenty-five hundred years ago a pure and noble-minded youth born in the north of India. The vehicle, this youth, was in all ways receptive, and the wisdom-teaching coming from him was given to the world. This chosen vehicle was called Siddhartha as his personal name; his clan name was Gautama; and he was later given the title Sakyamuni — meaning the Sakya-sage; he was also later called the Buddha. This word buddha is a title meaning the "awakened," just as the word christos or christ means the "anointed." The Wondrous Being overshadowed, and partly entered into, this young man who had come strictly in accordance with the law of cycles, at the cyclically appointed time in the world's course; for an Awakened One, a full Christ, that is to say, a Buddha, was cyclically destined to come at that time. He was in the line of the successively-coming Buddhas, and he was the noblest, he was the highest, of the mystic hierarchy of his period, as also he was then the nearest to this Wondrous Initiator, of any of our race. We know that the Teachers themselves speak of the Lord Buddha as their Teacher. That young man, we are taught, came directly from the Lodge: not his body, but the holy entity infilling it. He was one of their greater ones. Concerning all these profound and wonderful doctrines there is vastly more that simply cannot be uttered here, for obvious reasons; there is an entire department of the esoteric philosophy involved which treats of some of the most carefully guarded secrets of nature and being. We merely, then, hint, and pass on.

H. P. Blavatsky herself, you may remember, took pansil, a Pali word meaning the "five qualities or vows" (in Sanskrit, Pancha-sila), and thereby became a formal Buddhist. Why? Because, as the messenger from the Lodge, she knew perfectly well that back of the outward teachings, behind the exoteric doctrines of Gautama Buddha, there is the inner truth, there is the esoteric Buddhism, as well as the esoteric Budhism: the former word spelled with two ds, meaning the teachings of Gautama the Buddha; and the other word spelled with one d, and meaning "wisdom." And they are truly one when Buddhism is properly explained and understood. She knew exactly what she was about. Look, for instance, at the way in which she writes of the Buddha.

But, while all the above is strict and accurate truth, I must enter here another caveat. Are we Buddhists? No. Not more so than we are Christians, except perhaps in this sense, that the religious philosophy of the Buddha-Sakyamuni is incomparably nearer to the ancient wisdom, the esoteric philosophy. Its main fault today is that its later teachers carried its doctrines too far along merely formal or exoteric lines; and yet with all that, and to this day, it remains the purest and holiest of the exoteric religions on earth, and its teachings even exoterically are true. They need but the esoteric key in interpretation of them. As a matter of fact, the same may be said of all the great ancient world-religions. Christianity, Brahmanism, and others, all have the same esoteric wisdom behind the outward veil of the exoteric formal faith.

You will remember that H. P. Blavatsky says somewhere that of the two branches of Buddhism, i.e., the Southern and the Northern, the Southern still retains the teachings of the "Buddha's brain," the "eye doctrine," that is to say his outer philosophy for the general world; and that the Northern still retains his "heart doctrine."

Now understand those two expressions. They are Buddhist terms: eye doctrine and heart doctrine are real Buddhist terms. They are also esoteric wisdom terms. The eye doctrine is that which is seen; it may be false and it may be true; but in the technical sense it is a true exotericism lacking only the key. The eye doctrine is sometimes called the doctrine of forms and ceremonies, that is, the formal outward presentation. Whereas the heart doctrine is that which is hid, but which is the inner life, the heart-blood, of the religion. As the eye is seen and also sees, so, conversely, the heart is unseen, but is the life-giver, and applied to religion the expression means the doctrine of the inner heart of the teaching. As a secondary thought, it also gives the idea that it contains the nobler part of human conduct, what people call kindliness, humanity, compassion, pity.


Chapter 18

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