Theosophical University Press Online Edition
Why Were The Mahatma Letters Printed?
Theosophy and Mahayana Buddhism
The Absolute, a Relative Term
Is the Spiritual Ego Immortal?
Masters do not Interfere
The Many and the One in Man
The Manasaputric Light
Questions asked at the European Convention in October 1932, at London, England
D. A. — Would you tell us why THE MAHATMA LETTERS were printed, when the Masters said they were not to be published?
G. de P. — Why don't you ask Brother Barker? (1) I can only say that I am profoundly glad that The Mahatma Letters were published as a book. I think they have done more good in helping along our own work, the work of our own beloved T. S., than any other single incident in the entire history of the Theosophical Movement. They contain the very heart of Esotericism; and that was the reason why the Masters did not want them published at that time: the times were not ripe; men were unready. Times have now changed. The Theosophical teachings have more or less permeated the thought-atmosphere of the Occident, and we can now talk about things in public, and write about things, which if talked about or written when The Mahatma Letters were written to the recipients, would have been simply not understood; and I don't think there is anything more dangerous than a religious teaching which is misunderstood. It leads to dogmatism, hatred, wars, all kinds of uncharity. That was the reason. And then in addition portions of some of The Mahatma Letters deal with rather personal affairs and teachings. You know that the men or women who received these letters are now dead, have passed on. There were motives of kindliness and courtesy. Our Masters are men, you know — just men, but very noble ones, great ones, gentlemen in the true meaning of that good old English word. I think Brother Barker did a splendid work.
O. S. — There must be masses of such letters existing, because this volume contains only a selection of letters written to a certain man or to a few men; and there must be many more documents of the same character. I was wondering: aren't we going to have a few more of them gradually?
G. de P. — I think it would be simply a wonderful work if we could. If all the letters that the Great Teachers wrote could be gathered together and collated, printed, I think it would be fine; but I don't think there are so many, after all. Probably there are a few scattered around. Mrs. Laura C. Holloway probably received a few, and one or two other people. The Masters did not write so many letters, you know.
O. S. — But they have been working for ages.
G. de P. — If we could go back and read in the astral records, would not that be great! But not all, in fact very few, of the Masters' letters were written with their own hand or hands. Almost all of them came through chelas; and I believe that H. P. B. speaks of this herself somewhere. In fact, the Masters do. Now you see that this fact, which we have no reason to hide — it is the truth — would throw any letter purporting to be a Mahatma-letter into the field of doubt — doubtful authenticity as regarded by Occidental minds, because the Master himself did not write it with his own hand or with his own pen and mail it in the usual way, but precipitated it or wrote it mentally through the mind of a trained instrument, a chela: who but a Theosophist would accept such a letter as authentic? Would such a letter be received in a court of law today as genuine? It might, if judge and jury were Theosophists, but otherwise I think not. And yet, they were the Masters' letters, the Masters' own words, even the handwriting more or less the same. For what does the chela do? The chela throws himself into a negative attitude of receptivity. It is not negativity in the bad sense, but he merely casts out of his own mind every thought and becomes, as it were, a blank page, a mental page, on which the living fire of the Master's mind traces words, and the chela writes down these words which his consciousness receives. He knows what is going on. If the receptivity is perfect, the reproduction is perfect. If the chela is interrupted or ill or tired, the receptivity is correspondingly poor, and the production will be correspondingly poor. But it is the Master's own mind writing the letter, just as much so as if I were to dictate to my secretary there and she were to write the letter in her own hand, and I would say: 'Just sign that for me and have it go on.'
W. Y. E. W. — Would you go so far as to say that the writers of these MAHATMA LETTERS would ally themselves with the better aspects of the Mahayana School, such as Nagarjuna or Aryasangha?
G. de P. — Yes, certainly; providing that in giving that answer we understand the real meaning of the teachings of Nagarjuna and Aryasangha. Now, the teachings that these great teachers have left behind them have not been properly understood in the Occident. The sectarian spirit is rather stronger than that of the occult vision — which indeed has no such sectarian spirit. But I would say in answer to the question that what Nagarjuna and Aryasangha, as representatives of the Mahayana School of Buddhism, the 'Great School,' taught, is identic in essence with the teachings of esoteric Theosophy.
I have often stated in public lectures and otherwise in writings that the great religion which is the nearest to our own Theosophy is Buddhism. Even exoteric Buddhism is the least degenerated of all the world-religions; and I always look with sympathy on those of our people who study Buddhism. I only wish that they would in some cases help us a little more in the Theosophical aspects. I believe that the heart of Buddhism is the same as the heart of Theosophy. I believe that the crusts, the veils, enshrouding that heart in Buddhism are less thick than are the veils enshrouding the core or real meaning of the teachings of the Christian Jesus, the Christian Master. We are not Buddhists; but we can truly be called Esoteric Budhists, with one d; that is, followers of the Esoteric Wisdom; and Esoteric Budhism, with one d, is identic with Esoteric Buddhism, with two d's.
Question — Will you formulate a question on the permanency of the Absolute? Is there one or are there many?
G. de P. — Is the Absolute one or plural? In most people's opinion there can be but one Absolute, because they use the word (a war of words!) in the ordinary Occidental way as meaning Infinitude, the Infinite.
Now 'Absolute' does not mean that. The word 'Absolute' is the past participle of the Latin verb absolvere, 'to set free.' Absolute, therefore, means freed, freed from all conditions beneath it — any entity which is 'absolute' is freed. The Absolute, therefore, is an exact translation or an exact rendering of the Sanskrit Mukti or Moksha, which means 'freedom,' 'set free.' A Nirvani, one in Nirvana, has attained Mukti or Moksha has attained Absoluteness. Consequently, in the proper usage of this word 'Absolute,' it simply means one who has risen above, or who has become freed from, all the limitations, all the shackles, that fetter average man. The Nirvani is 'absolute' in his Nirvana. Absolute is a relative term: you can be free from small things; you can be free from greater things. Each one in its own sphere is 'absolute' there — freed.
Now then, it is quite customary in English and in most Occidental schools of philosophy to misuse this word Absolute to signify Infinitude; but it is a misuse which I have always protested against and always will; and there are certain philosophers who are with me — Sir William Hamilton, for one, who speaks of this very fact. Now, in Fundamentals of the Esoteric Philosophy, I use this word in its exact, primary, and etymological sense, as signifying an entity that is so far evolved that it has become freed from all inferior things, free, a free spirit, a Jivan-mukta, a spiritual-divine Monad.
Every Monad which attains Jivan-mukti or freedom of the spiritual jiva, of the atman, is an 'Absolute,' is in a state of absoluteness, true freedom from everything beneath it — for instance, in our own Galaxy, our own Home-Universe. Everything in the Universe is relative. Einsteinism if you like; but everything in the Universe is relative; all the Absolutes are relative, each one to its own Universe; and there may be a limited Absolute, a greater Absolute, a still greater Absolute, remembering that Absolute means freed. Therefore there are as many Absolutes as there are Jivan-muktas — as many Absolutes as there are Guardians of the Universe. Do you understand? There are no permanent Absolutes. If there were, that would simply mean that an entity, a spiritual entity, having reached divinity, or quasi-divinity, becomes crystallized or permanent in that state and cannot go farther on, cannot evolve to greater and sublimer heights.
Now, that is impossible, because everything that is, every living entity everywhere in Boundless Space, is continuously and forever growing, evolving, expanding. What a doctrine of hope! There are no permanent Absolutes; and the Absolutes are as numerous as are the Jivan-muktas, the freed spirits.
W. Y. E.-W. — I think that in correlation with what you have been saying, we might perhaps have some information from you in respect to the statement in one of the letters about the 'spiritual ego.' The point I should like to make here is: How far are we to follow the Buddhist thought in the matter of the ego or non-ego, or the matter of Atma or non-Atma? There are a good many differences between the two schools of Buddhism; but one thing they agree in is the non-existence of a permanent ego. If you go back into the idealistic movement of the Northern Buddhist school in the first century, you will find that they all agree on this. What, then, is meant by 'Spiritual Ego'?
G. de P. — Thank you. That is an awfully good opportunity you have given me. This question is a very pertinent one, because it goes to the very root of the question, so-called, of the continuance of individual, or rather personal, consciousness. Is personal consciousness immortal? In other words, is the ego immortal? Are we Theosophists, like all schools of Buddhism, followers of the doctrine of the Anatman — are we Anatman Buddhists, or Atman Buddhists? Do we say that the ego is immortal, or do we say that it is mortal?
It has been a common theory in some Theosophical circles outside of our own, that the Ego is immortal; and I have fought that doctrine tooth and nail, whenever I have had a chance. I cannot conceive of a more horrible destiny than for me to remain permanently as I am in my Ego and never be able to change and go higher. To me that doctrine is horrible. It has brought about more misery in the world, more selfishness, more suffering and pain, than even the doctrine of so-called 'God' has. Men have fought about questions of God until the gutters have run with blood. Religious wars have always been the most bitter and sanguinary in history; and we have to stop that kind of thing.
But concerning this question of Ego and non-Ego, as a matter of fact both the teachings are true. The Ego is mortal; but, just like the human body, being mortal, it re-forms itself at the next incarnation or reincarnation." The Ego re-forms itself of and from the life-atoms which now compose it; so that the same man returns after the devachanic interlude. But to, speak of the Ego as immortal, which means enduring for aye, perpetually, as it is, no! That is not the teaching of Theosophy; that is not the teaching of the Ancient Wisdom-Religion; it is not the teaching of the gods.
Everything changes. Nothing that is composite is immortal. Immortality means continuity, unchanging continuity, of a being or thing as it is; and that means that such an entity could never evolve, never grow: it would have to be for ever and for ever just exactly as it is. If it changed an iota in thought, in feeling, in consciousness, in any wise, it would no longer be the same; it would have changed: the old Ego would have passed. Deduction: everything grows; everything changes; everything moves — the Atman as much as anything else, or the Paramatman, or Parabrahman, which is merely a name to describe all that is beyond the Over-Guardian of our Galaxy: even that changes. Everything is growing; everything is moving; everything is alive. Change is of the very essence of evolution itself, of the very essence of growth.
But then, does this teaching mean that the Ego never returns — that our present Ego is ended utterly, completely annihilated, absolutely wiped out? That teaching is as idiotic as the other. How can a thing which exists utterly vanish? It is an entity; it is a composite entity; it is a union, nay, a unity, a unity of life-atoms which make the entity which now exists. It will exist again, because the attractions which brought those life-atoms into coherency in this life and made me an ego and made you an ego - the same attraction, the same laws, will work in future incarnations and reproduce me and reproduce you — more evolved, changed, therefore no longer the same ego, but practically the same.
Why, our very bodies change from the time when we are infants, when we are little children, as we grow to mature manhood or womanhood, and then descend the slope to old age. 'Change and decay in all around I see.' Thank the immortal gods that it is so! Think of the horror of everything remaining for ever as it is! Think of it! Is there any difference (and this is one of the great lessons that we Theosophists must learn clearly and give to the world) — Is there any difference between the truths of this world and the truths of the spiritual worlds? No; because truth is truth; and this world is but a reflexion of the worlds of the spirit, but a reflexion, a copy.
Relatively speaking, the Atman within us is immortal — relatively speaking; but from the standpoint of Infinitude, which is frontierless, beginningless, endless Duration, even the Atman changes and grows to something sublimer. Do you get the thought? Personal immortality would be a worse gift than the robe of Nessus to Hercules. Growth, change, progress, evolution, bringing out in ever larger measure the stored-up fountains of life, of intelligence, of being, lying within us: That, That, THAT — is the future, not static immortality.
Therefore we Theosophists, say that both these doctrines are true, when properly understood; but coming down to exact analysis of each, we discern that they are two sides of the same truth. The Ego is relatively mortal, relatively immortal. It is conditionally mortal, conditionally immortal. Then again, which Ego do you mean: the Human Ego, the Spiritual Ego, the Divine Ego? Man's name is legion.
Our Lord Buddha said in his last words: 'Brothers, all things that are, are composite, are component, built up of elements. Find your way to truth,' or, as it has been mistranslated by scholars brought up in Christian thought: 'Seek out your own salvation.' The way to peace and happiness is in recognising truth and feeling that here within is the Cosmic Life, the Cosmic Intelligence, which is neither Ego nor non-Ego — something which is deathless; for it is Infinity; it is Eternity; it is That. I am It. Thou, Brother, art It. It has no name. It is indescriptible. It is neither spirit nor non-spirit; for it is both. It is neither Ego nor non-Ego; for it is both. It is That.
Speaking in simpler and more imperfect terms, we might say it is the Cosmic Life. But I use such words under protest, because they are so miscolored and misused in the Occident. You use the words 'Cosmic Life' to ten men brought up in Occidental schools of philosophy, and you will have ten different interpretations of what these words mean.
Question — Could one ask the question thus: Is the Swabhava of the Spiritual Ego continuous? People want to feel that the individuality itself is continuous — not that it stops growing, but that the germ of the individuality is to go on for ever.
G. de P. — Yes, and they tangle themselves up in philosophical words and phrases, and don't know what they are talking about. You have schools of philosophy in the Occident trying to study the philosophy of the Orient, and Orientals who study the philosophy of the Occident and do not try to understand their own. The very question is a proof that there is Something — call it what you like — within every entity and being who collectively builds Boundless Infinitude. That Something is deathless. 'It is the Self,' said the Sages of Vedic Aryavarta. They did not mean a human ego; they did not mean an angel or a deva, or a god: they meant an Essence — the Essence of the Universe — THAT!
There is just one thing an entity cannot avoid, and that is continuous existence. That is just the one thing that cannot be wiped out. If it were possible to extract, to take away, to eliminate, one single atom, one mathematical point, or Monad, from Boundless Infinitude, Boundless Infinitude would crash into cosmic nonentity. Every point is as important as every other point.
But what Occidentals find so difficult to understand is this noble doctrine of the non-immortality of the personal Ego. They don't stop to think that it would be a hell to any of us to continue for ever and for ever as now we are. Yet there is in the heart of every entity, which means every being anywhere in Boundless Space, evolved or unevolved — spiritual, ethereal, physical, or sub-physical — there is at the heart of the heart and forming the heart of the heart of such entity or being — THAT — which is deathless, the god within — call it by any name you like, or call it the SELF. It is such a simple idea that it often amazes me that Occidentals find it so difficult to understand it. Just get the one thought, that if there is anything in Boundless Infinitude that cannot be annihilated or wiped out, it is continuous, unending existence, continuous unending life.
From THAT we all come, and to THAT we all return. It is the great Fountain of Life, the fons et origo, the great Fountain and Origin of all things. Life is like a great cycling wheel; and this is the figure of speech that our Lord has given to us. (I say, 'Our Lord': I speak esoterically, of course, for we are not Buddhists; yet we follow the esoteric doctrine of the Lord Buddha. I don't care that for the opinions of Occidental scholars that the Buddha had no esoteric school, or that there is no such thing as esoteric Buddhism. It is nonsense.)
Here is the figure of the wheel, the circling wheel of life, slowly turning through interminable, endless ages; and we are like spots or specks on the rim of the wheel; and we go constantly up and down; and each such wheel is a galaxy, a cosmos. Now, it is the peculiar nature of this wheel that, as the ages pass, it grows constantly more and more ethereal; the wheel itself changes; the wheel itself is mortal — grows, that is evolves, to something higher and better. A very mystical figure, but very true.
The Chairman — Here is a written question. It refers in the beginning to two so-called 'controls' of a medium at the present time practising in London. Question — I have been very much interested in the teachings given out by —— and by ----, ----'s control. They seem to me very splendid and helpful; and I know some old Theosophists who think very highly of them. Yet I am told that these teachings, though they resemble Theosophy, are unsound and misleading. I am confused and troubled. If the mediums in these cases are honest and genuine, why is it that deceiving spirits are ALLOWED to use them? Could not the Masters intervene and speak themselves through the mouths of the mediums and state the truth? It seems wrong to allow those who are trying to be true Theosophists to be deceived.
G. de P. — In a way I am sorry to have to answer this question; but of course it is only right to try to do so. Now, in the first place: how often has not this question been asked before: 'If the Masters are all that they are said to be, why don't they step into the arena of human affairs and right all the wrongs of the world?' That is the idea and it is an unfair idea. The Masters never interfere with the karman of anyone. They cannot; they dare not; it is contrary, not only to the hierarchical system of government under which our society is run — and when I say that I include the Masters' own lodge, of which we are the outermost extension — but it is contrary to the first teachings of Theosophy, that anyone shall interfere with the soul-destiny of anyone else. He must learn his lessons. Help we should, whenever we can rightly do so. Compassion speaks all the time; and you may be sure, my dear Brothers, that the Masters are watching things like this, not only in London but all over the world, and render what help they can; but miracles they cannot work, nor will they try to work them.
Each instance of a medium is a psychological case that only karman can explain, and which only karman must solve as a problem. That is all the answer that can be given. I have no right, although a Theosophist and a Theosophical Leader, to go into the family of a brother-Theosophist, because he happens to be having quarrels with his wife, for instance, and interfere in his private affairs. It may be very regrettable, and my heart may be wrung with pity for both; but I have no right to 'butt in,' as some folk say. My duty is to observe and to help, when help I can, and when help I may; but that is all; and the situation is exactly the same with the Masters.
It was just this fact of the inrushing tide of psychic influences, which were going to flow into our Occident during the coming hundred years, that was the main cause of the sending forth by the Masters of their Envoy, H. P. Blavatsky, to try to attract men's minds into saner and less psychical channels — upwards instead of downwards.
Now, it is our duty to oppose all kinds of errors but to do so by Theosophical ways, by kindliness, by teaching the truth, by instilling thoughts of reality, explanations of these things, into men's minds. But it is quite wrong to suppose that the Masters have any right to go in and forcibly to put an astral restraining hand on another. They cannot do it, simply cannot do it.
I was asked the following the other day — it was not so long ago, a couple of months ago — by a person to whom I had given a similar explanation to a question somewhat similar to this: 'Why, G. de P., if you were passing along the street and saw a man murdering some other man, would you just say: "That is the murdered man's karman. Let it go on." I should say no! I should not. It would be my bounden duty to rush to the rescue. 'But then,' he asked, 'is it not the Masters' bounden duty to rush to the rescue of these people who are deceived?' 'Ah,' I replied, 'in rushing to stop the murder, would you want me to murder the murderer?' The Masters are wiser than we. It would be my duty to stop the murder if possible, even to cripple the murderer so that he could not continue his evil work when I had left; but to murder the murderer? No.'
J. G. — Was Dante an Initiate?
G. de P. — I would not say that the Italian poet, Dante, was an Initiate; but I will tell you my own private conviction about him: I think, like the case of Dr. Einstein, that there was sufficient spiritual life in the man to allow the entrance into his consciousness, if you understand me, of a divine ray, which touched his brain, so that when he wrote his immortal poem he mentally set forth, although in Christian phrasing and terms, a great deal of the teaching of the ancient doctrine. There are the nine stages, or the nine or ten hells; there is purgatory and the terrestrial paradise; there are the nine or ten heavens — a typical medieval example of the Oriental teaching of the lokas and talas. Of course it is all told in Christian terms. But it is a magnificent poem. And mark you, Dante made his guide, his mystic guide through the infernal regions and the purgatory, the so-called 'Pagan' poet Vergil; but when he came to describe the heavens — probably in order to satisfy his Christian critics — he chose his Beatrice, a Christian maid, to conduct him through the heavens!
F. A. L. — We have had many interesting talks about different questions; and it seems to me that it would be very fine if you could tell us something that could demonstrate that, though we are composite beings, and not only we men, but all living entities, perhaps, composite of thousands of entities, after all we are not many but still one? I have experienced that when we break up man into so many pieces, some of them angels, others devils, and so on and so forth, most people do not feel very comfortable; and I like always to close our lectures with some suggestion that, after all, we are not separate, even if we are separated in the outer world; but that Reality is one and not many.
G. de P. — Yours is not an easy question, dear Brother. It amounts to what is known in Esotericism as the great mystery of the One becoming the many; and at the end of things, the many rebecoming the One. It is one of the most profound of the mysteries of the Esoteric Philosophy. It is one which requires literally years and years of the most hard, searching study, adequately and completely to answer. It is a question which arises doubtless in the minds of all inquirers, even of those who are honest in their study of the Ancient Wisdom. It is, therefore, a question which must come before all lodge-presidents, before every individual Theosophical propagandist, for answer. It is a remarkable fact that this very question is one which never has received full treatment by the great Sages and Seers. I mean a treatment given out in public exposition. The reason is that it simply cannot be done. It is not a question which can be fully answered before the public and to the public. It is wholly an esoteric line of thought. But the mere fact, dear Brother, that you have phrased your question as you have phrased it, shows that you have already meditated upon it, and in meditating upon it have found at least some answer or some answers, which will satisfy, to a certain degree at least, those who put the question to you.
I would suggest the following: just as man is a copy in the small of the cosmic Vast; in other words, just as man is a microcosm, a little world, a reflexion or copy of the macrocosm or great world; and just as these twain are one fundamentally and in essence, in origin, and in future destiny, in present being and past being; likewise, on similar grounds of thought, the One — which is the core of the core of the heart of the heart of the Universe — is the core of the core of the heart of the heart of you. This entire matter is referred to by the Lord Buddha in one of his teachings. It is technically known in oriental literature as the doctrine of the Atma-vada, the teaching of the enduring self, or 'ego,' as occidental scholars usually translate this word — and wrongly.
It must become obvious from what I have just said that the Cosmic Self, although your inmost self, is not the self of you or of me as a man. You are a human self, a human ego; I am a human self, a human ego; nevertheless each one of us as individuals or human egos exists and has its being, and all our life we live and move and have our being in the cosmic profundity which we can only describe in the language of the Vedic Sage as THAT. It is the illusion of personality, even of individuality if you wish, which induces human beings as thinking entities, to imagine that the lower ego-ship, the lower ego-self itself, endures forever, forgetting, or perhaps not seeing, that it is precisely in this doctrine, false and erroneous, of the continuous and unchanging perpetuity of the human ego-self, that lies the fruitful source, the fountain, of all human woe, of all human sorrow, and of all human sin, because of all human selfishness.
When a man knows, and in knowing feels with every atom of his being, that what he is is but a cosmic atom, so to say, in the fabric and substance of the absolute Vast of our Galaxy; and that he is as important as that Galaxy in his essence and relatively unimportant as a microcosm, as a human egoity — when this conviction burns itself into his consciousness, he becomes truly impersonal; he becomes a Man — with a capital M, a Superman, a Demigod; because the very essence of the consciousness of divinity is then trying to penetrate into his human consciousness.
We as human beings exist; but in the very essence of things we — as humans — are not. There is the key. It is a matter of Maya, or rather of Mahamaya, Cosmic Illusion; and Freedom, Moksha or Mukti, Absoluteness in the way I use the word in Fundamentals of the Esoteric Philosophy, consists in shaking off this illusion, that, for instance, the musician is different from the music he gives us, or that the poet is other than the poesy he brings to us, or that the seer is different from the vision which he sees. The twain are one. Is a man different from the love which fills his heart? There is the key — a key given rather by suggestion than by entangling the reason with brain-mind words.
We do exist as human beings, as individuals; and we shall exist throughout the entire duration of the cosmic or solar Manvantara, as individuals constantly growing greater and vaster, ever more sublime, until finally we shall reach the grand consummatum est, the final consummation of all things at the end of the solar Manvantara, and blossom out as full-blown gods. And when the cosmic Pralaya sets in, which many men, even Theosophists, in their ignorance and blindness, look upon with dread, then even the divinity of our being will fade away into the fulness, into the indescriptible, unspeakable, ineffable fulness of quasi-infinity. The dewdrop has returned into the shining sea. The little consciousness of the human god has become once again the untrammeled and cosmic consciousness of the Universal Divinity. The many have rebecome the one. There's the picture.
Hadn't I better leave it there? I fear that if I say more, by using more words, we shall entangle our understandings in words and lose the thought.
Question — In our Theosophical reading, we learn that the human race was mindless until the Manasaputras incarnated in the Third Root-Race and endowed it with mind. Elsewhere in our literature it is said that during the time of the Third Root-Race, humanity evolved mind with the help of the Manasaputras, who lighted the fires of mind in it. Question: Did the Manasaputras, coming from other realms, bring mind with them, or did they merely light up the dormant mind that was already latent in the Third Root-Race? How are we to reconcile the two doctrines?
G. de P. — This is one of the most interesting and nevertheless one of the most difficult questions of the entire teaching; and if I may venture to develop the thought just a bit, Mr. Chairman, I would point out that both sides are absolutely right: Mind was given, but there was already mind — but unevoked, latent mind; and it required the coming of the superior developed mind, a part of its own flame, like the approach of the flame to the wick of the unlighted candle to set the unlighted candle aflame in its turn. But it could not be set aflame unless mind were already there.
The incarnation of the Manasaputras may be likened to the case of a little child receiving from its own inner being the divine gift of intelligence. A child is born. It is mindless. After a year, or two, or three, or four, or five, depending upon the infant, its state is exactly like that of the Third Root-Race of mankind in this Fourth Round on this Globe D. Now, as the child grows by the natural process of evolution, the mind within it begins to function, begins to appear. But mark you, this process of evolution would be much slower in its work, if the child were, let us say, alone on a desert-island. It would take years and years to bring out the latent intellectual and spiritual faculties of the growing boy or girl. But the child has its over-watching parents, its loving guides and helpers, 'the Sons of Mind,' the father and the mother, who guide its vacillating footsteps, who teach it, who teach it to think, who by example and precept evoke what is already within the child. Otherwise it could not be evoked.
Manas is not an entity: it is a faculty, an organ, a principle, in the human being; and there is Manas in the wood of this table, but it is unevoked. It manifests itself in the atoms of that table in their cohesion in the form which wood is, which wood takes; but it is all unevoked; it is latent; it is dormant. Manas is the offspring of Mahat. (I do hope you will get the pronunciation of these Sanskrit words right.) Mahat is the cosmic principle; Manas is the cosmic principle manifesting in the human constitution. To speak of Manas as 'the thinker' is inaccurate, if we desire strict accuracy; because the thinker is the egoic principle acting on the manasic plane; it has evolved to function on the manasic plane, the manasic entity, the Manasaputra, the sons of Mahat. But Manas or Mahat is in everything, in every entity, is always there. But in entities inferior to the human, it is unevoked, unevolved, not brought forth.
In the Third Root-Race, the Manasaputras or 'Sons of Mind' descended into the most evolved rupas of the then child-like and intellectually dormant human race; and by their own divine, intellectual fire and flame quickened the latent or dormant fires in the infant humanity, brought them to think, made them think, as the parents make a little child think, bring out its mind, teach it to think, by its books, by precept, by example, by words. It is the most simple thing in the world and yet one of the most glorious. It shows how inferior creatures are protected by the Dhyan-Chohans; because the Manasaputras are a race of Dhyan-Chohans, particularly and especially evolved along the lines of the manasic principle.
'Did the Manasaputras leave mankind when they had quickened its dormant intellectual faculties?' Some did, but in all human beings our own highest intellectual parts are still for each one of us that particular Manasaputra, which, to use H. P. B.'s word, incarnated and set aflame our own dormant manasic organ. Each one has his own Manasaputra still working within him; and this Manasaputra is the Christ, the Christ immanent, in each man.
1. [Editor and compiler of The Mahatma Letters to A. P. Sinnett and present as Chairman of the meeting when this question was asked.] (return to text)