A Practical Exercise in Self-Responsibility
Carlos Cardoso Aveline
Carlos Cardoso Aveline
Transcript of the above letter from a Master:
“Foolish are the hearts who doubt of our
existence! or of the powers our community is
in possession of for ages and ages. Would that you
would open your hearts to the reception of the blessed
truth, and obtain the fruits of Arhatship if not in
this then in another and better rebirth. M ∴
Who is for us - answer!”
[Image reproduced from “Letters From the Masters of the
Wisdom”, TPH, Second Series, Letter 76, 1977 edition, p. 146]
Students of esoteric philosophy have practical tools and methods with which they can obtain wisdom in a gradual and safe way.
One of the Yoga Aphorisms of Patanjali says:
“Correct Cognition results from Perception, Inference, and Testimony.” 
The following exercise consists of seven questions and includes the practice of inference. It can be made regularly or from time to time. In different moments in the life of a truth-seeker, the feelings and the answers to these questions will vary. If the student writes them down and records the dates of his reflections, he will be able to perceive over the years and decades an evolution in his reactions to the queries. They will acquire insightful shades of meaning and degrees of intensity.
Before the first question is examined, he might want to take into consideration these words written by a Master of the Wisdom:
“Nature has linked all parts of her Empire together by subtle threads of magnetic sympathy, and, there is a mutual correlation even between a star and a man; thought runs swifter than the electric fluid, and your thought will find me if projected by a pure impulse, as mine will find, has found, and often impressed your mind. (…..) Like the light in the sombre valley seen by the mountaineer from his peaks, every bright thought in your mind, my Brother, will sparkle and attract the attention of your distant friend and correspondent.” 
The above words are one clear indication - among thousands of others - that the Masters are not separated from humanity.
Keeping this idea in mind, it is possible to make a contemplative exercise in inference with seven open questions, in two phases. The five initial questions are:
1) Do I understand the fact that the Masters of the Wisdom really exist?
2) Since they exist, do they observe humanity and human individuals of goodwill?
3) If Masters observe our humanity, do they watch the modern theosophical movement, whose creation they directly inspired and cooperated with?
4) If they observe the movement, do they mainly watch that theosophical movement which is but nominal and gravitates around rituals, portraits of masters (mostly false), and vanity? Or do they rather observe that part of the theosophical movement which, permeating its various societies and associations, studies and tries to live by the original teachings as taught by Them?
5) If the Mahatmas observe the broad lines of the “original” movement as it is in the 21st century, will they also watch and pay closer attention to those initiatives in it which try to look at the present situation of mankind from the point of view of the Historical Duty of the movement, therefore investigating how to constantly renew both the esoteric movement and our civilization?
The above questions deserve careful observation. In considering them it is useful to think of what H. P. Blavatsky wrote on section XIV of “The Key to Theosophy”:
“The Masters look at the future, not at the present, and every mistake is so much more accumulated wisdom for days to come.” 
After the first phase of the exercise is completed, the student should evaluate the two final questions, which refer to himself. They emerge from the fact that every process of learning is directly linked to some specific level of duty. A knowledge which is not used, or is used in the wrong way, is no real knowledge.
The final questions are:
6) Since there is a creative co-responsibility of theosophists regarding the future of humanity, am I fully aware of the implications of being situated, as a human and septenary individual, in the “field of observation” of such Initiates?
7) Do I understand the implications of the classical idea according to which “the candidate to lay discipleship should not worry about ‘meeting the Master’, but he must take practical measures so that, when the Master observes his aura, he finds it correct and ready for new steps to be taken?”
The axiom is well-documented. In the book “Light on the Path”, the commentary to Rule number one in Part I says:
“It is easy to say, ‘I will not be ambitious’: it is not so easy to say, ‘When the Master reads my heart he will find it clean utterly’.” 
Pointing to the same teaching, Helena Blavatsky writes in her well-known text “Chelas and Lay Chelas”:
“Deserve, then desire”.
Life follows the Law of symmetry, and symmetry often includes paradox. In the experience of meeting higher sources of inspiration, the student sees, understands, and abandons the worst aspects of himself, his mechanisms of perpetuating pain. This uncomfortable purification results from his essential meeting with himself.
Challenges are many, and they are inner. It is written in one of the Mahatma Letters:
“Look around you, my friend: see the ‘three poisons’ raging within the heart of man - anger, greed, delusion, and the five obscurities - envy, passion, vacillation, sloth, and unbelief - ever preventing them seeing truth. They will never get rid of the pollution of their vain, wicked hearts, nor perceive the spiritual portion of themselves. Will you not try - for the sake of shortening the distance between us - to disentangle yourself from the net of life and death in which they are all caught (….)?” 
And the Master added:
“I can come nearer to you, but you must draw me by a purified heart and a gradually developing will.” 
In the first paragraph of “Light on the Path”, the student reads this warning:
“Before the eyes can see, they must be incapable of tears. Before the ear can hear, it must have lost its sensitiveness. Before the voice can speak in the presence of the Masters it must have lost the power to wound. Before the soul can stand in the presence of the Masters its feet must be washed in the blood of the heart.” 
Suffering due to the surprising strength of his own ignorance, which perhaps only now he fully understands, the student perseveres in the right action independently from any hope in external circumstances. Thus he gets to live in closer unity with the deeper substance of his own inner being, which is not “his”, but universal. And the very ignorance slowly starts to dissolve in the air, as it is destroyed by the fire of probation, on one hand, and on the other by the good karma of right action.
 “The Yoga Aphorisms of Patanjali”, an interpretation by William Judge, Theosophy Co., Los Angeles, Book I, Aphorism 7.
 “The Mahatma Letters”, TUP, Pasadena, Letter XLV, pp. 267-268
 “The Key to Theosophy”, Theosophy Co., Los Angeles, see p. 299.
 “Light on the Path”, M.C., Theosophy Co., Mumbai, India, Commentary to Part I, Aphorism I, p. 15.
 “The Mahatma Letters”, TUP, pp. 264-265
 “The Mahatma Letters”, TUP, p. 266.
 “Light on the Path”, M. C., Theosophy Co., Mumbai, India, p. 01.
The first version of the above article was published with no indication as to the name of the author at the June 2012 edition of “The Aquarian Theosophist”. It had the title “Seven Meditational Questions”.
In September 2016, after a careful analysis of the state of the esoteric movement worldwide, a group of students decided to form the Independent Lodge of Theosophists, whose priorities include the building of a better future in the different dimensions of life.