What the Buddha Gautama aimed at in his day is the same target that the Theosophical Society, founded in 1875 by H. P. Blavatsky, aims at — to bring light, hope, and a wider spiritual vision. Siddhartha Gautama was born a prince of the Sakya clan of Kapilavastu, India. He lived as a man, and his "enlightenment" proved to the world again the possibility that exists for the natural but exceedingly rare flowering of the divinity in man on earth.
The Buddha had words that were few and to the point: "Awake! Be not heedless. Follow the truth (dharma). He who embarks upon the path of truth lives happily in this world and in the hereafter!" and "The fruit of entering the stream (the path) is superior to that of the sole sovereignty of the world, or going to heaven, or the supreme lordship over the whole universe" (Dhammapada, vv. 168, 178).
To understand his doctrine of becoming is to dispel much of our illusion. It puts the question: How may we gain truth? The ancient tradition teaches there are two ways — once we understand the underlying principle that the All is a living organism made up of ranges of lives (consciousness-centers) that can be understood only by becoming them. The first way recognizes our oneness with the universe and that we have the means within ourselves for reaching its heart. The second is a quickening process of the first under the guidance of a qualified teacher who can help us prepare for the tests, inherent in nature, called initiations.
We learn to remove the barriers by seeing the fatal dualism of the observer and the observed which creates the illusion of separateness. We burden ourselves with the "past" and the "future" when the only real moment to our consciousness is the "now."
Fortunately (for us) universal brotherhood is a fact of nature. From the bottom to the top in the scale of lives, teamwork and cooperation direct that each and every life shall make a contribution to the All. When the human kingdom was approaching full flower materially, it was nearing the midpoint of the aeons-long terrestrial journey, with full capability to express itself on lower planes. To round the bend successfully help was necessary, not only to withstand the downward momentum, but to give the pilgrim the tools and inspiration to ascend toward spirit again.
What followed was a major event in human annals. Semi-divine beings intervened — part of that great hierarchy which supports the light or consciousness side of nature, as contrasted with those who support the dark or matter side. Called manasaputras, a Sanskrit word which means "sons of mind," they themselves in a former time cycle had made the passage through the "human" evolutionary experience, and were eminently qualified to come to our rescue some eighteen million years ago. Seeing us in those days advancing at a snail's pace — the rate at which the evolving entities below man seem to move even today — their hearts went out to us, they made the sacrifice, the giving of themselves literally . . . which is what love can do. They ignited our awareness and became part of our higher natures, that part of us we call higher mind, our link with divinity. Endowed with self-consciousness, we now became responsible for our acts. No longer carried along by the tide of evolution, our advance must be paid for by our own efforts.
The lesson learned is that truth cannot exist apart from consciousness, nor is it a revelation from a God who never changes — who, because He cannot "become," signifies end or limitation. Imagine, rather, a primeval Spirit who manifests throughout the universe in a hierarchy. Whether gods, humans, or beings beneath us, all partake in the living threefold Buddhic consciousness, seeking to express it ever more fully. The real meaning of evolution is becoming. Let us never be shy in advancing to our destiny. The gods, indeed, await us!
(From Sunrise magazine, April/May 1995; copyright © 1995 Theosophical University Press)