responsibility to the Teachings
Dec 03, 1993 09:33 AM
When we come to study and teach Theosophy, we are faced with difficult
choices. We are faced with the choice of how to handle attacks on the
philsophy and on its Teachers. We are faced with misunderstood
Teachings. And we are faced with the erronous but sincere views of
others who claim to be presenting estoeric teachings.
What responsibility do we have to stand up for Theosophy? We hear of
the many ideas from other groups, with their make-believe worldviews.
Some of them contain a degree of the philosophy. There are other things
taught as well, things that either represent different cosmologies or,
much worse, things taught that mislead the student in his life. It is
far worse to teach an approach to life that leads away from his heart,
from his inner spiritual nature, than merely to teach an erronous
description of how our world was formed, and the inner workings of
We can to into a bookstore, and go to the metaphysical section, and
find all sorts of stories of invisible worlds, of beings and their
interaction with us, of stories of our role in the scheme of things.
We can read many different, conflicting teachings regarding how we'll
attain perfection and the process of doing so.
In our lives, we meet people reading and learning all these different
philosophies. Should we corect people, or leave them to their beliefs?
Should we disagree, should we pretend agreement but add a thought or
two in a "what if" manner, or should we keep silent? What should our
role be in preserving and protecting the treasure of teachings that
we have been priviledged to have received?
We are told that we have a responsibility to pass on what we have
heard in a pure form, but what do we say, and to whom? Do we associate
with people with erronous views? We have been told that false but
sincerely held beliefs is the greatest barrier to the Masters, much
greater a barrier than physical grossness, even of drinking. Is that
barrier something we must help others remove, or could it be a
protective caccoon, a safe place for them to hide until they are ready
to emerge into the light?
Part of our responsibility is to defend others when attached, and to
defend the philosophy. And this is not in the sense of, like a little
child, getting into a "I'm right, you're not" sort of shouting match.
We sincerely, with our greatest attempt at clarity, seek to express
the Teachings that were misunderstood. We give out as much as is
appropriate and possible for the situation, and leave the other to
accept what he may. We should never react out of personal affront, out
of personal anger, out of a sense of defending ourselves.
Another aspect of our responsibility is to give clear expression to
the philosophy, in a discussion, when we have some thoughts that would
clearly be of benefit to the others. We must not keep silent, and hold
back, when we are capable of sharing. We must see that the gift we
have been, that of a special understanding of life, is not wasted, but
is rather put to its fullest use, in being freely shared to the
benefit of all.
A third aspect of our responsibility is to the very deepest insights
that we have ascended to in our inmost searching. We must communicate
these, too, in some form. Even this cannot be completely held within.
We should seek out others to share our thoughts with, or find some
activity in life that can express them. To hold back, even at the
deepest levels, and not share these understandings, is to lose them,
to lose contact with their source.
But this sharing must be handled carefully, since we are dealing with
Treasures, we are dealing with Truths that are meant to be kept secret.
How do we share them, yet keep them secret? One way is to have an
advanced study class, since therein we can share, communicate, and
express what we've found with a minimal chance of misunderstanding.
We can be stimulated to go even deeper, in our studies, by attending
and participating in the right class. But yet there are still deeper
Truths that go beyond what we can discuss in a class.
Looking at the Teachings, we see that they cover a whole spectrum of
knowledge, from the most simple to the profoundly esoteric. The
simple philosophy, on the one end of the spectrum, contains ethics,
kind thoughts, simple truths about the loving nature of the world
we live in, Truths that we can tell even our children, Truths that are
of benefit to everyone we meet in life.
At the other end of the spectrum, we find profoundly esoteric Truths,
technical teachings that we can share with but a few, or can only dwell
on in solitude.
The Esoteric Philosophy contains knowledge that goes from the plain and
simple to knowledge that is too deep for words, knowledge that can only
be communicated by symbol and glyph, from those who know to those who
would learn, an oral tradition.
If we were to undertake a study of mathematics, we would read books,
study with fellow students of mathematics, and learn from greater ones,
students whom have advanced to being professors and researchers. We
would study what they pass on to us, try the lessons they give, and
there would be a transmission of knowledge.
The learning process is one of mental training, of study, of association
with those who know, who act as teachers to us. It is not one of
paranormal visions. We do not go to a medium to get the words of a
disembodied spirit to explain differential equations to us. The psychic
vision is of no use to the process of learning, to the process of
cultivating the mind, to the process of learning to heed the voice of
the inner teacher.
We go to those whom know to be taught. And we participate in the
transmission of the Teachings. We are a link in the living chain of
knowledge, rising from Teacher to yet greater Teacher, to the very core
of manifest life. And we are responsible to see that the knowledge that
we have been given is passed on to others, that we continue the link and
see that those trailing behind us can share in what we have been given.
In our sharing of what we know, we must take care in how we present
things to the general public. We do not want to draw too much public
attention, since the world is not ready yet for the deeper Truths.
We can work the simpler Truths into our regular creative activities.
(An example might be the fiction of James Joyce, a Theosophist who knew
H.P.B., allowing something of Thesophy to work its way into his
writings.) Our ideas would be disguised, and assimilated into popular
The more advanced ideas, the Teachings in their pure form, though, are
for the thousands, not for the millions, and we cannot expect most
people to go for them. This is not to say that the people are bad or
lacking in any manner. They can be very good friends of ours, kind,
noble people, who are simply not ready yet.
Being ready for the Path, though, does not mean that we have flawless
personalities. The time comes for us because of a ripening, an
opening up, a centering of our consciousness in the heart of our being.
And when we say *heart,* we do not mean the physical organ, the heart
chakra, the seat of feelings and emotions. We refer to the other
meaning of heart, the inmost nature, the central part, the core of
our being. It is this heart that the spiritual literature of the world
For all but a chosen few, this life that we lead is fine. Those who
are looking for more may have been discouraged in life from some
personal tragedy, but this is not the sort of searching that will lead
to the Path. We are not unhappy with one form of personal existence and
now seeking another. We are, rather, unhappy with personal existence
itself, and feel a divine discontent. We seek something greater than
just existing in and as human personalities. We feel the call of a
grander scheme of existence, and are seeking to engage the process of
self-perfection that will lead us to our goal. And this process is
called the Path.
There is something more than just being a human being, a human
personality as we know it, and we want it. And this is not mere
extension to the powers of physical existence. It is not other senses
or control over physical nature. It is not a strengthening of the
personality, giving us paranormal powers and the physical strength of
dinosars. It is a higher form of consciousness, *in addition to* what
we currently are, an entirely new aspect to life that we currently
do not have, but deeply miss.
There are forms of awareness, of appreciation and experience of life
that are entirely missing in our lives, to which as rich a variety of
experience can be had, as we have through our minds. Consider the
complexity and diversity of thought required to live our lives. Consider
what can be found in a library! Consider how much of our physical
existence is governed by what goes on in our minds, apart from any
physical thing that we may be doing. Then consider that an equally
rich variety of experience awaits us, in an entirely different way of
experiencing things, a whole other way of living life that also
operates at its own level, also apart from our actual physical
And even in addition to the *new faculties of consciousness*, we have
vastly deeper levels of development awaiting us in faculties that we
already have. We've started to develope the mind in the human kingdom,
to make it a self-conscious part of our lives. But its development
*does not stop* with humanity. There is wisdom and understanding beyond
imagine awaiting us in the distant future!
Coming back to our reponsibility to the Teachings, we have a dual duty
to defend them, and share them as we can. In sharing them, they may
influence our personal contribution to the world, in whatever way that
our talents lie. Since they come out disguised, blended in with our
activities, they may take on any personal form that we may give to
The direct sharing, though, of the Mystery Teachings, are only with
the chosen few. The deepest things that we know are not meant to be
given to any and all that we meet. We are told to know, to dare, to
will, and to keep silent. And there are few to whom we may break the
silence with. But we must find them, and share with them too, or we
will suffer and our inner progress with come to a stop, and stagnate.
There are certain things that we can only talk about with others at
a similar stage of training. Classes are helpful, or even estoeric
groups, with controlled attendance. Skeptics can disrupt the thought
atmosphere and destroy the spiritual presence in a gathering, and
uprepared students cannot follow what is going on, they miss too much.
There are others, too, whom would not benefit from coming, the true
believers type of people. They accept a form of belief as a follower,
without really understanding it, but profess a belief and pay lip
service to it.
Someone may have latched onto Theosophy as an exoteric belief system,
but could as well have chosen to believe almost anything else as well.
This person would be non-functional in higher thought, and would just
miss out on what is going on in the class. He may think that the others
there are too narrow or arbitrary in their views, because he does not
see *how* they are thinking, but only hears them express certain ideas,
ideas for which he does not himself see the reasons for. He does not
follow their lines of thought, being not attune to the theosophical
thought current, and cannot really participate in what is going on.
This higher form of thought, which is a very special, rare gift--if
anything can be called a gift, knowing the law of karma!--is alike to
love. If you've experienced it, you know what it is, and there is no
mistake about it. But if you haven't, it's all speculation and seems
so very unreal!
There is yet another way that we carry on our responsibility to the
Teachings. We are to pass on what we know, in appropriate times,
appropriate places, appropriate ways to others. But this includes
passing them on to ourselves too! We hold the Teachings at the back of
our minds, during the activities of the day, letting them illuminate
our lives even when we are not directly at their study.
We hear of a state of learning, of knowing, of thinking where there is
a radiant mind. And the world does transform and become for us a
different place. It is as though we are on another plane of existence,
although still here, in physical bodies, still doing physical activites.
But this is because our consciousness has changed, we have changed
ourselves, and not from outer, physical changes to our bodies or to
the world about us.
We have grown in the strength of our inner nature and of our power to
affect the inner natures of others. This growth in not in terms of
matter, in terms of the power to produce physical phenomena. We are
on the path of spirit, not that of matter. Our ultimate goal is to
become an impersonal force for good in the world, with no direct
physical presence on this plane, but that lies off in the far distant
We learn to live, to become, to radiate the highest virtues, of truth,
beauty, love, wisdom, and become philosopher-saints, where our
inner natures are illuminated and illuminate others. We do not become
towering giants of physical and psychical powers, the embodiment of
brute physical force.
The highest in the world, the most spiritual, the most holy, the
most lofty, but one step removed from non-existence, does not directly
manifest itself on our earth. It must work through many grades of
intermediate beings, each grade receiving the light from above, and
passing it on the the next lower one. And it reaches its bottom, its
farthest reach in the material world, at this, our physical plane, as
we find it here on Globe D earth.
When we rise beyond the need to exist here, when we become an
impersonal force for good here, on this earth, with no direct physical
presence, then we've really found our home on the next level, on the
next globe or plane, where we they find our embodied existence. We've
moved up one rung in the ladder of light, still holding our our hands
to those behind us, and carry on the work of the uplifting of the
world, of the saving of all of life, of the bringing unto
enlightenment of all that lives!
Eldon Tucker (firstname.lastname@example.org)
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Dedicated to the Theosophical Philosophy and its Practical Application