THEOSOPHY, Vol. 15, No. 3, January, 1927
(Pages 98-104; Size: 24K)
(Number 4 of a 13-part series)
THE RISING CYCLE
IT IS in the nature of the religious idea that just in proportion as it was originally penetrated with a divine truth which has become perverted, does it engender hypocrisy. That this hypocrisy is in most cases unconscious does not lessen, but instead, enormously increases its sinister power and influence, for men everywhere instinctively, or intuitively, take measures of repression, elimination, or counteraction against known or suspected evils and diseases whether in themselves or in others.
It requires but a minimum of observation, historically or actually, to be convinced that grave evils have always been present, have always been opposed, have always been both chronic and acute, but despite all our religions and philosophies, all our education and science, all our philanthropists, all our prayers, the fact that our civilization is as much a moral and spiritual failure as any of its forbears points unerringly to the existence of a vital error somewhere.
What is wanted is true knowledge of the spiritual condition of man, his aim and destiny. The present and past alike bear testimony that this knowledge cannot be conveyed by revelation, imparted by books, nor impressed by teachers. All that any of these can accomplish is to reach the mind and inform it to the extent that mind may be open to the reception of unpalatable truth. The capacity to accept or reject, to assimilate and apply, what is offered from any source rests with the will of the pupil. No one so dull he cannot learn; no one so incurably diseased morally that the remedy does not exist. All that another can do for us is to prepare the intellect; the impulse toward Soul culture must be furnished by the individual.
Human nature per se does not represent any definite moral ideal. Our experience and intelligence continually enforce upon us the harsh fact that we cannot discern indubitably between the true and the false in the most ordinary affairs of daily life -- that we are continually deceived and self-deceiving. How much more is this the case in the things which concern that larger span of life which we vaguely term the moral, the ethical, the religious, the spiritual world? Yet who among us, without anger or malice is prepared to listen to anything that may be said to us touching these most vital concerns? In exact proportion as we are diseased, morally or psychically, are we sensitive to any proposed diagnosis. We are all trying to penetrate the things of the spirit with the eyes of the flesh, to bend the inflexible to our own crude model of what should be. Our innate selfishness, hypocrisy, and cupidity govern us unconsciously to ourselves in our search for Truth.
Yet Theosophists of all men take for their watch-word "There is no religion higher than Truth," as Christians take for their shibboleth the "Golden Rule." No Theosophist but recognizes that the various sects of Christianity have widely departed from the teachings and example of the Founder whose name they have appropriated and whose noble example and precepts they prostitute, until today as for centuries past their true designation is, not Christendom, but Anti-Christendom. And so with Hinduism, Buddhism, and other so-called great religions. Their original Light has died away till but a faint flicker remains. The perfectly sincere followers of these systems now regard as light the very blackness of the shadow, so that to each sectarian his sect is the light. Is the failure in the Founder -- or in those who have assumed to speak and teach "in his Name"? And what has given them this truly infernal success in substituting Darkness for Light, if not something fundamental in themselves as well as in their followers?
What sincere Theosophist but knows of and regards with concern the abundant and ever-increasing sectarianism and contradictions of teaching and of practice which have sprung up in the third of a century since the passing of H. P. Blavatsky and William Q Judge? How many have made any study of the causes of these divergences, any comparisons, any application of the lessons of all history? By what principles have they been guided, by what standards have they judged, upon what knowledge have they chosen, in their several courses of conduct which have eventuated in the existing confusions of the Theosophical world?
The importance of all these questions cannot be over-estimated. Upon their solution depends the success or failure of the individual student; upon the collectivity of Theosophists depends the success or failure of the Movement, as regards any and all Theosophical societies or associations. So little is Truth placed above all amongst us that by Theosophists as well as by other men comparisons are regarded as odious. Yet without contrast and comparison how can intelligent choice be made? Without an inflexible standard how can anything be truly measured? Without impartial investigation how can reliable knowledge be gained whether as to facts or teachings? Without unflinching application of established principles to the situation ascertained, how shall any man or any Movement make progress in the true direction?
In the beginning there was but a single Society with definite Objects; a single teaching of Theosophy. The same books were studied by all, the same magazines read by all. After a third of a century it is common knowledge that each Theosophical aggregation, large or small, has its separate organization, its separate leadership, its separate teachings, its separate books and magazines -- all as antagonistic one to another as the Protestant sects are antagonistic to the Catholic and to each other. It is practically treason, even where not proscribed, for a member of one Theosophical association to belong to another; as literally as with the Catholic church and the Society of Jesus, the literature of any but one's own sect is regarded as heresy, and the leaders and followers of all other Theosophical bodies regarded either as direct agents of Black Magic or as its victims. In other words, all the evils of the old religions are rampantly prevalent in the Theosophical Movement, although that Movement is barely one generation old. What hope, then, for unity of aim, purpose, and teaching, for harmony, brotherhood, solidarity -- for the actual restoration of the original Objects of the Movement in or through any of these warring sects? It is, simply put, asking them to commit suicide.
The hope of the rising cycle lies, then, not in any society, but in individual Theosophists who are to be found outside of as well as in all Theosophical societies or bodies. That there are such, and many such, and that their efforts are not in vain, becomes increasingly apparent. As the work goes on, both on the ascending and the descending arcs of the Movement, the gulf between those of the two paths will widen and deepen, the contrasts become still more marked, and hence deception of the ignorant and the unwary become increasingly difficult. Even a fool or a heedless man can distinguish between light and darkness, though the wisest are misled by shadings and neutral tints. The very divinity in man, unrecognized and therefore misunderstood, inclines us all to take the word for the deed, the profession for practice, the testimony of the perjurer and the biased witness at face value -- until the lesson of repeated failures compels comparison by the nakedness of the contrasts afforded. It remains unvaryingly true as of old that the course of evolution in any cycle, from the first sowing of the seed until the harvest, is that the true and the false, the good and the evil, the parasite and the sapling stem on which it feeds, grow together, indistinguishable by the many. Therefore the wise, knowing the Truth in its vital sense, have ever said, "let both grow together until the harvest."
That the harvest time has come, under the natural operation of cyclic law, for the winnowing of the grain from the tares, the wheat from the chaff of the Theosophical Movement, is to be seen on every hand by those who care to look. Those who do not so look must, under the same natural operation of law, follow their affinities down and out of the Movement altogether, even in name, for the time is not so far off when the charlatans and jugglers will find it to their loss instead of to their profit to trade longer on the Names of Theosophy, of H.P.B. and her Masters. Observe, for a single illustration, the literature of the Movement as it has developed to its climax. On the one hand the Theosophy recorded by H.P.B., by her Masters through her, by those Disciples who were true to her and her inspiration, notably Wm. Q. Judge and Damodar K. Mavalankar; on the other pole the Theosophy of Mr. Sinnett, of Mrs. Besant, of Mr. Leadbeater, of all the tutti quanti under their influence or who took the cue from them.
The mid-point of the cycle has brought to ripening the respective growths. Certain books recently published, with their accompanying magazine matter, make the two Paths unmistakably clear. Within the last three years there have been published: "The Mahatma Letters to A. P. Sinnett," "The Letters of H. P. Blavatsky to A. P. Sinnett," the facsimile reprint of "The Secret Doctrine," and "The Theosophical Movement." Together they establish once and for all, to those who choose to examine and verify them, the original and authentic teachings of Theosophy, the facts of Theosophical history and the bearing of those facts on the past and present of the Theosophical Movement and the various Theosophical societies. The two first named, written in the years from 1880 to 1886, when Destiny was in the making during the first decade of the Parent Society, establish beyond cavil the perfect accordance of the work and writings of H.P.B. and Mr. Judge with the teachings and aims of the Masters of Wisdom. With respect to H.P.B. herself they show her self-abnegation and bona fides throughout the most trying period of her career, and put to shame the aspersions alike of the Report of the Society for Psychical Research and the other avowed enemies of Theosophy, as well as those still more infamous aspersions of her professed followers like Col. Olcott, Mr. Sinnett, and Mrs. Besant. The verbatim reprint of "The Secret Doctrine" enables any one to verify for himself the corruptions of Mrs. Besant's so-called "Third and Revised Edition," and the fraud of her spurious "Third Volume." All four books have been made available to students by individual Theosophists, -- not by any Theosophical societies, but rather despite them. It is one of the most hopeful auguries of the rising cycle of the Movement that all four of the books named have already received a wide welcome among Theosophical students, and that their circulation goes on increasingly. The facts and philosophy in them rest upon their own inherent validity and not upon any personal claims or assertions of their authors.
The impassable gulf in teachings, in spirit, and in practice between the Theosophy of H.P.B. and her Masters, and those of the scores of others who pose as successors, initiates, and deliverers of "Messages from the Masters," may be easily ascertained by any student. He has but to make a careful examination and comparison of the above-named books with Mrs. Besant's published lectures concerning her "World Teacher" and her "World Religion"; with Mrs. Besant's and Mr. Leadbeater's "Man, Whence, How and Whither"; with their "Talks on the Path of Occultism"; with Mr. Leadbeater's "The Masters and The Path," and his "Lives of Alcyone"; with Mr. Jinarajadasa's "Golden Book of the Theosophical Society"; with Mrs. Bailey's "Initiation, Human and Solar"; with any or all of the literal hundreds of mushroom revelations spawned year after year by renegade Theosophists, their satellites and imitators. It is certain that no such comparison will ever be invited or facilitated by any of the traders on and abusers of sacred names and truths -- therefore all the more reason for its being undertaken.
Thus, the Theosophical inquirer of today possesses, in certain respects, an incomparable advantage over his predecessors in the first generation of the Movement, and, by the law of equal action and reaction, labors under disadvantages unknown to them. What are these favoring and unfavorable conditions, externally considered?
As to the first, he has an accessible and authentic literature in which is embodied, as far as words can record them, a statement of the Wisdom Religion in its cosmogonical and anthropological features; the scientific and religious aspects of Evolution spiritual, intellectual and physical, traced in broad outline from the beginning of this period of evolution to the present time; and their applications to all the mysteries and missing links which baffle the most learned and able of our modern scientists and theologians. In other words, he has a presentation of philosophy, religion, and science to give the greatest minds their fullest scope of study and verification for a life-time. And to the humblest inquirer there is afforded a scientific basis for every day practical morality and education in the purpose of life. This recorded teaching of Theosophy is presented neither as a religious revelation nor as a scientific theory, but as a simple synthesis of physical and metaphysical ascertained and ascertainable facts -- ascertained by those Elder Brothers whose evolution has preceded our own, ascertainable by every one of us as we take the necessary steps in self-study, self-discipline, and self-control. Theosophy, as presented by her Masters, by H.P.B., and by Mr. Judge, is submitted on its verifiable merits, and is, therefore, supported, buttressed, and evidenced by an enormous accumulation of facts drawn from the testimony of the ages -- testimony which any one so disposed can verify for himself. It took twenty years of unremitting exertions to place this teaching of Theosophy of record before mankind; twenty years of heroic self-sacrifice to bring it to the attention of the comparative few who are as yet even willing to consider Evolution from an immortal standpoint; twenty years of incessant endeavors to safeguard both Theosophy and its Students from the havoc of their own misspent energies in rushing on the road to ruin by premature and precocious efforts to become Occultists before they had even become kindergarten Theosophists -- urged on by their unconscious selfishness, hypocrisy, and cupidity.
So much as to the teachings of Theosophy. Historically and practically the Student of to-day has the inestimable advantage of the failures and mistakes of his predecessors to emphasize the dangers of so-called "practical occultism," but which in reality is anti-occultism, since in every case it can, under Law, have no other outcome than to hurl the foolhardy and unfit into the well-nigh hopeless morasses of psychism and spiritualism.
On the other hand, the inquirer of to-day looking for light in shadows and darkness which encompass the Unknown recesses of Nature and of Man which lie beyond human knowledge and imagination, cannot avoid the Karma of the race and of the Movement. He will, ten or a hundred chances to one, first come in contact with Anti-Theosophy and Anti-Occultism. He will be attracted spiritually by the gold in the counterfeit, the true present even in the false; the great doctrines of Immortality, of Evolution through Karma and Reincarnation, of Masters and their Chelas(1) among mankind -- doctrines traded on and exploited by the priest and the prophet, the psychic and the pseudo-Initiate, as well as promulgated and taught by the genuine Disciples of the Mysteries. How is the as yet ignorant but hungry aspirant for Knowledge and Powers to distinguish between the two? How is he to avoid those pitfalls and quagmires which have engulfed so many in the past, which have vomited up in our times so many incarnate Kama-Rupas(2), morally unbalanced, intellectually dishonest, psychically insane or intoxicated? If millions upon millions have been enticed by disembodied soul-less Shells, believing them to be the "Spirits" of the great and good, the high and holy of all time, what chance of escape for the sincere and earnest seeker of to-day who encounters on every hand these same "Spirits" embodied in living human forms, posing as Apostles of the "Lord of the World," as Arhats, Masters, Initiates, Successors, Adepts and Chelas, and who speak with all the Authority of great Names, quote the Scriptures, talk familiarly of the Mysteries, and offer with unbounded assurance a short and easy path to Wisdom to all and sundry who will take them for "Guides" and "Controls"?
What is this inquirer to do? One of two things, if he would hope to save his Soul alive: Let him take stock of his own limitations and ignorance, his own uncontrolled and misguided human nature, and -- go slow; or, let him use that common-sense and practical every-day experience and mundane knowledge which he has, to investigate, to compare, to test and verify the assertions, the claims, the pretensions to knowledge and power of all and of each. Shall he surrender his earthly life and treasure to the first comer who promises health, wealth and happiness? How, then, with his mental, his moral, his spiritual nature and endowments? Shall he mortgage them, put them in pawn, or execute a Deed of Trust to them to the benefactor who offers to accept them, who invites the deposit, who "guarantees" the results with glittering promises and fine words cited or stolen from sources acceptable to the would-be neophyte in the Hall of Learning?
The history of Spiritualism and of the Theosophical Movement in our own times, the record of the ages in all times and among all peoples show how, at every recrudescence of forced development of the psychical capacities and constituents in man and nature, unnumbered myriads fall victim to their own conceit and ignorance, traded on by the unholy and the unbalanced. Just as there is human "love" which is Divine and also that which is infernal because perverted, so in the world Psychic and the world Spiritual the "oldest profession in the world" has its practitioners and its votaries, its fruits and its victims. The Theosophical Movement to-day is filled with intellectual and psychical panderers, busied at their calling among the budding Souls seeking light and love and happiness. Shall this prostitution go on unlet, unchecked, unhindered, because carried on even in the name of Theosophy, of H.P.B. and her Masters?
Not if the True theosophists everywhere, without distinction of organization or association, promulgate and teach, and, above all, practice the noble ethics and philosophy entrusted to them for the healing of the nations.
The Rising Cycle
(Part 5 of 13)
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TWO (2) FOOTNOTES LISTED BELOW:
COMPILER'S NOTE: I added these 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) "Chelas": A "Chela" is a disciple, the pupil of an Adept or a group of Adepts.
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(2) "Kama-Rupas": A "Kama-Rupa" is the invisible electro-magnetic astral body made up of our lower Passions and Desires. "Astral" means the Electro-Magnetic spectrum at every level. The "Astral Body" is the electromagnetic design body that the physical molecules adhere to in the building up of every form, in every kingdom, on the physical plane. The theosophical Astral Light is the Ether of modern science. It is the source of the idea known as the "Recording Angel" -- because every thought, word, and deed is recorded, stored, and magnetically reflected back to its source at a dynamically proper time: in other words, when conditions naturally warrant or permit it. We call this Karma, or Lawful action and reaction. All of us are also magnets for imprints in the "Astral Light" which were put there by others and which are similar to us in character. So we constantly affect and infect each other in this way -- for good or for bad. Kama-Loka is a sphere or plane (a state of consciousness) within the lower levels of the electro-magnetic spectrum (the "Astral Light") -- the one closest to our physical plane; and which includes the substance of that plane, as every plane of consciousness, from the lowest to the highest, is made up of its substance, or the elemental and atomic and sub-atomic lives that make it up. "Kama-Loka" is the repository of all of our lower thoughts, passions and desires. This is the first plane we are conscious on at the death of our body, before moving on to the higher plane called Devachan, which is the very pleasant state of consciousness also known as Heaven. "Kama-Loka" is the same unpleasant state of consciousness known as the purgatory of the Christians, the Greek Hades and the Egyptian Amenti. We also leave our "Astral Body" behind, fully impressed with all of the lower thoughts, words, deeds, passions and desires that we have loaded it with during the life just lived, once this unpleasant dream experience naturally winds down, to move on and into a form made up of a much finer state of substance to experience the dream of Heaven. But we can only experience in these after-death states of consciousness, both pleasant and unpleasant, that which we have fed into the system.
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