The Voice of the Silence 9 (Verses 101-122)

John Algeo – USA



Fragment II of The Voice of the Silence is entitled “The Two Paths,” and that title identifies its dominant metaphor: a road that branches into two paths, between which a choice must be made. Neither path is wrong; and ultimately both lead to the same place, but they pass through different landscapes on the way. However, the choice between the two paths is not an inconsequential one, and the Fragment is clearly urging us to choose a particular one of the two.

The importance of choice in our lives cannot be overstressed. The doctrine of karma tells us that every action has an inevitable consequence. But karma does not determine what action we will take. When faced with the need to act, we, like Arjuna in the Gita, must choose what we will do. And our choice determines what follows; it also determines our own natures, for by choosing, we create or discover ourselves. In a fantasy story that is very popular around the world, a wizard guru tells a young boy who is in the process of discovering who and what he is, “It is our choices, Harry, that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities” (Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, p. 245). That statement is neither fiction nor fantasy but plain and sober truth. It is what Fragment II is about.

A. Verses [101-111].

One of the great teachers said, “Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you” (Matt. 7.7). So the candidates ask the teacher for instruction about how to proceed, just as Arjuna asks Krishna in the Gita, and the teacher tells them about the two paths:

Read more: The Voice of the Silence 9 (Verses 101-122)

Why Not Study What H. P. B. Taught?

Daniel Caldwell – USA

Study What HPB taught


H.P. Blavatsky (1831-1891) was the first person in modern times to claim contact with the Theosophical Adepts, especially the Masters Morya and Koot Hoomi. She affirmed that in her writings she was giving out the teachings of the Adept Brotherhood.

In 1877 in Volume I of Isis Unveiled, Madame Blavatsky told her readers about these Adepts and her role in giving out the fundamentals of the Esoteric Science:

". . .we came into contact with certain men, endowed with such mysterious powers and such profound knowledge that we may truly designate them as the sages of the Orient. To their instructions we lent a ready ear." p. vi

"The work now submitted to public judgment is the fruit of a somewhat intimate acquaintance with Eastern adepts and study of their science." p. v

But in The Key to Theosophy published in 1889, H.P.B. pointed out that various people had made bogus claims to being in contact with her own Masters K.H. and M.:

Read more: Why Not Study What H. P. B. Taught?

The Voice of the Silence 8 (Verses 90 – 100)

John Algeo – USA


The final verses of the first fragment seek to describe the state of samadhi. The word samadhi has two main parts: sam “together” and dhi “put.” It is the state in which we finally have put it all together. And that is the goal of yoga. It is a state in which we realize our complete identity with everything else in the universe.

Read more: The Voice of the Silence 8 (Verses 90 – 100)

Revelation or Realization: The Conflict in Theosophy

J. J. van der Leeuw – The Netherlands

Preface by Jerry Hejka-Ekins – USA

As part of regular discussion in the Theosophy list on the Internet, it was suggested that I might recommend a book or article that we might focus upon.

In response to this suggestion, I uploaded the scanned text of a very scarce Theosophical pamphlet written by J.J. van der Leeuw and published in 1930. The subject concerns the conflict between revelation and realization that has existed in the Theosophical Society since the beginning, which van der Leeuw (and I) believe is at the root of the failure of the Theosophical Society. For those who are part of the ULT and Point Loma traditions, I would suggest that the issues in this pamphlet also apply to these organizations, though he is only addressing Adyar theosophical history here.

To give a little background, the Adyar Theosophical Society was undergoing a crisis at the time this pamphlet was published. Krishnamurti had been for some time contradicting the Master's revelations and orders as given through Annie Besant and C. W. Leadbeater, and by the end of 1929 Krishnamurti ordered the dissolution of the Order of the Star and resigned from the Theosophical Society. The text I am posting was originally a talk given by J.J. van der Leeuw, where he analyzes the Theosophical Society in order to discover what went wrong. Though this pamphlet is over sixty years old, (in 1995) I believe that van de Leeuw's insights continue to be as relevant today as they were then, because the underlying problems that plagued the TS in 1930 are the same today.

Read more: Revelation or Realization: The Conflict in Theosophy

H. P. B.: Modern Gnostic

Stephan A. Hoeller

Stephan A. Hoeller – USA

[Stephan A. Hoeller is associate professor of comparative religions at the College of Oriental Studies in Los Angeles. The author of two Quest books, The Royal Road and The Gnostic Jung, he has lectured for the Theosophical Society on three continents. Dr. Hoeller is director of studies for the Gnostic Society, a member of the lecturing faculty of the Philosophical Research Society founded by Manly P. Hall, and a bishop of the Ecclesia Gnostica, a church of Gnostic descent. This article was published in the American Theosophist, special spring issue, 1988. Changes have been made in accordance with Theosophy Forward style.]

Read more: H. P. B.: Modern Gnostic

Food for thought – The wheel of life

[This article appeared in the March 2013 issue of The Theosophical Movement. For more articles published in this excellent magazine follow this link: ]

“Where has my mommy gone, grandmother? “Arthur’s lip trembled as he asked the question. For days he had not been allowed to go into his mother’s room. “Hush! Your mother is sleeping” or “Mother isn’t feeling well; you must be quiet.” Or, after school, he would be told to run down the street and play. That very morning a neighbor who had a car had taken Arthur for an all-day outing, it being Saturday, when there was no school, down to the sea, where he had always loved to go. He had waded and picked up shells and eaten sandwiches and fruit and little cakes. He had slipped a little pink-frosted cake into his pocket, to take home to his mother. They had waited to see the sunset before she had brought him home and he had run into the quiet house and been overjoyed to see the door of his mother’s room, kept closed all these days, standing open. Puzzled not to find her, he had run to his grandmother, who had come to live with them not very long before. She drew him to her when he asked his question. “You know your dear mother had been very sick, Arthur. She left her love for you but she has had to go away to rest.”

Read more: Food for thought – The wheel of life

A Dynamic Movement

Boris de Zirkoff – USA

[THEOSOPHIA-A Living Philosophy for Humanity -Volume XXVIII No. 4 (130) - Spring 1972]

The spread of Theosophy in the world and the strength of the Theosophy Movement depend primarily upon unremitting and intelligent work.

Wherever, among students there burns the holy flame of spiritual enthusiasm for the dissemination of the ancient wisdom, there the work flourishes and Theosophy becomes known.

Read more: A Dynamic Movement

Psychic and Noetic Action

H. P. Blavatsky

This painting is exhibited in the H. P. B. museum in Dnepropetrovsk in Ukraine. It portraits Helena as a young girl with her mother and was received as a gift from one of the heirs of her family. The name of the artist is not known and some have doubts about the painting’s authenticity, while others ascribe it to H. P. B. herself.

From Lucifer 7.39 (November 1890): 177-185; Collected Writings 12.

“. . . . The knowledge of the past, present, and future, is embodied in Kshetrajna (the ‘Self’).” — Occult Axioms.

. . . memory has no seat, no special organ of its own in the human brain, but that it has seats in every organ of the body.
. . .
The seat of memory, then, is assuredly neither here nor there, but everywhere throughout the human body. To locate its organ in the brain is to limit and dwarf the Universal Mind and its countless Rays (the Manasaputra) which inform every rational mortal. As we write for Theosophists, first of all, we care little for the psychophobian prejudices of the Materialists who may read this and sniff contemptuously at the mention of “Universal Mind,” and the Higher noetic souls of men. But, what is memory, we ask? “Both presentation of sense and image of memory, are transitory phases of consciousness,” we are answered. But what is Consciousness itself? — we ask again.

Read more: Psychic and Noetic Action

The Voice of the Silence 7 (Verses 80-89)

John Algeo – USA


In its final verses, the first fragment returns explicitly to the theme of the eight stages of Yoga (as set forth, for example, in the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali). The second verse referred to the necessity of learning the nature of dharana (concentration) if one wishes to hear the Voice of the Silence. Now in verse 87, we arrive at dharana, thus rounding out the first fragment of The Voice. The remaining verses of the first chapter treat the last two stages of the yogic process, dhyana and samadhi.

Read more: The Voice of the Silence 7 (Verses 80-89)

Theosophy and the Theosophical Societies

James Santucci – USA

[Dr. James A. Santucci is a Professor of Comparative Religion at California State University, Fullerton. He received his Ph.D. degree from the Australian National University (Canberra, Australia) in Asian Civilization with an emphasis on the Veda. He is the editor of Theosophical History and Theosophical History Occasional Papers and the author of La società teosofica and An Outline of Vedic Literature, articles and book chapters appearing, among others, in the Dictionary of Gnosis and Western Esotericism, Nova Religio, Alternative Christs, and The Cambridge Companion to New Religious Movements. He is also a contributor (the Sanskrit language) to the Intercontinental Dictionary Series (Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, Leipzig).

Read more: Theosophy and the Theosophical Societies

On Crime and Punishment

[This article appeared in the December 2012 issue of The Theosophical Movement. For more articles published in this excellent magazine follow this link: ]

PAKISTANI terrorist Ajmal Kasab, the lone surviving gunman, was convicted in May 2010 by a special judge in Mumbai city (India) for murdering seven people directly and 65 others in common intent with a fellow terrorist. On November 22, 2012 the nation woke up to the news of Kasab being hanged after the President of India rejected Kasab’s clemency petition. The general reaction of people was that hanging had brought closure to the trauma of terrorist attack on November 26, 2008. There were many and varied reactions to the execution. Some felt that at last, justice had been done, or that the homage was paid to the dead heroes. There were stray instances of people expressing pity and sympathy for the executed terrorist.

Read more: On Crime and Punishment

Theosophical Glossary on Kama

H. P. Blavatsky

Kama (Sk.) Evil desire, lust, volition; the cleaving to existence. Kama is generally identified with Mara, the tempter.

Kamadeva (Sk.). In the popular notions the god of love, a Visvadeva, in the Hindu Pantheon. As the Eros of Hesiod, degraded into Cupid by exoteric law, and still more degraded by a later popular sense attributed to the term, so is Kama a most mysterious and metaphysical subject. The earlier Vedic description of Kama alone gives the key-note to what he emblematizes. Kama is the first conscious, all embracing desire for universal good, love, and for all that lives and feels, needs help and kindness; the first feeling of infinite tender compassion and mercy that arose in the consciousness of the creative ONE FORCE, as soon as it came into life and being as a ray from the ABSOLUTE. Says the Rig Veda, “Desire first arose in IT, which was the primal germ of mind, and which Sages, searching with their intellect, have discovered in their heart to be the bond which connects Entity with non-Entity”, or Manas with pure Atma-Buddhi. There is no idea of sexual love in the conception. Kama is pre-eminently the divine desire of creating happiness and love; and it is only ages later, as mankind began to materialize by anthropomorphization its grandest ideals into cut and dried dogmas, that Kama became the power that gratifies desire on the animal plane. This is shown by what every Veda and some Brahmanas say. In the Atharva Veda, Kama is represented as the Supreme Deity and Creator. In the Tailarîya Brahmana, he is the child of Dharma, the god of Law and Justice, of Sraddha and faith. In another account he springs from the heart of Brahmâ. Others show him born from water, i.e., from primordial chaos, or the “Deep”. Hence one of his many names, Irâ-ja, “the water-born”; and Aja, “unborn”; and Atmabhu or “Self-existent”. Because of the sign of Makara (Capricornus) on his banner, he is also called “Makara Ketu”. The allegory about Siva, the “Great Yogin”, reducing Kama to ashes by the fire from his central (or third) Eye, for inspiring the Mahadeva with thoughts of his wife, while he was at his devotions--is very suggestive, as it is said that he thereby reduced Kama to his primeval spiritual form.

Read more: Theosophical Glossary on Kama

HPB and Spiritual Intuition To Climb the Mountain Peaks of the Secret Doctrine Needs the Oxygen of Intuition

Joseph E. Ross – USA

[This article was published in the American Theosophist, special spring issue, 1988. Changes have been made in accordance with Theosophy Forward style.]

Who was HPB? Many veils hide the secret — "the well-hidden party," as she herself termed it — even today. Her bizarre inscrip¬tion in her book The Voice of the Silence, which reads: "HPB to H. P. Blavatsky, with no kind regards," is a tantalizing paradox with deep implications. The inscription is written on the flyleaf of a presentation copy of the book, preserved in the Archives at Adyar. In an introduction to the 1939 edition, Arya Asanga (A. J. Hamerster) wrote of the "HPB to H. P. Blavatsky" inscription: "the latter [was] the outer form, which served the former as a vehicle." It is im¬possible to understand HPB, and they who knew her best were they who were most hopelessly puzzled. The larger the knowledge, the greater the perplexity. HPB must always remain the insoluble riddle.

Read more: HPB and Spiritual Intuition To Climb the Mountain Peaks of the Secret Doctrine Needs the Oxygen of...

The Dream That Never Dies

Boris de Zirkoff – USA

[This article appeared in Theosophia, Volume XIII, No 3 (69) Winter 1956-57]

We had dreamt of a better world ... We had been told by figures prominent on the stage of current history that the chances for peace and good-will among men were greater than ever ... With eager thought and hopeful heart, we had pictured ourselves a global family of nations bent upon a common task - the building of a new commonwealth of the people, dedicated to the arts of peace and progress. The harnessing of the atom for the good of all men, the development of science and research across all boundary lines and racial discrimination, the recognition of the simple right of all men to unfold their own particular lines of growth and culture ... all these, and many other noble ideals were floating in the ambient air, seeking for embodiment.

Read more: The Dream That Never Dies

The Great Paradox

H. P. Blavatsky

[This article was published in Lucifer 1.2 (October, 1887): 120-22, and reprinted in Collected Writings 8: “The authorship of this article is somewhat uncertain. Some of its sentences and expressions do not seem to be in H.P.B.’s style, yet the ‘atmosphere’ is her own. Bertram Keightley, closely associated with her on the editorial work connected with Lucifer, definitely states in his Reminiscenses of H. P. Blavatsky (Adyar: Theosophical Publishing House, 1931) that besides writing her own editorials, H.P.B. also wrote ‘many other articles under more than one nom de plume,’ and the one of ‘Faust,’ appended at the end of the present article, may have been one of them.—Compiler.”]

Paradox would seem to be the natural language of occultism. Nay more, it would seem to penetrate deep into the heart of things, and thus to be inseparable from any attempt to put into words the truth, the reality which underlies the outward shows of life.

And the paradox is one not in words only, but in action, in the very conduct of life. The paradoxes of occultism must be lived, not uttered only. Herein lies a great danger, for it is only too easy to become lost in the intellectual contemplation of the path, and so to forget that the road can only be known by treading it.

Read more: The Great Paradox

The Voice of the Silence 6 (Verses 59-79)

John Algeo – USA

The last group of verses considered in this series ended with an assertion that, to walk the Path, we have to become the Path, an apparently paradoxical statement. But a paradox has been defined as a Truth standing on its head, so that assertion is also a Truth. In addition, it is said that the opposite of a little truth is a falsehood, but the opposite of a Great Truth is another Great Truth. This assertion is a Great Truth.

The verses continue by explaining what walking the path involves: “[59] Let thy soul lend its ear to every cry of pain like as the lotus bares its heart to drink the morning sun. [60] Let not the fierce sun dry one tear of pain before thyself hast wiped it from the sufferer’s eye. [61] But let each burning human tear drop on thy heart and there remain, nor ever brush it off, until the pain that caused it is removed. [62] These tears, O thou of heart most merciful, these are the streams that irrigate the fields of charity immortal. ’Tis on such soil that grows the midnight blossom of Buddha33 more difficult to find, more rare to view than is the flower of the Vogay tree. It is the seed of freedom from rebirth. It isolates the Arhat both from strife and lust, it leads him through the fields of being unto the peace and bliss known only in the land of silence and non-being.”

Read more: The Voice of the Silence 6 (Verses 59-79)



Edi Bilimoria – the UK

Introduction by Jan Nicolaas Kind

The article you are about to read is an important one. It doesn’t pretend to promulgate any definite truths; instead it places question marks and encourages the reader to continue the investigative journey we all are on. Theosophy Forward offers a podium for many different Theosophical approaches and that is why we ask your attention for this significant piece. Edi Bilimoria, a regular Theosophy Forward contributor, now living in the UK, has been an investigative and positive critical member of the Adyar-based worldwide Theosophical movement for many years. His articles are published in several Theosophical periodicals.


Empathy in The Kaliyuga

Ruth Richards – USA

[This essay—which is drawn from a talk at the International Theosophy Conference, August 2012 in Wheaton, IL—is about what we Theosophists can do during the “worst of times.” That is, what we can do right now. Sometimes we are able to offer a lot, and not only to help ourselves but all beings on the path of evolution. As per the single Chinese character carrying a double-meaning: With danger comes opportunity.]

Kaliyuga the Dark Age

Read more: Empathy in The Kaliyuga

Vow to Benefit Mankind

Nicholas Weeks – USA

Before we can “live to benefit mankind” 1  we must first resolve or vow to do so. As W.Q. Judge wrote:

“The good man who at last becomes even a sage, had at one time in his many lives to arouse the desire for the company of holy men and to keep his desire for progress alive in order to continue on his way. Even a Buddha or a Jesus had first to make a vow, which is a desire, in some life, that he would save the world or some part of it, and to persevere with the desire alive in his heart through countless lives.” 2

The Buddha praised the supreme Power of Vows by saying that for realizing Bodhisattva qualities, vows are more powerful than wisdom, patience or good actions. The Avatamsaka Sutra chapter 39, states: “The lamp of bodhi mind requires great compassion as its oil, great vows as its wick, and great wisdom as its flame.”

Read more: Vow to Benefit Mankind

The Voice of the Silence 5 (Verses 41-58)

John Algeo – USA

Having metaphorically passed through the three Halls to the Vale of Bliss in verses 17 to 40, we now encounter a different symbol, one central to this first fragment from the Book of the Golden Precepts, namely, sound.

A.  VERSES [41-50]. The next ten verses are concerned primarily with a metaphor of seven sounds, which are presented as the rungs of a ladder:

[41] Before thou sett’st thy foot upon the ladder’s upper rung, the ladder of the mystic sounds, thou hast to hear the voice of thy inner God [the Higher Self] in seven manners.

[42] The first is like the nightingale’s sweet voice chanting a song of parting to its mate.

[43] The second comes as the sound of a silver cymbal of the Dhyanis, awakening the twinkling stars.

[44] The next is as the plaint melodious of the ocean-sprite imprisoned in its shell.

[45] And this is followed by the chant of Vina.26

[46] The fifth, like sound of bamboo-flute, shrills in thine ear.

[47] It changes next into a trumpet-blast.

[48] The last vibrates like the dull rumbling of a thunder-cloud.

[49] The seventh swallows all the other sounds. They die, and then are heard no more.

[50] When the six 27 are slain and at the Master's feet are laid, then is the pupil merged into the ONE,28 becomes that ONE and lives therein.

B. COMMENT. Verse 41 begins by mentioning a ladder as a metaphor for the spiritual life. That mention echoes Jacob’s ladder: “And he dreamed, and behold a ladder set up on the earth, and the top of it reached to heaven: and behold the angels of God ascending and descending on it” [Genesis 28.12].

Read more: The Voice of the Silence 5 (Verses 41-58)

Living in The Eternal

Shirley J. Nicholson – USA

There is a peace that passes understanding.
It abides in the hearts of those who live in the eternal.

We live in an illusory world. Mountains, buildings, trees and flowers, even our own bodies seem substantial and real. Yet the Ancient Wisdom teaches that they are not. They are maya, illusion created by the quality of our minds that turns changing phantasmagoria into seemingly solid and lasting objects. Physics discovered that what seems solid rests on a reality of unimaginably small, constantly moving particles of electricity. But the illusion goes deeper than just physical objects.  The familiar self that we know so well is also an illusion. We are surprised when we hear that our own minds have this seemingly magical power of creating a self. Yet sages throughout history have reported that our sense of being a separate, self-contained self is not ultimately valid. Our minds manufacture a self with individual likes and dislikes, particular views, a fund of information, all that makes us the apparent individual we think we are.

An illusory world

The truth is that at bottom we are a field of pure consciousness. Our varied experience and ordinary perception colors this basically colorless consciousness. Our conditioned minds lead us to believe that our sense experience and the experience of our thoughts and emotions happen to a consistent and steady self.  But introspection does not capture that constant, independent self.  We can experience only the flux of changing thoughts, feelings, and perceptions. Our so-called personality is part of the phantasmagoria in which we live. We cannot nail down an abiding self in the flow.

Read more: Living in The Eternal

The Universality of the Movement

Boris de Zirkoff – USA

There is abroad in the world a Force which is akin to the Sun. In silent places, far from the rushing torrents of worldly life, it works its silent magic, unperceived. Yet in the crowded marketplaces of men its message can also be heard, its grip and password recognized, if you but search for them. It works for Good; for Right, for Truth. Beginning - it has none, nor can it ever have an end, for it is a living, dynamic Energy, pulsating in and through the spiritual atmosphere of the Earth itself.

This Mystic Force, which flows, to a greater or lesser extent, through every selfless man or woman who is definitely working for the spiritual advancement of mankind, manifests itself in the world as a ceaseless drive, a never-ending urge towards higher knowledge, an impulse towards ethical regeneration, character achievement, spiritual illumination and inner conquest. Embodied in men and women of a mystical trend of mind, of universal objectives, and of deep-seated search for Realities, this drive or urge is the Theosophical Movement, irrespective of age, civilization, or outward form through which it may operate.

Read more: The Universality of the Movement

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