THEOSOPHY, Vol. 19, No. 3, January, 1931 (Pages 100-104; Size: 15K)
DURING the past fifty years thousands of men and women of good mind and honest heart in the western world have become convinced that Truth is available. They have recognized that the path to its perception lies in the practical application of the teachings of Theosophy in the affairs of daily life; that such application is possible, and that in such a life alone true and enduring happiness may be found. Moreover some have travelled so far that a partial knowledge, at least, of Truth has at times actually been laid hold of by them -- to the extent that they could affirm the substantial verity of the fact that Truth does exist, that there are its Knowers, that a direct realization and embodiment of Truth is possible to anybody soever who will but fulfill the conditions; that anybody can become a veritable God, a consciously divine Soul, while still embodied in a human form and moving among men.
Yet this cloud of witnesses to the existence of Knowledge and Knowers does not appear to have precipitated into a gentle and blessed rain upon the parched wastes of an arid and thirsty land! Else the seeds sown by the Predecessors would have so abundantly fructified, and the growing plants been so diligently and intelligently cultivated, that fruitage of rich and sustaining value would by now be everywhere in evidence in an admirable American civilization and culture; while Theosophic unity and constructive fraternity would have developed, instead of the withered and bitter products on which are fed the leaders and supporters of a dozen and one Theosophical sects.
What is the matter? Why the failure? If even a scant hundred, or even fifty, of the well-meaning and intelligent thousands had succeeded, a general success for the Theosophical Movement of the Nineteenth Century would even now be in evidence. What is the matter with the thousands of students of this very day, to whom the verity of Theosophy is a fact, and who are studying and applying the teachings in the revealing lurid light of the student-failures of yesterday and the day before?
They did not travel through! They do not travel through -- Alas!
"This is the royal knowledge, the royal mystery, the most excellent purifier, clearly comprehensible, not opposed to sacred law, easy to perform, and inexhaustible," saith the Scripture. But the Teacher of old who voiced this affirmation prefaced it with the warning, "Unto thee who findeth no fault I will now make known this most mysterious knowledge, coupled with a realization of it. . . ." So have all incarnating Knowers, in all ages including our own, said in some words or other of exact import. So doth the Hidden Self, the real Krishna-Knower-Teacher in each heart, whisper to the aspiring student. The Way being clear, the Warning reiterated, the Sign-posts erected, described -- even bearing signals that sound their unerring tocsin as the traveller approaches -- why do the prepared and protected thousands halt their journey, or slip, unaware or sadly aware, into other paths? Each one can answer -- each for himself, herself. The sooner that answer is found, the better! Ultimately will it be demanded -- by Life, by Law, by the Lodge.
Whether aware of the fact or not, all human beings are working through a vast and inevitable system of initiation. Some, having arrived at a certain point, arouse themselves and thus earn the right to be directed. It is these, bestirred and half-aware of what is going on and their possible allocation in it, who are helped to become more aware, and to find relationships under which, and by the support of which, they may consciously proceed towards beneficial self-development. There are ever and always those above to awaken and aid those below -- who in their turn as they proceed will assist the upcoming units in the mighty stream of developing, evolving Life. The chain of intelligence and intelligences is complete from lowest to topmost link: all is Soul and Spirit ever evolving under the rule of Law which is inherent in the whole. Those who have earned the right to be awakened, and then wish to find relationships with others like themselves and Those higher, ask for that help. "Ask and it shall be given unto you. Seek and ye shall find." Such is the admonition of other days; equally of days before that, and of today. But it is an inner asking. It is a position assumed. It is a step of immense significance to the personality of him who asks, for it is the first move consciously taken in any incarnation away from the personal, leading towards the life impersonal. Implicit in that asking are the conditions under which such help may be had. Just as the asking is inner, so are the conditions inner; it is as if one made a solemn compact with one's self.
Experience has proven that all do understand, and that all eagerly, earnestly and full-heartedly do take the true position at the moment of arousal when the definite engagement is inwardly signed and sealed. With glad faces set towards the rising sun, the happy travellers, buoyed by the waves of gratitude and the stout raft of a perceived something-to-do, definitely and self-consciously start out upon their journey. "The portal that faceth thee is high and wide, seems easy of access. The road that leads therethrough is straight and smooth and green. 'Tis like a sunny glade in the dark forest's depths, a spot on earth mirrored from Amitabha's(1) paradise."
Whatever is to be met and passed through in the "dark forest" of his own nature -- that ancient and familiar human nature common to all men -- the fact is clear: the entire process of self-initiation is no more actually than a resolute moving on -- just to hold face in the true direction and keep travelling, step by step, purposefully, controlledly, persistently, cheerfully, with the motive to fit one's self to be the better able to help and teach others. The goal, being universal, cannot possibly exclude the traveller himself from the possession and enjoyment of power and knowledge. The journey is the only thing worth while in very truth, for it includes all things -- the understanding and right use of everything good or bad that life holds for any and all. Nothing is or is to be left out, and no one. Far from separating the traveller from any of his Brother-Souls, it joins him to them. Far from shutting him out from any department of Nature, the journey makes him one with Nature herself, since all must be contacted, understood, used, assimilated. The glorious garment of Adeptship is being spun and woven. The threads that make its warp and woof are of every shade and every color. Shaped into the perfect garment, they yet remain unbroken; each leads to that portion of Nature from which it has been spun; thus is the garment universal, although it has been individualized to fit the maker and the wearer.
The path, plan, method, modulus are all natural in the simple and straightforward moving on. Yet where are the Enlightened, the fully Conscious, the Selfless Altruists, who at the same time are knowers and fulfillers of Right Performance? What darkness blinds, misleads? Darkness of muddy and unconquered likes and dislikes; of avoided or grudgingly fulfilled small, plain duties; of choosing the dearer rather than the better; of inattention rather than positive, alert attention; of being carried away by the great "turba", the mass movement of men, away from one's own self-elected path, that the mass movement itself be rectified; of being swayed by persons rather than principles; of mistaking personal affection for gratitude, desire for intuition, laudation for recognition, activity for industry.
One does not part with human nature when stepping out upon that Path. He only resolves to. One does not yet possess that patience which transmutes obstacles into upward aids. He merely begins its cultivation. One has not become at once self-reliant and self-contained and self-sufficient. He only sees their value. One is not already a powerful and efficient benefactor of mankind. He is yet but a grateful recipient, but a kindergarten child, whatever the strength of mind and forceful nature the personality may imply. He is not yet a great Soul, a leader of men, just because he has heard of such and would emulate them. Incorrigibly virtuous? Far from it, whatever the seeming. Nor is, or ever was, innocence knowledge. Hardened and flawless steel must pass through the crucible of experience and emerge made before it is fit and ready for the weapon-forge that will weld it into an instrument of war. Teacher, Teaching and Taught have to become ONE before the Paramitas(2) are substantially acquired, and the forty-nine fires of consciousness blended as one piercing ray blaze through the carapace of self-hood.
As one travels this long journey, should be Silence as to one's self -- even that one has undertaken the journey; silence as to the difficulties one encounters, the pains one suffers, the effort one makes, the accomplishment if any. For the inner life is inner and secret to each one; to each his own road, his own language, his own recognitions, his own dangers, his own bridges upon which to cross over. And if he will maintain Persistence in travelling, that in itself will arouse confidence to proceed; nobody ever kept on travelling a designated path without being able to see and recognize the described landmarks, if he looked for them -- they are there! Said the Teacher, herself a seasoned traveller-through come back to help younger ones set their feet upon that Path, "'Try' is the battle-cry taught by the teacher to each pupil. Naught else is expected of you. One who does his best does all that can be asked."
Did the thousands of yesterday and other days do their best? Are the thousands of today satisfied with less; is each one doing his or her best? Nobody can answer for them. The past discloses itself. The present will soon become a past. What will it disclose? Lo here and Lo there, among leaders and led, resounds through the Theosophical area of today. Has noise replaced the admonition of silence passed on by the progressed to the less progressed down the ages? Could it be so? He who tells of his "progress" loses what little he may have made. Those who know do not tell; those who tell do not know. Knowers but show, by life and precept, that there is a Path; that it has been trodden; that it is for all men and not merely for special ones; that doors and entrances are everywhere, and not in some one especially decorated place, kept by one decorated door-keeper. Names are not blazoned, seldom more than passed from mouth to ear, if even that.
"Rise up! awake! and, having obtained your wishes, understand them," say the real Knowers and the true Companions. It is by that sacred and natural and impersonal pathway alone that travelling through can be done.
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:
There are some adherents of a faith which has arisen in the land, who deem it wise to cast away all things that are distasteful to them; to cut asunder the ties of marriage because they deem it will interfere with their spiritual development, or because the other pilgrim is not progressed enough. Brothers, there lives not the man who is wise enough to sit as a judge upon the spiritual development of any living being. He is not only unwise but blasphemous who says to another: "Depart! you impede my exalted spiritual development."
The greatest of all truths lies frequently in plain sight, or veiled in contraries. The impression has gone abroad that the Adept or the Mystic of high degree has only attained his station by forsaking the association of his fellow creatures or refusing the marriage tie. It is the belief of very wise Teachers that all men who had risen to the highest degrees of Initiation, have at some time passed through the married state. Many men, failing in the trials, have ascribed their failure to being wedded, precisely as that other coward, Adam, after being the first transgressor, cried out: "It was Eve."
One of the most exalted of the Divine Mysteries lies hidden here -- therefore, Oh Man, it is wise to cherish that which holds so much of God and seek to know its meaning; not by dissolution and cutting asunder, but by binding and strengthening the ties. Our most Ancient Masters knew of this and Paul also speaks of it. (Ephesians v. 32.) -- W.Q.J.
The Function of Theosophists
TWO (2) FOOTNOTES LISTED BELOW:
COMPILER'S NOTE: I added these footnotes; they were not in the article. If any of them don't paint an accurate enough picture, or are incorrect, I hope the Editors of THEOSOPHY magazine will spot them and point the inaccuracies out to me, so that I can make the necessary corrections.
(1) "Amitabha", which comes from the words "Amrita Buddha", or the "Immortal Enlightened", is one of the names or titles of Gautama -- the Buddha. It stands for the impersonal divine light that is within each of us, and which we each can draw forth with effort, and become self-enlightened, just as Gautama -- the Buddha, Jesus -- the Christ, and many others have done.
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(2) "Paramitas" are Virtues.
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