From H. Blavatsky Theosophical Articles , Vol. It becomes necessary, therefore, to state once for all It is easy to become a Theosophist. Any person of average intellectual capacities, and a leaning toward the meta-physical; of pure, unselfish life, who finds more joy in helping his neighbour than in receiving help himself; one who is ever ready to sacrifice his own pleasures for the sake of other people; and who loves Truth, Goodness and Wisdom for their own sake, not for the benefit they may confer--is a Theosophist. But it is quite another matter to put oneself upon the path which leads to the knowledge of what is good to do, as to the right discrimination of good from evil; a path which also leads a man to that power through which he can do the good he desires, often without even apparently lifting a finger.
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From H. Blavatsky Theosophical Articles , Vol. It becomes necessary, therefore, to state once for all It is easy to become a Theosophist. Any person of average intellectual capacities, and a leaning toward the meta-physical; of pure, unselfish life, who finds more joy in helping his neighbour than in receiving help himself; one who is ever ready to sacrifice his own pleasures for the sake of other people; and who loves Truth, Goodness and Wisdom for their own sake, not for the benefit they may confer--is a Theosophist.
But it is quite another matter to put oneself upon the path which leads to the knowledge of what is good to do, as to the right discrimination of good from evil; a path which also leads a man to that power through which he can do the good he desires, often without even apparently lifting a finger. Moreover, there is one important fact with which the student should be made acquainted.
Namely, the enormous, almost limitless, responsibility assumed by the teacher for the sake of the pupil. From the Gurus of the East who teach openly or secretly, down to the few Kabalists in Western lands who undertake to teach the rudiments of the Sacred Science to their disciples--those western Hierophants being often themselves ignorant of the danger they incur--one and all of these "Teachers" are subject to the same inviolable law.
From the moment they begin really to teach, from the instant they confer any power--whether psychic, mental or physical--on their pupils, they take upon themselves all the sins of that pupil, in connection with the Occult Sciences, whether of omission or commission, until the moment when initiation makes the pupil a Master and responsible in his turn.
There is a weird and mystic religious law, greatly reverenced and acted upon in the Greek, half-forgotten in the Roman Catholic, and absolutely extinct in the Protestant Church. It dates from the earliest days of Christianity and has its basis in the law just stated, of which it was a symbol and an expression. This is the dogma of the absolute sacredness of the relation between the god-parents who stand sponsors for a child. So holy is the connection thus formed deemed in the Greek Church, that a marriage between god-parents of the same child is regarded as the worst kind of incest, is considered illegal and is dissolved by law; and this absolute prohibition extends even to the children of one of the sponsors as regards those of the other.
Thus it is clear why the "Teachers" are so reticent, and why "Chelas" are required to serve a seven years probation to prove their fitness, and develop the qualities necessary to the security of both Master and pupil. Occultism is not magic. It is comparatively easy to learn the trick of spells and the methods of using the subtler, but still material, forces of physical nature; the powers of the animal soul in man are soon awakened; the forces which his love, his hate, his passion, can call into operation, are readily developed.
But this is Black Magic-- Sorcery. For it is the motive, and the motive alone , which makes any exercise of power become black, malignant, or white, beneficent Magic. It is impossible to employ spiritual forces if there is the slightest tinge of selfishness remaining in the operator. For, unless the intention is entirely unalloyed, the spiritual will transform itself into the psychic, act on the astral plane, and dire results may be produced by it.
The powers and forces of animal nature can equally be used by the selfish and revengeful, as by the unselfish and the all-forgiving; the powers and forces of spirit lend themselves only to the perfectly pure in heart--and this is DIVINE MAGIC. What are then the conditions required to become a student of the "Divine Sapientia"?
No bird can fly unless its wings are grown, and it has space before it and courage to trust itself to the air. A man who will wield a two edged sword, must be a thorough master of the blunt weapon, if he would not injure himself--or what is worse--others, at the first attempt. To give an approximate idea of the conditions under which alone the study of Divine Wisdom can be pursued with safety, that is without danger that Divine will give place to Black Magic, a page is given from the "private rules," with which every instructor in the East is furnished.
The few passages which follow are chosen from a great number and explained in brackets. The place selected for receiving instruction must be a spot calculated not to distract the mind, and filled with "influence-evolving" magnetic objects. The five sacred colours gathered in a circle must be there among other things. The place must be free from any malignant influences hanging about in the air. The five "sacred colours" are the prismatic hues arranged in a certain way, as these colours are very magnetic.
By "malignant influences" are meant any disturbances through strife, quarrels, bad feelings, etc. Before the disciple shall be permitted to study "face to face," he has to acquire preliminary understanding in a select company of other lay upasaka disciples , the number of whom must be odd.
It is then only that each receives his due of information, according to the use he has made of his knowledge. This can happen only toward the end of the cycle of instruction. Before thou the teacher shalt impart to thy Lanoo disciple the good holy words of LAMRIN, or shall permit him "to make ready" for Dubjed , thou shalt take care that his mind is thoroughly purified and at peace with all, especially with his other Selves. Other wise the words of Wisdom and of the good Law, shall scatter and be picked up by the winds.
The "other selves. Unless the greatest harmony reigns among the learners, no success is possible. It is the teacher who makes the selections according to the magnetic and electric natures of the students, bringing together and adjusting most carefully the positive and the negative elements. The upasaka while studying must take care to be united as the fingers on one hand. Thou shalt impress upon their minds that whatever hurts one should hurt the others, and if the rejoicing of one finds no echo in the breasts of the others, then the required conditions are absent, and it is useless to proceed.
It is known that chelas otherwise promising and fit for the reception of truth, had to wait for years on account of their temper and the impossibility they felt to put themselves in tune with their companions.
The co-disciples must be tuned by the guru as the strings of a lute vina , each different from the others, yet each emitting sounds in harmony with all. Collectively they must form a key-board answering in all its parts to thy lightest touch the touch of the Master.
Thus their minds shall open for the harmonies of Wisdom, to vibrate as knowledge through each and all, resulting in effects pleasing to the presiding gods tutelary or patron-angels and useful to the Lanoo.
So shall Wisdom be impressed forever on their hearts and the harmony of the law shall never be broken. Those who desire to acquire the knowledge leading to the Siddhis occult powers have to renounce all the vanities of life and of the world here follows enumeration of the Siddhis.
None can feel the difference between himself and his fellow-students, such as "I am the wisest," "I am more holy and pleasing to the teacher, or in my community, than my brother," etc. His thoughts must be predominantly fixed upon his heart, chasing therefrom every hostile thought to any living being.
It the heart must be full of the feeling of its non-separateness from the rest of beings as from all in Nature; otherwise no success can follow. A Lanoo disciple has to dread external living influence alone magnetic emanations from living creatures.
For this reason while at one with all, in his inner nature , he must take care to separate his outer external body from every foreign influence: none must drink out of, or eat in his cup but himself. He must avoid bodily contact i. A disciple has to live, so to say, in his own atmosphere in order to individualize it for occult purposes. The mind must remain blunt to all but the universal truths in nature, lest the "Doctrine of the Heart" should become only the "Doctrine of the Eye," i.
No animal food of whatever kind, nothing that has life in it, should be taken by the disciple. No wine, no spirits, or opium should be used: for these are like the Lhamayin evil spirits , who fasten upon the unwary, they devour the understanding. Meditation, abstinence in all, the observation of moral duties, gentle thoughts, good deeds and kind words, as good will to all and entire oblivion of Self, are the most efficacious means of obtaining knowledge and preparing for the reception of higher wisdom.
These twelve extracts are taken from amongst some seventy-three rules, to enumerate which would be useless, as they would be meaningless in Europe. But even these few are enough to show the immensity of the difficulties which beset the path of the would-be "Upasaka," who has been born and bred in Western lands. Be it remembered that all "Chelas," even lay disciples, are called Upasaka until after their first initiation, when they become lanoo-Upasaka. To that day, even those who belong to Lamaseries and are set apart, are considered as "laymen.
All Western, and especially English, education is instinct with the principle of emulation and strife; each boy is urged to learn more quickly, to outstrip his companions, and to surpass them in every possible way. What is mis-called "friendly rivalry" is assiduously cultivated, and the same spirit is fostered and strengthened in every detail of life. With such ideas "educated into" him from his childhood, how can a Westerner bring himself to feel towards his co-students "as the fingers on one hand"?
Those co-students, too, are not of his own selection , or chosen by himself from personal sympathy and appreciation. They are chosen by his teacher on far other grounds, and he who would be a student must first be strong enough to kill out in his heart all feelings of dislike and antipathy to others. How many Westerners are ready even to attempt this in earnest? And then the details of daily life, the command not to touch even the hand of one's nearest and dearest.
How contrary to Western notions of affection and good feeling! How cold and hard it seems. Egotistical too, people would say, to abstain from giving pleasure to others for the sake of one's own development. Well, let those who think so defer, till another lifetime, the attempt to enter the path in real earnest. But let them not glory in their own fancied unselfishness.
For, in reality, it is only the seeming appearances which they allow to deceive them, the conventional notions, based on emotionalism and gush, or so-called courtesy, things of the unreal life, not the dictates of Truth. But even putting aside these difficulties, which may be considered "external," though their importance is none the less great, how are students in the West to "attune themselves" to harmony as here required of them?
So strong has personality grown in Europe and America, that there is no school of artists even whose members do not hate and are not jealous of each other. In the East the spirit of "non-separateness" is inculcated as steadily from childhood up, as in the West the spirit of rivalry. Personal ambition, personal feelings and desires, are not encouraged to grow so rampant there. When the soil is naturally good, it is cultivated in the right way, and the child grows into a man in whom the habit of subordination of one's lower to one's higher Self is strong and powerful.
In the West men think that their own likes and dislikes of other men and things are guiding principles for them to act upon, even when they do not make of them the law of their lives and seek to impose them upon others. Let those who complain that they have learned little in the Theosophical Society lay to heart the words written in an article in the Path for last February: "The key in each degree is the aspirant himself.
The best logical reason for it is the fact that even in common daily life, parents, nurses, tutors and instructors are generally held responsible for the habits and future ethics of a child. The little unfortunate wretch who is trained by his parents to pick pockets in the streets is not responsible for the sin, but the effects of it fall heavily on those who have impressed on his mind that it was the right thing to do. Let us hope that the Western Mind, although being steeped in Individualism," has not become so dulled thereby as not to perceive that there would be neither logic nor justice were it otherwise.
And if the moulders of the plastic mind of the yet unreasoning child must be held responsible, in this world of effects, for his sins of omission and commission during his childhood and for the effects produced by their early training in after life, how much more the "Spiritual Guru"? The latter taking the student by the hand leads him into, and introduces him to a world entirely unknown to the pupil.
Once acquainted with this no adept can any longer plead ignorance in the event of even an action, good and meritorious in its motive , producing evil as its result; since acquaintance with this mysterious realm gives the means to the Occultist of foreseeing the two paths opening before every premeditated as unpremeditated action, and thus puts him in a position to know with certainty what will be the results in one or the other case.
So long, then, as the pupil acts upon this principle, but is too ignorant to be sure of his vision and powers of discrimination, is it not natural that it is the guide who should be responsible for the sins of him whom he has led into those dangerous regions? I think, after reading the conditions necessary for Occult study given in the April number of LUCIFER, that it would be as well for the readers of this magazine to give up all hopes of becoming Occultists.
In Britain, except inside a monastery, I hardly think it possible that such conditions could ever be realised. In my future capacity of medical doctor if the gods are so benign the eighth condition would be quite exclusive; this is most unfortunate, as it seems to me that the study of Occultism is peculiarly essential for a successful practice of the medical profession.
By "successful practice" I mean, successful to everybody concerned. IS it possible to study Occultism in Britain? Before concluding, I feel compelled to inform you that, I admire your magazine as a scientific production, and that I really and truly classify it along with the "Imitation of Christ" among my text books of religion. One may study with profit the Occult Sciences without rushing into the higher Occultism. In the case of our correspondent especially, and in his future capacity of medical doctor, "the Occult knowledge of simples and minerals, and the curative powers of certain things in Nature," is far more important and useful than metaphysical and psychological Occultism or Theophany.
And this he can do better by studying and trying to understand Paracelsus and the two Van Helmonts, than by assimilating Patanjali and the methods of Taraka Raja Yoga.
A cofounder in of the Theosophical Society and its principal catalyst and intellectual force, Helena Blavatsky has had perhaps a greater influence than any other single person on modern occultism and alternative spirituality. Born Helena de Hahn of an aristocratic Russian family, she married Nikofor Blavatsky in but soon left him to travel widely. While the details of her wandering years are not entirely clear, it is evident that she augmented natural psychic and spiritualist interests with much esoteric lore. In Blavatsky came to New York, where she met Henry Steel Olcott, who became the first president of the Theosophical Society upon its establishment in the following year as a vehicle for the study of arcane wisdom and the promotion of human brotherhood. In Blavatsky published her first book Isis Unveiled.
The Article That HPB Didn’t Write
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