On the 17th of November next [1882,] the Septenary term of trial given the Society at its foundation in which to discreetly "preach us" will expire. One or two of us hoped that the world had so far advanced intellectually, if not intuitionally, that the Occult doctrine might gain an intellectual acceptance, and the impulse given for a new cycle of occult research. . . . For the 61/2 years they [HPB and H. S. Olcott] have been struggling against such odds as would have driven off any one who was not working with the desperation of one who stakes life and all he prizes on some desperate supreme effort. (p. 263)
I am painfully aware of the fact that the habitual incoherence of her [HPB's] statements — especially when excited — and her strange ways make her in your opinion a very undesirable transmitter of our messages. . . . This state of hers is intimately connected with her occult training in Tibet, and due to her being sent out alone into the world to gradually prepare the way for others. After nearly a century of fruitless search, our chiefs had to avail themselves of the only opportunity to send out a European body upon European soil to serve as a connecting link between that country and our own. You do not understand? Of course not. Please then, remember, what she tried to explain, and what you gathered tolerably well from her, namely the fact of the seven principles in the complete human being. Now, no man or woman, unless he be an initiate of the "fifth circle," can leave the precincts of Bod-Las [mystic "Tibet"] and return back into the world in his integral whole — if I may use the expression. One, at least of his seven satellites has to remain behind for two reasons: the first to form the necessary connecting link, the wire of transmission — the second as the safest warranter that certain things will never be divulged. She is no exception to the rule, . . . The bearing and status of the remaining six depend upon the inherent qualities, the psycho-physiological peculiarities of the person, especially upon the idiosyncrasies transmitted by what modern science calls "atavism." Acting in accordance with my wishes, my brother M. made to you through her a certain offer, if you remember. You had but to accept it, and at any time you liked, you would have had for an hour or more, the real baitchooly to converse with, instead of the psychological cripple you generally have to deal with now. (pp. 203-4)
The Old Woman is accused of untruthfulness, inaccuracy in her statements. "Ask no questions and you will receive no lies." She is forbidden to say what she knows. You may cut her to pieces and she will not tell. Nay — she is ordered in cases of need to mislead people; and, were she more of a natural born liar — she might be happier and won her day long since by this time. But that's just where the shoe pinches, Sahib. She is too truthful, too outspoken, too incapable of dissimulation: and now she is being daily crucified for it. (p. 272)
Of course, she is utterly unfit for a true adept: her nature is too passionately affectionate and we have no right to indulge in personal attachments and feelings. You can never know her as we do, therefore — none of you will ever be able to judge her impartially or correctly. You see the surface of things; and what you would term "virtue," holding but to appearances, we — judge but after having fathomed the object to its profoundest depth, and generally leave the appearances to take care of themselves. In your opinion H.P.B. is, at best, for those who like her despite herself — a quaint, strange woman, a psychological riddle: impulsive and kindhearted, yet not free from the vice of untruth. We, on the other hand, under the garb of eccentricity and folly — we find a profounder wisdom in her inner Self than you will ever find yourselves able to perceive. In the superficial details of her homely, hard-working, common-place daily life and affairs, you discern but unpracticality, womanly impulses, often absurdity and folly; we, on the contrary, light daily upon traits of her inner nature the most delicate and refined, and which would cost an uninitiated psychologist years of constant and keen observation, and many an hour of close analysis and efforts to draw out of the depth of that most subtle of mysteries — human mind — and one of her most complicated machines, — H.P.B.'s mind — and thus learn to know her true inner Self. (p. 314)
We have to fight our own battles, and the familiar adage — "the adept becomes, he is not made" is true to the letter. Since every one of us is the creator and producer of the causes that lead to such or some other results, we have to reap but what we have sown. Our chelas are helped but when they are innocent of the causes that lead them into trouble; when such causes are generated by foreign, outside influences. Life and the struggle for adeptship would be too easy, had we all scavengers behind us to sweep away the effects we have generated through our own rashness and presumption. (pp. 309-10)
You must have understood by this time, my friend, that the centen[n]ial attempt made by us to open the eyes of the blind world — has nearly failed: in India — partially, in Europe — with a few exceptions — absolutely. There is but one chance of salvation for those who still believe: to rally together and face the storm bravely. Let the eyes of the most intellectual among the public be opened to the foul conspiracy against theosophy that is going on in the missionary circles and in one year's time you will have regained your footing. In India it is: "either Christ or the Founders (!!) Let us stone them to death!" They have nearly finished killing one — they are now attacking the other victim — Olcott. The padris are as busy as bees. The P.R.S. [Society for Psychical Research] has given them an excellent opportunity of making capital of their ambassador. — Mr. Hodgson fell quite easily a victim to false evidence; and the scientific a priori impossibility of such phenomena helping the reality of the phenomena he was sent to investigate and report upon is utterly and totally discredited. He may plead as an excuse the personal disappointment he felt, which made him turn in a fury against the alleged authors of the "gigantic swindle"; but there is no doubt that if the Society collapses it will be due to him. (p. 362)
Some, most unjustly, try to make H.S.O. and H.P.B., solely responsible for the state of things. Those two are, say, far from perfect — in some respects, quite the opposite. But they have that in them (pardon the eternal repetition but it is being as constantly overlooked) which we have but too rarely found elsewhere — Unselfishness, and an eager readiness for self-sacrifice for the good of others; what a "multitude of sins" does not this cover! It is but a truism, yet I say it, that in adversity alone can we discover the real man. It is a true manhood when one boldly accepts one's share of the collective Karma of the group one works with, and does not permit oneself to be embittered, and to see others in blacker colours than reality, or to throw all blame upon some one "black sheep," a victim, specially selected. Such a true man as that we will ever protect and despite his shortcomings, assist to develop the good he has in him. Such an one is sublimely unselfish; he sinks his personality in his cause, and takes no heed of discomforts or personal obloquy unjustly fastened upon him. (p. 370)
If, for generations we have "shut out the world from the Knowledge of our Knowledge," it is on account of its absolute unfitness; and if, notwithstanding proofs given, it still refuses yielding to evidence, then will we at the End of this cycle retire into solitude and our kingdom of silence once more. . . . For countless generations hath the adept builded a fane of imperishable rocks, a giant's Tower of Infinite THOUGHT, wherein the Titan dwelt, and will yet, if need be, dwell alone, emerging from it but at the end of every cycle, to invite the elect of mankind to co-operate with him and help in his turn enlighten superstitious man. And we will go on in that periodical work of ours; we will not allow ourselves to be baffled in our philanthropic attempts until that day when the foundations of a new continent of thought are so firmly built that no amount of opposition and ignorant malice guided by the Brethren of the Shadow will be found to prevail.
But until that day of final triumph someone has to be sacrificed --though we accept but voluntary victims. The ungrateful task did lay her low and desolate in the ruins of misery, misapprehension, and isolation: but she will have her reward in the hereafter for we never were ungrateful. (pp. 50-1)
Fear not; although we do "cling superstitiously to the relics of the Past" our knowledge will not pass away from the sight of man. It is the "gift of the gods" and the most precious relic of all. The keepers of the sacred Light did not safely cross so many ages but to find themselves wrecked on the rocks of modern scepticism. Our pilots are too experienced sailors to allow us [to] fear any such disaster. We will always find volunteers to replace the tired sentries, and the world, bad as it is in its present state of transitory period, can yet furnish us with a few men now and then. (p. 215)
Part of one of the Mahatma Letters to A. P. Sinnett
(From Sunrise magazine, June/July 1997. Copyright © 1997 by Theosophical University Press)
If a person honestly desires to live to help all others, with no selfish or narrow wish for personal advancement, the path of growth will open to him quite naturally. No one, aside from the individual himself, can keep him from it. The sure rules are simple, age-old ones that have been proven time and again, and the key to success is one's attitude in trying to follow them.
It may seem far away to realize that by trying to live the best kind of life we know how, we strengthen the whole world, if only by a little, but this is nonetheless true. The power of each one's goodness is like a lighted candle that makes the shadows recede. If every person were a candle, there would be no darkness. — Kirby Van Mater