THEOSOPHY, Vol. 62, No. 1, November, 1973
(Pages 4-9; Size: 17K)

THE PATH OF KNOWLEDGE(1)

IF the student bears in mind that there is but One Universal Element, which is infinite, unborn, and undying, and that all the rest -- as in the world of phenomena -- are but so many various differentiated aspects and transformations (correlations, they are now called) of that One, from Cosmical down to microcosmical effects, from super-human down to human and sub-human beings, the totality, in short, of objective existence -- then the first and chief difficulty will disappear and Occult Cosmology may be mastered.

From Gods to men, from Worlds to atoms, from a star to a rush-light, from the Sun to the vital heat of the meanest organic being -- the world of Form and Existence is an immense chain, whose links are all connected. The law of Analogy is the first key to the world-problem, and these links have to be studied coordinately in their occult relation to each other.

It is impossible that Karma could readjust the balance of power in the world's life and progress, unless it had a broad and general line of action. It is held as a truth among Theosophists that the interdependence of Humanity is the cause of what is called Distributive Karma, and it is this law which affords the solution to the great question of collective suffering and its relief. It is an occult law, moreover, that no man can rise superior to his individual failings, without lifting, be it ever so little, the whole body of which he is an integral part. In the same way, no one can sin, nor suffer the effects of sin, alone. In reality, there is no such thing as "Separateness"; and the nearest approach to that selfish state, which the laws of life permit, is in the intent or motive.

The word "supernatural" implies above or outside of nature. Nature and Space are one. Now Space for the metaphysician exists outside of any act of sensation, and is a purely subjective representation; materialism, which would connect it forcibly with one or the other datum of sensation, notwithstanding. For our senses, it is fairly subjective when independent of anything within it. How then can any phenomenon, or anything else, step outside of or be performed beyond that which has no limits? But when spatial extension becomes simply conceptual, and is thought of in an idea connected with certain actions, as by the materialists and the physicists, then again they have hardly a right to define and claim that which can or cannot be produced by Forces generated within even limited spaces, as they have not even an approximate idea of what those forces are.

An Occultist practises scientific Theosophy, based on accurate knowledge of Nature's secret workings; but a Theosophist, practising the powers called abnormal, minus the light of Occultism, will simply tend toward a dangerous form of mediumship, because, although holding to Theosophy and its highest conceivable code of ethics, he practises it in the dark, on sincere but blind faith. Anyone, Theosophist or Spiritualist, who attempts to cultivate one of the branches of Occult science -- e.g., Hypnotism, Mesmerism, or even the secrets of producing physical phenomena, etc. -- without the knowledge of the philosophic rationale of those powers, is like a rudderless boat launched on a stormy ocean.

The experiments made in Hypnotism and Mesmerism at the present time are experiments of unconscious, when not of conscious Black Magic. The road is wide and broad which leads to such destruction; and it is but too easy to find; and only too many go ignorantly along it to their own destruction. But the practical cure for it lies in one thing. That is the course of study which I mentioned before. It sounds very simple, but is eminently difficult; for that cure is "ALTRUISM." And this is the keynote of Theosophy and the cure for all ills; this it is which the real Founders of the Theosophical Society promote as its first object -- UNIVERSAL BROTHERHOOD.

Occult philosophy divulges few of its most important vital mysteries. It drops them like precious pearls, one by one, far and wide apart, and only when forced to do so by the evolutionary tidal wave that carries on humanity slowly, silently, but steadily toward the dawn of the Sixth-Race mankind. For once out of the safe custody of their legitimate heirs and keepers, those mysteries cease to be occult: they fall into the public domain and have to run the risk of becoming in the hands of the selfish -- of the Cains of the human race -- curses more often than blessings.

The etheric Force, discovered by the well-known (in America and now in Europe) John Worrell Keely, of Philadelphia, is no hallucination. Notwithstanding his failure to utilize it, a failure prognosticated and maintained by some Occultists from the first, the phenomena exhibited by the discoverer during the last few years have been wonderful, almost miraculous, not in the sense of the supernatural but of the superhuman.

If the question is asked why Mr. Keely was not allowed to pass a certain limit, the answer is easy; because that which he has unconsciously discovered, is the terrible sidereal Force, known to, and named by the Atlanteans MASH-MAK, and by the Aryan Rishis in their Ashtar Vidya by a name we do not like to give. It is the vril of Bulwer Lytton's "Coming Race," and of the coming races of our mankind. The name vril may be a fiction; the Force itself is a fact doubted as little in India as the existence itself of their Rishis, since it is mentioned in all the secret works....

What Mr. Keely has already done is grand and wonderful in the extreme; there is enough work before him in the demonstration of his new system to "humble the pride of those scientists who are materialistic, by revealing those mysteries which lie behind the world of matter," without revealing it nolens volens to all. ... The discovery in its completeness is by several thousand -- or shall we say hundred thousand? -- years too premature. It will be at its appointed place and time only when the great roaring flood of starvation, misery, and underpaid labour ebbs back again -- as it will when happily at last the just demands of the many are attended to; when the proletariat exists but in name, and the pitiful cry for bread, that rings throughout the world unheeded, has died away. This may be hastened by the spread of learning, and by new opening for work and emigration, with better prospects than exist now, and on some new continent that may appear. Then only will "Keely's Motor and Force," as originally contemplated by himself and friends, be in demand, because it will be more needed by the poor than by the wealthy.

SELFISHNESS, the first-born of Ignorance, and the fruit of the teaching which asserts that for every newly-born infant a new soul, separate and distinct from the Universal Soul, is "created" -- this Selfishness is the impassable wall between the personal Self and Truth. It is the prolific mother of all human vices, Lie being born out of the necessity for dissembling, and Hypocrisy out of the desire to mask Lie. It is the fungus growing and strengthening with age in every human heart in which it has devoured all better feelings. Selfishness kills every noble impulse in our natures, and is the one deity, fearing no faithlessness or desertion from its votaries. Hence, we see it reign supreme in the world and in so-called fashionable society. As a result, we live, and move, and have our being in this god of darkness under his trinitarian aspect of Sham, Humbug, and Falsehood, called RESPECTABILITY.

In the present state of society, especially in so-called civilized countries, we are continually brought face to face with the fact that large numbers of people are suffering from misery, poverty and disease. Their physical condition is wretched, and their mental and spiritual faculties are often almost dormant. On the other hand, many persons at the opposite end of the social scale are leading lives of careless indifference, material luxury, and selfish indulgence. Neither of these forms of existence is mere chance. Both are the effects of the conditions which surround those who are subject to them, and the neglect of social duty on the one side is most closely connected with the stunted and arrested development on the other. In sociology, as in all branches of true science, the law of universal causation holds good. But this causation necessarily implies, as its logical outcome, that human solidarity on which Theosophy so strongly insists. If the action of one reacts on the lives of all, and this is the true scientific idea, then it is only by all men becoming brothers and all women sisters, and by all practising in their daily lives true brotherhood and true sisterhood, that the real human solidarity, which lies at the root of the elevation of the race, can ever be attained. It is this action and interaction, this true brotherhood and sisterhood, in which each shall live for all and all for each, which is one of the fundamental Theosophical principles that every Theosophist should be bound, not only to teach, but to carry out in his or her individual life.

The Church (or churches) maintain that the only saving principle is belief in Jesus, or the carnalized Christ of the soul-killing dogma; theosophy, undogmatic and unsectarian, answers, it is not so. The only saving principle dwells in man himself, and has never dwelt outside of his immortal divine self, i.e., it is the true Christos, as it is the true Buddha, the divine inward light which proceeds from the eternal unmanifesting unknown ALL. And this light can only be made known by its works -- faith in it having to remain ever blind in all, save in the man himself who feels that light within his soul.

It can do so only by passing individually and personally, i.e., spiritually and physically, through every experience and feeling that exists in the manifold or differentiated Universe. It has, therefore, after having gained such experience in the lower kingdoms, and having ascended higher and still higher with every rung on the ladder of being, to pass through every experience on the human planes. In its very essence it is THOUGHT, and is, therefore, called in its plurality Manasa putra, "the Sons of the (Universal) mind." This individualized "Thought" is what we Theosophists call the real human EGO, the thinking Entity imprisoned in a case of flesh and bones. This is surely a Spiritual Entity, not Matter, and such Entities are the incarnating EGOS that inform the bundle of animal matter called mankind, and whose names are Manasa or "Minds." But once imprisoned, or incarnate, their essence becomes dual: that is to say, the rays of the eternal divine Mind, considered as individual entities, assume a two-fold attribute which is (a) their essential inherent characteristic, heaven-aspiring mind (higher Manas), and (b) the human quality of thinking, or animal cogitation, rationalized owing to the superiority of the human brain, the Kama-tending or lower Manas.

The Theosophist who desires to enter upon occultism takes some of Nature's privileges into his own hands, by that very wish, and soon discovers that experiences come to him with double-quick rapidity. His business is then to recognize that he is under a -- to him -- new and swifter law of development, and to snatch at the lessons that come to him.

As soon as he begins to understand what a friend and teacher pain can be, the Theosophist stands appalled before the mysterious problem of human life, and though he may long to do good works, equally dreads to do them wrongly until he has himself acquired greater power and knowledge. The ignorant doing of good works may be vitally injurious, as all but those who are blind in their love of benevolence are compelled to acknowledge. For it is not the spirit of self-sacrifice, or of devotion, or of desire to help that is lacking, but the strength to acquire knowledge and power and intuition, so that the deeds done shall really be worthy of the "Buddha-Christ" spirit. Therefore it is that Theosophists cannot pose as a body of philanthropists, though secretly they may adventure on the path of good works. They profess to be a body of learners merely, pledged to help each other and all the rest of humanity, so far as in them lies, to a better understanding of the mystery of life, and to a better knowledge of the peace which lies beyond it.

But as it is an inexorable law, that the ground must be tilled if the harvest is to be reaped, so Theosophists are obliged to work in the world unceasingly, and very often in doing this to make serious mistakes, as do all workers who are not embodied Redeemers. Their efforts may not come under the title of good works, and they may be condemned as a school of idle talkers, yet they are an outcome and fruition of this particular moment of time, when the ideas which they hold are greeted by the crowd with interest; and therefore their good work is good, as the lotus-flower is good when it opens in the midday sun.

None know more keenly and definitely than they that good works are necessary; only these cannot be rightly accomplished without knowledge. Yet it is an absolute fact that without good works the spirit of brotherhood would die in the world; and this can never be. Therefore is the double activity of learning and doing most necessary; we have to do good, and we have to do it rightly, with knowledge.


COMPILER'S NOTE: The following is a separate item which followed the above article but was on the same page. I felt it was useful to include it here:

It is well known that the first rule of the society is to carry out the object of forming the nucleus of a universal brotherhood. The practical working of this rule was explained by those who laid it down, to the following effect:--

HE WHO DOES NOT PRACTISE ALTRUISM; HE WHO IS NOT PREPARED TO SHARE HIS LAST MORSEL WITH A WEAKER OR POORER THAN HIMSELF; HE WHO NEGLECTS TO HELP HIS BROTHER MAN OF WHATEVER RACE, NATION, OR CREED, WHENEVER AND WHEREVER HE MEETS SUFFERING, AND WHO TURNS A DEAF EAR TO THE CRY OF HUMAN MISERY; HE WHO HEARS AN INNOCENT PERSON SLANDERED, WHETHER A BROTHER THEOSOPHIST OR NOT, AND DOES NOT UNDERTAKE HIS DEFENSE AS HE WOULD UNDERTAKE HIS OWN -- IS NO THEOSOPHIST.


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(1) NOTE.--A student's collation from the writings of H. P. Blavatsky.
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