THEOSOPHY, Vol. 15, No. 1, November, 1926
(Pages 1-7; Size: 26K)
(Number 2 of a 13-part series)
THE RISING CYCLE
SURVEYING the field of battle of the Theosophical Movement in this, the beginning of the Third quarter of the centenary cycle inaugurated by H. P. Blavatsky in 1875, what is to be seen? Much that, on the one hand, may easily give rise to great despondency in the heart of the True theosophist or, on the other, rouse high the martial ardor of every warrior to pour the full tide of his devotion into the acceleration of the Rising Cycle.
First, it will be noted from the two articles republished last month that the mission of H.P.B. is not the first nor will it be the last in the long series of cyclic efforts, variously called. We do not here speak of the continuous work of the Lodge of Masters carried on by the First and Second Sections of the Theosophical Movement, for that is, and always has been, esoteric.
The work of H.P.B. in 1875 and after was public, and was but a repetition in an ascending scale in the West, of the great and little known Mission of Tson-Kha-Pa in Tibet in the fourteenth century (the twentieth of the Buddhistic chronology), and was, therefore the fifth in succession to her unknown predecessors.
Tson-Kha-Pa, it was affirmed by H.P.B., was in sober fact Gautama Buddha reincarnated to reform Buddhism in its stronghold. What was the necessity for reform by Buddha of Buddhism, presumably his own teaching transmitted safely and increasingly down the centuries by his disciples and their followers? The reform was necessary because, in the Shadow of his great Name, and under cover of his teaching of the Law, Buddhism had long ceased to be Buddha-ism. Its priests and its laymen, from the Dalai-Lama down to the meanest monk who turned for hire his "prayer-wheel" in response to the ignorant peasants' plea for salvation -- all, all had become corruptive and corrupted.
Tson-Kha-Pa showed the false teachers for what they were -- Bhons, "Red Caps," Dugpas(1). Amongst the few remaining faithful, if ignorant, he reinstituted the pure service of devotion and gave them for guidance the Lamrin Compendium. In Western religious cycles this was paralleled by the Mission of Jesus, who gave to the Jews a "New Testament," confounded the Sanhedrim, and drove the "money-changers" from the Temple. An earlier parallel still is to be found in the great Hindu epic, the Mahabharata, with its long series of cyclic occurrences culminating in the Bhagavad-Gita.
The condition of degeneracy into which Tson-Kha-Pa, or Buddha, found that his teachings and practice had fallen is, again, paralleled by the twenty centuries of ecclesiastical usurpation and decadence which have followed upon the Mission of Jesus. The parallel in the West to the work of Tson-Kha-Pa is to be seen in Martin Luther's Reformation which, notably, occurred at the same period. Perhaps it was with this in mind that Mr. Judge took occasion specifically to refer to Luther's Reformation in "The Theosophical Movement." At all events the action of the Boston Convention in April, 1895, and Mr. Judge's two documents cited make clear, both in general and specific terms, that Masters never cease working, that the Theosophical Movement is, therefore, spiritual in origin and basis as well as in purpose, and that it is continuous and universal. Moreover, he takes occasion to point out that it is not limited to teaching efforts only, but to practical everyday affairs. The Adepts are declared to have had a hand in the formation of the American Republic, which also was made possible only after a great internecine war, as was the liberation of the black slaves. A clear and highly important application is deducible by the most ordinary mind from Mr. Judge's article; it is vain to identify the channels of The Theosophical Movement with any particular body or instrument once the Messenger has fulfilled his Mission and departed. The inspiration ceases to flow through any body or person the moment that instrumentality or agent seeks to turn it to personal or party profit, or goes outside the lines laid down alike for their protection and that of the Movement itself. Many, in the past and in the present, were once fit and useful channels, great or small, for the inspiration and flow of the Theosophical Movement. They, in the words of H.P.B., "lost their moral balance unconsciously to themselves," and the great Movement passed them by, whether the fact were known or unknown to themselves and others.
Those, then, who go by names, forms, and appearances, and select this or another society or leader because once a channel for the flow of the Movement, or because they claim inspiration or exclusive delegation, are certain to be deceived to their sorrow later on. With this application in mind the humblest Arjuna(2) will detect, once and for all, the presence and fraud in all claims to be the "Successor" of H.P.B.; all "Messages from the Masters of H.P.B.," which go against her Message and Mission; all grandiose talk or talkers about "progressive revelations in extension of the Message of H.P.B."; anybody or any body which professes to be the channel of the Movement, whether such pretender calls himself the agent of the Masters, or names itself The "theosophical society." "Theosophist is who Theosophy does," was H.P.B.'s canon of identification; and, "There is no longer a Parent Theosophical Society, the name is simply a mask and -- a sham." Thus she wrote in 1888 and 1890. Let, then, those who will, call themselves the "Successor" of H.P.B.; let those who itch for attention and followers hand out their "message"; let the sects and the secretaries name themselves The "theosophical society"; let those who still long for a Personal God and a personal carnalized Savior go running to meet their "coming Christ." They need not be named, for they brand themselves. They are outside the movement.
But let all those Arjunas who have Devotion and know their own confusion as to the course they should pursue, turn to the writings and examples of H.P.B. and Judge in similar crises, as to a personal Book of instruction and guidance. They will find there, in recorded teaching and recorded history, both precedent and practice to guide them, so that the new wine of their Devotion need neither be spilled nor poured into the old bottles of guile. In surveying the field of battle, once we have decided to fight in this War, what are the lessons of the immediate present we all require to learn, and how shall we find them in the Teachings?
"The first two steps," says Light on the Path, "are negative." The first is to know on which side we are fighting; otherwise, we may waken, after the battle is over, to the knowledge that during the period of combat we were, in spiritual fact, fighting on the wrong side. Does this seem incredible to us? Then it is the proof positive that that is our position today. Let us see.
We all make much of our sincerity, our motives, and always doubt the motive and sincerity of those who are in opposition to our point of view. This is not clairvoyance -- it is the darkness of utter ignorance. Every man is sincere, every man has what to him is a "good motive," i.e., reason, for whatever he believes or thinks or does. If these motives, these reasons, were in point of spiritual fact what we esteem them to be, there would be no War: it would be over. We all have good reasons for our bad judgment, because we do not see clearly which is the Light and which is the Dark side of Nature and our nature. The bigots of all time, the Fundamentalists of our own, are just as sincere as their antithesis, the Modernists or Liberalists -- perhaps more so, for the genuine Fundamentalist is as ready to be burned as to burn. The Materialist is just as sincere as the Religionist, and stakes his all on the purity of his motives, the rectitude of his perceptions, the lawfulness of his conduct of the business of Life. Those who blow cold are just as "sincere" as those who blow hot -- and both of them stand a chance of finding out, when the battle is ended, that they were on the wrong side. Negative knowledge this, but knowledge -- and a warning for the future. The lukewarm, those who try to blow both hot and cold, to ride with the hounds and run with the hare, are sincere, too, in their way, but they have not even progressed to the point of those who have taken sides, albeit the wrong side. When the time of battle comes, many are those who try to practice what they call brotherhood, by refusing to take sides. Although the War is on, they continue to cry "Peace, peace," and to play the part of neutrals, so as to hold commerce with both sides. This simply means that they are still convinced they can achieve the impossible: "The Self of Matter and the SELF of Spirit can never meet," says the Voice(3); "one of the twain must disappear. There is no room for both." The mass of members of the human family, and therefore in the churches as in the affairs of every-day life, in science and education, in the Theosophical Movement, are lukewarm in all their relations. Spiritually, they belong to the "failures of the past," those low grade Monads of the decadence of the Fourth Race(4), which, says H.P.B., comprise three-fourths of the humanity in incarnation during this, our Kaliyuga(5), or Black Age. These Egos are not "feeble-minded" -- far from it, in many cases. It is their Will which is infirm -- devoid of Spiritual fire. Such men and women form the passive majority in the various theosophical, mystical and occult societies and associations. Like the spectral shapes which drift from séance-room to séance-room, attracted by the necromancy or strong desires of the sitters, these embodied "ghosts" flit from leader to leader, from one association to another, always caught and held by the magnetism of another or others whose Desires are stronger than their own but of the same nature. Such Spiritual existence as these poor human moths enjoy is always vicarious: they live and move and have their being in the magnetic auras of stronger natures, hence are ever on the lookout for a Guru, a guide, a control, a Savior, embodied or disembodied, past or "coming." Such Devotion as they have is worse than wasted, spilled upon false altars.
The plain Truth is, that under the canons of identification laid down in "The Theosophical Movement," all these deceivers and deceived are on the wrong side in the Great War, as were the "near relations, bosom friends, tutors, preceptors, leaders" to whom Arjuna had been wont to look with reverence and respect, as told in Bhagavad-Gita. All these members of the various societies, churches, whatnot, are, spiritually, our brothers because they are all Monads or Souls in Evolution. Intellectually and practically they are our "enemies," because they are on the side of the Self of Matter, our "enemies" because we have not yet conquered them. All those we meet in the Theosophical Movement, just as truly as among those outside it, are "friends" or "enemies" because they are on one side or the other in the great War, which is but another name for that Movement itself. If they are not "for" H.P.B. and her Mission and Message, then they are "against." If the True Theosophist looks to see he will see the various "theosophical" sects and sectarian doctrines for what they are, not what he has fondly imagined, or what they claim to be. Then what is he to do? Every Messenger, not H.P.B. and Judge alone, says "come ye out from among them," if you would fight on the Right side.
If anyone doubts that his society or association is on the Left side, let him start boldly but considerately to proclaim H.P.B.'s Message and Mission, to point out what She taught and did, in comparison with what is being taught and done in her name or in that of her Mission and Masters -- and see whether he is welcomed, whether he is accorded the same freedom of platform and utterance, or whether he is at once charged with "attacking" some present-day "leader" or "successor," or "initiate" and his or her exposition and practice of "theosophy." He will find, in astonishingly short order, that he will be "read out of the party" if he rebels against "voting the ticket straight," or questions by comparison the wisdom of the "caucus."
Commerce with those of other mind than our own is not merely permissible but wise, in times of peace, but when War is on, it becomes "trading with the Enemy" -- an act of Treason, conscious or unconscious; as much so as a deliberate going over to the other Side, for it aids, if it does not abet the Enemy. In the First quarter of the Movement it was a time of "peace," as nearly as any peace at all was possible. The Second quarter was the period of the "wandering in the wilderness" for all Theosophists who had not already made their choice, whether for or against H.P.B. and her work. But this Third quarter is the cycle of Incarnation, as was the Third Round(6) and the Third Race. It is the period of War, whether the Theosophical Movement of H.P.B. shall triumph, or those spurious movements represented by the dozen-and-one "theosophical" societies and followings.
Certainly there has been a vast departure from the original teachings, the original aims and purposes of H.P.B., her Masters, and those associated with Them. Those departures have been brought about insensibly to themselves by students who, because they were at all times sincere, never doubted that they were all along on the Right side. The generation of to-day, approaching Theosophy and the Theosophical Movement, find themselves of necessity in the by-paths of one or another of these departures. The question for each such True Theosophist is, Which way am I headed? Are those leaders and societies progressing in the direction of H.P.B. -- or away from her example and her Message? He can soon find out by the tests indicated above. Then, when he has assured himself that the progress of these teachers and teachings and societies is away from all that H.P.B. held true and holy; when he has lost all faith in the leaders and controlling elements in their respective "theosophical" societies, shall he still cling on, hoping to "reform" them? He only succeeds in compromising himself and pure Theosophy by the unholy alliance. "Of what use," wrote H.P.B. in her article on "Pseudo-Theosophists," "to give Truth, and then leave it mingled with error out of mere faint-heartedness?"
The second negative gain from a study of "The Theosophical Movement" is that once Truth is given, every one is free to use or misuse or abuse it. Theosophical teachings, terms, symbols, and so on, are not copyrighted, and can be appropriated for good or evil purposes by whosoever will. It is, then, vain to seek to identify the "Third Section" -- the True Theosophists -- with any organization, or under any nomenclature. True Theosophists there are, in every society and walk in life. If it be a fact as well as a phrase that "Theosophist is who Theosophy does," then the only possible Brotherhood possible on earth is the brotherhood of these true Theosophists, by their identity of nature, of aim and purpose, if not of teaching.
In the three decades since the publication of the two articles reprinted last month, the confusion of tongues in the utterances attributed to the Masters of H.P.B., the range of bizarre and contradictory doctrines put forth as theosophy, the welter of pseudonymous theosophical societies, rival and surpass the polemics and the churches which sprang up in the three centuries following the Mission and Message of Jesus. Those centuries of warring priests and priestcraft gave inlet to the thousand year Night of the mediæval age, and ended in the disappearance, utter and complete, of the pure example and the pure inspiration of that Message. What True theosophist can doubt that the thousand sects of Christianity are the gigantic Left-Hand Shadow of "the Light of the World"? Who, knowing the facts and in any way capable of reading their lesson, can doubt that the same Shadow has enveloped the theosophical and occult sects of to-day?
The "Letter to the European Theosophists" shows what Judge, and those who saw with something at least of his inspiration, found themselves compelled to do if they would not themselves become compromisers of Theosophy, or remain supine in the company of those who were determined to turn the Theosophical Movement into channels of their choosing, from the course marked out by H.P.B. Those who will not align themselves with the Rising Cycle of the Movement, must of necessity find themselves on the opposite arc -- that is to say, on the other side from H.P.B. and Her Masters.
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:
HELP FROM MASTERS(7)
Question -- If Masters really exist, why do they not make themselves known to earnest seekers after truth, and especially to such as are working for the good of mankind? And why do they not effectuate peace on earth and right education of the young?
Answer -- This question has been very frequently answered, and even by the Masters themselves. As to the last part, they said in the Occult World that if it were possible to alter the state of things and to make a peaceful earth and a right humanity without following the law of evolution, they would willingly do it, but mankind can only be altered step by step. They have also stated that they do not make themselves objectively known to believers in them except in those cases where those believers are ready in all parts of their nature, are definitely pledged to them, with the full understanding of the meaning of the pledge. But they have also stated that they help all earnest seekers after truth, and that it is not necessary for those seekers to know from where the help comes so long as it is received. In the Path this subject was discussed in its other bearings. Personally I know that the Masters do help powerfully, though unseen, all those who earnestly work and sincerely trust in their higher nature, while they follow the voice of conscience without doubt or cavil. -- W.Q.J.
The Rising Cycle
(Part 3 of 13)
Back to the
"About the Theosophical Movement"
complete list of articles.
Back to the full listing containing all of the
"Additional Categories of Articles".
SEVEN (7) FOOTNOTES LISTED BELOW:
(7) The Theosophical Forum, September, 1893.
Back to text.
COMPILER'S NOTE: I added these additional six footnotes; they were not in the article. If any of them don't paint an accurate enough picture, or are incorrect, I hope the Editors of THEOSOPHY magazine will spot them and point the inaccuracies out to me, so that I can make the necessary corrections.
(1) "Bhons, Red Caps, Dugpas": They are associated with things like sorcery, immorality, drunkenness, and being adepts of black magic and everything vile. They are considered as being evil magicians, belonging to the left-hand path of occultism.
Back to text.
(2) "Arjuna": In the 5,000-year-old Bhagavad-Gita the dialogue is between Krishna and Arjuna, in other words, between our Higher nature and our lower nature. The bottom line is that each of us are both Krishna and Arjuna.
Back to text.
(3) "Voice" here refers to the little book entitled The Voice of the Silence.
Back to text.
(4) "Fourth Race" means the whole Human Race here. The use of this term is that of a Root-Race. Aryan is the name of the present long evolutionary racial period (or cycle) that we are in as a whole humanity, and which is known as the Fifth Race (or the Fifth Root Race). The last long evolutionary racial cycle for humanity was named the Atlantean one, and was the Fourth Race (or the Fourth Root Race). The long evolutionary cycle before that was the Lemurian one, and was the Third Race (or the Third Root Race). A "Root-Race" is contained within a much longer evolutionary period (or cycle) called a Manvantara, which has a beginning and an ending. In the present Manvantara we are in the evolutionary period of humanity known as the Fifth Sub-Race of the Fifth Root-Race. A Manvantara is many millions of years long. Within that immense period there are seven Root-Races, each of which is divided into seven "Sub-Races", which are each divided into seven "Family-Races". It is always cycles within cycles. The shortest of these cycles is about 30,000 years. There is always a long period of overlapping as one racial period of development blends into the next one. But it is we, each eternal soul, individually, and all of us together, who are going through all of these evolutionary periods over and over again, incarnation after incarnation, from age to age, with no final end to this cosmic process.
Back to text.
(5) "Kaliyuga" is the Dark Age or black cycle we are presently in, morally and ethically. It is the same idea as the Iron-Age period which is the lowest and most degraded one of the four known as the Golden, Silver, Bronze, and Iron Ages that we are more familiar with here in the West.
Back to text.
(6) A "Round" is a very long cyclic period of planetary manifestation which has a beginning and an ending, during which humanity, which is present from the start and is the cause of its beginning and all of its activity until the end of the Great Cycle (a Maha-Manvantara) of seven Rounds, develops each of the seven planes or "Globes" or states of consciousness of our "Planetary Chain" -- from the most ethereal down to the densest material plane which we are familiar with, and then back again to the most spiritual, with the experience gained. And then again and again back through the Planetary Chain as there are seven "Rounds" of this evolutionary activity. We are about half way through this immense cycle of activity of developing our planet and the advancement of the human race on it, being only a little more than half way through the Fourth Round. Each one of these seven "Rounds" of activity contains, for each of the seven planes (or globes or states of consciousness) of our earth-chain, those seven long periods of humanity's evolution called "Races" (also known as "Root-Races", which is explained above in footnote number 4). We are talking about immense periods of time and human activity, as each of the seven Rounds has a total of 49 Root-Race periods and all that this implies.
Back to text.