The Path – October 1893


The personal equation begins with the descent of the monad into matter. It lies brooding in the rocks: it glares or beams in the beauty of plant and flower: it snarls and devours in the animal: and it struts in pride, envy, and conceit, while criticising and condemning others in man. It vanishes only at the supreme moment of renunciation, when man loses self and relinquishes all for humanity. The Individual having then completely absorbed the Personal, Higher Manas becomes a center of Power in which the lower self has no share.

Now we may not all have reached that point; certainly the present writer has not; but may not one of fair intelligence grasp at least the philosophy, see the truth of it, and work toward it?

In the ordinary affairs of life this personal bias works in two ways, viz; in self-seeking directly, as in lust and greed, and in detraction and spoliation of others. The latter form is often the more objectionable and dangerous because subtle and concealed. People often indulge in harsh or unkind criticism of others, unconscious that their motive is simply to bring their own unchallenged virtues into greater prominence, when, in fact, they are themselves open to criticism on the same points. Hence it follows that we have no end of talk about charity, brotherhood, etc., etc., but when it comes to the daily test amid the petty trials and annoyances of every-day life, where real charity and consideration for the weaknesses and ignorance of others are the test of character, we are found wanting. This was a trait specially marked in H.P.B. If we are really wise we shall not expect of others that which we know, or ought to know, they are incapable of performing. What folly is all our talk and writing regarding occultism compared with that of the Secret Doctrine, and yet how careful was its author to encourage and help each and all in their attempts to understand and to explain, correcting only when glaringly false to principles or misapprehending truths.

But perhaps the most insidious and seductive form of the personal equation is that which distorts intelligent appreciation and open loyalty to teachers and earnest workers into hero-worship, and which seeks under the cry of "No Popery" to belittle and detract. Consciously or unconsciously the effort is thus made to shame to silence all appreciation and loyalty to the real workers for the world's progress. "Oh you are a hero-worshiper, and blinded by zeal or personal regard." Independence! Liberty! Equality! These are the real virtues! Have not these dwelt on the lips of red-handed murder also? Such a position is the very apotheosis of Egotism. It seeks to hide a knock-kneed allegiance and a flabby zeal under the bluster of personal liberty, and would reduce the world to a mediocrity of indifference. He who most highly appreciates loyalty and self-sacrifice is he who best knows what they cost in self-denial and eternal vigilance, and instead of being blind to the weaknesses and foibles that may co-exist with these virtues, he is the very one who sees them most clearly, because he is also conscious of them in himself. If he really desires to see the truth triumph, he will welcome every service and honor all who serve it, and not count to the last poor scruple every little weakness till the service of truth and the truth served are buried out of sight.

It hence occurs that the very worst form of the personal equation is this everlasting harping on personalities; and the surest road to Popery is the cry of No Popery! This is one of those "paradoxes of the highest science", as Eliphas Levy would put it. Those who are really independent and able to stand alone, are not everlastingly prating about liberty. They just do as they please, and please to do right and say nothing about it, but it never occurs to any one that such a person can be enslaved. There is a silent conviction that that would be a useless if not a hazardous experiment. How, then, is confidence to be inspired in others? I answer, by deserving it, and not by prating about it. When it has been thus earned by conflict, neither an army of detractors nor the "hosts of hell" can destroy it; least of all, those weak-kneed, timid souls who are afraid of their personal freedom. We might as well remember that while Brotherhood is universal there is a kinship of souls and cycles and circles in all human associations and relations. Each is drawn to his own circle by Karmic law; the tyrant and the sycophant each obey the law. Those who are earnest and at heart loyal will not bother about trifles, but go ahead with the work in hand. They are not blind even to trifles, but they assign them their true value instead of dwelling on them and magnifying. We have had all these issues in the past, and they will come again and again. They do not affect the Cause or the workers materially, though they may seem to do so for a time. Look at the efforts to kill the T. S. movement. Some through design, some through hatred and revenge, some inspired by blind conceit or hairbrained folly. "What did they accomplish? They harmed only their originators and sympathisers, simply because there were always some at the head who took the Masters as facts and ideals, and had devoted themselves to them and their work without any reservation whatever. Did they insist that others should agree with them or come to their conclusions? Never! They just worked, and WORKED, and WORKED! ready to help any and all, patient and pains-taking with all; and individually they would stand to the work if every one else deserted it.

How many such does it take to constitute an invincible guard with Truth and Masters back of them? Very few, for they are few, and yet without these few the poor old T. S. would long ago have gained the limbo of other centuries.

The question no longer regards failure, at least here in America. The question is, how many are ready to work without detraction of other workers? How many will stick to ideals, aims, facts, and — WORK? Those who cannot or will not are not to be anathematized, neither will they guide the work or measure it. They will simply become camp-followers first and deserters later on. Left in the rear they can wrestle with their own Karma. I hold the Masters to be facts, determined by the sequence of all evolution, by history, by direct testimony of H. P. B. and many other witnesses. He who calls this belief or candid statement dogmatic or blindly credulous, simply convicts himself of ignorance of principles, and even of the meaning of words. He can accept or reject my conclusions as he pleases, and I have no war with him till he misconceives or misrepresents my position as being other than it is. Dogmatism builds idols, but it never conceives Ideals. Ideals are the moving fiery chariots of the Gods: the Crown Jewels of the Hierarchies: the themes of the heavenly symphonies: the ultima thule of human evolution: something to strive for, work for, die for if need be, and every royal servant of Truth embodies and gives life to an Ideal such as are the MASTERS.

The Path