The Masters and the Path of Occultism by G. de Purucker
II -- Who Are the Masters?
III -- How the Masters Obtain Their Wisdom
IV -- Teachings of the Masters
V -- The Secret Doctrine of the Ages
We now see just what these Mahatmans are: evolved men, men who have in evolution run ahead of the multitude of the races of mankind who have preceded us. They are men who have brought forth the powers and capacities of the inner god of which each human being is but a feeble expression at present. They are the great philosophers, the great leaders of men, the great thinkers, those who have swayed the hearts of multitudes and have captured their minds with the majesty and splendor of true thought.
Think of man's intellect gaging the ways of the stars probing into the very womb of Space, counting the atoms in a particle of physical substance, drawing up philosophies and sciences and religions which have shaken the very souls of other men! This is indeed godlike; this is indeed more than mere genius; this verily is the working of the Divine Flame within.
Look again at the love which fills man's spiritual being, if he only will give it room therein: love which embraces within its compass the entirety of all things, the spaces of Boundless Space! What a divine faculty love is; what a divine energy it is! Think again of compassion and pity and our instinctive sense of friendliness and brotherhood. Think of men's yearning for peace, for harmony!
All these are godlike qualities. They are divine qualities. It is an alliance with one or more of these inner faculties which makes man great, which makes him a genius, which makes him able to shake the hearts and move the minds of his fellow-men. For when he is allied with this Divine Flame it sweeps through him and sways him, and then you can see it expressing itself in all the being of the man who shows it. He then forgets himself utterly as a personality. He then lives in the Boundless. He loses all thought of his personal being, and lives in Eternity. For during such times of illumination his consciousness has taken unto itself cosmic reaches, and he feels with the vibrations of the atoms in farthest Sirius, and vibrates sympathetically by reaction to the movements of the Polar Star. This is no mere poetical phraseology; it is actual truth.
The Mahatmans are highly evolved men, controlling powers over Nature's forces which they have gained through self-directed evolution during many, many, many lives in the near and distant past. Now they are become Masters of life; in former ages they were men like you and me. In future ages they will become gods, just indeed as we shall all of us so become, when the destiny of the human race shall on this planet have reached its furthermost end for the present cosmic period of evolution; because within each one of us there is the individual's own indwelling inner god, the source of all that is great in us; and evolution is simply bringing out or unfolding what the man already and now has 'within' him -- or 'above' him.
There is naught that is weird about these Great Men. They are the sanest men on earth, the gentlest, the kindliest, the most pitiful, the most compassionate, the most brotherly, and the most peaceful and the wisest, the strongest and the purest, the noblest and the greatest. They do not stand, all of them, on the same step of the ladder of evolutionary progress. Some of them are very great, very high, others less so, others less so still. Then next in turn there are their chelas or pupils, men who are striving to become like unto their Masters, and who are a step or two or three ahead of the average man; and then we the average men find our place in the scale. Thus, our Masters of Wisdom and Compassion, the Elder Brothers of the Race, have simply preceded us or run ahead of us in evolutionary development. All of us shall be Masters of Wisdom and Compassion some day. Those who are such at present are simply those who are ahead of the multitude of humanity.
They are active in the world all the time. Their agents are active always and everywhere. Their influence is always for good, always for brotherhood, always for kindliness among men, always for peace, always for progress and the gaining of a greater light, always for the things which give to men's hearts high hope and courage, and to their minds inspiration and love and rest. But this is not the rest which is mere negative repose or sleep; it is, on the contrary, the rest which comes from the harmonious working of all one's functions and faculties -- spiritual, intellectual, ethical, vital, and physical.
Sometimes they awaken men when men have fallen to sleeping, to spiritual and intellectual inertia, and resting in the smug satisfaction of physical comforts. They then begin to call forth the soul of men, that fiery flame which stirs and moves within us and leads us to deeds of greatness and to imagination of sublime things. Yea, then they stir up conditions so that men shall awaken and begin again to recognise the call from within, the call of the inner god.
They are our 'Elder Brothers' because they watch over us as an elder brother watches over his younger brother. They are our 'Teachers' because they teach us through the ages; they instruct us and guide us. They are our 'Masters,' because we are their pupils. It matters not that the pupil does not always recognise his teacher. In things of the spirit, and in things of the mind, these Great Ones always follow the best path, the efficient path. They work through other men as their agents whom they have chosen from out the multitude and who themselves are, relatively speaking, Great Men, but in less degree, and who become the pupils of these Greater Ones.
The ancient teachings of Wisdom which have come down to modern men from immemorial time have been voiced and taught and formulated and cast like thought-seeds into the minds of men by the great Seers and Sages of all the past ages. These Sages and Seers are what the Chinese philosopher, Confucius, called 'Superior Men,' superhuman men; and what the Greek philosopher Plato called 'Godlike Men'; and what we in our own pragmatical European age would call 'highly evolved men,' or 'supermen,' perhaps.
History records the names of many of them: the Buddha, Sankaracharya, Krishna, Jesus called the Christ, Pythagoras, Empedocles, Plato, Apollonius of Tyana, Lao-Tse, Confucius, Zoroaster; and in other lands similar individuals of whom only a name remains at present, such as Quetzalcoatl of Mexico, and Manco Capac of Peru.
They form an association or band or society.
They have lived throughout the ages, each generation of them transmitting to succeeding generation the accumulated wisdom and knowledge that had been gained from immemorial time. They have wonderful powers over Nature, because they have learned to know Nature. They work entirely with Nature, with the Law. That is the reason that they are great. They are in harmony with things as they are, with the roots of things. They are the Servants of the Law, and in that lies their power. They never work contrary to Nature's mandates. They warn men as far as men will let them. They are warning continually. Every now and again they send forth from among their own number someone to teach men, to carry a new message of wisdom and knowledge of Nature's secrets into the world. They have done this through the ages, warning, teaching, encouraging, consoling, constantly saying: Come up higher; come to us.
Jesus, the Buddha, Sankaracharya: all these great men have been Messengers from the Lodge, the great White Lodge. Their teachings can be found in the great religious philosophies of the world, and today may be found in Theosophy.
These great Masters of Wisdom are back of the Theosophical Society today. They sent forth H. P. Blavatsky from among themselves, as their Messenger and Teacher to the world in this our age.
The light of the holy Sages is transmitted from messenger to messenger down the ages; and certain human beings can be trained to transmit that light in purity and in fulness. This chain of succession in Teachers is what is often spoken of in Greek historical tradition as the Hermetic Chain or the Golden Chain, and was considered among Greek philosophical mystics as reaching from Father Zeus through a series of spiritual and then noble human beings down to ordinary men. This was a teaching of the Mysteries, where it was fully explained: a true teaching because it represents distinctly and clearly a true operation of Nature. More or less faint and often distorted copies of this Hermetic Chain of Succession of Teachers was taken over by various later formal and exoteric sects, who kept the fundamental idea of a succession of teachers of power, however much the fact became degenerated into a mere theory -- such as in the Christian Church wherein it was called the Apostolic Succession.
In all the great Mystery-Schools of antiquity there was this succession of teacher following teacher; or, as the world would put it, of Leader following Leader, each one passing on the light to his successor as he himself had received it from his predecessor; and as long as this transmission of light was a reality it was a spiritual thing. Therefore all such movements lived, flourished, and did great good in the world.
What does a Teacher do? He shows the path. He evokes from within the latent and dormant faculties. He educates -- instructs also perhaps, but educates -- brings out what is within the pupil, leads forth his native powers. Instruction is merely filling the mind full of facts -- good enough in its way and in its place, but it is not the true work of a Teacher. A true spiritual Teacher will take your hand and bring you, if you trust him, to the portals of the temple of Divine Wisdom; and there, not he but you will give the knock. For this knock is not a knock of the hand. It is a manifestation issuing from soul, from mind, and heart, that you have arrived at the point where you want more light, and your Teacher recognises that knock.
The evolution of the race is like a rising along an arc for a time, until it reaches a culmination of power and faculty; and then slowly there is a sinking as the faculties wane, until the historic trough of the curve is reached. Then a new Great One appears and directs men on another upward round subsequent to the one down which they had come. Each such upward round is a little higher in its culmination than the one last passed.
This Theosophical teaching of guides, of leaders, coming to men in regular serial succession, is one of our most beautiful and most consoling Theosophical doctrines. The burden of the message of every such great Sage and Seer always contains the appeal to the individual man to awaken from his spiritual and intellectual slumber and to become more at one with the god within him.
Records exist -- to be investigated by anyone who has an open mind and who can see, and has brains enough to judge according to the preponderance of evidence -- showing that the great Seers of the ages have penetrated behind and beyond the veil of appearances; have gone behind that veil to the roots of things; have sent their souls deep into the womb of being and have brought back knowledge therefrom. Wonderful indeed are the systems of thought that these great Seers and Sages of the ages have formulated in human language, touching every phase of the human being; systems which are so symmetrical, so profound in philosophical and scientific reach, that every fact that exists in human psychology finds its proper niche, its proper pigeon-hole so to say, its exact lodgment, where it belongs.
Picture a universe which is consistent throughout itself, an organic whole, which is enlivened with a burning intelligence, and a vital flow which never ceases because the Universe is without frontiers, boundless, without a beginning, and without an end. Furthermore, the physical universe that we sense around us, is but the outer veil or garment or sheath, the reflexion, of the invisible worlds behind the scenes; and what men call physical laws -- the laws of physical Nature -- are but the reflexion, the copy to use a familiar expression, in our physical world, of the will-power and of the vital essences of the spiritual beings who guide and control the Universe, and who infill, fill full, these invisible realms behind the physical universe that we see.
Consequently, the Universe being thus an organic whole, and strictly coordinated, can be interpreted. It is not a senseless and crazy dance of fortuitously driven atoms. The Universe being thus subject to law and order, can be expressed in human formulation, so far as its structure and operations go, as a system of thought which human beings can understand.
Great Intellects, titanic spiritual Seers, have sent their consciousness behind the veils of the outward seeming deep into the womb of invisible Nature, and have brought back what they have seen, and have formulated their knowledge into a grand system of thought. This system of thought we today call Theosophy. It is the Mother of all the great religions and great philosophies of the past time, and will be so of those of the future; for this reason: that every one of these other great systems of thought has been founded upon the teaching of some great spiritual Seer and Sage.
Such enlightened beings have reached this state of spiritual elevation by becoming more fully what they are within themselves, by evolving forth what is within; for evolution is the bringing out, the unfolding, the unwrapping, what the evolving entity has in the core of its being. There can be no other evolution. A thing cannot become that which it is not in its inmost; no entity can bring forth something which is not locked up within, lying latent it may be, for the time being.
What then is Theosophy? It is the formulated system of natural Religion-Philosophy-Science, embracing the verities of infinite Nature, and teaching therefore of the structure, operations, and laws of Nature as they have been and are visioned, seen, experienced, witnessed by all the great Sages and Seers of the past and present. All of them have examined the indelible records of the Astral Light which contain the portrayal of all evolution from the very dawn of time; and through an ascending series of initiations have sent the percipient part of themselves, the seeing part, the visioning part, the thinking part, the intuitive part, the self-conscious part, behind the veil of the outward seeming of Nature which surrounds us. They have gone behind the veil into new and marvelous realms of being and there themselves at first hand have quaffed of the Waters of Truth. Drinking of those sublime Pierian Springs, they bring back to their fellowmen and formulate in human tongue what they themselves have seen and have found; and these various formulations were, in past ages, the original sources of the ancient philosophies and religions. All these great Sages and Seers have seen the same verities, have found the same truths, in the invisible spheres of being; and, having formulated this same body of truths which they had discovered, it is clear that behind all the literatures, within all literatures, under the words, in the words, behind the words, you will find one fundamental system of natural scientific religio-philosophy.
What is the Pathway? The Pathway is you yourself. Therefore the call from the Teacher comes to you: Awake, my Brother, awake to the god within yourself, not outside, not in me, but in you -- the Master supreme! Where is the fountain-head of your understanding? Where arises the flame of your intelligence? What is the wellspring of love within you? Where is the sun of compassion and pity and self-forgetfulness and peace? All within you. That therefore is the Path.
And powers? Shall we talk of powers? Look at the powers that these Great Men had. See the works that they wrought, the deeds that they did, the teachings that they taught. And every one of them said unto his followers: "Come up. Come up higher. Come up. All that I do, shall ye do likewise." Self-conquest, self-discipline, self-study -- the study of the Higher Self -- self-understanding, self-evolution, self-growth: there is the teaching. Forget the self in order that ye may find the Self. A paradox, but how wondrous true! Forget the lower, circumscribed man of limited self so that the consciousness of that self may expand into the fields of the Universe, its native home. Expand your human consciousness so that it may become the consciousness of the god within you.
Furthermore, these Wise Men taught of the reality of inner and invisible worlds. They taught from what they themselves had experienced in the initiation-chambers: taught not only because someone else had instructed them, but because they had been on the mystical Adventure to these interior realms. And because they had been there, and had seen, and felt, and contacted these realms, they knew and therefore could teach Truth. How can a man really know anything at all which he himself has not been through?
They taught that it is the inner worlds to which all the better part of man goes when he lays aside the physical body -- the interior realms and planes and spheres of the cosmic life. They taught that the journey after death is made upwards through nine other planes or spheres, until the acme or top of the hierarchical ladder is reached; and then comes the return journey downwards through the same planes, until the earth-sphere is again entered upon; and thus a man is reborn, each time a little higher than before, let us hope -- because there are certain cases of retrogression -- with each new birth learning a little more and becoming somewhat more than he was before. For the root of each one of us is a divine being; and humanhood today is but a visible and imperfect manifestation in this world of gross substance, of the powers and faculties that are locked up within. The real roots of things are in the invisible worlds; the real causes of all things lie there. Therefrom spring forth the entities that compose the variety of our physical world; and today ultra-modern scientific thinkers, and the greatest of them, are talking more or less vaguely but intuitively about our 'dimensions of space'; instead of which phrase, we, having the same idea although much more developed, speak about the superior worlds or realms or planes of space.
Existing in the very beginning of this present stage of cosmic evolution in the bosom of the superspiritual Source and Root of all that is, leaving IT as unconscious god-sparks, we have passed through many existences and lives on various spiritual spheres, as also in various material spheres, among these latter our own planet Terra; in them all learning, growing, expanding, evolving, manifesting forth outwards what we are intrinsically and naturally within our inmost center. This is the procedure of evolution: becoming or manifesting what we are latently within; for in the name of truth, what else can a man or woman, or any other being for the matter of that, become, except that which lies in the evolving entity itself? After the passage of many aeons of evolution in this manner, we shall re-enter, mystically speaking, or rebecome, or self-consciously recognise our kinship with, the All, and thus find ourselves again in the bosom of the Universal Life, but no longer as un-selfconscious god-sparks, but as fully self-conscious gods.
This thought of the spiritual unity of all beings is at the foundation, is in fact the basis, of every great religion and philosophy of the past. Every great Sage has taught that the human being has, indeed is, in the core of the core of himself, a spark of the Central Fire, of that bright Intelligence which infills the Universe; and that the pathway to unutterable wisdom and peace and bliss and love is the following of that still, small pathway within leading ever farther inwards, upwards, until self is lost in the All-Self, and the pilgrim becomes at one with the Divine Fire which vitalizes and infills and guides the Universe.
We see, therefore, the natural basis that ethics has in such thoughts as these: the basis that morals naturally have in right and noble living, in high thinking. These are the teachings of the Sages of old, and are the very basis of every world-religion that exists; the very basis of every great philosophy: the very basis of the facts of science. The facts of Nature which are rooted in the fundamentals of the Great Mother, likewise repose on the same spiritual substratum of being.
In the beginning of our evolutionary journey in our present Universe, we entered this present Universe as Elementals therein, and we have grown through all the stages upwards until at present we are human beings. And we are still growing, still evolving, still pressing forwards; for never must we forget that evolution is bringing out what is within, unfolding the latent powers locked up within the deathless center which every human is at the core of the core of himself. Infinitude lies there; deathlessness lies there; and therefore the pathway of growth is endless and beginningless.
The way by which to grow is to shed the personal in order to become impersonal; to shed the limited in order to expand. How can the chick leave the egg without breaking its shell? How can the inner man expand without breaking the shell of the lower selfhood? How can the god within manifest itself until the imperfect, the small, the constricted, the personal in other words, has been surpassed, overpassed, left behind, abandoned, cast aside? It is in impersonality that lies immortality. In personality lies death. Therefore expand, grow, evolve, become what you are within!
There is a deduction, a very important one, to be drawn from this, nor should we be affrighted at it: All evolution is change; all change in evolution is growth, expansion. You cannot become something better than what you are now without leaving this present behind. Consequently, as this law applies as much to the spiritual and psychical realms as it does to the physical and astral, we draw the following deduction: There is no immortally unchangeable soul in man. Do you understand? Thank the gods that it is so! Because if there were a genuinely immortally unchangeable soul in me that soul could never grow, because it could not change; I should be for ever in crystallized imperfection; because, if I changed in one atom, and by one iota, immortality would instantly vanish, because I should have become something else by the degree of that change for betterment; but evolution, which is change, is uninterrupted and continuous and has proceeded throughout eternity. Do you now understand the idea? That is the heart of the explanation of the teaching of the Lord Gautama the Buddha, who was the very incarnation of love and wisdom on earth because manifesting the powers of a divinity, his own inner God, his own inner Dhyani, as we Theosophists say, the celestial entity of which he was the human expression or vehicle. And Jesus the Syrian Sage and Avatara said exactly the same in substance when he taught: "I and my Father are one."
If your instincts and your thoughts and your desires be earthwards, earthward will you go, for earthwards is your attraction. If your instincts and your will and your understanding and your aspiration are upwards towards the stars and the immortal suns, thither will you travel in the evolutionary course. These are facts.
The same rule applies even in the common affairs of life. The things upon which a man sets his heart he struggles for, and gets them; and precisely the same rule holds man in Nature's unerring balance of justice. In the pan of the balance into which you have thrown the strongest elements and affections of your character, will you be found yourself when you are weighed in life's balance. That is the meaning of the ancient Egyptian symbolic picture of the man's heart being weighed in the balance.
Therefore the Great Men, the Seers and Sages, philosophers, true religionists, natural scientists, have taught that the very nature of the heart of the Universe is beauty, harmony, therefore order, law, love and peace, and that the expression of these cosmic attributes throughout Nature is the cause of the orderliness that the observant eye sees everywhere. They taught also that the disorderliness that one sees likewise in Nature, the things that go wrong, the warped things, the things dying before their time, and human beings in especial, are merely the proof of the vast hierarchies of evolving and therefore imperfect Intelligences in Nature, which Intelligences, collaborators as they are in the great universal work, produce imperfect results because they themselves are as yet imperfect.
Therefore did they say that the immortal gods, in all their evolutionary grades: highest, intermediate, and low: are nevertheless not perfect, although incomparably more perfect than men. On such reasoning as this was the true polytheism of the ancients based.
Every entity and every thing in the Universe is a learning thing: every entity therefore is on its upward evolutionary way. The Universe is divisible into numberless hosts of beings in all phases of evolutionary progress: endless hierarchies of beings and things and entities, graded in steps and stages; and this principle prevails in similar fashion on our earth.
Every phenomenon of growth is accompanied with a sound. There is indeed such a thing as the Music of the Spheres, a very real thing. Every motion of material substance is accompanied with a sound. That sound may be too great for our imperfect ears to sense, or to take note of; or it may come within the limited gamut of sound that evolution has brought our auditory sense to understand or to take in. In the latter case we are aware of the physical sound: in the former case we are not, but the sound is there just the same.
The musical harmonies throughout Nature are going on all the time. Everything that moves, sings as it moves; and all things are moving. Nothing is absolutely inert, consequently everything sings, and the stars in their majestic cyclical motions, and the planets in their orbits, sing the Song of the Spheres; but our senses are not attuned to take it in. Therefore we don't hear it. Shakespeare describes this beautifully in a passage in his Merchant of Venice, Act V, Scene I:
There's not the smallest orb which thou behold'st
But in his motion like an angel sings,
Still quiring to the young-eyed cherubims;
Such harmony is in immortal souls;
But whilst this muddy vesture of decay
Doth grossly close it in, we cannot hear it.
Shakespeare in this passage was merely repeating the teachings of the ancient Greek Pythagoreans, which teachings had come down to his time through the writings of a few early Christian theologians and mainly in the teachings of the pseudo-Dionysius, called the Areopagite. The Pythagorean doctrine is our Theosophical teaching also, and the matter is now becoming somewhat understood even by the ultra-modern scientific researchers, to the effect that every material thing in movement produces, among other phenomena, sound.
There is not only a 'Music of the Spheres,' but there is music everywhere, and man's poor interpretative faculty attempts to seize some of the celestial harmonies, and the result is that we have what we call human music beautiful in its way indeed, but oh, how imperfect, as compared with Nature's natural harmonies.
The next time when you pass a fellow human being on the street, no longer look upon him as an imperfect fellow: no longer let your eyes rest upon him as a being of mere flesh and blood and bones; but remember that you have just passed an imbodied god in his higher being, full of mysteries, so that his very body is singing a hymn, had you the ears to hear it. And had you this actual inner spiritual ear, you could hear the music of the spheres; for, in solemn truth, every sphere that runs its course in the abysmal depths of space, sings a song as it passes along. Having this power you can hear the grass grow. Every little atom is attuned to a musical note. It is in constant movement, in constant vibration at speeds which are incomprehensible to the ordinary brain-mind of man; and each such speed has its own numerical quantity, in other words its own numerical note or sound, and therefore sings that note; so that had you this spiritual clairaudience, the life surrounding you would be one grand sweet song and you yourself would sing a song, your very body would be as it were a symphonic orchestra, singing some magnificent, incomprehensible, musical symphonic composition. The growth of a flower for instance would be like a changing melody running along from day to day.
Men are the handiwork of cosmic gods and spiritual beings; and each such god or spiritual entity expresses itself through the human tabernacle which it has built up. Each one therefore is a conglomerate constitution builded by the faculties and powers flowing forth from the heart of the heart of his very being, which is his inner god, his cosmic spirit. H. P. Blavatsky expresses this same thought briefly but admirably in The Secret Doctrine (1, 224):
Collectively, men are the handiwork of hosts of various [cosmic] spirits; distributively, the tabernacles of these hosts; and occasionally and singly, the vehicles of some of them.
It is thus that men are builded up into humanity, into possessing the human constitution including of course human physical bodies; each such constitution more or less, and usually less, expressing at least a little of these sublime, these divine, powers and faculties. But, occasionally and singly a human being becomes the vehicle, the self-conscious temple, of the divine entity within; and then such a man walks the earth an incarnate god. Such was the Christ, such was the Buddha. Such were many if not most of the great Sages and Seers of the past.
There is truth in the Universe. That truth can be had, and the way to have it is by willpower and perseverance in following the Path, and by self-forgetfulness, so that you will not have your feet clogged by the mire of selfish desire, holding you fast on the pathway. There is but one fundamental Truth in the Universe, simply because there is but one Boundless All. All the great Sages and Seers therefore of necessity taught that one Truth; felt it, experienced it; and hence the teaching of all of them was one in every essential characteristic. No matter in what age these great Sages taught, no matter what the language they used, no matter what the figures of speech that they employed, in each and in every case the essentials of their teachings were the same because the Truth was one. This Truth regarding the nature, structure, operations, and laws of the Boundless All, visible and invisible, not only was but today is the Secret Doctrine of the Ages, the Archaic Wisdom-Religion of Mankind, of which faint echoes even today are heard in every human mind which is not wholly asleep, and in every human heart which is not dead.
Even today the great Sages and Seers have their schools of initiation into which men in the outside world can enter, provided that these Great Ones see in the hearts and minds of the men in the outside world the qualifications for initiation. This procedure is not a selfish one. It is not a policy directed by an ignoble wish to keep truth for oneself, but is directed by Nature's own law. You cannot teach a child lessons in Sanskrit, nor how to deliver a lecture on astronomy or chemistry, as instances. You must wait until the child grows, grows up, until its faculties evolve, which is the same thing as inner growth.
What a wondrous picture of hope and consolation we have here! Any man who will show the necessary qualifications is acceptable to these teachers -- not only acceptable, but he is helped, is taught; and every great Sage and Seer throughout the ages has had the same wonderful Message to give to mankind: "Come unto me, all ye that are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest, and peace, and light;" as said Jesus the Avatara.
Any son of man has a right to these sublime teachings as his heritage as a human being. But his heart must hunger for them; his mind must be ready to receive them. Otherwise how can he take them? His moral instincts must be sufficiently developed so that the development of the wonderful but latent power within him can be brought about with an assurance that these powers will not be debased to ignoble uses.
The Theosophical Society was originally founded to bring these same ancient, very archaic, wonder-teachings back to the cognisance and living of mankind; and even today those who have proved themselves by kindliness of action, by a heart-hunger for truth, by the courage to follow that truth to the world's end, ready to receive initiation, can get it.
When I speak of the Archaic Doctrine, the Wisdom-Religion of Mankind, the Secret Doctrine of the Ages, I am speaking of that 'Lost Word,' which yet is not a Word, but a system of teaching, a Wisdom, the existence of which still remains as an echo in the hearts of all good and true and intuitive men. This 'Lost Word' you can have. It is, as a body of doctrines, the formulation in human language of the essential truths of the Universe. It comprises the facts regarding the nature of the Universe, visible and invisible, spiritual, intellectual, psychical, ethereal, astral, and physical. It comprises also the teachings regarding the structure and operations and laws of the Universe. It also includes teaching a man to find himself, i.e., to discover and uncover from its enshrouding veils, the god within him.
In every human being there is his inner god, having found which he will enjoy communion with the divinities, and will understand the Universe in which he lives and moves and has his being and of which he is an inseparable part. Receiving this Wisdom means the broadening of his consciousness, the deepening of his being, the evocation of his latent intellectual powers, and self-acquaintance with his 'soul,' so to speak -- call it by what name you like. It also means to become self-consciously at one with the All.
There is a teaching current in the world today to the effect that a man does not need teachers, that a man should be sufficient unto himself, that he has it within him to find his own path; and this is said to be a manly course of life. Verily so it is: "Truth abides within in fulness." But why haven't you found the path? Why aren't you what you claim you can be? For the simple reason that you don't know how to be it and because you have not been taught. You need a teacher.
Men need teachers. Truth is within, in very fact; as Browning has set forth in his Paracelsus:
Truth is within ourselves; it takes no rise
From outward things, whate'er you may believe.
There is an inmost center in us all,
Where truth abides in fulness; and around,
Wall upon wall, the gross flesh hems it in,
This perfect, clear perception -- which is truth.
A baffling and perverting carnal mesh
Binds it, and makes all error; and, to KNOW,
Rather consists in opening out a way
Whence the imprisoned splendor may escape,
Than in effecting entry for a light
Supposed to be without.
But a man must be taught how to unfold this truth within himself. The growth of little children will exemplify the idea. A child has everything within it that the grown man has, but as yet undeveloped, and he needs his teachers; he needs the mother's loving care, first to guide the footsteps, then to teach the letters of the alphabet, to watch over its growing intelligence, to guide its mind into the proper paths; and I pity the mothers who fail in this, one of the noblest duties that a human being can undertake.
The spiritual Teacher of grown men is just what Socrates claimed that he was himself, a 'midwife' bringing out the man himself, bringing his disciples to birth, to spiritual birth. This is a sublime thought.
And there are Teachers to be had. The great Association of the Masters have their envoys and representatives in the world all the time. As a great people will send its ambassador or envoy to some foreign land, so do these Great Ones send their envoys, high disciples of theirs, into the world, in order to proclaim at different periods in the world's history the same old Secret Wisdom of the ages. H. P. Blavatsky was one such. There were many others before her. There were others after her. The future will show many more. Happy are they whose hearts recognise these envoys; happy they who recognise the footfalls of the Messengers of Peace and Wisdom crossing the mountain-tops of the Mystic East!
It is trifling with truth, it is juvenile, childish, to say that the Great Ones send their representatives no more until a certain time-period has been reached. How do you know? Here is a good proof by which you may judge one who comes as an envoy: What is his teaching? What is his life? What does he give to the world? Does he inspire his fellows with great and noble thoughts and does he show them the still small path of the ages? If he does, you need have no fear about superficial theories whether he is or is not a Teacher from the Great Ones. Such a man is a man to be trusted.
Reject anything that your conscience tells you is false; abhor it. Cast it aside even if a very god from heaven taught it to you; reject it, if your conscience tells you that it is wrong. You may make mistakes time after time; but at any rate you are exercising your divine prerogatives of free will and of vision; and you are also therefore exercising your intellect. And these will grow by the exercise and thus become stronger; and the time will surely come when your judgment and your discrimination will surely have grown through this exercise to be far greater than now they are, and then you will recognise truth whenever you see it or hear it. If, on the other hand, what a man teaches, you find to be true, that is if it appeals to you as a fact, then hold to it and help him to sow that truth abroad. Such action is a human duty. Every decent man feels it.
Genuine Theosophical Teachers are not mere preachers of ideas or mental notions that may have currency as a fad in any age, but they base their teachings and doctrines solely on the facts of being. Life is a school and men are the pupils in that school, and in that school there are teachers. In these few words you have the key to the whole situation and to the policy of the Great Lodge.
We are all little children, when you think of it, by comparison with the surrounding great mystery of the Universe; and even the greatest god cannot fully plumb the mystery; for were he able to plumb it to the deepest deep, to the uttermost end, then he would find a frontier at that uttermost end and no farther advancement would be possible. But there is no such uttermost end, no such frontier. There is always a grander and a greater world to explore, always something nobler beyond, something higher and more beautiful still, deeper, and more lofty.
Can you realize what it means to have your consciousness virtually of cosmic reach, attaining the outermost limits of our Solar System, both visible and invisible? Try for an instant to realize what it is to send your consciousness behind the veils of the physical universe, deep, deep, deeper still, into the very heart of being; and there to learn, by becoming it, what is there, by experiencing all that is there in your own perceiving consciousness; and then, holiest thing of all, perhaps, feeling so strong your oneness with the Boundless Universe that instinctively and with all the impulses of your life you consecrate yourself to its service -- a godlike activity.
This consecration brings about a becoming ever greater in spiritual power, in growth of inner faculty, in inner vision, in inner hearing, in deeper feeling. Following upon this consecration the inner spiritual senses will open and develop grandly.
Therefore seek out your Teacher. Aspire; be. But also look within. Both are required: Teachers and the noble self-confidence arising from one's increasing sense of union with the inner spiritual light. When you have the latter, then you see the Vision Sublime, and you are approaching a stage in your growth in which you will be near to confabulating with the gods who fill the Universe full and of whom we humans are the children.