RE: theos-l digest: March 09, 1999 = WORK OF THE ADEPTS AND MAHATMAS
Mar 10, 1999 06:16 AM
by W. Dallas TenBroeck
March 10th 1999
The very fact that the Theosophical Movement has spread and is
continued to be studied by an increasing number of student all
over the world is significant.
One of the first things we ought to consider is that Theosophy is
the ancient Wisdom-philosophy of the Rishis and the Mahatmas - no
doubt it is much less in its expression that the originals, but
nevertheless it is said to be that basic and starting base of the
TRUTH such as can be assimilated by the conscientious man of our
civilization and age. We have been so educated that our
conception of antiquity has been dwarfed. Our authorities of
various kinds with about 2 to 300 years of study, have all come
to the conclusion that the records they see and read or touch do
not prove physically an antiquity of over 10,000 years, and for
fossils the period is now being pushed back into about 3 million
years. But the theories are based on scanty materials and
prejudiced and partial views as can be ascertained by intensive
investigation into the roots of their data and that which has
been systematically concealed. They do not believe the evidence
of the myths and legends of old. This is what ISIS and the SD
came to dispel.
It is an explanation of existence, cosmic and individual, derived
from knowledge reached by Those Rishis and Mahatmas who have
acquired the power to see behind the curtain that hides the
operations of nature from the ordinary mind. Such Beings are
called Sages, using the term in its highest sense. Of late they
have been called Mahatmas and Adepts. In ancient times they were
known as the Rishis and Maharishis.
There being of necessity various grades among the students of
this Wisdom-Religion, it stands to reason that those belonging to
the lower degrees are able to give out only so much of the
knowledge as is the grade they have reached permits, and they
therefore depend, for further information upon students who are
higher yet. It is these higher students for whom the claim is
asserted that their knowledge is not mere inference, but that it
concerns realities seen and known by them.
While some of them are connected with the Theosophical Movement
and members of the various Theosophical Societies, they are yet
above it. The power to see and absolutely know such laws is
surrounded by natural inherent regulations which must be complied
with as conditions precedent; and it is, therefore, not possible
to respond to the demand of the worldly man for an immediate
statement of this wisdom, insomuch as he could not comprehend it
until those conditions are fulfilled.
How and what kind of knowledge is to be acquired by the inquirer?
As this knowledge deals with laws and states of matter, and of
consciousness undreamed of by the "practical" Western world, it
can only be grasped, piece by piece, as the student pushes
forward the demolition of his preconceived notions, that are due
either to inadequate or to erroneous theories.
It is claimed by these higher students that, in the Occident
especially, a false method of reasoning has for many centuries
prevailed, resulting in a universal habit of mind which causes
men to look upon many effects as causes, and to regard that which
is real as the unreal, putting meanwhile the unreal in the place
of the real. As a minor example, the phenomena of mesmerism and
clairvoyance have, until lately, been denied by Western science,
yet there have always been numerous persons who know for
themselves, by incontrovertible introspective evidence, the truth
of these phenomena, and, in some instances, understand their
cause and rationale.
The following are some of the fundamental propositions of
The spirit in man is the only real and permanent part of his
being; the rest of his nature being variously compounded. And
since decay is incident to all composite things, everything in
man but his Spirit is impermanent.
The spirit in Nature is the only real and permanent base of all
ex-istence. The whole Univese, says Patanjali (Book 2, v. 18)
"including the visible and the invisible, the essential nature of
which is compounded of purity, action, and rest [Sattva, rajas
and tamas], and which consists of the elements and organs of
action [gnyan-indriyas and karma-indriyas] exists for the sake of
the soul's experience and emancipation."
This first fundamental proposition of Theosophy postulates that
the universe is not an aggregation of diverse unities but that it
is one whole.
This whole is what is denominated "Deity" by Western
Philosophers, and "Para-Brahm" by the Hindu Vedantins. It may be
called the Unmanifested, containing within itself the potency of
every form of manifestation, together with the laws governing
those manifestations. There is no creation of worlds; but their
appearance is due strictly to evolution.
When the time comes for the Unmanifested to manifest as an
objective Universe, which it does periodically, it emanates a
Power or "The First Cause"-so called because it itself is the
rootless root of that Cause, and called the "Causeless Cause."
The first Cause we may call Brahma. The projection into time of
the influence or so-called "breath of Brahma" causes all the
worlds and the beings upon them to gradually appear. They remain
in manifestation just as long as that influence continues to
proceed forth in evolution.
After long aeons the outbreathing, evolutionary influence
slackens, and the universe begins to go into obscuration, or
pralaya, until, the "breath" being fully indrawn, no objects
remain, because nothing is but Brahma. Care must be taken by the
student to make a distinction between the impersonal Parabrahm,
and Brahma the manifested Logos.
This next makes us cons the doctrine of Universal Evolution as
expounded by the Sages of the Wisdom-Religion. The Spirit, or
Purusha, they say, proceeds from Brahma through the various forms
of matter evolved at the same time, beginning in the world of the
spiritual from the highest and in the material world from the
Thus, therefore, the mineral, vegetable and animal forms each
imprison a spark of the Divine, a portion of the indivisible
Purusha. These sparks struggle to "return to the Father," or in
other words, to secure self-consciousness and at last come into
the highest form, on Earth, that of man, where alone
self-conscious-ness is possible to them.
The period, calculated in human time, during which this evolution
goes on embraces millions of ages. Each spark of divinity [that
is "you" and "me"] has, therefore, millions of ages in which to
accomplish its mission--that of obtaining complete
self-consciousness while in the form of man.
The mere act of coming into human form of itself confers no
immediate self-consciousness upon this divine spark. That great
work may be accomplished during the Manvantara in which a Divine
spark reaches the human form, or it may not; all depends upon the
individual's own will and efforts.
Each particular spirit thus goes through the Manvantara, or
enters into manifestation for its own enrichment and for that of
Mahatmas and Rishis are thus gradually evolved during a
Manvantara, and become, after its expiration, "planetary
spirits," who guide the evolutions of other future planets-as
explained in SD I we, our Earth is the child, or rather the
reincarnation of the Moon chain of globes on which we all had
been evolving up to the time of the last maha-pralaya. The
planetary spirits [Rishis, Mahatmas, Adepts] of our globe are
those who in previous Manvantaras-or days of Brahma- made the
efforts, and became in the course of that long period Mahatmas.
Each Manvantara is for the same end and purpose, so that the
Mahatmas who have now attained those heights, or those who may
become such in the succeeding years of the present Manvantara,
will probably be the planetary spirits of the next Manvantara for
this or other planets which then will be the reincarnations of
This system is thus seen to be based upon the identity of
Spiritual Being, and, under the name of "Universal Brotherhood,"
constitutes idea of the Theosophical Society, whose object is the
realization of that Brotherhood among men.
The Sages say that Purusha [Spirit] is the basis of all
manifested objects. Without it nothing could exist or cohere. It
interpenetrates everything everywhere. It is the reality of
which, or upon which, those things called real by us are mere
images. As Purusha reaches to and embraces all beings, they are
all connected together; and in or on the plane where that Purusha
is, there is a perfect consciousness of every act, thought,
object, and circumstance, whether supposed to occur there, or on
this plane, or any other. For below the spirit and above the
intellect is a plane of consciousness in which experiences are
noted, commonly called man's "spiritual nature."
This upper plane [Akasa] is the real and universal register of
all sensations and experiences, although there are other
registering planes. It is sometimes called (as one of its
attributes) the "subconscious mind." Theosophy, however, holds
that the real object to be kept in view is to so open up or make
porous the lower nature that the spiritual nature may shine
through it and become the guide and ruler.
it is held that the real man [Atma-Buddhi-Manas], who is the
higher self-being the spark of the Divine before mentioned
overshadows the visible physical being, which has the possibility
of becoming united to that spark. Thus it is said that the Higher
Spirit (Atma) is not in the man, but above him. It is always
peaceful, unconcerned, blissful, and full of absolute knowledge.
It continually partakes of the Divine state, being continually
that state itself, "conjoined with the Gods, it feeds upon Amrita
(Ambrosia)." The object of the student is to let the light of
that spirit shine through the lower coverings.
This spirit can only become the ruler in us, when the firm
intellectual acknowledgment is first made that IT alone is. And,
as stated above, it being not only the person concerned but also
the whole, all selfishness must be eliminated from the lower
nature before its divine state can be reached.
So long as the smallest personal or selfish desire-even for
spiritual attainment for our own sake-remains, so long is the
desired end put off. Demands, or desires of the personal nature,
including those of the personal soul or Kama-manas have to known,
understood and controlled by placing foremost the consideration
of universal brotherhood. If we all belong to the family of Man,
then we cannot afford to treat anyone unfairly. Such a motive
only invokes the karma of delay and confusion and it will react
on us in due course and retard our progress. We all know this in
our heart of hearts.
You will, I hope excuse this long preliminary set of ideas
because it all leads to the essential answer that you seem to
The Mahatmas, Rishis and Adepts are always in the world. With
individuals and organizations. They do not want to be
recognized, because if they were, their work would be hampered by
the importunities and the impertinences of the average curiosity
seeker. So it is most probable that the Mahatmas and their
chelas have been working steadily with those individuals who show
that their heart is set on treating all around them as brothers
and offering the help that the ancient Wisdom-Religion can always
offer. Does it not start with a knowledge of ones' self and
capacities and potentials? Then that is developed into the right
channels for using them. So wherever thought is struggling to be
free, and wherever the consideration of spiritual welfare as
superior to personal wants and desires is being taught, there you
can discern the hand of the Wise Ones who Never Sleep.
The Theosophical Societies and all individuals who act as
brothers to mankind receive the kind of active help which they
merit from the Adepts. You have to read and consider all that is
available in our literature and see what are the hallmarks of the
true devotees. No progress was ever achieved by altercations and
the conflict of personalities that makes for a constructive work.
Is this not what Gandhiji taught, and look how it brought freedom
after many years of selfless struggle and sacrifice to India. The
actual work was done by the millions of Indian people who were
inspired by the simple expressions of age-old truth which
Gandhiji offered as a basis for their self-determined action.
Anyone who spurs others to act truthfully, honestly and not to
follow "leaders" blindly, does good work for humanity.
And look around many who have worked and who have not seen the
results of their effort create small but growing problem in
themselves, by seeking to see certificates and receive some show
of accolade. Do we really need that to keep on going? [ Did I
not send you sometime ago, a copy of the Letter that Sri Lahiri
had sent to Mr. Judge ? -- the one is which, after the death of
HPB, a Brahmin pilgrim had met one of the Mahatmas near Lake
Manasasarover ? --and the urging to work for Theosophy that it
contained ?] If you cannot find it let me know and I will be
glad to send a copy. It is an example of how important meanings
can be discerned in what appear as ordinary letters.
Occultism and wisdom do not operate in that way. The evidence is
always in the offering of help and assistance to any one who
desires to secure those for their retransmission to others. How
can we say that we are not helped--invisibly it is true--and is
not the burden of ascertaining the actuality of such help to be
traced by our developing and more acute perception of how karma
is operating, even in small things, all around us ?
We alone, each one of us, can prove that the Adepts exists, and
we alone know when we have been "helped." I would say that this
is a part of the developing awareness of the disciple who is
trusted by the Adept to find his own dharma and perform it with
and in the world. We can only offer ourselves. And our constant
endeavor ought to be to improve our nature and quality so that we
may deserve greater responsibility and trust. But, then we ought
not to be looking for "signs" or "certificates." Perhaps this is
not the appropriate time for the Adepts to manifest as they did
125 years ago to certain persons who had deserved the privilege
and who had determined to offer their services unreservedly for
the promoting of the Theosophical Society and the Theosophical
Philosophy. Are we able to say we are approaching that level of
When a person undertakes systematically to train themselves in
accord with the aforesaid system and law, men attain to clear
insight into the immaterial, spiritual world, and their interior
faculties apprehend truth as immediately and readily as physical
faculties grasp the things of sense, or mental faculties those of
reason. Or, in the words used by Patanjali, "They are able to
look directly upon ideas;" and hence their testimony to such
truth is always something that each who receive it can test for
inherent accuracy, harmlessness and universality. When it meets
the tests of impersonality and practicality then only can it be
said that it is as trustworthy as is the experimental results of
honest scientists or philosophers who speak of the truth to be
found in their respective fields.
In the Kali-Yuga we are hypnotized by the effect of the immense
body of images in the Astral Light that surrounds us. It as an
electro-magnetic register, is compounded of all the deeds,
thoughts, and so forth of our ancestors, whose lives tended in a
material direction. These images influence the inner man-who is
conscious of them-by suggestion. In a brighter age the influence
of such images would be towards Truth. The effect of the Astral
Light, as thus molded and painted by us, will remain so long as
we continue to place those images there, and it thus becomes our
judge and our executioner. Every universal law thus contains
within itself the means for its own accomplishment and the
punishment for its violation, and requires no further authority
to postulate it or to carry out its decrees.
I mention this because it is so vital to recognize that our past
inclinations and acts could have served to delay us, or to
obscure the acuity of our perception. Fortunately all this can
be changed by right choices and brotherly actions done in our
present and future.
I think this is already too long. But your queries evoked my
thoughts and with the help of some of Mr. Judge's words I send
those to you to consider. We have so much to gain that pausing
for anxious moments in indecision ought to be recognized as the
melancholy barrier that it is.
Best wishes as always to you,
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Dedicated to the Theosophical Philosophy and its Practical Application