The Newsletter of the Northwest Branch of the Theosophical Society
June 2000 Vol. 3 Issue 4
Let any true man go into silence; strip himself of all pretense, and selfishness, and sensuality, and sluggishness of soul; lift off thought after thought, passion after passion, till he reaches the inmost depth of all; remember how short a time and he was not at all; how short a time again, and he will not be here; open his window and look upon the night, how still its breath, how solemn its march, how deep its perspective, how ancient its forms of light; and think how little he knows except the perpetuity of God, and the mysteriousness of life: and it will be strange if he does not feel the Eternal Presence as close upon his soul as the breeze upon his brow; if he does not say, "O Lord, art thou ever near as this, and have I not known thee?" – if the true proportions and the genuine spirit of life do not open on his heart with infinite clearness and show him the littleness of his temptations and the grandeur of his trust.
He is ashamed to have found weariness in toil so light, and tears where there was no trial to the brave. He discovers with astonishment how small the dust that has blinded him, and from the height of a quiet and holy love looks down with incredulous sorrow on the jealousies and fears and irritations that have vexed his life. A mighty wind of resolution sets in strong upon him and freshens the whole atmosphere of his soul, sweeping down before it the light flakes of difficulty, till they vanish like snow upon the sea. He is imprisoned no more in a small compartment of time, but belongs to an eternity which is now and here. The isolation of his separate spirit passes away; and with the countless multitude of souls akin to God, he is but as a wave of his unbounded deep. He is at one with Heaven, and hath found the secret place of the Almighty. – James Martineau
(Mahatman, Sanskrit) "Great soul" or "great self" is the meaning of this compound word (maha, "great"; atman, "self"). The mahatmas are perfected men, relatively speaking, known in theosophical literature as teachers, elder brothers, masters, sages, seers, and by other names. They are indeed the "elder brothers" of mankind. They are men, not spirits – men who have evolved through self-devised efforts in individual evolution, always advancing forwards and upwards until they have now attained the lofty spiritual and intellectual human supremacy that now they hold. They were not so created by any extra-cosmic Deity, but they are men who have become what they are by means of inward spiritual striving, by spiritual and intellectual yearning, by aspiration to be greater and better, nobler and higher, just as every good man in his own way so aspires. They are farther advanced along the path of evolution than the majority of men are. They possess knowledge of nature's secret processes, and of hid mysteries, which to the average man may seem to be little short of the marvelous – yet, after all, this mere fact is of relatively small importance in comparison with the far greater and more profoundly moving aspects of their nature and lifework.
Especially are they called teachers because they are occupied in the noble duty of instructing mankind, in inspiring elevating thoughts, and in instilling impulses of forgetful-ness of self into the hearts of men. Also are they sometimes called the guardians, because they are, in very truth, the guardians of the human race and of the records – natural, racial, national – of past ages, portions of which they give out from time to time as fragments of a now long-forgotten wisdom, when the world is ready to listen to them; and they do this in order to advance the cause of truth and of genuine civilization founded on wisdom and brotherhood.
Never – such is the teaching – since the human race first attained self-consciousness has this order or association or society or brotherhood of exalted men been without its representatives on our earth. – Occult Glossary by G. de Purucker
Monthly Discussion Group
"Do We Need A Spiritual Teacher?" is our subject. We will be discussing such questions as: What is spiritual development, and how can we achieve it? What is our motive? How can we find the best methods for us? Does enlightenment come from within or from something or someone outside us? Who are some of the great teachers in human history, and what was their message? What are the qualities and characteristics of a genuine spiritual teacher, and how can they be distinguished from charlatans, impostures, or the self-deluded? Come and share your ideas!
Open to the public, unsectarian, non-political, no charge.
July – What Is the Essence of Man?
August – Mysteries of Humanity's Past
September – What Is Theosophy?
[Chelaship is usually a formal relationship between teacher and disciple. Historically our ideas about the rigors of chelaship have been shaped by Eastern traditions of abstinence, self-denial, and long hours of meditation. While formal chelaship may always be reserved for those who have broken through the personal barriers of self and cannot help but forge ahead of the majority, for the novice, the spirit of chelaship can be a practicable and fulfilling way to live. – Mark Davidson]
Follow that pathway leading ever more inward to the god within you: it will lead you to the very heart of the universe. Knowing yourself, you shall know all things.
The disciple should have always in mind the consciousness of, the brooding thought about, the teachings of the ancient wisdom. They should be held in your consciousness continually. They should go to bed with you and be with you when you arise, be with you when you are clothing yourself, or bathing yourself, or eating your meals, even when you do your duties. Have the mind brooding all the time on these wonderful doctrines. This "superconscious" mind is the root of you, the divine essence, on and in which this brooding consciousness dwells.
Such is meditation: taking a subject for thought and dwelling upon it in thought in an impersonal way, meanwhile searching within yourself for the answer, for more light upon it; and if this method of meditation be faithfully followed, finally light will come. Exercise makes it so easy, habit endows it with such attractiveness, that finally the time will come when you will be meditating all day long, even though your hands may be busy with your daily tasks. Inexpressible happiness and peace are in it.
Concentration means centering your mind on a point of thought or object of thought and holding to it. It is easy to accomplish, and the way to do it is to be interested in a thing. If you are really interested in a thing your mind automatically will concentrate itself upon it.
Chelaship in itself is not difficult. In itself it is almost inexpressibly easy. It means giving up pain, sorrow, anger, lust, selfishness, giving up all the things that injure us and blind us and cripple us and retard us. It means being clean, sweet, fresh, strong, pure, beautiful. It means beginning to live the life of an incarnate god. It means becoming at one with one's inner god, with the inner Master. In every human being there is now, even now, an exalted entity, a mahatma.
The chela life actually is the simplest thing in the world: to be kindly, to be gentle, to be just, and to cultivate your spiritual and intellectual powers. Do not be swept away ever by anger or passion. Not only do they not pay, but thereby you make bad karma which some day you will have to meet and overcome.
Be self-forgetful; be impersonal and therefore unattached to matter; be detached. Be great of heart and great of soul, and that you can attain by being impersonal. Bear injustice with equanimity, thereby you become magnanimous – great of heart. Never strike back; never retaliate; be silent; be patient. Protect others; protect yourself not at all.
Forgive injuries. With a heart filled with love for all that is, and complete and perfect forgiveness of all injuries, past, present, and to come, the chela surrounds himself with a mighty protective power, for these spiritual energies purify the heart; they stimulate the intellect; they elevate the soul.
Be courageous as you press forward on this old, old path of the ages, leading to the heart of the universe; but be not rash. Guard well your speech, lest something pass out unseen with the words: for you can never recall it. Dare, will, know, and be silent!
Do not be discouraged if you fail, if you do not live up to your noblest. Do not even waste time in regretting; it is weakening. Simply make up your mind: I will not do it again! And then if you fail, repeat: I will not do it again, for by so doing I alone am the loser. The day will come when, by the constant repetition of the mantram, the continuous aspiration of both the heart and the mind, and by the continuous striving or effort to be the best, the most beautiful, that is in you, suddenly you will become it. The spiritual faculties are within you, and can be cultivated to an infinite extent.
The way of the spirit is the way of light, it is the way of peace, it is the way of hope, it is the way to the sun. Set your feet firmly on this path; follow it and attain!