A revised edition of a longtime favorite, G. de Purucker's Wind of the Spirit (second and revised edition, Theosophical University Press, Pasadena, 1984), is now available with a glossary and index added. It addresses the need of our time for an understanding of spiritual values that remain constant through change. Largely impromptu talks given at public and informal gatherings, it has the directness and vitality of the spoken word, as well as the scholarship and wisdom for which the author is noted.
This is a book one can turn to for encouragement and inspiration. The underlying theme, as the title implies, is that the force of divinity, of spirit, is an unseen but ever present influence within each of us, impelling us better to fulfill our role as human beings. More specifically, the focus is on various aspects of the human situation. G. de P., as he was often called, seems to be talking one-on-one to each reader as he reveals the inner, causal side of our problems and conflicts, and the ways by which we may resolve them. Fear, for example, which is a destructive emotion when it derives from egoism, can be conquered by forgetting oneself and endeavoring to help others; suffering is seen as a karmic need which must be met, and through it sympathy for the pain and sorrow of others is aroused. The reality of death is presented not as a dread event, but primarily as an interlude of beauty and fulfillment for the soul between lives. This is workable philosophy, practical theosophy at its best; for here is sound guidance that prepares us to take the initiative ourselves. G. de P. alludes to the Greek myth of Hercules helping the wagoner, but only after the wagoner begins to help himself.
There are passages in these pages that convey a sense of urgency to awaken from the confines of self-interest and thoughtlessness and to move into the universal stream. Dr. de Purucker's appeal is for justice, reason, and common human rights to prevail over "the rule of force and of material values" which has for so long dominated our world. One can almost hear him as lie electrified the audience nearly a half-century ago with the words: "We sowed the wind; we are now as a body of spiritually bankrupt peoples reaping the whirlwind." It is no wonder our earth is reacting against the volume of destructive energy we release into its atmosphere, for it is an ancient teaching that "disasters afflicting mankind are mainly brought about by man," by mass psychological, mental, and emotional "whirlwinds" of disturbance such as we are witnessing today.
At this crucial time in our history there seem to be countercurrents working, a confrontation of the incoming and outgoing tides of thought, of the unselfish and the selfish; of the broad, holistic way of seeing, and the constricting and harmful effects of materialistic attitudes. It stands to reason that when we are coming from an orientation of self-interest, everything we do has the potential of fostering inhumane judgments and is generally not for the good of humanity, whereas altruistic motives engender benefits for all. Indeed, considerable emphasis is given to our responsibility individually, as nations, and as a humanity. We are what we think and feel, and the world in which we live becomes what our thoughts and feelings and actions make it. We alone, through the force of our ideas, create the quality of the civilization of which we are a part. To the degree that we can let the functions of the brain be tempered by the wisdom of the heart will we see a change toward world understanding.
To illustrate his points G. de Purucker draws on many cultures such as the Greek, Chinese, Tibetan, Indian, and Egyptian. He devotes several chapters to Christian doctrines, among them the adversary, prayer, the virgin birth, and vicarious atonement, and shows that the guardian angel is not outside ourselves, but a very real part of us -- our higher self, the knower within. Familiar Biblical quotations are also elucidated. For example, "Not my will, but thine" is a prayer directing "the will towards self-regeneration to spiritual things, and the transmuting of this inner attitude of the soul into positive action on earth." When we allow the personal will to become subservient to the impersonal, universal will, the way is opened for compassion, "one of the most celestial visitors to the temple of the human heart," to govern every thought and act.
Unquestionably there are influences beyond our ken that are continually at work to protect and foster the finest in the human race. The chain of evolutionary unfoldment does not come to an abrupt halt at our human level, for there are those known and unknown, seen and unseen, who have learned to become true servants of nature, and are totally involved in the welfare of humankind and this planet. And how do they affect us? We have within us, says the author, a Christ spirit, the fire of the spirit in the heart, and we, too, can become subject to these higher influences. Every time we feel reverence for nature we share her inner world; every time we reach out in genuine sympathy toward another, we not only help a fellow human being, but are Calling forth the godlike quality in ourselves. It is reassuring to know that whatever agonies and trials we or the world may be undergoing, "there is the wind of the spirit sweeping over the earth, rearranging, remaking, reshaping."