From BLAVATSKY STUDIES, Athens, 2008:
with parts of THE OCCULT WAY
by P G Bowen.
When we see the world as being full of terrible conflicts, injustices and stupid forms of so called human relations, and how all common authorities, views, ideas and schools of thought sooner or later fail, and every positive change in politics and religions so easily turn into something negative, is there really nothing we can do? Yes. There is Theosophy. With intent Studies of its Doctrine there is a Potential of Totally Different Perspectives of Life and All of our Relations, in Qualities of mind, beyond Beliefs and Doubts. It makes everything in Nature and the World to be understood, by both the mind and Something beyond mind, and bringing direct insights into the very roots of all sufferings and illusions. New Doors may open, into a profound Patience with our Questions and Problems, in a Room with an unquestionable Presence, of Harmony and a Dynamic Intelligence.
Now listen to this:
”The age-old error of imperfect man … is the illusion that he can change the world while he himself remains unchanged. He creates an appearance of progress by pushing the centre of gravity of his conditions farther and farther towards a particular pole of Being, and calls the result of his efforts “good”, yet with all his works he has not in any way increased the sum total of good in the world even as he understands that term.” 1
Now the profound significance of ”intent studies” is, that it may really change ourselves, by bringing about new functions or dimensions of our minds. This is expressed in an article, What I Owe to a Book 2, also by P G Bowen, and in to some study material now for us – also by him – we find, that
”Information is not Knowledge, but a means whereby Knowledge may be acquired. Knowledge is not WISDOM, but has been called the Ladder to WISDOM, and WISDOM is the goal of the Disciple.”
In Learnings about the Nature of Life, by Studies and Assimilations of Experiences, all parts are one. Teachings, Experiences, our own Being and Character and all this in Relations, by Law, to each other and everything else. It means we have come to our specific subject on Ethics.
According to a dictionary the word ethics stands for ”the branch of knowledge that deals with moral principles” and this with a footnote about duty, which we will return to later. 3
Ethics concern ”morals, morality, values, rights and wrongs, value system, virtues, dictates of conscience” and moral ”the goodness or badness of human character”.
A moral person is ”virtuous, good, righteous, upright, upstanding, high-minded, principled, honorable, honest, just, noble, incorruptible, scrupulous, respectable, decent, clean-living, law-abiding, antonym dishonorable.
”Moral certainty” is ”probability so great as to allow no reasonable doubt : it enjoys moral certainty and consequently has a normative role.”
When the Dictionary further explains, how it is possible to be ethical without being moral, and honourable without being virtuous, it leaves us on a superficial level of concepts and words. So by studying some Conditions for Virtues and Duties we are now to move towards the Occult Realm of closer discriminations. What does Ethics really mean, according to Theosophy, or in our own lives?”
This talk is just material for studies together, as we go into it, by attention in listening or reading and share it with one another. I will start with some background and object and then we turn to some chosen quotations about virtues and duties. The background is that in every aspect of human life subjective factors are most basic, such as the qualities, tendencies and contents of minds and emotions, their degrees of universality or timelessness, and how every change in this must be due to intimate relations between information, experiences, living, compassion, responsibilities, and so on. Existential knowledge, rather than beliefs, involve stern moral aspects of the student for him (or her) to learn to see and discover inner meanings and hidden values of Life and Nature. All this with an object of Truth. Because, as far as we can be intelligently concerned, here and now, it is by only illusions and false conclusions, that there are sorrows and sufferings.
Before we now go on, could we first share some basic thoughts? What are the most basic reasons for immorality? Me and my life, being more important to me than anything else?
What could the most basic point be for a fundamental change into freedom from conflicts? Learning about different centres of consciousness?
What could be moral or immoral in ideas, authorities and emotions about Theosophy? What factors are there behind illusions concerning Theosophy?
In her work Practical OccultismH. P. Blavatsky gives several remarks in this subject.
”Meditation, abstinence in all, the observation of moral duties, gentle thoughts, good deeds and kind words, as good will to all and entire oblivion of Self, are the most efficacious means of obtaining knowledge and preparing for the reception of higher wisdom.”
“He who would be a student must first be strong enough to kill out in his heart all feelings of dislike and antipathy to others.”
“Chelaship is a state of mind, rather than a life according to hard and fast rules on the physical plane.”
”It should never be forgotten that Occultism is concerned with the inner man who must be strengthened and freed from the dominion of the physical body and its surroundings, which must become his servants. Hence the first and chief necessity of Chelaship is a spirit of absolute unselfishness and devotion to Truth; then follow self-knowledge and self-mastery. These are all-important; while outward observance of fixed rules of life is a matter of secondary moment.”
When we study about moving towards an Occult way, we pass over general views, of good or bad and right or wrong. Particularly so when we go in a certain vehicle, called The Occult Way, built by P. G. Bowen, and first appearing in 1936. From its window we now see:”
”The Occultist is in no way concerned with being 'good' and 'virtuous' as these terms are commonly understood: he is concerned only with finding freedom in his true Self. Good and Evil, Virtue and Vice, are equally valuable and equally without value for him. They are the Pairs of opposites, and he lives neither in the one nor in the other, but in a union of the two, which is higher than either.”
It is by that ’driver’ we have THE SECRET DOCTRINE AND ITS STUDY by his father, Commander Robert Bowen. 4”
In the first chapter of The Occult Way PGB says that
”I accept H. P. Blavatsky as the direct agent of advanced teachers, and have a profound respect for her knowledge, but of her great works I have only read as much as sufficed to convince me that she KNEW.”
He also writes:”
”Reason, you may assert, convinces you that what I place before you is Truth, yet in so asserting you unconsciously lay claim to knowledge which I do not possess. I do not know that my words are Truth. I know them only as symbols that point towards Truth…”
Further on that
”elementary instruction … is all my own knowledge permits me to give.”
and by the end of the book
”…in striving to reveal overmuch I have succeeded in sketching a broken outline only, not a clear pattern. … I can hope … it be recognized as a disarticulated skeleton, and that as time goes on it may be reassembled by some more skilful workman, and by him, or by others yet more skilled, at last be reclothed with living flesh.”
However, the author could not be so aware of his limitations, unless he perceived further and considerably more, and his work can be definitively judged only by private experiences of it and of everything else. Here are some texts to ponder over:
”Strive to come to the study with a mind swept clean of preconception.”
”This book contains no panacea for the ills of the world, therefore do not search for them, but seek always the Path of Wisdom, for wisdom will show you the cause and cure of all ills.”
” Put away all desire to be learned, and think only of learning. Knowledge is co-existent with LIFE: LIFE is eternal: therefore of learning there is no end.”
”Self-reliance is the universal solvent that separates false teaching from true, for the first leads away from it and the last leads towards it, and by that sign is their quality revealed.”
”The adult dignity of the Western student weighs him down and shuts him away from the Path of Learning, just as the 'great possessions' of the rich man in the Gospel story shut him out of the Kingdom of Heaven, because it causes him, materialistically, to include his Inner Being within his consciousness of physical maturity.”
”Intellect is a most necessary instrument, and should be utilized to the full, but it cannot give you the Consciousness of the Disciple. It can lead you to see and to know the Path of the Neophyte, but can give no vision of the true PATH, for the GATES OF GOLD stand high above the World of Mind on planes towards which you may aspire but to which as yet you cannot rise.”
”It is easy to be drawn to this study by interest that is by no means interest in the actual work itself, but is rather desire for reward of one kind or another that may, you conceive, result from the effort. Should this be so in your case your efforts will not advance you towards the true PATH, but will take you still farther astray into some profitless parody of it, for you will be led by a false self, as almost all men are, and not by your Higher Self, the true analogue of the one supreme SELF. Of lesser selves active in your Being the number is legion, and each struggles incessantly to preserve its own existence and strengthen itself by drawing into its service the vitalizing Power of Interest. From these enslaving usurpers no escape is possible except through unremitting selfobservation and self-questioning.”
”… if you love knowledge for its own sake you are not far astray. If you seek knowledge because of the distinction and power its possession confers you are the slave of a lower self and cannot move until you have gained freedom.”
”Strong Will is not will at all, but the manifestation of an abnormally developed separate self—in other words a desire. “Strong Will achieves conquest through conflict, but Free Will remains at peace in a stronghold that cannot be assailed.” Strong Will is the manifestation of a purely separate self. Free Will is the manifestation of a Self united in harmony with the Laws of LIFE.”
”… there is no certainty in all the universe outside the HIGHEST SELF. Do not look for certainty, for to do so is to work for reward and to live in Time, not in Eternity. Not while you are yet a Neophyte, not until you are the Master of Wisdom standing for a moment upon the Last Threshold, your human cycle all behind you, will you have certainty, and then certainty only of all things human, not of all things DIVINE.”
”…there is no moment when you do not stand at the close of one cycle of experience and upon the threshold of another. Of what you have wholly experienced you have certainty, for all that was real in it has been assimilated into your Being and become a part of it. Of that which you are, of your Being, you are certain. There are some who will argue against this assertion and say that they are not certain of anything, but that is merely because they are thinking in intellectual and personal terms and not understanding what certainty means. It is Self that gives certainty, not the instrument through which Self expresses itself. You cannot say 'I AM' without expressing certainty. It is when the intellectual consciousness which is infinitely less comprehending than the Self tries to understand the Being that uncertainty appears. How can the part have knowledge of the whole? Does the mind question its own existence? No, it questions only that which is not itself. Of that which I AM, I am certain and ask no question. Of that which I am not I have no certainty, and it I may question. But question not for the sake of certainty, for to desire it is to desire possessions; the Disciple seeks not to possess but to BE.”
”When all enemies appear to have been defeated and scattered and the Self stands contemplating its victory, be prepared, for the foe in his most subtle and dangerous disguise is creeping upon you unseen. Without warning, without knowledge on your part that you are attacked, you are seized and bound, and the name of your captor is Spiritual Pride. Some would call it Self-righteousness. It is a conviction that because you have shaken off the toils of certain lower desires, feelings, and thoughts, you have attained. To think you have attained is, as you may realize, to throw yourself out of the calm embrace of the EVERBECOMING into the fiery arms of a self that dwells in separateness. This manifestation of the separate selfhood that I call Pride is protean in his aspects. He is the true King of the lower worlds. Not until his power is broken is any true union with LIFE possible. It is not too much to say that if you can maintain yourself watchful of and detached from Pride you are doing all a Learner can do to hold the way of Becoming.”
”In Occultism there is nothing but disturbance and disappointment for those who bring no gifts to the work. ’To him who hath shall be given, and from him who hath not shall be taken away even that which he hath’ seems a harsh saying, yet it expresses a profound truth. Not the highest teacher, not the highest Being in the universe, can bestow knowledge and power upon one who lacks capacity to learn. The unfit who clamour to be taught gain nothing when a teacher responds to their importunities; on the contrary, they lose, for they forthwith anchor themselves to his authority and lose whatever small power of self-direction they had before. In what I teach there is nothing new. Every teacher, high or low, down the ages has taught the same. ’Ask and ye shall receive’, it has been said, and it is a true saying. The ignorant and unready ask, but the measure of their request is their own narrow ignorance; and it draws to them not a saviour but an enslaver, not a guide but a misleader. Beware of the teacher who assures you that the work and the way are easy and pleasant: he is, if not a wilful deluder, a blind leader of the blind. A true teacher, if importuned prematurely, will try to help you, but he will do so by waking you to knowledge of the dismaying obstacles that lurk concealed within you and which must be overcome before you take a single step towards knowledge.”
”All aspects of the character with which Self is consciously and habitually identified are Conscious habits. Some are known as virtues and some as vices, but to the Occultist all are good, for, whether they give freedom to the Self or temporarily enslave it, all furnish it with forms of experience without which it could not progress.”
”…your efforts must be preceded by the establishment of a thoroughly detached attitude.Without this no good results can be expected. But under the remote watchful eye of the Judge of the judge all aspects of the separate selfhood such as those that manifest in love of power, love of wealth, love of pleasure of every kind, grow progressively less demanding and finally vanish, or are transmuted into higher analogues of themselves. In transmutation there is a certain danger that should be noted, for the higher analogue of a primitive desire may well prove a greater enslaver than its prototype, should self-satisfaction in it be permitted to develop. To lose love of a mundane pleasure only to replace it by a more enthralling love for a more aesthetic form of pleasure is not a gain but a loss. Hereby the complete fallacy of the common advice, 'Destroy a bad habit by replacing it by a good', is revealed. Cultivate no habit but the habit of using the KEY.”
”Attempts to control, discipline or starve [appetites] into obedience by refusing to gratify them are worse than useless, for all that can be effected in this way is to divert their energies into deeper Being and give their hidden analogues an abnormal and sinister power. To regard them as evil, as so many good persons especially nominal Occultists do, is to demonstrate one’s bondage to them.”
”Take care when first you begin to survey Life, and your own Being, that you do not fall into the error of labelling their multitudinous manifestations as virtues and vices. These things are in themselves neither good nor evil, but all can be made agents of good or of evil according to the way in which they are used by the Higher Self. …
That great Occult Scripture, Light on the Path, says:
The vices of men become steps in the ladder, one by one, as they are surmounted. The virtues of men are steps . . . yet, though they create a fair atmosphere and a happy future, they are useless if they stand alone.”
”The true significance of those words has eluded multitudes who have read them. Many indeed, even some who would claim the name of Occultist, have condemned them, and other sayings in the same book; but you, the Learner, who have begun to look upon life and who have studied this lesson, should begin to recognize their truth. Virtue and vice as men understand the terms are merely conditions that surround Self, that it permits to hold it, to drag it down, or uses to enable it to rise.”
”To live according to those laws is to live virtuously, and for that reason it was laid down of old by the Wise Men of the East that the practice of certain cardinal Virtues must precede any rousing of those hidden powers of Being controlled by the Adept, use of which makes the man more than man. The Virtues said to distinguish the true Disciple are enumerated at great length in that inspired Eastern Scripture The Bhagavad Gita, but for a Neophyte to attempt to live out each of these would complicate his task unnecessarily; therefore, for practical purposes,they are usually synthesized into a series of ten, of which number the second five are regarded rather as complements of the first than as Virtues complete in themselves, thus:
(a) (1)Harmlessness (2) Truthfulness (3) Justice (4) Purity (5) Self-reliance
(b) (6) Charity (7) Contentment (8) Discrimination (9) Simplicity (10) Self-surrender.”
To live is to BE. To live virtuously is to BE virtuous. “Am I virtuous? Can I be virtuous?” These among many other questions you, the Learner, have now to ask yourself. To them you are required to give true answers, founded not on belief but on knowledge gained through direct experience. It is easy to say, “I am harmless; I would not hurt a living thing; I respect truth above all things; I love justice and hate injustice”, and so on. Such are answers which all well-meaning persons would give, but they must not satisfy the Aspirant to Discipleship. Never should he rely upon untested belief, least of all upon belief concerning his own qualities. Excellent intentions he may have, as have multitudes who are far from the WAY, but in no way can they help him in his quest, and they may easily do the reverse. There is, as in many such, profound truth in the old homely saying: “The road to Hell is paved with good intentions.” Hell is but a name for darkness and ignorance; and it is through neglect of, or refusal to profit from, the experience that life exists to provide that darkness and ignorance come.Knowledge through experience has therefore to be sought, for without it you cannot say with truth whether you are virtuous or vicious.”
”Harmlessness as a phenomenon, like all other things and qualities in this manifested world, exhibits itself in two aspects, a positive aspect and a negative aspect; and it is only in the interaction of, or in the contrast between, these opposing poles that it is known at all. In its reality as VIRTUE it is not manifest, for it is, as all things are, LIFE itself. LIFE alone is perfect. In LIFE positives and negatives are equal and identical in a noumenon that is equally both and neither. In manifest Life positives and negatives (and all things) exhibit themselves separately; but as that manifestation is most perfect which is nearest in condition to LIFE itself it follows that perfection in the phenomenal world emerges when a balance is established between the units of any of the ’Pairs of opposites’. Man therefore exhibits a Virtue most completely when he balances its positive manifestation exactly with its negative. In his world—his conditions—he becomes most Harmless when he refrains equally from inflicting harm and from permitting harm to be inflicted. To increase or decrease the relative intensity of either the positive or the negative aspect of anything is not to bring more of its reality into the world, but the contrary. All that results from it is greater and greater unbalance, and in the words of an ancient ritual: ’Unbalance on earth is the smoke of the Fires of Chaos’.”
”… manifestations of actual good come only from high aspects of man’s Being and not from his Centre, the Self. The Self, the Focus of the Life of man, has not risen, but remains half sleeping as it was before civilization was known. Consequently the Being of man—of the whole of civilized humanity—remains at the mercy of conditions that exist in an extreme state of unstable equilibrium. Why does man fear war? Not merely the individual but the mass of civilized men live in fear and horror of war. Would this fear exist if the Self, the Focus of Life in man in general, were awake and active at the level of those special conditions called civilization? It would not, for there would be nothing to fear: war would be impossible. The fear that exists is felt not by the true Central Self but by its (admittedly) loftier, though unfree and unstable, aspect, which lives with the conditions it has made and called civilization. It arises from Self’s recognition of the fact that opposing it is a negative duplicate of itself, which for the time being it is able to outbalance, but which may at any time rise into dominance and swing it—the positive, “good” self—and its conditions into ruin, if not into utter annihilation.”
”True Virtue must not be sought in conditions, for to do so is to admit your bondage to them. It is to be sought and found only by living with the true Self, and in it ever withdrawing towards the FREEDOM which is LIFE. From consideration of this Problem of Harmlessness you may learn that in the outer life of action there is no escape possible from the bondage of the “pairs of opposites”. By them are all your ways and works conditioned. In striving to be positively Harmless you are in every instance forced to be negatively harmful, in that your action permits injury to others. The real Virtue cannot exhibit itself in action, for it is LIFE itself.”
”Your conditions, whatever they may be, should be regarded by you as fields of experience existing for your instruction, and nothing more. Therefore you should not flee from them, but should accept them, and by experiencing them to the uttermost wear them out and become free of them for ever.In The Bhagavad Gita, Krishna, the personification of the highest SELF of this planet, points out to his pupil, the Kshatriya Prince, that the natural duty of a soldier is to fight, but tells him also to be indifferent alike to victory and defeat. In this life the great Key to Virtue is natural duty, for in concentration upon duty there is least inclination towards any pole of manifestation.”
”Every citizen is bound, morally at least, to aid in protecting the persons and property of fellow citizens and to assist the officers of the law: whosoever claims the rights and privileges of citizenship has given a tacit if not an actual promise of allegiance to the State.”
”A pledge given blindly is itself an offence against truth, for ignorance cannot know whether conditions will permit of its being observed.”
”Any form of Experience whatsoever that the Being is capable of assimilating into Knowledge, or that stimulates Being into healthy activity, is pure; all other forms are impure in one degree or another.”
”… No more than in self-indulgence is Purity found in asceticism. Asceticism is not the antithesis of self-indulgence but merely another name for it. The ignorant Aspirant who flees the world and takes refuge in desert hermitage or in monastic seclusion, usually binds himself all the more securely to his lower nature. In starving his body and depriving his human mental-emotional nature of its normal expression he does not realize that he is indulging other aspects of his Being, no more lofty, in that he struggles for personal salvation or for superhuman power. The average man or woman living a normal good life and troubling not at all about “salvation” and “power”, is often far more pure, in the true sense, than the hermit, monk or nun. 5
”What in the way of experience to select and what to reject is a problem that always troubles Beginners who will not think, but like lazy infants demand to be borne in the arms of an elder, or by him led by the hand. Do not select, and do not reject! The mode of experience that lies nearest is always the most profitable. To pure-living physical man natural appetite is always a certain guide to the type of food his body most needs, and this true appetite is in the outer Spheres a true analogue of the ENERGY manifest in the EVERBECOMING which phase by phase sweeps Being ever nearer to BEING, Self ever nearer to SELF. In man Karma (that grossly misunderstood Eastern term) stands mid-way between the ENERGY of EVERBECOMING and natural appetite as an analogue of both. It is the Energy of Selfbecoming in man, and it bears him into the exact Fields of Experience his Being is most fit to profit from because they spring from that which the Being is.”
”Part of my teachings you have accepted without question; part you have rejected; and still another part you have neither accepted nor rejected, but have put aside for future consideration. Can you say why you have passed these judgments? You will reply: because instinct, reason, or intuition dictated them. Who and what are those authoritative powers to which you give those names? You are compelled to admit that they are yourself, or aspects of Self. Ask them what authority they have to judge, and no reply will come, for to question Authority is to slay it. Ask now of the Asker whether he also does not think to enthrone himself as Judge, and he may murmur admission, and then die.”
”Thus in a few brief questions and answers you demonstrate the fact that Self is no fixed resting-place, but is rather an endless ladder which you mount step by step. As you tread each step you name it Self and rely upon it to support you, but you prove, as you leave it, that your reliance is not upon it, but upon a higher which it has helped you to reach.”
”And upon what, ultimately, does your reliance rest? Not upon the step on which you stand, nor upon the next which you will reach, for both are selves, but upon the Ladder which is Self.”
”Before long you may learn a fact always distasteful to Beginners, and doubly distasteful to the ordinary student, that most of what is called reasoned or intuitional knowledge derives in reality from authority. Reason, you may assert, convinces you that what I place before you is Truth, yet in so asserting you unconsciously lay claim to knowledge which I do not possess. I do not know that my words are Truth. I know them only as symbols that point towards Truth—Truth that, even if I knew it, I could not express. Your acceptance of my words is not therefore acceptance of Truth, but only of an aspect of it, limited and conditioned by the instrument through which it comes, MYSELF. My words are but an expression of my limited Selfhood and in accepting them you accept me.”
”Give deep consideration to the hints I give—they are hints merely, and in no sense complete expositions. Study also the KEY.”
“NOTHING IS FALSE; NOTHING IS TRUE; ALL THINGS THAT EXIST ARE BUT MASKS OF TRUTH; ACCEPT NO THING; REJECT NO THING; LEARN THROUGH STUDY OF ALL, BUT ABOVE ALL LEARN FROM THE LEARNER.”
”Harmlessness, Truthfulness, Justice and Purity when practised bring you to Self-reliance, yet only when the latter is achieved do the other four become fully realized. And yet, paradoxically as ever, to the Self-reliant there is not in the universe anything that is truly false and evil, for whatever the limitations of a thing may be it is a mode of experience which when assimilated leads towards knowledge.”
”No true understanding of life is possible without a thorough grasp of the fact that all things in the phenomenal worlds are bi-polar. Everything is positive-negative, or, as some prefer to say, male-female. Although certain beings, things and qualities are said to be male, and certain others female, it does not mean that the first are wholly positive and the second wholly negative, but merely that the polar aspect under which each is classified is predominant in its constitution. Thus every man has a feminine aspect and every woman a masculine aspect, and so it is with all things, including the Virtues, both singly and in the mass. Every separate Virtue has its own positive and its own negative manifestation; but in some Virtues the first is dominant and in others the last. Woman is the complement of man, and both are equally necessary for the continuation of the human race. Analogously, complementary Virtues are necessary for the continued manifestation of VIRTUE.”
”Harmlessness is a feminine or negative Virtue which in its most positive aspect manifests in refusal to do injury to anything, and in its most negative in refusal to permit injury to be done. … Charity is the male complement of Harmlessness, and may be defined as an active will to increase the sum total of good in the world and diminish the sum total of evil. It creates the conditions which its complement requires, and without it Harmlessness would quickly vanish from the world.”
”There is no true Charity in the man who cannot give to the inflictor of suffering an understanding as perfect as the sympathy which he gives to the sufferer, nor can that man ever manifest the Virtue of true Harmlessness.”
“To express reality is to be TRUTHFUL, to accept it is to be CONTENT.”
”Being extracts from the notes of personal teachings given by H. P. Blavatsky to private pupils during the years 1888 to 1891, included in a large manuscript volume left to me by my father, who was one of the pupils. — P G Bowen. Such was the teaching of the ancient Hermetic Masters.”
”Contentment is the feminine complement of the male Virtue Truthfulness. Neither can manifest except in conjunction with the other, nor can REALITY manifest without their united aid. Contentment, the true Virtue, differs subtly but profoundly from the attribute usually known by that name. Contentment as average man knows it may mean absence of ambition, passive acceptance of conditions, or prideful selfsatisfaction, but true Contentment produces ambitious effort, active acceptance of conditions as steps, and no thought of Self otherwise than as a fleeting phase of Becoming. Ordinary man may regard the Disciple as discontented, for he strives ever for wider and wider consciousness, yet his discontent is not the human attribute but that DIVINE DISCONTENT of which the ancient sages spoke. He shares that attribute with LIFE, for the DIVINE DISCONTENT and the eternal BECOMING are but different names for one thing. Discontented man hates his conditions and battles against them, but by so doing he vitalizes them by attributing to them power to bind him. The Disciple in his DIVINE DISCONTENT rejoices in his conditions, uses them as steps in his ascent, and by turning their power to his own ends exhausts it and so annihilates them. Ordinary man finds contentment in rest, the Disciple in the ceaseless eternal motion of Becoming. Ordinary man finds contentment in a single step, the Disciple in the Ladder of many steps. Human discontent means sorrowful consciousness of captivity, DIVINE DISCONTENT means Joy—joy in the knowledge that whatever is is good and that though it for ever changes it remains for ever good. … wholehearted acceptance of conditions is necessary to the manifestation of Truth. While Truth is veiled, conditions hold the Self bound and captive. When Truth manifests, conditions have become accepted friends and helpers, and from this comes the saying: “The Truth shall make you free.”
”A sustained will to see LIFE as a perfect whole will lead you steadily towards identification with true Justice, and a manifestation of the same will in your more outward life will carry you towards union with Discrimination.”
It is said that according to HPB nobody can become a Theosophist who does not have ”a sense for the divine fitness of things”.
”In the deepest, highest sense of the term, Simplicity implies a state of Being wherein the Self rests ever in the supreme SELF, and the Consciousness is therefore single, untainted by the shadow of ignorance, unclouded even for a moment by association with any more limited aspect of Being. Thus regarded, Simplicity is a purely negative Virtue and can have no possible manifestation except through its executive complement, which is Purity. On the less exalted plane of the Learner it still remains purely negative, subsisting only in a Selfhood that ever withdraws into deeper Being. A Self thus centred is SIMPLE and manifests to the world in a Life and Being that is PURE.”
On Self-reliance and Self-surrender:
“As they appear to the everyday human or separate consciousness, the attributes of Self-reliance and Self-surrender are absolutely antithetical and could not prove other than mutually destructive if manifested in one individual. Yet when contemplated by the Adept or Disciple whose consciousness is non-separate, they present a very different appearance. Self-reliance is a wholly positive or male Virtue, and cannot therefore have any true manifestation of its own. Self-surrender is wholly negative or female, and therefore, also, is incapable of manifesting. Together only, as eternally united complements, wedded in heaven, they manifest not as two but as one. Surrender of existing Self to Self-Everbecoming produces the living Virtue of Self-reliance. Reliance placed always upon Self-Everbecoming, and withdrawn from existing Self, produces the living Virtue of Self-surrender. Nothing more can or need be said.”
”True Occultism is the Science of Life, through which comes mastery of the Art of Living. Without scientific knowledge the Aspirant, no matter how excellent his intentions, is always liable to be swung from the strait Path into one or other of the twin whirlpools, the Scylla of Psychism or the Charybdis of Mysticism. Of the danger of the first you, the Learner, have already been warned, but you have not learned that Mysticism, though it is of a far loftier nature, can, because of that very fact, prove a graver and more subtle danger. Little suspected, it lies in wait as a snare for all who, having attained to Invocation, rest in it, as in a harbour gained, and forget to recognize it for what it is, a step only, meant to lead to a higher.” 6
Let us close with Immanuel Kant and his ”Cathegorical Imperative”: The highest possible and universal certainty in living most correctly is to live in accordance with such norms, values and principles, which oneself regards would be the best for all, if also they lived according to them!
So let us go out by this and let everyone come along and find the Richness of Theosophy!
1The Occult Way by P G Bowen
3 ”Schools of ethics in Western philosophy can be divided, very roughly, into three sorts. The first, drawing on the work of Aristotle, holds that the virtues (such as justice, charity, and generosity) are dispositions to act in ways that benefit both the person possessing them and that person's society. The second, defended particularly by Kant, makes the concept of duty central to morality: humans are bound, from a knowledge of their duty as rational beings, to obey the categorical imperative to respect other rational beings. Thirdly, utilitarianism asserts that the guiding principle of conduct should be the greatest happiness or benefit of the greatest number.”
4 Being extracts from the notes of personal teachings given by H. P. Blavatsky to private pupils during the years 1888 to 1891, included in a large manuscript volume left to me by my father, who was one of the pupils. — P G Bowen.
5 ”This is not to assert that all who follow the monastic life are merely exchanging worldly indulgences for others which they think will profit them more. On the contrary, that life may in itself be the very experience the Being needs most, and if so it is the way of purity for those who take it. The Catholic Church shows some appreciation of the Law in its rule that a postulant must have a vocation. — Monk and nun may live a life of Purity, but they cannot rightly claim greater Purity of Being than can the Learner who, in his normal life, lives always in harmony with the Eternal Becoming. In the Cloister, as in the World, true balance of Being enables true Virtue to manifest. If balance is absent, whatever Virtue appears does so by grace of special Conditions and is therefore not VIRTUE at all.”
6 The Teacher who speaks in the name of The Ancient One warns his pupil thus: “Rest upon no step however high; if you do it will change and become a snare.” It is a warning which the Mystic forgets if it has ever reached his ear. He yearns for union with the Divine, and thinks that there he will find final rest and peace, knowing not, and heeding not, the warning that in attaining his ambition he is but entering another prison. True he may thus enjoy an eon of slothful bliss, but at last the LAW will cast him forth again and wake him to the truth that he is but a loiterer upon and an obstructor of the PATH of eternal BECOMING.