Dec 14, 2017

The Theosophist, 1879-1880

Volume I of the Monthly Journal Devoted
To Oriental Philosophy, Art and Occultism

Helena P. Blavatsky (Ed.)

 Helena P. Blavatsky (1831-1891) founded “The
Theosophist” in 1879 and edited it for a few years




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Readers are invited to see the article “Journals According to the Mahatmas” in our  associated websites. The text is part of the 2013 book “The Fire and Light of Theosophical Literature”, by Carlos Cardoso Aveline.

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On 14 September 2016, after examining the state of the esoteric movement worldwide, a group of students decided to found the Independent Lodge of Theosophists. Two of the priorities adopted by the ILT are learning from the past and building a better future.  

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E-Theosophy e-group offers a regular study of the classic, intercultural theosophy taught by Helena P. Blavatsky (photo).


Those who want to join E-Theosophy e-group at YahooGroups can do that by visiting https://groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/E-Theosophy/info.

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Dec 10, 2017

The Turiya State

Both Deep Meditation and the Fate of
One’s Incarnation Depend on Antahkarana

Geoffrey A. Farthing




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A 2017 Editorial Note:

The following text was first published at
“The Theosophist”, Adyar, India, in August 2004.

We thank The Blavatsky Trust and its Trustee
Robert Kitto for kindly sending us “The Turiya
State” for publication in our associated websites.

(The Editors)

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In various works on the subject of meditation, four states of consciousness are mentioned: the waking, the dreaming, the dreamless sleep and the Turiya. For the average meditator, the first two - the normal state of awareness when we are awake, and the dreaming state - are not too difficult to comprehend because they are common experience.

Many, however, feel unable to understand dreamless sleep, as this seems to be total unconsciousness, and can only try to imagine what the Turiya or fourth state is like. Nevertheless, many meditators will be able to appreciate there is a transcendental state when the activities of the lower mind are quietened and consciousness, whilst being retained, becomes pure subjectivity, i.e., there are no objects of consciousness for it to be aware of.

It might therefore be of interest to the aspiring student who endeavours to practise meditation seriously to know what H.P. Blavatsky has said regarding the Turiya state.

This information is in the Esoteric Section (ES) Instruction No. 5 in Collected Writings, vol. XII, pp. 710-711. First there is a diagram showing rays emanating from the combination of Parabrahman and Mulaprakriti. Parabrahman is the dynamic aspect of the universe. Mulaprakriti is the abstract root of matter existing before manifestation, when it becomes Prakriti. Together these two form the root of existence from which consciousness at our level of being can arise.



The diagram shows that the first manifestation of this supreme dichotomy is the root of mind, sometimes referred to as Universal Mind or Mahat. This descends into three kinds of composite rays which are labelled Kumaras, Personalities and Attributes, i.e., Mayavi Rupas, etc. The diagram shows that for each of these there are seven rays, but notes also that the number of rays is arbitrary and without significance.

Then follows the magnificent teaching, given in full below:

“When the Ray is thus shot forth, it clothes itself in the highest degree of the Astral Light, and is then ready for incarnation; it has been spoken of at this stage as the Chhaya, or shadow, of the Higher Mind, as indeed it is. This clothing of itself in a lower form of Matter is necessary for action in the Body; for as an emanation of the Higher Manas and of the same nature, it cannot, in that nature, make any impression on this plane nor receive any. An archangel, having no experience, would be senseless on this plane, and could neither give nor receive impressions. Hence the Lower Manas clothes itself with the essence of the Astral Light, and the Astral Envelope shuts it out from its Parent, except through the Antahkarana. The Antahkarana is therefore that portion of the Lower Manas which is one with the Higher, the essence, that which retains its purity; on it are impressed all good and noble aspirations, and in it are the upward energies of the Lower Manas, the energies and tendencies which become its Devachanic experiences. The whole fate of an incarnation depends on whether this pure essence, Antahkarana, can restrain the Kama-Manas or not. It is the only salvation. Break this and you become an animal.”

“But while the inner essence of the higher Ego is unsoilable, that part of it which may be spoken of as its outer garment, the portion of the Ray which takes up Astral Matter, may be soiled. This portion of it forms the downward energies of the Lower Manas, and these go towards Kama, and this portion may, during life, so crystallize itself and become one with Kama, that it will remain assimilated with Matter.”

“Thus the Lower Manas, taken as a whole, is, in each Earth-Life, what it makes itself. It is possible for it to act differently on different occasions, although surrounded each time by similar conditions, for it has Reason and self-conscious knowledge of Right and Wrong, of Good and Evil, given to it. It is, in fact, endowed with all the attributes of the Divine Soul, and one of these attributes is Will. In this the Ray is the Higher Manas. The part of the Essence is the Essence, but while it is out of itself, so to say, it can get soiled and polluted, as above explained. So also it can emanate itself, as said above, and can pass its essence into several vehicles, e.g., the Mayavi-Rupa, the Kama-Rupa, etc., and even into Elementals, which it is able to ensoul, as the Rosicrucians taught.”

“This unity of Essence with its Divine Parent renders possible its absorption into its source, both during Earth-Life and during the Devachanic interval.”

“There comes a moment, in the highest meditation, when the Lower Manas is withdrawn into the Triad, which thus becomes the Quaternary, the Tetraktys of Pythagoras, the highest, the most sacred, of all symbols. This upward withdrawal of the Lower Manas leaves what was the Quaternary as a Lower Triad, which is then reversed. The Upper Triad is reflected in the Lower Manas. The Higher Manas cannot reflect itself, but when the Green [Lower Manas] passes upward it becomes a mirror for the Higher; it is then no more Green, having passed from its associations. The Psyche, thus separated from Kama, unites itself with the Higher Triad and becomes spiritual; the Triad is reflected in the Fourth, and the Tetraktys is formed. So long as you are not dead, there must be something in which the Higher Triad is to be reflected; for there must be something to bring back to the waking consciousness the experiences passed through on the higher plane. The Lower Manas is a tablet, which retains the impressions made upon it during trance; thus serving as a carrier between the Higher Manas and the everyday Consciousness. This withdrawal of the Lower Manas from the Lower Quaternary, and the formation of the Tetraktys, is the Turiya state; it is entered on the Fourth Path, and is described in a note to the The Voice of the Silence as a state of high spiritual consciousness, beyond the dreamless state.”  [Collected Writings, H. P. Blavatsky, TPH, Volume XII, pp. 710-711]

Note that in the last paragraph the colour green is referred to. This is the colour of the lower mind, illustrated first in the colour plate opposite p. 580 of Instruction 3 and referred to again in Diagram V opposite p. 569. This helps us to understand at least the rationale of deep meditation when the Turiya state is achieved.

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Dec 8, 2017

Jerusalem Is Israel’s Capital

And Such a Sacred City Should 
Call Forth the Best in Humanity

Donald J. Trump

The US President during his speech about Jerusalem



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An Editorial Note:

On December 6, 2017, the President of the
U.S. Donald J. Trump formally recognized
Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. Speaking from the
White House’s Diplomatic Reception Room, Trump
made a historic announcement with several reflections
of theosophical importance. He said, for instance:

“…The Israeli people have built a country where Jews,
Muslims, and Christians - and people of all faiths - are
free to live and worship according to their conscience
and according to their beliefs. Jerusalem is today - and
must remain - a place where Jews pray at the Western
Wall, where Christians walk the Stations of the Cross,
and where Muslims worship at Al-Aqsa Mosque.”

See below the full transcription of Donald Trump’s words.

(Carlos Cardoso Aveline)

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Thank you.

When I came into office, I promised to look at the world’s challenges with open eyes and very fresh thinking. We cannot solve our problems by making the same failed assumptions and repeating the same failed strategies of the past. All challenges demand new approaches.

My announcement today marks the beginning of a new approach to conflict between Israel and the Palestinians. In 1995, Congress adopted the Jerusalem Embassy Act urging the federal government to relocate the American embassy to Jerusalem and to recognize that that city - and so importantly - is Israel’s capital.

This act passed Congress by an overwhelming bipartisan majority, and was reaffirmed by unanimous vote of the Senate only six months ago. Yet for over 20 years, every previous American president has exercised the law’s waiver, refusing to move the US embassy to Jerusalem or to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital city.

Presidents issued these waivers under the belief that delaying the recognition of Jerusalem would advance the cause of peace. Some say they lacked courage, but they made their best judgments based on facts as they understood them at the time.

Nevertheless, the record is in. After more than two decades of waivers, we are no closer to a lasting peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinians. It would be folly to assume that repeating the exact same formula would now produce a different or better result.

Therefore, I have determined that it is time to officially recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. While previous presidents have made this a major campaign promise, they failed to deliver. Today, I am delivering.

I’ve judged this course of action to be in the best interests of the United States of America and the pursuit of peace between Israel and the Palestinians. This is a long overdue step to advance the peace process and to work towards a lasting agreement.

Israel is a sovereign nation with the right, like every other sovereign nation, to determine its own capital. Acknowledging this as a fact is a necessary condition for achieving peace.

It was 70 years ago that the United States under President Truman recognized the state of Israel. Ever since then, Israel has made its capital in the city of Jerusalem, the capital the Jewish people established in ancient times.

Today, Jerusalem is the seat of the modern Israeli government. It is the home of the Israeli parliament, the Knesset, as well as the Israeli supreme court. It is the location of the official residence of the prime minister and the president. It is the headquarters of many government ministries. For decades, visiting American presidents, secretaries of state, and military leaders have met their Israeli counterparts in Jerusalem, as I did on my trip to Israel earlier this year.

Jerusalem is not just the heart of three great religions, but it is now also the heart of one of the most successful democracies in the world. Over the past seven decades, the Israeli people have built a country where Jews, Muslims, and Christians - and people of all faiths - are free to live and worship according to their conscience and according to their beliefs. Jerusalem is today - and must remain - a place where Jews pray at the Western Wall, where Christians walk the Stations of the Cross, and where Muslims worship at Al-Aqsa Mosque.

However, through all of these years, presidents representing the United States have declined to officially recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital. In fact, we have declined to acknowledge any Israeli capital at all. But today, we finally acknowledge the obvious: that Jerusalem is Israel’s capital. This is nothing more or less than a recognition of reality. It is also the right thing to do. It’s something that has to be done.

That is why, consistent with the Jerusalem Embassy Act, I am also directing the State Department to begin preparation to move the American embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. This will immediately begin the process of hiring architects, engineers, and planners so that a new embassy, when completed, will be a magnificent tribute to peace.

In making these announcements, I also want to make one point very clear: This decision is not intended in any way to reflect a departure from our strong commitment to facilitate a lasting peace agreement. We want an agreement that is a great deal for the Israelis and a great deal for the Palestinians.

We are not taking a position on any final status issues, including the specific boundaries of the Israeli sovereignty in Jerusalem or the resolution of contested borders. Those questions are up to the parties involved. The United States remains deeply committed to helping facilitate a peace agreement that is acceptable to both sides. I intend to do everything in my power to help forge such an agreement.

Without question, Jerusalem is one of the most sensitive issues in those talks. The United States would support a two-state solution if agreed to by both sides. In the meantime, I call on all parties to maintain the status quo at Jerusalem's holy sites, including the Temple Mount, also known as Haram al-Sharif. Above all, our greatest hope is for peace - the universal yearning in every human soul.

With today’s action, I reaffirm my administration’s longstanding commitment to a future of peace and security for the region. There will, of course, be disagreement and dissent regarding this announcement. But we are confident that ultimately, as we work through these disagreements, we will arrive at a peace and a place far greater in understanding and cooperation.

This sacred city should call forth the best in humanity - lifting our sights to what is possible, not pulling us back and down to the old fights that have become so totally predictable. Peace is never beyond the grasp of those willing to reach it. So today we call for calm, for moderation, and for the voices of tolerance to prevail over the purveyors of hate. Our children should inherit our love, not our conflicts.

I repeat the message I delivered at the historic and extraordinary summit in Saudi Arabia earlier this year: The Middle East is a region rich with culture, spirit, and history. Its people are brilliant, proud, and diverse, vibrant and strong.

But the incredible future awaiting this region is held at bay by bloodshed, ignorance, and terror. Vice President Pence will travel to the region in the coming days to reaffirm our commitment to work with partners throughout the Middle East to defeat radicalism that threatens the hopes and dreams of future generations.

It is time for the many who desire peace to expel the extremists from their midst. It is time for all civilized nations, and people, to respond to disagreement with reasoned debate, not violence. And it is time for young and moderate voices all across the Middle East to claim for themselves a bright and beautiful future.

So today, let us rededicate ourselves to a path of mutual understanding and respect. Let us rethink old assumptions and open our hearts and minds to possible and possibilities. And finally, I ask the leaders of the region - political and religious, Israeli and Palestinian, Jewish and Christian and Muslim - to join us in the noble quest for lasting peace.

Thank you, God bless you, God bless Israel, God bless the Palestinians, and God bless the United States.

Thank you very much. Thank you.

(Donald J. Trump)

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Watch the above speech at YouTube.

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See in our associated websites the articles “Jerusalem, the Capital of Israel”, “Israel as a Utopia” and “Israel and the Law of Cycles”.

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E-Theosophy e-group offers a regular study of the classic, intercultural theosophy taught by Helena P. Blavatsky (photo).


Those who want to join E-Theosophy e-group at YahooGroups can do that by visiting https://groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/E-Theosophy/info.

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Dec 7, 2017

Jerusalem, the Capital of Israel

A Healthy Future Emerges By
Restoring Justice Among Nations

Carlos Cardoso Aveline




Centuries before Christianity or Islam existed, Jerusalem was a Jewish community already, and sacred to Judaism.  Although the city is an intercultural and interreligious place, it makes no sense to deny the simple fact that it is the capital of Israel.

In June 1967 the Jewish State took control of its capital city. It has no intention of renouncing to it. The international character of Jerusalem is well established. However, the territory of Israel has been a safe haven for inter-religiosity and religious minorities in the Middle East. The nation is practically the only democracy in the region, and the Arab Israeli citizens are represented at its parliament. Israel is clearly entitled to manage Jerusalem in a way that respects the intercultural dimension of the city: it has been doing so for many decades.

As to the sacred meaning of Jerusalem for the Jewish people, it becomes clear as one sees the way the author Karen Armstrong - a Christian nun - describes the events of June 1967.

Karen writes:

“On 5 June, the Israeli forces launched a preemptive strike against the United Arab Republic and destroyed almost the entire Egyptian air force on the ground. This inevitably drew Jordan into the war, though Jerusalem was inadequately defended by, perhaps, as few as five thousand troops.” 

Events were rather quick:

“On Wednesday, 7 June, the Israel Defense Forces circled the Old City and entered it through the Lion Gate. Most Israeli civilians were still in their air-raid shelters, but news of the capture of Arab Jerusalem spread by word of mouth and a wondering crowd gathered at the Mandelbaum Gate. Meanwhile, Israeli soldiers and officers had one objective: to get as quickly as possible to the Western Wall.”

A new horizon emerged from the Old City:

“The men ran through the narrow winding streets and rushed over the Haram platform, scarcely giving the Muslim shrines a glance. It was not long before seven hundred soldiers with blackened faces and bloodstained uniforms had crowded into the small enclave that had been closed to Jews for almost twenty years.” [1]

Then came the sense that the city was in Jewish hands again:

“By 11:00 a.m., the generals began to arrive, bringing General Shlomo Goren, chief rabbi of the IDF, who had the honor of blowing the shofar at the wall for the first time since 1929. A platoon commander also sent a jeep to bring Rabbi Zvi Yehuda Kook to the wall. For all these men, whatever their theological beliefs, confronting the wall was a profound - even shocking - religious experience. Only a few days earlier they had faced the possibility of annihilation. Now they had unexpectedly made contact once again with what had become the most holy place in the Jewish world. Secular young paratroopers clung to the stones and wept: others were in shock, finding it impossible to move.” [2]

The recovery of Jerusalem is of decisive importance in the entire history of Jewish people. A long cycle of injustice and suffering was now coming to its end, in a transcendent level of life:

“When Rabbi Goren blew the shofar and began to intone the psalms, atheistic officers embraced one another, and one young soldier recalled that he became dizzy; his whole body burned. It was a dramatic and unlooked-for return that seemed an almost uncanny repetition of the old Jewish myths. Once again the Jewish people had struggled through the threat of extinction; once again they had come home. The event evoked all the usual experiences of sacred space. The wall was not merely a historical site but a symbol that reached right down to the core of each soldier’s Jewish identity. It was both Other - ‘something big and terrible and from another world’ - and profoundly familiar - ‘an old friend, impossible to mistake’. It was terrible but fascinans; holy, and at the same time a mirror image of the Jewish self. It stood for survival, for continuity, and promised that final reconciliation for which humanity yearns. When he kissed the stones, Avraham Davdevani felt the past, present, and future had come together: ‘There will be no more destruction and the wall will never again be deserted.’  It presaged an end to violence, dereliction, and separation. It was what other generations might have called a return to paradise.” [3]

Little by little a new age of Justice has been starting, perhaps. 

A few years after the Holocaust, the independence of Israel took place in 1948. Nine years more, and the victory in the 1967 war brought about the recovery of Jerusalem.

Karen narrates:

“Religious Jews, especially the disciples of Rabbi Kook the Younger, were convinced that the Redemption had begun. They recalled their rabbi’s words only a few weeks earlier and became convinced that he had been divinely inspired. Standing before the wall on the day of the conquest, Rabbi Kook announced that ‘under heavenly command’ the Jewish people ‘have just returned home in the elevations of holiness and our own holy city’. One of his students, Israel ‘Ariel’ Stitieglitz, left the wall and walked on the Haram platform, heedless of the purity laws and the forbidden areas, bloodstained and dirty he was. ‘I stood there in the place where the High Priest would enter once a year, barefoot, after five plunges in the mikveh’, he remembered later. ‘But I was shod, armed, and helmeted. And I say to myself, This is how the conquering generation looks.’ The last battle had been fought, and Israel was now a nation of priests; all Jews could enter the Holy of Holies. The whole Israeli army, as Rabbi Kook repeatedly pointed out, was ‘holy’ and its soldiers could step forward boldly into the Presence of God.”

History is not made of casual and isolated facts.  Humans evolve according to the One Law of Equilibrium.

In theosophical parlance, the Law of Karma has been slowly generating Justice after long centuries of hatred and persecution. The year of 1967 is a watershed moment in the Middle East, and Karen Armstrong proceeds:

“The phrase ‘Never again!’ now sprang instantly to Jewish lips in connection with the Nazi Holocaust. This tragedy had become inextricably fused with the identity of the new state. Many Jews saw the State of Israel as an attempt to create new life in the face of that darkness. Memories of the Holocaust had inevitably surfaced in the weeks before the Six-Day War, as Israelis listened to Nasser’s rhetoric of hatred. Now that they had returned to the Western Wall, the words ‘Never again!’ were immediately heard in this new context. ‘We shall never move out of here’, Rabbi Kook had announced, hours after the victory. General Moshe Dayan, an avowed secularist, stood before the wall and proclaimed that the divided city of Jerusalem had been ‘reunited’ by the IDF; ‘We have returned to our most holy places; we have returned and we shall never leave them’. He gave orders that all the city gates be opened and the barbed wire and mines of No Man’s Land be removed. There could be no going back.” [4]

Such an event has great significance from a theosophical and intercultural point of view.

Respect for the Jewish nation is not a goal to be obtained by the Jews alone. Far from that: it is the moral duty of every human being. The happiness of every nation is the obligation of all.

No Arab or Muslim community will be happier by hating people of another religion, or of no religion.

The Druze, the Christians, the Atheists, Hindus, Parses and people of every philosophy and faith must be free to live and to think as they wish, as long as they respect cultural diversity as a central principle of respect for life.  It is enough to see the way Israel manages the Temple Mount to realize that the Jewish State understands that principle. Muslim countries also make progress in the direction of interreligious respect.

The diseases of anti-Semitism, Nazism and terrorism have no future in a balanced and just civilization. Eastern philosophy and wisdom offer a renewing angle from which to look at Jerusalem, and Karen writes in the opening of her book:

“Religion can perhaps be described as a moral aesthetic. It is not enough to experience the divine or the transcendent; the experience must then be incarnated in our behaviour towards others. All the great religions insist that the test of true spirituality is practical compassion. The Buddha once said that after experiencing enlightenment, a man must leave the mountaintop and return to the marketplace and there practice compassion for all living beings. This also applies to the spirituality of a holy place. Crucial to the cult of Jerusalem from the very first was the importance of practical charity and social justice. The city cannot be holy unless it is also just and compassionate to the weak and vulnerable.” [5]

Compassion is inseparable from an ability to see unity in diversity.

Brotherhood is not a synonym to uniformity. Contrast is part of life, and fruitful cooperation needs mutual help between opposites. From the beginning Judaism has been essentially intercultural. For instance, Phoenicia, Egypt and other nations and religions had several degrees of influence on its origin. [6]

The ideal of universal brotherhood, which is present in one way or another in many religions and philosophies, gives us the key to the future. The future of course does not come by trying to annihilate nations. It will emerge by restoring justice and harmony among them, thanks to an unconditional respect for truth, and a healthy acceptance of difference. 

NOTES:

[1] “Jerusalem, One City, Three Faiths”, by Karen Armstrong, Alfred A. Knopf, New York, 1996, 471 pp., p. 398.

[2] “Jerusalem, One City, Three Faiths”, Karen Armstrong, pp. 398-399.

[3] “Jerusalem, One City, Three Faiths”, pp. 399-400.

[4] “Jerusalem, One City, Three Faiths”, p. 400.

[5] “Jerusalem, One City, Three Faiths”, p. xxi.

[6] See for instance “Jerusalem, an Archaeological Biography”, by Hershel Shanks, Random House, 1995, pp. 56 and 57 among others. As to Eastern and Vedic influences on the origin of Judaism, see “The Secret Doctrine”, H. P. Blavatsky, Theosophy Co., volume I, Introductory, p. xxxi - and elsewhere.

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The above article is also published at our blog in “The Times of Israel”.

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See at our associated websites the articles “Israel as a Utopia”, “The Universality of Temple Mount” and “Temple Mount as a Source of Peace”.

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E-Theosophy e-group offers a regular study of the classic, intercultural theosophy taught by Helena P. Blavatsky (photo).


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Dec 4, 2017

Conservation of Soul Energy

Students of Esoteric Philosophy
Should Preserve Their Inner Strength

Theosophy Magazine




In simpler days, before the age of specialization and travel, the issues of life seem to have been fewer and less complex. The battles men waged were nearer home. Except for occasional outbursts of controversy at times of national elections, the topics they discussed were usually those of the land, the family, and the community in which they lived.

But with the advent of the news-gathering agency, everyone’s business became everyone else’s, both individually and nationally. Radio, television, and the newspaper broke down the walls of isolation, it is true, but in so doing opened a Pandora’s box of issues which literally clamor for solution, and which few individuals seem either qualified to solve or concentrated enough to ignore.

One of the most difficult problems of this age, it may be, is that of knowing what is important and what is not, of determining which of the issues that confront mankind should receive attention, and which should not - of deciding, in short, just where, in one’s private and individual life, to draw the lines of battle. For it seems clear that no ordinary mortal can possibly undertake the burden of grappling with all the woes of the race, nation, and community to which he belongs.

Here, perhaps, lies the main trouble: too many people are attempting to do too many things, are trying to be authorities on too many subjects, are venturing too far from home, both intellectually and bodily, dissipating instead of conserving their energies. The adage that “every man’s business is no man’s business” leads one to question whether the mounting hosts of problems might not be due to the fact that we are overly-inclined to burden ourselves with the duties of other men, thus neglecting our own. “The duty of another is full of danger.”

Psychic energy [1], says H. P. Blavatsky, is like capital, so that if a man have a dollar a day and spend two, his account will show a $30,00 debit at the end of the month.

The point of the simile is obvious. For where is the individual who has not experienced the need, at some time in his life, for economizing? Where is the person who has not felt the pinch of over-spending, and resolved to live more simply and frugally in the future? Present-day emphasis upon business, however, makes it unusual for the average Western mind to make more than a single application - the monetary one - of the principle of economy, although it is absolutely universal in its nature. It is the law of sowing-reaping, of supply-and-demand, which is but an aspect of the one universal Law of Balance, or Karma.

The expenditure of psychic energy would yield greater return, no doubt, if men would apply the same principles of economy to their psychic, mental and emotional lives that they daily and yearly apply to their finances.

Where, then, shall the lines of battle be drawn? Where shall one’s energies be used? Shall one take up arms in the cause of better politics, and declare private war against each and every abuse he discovers in the hundred and one branches of government? Shall one fight for food reform, and awaken men’s minds to the fact that they are gradually being poisoned, all unconsciously to themselves, by the merciless prostitutes of chemistry? Shall he take up the pen against drunkenness, juvenile delinquency, war? Several lifetimes of devotion, a veritable fortune of psychic and creative energy, could be expended, no doubt, in the cause of better physical health; other lifetimes in the thankless task of trying to improve family life; while crusades against corruption in business could sap the vitality of the most energetic men.

Students of Theosophy have occasionally been criticized for not entering the fields of conflict that engage the attention of other men, for their “fanaticism”, as it is sometimes called, in devotion to their Cause.

“You Theosophists”, one man was heard to say, “are too much wrapped up in your philosophy, too indifferent to the issues of the day, too ready and willing to relegate a problem to the status of what you call a side issue. And these Mahatmas of yours, how can they remain so unconcerned about politics, having little care, evidently, as to which of the parties or candidates come into power?”

The answer seems simple.

Neither the Mahatmas, nor their humble students and co-workers, the Theosophists, are indifferent to anything. It is only that they are applying, or attempting to apply, the laws of economy, and have learned, at least in some measure, where their energies can best be expended for the greatest good to the greatest number of souls.

Individually, Theosophists are at perfect liberty - even if in their joint work for the Cause of Theosophy they are not - to sponsor any social or religious reform they may feel to be necessary, to campaign for any political party or candidate of whom they may approve, and to fight whatever battles they will. And some Theosophists, indeed, do engage themselves in the issues of the day and devote their energies, often-times to their regret, to causes which they have felt to be worthy.

But does this nullify the reality of the law of economy? Does it mean that every good cause, of which there are many in the world at all times, must have the personal and active support of everybody, regardless of karma, duty, and freedom of choice? Does it do away with the fact that psychic energy is limited in every man? Theosophists, of necessity, are the friends of all worthwhile movements in the world, and give moral support to every endeavor, by whomsoever made, that leads in the direction of human freedom and brotherhood. But once an individual has had some perception of the aim, purpose, and teaching of the present Theosophical Movement, once he gains the conviction that every man, karmically, has a duty to perform and that the law requires of each only that which he can and should do, he will realize the value of discrimination, frugality, and one-pointedness. He will then know the meaning of “side issues”, and will see the need for conserving his energies.

It seems seldom to have occurred to many people, even to some students of occult philosophy, that the battles most men wage nowadays are, for the large part, personal - having their beginnings and endings on the plane of Lower Manas - that is to say, on the plane of personal desires, emotions and half-truths. Rarely is a crusade undertaken in the cause of pure and equal justice for all, without regard for self, and without distinction of race, creed, sex, condition, or organization. Our battles, almost without exception, are instigated and sustained by personal, organizational, or national self-interest. Where is the nation, for example, which, in its cry for justice, is as solicitous of the rights of others as of its own? Where is the individual who, in his daily and hourly dealings with others, reduces personal feelings and opinions to a minimum, and commits himself solely to the cause of understanding, cooperation, and good-will? Where is the man or woman, of any race or nation, who proceeds on the principle that all true progress must have a spiritual or soul foundation, and that all issues are essentially moral? Controversy and argument, the pitting of one personal viewpoint against another, even when victorious, can only result in change - change from one lower manasic position to another. And “change”, said Abraham Lincoln, “must not be mistaken for progress.” “True progress”, he said, “is always in relation to the hearth.”

Many are the avenues through which the spiritual and dynamic energies of soul are dissipated - chief of these, perhaps, being the avenue of speech. Controversy, argument, fault-finding, gossip - each and all are manifestations of the lower mind, and each finds its expression through speech. And what of the almost universal habit of talking much, with little or nothing to say - is this a small and insignificant leakage of psychic force, do we think? Was it only for rhetoric that Krishna, in the twelfth chapter of the Bhagavad-Gita, praises his beloved servant “who is of little speech”? To pronounce a word, according to the Secret Doctrine, is to evoke a potency - spiritual, psychic, and physical - for speech is sound, and sound is one of the fundamental forces of the universe.

Control of speech has long been considered an essential discipline on the path of moral and manasic evolution, a powerful factor in the conservation of soul-force. Success on this path may well be measured in terms of the degree to which energies formerly placed upon irrelevant or unnecessary pursuits are re-directed into channels of usefulness. For how can the individual who squanders his resources be equal to an emergency when it arises? How can the bankrupt, or the invalid, be expected to do his best and most efficient work? Students of esoteric philosophy owe it to themselves and to others to effect a balance in all departments of their being, to make it part of their discipline to obtain proper sleep, recreation and rest - “neither too much nor too little”, in the words of the Gita - and to extinguish their kama-manasic flares.[2] The energies of Soul may then be directed from the position of the Perceiver.

“He, O son of Pandu, who, like one who is of no party… who is of equal mind with those who love or dislike, constant… the same toward friendly or unfriendly side, engaging only in necessary actions, such an one hath surmounted the qualities.” (Bhagavad-Gita.)

It is not necessary action that wastes soul energy, but only those activities that are unnecessary. It is not the legitimate undertakings of men that lead to anxiety, worry, and fear, but only those pursuits they have taken upon themselves indiscriminately. Nor is karmic and obligatory duty ever a burden to the soul. Men create their own problems and exhaust their psychic capital daily by involvement when they should properly be detached, by speaking when they should remain silent, by taking sides when they should be “of no party”, and by arguing and contending on the plane of kama-manas when they should be seeking orientation in the true Self. Yet, it is possible, in the words of Walt Whitman, to “walk silent among disputes and assertions, but reject not the disputers nor anything that is asserted.” It is possible for any man, even amidst the turmoil of twentieth-century life, to rise internally above the din, to learn to discriminate vital issues from “side issues”, and thus consecrate one’s energies to the good of mankind.

Ishwara, the Higher Self, is perfectly aware of the numberless issues and problems that sap the vitality of ordinary men, but knowing them to be productions largely of the lower mind, is not concerned with them. Lower Manas is the dissipator of soul energy - Higher Manas the conserver.

“A hundred and one are the heart’s channels, of these, one passes to the crown. Going up by this, he comes to the immortal. The other leads hither and thither.” (Katha Upanishad.)

NOTES:

[1] In theosophy, the word “psychic” refers to the lower self or mortal soul. The higher self or immortal spirit corresponds to the “noetic” level of a being. While the word “psychic” comes from the term of Greek origin “Psyche”, the word “Noetic” derives from Greek term “Nous”. This article examines therefore the issue of the conservation of the energies of the lower self, or mortal soul. (CCA, in 2017)

[2] “Kama-manasic flares” - the impulses created by lower feelings and thoughts. (CCA, in 2017)

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The above text is reproduced from “Theosophy” magazine, Los Angeles, February 1961, pp. 168-172.

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