the frontiers of what we know
Dec 23, 1993 07:01 AM
In a study of Theosophy, we find that the more that we learn, the more
that we push back the frontiers of our knowledge, the more that we
grown in an understanding of the Teachings, the more lacking in
understanding we realize that we are.
With each further insight into the mysteries of life, we come to find
even more unanswered questions that we had before. But the questions
are different, deeper, richer, more full of wonder. We find that the
study of the Esoteric Philosophy expands and there is increasingly
more to it with each passing day.
A good analogy would be to a sphere. What is contained within it is the
known, and what is outside it is the unknown. As the sphere grows to
contain more and more of the unknown, its surface area expands. And that
surface area, the boundary between the known and unknown, in growing,
represents increasingly more unanswered questions about life. As we
progress in our studies, we find that life has more and more wonders to
it, that life becomes more wonderful with each passing day, and the
only limit to what we will contain is ourselves, our own individual
reach and ability to contain things.
The first, and primary source of our studies, as students of Theosophy,
is from our Teachers, reaching down to us from a grand chain of
teacher receiving from still greater Teacher, a chain reaching inwards
and upwards until we can no longer follow it, a golden succession of
Teachers and Teachings, of a passing on of light and wisdom and love,
called sometimes by the term *guruparampara*.
When the Teachings reach us, in the western world, the connection may
be weak, tenuous, somewhat uncertain, but there is a connection. And
that connection is a holy, sacred one, for it deals with something
very special that we all carry within, the light of buddhic
consciousness, the buddhic splendor.
The awakening of this light within ourselves is an individual thing,
we must *do it ourselves*, but still there needs to be a connection
to the golden chain, a connection to the Hierarchy of Compassion and
its influence in the world.
We are told that when the student is ready, the teacher will appear.
And we are told that when we approach the temple door, and give the
right knock, that we will be granted admission. In these and other ways,
we are told that upon reaching the proper state of readiness and making
the call in our hearts, that the call will be answered and we will be
admitted, that we will be accepted into the work.
This being admitted, though, is not a matter of asking *to receive* and
then *getting*. If our thoughts are solely of self, of our own personal
benefit, we are not truly ready, and will be passed over. Others may
come and bait us with promices of riches and powers, of wealth and
influence in this world or of rapid inner development, but we must
depend upon our own good fortune, our good karma, and perhaps some help
from above, to not be drawn into these other things. And should we be
ensnared, we at best can expect to be delayed, if not spiritually
An esoteric teacher will not *tell* you, he will set the proper stage,
establish the correct atmosphere, and *evoke* the ideas out of you.
The teacher will bring you to the point of readiness where you will on
your own arrive at the ideas. The ideas then truly belong to you, you
genuinely understand them, and you, most importantly, have exercized
and developed a bit more your own innate ability to approach the
ideas directly, by way of your own inner teacher.
Meeting a Teacher in life is rare, extremely rare, and we should not
assume that we cannot progress without one. In a general sense, life
itself is our teacher, and we draw about us those things that we most
need for our growth and for our own exercise of our innate spiritual
faculties. In a more specific sense, there are other approaches to
a teacher, apart from knowing one in person, in the body.
The most obvious contact, one which we have now, is through the writings
of that teacher. The writings of Mahatmas K.H. and M. are available
in a book of their letters, and through the writings of their chelas,
some of whom like H.P. Blavatsky where working with the express purpose
of making certain teachings publically available.
Now you might say that you've bought H.P.B.'s books and read them, and
now what should you do? But have you really read them? Have you *really*
read the source books and penetrated deeply into what they say?
The theosophical literature does not stop at the plain, obvious,
extoeric intepretations of its words. There are many levels of meaning
to them. There are not only different keys or manners of interpretation
to pull out meanings from the words, but there are also many levels of
understanding of the Teachings themselves.
The Teachings are hinted at, they are talked around, portions of them
are presented here and there, and the intent is to ready the student
to suddenly, on his own, to pull it all together, with a big *ah hah!*
and have his own realizations. Certain grand truths would either sound
silly, or be unintelligable, if told plainly, to someone without the
proper mental preparation and readiness. And it is not because the
ideas are themselves nonsense, but rather that there are no good words
to use to describe them, no richness of language in English to convey
them, and many go far beyond simple words to describe.
The deeper Truths cannot be passed on as a written heritage. They
can only be preserved by the high Mahatmas as an oral tradition. There
may be symbol and glyph as teaching aids, but the actual understanding
is passed on from Guru to Disciple, from teacher to student, from
learned Mahatma to Mahatma whom would know and carry on the living
knowledge. The written record, be it in senzar or whatever language
or symbol set, acts more as a outline of topics than a commentary or
discourse on the Wisdom Tradition.
For us, we can look to life for teaching us. If we open up to the
spiritual, the circumstances of our life will arrange themselves so
as to teach us. And this teaching is in the form of circumstances
that evoke from us, that provide for situations where we can exercize
from our own initiative our spiritual will, our compassion, and our
ability *to know*.
We can also find that through the books themselves, that we can be
put into touch with the Teachers. The thought atmosphere is there,
the thought atmosphere of the Mysteries of ancient day, and when we
dwell therein, we can grow in wisdom and find ourselves drawn into
karmic connection with the work of the Masters.
In our study of Theosophy, we must not stand at the shoreline, looking
at the waters, and never jump in! We have the books, we have the
philsophy that tells us what we must do. We can keep it as an
emotional game of make-believe this or make-believe that; we can keep
it as a hobby; we can keep it as an intellectual exercise of reading
and simply repeating what we've read, as a collector of curious ideas.
Or, on the other hand, we can take it as real, believe it, and do it!
We will never find out what it's really about until we engage it in our
lives, until we give it the same belief and confidence and trust that
we give to the sun rising in the morning, or to the continued beat of
Our approach to this reality is not made simply by intelletual accuracy.
The understanding of the Teachings that we arrive at is no closer to
the Truth, when we can say that this idea comes from a quote by K.H.,
that one by M., and the third by H.P.B. in such-and-such a book.
When we take Theosophy and *practice* it, we find that we can go far
in our understanding of the philosophy, and we find the ideas proved
from within, for there is a way of connecting up with the *source* of
the teachings, that goes beyond any book read, that lets us go places
in our deeper thoughts that go unmentioned in the books.
We have a responsibility to pass on what we have learned. And we must
communicate as competely and accurately what we know as we can. But
it is still a matter of personal discretion as to how far we go, as to
when we remain silent and say no more. There may be quite a number of
students of Theosophy that know more than they feel free to talk about.
The Esoteric Philosophy quickly takes us to doctrines that are difficult
if possible at all to put into words. It contains Teachings that cannot
be communicated without the proper state of readiness in the learner,
and for which few have readied themselves. It is something that is real,
genuine, and available for the taking, and it is possible, when knowing
it, to distinguish it from the false.
No matter how brilliant and clever the words, they will take the
reader no farther than what was contained in the mind and heart of the
writer. If we approach our studies--and our times of writing as well--
with open minds, with aspiring hearts, with an unselfish seeking to
benefit others, with a sense of approaching Mystery and allying
ourselves with the thought current of the Wisdom Tradition, then we
will succeed. We will then penetrate the unknown and find that there is
knowledge therein, and will have grown and be more helpful to others
because of the experience.
One sign that we are on the right track is that as we study, as we
progress from one level of understanding to the next, we find that we
are not tossed to and fro in our thinking, we do not one day reject an
idea, the next day embrace it, and on the next morning discard it anew.
We start off with the core concepts, and find them increasingly
enriched at each step along the way. But we find that with new, deeper
levels of meaning to the doctrines, that we have fuller, more complete,
richer ways of looking at them.
The terminology used in our literature was borrowed from the various
religions and philosophies of the world. The terms are borrowed and
do not always carry the same meaning for us as in their native
philosophy or religion. And the terms are used with multiple meanings,
as a blind, to allow for deeper teachings to be given, under the veil
of saying simplier things.
Our real challenge is to take these hints, these deeper thoughts, and
to explore them. When we pause in our reading, and think about the
passage before us, it is in that time that we are really doing our
study. The words act as a seed, and the ideas are born as we bring
them to germination within our minds and hearts. We take the written
words as a diving board, off of which we jump into the Teachings. And
we find that there's a whole world of experience awaiting us!
We should always strive to communicate what we've learned, to do so
as accurately and truthfully as possible. We should take great pains to
insure that the philosophy is not misrepresented and others are not
mislead. But when we speak of being true to the philosophy, we are
refering to the *philosophy itself*, the living Wisdom Tradition, the
reality that the printed words only point to.
We must be faithful to the underlying reality, and that does not mean
that we can teach each idea to a specific writer, like this one came
from K.H., that one from Damodar, the third from Purucker. We should,
rather, trace each idea back to the Mystery, the living understanding
that we can carry within ourselves, and insure that it is infilled
with the inspiriation and sense of the spirit that it was borne to us
in. We keep the ideas true to the *source*, but that source is not a
quote. The source is the living inspiration, the reality that we come
into contact with in our deeper studies. The ideas remain true to it
as long as they carry that inspiration in our lives, and we communicate
them true to their source *when they convey that inspiration*.
Let us seek out the truth, go after the Wisdom Tradition, delve
deeply into the Teachings. And take what we have in life, what
surrounds us, and use as our teachers what we find. For we are all
surrounded by all the teachers that we will ever need. Perhaps we will
grow and change and over time other, grander teachers will appear.
But for ourselves, where we are in live at this very moment, we have
teachers about it, hidden perhaps, teachers in many forms that can
be engaged at this very moment in time! Let's wake up and get going!
Eldon Tucker (email@example.com)
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