"Spirituaal culture" answering some inquiries
Oct 01, 1998 06:30 AM
by W. Dallas TenBroeck
Oct 1st 1998
Some months ago passages from AN EPITOME OF THEOSOPHY were quoted
in part and ended in the following:
"The object of the student is to let the light of that SPIRIT
shine through the lower coverings [of the personality.]"
A few questioned the meaning of "spiritual cultivation." From
the EPITOME we can cull the following ideas.
This "spiritual culture" is only attainable as the grosser
interests, passions, and demands of the flesh are subordinated to
the interests, aspirations and needs of the higher nature; and
this is a matter of both system and established law.
The SPIRIT can only become the ruler when the firm intellectual
admission is made that IT alone is. And it is the WHOLE of
All selfishness must be eliminated from the lower nature
[personal mind] before its divine state of contemplation and
impartiality can be reached. So long as the smallest selfish or
personal desire - even for spiritual attainment for one's own
sake -- remains, so long will the desired result elude and be
When a man or woman undertakes this training systematically,
clear insight into the immaterial, spiritual world and one's own
interior faculties is attained - as a living fact, or truth. And
this can be grasped readily just as our physical senses grasp the
events of sense, or our mental faculty grasps reason and logical
statements. Patanjali, the ancient Indian psycho-philosopher
calls it the faculty of "looking directly upon ideas." He
implies that their testimony as to the validity of a proposition
is as trustworthy as that of any scientist or philosopher who
honestly and sincerely compares his findings with those of his
fellows in their respective fields.
During the course of such self-induced and self-directed
"spiritual training," those who engage in it acquire a perception
of, and control over, various forces already present in Nature,
which are unknown to the average person. They thus become able,
when occasion warrants, to perform works which appear to be
"miraculous" - though really, they are but the result of applying
the deeper, or wider knowledge, of some law of Nature. Many of
these are detailed in "Patanjali's Yoga Sutras." [ Mr. Judge
provides a translation of these along with valuable notes for
students to consult. - published by Theosophy Company, 245 W
33rd St., Los Angeles, Ca., 90007 ]
The testimony of such persons, along with their possession and
application of such powers challenges candid examination from
every inquiring mind.
For those who are interested in these matters, as a preliminary,
a knowledge of the fundamental constitution of Nature, physical,
psychic, mental and spiritual is needed. [ Such books as "The
Key to Theosophy" of "The Ocean of Theosophy" ought to be read
and studied, so that the student equips himself with the
necessary knowledge of Karma, Reincarnation, the Seven-fold
nature of Man and his Universe, the "Goal" of all Evolution, and
the means to attain to that - which are being offered in outline
The process of evolution up to a conscious and voluntary reunion
with the Divine [ in understanding and thought - which does not
erase the individual in any way ] includes a successive elevation
from rank to rank of power and usefulness.
The most exalted beings still in the flesh are known as Sages,
Magi, Rishis, Brothers, Master of Wisdom, Mahatmas, etc... They
are greatly concerned with the preservation at all times of the
wisdom of the world, its evolution, its potential as regards the
Whole, and, as regards every individual man or woman. When
cycles permit, this knowledge is extended and diffused so that
its influence attracts the inquiring mind of those who aspire to
know more of themselves - as a Divine Being -- their environment
and their potentials.
When such a Union with one's own inner Divine is achieved all
events and experiences of each incarnation will become known.
Regarding the process of spiritual development Theosophy teaches:
1. that the essence of the process is securing supremacy in one's
life to the Highest Nature that is already in our conscious
awareness, and which some call vaguely "the spiritual element of
2. This is attainable along four lines:
A Selfishness is to be eradicated in all forms and ideas, and a
broad, generous, brotherly sympathy, is to be firmly rooted as
the practice of doing active good for others.
B The cultivation of the inner man by the use of meditation and
seeking to commune with the Inner Divine, and the practice in
personal life of the disciplines outlined in "Patanjali's Yoga
Sutras" - "the incessant striving to live an ideal life."
C Actively controlling the "fleshly appetites" and selfish,
personal desires - all lower, material interests being
deliberately subordinated to the needs of the "Higher, Spiritual
D The careful and attentive performance of every duty of one's
personal life, without any desire for a "reward." Leaving any
results out of the question as a motive for their doing - as
suggested and urged by Krishna on his pupil Arjuna in the
3. While all the above is performable by any seriously disposed
individual guided by a sense of duty and his Conscience, there is
yet a still higher plane of spiritual attainment. History
records in fragments, traces of specific courses in training,
physical, intellectual and spiritual, by which the internal
faculties of every man and woman can be aroused and then
developed. These are known in full to Theosophy which records
them as part of the history of the development of humanity.
4 The extension of this process results in Adeptship, Mahatmaship
and, or the states of becoming a Sage, a Rishi, or a Dhyan Chohan
and finally a Buddha. Those exalted sages have all reached their
condition by laborious efforts, protracted over many lives of
hard labor and discipline, marked by many degrees of initiation.
And beyond those so named, there are many more stages and
conditions of spiritual attainment and service to others in the
Universal scheme of spiritual exaltation that provides a "cause"
for the existence of our UNIVERSE. It is an ever increasing
approach to the ultimate DIVINE.
The rationale of spiritual development then includes:
1. The process takes place entirely within the individual.
Within each individual are the motive, effort, and the results
from making one's self increasingly close to one's interior
Higher Self. Results are all derived from this increasing
closeness to the Higher Self along the lines of self-induced
evolution guided by a self-enlightened mind.
2 Howsoever personal and interior this process may be, it is not
unaided, and in fact, is only possible because of the Higher Self
[ the SPIRITUAL RAY ] resident in each person as the source of
its Being. Increasing communion during waking life is the
supreme source of all strength of purpose.
Concerning the degree of progress through successive incarnations
it holds that:
1. Even a mere intellectual acquaintance with Theosophic
doctrines has great value in fitting an individual for a step
upwards in the rest of this life, and, succeeding ones, as it
gives impulse in that direction.
2 Still more is to be gained by a career of duty, self-sacrifice
and assistance to others - treating all as brothers in fact, and
extending benevolence in one's daily life to all.
3 Greater advance is achieved by practicing the several means
suggested or outlined above in regard to spiritual culture and
the process of regular consultation with one's HIGHER SELF - the
SPIRITUAL BEING resident within.
4 In the process of general evolution, each individual and each
"race" reaches a point called "the Moment of Choice" - it is a
period when they decide for themselves by a deliberate and
conscious choice between eternal life or death. And that
peculiar choice is the right of every free soul. It cannot be
exercised until the individual has realized the reality of the
SOUL (Mind-being) within himself, and until that Soul has
attained some measure of self-consciousness in the body.
The "Moment of Choice" is not a fixed period in time, but it is
made up of all choices made from moment to moment in one's daily
living. It cannot come unless all previous lives have led up to
Any individual can hasten this "moment of choice" under the law
of the ripening of Karma. Should one fail to choose right, one
is not wholly condemned. For the economy of Nature provides that
he shall again and again have the opportunity of choice, when the
moment arises for the mass of Egos, that make up a "race" as a
whole, reaches the "moment of choice" for the whole.
After that the wave of reincarnation sweeps those Egos into
fresh circumstances relative to their chosen progress. The race
having "blossomed" it now tends, as a physical "race," towards
A few individuals of it will have outstripped its average
progress and attained Adeptship or Mahatmaship. The main body
having chosen aright pass into a subjective condition, there to
await the return and influx of the life-wave into the next
"globe" when they become the forerunners of the races to
The deliberate choosers of evil, whose lives are passed in great
spiritual wickedness (for evil done for the sheer love of it),
sever their connection with the Divine Spirit [Monad -
Atma-Buddhi] within and it forever abandons the personality or
incarnated ego. At the next Manvantara, that Divine Spark will
probably begin again the long pilgrimage of experience, being
cast into the stream of life at the source, and then passing
upward again through all the lower forms.
[Back to Top]
Dedicated to the Theosophical Philosophy and its Practical Application