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Teosophy: Secret Instructions - NO. IIIb
Topic:Eastern Esotericism Reading
Eastern Esotericism Reading

Secret Instructions - NO. IIIb

Before I proceed let explain, for fear of being misunderstood again, that by "Teacher” I neither mean myself - as I am but the humble mouthpiece of the true Teacher - nor do I write the above in order to stimulate anyone to defend or stand by my own personality, but verily to make it clear, once for all, that to defend the E.S. and Theosophy (the heart and the soul of the T.S. its visible body) is the duty of every good Theosophist, of the E. S. especially. So is it his "bounden duty" to protect from attack and defend every fellow-brother, if he knows him to be innocent, and try to help him morally, if he thinks he is guilty. Nor is verse 5 intended to convey the idea of aggressive as the best course to take, for it is not passive resistance and a firm refusal to listen to any slanderous reports about one another, in the case of a member as well as a stranger or any ex-fellow, is all that would be necessary in some cases to defeat entirely conspiracy and malevolence. And now hoping that no misunderstanding is any longer possible, I resume in this hope the Rules, quoting a few more remarks upon them from the said letter. They came as a comment on Article 5, and I quote them verbatim: - “And if the limbs have to defend the head and heart of their body, then why not so also the Disciples their Teachers as representing the SCIENCE of Theosophy which contains and includes the “head” of their privilege, the “heart” of their spiritual growth? Saith, the Scriptures: - ‘He, who wipeth away the filth with which the parent's body may have been defiled by an enemy, neither loves the parents nor honors himself. He who defendeth not the persecuted and the helpless, who giveth not of his food to the starving, nor draweth water from his well for the thirsty, hath been born too soon in human shape. ‘

"Behold the truth before you: a clean life, an open mind, a pure HEART, an eager intellect, an unveiled spiritual perception, a brotherliness for one's co-disciple; a readiness to give and receive advice and instruction, a loyal sense of duty to the Teacher, a willing obedience to the behests of TRUTH, once we have placed our confidence in, and believe that Teacher to be in possession of it; a courageous endurance of personal injustice, a brave declaration of principles, a valiant defence of those who are unjustly attacked, and a constant eye to the ideal of human progression and perfection which the secret science (Gupta Vidya) depicts. – these are the golden stairs in the steps of which the learner may climb to the Temple of Divine Wisdom. Say this to those who have volunteered to be taught by you."

These are the words of great Teachers, and I but do the bidding of one of these in repeating them to you. What is found in the letter, I, H.P.B., now say to you in the authentic words, which are: "THINK; and Thinking, TRY; the goal is indeed worth all the possible effort.”

Much of what the Book of Discipline contains you may find in the fragments just translated by me from "The Book of the Golden Precepts" and published for the benefit of the "Few". These rules are as old as the world. And it is these, as I now see, that I was expected to impress upon the minds of all those who applied to me for instruction. This duty I knew well, and yet omitted doing it. I will not excuse myself by saying that I forgot to do so, for this would not be true, but I say and confess that I skipped it, out of an idiotic regard to Western prejudices and habits of thought. I knew that a code of preliminary ethics such as is obligatory with, and enforced upon, Eastern disciples would grate upon, even offend, the feelings of many American and European probationers. Even misunderstood, judged by appearances, villified, slandered and persecuted, I feared to hurt the Society by forcing several if not many, of our members to sever their connection with it, if they found that I made the rules too exacting. For the first time in my life, I acted like a coward in my on sight, and almost a traitor to my duties by such a compromise with my conscience. Therefore, though the first punished, I do not complain, and only hope that no one else will suffer through my weakness.

It is of the second and last letter in relation to the E.S. that I speak. The first was to the effect that those who desired to receive Eastern teaching had to conform to the Eastern rules, and that I had better suspend my instructions until I had notified them of that, reminding them also of Rule 3 of their Pledge, which, if I had not the courage to enforce I had better change, as it only caused the members to become UNTRUE to their vows. This was repeated by me to the Council of the Esotericists, which was surreptitiously handed over to the R.F.J. office and published.

Behold, all of you, the work of never failing, prompt Karma: Had I not departed from the old Rules of the Book of Discipline, such a sad case would not have happened, for there would have been no need of such a document as framed by the Council. For the Rule says, to the Chela: - "If thou canst not fulfill thy pledge, refuse to take but once thou hast bound thyself to any promise, carry it out, even if thou halt to die for it." And to the Teacher: - "Thou shalt not remind the Disciple who shows himself whether willingly or in-advertently disloyal to the letter and spirit of any law more than twice; at the third time thou shalt separate him from the Body". i.e., ask him to resign or expel him.

But as unfortunately in general, though very fortunately in this case, every handful of mud thrown at the T.S. had no opportunity of damaging anyone but myself, I am loath to enforce this rule; I felt a great unwillingness to even pass a message in which I was personally concerned. But after the second letter I could no longer remain silent; it is the law and I had to be taking now this opportunity to implore every pledged member of the E.S. who feels incapable of allowing himself to be subjected to such a discipline, to resign. Knowing, indeed, as I do, the free American and the free Briton, how can I come and tell either of them, for instance: -

"The office of' Teacher was always considered as a very solemn and responsible one. among our Asiatic ancestors, and the pupil was always enjoined to obedience and loyalty. This is what you have to tell them advising them to study Manu. " (From the letter).

And how could I hope to make them understand that by Teacher it was the Master who was meant and not myself, when I knew that many of them while knowing of me and luckily hot having any reason to doubt the existence, still doubted that of the Mahatmas, with the exception of the very few? Such is my only excuse. Unable to transfuse my certain knowledge of the reality of the Masters as men, into the consciousness of the Theosophists and even of pledged members, for the last fourteen years, I have ever avoided pressing this truth upon them. Yet, unwilling to play the part of the crow in peacock's feathers, I had to assert the existence of Teachers who had taught me all I know.

And yet the rules of Discipleship being so very strict upon the subject of the personal and other relations between the Teachers and the pupils, I have no choice. A Guru was ever considered as the chela's benefactor, because he imparted that which was more precious than worldly wealth or honors, that which money could not buy and which concerned the welfare of the pupils soul and future weal or woe.

Yet the Guru is not the only one pointed out to the chela's consideration, but also all those who help a disciple one way or another to pursue and progress in his studies. Here, I have to say a few words with regard to these. And, now again it is not myself who is concerned, but I speak of other “helpers”.

In the worse case, I can always take care of myself personally, and really need no one's defense, though I shall always feel thankful to those who have offered it. But I mean by "Helper" such as William Q. Judge; and I now call upon all of those who will remain true to their pledges to do their duty by both, When the time comes, and especially by their American brother. Both are threatened and both are hated by certain persons as unjustly as I am by some unprincipled enemies who would still call themselves Theosophists. (Note: There appears to be some omission in this paragraph, it is verbatim from the manuscript, however - Ed.).

Ingratitude is a crime in Occultism, and I shall illustrate the point by citing the case of W. Q. Judge. He is one of the three founders of the T.S., the only three who have remained as true as rick to the Cause. While others have all turned deserters or enemies, he has ever remained faithful to his original pledge. If one wants to know the Masters feelings towards him, let him read what one of them writes about the fidelity of Col. Olcott and their appreciation of it, in a letter published in the Occult World.

Though strong pressure was used to displease him and his associates (Judge along with them) in favor of another - a new-comer – and all manner of booms were promised for the T.S., Mahatma "K.H." flatly refused, saying that ingratitude had never been one of his vices. Now that which Col. Olcott has accomplished in India and Asia, W. Q. Judge has done in America. He is the resuscitator of Theosophy in the U.S. and is working to the best of his means and ability, and at a great sacrifice, for the spread of the movement; and he is now being infamously attacked and schemed against for this by one who has never done a thing for the T.S. and is now trying to crush it out of existence. From the first this enemy of the cause, though he never believed in any Mahatmas, their powers, or even existence, has worked for an object; hence he boasted for over two years of his own marvellous intercourse and powers with our Masters. He it is who published the shameful forgery under the Master K.H.'s name in the Chicago Tribune; he who made all those who would believe that he was in regular communication with the "Adepts." And now, when his object - to rule despotically over the whole American Section - has been defeated; when the first denial by one of the Masters (K.H.) of having written a single line to any one in England or America for the last five years has shown him a deceiver, and that neither Mr. Judge nor myself would help him to deceive the public, or join him in a conspiracy of still wrose deception with regard to Theosophists, he now turns round, repudiates Masters and Mahatmas, and tries to substitute for them some bogus adepts in the Rocky Mt., and thus ruin the Cause.

Having vainly tried to crush me, and finding me unmalleable, he now fastens his poisonous fangs on brother Judge. He has cunning indomitable energy, never relaxing vindictiveness, and a great command of money. These are grave charges, and may appear "untheosophical" to many, as they would undoubtedly be, were there only danger for some units in the Society. But it is the Society itself, or CAUSE, so dear and sacred to many of us, which is threatened - nay, attacked; and to save it, I for one, would not hesitate one moment to be regarded as untheosophical twenty times over by the whole world. For, understand well: unless we unite all our forces against this enemy, we cannot win the day, or ever have one hour of full peace and security for, or in, the Society. Ye is wealthy and we are poor; he is unscrupulous, and we feel bound by our pledges and theosophical duty. He lies with an easy worthy of the admiration of the sons of Loyola; and we Theosophists hold that, whosoever lies even to conquer an enemy or to save himself from a condemnation, is not worthy to call himself one.

He attacks us by every available means and foul play; we can only be on our defensive, and defeat him by truth and not- ng.but the: truth. Yet that truth must not be withheld, if, owing to his unrelenting hatred and alliance with every enemy who has hitherto attacked us', openly or secretly (I speak on knowledge), we would not now have the very name of Theosophy and its Society become very soon a public household word of opprobrium.

Brother Judge refuses to defend himself, even more than I have refused to defend myself after the Coulomb conspiracy. No man who knows himself innocent ever will. But is that a reason why we should let him go undefended? It is our bounden duty to support him in every way. Let our protest be on merely defensive lines, and not of an aggressive character. For, if the spirit of true Theosophy does not permit of aggressiveness being used, yet it does demand in some cases active defense, and it does impose on every one of us the duty of taking an active interest in the welfare of a brother, especially of a persecuted brother, as Mr. Judge is now. Is it the part of a "Brother-Fellow" to remain indifferent and inactive when one has done so much for the noble and sacred CAUSE, is villified for its sake, hence, for that of every Theosophist; when he is selected by the enemy as the mark of all the lying and damaging at-tacks of these who wish to destroy the Society in order to build up on its ruins, another, a bogus Body of the same name, and to enshrine therein an idol with feet of clay and a heart full of selfishness and evil, for the admiration and worship of credulous fools? Can we allow them to achieve this object when they seek to insure success by ruining the character of this most unselfish champion of our T.S.? Put yourselves in the victim's place, and then act as you think Brothers should act towards you under similar circumstances. Let us protest, I say, all of us; protest by word and deed. Let every one who can hold the pen expose every lie said about our friend and brother, in every case we know it to be a lie.
You all profess to wish to acquire esoteric knowledge, and some of you - those who believe in the blessed Masters - to win the regards of our teachers. Know then, Brothers, that they have regard for only such as square their behavior with the rules hinted at, with our Master's permission, by me in "Voice of the Silence" in the 2nd and 3rd Treatises.

The reputation of the T.S. is in the keeping of each one of you, and as you regard or neglect it, so will it prosper. But you have to remember that the life of the E.S. too depends on that of the Body. The moment the T.S. falls in America (it cannot die in India, or even Europe, so long as the Colonel or I are alive) through your apathy or carelessness, every member of the E.S. who has not done his duty will go down with it. From that day there will be no more hope of acquiring true Eastern secret knowledge till the end of the 20th Century.

If I asked what kind of protest on defensive lines would I have? and re-minded that neither Brother Judge consents to make of his path the field of controversy, nor do the majority of the daily and weekly papers consent to insert such letters from Theosophists - I answer plainly and sincerely: - There are means to do so, but there is neither the willingness nor the energy to accomplish that which is required for this among the American members of the E.S. and Theosophists who refuse to even support the Path as it ought to be supported.

And yet look around you, my brothers and sisters. Not a sect, not a guild, or Society, however insignificant and useless, and far smaller than our Theosophical Body, but has its recognized organ. Adventists, Christian Scientists, mind curers, Swedenborgians, tradesmen, and who not, have their dailies, weeklies and monthlies. One weekly or even monthly sheet of only four pages is better than none; and if we had not an absolute and immediate necessity for such a defensive organ now, it would serve at all times for the dissemination of our Theosophical teachings, the popularization of Theosophy and Eastern Ethics suited for the intelligence of the masses. Neither the Path of Lucifer - least of all the Theosophist, are for the masses. To understand them requires educated readers, and, in most cases, high metaphysicians; and, therefore, none of these magazines can ever become popular.

What, your American Theosophists require, indeed, are extracts and a weekly paper as cheap as you can make them. Have an organ wherein to defend the Cause from insidious attacks, from misrepresentation and lies, and teach the people the truth, and very soon the enemy will have no hold upon us. Teach the common laborer the truth, and very soon in the churches, and you will soon have saved half of mankind of civilized countries, for the PATH is easier to the poor and single of heart, than to the cultured and the rich. "Observe," writes the Master, "that the first of the steps of gold which mounts towards the Temple of Truth is - A CLEAN LIFE. THIS means a purity of mind, heart and spirit."

And the latter are found more in the poor country classes, than among the cultured and rich. That the Master's eye is upon you, Theosophists, is evidenced by the following lines from the same pen: - "Flow many of them (you) violate one or more of these conditions (of the right path) and yet expect to be taught the highest Wisdom and Sciences, the Wisdom of the Gods. As pure water poured into the scavenger's bucket is befouled and unfit for use, so is Divine Truth when poured into the consciousness of a sensualist, of one of selfish heart and a mind indifferent and inaccessible to justice and compassion." "There is a very, VERY ancient maxim, far older than the time of the Romans or the Greeks, more ancient than the Egyptians or Chaldeans. It is a maxim all of them ought to remember and live accordingly, And it is that a Sound and pure mind requires a sound and pure body. Bodily purity every Adept takes precautions to keep. Most of you know this".

And yet, knowing it how few live up to this! I had rather not say whether the letter includes in this reproof Theosophists generally, or only Esotericists. It names a few, but this is for my pen private information; meanwhile, these are the words addressed to all.

“But though they have been repeatedly told of this sine qua non rule on the Path of Theosophy and chelaship, how few of them have given attention to it. Behold how many of them are sluggards in the morning and time wasters at night; GLUTTONS, eating and drinking for the sensual pleasure they give; indolent in business; selfish as to the keeping of their neighbors (brothers) interests in view; borrowing from Brother-Theosophists, making money out of the lean and failing to return it; lazy in study and waiting for others to think for and teach them; denying themselves nothing, even of LUXURIES, for the sake of helping poorer brothers; forgetting the cause in general and its volunteer hard workers and even debauchees, GUILTY OF SECRET IMMORALITY in more than one form. And yet all call themselves Theosophists; all talk with outsiders about 'Theosophical Ethics' and things, with a puffed up vain conceit in their hearts”.

Alas! If these words apply to the T.S. in general, to the selfish coldness and indifference of most members to the future of the Cause they belong to but will not go out of their way to serve, do not most of the cases cited apply also to some Esotericists, if not to all? Do not we find among them envy and hatred for their colleagues, suspicion and slanderous talk? Who of you who read this, is prepared to say that not one out of the above enumerated faults concerns you? Ah, friends, brothers and many of you beloved co-workers, indeed, indeed, little do you know of the eternal, unchangeable conditions of soul-development, and chiefly of the inexorable occult laws: Believe the Teacher from whose letter I quote, if you will not believe me, that: - "Though such a person with any of the faults as above declared should fill the world with his charities, and make his name known throughout every nation, he would make no advancement in the Occult Sciences, but be continually slipping backwards. The six and ten transcendental virtues, the Paramitas, are not for full grown Yogis and priests alone, but for all those who would enter the Path".

If, explaining this, I add that gentle kindness to all beings, strict honesty, (not according to the world-code, but that of Karmic action), virtuous habits, strict truthfulness, and temperance in all things; that of these alone are the keys that unlock the doors of earthly, happiness and peaceful bliss of mind; and that fit the man of flesh to evolve into the perfect Spirit-Ego - many of you will feel inclined, I fear, to mock me for saying this.

You may think that I am carrying coals to Newcastle, and that each of you know this, at least, as well as I do. You may remark, perhaps, that I am taking my role of "teacher" on a too high tone altogether, regarding and treating you, grown-up intelligent men and women as I would little school boys and girls.

And some of you may indulge in the thought that it is useless for me to be teaching you to be "goody-goody" instead of going on with my instructions and give you explanations about "that occult jumble of color and sound, and their respective relations to the human principles," as some have already complained. But I say again, that if you are ignorant of the real occult value of even such trite truths as are contained in "my grandmother's sermon", how can you hope to understand the science which you are studying? Can an electrician, however well familiarized with the electric field and its variable currents, apply them to himself or the body of any living man unless he knows human anatomy and is a good physician at the same time, without risking to kill his patient or himself?

What is the good of knowing all about the occult relations between the forces of nature and the human principles if, by remaining deliberately ignorant of SELF, we remain thereby as ignorant of what does or what does not affect each distinct principle? Are you aware that by starving, so to speak, one principle, or even center, at the expense of another principle or center, we may lose the former and injure hopelessly the latter? That by forcing our Higher Ego (not SELF, mind you) to remain inactive and silent, which is easily achieved by over-feeding the lower Manas ever gravitation down to Kama Rupa, we risk utter annihilation of our present personality?

As this may be questioned by some members who are not very strong even in the exoteric Theosophical doctrines, in order to make my meaning more clear, I will supplement the present explanation which has become unavoidable by incorporating a paper on this subject in the next Instructions, which explains the case in hand. Let the dreadful possibility of losing one's soul, not a rare occurrence, and vouchsafed, moreover by the experience of a long series of seers and clairvoyant teachers, become known to all. This dogma of the Inner schools has often been hinted at in our literature, yet never till now explained, It can be done only to the few who are pledged not to make the details of it known.

Those who still desire to remain working members of the E.S. will henceforth receive their Instructions as regularly as this can be done. No. III is ready and being multityped; it will be sent very shortly. And now I must close. For some of you, I have little doubt, this will turn out to be a "parting" farewell letter. Such I may as well thank now for the confidence they have shown, and with which they have honored me, if even for a few months; and so I will wish them "God speed" in some other science made less heavy by discipline and rules. But those, whom no hardships, providing they lead them to Eternal TRUTH, can ever discourage, I address in the words of the great American poet, whose lips are now cold and mute" "Upward and Onward forevermore!"

Let this be the motto of the E.S. applied to Death of Selfishness and Sin through the bright dawn of the resurrection of the Divine Science now known as THEOSOPHY.

H. P. B.

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