Wednesday, 26 November 2014

Musings on the True Theosophist's Path, Part I - William Q. Judge

Here's one that has become something of a classic, although perhaps not as popular as it might be, because it aims to tell the truth about the difficult realities of the path in a frank, uncompromising way. Inspired by the great spiritual classic, Light on the Path, Mabel Collins:

"The way of inward peace is in all things to conform to the pleasure and disposition of the Divine Will. Such as would have all things succeed and come to pass according to their own fancy, are not come to know this way; and therefore lead a harsh and bitter life; always restless and out of humor, without treading the way of peace."

Know then, oh Man, that he who seeks the hidden way, can only find it through the door of life. In the hearts of all, at some time, there arises the desire for knowledge. He who thinks his desire will be fulfilled, as the little bird in the nest, who has only to open his mouth to be fed; will very truly be disappointed.

In all nature we can find no instance where effort of some kind is not required. We find there is a natural result from such effort. He who would live the life or find wisdom can only do so by continued effort. If one becomes a student, and learns to look partially within the veil, or has found within his own being something that is greater than his outer self, it gives no authority for one to sit down in idleness or fence himself in from contact with the world. Because one sees the gleam of the light ahead he cannot say to his fellow "I am holier than thou" or draw the mantle of seclusion around himself.

The soul develops like the flower, in God's sunlight, and unconsciously to the soil in which it grows. Shut out the light and the soil grows damp and sterile, the flower withers or grows pale and sickly. Each and every one is here for a good and wise reason. If we find partially the why we are here, then is there the more reason that we should by intelligent contact with life, seek in it the further elucidation of the problem. It is not the study of ourselves so much, as the thought for others that opens this door. The events of life and their causes lead to knowledge. They must be studied when they are manifested in daily life.

There is no idleness for the Mystic. He finds his daily life among the roughest and hardest of the labors and trials of the world perhaps, but goes his way with smiling face and joyful heart, nor grows too sensitive for association with his fellows, nor so extremely spiritual as to forget that some other body is perhaps hungering for food.

It was said by one who pretended to teach the mysteries, "It is needful that I have a pleasant location and beautiful surroundings." He who is a true Theosophist will wait for nothing of the sort, either before teaching; or what is first needful, learning. It would perhaps, be agreeable, but if the Divine Inspiration comes only under those conditions, then indeed is the Divine afar from the most of us. He only can be a factor for good or teach how to approach the way, who forgetting his own surroundings, strives to beautify and illumine those of others. The effort must be for the good of others, not the gratifying of our own senses, or love for the agreeable or pleasant.
Giving thought to self will most truly prevent and overthrow your aims and objects, particularly when directed toward the occult.

Again there arises the thought "I am a student, a holder of a portion of the mystic lore." Insidiously there steals in the thought "Behold I am a little more than other men, who have not penetrated so far." Know then, oh man, that you are not as great even as they. He who thinks he is wise is the most ignorant of men, and he who begins to believe he is wise is in greater danger than any other man who lives.

You think, oh man, that because you have obtained a portion of occult knowledge, that it entitles you to withdraw from contact with the rest of mankind. It is not so. If you have obtained true knowledge it forces you to meet all men not only half way, but more than that to seek them. It urges you not to retire but, seeking contact, to plunge into the misery and sorrow of the world, and with your cheering word, if you have no more (the Mystic has little else) strive to lighten the burden for some struggling soul.

You dream of fame. We know no such thing as fame. He who seeks the upward path finds that all is truth; that evil is the good gone astray. Why should we ask for fame? It is only the commendation of those we strive to help.

Desire neither notice, fame nor wealth. Unknown you are in retirement. Being fameless you are undisturbed in your seclusion, and can walk the broad face of the earth fulfilling your duty, as commanded, unrecognized.

If the duty grows hard, or you faint by the way, be not discouraged, fearful or weary of the world. Remember that "Thou may'st look for silence in tumult, solitude in company, light in darkness, forgetfulness in pressures, vigor in despondency, courage in fear, resistance in temptation, peace in war, and quiet in tribulation."

The Path, Aug 1886 pp. 155-156
It opens with a quote from Miguel de Molinos - here's a full version-
The Spiritual Guide which Disentangles the Soul Miguel de Molinos The PREFACE. Fourth Advertisement. The Burden of this Book consisting in rooting out the Rebellion of our own Will, that we may attain to internal Peace. 29. The way of inward Peace, is in all things to be conform to the pleasure and disposition of the Divine Will. (Hugo Cardinalisin Pf.13.) In omnibus debemus subjicere volis tatem nostram voluntatis divine hæc est enim pax voluntati nostra ut sit per omnia confirmis voluntati divine. Such as would have all things succeed and come to pass according to their own fancy, are not come to know this way, Viam pacis non cognos verunt, and therefore lead a harsh and bitter life, always restless and out of humour without treading the way of Peace, which consists in a total conformity to the will of God. 30. This conformity is the sweet yoke that introduces us into the regions of internal Peace and serenity. Hence we may know, that the rebellion of our Will is the chief occasion of our disquiet; and that because we will not submit to the sweet yoke of the Divine Will, we suffer so many streights and perturbations. O Soul! if we submitted our own to the Divine Will, and to all his Disposition, what tranquility should we feel! what sweet peace! what inward serenity! what supreme felicity and earnest of bliss!. This then is to be the burden of this Book: May it please God to give me his Divine Light, for discovering the secret Paths of this Inward Way, and chief Felicity of perfect Peace.

Part 2

Monday, 17 November 2014

What is the "Daily Initiation"?

Here's a short text that, that, I think, embodies a philosophy of daily life,  a kind of mindfullness:

"It is supposed by some that initiation is always and in every case a set and solemn occasion for which the candidate is prepared and notified in advance. While there are some initiations surrounded by such solemnities as these, the daily one, without success in which no aspirant will  ever have the chance to try for those that are higher, comes to the disciple with almost each moment. It is met in our relations with our fellows, and in the effects upon us of all the circumstances of life. And if we fail in these, we never get to the point where greater ones are offered. If we cannot bear momentary defeat, or if a chance word that strikes our self-love finds us unprepared, or if we give way to the desire to harshly judge others, or if we remain in ignorance of some of our most apparent faults, we do not build up that knowledge and strength imperatively demanded from whoever is to be master of nature.

It is in the life of every one to have a moment of choice, but that moment is not set for any particular day. It is the sum total of all days; and it may be put off until the day of death, and then it is beyond our power, for the choice has been fixed by all the acts and thoughts of our lifetime. We are self-doomed at that hour to just the sort of life, body, environment, and tendencies which will best carry out our karma. This is a thing solemn enough, and one that makes the "daily initiation" of the very greatest importance to each earnest student. But all of this has been said before, and it is a pity that students persist in ignoring the good advice they receive.

Do you think that if a Master accepted you He would put you to some strange test? No, He would not, but simply permitting the small events of your life to have their course, the result would determine your standing. It may be a child's school, but it takes a man to go through it."

The Path, Sept. 1889, pp. 187-88, Hadji Erinn (William Q. Judge)

Since this is a 19th century text, 'man' can be considered gender neutral.

Part 2 

Wednesday, 12 November 2014

Links of Interest 2 - Theosophy & Rosetta Comet Mission

Rosetta comet mission copacetic with esoteric cosmology:

In H.P. Blavatsky's Secret Doctrine (1888), there are ideas about the cosmological role of comets that are intriguingly similar to today's theories:

"(II.) “That it does not regard the Comets as involved in that particular evolution which has produced the solar system.” (Esoteric doctrine does.) (It does, because it, too, recognises the comets as forms of cosmic existence co-ordinated with earlier stages of nebular evolution; and it actually assigns to them chiefly the formation of all worlds.)" SD I, 599

Similar modern theories can be found voiced in the article below:

Recent discoveries have human life up to 1 million years ago:

A very clever multi-media experiment based on Kepler's Harmonice Mundi:

Saturday, 8 November 2014

Blavatsky on Sufism / Sufi Wisdom

Suffism (Gr.). From the root of Sophia, “Wisdom ”. A mystical sect in Persia something like the Vedantins; though very strong in numbers, none but very intelligent men join it. They claim, and very justly, the possession of the esoteric philosophy and doctrine of true Mohammedanism. The Suffi (or Sofi) doctrine is a good deal in touch with Theosophy, inasmuch as it preaches one universal creed, and outward respect and tolerance for every popular exoteric faith. It is also in touch with Masonry. The Suffis have four degrees and four stages of initiation:1st, probationary, with a strict outward observance of Mussulman rites, the hidden meaning of each ceremony and dogma being explained to the candidate; 2nd, metaphysical training; 3rd, the “Wisdom” degree, when the candidate is initiated into the innermost nature of things; and 4th final Truth, when the Adept attains divine powers, and complete union with the One Universal Deity in ecstacy or Samâdhi. (Theosophical Glossary, p. 311)

Plato states that the mystic Magian religion, known under the name of Machagistia, is the most uncorrupted form of worship in things divine. Later, the Mysteries of the Chaldean sanctuaries were added to it by one of the Zoroasters and Darius Hystaspes. The latter completed and perfected it still more with the help of the knowledge obtained by him from the learned ascetics of India, whose rites were identical with those of the initiated Magi.
Ammian, in his history of Julian's Persian expedition, gives the story by stating that one day Hystaspes, as he was boldly penetrating into the unknown regions of Upper India, had come upon a certain wooded solitude, the tranquil recesses of which were "occupied by those exalted sages, the Brachmanes (or Shamans). Instructed by their teaching in the science of the motions of the world and of the heavenly bodies, and in pure religious rites . . . he transfused them into the creed of the Magi. The latter, coupling these doctrines with their own peculiar science of foretelling the future, have handed down the whole through their descendants to succeeding ages."***
It is from these descendants that the Sufis, chiefly composed of Persians and Syrians, acquired their proficient knowledge in astrology, medicine, and the esoteric doctrine of the ages. "The Sufi doctrine," says C. W. King, "involved the grand idea of one universal creed which could be secretly held under any profession of an outward faith; and, in fact, took virtually the same view of religious systems as that in which the ancient philosophers had regarded such matters."**** The mysterious Druzes of Mount Lebanon are the descendants of all these.
Solitary Copts, earnest students scattered hither and thither throughout the sandy solitudes of Egypt, Arabia, Petraea, Palestine, and the impenetrable forests of Abyssinia, though rarely met with, may sometimes be seen. Many and various are the nationalities to which belong the disciples of that mysterious school, and many the side-shoots of that one primitive stock. The secresy preserved by these sub-lodges, as well as by the one and supreme great lodge, has ever been proportionate to the activity of religious persecutions; and now, in the face of the growing materialism, their very existence is becoming a mystery. (Isis Unveiled 2, p. 307)

Wednesday, 5 November 2014

Blavatsky & the Vivekachudamani / Crown Jewel of Discrimination, Sankara

Blavatsky herself noticed Mohini Chatterji's pioneering 1886 translation in her Secret Doctrine, in the section "On the Elements and Atoms". She gives some admirably subtle metaphysical interpretations of some passages and makes a rather intricate comparison with a passage from the Gospel of John:

”The monad — a truly “indivisible thing,” as defined by Good, who did not give it the sense we now do — is here rendered as the Atma in conjunction with Buddhi and the higher Manas. This trinity is one and eternal, the latter being absorbed in the former at the termination of all conditioned and illusive life. The monad, then, can be traced through the course of its pilgrimage and its changes of transitory vehicles only from the incipient stage of the manifested Universe. In Pralaya, or the intermediate period between two manvantaras, it loses its name, as it loses it when the real one self of man merges into Brahm in cases of high Samadhi (the Turiya state) or final Nirvana; “when the disciple” in the words of Sankara, “having attained that primeval consciousness, absolute bliss, of which the nature is truth, which is without form and action, abandons this illusive body that has been assumed by the atma just as an actor (abandons) the dress (put on).” For Buddhi (the Anandamaya sheath) is but a mirror which reflects absolute bliss; and, moreover, that reflection itself is yet not free from ignorance, and is not the Supreme Spirit, being subject to conditions, being a spiritual modification of Prakriti, and an effect; Atma alone is the one real and eternal substratum of all — the essence and absolute knowledge — the Kshetragna.† It is called in the Esoteric philosophy “the One Witness,”and, while it rests in Devachan, is referred to as “the Three Witnesses to Karma.”(SD1, XI, p. 570)

The Fourfold prerequisites of the Vivekachudamani were important concepts in early Theosophy :

Qualifications for Chelaship, Theosophist, September, 1884:

Atmanatma-Viveka, “Discrimination of Spirit and Not-Spirit”, Translated by Mohini M. Chatterji

Even Krishnamurti's At the Feet of the Master is based on these notions.

PS. The section "On the Elements and Atoms" can be considered one of the more essential sections, and a good place to start reading the Secret Doctrine.