I can never see your face, And never shake you by the hand, I send my soul through time and space To
greet you. You will understand”.
James Elroy Flecker.
Page vii] “She took
possession of the age”
her personal appearance, the head, which rose from the dark flowing garments,
was immensely characteristic, although far more ugly than beautiful. A
Russian type, with a wide forehead, a short thick nose, prominent cheek-bones,
a small clever mobile mouth with little fine teeth, brown and very curly
hair, at that time unstreaked with grey, and almost like that of a Negro’s;
a sallow complexion, but a pair of eyes the like of which I have never
seen; pale blue, grey as water, but with a glance, deep and penetrating,
and as compelling as of it beheld the inner heart of things. Sometimes
they held an expression as though fixed on something afar, high and immeasurably
above all earthly things. Large, long, beautiful eyes, which illumined
the curious face, [Page
viii] She always wore
long dark flowing garments, and had ideally beautiful hands”. — (Autobiography
ofPrincess von Racowitza, 1910.)
dealt with “the inner selves of men and women and was blind to the
weakness or corruption of their visible shells”. —(H. S. 0lcott
of H. P. B.)[Page 1]
natures may rightly take exceptional courses . . .
” — Annie Besant.
Already the years have added their total to a century since that remarkable
individual, Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, was born. We see her as an ardent
child, from all accounts; that she was an ardent woman we all have heard
or known, one ever ready to battle zealously against the littleness, the
narrowness, the bigotry of her time. Possessed of a passionate dislike
of all trickery, all sham, yet is she still branded by the thoughtless
as “impostor” and “charlatan”.[Page
2] Despite this, close on
twenty-five Theosophical Societies, independent of each other, and totalling
many thousands of members, claim her as the source of the “teachings” that
mould, ennoble, and enrich their lives.
Interest in the personality of Mme. Blavatsky and in her mission grows
steadily. The well-known novelist, Mr. J. D. Beresford, has written of
distinguishes her record from that of all the other high-spirited, gifted
and august women in history is that she had supernormal powers. . .
had a higher mission than the exhibition of her supernormal influence on
what we know as matter. She came to revive the great Wisdom Religion that
is so slowly returning to our Western civilisation. . . .
in the recorded history of the past 6,000 years or so there has been no woman
so deserving of our interest as Madame Blavatsky”.
out vividly in the life of H. P. B. is her intense love of and search for
the [Page 3] “Occult”.
Endowed with a nature that from infancy gave her abnormal experiences,
her mind looked out in childhood upon a world that included far more than
the hard and clear surfaces of the physical. She was aware of startling
and inexplicable happenings; of seemingly - solid figures that suddenly
vanished; of long vistas of other dimensions; of mysterious messages inaudible
to others; of strange powers, the uncomprehending frustration of which
provoked in her terrible rages. All these things and more bred of her a
creature all too different from the average human being, and one painfully
sensitive to scoffing or scepticism about her gifts and their genuineness.
born in Russia, too. A country that was steeped in superstition, especially
the peasantry, who, as servants or serfs, thronged the houses and estates
of the nobles of those days. A country where astounding practices went
on: black magic and lurking terrors always; the dark unabsolved passions
of human nature still finding outlet in primitive rites expressing elemental
fears and horrors; the highest in the land yielding to inexplicable [Page
4] compulsions from other
worlds and seeking aid or relief from them in witchcraft and wizardry.
A country where each untoward event was credited with devilish significance;
each happy one with divine importance. In the great echoing home of H.
P. B.'s early years we catch glimpses of veiled mysterious pictures; sense
secrets lurking in dark places; hear the fierce storms that shriek without
the sturdy walls and mass up the snows that shut the inmates in upon themselves;
shudder at the long howl of the hungry wolves prowling in the gloomy crowding
forests; feel the impalpable menace of the grey winter days and the heavy
brooding of freezing winter nights. . . .
she grew up H. P. B. felt driven to seek confirmation of her early psychic
experiences, of what she already knew or suspected. She desired
vehemently to understand, and went both openly and secretly after any
clue that would lead her to the knowledge she longed for. Gradually, as her
insight became clearer, her classification of the occult became more
definite. She discovered that one must go through almost unbearably
patient discipline, [Page
5] supported by unwavering aspiration,
to gain to the exalted goal of Self-realisation, to that freedom of the Self
which is the crown of all human existence.
P. B. discovered the “Occult Arts” to be the ever-accompanying
shadow of true Occultism. These “Arts” were, and are,
legitimate enough in themselves. They are the “powers” after
which so many sigh.
can become, when selfishly applied, the canker that eats at the heart of Selfhood
and hinders its realisation. They are the “cages” that confine
the Self. Yet, paradoxically enough, they are the inevitable gifts that
characterise the vehicles the Self uses for its own purposes in the various
worlds. They are not to be repudiated for they are natural; they are not to
be unduly sought after for they will function at the right time; they are not
to be wantonly displayed for then they corrupt; if used to tyrannise over the
weak or ignorant they poison and destroy. Later, out of her drastic
experience, she wrote:
“Real divine theurgy
requires an almost [Page
purity and holiness of life, otherwise it degenerates into mediumship or black
and that any one attempting to cultivate one of the branches of Occult
Science “without the knowledge of the philosophic rationale of
those powers is like a rudderless boat launched in a stormy ocean”.
P. B. stressed these warnings in many articles and stories. In her own graphic,
emphatic way, she showed what would happen to those deluded by the glamour
of any “sense”-power, whether inner or outer.
vow is this them hast taken even now
And called the Gods to witness ! Knowest not thou
The way is long and lone and full of fears ?
Through strenuous days and night without an end
Wilt thou with dauntless heart still onward wend ? . . . .
following any exact chronological sequence, we can examine the course H.
P. B. took in her pursuit of Truth. We cannot but admire the strength of
will she brought to the accomplishment of her task, and her tremendous courage,
proof against all assaults and disappointments.
she investigated “Magic”. Magic, in its true sense, was
to H. P. B. “thegreat Science”. [Page
8] She defined “black” magic
as “sorcery”, the abuse of
powers. It held no real allure for her. It was “white” magic
that drew her, the
“divine magic”, devoid of selfishness, love of power or
ambition, bent only on doing good to the world in general and one's neighbour
in particular. The smallest attempt to use any unusual powers for the gratification
“sorcery or black magic”.
at first, it was “black magic” to which she gave her attention,
“arts” of the negroes, of their Voodoo and Obeah sects.
Not so much was known about them then. But through literature floated, sometimes
vague, sometimes exaggerated, tales of their dark doings.
Those who dealt with the negroes taken as slaves to the West Indies and
the United States of America, told of secret ugly rites and weird sorceries.
From the East drifted stories of human beings in possession of “Magical”
powers. Up out of Egypt came hints of mysterious rites and ceremonies.
H. P. B. explored all these trails. Gradually she discovered which of them
led her to her goal, [Page 9] and which of them
were false side-tracks, even if attractive. In her early efforts to understand
she faced the dark magic of the Voodoos and Obeahs and, maybe, witnessed some
of their ceremonies, as is hinted in her writings. “Killing” cults
these, producing phenomena dependent on the shedding of blood, the effluvia
of which draws irresistibly certain kinds of elementals. Thus drawn, these
elementals can then be commanded to carry out the will of the operator. They
are fearsome creatures, more clamorous than vultures for their blood-offerings.
Once attracted they must be propitiated, for, if deprived of their “sacrifice”,
they turn nasty and attack the officiant. They blindly concern themselves with
him and not with those who seek his aid. Many are the strange devilries
connected with these cults, and some experience of them brought
expressions of condemnation to H. P. B.'s lips and pen when she had
occasion to mention them. She unhesitatingly associated these dread
“killing” cults with that class of vivisectionist who pursues
his useless researches upon helpless sentient creatures. Between [Page
10] them is the
unholy bond of cruel, ruthless sacrifice of living creatures to their own
Ceylon with its old but mild black magic and its fine “white” magic,
H. P. B. also knew. Here the lower forms of magic are those common throughout
the East. Little wax or wooden figures, in which pins have been driven
with venomous intent into the vital parts, are secreted somewhere
about the house of the “enemy”. He begins to waste away
from some baffling illness, and dies, unless the image is found and destroyed
or some stronger counter-magic is employed. Or, someone falls ill and the “devil-dancers” are
engaged to drive away the “devils” of sickness. The
pandemonium of the dances either kills or cures ! Then there are the few
dread images, packed with unholy objects, used as centres from which
evil radiates. Also those ghoulish men who, on certain nights of the
moon, gather rags and bones in the silent eerie graveyards. Out of such
articles they make either provocative or defensive magic. . . .
The white magic of the “pirit” and other ceremonies is
for driving [Page 11] away
possible pending disasters or misfortunes, and is conducted by a priest.
P. B. was greatly drawn to the noble teachings of the Lord Buddha, whose one
desire was to alleviate the world's sorrows. She became a professed Buddhist,
and, later, a deep student of Northern Buddhism. She loved, as all must who
participate in it, the lovely magic of full-moon nights in a Ceylon Buddhist
temple, especially the full-moon of Wesak. On that night is celebrated the
high hour when the Blessed One found utter freedom — Nirvãna.
When the silver moon rides high and full, crowds throng the be-flagged temple
courtyards, all softly illumined by myriads of tiny lights flickering in the
warm tropic breezes. The gentle, kindly people flood the temple precincts,
repeating in their perambulations the time-honoured, reverent praises of the
Lord Buddha, of the Law of Rightness that He so persistently preached, and
of the Brotherhood He founded. . . .
drew H. P. B.. Egypt, stately mother of many “magics”, of
mysteries — Greek, Roman, Christian, Rosicrucian, Freemasonic, [Page
and others. Egypt, home of
the most gorgeous ceremonial ever known. Land, too, of the profound silences
of the Pyramids and of the baffling Sphynx, of the overwhelming magnificence
of vast Temples, of the terrific power of a priesthood which in the end grew
oppressive and whose seemingly eternal might has vanished utterly away. In
echoing ruins colossal figures, once approached in dread and
awe, now contemplate their own slow lonely decay. Within the hidden
heart of the Pyramids was, of old, enacted the precious mystery of
“spiritual rebirth” — the marvellous experience of
a new birth that gave access to the wide domains of the “heavenly
world”. That mystery
was incorporated into Christianity, and long after dwindled away into the noisy
though happy and cherished celebrations of Christmas.
Land, also, of those gorgeous tombs of Egypt's great ones, hidden away in
the desert's sunbaked bosom; tombs unhesitatingly rifled by later nations,
and the embalmed bodies of ancient august kings and queens sent to
adorn museums, where all may [Page 13] gaze upon
them. Not always has the rifler gone unpunished, for invisible guardians have
resented disturbance of their trust and have exacted vengeance.
Egypt H. P. B. sought out those who, amid the ruins, still hold the key to
the old “Osirian” mysteries, and can unlock the doors of
many a secret to the heart and mind attuned to spiritual qualities. Daring
all to know, yet respectful of the dangers involved because of her growing
experience, she brought out of Egypt a clear perception of the “Light” that
shines perpetually within all forms. It was from Egypt that she wrote later, “approved
by Tuitit Bey”, to Colonel Olcott, saying she had been entrusted with
the delicate task of trying to guide his feet into the way of chelaship.
Up and down and across Europe went H. P. B observing and studying the
magic and occultism of European peoples. Sometimes a veil lifted: then
she saw the Rosicrucian symbols and language, both difficult to interpret.
She sifted out the true Rosicrucianism from its various imitators; came in
touch, apparently, with the true heads [Page 14] of
that impressive and cryptic mode of interpreting truth, and knew what the “Rose
and the Cross” actually
Or, despite all supposed “landmarks”, she slipped between
the portals of
Freemasonic Temples and, in the bosom of some Lodge, shared in those
ancient rites which veil in symbol and allegory an exalted system of
morality and truth.
Europe H. P. B. explored also the meaning of Christian mysticalexperience. The profound science of psychology accompanies that
experience. Modern researches in psychology are based upon the psychic
experiences of devotees in the cloisters. The passion for “divine
to such experiences, and the whole graded process of prayer came to be
recognised as the operation of inner laws working in an orderly manner
towards the desired goal of “Union with God”. She gave
particular attention to the centuries-long quarrel about “divine grace” versus “freewill”.
She became the vigorous opponent of all systems of Western religion
which claimed the right to set the pace at which the human mind should
march towards [Page
H. P. B. objected strongly to all prayer that was merely an “outward
petition to an unknown God”, “... the inner
man is the only God of whom we can have cognisance”, she afterwards
us our postulate that God is a universally diffused, infinite principle,
and how can man alone escape from being soaked through by, and in, the
Deity ? We call our “Father in heaven” that deific essence
of which we are cognisant within us, in our heart and spiritual consciousness,
and which has nothing to do with the anthropomorphic conception we may form
of it in our physical brain or its fancy: ' Know ye not that ye are the temple
of God, and that the spirit of (the absolute) God dwelleth in you ?' Yet, let
no man anthropomorphise that essence in us”.
said that prayer is not a petition.
is a mystery rather; an occult process by which finite and conditioned thoughts
and desires, unable to be assimilated by the absolute spirit which is unconditioned,
are translated into [Page
16] spiritual wills and the
will; such process being
called “spiritual transmutation”.
She strongly condemned such sorcery as
offering up prayers to the same God by statesmen and generals when sending two
armies to murder each other.
the only God we must recognise and pray to, or rather act in unison with,
is that Spirit of God of which our body is the temple, and in which it
dwelleth”. (See The Key to Theosophy, pp. 45-48.) [Page
was gifted with the patient inflexible Will before which difficulties disappear”. — Duffy.
claimed H. P. B. There she found that for which she sought. She came into
touch with India's secret life and realised her affinity with it. She appreciated
India's confirmed habit of search for the Eternal — by any
and every path however straight, or however devious, winding, tortuous, or
mistaken. One goal and one alone satisfies India's true children — liberation
of the Self from all bondage. For ages she has listened to and tried to
follow the instruction of saint and sage, that the world, the ceaseless whirl
of the great and the small, should not be permitted to ensnare the Self into
identification with changing forms. Freedom lay in realising the Self as the
eternal essence [Page
18] of all things. Not an
easy task, but an inevitable one. ... It caught India's imagination. Hungrily
she has striven for its consummation. To attain the goal she has turned to
worship, ceremony and pilgrimage, to pain and its patient endurance, to silence
and to song, to indulgences and to austerities. So has India trudged her
slow determined way to salvation. Any and every gesture in life and in death
had for her but one significance — Liberation. Ever and anon arose
those who asserted that they had won to this high goal. They were no more
attracted or deluded by anything that the worlds visible or invisible might
offer. They were not drawn to any fate, whether of prince or beggar. They
were free, for ever free.
H. P. B. entered into the current of this tremendous endeavour. She
breasted the stream that runs both exposed and hidden in India's occult
life. She studied the practices of the Hatha Yogi, the Raja Yogi, and the
Tantrist. So many of those practices are either outworn or distorted, so
many are perfect instructions in physical, moral, mental, and spiritual health
and beauty. She was not [Page 19] deceived by
the misguided ones who sacrifice the body that the will may be served; or
who meditate so unduly long that the brain breeds fantasies born of inflammations,
nor by the obscenities that are but the ugly distortions of recognised laws
of creation, both mental and physical.
P. B. studied the penetrating doctrine of the Tantra, both as practised on
the hot plains of India and in the cold and snowy fastnesses of the Himalayas
and in Tibet. The Northern School of Buddhism, the Mahâyâna,
drew her irresistibly. It enshrines the doctrines that the Buddha taught.
It has also adopted, as the centuries passed, some of the animistic
practices of the Bonpas, the early inhabitants of Tibet, as well as the
deep occultism of the Indian Tantra. This Tantra had been revised by
some of the great Buddhist teachers, notably Marpa, disciple of Atisha
(eleventh century), Ashvagosha (about the time 50 B.C. to A.D. 50),
Âryasangha and Nâgârjuna. They were authoritative exponents
of the Tantra because they had practised it successfully. That exquisite
little book, The Voice of the Silence,
is drawn from Tantra [Page 20] sources.
H. P. B. wrote in the preface that it was “derived from The Book
of the GoldenPrecepts, one of the works put into the hands of mystic students
in the East. The knowledge of them is obligatory in that school, the teachings
of which are accepted by many Theosophists”.
P. B. must have known quite well the ordinary Tibetan with his dirty ways,
his childish mind, and his nasty superstitions. She certainly knew the various
Sects of the Dugpas and Gelugpas, and so on, and the immemorial horrors indulged
in by some of them. She knew the stupid satellites who thronged the outer courts
of the great Lamaseries. She knew the learned Lâmas who set their pupils
lessons in obedience to those Occult instructions which have varied but little
for ages, because they are based upon “eternal verities”.
She came at last to the feet of the stately, powerful,
“inner” authorities of these vast labyrinths, teachers
not accessible to the merely curious. Lords of wisdom are They, perfect in
knowledge and exquisite in person.
was the end of her search. She had [Page
21] at last arrived at that
spiritual home for which her heart had always longed. Thankfully she
sat at Their feet, ready to learn that which They alone can teach to the
eager trustworthy pupil. She obeyed the rules that prepare the candidate
for admission to initiation into the freedom and the powers of other worlds.
Her own psychic gifts here received their full explanation and training.
She learnt to assess them at their true value. They were attractive and
useful, but they bore little comparison with those other greater qualities
necessary for treading the higher reaches of the “Direct Path” to
Liberation. We know how little she afterwards thought of her “psychic
gifts”, and how
reluctant she was to display them to a world which regarded anything
outside the range of the ordinary senses as mere fraud. She was far more
concerned with pressing upon people the paramount importance of the rules
of spiritual growth:
clean life, an open mind, a pure heart, an eager intellect, an unveiled spiritual
perception, a brotherliness for one's co-disciple, a readiness to give and
and instruction, a loyal sense of duty to the teacher, a willing obedience
to the behests of Truth, once we have placed our confidence in, and believe
that Teacher to be in possession of it; a courageous endurance of personal
injustice, a brave declaration of principles, a valiant defence of those
who are unjustly attacked, and a constant eye to the ideal of Human progression
and perfection which the secret Science (Gupta Vidya) depicts — these
are the golden stairs up the steps of which the learner may climb to the
Temple of Divine Wisdom”.
her Teachers, H. P. B. was known, is known, as Upasika (lit. a
worshipper), a servant; she felt herself to be in that relation to her Master,
i.e as one who serves or waits upon the revered Teacher — as
did his disciples upon their Lord, the Buddha. [Page
choicest of all effulgences is the shining of knowledge on men of understanding”.
the years spent in the pursuit of practical occultism, H. P. B. had studied
the main philosophies of the world. Philosophy and science go closely hand
in hand. The mind considers and contemplates what the will accomplishes.
She had given a certain amount of attention to the leading philosophies
of the West, but her closest attention was given to the cosmic visions
that were unveiled to India's spiritual eyes, to the great systems of thought,
based upon those visions, expounded in India.
the Vedas, outlining the nature of the Kosmos, giving in terse and perfect
24] graphic descriptions of universals.
. . . The incalculably vast Milky Way, the “churning-stick” of “Chaos”,
with the serpent of eternity tied about its middle, gods tugging at the head,
demons dragging at the tail — the fundamental positive and negative — and
so the slow inevitable scheme of things turning upon its axis. In that
churning all things are involved and evolved; bondages and freedoms;
little plans and big ones; atoms and massy forms; stars and ashy
habitable planets; great burning, dazzling nebulae — promise of planets
yet to come; suns in the heyday of youth and suns whose middle age is upon
the little imprisoned fragments of “life” whirled and
tossed and made aware of everything “without” themselves;
identification with it made complete. Life loves Form. Narcissus adores his
shadow. But Forms come and go “impermanent”. Nothing that
Life can do can make them other than
shadows. Life clings desperately to them, calling them lovingly, the
Good, the True and the Beautiful. But in the end Life has to confess that only
itself is real, [Page
25]“unborn, undying, eternal”.
Then comes the problem of how to be in yet not of all this vast
interlacing complexity called manifestation.
ancient Indian mind tackled this problem dispassionately. The results of its
long deep cogitations are set down in the Upanishads. The Universe and Man.
What are they ? Whence come they ? It was well understood that to obtain true
answers to these queries it was necessary to make of the mind a clear unblemished
mirror. A mirror that should reflect all the multitudinous kaleidoscopic play
of things both from the within and from the without. It is the peculiarity
of the mind that it holds this middle position with regard to things as they
are. It receives the innumerable experiences of the personal spheres, absorbs
them, and by their aid prepares the far more subtle mirror of the higher mind
that turns to reflect the worlds of the SELF, for this, silence of the senses,
poise, and intense peace are essential. Writers on H. P. B.'s life always dwell
on her knowledge of the Upanishads, and of all the tremendous amount [Page
26] of hard thinking condensed
in their brief pages.
on the argumentative mind turned upon this highly technical record of man's
immense effort to comprehend the mystery of Being, studied all its phases,
and set down all its many inductions and deductions in the brilliant set of
Philosophies called the “Darshanas” — the “understandings”,
or intuitive perceptions. Here, within their compass, we find the materials
of the universe examined with meticulous care, as well as all the mazy, devious
tracks made in it by consciousness as it learns the hard yet simple lesson
of awareness. The intricate dance of the atoms, the orderly rushing of
terrific forces, the aeonic building of solar systems, the seeds of
unconsciousness sown in the womb of time to be brought forth as
consciousness, and grown into Self-consciousness. One philosophy after
another deals with one phase or another of evolutionary events and the
relation of the human being thereto. And it has always seemed impossible
to me that one can truly understand all the implications of thought in TheSecret Doctrine without a [Page
27] study of at least the six
main systems of Indian philosophy.
exquisite devotional beauty of the Bhagavad
Gîtâ H. P. B. knew well,
with its infinitely wise precepts and its gentle inexorable pointing to the
Path that man must tread if he would win, through Love, to that which Is.
In that beautiful instruction man is shown as the bound without, yet boundless
within, as caged yet ever free, as mortal in body but immortal in spirit, as
troubled outwardly by many things but serene at heart, tiny in frame yet
colossal in awareness, weak in personal seeming but in reality endowed
with all powers and power. The Universal Self in the person of Shri Krishna
says to man, in the person of Arjuna:
same am I to all beings; there is none hateful to Me nor dear. They verily
who worship Me with devotion, they are in Me and I also in them”.
in the Purânas, which outline the origin and formation of this our
universe, H. P. B. delved deeply. Up over the rim of the everlasting are
seen to rise the mighty [Page
crowned with the ineffable light of life, endowed with resistless power, majestic
embodiments of the One. Their immense kingdoms slowly circle through time and
space, they rule the fate of almost measureless starry reaches. From far constellations
they watch that a planetary scheme comes safely through its risky
experience. In the Purânas too is described the history of this planetary
scheme: its slow shaping out of the fire-mists of the first stages; the
densification of matter till it is ready for the appearance of form; the
agents — gods and men ripe in wisdom garnered elsewhere — who guide
and guard the mineral, the vegetable, the animal and the human worlds
to their destined perfection. They set the archetype, the detailed
species follow. They are often credited, too, with encouraging that eternal dissatisfaction
that Life ever has with embodiment, and with suggesting some of the ways of escape
from it. From time to time the most free agents of all are said to come in whatever
guise suits the moment, and with new appearances, new urges, set the pace of
the current of discontent with old and [Page
forms. Then the Purânas trace also the history of man, his pilgrimage from
ignorance to wisdom, through the increasing refinement of his bodies, till they
become so translucent that they are the perfect companions of Life.
these things and more H. P. B. studied, and the essence of them is to be
found in her books, especially in the Volumes of The Secret Doctrine.
The great attraction of these Volumes lies in the fact that she condensed in
them the fascinating story of the wonderful methods of evolution, the
marvellous interplay of the various kingdoms, the amazing exactitude with
which everything seems to work, be it the tiniest conceivable unit or the
greatest concentration of combined interplanetary, or even inter-zodiacal
interests. With splendid patience she wrought at collating the long records
of the races and religions of the world; at co-ordinating their experiences
in order to reveal the resultant wisdom, left as a legacy to all succeeding
peoples. Each human era has ideals, has visions of Truth as it ever was, is,
and shall be. The “Eternal Now” operates in all and at all [Page
ceaseless Being and Becoming are always with us. Nirvâna and Sansara
the two poles of one and the same vital Fact bring us to the eternalself-realisation
of Reality. [Page
. . O Lanoo, be of clean heart before thou startest on thy journey. ...”
Voice of the Silence.
which most deeply influenced H. P. B. and directed her thought and teachings,
was evidently the Hindu-Buddhist Tantra. This Tantra may be described as
having pure Buddhism as its warp, and as its woof the carefully sifted
Hindu esotericism, which is the outcome of ages of experience, and therefore
highly dangerous to the casual or ignorant experimenter.
those things vaguely described as psychism, magic, occultism, and so on, which
allure because they seem to promise unusual power (and therefore dominance
over the ignorant) were, and are, fully and impartially [Page
32] examined, the true distinguished
from the false, their right and wrong uses accurately set forth; and from out
of it all emerges a Science of Life, a science severely practical in its demands
that results shall follow effort. The “powers latent in man” have
been minutely examined, and the methods of rousing then to potency have been
discovered and applied. Every stage of the process is known, all the dangers,
all the successes have been tabulated. Unbroken generations of Gurus and pupils
have followed, amended, revised, but never radically changed or altered the
natural rules that govern the whole course of spiritual development. Such
rules are as imperative to the preservation of sanity as is the precision of
correct mechanism to the safe use of electricity.
of the Silence will only yield its full meaning to one who
is well-versed in the essentials of the Tantric method of using every quality
of nature, embodied in miniature in one part or another of our physical
body. The Light on the Path, with its exalted morality and cryptic
instructions to “kill out” this or that, contains characteristic [Page
33] instructions concerning the farthest, slipperiest, uppermost
slopes of the
“mountain of attainment” which all must climb. Upon its summit
a difficult balance must be maintained with the help of unceasing vigilance,
with every ounce of spiritual strength pitted against storm and blast from
the raging worlds of birth and death against the numbness of solitude, the
agony of loneliness and the blindness of clouds that shroud in darkness.
And even then all this spiritual travail is seen to be but the last remnants
of personal and individual passion and suffering. Presently they are “transformed
into the constituents of Enlightenment”, of Peace, of the
all these things we shall realise why Dr. Annie Besant said that H. P.
B. had a “marvellous sweep of occult knowledge”. Because H. P.
B. understood so well “the Way”, she could warn others of
the dangers to be encountered upon it, and could offer guidance to those who,
like herself, were prepared for the sake of Occultism, in her high sense of
the word, to Will, to Dare, to Do and to be Silent. On the Path [Page
34] there could be
no concessions, no prejudices or traditions, no harbouring of secret vices,
no timid yielding to weaknesses or conventions. The aspirant must be ready
to face the startling naked truth. There must be no pretence, no hypocrisy,
no pandering to vanity. Humble and unaffected the pupil must come asking of
Life its last word, and with will of steel train his bodies ready to receive
that last word. No light task. H. P. B. understood that. Because she respected
the occult (natural) laws, she warned everyone that they would inevitably
operate when challenged. All things accumulated during the ages of growth
must be at last sorted out, and transmuted; all faults, all habits, all
tendencies whether “good, bad or indifferent”. [Page
“If we want to understand life we must contend with
Desire”. — Krishnamurti.
WE have, in a sense, followed H.
P. B. to the “Feet of the Master”,
and are ready to try and understand what the training she underwent with
Them might mean. To Their wise guidance she submitted wholeheartedly.
To Them she gave her complete confidence. Throughout all her
subsequent life she gave witness to her faith in Their wisdom. Her attitude
to Them will be the better appreciated if we consider some of the rules she
probably obeyed. They run:
will not humiliate my co-disciples,
I will speak no evil of them.
I will not hurt animals.
I will not insult decent people.
I will not desert the teachers of the secret method. [Page 36]
I renounce all religious rites.
I will be faithful to my vows.
I will use for the best my body, speech and mind.
I will never abandon the Doctrine of the Buddha,
nor my duty to my spiritual master.
I will neither deceive nor betray anyone in the world.
From this day till I become a Boddhisattva, I will
not undertake anything unreasonable.
I will attend to the teachings
of my spiritual guide.
I will not give pain to any being.
I will demand nothing on the path of beatitude.
I will never conform to worldly desires, even if
it costs me my life. . . .
I reject all worldly works.
I will never discard the works of the other
side, i.e which
lead to Liberation. . . .”
Lamaïques, by Mme. Alexandra David-Neel, pp. 83-84.) [Page
These are the simple yet uncompromising approaches that lead to the development
of those faculties by which spiritual illumination is gained. Through the
perfect performance of daily duties — to others, to oneself —
does the way lead to Nirvâna. Wise discrimination as to one's own
needs, yet utterly selflessly benefiting others, H. P. B. almost fiercely
demonstrated many times in the course of her own life. Especially was it
so when she was given the choice of peace through death, or to live in
misery to write the wonderful Secret Doctrine. She had learned that
peace, “Nirvâna”, consists in rejoicing at others
being made happy, and Samsara (the world) in not so feeling. He who feels
a universal love for his fellow creatures will rejoice in distributing
blessings among them, and find Nirvana in so doing”.
of H. P. B.'s lessons must have been to put herself into close mental rapport with
her Guru. Instantly, at any moment, to receive a message from Him and to
receive it correctly; to put her own mind into touch with His and understand
His point of view. [Page
38] This did
not in the least mean that she slavishly subjected her will to His, but rather
that she trained herself to be sensitive to His more exact perception of values.
She exhibited a marked deference to a wisdom far greater than anything she
herself possessed. Yet, as we have read, it was this very capacity that
provoked so much scepticism. The world of her day regarded it as pure
assumption, designed to trick the unduly credulous. As an occultist it was
her most imperative need, for in her work of establishing a Society which
would try to carry out the intentions of its real founders, she would need
to keep closely in touch with Their wishes as to how it should be guided. She
did it by means of an inner awareness of Their Will.
P. B. had to learn also the very opposite of all this — the stern necessity
of relying upon no one but herself, upon nothing outside herself. While she
followed on the one hand instructions as to how to develop her psychic
powers, on the other she was left entirely dependent on her own judgment
with regard to all choice of direction and to her relation [Page
39] to all
circumstances, her reactions to them. Her own individuality was most
carefully respected. Ceremonial and ritual were shown to her as being but “psychic
therapeutics”; that is when ceremony and ritual are merely empty
forms backed by nothing save dry tradition; and “initiations” but
a concession to the feeble intellects of certain kinds of pupils; that is,
initiations which are of only “personalimportance” and not to
be confused with those initiations which are “signs of power” that compel
the forces of nature to act. The ideal is to be free of all “means of attainment”,
but until that time of freedom they are useful in evoking in the pupil the
strength to proceed.
Tibetan schools of occultism where H. P. B. sat at the feet of her Master,
it is customary for the Master to make sure that there is an affinity between
himself and his pupils, based upon ties formed in earlier lives, ties which
are regarded as indispensable for success. Very often there are long preliminary
trials to gauge the pupil's quality. In H. P. B.'s case these probably took
place during those long years of wandering and [Page 40] adventure when she
tested the value of so much that passed as occultism. [The late Lama
Kazi Dawa-Samdup was of opinion that, despite the adverse criticisms directed
against H.P. Blavatsky’s
works, there is adequate internal evidence in them of their author’s
intimate acquaintance with the higher Lamaistic teachings, into which
she claimed to have been initiated.” Tibetan Book
of the Dead, p 7]
produce the phenomena that startled the world must have been quite a trial
to H. P. B.. She well understood its insignificance. She had been taught
to appraise it correctly. She knew it to be child's play compared with other
and better things, just the ABC of occultism — a thing that every pupil
learns in the beginning in order to know how to do it. That, and no more.
Then, such are the curious interweavings of Karma, she employed these
elementary gifts to help her in bringing together the very people who were
necessary to the laying of the foundations of the Theosophical Society. [See Old
Diary Leaves, by Colonel H. S. Olcott ]. An organisation
that had for its ideal neither psychism in itself, however valuable, nor the
display of psychic phenomena, however fascinating, but the propagation of
knowledge concerning the “Direct Path” to Liberation, to that consummation
where God and Man are one and identical. [Page 41]
I believed in I wished to behold”.
this “Direct Path”, “the
street which is called Straight”, which
drew H. P. B.. It was her choice, let the cost be what it might. How great
the cost actually was for her was seen later in her work in the world — a
martyrdom of misunderstanding. In other words, she launched upon the
deep swift tide of Yoga. That meant that the Life, the Spirit, in her must
subordinate all else to its supreme desires. It meant also the challenging
of every “illusion”, every “delusion”, and the training of mind and
will to drive straight and unerringly into the very heart of things, and there
to realise that Self is the “conqueror over matter”. And this conquest
is not the fruit of any rite or ceremony whatsoever, but is a supreme and [Page
“mystic experience”. In that experience she discovered the source and
origin of all “powers”.
Later she wrote:
and divine powers lie dormant in every human being; and the wider the sweep
of his spiritual vision the mightier will be the God within him”. — (The
Key to Theosophy, pp.
Such vision is to be had only in the Clear Light of
This is the way the Lord Buddha
is, disciples, a Realm devoid of earth and water, fire, and air. It is
not endless space, nor infinite thought, nor nothingness, neither ideas
nor non-ideas. Not this world nor that is it. I call it neither a coming
nor a departing, nor a standing still, nor death nor birth; it is without
a basis, progress or a stay; it is the ending of sorrow.
which clingeth to another there is fall; but unto that which clingeth not
no fall can come. Where no fall cometh,
[Page 43] there is rest, and where rest is,
there is no keen desire. Where keen desire is not, naught cometh or goeth,
there is no death nor birth. Where there is neither death nor birth, there
is neither this world nor that, nor in between — it
is the ending of sorrow.
is, disciples, an Unbecome, Unborn, Unmade, Unformed; if there were not
this Unbecome, Unborn, Unmade, Unformed, there would be no way out for
that which is become, born, made and formed; but since there is an Unbecome,
Unborn, Unmade, Unformed, there is escape for that which is become, born,
made, and formed”.
(Quoted in The Tibetan Bookof the Dead, by W. Y. Evans-Wentz, p. 68.)
Or, to sum it all up in the simple direct words
is the man who lives in the Eternal.”
hold that the highest happiness is the fulfilment of all desire — to
be beyond [Page 44] all
desires because you have experienced every desire. . . . An intelligent
man is one who has fixed his goal — which I hold to be
liberation and happiness — and is utilising all his desires to carry
him to that end. Then in him there is order.
if he has great desires, there will not be chaos. This goal is eternally
the same for all, but if each one fixes that goal for himself, and if it
is not fixed by another, there will be harmony. ...” [Page
sensuous and unsensuous seem one thing, viewed from one level. . . .”
— Mrs. Browning.
or the Occult Sciences, H. P. B. described as: “The
Science of the secrets of nature — physical and psychic, mental and
spiritual; called Hermetic and esoteric sciences. In the West, the Kabalah
may be named; in the East, mysticism, magic, and Yoga philosophy. . .
” — (The Key to Theosophy, p. 235.)
all true teachers H. P. B. had to use a terminology of some sort, one that would
convey as clearly as possible the knowledge she desired to impart. From the
above description it seems that she chose the word
“occultism” as covering the study of the whole field of manifestation
for the purpose of realising its true nature. Some of the facts [Page
nature are easy to understand, some of them are very difficult. Those who can
do no more than grasp what is easy she describes as the “profane”.
Those who can comprehend what is abstruse and difficult, she calls the “initiated”.
They are specialists in the understanding of Life. As said Origen:
the literally minded we teach the Scriptures in parables; to proficients
we impart the Logos”.
H. P. B. never meant that the things-of-life
are deliberately hidden from the casual inquirer, but simply that as a child
is not taught the higher calculus before it knows anything about mathematics,
so the ignorant are not given abstruse knowledge without due training to
comprehend it. The Science of Occultism is borne witness to by
cumulative testimony of an endless series of seers. . . . Their spiritual
visions, real explorations by, and through psychic and spiritual senses
untrammelled by blind flesh have been systematically checked and compared
one with another and their nature sifted. All that was not corroborated
by unanimous and collective [Page 47] experience
was rejected, while that only was recorded as established truth which
in various ages, under different climes, and throughout an untold series
of incessant observations, was found to agree and receive constantly
further corroboration. . . .” — (The
Key to Theosophy, p. 59.)
H. P. B. selected a formula which summarised the instructions she wished
to give. This formula is the well-known special Buddhist “mantra”:
OM, MANI PADME, HUM
This little set of words is used in Tibet, and the
bordering Buddhist countries, to sum up in a remarkable way the whole science
of Esotericism. That the phrase whirls on the scroll of every prayer-wheel,
is graven on every appropriate spot, and is recited parrot-wise by many northern
Buddhists, in no way detracts from its value and significance.
P. B. used the formula as the basis of her most direct occult teachings — as
set down in the third volume of The Secret Doctrine. In the
latter half of the book is to be found [Page 48] a
fine compendium of this esotericism, or occultism. How much wisdom is gained
from it depends upon the intuition of the student.
A study of this
Mantra is worthwhile.
the natural sound of Reality is reverberating (like) a thousand thunders,
they be transmuted into the sounds of the Six Syllables”.
(TibetanBook of the Dead, p. 149).
the Self-Existing Sound of Reality reverberates (like) a thousand thunders,
it come that they be transmuted into the sounds of the MAHÃYÃNA
Doctrines”. — (Ibid p. 206).
the roarings of savage beasts are uttered,
it come that they be changed into the sacred sound of the Six Syllables”.
The “savage beasts” are, of course, the passions;
and the five senses and the mind are symbolised as the six syllables.
six-syllabled mantra is called “the essence mantra of the Bodhisattva
Chenrâzee”. Chenrazee is spelt also as: Chenrézi, Chenrési, [Page
49] Chenrâzi, and, in Tibetan, Spyan-ras-gzigs. Chenrési
(H. P. B.'s spelling) is translated as:
“He who sees with penetrating
or as “The Seer with keen eyes”.
The Sanskrit equivalents of Chenrési are: Avalokita and Avalokitéshvara.
“the downward-looking one”, “the Great Pitier”.
“the Lord looking downward”,
the embodiment of Mercy and Compassion”,
''the Lord with Compassionate eyes”,
“looking down upon with Compassion”,
“the Gracious Compassionate One”.
This supremely compassionate One, whether regarded
as an entity or as one of the eternal energies or forces of Life, has become
identified with the great Tibetan ruler who [Page 50] did
so much for the cause of Buddhism, being the first Buddhist king. Chenrêsi
is the national God and the “National Divine Protector of Tibet”.
He is regarded also as one of the Buddhas or Bodhisattvas, and as such is
a favourite tutelary deity of a deceased person. As a Bodhisattva he is a
Kosmic entity, emerging with the primal form of the element of fire. His
own “spiritual” Father
is Amitâbha, the unmeasured, unlimited, unbounded splendour. The Teshi
Lamas are looked upon as Amitâbha's incarnate representatives. The Dalai
Lamas are believed to be the incarnations of Chenrési. Chenrési “is
often depicted with eleven heads and a thousand arms, each with an eye in the
palm — as the Great Pitier — his thousand arms and eyes
appropriately representing him as ever on the outlook to discover distress
and to succour the troubled. ...” (The Tibetan Book of the Dead, p.
“I am an acme of things accomplished, and I
am encloser of things to be”.
— Walt Whitman.
OM, MANI PADME HUM
The Tibetan pronunciation of the mantra is: Om,
Mani Payme Hung.
The Sanskrit pronunciation is: Om, Mani Padme Hum.
Translations are roughly:
I am that I am.
I am in thee and thou art in me.
0 my God within me.
I am the Jewel in the Lotus and in it I will remain. — (H. P. B.)
Hail to the Jewel in the Lotus.
Hail to Him who is the Jewel in the Lotus.
Om, the Jewel in the Lotus, Hum. [Page 52]
In the Lotus, the world, exists the Jewel which
is the Buddha's Doctrine.
profundity of man's mind introspective meditation discovers the reality,
deliverance, Nirvâna, Truth.
In the heart of phenomena the occultist discovers
the supreme salvation.
As used in Tibet the mantra is six-syllabled
expounded by H. P. B. it is seven-syllabled:
Some authorities think the mantra to have been introduced
into Tibet along with Tantric Buddhism in the eighth century, but others think
it originates in Tibet contemporaneously with the introduction of Buddhism
The Tantras are of Vedic origin, say most Hindu authorities, and are meant
to be the chief Scriptures for this, our Kali Yuga. Some Buddhists claim them
as of purely Buddhist origin. A tantra is a “treatise”[Page53] of
a religious nature. It is considered that all the Tantras, Hindu or Buddhist,
ancient or modern, have grown up out of Yoga Teachings and Philosophy.
As is pointed
out in Theosophical literature, as elsewhere, the word A U M signifies the
three persons of the Trinity. Thus:
the prolonged sound of the M indicates the merging of consciousness into infinity,
the absolute. Illuminating little dissertations on the “sacred word” are
to be found in the Mândukyopanishad and the Bindopanishad.
“OM this is immortal.
Its explanation is this all; what was, what is, and what will be, all is
verily the word ' OM'; and everything else which is beyond the threefold
time (i.e unmanifested) is also verily the word
(MândukyaUpanishad, Shloka, 1).
“The sacred word (Pranava, “OM') is named the bow, the arrow, the
Self [Page 54] (Atman), and Brahma its aim; He
shall be pierced by him whose attention does not swerve. Then he will be of the
same nature with Brahman, as the arrow and with the aim it pierces”.
(MundakaUpanishad, Sect. 11, Shl. 4.)
When used to indicate Man, the reflection of the eternal SELF, then the correspondence
This is intended to suggest that there lies latent
in man the potency of complete fulfilment.
The final reflection is the personal man, which is
applied to the reincarnating entity, the temporary Ego or Soul, it is given
the special significance:
the dot, representing the prolonged M, is in this case the Causal Body,
the mental Auric Egg, or synthesized experience —
A U M is the word or set of vibrations that creates
the universe, and, resounding from plane to plane produces in each, cut in
more limited conditions, the replica of the Eternal, or rather, shapes the
Archetype, which is then worked out into multitudinous diversity. But whatever
the form, the eternal cry for perfect expression is in its heart and in the
course of time obtains it. A U M is said to be the last pronounceable word
in this our solar universe, after that there is silence.
rivers flow into the sea and are absorbed, as then perish their names and
forms, so, liberated from name and form, proceeds the wise to the divine
Self, which is greater than the great.”
have hallowed this house which thou hast built,
to put my name there for
Mine eyes and Mine heart shall be there perpetually”.
I Kings ix. 3
THE six syllables of the mantra are
said to sum up and, in a sense, to embody the six classes of creatures:
AUM (white) corresponds with the Gods.
MA (blue) corresponds with the Asuras (opponents
of the gods).
NI (yellow) corresponds with the MEN.
PA (green) corresponds with the ANIMALS.
ME (red) corresponds with the Pretas (humans in the
corresponds with the Inhabitants of purgatory and all other conditions of “hell”. [Page
There are said to be Six States of
Existence. Each one is distinguished from the other by its “light
and each “light path” is
identified with one of the syllables of the mantra.
the white light-path of the devaloka (god-world).
the green light-path of the Asuraloka (demon-world).
the yellow light-path of the Manakaloka (human-world).
the blue light-path of the Tiryakaloka (brute-world).
the red light-path of the Pretaloka (ghost-world).
the smoke or black light-path of the Narakaloka (hells).
Book of the Dead, p. 150.)
be remarked here that though the number six is
emphasised in these correspondences, while H. P. B. always referred to “seven” in
all her correspondences, yet the seventh should be taken for granted as a “synthesis”. [Page
Man must also deliver himself from
the six directions of Space. This deliverance is to be sought through love,
very positively expressed. To obtain this deliverance from Space, the Buddha
practised the following blessing:
dawn stand facing the sunrise and recite:
To the East, to the West, to the North, to the South, to the Zenith,
to the Nadir — the
Blessing of the Buddha is upon all created beings”.
H U M is
a gesture of dismissal, a rejection of all enmity, visible or invisible,
according to one's own imagination of what shape it may take, and of all
imaginary oppositions. It may be likened to the gesture used in freeing the
hands of liquid. It suggests to the mind disembarrassment from the clinging
of “tendencies”. Sometimes another syllable, a final
touch is added to this mantra by exclaiming at the end — H
R I ! — H R I has come to have the significance
of “the secret essence of things”. The word hridaya,
the heart, is derived from it.
the undeviating purpose of occultism is to assist the individual to attain
salvation [Page 59] as quickly as possible,
effort is directed towards doing it now, while
alive. If that is not possible, then to accomplish it as quickly as may be
in the life after death. To this end the mantra is used to close the door
against after-death environments, however high or low. So as not to be deflected
from this accomplishment, the mantra must be repeated so that the person
may pass safely the attractions of the various realms of being. Therefore:
OM closes the door of rebirth among the Gods.
MA closes the door of rebirth among the Asuras.
NI closes the door of rebirth among the Humans.
PAY closes the door of rebirth among the Sub-human creatures.
ME closes the door of rebirth among the Pretas.
HUM closes the door of rebirth among the Hells.
interest students, who have read both The
Secret Doctrine and TheChakras by C. W. Leadbeater), [Page 60] and
who have read those, and other books dealing with subject of Chakras, the
way in which the letters of the Sanskrit alphabet are parcelled it among
them, to note the way in which the letters of this mantra are distributed,
they are, no doubt, carefully chosen to effect certain purpose. They run
throat plexus and Chakra — Blue, Silvery, Gleaming
plexus and Chakra — Red and Green.
plexus and Chakra — Blue, etc. .
plexus and Chakra — Blue.
plexus and Chakra — Rose Red, etc..
plexus and Chakra — Rose Red, etc.
plexus and Chakra — Blue, etc..
plexus and Chakra — Rose Red, etc.
plexus and Chakra — Blue.
plexus and Chakra — Rose Red, etc.
plexus and Chakra — Blue, etc[Page
solar plexus and Chakra — Red and Green, Rose Red, etc.
spleen plexus and Chakra — Red and Green, Rose Red, etc.
throat plexus and Chakra — Blue.
eyebrows and Chakra — Rose, Yellow and Blue.
plexus and Chakra — Blue.
plexus and Chakra — Rose Red.
From this it will be realised that the vibrations
of the mantra increase and accelerate the flow of the cosmic and solar force
that pours through the spleen plexus as “vitality” and becomes the precious “life” of
the body; also the forces of the throat chakra, which are indispensable to
the activities of both the lower and higher parts of the brain, they are stimulated
and the action of thought and the powers of the intellect are heightened.
man is looked upon in occultism as being a microcosm, a minute repetition of
the Macrocosm, there must be modes of connecting him with cosmic forces.
There are 12 letters in this mantra, when it is written with AUM and not
OM, and it is probable that these [Page
62] 12 letters in some way link him up with the Zodiac. Again,
AUM may be taken as the higher Triad, and Mani Padme as the lower quarternary.
Taken as representing the Principles, the mantra probably works out thus:
O — Ãtma,
MA — Higher Manas,
NI — Antahkarana,
DME — Astral,
HUM — Physical shell.
H. P. B. wrote:
seven meanings and the seven results depend upon the intonation which is
given to the whole formula and to each of its syllables; and even the numerical
value of the letters is added to or diminished according as such or another
rhythm is made use of. Let the student remember that number underlies form,
and number guides sound. Number lies at the root of the manifested Universe:
numbers and harmonious proportions guide the first differentiations of
homogeneous substance into heterogeneous elements ; and number and numbers
set limits to the formative hand of Nature. [Page 63]
the corresponding numbers of the fundamental principle of every element
and its sub-elements, learn their interaction and behaviour on the occult
side of manifesting nature, and the law of correspondences will lead you
to the discovery of the greatest mysteries of macrocosmic life. . . .”
the mystic sentence, ' Om Mani Padme Hum,' when rightly understood, instead
of being composed of the almost meaningless words, 'Oh the Jewel in the
Lotus', contains a reference to this indissoluble union between Man and
the Universe, rendered in seven different ways and having the capability
of seven different applications to as many planes of thought and action.
whatever aspect we examine it, it means: ' I am that I am '; ' I am in
thee and thou art in me.' In this conjunction and close union the good
and pure man becomes a God. . . .”
formula, ' Om Mani Padme Hum,' has been chosen as an illustration on
account of its almost infinite potency in the mouth [Page
64] of an Adept,
and of its potentiality when pronounced by any man. . . . Each of us
has within himself the Jewel
in the Lotus, call it Padmapani, Krishna, Buddha, Christ, or
by whatever name we may give to our Divine Self”.
(The Secret Doctrine, Vol. III.) [Page
things were made by Him;
and without him was not anything made that was made.” St.
H. P. B RELATES a little allegorical
story further to illustrate her meaning. The story is not at all easy to
unravel, as so many mixed and cryptic references to cosmic and human things
are made in it. It runs :
supreme Buddha, or Amitâbha, they say,
at the hour of the creation of man, caused a rosy ray of light to issue from
his right eye. The ray emitted a sound and became Padmapâni Bodhisattva.
The Deity allowed to stream forth from his left eye a blue ray of light,
which, becoming incarnate in the two virgins Dölma, acquired the power
to enlighten the minds of living beings. Amitâbha [Page
called the combination which took up its abode in man, Om Mani Padme Hum,
' I am the Jewel in the Lotus, and in it I will remain.' Then Padmapâni,
'the one in the Lotus', vowed never to cease working until he had made Humanity
feel his presence in itself and had thus saved it from the misery of rebirth.
He vowed to perform the feat before the end of the Kalpa, adding that in
case of failure he wished that his head should split into numberless fragments.
The Kalpa closed; but Humanity felt him not within its cold evil heart. The
head split into a thousand fragments. Moved with compassion, the Deity reformed
the pieces into ten heads, three white, and seven of various colours.
And since that day man has become a perfect number, or TEN”.
us try to interpret some of this story: The supreme Buddha. This is the
name for the Ãdi-Buddha, the first Buddha,
described as “the Radiance of the Clear Light of Reality”, or,
Body of Radiance, the Immutable Light”.
is, as the basis of all things (not mentioned in this story), [Page
67] according to esoteric Tibetan Buddhism,
the Uncreated, the Unshaped, the Unmodified.
This is the Dharmakaya (lit.
Law-Body), the Ãdi-Kâya,
or First Body. It is the Qualitiless, unconditioned Divine Body of Truth, the
Essential Wisdom, the primordial state of uncreatedness, of the supramundane Bodhic All-consciousness
Buddhahood in its primal sense of primordial or unmodified intellect. It is
the infinite ocean of Being, calm, self-intelligent, and without a wave.
in our human nature this is the permanent part of consciousness, the
“pure light of intelligence, by virtue of which we have the
nation of self reflected in our consciousness. ... As this Self persists through
all the varying changes of the objects of consciousness, it is inferred that
the light which thus shines in our consciousness is unchangeable”. —
(Yoga asPhilosophy and Religion, S. Das Gupta, pp. 20-21).
From the Dharmakaya arises mists, clouds, and rainbows. [Page
These symbolize the next Body, the Sambhoga-Kaya (lit. Compensation Body),
the Adorned Body, the Body of Delight, primal matter, embodied in five ways in
the Five Dhyâni Buddhas, the reflected or modified Wisdom. These five Dhyâni
(divine contemplation or discernment) Buddhas are:
Vairochana (mightily-gathered) — Blue.
.. Ether — the
Aggregate of Matter.
(Infallibility-perfection) — Green
. .. Air — the Aggregate of Volition.
title Amitâbha is used both for
the supreme Buddha and for the Dhyâni Buddha in charge of the Fourth
Round — the present humanity —
with fire giving birth to the element of Earth, i.e. becoming encrusted
Amitâbha (unbounded splendour) — Red ... Fire — the Aggregate
(lightning-natured) — White ...
Water — the Aggregate of Consciousness.
(Jewel-born) — Yellow... Earth — the
Aggregate of Touch.
These Five represent
the “aggregates” of
the five planes in which humanity works out its experience by means of
seven implements — upâdhis, [Page 69] principles
or bodies. There are of course a total of seven Dhyâni Buddhas,
but the other two operate on planes beyond the reach of the average
Then the clouds
shower down as the Nirmâna-Kâya Body.
Nirmâna Kâya [ For further information about these three Kayas,
or Bodies, see The Tibetan Book of the Dead.] (lit. Meted or
measured out) Body — the Changeable or Transformed Body — embodies
Practical or Incarnate Wisdom, as in the Human Buddhas
stages seem to be the equivalent of the three phases of creation or Kosmic
preparation as operated by the First, Second, and Third Logoi — the Father,
Son, and Holy Ghost of Christianity.
Into this prepared field comes the projection of Man,
the hour of his “creation” as in the story. By “man” is meant the
original or primal archetypal man, i.e., the potential thinker, from
the Sanskrit man, to think.
rosy or red-ray (Amitâbha) is consciousness in that aspect whereby
cognisance of phenomena is present. “The mind is a Fire”. [Page
Diagram V (The Secret Doctrine, Vol. Ill), H. P. B. gives Agni, Tejas,
Fire, as the element of which the Antahkarana (mental unit) is composed.
The Blue-ray is, firstly, primordial intellect itself,
Consciousness in its purest and most spiritual aspect. In man, either is the “element” of
which his Higher Mind is composed.
The presence of these two rudimentary states of consciousness
ensures, in the reincarnating “man”, the beginnings of the attainment
of enlightenment. The mental unit is the repository of the experiences of the
lower or concrete mind and the senses. Presently it begins to lose affinities
with the desire nature as expressed in grasping for self. It cultivates
discrimination and chooses to look inwards instead of outwards for its
further growth. It begins to unite with the Ego, and in harmony with that
seeks to respond to “purely mental perceptions”.
Out of the union of these two modes of perception is born the correspondingly
higher state of perfection, of enlightenment. This results in Liberation, the
purest and highest state of [Page 71] being
devoid of all limitation or obscuration — or a
combination of the higher Nirvanic and Monadic levels of Consciousness.
From the Blue ray are incarnate “the
two virgins Dölma”. One is said to be
White, the other Green. These are the elements of Air and Water — the
future builders of the lower Manas and the astral body. Earth, the physical
shell, is not mentioned because at this stage the scene of the story is
supposed to be the Moon-chain. The quality of Touch, feeling, was
therefore not yet available. Padmapâni (lotus-holder) stands for the
desired state of Liberation for the Moon-chain. This was not attained — not
by the bulk of humanity, apparently. There were, it will be observed, seven
qualities or principles to bring to perfection, four certain, three possible.
Then the Kalpa closed. Came the new Kalpa the Earth-chain. The
thousand fragments will be recognised as a rough description of the
Sahasrâra Chakra. During the evolution of the Earth-chain seven principles
are to be perfected, but with a possible three more — the real qualities
of Divinity, perfect in those who come to share in Logoic or Dhyân [Page
72] Buddhic Consciousness; but for ordinary humanity they are
Further on H. P. B. says:
the allegory of Padmapâni, the Jewel (or Spiritual Ego) in the Lotus,
or the symbol of androgynous man, the numbers 3, 4, 7, 10, as synthesising
the Unit, Man, are prominent, as I have already said. It is on the
thorough knowledge and comprehension of the meaning and potency of these
numbers, in their various and multiform combinations, and in their mutual
correspondence with sounds (or words) and colours, or rates of motion (represented
in physical science by vibrations) that the progress of a student in Occultism
depends. Therefore we must begin by the first initial word, OM, or AUM.
OM is a blind. The sentence Om Mani Padme Hum is not a six- but
a seven-syllabled phrase, as the first syllable is double in its right
pronunciation, and triple in its essence AUM. It represents the for ever
concealed primeval triune differentiation, not from but in the ONE Absolute,
and is therefore symbolized by [Page 73] the
4, or the Tetraktys, in the metaphysical world. It is the Unit-ray, or
“Enough has been said to show that while for the Orientalists and profane
masses the sentence, Om Mani Padme Hum, means simply ' Oh the Jewel in
the Lotus,' esoterically it signifies ' O my God within me.' Yes ; there is a
God in each human being, for man was and will re-become God. The sentence points
to the indissoluble union between Man and the Universe. For the Lotus is the
Universal symbol of Kosmos as the absolute totality, and the Jewel is Spiritual
Man, or God”. — (S.D.
After certain other explanations, H. P. B. says:
principles are the Seven-Stringed Lyre of Apollo, truly. . . . the Occultist
who knows how to tighten them and tune his violin in harmony with the vibrations
of colour and sound, will extract divine harmony from them. The combination
of these powers and the attuning of the Microcosm and the Macrocosm will
give the geometrical equivalent of the invocation Om Mani Padme Hum”. — (Ibid.)
nature and work on with her; and nature will regard thee as one of her
creators and make obeisance”. — The Voice of the Silence.
but a glimpse at H. P. B.'s esoteric knowledge. We can imagine how her cryptic,
hard-to-interpret instruction was greeted by a sceptical Western world, totally
unaccustomed to the terminology even of the kind of wisdom thus offered to
it. It must truly have sounded mere gibberish. No wonder she shrank at times
from her task. She was, of course, inevitably classed as a charlatan, as
wanting to make capital out of her powers and her knowledge. She said gloomily:
I am dead and gone, people will, [Page 75] perhaps,
appreciate my disinterested motives. I have pledged my word to help people
on to the Truth while living, and will keep my word. Let them abuse and
revile me. Let them call me a Medium and a Spiritualist, and others an
impostor. The day will come when posterity will learn to know me better”.
That day is arriving sooner, perhaps, than she realised
“To help people on
to the Truth”.
That indeed was the real desire of her life. She looked always for those
to whom she might impart the Truth. She wanted them to come into touch with
the Masters as she had done. They could lead the pupil to Reality. How
to tell the world about Them without arousing ridicule ? She felt that
to be a hard task. Nothing so disturbed her as to have irreverent things
said about the “Holy Ones”. Fun was made of
them despite all her efforts. Several books were written in the form of
stories intended to make ridiculous the whole idea of Masters. But H. P. B.
went steadily on. The Society was her great [Page 76] hope.
When it seemed to become too much of an exoteric Society, she arranged to teach
the Ancient Wisdom to small groups of people. This effort resolved itself into
the Esoteric School, where she felt at liberty to say as much as she dared
to those pledged to use the information she gave to the best advantage for
the helping of humanity. She knew what the esoteric teachings had done
for her, she wished others to share that precious wisdom.
As has often been pointed out, H. P. B. lived but
to serve her Master. She felt she owed Him everything.
She once wrote:
MASTER — the
sole creator of my inner Self, which but for His calling it out, awakening
it from its slumber, would have never come to conscious being — not
in this life, at all events”.
Jinarajadasa, I, too, have been dazzled by the greatness of H. P. B., by
her colossal courage and her power. To her as an Occultist of high rank we
will do her homage, I am sure, and as our own knowledge grows [Page
77] recognize in her one who was exceedingly
competent to guide our footsteps into the way of Peace and Liberation.
It was her aim, as it is the aim of all true schools
of Yoga, to help us to outstrip the tedious process of normal evolution and
win the Freedom of emancipation from all “samsaric” existence.
H. P. B. urged this hastened pace upon others, and spoke of the
“mysteries” that must be encountered and the powers that would
be acquired, she was looking at it all from a Yogi's point of view. Over all
life the Yogi (the united one) must be King, over all the myriad lives of the
elements of Ether, and of Air, and Fire and Water and Earth. If he is filled
with the transcendent consciousness of the triumphant Yogi, to him the
countless multitude of his elemental subjects reveal themselves in their
true nature and place in his hand the Sceptre (or thunderbolt) of Universal
dominion over Matter. “Then indeed he is a Lord of Nature, becoming in
his turn Ruler by Divine Right ... a God and Creator”. [Page
me, behind me, in the ten directions,
Wherever I look, I see the Reality.
O my master ! today illusion has been dissipated,
Henceforth I will not ask anything of anyone”.