Studies in Occult Philosophy — G. de Purucker

Questions and Answers  (part 13)

Symbolism of the Serpent

Why did the ancients consider the serpent a symbol of wisdom, while today it is often associated with deceit and evil?

Why should the serpent, or the snake, have been called a ‘liar,’ ‘deceiver,’ and that pathetic figure of mediaeval theology, the Devil, be called the “Father of Lies”?  Why should it have been thought that the serpent in the Garden of Eden which tempted the first human pair to evil-doing, was an imbodiment of or the symbol of Satan?  Why should the serpent have become the symbol of insinuating evil, of evil doing, of deceit?  Or on the other hand, why should the silent, creeping serpent with its slow sinuous progress have been taken as the symbol of Wisdom or of the Initiate, as in the expression attributed to a very lofty source in the Christian New Testament: “Be ye wise as serpents and harmless as doves”?

The answer is simple enough.  Just as the forces of Nature are neutral in themselves, and become what humans call ‘good’ or ‘bad’ because of their use or misuse by individuals, just exactly so a natural entity when employed as a symbol becomes usable in either a good or a bad sense.  Such use as a symbol depends upon certain characteristics or qualities which the human mind by force of association of ideas, chooses or separates off from other characteristics or qualities, and employs in a symbolic or metaphorical sense in order to depict either abstract or concrete ideas.  This fact is shown for instance in the Sanskrit language, where Initiates of both kinds, i.e., of both the Right-Hand Path and the Left-Hand Path, are referred to in words conveying serpentine ideas or characteristics.  The former kind, otherwise called the Brothers of Light, are more properly designated as Nagas; whereas the Brothers of Darkness or of the Shadows are more properly designated as Sarpas, this latter word from the Sanskrit verbal root srip, meaning ‘to crawl,’ ‘to creep’ in sly and stealthy manner, and hence metaphorically ‘to deceive.’

We see here the main reason why the serpent or snake has in probably all countries, and certainly in all times, been used as a symbol or emblem on the one hand of the Brothers of Light and their servants, and on the other hand of the Brothers of Darkness and their slaves.  The reason is obvious, because both the Brothers of Light and the Sons of the Dark are focuses of power, of subtil thought and action, of wisdom and energy in the former case righteously and lawfully applied, and therefore belonging to the ‘right hand’; and in the other case, wrongly or evilly applied to the uses of the ‘left hand.’ But, mark you, both uses apply to the cases of initiates, because both the initiates of the right-hand and of the left-hand are alike in one thing: they employ subtilty, the forces of Nature, secret wisdom, or rather secret knowledge.  The same powers of Nature were employed by both — one class used these powers for impersonal and holy ends; the other class used these same powers and energies for unholy and personal ends.  One class, as just said, are the Nagas, the spiritual ‘serpents’ of Light, who are subtil, benevolent, very wise, and endowed with the spiritual power to cast off the garment, i.e. the skin or body, when the initiate has grown old, and to assume another fresher, younger, and stronger, at will.  This class are all kindly, always inoffensive, perpetually engaged in works of human beneficence, and are still and secret in their operations, partly in order to avoid the plaudits of foolish men.

The other class are insinuating, worldly-wise, worldly-shrewd, deceitful, venomous in motive and action, therefore very dangerous, and yet using the same powers as the former class, but used for evil ends.  Thus it is that on the one hand you will find in all the greater of the old scriptures, ‘serpents’ spoken of as symbols of wisdom, of the Sons of Light, possessing power, knowledge, love, and glory, as being Sons of the Sun; and, on the other hand, why other ‘serpents,’ ‘snakes,’ are spoken of as being symbols of the dark, often called the Black Brothers, who are essentially from Nature’s own standpoint wrongdoers, engaged in their unholy work of deceivers; of human hearts and minds, and all too often succeeding in their diabolic work by means of lies and misrepresentations.

Significance of the Swastika

In using the symbol of the svastika, in which direction should the arms be bent, to the right or to the left?  Please explain its significance when one finds it with the arms bent either one way or the other.  Is one aspect good and the other malevolent?

There is really no significance whatsoever — at least for present-day purposes — in which of the two directions the arms of the svastika may be bent over.  H. P. B. in the beginning used them one way, and in her later work she used them with the arms bent in the other direction; and I do not think that either form was deliberately chosen.  It just happened to be drawn in the one or the other way each time.  The value of the svastika is in its larger structural significance; and the way in which the arms are bent is of very little present-day significance.

However, answering the question more particularly: Suppose that we have the arms of the svastika bent towards the right, signifying that the svastika runs or turns to the left.  Now this could possibly mean that the svastika is moving on the left-hand path; but it could also mean that the user is moving from the right-hand in order to help unfortunates on the left.  Or, take it moving in the other way, from left to right.  Someone here might say that this form signifies that the svastika is on the left-hand path and that it is trying to move towards, in order to injure, someone on the right-hand path; or one could say equally well that the user is on the left-hand path and is moving out of it into the right-hand path.

So, you see, as there are a number of different interpretations, that either way may be considered right, the matter reducing itself to a merely personal preference.  Most of us prefer it in the form which we use when printed on most of our books and pamphlets, and usually in our seal.

The points of mysticism involved with regard to triangles are quite different, because here there is a very ancient and quite definite significance attached to the way in which the apex of the triangle points.  If the apex of a triangle points downwards it signifies a falling or descent from spirit into matter, i.e., an attraction to the matter world; contrariwise, if the apex points upwards, it means a rising towards the sun or into the spirit, just as the flame of fire rises upwards and vanishes in a peak or point.  The interlaced triangles do not signify the desire of anyone to move in either direction, however, but this figure merely picturates Nature’s two perpetually opposing energies: the spiritual energy rising upwards, and represented by the triangle with its apex upwards; and the material or descending energy or energies going downwards, represented by the triangle with its apex pointed downwards.  When these two triangles are thus conjoined, they are called Vishnu’s, or sometimes Siva’s, seal or symbol, or what the Westerners sometimes call Solomon’s seal.

Of course I do not deny that with regard to the svastika, it is possible that careful and accurate archaeological research might prove that one of the two forms in the distant past was preferred by our own School; but this, I fancy, would not be very easy to prove, and it is only as a possibility that I point it out.  At the present day I would not criticize anyone for having the bent ends of the svastika pointing in either direction, because one can find a good significance in either way, and an evil significance in either way.  The real meaning of the bent arms of the svastika is motion, i.e., motion forwards, which means progress, evolution, combined of course with the other symbolism of the crossed lines, the vertical and the horizontal.

The three joined running legs which form the coat of arms of the Isle of Alan are the same mystical idea of progress in one direction or another under another form, and a very graphic form, too.  This interesting and curious symbol consists of three legs all running in the same direction at high speed and connected at the hip parts; and the distances between the three legs are equal around the circle, which means that each leg is separated from the other leg by an angle of 120 degrees, although the circle itself is not shown in this coat of arms or emblem — unless indeed the circle may be taken as being the periphery of the seal on which the symbol is engraved.

The Seven Jewels of Wisdom

What is the significance of the Seven Jewels of Wisdom as discussed in your book Fundamentals of the Esoteric Philosophy?

Collectively they comprise the full treasury of human possible wisdom and knowledge.  All initiations in the Secret School are but enlargements of understanding of these seven fundamental principles of knowledge which point with emphatic finger to the structure and carpentry of the Universe around us — a structure and carpentry existent not merely on this lowest of cosmic planes which we call the physical Universe; but existent likewise in and on, because actually building, all the planes, realms, spheres, of the Invisible Universe.

All of H. P. B.’s Secret Doctrine was written around, so to speak, as central pivots of esoteric thought, these Seven Treasuries of Wisdom, these seven mystery-keys, ‘Jewels’ as they have been very properly called.  Furthermore, all the religious and philosophic books of the ancients, especially those dealing with the Mysteries, have been written around them.  These Seven Jewels, again, are always given for study to chelas who are just putting their feet upon the Pathway.  They are likewise given to chelas who stand higher than the former, higher because stronger, knowing more, feeling more, realizing more, seeing more.  They are also given for study to the Mahatmans themselves by the still greater Teachers of these last named Great Ones; and I daresay that it would be no exaggeration to state that the very gods in their azure thrones study these Seven Jewels of Wisdom, as we humans do, but study them with their own godlike and penetrating understanding.  Verily, these Jewels are filled full of meaning, and the more you study them the more do you finally come to realize that they are esoteric keys opening up to you all the portals of comprehension of your own inner and indeed Inmost Self.

You cannot understand these Seven Jewels, even imperfectly, until you have begun at least to be them yourself.  The only true way of understanding anything is by being it.  No man can understand love who is not a lover; and here I do not mean anything merely sentimental, although this indeed is included in the general rule.  No man can understand reason until he begins himself to be a reasoner.  No man can understand or feel feeling, unless he begins himself to be a feeler.

Hence I say that the Seven Jewels are put into the hands of neophytes, of chelas, of advanced chelas, of Masters, yea even of the Nirmanakayas, because they are cosmic keys, wonder-keys.  You will find these seven Jewels in all the ancient sacred scriptures, scattered about it is true, but you will find them if you look for them.  It is only in our own Theosophical books that you will find them in listed or categorical form.  Nevertheless, as stated, in all the ancient sacred scriptures of the world you will find them: perhaps not all together in a single scripture, perhaps only two or three in a single scripture, perhaps one here and one there and another one elsewhere, and with hints at the existence of the others in the list; but if you study them and thus learn to know them when you encounter them in your reading, you will find them in these ancient works.  They may be named by other names, and explained in manners other than those familiar to us in our Theosophical reading; but all this last is but the garments in which these wonder-keys are clothed.  The point is that the wonder-keys can be found where I have told you.

And finally, I venture to say that there is no interesting problem that our study of Theosophy can give to us which cannot be answered by a sufficiently adequate study of these sapta-ratnani or Seven Jewels of Wisdom.

The Question of Creation

Looking back at the beginning of all things, of the origin of life — how is it possible that something could exist, something could be created, out of a mere nothing?  Who is the power that created this?

That is an old-fashioned question.  I think that in the Christian religion only this false idea exists, that the Kosmic Spirit is a creator who, out of nothing at all: vacuity, utter emptiness: creates the Universe.  This teaching is not found in any other part of the human race, at least not so baldly stated, except perhaps among a few tribes of savages.  It is found in no other great religion; and furthermore it is not found in the original teachings of Christianity.  It is found only in the theological works of certain Fathers of the Church and those who followed them.  All the more ancient religions of mankind, the greatest philosophies that human genius has brought forth, teach that our Universe and all in it come forth out of the bosom of the Kosmic Spaces, as reimbodiments of what had existed before; precisely as the ego of man, the soul of man, comes forth from the spiritual worlds into the physical world, and after death passes again into the spiritual worlds for a rest, only to re-appear in the next reincarnation in the physical world, again to die, again to rest, to re-appear anew.

Just as the human soul thus reincarnates, coming out of the bosom of the worlds invisible, so do the Universes in boundless space appear periodically out of the womb of the Infinite, run their majestic courses as we see them in the midnight skies: stars, nebulae, interstellar spaces: run their long, age-long periods of evolution, and then pass away to appear again but on a higher plane; for evolution or development rules in all the Universe as it does here on Earth.

How do you know that man and the Universe were ‘created’?  We have no proof of this.  That is a theory.  It is imaginary.  All we do know is that things appear and live and vanish, and that other things appear and live and vanish; and all the greatest philosophers and religionists of ancient times, and the greatest scientists of today, are inclined to look for a Universe which appears out of the womb of Space, runs through its evolutionary course, and dies as man dies.  All the Hindu schools of philosophy teach this same truth; and they point to the analogy with man.  Man appears from a microcosmic germ of life.  He is born as a baby, he grows to maturity, he does his work, he dies.  But whence came those forces which we call a man?  It is not chance.  Chance is an old-fashioned word that modern scientific thinkers have abandoned.  Remember that man himself, a child of the Universe, has everything in him that the Universe has: the divine, the spiritual, the intellectual, the psychical, the astral, the vital-physical; and therefore man is the rule by which we may judge the Universe, because what is in the whole is in the part.  Man himself has a spirit, has a faculty, by which he can penetrate into the spirit of the Universe because the two are one.

The Evolutionary Urge

What is the cause and the aim of the evolutionary urge which influences all entities?

The urge behind evolution and the objective which this urge is impelling us towards, is simply the divine hunger in the Universe to grow greater, to advance, to grow: Excelsior!  It is innate in the Universe.  Why this is so, no one can say.  Perhaps the gods do not know.  All we men can say is that it is so.  Everything grows and yearns to grow greater, to become grander, to rise, to advance, to evolve; and the objective is to become one self-consciously with the Boundless — something which never can be reached!  Therein is infinite beauty, for there is no final ending for growth, which means progress or evolution, in beauty and splendor and wisdom and love and power.  The Boundless Universe is our home.

What we may call a blind striving or struggle for betterment in the atoms, becomes in man a self-conscious yearning to grow, a recognition that man is a growing thing, a son of the gods; and this same urge becomes in the gods a divine knowledge that they are parts of the Universe and are growing to take a vaster self-conscious part in the Universal Labor.

Explanation of 'Group-Soul'

Some Theosophists often speak about what they call a ‘group-soul,’ referring to the monads of plants and animals evidently.  What are the teachings about such a conception of a ‘group-soul’?

The term ‘group-soul’ is used in an attempt to find a word which would describe, however imperfectly, the peculiar aggregates of entities more or less on the same plane or grade of evolution and who, because of that fact, find themselves more or less reimbodying in groups or aggregates.  In one respect the term ‘group-soul’ is unfortunate, because it gives the idea that there is but one soul in the same plane which manifests through all the individual members of such aggregate groups; and this is inaccurate.

If the questioner will remember that individuality as an achieved factor in cyclic, organic evolution, is definitely won, although as yet imperfectly won, when an evolving monad reaches the point of the attainment of self-consciousness, as in human beings, he will readily understand the idea behind the term ‘group-soul.’ Minerals, for instance, are enormously alike; i.e., minerals in a particular group or aggregate are all like each other, although, of course, there are different groups or aggregates within the grander group of the monads manifesting or expressing their force in the mineral kingdom.  Similarly so with plants.  There is the aggregate group of the oaks, for instance, or of the plum-trees, or of the rose-bushes, or of the strawberries, or of the pampas-grass, or of the date-palm, etc., etc.  But all of the plants together may again be considered to form a still larger and more general group called the vegetable kingdom.

Going higher in the scale of organic beings, we come to the animal kingdom, where individuality is still more perceptible; and yet even the beasts can hardly be said to have attained self-conscious individual existence.  They are conscious; they have the faint consciousness of self-consciousness and show it; but they don’t act as willing and discriminating individuals in the full extent that human beings do.

Reaching the human kingdom, we enter again a new kingdom, because it is the kingdom of self-consciousness, of individualized monadic activity.  But even here the same general rule prevails; and the entire human kingdom in one sense may be called an aggregate group, as is sufficiently obvious, with smaller racial groups composing it or forming its component parts.

The reader has but to carry the thought herein briefly outlined in both directions, forwards and backwards, and he will readily understand somewhat of the nature of the elementary kingdoms in the beginning and of the dhyan-chohanic kingdoms ahead of the human kingdom.

I repeat that the term ‘group-soul,’ when properly understood is expressive enough; but it is unfortunate for the reason already mentioned.

Where Am 'I'?

Where on earth am ‘I’ in this wilderness of svabhavas and individualities and I’s and inner gods?  Who am I and where am I?  I am sevenfold, I have seven atmans or divinities co-operating to make me what I am, as chemical elements co-operate to make an entity; but which parts of this compound are that part of me which co-operate to say ‘I’ that little unimportant part of me which is so aggressive?  What part of me is I, and what part is not?

Man is all his sevenfold being, from the divine downwards through all intermediate stages, even to the body.  All is the individual, so to speak.  We may express it perhaps to our minds as a pillar of glory, a column of light extending from divinity to the physical man.  Now, where our center of consciousness at any one time may be, I take it that is the part we for that time speak of as our I. The beast has it down here; we humans have it a bit higher; the Masters have it somewhat higher still; the Buddhas and Christs still higher, the divinities on a still higher stage of the scale.  All the sevenfold being is himself, so to speak, and his I is that point upon which he dwells in conscious selfhood at the time.

Of course this does not change the other fact that just because there are several monads in man, so there are several actual monadic I’s or egos.  But this is another story.

Lost Souls, Laggard Egos, and the Descent of Matter

In The Mahatma Letters to A. P. Sinnetton page 47 there is the following:

Matter found entirely divorced from spirit is thrown over into the still lower worlds — into the sixth ‘Gate’ or ‘way of rebirth’ of the vegetable and mineral worlds, and of the primitive animal forms.  From thence, matter ground over in the workshop of nature proceeds soulless back to its Mother Fount; while the Egos purified of their dross are enabled to resume their progress once more onward.  It is here, then, that the laggard Egos perish by the millions.

Does this refer to the doctrine of the lost souls, or is there some other doctrine involved?

It is not at all astonishing that this passage should confuse you because it is very condensed, extremely recondite, and refers to two things at least.  First, the Master here writes of material substance which is unable, because of a tendency to go downwards, to rise along the Ascending Arc.  It continues downwards and is finally dissipated into its component elements.  This is done in the ‘Planet of Death,’ if you understand me.  This refers to matter which is “entirely divorced from spirit,” in other words matter in its lowest hierarchical or gross form.  Then the Master goes on to say that matter which is thus divorced from spirit, or in other words which has become soulless, i.e., which has wrenched itself away from the guiding influence of the imbodied souls, proceeds back to its primitive nature or element; whereas the egos or ‘souls’ that have been thus liberated from their too grossly material attachment resume their progress onwards, but have to do so by evolving new intermediate vehicles or sheaths of consciousness between themselves and the gross matter which after this breaking of the tie between them they no longer have.

Matter which thus is on the way to divorce itself from the guiding energy of spirit or ‘soul’ falls, as it were, in its peregrinations or cyclings into lower kingdoms: For instance, leaving the human, the matter thus divorcing itself from spirit is attracted to the animal, vegetable, and mineral worlds, and the monads which compose this matter thus divorced, monads which are in their primal or elementary stages of evolution, return to the Mother Fount, as said above, where they begin their own peregrinations upwards again.

When reference is made to the matter-side as just above described, this concerns the life-atoms or monads in the life-atom stage that cannot rise or retain their contact with spirit.  Their further evolutionary tendency is downwards; and in this connection remember that all material substance is composed essentially of life-atoms.  The wood of the table before me is made of life-atoms passing through this particular phase of their evolutionary path.  The gold in my seal-ring is likewise life-atoms in a mineral phase; the life-atoms which compose the substance of my clothing, likewise the life-atoms of my flesh, or of my bones — and yours too — are life-atoms passing through that particular phase of their myriad peregrinations.

However, there are hosts of life-atoms which have been sufficiently spiritualized or evolved in previous manvantaric manifestations so that when they reach the lowest point of evolution in this manvantara, they can pass it safely and can continue upwards — ensouled.  But many millions, billions, trillions, decillions — indeed, an uncountable number of life-atoms — have not yet reached that point of safety in their evolution where they can continue to evolve in connection with spirit in this manvantara; and it is these life-atoms — or monads in these states — which form the material substances that go down into the lower realms, and are there ground over in Nature’s workshop and proceed soulless “back to the Mother Fount.”  Nevertheless the egos or ‘souls’ which have been evolving and using these life-atoms as vehicles or as bodies in their aggregate, had long since reached the point of safety in their evolution, and no longer feel the attraction matterwards as do these descending monads or life-atoms; consequently those egos, because they are quasi-spiritual, pass the turning-point or point of danger in perfect safety, and continue their evolution, although deprived of, or freed from, their unworthy atomic vehicles.

The Master then says: “It is here that the laggard Egos perish by the millions.”  This particular sentence has reference to certain hosts of retarded or unevolved life-atoms or monads or ‘egos’ which, because they are not sufficiently spiritualized to pass the danger-point, fall into the maelstrom and are attracted downwards, and there they perish for that manvantara.  These last egos are not the former egos which were spoken of as those which were “purified of their dross,” and which pursue their progress once more onwards.  These egos who perish by the millions are the highest class of the material monads, but are not yet sufficiently spiritualized, as said before, to pass the danger-point and ascend along the upward arc.

Turning now to human egos, we have also a third class which are the least progressed of the first class above spoken of.  I now refer to that relatively small number of retarded or unevolved human egos which at a certain point on the Ascending Arc begin to lag and to tire in the climb, so to speak; and little by little they are left behind until finally they can go no further and gradually slip backwards towards matter again.  These are those instances of what we Theosophists call ‘lost souls.’ These are the egos which are so sunken in matter, so drunken with the fumes, as it were, of the lowest kingdoms of earth, that when in their evolution down the descending arc they finally reach our Planet D, this Earth, they cannot go far or rise far with the rest of the army of advancing egos who are more spiritualized; and this is because they are too heavy still with matter, and consequently their attraction is not upwards, but is downwards; and these are what we call ‘lost souls.’ They are very rare instances, almost as rare in their occurrence in the human race as are the Masters rare at the other pole of being in the human kingdom.  But nevertheless, through the ages and speaking in the aggregate the number of lost souls is relatively large.

This question, therefore, as you may easily see, is a very abstruse and difficult one to answer, because it contains so many similar but different points of teaching.  I will try to give you two illustrations which, perhaps, will clarify the matter in your mind.  Every systemic universe, although an organic entity per se, i.e., a unity or an individuality, is nevertheless composite, that is, composed of different parts or portions, and indeed of different elements reckoning from the highest of such a universe to the lowest.  Now every universe is a kosmic hierarchy enclosing a vast number of subordinate hierarchies; but above such a universe or kosmic hierarchy there are other kosmic hierarchies rising upwards, and below such a kosmic hierarchy there are other kosmic hierarchies which are inferior.  All these kosmic hierarchies, small or great, are filled with hosts or multitudes of evolving, living entities, from gods in the highest realms to evolving monads or life-atoms in the lowest realms.  Consequently, these hosts of living beings are in many different states of evolutionary development.

Now then: these hierarchies feed each other.  I mean by this that if, for instance, we take Hierarchy A, this Hierarchy feeds Hierarchy B beneath it by the failures in Hierarchy A above it.  The failures of Hierarchy A which cannot proceed in evolution when they reach the danger-point or turning-point upwards, then drop into the lower Sphere, i.e., into Hierarchy B, and there they form certain ones of the evolving hosts of Hierarchy B. Similarly the Hierarchy above what we have called Hierarchy A feeds with the failures of this Hierarchy, Hierarchy A. Thus there is a constant flow of Lives from the one Hierarchy into another Hierarchy.

The second illustration will clarify the former, and also I hope will clarify my general answer: We men are in one very true sense ‘failures’ of the hierarchy above us, and took the downward path at the lowest point of our evolution in the hierarchy above us when we had reached that lowest point; and this was because we were then insufficiently spiritualized to ascend along the rising arc.  The meaning obviously therefore is that we have found our level in the Kosmic Life, and continue our evolution in and upon our new level or plane.  Here in this hierarchy we are now evolving, rising upwards, and of course forming an aggregate part of this our present hierarchy; and in it we are growing, learning, progressing, evolving; and the time will come in the distant future when we shall have so well learned all the lessons that the matter, i.e., the substance, and the energies of this hierarchy can teach us, that this matter and these energies no longer will attract us downwards, for we shall have outgrown such attraction, progressed beyond it, i.e., we shall have become sufficiently spiritualized so that our attractions or tendencies are upwards; and then we shall return to our superior home, the hierarchy above us.

It is for this reason, among others, that in some of the ancient mystical scriptures men have been called ‘fallen angels,’ fallen gods, for that verily is what we are!  We are spiritual monads fallen or sunken in the realms and whirlpools of the material worlds.  Do not however confuse this teaching of fallen gods or fallen monadic life-atoms with the other fact or teaching dealing with the so-called ‘lost souls.’ The lost souls pertain to our present state of evolution, and are the ‘failures’ amongst us now: they are those unfortunate beings who have lost, or who have broken, the link with the god within.  A ‘lost soul’ is one whose inner constitution is dissolving, going to pieces; and in the case of a ‘lost soul,’ the Monad or the inner god which had ensouled such a ‘lost soul’ must begin anew in its own realms to build up a ‘new’ human soul in which it can work and evolve in human spheres in the far distant future.

Doubtful Value of Certain Visions

Often I have wonderful experiences on inner planes, and inner visions come to me.  Sometimes I feel frightened or disturbed.  Does this show that I am progressing spiritually?

These ‘inner visions,’ so-called, are not uncommon in the case of devotional characters, and usually signify that the soul and mind are experiencing changes in the inner life, and therefore are contacting planes between our ordinary earth-plane and the spiritual plane, and therefore usually in the psychical realms; but one must exercise great care in these matters.

In fact, it will be much better if you can try to turn away from these things, because they are so distracting to the quiet and the peace of the spiritual life.  Try to bring calm — beautiful, sweet calm — and the spiritual vision of life and godlike splendor, into your thoughts; and then when these ‘visions’ come, resolutely turn your eyes away, and with all calm and peace refuse to see them, and try always to expand the heart and the mind with thoughts and feelings of love for all that is, both great and small, far and near, high and low.  Then the blessed Light will come stealing into the heart, a little at first and very gently, but as you practice this ‘yoga of the spirit,’ the Light will steadily grow stronger.

The secret is to cultivate this inner calm belonging to the spirit, this inner peace of the soul, and then the vibrations become calm and quiet and rhythmical, and no outside forces can touch us.  We then know that we are in the care of the Great Law whose “protecting arms,” as Katherine Tingley used to say, are constantly around us.  Then also the very gods and our inner warrior will be with us, and we shall feel their presence.

Theosophical University Press Online Edition