The Masters and the Path

C. W. Leadbeater



Part IV (continued)


Chapter 13

The Trinity and the Triangles



The Divine Trinity

We know that the Logos of our solar system—and that is what most men mean when they speak of God—is a Trinity; he has, or rather is, Three Persons; he functions through Three Aspects. These are called by many different names in the different religions, but they are not always viewed in the same way; for this mighty scheme of a Trinity has so many Aspects that no one religion has ever succeeded in symbolizing the whole truth. In some faiths we have a Trinity of Father, Mother, Son, which is at least comprehensible to us when we think of methods of generation and interaction. Of this type we find Osiris, Isis and Horus in the Egyptian teaching, and in Scandinavian mythology Odin, Freya and Thor. The Assyrians and Phoenicians believed in a Trinity the Persons of which were Anu, Ea and Bel. The Druids called them Taulac, Fan and Mollac. In Northern Buddhism we hear of Amitabha, Avalokiteshvara and Manjushri. In the Kabala of the Jews the Three are Kether, Binah and Chokma, and in the Zoroastrian religion Ahura­mazda, Asha and Vohumano, or sometimes Ahuramazda, Mithra and Ahriman. Everywhere the principle of the Trinity is acknowledged, though the manifestations are different.

In the great Hindu system there is the Trinity of Shiva, Vishnu and Brahma. The Mother element is not shown in this Trinity, but it is indirectly recognized in that each of these Three is said to have a Shakti or power, which is sometimes in the symbolism named his consort. This is evidently a manifestation of his power in matter, perhaps a somewhat lower manifestation than that of which we must think when we mention the Trinity Itself. In the Christian system we have the Trinity of Father, Son and Holy Ghost; and it is interesting in this connection to note that in some of the old books the Holy Ghost is definitely mentioned as being feminine. Apart from this, the instinctive need of man to recognize the Divine Motherhood has in Christianity found expression in the cult of the Blessed Virgin, who, though not a Person of the Holy Trinity, is nevertheless the Universal Mother, the Queen of the Angels, the Star of the Sea.

Students should understand that a great department of Mother­hood exists, and has an important place in the Inner Government of the world. Just as the Manu is the head of a great department which looks after the physical development of races and sub-races, just as the Bodhisattva is the head of another which attends to religion and education, so is the great Official who is called the Jagat-Amba or World-Mother the head of a department of Motherhood. Just as the Lord Vaivasvata is at present filling the office of the Manu, and the Lord Maitreya that of the World-Teacher, so is the great Angel who was once the mother of the body of Jesus filling the post of World-Mother.

It is the work of this department to look especially after the mothers of the world. From the occult standpoint the greatest glory of woman is not to become a leader in society, nor is it to take a high university degree and live in a flat in scornful isolation, but to provide vehicles for the egos that are to come into incarnation. And that is regarded not as something to hide and to put away, something of which one should be half-ashamed; it is the greatest glory of the feminine incarnation, the grand opportunity which women have and men have not. Men have other opportunities, but that really wonderful privilege of motherhood is not theirs. It is the women who do this great work for the helping of the world, for the continuance of the race; and they do it at a cost of suffering of which we who are men can have no idea.

Because this is so—because of the great work done and the terrible suffering which it entails—there is this special department of the government of the world, and the duty of its officials is to look after every woman in the time of her suffering, and give her such help and strength as her karma allows. As we have said, the World-Mother has at her command vast hosts of angelic beings, and at the birth of every child one of these is always present as her representative. To every celebration of the Holy Eucharist comes an Angel of the Presence, who is in effect a thought-form of the Christ himself—the form through which he endorses and ratifies the Priest’s act of consecration; and so it is absolutely true that, though the Christ is one and indivisible, he is nevertheless simultaneously present upon many thousands of altars. In something the same way, though of course at a far lower level, the World-Mother herself is present in and through her representative at the bedside of every suffering mother. Many women have seen her under such conditions, and many who have not been privileged to see have yet felt the help and the strength which she outpours.

It is the earnest desire of the World-Mother that every woman in her time of trial should have the best possible surroundings—that she should be enfolded in deep and true affection, that she should be filled with the holiest and noblest thoughts, so that none but the highest influences may be brought to bear upon the child who is to be born, so that he may have a really favourable start in life. Nothing but the purest and best magnetism should await him, and it is imperatively necessary that the most scrupulous physical cleanliness should be observed in all particulars. Only by the strictest attention to the rules of hygiene can such favourable conditions be obtained as will permit of the birth of a noble and healthy body, fit for the habitation of an exalted ego.

This matter of providing a suitable incarnation for highly developed egos is one which causes considerable anxiety to the World-Mother and to her attendant angels. Many thousands of advanced souls are ready for incarnation and anxious to take it, in order that they may help in the work of the World-Teacher; but the difficulty of finding appropriate bodies is very great. In consequence of foolish and wasteful ostentation an evil tradition is growing up in the Western world that men and women cannot afford to marry, and that large families are too expensive to be practically possible. Not understanding the wonderful opportunity which their sex gives them, women desire to be free from the restraints of marriage in order that they may ape the lives and the actions of men, instead of taking advantage of their peculiar privileges. Such a line of thought and action is obviously disastrous to the future of the race, for it means that many of the better-class parents take no part in its perpetuation, but leave it entirely in the hands of the more undesirable and undeveloped egos.

In India the conditions are different, for every one marries as a matter of course; but even in the higher castes there is often a lamentable lack of supervision, and the conditions provided are very unfavourable for the production of sound and healthy bodies. This is a very serious matter, earnestly to be commended to the consideration of all students of occultism, who should assuredly do everything in their power to bring about a more satisfactory state of affairs.

It would indeed be well that women in all countries should band themselves together in an endeavour to spread abroad among their sisters accurate information on this most important subject; every women should fully realize the magnificent opportunities which the feminine incarnation gives her; every woman should be taught the absolute necessity for proper conditions before, during and after her pregnancy. Not only the most perfect cleanliness and the most careful attention should surround the baby body, but also it should be encompassed by perfect astral and mental conditions, by love and trust, by happiness and holiness. In this way the work of the World-Mother would be immensely facilitated and the future of the race would be assured.

It has often been asked whether there are any Adepts living in feminine bodies. The existence of the World-Mother is an answer to that question. Because of her wonderful quality of intense purity and because of her development in other ways, she was chosen to be the mother of the body of the disciple Jesus long ago in Palestine; and because of the wonderful patience and nobility of soul with which she bore all the terrible suffering which came to her as the consequence of that position, she attained in that same life the level of Adeptship. Having reached that, and finding the seven paths open before her, she chose to enter the glorious Deva evolution and was received into it with great honour and distinction.

That is the truth which lies behind the Roman Catholic doctrine of her Assumption; not that she was carried up into heaven among the Angels in her physical body, but that when she left that body she took her place among the Angels, and being presently appointed to the office of World-Mother she became very truly a queen among them, as the Church so poetically says. A great Deva needs no physical body; but while she holds her present office she will always appear to us in feminine form, as will those Adepts who have chosen to help her in her work.

All through the centuries thousands upon thousands both of men and of women have poured heartfelt devotion at her feet, and it is very certain that no jot or tittle of that devotion has been misdirected or wasted; for she, whose love for mankind has evoked it, has always used its force to the uttermost in the onerous task which she has undertaken. However little men have known it, they have poured such a splendid wealth of love at her feet not because she was once the mother of Jesus, but because she is now the Mother of all living.

We must not think of this knowledge about the World-Mother as exclusively the possession of Christianity; she is clearly recognized in India as the Jagat-Amba, and in China as Kwan-Yin, the Mother of Mercy and Knowledge. She is essentially the representative, the very type and essence of love, devotion and purity; the heavenly wisdom indeed, but most of all Consolatrix Afflictorum, the Consoler, Comforter, Helper of all who are in trouble, sorrow, need, sickness or any other adversity.

The Shakti or feminine element in each Person of the Blessed Trinity is also recognized in certain quarters in the well-known emblem of the Triple Tau, as shown in diagram 7.

There is also a similar Trinity in the case of higher and greater Logoi; and far behind and beyond all that we can know or imagine there is the Absolute, of which the presentation is also a Trinity. At the other end of the scale we find a Trinity in man, his Spirit, his Intuition and his Intelligence; which represent the threefold qualities of will, wisdom and activity. This Trinity in man is an image of that other and greater Trinity; yet it is also much more than an image. It is not only symbolical of the Three Persons of the Logos, but in some way impossible to understand in physical consciousness, it is also an actual expression and manifestation of those Three Persons at this lower level.


Emblem of the Triple Tau

Diagram 7


The Triangle of Agents

As the Logos is a Trinity, so the Occult Government of the world is in three great departments, ruled by three mighty Officials, who are not merely reflections of the Three Aspects of the Logos, but are in a very real way actual manifestations of them. They are the Lord of the World, the Lord Buddha and the Mahachohan, who have reached grades of Initiation which give them waking consciousness on the planes of nature beyond the field of evolution of humanity, where dwells the manifested Logos.[1] The Lord of the World is one with the First Aspect on the highest of our seven planes, and wields the divine Will on earth; the Buddha is united with the Second Aspect which dwells on the Anupadaka plane, and sends the divine Wisdom down to mankind; the Mahachohan is utterly one with the Third Aspect, which resides in the Nirvanic plane and exercises the divine Activity—representing the Holy Ghost. He is verily the Arm of the Lord stretched out into the world to do his work. The following table will make this clear.



Divine Powers

Planes of Nature

Triangle of Agents


1st Aspect


Adi or Originating

The Lord of the World


2nd Aspect


Anupadaka or Monadic

The Lord Buddha


3rd Aspect


Atmic or Spiritual

The Mahachohan


Diagram 8


The first and second members of this great Triangle are different from the third, being engaged in work of a character that does not descend to the physical plane, but only to the level of the buddhic body in the case of the Lord Buddha, and the atmic plane in that of the great Agent of the First Aspect. Yet without their higher work none of that at lower levels would be possible, so they provide for the transmission of their influence even to the lowest plane through their representatives, the Manu Vaivasvata and the Lord Maitreya respectively.

These two great Adepts stand parallel with the Mahachohan on their respective Rays, both having taken the Initiation that bears that name; and thus another Triangle is formed, to administer the powers of the Logos down to the physical plane. We may express the two Triangles in one diagram (No. 9).

For the entire period of a root race the Manu works out the details of its evolution, and the Bodhisattva, as World-Teacher, Minister of Education and Religion, helps its members to develop whatever of spirituality is possible for them at that stage, while the Mahachohan directs the minds of men so that the different forms of culture and civilization shall be unfolded according to the cyclic plan. Head and Heart are these, and the Hand with five Fingers, all active in the world, moulding the race into one organic being, a Heavenly Man.

This last term is no mere simile, but describes a literal fact, for at the close of each root race effort those who have attained Adeptship within it form a mighty organism which is in a very real sense one, a Heavenly Man, in whom, as in an earthly man, are seven great centres, each of which is a mighty Adept. The Manu and the Bodhisattva will occupy in this great Being the place of the brain and heart centres, and in them and as part of them, gloriously one with them, shall we their servants be; and the splendid totality will go on in its further evolution to become a Minister of some future Solar Deity. Yet so transcending all comprehension is the wonder of it all that this union with others does not mar the freedom of any Adept in the Heavenly Man, nor preclude his acting quite outside its scope.


Diagram of the triangles

Diagram 9


Until recently it was not the rule that the office of Mahachohan should be occupied by a permanent Adept of that grade. It was usual that each of the five Chohans, in rotation, should be appointed to leadership over all five Rays, though before occupying that position he was required to take the Mahachohan Initiation. At present, however, we find a Chohan in charge of each of the five Rays, and also a Mahachohan separate from all of them—a departure from what we understand to be the ordinary method which may be due principally to the near Coming of the World-Teacher.

Limits of the Rays

On these five Rays, Three to Seven, the highest Initiation that can be taken on our globe is that of the Mahachohan, but it is possible to go further on the First and Second Rays, as is indicated in the following table of Initiations, in which it will be seen that the Buddha Initiation is possible on the Second and First Rays, and that the Adept may go still further on the First.


Initiations Possible on the Rays

First Ray

Second Ray

Rays Three to Seven

Initiation 9


Lord of the World

Initiation 8



The Pratyeka Buddha

The Buddha

Initiation 7

The Manu

The Bodhisattva

The Mahachohan

Initiations 1 to 6

Diagram 10

      Lest it should seem as though in this fact there lay something in the nature of an injustice, it must be made clear that Nirvana is attainable as soon on one Ray as on another: any man on reaching the Asekha level is at once free to enter this condition of bliss for a period that to us would seem eternity; but he enters its first stage only, which, exalted infinitely beyond our comprehension as it is, is yet far below the higher stages available to the Chohan and Mahachohan respectively, while even these, in turn, pale before the glory of those divisions of the Nirvanic state which those Adepts reach who make the tremendous effort necessary to take during earth-life the still higher Initiations of the First and Second Ray. Further progress is also possible on the five Rays to those who take up other lines of work outside our Hierarchy.

Change of Ray

The possibility of changing one’s Ray by the firm determination to do so leaves all paths alike open to the occult student. It is known that both the Masters with whom The Theosophical Society has been most closely connected have chosen to make this effort, and those of us who wish to retain our affiliation to them as individuals are therefore, consciously or unconsciously, in course of making it also. The method by which the transfer is effected is simple enough in theory, though often very difficult to carry out in practice. If a student on the Sixth or devotional Ray wishes to transfer himself to the Second Ray, that of wisdom, he must first endeavour to bring himself under the influence of the second sub-division of his own Sixth Ray. Then he will try steadily to intensify the influence of that sub-ray in his life, until finally it becomes dominant. Thus instead of being on the second sub-division of the Sixth Ray he will find himself on the sixth sub-division of the Second Ray; in a word, he has tempered his devotion by increasing knowledge till it has become devotion to the Divine Wisdom. From that he can if he wishes, by sufficiently strenuous and long-continued effort, further transfer himself to some other sub-division of the Second Ray.

Evidently here we have a departure from the ordinary rules of procedure, for a Monad who came forth through one Planetary Spirit will return through another. Such changes are comparatively rare, and tend to balance one another satisfactorily at the end. The transfers are usually to the First and Second Rays, and there are relatively few persons on those two at the lower levels of evolution.

Perfect Unity

The marvellous unity of the members of these Triangles with the Logos may be well illustrated by the case of the Bodhisattva. We have seen that the union of pupil with Master is closer than any tie imaginable on earth; closer still, because at a higher level, was that between the Master Kuthumi and his Teacher the Master Dhruva, who was in his turn a pupil of the Lord Maitreya, during the time when the latter took pupils. Thereby the Master Kuthumi became also one with the Lord Maitreya, and as at their level unity is still more perfect, the Master Kuthumi is one with the Bodhisattva in a very wonderful way.

The Adepts seem so far above us that we can hardly distinguish any difference in glory between the lower and the higher levels. They all look like stars above us, and yet they speak of themselves as dust under the feet of the Lord Maitreya. There must be an enormous difference there, even though we cannot see it. We look up to these stupendous heights and all appears a blinding glory, in which we cannot presume to distinguish one as greater than another, except that we can see by the size of the aura that there are differences. But at least we can comprehend that the unity of the Master Kuthumi with the Lord Maitreya must be a far greater and more real union than anything imaginable at lower levels.

Still more is the Bodhisattva one with that Second Person of the Logos whom he represents. He has taken the office of representing him here on earth, and that is the meaning of the hypostatic union between Christ as God and Christ as man. For he, the Bodhisattva, whom in the West we call the Lord Christ, is the Intuitional Wisdom, the Representative and Expression of the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity. Herein is the mystery which underlies the two natures of the Christ, “who, although he be God and Man, yet he is not two, but one Christ—One, not by conversion of the Godhead into flesh, but by taking of the manhood into God.”

The Second Person of the Ever-blessed Trinity existed ages before the Lord Maitreya came into evolution; and the first descent of that Second Person into incarnation was when as the Second Outpouring he took the vehicles of his manifestation out of the virgin matter of his new solar system, already impregnated and vivified by God the Holy Spirit. When that had been done we had for the first time Christ unmanifested as opposed to Christ manifested, and even at that time it must have been true that Christ as God was in one sense greater than Christ as man. As the Bodhisattvas, who are to represent this Second Person on different planets of his system, one by one attain the Headship of their Ray, they in turn become so thoroughly one with him that they deserve the title of Christ as Man; and so at the moment of the consummation of such Initiation the hypostatic union takes place for each of them.

This Second Aspect of the Logos pours himself down into matter, is incarnated, and becomes man; and is therefore “equal to the Father as touching his Godhead, and inferior to the Father as touching his manhood,” as is said in the Athanasian Creed. Our Lord the Bodhisattva has been a man like ourselves, and is such a man still, though a perfected man; yet that manhood has so been taken into the Godhead that he is in truth a very Christ, a Representation of the Second Aspect of the Trinity; for in him and through him it is possible for us to reach to that Divine Power. That is why the Christ is spoken of as the Mediator between God and man; it is not that he is making a bargain on our behalf, or buying us off from some horrible punishment, as many orthodox Christians believe, but that he is in truth a Mediator, One who stands between the Logos and man, whom man can see, and through whom the power of the Deity pours forth to humankind. Therefore is he the Head of all religions through which these blessings come.


Chapter 14

The Wisdom in the Triangles

The Buddha

The Buddha of the present time is the Lord Gautama, who took his last birth in India about two thousand five hundred years ago, and in that incarnation finished his series of lives as Bodhisattva, and succeeded the previous Buddha Kasyapa as Head of the Second Ray in the Occult Hierarchy of our globe. His life as Siddartha Gautama has been wonderfully told in Sir Edwin Arnold’s Light of Asia, one of the most beautiful and inspiring poems in our language.

Seven Buddhas appear in succession during a world-period, one for each race, and each in turn takes charge of the special work of the Second Ray for the whole world, devoting himself to that part of it which lies in the higher worlds, while he entrusts to his assistant and representative, the Bodhisattva, the office of World-Teacher for the lower planes. For One who attains this position Oriental writers think no praise too high, no devotion too deep, and just as we regard those Masters to whom we look up as all but divine in goodness and wisdom, so to an even greater degree do they regard the Buddha. Our present Buddha was the first of our humanity to attain that stupendous height, the previous Buddhas having been the product of other evolutions, and a very special effort was needed on his part to prepare himself for this lofty post, an effort so stupendous that it is spoken of constantly by the Buddhists as the Mahabhinishkramana, the Great Sacrifice.

Many thousands of years ago there arose the need for one of the Adepts to become the World-Teacher of the fourth root race; for the time had come when humanity should be able to supply its own Buddhas. Up to the middle of the fourth round of the fourth incarnation of our Chain, which was exactly the central point of the scheme of evolution to which we belong, the great Officers who were required—the Manus and the World-Teachers and others—were supplied to our humanity by more advanced humanities of other Chains, which had made more progress or perhaps were older than we; and we ourselves, having been thus assisted, shall in our turn have later on the privilege to make provision for other and more backward schemes of evolution.

In such ways the real brotherhood of all that lives is demonstrated; and we see that it is not merely a brotherhood of humanity, or even of the life in this chain of worlds, but that all the chains in the solar system mutually interact and help one another. I have no direct evidence that solar systems give assistance to each other in such ways, but I should imagine it by analogy to be almost certain that even that is done. At least I have myself seen Visitors from other systems, as I have said before, and have noticed that they are not merely travelling for pleasure, but are certainly in our system for some good purpose. What their purpose is I do not know; but of course it is not my business.

Now at this time in the remote past to which we have referred, humanity should have begun to provide its own Teachers; but we are told that no one had quite reached the level required for the incurring of so tremendous a responsibility. The first-fruits of Humanity at this period were two Brothers who stood equal in occult development; one being he whom we now call the Lord Gautama Buddha, and the other our present World-Teacher, the Lord Maitreya. In what way they fell short of the required qualifications we do not know; but, out of his great love for humanity the Lord Gautama instantly offered to make himself ready to undertake whatever additional effort might be necessary to attain the required development. We learn from tradition that life after life he practised special virtues, each life showing out some great quality achieved.

That great sacrifice of the Buddha is spoken of in all the sacred books of the Buddhists; but they have not understood the nature of the sacrifice, for many believe it to have been the descent of the Lord Buddha from Nirvanic levels after his Illumination to teach his Law. It is true that he did so descend, but that would not be anything in the nature of a sacrifice; it would only be an ordinary, but not very pleasant piece of work. The great sacrifice that he made was this spending of thousands of years in order to qualify himself to be the first of mankind who should help his brother-men by teaching to them the Wisdom which is life eternal.

That work was done, and nobly done. We know something of the various incarnations that he took after that, as Bodhisattva of his time, though there may be many more of which we know nothing. He appeared as Vyasa; he came to ancient Egypt as Hermes, the Thrice-Greatest, who was called the Father of All Wisdom; he was the first of the twenty-nine Zoroasters, the Teachers of the Religion of the Fire; still later he walked amongst the Greeks as Orpheus, and taught them by means of music and of song; and finally he took his last birth in the north of India, and wandered up and down the Ganges valley for five and forty years, preaching his Law, and drawing round himself all those who in previous lives had been his pupils.

In some way which we cannot hope yet to understand, because of the great strain of those many ages of effort, there were certain points in the work of the Lord Buddha which it may be that he had not time to perfect utterly. It is impossible at such a level for there to be anything in the nature of a failure or a fault, but perhaps the strain of the past was too great even for such power as his. We cannot know; but the fact remains that there were certain minor matters to which at the time he could not perfectly attend, and therefore the after-life of the Lord Gautama was not quite the same as that of his Predecessors. It is usual, as I have said, for a Bodhisattva when he has lived his final life and become Buddha—when he has entered into glory, bearing his sheaves with him, as it is put in the Christian Scriptures—to hand over his external work entirely to his Successor, and devote himself to his labours for humanity at higher levels. Whatever may be these manifold activities of a Dhyani Buddha, they do not bring him again into birth on earth; but because of the peculiar circumstances surrounding the life of the Lord Gautama two differences were made, two supplementary acts were performed.

The Supplementary Acts

The first was the sending by the Lord of the World, the Great King, the One Initiator, of one of his three Pupils, who are all Lords of the Flame from Venus, to take earthly incarnation almost immediately after the attainment of Buddhahood by the Lord Gautama, in order that by a very short life spent in travelling over India He might establish therein certain centres of religion called mathas. His name in that incarnation was Shankaracharya—not he who wrote the commentaries, but the great Founder of his line, who lived more than two thousand years ago.

Shri Shankaracharya founded a certain school of Hindu Philosophy, revived Hinduism to a large extent, putting new life into its forms, and gathering together many of the teachings of the Buddha. Hinduism to-day, though in many ways it may fall short of its high ideal, is a very much more living faith than in the old days before the coming of the Buddha, when it had degenerated into a system of formalism. Shri Shankaracharya was also largely responsible for the disappearance of animal sacrifices; although such sacrifices are still offered in India, they are but few, and those are on a very small scale. Besides his teaching on the physical plane, Shri Shankaracharya accomplished certain occult work in connection with the higher planes of nature which was of considerable importance to the later life of India.

The second supplementary act to which I have referred above was undertaken by the Lord Gautama himself. Instead of devoting himself wholly to other and higher work, he has remained sufficiently in touch with his world to be reached by the invocation of his successor when necessary, so that his advice and help can still be obtained in any great emergency. He also undertook to return to the world once in each year, on the anniversary of his death, and shed upon it a flood of blessing.

The Lord Buddha has his own special type of force, which he outpours when he gives his blessing to the world, and this benediction is a unique and very marvellous thing; for by his authority and position a Buddha has access to planes of nature which are altogether beyond our reach, hence he can transmute and draw down to our level the forces peculiar to those planes. Without this mediation of the Buddha these forces would be of no use to us here in physical life; their vibrations are so tremendous, so incredibly rapid, that they would pass through us unsensed at any level we can reach, and we should never even know of their existence. But as it is, the force of the blessing is scattered all over the world; and it instantly finds for itself channels through which it can pour (just as water instantly finds an open pipe), thereby strengthening all good work and bringing peace to the hearts of those who are able to receive it.

The Wesak Festival

The occasion selected for this wonderful outpouring is the full moon day of the Indian month of Vaisakh (called in Ceylon Wesak, and usually corresponding to the English May), the anniversary of all the momentous occurrences of his last earthly life—His birth, his attainment of Buddhahood, and his departure from the physical body.

In connection with this visit of his, and quite apart from its tremendous esoteric significance, an exoteric ceremony is performed on the physical plane at which the Lord actually shows himself in the presence of a crowd of ordinary pilgrims. Whether he shows himself to pilgrims I am not certain; they all prostrate themselves at the moment when he appears, but that may be only in imitation of the prostration of the Adepts and their pupils, who do see the Lord Gautama. It seems probable that some at least of the pilgrims have seen him for themselves, for the existence of the ceremony is widely known among the Buddhists of central Asia, and it is spoken of as the appearance of the Shadow or Reflection of the Buddha, the description given of it in such traditional accounts being as a rule fairly accurate. So far as we can see there appears to be no reason why any person whatever who happens to be in the neighbourhood at the time may not be present at the ceremony; no apparent effort is made to restrict the number of spectators; though it is true that one hears stories of parties of pilgrims who have wandered for years without being able to find the spot.

All members of the Great White Brotherhood, except the King himself and his three disciples, usually attend this ceremony; and there is no reason why any of our earnest Theosophical members should not be present at it in their astral bodies. Those to whom the secret has been confided usually try so to arrange matters as to put their physical bodies to sleep an hour or so before the exact moment of full moon, and to be undisturbed until about an hour after it.


Plan of the vsley of the Wesak Festival

Diagram 11


The Valley

The place selected is a small plateau surrounded by low hills, which lies on the northern side of the Himalayas, not far from the frontier of Nepal, and perhaps about four hundred miles west of the city of Lhassa. This little plain (see Diagram 11) is roughly oblong in shape, its length being perhaps a mile and a half and its breadth rather less. The ground slopes slightly downwards from south to north, and is mostly bare and stony, though in some places covered with coarse wiry grass and rough scrubby vegetation. A stream runs down part of the west side of the plateau, crosses its north-west corner, and escapes about the middle of the north side through a pine-clothed ravine, eventually reaching a lake which is visible at a distance of some miles. The surrounding country seems wild and uninhabited, and there are no buildings in sight except a single ruined stupa with two or three huts beside it, on the slope of one of the hills on the eastern sides of the plain. About the centre of the southern half of the plain lies a huge block of greyish-white stone, veined with some glittering substance—an altar-like block, perhaps twelve feet in length by six feet wide, and standing about three feet out of the ground.

On his materialization in the centre of the circle all the Adepts and Initiates bow gravely towards him, and another verse is chanted. After this, still intoning verses, the inner rings divide into eight parts, so as to form a cross within the outer circle, the Lord Maitreya still remaining at the centre. At the next movement of this stately ritual, the cross becomes a triangle, the Lord Maitreya moving forward so as to stand at its apex, and therefore close to the altar-stone. Upon that altar, in the open space left in front of the golden bowl, the Lord Maitreya reverently lays the Rod of Power, while behind him the circle changes into a rather involved curved figure, so that all are facing the altar. At the next change the curved figure becomes a reversed triangle, so that we have a representation of the well-known sign of The Theosophical Society, though without its encircling snake. This figure in turn resolves into the five-pointed star, the Lord Maitreya being still at the southern point nearest the altar-stone, and the other great Officials or Chohans at the five pints where the lines intersect. A diagram of the symbolic figures is herewith appended, as some of them are not easy to describe. Diagram 13.


The Rod of Power

Diagram 12



Diagram 13


When this seventh and final stage is reached the chanting ceases, and after a few moments of solemn silence the Lord Maitreya, again taking the Rod of Power into his hands and raising it above his head, utters in a few sonorous words of Pali:

“All is ready; Master, come!”

Then as he again lays down the fiery rod, at the exact moment of the full moon, the Lord Buddha appears as a gigantic figure floating in the air just above the southern hills. The members of the Brotherhood bow with joined hands, and the multitude behind them fall on their faces and remain prostrate, while the others sing the three verses which were taught by the Lord Buddha himself during his earth life to the schoolboy Chatta:

The Lord Buddha, the Sage of the Sakyas, is among mankind the best of Teachers. He has done that which was to be done, and has crossed to the other shore (Nirvana). He is filled with strength and energy; him, the Blessed One I take for my guide.

The truth is non-material; it brings freedom from passion, desire and sorrow; it is free from all stain; it is sweet, plain and logical; this truth I take as my guide.

Whatever is given to the eight kinds of the Noble Ones, who in pairs form the four grades, who know the truth, verily brings great reward; this Brotherhood of the Noble Ones I take as my guide.

The Greatest Blessing

Then the people rise and stand gazing at the presence of the Lord while the Brotherhood chants for the benefit of the people noble words of the Mahamangala Sutta, which has been translated thus by Professor Rhys Davids (certain slight modifications have been introduced from other sources, when they seemed decided improvements):

When yearning for good, many devas and men

Have held divers things to be blessing;

Do thou then inform us, O Master,

     What is the greatest blessing?

Not to serve the foolish,

But to serve the wise;

To honour those worthy of honour;

     This is the greatest blessing.

To dwell in a pleasant land,

To have done good deeds in a former birth,

To have a soul filled with right desire;

     This is the greatest blessing.

Much insight and much education,

Self-control and a well-trained mind,

Pleasant words that are well spoken;

     This is the greatest blessing.

To support father and mother,

To cherish wife and child,

To follow a peaceful calling;

     This is the greatest blessing.

To bestow alms and live righteously,

To give help to one’s kindred,

To do deeds which cannot be blamed;

     This is the greatest blessing.

To abhor and cease from sin,

To abstain from strong drink,

Not to be weary in well-doing;

     This is the greatest blessing.

Reverence and lowliness,

Contentment and gratitude,

The hearing of the Law at due seasons;

     This is the greatest blessing.

To be long-suffering and meek,

To associate with the tranquil,

Religious talk at due seasons;

     This is the greatest blessing.

Self-restraint and purity,

The knowledge of the Four Great Truths,

The realization of Nirvana;

     This is the greatest blessing.

Beneath the stroke of life’s changes

The soul that stands unshaken,

Passionless, unsorrowing, secure;

     This is the greatest blessing.

Invincible on every side

Is he who acteth thus;

On every side he walks in safety;

     And his is the greatest blessing.

The figure which floats above the hills is of enormous size, but exactly reproduces the form and features of the body in which the Lord last lived on earth. He appears seated cross-legged, with the hands together, dressed in the yellow robe of the Buddhist monk, but wearing it so as to leave the right arm bare. No description can give an idea of the face—a face truly God-like, for it combines calmness and power, wisdom and love in an expression containing all that our minds can imagine of the Divine. We may say that the complexion is clear yellowish-white, and the features clearly cut; that the forehead is broad and noble; the eyes large, luminous and of a deep dark blue; the nose slightly aquiline; the lips red and firmly set; but all this puts before us merely the outer mask and gives but a little grasp of the living whole. The hair is black—almost blue-black—and wavy; curiously, it is neither worn long according to Indian custom, nor shaved altogether in the manner of Oriental monks, but is cut off just before it reaches the shoulders, parted in the centre and swept back from the forehead. The story is told that when the Prince Siddartha left home to seek the truth, he seized his long hair and cut it off close above his head with a sweep of his sword, and that ever afterwards he kept it at the same length.

One of the most striking features of this wondrous apparition is the splendid aura which surrounds the figure. It falls into concentric spheres, as do the auras of all highly advanced men; its general plan is the same as that of the Arhat depicted in Plate xxvi in Man Visible and Invisible but the arrangement of its colours is unique. The figure is englobed in light which is somehow at the same time dazzling and yet transparent—so bright that the eye can hardly rest upon it, and yet through it the face and the colour of the robe stand out with perfect clearness. Outside of that comes a ring of glorious ultramarine; then in succession glowing golden yellow, the richest crimson, pure silvery white and a magnificent scarlet—all these being of course really spheres, though showing as bands when seen against the sky. Shooting out at right angles, outside all these, are rays of all these hues intermingled, and interspersed with flashes of green and violet, as will be observed when we refer to our frontispiece.

These colours, in exactly this order, are described in ancient Buddhist scriptures as constituting the aura of the Lord; and when in 1885 it was thought desirable that a special flag should be found for the Buddhists of Ceylon, our President-Founder Colonel Olcott, in consultation with our Sinhalese brothers at Colombo, evolved the idea of utilizing for that purpose that same significant grouping of colours. The Colonel tells us[2] that he learnt some years later from the Tibetan ambassador to the Viceroy of India, whom he met at Darjeeling, that the colours are the same as those in the flag of the Dalai Lama. The idea of this symbolical standard seems to have been widely accepted; I have myself seen it in Buddhist Temples at places as far apart as Rangoon and Sacramento in California.

Through a most unfortunate mistake these bands of colour were given in a wrong order in the plate accompanying the first edition of this book; the error has now been corrected. It is of course impossible to obtain in a printed illustration any approach to the brilliancy and purity of the colours as seen in the sky; all we can do is to offer a suggestion to help the imagination of the reader.

In earlier books we have described scarlet in man’s aura as expressing anger only; so it does in the ordinary lower astral; but quite apart from this, we find that at higher levels a far more magnificent and luminous scarlet, the very essence of living flame, betokens the presence of dauntless courage and high determination. It is of course as denoting the possession of these qualities in a superlative degree that it appears in the aura of the Lord Buddha. We might conjecture that the somewhat unusual prominence of this brilliant scarlet band may be significant of the special manifestation of those qualities in that age-long work of self-development to which I have referred on page 298.

The Lord Maitreya, who takes so prominent a part in this ceremony, will in due course of time succeed to the office now held by the Lord Gautama. It will perhaps be of interest to compare his aura with that which we have just described. The easiest way to imagine it is to look at the illustration of the aura of an Arhat on Plate xxvi of Man Visible and Invisible and then modify it in imagination as here indicated. It has a general resemblance to that, but besides being so much larger the colours are somewhat differently arranged.

The heart of it is blinding white light, just as in the case of the Arhat; then, eliminating the yellow from that part, let the rose-coloured oval retain its present position, but extend inwards up to the edge of the white. Outside that rose-coloured oval put a band of yellow instead of the blue; outside the green comes a belt of blue; outside of that the violet, as in the book, but outside of the violet again a broad band of the most glorious pale rose, into which the violet imperceptibly melts. Outside of all comes the radiation of mixed colours, just as in the book. The rays of white light flash through it in the same way, yet even they seem faintly tinged with the ever-present pale rose. The whole aura gives the impression of being suffused with the most delicate yet glowing rose, much as is Plate xi in Man Visible and Invisible.

A point which seems worthy of notice is that in this aura the colours come exactly in the same order as in the solar spectrum, though orange and indigo are omitted. First the rose (which is a form of red) then the yellow, shading into green, blue, violet in succession. And then it goes on into the ultra-violet, melting into rose—the spectrum beginning again in a higher octave, just as the lowest astral follows upon the highest physical.

Of course that is a very poor description, but it seems the best that we can do. It must be understood that it exists in many more dimensions than we can anyhow represent. In order to say thus much about it I have tried to do something nearly equivalent to taking a three-dimensional section of it. But it is wise for us to remember that it is by no means impossible that another section might be taken in a slightly different manner, which would yield somewhat dissimilar results, and yet be quite as true. It is hopeless to try to explain on the physical plane the realities of the higher worlds.

When the Mahamangala Sutta is finished, the Lord Maitreya takes the golden bowl of water from the altar-stone, and holds it above his head for a few moments, while the multitude behind, who have also provided themselves with vessels filled with water, follow his example. As he replaces it on the altar-stone another verse is chanted:

He is the Lord, the Saint who is perfect in knowledge, who possesses the eight kinds of knowledge and has accomplished the fifteen holy practices, who has come the good journey which led to the Buddhahood, who knows the three worlds, the unrivalled, the Teacher of gods and men, the Blessed One, the Lord Buddha.

As this ends, a smile of ineffable love beams forth from the face of the Lord as he raises his right hand in the attitude of benediction, while a great shower of flowers falls among the people. Again the members of the Brotherhood bow, again the crowd prostrates itself, and the figure slowly fades out of the sky, while the multitude relieves itself in shouts of joy and praise. The members of the Brotherhood come up to the Lord Maitreya in the order of their admission, and each sips the water in the golden bowl, and the people also sip theirs, taking the remainder home in their quaint leather bottles as holy water to drive away all evil influences from their houses, or perhaps to cure the sick. Then the vast company breaks up with mutual congratulations, and the people bear away to their far-distant homes an ineffaceable memory of the wonderful ceremony in which they have taken part.

The Predecessors of the Buddha

An interesting glimpse of the predecessors of the Buddha is to be found in the Vision of St. John the Divine: “And round about the throne were four and twenty seats; and upon the seats I saw four and twenty elders sitting, clothed in white raiment; and they had on their heads crowns of gold.”

He who is privileged to see this—and remember, it will come to every one some day—does so from the special point of view of his own beliefs. Therefore St. John saw what he expected to see, the twenty-four elders of the Jewish tradition. That number, twenty-four, marks the date at which this vision was first seen, or rather the date at which the Jewish idea of that glory was formulated. If we now could raise ourselves into the Spirit, and could see that ineffable glory, we should see twenty-five, not twenty-four Elders, for there has been one Lord Buddha who has attained since this vision was crystallized in the Jewish scheme of higher thought. For those elders are the Great Teachers who have taught the worlds in this our Round. There are seven Buddhas to each world; that makes twenty-one for the three worlds which we have passed, and then the Lord Gautama was the fourth of the Buddhas of this world. Therefore, twenty-four were the elders in those old days, but they would be twenty-five if we could see them now.

The Christian Church has translated that some-what differently, taking those elders as its twelve apostles and the twelve Jewish prophets. If those twenty-four were the apostles and the prophets, the seer must have seen himself among the rest, which would surely have been mentioned. Those elders had on their heads crowns of gold, it is said, and a little later on we read that they cast their crowns before him, as we sing in the glorious Trinity hymn.

I remember that as a child I marvelled much how that could be. It seemed a strange thing that these men could constantly cast down those crowns, and still have crowns to cast. I could not understand it, and I wondered what scheme there was for the returning of the crowns to their heads, so that they could cast them down again. Such faintly ridiculous ideas are perhaps not unnatural in a child; but they disappear when one understands. If we have seen images of the Lord Buddha we must have noticed that out of the crown of his head there usually comes a little mound or cone. It is as a crown, golden in colour, which represents the outpouring spiritual force from what is called the sahasrara chakra, the centre at the top of the man’s head—the thousand-petalled lotus, as it is poetically called in Oriental books.[3]

In the highly developed man that centre pours out splendour and glory, which makes for him a veritable crown; and the meaning of the passage is that all that he has developed, all the splendid karma that he makes, all the glorious spiritual force that he generates—all that he casts perpetually at the feet of the Logos to be used in his work. So, over and over again, can he continue to cast down his golden crown, because it perpetually re-forms as the force wells up from within him.

The Bodhisattva Maitreya

The Lord Maitreya, whose name means kindliness or com­passion, took up the office of Bodhisattva when the Lord Gautama laid it down, and since then he has made many efforts for the promotion of Religion. One of his first steps on assuming office was to take advantage of the tremendous magnetism generated in the world by the presence of the Buddha, to arrange that great Teachers should simultaneously appear in many different parts of the earth; so that within a comparatively short space of time we find not only the Buddha himself, Shri Shankaracharya and Mahavira in India, but also Mithra in Persia, Laotse and Confucius in China, and Pythagoras in ancient Greece.

Twice he has himself appeared—as Krishna in the Indian plains, and as Christ amid the hills of Palestine. In the incarnation as Krishna the great feature was always love; the Child Krishna drew round him people who felt for him the deepest, the most intense affection. Again in his birth in Palestine, love was the central feature of his teaching. He said: “This new commandment I give unto you, that ye love one another as I have loved you.” He asked that his disciples might all be one in him even as he was one with the Father. His closest disciple, St. John, insisted most strongly upon the same idea: “He that loveth not knoweth not God, for God is Love.”

What is now called Christianity was undoubtedly a magnificent conception as he originally taught it, sadly as it has fallen away from that high level in the hands of ignorant exponents since. It must not be assumed, of course, that the teaching of brotherly and neighbourly love was new in the world. As St. Augustine said in his book De Civitate Dei,

The identical thing that we now call the Christian religion existed among the ancients, and has not been lacking from the beginnings of the human race until the coming of Christ in the flesh, from which moment on the true religion, which already existed, began to be called Christian.

Readers of the Bhagavad Gita will also remember the teaching of love and devotion with which it is filled. The Bodhisattva also occupied occasionally the body of Tsong-ka-pa, the great Tibetan religious reformer, and throughout the centuries he has sent forth a stream of his pupils, including Nagarjuna, Aryasanga, Ramanuja­charya, Madhava­charya, and many others, who founded new sects or threw new light upon the mysteries of religion, and among these was one of his pupils who was sent to found the Muhammadan faith.

The sending out of the teachers I have mentioned above is only part of his work, which is not confined to humanity, but includes the education of all creatures on earth, and among them the Deva evolution. He is thus the Head of all the faiths at present existing, and of many others which have died out in the course of time, though he is of course responsible for them only in their original form, and not for the corruption which man has naturally and inevitably introduced into all of them as the ages have rolled by. He varies the type of religion to suit the period of the world’s history at which it is put forth, and the people to whom it is given; but though the form may vary as evolution proceeds, the ethics are ever the same.

He will come to earth many times more during the progress of the root race, founding many such religions, and each time drawing round himself such men of that race as are prepared to follow him, from among whose number he chooses some whom he can draw into closer relation with himself, some who are pupils in the innermost sense. Then towards the end of the race, when it is already far past its prime, and a new race is beginning to dominate the world, he will arrange that all his special pupils, who have followed him in those previous incarnations, shall come to birth together about the time of his last life in the world.

In it he will attain the great Initiation of the Buddha, and thus gain perfect enlightenment; at that time these pupils of his, without physically knowing or remembering him, will all be strongly attracted towards him, and under his influence great numbers of them will enter the Path, and many will advance to tile higher stages, having already in previous incarnations made considerable progress. We thought at first that the accounts given in the Buddhist books of the large numbers of men who instantly attained the Arhat level when the Lord Gautama became the Buddha were beyond the bounds of possibility; but we found on closer examination that there was truth underlying those accounts. It is possible that the numbers were exaggerated, but that very many pupils did suddenly attain these higher degrees of Initiation under the impetus given by the mighty magnetism and power of the Buddha is undoubtedly a fact.

The Asala Festival

Besides the great Wesak Festival, there is one other occasion in each year when the members of the Brotherhood all meet together officially. The meeting in this case is usually held in the private house of the Lord Maitreya, situated also in the Himalayas, but on the southern instead of the northern slopes. On this occasion no pilgrims on the physical plane are present, but all astral visitors who know of the celebration are welcome to attend it. It is held on the full moon day of the month of Asala, (in Sanskrit Asâdha), usually corresponding to the English July.

This is the anniversary of the delivery by the Lord Buddha of his first announcement of the great discovery—the sermon which he preached to his five disciples, commonly known as the Dhammachak­kappavattana Sutta, which has been poetically translated by Rhys Davids as “The Setting in Motion of the Royal Chariot Wheels of the Kingdom of Righteousness”. It is often more briefly described in Buddhist books as “The Turning of the Wheel of the Law”. It explains for the first time the Four Noble Truths and the Noble Eightfold Path, expounding the great middle way of the Buddha—the life of perfect righteousness in the world, which lies midway between the extravagances of asceticism on the one hand and the carelessness of mere worldly life on the other.

In his love for his great predecessor the Lord Maitreya has ordained that, whenever the anniversary of that first preaching comes round, the same sermon shall be recited once more in the presence of the assembled Brotherhood; and he usually adds to it a simple address of his own, expounding and applying it. The recitation of the sermon commences at the moment of full moon, and the reading and the address are usually over in about half an hour. The Lord Maitreya generally takes his place upon the marble seat which is set at the edge of a raised terrace in the lovely garden just in front of his house. The greatest of the Officials sit close about him, while the rest of the Brotherhood is grouped in the garden a few feet below. On this occasion, as on the other, there is often an opportunity for pleasant converse, and kindly greetings and benedictions are distributed by the Masters among their pupils and those who aspire to be their pupils.

It may be useful to give some account of the ceremony, and of what is usually said at these Festivals, though it is, of course, utterly impossible to reproduce the wonder and the beauty and the eloquence of the words of the Lord Maitreya on such occasions. The account which follows does not attempt to report any single discourse; it is a combination of, I fear, very imperfectly remembered fragments, some of which have already appeared elsewhere; but it will give to those who have not previously heard of it some idea of the line generally taken.

That great sermon is wonderfully simple, and its points are repeated over and over again. There was no shorthand in those days, so that it might be taken down and read by every one afterwards; his disciples had to remember his words by the impression made on them at the time. So he made them simple, and he repeated them again and again like a refrain, so that the people might be sure of them. One may readily see in reading it that it is constructed for this special purpose—that it may be easily remembered. Its points are arranged categorically, so that when it has once been heard each point reminds one of the next, as though it were a kind of mnemonic, and to the Buddhist each of these separate and easily remembered words suggests a whole body of related ideas, so that the sermon, short and simple as it is, contains an explanation and a rule of life.

One might well think that all that can be said about the sermon has been said already many times over; yet the Lord, with his wonderful eloquence and the way in which he puts it, makes it every year seem something new, and each person feels its message as though it were specially addressed to himself. On that occasion, as in the original preaching, the Pentecostal miracle repeats itself. The Lord speaks in the original sonorous Pali, but every one present hears him “in his own tongue wherein he was born,” as is said in the Acts of the Apostles.

The Four Noble Truths

The sermon begins with a proclamation that the Middle Path is the safest, and indeed the only true Path. To plunge on the one hand into the sensual excesses and pleasures of the ordinary worldly life is mean and degrading, and leads a man nowhither. On the other hand, extravagant asceticism is also evil and useless. There may be a few to whom the high ascetic and solitary life appeals, and they may be capable of leading it rightly, though even then it must not be carried to excess; but for all ordinary people the Middle Way of a good life lived in the world is in every way best and safest. The first step towards the leading of such a life is to understand its conditions; and the Lord Buddha lays these down for us in what he has called the Four Noble Truths. These are:

   1. Sorrow or Suffering.

   2. The Cause of Sorrow.

   3. The Ceasing of Sorrow (or the Escape from Sorrow).

   4. The Way which leads to the Escape from Sorrow.

1.   The First Truth is an assertion that all manifested life is sorrow, unless man knows how to live it. In commenting upon this, the Bodhisattva said that there are two senses in which manifested life is sorrowful. One of these is to some extent inevitable, but the other is an entire mistake and is very easily to be avoided. To the Monad, who is the true Spirit of man, all manifested life is in one sense a sorrow, because it is a limitation; a limitation which we in our physical brain cannot in the least conceive, because we have no idea of the glorious freedom of the higher life. In exactly the same sense it has always been said that the Christ offers himself as a Sacrifice when he descends into matter. It is a sacrifice undoubtedly, because it is an inexpressibly great limitation, for it shuts off from him all the glorious powers which are his on his own level. The same is true of the Monad of man; he undoubtedly makes a great sacrifice when he brings himself into connection with lower matter, when he hovers over it through the long ages of its development up to the human level, when he puts down a tiny fragment of himself (a finger-tip as it were) and thereby makes an ego, or individual soul.

Even though we may be only a tiny fragment—indeed, a fragment of a fragment—we are nevertheless a part of a magnificent reality. There is nothing to be proud of in being only a fragment, but there is a certainty that because we are therefore part of the higher, we can eventually rise into the higher and become one therewith. That is the end and aim of our evolution. And even when we attain that, remember that it is not for the sake of our delight in the advancement, but that we may be able to help in the scheme. All these sacrifices and limitations may rightly be described as involving suffering; but they are undertaken gladly as soon as the ego fully understands. An ego has not the perfection of the Monad, and so he does not fully understand at first; he has to learn like everybody else. That quite tremendous limitation at each further descent into matter is an unavoidable fact, and so there is that much of suffering inseparable from manifestation. We have to accept that limitation as a means to an end, as part of the Divine Scheme.

There is another sense in which life is often sorrow, but a kind of sorrow that can be entirely avoided. The man who lives the ordinary life of the world often finds himself in trouble of various kinds. It would not be true to say that he is always in sorrow, but he is often in anxiety, and he is always liable at any moment to fall into great sorrow or anxiety. The reason for this is that he is full of lower desires of various kinds, not at all necessarily wicked, but desires for lower things; and because of these desires he is tied down and confined. He is constantly striving to attain something which he has not, and he is full of anxiety as to whether he will attain it; and when he has attained it, he is anxious lest he should lose it. This is true not only of money but of position and power, of fame and of social advancement. All these cravings cause incessant trouble in many different ways. It is not only the individual anxiety of the man who has or has not some object of general desire; we have also to take into account all the envy and jealousy and ill-feeling caused in the hearts of others who are striving for the same object.

There are other objects of desire which seem higher than these and yet are not the highest. How often, for example, a young man desires affection from someone who cannot give it to him, who has it not to give! From such a desire as that comes often a great deal of sadness, jealousy and much other ill-feeling. You will say that such a desire is natural; undoubtedly it is, and affection which is returned is a great source of happiness. Yet if it cannot be returned, a man should have the strength to accept the situation, and not allow sorrow to be caused by the unsatisfied desire. When we say that a thing is natural, we mean that it is what we might expect from the average man. But the student of occultism must try to rise somewhat above the level of the average man—otherwise how can he help that man? We must rise above that level in order that we may be able to reach down a helping hand. We must aim not at the natural (in the sense of the average), but at the supernatural.

One who is clairvoyant will readily subscribe to the truth of this great teaching of the Buddha, that on the whole life is sorrow; for if he looks at the astral and mental bodies of those whom he meets he will see that they are filled with a vast number of small vortices all whirling vigorously, representing all sorts of odd little thoughts, little anxieties, little troubles about one thing or another. All these cause disturbance and suffering, and what is needed most of all for progress is serenity. The only way to gain peace is to get rid of them altogether, and that brings us to our Second Noble Truth, the Cause of Sorrow.

2.   We have already seen that the Cause of Sorrow is always desire. If a man has no desires, if he is not striving for place or power or wealth, then he is equally tranquil whether the wealth or position comes or whether it goes. He remains unruffled and serene because he does not care. Being human, he will of course wish for this or that, but always mildly and gently, so that he does not allow himself to be disturbed. We know, for example, how often people are prostrated with sorrow when they lose those whom they love by death. But if their affection be at the higher level, if they love their friend and not the body of their friend, there can be no sense of separation, and therefore no sorrow. If they are filled with desire for bodily contact with that friend on the physical plane, then at once that desire will cause sadness. But if they will put aside that desire and live in the communion of the higher life, the mourning passes away.

Sometimes people grieve when they find old age coming upon them, when they find their vehicles not so strong as they used to be. They desire the strength and the faculties that they once had. It is wise for them to repress that desire, to realize that their bodies have done good work, and if they can no longer do the same amount as of yore, they should do gently and peacefully what they can, but not worry themselves over the change. Presently they will have new bodies; and the way to ensure a good vehicle is to make such use as one can of the old one, but in any case to be serene and calm and unruffled. The only way to do that is to forget self, to let all selfish desires cease, and to turn the thought outward to the helping of others as far as one’s capabilities go.

3.   The Ceasing of Sorrow. Already we see how grief ceases and how calm is to be attained; it is by always keeping the thought on the highest things. We have still to live in this world, which has been poetically described as the sorrowful star—as indeed it is for so many, perhaps for most people, though it need not be; yet we may live in it quite happily if we are not attached to it by desire. We are in it, but we must not be of it—at least not to such an extent as to let it cause worry and trouble and vexation. Undoubtedly our duty is to help others in their afflictions and troubles and worries; but in order to do that effectively we must have none of our own; we must let those ruffles which might cause them slip smoothly past us, leaving us calm and contented. If we take this lower life with philosophy we shall find that for us sadness almost entirely ceases.

There may be some who think such an attitude unattainable. It is not so, for if it were the Lord Buddha would never have prescribed it for us. We can all reach it, and, we ought to do so, because only when we have attained it can we really and effectively help our brother man.

The Noble Eightfold Path

 4.   The Way which leads to the Escape from Sorrow. This is given to us in what is called the Noble Eightfold Path—another of the Lord Buddha’s wonderful tabulations or categories. It is a very beautiful statement, because it can be taken at all levels. The man in the world, even the uneducated man, can take it in its lowest aspects and find a way to peace and comfort through it. And yet the highest philosopher may also take it and interpret it at his level and learn very much from it.

The first step in this Path is Right Belief. Some people object to that qualification, because they say that it demands from them something in the nature of blind faith. It is not at all that sort of belief which is required; it is rather a demand for a certain amount of knowledge as to the ruling factors in life. It demands that we shall understand a little of the Divine Scheme as far as it applies to us, and if we cannot yet see that for ourselves, that we should accept it as it is always put before us. Certain broad facts are always put before men in some form or other. They are explained even to savage tribes by their medicine-men, and to the rest of mankind by various religious teachers and in all kinds of scriptures. It is very true that scriptures and religions differ, but the points in which they all agree have to be accepted by a man before he can understand life sufficiently to live happily.

One of these facts is the eternal Law of Cause and Effect. If a man lives under the delusion that he can do anything that he likes, and that the effect of his actions will never recoil upon himself, he will most certainly find that some of these actions eventually involve him in unhappiness and suffering. If, again, he does not understand that the object of his life is progress, that God’s Will for him is that he shall grow to be something better and nobler than he is now, then also he will bring unhappiness and suffering upon himself, because he will be likely to live for the lower side of life only, and that lower side of life never finally satisfies the inner man. And so it comes about that he must at least know something of these great laws of Nature, and if he cannot yet know them for himself it will be well for him to believe them. Later on, and at a higher level, before the second Initiation can be attained, we are told that we must kill out all doubt.

When the Lord Buddha was asked whether this meant that we must accept some form of belief blindly, he replied: “No, but you must know for yourself three great things—that only upon the Path of Holiness and good living can man finally attain perfection; that in order to attain it he moves through many lives, gradually rising higher and higher; and that there is a Law of Eternal Justice under which all these things work.” At that stage the man must cast out all doubt, and must be thoroughly and inwardly convinced of these things; but for the man of the world it is well that he should at least believe that much because unless he has that as a guide in life he cannot get any further.

The second step of the Noble Eightfold Path is Right Thought. Now, Right Thought means two separate things. The first demands that we should think about right things and not about wrong things. We can have at the back of our minds always high and beautiful thoughts, or on the other hand those minds may be filled with thoughts of common everyday matters. Let there be no mistake here; whatever work we are doing should be done thoroughly and earnestly, and with whatever concentration of thought upon it is necessary for that perfection. But most people, even when their work is done, or when there comes a pause in it, still have their thoughts running upon unimportant and comparatively ignoble things. Those who are devoted to the Master seek always to hold the thought of that Master in the back of their minds, so that when there is a moment’s respite from worldly action, at once that thought of him comes forward and occupies the mind. At once the pupil thinks: “What can I do to make my life like the Master’s? How can I so improve myself that I can show forth the beauty of the Lord to those around me? What can I do to carry on his work of helping other people?” One of the things we can all do is to send out helpful and sympathetic thought.

Remember, also, that Right Thought must be definite and not scattered; thoughts resting for a moment on one thing and then flying instantly to something else are useless, and will not help us at all in learning to manage our thoughts. Right Thought must never have the slightest touch of evil in it; there must be nothing doubtful about it. There are many people who would not deliberately think of anything impure or horrible, and yet they will cherish thoughts which are on the brink of that—not definitely evil, but certainly a little doubtful. In Right Thought there must be nothing like that; wherever there is anything which seems in the least suspicious or unkind, it must be shut out. We must be quite sure that all our thoughts are thoroughly kind and good.

There is another meaning of Right Thought, and that is correct thought—that we should think the truth only. So often we think untruly and wrongly of persons just because of prejudice or ignorance. We get an idea that a certain person is a bad person, and, therefore, that all that he does must be evil. We attribute motives to him which are often absolutely without foundation, and in doing so we are thinking untruly of him, and therefore our thought is not Right Thought. All men not yet Adepts have in them something of evil as well as something of good; but most unfortunately it is our custom to fix all our attention on the evil, and to forget all about the good—never to look for it at all. Therefore our thought about these people is not Right Thought, not only because it is uncharitable, but because it is untrue. We are looking only at one side of the person and we ignore the other side. Further­more, by fixing our attention on the evil in the man instead of the good, we strengthen and encourage that evil; whereas by Right Thought we might give just the same encouragement to the good side of that man’s nature.

The next stage is Right Speech; and here again we find just the same two divisions. First, we should speak always of good things. It is not our business to speak of the evil deeds of others. In most cases the stories about other people which reach us are not true, and so if we repeat them our words also are untrue, and we are doing harm to ourselves as well as to the person of whom we speak. And even if the story is true it is still wrong to repeat it, for we can do no good to the man by saying over and over again that he has done wrong; the kindest thing that we could do would be to say nothing about it. We should do that instinctively if the wrong thing were done by a husband, a son, a brother; we should certainly feel that it would be wrong to advertise the misdeed of one whom we loved to many people who would not otherwise hear of it. But if there is any truth at all in our profession of universal brotherhood we should realize that we have no right to circulate evil about any man, that we should speak with regard to others as we should wish them to speak with regard to us. Yet again we must remember that many people make their speech untrue because they allow themselves to fall into exaggeration and inaccuracy. They make little things into enormous stories; assuredly that is not Right Speech.

Again, speech must be kindly; and it must be direct and forceful, not silly. A large section of the world exists under the delusion that it must make conversation; that it is odd or rude not to be perpetually babbling. The idea seems to be that when one meets a friend one must keep talking all the time, or the friend will be hurt. Remember that when the Christ was on earth he made a very strict statement that for every idle word that a man should speak he would have to account hereafter. The idle word is so often a mischievous word; but quite apart from that, even innocent idle words involve waste of time; if we must talk, at least we might say something useful and helpful. Some people, with the idea of seeming smart, keep up a stream of constant half-joking or sneering talk. They must always be capping something that someone else has said. They must always be showing everything in a ridiculous or amusing aspect. Certainly all that comes under the heading of idle words, and there is no doubt that it is seriously necessary that we should exercise exceeding care in this matter of Right Speech.[4]

The next step is Right Action. We see at once that these three steps necessarily follow one from another. If we think always of good things, we shall certainly not speak of evil things, because we speak what is in our mind; and if our thought and speech are good, then the action which follows will also be good. Action must be prompt and yet well considered. We all know some people who, when any emergency arises, seem to become helpless; they potter about and do not know what to do, and they get in the way of those who have their brains in better working order. Others plunge into some rash action without thinking at all. Learn to think quickly and act promptly, and yet always with consideration. Above all, always let action be unselfish; let it never be actuated in the least by personal considerations. That is very hard for most people, and yet it is a power which must be acquired. We who try to live for the Master have many opportunities in our work to put that idea into practice. We must all think only what is best for the work and what we can do to help others, and we must entirely put aside any personal considerations. We must not think what part in the work we should like to bear, but we must try to do best that we possibly can with the part that is assigned to us.

In these days few people live by themselves as monks or hermits used to do. We live among others, so that whatever we think or say or do will necessarily affect a great many people. We should always bear in mind that our thought, our speech and our action are not merely qualities, but powers—powers given to us to use, for the use of which we are directly responsible. All are meant to be used for service, and to use them otherwise is to fail in our duty.

We come now to the fifth step—Right Means of Livelihood—and that is a matter which may touch quite a large number of us. The right means of livelihood is that which causes no harm to any living thing. We see at once that that would rule out such trades as those of a butcher or a fisherman; but the command reaches much further than that. We should not obtain our livelihood by harming any creature, and therefore we see at once that the selling of alcohol is not a right means of livelihood. The seller of alcohol does not necessarily kill people, but he is unquestionably doing harm, and he is living on the harm he does to the people.

The idea goes yet further. Take the case of a merchant who in the course of his trade is dishonest. That is not a right means of livelihood, because his trading is not fair and he is cheating the people. If a merchant deals fairly, buying his articles wholesale and selling them retail at a reasonable profit, that is a right means of livelihood; but the moment he begins to mislead people and sells a poor article for a good one, he is cheating them. A right means of livelihood may become a wrong means if it is treated in a wrong way. We must deal as honestly with people as we should wish them to deal with us. If a person is a trader in a certain class of goods, he has special knowledge of those goods. The customer trusts himself in the hands of the trader, because he himself has not that special knowledge. When you trust a doctor or a lawyer, you expect to be treated fairly. But it is exactly in the same way that the customer comes to the trader, and therefore the latter should be as honest with his customer as the lawyer or the doctor is with his client or his patient. When a man thrust you in that way, he puts you on your honour to do your best for him. You have a right to make a reasonable profit in the course of your bargain, but you must also look to your duty.

The sixth step is Right Exertion or Right Endeavour, and it is a very important one. We must not be content to be negatively good. What is desired of us is not merely absence of evil, but the positive doing of good. When the Lord Buddha made that wonderful short statement of his doctrine in a single verse, he began by saying: “Cease to do evil,” but the next line runs: “Learn to do good.” It is not enough to be passively good. There are so many well-meaning people who yet achieve nothing.

Every person has a certain amount of strength, not only physical, but mental. When we have a day’s work before us, we know that we must reserve our strength for that, and therefore before we begin it we do not undertake something else which would so exhaust us as that the day’s work could not be properly done. Similarly we have a certain amount of strength of mind and of will, and we can perform only a certain amount of work on that level; therefore we must take care how we spend that power. There are other powers too. Every person has a certain amount of influence among his friends and relations. That influence means power, and we are responsible for making good use of that power. All about us are children, relations, clerks, workmen, servants, and over all of these we have a certain amount of influence, at least by example; we must be careful what we do and what we say, because others will copy us.

Right Exertion means putting our work into useful lines and not wasting it. There are many things that can be done, but some of them are immediate and more urgent than others. We must look about and see where our exertion would be most useful. It is not well that all should do the same thing; it is wiser that the work should be divided among us so that it may be perfectly rounded off and not left in a one-sided condition. In all these matters we must use our reason and common sense.

Right Memory or Right Remembrance is the seventh step, and it means many things. The Right Memory of which the Lord Buddha spoke has often been taken by his followers to mean the memory of past incarnations, which he himself possessed most fully. In one of the Jataka stories, a person spoke ill of him. He turned to his disciples and said: “I have insulted this man in a pervious life, and therefore he speaks ill of me now; I have no right to resent it.” No doubt if we remembered everything that had happened to us before, we could arrange our present life better than we do. Most of us, however, have not the power of remembering our past lives; but we must not therefore think that the teaching as to Right Memory does not apply to us.

First of all it means self-recollectedness. It means that we must remember all the time who we are, what our work is, what is our duty, and what we should be doing for the Master. Then again Right Memory means the exercise of a reasonable choice as to what we shall remember. To all of us in our lives there come pleasant things, and also things unpleasant. A wise person will take care to remember the good things, but he will let the evil die. Suppose someone comes and speaks rudely to us; a foolish person will remember that for weeks, months and years, and will continue to say that such-and-such a person spoke unkindly to him. It will rankle on his mind. But what good will that do him? Obviously, none at all; it will only annoy him and keep alive in his mind an evil thought. That certainly is not Right Memory. We should immediately forget and forgive an evil thing done to us; but we should always bear in mind the kindness which people have done us, because they will fill our minds with love and with gratitude. Again, we have all made many mistakes; it is well that we should remember them in so far as not to repeat them; but otherwise, to brood over them, to be always filling our minds with regret and with sorrow because of them, is not Right Memory.

The teaching given above as to right memory has been well illustrated in some verses by S.E.G., as follows:

Let us forget the things that vexed and tried us,

     The worrying things that caused our souls to fret;

The hopes that, cherished long, were still denied us,

                                   Let us forget.

Let us forget the little slights that pained us,

     The greater wrongs that rankle sometimes yet;

The pride with which some lofty one disdained us,

                                   Let us forget.

Let us forget our brother’s fault and failing,

     The yielding to temptations that beset,

That he, perchance, though grief be unavailing,

                                   Cannot forget.

But blessings manifold, and past deserving,

     Kind words and helpful deeds, a countless throng;

The fault o’ercome, the rectitude unswerving,

                                   Let us remember long.

The sacrifice of love, the generous giving

     When friends were few, the handclasp warm and strong;

The fragrance of each life of holy living,

                                   Let us remember long.

Whatever things were good and true and gracious,

     Whate’er of right has triumphed over wrong,

What love of God or man has rendered precious,

                            Let us remember long.

The last step is called Right Meditation or Right Concentration. This refers not only to the set meditation which we perform as part of our discipline, but it also means that all through our lives we should concentrate ourselves on the object of doing good and of being useful and helpful. In daily life we cannot be always meditating, because of the daily work that we must all do in the course of our ordinary lives; and yet I am not sure that a statement like that, made without reservation, is entirely true. We cannot always have our consciousness drawn away from the physical plane to higher levels; yet it is possible to live a life of meditation in this sense—that the higher things are always so strongly present in the background of our minds that, as I said when speaking about Right Thought, they may instantly come to the front when that mind is not otherwise occupied. Our life will then be really a life of perpetual meditation upon the highest and noblest objects, interrupted now and then by the necessity of putting our thoughts into practice in daily life.

Such a habit of thought will influence us in more ways than we see at the first glance. Like always attracts like; two people who adopt such a line of thought will presently be drawn together, will feel an attraction one for the other; and so it may well be that in time a nucleus of those who habitually hold the higher thought will be gathered together, and will gradually develop, perhaps into a Theosophical Lodge; at any rate, they will draw together, their thoughts will react upon one another, and in that way each will greatly help the advancement of the rest. Again, wherever we go we are surrounded by invisible hosts, Angels, nature-spirits, and men who have laid aside their physical bodies. The condition of Right Concentration will attract to us all the best of those various orders of beings, so that wherever we go we shall be surrounded by good and holy influences.

This is the teaching of the Lord Buddha as he gave it in that first Sermon; it is upon this teaching that the world-wide Kingdom of Righteousness is founded, the Royal Chariot-Wheels of which he set in motion for the first time on that Asala Festival so many centuries ago.

When in the far future the time shall come for the advent of another Buddha, and the present Bodhisattva takes that final incar­nation in which the great step will be achieved, he will preach the Divine Law to the world in whatever form may seem to him most suited to the requirements of the era, and then will follow him in his high office the Master Kuthumi, who has transferred himself to the Second Ray to take the responsibility of becoming the Bodhisattva of the sixth root race.


Chapter 15

The Power in the Triangles

The Lord of the World

Our world is governed by a Spiritual King—one of the Lords of the Flame who came long ago from Venus. He is called by the Hindus Sanat Kumara, the last word being a title, meaning Prince or Ruler. Other names given to him are the One Initiator, the One without a Second, the Eternal Youth of Sixteen Summers; and often we speak of him as the Lord of the World. He is the Supreme Ruler; in his Hand and within his actual aura lies the whole of his planet. He represents the Logos, as far as this world is concerned, and directs the whole of its evolution—not that of humanity alone, but also the evolution of the Devas, the nature-spirits, and all other creatures connected with the earth. He is, of course, entirely distinct from the great Entity called the Spirit of the Earth, who uses our world as a physical body.

In his mind he holds the whole plan of evolution at some high level of which we know nothing; he is the Force which drives the whole world-machine, the embodiment of the Divine Will on this planet, and strength, courage, decision, perseverance and all similar characteristics, when they show themselves down here in the lives of men, are reflections from him. His consciousness is of so extended a nature that it comprehends at once all the life on our globe. In his hands are the powers of cyclic destruction, for he wields Fohat in its higher forms and can deal directly with cosmic forces outside our chain. His work is probably usually connected with humanity en masse rather than with individuals, but when he does influence any single person we are told that it is through the atma, and not through the ego, that his influence is brought to bear.

At a certain point in the progress of an aspirant on the Path he is formally presented to the Lord of the World, and those who have thus met him face to face speak of him as in appearance a handsome youth, dignified, benignant beyond all description, yet with a mien of omniscient, inscrutable majesty, conveying such a sense of resistless power that some have found themselves unable to bear his gaze, and have veiled their faces in awe. Thus, for example, did our great Founder, Madame Blavatsky. One who has had this experience can never forget it, nor can he ever thereafter doubt that, however terrible the sin and sorrow on earth may be, all things are somehow working together for the eventual good of all, and humanity is being steadily guided towards its final goal.

During each world-period, we are told, there are three successive Lords of the World, and the present holder of the office is already the third. He resides with his three Pupils in an oasis in the Gobi desert called Shamballa, often spoken of as the Sacred Island, in remembrance of the time when it was an island in the Central Asian Sea. These four greatest of the Adepts are often called “The Children of the Fire-Mist,” since they belong to an evolution different from ours. Their bodies, though human in appearance, differ widely from ours in constitution, being rather garments assumed for convenience than bodies in the ordinary sense, since they are artificial and their particles do not change as do those of the human frame. They require no nourishment, and remain unchanged through thousands of years.

The three Pupils, who stand at the level of the Buddha, and are called Pratyeka or Pachcheka Buddhas, assist the Lord in his work, and are themselves destined to be our three Lords of the World when humanity is occupying the Planet Mercury.

Once in every seven years, the Lord of the World conducts at Shamballa a great ceremony somewhat similar to the Wesak event, but on a still grander scale and of a different type, when all the Adepts and even some Initiates below that grade are invited, and have thus an opportunity to come into touch with their great Leader. At other times he deals only with the Heads of the Official Hierarchy, except when for special reasons he summons others to his presence.

The exalted position of this our spiritual King as been described in The Secret Doctrine. It is there stated that as the ages pass the great steps which we now recognize as leading to perfection will remain unchanged as to their relative positions, though the system of things as a whole is moving upwards, and thus the actual attainments which in the remote future will mark a particular step will be far fuller than they are at present. The Perfected Men of the Seventh Round[7] of our Chain will be, it is said, “but one remove from the Root-Base of their Hierarchy, the highest on Earth and our Terrestrial Chain.” That is to say, the King stands even now one stage beyond the point to which only ages of evolution will bring the perfected men of our humanity—ages that must run into millions of years, taking us through two and a half rounds of varied experience. This wondrous Being came during the third-race period to take charge of the Earth evolution. That coming of the World’s future King is thus described in Man: Whence, How and Whither:

The great Lemurian Polar Star was still perfect, and the huge Crescent still stretched along the equator, including Madagascar. The sea which occupied what is now the Gobi Desert still broke against the rocky barriers of the northern Himalayan slopes, and all was being prepared for the most dramatic moment in the history of the Earth—the Coming of the Lords of the Flame.

The Lords of the Moon and the Manu of the third Root Race had done all that was possible to bring men up to the point at which the germ of mind could be quickened, and the descent of the ego could be made. All the laggards had been pushed on; there were no more in the animal ranks capable of rising into man. The door against further immigrants into the human kingdom from the animal was shut only when no more were in sight, nor would be capable of reaching it without a repetition of the tremendous impulse given only once in the evolution of a Scheme, at its midmost point.

A great astrological event, when a very special collocation of planets occurred and the magnetic condition of the Earth was the most favourable possible, was chosen as the time. It was about six and a half million years ago. Nothing more remained to be done, save what only they could do.

Then, with the mighty roar of swift descent from incalculable heights, surrounded by blazing masses of fire which filled the sky with shooting tongues of flame, flashed through the aerial spaces the chariot of the Sons of the Fire, the Lords of the Flame from Venus; it halted, hovering over the “White Island,” which lay smiling in the bosom of the Gobi Sea; green was it, and radiant with masses of fragment many-coloured blossoms, Earth offering her best and fairest to welcome her coming King. There he stood, “the Youth of sixteen summers,” Sanat Kumara, the “Eternal Virgin-Youth,” the new Ruler of Earth, come to his kingdom, his Pupils, the three Kumaras, with him, his Helpers around him; thirty mighty Beings were there, great beyond Earth’s reckoning, though in graded order, clothed in the glorious bodies they had created by Kriyashakti, the first Occult Hierarchy, branches of the one spreading Banyan-Tree, the nursery of future Adepts, the centre of all occult life. Their dwelling-place was and is the Imperishable Sacred Land, on which ever shines down the Blazing Star, the symbol of Earth’s Monarch, the changeless Pole round which the life of our Earth is ever spinning.[6]

Madame Blavatsky says in The Secret Doctrine:

The “Being” just referred to, who has to remain nameless, is the Tree from which, in subsequent ages, all the great historically known Sages and Hierophants, such as the Rishi Kapila, Hermes, Enoch, Orpheus, etc., have branched off. As objective man, he is the mysterious (to the profane—the ever invisible, yet ever present) Personage, about whom legends are rife in the East, especially among the Occultists and the students of the Sacred Science. It is he who changes form, yet remains ever the same. And it is he, again, who holds spiritual sway over the initiated Adepts throughout the whole world. He is, as said, the “Nameless One” who has so many names, and yet whose names and whose very nature are unknown. He is the “Initiator,” called the “Great Sacrifice”. For, sitting at the Threshold of Light, he looks into it from within the Circle of Darkness, which he will not cross; not will he quit his post till the last Day of this Life-Cycle. Why does the Solitary Watcher remain at his self-chosen post? Why does he sit by the Fountain of Primeval Wisdom, of which he drinks no longer, for he has naught to learn which he does not know—aye, neither on this Earth, nor in its Heaven? Because the lonely sore-footed Pilgrims, on their journey back to their Home, are never sure, to the last moment, of not losing their way, in this limitless desert of Illusion and Matter called Earth-Life. Because he would fain show the way to that region of freedom and light, from which he is a voluntary exile himself, to every prisoner who has succeeded in liberating himself from the bonds of flesh and illusion. Because, in short, he has sacrificed himself for the sake of Mankind, though but a few elect may profit by the Great Sacrifice.

It is under the direct, silent guidance of this Maha-Guru that all the other less divine Teachers and Instructors of Mankind became, from the first awakening of human consciousness, the guides of early Humanity. It is through these “Sons of God” that infant Humanity learned its first notions of all the arts and sciences, as well as of spiritual knowledge; and it is they who laid the first foundation-stone of those ancient civilizations that so sorely puzzle our modern generation of students and scholars.

The Highest Initiations

It is on the First Ray that the greatest progress for man is possible within the Hierarchy of our Globe, for there are on it two Initiations beyond that of the Manu. The Pachcheka Buddhas, who stand next above the Manu, have been strangely misunderstood by some writers, who have described them as selfish men who refused to teach what they had learnt, and passed away into Nirvana. It is true that these Buddhas do not teach, for they have the other work of their own Ray to do, and true also that a time comes when they will leave the world, but only to carry on their glorious work elsewhere.

The next step, the Initiation that none can give, but each must take for himself, puts the Adepts on the level of the Lord of the World, an Office which is held first for the shorter period of a First or Second Lord on one World, and when that has been achieved, for the longer responsibility of the Third upon some other.

The task of the Third Lord of the World is far greater than those of the First and Second Lords, because it is his duty to round off satisfactorily that period of evolution, and to deliver over the countless millions of evolving creatures into the hands of the Seed-Manu, who will be responsible for them during the inter-planetary Nirvana, and will hand them over in turn to the Root-Manu of the next globe. The Third Lord of the World, having fulfilled this duty, takes another Initiation entirely outside of our world and its Hierarchy, and attains the level of the Silent Watcher. In that capacity he remains on guard for the whole period of a Round, and it is only when the life-wave has again occupied our planet and is again ready to leave it that he abandons his strange self-imposed task, and hands it over to his Successor.

The Goal for All

Far above us as is all the splendour of these great heights at present, it is worth our while to lift our thought towards them and try to realize them a little. They show the goal before every one of us, and the clearer our sight of it the swifter and steadier will be our progress towards it, though we may not all hope to fulfil the ancient ideal in this, and fly as an arrow to the mark.

In the course of this great progress every man will some day reach full consciousness on the highest of our planes, the Divine plane, and be conscious simultaneously at all levels of this Prakritic Cosmic plane, so that having in himself the power of the highest, he shall yet be able to comprehend and function on the very lowest, and help where help is needed. That omnipotence and omnipresence surely await every one of us, and though this lower life may not be worth living for anything that we may gain from it for ourselves, yet it is magnificently worth enduring as a necessary stage for the true life that lies before us. “Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither hath it entered into heart of man to conceive the things which God hath prepared for them that love him,” for the love of God, the wisdom of God, the power of God, and the glory of God pass all understanding, even as does his peace.

Peace To All Beings


[1] See A Study in Consciousness, by Annie Besant, pp. 3-5.

[2] Old Diary Leaves. Vol. III, page 352.

[3] See The Chakras, by C. W. Leadbeater.

[4] With regard to Right Speech, the student is recommended to read Ecclesiasticus—xxix, 6–17.

[5] This is a silent correction of a mistake in The Secret Doctrine (4th ed., vol. I, p. 255, Line 17 from the top) where H. P. Blavatsky had written “Rootrace” instead of “Round.” A.A.

[6] Op. cit., p. 101.

[7] Op. cit., 4th ed., Vol. I, p. 256.