Copyright © 1997 by Theosophical University Press. All rights Reserved.
G. de P. — As you know, this group was established in commemoration of the esoteric work of our beloved Katherine Tingley. It is in a very real sense, in an esoteric sense, a step higher and more advanced. I might add before passing on to other business, for your information and thought, that the higher the degree is in the esoteric work the less is the formality, the less the ceremonial, the less the ritual, the fewer the ritualistic observances; until, when the higher degrees are reached, all teaching is given in the silence by a method of transference of thought which in Tibet is called the hpho-wa; and of it some adumbration of understanding is known in the Occident as thought-transference.
In those higher degrees the students or neophytes or chelas do not necessarily even meet together. They study individually, and they may be in various and different parts of the world. They intercommunicate along the spiritual or rather the higher psychomagnetic line of communication. They assemble at the same time although the hours in the different countries may be quite different. I say that they assemble at the same time each one in his own private study, be it a cave, be it a room, be it in a busy marketplace of men, and hold communion and receive instructions.
Now I am ready to answer questions if anyone cares to ask.
Student — I would like to ask a question. In the first volume of The Secret Doctrine, page 571, there is this statement: "This is the Logos (the first), or Vajradhara, the Supreme Buddha (also called Dorjechang). As the Lord of all Mysteries, he cannot manifest, but sends into the world of manifestation his heart — 'the diamond-heart,' Vajrasattwa (Dorjesempa)." Is there more that you could explain about that?
G. de P. — Yes. "The Lord of All Mysteries" is a title given in Tibet to one of the highest of the buddhas of compassion, called Vajradhara, who of course does not manifest in physical existence at all, but lives as an enduring spiritual energy or power in the solar system of which our own globe is a part. The sending of the influences from the diamond-heart means a remaining in conscious existence on that plane, which is a low plane for this buddha, in order that from that seat, that throne, so to speak, he may remain in spiritual communication with the entities below. In fact, this buddha, in another part of the teachings, is often called one of the Silent Watchers.
The meaning of the phrase Silent Watcher in general is one who has achieved all, who has learned all, that a certain cycle of life can possibly teach him, who is therefore omniscient so far as all in that plane and beneath that plane is concerned, and who renounces higher individual progress for the purpose of remaining as the dominating, dominant spiritual influence of a hierarchy.
Is that thought clear to you all? That I think may answer your question and give an outline of the meaning of the words which you have quoted.
Student — Yes, thank you.
Student — There is a statement made in The Secret Doctrine, I think in italics. In the great book of the mysteries we are told that seven lords created seven men. Three of these lords were purely spiritual; the other four not so spiritual and full of passion. And in the beginning of the next paragraph it says: "This accounts for the differences in human nature." There are many questions that I should like to ask on that; but there is one in particular: I should like to ask if we as a body of esotericists belong to a particular — do we go under one particular — hierarchy of these great pitris?
G. de P. — You belong to the hierarchy of the lords of compassion, the same as the buddhas of compassion; and as a group, as a body of students of the ancient wisdom, you are supposed to follow the rules of our own holy order emanating from our supreme head, the Maha-chohan. But that does not at all contradict the other fact that each human being belongs to his own particular and especial solar and planetary ray. Is that responsive to your question so far?
Student — Yes, thank you.
G. de P. — Let me remind you, Companions, once more — I have told you this, I believe, a number of times — there is a law of occultism that the answers you receive are strictly responsive to the questions that you ask. If your question is clear and definite, the answer will be clear and definite. If it is a spiritual question you ask, the answer will be responsive. If it is a psychical question, the answer will be responsive. If the question that you ask is not well phrased, the high probability is that the answer that you receive will be equally vague. This is a strict rule, and you see the psychological reason for it. If you do not knock properly, the door will not open to you, or it will be opened ajar. You receive according to the manner in which you ask. Therefore please, for your own sakes, try to make your questions brief and clear-cut. Make them brief, clear-cut, right to the point; and if necessary ask two or three, four or five, questions, rather than trying to put all your thought into one long and involved question. Has anyone any other question?
Student — I think many of the older students have been interested in Damodar K. Mavalankar, the chela who worked so splendidly with HPB and was taken after great trials into Tibet; and Katherine Tingley told us many years ago several interesting things about him, and I thought many would (I should certainly) be very glad to know if you could tell us any thing more. Is he still with us? Is he working with us?
G. de P. — Yes, he certainly is. He went to Tibet, I think it was in 1885, was it not?
Student — Yes.
G. de P. — On a call from his teacher. Now, I am going to tell you something that involves a mystery, but it is the only way in which I can speak of it. It is this: Damodar arrived, and at the present time is working in Sambhala. Nevertheless there was circulated, many years ago, a very credible report that his body was found frozen stiff in one of the passes of the snowy Himalayas. Is that perfectly clear? I should like to know if anyone finds it difficult to understand. Don't be afraid to speak.
Student — Might I say in connection with that, that HPB says in one of her letters that she thought he might have arranged some occult "trick" (I think she used that word) in order to throw a glamor over the world. She said that openly in a letter in the tenth volume of The Path, I think.
G. de P. — And do you think that that has to do with what I have just spoken of?
Student — It seems possible to me that it gives a hint or two.
G. de P. — Well, it may. You companions must realize that the physical body has very little indeed to do with esoteric work, and that at a certain stage of spiritual progress it is not uncommon for those who have reached that stage simply to lay the body aside, sometimes in a trance more or less long, which may last for weeks or months or even years occasionally; or simply allow it to die and thereafter work invisibly as the nirmanakayas do. Now, I will go this far: I do not believe that Damodar's body died. He was a very unusual character, greatly beloved by HPB. He gave up a great deal, too.
Student — He was a prince?
G. de P. — He was a prince of men as the saying goes. All I can tell you is that now he is working in Sambhala. You know what Sambhala is, I presume?
Student — I do not know, Professor.
G. de P. — Sambhala is the esoteric name given to what may popularly be called the Central Lodge, the Great Lodge. It refers more particularly to the Lodge's geographical position on the earth. It is a district in the central or central western part of Tibet. No human being can ever enter that promised land, that holy land, unless he be called. It is surrounded by an akasic veil of invisibility; and an army of airplanes might fly over it and see it not. All the armies of all the nations on earth might pass it by and not know that it existed. It is the home of the greatest of the Masters, and the residence of that particular maha-chohan who is the head of our own order. It is spoken of in Oriental legends, in the exoteric legends, as the happy land, the land of promise, and by other names. It is quite an extensive tract of country. It may interest you to know also that in it are gathered some of the most valuable records of the human race — not only literary records, but what is ordinarily called archaeological, historical, what not. There, surrounded by the greatest and most evolved human beings, the Silent Watcher of the earth has his invisible abode.
Student — I was wanting to ask if the Maha-chohan was the Silent Watcher spoken of in The Secret Doctrine, coming in with the third race and who would not leave the earth until the end of the cycle?
G. de P. — Maha-chohan is a title that applies to many individuals. It is a shifting title, somewhat like the word initiate. There are low initiates and high initiates; there are low maha-chohans and high. Now, the maha-chohan of the third race, if you refer to one particular individual, is the same as the maha-chohan of this present race. If you refer to another individual, of lower degree, it is not.
Student — Well, in the meeting several weeks ago you said that the Maha-chohan, Gautama Buddha, was our maha-chohan. I was wondering if he is the same as the one that is spoken of in The Secret Doctrine.
G. de P. — No. Please remember that Gautama Buddha was a man; but the buddha within Gautama was one and is one of the buddhas of the fifth race and is the maha-chohan of our own order. As the man Gautama he was the greatest initiate, the greatest of the Masters of Wisdom and Compassion who have lived in historical times; and, the buddhic essence or rather the spiritual maha-chohan of our fifth race was the inspiriting power of the Buddha Gautama. Do you understand?
Student — Would you please explain the term "Hidden Initiate"?
G. de P. — In what connection?
Student — Do the hidden initiates know that they are initiates or does that mean that they are perhaps initiates under a cloud or buried or asleep within their bodies?
G. de P. — I see what you mean. But I think that you could find a better term than hid initiates. Where did you get this term from?
Student — I do not remember. I have had it in my mind for some years.
G. de P. — It is an unusual term. An initiate, of course, is one who consciously passes through an initiation; and this being a fact, you could hardly speak of an unconscious initiate, if that is what you have in mind by the term hid initiate. But I have grasped your thought, I believe. I will say that there are those who are accepted chelas but who have not yet the brain mind cognizance of the fact. Is this answer responsive to your question?
Student — Yes, thank you.
Student — Might I ask something more on that? William Quan Judge says in one place that there is a great person in South America who is leading at present the life of an ordinary Spanish-American gentleman, I think, who unknown to anybody and unknown to himself is being prepared to come forward in several hundred years and do some great work. I think possibly the companion might have read that and not remembered it.
G. de P. — That is not an uncommon thing. That applies, as a matter of fact, not to a few but to scores of human beings — human beings who have advanced so far that they are almost ready to receive conscious initiation but have not quite attained the point. They are accepted chelas however only in the sense that they are being carefully watched, carefully guided, and helped, in secrecy and in the silence, so that they themselves know it not, except indeed it may be by an occasional flash of light, of inner illumination. They themselves wonder and aspire; but they are hardly accepted chelas.
An accepted chela can be of two kinds: one who is at the door, who has knocked and given the correct knock, but who is not yet inside, that is not yet conscious of his acceptance; and the other kind is one who is conscious thereof, who is cognizant of the fact of his chelaship, because he has his own teacher and has received the unspeakable blessing of conscious spiritual and intellectual communion with that teacher — and I know nothing that is so holy, so wonderful, an experience as that.
Student — Does not the aspirant himself have to make every effort to win the victory?
G. de P. — Certainly, he must walk every step along the pathway to victory. He is not carried there. Every step he himself must take. How could it be otherwise? Human adults are not fed like babes. We feed ourselves, we inform ourselves, we teach ourselves, we make our own way in the world; and if that is a necessity in ordinary human existence, I can tell you that it is tenfold the same necessity in the esoteric life. There we must ourselves win everything. And why? Because we are simply bringing out what is within us, our own will, our own consciousness, must become awakened, fully awakened, and by our own efforts.
You cannot see unless you use your own faculty of vision. You cannot understand by some one else's understanding. Is not that clear? You must gain everything you ever have in the esoteric training. And that is why, to those who do not understand, there are aspects of the esoteric training which may seem to be a little hard, because people in the Occident have been brought up with the idea that they must be carried to victory, saved by the "blood of the Lamb," and all that kind of tommyrot.
This reminds me of the teaching of the Blackies, of the Brothers of the Shadow, with the aim of sending you to sleep, trying to down the individual spiritual impulses of your own being!
No! The opposite is the truth. You cannot live by trusting to someone else to live for you. You yourself must awaken in your own soul the holy flame. And it is the same with every other step in spiritual and intellectual progress that you make. How can you experience the unspeakable delight of compassion, the ineffable feeling of being at one with the All, by hearing that some one else has thus achieved? You yourself must be the vehicle of the inner light, must gain it. It is both in you and above you, invigorating you and inspiring you. Be it!
Student — May I ask a question? I would like to have your explanation of the "Angels of Mons." During the first year of the War, in August 1914, there was a battle fought at Mons. It was a very hard fight. Some of the soldiers say it was the worst of the whole war; and the English were defeated at that time. The story came back that the soldiers saw angels at Mons — not one only, but many — and it came into verse and song and story and recitation that these soldiers saw angels at Mons. I would like to have an explanation as to what they were or whether they were sent by the White Lodge to help the men at that time?
G. de P. — No, there were no angels there, no angels at all. Joan of Arc also thought that she saw angels. Such imaginary events or episodes are one of the commonest things in human history; and in times of terrible stress and heartache, when men's minds are chastened and their hearts are more or less purified by pain, there is a tendency to imagine things like that, in other words, to see things. They are hallucinations. But in a sense they are more than that. They are, as it were, a call for help, an appeal, and the mind psychologically follows suit, and therefore apparently 'sees' these things. The forms that these hallucinations or so-called visions take is due to the respective religious trainings of those who are at the time subject to the cause. The Greeks and the Romans, the Persians and the Hindus, in fact the literatures of all other peoples, will tell you similar stories about supposedly spiritual beings appearing in the air, or on the earth; but in the case you mention, there were no angels, for such beings as the Christian conception of angels do not exist. Similarly, other people have imagined that in similar cases they have seen visions of the gods or of the devas, or of what not.
On the other hand, it is quite true that in exceptional cases, in very exceptional conditions, it is possible to have an individual or collective vision of the astral light, and even of inhabitants of the spiritual spheres.
I remember reading in the newspapers of the incident to which you refer very clearly indeed.
Student — May I ask a question? Some time ago you told us quite a good deal concerning the connection which exists between the messenger and the spiritual home of the race in Tibet. Is there such a connection existing, or is it going to exist in the case of those who are sent from here? This is more or less a spiritual home for many of us. Is there anything similar in the two cases?
G. de P. — Yes, there is. Every companion who goes out from here into the world carrying in his heart the theosophical devotion, and in his mind the theosophical light, carrying what he here has learned with the sole desire, whatever other duties he may have to do, to communicate this light, this devotion, to others, leaves Headquarters under very much the same condition, in very much the same state of mind, and in very similar circumstances to those that occur in the case of a messenger who comes from the Great Lodge. The case is quite generally parallel. Is the answer responsive?
Student — Yes, it is, thank you.
Student — You have spoken a great deal about the Masters of Wisdom and Compassion. Of course I understand why they are called the Masters of Wisdom; but why was the virtue of compassion chosen as part of the title? It seems to me that the very fact that we do not understand why the word compassion was chosen as part of the title, shows that we do not fully understand the esoteric meaning of compassion.
G. de P. — And the gist of your question is?
Student — What is the esoteric meaning of compassion?
G. de P. — The Masters are called Masters of Compassion because they are members of the Order of Compassion. I have explained to you before that the buddhas are of two classes or kinds: one, the pratyeka buddhas, pratyeka being a Sanskrit word which may be roughly translated as 'each one for himself.' They are not Brothers of the Shadow. They work no evil, they work good. They are very great men, very holy men, very pure men in every way. Their knowledge is wide and vast and deep; but when they reach buddhahood, instead of feeling the call of almighty love to return and help those who have gone less far, they go ahead into the Supernal Light and leave mankind behind.
Whereas, the buddhas of compassion are they who, having reached buddhahood, feel so strongly the working of pity and of love in their hearts that they turn around, to use a figure of speech, and even in some cases retrace their steps backwards, in order to extend a helping hand to those still trailing along behind on the evolutionary pathway. That is compassion — fellow-feeling, the sense of fellow-feeling, a sympathetic understanding of the problems of those less advanced, combined with an overpowering urge to help, to save. That is compassion. This word is from a Latin compound meaning "to feel with"; the Greek parallel word is sympathy, meaning also 'to feel with'; and only love, impersonal love, can produce it.
Is the answer responsive to your question?
Student — Very much so. May I ask one more question that occurs to me. If we belong to, or if we are studying under the Lodge of the Masters of Compassion, then in future aeons, when we reach that stage, we won't be pratyeka buddhas; won't we be buddhas of compassion? I suppose that in a way we have chosen to study under those latter.
G. de P. — It all depends. If in future ages when you reach the higher degrees of illumination you feel that the time is coming when you cannot take all for yourself, but must share it with others, that you must help others, that you cannot go into bliss alone, but must take others with you, then indeed you will not be pratyeka buddhas, but will be buddhas of compassion. It depends upon the individual.
Now, the Brothers of the Shadow are they who pursue a course of training, of self-sacrifice, of discipline (and of course I am speaking of the more powerful among the Brothers of the Shadow) which in many respects parallels the training received and followed by the Masters of Wisdom and Compassion. But instead of going upwards, spiritwards, they go downwards, matterwards. As the Masters ascend into the spiritual realms, so the Brothers of the Shadow descend into the realms of even grosser material existence than our own. Strange paradox!
Actually it is a case of deliberate spiritual suicide. And as you will find men doing the same thing on earth today, so these, our unfortunate Brothers of the Shadow, deliberately choose their ultimate end, which is annihilation as a self-conscious ego.
But some of these Brothers of the Shadow follow a path which it may be well to speak of, because otherwise you may not understand. They are often very charming individuals, delightful conversationalists, sometimes highly educated, well-born perhaps, or perhaps not. They are often very religious. They don't break the laws of the country as a rule.
What distinguishes the Brother of the Shadow from the Masters of Wisdom and Compassion is the fact that they lack in compassion. They are wholly for self, and for self alone; but in a way quite different from that of the pratyeka buddhas, because in gratifying self in achievement for self, the Brothers of the Shadow are workers of evil. They work in matter and for matter and for matter's purposes and ends, whereas the pratyeka buddhas do not. All this is a profound mystery, of course; but what I have just said is an outline of the facts as they exist.
Student — I would like to ask what is the karma of the pratyeka buddhas?
G. de P. — Do you mean the consequences?
Student — Yes, what should be the end of these pratyeka buddhas?
G. de P. — Yes, you are quite right in referring to this. You use the word karma with strict accuracy. The karma (the consequences) of the life of the pratyeka buddhas is this: they finally reach a point beyond which they cannot go and there they "fall asleep." It is true that this occurs in an extremely high spiritual realm, but there they have reached the end of their powers; and the reason is that they have reached the ultimate point of egoic selfhood and cannot pass beyond that into the universal. They remain there "asleep" (perhaps asleep is not the right term, but at any rate spiritually inactive), in a condition resembling sleep; there they remain while the stream of evolution passes them by. Whereas the Masters of Wisdom and Compassion, feeling the urge of almighty love in their hearts, advance forever steadily towards still greater heights of spiritual achievement; and the reason is that they have become the vehicles of universal love. As impersonal love is universal, their whole nature expands consequently with the universal powers that are working through them.
Student — May I ask if the development of the spiritual will is not one of the first steps in attainment?
G. de P. — What kind of attainment?
Student — The first steps in spiritual attainment, spiritual knowledge, becoming a Master of Compassion.
G. de P. — Yes indeed, certainly it is. But every human being has the spiritual will, if he will only cultivate it. It is the cultivation of the spiritual will which leads one upwards; and with it come coincidently light, peace, bliss.
Student — One of the companions asked part of the question that I wanted to ask about the pratyeka buddha. We have heard that karma is collectively applied to the cosmos, that there is a racial karma and a cosmic karma. The pratyeka buddha going so far and no farther — is that because the collective karma of the cosmos holds them back to the end of the manvantara?
G. de P. — Yes, that is quite well put. They have reached the limit of their own spiritual powers. They cannot advance farther, because, after all, a pratyeka buddha enters into spirit for purposes of spiritual selfhood. When the limit of that is reached the monad cannot advance farther. Only that can advance farther which feels the stirring within of something beyond individual selfhood; and that is the universal. Do you understand?
Student — Thank you.
Student — May I ask a further question in that same connection? When the pratyeka buddha reaches these supernal heights where no further progress is possible for him, is that the end? Does he eventually suffer a fate much like the Brothers of the Shadow, or is there a new day for a further opportunity to learn the larger lesson?
G. de P. — Oh, decidedly so! Remember that the pratyeka buddha is a high spiritual influence in the world, a very high spiritual influence; and when the time comes when the general evolutionary stage of beings below him has reached the stage that he holds while he is in inactive spiritual function, then he feels the onward-moving evolutionary currents and begins again from that same stage. His fault, if it can be called a fault in human speech, is a concentration on spiritual selfhood, just as the fault of the Brothers of the Shadow is a concentration on material selfhood. The latter leads to annihilation; the other leads to a cessation of advancement until the general current of evolving beings behind him reaches him. Then he feels the awakening influences and begins another forward march; whereas the buddhas of compassion will be by that time far in advance; and they shall have become supergods.
Student — May I ask a question? Subba Rao somewhere says that when an individual unites with the Logos the whole of humanity feels a thrill and is raised. Could that apply to the pratyeka buddha when he reaches the highest possible for him?
G. de P. — Yes, the pratyeka buddha is a high spiritual influence in the world, and his very existence is good for the world. He is a channel, as it were, sending backwards spiritual influences, but unconsciously, not by his own choice. He is a human being who has achieved this high spiritual state, and along the track which he has traveled, spiritual influences flow. Do you understand me?
Student — Yes.
Student — Is it possible, Dr. de Purucker, for the pratyeka buddha to change and become a buddha of compassion after he has reached that state of perfection? Can he of his own willpower change over to the other path?
G. de P. — Yes, he can, and that actually does sometimes take place; but rarely.
Student — The idea of selfishness coupled with spirituality has always seemed to me irreconcilable, and I seem to be puzzled tonight over the teaching that a pratyeka buddha has reached a very high state of spirituality and yet somehow is fundamentally selfish. Can you clear up this confusion in my mind, please?
G. de P. — Yes. You can call it selfish only by keeping strictly to the etymological meaning of the word — one whose thoughts are concentrated on self, but it is a spiritual selfishness. And the reason is this: egoity or ego feeling belongs to the material or vegetative side of being, whether it be in the spiritual world or the intermediate realms or in the inferior realms. The pratyeka buddhas belong in their inner essence to the spiritual world, but to the vegetative side of it, to what you might call the substantial side of it; whereas the buddhas of wisdom and compassion are they whose inner essence is allied to the active, the energic side of the spiritual realms. Do you understand?
Student — Partly. But, in continuation of that same line of thought, is not an aspiring chela, a pupil of a buddha of compassion, intrinsically more highly evolved spiritually than a pratyeka buddha who is seeking spiritual light for himself?
G. de P. — Yes, in one way; and in another way, no. Here again we have a paradox, and with paradoxes our esoteric studies are filled. Even in a chela of a Master of Wisdom and Compassion, whose destiny it is ultimately to become a buddha of wisdom and compassion, even in him there is already stirring the buddhic splendor, which is practically the same as illuminated compassion. Therefore he stands higher in that sense of the word than does even a pratyeka buddha.
But so far as mere rank and grade go, the pratyeka buddha is farther advanced in the spiritual realms. But the pratyeka buddha will finally come to a standstill. He has reached the limits of spiritual selfhood, and as that is what he was striving for, he cannot go farther; whereas this chela spoken of, who even as a chela of the Master of Wisdom and Compassion feels this indefinable something in his soul which will give him no rest or peace until his whole being expands in works of pity and compassion — even he, in this nobler sense, stands higher than a pratyeka buddha; but not by rank, not by evolutionary grade. Do you understand?
Student — Thank you, yes.
Student — Professor, will you explain the term "initiates who have failed" as applied, I think by HPB, to some of the great writers, such as George Eliot and Bulwer Lytton?
G. de P. — I don't remember that HPB did use that expression, initiates who have failed, in connection with human genius such as you have spoken of. But it is quite possible; and if so, it is a vague way of speaking. There have been great men, using the word great in the common sense of the word — geniuses in other words — who fail to go higher because within them there is not yet awakened this buddhic splendor, this combination of illumination and compassion. They have genius, they have gone high, they could go higher; but the star within them is not yet shining. All they have is an occasional ray which produces the genius.
To put it in another way, such men have not yet received conscious union, in however small a degree, with the god within. They are merely the vehicles or recipients of a ray from the inner divinity. They usually fail through human faults — passion, ambition, etc.; and please remember that when I speak of passion, this word has many meanings indeed. I am not referring to sex alone, which is one of the grossest; but ambition is a passion. Love is a passion, and if it is too personal it blinds, it often distorts; and that is why you will find me so carefully speaking of impersonal love; whereas compassion is one of the noblest, highest, loftiest things in the human soul, for while it may have its personal aspects, its very characteristic, its swabhava, its being, is impersonal — is for others.
Student — May I ask a question? A mystery that presses very closely upon me is the mystery of sleep. It puzzles me why for millions of years we have passed so much of our time in a state of which we know so little. Is it permissible to know more about the mysteries of sleep?
G. de P. — Yes, assuredly. Sleep of course, physiologically speaking, occurs when the body is fatigued, and you will find it so. In time the electromagnetic charges have become — how can I express it? — they become equilibrated, and sleep produces a recharging of the physiological batteries. It is difficult to find words by which to express these things, except in familiar lines.
But sleep is a great blessing. In sleep the inner man is freed from the cares and troubles of material existence. The higher part of the constitution wings its way abroad, not merely over earth, but away from earth. As a matter of fact, Companions, in sleep the higher part of you travels the spaces — not the intermediate part, but the higher part; not exactly the highest part, but the spiritual soul and the higher part of the human soul wings its way for the time being into higher spiritual realms.
Now, don't take that expression too literally. I don't mean that it has wings and flies; and I don't mean that it actually travels, in an ordinary human sense. I mean that it becomes more actually cognizant on its own plane, more awake, for this universal or spiritual self is not in your body; and the sleep of the body at night is simply an example of the longer sleep which men call death. Death is sleep; or, to put it in another way, physical sleep is quasi-death. It differs from death very little indeed, and in the one sense only that the golden, vital chain has not been snapped. When that chain is snapped, when the cord of vitality is broken, then death ensues.
Sleep is a smaller death, a minor death; and the Greeks knew this well, and spoke of hypnos and thanatos, sleep and death, as being brothers. These two states are even closer than brotherhood. They are two sides of the same thing; in fact, they are the same thing, only one in smaller degree and the other in absolute degree. In the case of certain individuals, while the body is asleep and resting and recuperating its energies, to use popular language, the human soul is receiving instruction in teaching. I think that is all I care to say about sleep at the present time. I think that more would now confuse you.
Student — Professor, I have two questions. You will remember speaking of the fact (I think it was last week here) that the moon governed initiations and that the period of the waxing moon was especially propitious, because of the position of the moon, and a particularly propitious time was when the planets were in syzygy because that made a direct path for the soul to the sun. Is that correct?
G. de P. — Yes.
Student — Now, one question is this: we are taught clearly that the moon is a corpse, with maleficent influences and baleful emanations, that it is teeming with a baleful life. Now, during the period when its influence is propitious is it because of a change in nature in some way or merely because of its change in position?
G. de P. — It depends partly upon its change in position, but not in a change in the nature of the moon, which remains the same. I cannot explain further because the teachings regarding the moon are held among those most strictly guarded; they are most rigidly guarded.
Student — Perhaps I had better not ask the other question.
G. de P. — Yes, ask the other. There is no harm at all in asking a question.
Student — It is this: if the soul passes through this path to the sun, when the planets are in syzygy, of course the soul passes through the moon. Is it conscious of the contacts there? Is not that a very painful experience? And when the lost souls that are there feel the influence of this passage of the purified or aspiring soul, are they helped in any way? I am afraid that I should not have asked that.
G. de P. — Yes, you are touching upon very dangerous frontiers of knowledge indeed. These things that you are referring to very largely depend upon the position that the sun and the earth and the moon occupy. As long as the moon is waxing, the influences grow progressively more favorable for certain purposes until the moon reaches plenitude, fullness. Immediately afterwards they begin to grow unfavorable, progressively so, until the worst is reached just before the new moon and at the new moon. Then they change again. And the reason? I will tell you this much: when the moon is new it is between the sun and the earth and receives from the earth, the moon pulling very hard and aided by the sun. When the moon is full the earth is between it and the sun, and the earth pulls very hard on the moon and receives incoming souls. The outgoing souls pass forwards at the new moon, when consequently, as I have told you before, in cases of the conception of children, it is almost a crime for a child then to be conceived. If you understand me, conception is not proper at any phase of the moon except when the moon is waxing; and the best time of all is just before the moon is full. Nature then is working naturally, and the human act synchronizes with and is in electromagnetic sympathy with the solar and lunar and terrene influences — along the paths of interstellar communication. You will forgive me; but I think that I will not say anything more about that matter.
Student — Thank you very much.
Student — I should like to ask how the system of Patanjali is to be regarded, whether it should be regarded as of the right-hand path or of the left-hand path.
G. de P. — The system of Patanjali belongs to the hatha yoga; but even hatha yoga has a certain nobler side to it, which as understood by initiates, can profitably be used and taught to their chelas. But any system of training such as that of Patanjali, such as is given in his Yoga Aphorisms, which if used in ignorance, is dangerous. It is hatha yoga, for it concentrates the mind on postures of the body, and on the lower psychical workings of man.
This duality in nature and practice occurs here as it does with everything else. You know that certain drugs, for instance, are poisons and might kill if used by one who does not know about them; but in the hands of an expert, one who is skilled, who has been taught, they can heal. It is much better, instead of using drugs, to turn one's thoughts to those things which are always safe — to practice the great noble virtues: love, pity, compassion, helpfulness, kindliness, fraternal feeling, self-forgetfulness. They are always right.
Keep in health, in other words; but if you are ill, then, instead of trying to practise dangerous things on yourself, instead of dosing yourself, seek a doctor in whom you have confidence and tell him frankly as much as you can of your troubles. If he is a true physician and not merely a book-physician, he may be able to help you by using remedies that might kill you, if you used them yourself in ignorance.
It is the same with hatha yoga. Anyone who tries to practise the teachings of hatha yoga books may easily bring himself into pulmonary tuberculosis or some other terrible disease, to say the least — to say the least. But a true Master of Wisdom, knowing this chela and that chela, might say that this chela, for instance, could be helped by certain physical practices, and the Master's wisdom would show him what to do and how far to go, and it would then be safe and proper. Hatha yoga, then, could be profitably used. Do you understand me?
Student — You told us some time ago, I think, that the two Masters who are at the head of our work were taking a certain amount of time from it and were spending their time on a work even more sublime than this. Can you tell us something of what that work is?
G. de P. — Yes, very easily. When a professor of Sanskrit or of Hebrew, or of Greek, for instance, begins to rock the cradle of his baby, he is doing a work which may be very good, but he is doing a work which his wife should do. If he happens to have no wife but has a baby and has to take care of it, it prevents him from doing work which is more exactly along his own line.
Now, following that homely illustration, you may perhaps understand what I am going to speak of. The Masters of Wisdom and Compassion are the channels or vehicles for receiving the spiritual forces emanating ultimately from the sun. Those forces pass through the Silent Watcher of the Earth, and from him are distributed as rivers of life through the intermediaries, his channels, between humanity and him. He takes them from the sun.
Now, these greater duties that the Masters of Wisdom and Compassion have consist in being what HPB, following the Tibetan expression, calls the Guardian Wall protecting humanity against cosmic invasions of elementary and cosmic influences which would be extremely dangerous to the human race were they allowed to play free and unhindered upon us. So a certain amount of time, therefore, in working with a body like ours, is taken by the Masters of Compassion, from this other work; and as they are relatively few, their places can with great difficulty be filled.
Now it is obvious, therefore, that going from the grander to the smaller work, we must not forget that this smaller work in itself has great spiritual significance. The Masters' effort is to instill through the Theosophical Society into the minds and hearts of humanity these things of spiritual, intellectual, and psychical value for the saving of mankind, for the saving of the souls of men in the theosophical sense. Is that responsive to your question?
Student — Thank you very much, Professor.
Student — Am I wrong in thinking that since we have been holding these meetings, there has been a stronger impulse in such vital matters in our country as trends towards peace and prison reform, and many other things, it seems to me, which are more progressive? I wonder if it is not the Masters working through this center, or whether they are working directly for these other objects.
G. de P. — Both. I tell you that spiritual teachings cannot be given out from one to others without striking similar responsive chords in the hearts of those who do not hear these teachings but who are more or less attuned to the thought currents. Being so attuned, they receive these impulses or impacts from the thought-atmosphere of the planet, and finding them great and grand and inspiring, they follow. That is what you may call the mechanism, I suppose, of how these minds outside are touched and refined and helped. Is that clear?
Student — Yes, thank you.
G. de P. — Of course the Masters always work with and upon mankind in general outside of the TS. Here, their work is concentrated in disseminating into the world through us as intermediaries the same spiritual impulses that they receive from the Silent Watcher who, again, receives them from the sun, from the god of the sun.
Now, Companions, I think we had better break up for tonight. We will have just a moment's silence, please.
[Sounding of the gong.]
Meeting 4 Supplement