Theosophy

Let the Christ-Child Live

G. de Purucker – USA

Theosophists look upon Christmas in two ways: first, as the record of a sublime fact in occult history and life, that every son of man some day in his own spiritual history will repeat if he climb successfully. And the other way, that there is an unborn Christ in the soul of every one of us, the Christos, the Prince of Peace, the Prince of Love. As the cycling days bring the Christmas season around and the Christian world celebrates the supposed birth of the physical body of its Chief, its Savior, we may take the words of the avatara, the Christ, in their higher sense: that we humans are the "sons of god," of the divine, and that the spirit of love and consciousness of the most high dwelleth in the sanctuary of every man's heart - which means that there is a Christ-child in my heart, in your heart. Certain Orientals call it the Celestial Buddha in our hearts, but the idea is the same.

Read more: Let the Christ-Child Live

The Voice of the Silence 2 (Verses 6-32)

John Algeo – USA

Verses 6 to 12 of The Voice of the Silence concern the experience we have when we begin to control our minds: “[6] For: When to himself his form appears unreal, as do on waking all the forms he sees in dreams; [7] When he has ceased to hear the many, he may discern the ONE―the inner sound which kills the outer. [8] Then only, not till then, shall he forsake the region of asat, the false, to come unto the realm of Sat, the true. [9] Before the soul can see, the harmony within must be attained, and fleshly eyes be rendered blind to all illusion. [10] Before the soul can hear, the image (man) has to become as deaf to roarings as to whispers, to cries of bellowing elephants as to the silvery buzzing of the golden firefly. [11] Before the soul can comprehend and may remember, she must unto the Silent Speaker be united, just as the form to which the clay is modeled is first united with the potter’s mind. [12] For then the soul will hear, and will remember.”

One of the first experiences we have is distinguishing between the real and the unreal (in Sanskrit sat and asat). This is what At the Feet of the Master calls the first qualification: discrimination—distinguishing between, as that book says, the real and the unreal, the right and the wrong, the important and the unimportant, the useful and the useless, the true and the false, and the selfish and the unselfish. Sat, usually translated as “real” or “true,” is actually the present participle of the Sanskrit verb for “to be.” It thus means literally “being.” The real is what is, what has actual being. Asat, the “unreal,” is that same word with the negative or privative prefix a- meaning “not” or “without.” (We have that prefix in its Greek form in words like atypical “not typical” or asexual “without sexual characteristics.”) So the real is what has being; and the unreal is what has no being.

Read more: The Voice of the Silence 2 (Verses 6-32)

The Heart Doctrine - How to escape from Plato’s Cave – part one

Erwin Bomas – The Netherlands

Preceding his presentation on Friday August 12, 2011 in Julian-California, lecturer Erwin Bomas, a project manager for the Kennisnet Foundation and member of the Theosophical Society,  Point Loma – The Hague, stated the following:

In this lecture we will apply the conference theme “The Heart of Wisdom, A Concurrence of Science and Spirituality...from the Theosophical Perspective” to education. What is a Theosophical education? How to present Theosophy this day and age? How to reach the Western minds, still very much attuned to pure scientific and mostly materialistic thinking?

Theosophy, as the synthesis of Science, Philosophy and Religion, throws new light on Modern Science. In Theosophy we find the Doctrine of the Heart, revealing the “spirit”, stimulating the highest of our aspects. It presents the entrance to the world of noumena.

Read more: The Heart Doctrine - How to escape from Plato’s Cave – part one

The Seven Portals

H. P. Blavatsky

[The opening verses of Fragment 3 of The Voice of the Silence.]

196. “Upadhyaya,1 the choice is made, I thirst for Wisdom. Now hast thou rent the veil before the Secret Path and taught the greater Yana2. Thy servant here is ready for thy guidance.”

197. ’Tis well, Shravaka.3 Prepare thyself, for thou wilt have to travel on alone. The Teacher can but point the way. The Path is one for all, the means to reach the goal must vary with the pilgrims.

198. Which wilt thou choose, O thou of dauntless heart? The samtan4 of Eye Doctrine, fourfold Dhyana, or thread thy way through Paramitas5, six in number, noble gates of virtue leading to Bodhi and to Prajna, seventh step of Wisdom?

199. The rugged Path of fourfold Dhyana winds on uphill. Thrice great is he who climbs the lofty top.

Read more: The Seven Portals

William Quan Judge and the Theosophical Society – part one

Dara Eklund – USA

[Based on a talk given by Dara Eklund at Krotona Institute of Theosophy in April 2010.]

Annie Besant wrote the following in the October, 1922 [p. 351], issue of the Theosophist: “William Quan Judge [was] a much loved friend and pupil of H.P.B.’s, and the channel of life to the American Branch of the T.S. A highly evolved man, with a profound realization of the deeper truths of life, he built up the Society in America from small and discouraging beginnings. No difficulties daunted him, and no apparent failures quenched his fiery devotion. . . . He was beside H.P.B. through those early days, saw the exercise of her wonderful powers, and shared in the founding of the Theosophical Society. And throughout the remainder of her life on earth, the friendship remained unbroken, and during the later years she regarded him as her one hope in America, declaring that, if the American members rejected him, she would break off all relations with them, and know them no more. . . .His real work, the spread of Theosophy in America, was splendidly performed, and his memory remains a lasting inspiration. . . . William Quan Judge must ever have his place among Theosophical Worthies.”


William Quan Judge


William Quan Judge, son of Frederick H. Judge and Alice Mary Quan, was born in Dublin, Ireland, on April 13, 1851. His mother died in giving birth to a seventh child. At the age of thirteen, Judge emigrated with his bereaved father and family to New York City, arriving via the City of Limerick steamship on July 14, 1864. Very little is known of William’s early years prior to coming to America. At age seven he survived a major illness, ordinarily fatal, which changed him entirely. Boris de Zirkoff’s biography states that the doctor pronounced him dead. Under her pen name Jasper Niemand, Julia Keightley wrote: “During convalescence the boy evinced aptitude and knowledge which he had never before displayed, exciting wonder as to when and how he had learned these things, these rudiments of art and of literature . . . and from his recovery in his eighth year we find him interested in religion, magic, Rosicrucianism, and deeply absorbed in the Book of Revelations of the Christian Bible, trying to settle its meaning. He also devoured the contents of all the books he could lay hold of relating to mesmerism, character-reading, phrenology and so on, while no one knew when he had so much as acquired the art of reading at all. The emigration to America . . . broadened his thought and experience as the era of definite work and training came on” (Irish Theosophist 4.5 [February 15, 1896]: 91). Julia Keightley also relates an incident of the boy’s will power, in spite of his frail health, when some playmates jeered at Judge because he could not swim across a stream to an island. He determined to walk across the river’s bed; when out of his depth, periodically rising for breath, he was finally drawn out half-conscious by his astonished playfellows.

Read more: William Quan Judge and the Theosophical Society – part one

Truth: The Limitless Horizon – part one

John Algeo – USA

[This article is a revision of two earlier publications: “Truth: The Limitless Horizon,” American Theosophist 72.11 (December 1984): 413-25; and “Theosophical Truth Is a Many-Splendoured Thing,” Theosophist 127.5 (February 2006): 167-74.]


Horizon

The motto of the Theosophical Society should be well known to all its members. It is “There is no religion higher than Truth,” from the Sanskrit "Satyan nasti paro dharmah." The word “dharma” in that motto has as one of its several meanings “religion.” But the word “dharma” is what linguists call “polysemous,” that is, “having many meanings.” Semantically speaking, “dharma” is a complex, if not limitless, thing.

According to John Grimes’s Concise Dictionary of Indian Philosophy, “dharma” literally means “what holds together.” So, in a sense, the Theosophical motto might be paraphrased as saying that the things which hold us together—including our ideas about what is real and important—are not more important than Truth. Truth in Sanskrit is “satya,” meaning “that which is.” And it is not possible for anything to be higher or more important than what is. If “dharma” is a semantically complex word, Truth is an even more complex reality.

A recent book, Just Trust Me: Finding the Truth in a World of Spin, by G. Randy Kasten (Wheaton, IL: Theosophical Publishing House, 2011) distinguishes various kinds of truth: relative, probable, potential, consensus, temporary, contextual, and implied. Without going into that much detail, we might recognize just three kinds: factual (based on documentary evidence), personal (based on an individual’s belief system), and absolute (which is the ultimate reality of the cosmos, or of things as they are, and which is only approximated by human understanding).

Read more: Truth: The Limitless Horizon – part one

God Incarnate – part two

Nicholas Weeks – USA

[This article is based on a talk given in April 2010 at the Krotona Institute in Ojai, California by the author.  References to Echoes of the Orient are from the revised version, 2009-2010.]   

The second chapter begins to teach philosophy, but in such a way that Arjuna is led on gradually step by step to the end of the dialogue; and yet the very first instructions from Krishna are so couched that the end and purpose of the scheme are seen at the beginning.

Although philosophy seems dry to most people, and especially to minds in the Western world who are surrounded by the rush of their new and quite undeveloped civilization, yet it must be taught and understood. It has become the fashion to some extent to [reject] careful study or practice and go in for the rapid methods inaugurated in America. In many places emotional goodness is declared to exceed in value the calmness that results from a broad philosophical foundation, and in others astral wonder seeking, or great strength of mind whether discriminative or not, is given the first rank. Strength without knowledge, and sympathetic tears without the ability to be calm -- in fine, faith without works -- will not save us. And this is one of the lessons of the second chapter.

The greatest of the ancients inculcated by both symbols and books the absolute necessity for the acquirement of philosophical knowledge, inasmuch as strength or special faculties are useless without it... So, whether our strength is that of sympathy or of astral vision, we will be confounded if philosophical knowledge be absent.

But, so as not to be misunderstood, I must answer the question that will be asked, 'Do you then condemn sympathy and love, and preach a cold philosophy only?' By no means. Sympathy and emotion are as much parts of the great whole as knowledge, but inquiring students wish to know all that lies in the path. The office of sympathy, charity, and all other forms of goodness, so far as the effect on us is concerned, is to entitle us to [be helped]. By this exercise we inevitably attract to us those souls who have the knowledge and are ready to help us to acquire it also. But while we ignore philosophy and do not try to attain to right discrimination, we must pass through many lives, many weary treadmills of life, until at last little by little we have been forced, without our will, into the possession of the proper seeds of mental action from which the crop of right discrimination may be gathered.”


Krishna

Arjuna asks Krishna:

As I am affected by compassion and yet fear doing wrong, my mind is bewildered. Tell me truly what may be best for me to do! I am thy disciple, wherefore instruct me in my duty...

Krishna, now the guru -- or spiritual teacher -- of Arjuna, makes a reply [in verses 11-25] which is not excelled anywhere in the poem; pointing out the permanence and eternal nature of the soul, the progress it has to make through reincarnation to perfection, the error of imagining that we really do anything ourselves, and showing how all duties must be performed by him who desires to reach salvation...

Read more: God Incarnate – part two

The Voice of the Silence 1 (Verses 1-5)

John Algeo – USA

[This series is revised from a National Lodge Study Course published by the Theosophical Society in America in 1997.]

The Voice of the Silence is one of many spiritual guidebooks, works intended to provide signposts for living and especially for inner development. Such works tend to be relatively short and aphoristic or poetical, examples from around the world being the Analects of Confucius, the Tao Te Ching of Lao-tzu, the Dhammapada of Buddhism, the Bhagavad Gita of Hinduism, the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, the Sermon on the Mount of Jesus, the Imitation of Christ of Thomas a Kempis, and the Interior Castle of Teresa of Avila.


Silence

In the Theosophical tradition, three such well-known works are Light on the Path by Mabel Collins, At the Feet of the Master by J. Krishnamurti, and The Voice of the Silence by H. P. Blavatsky. The Voice was one of the last two books HPB wrote (the other being The Key to Theosophy) and so is part of her final legacy to us. As the essence of her views on the Theosophical life, it has a special value. All such guidebooks, and especially The Voice, can be approached in a variety of ways, no single way being uniquely right. Readers should use this book in a way that is pertinent to their particular interests and background. Those interested in its historical background can read the very rich and informative introductory essay “How The Voice of the Silence Was Written” by Boris de Zirkoff in the Quest Book centennial edition (Wheaton, IL: Theosophical Publishing House, 1992).

Read more: The Voice of the Silence 1 (Verses 1-5)

God Incarnate – part one

Nicholas Weeks – USA

[This article is based on a talk given in April 2010 at the Krotona Institute in Ojai, California by the author.  References to Echoes of the Orient are from the revised version, 2009-2010.]   

The second idea is, that man is a being who may be raised up to perfection, to the stature of the Godhead, because he himself is God incarnate. This noble doctrine was in the mind of Jesus, no doubt, when he said that we must be perfect even as is the father in heaven. [Mt 5:48] This is the idea of human perfectibility. It will destroy the awful theory of inherent original sin which has held and ground down the western Christian nations for centuries.”

Whether our True Nature is called Tathagatagarbha, the One, Parabrahm, Ain Soph, God or simply That; the path of perfection leads to it.

Read more: God Incarnate – part one

Soul-Centred Astrology

Gary Kidgell – Scotland

Throughout the ages various keys have been bequeathed as a means of assisting one in treading the spiritual path. Referred to as ‘keys to the mysteries’ they include Alchemy, Numerology, Esoteric Anatomy, the Kabbalah and Esoteric Psychology.

The subject of Esoteric or ‘Soul-Centred’ Astrology has been fashioned as a key to the mysteries for the 21st century. Following on from the pioneering work of Carl Jung and his concept of archetypes and their representation in the human psyche as symbols, Esoteric Astrology provides a key to enable the Higher Self (or Soul, in generic terms) to offer guidance and direction to the personality for the latter to ascertain and implement the Soul’s purpose.

The modern concept of esoteric or soul-centred astrology was first presented to the public by Alice Bailey in her book Esoteric Astrology. Her abstruse work introduced the concept of ‘esoteric rulers’, or planetary rulerships of the signs of the zodiac that differed from their orthodox counterparts and which were applied to those who embark upon the path of spiritual transformation. The contemporary esotericist, Dr Douglas Baker has developed this form of astrology so that it is capable of uniting the individual with the Soul or Higher Self thereby assisting towards the expression of its purpose. This is achieved by means of an astrological ‘language of symbols’ which offers a key which unlocks the door to the unconscious, the realm of archetypes and causation.

Read more: Soul-Centred Astrology

Master K.H. on Occultism.

[From Mahatma Letter 20 (chronological sequence, ed. Vicente Hao Chin, Jr., pp. 72-3) or Letter 49 (earlier editions), received at Umballa while A. P. Sinnett was on his way to Simla, August 5, 1881.

The Occult Science is not one in which secrets can be communicated of a sudden, by a written or even verbal communication. If so, all the “Brothers” would have to do, would be to publish a Hand-book of the art which might be taught in schools as grammar is. It is the common mistake of people that we willingly wrap ourselves and our powers in mystery — that we wish to keep our knowledge to ourselves, and of our own will refuse — “wantonly and deliberately” to communicate it. The truth is that till the neophyte attains to the condition necessary for that degree of Illumination to which, and for which, he is entitled and fitted, most if not all of the Secrets are incommunicable. The receptivity must be equal to the desire to instruct. The illumination must come from within. Till then no hocus pocus of incantations, or mummery of appliances, no metaphysical lectures or discussions, no self-imposed penance can give it. All these are but means to an end, and all we can do is to direct the use of such means as have been empirically found by the experience of ages to conduce to the required object. And this was and has been no secret for thousands of years. Fasting, meditation, chastity of thought, word, and deed; silence for certain periods of time to enable nature herself to speak to him who comes to her for information; government of the animal passions and impulses; utter unselfishness of intention, the use of certain incense and fumigations for physiological purposes, have been published as the means since the days of Plato and Iamblichus in the West and since the far earlier times of our Indian Rishis. How these must be complied with to suit each individual temperament is of course a matter for his own experiment and the watchful care of his tutor or Guru. Such is in fact part of his course of discipline, and his Guru or initiator can but assist him with his experience and will power but can do no more until the last and Supreme initiation. I am also of opinion that few candidates imagine the degree of inconvenience — nay suffering and harm to himself — the said initiator submits to for the sake of his pupil. The peculiar physical, moral, and intellectual conditions of neophytes and Adepts alike vary much, as anyone will easily understand; thus, in each case, the instructor has to adapt his conditions to those of the pupil, and the strain is terrible, for to achieve success we have to bring ourselves into a full rapport with the subject under training. And as the greater the powers of the Adept the less he is in sympathy with the natures of the profane who often come to him saturated with the emanations of the outside world, those animal emanations of the selfish, brutal, crowd that we so dread — the longer he was separated from that world and the purer he has himself become, the more difficult the self-imposed task. Then — knowledge can only be communicated gradually; and some of the highest secrets — if actually formulated even in your well prepared ear — might sound to you as insane gibberish, notwithstanding all the sincerity of your present assurance that “absolute trust defies misunderstanding.” This is the real cause of our reticence. This is why people so often complain with a plausible show of reason that no new knowledge is communicated to them, though they have toiled for it for two, three or more years. Let those who really desire to learn abandon all and come to us, instead of asking or expecting us to go to them. But how is this to be done in your world, and atmosphere?

A Warning Addressed to All Esotericists

H. P. Blavatsky


H. P. Blavatsky

[The opening paragraphs of “Esoteric School, Instruction No. 1, 1890,” in Collected Writings 12:515.]

There is a strange law in Occultism which has been ascertained and proven by thousands of years of experience; nor has it failed to demonstrate itself, almost in every case, during the fifteen years that the T. S. has been in existence. As soon as anyone pledges himself as a “Probationer,” certain occult effects ensue. Of these the first is the throwing outward of everything latent in the nature of the man: his faults, habits, qualities, or subdued desires, whether good, bad, or indifferent.

Read more: A Warning Addressed to All Esotericists

The Voice of the Silence: Bringing the Heart Doctrine to the West

Nancy Reigle – USA

[Reprinted here from Blavatsky’s Secret Books: Twenty Years of Research (San Diego, CA: Wizards Bookshelf, 1999), pp. 139-48, with formal modifications for Theosophy Forward house style.]

Among the many works that Madame Blavatsky brought before the public, The Voice of the Silence was unique in its appeal to the heart and spirit of humanity. Throughout, it repeatedly demands the greatest compassion that one is capable of towards one’s fellow human beings.

According to Blavatsky, The Voice of the Silence comes from ‘‘The Book of the Golden Precepts,” which “forms part of the same series as that from which the ‘Stanzas’ of the Book of Dzyan were taken, on which the Secret Doctrine is based.”1 She says that the Book of the Golden Precepts “contains about ninety dis¬tinct little treatises,” thirty-nine of which she had memorized.2  Three of these she translated into English for us in The Voice of the Silence, which we know as the ‘‘Three Fragments.” One can surmise that she studied these treatises under the tutelage of her Adept teachers during her stay in Little Tibet and Tibet proper, which she refers to in her writings.3

Read more: The Voice of the Silence: Bringing the Heart Doctrine to the West

A Letter from H. P. Blavatsky to W. Q. Judge dated August 12, 1887

[The following is the first paragraph of a letter, whose text is on the Web site Blavatsky Archives Online (www.blavatskyarchives.com/hpbwqj81287.htm) as part of a series of letters compiled by Dara Eklund and Nicholas Weeks; the present notes have been added by Theosophy Forward editors.]

My dear W. Q. J.

To explain my telegram of today know, that for several days I kept thinking over your letter & that of Coues1 — feeling the great responsibility you wanted me to assume. The night before last, however, I was shown a bird's eye view of the present state of Theosophy & its Societies. I saw a few earnest reliable Theosophists in a death struggle with the world in general, with other — nominal but ambitious — theosophists. The former are greater in number than you may think, & they prevailed, as you in America will prevail, if you only remain staunch to the Masters' programme and true to yourselves. And last night I saw 2 & now I feel strong — such as I am in my body, and ready to fight for theosophy & the few true ones to my last breath. Are you ready to help me carry on the sacrifice — that of accepting & carrying on the burden of life which is heavy? My choice is made & I will not go back on it. I remain in England in the midst of the howling wolves. Here I am needed & near to America, there, in Adyar — there are dark plots going on against me & poor Olcott (which you will understand better by reading Bert's3 letter & the enclosed one from Olcott) and I could only defend myself — not do any good to the Cause or Society. The defending forces have to be judiciously — so scanty they are — distributed over the globe wherever Theosophy is struggling against the powers of darkness. Let O. remain at Adyar — I will remain here. If you & Coues carry out the plan we will have four great & strong centres America, Paris, India, England.

Read more: A Letter from H. P. Blavatsky to W. Q. Judge dated August 12, 1887

Theosophy in Tibet: The Teachings of the Jonangpa School

David Reigle – USA


[By David Reigle, reprinted here from Blavatsky’s Secret Books: Twenty Years of Research (San Diego, CA: Wizards Bookshelf, 1999), pp. 83-95, with formal modifications for Theosophy Forward house style.]

Some seven centuries ago there arose in Tibet a school of teachings which has many parallels to Theosophy. This is the Jonangpa school. Like Theosophy, which attempted to restore teachings from “the universally diffused religion of the ancient and prehistoric world,”1 it attempted to restore teachings of the earlier Golden Age. Like Theosophy, which teaches as its first fundamental proposition “an omnipresent, eternal, boundless, and immutable principle on which all speculation is impossible, since it transcends the power of human conception,”2 it teaches a principle which is permanent, stable, quiescent, and eternal, which is devoid of anything but itself, or “empty of other” (gzhan stong), and which therefore transcends even the most subtle conceptualization. And like Theosophy, it was persecuted by orthodoxy.

A SECRET DOCTRINE

The teachings of the Jonangpa school were originated by Yumo Mikyo Dorje (yu mo mi bskyod rdo rje), an eleventh/twelfth-century yogi. He was a student of Somanatha, the Sanskrit pandit and Kalacakra master from Kashmir who translated the great Kalacakra commentary Vimala-prabha into Tibetan. Yumo is said to have received the Jonangpa teachings while practicing the Kalacakra six-limbed yoga in the Mt. Kailasa area of western Tibet. The Jonangpa teachings include primarily the Kalacakra transmission and the “empty of other” or shen-tong (gzhan stong) doctrine. Yumo expounded these as a “secret doctrine” (lkog pa’i chos).3 He did not, however, put these teachings into writing; so we do not have from him a work called The Secret Doctrine, as we do from H. P. Blavatsky. The task of putting them into writing was left to a successor, Dolpopa.

Read more: Theosophy in Tibet: The Teachings of the Jonangpa School

The Great Cause – Part two

Nicholas Weeks – USA

[This article is based on a talk given in April 2010 at the Krotona Institute in Ojai, California by the author. References to Echoes of the Orient are from the revised version, 2009-2010.]


Now some thoughts on human perfectibility.  Some object to spiritual perfection because it sounds like a final status, with all change or progress ended.  I have not found this taught in the original Theosophy of HPB or WQJ.  Even if this were the case, consider the many thousands of incarnations involved in becoming a Buddha or Bodhisattva, for example.  Then, many manvantaras more helping the spiritual advance of all beings; boredom is not in the future.

Here is some of what William Quan Judge wrote on perfection:

“On this plane of ours the spirit focalizes itself in all human beings who choose to permit it to do so, and the refusal to permit it is the cause of ignorance, of sin, of all sorrow and suffering. In all ages some have come to this high state, have grown to be as gods, are partakers actively in the work of nature, and go on from century to century widening their consciousness and increasing the scope of their government in nature. This is the destiny of all beings, and hence at the outset Theosophy postulates this perfectibility of the race, removes the idea of innate unregenerable wickedness, and offers a purpose and an aim for life which is consonant with the longings of the soul and with its real nature, tending at the same time to destroy pessimism with its companion, despair.

In Theosophy the world is held to be the product of the evolution of the [Unknown eternal] principle..., from the very lowest first forms of life, guided as it proceeded by intelligent perfected beings from other and older evolutions, and compounded also of the egos or individual spirits for and by whom it emanates. Hence man as we know him is held to be a conscious spirit, the flower of evolution, with other and lower classes of egos below him in the lower kingdoms, all however coming up and destined one day to be on the same human stage as we now are, we then being higher still.”  [Echoes II 136]

Read more: The Great Cause – Part two

The Kali Yuga – The Present Age

H. P. Blavatsky

Collected Writings 9:99-104 [“Conversations on Occultism” in Path 3.1 (April 1888): 17-21]


Student. — I am very much puzzled about the present age. Some Theosophists seem to abhor it as if wishing to be taken away from it altogether, inveighing against modern inventions such as the telegraph, railways, machinery, and the like, and bewailing the disappearance of former civilizations. Others take a different view, insisting that this is a better time than any other, and hailing modern methods as the best. Tell me, please, which of these is right, or, if both are wrong, what ought we to know about the age we live in.

Sage. — The teachers of truth know all about this age. But they do not mistake the present century for the whole cycle. The older times of European history, for example, when might was right and when darkness prevailed over Western nations, was as much a part of this age, from the standpoint of the Masters, as is the present hour, for the yuga — to use a Sanskrit word — in which we are now had begun many thousands of years before. And during that period of European darkness, although this yuga had already begun, there was much light, learning, and civilization in India and China. The meaning of the words “present age” must therefore be extended over a far greater period than is at present assigned. In fact, modern science has reached no definite conclusion yet as to what should properly be called “an age,” and the truth of the Eastern doctrine is denied. Hence we find writers speaking of the “Golden Age,” the “Iron Age,” and so on, whereas they are only parts of the real age that began so far back that modern archaeologists deny it altogether.

Read more: The Kali Yuga – The Present Age

What Are the Books of Kiu-te?

David Reigle – USA

[“What Are the Books of Kiu-te?” by David Reigle, was published in the High Country Theosophist 9.2 (Feb. 1994): 2-9, and reprinted in David and Nancy Reigle’s collection Blavatsky’s Secret Books: Twenty Years’ Research (San Diego, CA: Wizards Bookshelf, 1999), pp. 43-52, from which it is reproduced here, with slight modifications for our house style.]

The books of Kiu-te, as most Theosophists know, are said to be the source from which the Stanzas of Dzyan in The Secret Doctrine were translated. We are told that besides the secret books of Kiu-te from which the Stanzas of Dzyan were translated, there exist public books of Kiu-te, found in the libraries of Tibetan monasteries.1 Yet these public books of Kiu-te remained, for all practical purposes, secret until 1981, when they were finally identified. Though the books are "public," in that they are found in the printed collection of Tibetan Buddhist scriptures, they continue to be regarded by Tibetan tradition as the Buddha's secret teachings, and therefore as having restricted access. Even now only a tiny fraction of them has been translated into English.

Read more: What Are the Books of Kiu-te?

The Great Cause – Part one

Nicholas Weeks – USA

[This article is based on a talk given in April 2010 at the Krotona Institute in Ojai, California by the author. References to Echoes of the Orient are from the revised version, 2009-2010.]

Many ideas have been presented by both the modern and ancient Theosophical Movement.  Yet there are three which should stand out in the thought-life of this world.  Since these three ideas are radiant with goodness we must continually rescue them from oblivion.  Here is how William Q. Judge described them:

The first idea is that there is a great Cause — in the sense of an enterprise — called the Cause of Sublime Perfection and Human Brotherhood.  This rests upon the essential unity of the whole human family, and is a possibility because sublimity in perfectness and actual realization of brotherhood on every plane of being are one and the same thing.  All efforts by Rosicrucian, Mystic, Mason and Initiate are efforts toward the convocation in the hearts and minds of men of the Order of Sublime Perfection.

Read more: The Great Cause – Part one

Voice of the Silence

H. P. Blavatsky

From The Voice of the Silence, fragment 2 “The Two Paths”

109.    Saith the pupil: Teacher, what shall I do to reach to Wisdom?

110.    Wise one, what, to gain perfection?

111.    Search for the Paths. But, O Lanoo, be of clean heart before thou startest on thy journey. Before thou takest thy first step learn to discern the real from the false, the ever-fleeting from the everlasting. Learn above all to separate Head-learning from Soul-Wisdom, the "Eye" from the "Heart" doctrine.

Read more: Voice of the Silence

W.Q. Judge: A Borrowed Body

Nicholas Weeks – USA


William Q. Judge and Henry Olcott in 1891

William Quan Judge (1851-96) was a loyal disciple of HP Blavatsky and strong worker for Theosophy.  His life and work are best known in the United States, where he was responsible for giving Theosophy a firm footing.

His occult life was deep, for he rarely spoke of it. Perhaps the most amazing part of his life was his birth.  It was highly unusual. But I will let friends of his, Cyrus Willard and Claude Wright, add to Judge's own telling of the “borrowed body.”       

I can tell, now, what I know, and saw with my own eyes, about this “borrowed body” and which was also seen and verified by at least ten other persons, who openly so stated at a meeting held in the headquarters of the Boston Branch, shortly after Judge’s death in 1896. And I think Brother Smythe [editor of The Canadian Theosophist] can vouch for my reputation for veracity.  It was at the Boston convention of 1891, where I served on a committee with Annie Besant, on her first visit to America, and was predisposed in her favor by her work for the Bryant & May match-girls.  Word was sent to all members of the E.S.T. which I had joined under H.P.B. in 1889, to be present at an E.S. meeting in the large double parlors of the Parker House. When I got in, it was early and from newspaper habit I walked down to the front row of seats and sat less than 10 feet away from Judge and Annie.  As she has seen fit to publish the E.S. instructions, it will not therefore be without justification that I relate what occurred, in order to give Judge his due.

Read more: W.Q. Judge: A Borrowed Body

Quest for the Lost Language of the Initiates [part 2]

David Reigle – USA

[“Quest for the Lost Language of the Initiates,” by David Reigle, was published in the American Theosophist 69.1 (January 1981): 11-6; and reprinted in David and Nancy Reigle’s collection Blavatsky’s Secret Books: Twenty Years’ Research (San Diego, CA: Wizards Bookshelf, 1999), pp. 6-19, from which it is reproduced here, with slight modifications for our house style.]


When we went to India to obtain books and materials for the Theosophical Research Center here [now Eastern Tradition Research Institute], after a most fruitful stay at Adyar of course, we made it a point to go to Bombay, the center of Zoroastrianism today, and see what we could find of this. We first set about obtaining the five Gathas of the Yasna in the original Gathic dialect of the Avesta language, supposed to be Senzar, and also in English translation. As usual, the English translation was very inadequate from the occult point of view. We also obtained some Avestan grammars and readers for use in learning the language.

Read more: Quest for the Lost Language of the Initiates [part 2]

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