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Theosophy - Thyself both Heaven and Hell by E.L.Gardner
THYSELF BOTH HEAVEN AND HELL
GODS: the many and the ONE

by E.L.GARDNER

Above and Below
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
Prayer

Sacred and Secular


Above and Below

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 Omar Khayyam

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.

The Elemental Kingdoms

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 direction- 'downwards'.

Elemental Kingdom I The Higher Mental
Elemental Kingdom II Human Lower Mental
Elemental Kingdom III Mind Emotional

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'.

Elemental, 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 mental world.

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;-

Nearly everybody 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.

But unfortunately, 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 K.H.:

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)

These statements 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 persistence.

The 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 I.344)

'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 lured its votaries, we shudder with revulsion. Yet the successful appeasement of a God's 'holy wrath' is celebrated regularly in the churches of Christendom today. 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 less 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.

Philemon represented 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.

Particularly at 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.)

Notwithstanding the novelty and strangeness of this companionship, Jung kept his balance and feet on the ground

The 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. (page475)

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 external.

The Technique of Creative Thinking

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 lower-mind.

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 worship'.

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 Society.

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)

These pronouncements 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.

The 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.

H.P.Blavatsky wrote:

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 IX.223)

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. (IX.223.)

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 emphasis:

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.

The Ritual Sword

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 Deity.

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 cord.

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."

Theosophy teaches 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.

Prayer

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 !

(Mahatma Letters page 33)

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, inspired.

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.

Sacred and Secular

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)


Source: http://www.theosophical.ca

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