(Lecture delivered December 21, 1930)
CONTENTS: The awakening of cosmic consciousness. — Hope for all in the future. — The Christ story universal. — A glimpse of the vision sublime. — In speaking about oneself. — Remorse in the wake of wrongdoing. — The sunrise of the New Era. — Enemies turned friends. — Principles upheld by The TS (Point Loma): autonomy, freedom from dogma, belief in Universal Brotherhood. — What about toleration? — Test of a genuine Theosophical Society. — A pledge to Katherine Tingley. — No theosophical popery! — The amended Constitution of The TS. — Spiritual and ethical lazybones. — Is divine self-knowledge the whole of theosophy? — From a letter from G. de Purucker to Fellows of The T. S. — The birth of the Christ-light within. — A Christmas greeting.
The Christ-spirit which dwells in every human heart, and which at this season of the year should be given opportunity to show itself, is, I wonder, now living consciously to you in the hearts of how many of you? Go into the streets of our great cities; look at the faces of the men and women whom you see passing by, seamed with sorrow, stricken with pain, filled with a heart-hunger for something that dimly they sense but know not where they may find it in order to satisfy this hunger of the heart. Is it not written large all over them? It is at a time like this, it seems to me, when we should give more thought to these things.
The fundamental fact in the universe, my Brothers, is that the cosmic spirit lives and works through all things, and with especial power in those beings who offer it any special opportunity to manifest itself through them; yet even in those beings who will not voluntarily give themselves up to the divine fire within, in them also the spirit shows itself somewhat, so that at times and oft indeed in the most unexpected places you will find men and women doing deeds of wondrous courage and of spiritual grandeur, these being the times when the personality sinks into forgetfulness and the inner spiritual man lives — manifesting the very god that he is in his inmost essence.
For every human, as I tell you on every Sunday when I speak to you here, is the manifestation of a divine being, of his own inner god — a feeble manifestation indeed, expressing but poorly, oh! so inadequately, the wondrous faculties and powers of the divine flame within. And why? Because men involve themselves in thick and almost impermeable veils of personal selfhood. They do not know what it is to forget self, to live, as the saying goes, in the eternal, to feel the wondrous sense of oneness with the All. When a man can do this latter, my Brothers, his consciousness has taken upon itself cosmic reaches; it has then become universal; he has then raised himself above and out of the enshrouding veils of the lower person and has become divine, and therefore cosmic, because he has become at one with his inmost.
See now what you have within you; sense the spiritual powers within you. Live in them, and be truly men. This is the message of the Christ, all forgotten during many ages. It is a call to man to come up higher; to be one with the divinity within, man's own inner god, the divine being at the heart of the heart of him, which divine being one portion of the world calls the Christ immanent, or the Christ-light, and which another portion of mankind calls the Buddha within, or again the Brahma sleeping within the temple of man's own selfhood.
Think what recognition of this truth means and, following the recognition of it, the putting it into practice in the daily life. It means all-around victory; it means enormous power for good; it means complete self-forgetfulness — and by this last fact I mean becoming cosmic in consciousness, giving up the personal for the impersonal self, transcending the personal in order to become divine — universal.
This is the message of all the sages of all the ages; it is the essence of all esoteric teaching; it is the basis of all true religion, the key to all philosophy, and the knock at the portal of all true science. For, pause: when a man has become cosmic in his consciousness, expanded, universal, all that his consciousness can touch and reach he becomes cognizant of; and therefore can he enter into the very heart of the minutest atom and know its secrets; he can pass to the stars and, entering into their life, know their secrets also.
Let the Christ-light shine forth, my Brothers. Be yourselves, and receive all that the universe can give unto you, for each one of you is an inseparable part of that universe. You are in it; you cannot leave it; you are a part of the indescribably vast whole, and therefore whatever that vast whole has within it, is in you. As an inseparable part of it, you have all that the whole, the cosmic whole, has.
You are essentially divine: "Know ye not that ye are gods and that ye are the temple of the spirit of the universe?" Realize it and live accordingly, and then you will walk like a god among your fellow men. You do it by transcending the personal veils which shut out this inner light, which prevent it from entering into your personal consciousness.
The Christ-spirit, the light of the Christ, is in you; for it essentially is you. Jesus Christ, the Jewish sage, the Palestinian sage, was not the only one who could say with truth: "I am the way; I am the life; I am the light"; for every human being who allies himself with the god within him says the same and says it aright. Now think this over. What name shall we give to this inner glory? Shall we say the Christ-light? Yes, if you like. Shall we say the buddhic splendor, as I love to say? Yes, if you like. The thought is identic; only the words vary. But however you may call this divine thing within you, this splendorous flame of the cosmic fire, realize it, and you cannot then do other than live it, for you will be it.
Whence come all your intuitions? Whence come all your intimations of spiritual grandeur? Whence comes the urge in your heart for peace and for love and for compassion and for pity and for kindliness? From within. These things are deathless; their nature is universal and they come with your expanding consciousness. Whence comes the living flame of genius in man? From the same inner god. There is no favoritism in the universe; for essentially man, being an inner god, an inseparable part of the cosmic fire, has free will, has choice, has all the faculties of the universe, developed or undeveloped, as the case may be, within him — a treasury upon which he may draw, a fountain at which he may drink — himself, his divine self! I tell to you a message of hope; I give to you a doctrine of peace; I lay before you teachings of spiritual grandeur.
Isn't it pitiful to see the faces in our streets? Can you blame some of us for despairing almost at seeing what men are and do? I myself sometimes almost despair; and then I turn to the light within me and it gives me hope again and peace, because I know that the time is coming in the far distant future when even these poor, battered specimens of humanity will realize the divine powers and faculties within them and will then seize their spiritual heritage and will become men and live as men; and then, making their peace with themselves, with the inner god, they will begin divinely to grow, and finally will walk the earth as gods.
This is the Christmas greeting that I give unto you — the greeting of Jesus the Palestinian sage, one of our elder brothers when he lived; but he was not the only one. "Greater things than these shall ye do," he said; and do you think that the story of Jesus as told in the Christian scriptures refers only to that Jewish lad, that Jewish sage? No; it is a tale as old as mankind; for as the message of Jesus, later called the Christ, was given to the hearts and minds of his fellow men, calling them up out of themselves and out of the veils of personality in which they lived, so is the same message the teaching of all the great sages and seers of all the ages. Jesus the Christ merely repeated the spiritual message of the gods and of all his great spiritual predecessors.
As the Greek god Apollo pointed out, as the writing on the pediment of his temple at Delphi said: Gnothi seauton, "Know thyself." Do you now understand why? Because that self is an inseparable part of the cosmic self, a divine flame living within you, and an inseparable part of the cosmic flame; and therefore in knowing yourself you begin to tread that still small pathway of which the Hindu Upanishads so nobly speak, which is your self, and which, as you follow it, will lead you to the heart of the universe.
Within yourself lies your salvation; within you lies truth; within your self is your only hope; and that hope is a cosmic one. Let the Christ-light live in your hearts and minds and illumine all your being; for it is wondrous holy, wondrous in all that it works and does upon you.
My call, my Brothers, to the audiences who assemble here in our Temple of Peace, is always this: Know yourself, your essential spiritual self; you are gods in your inmost; each one of you is a god in his inmost — a spark of the cosmic flame; and the universe is filled full with gods in all-various degrees and grades of evolutionary growth and development; and we men are but one hierarchy, one great family, of these divinities, which family is passing through our present human stage of evolutionary development.
We began our evolution as unself-conscious god-sparks; we are now men, but we are advancing with our faces set to the Mystic East; we are growing; we are evolving; and the time is coming in the far distant aeons of the future when we shall have brought into a burning flame this radiant spark of divinity within us. Then we shall be as gods on this earth, dhyan-chohans is our own theosophical term. Even now men show, however feebly, divine faculties — intelligence, a capacious and scrutinizing intellect, a feeling of love for all that lives, a sense of oneness with boundless space. Our hearts are on occasions set aflame with the holy fire; and then we turn in love and pity and compassion and we forgive our fellows for their mistakes, realizing that in forgiveness lies grandeur, high moral grandeur; and that the man who cannot forgive is not highly evolved.
The French have a proverb, Tout comprendre c'est tout pardonner: "To understand all is to forgive all." To understand all! Forgiving, however, is not condoning. No man should condone a wrong; but for the helpless, in some cases, for the poor wretches who sin — my heart melts with pity for the man or woman who cannot forgive them. Do I like their company? I do not; I confess it. I had liefer converse and be with men and women whom I can more easily feel to be akin to me, akin in thought, akin in feeling; but I am working out of this my own particular veil of limitation that still binds me; for I have myself been taught, my Brothers.
I have been taught the teaching that I now give to you; and I tell you that forgiveness is sublime; forgiveness is also a spiritual exercise. Exercising the faculties within you by forgiving, they will then grow strong; and forgiveness will become easy; and this spiritual exercise develops you spiritually; it will enlarge the sphere of your consciousness, so that, as it were, you will expand, expand, expand, as the years pass, until your consciousness in very truth becomes cosmic in its reaches. Then indeed you will live in the divine part of yourself; then indeed you will have become at one with the god within you, with the inner buddha. You will then be suffused with the buddhic splendor; you will then be fully living in the Christ-light.
The man Jesus was truly a "Christos," simply because that Palestinian avatara manifested the divinity within himself; it was the case with the Buddha-Gautama likewise; and also with many others. Every human being has that sublime end before him as his destiny. This then is the message of Christmas that I bring to you again. Forget, if you will, the old story of the babe in the manger and all the other legendary decorations which pious but unwise men gave to the grandest story in human history — the story of a spiritual initiation, not alone applicable to Jesus but to hundreds of great sages who have preceded him and who followed him — in order to carry this wonder-story over easily into the minds of the uninstructed; and remember that the essential meaning of the Christ story is the living Christ within you, born anew at every time when a man surrenders to his spiritual Self, to the god within him. Then the Christ is "born anew." And it is so easy!
Evildoing makes trouble for you; wickedness has bitter pains which follow in its wake; but peace and happiness indescribable are the guerdon of him who lives the life of the Christ in his own heart, and also power — spiritual power to sway the hearts of his fellow men for good, power to fire their minds so that they may see. Isn't this a grand thing to do?
Oh! that I could awaken human hearts, so that they might see the vision sublime as I have seen it, however imperfectly! Any one of you may also see it if you live the life which will bring it to pass; and I look forwards, my Brothers, to the time to come in the future, when that vision sublime, as it first appeared to me, will become something ineffably grand. I live for it; and I want others to come with me into the light.
Test what I say. Test it by your own instincts; test it by your own intellect; test it by the intuitions within you. If it is wrong, then abhor it, reject it, cast it from you. But if it is right, as you see it to be right, then hold to it and come and help us!
On last Sunday afternoon I talked to you a little about myself. I did so in answering questions that had been sent in to me, as many such questions frequently are sent in to me: What kind of a man I am, what my work is, what I aspire to, etc., etc.; and when the afternoon meeting closed I had not yet answered all the questions that I had accumulated. So I thought that I would take up the remainder of the questions this afternoon and in answering them tell you a little something more about me. I thought that that would be a bit of a challenge. If I showed the slightest intention to apologize for speaking of myself, you would recognize at once in me a preacher who follows not his own doctrine. A man must reach a point where he may speak about himself with the same impersonal feeling that he would about some beauteous flower or about the humble ant, let us say, crawling on the ground under his feet.
It has been said that I am a despotic leader of The Theosophical Society. Merciful heavens! May the immortal gods in their pity forgive such statements as that! I forgive them, and surely what I can do the gods will do! But I would like to know if any man making an unkind and untrue statement about some other man imagines for an instant that he is exempt from the gnawing and corroding remorse which will some day come to him because he has done an injustice?
Do you know, I think that the most poignant pain that a man can endure is the realization that it is too late to repair a wrong done. That is an awful feeling. I would not harm a fellow human being consciously for anything that this world contains. I will tell you why I make this statement: it is because I have wronged my fellow men, not only in other lives, and the pain that then I had tore the scales from my blinded eyes, gave me the vision to realize the wrongs that I had done; and I consecrated my life and my future lives to repair the wrongs that I did, and to do it in the best way that I could find; and this is the case with every one of you, my Brothers.
I would that in this beautiful Christmastide — not beautiful on account of the old and greatly misunderstood legends, but beautiful on account of the inner meaning that they contain — I would that I could persuade at least a few human hearts to see with me into the Mystic East — into your own inner spiritual splendor — the sunrise of the New Era flooding with its rays the faces turned towards it; for that sun is the living mystic Christ within you, and the Mystic East is in your own heart; and each one of you is a child of the cosmic christos, the universal Christ-spirit; for you are sons of the sun; each one of you is an imbodied divinity.
I will crack some stony human hearts yet! Some of them are so enshrouded, so enfolded and hard with personality, that they are worse than adamantine; but I will break them. I have won enemies to become friends and oh! how happy that has made me, for I knew that in some past life, when my soul was younger, I had then injured them; and in making amends, in giving all that is in me to repair the wrong done, I have found a peace, a happiness, and a strength, which cannot be described in words. I so found myself, my inner self.
Let me now answer some of these questions that have been sent to me.
The President of one of the European Sections of The Theosophical Society (Point Loma), recently sought the cooperation of another theosophical organization in his country. His proffered hand of friendship was rejected by the General Council of the other theosophical organization on the ground that the Point Loma Society "does not uphold the theosophical principles of autonomy, of freedom from dogma, and of toleration."
The charge was also made that the literature published by the Point Loma Society proved this statement. As an interested and unbiased outsider, I would like to know just how much basis in fact there is for the position taken by this other theosophical organization.
My Brothers, there is no basis whatsoever for it, except in one point: our Society does not stand for toleration. Do you understand me? If not, I will tell you why. A man says to you: "Why, come along with me; I am tolerant; I will tolerate you." Eh? Do you want to be tolerated No! Consequently, theosophists don't stand for toleration; we stand for equality, for freedom, and for brotherhood. We are not tolerant because we are not intolerant. Now think over this fact. This word toleration, comes to the tongue so glibly; yet the man who boasts of his tolerance and preaches it, I tell you, is intolerant at heart, for tolerance means to "tolerate" another; and do you think that merely tolerating other human beings would be right or grand or even decent? I do not. What would a man think of you if you were to say to him: "I will tolerate you"?
It is absolutely true that not only do theosophists believe in and teach autonomy, but it is one of the provisos of the Constitution of The Theosophical Society; it is guaranteed by our Constitution. Every Section of The Theosophical Society is autonomous within the provisions of the Constitution; and so indeed is every lodge of The TS.
We have absolute freedom of belief and speech. Look for instance at The Theosophical Forum which we publish monthly. In it we have printed attacks on our TS, on our people, on myself; and this is done deliberately. Why should we not print attacks against us, if any good purpose can be served by so doing? Are we afraid to do so? We are not.
I trust in the hearts of my fellow human beings and in their sense of justice and right. I believe in the great human heart. It is to the human heart, to the nobler human mind, that I appeal. I believe in being absolutely frank and truthful. If men misjudge us or me, so much the worse for them, but at least our record is clear. I have peace in my heart and quiet in my mind, because I know that truth will prevail.
Freedom from dogma? Of course we have no dogmas, obligatory or otherwise. On almost every Sunday afternoon, my Brothers, when I have spoken here, I have told you that our TS has no dogmas whatever. Any man, any honest man or woman, can be an FTS — a Fellow of The Theosophical Society — if he accept the only prerequisite to membership, a belief in universal brotherhood, not as a merely sentimental feeling, not meaning at all that we must all drink out of the same dirty cup or all sleep in a common bed, but an honest-to-goodness movement of the human heart, recognizing our spiritual oneness and that we are all flames or sparks from the same central cosmic fire, but nevertheless recognizing the fact that we are men and women in different stages of evolutionary growth.
The following is quoted from a European publication:
"The Universal Brotherhood founded in 1898 by Katherine Tingley, after amending its former constitution and its name, since 1929 calls itself The Theosophical Society, although there are about half a dozen societies claiming that name in the world already. The name of the society as well as the spirit of the publications by its Leader and other representative members indicate that it is intended to signify by that name that The Theosophical Society is the only genuine Theosophical Society which was founded by H. P. Blavatsky as the Messenger of the Great White Lodge."
Question: Does The Theosophical Society with International Headquarters at Point Loma really claim to be what the writer of the above paragraph states: i. e., the only genuine Theosophical Society founded by H. P. Blavatsky as the messenger of the Great White Lodge?
It does not; no such preposterous claim has ever been made. We claim to be one of the important theosophical life-streams, albeit a chief one, descending from the envoy of the Masters of Wisdom and Compassion and Peace; but any other Theosophical Society whatsoever that teaches the original theosophical doctrines and can claim its founding as an offshoot from the Society founded in 1875 by H. P. Blavatsky, we recognize as a genuine Theosophical Society. The degree of genuineness, my Brothers, we recognize to depend upon the greater or less fidelity to the original teachings of the Masters of Wisdom and Compassion and Peace as set forth by H. P. Blavatsky, their envoy in our age.
This doubtless otherwise kindly querent is laboring under a totally wrong impression. Is it so indeed — or may it be, mayhap, one of those sad cases of mud-throwing? Some of you at least do not know what we have been through in past years. We have suffered under wrong and false imputations circulated against us, printed and given by word of mouth, involving things that are wholly false.
That great woman, Katherine Tingley, with whom I worked for more than 26 years, always and invariably urged upon me the duty, impulsive and strong in feeling as I am, of being patient and forgiving. She told me more than once: "The time will come in your administration of The Theosophical Society when you will be able to tell the truth before the world"; and I said, "As I live, I will do it." I am going to do it by winning the hearts, through my own genuine sincerity and brotherly love, of those who have differed from us. Isn't that ambition far grander than always to be squabbling? I have offered my hand in brotherly sincerity, and I say to all others: Come, let us be brothers; here is my hand; let us work together; let us knit up again the torn fabric of the Theosophical Movement, and become at one and at peace. And I challenge, in the name of holy truth, those who will not as yet hear the Masters' call, for such it is; and brotherly love is always suffused with the divine.
The Fellows of your Society accept your leadership as practically infallible, and, indeed, the Constitution of The Theosophical Society (Point Loma) gives you wide powers. Does not the history of the nations, especially of popery, teach what great crimes have been perpetrated through absolutism? Is it not true that to foster faith in authority draws the consciousness away from the higher self and darkens the soul, and is therefore wrong?
Yes, a thousandfold is it evil; and you will find naught of it here. I say from this platform on every occasion when I see a chance to voice the sublime truth: in yourself lies the working of your own destiny. It is to the god within you that you must turn for guidance. Do I not call upon your own inner god, as individuals, whenever I speak to you? Do I ever say to you that you "must" follow me? You know that I have not ever said so. The very heart of the theosophical teaching is a call to the inner god.
Furthermore, not one single Fellow of The Theosophical Society, man or woman, young or old, looks upon me as infallible, or has ever looked upon my great-hearted predecessor, Katherine Tingley, as infallible. She was great, and stood for what she knew to be the crying need of The Theosophical Society, and for her own convictions, before the world at a critical time in the history of The Theosophical Society which then needed a strong and guiding hand. She once told me, "G.deP." she said, "when I pass on and the cycle turns, will you continue as I have had to do in order to save the Society?" And I said, "No." And she said, "Thank the immortal gods!" I knew what she meant, and I knew that my answer was what she expected. She had a work to do in a certain line and lived to do that work, grandly and nobly lived to do it, but she knew that when she passed on it would be at the end of one cycle and at the beginning of another, when new methods were to be employed by her successor.
When her death came at the turning of the cycle, the time came for me to lay down the great authority given to her at the Theosophical Congress in Chicago in 1898; and when I came into office at her passing, I consulted with our officials, and with some of the wisest and most experienced Fellows we have, and I told them that I was going to strip myself of all the constitutional power that I could rightfully abandon, and that in future I was going to work to win the hearts of my fellow men by love and by their conviction of my truth and troth and honesty; that the time had passed when the Leader of The Theosophical Society needed to use the strong guiding hand in order to keep the Theosophical ship straight to the north — to the Mystic North in this case, to the pole star of the spirit. So I did, indeed; and our Constitution which was amended on December 5, 1929, by delegates duly assembled in congress here, gave me just sufficient power to guide the policy — to define and outline and guide and guard the policy — of The Theosophical Society.
No member at any time has ever looked upon me as infallible, or as 'practically infallible.' I would like indeed to find such a strangely believing member. I challenge anyone to bring him to me and let me talk to him!
When people talk about infallibility, I think that they rarely realize what the word signifies. The highest god in highest heaven, to use a common phrase, is fallible as compared with Boundless infinitude. How then about a mere man, no matter how great that man might be? Even the Masters of Wisdom and Compassion and Peace, demigods as they are in very fact, at least the greatest of them, are still fallible. Naught but boundless infinitude can be said to be infallible; and really even this is but a figure of speech, and the whole idea behind this foolish question is but a to-do about nothing at all — vox, et praeterea nihil. It is no compliment to the intelligence of any person who will say, who will make, erratic and indeed foolish statements like this about any other human being.
You may remind me that one of the great Christian Churches teaches the infallibility of its Head under certain conditions. Are we to be guided by what a certain portion of mankind think? Is such a statement an argument? No, of course not. No member of The Theosophical Society at any time has ever looked upon me as infallible; and I want to drive that fact home. I disclaim the allegation. I should be ashamed to wear such tinsel habiliments of human vanity.
My Brothers, don't you know that one of the most enduring ties, as among men, is the feeling that we all can err? It is the recognition of the feeling that we all can err that makes us charitable, that makes us kindly, that leads us to the divine actions of forgiveness.
Yes, I myself have said on occasion after occasion that it is perfectly true that any attempt to draw the human consciousness away from the indwelling inner god towards belief in an outside authority darkens the judgment, beclouds the understanding, and weakens the will; and all these three are just the opposite of what our teaching is.
I call upon you to look within, to understand yourself, to follow the divinity within you, to use your own judgment; and even if you make a mistake in so doing, or make mistake after mistake after mistake by so doing, nevertheless by exercising your inner spiritual faculties, you are giving them strength, just as the exercise even of a physical muscle will give strength to the muscle which is used; and the time will come, if you obey, if you follow, this inner spiritual exercise, when your own judgment will become clearer, when your mind will become less obscure, and you will then begin to see the vision sublime. And then — then we shall have caught you; then you will be a captive of our love; you will no longer refuse it; and remember that I am merely voicing the words of all the great sages and seers. Don't misunderstand me: our love — yes; but only because it is identic with the love given by the great ones, the great spiritual guides of mankind.
There is abroad in the world today a tendency to criticize others, to say: "I don't care about joining any society; I want to stand outside and look on. I have had plenty of it all. I don't care to affiliate with any organization. I think you are doing a good work, even a splendid work; but I just prefer to stay outside." Now I ask you a plain question: Do you admire that spirit? I do not. Give me the man who will help when his heart, when his conscience, and when his mind, tell him that before him is a work into which he should throw himself as a helper. Do you want to be mere lookers-on? — spiritual and ethical lazybones?
I tell you frankly that I can understand that attitude, but I neither admire it nor have sympathy with it, and therefore I have no patience with it. I think that the man or the woman who can stand idly by and be a mere looker-on when something is going wrong or, contrariwise, when a great and noble work needs help, is doing a positively unethical act, and manifests a species of subtle selfishness which should be shaken off as soon as possible. Give me the man who follows the urgent promptings of his soul to lend a hand where help is needed! He indeed is a man! Nature calls strongly for aggregations; nature calls upon men to band together and to work together, and all her movements and operations are contrary to and against them who attempt to stand aside while the processions of life move on.
A member of another Theosophical Society writes: "Theosophy is divine self-knowledge, the self-recognition of God in man; it needs no outer leader and is not obtained by faith in authorities." Do you agree with this writer?
No, I do not. The statement is badly phrased and therefore untruly phrased. I am sorry to say frankly that I am tired of a certain class of theosophical egoists who stand before the public and pose as being men of spiritual discernment, and whose attitude carries the tacit declaration: "We are the pure, we are the high ones. We know what theosophy is; theosophy is as we say it is." Give me, on the contrary, the man whose attitude is charitable, because his heart is kindly. Give me the man who has the understanding heart, who can understand the difficulties of his fellows, who does not assume the self-righteous and self-sufficient attitude!
It is perfectly true that one of the basic, essential teachings of theosophy is that voicing the inner divinity or the inner god in man, which is the final tribunal to which the man should turn; that as a bare statement is wholly true. But I for one do not speak of this inner divinity as "God." I have often told you just what this inner divinity is, and in doing so I merely repeat the message of all the great sages and seers: It is your own inner god, the divine entity at the core of the core of you, a spark of the flaming fire of the universe; for the universe verily is filled full with gods, and men are merely feeble exemplifications of this natural fact, for men as spiritual entities are at present passing through one phase of their aeon-long evolutionary journey, the phase of humanity.
Again, is divine self-knowledge the whole of theosophy? It is indeed a teaching that we should aspire to make a living reality in our lives; it is a noble aspiration, and one that all right-thinking men should strive to follow. But the definition itself is incomplete as given. It seems to me actually to be a subtle appeal, mark you, to personal selfishness.
Theosophy is more than an urging of the individual to try to find the god within himself for his own purposes. Theosophy is, besides, a reasoned formulation in human thought and language of the nature, structure, and operations of the universe and of all that it contains, and therefore it includes man and all his relations with the universe in the scope of its teachings. Theosophy is wisdom; and once that a man has this wisdom even in minor degree, all that pertains to him as an individual will automatically find its proper place in his thought and life. Having this wisdom, you will have the key of the great problem of finding yourself, of how to gain this self-recognition of the inner divinity. But to limit the scope of theosophy to that one teaching alone is to amputate from it vast ranges of religious and philosophical and scientific thought.
If this Fellow of another Theosophical Society who wrote as quoted above sincerely believes that definition is all-inclusive, then I ask his forgiveness if my words may seem to carry a touch of reproof. I am bound to speak the truth as it is given to me to see it. I also speak that truth as I have been taught it. But I speak kindly if, indeed, at times with directness and emphasis. There are times when one needs to use language forcefully.
Now, let me read to you something in this connection that I wrote to the Fellows of our Society on February 17th of this year:
There are theosophists belonging to different societies in the world today who are heart-hungry for theosophic truth, and for theosophic guidance. They crave, they long for, a theosophical leader and teacher whom they can trust; and while I believe that there are certain kinds of theosophists who dislike the idea of a leader and teacher, and who think that H.P.B. was the only teacher, or perhaps that H.P.B. and W.Q. Judge were the only teachers; nevertheless, in the quiet of the nighttime, when reflection follows the tranquil course of the stream of consciousness undisturbed, they must realize that the flow of inspiration from the great mahatmas of the Himalayas has never been broken, and cannot be broken if the theosophical teachings are true.
It is futile, it is useless, it is even childish, to point to an occasional statement here and there, made by H.P.B. or by Judge, to the effect that no Master of Wisdom will be sent to the western world until the last quarter of the twentieth century — if even then. Of course this is true; and I may add just here, that it is highly improbable that even then a Master of Wisdom will be sent, although a messenger most undoubtedly will come.
All such conclusions arise from a misunderstanding of the meaning of what H.P.B. did write and from a too strong emphasis laid upon words. I repeat my declaration: the Masters of Compassion and Wisdom are as active in the world today as ever they were; and the stream of inspiration and holy light flows even now with undiminished intensity from the great asrama. Those who have ears to hear, let them hear.
It were childish to suppose that a sudden interruption of the stream of inspiration and of teaching, once started through H.P.B. for the saving of the souls of men from spiritual degradation — which saving is done through enlightenment and teaching — could have taken place when H.P.B. went Home. The spiritual forces of the globe do not work thus; they are flowing continuously; and even they, the great Masters of Wisdom and Compassion, are but the instruments of the Law, and the servants of the guides and governors of the spiritual universe. Hence the great ones work continuously and incessantly.
O my beloved theosophists! Take heed and listen well! You can drink at these Pierian Springs still, if such is your wish — at these springs of illumination and wisdom and knowledge, of which the great teachers are the constant transmitters to their fellow men of minor grade in evolutionary development.
And what I then wrote I now again say; I repeat it. I have been asked: "Are you an occultist?" I haven't time to answer this question today. I will merely at the present moment say: Yes, and answer the question more fully on next week.
On last Sunday you stated, during your lecture, that you were under a vow of personal poverty. You said that you could not own one dollar for yourself, although you could and would be glad to hold millions for the theosophical work. Is this vow of yours of recent date, and can you break it when you will?
If I could break a vow like this when I willed to do so, what kind of a vow would it be? No, my Brothers: I took this pledge when I was a young man still in my teens; and it is a pledge that I cannot ever break. I cannot own one dollar personally, but I can hold millions, billions, any sum, for the work which I was sent to do. I can hold it and consecrate it to that work; but I cannot personally own one dollar, and I am happy.
Dear Dr. de Purucker: At this Christmas season I am reminded of an expression which I have heard theosophists use, to wit: "the birth of the Christ in the human heart." As I shall be attending your lecture in the Temple of Peace on Sunday, December 21st, I should very much like to hear from you some explanation of what is meant in theosophy by this beautiful expression.
I always say, my Brothers, "the birth of the Christ-light in human hearts"; and in beginning our study this afternoon, I tried to explain to you just what that phrase signifies. It means that every one of you in his highest, noblest, most impersonal part, is a god, a divine being, a Spark of the central flame of the universe — not central because it is in a locality, but because it is everywhere central: it is the inmost of the inmost of every mathematical point everywhere; and this wonder, some parts of the world of men have called the Christ-light, the Christ immanent, the Christ indwelling, and another part of the world of men speak of it as being the inner Buddha, the buddhic splendor. To me this latter is a more beautiful phrase, because it means more to me at least. To you the words the Christ light perhaps may mean more.
Now, this Christ-light is the source of all the noblest that you are; it is the source of everything that is high and good within you; it is the source of your manhood, the source of the strength of character that you have, the source of all your spiritual faculties, the source of the powers that are in you; it is the source of the love which inflames your heart when you do deeds of beauty and of goodness. This is the Christ-light!
Oh, may that Christ-light be born in every human heart, at least once a year! And may that birth of the Christ-light be your Christmas, although at first it may burn only as a tender flame, as a little babe of light, so to say. Open your nature to it and let it fill you; for it is your spiritual self, the god within you. It is all that is holiest and most beautiful in human existence, and the source of all that is good and divine within us.
And now, in closing, my Brothers, I want to read to you again something that I wrote to the Fellows of our Society as a Christmas greeting last year. I think that it will follow on well with what I have just stated; and I may add, perhaps, before reading it, that from times immemorial the human sages and seers have always chosen the season of the winter solstice for one of their great initiation ceremonies. That is why the birth of the mystical Christ, now called the Christmas-anniversary, was placed at the date of the winter solstice, December 25th, but which rightly should have been, astronomically speaking, December 21st. The calendar in Julius Caesar's time was inaccurate, even after he amended it with the aid of the astronomer Sosigenes.
Let me now read to you what I wrote in my General Letter to the Fellows of The Theosophical Society and to members of the Esoteric Section on December 7, 1929:
There is much more pertaining to this season of the year than even our own theosophical students generally realize. Resolutions made at this time in a proper spirit — in the spirit of impersonal devotion to high ideals — and with a heart overflowing with love for all that is, have a relationship with the divine; and because of this divine relationship they exercise throughout the subsequent months a silent but powerful domination over both mind and heart.
It was a knowledge — deep, wide-reaching, mystic — of these and other collateral truths of nature that brought about the working of one of the highest degrees of initiation at the time of the winter solstice, and for some two weeks thereafter. Memories of those far bygone days still linger in the hearts of men at this time — memories of a time when divine beings were on earth, and taught their younger brothers, mankind. This fact was commemorated in later ages in the initiation ceremonies of the winter solstice, wherein the aspirant passing successfully through the trials, met his own inner god face to face, and being "raised" to union therewith, became suddenly suffused with splendor, so that, as the phrase passed outwards from the crypts, he was said to be "clothed with the sun"; and it was true — in a far more real and mystical sense than sincere but unknowing men of later times have ever realized.
Therefore do I send out my deepest and most heartfelt good wishes to all that lives, to Fellows and non-Fellows, to men and women of whatever race or creed, wherever they are. And more, to the very gods do I raise my own soul in reverential recognition!
Brothers, in parting with you this afternoon, I wish you a very merry Christmas in the usual sense, and I hope that my poor words may at least have evoked the latent fire in your hearts, and that I can go to bed tonight when my work is done feeling that I have brought a little hope, a little help, a little light, to others.