Theosophy - Thyself both Heaven and Hell by E.L.Gardner
BOTH HEAVEN AND HELL
the many and the ONE
The Elemental Kingdoms
Elemental, Devas and Man
The Beginnings and Cult of God-Making
The Worship of God-Elementals
The Keys of Heaven
The Ritual Sword
Sacred and Secular
The words 'above
and below' are often used when their real meaning would be better express by
their occult synonyms 'within and without'. For many, however, a heaven above
and its reverse beneath are still familiar concepts. Yet, long ago, an ancient
script put the real situation in a nutshell:
I sent my Soul through
the Invisible, Some letter of that After-life to spell And after many days my
Soul return'd And said, "Behold, Myself am Heav'n and Hell":
The Rubaiyat of
During the present
cycle the great majority of us are living in a 'within' and a 'without' world-
the mental and the physical: in both together while consciously awake, but in
sleep we withdraw from the objective world 'without' to a subjective world 'within'.
In the constitution
of living forms the contacts with an above and a below are readily traceable.
in all the kingdoms the atmosphere above and the earth beneath are necessary
sources of nourishment. a subtler example of an inner and an outer contact is
furnished by one of the simplest of animal forms, the amoeba. This minute creature
has a body of protoplasm that gathers food from the water around, and a nucleus
possessing a tiny portal through which a force wells up (from some inner source)
vitalizing and enriching the whole.
In the human constitution
of monad-ego-personality (spirit-soul-body) there are corresponding inner and
outer contacts. The lower self or personality gathers nourishment and experience
from the outer environment while the ego, the higher self, contacts the monad
'within'. It is this inner link- a ray from the monad through mind to brain-
that eludes analysis, yet it functions and is the very hall-mark of the human
kingdom. That ray from the monad may ultimately channel a force of incalculable
power. At present the portal into the higher mind allows but the 'finest thread'
to pass. Nevertheless, man has contact, if he will, with the One Universal Deity.
The One Deity is
described in the Stanzas of Dzyan as "Ceaseless Eternal Breath which knows itself
not'. This somewhat enigmatic statement may be very simply illustrated. Let
the 'Breath", the One Life of the Boundless Universe, be represented by our
alphabet of letters- only twenty-six characters, but an unlimited number of
them. The alphabet contains the seed of every line of prose and poetry that
has ever been or can be composed in our language. The alphabet itself 'knows
it not- M and n (as so very apt)- and join them with the first vowel A. Let
us endow the unit with freedom and intelligence, and it can arrange the letters
in any and every combination possible with the twenty-six characters. This is
the law. The 'unit' of freedom and mobility within the universe is.
Man, whose intelligence
makes him the one free agent in Nature. (Mahatma Letters page 57)
The One Universal
Deity, the great Unconscious, becomes conscious and self-conscious in man.
Three elemental kingdoms
precede the mineral. They are of a finer subtler nature and their life is on
the outgoing involutionary arc of 'descent'. They are however intimately related
to the human kingdom, for the mind- man's actual medium for thought and emotion-
is of their very substance. Thus the vigorous elemental life of these three
kingdoms is at the service of humanity though with a driving urge in an opposite
As access to spiritual
heights of experience is possible only by control and a measure of mastery of
the mind, the situation is aptly illustrated by being faced with the task of
mounting a descending escalator. It can be done of course, given sufficient
incentive, even to mutual advantage, for treading on the stars tends to help
their downward movement; but the opposing interests create difficulties in plenty.
Here we have at once
in these opposing interest a perfectly natural explanation of the feeling occasionally
of being tempted, of being lured to act below one's normal standard. Although
merely the craving of the elemental life for coarser lower contacts, a felling
of 'guilt' is often induced. It is this that has been fostered in the monstrous
dogma of 'Original Sin'- ' a dreadful crime' wrote H.P.Blavatsky., 'for it makes
a deliberate appeal to man's fear'.
Devas and Man
All the forms of
Nature's kingdoms, in their infinite variety, are built by rupa devas. Centres
of force is the best descriptive term for devas [ Literally
'shining ones', anglice angels. The Life-force of Nature ] because
their rupas (bodies) are really composed of the material that becomes 'fixed'
around the 'centres'- much as iron-filings are shaped around a magnet in
flowing curves and patterns. The 'bodies' of the rupa devas appear to us
as the grasses, plants, flowers, trees, etc., of the vegetable kingdom.
The building of all plant-forms by devas is thus from a centre to periphery-
from within outwards- and, for as long as they last, the plant forms are
the physical bodies of devas.
Other ranks of devas-
all centres of force- are humanity's close companions. They use the 2nd and
3rd elemental kingdoms and share our feelings and emotions. Although, strictly
speaking, they are under our mental control, their presence and activity is
unknown and we occasionally suffer accordingly. They tend to stimulate, enhance
and strengthen emotional vibrations. Being amoral and having no limits themselves,
the feelings, if uncontrolled, may be raised to extremes. Hence the hysterics
of an individual, the frenzy of a crowd under the lash of a mob orator, a burst
of cruelty or an ecstatic sacrifice. We learn from experience.
Our own human mode
of creating and building forms- such as tools machines, houses, ships, etc.,-
is also from 'within outwards', for every new creation begins in the mind. Before
the first word of a letter can be written, for example, ti must be shaped in
the mind and then only can it be clothed in ink. An intuitive concept, say,
in art or science, is conceived. A ray of light, focused by the higher mind,
flashes the concept into shape in the three-dimensional lower mind. It may then
with the help of hands and tools be born physically.
Man is the one and
only creator of new forms, and much that he creates attracts instantly the interest
of the mental rupa devas because, if well-defined, it will also be reflected
in the mental 'atmosphere'- as in a mirror. Apart therefore from any physical
expression that the artist or inventor may produce, the mental automatic projection
may be seized by the elemental life and endowed with a life of its own in the
The creative facility
of the human mind, and what happens to through-forms was described by A.P.Sinnett
long ago in the The Occult World:-
Every thought of
man, upon being evolved, passes into the inner world and becomes an active
entity by associating itself - coalescing, we might term it - with an elemental.
It survives as an active intelligence - a creature of the mind's begetting
- for a longer or shorter period proportional with the original intensity
of the cerebral action which generated it. Thus a good thought is perpetuated
as an active beneficent power and an evil one as a maleficent demon.
Man, the Thinker,
is the creator of mental forms- for long unknowingly, The mental plane, the
psyche, is however, nowadays becoming more and more widely and intimately known.
The following, for example, well illustrates this growing familiarity; it is
a perceptive descriptive given by Dr. Hugh Shearman in The Theosophist;-
of experience in the Theosophical Society has on a number of occasions been
approached by people claiming guidance from exalted personages who are obviously
merely the mental creation of the guided persons. Such synthetic 'Masters' are
always exuberant in their approval of the persons who proclaim them or of the
under-takings of those persons. They smile their assent; benignly they nod their
heads and break into portly and long-winded eloquence. All the responsibilities
of the world may be upon them, but they are never in a hurry, never have something
else on hand, when there is occasion to express approval of the opinions or
projects of their devoted followers. Yet there are some who know that when they
experience the truest kind of higher guidance brevity to the point of curtness
is often one of the its characteristics. (January, 1964)
Although there may
be exceptions, most of these 'advisers' are certainly, as is implied, self-created
and self-instructed. It seems clear therefore that a thought-form, if well built,
can be externalized and appear to be an independent and separate entity. This
indeed is frequently met in psychiatry.
The ease and ability
of the mind to create and project thought-forms is becoming well known and it
seems likely to be the solution of a problem agitating many people today, namely,
the existence of a 'God' as worshipped by the Christian churches. The Modern
Churchmen's Union issued a pamphlet some years ago describing the popular notion
of 'God' as 'an Old Man above the sky' and recently a bishop suggested that
he should at least be brought down to earth.
One the same question,
the following was written in 1925:
People who are not
of a philosophical turn of mind and do not care to analyse too deeply the fundamentals
of the universe, readily accept all that religious dogmas tell them as to a
Creator. These swiftly follows the personification of God in some human image...Then
priest arise and dominate the minds of the faithful.
A belief in a personal
God has brought to mankind the most wonderful of inspirations towards noble
conduct and, when that belief is rightly understood and lived, nothing but good
could come to humanity.
with the idea of a personal God, there comes inevitably the idea of mediators
who often are priests who must perform Sacraments without which no man is considered
capable of coming near to Divinity.
Slowly the man begins
to rely on someone or something outside of himself.
(The Golden Book
of the Theosophical Society)
That 'the idea of
God is not innate but is an acquired notion' was stated in The Mahatma Letters
to A.P.Sinnett more than eighty years ago(1964). In the correspondence between
the Mahatmas and Sinnett the latter raised this question of 'GOD' more than
once - and in Letter No. XXII the following answer was given by the Master
I repeat again
that the best Adepts have searched the Universe during millennia and have
found nowhere the slightest trace of such a Machiavellian Schemer - but
the same immutable, inexorable law.
and in The Secret
Doctrine is the following:
It is not the Ever-Present-God-
the Divine Plenum- that is rejected, but the humanized God of religious dogma
which man has shaped from his own brain fabric and foisted on his fellows as
a divine revelation. I. 75)
by a Master and by H.P. Blavatsky are probably sufficient for many students
to dispose of all concepts of localized, personal gods. But the conception of
a God- and/or three personal Gods- is so widespread that the question remains:
how did these concepts arise at all and why do they continue in force to the
present day? If they be really mind and brain thought -form projections they
must originate in the human mind and need an explanation of their origin and
Beginnings and Cult of God-Making
In the view of primitive
man there was much that happened which was beyond understanding- good and bad-
sun, rain, drought, flood. Someone, somebody, invisible, unknown, wielded power
that troubled him. A Being, greater than himself, a Man of might is pictured.
And primitive man still had a measure of psychic vision. The earth can be fertile
or barren, and the weather can be unaccountably capricious. What more natural
than to appeal to the unknown powers above or below for favours? It is still
a common enough practice today. Also it was found by experiment and experience,
probably at an early stage, that the burning of herbage and, later, a little
bloodshed, actually revealed the unknown powers- the gods!
Freshly spilled blood
seems to impart to them (elementals)...some of the faculties of life.' (Isis
'In certain rites
blood is necessary for, without its fumes, the ghosts could not make themselves
clearly visible.' (Ibid. II.569)
'Blood begets phantoms....Visible
bodies may be built....' (Ibid. II.567)
Such mind- begotten
elementals, if strengthened by repetitive thinking, acquire in themselves a
'desire to live'. Their cultivation meant the creation of personal and family
gods, household gods, tribal and national deities, - a probing of the unknown
through cycle on cycle. The many legends and stories relating to these numerous
gods, all dependent for their existence and welfare on their human creators,
may be read in the histories of earlier times. The reduction to one god, One
Almighty God, through a great advance, did nothing more. From the beginnings
of the Christian churches, it has been a super-human, external God that has
been created- a mind-begotten Elemental, strong and vigorous.
Some idea of the
extremes to which personal god-making and god-worship extended may be obtained
from Prescott's Conquest of Mexico. Human sacrifice on a large scale was the
yearly practice of the Incas, and this as late as the fourteenth century. This
wholesale blood-shedding appears to have been to honour and glory of the Lord
of the Sun and his celestial hosts.
One youth, selected
for his manliness and bearing, was lavishly treated with royal honours for a
year in preparation for his sacrifice at the Solstice. Then, the climax of the
occasion- his heart was offered to the Sun and his body given to a privileged
few to be eaten. Though in another continent, these extremes were in line with
earlier custom in Asia and Africa after a tribal was. The victorious chief '
absorbed' the brains of the vanquished leader.
On reading these
authentic records of the extremes to which this god-making superstition
its votaries, we shudder with revulsion. Yet the successful appeasement of
a God's 'holy wrath' is celebrated regularly in the churches of Christendom
True, the rite merely symbolizes the earlier practice, but is the eating of
the sacrificed hostage's body to absorb his merit and qualities, anything
than revolting.. [Modern
scholarship has shown quite clearly that the original account of the Last Supper
contained no reference to 'my body' nor to 'my blood': they are later interpolations.' ] Without
the tradition of centuries it would not of course be tolerated for a moment.
In the Mysteries
of Eleusis, long before the Christian era, the candidate for initiation was
offered wine and bread. They represented symbolically spirit and matter; and
he ate and drank in token that the divine spirit and wisdom of the higher self
was to take possession of the lower self, the personality.
Between this noble
rite, as old as symbolism, and its later anthropomorphic interpretation, now
known as transubstantiation, there is an abyss of ecclesiastical sophistry.
(The Roots of Ritualism. H.P.B.)
A striking example
of the creative power of the Mind is given in C.G. Jung's autobiography, Memories,
Dreams, Reflections. Here the creation is objective too, at least occasionally,
which means a spell of mental clairvoyance.
a force which was not myself. In my fantasies I held conversations with him,
and he said things which I had not consciously thought. It was he who taught
me psychic objectivity, the reality of psyche. Psychologically, Philemon represented
superior insight. He was a mysterious figure to me. At times he seemed to me
quite real as if he were a living personality. I went walking up and down the
garden with him, and to me he was what the Indians call a guru.
this time, when I was working on the fantasies, I need a point of support in
'this world', and I may say that my family and my professional work were that
to me. It was most essential for me to have a normal life in the real world
as a counterpoise to that strange inner world. My family and my profession remained
the base to which I could always return, assuring me that I was an actually
existing, ordinary person. (pp. 176-181.)
novelty and strangeness of this companionship, Jung kept his balance and feet
on the ground
Worship of God-Elementals
All the 'Gods' of
religious organizations must therefore be regarded as creations of the human
mind, if the foregoing description and explanations be accepted. The objective
reality of thought-forms is being abundantly evidenced though, fortunately,
they are very seldom seen.
The denial of the
existence of personal gods has often led to accusations of atheism. But
a denial of the Divine (a-theism) is not involved. The answer is clearly
given in The Key to Theosophy (page 43): 'We believe in a Universal Divine
Principle, the Root of All, from which all proceeds.' This is also called
The Divine Plenum within which it is well said 'We live and move and have
our being.' Between self-conscious man and THAT there is no insurmountable
barrier and no being greater than man- always remembering that the term
'Man' covers every development of human consciousness of the past, the present
and the future. When realized in its fullness, the clearing away of the
god-superstition results in a feeling of immense relief. And a mighty truth
takes its places. Man is free.
From the role of
a humble petitioner- pictured as a servile sinful suppliant for centuries- a
man may step into the strength and dignity of his own spiritual status, his
divine birthright. The condition of the world today after many centuries of
a God-Era in the West with all its religious contest and its wars, is sufficient
evidence of shortcomings. But the God-pictures lives on.
The creative power
of the mind, now becoming increasingly well known, was familiar knowledge
in earlier times. The Sanskrit terms Ichchha = Will and Kriya = Thought
are evidence of this. Linked to Shakti = Power the two functions of 'destroyer'
and 'creator' are defined. They can be very simply illustrated by an eraser
and a pencil point- the eraser removing the outgrown, outmoded, useless
and the pencil-point creating new forms. The will clears the way and controls
the flow of power, the mind creates forms in and through which power can
play. Kriyashakti is thus thought-power in action. It is but comparatively
recently that the mind's immense potency has been realized- in psychological
research and practice. The power may be exercised consciously and purposefully,
or almost wholly unconsciously, and the latter may be nearly as effective
though unseen and unknown.
The effect of thought-power
by a group under the direction of a competent leader, concentrated and focused
with intention, is likely to be dramatically real. A congregation of worshippers,
sincere in belief and devotion, who are led to the adoration of a 'GOD' as an
exterior being, will create the figure of a 'God' in their midst. The form,
thus built on the mental plane, is ensouled by the eager elemental essence,
throbbing with the emotional vibrations of the worshippers. The strength and
vitality of the God-Elemental, thus made, is the measure of the worshipper's
aspirations. The devas enhance the effects and a subtle vibratory return echo
flows back to the congregation. Every place of worship, be it a simple shrine
room. a temple, a cathedral, church or chapel, all have their God-Elementals-
some noble and resplendent, even majestically awe-inspiring, but all dependent
on the quality and strength of the devotees. The reactions of the God-Elemental,
periodically reinforced, are quite noticeable. An atmosphere of purity and even
of sanctity distinguishes many places of worship. But the Elemental, enthroned
on the altar, is ensouled and energized by the three grades of elemental essence
and the third, emotional, is very closely related to the the physical body.
This 'echo' on a lower octave is an experience that many will recall. It is
mentioned by C.W.Leadbeater in The Hidden Side of things:
Another cause is
less simple. It occurs not infrequently that certain groups of thought,
some wholly desirable, and some equally undesirable are closely linked together.
To take the first example which comes: it is well known that deep devotion
and a certain form of sensuality are frequently almost inextricably mingled.
The three grades
of elemental essence- of the first, second and third elemental kingdoms
- are active in the Elemental in the regions of the head, heart and loins
respectively. The correspondence with the 'Father', 'Son' and 'Holy Ghost'
has a significance which few can fail to perceive. In many places of worship
three separate God-Elementals are localized. Re-energized periodically,
the God-Elemental thrives and responds automatically and faithfully- and
acquires a 'desire to live' on its own. But if neglected and the place or
worship is unused for a while, the localized Elemental tends to face. H.P.B.
refers to this more than once:
You will remember
how in the time of Julian the Seers reported that they could see the gods,
but that they were decaying. Some were headless, some were flaccid, others
minus limbers, and all appearing weak. Reverence for these ideals was departing
and their astral pictures had begun to face. (Collected Writings of H.P.Blavatsky,
Volume 9, page 102)
The Master M. described
with forceful clarity the 'invisible results' that accompany faith in and worship
of 'Gods and other superstitions'. It is explained that though the faith and
beliefs may be sincere they are erroneous and the worshippers merely attract
numbers of undesirable entities who 'delight in personating gods'. (Mahatma
Letters No. 134).
It may perhaps reasonably
be claimed that the creation of God-Elementals by priests and worshippers has
some value. Jung states that his creation (Philemon) proved for him the objectivity
of the psyche (the mental plane). Also that his philosopher friend told him
of things he had not known. And this may well happen from the collective creation
of God-Elemental. The echoing return vibrations fill the building: some may
respond to the higher grade though themselves contributing something less.
The unconscious error
that is committed and which may justify the epithet' idolatry' as descriptive
of all such worship, is that the prayers and adoration are to the personal and
The Technique of
A description of
the human mind, given long ago by Patanjali, states that it is like a crystal
sphere capable of giving a three-dimensional image inside itself of external
objects. With such reflections in a ball of glass we are all familiar- and the
animal also possesses such a mind. But the animal responses to stimuli are governed
by what it receives. The sphere of the mental mirror constitutes merely the
Man has more- a higher
mind. This appears to be cone-shaped and it concentrates to a focused point
the light from within. This focused light can itself shape images in the sphere
of the lower-mind and can do so at lightning speed. (It may be noted how closely
this corresponds to the mechanism of the physical eye which appears to be a
miniature copy of the whole mind, in reverse.
It is by the play
of the focused light that the inspired artist 'sees' his picture in the mind,
the architect his ideal design etc., Such new concepts, arising from within,
tend to be modified and coloured by the mind and may prove to be beneficent
or harmful. The only creator of the new is man and also the only effective destroyer.
The latter function at the present time concerning thought-forms that are well
built, whether new or mirrored copies, are eagerly adapted on the mental plane
by the elemental life- as already described. Man is the one creator of such
forms and the only source of supply for the elementals. And the most efficient
results of creative thinking are the localized God-Elementals in 'places of
The teachings of
the founders of The Theosophical Society, as express in The Key to Theosophy,
Isis Unveiled, The Secret Doctrine and The Mahatma Letters, are all alike with
reference to the existence of a God or Gods- above and between Man and THE ONE
UNIVERSAL DEITY. All are creations of the human mind and projected to the without.
In a letter from the Master K.H. is a concise summary:
The God of the
theologians is simply an imaginary power....Our chief aim is to deliver
humanity of this nightmare, to teach men virtue for its own sake and walk
in life relying on himself instead of leaning on a theological crutch. (Mahatma
Letters, Page 53)
It may be that some
readers will protect that 'sincere and honest beliefs' should not be disturbed.
Yet the above was well understood and taught in the early years of the Society.
A proposed 'Object' in the year 1878 was to lift mankind 'out of degenerate
and idolatrous forms of worship'. Research in psychology alone will force the
situation in a generation or so. Pioneer work was the purpose of The Theosophical
One Universal Deity-
The God of Immutable Law (Secret Doctrine, v.70)
Throughout The Secret
Doctrine and the Letters from the Mahatmas a fundamental teaching is that there
is One God- and One only- namely, the boundless Universe, the Divine Plenum.
At the other extreme, farthest at first (in his physical body) from the ONE
is Man, the one free agent in nature- possessed of self-consciousness by virtue
of the limitations of finite forms, bodies. Another fundamental teaching is
that Man is a microcosmic copy of the macrocosm and therefore can contact GOD-
the One Deity. Inspired Sages and Poets have declared this truth repeatedly:
Speak to him thou
for he hears, and spirit with spirit can meet Closer is than breathing and nearer
than hands and feet- "God is law, say the wise' ('The Higher Pantheism'.- Tennyson.)
I m the Lord and
there is none else; there is no God beside me. (Isaiah XLV .5 )
And the First Commandment:
I am the Lord thy
God...thou shalt have no other Gods before me. (Exodus XX, 2-3)
beginning, "I am the Lord" apply both to the macrocosm and the microcosm: the
former as the Universal Deity to the worlds of manifestation, the latter as
the Human Monad to the personality. The emphasis in both these statements is
on the ONE- One Deity- and no other Gods. Both statements are held in esteem
by the Churches of Christendom and regarded as truth. Yet, for centuries, 'other
gods' have been created and worshipped- all mind-begotten God-Substitutes.
Man must gain utter
control of the mental images he has created ere he will be able to hold his
own unshaken. ("In the Outer Court." by Annie Besant.)
In the light of the
foregoing it may be useful to examine some claims and tenets.
Keys of Heaven
In the Gospel according
to St Matthew, Jesus is reported to have said to his disciple Peter:
Thou art Peter and
upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail
against it. And I will give unto thee the keys of heaven; and whatsoever thou
shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven; and whatsoever thou shalt loose
on earth shall be loosed in heaven. (XVI: 18-19)
This gift of the
'keys' to Peter has been claimed by the Roman Catholic Church to have entitled
Peter to pass them on to his successor, the first Pope; and, from the Pope,
to unlimited numbers of priests for all time. The claim to this apostolic succession,
as it is called, rests obviously on a continuity of contact between Peter and
a successor- a long gap. It is, however, first necessary to establish the historical
background. This was attempted by Dr.Albert Schweitzer and his book The Quest
of the Historical Jesus- an exhaustive analysis of the first century- concludes
with his conviction that
The historical foundation
of Christianity, as built up by rationalistic, by liberal, by modern theology,
no longer exists.
Other intensive research
work has been done on the first century by many authors. The records of Josephus
have been specially analyzed by Germain scholars- all with negative conclusions
concerning the Gospel narratives. A few scrolls from the caves near the Dead
Sea, which tell of a Master of Righteousness and a Manual of Discipline- the
nearest reference to an original of Jesus yet discovered- seem to antedate the
first century considerably.
The recently published
four Cambridge lectures under the title Objections to Christian Belief cover
the same subject.
Jesus Christ, the
Man-God of the Christians, was never an historical person...The legend was founded
on...a personage...born about 120 years before the modern era. (Collected Writings
A divine Christ-
or Christos- has never existed under a human form outside the imagination of
blasphemers, who have carnalized a universal and entirely impersonal principle.
The Gnostic Christ
is the innermost self in man. (IX.19)
In Isis Unveiled
again, H.P.B. examines the claim of a connection between any "Peter" and the
first Pope, dismisses it as impossible, and goes so far as to add, with characteristic
the apostolic succession
is a gross and palpable fraud. (II.544)
An allegorical interpretation
of the passage from St Matthew's Gospel is the most promising. Peter- petra,
a stone or rock, stands for the physical plane, the earth. AT once a cogent
meaning is clear. It is on this stable physical globe that Man attains self-consciousness
and consequent responsibility. His conduct in thought and action during incarnation
will determine his place and experience in the loka (astro-mental, etc.) between
incarnations. Personal pride, vanity, covetousness, greed and self-centredness
will fetter and bind him, and their effect will also bind and limit him in 'heaven'.
The opposite virtues of brotherhood and love loosen the fetters till are are
broken. Given the doctrines of reincarnation and karma, an appropriate interpretation
follows. it seems probable that the two verses inserted in the sixteenth chapter
of st Matthew are a fragment from a Mystery play.
To accept the idea
of One Universal Deity displaces at once the superstition of external personal
gods- call them what one may. The craving of another's help in troublous times,
for assistance in an emergency, for a saviour to carry one to safety, created
the personal answer. Yet mankind is linked individually to the One Universal
Consider, for example,
an experience many have had. When a Candidate, in a formal Order, is advanced
a stage in rank, it is usual in the course of the ceremony to touch the head
with a sword or the hands when the initiatory words are spoken. Many have claimed
that at that moment they felt a distinct thrill of force in the head. Naturally
enough, this has been attributed to the flow being channelled by the sword or
the hands. But thought they undoubtedly play a useful part in the ceremony,
neither can be the source or even the channel of the descending power, however
much they may seem to be such. Students of Theosophy will be familiar with this
Stanza of Dzyan:
The Spark hangs from
the Flame by the finest thread of Fohat....It journeys through the worlds...a
Stone...a Plant...an Animal....Man, the Thinker is formed. (VII.5)
The Flame is the
Monad, itself a unit of the One Life, and thus possesses the powers of that
Life as a drop from the ocean possesses the properties of the ocean. The Ray
from the Monad is as a fine thread to the Spark- the Self of incarnate man.
The triple aspects of the Spark are represented by three centres in the brain-
the crown, the pineal and the pituitary. Sub-rays from these are links to the
personal chakras which stem from the nadis (minute channels) within the spinal
For the threefold
higher self in man, the one and only source of its life is the Monadic ray.
Its power immeasurable and to that power nothing can be added. Like the current
of electricity wired to one's house that needs merely the touch of one's hand
to turn a switch, so does the Ray need a portal to be opened.
The candidate for
advancement will have anticipated the ceremony and doubtless made some preparation.
A well-conducted and impressive ritual will arouse and enhance the receptive
ability of the aspirant. When the climax is reached, the path may be temporarily
cleared by the stimulating touch of the sword or hand, and the ray descends.
The enlightening ray is from Within. The authority to advance a candidate, in
an organization, is vested in the personal official rank of the Initiator. The
Candidate is assisted to open the way; nothing more. One may be reminded of
the saying:- "Go in peace. Thy faith hath made thee whole."
that man must live his own life, not another's; must do his own work, must attend
to his own duties and accept his own responsibilities. (J.G.)
None the less man
needs to contact the devic life and adjust to its rhythm. For this he requires
the orderliness and regularity of a formal ceremony. Good diction and gesture
to a rhythmic 'beat' seem essential. Good music also helps. What the devic life
contributes is 'emotion', which demands control- by the human partner. By such
means we may be able to appreciate the devic idiom, the culture ritual, in the
unfolding of flowers and the development of fruits.
The answer to every
question concerning prayer, its use or misuse, is that we live under the
reign of law- immutable and supreme throughout the universe. Petitionary
prayer, therefore, appealing to a superior power (other than human) for
some favour, means asking for the lifting or breaking of the law. Moreover,
if it were possible for an 'Almighty' to grant such favours, then utter
disorder and chaos would follow. Yet prayers for local benefits and favours
are being constantly asked of 'God' - the concept of God being a personal
and localized deity.
In The Mahatma Letters
references are made to the isolation, to the 'orphanage', of humanity, alone
in an unbending, immutable real of law. 'Who can blame it', he writes, 'if in
its suffering and agony it has evolved gods- unto whom it ever cries for help
but is not heard'! Thus
Since there is hope
for man only in man I would not let one cry whom I could save !
This very fact of
man's dependence on man- and on man alone- is being realized as, probably, never
before. Maybe it is the beginning only but it is immensely promising: help for
backward peoples, help for the displaced and refugees, welfare states, etc.
There are plenty of defects to remedy yet, but the movement is on. This all
means that an awakening to our human responsibilities is afoot, an awakening
of one's self. It is to that end that 'prayer' may be most usefully employed.
In view of the truth
that there is no being other than Man), nor any impassable barrier, between
man and the One Universal Deity, then prayer should be devoted to self-preparation.
The individual must learn how to link up and take from the One, the Great Unconscious:
'Ask and ye shall receive'. The mind, thus prepared for reception may be illumined,
Faith has been described
as due to an unconscious possession of knowledge. Nevertheless, it needs to
be justified and confirmed by experience, and it is in the attainment of this
that true prayer becomes a necessity. This consists, not in an appeal to a non-existent
god, but to the self-discovery of one's own faculties. For example, suppose
one adopts a trinity of principles, say, Truth-Compassion-Justice. Try the first
and third for a week each in succession. (Compassion should be left till last
or it will overwhelm). Determine, for seven days, that nothing that is thought,
said or done, shall be untrue. There will be many a slip because the rule of
the higher self will clash with that of the personality. To try such 'prayer'
for a while is to learn a lot.
This is perfectly
natural little effort of discipline: it is in keeping with the cycle of evolution
through which we are passing and there is no sanctity about it. The iris portal
between the higher and lower self, both mentally and physically, opens slightly
more, and one begins to feel justified of one's faith. An amusing result is
that the Light from behind this inner portal is still within one's self, is
indeed one's own. If a slip is made and a fib told, a jab or reproach follows.
This God Within is far more exacting than that 'imaginary power' without ever
was, once the link, however slender, is made.
'Answers' to 'prayer'
may be often experienced, and attributed as often to the wrong source. Thought-power
and its transference resemble the radio-wave which registers only if the 'receiver''
is tuned in. Similarly the thought-wave, but here the 'receiver' is often quite
unconsciously tuned in. The greatest care and discrimination are therefore required.
Just as there is
no good or evil per se, so also there is no sacred or secular per se. Man alone
makes a distinction between them, for the Divine Plenum, the Universal Deity,
is neutral, is balanced. 'The Eternal is Balanced' is theme of a discourse in
the Bhagavad Gita , and both eastern and western thought affirm the neutrality
of the One Deity. Also they affirm the supreme status of Man, and the meaning
of 'Let them (Mankind) have dominion over all the earth.'
Of letters, the letter
A I am- Of creations the beginning and the ending I am the gambling of the Cheat
and the splendour of splendid things (Discourse X)