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Feb 25, 1996 04:56 PM
by Alan


Text supplied by Eldon Tucker
Converted to ASCII by Alan Bain

Theosophists and Members of the T.S.

Q. This applies to lay members, as I understand. And what of
those who pursue the esoteric study of Theosophy; are they the
real Theosophists?

A. Not necessarily, until they have proven themselves to be
such. They have entered the inner group and pledged themselves
to carry out, as strictly as they can, the rules of the occult
body. This is a difficult undertaking, as the foremost rule of
all is the entire renunciation of one's personality, i.e., a
pledged member has to become a thorough altruist, never to think
of himself, and to forget his own vanity and pride in the
thought of the good of his fellow-creatures, besides that of his
fellow-brothers in the esoteric circle. He has to live, if the
esoteric instructions shall profit him, a life of abstinence in
everything, of self-denial and strict morality, doing his duty
by all men. The few real Theosophists in the T.S. are among
these members.

This does not imply that outside of the T.S. and the inner
circle, there are no Theosophists; for there are, and more than
people know of; certainly far more than are found among the lay
members of the T.S.

Q. Then what is the good of joining the so-called Theosophical
Society in that case? Where is the incentive?

A. None, except the advantage of getting esoteric instructions,
the genuine doctrines of the "Wisdom-Religion," and if the real
program is carried out, deriving much help from mutual aid and
sympathy. Union is strength and harmony, and well-regulated
simultaneous efforts produce wonders. This has been the secret
of all associations and communities since mankind existed.

Q. But why could not a man of well-balanced mind and singleness
of purpose, one, say, of indomitable energy and perseverance,
become an Occultist and even an Adept if he works alone?

A. He may; but there are ten thousand chances against one that
he will fail. For one reason out of many others, no books on
Occultism or Theurgy exist in our day which give out the secrets
of alchemy or medieval Theosophy in plain language. All are
symbolical or in parables; and as the key to these has been lost
for ages in the West, how can a man learn the correct meaning of
what he is reading and studying? Therein lies the greatest
danger, one that leads to unconscious black magic or the most
helpless mediumship. He who has not an Initiate for a master had
better leave the dangerous study alone. Look around you and
observe. While two-thirds of civilized society ridicule the mere
notion that there is anything in Theosophy, Occultism,
Spiritualism, or in the Cabala, the other third is composed of
the most heterogeneous and opposite elements. Some believe in
the mystical, and even in the supernatural (!), but each
believes in his own way. Others will rush single-handed into the
study of the Cabala, Psychism, Mesmerism, Spiritualism, or some
form or another of Mysticism. Result: no two men think alike, no
two are agreed upon any fundamental occult principles, though
many are those who claim for themselves the ultima thule of
knowledge, and would make outsiders believe that they are
full-blown adepts. Not only is there no scientific and accurate
knowledge of Occultism accessible in the West, not even of true
astrology, the only branch of Occultism which, in its exoteric
teachings, has definite laws and a definite system, but no one
has any idea of what real Occultism means. Some limit ancient
wisdom to the Cabala and the Jewish Zohar, which each interprets
in his own way according to the dead-letter of the Rabbinical
methods. Others regard Swedenborg or Boehme as the ultimate
expressions of the highest wisdom; while others again see in
mesmerism the great secret of ancient magic. One and all of
those who put their theory into practice are rapidly drifting,
through ignorance, into black magic. Happy are those who escape
from it, as they have neither test nor criterion by which they
can distinguish between the true and the false.

Q. Are we to understand that the inner group of the T.S. claims
to learn what it does from real initiates or masters of esoteric

A. Not directly. The personal presence of such masters is not
required. Suffice it if they give instructions to some of those
who have studied under their guidance for years, and devoted
their whole lives to their service. Then, in turn, these can
give out the knowledge so imparted to others, who had no such
opportunity. A portion of the true sciences is better than a
mass of undigested and misunderstood learning. An ounce of gold
is worth a ton of dust.

Q. But how is one to know whether the ounce is real gold or only
a counterfeit?

A. A tree is known by its fruit, a system by its results. When
our opponents are able to prove to us that any solitary student
of Occultism throughout the ages has become a saintly adept like
Ammonius Saccas, or even a Plotinus, or a Theurgist like
Iamblichus, or achieved feats such as are claimed to have been
done by St. Germain, without any master to guide him, and all
this without being a medium, a self-deluded psychic, or a
charlatan, then shall we confess ourselves mistaken. But till
then, Theosophists prefer to follow the proven natural law of
the tradition of the Sacred Science. There are mystics who have
made great discoveries in chemistry and physical sciences,
almost bordering on alchemy and Occultism; others who, by the
sole aid of their genius, have rediscovered portions, if not the
whole, of the lost alphabets of the "Mystery language," and are,
therefore, able to read correctly Hebrew scrolls; others still,
who, being seers, have caught wonderful glimpses of the hidden
secrets of Nature. But all these are specialists. One is a
theoretical inventor, another a Hebrew, i.e., a Sectarian
Cabalist, a third a Swedenborg of modern times, denying all and
everything outside of his own particular science or religion.
Not one of them can boast of having produced a universal or even
a national benefit thereby, not even to himself. With the
exception of a few healers, of that class which the Royal College
of Physicians or Surgeons would call quacks, none have helped
with their science Humanity, nor even a number of men of the
same community. Where are the Chaldeans of old, those who
wrought marvelous cures, "not by charms but by simples"? Where
is an Apollonius of Tyana, who healed the sick and raised the
dead under any climate and circumstances? We know some
specialists of the former class in Europe, but none of the
latter, except in Asia, where the secret of the Yogi, "to live in
death," is still preserved.

Q. Is the production of such healing adepts the aim of

A. Its aims are several; but the most important of all are those
which are likely to lead to the relief of human suffering under
any or every form, moral as well as physical. And we believe the
former to be far more important than the latter. Theosophy has
to inculcate ethics; it has to purify the soul, if it would
relieve the physical body, whose ailments, save cases of
accidents, are all hereditary. It is not by studying Occultism
for selfish ends, for the gratification of one's personal
ambition, pride, or vanity, that one can ever reach the true
goal: that of helping suffering mankind. Nor is it by studying
one single branch of the esoteric philosophy that a man becomes
an Occultist, but by studying, if not mastering, them all.

Q. Is help, then, to reach this most important aim, given only
to those who study the esoteric sciences?

A. Not at all. Every lay member is entitled to general
instruction if he only wants it; but few are willing to become
what is called "working members," and most prefer to remain the
drones of Theosophy. Let it be understood that private research
is encouraged in the T.S., provided it does not infringe the
limit which separates the exoteric from the esoteric, the blind
from the conscious magic.

Ancient Wisdom for a New Age

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