Quotes from Classic Theosophical writers like H.P. Blavatsky, W.Q. Judge, the Mahatmas Koot Hoomi and Morya and others.
Blavatsky Collected Writings VIII, p. 14
Life is built up by the sacrifice of the individual to the whole. Each cell in the living body must sacrifice itself to the perfection of the whole; when it is otherwise, disease and death enforce the lesson.
Blavatsky Collected Writings VOLUME XI, p. 465, October, 1889
Nothing of that which is conducive to help man, collectively or individually, to live—not “happily”—but less unhappily in this world, ought to be indifferent to the Theosophist-Occultist. It is no concern of his whether his help benefits a man in his worldly or spiritual progress; his first duty is to be ever ready to help if he can, without stopping to philosophize.
Blavatsky Collected Writings VOLUME XI, p. 466, October, 1889
I speak “with absolute certainty” only so far as my own personal belief is concerned. Those who have not the same warrant for their belief as I have, would be very credulous and foolish to accept it on blind faith. Nor does the writer believe any more than her correspondent and his friends in any “authority” let alone "divine revelation"!
Blavatsky, THE KEY TO THEOSOPHY, p. 220
THEOSOPHIST. Just so. But as I see very well what you are driving at, I may just as well tell you that we hold faith, such as you advocate, to be a mental disease, and real faith, i.e., the pistis of the Greeks, as "belief based on knowledge," whether supplied by the evidence of physical or spiritual senses.
ENQUIRER. What do you mean?
THEOSOPHIST. I mean, if it is the difference between the two that you want to know, then I can tell you that between faith on authority and faith on one's spiritual intuition, there is a very great difference.
ENQUIRER. What is it?
THEOSOPHIST. One is human credulity and superstition, the other human belief and intuition. As Professor Alexander Wilder says in his "Introduction to the Eleusinian Mysteries," "It is ignorance which leads to profanation. Men ridicule what they do not properly understand. . . . The undercurrent of this world is set towards one goal; and inside of human credulity . . is a power almost infinite, a holy faith capable of apprehending the supremest truths of all existence." Those who limit that "credulity" to human authoritative dogmas alone, will never fathom that power nor even perceive it in their natures. It is stuck fast to the external plane and is unable to bring forth into play the essence that rules it; for to do this they have to claim their right of private judgment, and this they never dare to do.
Esoteric Writings, Subba Row, p. 452
Looking around the universe nothing so strongly impressed me, as the system of division of labour which pervades it. Practical results never spring from solitary causes; they are ever the resultants of the more or less divergent effects of an inextricable plexus of diverse causes; It is from contrasts, that all the joys and beauties of the world arise; it is from the equilibrium of antagonistic forces that the Universe subsists. All progress springs from difference; all evolution is the result of differentiation; as in the great, so in the spiritual; as in the visible so in the unseen universe.
How, then can men fail to see that differences of opinion on matters spiritual are parts of the necessary mechanism of the spiritual organism that everywhere underlies (as the bones underlie the flesh and skin) the physical or visible world? How can they find fault with others for holding views different from their own? How fail to realize that those others are as truly working in harmony with the pervading design or law of the ALL as themselves? Night is as needful to our mundane economy as day; shall the night revile the day, for its glare, its noise, its heat, or the day reproach the night for its dusky stillness?
Blavatsky, Secret Doctrine 1, p. XX
The true philosopher, the student of the Esoteric Wisdom, entirely loses sight of personalities, dogmatic beliefs and special religions.
Blavatsky Coll. Wr. VIII, p. 138
Practical Wisdom.- On the tree of silence hangs the fruit of peace. The secret thou wouldst not tell to thine enemy, tell it not to thy friend. (Arabic)
Coll. Wr. Vol I, p. 130
People will never conspire except against real power.
Letters from the Masters of Wisdom, second series, p.43
We fear but whom we hate or love. We avoid but those who repulse us or attract us to much. We never avoid those for whom we feel indifferent.
Blavatsky, Secret Doctrine 1, p. XVII
"Error runs down an inclined plane, while the Truth has to laboriously climb its way up hill." Old truisms are often the wisest. The human mind can hardly remain entirely free from bias, and decisive opinions are often formed before a thorough examination of a subject from all its aspects has been made.
Blavatsky, Secret Doctrine 2, p. 81
No Entity, whether angelic or human, can reach the state of Nirvana, or of absolute purity, except through aeons of suffering and the knowledge of EVIL as well as of good, as otherwise the latter remains incomprehensible.
The first letter of K.H. to A.O. Hume, p. 29 combined chronology for use with the Mahatma Letters and The letters of H.P.Blavatsky to A.P. Sinnett
... you know, as any man who has read history, that patriots may burst their hearts in vain if circumstances are against them. Sometimes, it has happened that no human power, not even the fury and force of the loftiest patriotism, has been able to bend an iron destiny aside from its fixed course, and nations have gone out like torches dropped into water in the engulfing blackness of ruin.
Dhammapada, verse 252
The fault of others is easily perceived, but that of oneself is difficult to perceive; the faults of others one lays open as much as possible, but one's own fault one hides, as a cheat hides the bad die from the gambler.
Blavatsky Coll. Wr. VIII, p. 446, Letters from the Masters of Wisdom, sec. series, p. 131
So long as one has not developed a perfect sense of justice, he should prefer to err rather on the side of mercy than commit the slightest act of injustice.
Letters from the Masters of Wisdom, second series, letter 19, p. 41
Know, O brother mine, that where a truly spiritual love seeks to consolidate itself doubly by a pure, permanent union of the two, in its earthly sense, it commits no sin, no crime in the eyes of the great Ain-Soph, for it is but the divine repetition of the Male and Female Principles - the microcosmal reflection of the first condition of Creation. On such a union angels may well smile! But they are rare, Brother mine, and can only be created under the wise and loving supervision of the Lodge, in order that the sons and daughters of clay might not be utterly degenerated, and the Divine Love of the Inhabitants of Higher Spheres (Angels) towards the daughters of Adam be repeated. But even such must suffer, before they are rewarded. Man's Atma may remain pure and as highly spiritual while it is united with its material body; why should not two souls in two bodies remain as pure and uncontaminated notwithstanding the earthly passing union of the latter two ...
Blavatsky Coll. Wr. IV, p. 342
Not that any true adept would say aught against the naturalness and sacredness of pure sexual relationships; But that, to become an adept one must expand the finite into the Infinite, the personal into the Universal, man into Parabrahm- if one so choose to designate that Thing Unspeakable.
Letters from the Masters of Wisdom, second series, letter 22, p. 46
Brother mine, he who cares for the opinion of the multitude will never soar above the crowd.
Letters from the Masters of Wisdom, second series, letter 31, p. 73
THOSE who pause and hesitate and are the most cautious before entering into the spirit of an entirely new scheme are to be generally far more relied upon than those who rush into every new enterprise like so many flies into a bowl of boiling milk.
Letters from the Masters of Wisdom, second series, letter 72, p. 129
We are drawn, Lady, into the vortex of the destiny prepared previously by ourselves for ourselves, as the ship in the Maelstrom. You now begin to realise this. What shall you do? You cannot successfully resist fate. Are you ready to do your part in the great work of philanthropy? You have offered yourself for the Red Cross; but, Sister, there are sicknesses and wounds of the Soul that no Surgeon's art can cure. Shall you help us teach mankind that the soul-sick must heal themselves? Your action will be your response.
Coll. Wr. XII, p. 61
Help the poor, but pity the ignorant rich.
Letters from the Masters of Wisdom, first series, p. 36, letter 12
Degrade not truth by forcing it upon unwilling minds.
Damodar, p. 505, 506
[from a letter from Mahatma K.H. to Franz Hartman]
One of the first proofs of self-mastery is when one shows that he can be kind and forbearing and genial with companions of the most dissimilar characters and temperaments. And of the strongest signs of retrogression when one shows that he expects others to like what he likes and act as he acts.
Letters from the Masters of Wisdom, first series, p. 127, letter 60
In our [the Mahatma's'] sight there is no crime worse than ingratitude and injustice; and to see one who suffers them without protest is equal to seeing in him a passive confederate to them.
Letters from the Masters of Wisdom, second series, p.48
He who hears his brother reviled, and keeping a smooth face leaves the abuse unnoticed, tacidly agrees with the enemy, as if he admitted the same to be proper and just. He who does it is either mouse-hearted, or selfishness is at the bottom of his heart. He is not fit as yet to become a 'companion'.
Reminiscences p. 5
[H.P.Blavatsky in a conversation with Countess Wachtmeister about H.P.Blavatsky's seeming inability to distinguish friend from foe:]
Who am I that I should deny a chance to one in whom I see a spark still glimmering of recognition of the Cause I serve, that might yet be fanned into a flame of devotion? What matter the consequences that fall on me personally when such a one fails, succumbing to the forces of evil within him-deception, ingratitude, revenge, what not-forces that I saw as clearly as I saw the hopeful spark; though in his fall he cover me with misrepresentation, obloquy and scorn? What right have I to refuse to any one the chance of profiting by the truths I can teach him, and thereby entering upon the Path? I tell you that I have no choice. I am pledged by the strictest rules and laws of occultism to a renunciation of selfish considerations, and how can I dare to assume the existence of faults in a candidate and act upon my assumption, even though a cloudy forbidding aura may fill me with misgivings?
Cranston, p. 242,243
[H.P. Blavatsky to Emilie de Morsier about herself]
Nothing can make me falter on the path, once I have started on a journey. Do you want to know why? Because some twenty years ago I had lost faith in humanity as individuals, and love it collectively, and work universally instead of working for it individually. To do so I have my own way. I do not believe any longer in perfection; I do not believe any longer in infallibility, nor in immaculate characters.
Each of us is a piece of charcoal, more or less black and, excuse me, stinking. But there is hardly any piece so vile and dirty that it has not atoms wherein lie the germ of a future diamond. And I keep my eyes fixed on these atoms, and do not see the rest, and do not want to see. As I work for others and not for myself, I permit myself to use these atoms for the common cause. Thus I do not see, nor did I see, in Mr. Fortin anything but his talents and his practical ability for the demonstration of truth. ... I do not see why, were he a thousand times worse than he is, I could not use him for the common cause, the good of humanity in general ... Everything has its good and its bad side. Let us take the good and use only that which is useful, and let us leave what is bad to break its own neck.
Letters from the Masters of Wisdom, first series, p. 46, letter 19
One of the most valuable effects of Upasika's [H.P.Blavatsky's] mission is that it drives men to self-study and destroys in them blind servility for persons.
Letters from the Masters of Wisdom, first series, p. 54, letter 20
... the Path is never closed; but in proportion to one's previous errors so is it harder to find and to tread. In the eyes of the 'Master' no one is ever 'utterly condemned'. As the lost jewel may be recovered from the very depths of the tank's mud, so can the most abandoned snatch himself from the mire of sin, if only the precious Gem of Gems, the sparkling germ of the Atma, is developed. Each of us must do that for himself, each can if he but will and persevere. Good resolutions are mind-painted pictures of good deeds: fancies, day-dreams, whisperings of the Buddhi to the Manas. If we encourage them they will not fade away like a dissolving mirage in the Shamo desert, but grow stronger and stronger until one's whole life becomes the expression and outward proof of the divine motive within.
Letters from the Masters of Wisdom, first series, p. 119, letter 56
A constant sense of abject dependence upon a Deity which he regards as the sole source of power makes a man lose all self-reliance and the spurs to activity and initiative. Having begun by creating a father and guide unto himself, he becomes like a boy and remains so to his old age, expecting to be led by the hand on the smallest as well as the greatest events of life. The saying, 'Help thyself, and God will help thee', he so interprets that when an undertaking results to his own advantage, he credits it to himself only; when a failure, he charges it to the will of his God.
Blavatsky Coll. Wr. XII, p. 156, third letter to the American Convention
... the ethics of Theosophy are more important than any divulgement of psychic laws and facts. The latter relate wholly to the material and evanescent part of the septenary man - the Ethics sink into and take hold of the real man - the reincarnating Ego. We are outwardly creatures of a day; within we are eternal.
Tales of the Impious Khalif, quoted in Isis I, p. 43
Beware, O my son, of self-incense ... It is the most dangerous, on account of its agreeable intoxication. Profit by thy own wisdom, but learn to respect the wisdom of thy fathers likewise. And remember, O my beloved, that the light of Allah's truth will often penetrate much easier an empty head, than one that is so crammed with learning that many a silver ray is crowded out for want of space ...
Isis 1, p. V
Men and parties, sects and schools are but the mere ephemera of the world's day. TRUTH, high-seated upon its rock of adamant, is alone eternal and supreme.
Damodar, p. 303
Many are the men, my friend, who take exoteric rites and formularies to be truths, and they suppose that whatever is written in any religious book is to be understood and practiced literally.
And to be able to perceive the hidden truths there is but one way, viz., by physical, moral, intellectual and spiritual development and purification, so to strengthen the intuitive faculties as will enable them to penetrate at once to the substance. You speak about abstinence, but remember the article "The Elixer of Life" in the March and April Nos. of The Theosophist (Vol. III) well and study it carefully. It is no use to fast so long as you feel the necessity of eating. The whole groundwork of spiritual progress then comes to this: check your desires and learn to control your mind. And if you will think over it a little you will find the rationale of the philosophy. The desires and passions are, so to say, chains (real magnetic chains) which bind down the mind to these earthly carnal enjoyments and appetites. And he who wishes to rise superior to the Maya which pervades this world must do so by breaking those adamantine chains which hold him a prisoner in this transient world. When these chains are once snapped, the cloud will be gradually swept away from off your inner sight, and your vision will be clear to perceive the truth. This is the grand secret of accomplishing the end; but although said in these few words, it embodies a grand philosophy which unfolds gradually to him who rightly follows the path. No Guru will ever come to you; pretenders you may follow many, but a real Master we must approach and force our way to. If by our irresistible and strong will-power, our indomitable courage, and our moral purity, we are determined, and set about to work in the right direction hinted at above, we cannot but force our way to a Guru, who cannot refuse taking us as pupils. Remember that the purer and more spiritual the man, the more sensitive is his heart to all pure attractions. If we therefore by our iron Will force our way, we touch the chord which cannot help taking us to the proper channel. For a clearer comprehension of what I mean, I cannot do better than refer you to the article, "How a Chela found his Guru," in The Theosophist for December 1882, and my footnotes thereon. You are now too far advanced in age to be able to become a practical occultist. According to our Indian Rules, a chela is accepted for practical occultism either at the second or third cycle of his age at the latest. This is no whim or caprice on the part of the venerated Masters; all Their rules and laws are based upon a thorough comprehension of the hitherto unknown laws of nature, and a better understanding of the Humanity which surrounds Them. Modern science even has found out that after each seven years, the body of a man is entirely changed. You will thus perceive that for the body to be so completely changed within seven years, the process must be going on gradually all the time, and the new body that is thus formed is entirely of the man's own making, for this process of the emission and the attraction of atoms is going on all the time. If, therefore, knowing this secret, the man controls his desires and passions all the time, so that he will emit from himself those atoms that are not suited for his progress, at the same time giving them a good tendency so that they may not prove a nuisance to others, and if he attracts only those atoms which are suited to his progress, then the body he will have formed will be entirely his own creation, and he can use it in any way he likes. For the completion of this process seven years are necessary. You will thus see why the probationary period is fixed for seven years. It is no arbitrary rule, but the necessary condition exacted by nature itself. This is the reason also why the neophyte has always to guard self against self; i.e., he must watch all the time his desires and passions, so as to prevent them from attracting atoms unsuited to spiritual progress. When, therefore, the third cycle of a man's age is past, his vitality is, in the first place, expended in directions opposed to spiritual progress; in the second place, his mind has been wont to run into channels which are inconsistent with psychical development and from which it is extremely difficult to turn it into correct grooves. Hence chelas are admitted and brought up from their young age. You yourself know the proverb that you can bend a young plant, but not an old tree. Perhaps you will say that if chelas have to force their way to the Masters, how can children (of under twenty-one they cannot properly be called men) be expected to do what advanced persons find so difficult? Here, then, my friend, remember that no one becomes an adept in one life. Before a person can have the privilege of being admitted as a chela even, he has to pass through a succession of lives, and prepare himself theoretically for the task. I do not know but that according to western notions this may sound very strange; but, nevertheless, is a fact. The man has to study theoretically first, and develop within himself this germ of adeptship, before he can ever hope to approach the Secret Sanctuary in any capacity. Here then is the chance for you. Live the life, and prepare yourself for a future birth under more favourable conditions and circumstances. Keep always in mind that a man spins his own web in which he entangles himself, and if these meshes press hard upon him they are always of his own making. The law of Karma - that Immutable Force of Nature - which governs the universe is strict and just, as Justice cannot but be strict and severe, and if we allow ourselves to be swayed but undesirable influences, we have to blame none but ourselves. Utilize this life of yours, then, for securing a happy future. By the means pointed out to you already, prepare yourself to perceive the truths which are not given to all to comprehend, and gain as much mastery as you can over the theoretical side, assisted by psychical development. This you cannot achieve better than by realizing the grandeur and the intellectual eminence of the leading idea of our society, viz., Universal Brotherhood of Humanity. The various theosophical publications must by this time have given you a glimpse of the fact that this idea is the first step on the ladder leading to the attainment of that most difficult of all accomplishments - Nirvana. If you will thoroughly comprehend the germs of philosophy contained in that one idea, you cannot but try your best to promote and propagate it as far and wide as possible. Remember that humanity is but a part of nature, and to attain Nirvana one must identify himself with nature and through humanity to thus merge into universal totality; this you will see can be done only by a thorough comprehension and proper study of the sublime idea of Brotherhood. There lies the path then - identify yourself with nature through humanity, by means of the development of an unselfish philanthropic feeling and fitting acts, and thus mend your own future.
Damodar, p. 515-517
The important question: What is Real Knowledge? should be answered. Many people confound physical seeing with knowledge. They do not think deeply enough to discover that one may see a thing and not know it, while he may know a thing and yet not see it.
True perception is true knowledge. Perception is the capacity of the soul; it is the sight of the higher intelligence whose vision never errs. And that can be best exercised in true serenity of mind, as Mahatma K.H. observes: "it is upon the serene and placid surface of the unruffled mind that visions gathered from the invisible, find a representation in the visible world." In short - as the Hindu allegory has it - "It is in the dead of night that Krishna is born."
In Occultism, Krishna represents the Christ Principle; the Atma of the Vedantins, or the seventh principle; the Logos of the Christians - the Divine Spirit, who is the manifested Son of the unmanifested Father. In the dead of night, that is, when there is complete physical and mental rest, when there is perfect quiet and peace of mind. It is only then that the individuality of man - his higher nature - becomes a fit vehicle for the manifestation of The Word. This is what is meant in the Bible where it says that we must try to obtain "redemption through Christ." The Divine Principle in man is indivisible; the human soul is universal. He who would live and enjoy eternal life must live in and unite the human soul with the Divine Principle. Therefore, a sense of personal isolation brings on death and annihilation, while genuine unselfish philanthropy places the individual in touch with the Divine Spirit, and thus gives him eternal life. The Divine Spirit is all-pervading, and those who put themselves en rapport with the Divine Spirit are necessarily en rapport with all other entities who are also en rapport with it. Hence, the Mahatmas, who are conscious of the Logos, are in constant magnetic relation to those who succeed in extricating themselves from the lower animal nature; and, by evolving the higher manas (the mind, the fifth principle of the occultist), to unite it permanently with buddhi and atma, the sixth and the seventh principles mentioned in the occult doctrine. It is by this means that the Mahatmas must first be known, What is a Mahatma? Is it his physical body? No! The physical must perish, sooner or later. But the Mahatma lives in his higher individuality and, to know him truly, he must be known through that individuality in which he is centered. The body is merely a fulcrum of the lever through which the physical results have to be produced. But, for him, the body is like a house. He inhabits it so long as it serves his purpose.
Knowledge increases in proportion to its use. That is to say, the more we teach, the more we learn. In the same manner, the more an organ is exercised, the greater is its functional activity increased; provided, of course, that too much is not expected of it at once. So also is the will strengthened, the more it is exercised; and the more one meets with temptations - which can only be possible if he lives with his companions - the greater opportunities has he of exercising and thereby strengthening the will. In this process, there does come a time when the constitution of one is so changed as to incapacitate him for work on the physical plane. He must then work upon it, through higher planes into which he must retire. But until that time arrives he must be with humanity, and unselfishly work for their real progress and advancement. This alone can bring true happiness.
O.D.L. IV, p. 373
Beware of the hypnotiser whose perfect purity and benevolence of purpose and experimental skill are not know to you.
Blavatsky C.W. I, p. 304
Dogmas are the toys that amuse and can satisfy but unreasoning children. They are the offspring of human speculation and prejudiced fancy.
Blavatsky C.W. IV, p. 603
"There is often greater martyrdom to live for the love of, whether man or an ideal, than to die " is a motto of the Mahatmas.
Blavatsky C.W. V, p. 342
"Learning is light, ignorance is darkness," says a proverb. It is good to be learned, when one's knowledge rests on facts; it is wise to remain modest when our speculations go no farther than hazy hypotheses.