Lucifer, June 1890
"Mistaken Notions on the 'Secret Doctrine'"
My chief and only object was to bring into prominence that the basic and fundamental principles of every exoteric religion and philosophy, old or new, were from first to last but echoes of the primeval "Wisdom Religion." I sought to show that the TREE OF KNOWLEDGE, like Truth itself, was One; and that, however differing in form and color, the foliage of the twigs, the trunk and its main branches were still those of the same old Tree, in the shadow of which had developed and grown the (now) esoteric religious philosophy of the races that preceded our present mankind on earth.
This object, I believe I have carried out as far as it could be carried, in the first two volumes of the Secret Doctrine. It was not the occult philosophy of the esoteric teachings that I undertook to explain to the world at large, for then the qualification of "Secret" would have become like the secret of "Polichinelle" shouted in the manner of a stage a parte; but simply to give that which could be given out, and to parallel it with the beliefs and dogmas of the past and present nations, thus showing the original source of the latter and how disfigured they had become. If my work is, at this day of materialistic assumptions and universal iconoclasm, too premature for the masses of the profane -- so much the worse for those masses. But it was not too premature for the earnest students of theosophy --except those, perhaps, who had hoped that a treatise on such intricate correspondences as exist between the religions and philosophies of the almost forgotten Past, and those of the modern day, could be as simple as a shilling "shocker" from a railway stall. Even one system of philosophy at a time, whether that of Kant or of Herbert Spencer, of Spinoza or of Hartmann, requires more than a study of several years. Does it not therefore, stand to reason that a work which compares several dozens of philosophies and over half-a-dozen world-religions, a work which has to unveil the roots with the greatest precautions, as it can only hint at the secret blossoms here and there -cannot be comprehended at a first reading, nor even after several, unless the reader elaborates for himself a system for it? ....
There are several ways of acquiring knowledge: (a) by accepting blindly the dicta of the church or modern science; (b) by rejecting both and starting to find the truth for oneself. The first method is easy and leads to social respectability and the praise of men; the other is difficult and requires more than ordinary devotion to truth, a disregard for direct personal benefits and an unwavering perseverance. Thus it was in the days of old and so it is now, except perhaps, that such devotion to truth has been more rare in our own day than it was of yore. Indeed, the modern Eastern student's unwillingness to think for himself is now as great as Western exactions and criticism of other people's thoughts.
He demands and expects that his "Path" shall be engineered with all the selfish craft of modern comfort, macadamized, laid out with swift railways and telegraphs, and even telescopes, through which he may, while sitting at his ease, survey the works of other people; and while criticizing them, look out for the easiest, in order to play at the Occultist and Amateur Student of Theosophy. The real "Path" to esoteric knowledge is very different. Its entrance is overgrown with the brambles of neglect, the travesties of truth during long ages block the way, and it is obscured by the proud contempt of self-sufficiency and with every verity distorted out of all focus. To push over the threshold alone, demands an incessant, often unrequited labor of years, and once on the other side of the entrance, the weary pilgrim has to toil up on foot, for the narrow way leads to forbidding mountain heights, unmeasured and unknown, save to those who have reached the cloud-capped summit before. Thus must he mount, step by step, having to conquer every inch of ground before him by his own exertions; moving onward, guided by strange land marks the nature of which he can ascertain only by deciphering the weather-beaten, half-defaced inscriptions as he treads along, for woe to him, if, instead of studying them, he sits by coolly pronouncing them "indecipherable." The "Doctrine of the Eye" is maya; that of the "Heart" alone, can make of him an elect.
Is it to be wondered that so few reach the goal, that so many are called, but so few are chosen? Is not the reason for this explained in three lines on page 27 of the "Voice of the Silence"? These say that while "The first repeat in pride 'Behold, I know,' the last, they who in humbleness have garnered, low confess, 'thus have I heard' "; and hence, become the only "chosen."
The seeds of Wisdom cannot sprout and grow in airless space.
To live and reap experience, the mind needs breadth and depth and points to draw it towards the Diamond Soul. Seek not those points in Maya's realm; but soar beyond illusions, search the eternal and the changeless SAT, mistrusting fancy's false suggestions. For mind is like a mirror; it gathers dust while it reflects.
It needs the gentle breezes of Soul-wisdom to brush away the dust of our illusions. Seek, O Beginner, to blend thy Mind and Soul. Shun ignorance, and likewise shun illusion. Avert thy face from world deceptions: mistrust thy senses; they are false. But within thy body -- the shrine of thy sensations -- seek in the Impersonal for the "Eternal Man"; and having sought him out, look inward:
thou art Buddha.