THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO ST. JOHN

   Let us beware of creating a darkness at noonday for ourselves by gazing, so to say, direct at the sun . . . , as though we could hope to attain adequate vision and perception of Wisdom with mortal eyes. It will be the safer course to turn our gaze on an image of the object of our quest.

The Athenian Stranger
Plato

Every year more than three hundred and fifty Catholic and Protestant sects observe Easter Sunday, celebrating the Resurrection of Jesus, the Son of God who called himself the Son of Man. So too do the Russian and Greek Orthodox churches, but on a separate calendar. Such is the schism between East and West within Christendom regarding this day, which always falls on the ancient Sabbath, once consecrated to the Invisible Sun, the sole source of all life, light and energy. If we wish to understand the permanent possibility of spiritual resurrection taught by the Man of Sorrows, we must come to see both the man and his teaching from the pristine perspective of Brahma Vach, the timeless oral utterance behind and beyond all religions, philosophies and sciences throughout the long history of mankind.

The Gospel According to St. John is the only canonical gospel with a metaphysical instead of an historical preamble. We are referred to that which was in the beginning. In the New English Bible, the recent revision of the authorized version produced for the court of King James, we are told: Before all things were made was the Word. In the immemorial, majestic and poetic English of the King James version, In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. This is a bija sutra, a seminal maxim, marking the inception of the first of twenty-one chapters of the gospel, and conveying the sum and substance of the message of Jesus. John, according to Josephus, was at one time an Essene and his account accords closely with the Qumran Manual of Discipline. The gospel attributed to John derives from the same oral tradition as the Synoptics, but it shows strong connections with the Pauline epistles as well as with the Jewish apocalyptic tradition. It is much more a mystical treatise than a biographical narrative.

Theosophically, there is no point or possibility for any man to anthropomorphize the Godhead, even though this may be very touching in terms of filial devotion to one’s own physical father. The Godhead is unthinkable and unspeakable, extending boundlessly beyond the range and reach of thought. There is no supreme father figure in the universe. In the beginning was the Word, the Verbum, the Shabdabrahman, the eternal radiance that is like a veil upon the attributeless Absolute. If all things derive, as St. John explains, from that One Source, then all beings and all the sons of men are forever included. Metaphysically, every human being has more than one father, but on the physical plane each has only one. Over a thousand years or thirty generations, everyone has more ancestors than there are souls presently incarnated on earth. Each one participates in the ancestry of all mankind. While always true, this is more evident in a nation with mixed ancestries. Therefore it is appropriate here that we think of him who preached before Jesus, the Buddha, who taught that we ask not of a man’s descent but of his conduct. By their fruits they shall he known,say the gospels.

There is another meaning of the ‘Father’ which is relevant to the opportunity open to every human being to take a decision to devote his or her entire life to the service of the entire human family. The ancient Jews held that from the illimitable Ain-Soph there came a reflection, which could never be more than a partial participation in that illimitable light which transcends manifestation. This reflection exists in the world as archetypal humanity – Adam Kadmon. Every human being belongs to one single humanity, and that collectivity stands in relation to the Ain-Soph as any one human being to his or her own father. It is no wonder that Pythagoras – Pitar Guru, ‘father and teacher,’ as he was known among the ancient Hindus – came to Krotona to sound the keynote of a long cycle now being reaffirmed for an equally long period in the future. He taught his disciples to honour their father and their mother, and to take a sacred oath to the Holy Fathers of the human race, the ‘Ancestors of the Arhats.’

We are told in the fourth Stanza of Dzyan that the Fathers are the Sons of Fire, descended from a primordial host of Logoi. They are self-existing rays streaming forth from a single, central, universal Mahatic fire which is within the cosmic egg, just as differentiated matter is outside and around it. There are seven sub-divisions within Mahat – the cosmic mind, as it was called by the Greeks – as well as seven dimensions of matter outside the egg, giving a total of fourteen planes, fourteen worlds. Where we are told by John that Jesus said, In my Father’s house are many mansions, H.P. Blavatsky states that this refers to the seven mansions of the central Logos, supremely revered in all religions as the Solar Creative Fire. Any human being who has a true wakefulness and thereby a sincere spirit of obeisance to the divine demiurgic intelligence in the universe, of which he is a trustee even while encased within the lethargic carcass of matter, can show that he is a man to the extent to which he exhibits divine manliness through profound gratitude, a constant recognition and continual awareness of the One Source. All the great Teachers of humanity point to a single source beyond themselves. Many are called but few are chosen by self-election. Spiritual Teachers always point upwards for each and every man and woman alive, not for just a few. They work not only in the visible realm for those immediately before them, but, as John reminds us, they come from above and work for all. They continually think of and love every being that lives and breathes, mirroring “the One that breathes breathless” in ceaseless contemplation, overbrooding the Golden Egg of the universe, the Hiranyagarbha.

Such beautiful ideas enshrined in magnificent myths are provocative to the ratiocinative mind and suggestive to the latent divine discernment of Buddhic intuition. The only way anyone can come closer to the Father in Heaven – let alone come closer to Him on earth Who is as He is in Heaven – is by that light to which John refers in the first chapter of the Gospel. It is the light that lighteth every man who cometh into the world, which the darkness comprehendeth not. Human beings are involved in the darkness of illusion, of self-forgetfulness, and forgetfulness of their divine ancestry. The whole of humanity may be regarded as a garden of gods but all men and women are fallen angels or gods tarnished by forgetfulness of their true eternal and universal mission. Every man or woman is born for a purpose. Every person has a divine destiny. Every individual has a unique contribution to make, to enrich the lives of others, but no one can say what this is for anyone else. Each one has to find it, first by arousing and kindling and then by sustaining and nourishing the little lamp within the heart. There alone may be lit the true Akashic fire upon the altar in the hidden temple of the God which lives and breathes within. This is the sacred fire of true awareness which enables a man to come closer to the one universal divine consciousness which, in its very brooding upon manifestation, is the father-spirit. In the realm of matter it may be compared to the wind that bloweth where it listeth. Any human being could become a self-conscious and living instrument of that universal divine consciousness of which he, as much as every other man or woman, is an effulgent ray.

This view of man is totally different from that which has, alas, been preached in the name of Jesus. Origen spoke of the constant crucifixion of Jesus, declaring that there is not a day on earth when he is not reviled. But equally there is not a time when others do not speak of him with awe. He came with a divine protection provided by a secret bond which he never revealed except by indirect intonation. Whenever the Logos becomes flesh, there is sacred testimony to the Great Sacrifice and the Great Renunciation – of all Avatars, all Divine Incarnations. This Brotherhood of Blessed Teachers is ever behind every attempt to enlighten human minds, to summon the latent love in human hearts for all humanity, to fan the sparks of true compassion in human beings into the fires of Initiation. The mark of the Avatar is that in him the Paraclete, the Spirit of Eternal Truth, manifests so that even the blind may see, the deaf may hear, the lame may walk, the unregenerate may gain confidence in the possibility and the promise of Self-redemption.

In one of the most beautiful passages penned on this subject, the profound essay entitled “The Roots of Ritualism in Church and Masonry,” published in 1889, H.P. Blavatsky declared:

   Most of us believe in the survival of the Spiritual Ego, in Planetary Spirits and Nirmanakayas, those great Adepts of the past ages, who, renouncing their right to Nirvana, remain in our spheres of being, not as ‘spirits’ but as complete spiritual human Beings. Save their corporeal, visible envelope, which they leave behind, they remain as they were, in order to help poor humanity, as far as can he done without sinning against Karmic Law. This is the ‘Great Renunciation,’ indeed; an incessant, conscious self-sacrifice throughout aeons and ages till that day when the eyes of blind mankind will open and, instead of the few, all will see the universal truth. These Beings may well be regarded as God and Gods – if they would but allow the fire in our hearts, at the thought of that purest of all sacrifices, to be fanned into the flame of adoration, or the smallest altar in their honour. But they will not. Verily, ‘the secret heart is fair Devotion’s (only) temple,’ and any other, in this case, would be no better than profane ostentation.

Let a man be without external show such as the Pharisees favoured, without inscriptions such as the Scribes specialized in, and without arrogant and ignorant self-destructive denial such as that of the Sadducees. Such a man, whether he be of any religion or none, of whatever race or nation or creed, once he recognizes the existence of a Fraternity of Divine Beings, a Brotherhood of BuddhasBodhisattvas and Christs, an Invisible Church (in St. Augustine’s phrase) of living human beings ever ready to help any honest and sincere seeker, he will thereafter cherish the discovery within himself. He will guard it with great reticence and grateful reverence, scarcely speaking of his feeling to strangers or even to friends. When he can do this and maintain it, and above all, as John says in the Gospel, be true to it and live by it, then he may make it for himself, as Jesus taught, the way, the truth and the light. While he may not be self-manifested as the Logos came to be through Jesus – the Son of God become the Son of Man – he could still sustain and protect himself in times of trial. No man dare ask for more. No man could do with less.

Jesus knew that his own time of trial had come – the time for the consummation of his vision – on the Day of Passover. Philo Judaeus, who was an Aquarian in the Age of Pisces, gave an intellectual interpretation to what other men saw literally, pointing out that the spiritual passover had to do with passing over earthly passions. Jesus, when he knew the hour had come for the completion of his work and the glorification of his father to whom he ever clung, withdrew with the few into the Garden of Gethsemane. He did not choose them, he said. They chose him. He withdrew with them and there they all used the time for true prayer to the God within. Jesus had taught, Go into thy closet and pray to thy father who is in secret, and that, The Kingdom of God is within you. This was the mode of prayer which he revealed and exemplified to those who were ready for initiation into the Mysteries. Many tried but only few stayed with it. Even among those few there was a Peter, who would thrice deny Jesus. There was the traitor, Judas, who had already left the last supper that evening, having been told, That thou doest, do quickly. Some among the faithful spent their time in purification. Were they, at that point, engaged in self-purification for their own benefit? What had Jesus taught them? Could one man separate himself from any other? He had told those who wanted to stone the adulteress,Let him who is without sin cast the first stone. He had told them not to judge anyone else, but to wait for true judgment. Because they had received a sublime privilege, about which other men subsequently argued for centuries and produced myriad heresies and sects, in their case the judgment involved their compassionate concern to do the sacred Work of the Father for the sake of all. The Garden of Gethsemane is always here. It is a place very different from the Wailing Wall where people gnash their teeth and weep for themselves or their tribal ancestors. The Garden of Gethsemane is wherever on earth men and women want to cleanse themselves for the sake of being more humane in their relations with others.

Nor was the crucifixion only true of Jesus and those two thieves, one of whom wanted to have a miracle on his behalf while the other accepted the justice of the law of the day, receiving punishment for offences that he acknowledged openly. Every man participates in that crucifixion. This much may be learnt from the great mystics and inspired poets across two thousand years. Christos is being daily, hourly, every moment crucified within the cross of every human being. There are too few on earth who are living up to the highest possibility of human god-like wisdom, love and compassion, let alone who can say that in them the spirit of Truth, the Paraclete, manifests. Who has the courage to chase the money-changers of petty thoughts and paltry desires from the Temple of the universal Spirit, not through hatred of the money-changers, but through a love in his heart for the Restoration of the Temple? Who has the courage to say openly what all men recognize inwardly when convenient, or when drunk, or when among friends whom they think they trust? Who is truly a man? How many men are there heroically suffering? Not only do we know that God is not mocked and that as we sow, so shall we reap, but we also realize that the Garden of Gethsemane is difficult to reach. Nonetheless, it may be sought by any and every person who wants to avoid the dire tragedy of self-annihilation. Indeed, there are many such people all around who barely survive from day to day because of their own self-hatred, self-contempt and despair, and who tremble on the brink of moral death. We live in terribly tragic times, and therefore there is no one who cannot afford to take a little pause for the sake of making the burden of one’s presence easier for one’s wife or husband, for one’s children, or for one’s neighbours. Each needs a time of re-examination, a time for true repentance, a time for Christ-like resolve. The Garden of Gethsemane is present wherever there is genuineness, determination and honesty. Above all, it is where there is the joyous recognition that, quite apart from yesterday and tomorrow, right now a person can create so strong a current of thought that it radically affects the future. He could begin now, and acquire in time a self-sustaining momentum. But this cannot be done without overcoming the karmic gravity of all the self-destructive murders of human beings that he has participated in on the plane of thought, on the plane of feeling, especially on the plane of words, and also, indirectly, on the plane of outward action.

If the Garden of Gethsemane did not exist, no persecuting Saul could ever become a Paul. Such is the great hope and the glad tiding. As Origen said, Saul had to be killed before Paul could be born. The Francis who was a simple crusader had to die before the Saint of Assisi could be born. Because all men have free will, no man can transform himself without honest and sincere effort. Hence, after setting out the nature of the Gods, the Fathers of the human race, H.P. Blavatsky, in the same article quoted, spoke of the conditions of probation of incarnated souls seeking resurrection:

   . . . every true Theosophist holds that the divine HIGHER SELF of every mortal man is of the same essence as the essence of these Gods. Being, moreover, endowed with free-will, hence having, more than they, responsibility, we regard the incarnated EGO as far superior to, if not more divine than, any spiritual INTELLIGENCE still awaiting incarnation. Philosophically, the reason for this is obvious, and every metaphysician of the Eastern school will understand it. The incarnated EGO has odds against it which do not exist in the case of a pure divine Essence unconnected with matter; the latter has no personal merit, whereas the former is on his way to final perfection through the trials of existence, of pain and suffering.

It is up to each one to decide whether to make this suffering constructive, these trials meaningful, these tribulations a golden opportunity for self-transformation and spiritual resurrection.

If this decision is not made voluntarily during life, it is thrust upon each ego at death. Every human being has to pass at the moment of death, according to the wisdom of the ancients, to a purgatorial condition in which there is a separation of the immortal individuality. It is like a light which is imprisoned during waking life, a life which is a form of sleep within the serpent coils of matter. This god within is clouded over by the fog of fear, superstition and confusion, and all but the pure in heart obscure the inner light by their demonic deceits and their ignorant denial of the true heart. Every human being needs to cast out this shadow, just as he would throw away an old garment, says Krishna, or just as he would dump into a junkyard an utterly unredeemable vehicle. Any and every human being has to do the same on the psychological plane. Each is in the same position. He has to discard the remnants, but the period for this varies according to each person. This involves what is called ‘the mathematics of the soul.’ Figures are given to those with ears to hear, and there is a great deal of detailed application to be made.

Was Jesus exempt from this? He wanted no exception. He had taken the cross. He had become one with other men, constantly taking on their limitations, exchanging his finer life-atoms for their gross life-atoms – the concealed thoughts, the unconscious hostilities, the chaotic feelings, the ambivalences, the ambiguities, the limitations of all. He once said, My virtue has gone out of me,when the hem of his garment was touched by a woman seeking help, but does this mean that he was exposed only when he physically encountered other human beings? The Gospel according to John makes it crisply clear, since it is the most mystical and today the most meaningful of the four gospels, that this was taking place all the time. It not only applies to Jesus. It takes place all the time for every person, often unknown to oneself. But when it is fully self-conscious, the pain is greater, such as when a magnanimous Adept makes a direct descent from his true divine estate, leaving behind his finest elements, like Surya the sun in the myth who cuts off his lustre for the sake of entering into a marriage with Sanjna, coming into the world, and taking on the limitations of all. The Initiator needs the three days in the tomb, but these three days are metaphorical. They refer to what is known in the East as a necessary gestation state when the transformation could be made more smoothly from the discarded vehicle which had been crucified.

People tend to fasten upon the wounds and the blood, even though, as Titian’s painting portrays clearly, the tragedy of Jesus was not in the bleeding wounds but in the ignorance and self-limitation of the disciples. He had promised redemption to anyone and everyone who was true to him, which meant, he said, to love each other. He had washed the feet of the disciples, drawn them together, given them every opportunity so that they would do the same for each other. He told them that they need only follow this one commandment. We know how difficult it is for most people today to love one another, to work together, to pull together, to cooperate and not compete, to add and not subtract, to multiply and serve, not divide and rule. This seems very difficult especially in a hypocritical society filled with deceit and lies. What are children to say when their parents ask them to tell the truth and they find themselves surrounded by so many lies? In the current cycle the challenge is most pointed and poignant. More honesty is needed, more courage, more toughness – this time for the sake of all mankind. One cannot leave it to a future moment for some pundits in theological apologetics and theosophical hermeneutics to say this cycle was only for some chosen people. Every single part of the world has to be included and involved.

The teaching of Jesus was a hallowed communication of insights, a series of sacred glimpses, rather than a codification of doctrine. He presented not asumma theologica or ethica, but the seminal basis from which an endless series of summae could be conceived. He initiated a spiritual current of sacred dialogue, individual exploration and communal experiment in the quest for divine wisdom. He taught the beauty of acquiescence and the dignity of acceptance of suffering – a mode appropriate to the Piscean Age. He showed salvation – through love, sacrifice and faith – of the regenerated psyche that cleaves to the light of no us. He excelled in being all things to all men while remaining utterly true to himself and to his ‘Father in Heaven.’ He showed a higher respect for the Temple than its own custodians. At the same time he came to found a new kind of kingdom and to bring a message of joy and hope. He came to bear witness to the Kingdom of Heaven during life’s probationary ordeal on earth. He vivified by his own luminous sacrifice the universal human possibility of divine self-consecration, the beauty of beatific devotion to the Transcendental Source of Divine Wisdom – the Word Made Flesh celebrating the Verbum In the Beginning.

Above all, there was the central paradox that his mission had to be vindicated by its failure, causing bewilderment among many of his disciples, while intuitively understood only by the very few who were pure in heart and strong in devotion, blessed by the vision of the Ascension. After three days in the tomb, Jesus, in the guise of a gardener, said to a poor, disconsolate Mary Magdalene,Mary! At once she looked back because she recognized the voice, and she said,Rabboni – “My Master” – and fell at his feet. Then he said, Touch me not. Here is a clue to his three days in the tomb. The work of permanent transmutation of life-atoms, of transfiguration of vehicles, was virtually complete. He then said,Go to my brethren, and say unto them, I ascend unto my Father and your Father; and to my God and your God. Subsequently he appeared three times to his disciples.

Jesus gave the greatest possible confidence to all his disciples by ever paying them the most sacred compliment, telling them that they were children of God. But, still, if a person thinks that he is nothing, or thinks that he is the greatest sinner on earth, how can the compassion and praise of Jesus have meaning for him? Each person has to begin to see himself undramatically as one of many sinners and say, “My sins are no different from those of anyone else.” The flesh is weak but pneuma, the spirit, is willing. And pneuma has to do with breath. The whole of the Gospel according to John is saturated with the elixir of the breathing-in and breathing-out by Jesus of the life-infusing current that gives every man a credible faith in his promise and possibility, and, above all, a living awareness of his immortality, which he can self-consciously realize when freed from mis-identification with his mortal frame.

The possibility of resurrection has to do with identification and mis-identification. This is the issue not for just a few but for all human beings who, in forgetfulness, tend to think that they are what their enemies think, or that they are what their friends want them to be. At one time men talked of the imago Christi. We now live in a society that constantly deals in diabolical images and the cynical corruption of image-making, a nefarious practice unfamiliar in simpler societies which still enjoy innocent psychic health. Even more, people now engage in image-crippling – the most heinous of crimes. At one time men did it openly, with misguided courage. They pulled down statues and defaced idols. They paid for it and are still paying. Perhaps those people were reborn in this society. That is sad because they are condemning themselves to something worse than hell – not only the hell of loneliness and despair – but much worse. The light is going out for many a human being. The Mahatmas have always been with us. They have always abundantly sent forth benedictory vibrations. They are here on earth where they have always had their asylums and their ashrams. Under cyclic law they are able to use precisely prepared forums and opportunities to re-erect or resurrect the mystery temples of the future. Thus, at this time, everybody is stirred up by the crucial issue of identity – which involves the choice between the living and the dead, between entelechy and self-destruction.

The central problem in the Gospel according to John, which Paul had to confront in giving his sermon on the resurrection, has to do with life and with death. What is life for one man is not life to another. Every man or woman today has to raise the question, “What does it mean for me to be alive, to breathe, to live for the sake of others, to live within the law which protects all but no one in particular?” Whoever truly identifies with the limitless and unconditional love of Jesus and with the secret work of Jesus which he veiled in wordless silence, is lit up. Being lit up, one is able to see the divine Buddha-nature, the light vesture of the Buddha. The disciples in the days of the Buddha, and so again in the days of Jesus, were able to see the divine raiment made of the most homogeneous pure essence of universal Buddhi. Immaculately conceived and unbegotten, it isdaiviprakriti, the light of the Logos. Every man at all times has such a garment, but it is covered over. Therefore, each must sift and select the gold from the dross. The more a person does this truly and honestly, the more the events of what we call life can add up before the moment of death. They can have a beneficent impact upon the mood and the state of mind in which one departs. A person who is wise in this generation will so prepare his meditation that at the moment of death he may read or have read out those passages in the Bhagavad Gita, The Voice of the Silence, or The Gospel According to St. John, that are exactly relevant to what is needed. Then he will be able to intone the Word, which involves the whole of one’s being and breathing, at the moment when he may joyously discard his mortal garment. It has been done, and it is being done. It can be done, and it will be done. Anyone can do it, but in these matters there is no room for chance or deception, for we live in a universe of law. Religion can be supported now by science, and to bring the two together in the psychology of self-transformation one needs true philosophy, the unconditional love of wisdom.

The crucifixion of Jesus and his subsequent resurrection had little reference to himself, any more than any breath he took during his life. Thus, in the Gospel, we read that Jesus promises that when he will be gone from the world, he will send the Paraclete. This archaic concept has exercised the pens of many scholars. What is the Paraclete? What does it mean? ‘Comforter’? ‘The Spirit of Truth’? Scholars still do not claim to know. The progress made in this century is in the honest recognition that they do not know, whereas in the nineteenth century they quarrelled, hurled epithets at each other out of arrogance, with a false confidence that did not impress anyone for long. The times have changed, and this is no moment for going back to the pseudo-complacency of scholasticism, because today it would be false, though at one time it might have had some understandable basis. Once it might have seemed a sign of health and could have been a pardonable and protective illusion. Today it would be a sign of sickness because it would involve insulting the intelligence of many young people, men and women, Christian, Jewish, Protestant, Catholic, but also Buddhist, Hindu, Moslem, Sikh, and every other kind of denomination. No one wants to settle for the absurdities of the past, but all nonetheless want a hope by which they may live and inherit the future, not only for themselves or their descendants, but for all living beings.

This, then, is a moment when people must ask what would comfort the whole of mankind. What did Jesus think would be a way of comforting all? Archetypally, the Gospel according to John is speaking in this connection of the mystery temple, where later all the sad failures of Christianity took place. This is the light and the fire that must be kept alive for the sake of all. Who, we may ask, will joyously and silently maintain it intact? Who will be able to say, as the dying Latimer said in Oxford in 1555“We shall this day light such a candle . . . as I trust shall never be put out.” Jesus was confident that among his disciples there were those who had been set afire by the flames that streamed through him. He was the Hotri, ‘the indispensable agent’ for the universal alkahest, the elixir of life and immortality. He was the fig tree that would bear fruit, but he predicted that there would be fig trees that would bear no fruit. He was referring to the churches that have nothing to say, nothing real to offer, and above all, do not care that much for the lost Word or the world’s proletariat, or the predicament and destiny of the majority of mankind.

His confidence was that which came to him, like everything in his life, from the Father, the Paraguru, the Lord of Libations, who, with boundless love for all, sustains in secret the eternal contemplation, together with the twoBodhisattvas – one whose eye sweeps over slumbering earth, and the other whose hand is extended in protecting love over the heads of his ascetics. Jesus spoke in the name of the Great Sacrifice. He spoke of the joy in the knowledge that there were a few who had become potentially like the leaven that could lift the whole lump, who had become true Guardians of the Eternal Fires. These are the vestal fires of the mystery temple which had disappeared in Egypt, from which the exodus took place. They had disappeared from Greece, though periodically there were attempts to revive them, such as those by Pythagoras at Delphi. They were then being poured into a new city called Jerusalem. In a sense, the new Comforter was the New Jerusalem, but it was not just a single city nor was it merely for people of one tribe or race.

Exoterically, the temple of Jerusalem was destroyed in 63 B.C. by Pompey and was rebuilt. Later it was razed to the ground again in 70 A.D. Since the thirteenth century no temple has been in existence there at all because that city has been for these past seven hundred years entirely in the hands of those who razed the old buildings and erected minarets and mosques. Now, people wonder if there really ever was a true Jerusalem, for everywhere is found the Babylon of confusion. Today it is not Origen who speaks to us, but Celsus, on behalf of all Epicureans. Everyone is tempted, like Lot’s wife, to be turned into salt by fixing their attention upon the relics and memories of the past long after they have vanished into the limbo of dissolution and decay.

Anyone, however, who has an authentic soul-vision is El Mirador. Jesus knew that the vision, entrusted to the safekeeping of a few, would inspire them to lay the basis of what would continue, because of what they did, despite all the corruption and the ceaseless crucifixion. Even today, two thousand years later, when we hear of the miracle of the limitless love of Jesus, when we hear the words he spoke, when we read about and find comfort in what he did, we are deeply stirred. We are abundantly grateful because in us is lit the chela-light of true reverential devotion to the Christos within. This helps us to see all the Christs of history, unknown as well as renowned, as embodiments of the One and Only – the One without a Second, in the cryptic language of the Upanishads. When this revelation takes place and is enjoyed inwardly, there are glad tidings, because it is on the invisible plane that the real work is done. Most people are fixated on the visible and want to wait for fruits from trees planted by other men. There are a few, however, who have realized the comfort to be derived in the true fellowship of those who seek the kingdom of God within themselves, who wish to become the better able to help and teach others, and who will be true in their faith from now until the twenty-first century. Some already have been using a forty-year calendar.

There have been such persons before us. Pythagoras called them Heroes. The Buddha called them Shravakas, true listeners, and Shramanas, true learners. Then there were some who became Srotapattis, ‘those who enter the stream,’ and among them were a few Anagamin, ‘those who need never return on earth again involuntarily.’ There were also those who were Arhans of boundless vision, Perfected Men, Bodhisattvas, endlessly willing to re-enter the cave, having taken the pledge of Kwan-Yin to redeem every human being and all sentient life.    Nothing less than such a vow can resurrect the world today. These times are very different from the world at the time of John because in this age outward forms are going to give no clues in relation to the work of the formless. Mankind has to grow up. We find Origen saying this in the early part of the third century and Philo saying the same even in the first century. Philo, who was a Jewish scholar and a student of Plato, was an intuitive intellectual, while Origen, who had studied the Gnostics and considered various philosophical standpoints, was perhaps more of a mystic or even an ecstatic. Both knew that the Christoscould only be seen by the eye of the mind. If therefore thine eye be single, Jesus said, thy whole body shall be full of Light. Those responding with the eyes of the body could never believe anything because, as Heraclitus said, “Eyes are bad witnesses to the soul.” The eyes of the body must be tutored by the eye of the mind. Gupta Vidya also speaks of the eye of the heart and the eye in the forehead – the eye of Wisdom-Compassion. Through it, by one’s own love, one will know the greater love. By one’s own compassion one will know the greater compassion. By one’s own ignorance one will recognize the ignorance around and seek the privilege of recognition of the Paraclete. Then, when the eye becomes single in its concentration upon the welfare of all, the body will become full of the light of the Christos. Once unveiled at the fundamental level of causality, it makes a man or woman an eternal witness to the true resurrection of the Son of Man into the highest mansions of the Father.

Hermes, April 1977
Raghavan Iyer

Men of the Mountain: Secret Masters and Theosophical Masons

What were the historical origins of Helena Blavatsky’s Theosophical ‘Secret Masters’? In the following paper we discuss how it may well have been the long-established heritage of high-grade continental masonry that gave birth to the particular spiritual and historical context in which the Theosophical movement was able to promote its ideas of ‘Secret Masters’ – ideas which ultimately tied in with fantastical beliefs surrounding a secret occult hierarchy supervising spiritual evolution on Earth, known as the ‘Great White Brotherhood’. Blavatsky portrayed these ‘Masters’ of the Great White Brotherhood or ‘Mahatmas’, as living in the remote mountains of the Himalayas, often materializing to the Theosophers in person, or communicating with them by ‘letters transmitted by occult means’… but were their origins actually much closer to home? […]

Source: http://pansophers.com/secret-masters-theosophy-masons/

Food for Thought …

“Those who represent an ideal beyond the comprehension of the masses must face the persecution of the unthinking multitude who are without that divine idealism which inspires progress and those rational faculties which unerringly sift truth from falsehood. The lot of the Initiate-Teacher is therefore almost invariably an unhappy one.

Pythagoras, crucified and his university burned; Hypatia, torn from her chariot and rended limb from limb; Jacques de Molay, whose memory survives the consuming flame; Savonarola, burned in the square of Florence; Galileo, forced to recant upon bended knee; Giordano Bruno, burned by the Inquisition; Roger Bacon, compelled to carry on his experiments in the secrecy of his cell and leave his knowledge hidden under cipher; Dante Alighieri, dying in exile from his beloved city; Francis Bacon, patient. under the burden of persecution; Cagliostro, the most vilified man of modern times–all this illustrious line bear unending witness of man’s inhumanity to man. The world has ever been prone to heap plaudits upon its fools and calumny upon its thinkers.

As is so often the case with genius, Pythagoras by his outspokenness incurred both political and personal enmity. Among those who came for initiation was one who, because Pythagoras refused to admit him, determined to destroy both the man and his philosophy. By means of false propaganda, this disgruntled one turned the minds of the common people against the philosopher. Without warning, a band of murderers descended upon the little group of buildings where the great teacher and his disciples dwelt, burned the structures and killed Pythagoras.”

– Manly P. Hall, The Secret Teachings of all Ages

The Secret Doctrine of the Rosicrucians, by Magus Incognito [1918]

This is one of the numerous Yogi Publication Society (YPS) books which have been attributed to William Walker Atkinson under pseudonym. It bears strong similarities to The Kybalion, which is also known to have been authored by Atkinson. The material was later re-worked as one of the volumes in his series The Arcane Teachings.

This etext was scanned from an original 1918 printing of this work. The pagination and emphasis differ slightly from modern YPS printings of this book.  […]

Read article here:  http://www.sacred-texts.com/sro/sdr/index.htm

MANLY P. HALL ON THE FALSE LIGHT OF NEW AGE SPIRITUALITY, PSEUDO/POP-SPIRITUALITY, SPIRITUAL BYPASSING/MATERIALISM, FALSE TEACHERS/GURUS, GREED, DISHONESTY, BLACK MAGIC RITUALS, THE TRAP OF ALLURING SHORT CUTS, AND THE CORRUPTION/MISUSE OF METAPHYSCIAL/SPIRITUAL TEACHINGS AND TECNHIQUES

Written in 1937. I might add that it has only gotten worse since then (by design) as we see in today’s marketing of New Age/pop-spirituality (incld. self-help gurus in the likes of Tony Robbins and anything related to “The Secret”), distorted esoteric principles/laws and spiritual practices:

“The field of popular metaphysics is now a battlefield of competitive isms. There is no code of fair play among the merchants of pseudo-religion/spirituality. Metaphysical movements fre­quently sacrifice integrity upon the altar of success. It was once observed by a prominent business man that it takes a great deal of advertising to sell an inferior product, and nearly all over-advertised pro­ducts are inferior.

Fakery and elaborate promises always go hand in hand. Fakery generally follows the line of least resistance. Nearly all people want to be beautiful. In this department metaphysics and cosmetics share the spoil. Nearly everyone wants to have a domi­nating, powerful, magnetic personality. Nearly everyone desires to be a citizen of distinction in his own community. The poor desire money, the moderately comfortable desire wealth, and the wealthy desire more wealth. The sick want to be well, the lame, the halt and the blind want to be relieved of their infirmities. These desires taken together are a fertile field for an individual with the exploiting instinct.

People fundamentally honest, in either ma­terial or spiritual matters, are not easily fooled. It is the streak of dishonesty in human nature that makes fraud profitable. People desiring something they have not earned are almost certain to lose in their effort to get it. It is the stupidity and cupidity of millions that sustain corruption in every depart­ment of society, and religion/spirituality cannot remain pure and undefiled while the men who make up the belief are in themselves corrupt.

Many metaphysicians have come to me with their tales of woe, of how they only wanted the Elixir of Life, the Philosopher’s Stone, and the se­cret of eternal wealth; that it had been promised to them in ten easy lessons at the ridiculously low sum of twenty-five dollars, and that they had been viciously cheated by a nasty man who could not de­liver the goods.

Universal law is as im­mutable as the seasons, as inevitable as the course of the stars, and no metaphysical maestro is going to alter these inevitables in ten lessons or in ten million lessons. The law of cause and effect is as in­evitable as day and night, as certain as the tides, and as constant as the ages. This law says that ‘as ye sow, so shall ye reap’. What you earn comes to you, what you have not earned can never be yours, and neither god nor man can alter the complexion of these facts.

There is no teaching more dangerous than that of special dispensation and special privileges. There are no such things in the universe and anyone claim­ing to be able to administer them is either self-delud­ed or fraudulent. If there be one thing constant in the universe it is law. This law is the hope of the wise, the firm rock upon which the informed build their philosophy of life. It is a fatal day for the truth-seeker when he lets some pseudo-mahatma talk him out of the realization of universal integrity.

Now let us see something of the truth of the situation. What are the material results of a life dedicated to a spiritual code of action? Of course we are referring now to a life. This does not mean a few weeks of instruction or ten simple lessons. It means exactly what the words themselves mean- a lifetime, year after year lived honestly and intelligently.

A man is not spiritualized because he reads books, or because he studies with some famous teacher, even if that teacher is bona fide. He is not spiritual because he knows spiritual people, or be­cause he recites a few platitudes morning and even­ing, or because he goes into the silence, or because he prays a formula, or because he chants Sanskrit, or because he pays dues to a metaphysical organiza­tion, or because he has been “initiated” into some mystical cult.

He is only a spiritual person because year after year he lives a spiritualized, philosophical life. There is an old saying common to the clergy, that the parishioners want to go to heaven on the coat-tails of the ministry, and there are a great many people who believe that their spiritual salvation is all worked out because they have joined an organi­zation with advanced views, or because they believe in Reincarnation and Karma, or because they love animals.

Some think they work out their eternal destiny with diet. Others strive to breathe their way into a divine state. Others use packages of ap­propriate herbs gathered by a “mahatma,” on the top of the Himalayas, sold at a dollar a package to the believers.

Religion [Spirituality/Esotericism] is not a fancy process of mechanical exercises or affirmations. It is not some­ thing that you-rub on. It is something you live day by day. Religion is the improvement of the self by a constant course of self-discipline, called the philo­sophic life. It is something to be lived, not talked about; something to be practiced, not affirmed. The great metaphysical systems of the past have descended to us in a fragmentary condition due to the centuries of theological blight that nearly de­stroyed classical philosophy. Pythagoras and Plato were metaphysicians, so were Buddha and Confuc­ius, but their metaphysics has little in common with the popular brand.

To study metaphysics in the hope of curing a stomach ache, or of attaining cosmic consciousness, or increasing the income, is to be guilty of sacrilege to say the least, or possibly better, absurdity and effrontery.

The ages have sought for truth. Hun­dreds of millions have lived to achieve it and mil­lions have died for it. Heroes, martyrs, sages, saints and prophets, and demigods of forgotten ages, are the priests of this great house. The gates of this sanctuary are to be approached only with reverence. The ancient road that leads to it is worn smooth with the footsteps of uncounted multi­tudes, and the modern metaphysician of today is so incapable of perceiving even dimly the immensity and sanctity of this science, that he confuses this di­vine program with a business mens’ cooperative luncheon club, or a local clinic.

The Ancient Wisdom offers nothing to a disciple of the Great Work but the opportunity to improve himself by a consistent program of intelligently directed effort. No individ­ual is ready for a religious, spiritual or philosophical life while he has to be induced into the process of being good by promises of material reward. Wise men study philosophy, not so they will remain young forever, but that they may grow old wisely. No man studies the Ancient Wisdom teachings with a view to in­creasing his personal wealth, because philosophy, if anything, will probably separate him from what he now has.

Philosophy makes men rich not in out­ ward possessions but in inward consciousness. Philos­ophy stores up treasures within, where thieves can­ not steal nor time corrupt.

The law and the prophets are misquoted and mis­translated in an effort to make them justify the fool­ish belief that God wants all men to be healthy, happy and rich whether they live well or not. As a matter of fact, the universe has no particular inter­est in man’s happiness, any more than man is moved deeply by the state of comfort or discomfort that may exist in a beehive or ant-hill.

In order to be happy, man must live well. He must be honest to his world, honest to himself, and conscious of the purpose for his own existence. If man keeps the laws of life, lives intelligently and nobly, and uses his mind for the perfection of his inward nature and for the assistance of others, he is entitled to a reasonable amount of happiness. In fact, if he does these things, he is happy and is not spending his time looking around for platitudinous solutions to his imperfections.

The same principle applies to the problem of wealth. Nature has not decreed nor the universe foreordained that man should be wealthy; in fact the whole theory of wealth is of human fabrication, for nature stores up what it needs and man accumulates what he does not need.

Wealth is the heaviest responsibility that an individual has to carry in this world, and right decision concerning its use is one of the heaviest causes of Karma. It is a con­stant temptation and binds the individual to a host of responsibilities and decisions. It takes up a vast amount of time and renders the mind confused and wearied and unfitted for philosophical study.

True metaphysics is concerned with universal facts, with the divine life of man that extends far beyond this mortal sphere. True metaphysics is life under law, man flowing through the universe upon the currents of divine law like a ship moved by the great currents of the ocean. The wise man does not desire to escape from law but rather aspires to perfect harmony with it. Any metaphysical teacher, therefore, who would tempt man’s mind away from the acceptance of those universal principles which sustain the world is guilty of the promulgation of false doctrines. There has never been any of the great Mystery Schools that ever promised power, enlightenment or security until after the in­dividual perfected the virtues within himself.

It must be evident that a group of people gathered from all parts of a community, with no effort made to discriminate between their varying degrees of undevelopment, can never be promised any spiritual advantage by any metaphysical teacher or organiza­tion. Metaphysics is all inward chemistry, philo­sophical chemistry, based on the principle: the bet­ter we are, the more we can know. If we are not anything in ourselves, it is humanly impossible for any being, human or divine, to impress upon us the realization of truths beyond the state of our own development.

There is no exception to this, there is no way of avoiding, evading or escaping this fun­damental metaphysical fact.

Any effort to force conditions which are not mer­ited comes under the heading of Black Magic or sorcery. A sorcerer is simply a person who uses the mechanical processes of the will in an effort to force out of nature things or conditions not merited under the law of Karma. By hypnosis, by the exercise of will power, by formulas, it is sometimes possible to temporarily here in the physical world force the semblance of unjustified conditions.

A man can steal by metaphysical means just the same as he might rob a bank or forge a name, or in some other harmful way come into possession of that which is not his own, but the mere fact that it can be ac­complished in such a manner does not justify the process nor make right the wrong principle which is involved.

By the malicious use of will power and animal magnetism the law of cause and effect can apparently be nullified for a short time. But again the mere fact that it can be accomplished does not establish the integrity of such a process. The only way in which any individual can honestly possess what he desires is to earn or deserve that thing.
Again there are no exceptions.

When some meta­physician stands up and tells you that he has a pri­vate way with the universe by which he can justify the misuse of power, only very foolish people will pay any attention to him. Black magic is not philos­ophy any more than bank robbery is ethics. If the whole problem is lifted to a metaphysical level, un­trained minds are very apt to lose sight of values and proportions.

Metaphysical black magic has flourished for many thousands of years, for there always has been and will probably continue to be for an indefinite period of time a class of people who desire to possess without the labor of acquiring by legitimate means. No one can be morally dishonest and at the same time pretend to be spiritual or philosophical. On the other hand it would be wrong to say that man’s spiritual efforts, when wisely and honestly directed, are not rewarded in a wholly adequate way.

Wis­dom bestows a security far beyond that of wealth, gives inward peace and outward patience. It clears the mind of innumerable false values that clutter up the reasoning of the majority, it frees thought to contemplate the real. Philosophy rewards men with a coinage of its own, it gives them that which they have earned and which the world cannot take from them.

Wisdom is its own reward and those who possess it can never be humiliated, impoverished or degraded. Wisdom is not of this world but of the secret world that lies behind. The rewards of wisdom are not of this world but also of that secret place which is the abode of wisdom.

Wise men re­tire from worldliness to dwell in the presence of truth and in this achieve the rational end for which the human fabric was devised. Hence we cannot say that the quest for truth is all struggle and no result, for with each small gain we make within ourselves there is an appropriate extension of consciousness and enlightenment in our natures. The only thing is that we must learn not to think of philosophy in terms of dollars and cents, of real estate and of mortgages. Philosophy does not pay us in dollars because they are not of the world of philosophy.

Man has an erroneous idea that by unfolding consciousness he can become one of the princes of the earth, possessing all material things and an object of universal admiration.

Religion/Spirituality is not super-salesmanship, nor is it a substitute for the doc­tor, the dentist and the grocer. The work of religion is to give man inner character, not outer opulence. It often follows that man’s material conditions are improved by his religion, but it also frequently fol­lows that materially he remains an insignificant figure. It is a terrible mistake to use spiritual means in an effort to accomplish material ends. It is a dis­tinct prostitution of that which is too fine and too noble to be so perverted and contaminated.

The honest-minded metaphysician should avoid, as he would the plague, teachers and teachings which promise him freedom from the physical responsibili­ties of life and the famous “peace, power and plenty” psychology of the inflated 20’s.

These problems affect the beginner who must seek for truth through one of those jarring sects that make up the metaphysical-religious field of today. It may be a disappointment to some to realize that religion as aphorism or platitude is not a substitute for living, working and thinking, but this discovery must finally be made, once made, becomes the guiding star in the quest for real and permanent values.

Gone are the noble mas­ters of that elder day. Only their shadows have de­scended to us, a few fragments of their words, a story, a fable. These alone bind us to the great philosophical institutions of the past. We live in a material generation and our minds have become used to the idea of interpreting everything on a cash basis. The abstract wealth of beauty, of dream, of vision, of hope and aspiration, of ethics and logic­ all this is beyond the appreciation of the average man of today.

The underlying materialistic psychology of the age contributes much to religious fraud. We at­tempt to establish our theologies on the profit sys­tem. The whole world today is envisioning a period to come when money will not be the sovereign factor in our thoughts and lives. We are beginning to realize the limitations of wealth and that money is only useful to the degree that it can contribute to our opportun­ity to improve our inward selves. Today money can secure leisure but cannot guarantee the intelligent use of leisure. It can purchase education but education is bankrupt as far as ethical and aesthetic values are concerned.

What all men are really seeking is some form of inner contentment or tranquillity that can give them courage over outer circumstances. Philos­ophy bestows the strength of right decision, it gives resistance to temptation, and leveling all extremes of action, reduces wealth and poverty to a common state, elevating only truth to a position of first importance.

We all desire to be better than we are. There are millions of people in this country who want to understand the principles of the mystic life. In their hearts these people are willing but their viewpoints are distorted by false teachings and in­ adequate understanding. To these people must come the realization that honesty is the beginning of wis­dom and that without honesty no great spirituality can be accomplished.

Honesty should have its be­ginning in the realization that we have no right to anything we have not earned. What we have we must use wisely, what we have not we must earn. All the theological pray­ers of the ages put together have not the constructive power of one nobly executed action or one profound­ly realized truth. To pray for things we have not earned is dishonest; to pray to be relieved of evils we have not mastered is dishonest; to desire anything that is not merited is unphilosophical.

The competition of creeds may leave us upon the horns of a dilemma, but of one thing we can be sure, regardless of our creeds or our beliefs-the spiritual life begins with right action. Honesty is the first step towards truth. Self-control, inward tranquillity, detachment from possession, bal­ance of emotion-all these virtues are absolutely necessary to the understanding of any religious, spiritual or philosophical system.”

~ Manly P. Hall

Contemplations …

“When man goes in search of the Way, it generally signifies that something within him has collapsed. Apart from exceptional cases, this collapse is preceded by a re-assessment of moral values, which in the searcher’s eyes lose the value he had previously given to them. This re- assessment itself has been provoked by the accumulation of more or less violent shocks which have given birth to negative emotions.

To be inclined towards esoteric work by positive emotions and success, one should be just, naturally pure, and not having been soiled by life. For most men success and joy, instead of awakening them, plunge them into mental sleep. Success, they say, turns the head. From the esoteric point of view, disagreeable shocks are a better base for work than happy accidents. The humility demanded by the Tradition is necessary as a screen against the noxious influences to which the least exterior or interior success exposes man. However, here as elsewhere one must avoid extremes. Everything, says St Isaac the Syrian, is adorned by measure. Even beauty, out of measure, looks deformed.

Interior collapse leads to certain consequences. Man starts to see things in a different light. Two diametrically opposed effects can result. If man is sufficiently strong and impartial, he will not lower his eyes before implacable reality. He will have the courage to face things directly, and to accept the constatations which are imposed on him, no matter how disagreeable they are. This signifies that he has firmly started on the track which leads to the path of Access to the Way. On the other hand, if the man is weak, this experience will weaken him even more. The law is explicit: ‘To whosoever hath, to him shall be given. But whosoever hath not, from him shall be taken away even that which he hath.’

If man does not accept his situation and, in particular, his inner state as it appears to him, thanks to brief illuminations from the consciousness of the real ‘I’—if he is obstinate against all evidence, justifying his Personality by protecting himself behind logic, legitimacy and justice, he will then turn his back on the path of Access, and thrust himself further into the wilderness.

We repeat: unless he is one of the just or righteous, nobody can reach the path of Access to the Way, without first passing through an interior bank- ruptcy; a moral collapse. That alternative is rather rare.”

– Boris Mouravieff, Gnosis

From “The Secret Doctrine” – HP Blavatsky

“To Initiated Adepts throughout the whole world … He is, as said, the “Nameless One” who has so many names, and yet whose names and whose very nature are unknown. He is the “Initiator,” called the “GREAT SACRIFICE.” For, sitting at the threshold of LIGHT, he looks into it from within the circle of Darkness, which he will not cross; nor will he quit his post till the last day of this life-cycle. Why does the solitary Watcher remain at his self-chosen post? Why does he sit by the fountain of primeval Wisdom, of which he drinks no longer, as he has naught to learn which he does not know – aye, neither on this Earth, nor in its heaven? Because the lonely, sore-footed pilgrims on their way back to their home are never sure to the last moment of not losing their way in this limitless desert of illusion and matter called Earth-Life. Because he would fain show the way to that region of freedom and light, from which he is a voluntary exile himself, to every prisoner who has succeeded in liberating himself from the bonds of flesh and illusion. Because, in short, he has sacrificed himself for the sake of mankind, though but a few Elect may profit by the GREAT SACRIFICE.”

 ~ from The Secret Doctrine, by H.P. Blavatsky

Today’s Meditation, by Sri Parvathi Kumar

Tables turn. Time tables framed. Planetary
adjustments. Levels set in squares. Set-squares erected.
Right angles established. Wrong angles adjusted.
Accounts squared up.

Commentary:

As the hunter becomes the king, many pleasant transformations happen in him.  The soul, the traveller, takes to an altogether different direction in travel from now onwards. The life plan changes totally but gradually. A new time-table is framed for him in tune with the Divine Plan. The individual plan merges into the Divine Plan. Consequently, the planetary aspects of his horoscope get adjusted and do not impose the Karma as before. On the contrary, planetary cooperation takes place and planetary adjustments thus happen.

An appropriate orientation is gained towards the objectivity. The objectivity is seen as the field for the intelligent manifestation of the Divine Plan. The objectivity is the square with which levels are set. The
disciple functions with the surrounding people at level. He interacts with a child like a child, with an adult as an adult, with the wise as the wise, with intellectuals as an intellectual, with diplomats as a diplomat, with the defaulters as the ruler, with the devotional as their God, with friends as a friend, etc. Thus, in the square of objectivity, he sets levels as per others. As per him, he has no level. He lives in “nil, none, nought levels.”

With his reoriented new approach to life and to objectivity, he erects fresh structures of life in the fellow beings, establishing right angles in them and lovingly eliminating the wrong angles in order to enable them to clear their Karma. This is the work of every accomplished soul.

All these adjustments can be seen in the biographies of initiates such as Jesus and Moses in the West and Yudhishtira, Nala, Harischandra and a host of others in the East.