Late in the nineteenth century the Maha Chohan spoke of the great dual principles, right and wrong, good and evil, liberty and despotism, pain and pleasure, egotism and altruism. Pointing to the degraded moral condition of the world and particularly of its so-called civilized races, he declared that this sad plight is prima facie evidence of religious and philosophic bankruptcy. The intervening century, with its virtually unrelieved record of bloodshed and cruelty, should have clearly demonstrated that the dark forces of superstition – disguised as nationalism, ideology and racism – and materialism, with its sterile promise of technocratic utopias, obscure the pathway to adequate explanations and effective solutions to fundamental problems. Insoluble though these may appear, and although the world may seem to be locked in its "mad career towards the unknown", especially to those who are dazed and numbed by the spectacle, this is a time of immense opportunities for courageous individuals who aspire to constitute themselves as creative pioneers of the civilization of the future. As in the classic Tale of Two Cities, it is the best of times and the worst of times. For each person today the critical difference turns upon whether one chooses the standpoint of Shamballa or that of Myalba. Either one learns to trace the eternal beam of the spiritual Ego back to its invisible seat in the Atmic Sun, and thereby perceives the sacred and sacrificial purpose of personal existence – twinkling and dancing on the running waters of life – or one is swept away in the stormy sea of human life. Whilst every perceptive person must develop the Manasic determination and Buddhic insight to attain reunion with the Divine Monad, all souls must fully insert themselves into the mighty currents of cosmic and human evolution.
Over five thousand years ago, Krishna gave the profound and potent teaching that all the pairs of opposites are relative to each other. From the standpoint of abstract and absolute Unity, the entire world is seen as an interplay and interpenetration of various grades and degrees of light and shadow. What is stated archetypally in the Bhagavad Gita in terms of light and dark is also pertinent to all the dualities of physical, psychic and mental existence. This applies not only to sensuous states of matter and correlative states of consciousness, but also to consciousness and matter on all the seven planes. Hence, one may speak of sound and silence, light and darkness, existing entirely outside the average range and sector of rates of vibration apprehended by ordinary sensation. Unfortunately, most people are far from fully using even their physical senses. Consider the human eye. It is an extraordinary instrument, a divine gift, capable of seeing objects but a few inches away and also able to view the distant stars and galaxies. This tremendous elasticity of the human power of vision intimates what the mystics speak of as spiritual vision and the spiritual eye. It is as a seer and perceiver that each human being is a truly self-conscious, Manasic being capable of infinite extension of the power of vision from the highest transcendental realms to the most concrete regions of sensuous existence. Therefore, the first step in meta-psychology, the effective transcendence of the pairs of opposites, is to cognize the immanent reality of the immortal soul, the Atma-Buddhic Monad.
The psyche is merely the projected ray of the divine Monad. As the Monad functions on a plane of space and time removed from that which is customarily apprehended by the psyche, the Monad is only partially incarnated. If it were not incarnated at all, human existence would be impossible. One might visualize Atma-Buddhi-Manas as being above one's head, with a pristine ray of light – which would be Buddhi – entering the head and passing through the brain, through the spinal cord and down to the feet. This would be a graphic way of representing the metaphysical truth that the human being is overbrooded from head to toe by the imperishable Monad. The Fohatic current pictured as passing into the body from above would be the radiation of Manas. This downward current of reflected Manas mingles with the mixed energy-currents flowing through the astral vesture. Just as blood circulates in the physical body, there are electric and magnetic currents flowing in the linga sarira. These astral currents are insipid in comparison to the intense levels of energy generated by pure Manasic ideation. Manas may be understood as the essential ability to separate oneself, through self-consciousness, from the hooking-points in the astral vesture. The process of regaining access to the higher energy fields of the Monad is accomplished through abstraction, withdrawal and detachment from the field of the self-cancelling pairs of opposites on the plane of the senses.
When in meditation one assumes the standpoint of the Mahat-Atman, the spectator without a spectacle, one shuts out the light of the illusory physical world with all its seemingly separate subjects and objects. When these recede into the darkness of the Void, one may picture a point. That point can be transformed into a triangle, analogous to the cosmic Monad, which then expands continuously and scatters triadic sparks which scintillate throughout the invisible universe. These sparks, streaming forth like rays from a single source, may be seen to be reflected in the underworld of dense matter, the dungeon or cave of terrestrial existence, wherein they seem to be like sun sparks scattered through the leaves of a tree. Between the billions upon billions of leaves of the World Tree, there are scattered myriads of sparks of brilliant light. These points of illumination are the noetic intimations to be found in every religion, philosophy and science, every civilization and culture, of the divine inheritance of humanity. Scattered throughout the great gallery of nature and scintillating in what Shakespeare called "the book and volume of my brain", they are but a partial screening and panoramic reflection of the electromagnetic activity of the cosmic brain. Great as is this central source of cosmic illumination which enormously surpasses human conception, it is still minute in comparison to the transcendental sources of noumenal light that are hidden in the Divine Darkness beyond the infinite Kosmos.
Given this possibility of initially apprehending the vital relationship between human existence and the infinite universe, one may begin to comprehend Universal Good (the Agathon) in terms of the sacrificial circulation and return of the life essence to its invisible source, continually sifting what is needed by the immortal Monad and casting off the rest for appropriate redistribution amongst the lower kingdoms of nature. Evil is that which consolidates and which refuses to acknowledge the source. In terms of the relativity of opposites, evil is that which obscures the light, whilst good is that which transmits the light. The highest good is self-luminous. Light and obscuration exist at many different levels and in a great variety of modes. For example, one might simply pass one's hand in front of a candle, blocking its light. Or one might observe an eclipse of the sun or of the moon. During an eclipse, as astronomers know, nothing really happens. It is only because of the relative positions of the sun, earth and moon from the standpoint of the observer that there appears to be an eclipse. It is all mayavic. The relative modes of movement of the observer and the objects create the appearance of obscuration. Similarly, an eclipse of the sun or of the moon may seem good or evil, depending upon one's perspective and point of view. H.P. Blavatsky pointed out that if the homogeneity of the one Absolute is accepted, then one must also accept in the realm of the heterogeneous that good and evil are twin offshoots of the same trunk of the Tree of Being. If one does not accept this, then one is committed to the absurdity of believing in two eternal absolutes.
For a truly fundamental understanding of good and evil, along with all the other pairs of objective opposites, one must turn to the quintessential distinction between the manifest and the unmanifest. This distinction is a modern formulation of that drawn by Shankaracharya between the Real and the unreal. Given the relationship between the good and inward acknowledgement of the source of illumination, it is significant that Shankaracharya, when expounding the Teaching concerning the Real and the unreal, invokes the Upanishadic sages and their revelation of the Path leading from death to immortality. As Shankaracharya explicitly states, there can be no realization of the Atman and its unity with Brahman apart from a reverential and grateful recognition of predecessors and preceptors. It is only when one realizes the true meaning of the posture of authentic humility, assumed by even so great an Initiate as Shankaracharya in relation to the ancient Rishis, that one may begin to understand the unwisdom of the modern age. The ingratitude of latter-day Europeans towards Islamic scholars who transmitted the teachings of the classical world, the earlier ingratitude of Christian theologians towards the children of Israel, and the even earlier instances of ingratitude between Greece and Egypt, between Egypt and Chaldea, between Chaldea and India, and between Brahmins and the Buddha, have all left a heavy burden of unacknowledged debts which contribute to the moral bankruptcy of the modern age. The sad consequences of this spiritual ingratitude are to be discerned in the moral blindness of contemporary society, in the restrictiveness of its range of vision, so that the succession of events is seen as a random series of amoral happenings.
As long as the inward spiritual senses of man – Buddhi and Manas – remain obscured, karma must appear mayavic in the realm of physical space and time, whilst life itself seems to be largely meaningless. Real meaning in human life can only be regained by lifting the horizon of consciousness above the level of secondary causes and effects. This can only be done by rising to the Causeless Cause, Nada Brahman, the Light and Sound of the Logos identical with the Wisdom Religion (Brahma Vach), even beyond the Soundless Sound. The Soundless Sound is rather like a serene ripple upon the boundless ocean of space. It is sacred because in its boundlessness it reverberates to the silent breathing of That, which is beyond all categories of space, time, causality and motion, and which transcends all incarnated conceptions of the true and the false, of good and evil, the meretricious and the plausible, the beautiful and the ugly. The arduous ascent from the manifest to the unmanifest, from the unreal to the Real, cannot take place without the aid and guidance of the Guru, and hence it is taught that outside the portals of Initiation the wings of ratiocinative thought must forever remain clipped. "Thus far and no further" is the story of human endeavour. Human beings live on tiny hillocks in space and time in comparison with the mighty Himalayas where Masters of Meditation reside, or with Mount Kailas, the abode of Shiva, the Maha Yogin. Nonetheless, there is an imperfect analogy between every tiny hill and the Himalayas, and any increment of detached calm and meditative elevation that an individual can achieve is helpful in attempting to go beyond all concretizations and constant thraldom to the pairs of opposites. Each genuine effort towards meditation undertaken in a spirit of devotion and sacrificial service can aid in the discovery of the sanctum sanctorum in the temple of the human form, hidden in the depths of the spiritual heart.
The complex human form represents a matrix of polarities and interconnections, all of which are subordinated to the overbrooding Atman which is beyond all polarity or hint of heterogeneity. Just as there is a north and south pole to the earth, there is also a north and south pole to the body. There is also a polarity of the astral vesture and, most important, a polarity of the mind (manomaya kosha). At one level the reflective Manas stands as a moon towards the sun above it, whilst at another level higher Manas stands as the sun in relation to lower Manas or the lunar mind. Good is that which is pleasing to the Krishna-Ishwara within. In the heart of every human being there is a ray of Krishna, programming the possibilities for that soul during incarnated existence and for its participation in all the three worlds. There is no being in any of the worlds which entirely lacks the possibility of entering into the realm of light, and not a single person can wholly avoid participation in the darkness of moha, delusion, of maya, illusion, and of kama, krodha and loba, desire, anger and greed. This is represented in Buddhist iconography by elaborate tankas which display the vast array of archetypal and collective human faults surrounding samsaric existence. Early in the Gita, Krishna speaks of the omnipresent obscuring power of rajo-gunam, the common enemy of humanity, that which leads the best of persons to lose their firm foothold in the realm of the Divine. This progenitor of evil operates upon the mind which, as a dynamic field, may be seen to manifest a positive and negative polarity, together with a third intermediate factor. By placing rajas on one side and tamas on the other, with sattva in the middle, like the central column in the Kabalistic tree of life, one may picture everything below a certain plane as a continual alternation of rajas and tamas, activity and inertia. But this cannot take place without a nodal equilibrium point inbetween, which is called a laya centre, a motionless point.
If one considers a child's top spinning on the ground, there must be a motionless point where the spindle of the top touches the ground and also a motionless point at the crown of the spinning top. These two points, however, only exist because one has already assumed the reality of the spinning top, but, as Shankaracharya teaches, such reification of objective forms is merely a superimposition. Ultimately there is nothing "going on". There is only the mayavic appearance of the spinning top. Similarly, in the region of appearances there seems to be a great deal going on in the periodic alternations and movements of the polarities within the human principles as they revolve and rotate in and around laya centres in the human constitution. In contrast to this complicated and chaotic realm of events, every human being experiences in deep sleep a state of consciousness which is simply not remembered in terms of the succession of so-called events. Ordinarily, because they are so immersed in the outward flux of temporal events, human beings find it exceedingly difficult to recall or recover the state of consciousness they experienced in deep sleep, and it seems to be a blank. It is, therefore, a helpful preliminary discipline and a salutary spiritual practice to prepare oneself for sleep each night by meditation, by study of sacred texts and by directing the mind deliberately and self-consciously towards the unmanifest. Here one can test oneself by seeing whether the last thought one ponders, however briefly, before passing into sleep can be made the first thought that one entertains upon returning from sleep to wakefulness.
In this effort to reverse the polarity of the mind, changing it from involvement with concrete manifest particulars to immersion in the unmanifest universal Atman, the attention should not cling to the content of particular thoughts. All thoughts are relative. They are affected by the peculiar condition of one's physical and astral bodies as well as by the state and subprinciples of one's personal and higher mind. Hence it is helpful to pursue the path of negation embodied in the mantram "Neti, neti". One can deliberately affirm that one is not the body or brain, not one's likes or dislikes, not one's friends or so-called enemies, not the various sense-perceptions, and not one's lower mind or kama. One should not merely say these things to oneself but actually think them, withdrawing consciousness from each successive element and voiding a series of connections with form. In a sense, this is like switching off a series of lights. Here technology mirrors what is possible in consciousness – the actual process of disengaging from the astral form through the power of self-consciousness. Through this withdrawal from the transitory connections one has apparently established with the lower principles, one can ascend through them, but this must be done calmly whilst wide awake.
One must familiarize oneself with this internal mountain climbing because otherwise one is liable to get hurt, to stumble and fall, and then it will become very difficult to pick oneself up and begin the ascent again. It is, naturally, unavoidable that over eighteen million years almost everyone has become dizzy and fallen repeatedly. This gives an important clue to the corruption of consciousness that takes place through rationalization and myriad excuses for spiritual failure. This is the fertile source of evil. The moment one rationalizes and justifies one's failings, one is spiritually stymied during that incarnation. But if one is willing to let go of pride and see things for what they are, recognizing the agencies at play, then one may take full responsibility for oneself and for the entire kingdom of elemental beings that constitute one's vestures. One must be willing to take responsibility for what happened over millions of years and also for the strong likelihood that one has taken spiritual vows in past lives. This must necessarily have great consequences for oneself, particularly if one is so privileged as to contact the Teachings of the Mahatmas in this life. The more deeply one thinks about this, the more clearly one will come to understand that one's life up to the present time and indeed every day that one lives is largely a re-enactment of everything that one has done over past lives.
Once one begins to initiate the process of Manasic withdrawal, one will rapidly discover that much of the cacophony and noise of the outer world is a pathetic and perverse degradation of the sacred. This lack of silence, which is equivalent to a loss of reverence for the sacred power of speech, is the result of human beings attempting to run away from their own karma. Inevitably it leads to a desecration of the earth and of nature and the arousing of hosts of angry elementals which congregate in every wasteland abandoned by human failures. Like the djinn of the desert that hover above the sites of buried cities, they inspire nervousness and fear in all those who pass by. The desire for revenge in the elementals is so intense because the devastation of the earth through the misuse of human powers has gone on for so long and has not been acknowledged or corrected. In response to this agitation many people develop a kind of a death-wish because their lives are devoid of meaning and they themselves have become empty vessels. Being afraid of death, whilst not knowing how to live, they end up game-playing, producing more noise and further obscuring the light of spirit. In the face of this restlessness and ennui, one must learn to preserve silence whilst coolly performing one's duty.
One must learn to set a good example by concentrating upon one s work, by exemplifying calm concentration, and by generating a true spirit of friendliness rooted in the depths of one's heart. One should render help when possible and also point out the source for further help. Through the grace of compassion one must remove the dryness and stiffness of one's own nature, but one should not become engrossed in compensatory reaching out to others which is only a mask for inadequate meditation. One must learn to restore a deeper spiritual breathing in one's mind and in one's actions. Generally in the realm of speech and conduct, "less is more" is the mantram that one needs to apply. "Bigger is always better" is an Atlantean mode of thought which is enraptured by excess and sheer bulk and considerations of quantity rather than quality. It is impossible to avoid the world of illusion, but one should learn to practise self-chosen ascetic disciplines lest one become a slave to the stomach, or subject to all forms of physiological, psychological, mental and spiritual indigestion, through lack of proper assimilation.
What may be seen from one side as an ascetic withdrawal from noisy and habitual involvement in the pairs of opposites on the psychological and sensory planes may be seen from the other side as learning the magical enactment of the AUM. The Uttara Gita hints that just as there is an archetypal polarity between the spiritual, immovable mind and the sensuous, movable mind, there is also a vital difference between noisy, uttered speech and the sacred and silent power of noiseless speech which invokes Sarasvati-Vach. The text also depicts the operation of the various vital winds or breaths passing as currents through the human form in their relation to the seven senses spoken of as priests or hotris. In essence, every action has sacrificial import and meaning but this can only be properly grasped when one abandons all concretized and exteriorized theories of value and adopts the cosmic perspective of universal sacrifice – Adhiyajna. Owing to mechanistic and instrumental theories of value, which are the bane of all institutions and societies, a false dichotomy arises between creators and consumers of value. In truth, human beings need to learn that all must equally share in universal modes of sacrifice.
Whilst individuals will vary in the roles and degrees through which they participate in sacrifice, each can strengthen his or her own sense of the sacred in every duty performed. Each must harmonize and modulate the rates of mental breathing by adjusting the ratio of the unmanifest to the manifest in everyday consciousness. At a minimum, everyone must try. This is a take-it-or-leave-it proposition with regard to the life of the sacred. The amount of progress made is much less important than the regularity and persistence of the effort. As in the Buddhist metaphor of the filling of the jar, what is most important is that drops of clean water actually fall into the jar. As one collects in one's vessel what The Voice of the Silence calls "heaven's dew drops", the Real will displace the unreal and one will become prepared for the time when "night cometh and no man shall work". It is self-evident that one can only come to experience the waters of compassion through enacting the Word with the motivation of selfless love towards all, even those who are ensnared in their own failures. There must be no desire to discover some Noah's Ark of salvation for oneself but rather a willingness to use every opportunity in life to be a messenger of goodwill and a witness to the wisdom one has received freely from within. If one would not be caught in the mad rush of those who are like the gathering swine in the New Testament, one must understand that every golden moment of new beginnings for oneself must be self-consciously transformed into a deepened spirit of dedication to the welfare of all, Lokasangraha.
As one patiently perseveres in "the divine discipline" of enacting the AUM in deeds, one may receive timely intimations of the vast perspective of the Army of the Voice, the Host of the Logos. Remaining above the plane of immanent, relative polarities, they see the essential core of everything. They are Tattvajnanis – those who see the essence of each of the tattvas. They are Brahmajnanis – those who see Brahman in every atom and being. They are Atmajnanis – those who see by the light of the manifested Logos, sometimes called Ishwara, and its mirroring in Atman, although one cannot separate the two. Terms like "mirroring" and even "light" can be misleading when referring to a plane of primordial matter or homogeneity wherein there is hardly any difference between subjectivity and objectivity. Having awakened the three highest centres of human consciousness, and also attuned the corresponding states to the three arupa planes in Kosmos, they have become Masters of Atma Vidya. Having realized the mystic bond of Being and Non-Being within the depths of their own unmanifest Self, they stand as luminous witnesses to the nobility and promise of human endeavour. Established within the circle of boundless light, they are able to perceive the metaphysical origins of human suffering and strife. H.P. Blavatsky depicts the impersonal nature of the problem:
The Silent Watchers, awake during periods of pralaya, having transcended the primal pair of pralaya and manvantara, through a process of partial descent and incarnation under karmic law participate in the vast round of human existence. With mathematical precision they are able to determine precisely which elements in human volition and consciousness are operative at any given time and the exact nature of the evolutionary task before humanity in any given period. Every human being, whether consciously or unconsciously, is performing the evolutionary task inherently necessary owing to the sevenfold constitution of man and the earth. For human beings in the Fourth Round, the aim is to become self-determining and self-conscious in relation to the evolutionary process. True self-consciousness cannot be awakened through any exterior means but only through establishing the true posture of inner devotion to the Guru. The Guru alone can kindle that inner light which can quicken in every human being the powers of higher self-consciousness. The degree of self-consciousness attained by any individual will be a product both of the intensity of devotion and the starting-point in any given life. Hence there is a vast variety of degrees of intelligence, self-determination and energy displayed by particular human beings.
The integral relation between Guru Yoga and Atma Vidya, which must be realized by the human Ego, is embodied in the Hermetic maxim that the Guru is Spiritual Fire.
In each succeeding Round, the degree of incarnation of the Atman and the corresponding degrees of human perfection and karmic responsibility increase. With the advent of the Fifth Round, human beings will be held fully responsible for their descents from sphere to sphere, and those who are unable to fulfil this responsibility will not be able to accomplish the transition from the Fourth to the Fifth Rounds. Unable to fulfil the evolutionary programme, they will not be able to incarnate in future Rounds, and their shells will be incinerated by nature. Hence in the Fourth Round great courage is needed. Without it one is going to be afraid of the abyss, but there is no reason to be afraid because every human being is of a divine degree and can cooperate with the upward movement. Those who have become perfected in Buddhi-Manasic responsibility during the Fourth Round and have become capable of universal cognition and become great in the power of sacrifice will prepare over millions of years for the descent of a still more perfect and intellectual race. Whilst the full fruition of this race lies in the far distant future, the turning-point has already been reached with regard to its karmic inception. This is due to the extremely abnormal condition of humanity produced and perpetuated by the misuse and atrophy of spiritual powers during the Fourth Round. This condition was characterized in the last century by H.P. Blavatsky:
The aftermath of two world wars and the slaughter of millions of people in this century have not brought humanity any closer to peace on earth and the reign of justice. Viewing humanity through the eyes of compassion and seeing the tragedy of human misery everywhere, one cannot help but notice the victims of injustice. To let them hear the Law, whilst at the same time the Law must take its course, would take something much stronger than was even imaginable in the time of the Buddha and Christ. It would need something golden and generous and divine and free, such as in the time of Krishna or as sung by Shelley, but at the same time it would need the immense preparation that comes from the silent work of all the sages and rishis who know that human beings could only become truly human through meditation. Thus a time will come, though not in this century, when there will be men of meditation and exemplars of compassion in every part of the globe. In order to protect and promote the interests of the humanity of the future and to wipe out the humbug of the ages, the pristine avataric descent of the Aquarian cycle has been accompanied by a tremendous acceleration in the programme of evolution. The misuse of the human form had to be halted. All over the world this is sensed, and although there are those who, as Shakespeare put it, "squeak and gibber in the streets", there is a resonant feeling of joy amongst the greater portion of humanity which recognizes what has already begun to take root.
The meaning of the sounding of the keynote of the Cycle in relation to the great globe itself can only be understood in terms of the relation of the Logos, of Avalokitesvara, to the descent of Atman in the human race in its entirety. In the last century Mahatma Morya gave a clue to the mystery when he said, "We have yet some Avatars left to us on earth." As it was in the past, it is now and it always shall be that the entire sacred tribe of Initiates serves Dakshinamurti, the Initiator of Initiates. For over eighteen million years they have been the faithful witnesses to the mysterious bond between the Ever-Living Human Banyan, the fiery Dragon of Light, Fire and Flame, and the seventh principle in the Cosmos which extends beyond all the manifested cycles of galaxies. Those who seek intimations of the meaning of the end of the old habits, modes and orders and of the auspicious birth of the new, which is the oldest of the old, should meditate deeply upon these words of Pymander:
Hermes, November 1981