Theosophy

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

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