Theosophical University Press Online Edition
Originally published by Theosophical University Press 1939. Second and revised edition © 1998 by Theosophical University Press. Electronic version ISBN 1-55700-152-9. All rights reserved. This edition may be downloaded for off-line viewing without charge. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted for commercial or other use in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise, without the prior permission of Theosophical University Press. Because of current limitations in ASCII character fonts, and for ease of searching, no diacritical marks appear in the electronic version of the text.
To the Reader
I -- Introductory
II -- Who Are the Masters?
III -- How the Masters Obtain Their Wisdom
IV -- Teachings of the Masters
V -- The Secret Doctrine of the Ages
VI -- What Is Occultism?
VII -- The Mystery-Schools and Initiation
VIII -- The Sacred Seasons
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TO THE READER
This little volume is the second in the Series which opened with The Story of Jesus. As was the case with the latter Booklet, so is the case with the present one: selections and excerpts from articles and lectures of the undersigned have been made and brought together with connecting thoughts into the present little volume. Those who did the work of collation and preparation, whose names are mentioned in the Prefatory Note to The Story of Jesus, are the ones who have continued their kindly work in this Booklet, and who will continue to do so in the Booklets to follow the present one in this Series. -- G. de P.
The Theosophical Society,
Point Loma, California.
There is a hunger in the human heart for beauty; there is a longing in the human soul for harmony and for peace; there is an unceasing aspiration in the human mind for an understanding of the problems of the Universe; and all these qualities of heart and soul and mind are fundamentally one, arising out of that amazing spiritual fire which dwells in the inmost of the inmost of every human being, and which is a reflexion in his human character of the Divine Flame which is fundamentally the Spiritual Man; and this flame is the core of his being.
Men yearn for truth; they yearn for light; they yearn for peace and happiness; and alas, in how slight a degree is this divine hunger satisfied! It is unsatisfied because men will not self-consciously realize who they are, what they are, in the core of themselves; their human consciousness refuses to recognise the living existence in them of this Divine Flame of the spirit. Never the less, there is through the ages a pressure towards this realization, and when recognition comes, then indeed breaks the splendor of the spirit on the mind and illuminates it divinely. The man's soul is then moved: and the very depths of his being are stirred, for he recognises not only his kinship with -- in the abstract sense -- but his fundamental oneness with, the Universe of which he is a child, an inseparable part.
There is light to be had, because there is system and order in the Universe, the results of flaming intelligences and cosmic compassion, and anyone whose heart impels him to carry on the search indefatigably and with a mental refusal to take discouragement at any time, but to carry on, will receive that light.
When this recognition of his inner spiritual grandeur comes to him, then he recognises also that there is spiritual grandeur outside of him, existing in other human beings. Then he recognises the kinship of other human spirits with his own. Thus the man who is spiritually awakened, recognises that other men also can be grand, and great, and that their hearts are filled, as is his, with an innate and instinctive spiritual nobility. In other words he recognises that the divine is working in other human beings also, and that possibly in some of these other fellows of his, there throbs a heart which is more or less fully cognisant of its spiritual powers. The man then realizes that he may find others higher than himself: one or more who have become more or less at one with the inner flame of divinity, with the inner god, with the divine spirit stirring within.
Such intimations or intuitions of the living divinity within us all persuade us beyond cavil or argument that our noblest aspirations are true, are based on fact; for in very truth there are such greatly awakened hearts in the world. There are indeed such wondrous men in the world, men who have evolved to the point where the divine flame within, the inner god of them, is expressing itself more or less fully and according to the evolutionary stage of advancement of the individual.
Such Great Men it has been customary from immemorial time to speak of as 'Saviors' of their fellows. They are indeed the spiritual Saviors of men, the great and outstanding human spiritual geniuses of the human race; they have shaken men's hearts by the magic of their teaching and by the example of their lives, and by their power to explain life's mysteries to inquiring minds hungering for truth and light.
Look at history. See the Great Men that the human race has produced: Gautama the Buddha, the very imbodiment of wisdom and love; Jesus the Avatara, another imbodiment of love and wisdom; and others of these Great Ones, whose names perhaps are less well known; and we realize as we survey these human imbodiments of spiritual light that our intuitions and intimations are true. Then, as all men know, beneath these genii of the spirit and of the intellect there are, and there have been, and there will be in the future, other men whom we call geniuses, men of wondrous ability, men of high and vaulting talent, whose souls commune with the very stars, and pluck from heaven heaven's own flame of truth, and tell it in phrase and in teaching to their fellows. We know that these men exist: we know that the records of these genii of the race are written in living flame across the pages of history. Where then shall we pause and say that human genius cannot go higher than this level, or than that level, or than the mediocre plane which average mankind already has attained in its evolution?
It is our Theosophical teaching that greater men even than those geniuses to whom I have last above alluded exist in the world at the present time and existed in past times; and they have lived and taught and guided their fellowmen; and these Great Ones compose a spiritual Brotherhood of the Great Sages and Seers of the human race. These are what are called the Theosophical Mahatmans. They are the Elder Brothers of mankind. They are men, not spirits. They are men who have evolved through self-devised efforts in individual evolution, always advancing forwards and upwards until they attained the lofty supremacy that now they hold. They were not so created by any extra-cosmic Deity, but they are men who have become what they are by means of inward spiritual striving, by spiritual and intellectual yearning, by aspiration to be greater and -- better, nobler and higher. They are not what they are by any favoritism either of a god or of Fate, but have merely run ahead of the great multitude of men. There they stand; they are Helpers, they are Seers, they are Sages. They have naught that they have by way of gift. All that they have -- which means all that they are -- all that they have evolved to, all that they have become, they have gained by self-devised efforts in individual evolutionary growth.