The Secret Doctrine, a Friend

Raymond Rugland

Helena Petrovna Blavatsky dedicates her Secret Doctrine "to all True Theosophists, In every Country, And of every Race, for they called it forth, and for them it was recorded." "True Theosophist" was a term applied sparingly by H. P. Blavatsky to those rare individuals who managed to put into practice the principles of theosophy, principles that would unite humanity and not divide it. They were those who had faith in the vision of a better world for all mankind and were willing to use their best efforts toward that end, putting the welfare of others ahead of themselves. "They called it forth" is an idea not new. Jesus declared, 'Ask, and it will be given you; seek and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened" (Matt. 7:7-8). We must take the first step. Truth is never imposed. The petitioner must be open and ready to receive.

What religion, philosophy, or science can the West boast of? None, if we judge by results. Today the world is a hotbed of discord. Parasitism has become a fine art. We have truth, but we have not used it to solve our problems. Those who believe in the Golden Rule, however, and that all men were meant to live in harmony, have periodically demanded an end to this nonsense. "Show us the way out of this ceaseless misery and struggle" was their sincere prayer . . . and once again the gods heard.

The wisdom of The Secret Doctrine comes forth kindly and with understanding for the reader. Its way of teaching is based on a profound perception of man's spiritual origins, his ancient past, his challenging present, and his glorious destiny. Those who share the wisdom-religion, as theosophy is often called, are also its custodians. There was a time — a Golden Age — when its teachings were diffused throughout the world and godlike beings associated freely with mankind. These adepts, of whatever grade, lead the way and protect humanity, ever sympathetic because they were once, like ourselves, bound by the chains of pain and suffering and locked into limited views.

The Wise Ones love us as younger brothers and do not belittle us because we are small in spiritual stature. They know who we are. They also show us where we are going from our present position -- a wise provision as every seasoned traveler knows. When the first tiny stirrings of compassion for the suffering of humanity awaken in our soul, they call forth the highest within us.

We have been accustomed to accept the idea so prevalent that everything of value comes to us from outside ourselves. We assume that we have nothing of our own. We think we take after our parents or are the products of our environment or a DNA molecule. Jesus, with his greater understanding, tried to tell us, "Ye are gods" (John 10:34), and Paul: "Know ye not that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you" (I Cor. 3: 16). That is the only pedigree that comes close to the mark. In that spark of Divinity, which we are in our inmost, lie our loftiest dreams, our greatest potential, and responsibilities that will demand our best efforts.

Before the Secret Doctrine of the Ages one feels humbled by such vast knowledge and profound insights. The greatest spiritual teachers themselves stand humbled at the concept of the ALL, the Ever Unknowable. In The Secret Doctrine, H. P. Blavatsky introduces the concept of this "Immutable PRINCIPLE on which all speculation is impossible" as the first of three fundamental propositions of the ancient wisdom. This is what John called the Darkness that concealed the Light (John 1:5). The second proposition tells of the periodic appearance of universes as they issue from Darkness as Light. Upon the third proposition is based the ideal of universal brotherhood — a verity in nature: that all beings, from high to low, are identic in their essence with the Universal Oversoul or Mind. The relationship of these three aspects of existence is skillfully drawn by her.

The greatest thought one can conceive of is that all that lives in this universe is indispensable one to another. In addition, each of these lives is rooted in the Infinite, the "rootless root," the Unmanifest, which is Harmony. In other words, essentially, or above and beyond the two poles of existence, is Be-ness. So, we are both finite and infinite. With this greater perspective we can avoid the errors of the past if we accept the challenge to comprehend and to live by what we have been given. Then humanity will survive and continue to flower.
For the Esoteric philosophy is alone calculated to withstand, in this age of crass and illogical materialism, the repeated attacks on all and everything man holds most dear and sacred, in his inner spiritual life. The true philosopher, the student of the Esoteric Wisdom, entirely loses sight of personalities, dogmatic beliefs and special religions. Moreover, Esoteric philosophy reconciles all religions, strips every one of its outward, human garments, and shows the root of each to be identical with that of every other great religion. It proves the necessity of an absolute Divine Principle in nature. It denies Deity no more than it does the Sun. Esoteric philosophy has never rejected God in Nature, nor Deity as the absolute and abstract Ens [Being]. It only refuses to accept any of the gods of the so-called monotheistic religions, gods created by man in his own image and likeness, a blasphemous and sorry caricature of the Ever Unknowable. — SD 1:xx

I have called The Secret Doctrine a friend. And so it is, in that it challenges us to raise our sights and elevate our minds. A friend is someone who knows us and expects us to be our best. Human beings, being self-conscious, have the power of choice. We can choose our own paths. We have the power of self-directed evolution which takes on real meaning when we regard ourselves as intelligent and essentially spiritual beings. Let us delude ourselves no longer that we humans represent the high point of creation. Job was shown the marvels of God's work, but we can do that on our own. Suffice to say that "nature exists for no other purpose than the soul's experience." (William Q. Judge, T he Ocean of Theosophy. p. 2.)

H. P. Blavatsky brought a message of joy. She revealed how to work with nature. Once we learn to do that, there is nothing to fear or dread.

We stand bewildered before the mystery of our own making, and the riddles of life that we will not solve, and then accuse the great Sphinx [Karma-Nemesis] of devouring us. But verily there is not an accident in our lives, not a misshapen day, or a misfortune, that could not be traced back to our own doings in this or in another life. If one breaks the laws of Harmony, or, as a theosophical writer expresses it, "the laws of life," one must be prepared to fall into the chaos one has oneself produced. . . .
This state will last till man's spiritual intuitions are fully opened, which will not happen before we fairly cast off our thick coats of matter; until we begin acting from within, instead of ever following impulses from without; namely those produced by our physical senses and gross selfish body. Until then the only palliative to the evils of life is union and harmony — a Brotherhood IN ACTU, and altruism not simply in name. . . . Knowledge of Karma gives the conviction that . . . man is himself his own saviour as his own destroyer. That he need not accuse Heaven and the gods, Fates and Providence, of the apparent injustice that reigns in the midst of humanity. — SD 1:643-4

We begin to see that how we live our lives is important. Purity and virtue, hard-won in life's arena, are not just goody-goody as some "realists" like to believe. They are the sword and buckler of a Galahad who would take on the evils of the world. Purity and virtue are the key that opens all doors. If we think this is too high-flown and difficult of attainment, we are wrong. Once we determine to do what is right, karma (the law of compensation) which exists because it arises out of harmony, becomes our greatest ally. Because we are one in essence with the Universal Oversoul, we are part of the constant flow of life. We can call it the will of God, or karma. Why should not our days have real meaning? The path we are on is our path — it is the one we have chosen from the "beginning." Iamblichus made it clear: The gods — or God — are not apart from ourselves: they are our inmost self, they are our mainspring.

Karma is the most mysterious and fundamental of all of nature's laws. Every existence is under its sway. Yet, there is no law that is more intimately connected with us: it has made us what we are. Because it is rooted in harmony It is our inner court of last resort, our scale of truth. And does not compassion stand behind karma?

The question is asked in The Voice of the Silence, "Canst thou destroy divine COMPASSION? Compassion is no attribute. It is the LAW of LAWS — eternal Harmony . . . a shoreless universal essence, the light of everlasting Right, and fitness of all things, the law of love eternal." (Translated by H. P. Blavatsky, pp. 69-70.)

At this centennial of The Secret Doctrine we pay tribute to H. P. Blavatsky who is not always appreciated by the humanity she came to serve. She did not set herself upon a pedestal, and never lost sight of the fact that others before her had taken upon themselves the selfsame response — that of keeping the "link unbroken."

(From Sunrise magazine, April/May 1988. Copyright © 1988 by Theosophical University Press)

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