H. P. Blavatsky: The Mystery

By Gottfried de Purucker in collaboration with Katherine Tingley

Chapter III -- Pausing on the Threshold of the Mystery

We have already made clear that both the Universe and Man its child are logically and indeed necessarily divisible into various principles; and special attention is now called to this tripartite character of man's inner constitution. It is a very ancient teaching, one more or less corroborated even by modern psychological thought, that certain of these principles composing man's inner constitution may be separated off, as it were, from the others without causing the dissolution of the human entity.

It is very necessary to keep clearly in mind, however, an understanding of the statement that the human being is composite, that is to say, formed of the 'principles,' so-called, enumerated in the preceding chapter; although these various principles work together and are naturally so correlated that the complete entitative human being is the harmonious interconnection of them all.

Just what the spiritual portion of this constitution may or may not be is in itself extremely important, but not necessary to describe in detail for the purposes of our present study. Much more important is the intermediate or psychological portion of man's constitution; while, as regards the vital-astral-physical elements of the human being, these are sufficiently described by the terms used and need no especial emphasis here.

Looking then at the human entity in this light, it becomes immediately obvious that the spiritual part of his constitution is of an eternal, or rather, perpetually enduring character; the psychological or intermediate portion is descriptive of the human ego, whose destiny it is, as an individualized center, to attain individual perpetuity in time and space, so to say, as the wonderful processes of human evolution perfect it to that end; and, of course, the third or lowest portion of the entitative human being -- the vital-astral-physical -- is purely mortal.

We have, therefore, before us, first, the picture of the human constitution as composed of an element of perpetual splendor, the product of long past ages of aeonic evolution; second, the picture of the human entity, the intermediate part, likewise the product of past ages of evolution, but still imperfect, and still subject to the play of the various energies resident in ethereal substance. In this intermediate or psychological portion, lie the elements of ordinary human consciousness, pulled this way and that by its own inherent attractions, to things of spirit or of matter, as the case may be, and the destiny of which depends upon the degree in which it receives the inspiring and refining influences of its parent-spirit on the one hand, or, on the other hand falls victim to the strong pull of the material energies which attach it to the lowest part of the human constitution.

Now these three parts are separable in a relative sense, each from the two others, without causing death; but when this separation becomes absolute, the break-up of the constitution of the entitative human being immediately ensues. But note well in this connection the following. When an absolute separation of the lowest portion of the three takes place from the other two, there ensues what is called physical death, and this of course is the destiny of all human beings. When, again, an absolute separation of the highest or the spirit from the intermediate and the vital-astral-physical, which two still then remain in vital union, takes place, then there ensues, as shown in the majestical Theosophical philosophy, the occurrence of a truly dreadful fate for the unified two portions left behind. For this is what is known as the case of a 'lost soul.' This term may not be very accurately descriptive nor very correct in phrase, but it is sufficient enough as a term to set forth the destiny of the bipartite portion of the human entity thus abandoned by its inner divine Essence. Of this exceedingly rare case no more need be said here.

And now we come to the third, and for the purposes of our present study, the really important matter which we wish to set forth. Ancient legend and story, as well as ancient philosophy and mysticism, combine in the declaration that it is not only possible, but actually not infrequent, for the intermediate or psychological portion of man's constitution, which is usually called the human soul, temporarily to undergo a disjunction of incomplete character from the vital-astral-physical vehicle in which it is enshrined, and which in normal human life it regularly works through. The inner divine Essence of course remains in full control of the intermediate portion, which intermediate portion thus temporarily stands apart, so to speak; and this leaves the body still vitalized, still to all appearances a normal, living human entity, still receiving, but in a minor degree, the stream of individuality pouring forth from the two higher portions.

It is most important not to suppose that this disjunction is absolute, for were it so this would be the case of simple physical death. The man lives, so far as physical eyes see him still; he is to all appearances exactly what he was before; the man still thinks, still goes about his work, still persists on all the customary paths of personal activity; but in actual fact is both spiritually and intellectually, for the time being, so to say, a spiritual and psychological cripple.

Now this last state or condition of the intermediate psychological portion of the individual was not the case with H. P. Blavatsky. There is the reverse or opposite state or condition of this intermediate part of man's inner constitution, in which it is highly developed, powerful, positive, but translucent, pellucid, withal, to the inflowing stream of spiritual-divine consciousness from the Spiritual Soul, or active individual part of the monadic essence. In this case the monadic element in man, or the monadic essence, is dominant in the individual, and is neither hindered by the positivity and strength of character of the intermediate portion of the human being, nor colored by the individuality of the latter as the spiritual-divine stream of consciousness flows through it into the personal consciousness of the human being. In this case again the intermediate portion, so to say, by an act of will of the human entity himself or herself, is stilled, or rendered wholly receptive of these inflowing streams and thereby becomes a canal or channel through which these streams of divine-spiritual energy and power and consciousness pass into the normal brain-mind consciousness of the human being.

Let us try to describe this wonderful psychological phenomenon in other words, for in these circumstances lies the foundation of the explanation of the Mystery which we are studying. Perhaps one of the commonest facts of ordinary human life is the influence which one mind exerts over another mind; so that, as the saying might run, we no longer see the man as he is in his own soul-power, but sense instead the will-energy and individuality of the dominating or controlling mind. Such cases in popular language are described when men say: "Why, he is no longer himself; he is the mere shadow or mirror of so-and-so!" This is the case where one human being exercises a powerful psychological influence over another human being, and thus proves the condition of receptivity into which a human psychological apparatus can be thrown, becoming receptive of extraneous influences. This in the Theosophical viewpoint is wholly wrong, inexcusable, immoral, and should under no circumstances be suffered to come to pass.

Instead of an extraneous influence, instead of the willpower and mind-energy of one man passing over to another man, let us replace such a dominating influence with the transcendant and lofty stream of consciousness flowing into such a psychological apparatus or brain-mind from the individual's own spiritual self, or Inner Divinity. This is wholly beautiful; this is sublime; this takes place only in the loftiest and noblest of the human race; and it is the entire procedure of evolution, considered teleologically, to bring about in ever increasing perfection the receptivity of the lower part of man's inner constitution towards his higher part.

When such receptivity is virtually perfect, then we may say: "Behold an incarnate Sage, behold an incarnate Christ!" The entire structure of morals reposes upon this wonderful fact as its basis; and put in very simple language and in plain words, such a sublime human being is one of the great Sages and Seers, one of the Fine Flowers of the human race. These last individuals are they in whom the entire human constitution becomes at-one with the indwelling and inspiring Higher Self or Inner Divinity, and so far as our own Universe is concerned, which includes of course as most important the invisible realms of our Universe, such Great Ones may be truly said then to become possessed of omniscience, or quasi-omniscience, for the evident reason that they have become at-one with their own inner divinity, and the individual's consciousness then ranges over Universal fields.

But such Great Ones are necessarily very few and far between in human history, and many are the mysteries that pertain not only to their makeup, constitutionally speaking, but to their lives. Those who are fond of their Christian New Testament doubtless have paused often and long over passages which describe the touching and appealing episode in the Garden of Gethsemane, where Jesus is pictured as saying to his disciples: " 'My soul is exceedingly sorrowful unto death. Tarry ye here and watch with me.' And he went a little farther and fell on his face and prayed, saying: 'Oh my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless not as I will but as thou wilt.' "

The mystic appeal which these pathetic words make to most people is based upon the intuitive recognition of the fact that a human being can become the vehicle or Mediator for the manifestation of the power and work of some lofty spiritual-divine consciousness-energy working in and through him. We see here, in the case of Jesus, the true resignation of the personal will to the will of this dominant spiritual energy; and we have only to turn to the history of many of the great World-Sages in order to realize that very much the same set of circumstances is found in their lives also.

The human nature even of the Great Ones, so it is said, at times feels the burthen of the Kosmic Work which such Great Ones carry. And this human nature, being obviously inferior in evolutionary development to the Higher or Spiritual Self, needs rest and consolation, and occasional surcease from the burthen of such lofty Kosmic Labor. Of course, in this case of the pathetic cry of Jesus, as alleged, in the Garden of Gethsemane, the appeal made is to the dominant influence of the high spiritual-divine Power working through Jesus and not to the intermediate nature; but the case illustrates, nevertheless, the separability of the various principles or portions of man's constitution regarded as the seats of consciousness and energy.

We need not here go into any particular relation of the standing of Jesus, called the Christ, nor of the work that he wrought as the instrument of the sublime spiritual essence working through him, although the case is exactly similar, as regards the psychological mystery of it, to, that which takes place or has taken place in the cases of other Great Ones, as before alluded to Probably no great spiritual and intellectual Movement was ever inaugurated without involving the self-surrender of the Messenger -- a self-surrender which in all cases has been a definitely joyful one; for the Messengers have always known what their work was, at least in general outline, and have always known likewise how greatly sublime and how divinely beautiful participation in this work is.

It should now be clear from the foregoing what was meant when it was said that a temporary disjunction or 'absence' of the psychological portion of man's constitution takes place, but always with the individual consent and willing participation in the action on the part of the human being in whom this occurs: an action which happens always in order that the dominant spiritual-divine and noetic energies of the Higher Self may flow temporarily outwards into the consciousness of the normal human being and uncolored by the intermediate part of the man -- in other words, uncolored by his own human egoic center of consciousness.

When this wonderful mystery takes place, then the man is for the time being wholly allied with his Higher or Spiritual Self, and becomes the physical vehicle for the transmission of teachings and precepts regarding the greatest mysteries of Nature, and of the sublimest spiritual truths. During these times the intermediate nature of the individual, his human soul-entity, is completely stilled, so that it may become an organ acting easily and freely and as it were obeying automatically the divine-spiritual energies then flowing through it.

Words almost fail one in an attempt to describe this matter; appeal is made to the intuition of the reader rather than to the ratiocinative activities of his lower human mentality. Yet in truth the idea is not difficult to understand, at least the principles of it which are really simple.

We pause therefore on the threshold of the Mystery -- the spiritual-psychological Mystery -- of H. P. Blavatsky. She was in all senses a complete entitative human being, unusual, highly developed, alertly sensitive to all spiritual impulses from her own Inner Divinity, delicately organized, devoted to her Teachers, a lover of mankind, utterly self-forgetful, surrendering all her own personal aptitudes to the Great Work which she was sent into the world to accomplish; and for the full accomplishment of which she gave herself, her life -- indeed, all that she was. Therein lies perhaps her greatest claim to our reverence and love.

Standing on the Threshold of the Mystery can we now begin to see a little at least of the solution of the great riddle that H. P. Blavatsky has always been to the world? One must indeed be dense who can imagine for a moment that she could have done what she did do, could have given birth to the Movement to which she did give birth, could have moved the minds and hearts of men all over the world as she did move them, could have founded a spiritual-intellectual Movement which has actually shaken to pieces the fabric of the materialism of the world into which she came: could have done all this merely from the innate but uninspired and unaided impulses of her own personal psychological economy, and without the help of, and except through, the inspiration of the lofty spiritual and intellectual energies which played through her at times. And lastly, without the other help so freely and fully given to her by the Great Men whose Messenger to the world she was.

Yes, there is the truth. She was the vehicle of a surpassingly sublime and lofty Master-Intelligence -- her own Inner Divinity or Spiritual Self. From that high source she received during those frequent periods when it came to her the inspiration of this inner divinity, and which thus filled her with its own splendor for the time being. Here inspiration of the loftiest type has its place. On a much lower plane, telepathy, as commonly understood today, gives the key to this process in ordinary human affairs. But this word 'telepathy' is not to be used for that which we have just outlined, unless that word be enlarged, and very greatly enlarged, to include not mere thought transference but also a transference into the ordinary human being, from his own inner divinity, of Consciousness and Will.

In the case of H. P. Blavatsky, there is one extremely important element of the mystery which surrounded her, and the process which took place in her inner constitution, to which we point only and then pass on. It is connected with a Tibetan teaching of the Mahayana School, which teaching is called the doctrine of 'Hpho-wa,' and has reference in her case to her intimate spiritual and psychological connection with her Tibetan 'Home,' but is of too sacred and esoteric a character to discuss in a published work. Mere genius does not show in any of its phases the extraordinary attributes of the spiritual and intellectual and psychological nature which H. P. Blavatsky possessed in common with all other World-Teachers. How often has she herself not set on record in her letters and in her writings, her own state of mind with regard to these matters, always expressed by her with the utmost care and prudence, however, and always rather by hint and by allusion than by direct and open speech. Yet no one can collect these scattered references, often humorous, sometimes sad, reminding one of Jesus' cry in the Garden of Gethsemane, without feeling most forcefully that there is behind it all a secret carefully guarded as the most sacred and holiest event in her life. Yes, H. P. Blavatsky was a genius, but she was more; she was a human phenomenon of the most joyful and noblest self-sacrifice that it is possible to conceive of, yet a self-sacrifice withal, which, as she herself taught, brought her a joy and a peace that nothing else in the world ever could have brought to her.

How great her own unaided personal genius was, however, not only her followers and those who loved her best are the first to proclaim, but it was precisely her own unaided native powers, which brought to her the greatest part of the recognition that the world has accorded to her. Her literary ability was not only an outstanding phenomenon but was marvelous. One has but to turn for proof of this to the series of articles, quite apart from her great and definitely Theosophical works: articles, that is, which she wrote for different Russian magazines, therefrom deriving the income from which she lived; for she never took a dollar for her teachings, from anyone, and devoted the income derived from the sale of her Theosophical works to the support of the Society which she founded, and which she loved better than all else.

It was the famous M. N. Katkoff who first induced her to write for his own two Russian periodicals, the Russkiy Vestnik (Russian Messenger) and the Moskovskiya Vedomosti (Moscow Gazette), both of Moscow. She wrote for these publications the serial stories: The Mysterious Tribes of the Blue Hills, and From the Caves and Jungles of Hindostan, which were published during the years of 1879-1886. The pseudonym, or rather the literary name under which she wrote for these Russian papers was Radda Bai, and these products from her ever-busy pen in themselves compose a monument to her extraordinary literary ability. [Only partial English translations of both the "Tribes" and the " Caves and Jungles" have been published. Complete English translations of all the writings of H.P.B. in her native language will be published in forthcoming volumes of her Collected Writings, eleven volumes of which are now available. -- Editors.]

But it is sufficient merely to compare these otherwise extremely interesting works with the vast profundity of wisdom and the wide reaches of ancient and modern esoteric knowledge that her Theosophical books contain, such as her The Secret Doctrine, in order to see the difference in type and power between the two. Like all authors, H. P. Blavatsky had what may be called a style of greater power, which was reserved for her Theosophical literary productions; and a style couched in a lighter vein when writing the many articles and stories that flowed from her ever-busy mind and pen. These two styles are marked however by a greater degree of difference than presumably could be found in the writings of others, or at least of most other writers.

Thus, we repeat, we have here the sheer, unvarnished truth. H. P. Blavatsky was one in whom the mere personality was entirely absorbed in the spiritual individuality of her, the mere personality or human aspects being devoted on the altar of truth and to the service of her inner spiritual essence or divinity, and to the sublime work of the Great Sages and Seers who sent her forth as their Messenger among men.

She was indeed their chosen Messenger, and, so far as her Theosophical Message of the Ancient Wisdom went, she was the Mouthpiece, and the only Mouthpiece for the time being, of the Association of Great Sages and Seers. Such a choice in itself places her on the topmost pinnacle of human greatness; for none but great talent and lofty genius could be fit for a work so great and sublime.

We pause on the Threshold of the Mystery, and deep in thought, with our hearts filled with reverence, look across the threshold and contemplate what we see there.

Chapter IV