Ali Ritsema – the Netherlands
Another gift: flowers in Adyar - photo © JNK
The “gift of the gods” is a beautiful expression used by Koot Hoomi Lal Singh (KH) in The Mahatma Letters (ML) 11/28, 3rd chron. rev. ed., adding that this gift is the most precious relic of all. KH is talking about “the new civilization”, stating that it will be the child of the old one, and that the eternal law will take its own course. We have the weakness, he says, to believe in ever recurrent cycles and hope to quicken the resurrection of what is past and gone. The revival of our ancient arts and high civilization are sure to come back in their time and in a higher form. We could not impede it even if we would, yet we are anxious to hasten the welcome event. Fear not; our knowledge will not pass away from the sight of man. It is the “gift of the gods” and the most precious relic of all.
This expression in the ML really appeals to me, especially so because the world is in need and, in my view, can only be properly helped when we do everything we can to get it into a better state. This is only possible when humanity in general will grow towards a more spiritual level of consciousness. Maybe the time for a revival of the ancient arts and high civilization in a higher form has come.
In the same letter KH also states: “We will always find volunteers to replace the tired sentries, and the world, bad as it is in its present state of transitory period, can yet furnish us with a few men now and then.” Therefore, let us try to find out what we, students of Theosophy, can do to hasten such a possible and most welcome event and, even better, become volunteers for their work.
It is clear from this fragment that their knowledge, “the gift of the gods”, is always available in every so-called “civilization”, and it is often referred to as Divine Wisdom, or Truth. It is very likely that the founding of the Theosophical Society (TS) and the publications of H. P. Blavatsky (HPB) such as The Secret Doctrine, The Key to Theosophy, The Voice of the Silence, the many articles from her pen – often in cooperation with the Masters – and the publication of The Mahatma Letters are part of the quickening of the resurrection of what was in the past.
When we are serious in our intention to help humanity towards a more spiritual consciousness, we are greatly helped by the available teachings to get some feel for and understanding of the gods and this precious gift, their knowledge.
In the Letters of H. P. Blavatsky to A. P. Sinnett (LBS)-Appendix II of ML it is stated that there are two different kinds of knowledge: real and unreal. Real knowledge deals with eternal verities and primal causes, standing independent of our belief or unbelief, but unreal knowledge deals with illusory effects and requires faith – it rests on authority. It is the adept alone who possesses the real knowledge, his mind being en rapport with the Universal Mind. The adept has made the perfect junction of his soul with the Universal Mind in fullness.
The Universal Mind is the aggregate of all the minds of the Dhyan Chohans, the highest gods; they are Divine Intelligences charged with the supervision of the Kosmos. They answer to Divine Wisdom.
Thus real knowledge is the “precious gift of the gods” and it is available for those who are able to bring their mind in tune with the Universal Mind, like the adept is able to do. The adepts have kept and still are keeping their knowledge accessible for humankind: They are the link between men and the gods and are a necessity in Nature and super-Nature, according to H. P. Blavatsky Collected Writings (CW) VIII, p. 401. The continuity of this link is unbroken.
Every student of the Theosophical teachings is seeking for / interested in this real knowledge, but KH makes it clear in ML 126 / 62 that their Knowledge and Science have to be earned by ourselves. “Is any of you so eager for knowledge and the beneficent powers it confers as to be ready to leave your world and come into ours?” KH asks in ML 2 / 2. Here we also find: “True, we have our schools and teachers, our neophytes and shaberons (superior adepts), and the door is always open to the right man who knocks. And we invariably welcome the newcomer; only, instead of going over to him he has to come to us.”
Now the question arises whether we are eager enough to become a beneficent power in and for the world, which, in my view, means whether our motive is the right motive and whether our drive, and thus our effort, is persistent enough to earn their knowledge and science. And if so, how can we earn this knowledge and science in order to become a beneficent power in and for the world? For, “the iron rule is that what powers one gets he must himself acquire”. (ML 65/11)
And when we do want to enter their world, what then is the difference with “our world”? What are the qualities or nature required of the “right man”, for whom the door is always opened?
Let us try to get a clearer picture of what is required. What strikes me and what seems of utmost importance for the Masters is the sense of duty. This is what KH states: “But my first duty is to my Master. And duty, let me tell you, is for us stronger than any friendship or even love; as without this abiding principle which is the indestructible cement that has held together for so many millenniums the scattered custodians of Nature’s grand secrets, our Brotherhood – nay, our doctrine itself – would have crumbled long ago into unrecognizable atoms.” (ML 126/62)
And in the same letter we find: “You have not the faith required to allow your Will to arouse itself in defiance and contempt against your purely worldly intellect and give you a better understanding of things hidden and laws unknown.”
Master KH makes also clear in this letter that the path to occult or secret science is difficult: it “has to be trodden laboriously”, he states, “and crossed at the danger of life; every step in it leading to the final goal is surrounded by pitfalls and cruel thorns; the pilgrim who ventures upon it is made first to confront and conquer the thousand and one furies who keep watch over its adamantine gates and entrance – furies called Doubt, Skepticism, Scorn, Ridicule, Envy and finally Temptation – especially the latter; and . . . he must be possessed of a heart and soul clad in steel, and of an iron, never-failing determination, and yet be meek and gentle, humble, and have shut out of his heart every human passion, that leads to evil.”
Every student of this real knowledge will experience that the teachings are sometimes inconceivable and mind-boggling. Therefore, KH gives the advice that “for a clearer comprehension of the extremely abstruse and at first incomprehensible theories of our occult doctrine, never allow the serenity of your mind to be disturbed during your hours of literary labor, nor before you set to work. It is upon the serene and placid surface of the unruffled mind that the visions gathered from the invisible find a representation in the visible world. Otherwise you would vainly seek those visions, those flashes of sudden light which have already helped to solve so many of the minor problems and which alone can bring the truth before the eye of the soul. It is with jealous care that we have to guard our mind-plane from all the adverse influences which daily arise in our passage through earth-life.” (ML 65 / 11)
From the above, the impression might arise that coming to real knowledge is very much about head-learning, but when we take a closer look it becomes clear that it is about “inner tuition” – intuition, “seeing” with the “spiritual eye”. For a clearer comprehension of the occult doctrine it is necessary to come to an understanding from within, to see things as they are, with the eye of the soul, in a clear way, unveiled.
KH puts it as follows in ML 126/ 62: “Unfortunately, however great your purely human intellect, your spiritual intuitions are dim and hazy, having been never developed.”
However, every one of us possesses the faculty, the interior sense, known as intuition, says H. P. Blavatsky in her article “The Beacon of the Unknown”, “but how rare are those who know how to develop it! It is . . . the only faculty by means of which men and things are seen in their true colors. It . . . grows in us in proportion to the use we make of it, and . . . helps us to perceive and understand real and absolute facts with far more certainty than can the simple use of our senses and the exercise of our reason.” (CW XI, p. 253) This faculty, intuition, is a power by which we can gain true knowledge, it is a power of the perception of truth, which makes it possible to deal with universals and then proceed to particulars. (CW X, p. 349–350)
It seems that vanity often blinds what was at first a strong intuition, closing the mind effectually against the admission of a new truth and making us jump to a conclusion without having studied the subject fully and before the teaching has been fully expounded, listening only to the voice of self-adulation and clinging to views, whether right or wrong. The Lord Buddha particularly warned his hearers against forming beliefs based upon tradition or authority, and before having thoroughly inquired into the subject. (CW X, p. 129)
In CW IX, p. 400-G, in an article on “Conversations on Occultism” between a student and a sage, the student asks how one is to know when he gets real occult information from the Self within. The sage, in his answer, points out: “Intuition must be developed, and the matter judged from the true philosophical basis, for if it is contrary to true general rules, it is wrong. It has to be known from a deep and profound analysis by which we find out what is from egotism alone and what is not. . . . The power to know does not come from book-study nor from mere philosophy, but mostly from the actual practice of altruism in deed, word, and thought; for that practice purifies the covers of the soul and permits that light to shine down into the brain-mind. As the brain-mind is the receiver in the waking state, it has to be purified from sense-perception, and the truest way to do this is by combining philosophy with the highest outward and inward virtue.”
This leads us to the same question the student asks: “Tell me some ways by which intuition is to be developed.” The answer of the sage is as follows:
“First of all by giving it exercise, and second by not using it for purely personal ends. Exercise means that it must be followed through mistakes and bruises until from sincere attempts at use it comes to its own strength. This does not mean that we can do wrong and leave the results, but that after establishing conscience on a right basis by following the golden rule, we give play to the intuition and add to its strength. Inevitably in this at first, we will make errors, but soon if we are sincere it will grow brighter and make no mistake. We should add the study of the works of those who in the past have trodden this path and found out what is the real and what is not. They say the Self is the only reality. The brain must be given larger views of life, as by the study of the doctrine of reincarnation, since that gives a limitless field to the possibilities in store. We must not only be unselfish but must do all the duties that Karma has given us, and thus intuition will point out the road of duty and the true path of life.”
In The Secret Doctrine vol. I, p. 46fn, HPB explains that the inner spiritual eye and the faculty which manifests through it is not clairvoyance as ordinarily understood, that is, the power of seeing at a distance, but rather the faculty of spiritual intuition through which direct and certain knowledge is obtainable.
How to obtain knowledge was also made clear in a statement attributed to her:
“Knowledge comes in visions, first in dreams and then in pictures presented to the inner eye during meditation. Thus have I been taught the whole system of evolution, the laws of being and all else that I know – the mysteries of life and death, the workings of karma. Not a word was spoken to me of all this in the ordinary way, except, perhaps, by way of confirmation of what was thus given me – nothing taught me in writing. And knowledge so obtained is so clear, so convincing, so indelible in the impression it makes upon the mind, that all other sources of information, all other methods of teaching with which we are familiar, dwindle into insignificance in comparison with this.” (CW XIII, p. 285)
To render active the inner vision, the student must purify his whole nature, moral, mental, and physical. If the Mind is not perfectly pure, it cannot preserve recollections coming from a higher state. An act may be performed to which little or no attention is paid and is of comparatively small importance. But if thought of, dwelt on in the Mind, the effect is a thousand times greater. Therefore, it is above all things of importance that the thoughts should be kept pure. Our lower nature must so be purified that it vibrates in unison with the higher nature, and this is not easy. Even an Adept, when in a new body, has to do the same and finds it difficult. (CW XII, p. 692)
To be able to get glimpses of real knowledge, their knowledge, from within through our inner eye, requires hard and strenuous inner work. We are greatly helped and supported by the available teachings so that we do not lose our way on this journey inward. It depends a great deal on our determination and zeal how successful we shall be, but if we persist, our understanding will grow gradually, and to the measure of our understanding we can pass it on to others.The portion of this gift of the gods, of this precious relic, which humanity received through the teachings passed on by HPB and the Masters, has not been given for no reason. It is an attempt to quicken humanity’s evolutionary journey towards a more spiritual level of consciousness. If we are serious about becoming a beneficent power in and for the world, let us try to join the higher forces and not forget to keep a constant eye to the human progression and perfection that the Secret Science depicts.
[The article above was also published in The Theosophist, February 2018, Vol. 139.5.]