Fundamentals of the Esoteric Philosophy — G. de Purucker

Chapter Forty-Four

Principles of Thought and Study: Can Occultism Be Taught? Ancient Astrology a True Science. Our Earth-Chain of Globes, the Seven Sacred Planets, and the Twelve Zodiacal Signs. Life-Atoms: the Building Blocks of the Universe.

Astrology is a science as infallible as astronomy itself, with the condition, however, that its interpreters must be equally infallible; and it is this condition, sine qua non, so very difficult of realization, that has always proved a stumbling-block to both. Astrology is to exact astronomy what psychology is to exact physiology. In astrology and psychology one has to step beyond the visible world of matter, and enter into the domain of transcendent spirit. — Isis Unveiled, I, 259

The signs of the Zodiac have more than one meaning. From one point of view they represent the different stages of evolution up to the time the present material universe with the five elements came into phenomenal existence. As the author of Isis Unveiled has stated in the second volume of her admirable work, "the key should be turned seven times" to understand the whole philosophy underlying these signs. — T. Subba Row, "The Twelve Signs of the Zodiac"

IT IS AN EGREGIOUS folly to suppose that occultism can be taught in lessons as one would teach a language or a science, and the question arises: How, then, since these meetings are for the purpose of studying together some of the noble doctrines of occultism, how is it that they might seem to be taught in that manner, by lessons in courses? The difference is this: while occultism cannot be taught as one would teach a language, nevertheless, obviously and of necessity, there must be some means and method by which the great sages of olden days communicated from time to time appropriate parts of the esoteric knowledge to the world; and this is done by teaching and elucidating certain doctrinal principles thereof, these principles actually being some of the basic facts of the kosmos. You cannot teach occultism as you would teach a language, for the reason that the facts of being of the kosmos, of inner and of outer nature, are so interlocked that unless one had a thousand tongues, speaking a thousand idioms at the same time, and the hearers were capable of appreciating these thousand idioms at the same instant, one could not convey the ideas, the thoughts, simultaneously into the minds of the hearers. This may illustrate, if poorly, why you cannot teach occultism as you can teach a language, or a mere physical science, or some other ordinary system of exoteric study, such as our universities do teach; for these latter studies or sciences or arts are very simple, dealing with one main line of thought alone.

But the great sages of ancient times laid down certain principles of thought and of study which, they tell us, are, or rather represent, the fundamental operations and characteristic natures of the universe. And not one of those mighty minds ever attempted, because it is de facto impossible, to teach of these operations and natures as one would teach a language or a mere physical science; but by hint, by allusion, by an appeal to the intuition and the innate knowledge of his hearers, and by proper physical illustration, such a teacher leads them on, step by step, until finally the man or the woman sees as in a flash the meaning conveyed as a key, and grasps and applies that key, with greater or less success, depending on the hearer's own spiritual insight. In that way, therefore, are the doctrines of occultism communicated in the first four stages of initiation.

You may take, for instance, the teaching regarding the beginnings of kosmic evolution. We realize from this study that there are seven different principles of and in which the kosmos is builded; which work, each one of the seven, on its own plane — or rather in its own world; and to attempt to describe at the same instant of time the simultaneous operations of these seven principle-elements is physically impossible. But a hint is given, an allusion is made to some one or more facts of universal nature; and the mind of the hearer is opened by an intuitional thought which is aroused in himself by the communication. No child is taught to walk merely by seeing its parents walk, but by itself learning to put leg before leg; and its first feeble and vacillating steps, in time, grow into the assured and confident stride of the man.

So it is with these doctrines. Little by little, step by step, our teachers lead us on to understand, so that we in our turn become teachers to and of ourselves, and are enabled boldly and successfully to apply as keys the doctrines that we have heard to larger doors of learning and knowledge, leading into still more secret chambers of our great Mother Nature. And these chambers are full of wonders and mysteries, mystic and marvelous beyond all comparison with things upon earth. I am thinking, as I speak, of one of the real meanings of that wonderful inscription which Plutarch tells us of in his treatise on Osiris and Isis, chapter 9 — Plutarch of Chaeronea, the genial writer, the inimitable biographer, the great-hearted man, initiate, quondam priest of Delphi, of the famous oracle there. One of his most mystic writings it is, and one of the most difficult to understand, so carefully does he veil his real meaning. He says that this inscription, presumably engraved over the portico of the great Temple of Neith, at Sais in the delta of Egypt, ran as follows:

Isis am I, I am all that was, that is, and that shall be,

and no one of mortals has ever lifted my veil.

And Proclus, the Neoplatonic philosopher, in the course of his commentary on the Timaeus of Plato, remarks incidentally as follows with regard to this inscription, that its ending was:

and the fruit that I brought forth became the Sun.

Neith is the mystic or occult side of Isis; Isis represented the open side, the obvious or plain side, of the hid goddess Neith. This veil was the universal nature around us, hiding the mysteries and operations of the great kosmic life. And to this day, no one of mortals, however great, has ever succeeded in raising that veil utterly. But little by little as the aeons of time flow by, our greatest seers, the Masters, and the Masters of the Masters, who also in their spheres of thought and action advance even as we advance, check and prove and try the knowledge communicated by the gods our ancestors to the early races of mankind; prove the truths of being again, modify them in form for presentation to a later age; and in that sense send forth anew to the world, from time to time, some and more of the doctrines of reality. Their work is a very difficult one. There is nothing that men resent so much, nothing that so greatly arouses their ire and their hatred, as to have their cherished beliefs disturbed. Consider how all the world teachers have been received, in whatever age. Look at the great-hearted Socrates who, though not initiated, betrayed parts of the Mysteries to the public ear, from his own intuitional insight — a serious crime in those days. Look at the legends concerning Jesus, legends only, nevertheless representing certain mystic truths; look at Pythagoras; look at every one of those great souls who have attempted to enlighten mankind throughout the different ages: every one of them was persecuted and misunderstood, though every one of them was giving his lifework, his very soul, in order to help his fellows; every one of them was hated; and, in later ages, every one of them, though more or less understood or misunderstood and wronged, was almost — and in one or two cases quite — deified! So has it been today, in our own age.

We enter upon our study tonight by reading again the same extract from volume I of The Secret Doctrine that we read at our meeting last week, from pages 158-9:

Everything in the metaphysical as in the physical Universe is septenary. Hence every sidereal body, every planet, whether visible or invisible, is credited with six companion globes. . . . The evolution of life proceeds on these seven globes or bodies from the 1st to the 7th in Seven ROUNDS or Seven Cycles.

You will remember that we passed briefly in review the four aspects of the wonderful doctrine of the spheres; and we merely approached another doctrine still more wonderful, the doctrine of the circulations of the kosmos; and we closed our study for that evening at the point where we saw that each globe of the lunar chain of the sevenfold moon that was — each one of those globes — had perfected its respective series of ten stocks or families and had projected them into a laya-center, one for each globe, in order that these respective ten families or stocks might have their long pralayic rest; and then that when, after the course of cyclic aeons, the thrill of waking life returned again to these sleeping hosts, differentiation set in in these laya-centers as the life-waves advanced downwards towards them through the various planes of superior matter, quickening and enlivening each plane, one after the other, as the life-waves went lower and lower down. Remember that "lower" here does not refer to movement in space alone, but much more to quality; the life-waves were descending into grosser and still grosser planes of matter.

The first of the sleeping hosts that felt the inflow of the life forces as these reached it, coming from the higher spheres, was that aggregate which was to form globe A of the earth-chain.

diagram: twelve globes

Here, if you will, are twelve globes, representing the planetary chain of our earth or, inferentially, the planetary chain of any one of the scores of planetary chains in our universal solar system. The uppermost five, as shown in the diagram, we shall say very little of. They are superspiritual worlds. The lower seven are the worlds in manifestation, and it is these lower seven that form the main subject of H. P. Blavatsky's outline of the planetary chains as given by her in The Secret Doctrine; and it is to these seven that we shall restrict very largely our remarks.

These globes of the earth-chain are not yet, as at this point of our study, in existence; but that particular series of ten stocks or families which hitherto has been sleeping — a sleeping sphere coming over from the moon that was, globe A of the moon that was — when it feels the thrill of incoming life, begins to develop into globe A of the earth-chain. This incoming life on each sleeping but now reawaking globe, in the course of the latter's progress to full formation, passes down from the spiritual of its plane to the material of its plane, through seven stages or steps or spaces of evolutionary development. As does globe A of the earth-chain, so do globes B, C, D, E, F, and G; and each in turn, but by a peculiar procedure which we are now going to study.

Now of these ten families, we shall go not much farther with regard to the three highest than a mere allusion to them, and restrict our remarks to the seven manifest stocks or families which form the volumes of the life-waves circling around the seven globes in what are called the chain-rounds. As we saw at our last study, a chain-round is the passage of the seven life-waves through the seven globes, once, from globe A to globe G; and a globe-round is the passage of these seven life-waves through any one globe — the traversing of any one globe by those seven life-waves — during the course of their chain-round. These rounds are the inner rounds. As regards the outer rounds, we shall make but little more than an allusion to them at present, and for a very obvious reason. If for some of us, for we are all in the same state in this respect, it is difficult enough to understand even the inner rounds — the passages of the life-waves around the seven globes of our own earth-chain — it would be impracticable, unwise really, at the present time, to overload our minds with the teachings regarding the outer rounds, which we stated as being the passages of the life-waves from, through, and into, in other larger rounds, the seven sacred planets of the ancients.

Before continuing, I would like to make a little digression in order to avoid a later possible misunderstanding. You know that there is a great deal written and taught in the world about astrology, and various so-called astrological teachers print pamphlets and books, and will cast and read your horoscope as best they can. Occasionally, by a lucky hit, a happy guess, guided more or less by the fragments of ancient knowledge that have come down to us in the books of the ancient peoples, they may tell you something that is true, but how often with the best of goodwill do they mistake. The astrology of the ancients was indeed a great and noble science. Modern astrology is but the tattered and rejected outer coating of real ancient astrology, for that truly sublime science was the doctrine of the origin, of the nature and of the being, and of the destiny, of the solar bodies, of the planetary bodies, and of the beings who dwell on them. This wonderful science was founded on two doctrines mainly, i.e., those two which we have been studying together for the last two or three evenings: the doctrine of the spheres, and the doctrine of the circulations of the kosmos, the latter being microcosmically the doctrine of the circulations of the universal solar system. And the so-called astrology that has come down to us and is with us today, is but a series of sadly incomplete and mutilated fragments of teachings misunderstood by the later Greeks and Romans themselves. Please understand this clearly, because there actually is a vast and noble science which was in the ancient times called astrology, a term which means the "science of the celestial bodies." So great and so noble was it that it was held strictly as a Mystery-teaching. It was always against the law of the Mysteries to tell to the outward world any of these Mystery-teachings — any such divulging of the secret doctrines being held to be a grave crime and, in the later times, was even punished by the State with death.

The ancient nations themselves, the later Greeks and Romans, for instance, forbade the public practice and teaching of astrology, from reasons of sound public policy, because they knew that it could not be taught or practiced honestly in public as a means of private gain. They even went so far in the Roman Empire as to forbid its practice under penalty of banishment or death. Time and again, the Mediterranean nations issued the most drastic laws against it, and against what the Romans commonly called the "Chaldaeans" or "astrologers," because of the much mischief which arose from it. The misleading and unsettling of the minds of the ignorant and thoughtless aroused the legislatures of those times, and they took legislative action in an attempt to curb the growing evil. Nevertheless real astrology is a very profound truth, for there actually is a bond of closest union, a strict and perfect correspondence among all the parts of being: all the parts of being forming the one vast organism through which circulates and flows one universal life. This life follows certain channels, and collects in certain centers, and these channels and centers are infilled with spiritual and intellectual energies, and with what we would call today electric and magnetic forces; they function more particularly in the centers, certain solar systemic ganglions, which we call the planets, and herein lies the secret of the circulations which we have been speaking of, the secret of the gravitational pull which draws the life-atoms of the kosmos here and not there, or vice versa. These life-atoms we must briefly speak of before we close tonight, if our time permits.

diagram: zodiac and twelve globes

We shall now point out a few correspondences between the twelve globes of our planetary chain and the planets, and also between these and those and the twelve constellations of the zodiac. There is a strict and close correspondence between each of the seven sacred planets and one of the globes of our earth-chain, respectively; and between each one of the globes and one of the constellations of the zodiac — one of the houses of the circle of life, as the Greeks called it. But while it is true that the seven sacred planets of the ancients, Saturn, Jupiter, Mars, the Sun (as a substitute for a secret planet), Venus, Mercury, and the Moon (as a substitute for another secret planet), do actually build and oversee our planetary chain as a whole, i.e., one of the sacred planets respectively to one of the globes — the one predominating power over each globe coming from its especial sacred planet — nevertheless, the influences of the other six of the seven sacred planets are at work therein also. Likewise, while each one of these twelve globes of the planetary chain is under the particular oversight, or overseeing, of one of the constellations of the zodiac, that is to say, of the predominating genius or rector of that constellation of the zodiac, nevertheless each one of the other eleven constellations is also at work in each of the twelve globes of the chain. There can be no separation of forces, for everything works together in nature towards a common end — which is one of the noblest proofs we have of universal brotherhood.

Let us begin with globe A of the manifest seven. Globe A is under the oversight of the Sun (as a substitute), and its zodiacal house is Leo. Globe B under Jupiter, zodiacal house Sagittarius. Globe C, Venus, zodiacal house Libra. Globe D, our Earth, Saturn, zodiacal house Capricorn. Globe E, Mercury, zodiacal house Virgo. Globe F, Mars, zodiacal house Scorpio. Globe G, Moon (as a substitute for a secret planet), zodiacal house Cancer.

Now going to the five superarchetypal globes, let us take the one at the top, the first (or last) of which, by the way, our poor, material earth is the copy in matter: planet Saturn, zodiacal house Aquarius. Please note that this is the constellation called the Waterman. Continuing to the left, the globe below: the planet is Venus, zodiacal house Taurus. The one below that on the descending arc is under Jupiter, the zodiacal house is Pisces. Crossing along and taking the globe on the same plane as the last mentioned, but on the ascending arc, the planet is Mars, and the zodiacal house is Aries. The one above it and next to the last (or first), the planet is Mercury, and the zodiacal house is Gemini.

If it were possible to do so in the short time we have, we could go into wonderlands of study in following out the various relations of the globes of our chain and of the planets and of the houses of the zodiac, and concerning the beings dwelling on these globes and planets, and concerning the circulations of the life-waves. Let me recall to your mind, before leaving this small detail of our study, a statement made by H. P. Blavatsky in The Secret Doctrine, where she says that "if we could only follow the adventures of an atom" — I am quoting in substance — "no romance that has ever been written or imagined, could equal this theme for mystic wonder, and for the profundity of its appeal to the spiritual nature of our soul."

We are now going to pass, if you please, to a much later stage in planetary evolution, possibly returning later to the point where we are now. We have now arrived at the point where we must find out how globe A of the earth-chain, in the first round, is builded. These ten families — three of them we will leave without further mention at present — or rather these seven manifest families or stocks of the inflowing life-waves, these seven life-waves, are the seven which left the corresponding globe A of the moon at its death, and were its ten or seven principles. They are now reentering into manifestation after their long pralayic rest, clothing themselves with sheaths, or veils, of supersensuous matter as they descend through the three superarchetypal spheres above the manifest four kosmic planes, on the downward arc, until aeons upon aeons later when they have reached this plane — the fourth kosmic plane counting downwards, of the seven kosmic planes, on which fourth plane of the kosmos the forthcoming globe A of an earth planetary chain is to be — they are ready to begin its formation. And how do they proceed? First come the three kingdoms of the elemental world. The first kingdom builds, running the gamut of its seven degrees or stages, and when its work is finished, it goes into obscuration; seven minor steps of building does it build, seven degrees of work has it to do, before its surplus of life can pass to a lower plane on the downward arc, and begin to construct and build the foundation of the succeeding globe B to come.

When its seven stages of work are finished, the second elemental world then steps in instantly, and follows the same course of seven stages. When its seven are finished, it also passes in its turn its surplus of life onwards, down to the foundation prepared for it by the first elemental (or preceding) kingdom, to globe B below. Then follows on globe A the third elemental kingdom. Then, when these three are thus finished, there begins to work on globe A the mineral kingdom, that is to say, the mineral world corresponding to globe A; and when its sevenfold work is finished on the basis provided by the three elemental kingdoms, there follows the sevenfold life-wave of the vegetable kingdom; and it runs through its seven cycles or stock-races. And when its course is finished, its surplus life follows the stream of the already descended entities into the plane below, into globe B, into the work prepared for it by its predecessors.

Then comes the animal kingdom into globe A. Remember, I am speaking of the first round only, so far. When the first round is finished, and the second round begins after the interglobal nirvana between globe G and globe A, the method of procedure is changed. We are now discussing the first round only. When the animal kingdom has run through its seven stock-races (or root-races) on globe A, then comes the seventh and last stock-family or kingdom, or the human, on globe A of our chain.

Now to go back a little. Take the first elemental kingdom on globe A. It is finishing its seventh root-race, its seventh stock-race, its seventh cycle, its seventh ring as Mr. Sinnett called it; and when it has finished this, its life-wave then passes on completely to globe B, where its six preceding stock-races had already gone when they had finished their respective cycles. And what is left behind? Do all the hosts of lives of that first elemental kingdom go there? Do they all pass down to globe B? Please note this detail, for it is very, very important for our future studies. They do not; that first elemental kingdom leaves behind it on globe A the sishtas — a Sanskrit word meaning "remainders." This word itself contains a whole doctrine of wonder; and just here is illustrated one of our difficulties in lecturing. Every step that we make forwards opens to view a new avenue, opens a new door, till we are fairly bewildered with the wonder of it all; and we must hold by sheer force of will to our main theme of thought lest we be drawn off into other paths. And this is one of the ways by which the Teachers are enabled to disguise the teachings and hide them from those not entitled to them, as remarked before. They cannot tell all, not even of a single doctrine, for the reason that it simply wouldn't be understood. They tell us as much as they may and can, and give hints and allusions to something else; and this method very conveniently thus acts as a "blind." Hence, sometimes people say, "Why, this doctrine is contradictory!" It is not. Paradoxical, yes; contradictory, no.

Now what are the sishtas of the first elemental kingdom or world that remain on globe A after that life-wave has passed on to form the foundation of globe B? And what are the sishtas of the second elemental world when its life-wave has passed down to globe B and its sishtas remain behind on globe A; and similarly with the third elemental world, and all the other four kingdoms? We will describe what it is by an illustration drawn from our own present mineral kingdom on this earth. The minerals we now have on our earth, today, are the mineral kingdom of our globe D in obscuration here, that is to say, they are the remainders or the sishtas of our mineral kingdom which has passed on forwards to the globes on the upward arc, preparing those globes for our future coming, when we come in our turn on leaving this globe D or earth. Not that they alone work for us, for we work for them too; each kingdom works for each other kingdom, and all work for all. But the real bulk or volume of the mineral kingdom has gone on; and it has left its sishtas behind on this globe earth, its "sleeping spheres," its "sleeping atoms." And so when all the kingdoms of globe A have passed on, each one leaves behind its sishtas, its remainders, its lives representing the very highest point of evolution arrived at by that kingdom in that round, sleeping: sleeping life-atoms, dormant, relatively motionless. Not without life, however; for everything is alive; there is no dead matter anywhere. Is a man dead who is asleep? No; but sleeping, dormant, resting. These sishtas of all the seven kingdoms thus await the incoming of the life-waves on the next round, and then they reawaken to a new cycle of activity.

You know doubtless a beautiful old fairy story, given to us from the French, who got it from the Persians, and the Persians received it from the Hindus; I think that the English version is called "Prince Charming," or "The Sleeping Beauty." The French title of it is La Belle au Bois Dormant, "The Beauty in the Sleeping — Enchanted — Wood." Remember the beautiful old tale: the wondrous castle, the enchanted wood, in both of which everything and all is sleeping; even the princess, the castle's chatelaine, is sleeping, waiting, enwrapped in dreamless sleep; and by and by comes along Prince Charming, who sees this enchanted wood and he enters into it. He is a knight-errant, out to achieve deeds of noble doing. He enters this enchanted castle and he sees the Sleeping Beauty, and he bends down and he kisses her forehead; and instantly everything awakens, everything is restored to consciousness, and is set in motion and movement. Thus, verily, is it with the incoming of the life-waves. When the incoming life-waves strike or rather reenter into the dormant life-atoms, they awaken; things are restored to individual activity. Thus, each one of these seven sphere-globes of our chain, when it is in what we call obscuration, is a sleeping sphere, a dormant sphere — full of general life, indeed, as is a sleeping man, but individualized activity is dormant.

Let me say in passing, lest there be a future misunderstanding, that not one of the globes, when in obscuration, remains dormant for the full period of a chain-round. That is to say, when its seven stocks or families have left globe A and passed on forwards to the succeeding globes, globe A does not remain dormant throughout the complete duration of the remaining six-sevenths of the manvantara of that round until, after the interplanetary nirvana, the life-waves reenter it again. But when a certain period of time has passed, it reawakens and receives another succeeding life-wave. Difficult indeed it is to understand the interworking even of the inner rounds, to say nothing of the outer rounds. And these different life-waves are the seven life-waves passing around the chain, not all together, and not all during the period of one globe-round; but some of these life-waves precede others, because they are more evolved, and run the race more quickly. Hence it is that we have among us what H. P. Blavatsky and the Masters call fifth rounders and even, very, very rarely, sixth rounders. There again is another one of the many subjects which we must refer for study to future meetings.

So, then, each one of these seven kingdoms, during a globe-round, after the expiration of its seven root-races or stock-races, passes its surplus of life to the globe next following in order around the chain, and itself — its remainders — goes into dormancy or obscuration with the globe that it leaves as a life-wave.

We leave our study tonight at this point to be taken up again at our next meeting. But I would like to add a few general words about the life-atoms before closing. What do we mean when we speak of life-atoms? We do not mean that they are only and merely the atoms of prana, for those are only one small part of the vast hosts of the life-atoms. The life-atoms in general mean the atoms of life, of the universal life forming our planetary chain. Hence, the expression "life-atoms" is a short and convenient way of saying the building blocks of the universe, the bricks, so to say, of the vital kosmos. So many men on earth, so many gods in heaven. So many monads in heaven, so many life-atoms on earth, or elsewhere. So many atoms on earth, so many equivalent god-sparks in heaven. Gods, monads, atoms — you remember the chapter that H. P. Blavatsky has so prefaced in The Secret Doctrine, thus showing the three general classes or degrees of manifested life: the highest, the inner god; the monad, its vehicle, which is man in his essence; and third, himself as a composite being formed of the life-atoms which he himself has brought forth. The life-atoms, then, are the vital building bricks of the kosmos. We mean also in one sense that they are the life-atoms of the globe. The globe, all globes, are the life-atoms of a still larger body. Again, there are life-atoms, if you please, on the physical plane; life-atoms on the astral plane; life-atoms on the mental plane; life-atoms on the spiritual plane; life-atoms on every plane or rather world; and, as far as we know, so on forever. Furthermore, each one of these life-atoms, no matter on what plane it may be, is an embryo-soul, growing, evolving, with a sublime destiny before it. Even we are the life-atoms of our own solar Logos, its offspring or children verily, the children of our Highest, of it, the Logos. And in aeons to come, if we run the race successfully as men, and then as dhyan-chohans, we, each one of us, in the infinitudes of matter-space, shall be a Logos; and the life-atoms which now compose our bodies and our vehicles, inner and outer, and which are our offspring, our children, shall be in those distant aeons the dhyan-chohans, the archangels, and the angels, and the prajapatis, and the manus, and the human beings; and all the hosts of the evolving lives now below us and behind us in the grand evolutionary drama of being, shall in their turn also have advanced correspondingly far along the paths of destiny.

Before we close this evening we have been asked to answer the questions: "What proof can you bring to the average man or woman of the truth of these sublime teachings?" "What are the foundations of the teachings of the esoteric philosophy?" The answer to the first question is this: we can bring proof, cumulative proof, and you will remember what we have pointed out before as being proof. Proof is the bringing of conviction to the mind, and this conviction is brought by a preponderance of evidence. And if asked the further question, "On what foundation do you bring that proof?" we say, on two foundations, mutually supporting. First, on the innate faculties in the human soul which tell a man that such or another thing is true; he then is satisfied spiritually, intellectually, emotionally. To him it is proved. That is one proof. The other one is perhaps not so strong per se, but to the average man it is perhaps stronger. We can show that the greatest minds of all ages have believed as we believe. They did not use the same words or technical phrases perhaps, did not teach the doctrines in the same form perhaps, but the heart of it all nonetheless was there, the real thing was there, the core of it. You will find all this in the world's literatures; and the only difficulty that it seems to me could be encountered — and I merely make this remark out of prudence — is this: that only too often the ancient literatures are not understood, even by those who translate them and read them. Perhaps to the average inquirer the most convincing evidence is that the finest minds of all times have believed in the theosophical doctrines; and it is to these great intellects that we refer, as to an ultimate court of appeal, much as human beings usually refer disputed questions for solution to the noblest minds that they have among themselves, feeling sure that the questions will be solved in the best way in which good and able men can solve them. I repeat, that we bring proof. But, of course, the inquirer, if honest, must do his own thinking; that we cannot do for him.

The foundations of the esoteric teachings, for the average person rest on exactly the same basis of demonstration that the former question does. If you find that back of the teachings which have come down to us from immemorial times, there are certain facts, certain doctrines, which are the same all over the world, and in all ages, which were not outwardly, not openly expressed, but were kept hid, it is logically necessary to assume that they were looked upon as esoteric, otherwise why hide them? These being the same in substance everywhere, we ask the reason, Why are they the same? The natural — and correct — inference is that they were drawn from the same common source which, now an inference, grows into full conviction as we study them. Really, their best proof is in themselves!

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