THEOSOPHY, Vol. 19, No. 3, January, 1931
(Pages 111-113; Size: 9K)
(Number 36 of a 59-part series)
(Compiler's Note: The second of five short articles leading-in
to a continuation of the "Ancient Landmarks" series.)
TRUTH BEYOND EAST OR WEST
A SPIRITUAL awakening is taking place in America and in other Western countries. This leads to a revival of interest in the occult and the phenomenal side of nature and life. As the West knows but little of that science and the Soul, instinctively it turns to the Orient, for it feels, and rightly, that the Wise Men of the East have imparted Their knowledge to Their peoples for long generations. In taking this legitimate course, the West often forgets that human nature in the Orient is not fundamentally different from that in Europe or America. There, as here, misunderstanding, misinterpretation, and corruption of knowledge take place, because there, as here, human selfishness and its bondmaiden ignorance exist.
Everything that comes in the guise of knowledge from India or the East is not true knowledge. Trickery and fraud, malpractices and false philosophy are rampant there, and the West should learn to protect itself against all this false knowledge. Why should this be?
Light and darkness are the world's eternal ways, and in regions invisible, as in regions visible, both good and evil work their miracles -- always and everywhere, known or unperceived. We mistake the invisible for the spiritual. We do not call invisible germs of diseases spiritual phenomena; but table-tapping by some invisible agency, movement of hand in automatic writing by some invisible force, etc., are attributed to the divine world of spirit. There are microbes of health and microbes of disease, both, invisible to the naked eye. Our invisible thoughts and feelings are good as well as evil, producing beautiful or ugly expressions. There are forces active in our own being, the nature of which is unknown to us. We are more or less familiar with the nature of the known forces, through their activities; but any sudden manifestation of some unknown force, for which we cannot account, is often attributed to the divine in us. Such is human ignorance.
The sense of the marvelous is natural to man. From it much human superstition arises, and credulity is twin sister of superstition. Interested parties take advantage of the situation; and in the East also crafty men exist. There is a tendency among Westerners to "run down" the visible East -- insanitary, starving, unscientific, backward; there is also the opposite tendency -- to accept as the mysterious, invisible East, wholly spiritual, the India of fakirs, of yoga, of mental passivity, of soothing religiosity. Because the East, and especially India, is at its heart highly spiritual, and therefore psychically dynamic, there is excessive manifestation of the invisible aspect of the evil side. A great and roaring fire on the hearth emits volumes of smoke in the air.
We need to distinguish between the spiritual soul and animal-soul in men and nations. The Greeks, following their Eastern masters, did not mistake psyche for Nous. Speculation is not philosophy; ritualism is not religion; and psychism is not spirituality. However, there is a legitimate aspect of speculation in philosophy; real religion does teach the ritual of life; and a truly spiritual person possesses psychic powers. We must guard against the influence of false notions of the East, and remember that true views are difficult to grasp. We should not be moved by feelings alone; they are apt to take us into the region of dangerous psychic forces. To advance from our present position, we should not throw away our logical analytical minds. Our scepticism has to be controlled and purified, not abhorred as something devilish. Mind acquires spirituality only when it is not glamoured by psychic emotionalism. Mental clear vision arises from the knowledge of universal metaphysical ideas presented to the mind. Such ideas are practical inasmuch as they bear on the ethics of human conduct and of human labor. Such ideas free our minds to universality, or impersonality. The aim of true philosophy is to weaken egotism and to awaken the vision of the universal -- that is, the power to evaluate all things and creatures correctly from the standpoint of the Real.
We are hampered in this task by a lack of knowledge of the psychic sciences, i.e., of the strange and glamouring forces which deal with the lower aspect of Nature, including our human nature. The true explanation of all psychic phenomena is to be found in Theosophy, and the two volumes of Isis Unveiled are a safe guide, as they are the best exposition on the subject.
If on the one hand we should saturate our minds with metaphysical ideas, on the other we should guard ourselves against psychic practices, confining our efforts to acquire a theoretical knowledge of those psychic sciences. Even here a new, and in the West, unsuspected danger threatens: false and distorted explanations of psychic forces and practices are to be found in certain Asiatic books and philosophies, as, for example, in the tantric codes of India. The true and great Rishis of that ancient land warn against falling prey to tantric forces, obtaining explanations from tantric books, etc., and exhort us to prudence. What are the true lines? The Vedas, the great Upanishads, the Mahabharata, which contains the Bhagavad-Gita, the Ramayana, and the Sayings and Sermons of the great Buddha -- these are the real spiritual gems, which will act as amulets to spiritual health. We will not be healed by incantations (mantras), breathing exercises (pranayama), bodily postures (asana).
There are intoxicating psychic as well as physical drinks and drugs that madden the human nature, drive the Soul from the corpus, and wreck it beyond repair. It is nourishment we should seek, not intoxicants. We need to look for the light of the real East. Let us avoid the company of those trafficking in human souls in the attractive vale of ritualism, which stifles the soul and destroys it while it is soothed. Let us go to the spiritual East, its Himalayan heights where Shiva, the Patron Saint of spiritual warriors sits, speaking through silence and teaching through contemplation. These heights are bare, snow-covered, unfeeling to emotion-touch, but there alone is Divine Compassion which warms and protects all who approach It with the sacrifice of life -- to find Life.
In the modern Theosophy of H. P. Blavatsky, as in the still preserved Vedas and other sacred literatures of the Ancient East, the present-day student, East or West, may find the true waters of Immortality.
COMPILER'S NOTE: The following is a separate item which followed the above article but was on the same page. I felt it was useful to include it here:
THE TEMPLE WITHIN
Many men have arisen who had glimpses of the truth, and fancied they had it all. Such have failed to achieve the good they might have done and sought to do, because vanity has made them thrust their personality into such undue prominence as to interpose it between their believers and the whole truth that lay behind. The world needs no sectarian church, whether of Buddha, Jesus, Mahomet, Swedenborg, Calvin, or any other. There being but ONE Truth, man requires but one church -- the Temple of God within us, walled in by matter but penetrable by any one who can find the way; the pure in heart see God. --H.P.B.
EX ORIENTE LUX
(The third of five short articles leading-in to a
continuation of the "Ancient Landmarks" series.)
(Part 37 of a 59-part series)
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