Compassion - The Spirit of Truth

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Compassion - The Spirit of Truth

By Helena Petrovna Blavatsky

The False Is Nothing But An Imitation Of The True

Heavenly Man is a company of personalised rays of cosmic mind (atman),4 emanating from an occult state of noetic intelligence (paramatman). If the fog of maya-illusion could be lifted for a moment, we would all realise in a flash that we are nothing higher than bundles of pseudo-universal phantasms role-playing with each other; and that our pseudo-independent existence is a mere inflation of desires and whims (kama-manas) that can only thrive at the expense of everyone else. At death, the entire edifice bursts like a soap bubble before its earthly iridescence (kama-rupa) disintegrates ignominiously and unceremoniously (in kama-loka).5

Ahamkara and I-am-ness, Ego and Egoism, Individualism and Capitalism, I-ness and Me-ness, Luxury and Lust, Mind and Mentality, Persona and Personality, Self and Self-interest, they are all one and the same: utter selfishness, the chief cause of sin and suffering in our world.6 

Men have dulled their eyes with sin, 
And dimmed the light of heaven with doubt,
And built their temple-walls to shut thee in, 
And framed their iron creeds to shut thee out.1

Let each man think himself an act of God, His mind a thought, his life a breath of God; And let each try, by great thoughts and good deeds, To show the most of Heaven he hath in him.2

Selfishness and Black Magic are one and the same, sordid antipodes of Otherness and White Magic.3 Black Magic is the predictable outcome of selfish action:

. . . whenever the motive which actuates the operator is selfish, or detrimental to any living being or beings, all such acts are classed by us [Theosophists] as black magic.4

Beware! It is all too easy to fall into Black Magic. Take heed of the voice of a Master of Compassion. Even . . .

A deed of kindness done with partiality may become evil, e.g., by stirring up animosity in the mind of others. It is necessary, when acting, to lose all sense of identity and to become an abstract power. Justice is the opposite of Partiality. There is good and evil in every point of the universe, and if one works, however indirectly, for one’s own partiality, one becomes, to that extent, a Black magician. Occultism demands perfect justice, absolute impartiality. When a man uses the powers of nature indiscriminately with partiality and no regard to justice, it is Black magic. Like a blackleg, a Black magician acts on certain knowledge. Magic is power over the forces of nature, e.g., the Salvation Army, by hypnotizing people and making them psychically drunk with excitement, uses Black magic. The first exercise of Black Magic is to psychologise people. To help a sick person is not black magic, but no personal preference must guide you.5

Abstinence, Frugality, Αβλαβεια-Innocency, Moderation, Modesty, Σωφροσυνη-Temperance are the imperishable hallmarks of Virtue.

Refraining from destroying life, self-restraint as regards appropriating the wealth of others, truthful speech, charity at the right time and according to means, not talking about the young wives of others, impeding the stream of greed, humility towards elders, compassion for all creatures — this is the way to happiness common in all scriptures, that never fails in its operation [or vitiates no other ordinance]. 6

And from these considerations we may get at a very probable definition of the temperate man, whom the Greeks call σωφρων: and they call that virtue σωφροσυνην, which I at one time call temperance, at another time moderation, and sometimes even modesty; but I do not know whether that virtue may not be properly called frugality, which has a more confined meaning with the Greeks; for they call frugal men χρησιμους, which implies only that they are useful; but our name has a more extensive meaning: for all abstinence, all innocency (which the Greeks have no ordinary name for, though they might use the word αβλαβεια, for innocency is that disposition of mind which would offend no one) and several other virtues are comprehended under frugality; 1

Blavatsky’s comments upon an article by Babu Rajnarain Bose about the merits of unselfish and unsectarian conduct, are fitting for those who are servile to “King, Country, and God” but bully to everyone else:

A broad line has to be drawn between the external practice of one’s moral and social duties, and that of the real intrinsic virtue practised but for its own sake. Genuine morality does not rest with the profession of any particular creed or faith, least of all with belief in gods or a God; but it rather depends upon the degree of our own individual perceptions of its direct bearing upon human happiness in general, hence — upon our own personal weal. But even this is surely not all.

“So long as man is taught and allowed to believe that he must be just, that the strong hand of law may not punish him, or his neighbour take his revenge”; 2

that he must be enduring because complaint is useless and weakness can only bring contempt; that he must be temperate, that his health may keep good and all his appetites retain their acuteness; and, he is told that, if he serves his right, his friends may serve him, if he defends his country, he defends himself, and that by serving his God he prepares for himself an eternal life of happiness hereafter — so long, we say, as he acts on such principles, virtue is no virtue but verily the culmination of SELFISHNESS. However sincere and ardent the faith of a theist, unless, while conforming his life to what he pleases to term divine laws, he gives precedence in his thoughts first to the benefit that accrues from such a moral course of action to his brother, and then only thinks of himself — he will remain at best — a pious egotist; and we do claim that belief in, and fear of God in man, is chiefly based upon, develops and grows in exact proportion to his selfishness, his fear of punishment and bad results only for himself, without the least concern for his brother.1

The monsters of Scylla and Charybdis cannot be slain with words, swords or trickery. They can be overcome only by surrendering everything personal to the impersonal Principle within.2 Conscious “impersonality and nonduality is the ultimate end of cosmic evolution” 3 says Blavatsky. Reforming the mind entails regular and systematic abstraction of personal concerns, longings, memories, and expectations: 4 they cloud our judgement; they clutter our being; they disappoint Self. The soul must shake off “the pollutions it has contracted by its union with the terrestrial and mortal body.” 5 This process of mental emendation, or liberation of Self from self, is vividly described by Tolstoy, Plotinus, and Dionysius the Areopagite:

Every truth already exists in the soul of every man. Only keep from deadening it with falsehood and sooner or later it will be revealed to you. Truth, like gold, is to be obtained not by its growth, but by washing away from it all that it is not gold. This liberation is accomplished by effort of thought.6, 7

Withdraw into yourself and look. And if you do not find yourself beautiful yet, act as does the creator of a statue that is to be made beautiful: he cuts away here, he smoothes there, he makes this line lighter, this other purer, until a lovely face has grown upon his work. So do you also: cut away all that is excessive, straighten all that is crooked, bring light to all that is overcast, labour to make all one glow of beauty and never cease chiselling your statue, until there shall shine out on you from it the godlike splendour of virtue, until you shall see the perfect goodness surely established in the stainless shrine.

When you know that you have become this perfect work, when you are self-gathered in the purity of your being, nothing now remaining that can shatter that inner unity, nothing from without clinging to the authentic man, when you find yourself wholly true to your essential nature, wholly that only veritable Light which is not measured by space, not narrowed to any circumscribed form nor again diffused as a thing void of term, but ever unmeasurable as something greater than all measure and more than all quantity — when you perceive that you have grown to this, you are now become [that] very vision.1

We pray that we may come unto this Darkness which is beyond light, and, without seeing and without knowing, to see and to know that which is above vision and knowledge through the realization that by not-seeing and by unknowing we attain to true vision and knowledge; . . . even as those who, carving a statue out of marble, abstract or remove all the surrounding material that hinders the vision which the marble conceals and, by that abstraction, bring to light the hidden beauty. . . . And there is, further the most Divine Knowledge of Almighty God, which is known through not knowing (agnosia) during the union above mind; when the mind, having stood apart from all existing things, then having dismissed also itself, has been made one with the superluminous rays, thence and there being illuminated by the unsearchable depth of wisdom.2

Eventually, when the soul has “dismissed also itself” a vision of truth will appear in silence, “as full of potential wisdom and wit as the unhewn marble of great sculpture.” 3

Blavatsky now makes it plain where Robert Frost’s secret sits: 4 

The whole essence of truth cannot be transmitted from mouth to ear. Nor can any pen describe it, not even that of the recording Angel, unless man finds the answer in the sanctuary of his own heart, in the innermost depths of his divine intuitions. It is the great SEVENTH MYSTERY of Creation, the first and the last; and those who read St. John’s Apocalypse 5 may find its shadow lurking under the seventh seal. 6

And TS Eliot rounds the theme of Frost’s dance of life: At the still point of the turning world. Neither flesh nor fleshless; Neither from nor towards; at the still point, there the dance is, But neither arrest nor movement. And do not call it fixity, Where past and future are gathered. Neither movement from nor towards, Neither ascent nor decline. Except for the point, the still point, There would be no dance, and there is only the dance.7



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