How to Study Theosophy – 3

Kenneth Small – USA

Theosophy GDP 2 gdepurucker pointloma pasadena

Insights from the Teachings of Gottfried de Purucker

Some Essential Keynotes on the Path of Awakening

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Self-Knowledge, Universal Love and Altruism

“The key to understanding, knowledge, and wisdom, is self-identification with the god within. This is the path of inner evolution.”[i]

“Forget yourself! … Live to benefit others!”[ii]

An Impersonal – Transpersonal View

De Purucker[iii] speaking in the 1930’s, used the word ‘impersonal’ to describe a higher spiritual view and state beyond the mere personality or ego and superficial conventional ‘goodness’. Today, in 2022, we might use the word ‘transpersonal’ , instead of ‘impersonal’ as fulfilling the meaning better.

De Purucker speaking in the early 1930’s at Lomaland to his esoteric students:

“Be impersonal; and everything that is glorious and great, splendid and beautiful and true, will be added unto you. I have known men who struggled and strived and fought so hard to be good that they left a trail of broken hearts behind them: shattered hopes of other human souls: misery and wretchedness brought to others by the frenzied desire of these men to be good. They wanted to be good so greatly that they forgot to be human -- forgot even the god within. Therefore be impersonal: then will you know what love and forgiveness and pity and compassion are. You will know something that belongs to the other and beautiful side of you: you will know what illumination and inspiration and glorious hope and vision are.”[iv]

De Purucker expresses his understanding of the theosophic view, that the essence of our being is pure consciousness, which is intrinsic in the very nature of the universe. He then gives the focus of our inner development as one of ‘self-identification with the god within’; which can be gradually attained through selfless service merged with contemplative awareness. Helena Blavatsky expresses it poetically in her The Voice of the Silence: ‘Self knowledge is of loving deeds the child.’

Speaking to his students in the Point Loma Esoteric School, he gave an essential view and instruction:

“Impersonality and altruism, self-forgetfulness and self-forgetful work for others: to these two things you are pledged.”[v]

‘Pledged’ meaning that these are signposts central to our innermost motivation and inner commitment for spiritual self-transformation.

He continues about the practice of ‘impersonal love’ and ‘selfless service’:

“They are magical in the effect that they have on you fellow-men. Sentimentality has nothing to do with it, for that is an accentuation of the personality. But when you can learn to forgive, when you can learn to love, the longing of your soul will be self-forgetful service for mankind. No one is too humble to practice it, and no one is so exalted that he can ignore it.”[vi]

De Purucker speaking on discipleship (chelaship) and invoking the ‘Master within’:

“What Sympathy is to Love, which is Cosmic Harmony ultimately, that Consciousness is to Cosmic Divine Intelligence… chelaship therefore means trying to bring out the Master living in your own being, for he is there now. The core of your being is pure consciousness: and in proportion as you ally yourself with the god within, with that pure Monadic consciousness, shall knowledge come to you naturally. “The key to understanding, knowledge, and wisdom, is self-identification with the god within. This is the path of inner evolution.”[vii]

“Look within. Know yourself. The first step to self-knowledge is forgetfulness of yourself. You cannot become the Self Universal as long as your attention and thought are concentrated on the limited point of egoity. … Forget yourself if you would know yourself.”[viii]

“Self forgetfulness, forgiveness of injuries, love of all that is -- so simple, so easy a rule! Only your imagination and your personal failings picture this rule to you as being difficult. Self forgetfulness, forgiveness of injuries, love of all that is, are simple to understand; they are easy to follow; they bring endless peace and comfort. Never attempt to justify yourself. It is not necessary to forget the facts of injury and injustice, but you must forget the feeling of resentment, the sense of injury generally. Pardon; forgive; love: this is the pathway to illumination and to ultimate union with the god within. It is easy. And when you have this [beautified universal] viewpoint …”[ix]

This ‘self-forgetfulness’ and impersonal love are rooted in the very nature of things, which he describes as ‘forgetfulness of the knot of personality’ and is spiritually universally clairvoyant. Here, De Purucker gives expression to this universal view:

“Is it possible to understand another human heart unless you yourself love? The mere operations of the brain-mind will not tell you anything about it. Love is clairvoyant, almost infinitely clairvoyant when it is wholly impersonal. It is love that possesses ‘eyes’ that nothing can bar the vision of. The vision of love penetrates to the very heart of the Universe. Love is sympathy. Love is compassion. There is deep esoteric meaning in the old injunction: “Love all things great and small,” for thus your own consciousness is enlarged. You yourself become great in so doing.”[x]


[i] Esoteric Teachings: The Esoteric Path, Its Nature and Its Tests vol. 1 p 101

[ii] “                                 p 103

[iii] Gottfried dePurucker (1874 - 1942) was from 1929-1942, both the administrative head of the Point Loma Theosophical Society with its headquarters at the Lomaland community and also the head of its esoteric school.

[iv] Esoteric Teachings: The Esoteric Path vol. 1, p 100

[v] “              p 97

[vi] “              p 97

[vii] “              p 101

[viii] “              p 104

[ix] “               p 108  

[x] “             pp 98-00

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