The Hill of Discernment

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The Hill of Discernment

By Alfred Trevor Barker

On Looking for Results

You have just heard it stated that our philosophy teaches us not to look for results, an idea which is very much laid down in the Bhagavad-Gita. Nevertheless, like all good things, there is sometimes a hidden danger if we don't understand the import of what is there written. I do think that as Theosophists we have the duty to recognise that whilst we are not looking for results or fruit of a personal kind, or for personal advantage, or good results to our own karma; nevertheless, as agents, unconscious, semi-conscious, or fully conscious, of that great Brotherhood of holy men who stand behind the work of the Theosophical Society, we have to recognise that if we want to achieve the objective which is set before us as workers in the great Theosophical field, we must learn how to calculate and use the forces, the instruments, and our tools of work, in such a way that we get the results that we are striving for. No mere philosophical reasoning to the effect that "we are not looking for results," will compensate for our lack of choosing those methods which will get results.

One of the great Masters once wrote these words:

. . . The degree of success or failure are the landmarks we shall have to follow, as they will constitute the barriers placed with your own hands between yourselves and those whom you have asked to be your teachers. The nearer you approach to the goal contemplated, the shorter the distance between the student and the Master.
— in other words they judge by results.

Whilst there is truth in the other statement, let us not have it in the back of our minds as a justification to ourselves that after all, we have done what we could, and if nothing has come of it, well, we must not "look for results." I don't believe that is the highest Theosophical philosophy; it is rather to take the view that if we have not got results, we must accept the responsibility for it ourselves, and recognise that there must be something that we have not learned, perhaps don't know how to do; and remember that the last and final key, and the first key to any successful work, is something in our own hearts and minds. If we are not successful, anyone of us individually, in presenting Theosophy to the public in such a way that it attracts them, holds their interest, and leads them in their turn to go to work to dig in the mines of the Archaic Teaching so that they can win the treasure that therein lies, win it and incorporate it into the very fabric of their being, and then give it out to others — we have done nothing, indeed less than nothing! It is not just coming to listen to a speaker or a lecturer which is the beginning and end-all of being a member of the Theosophical Society. No. To quote the Leader's own words, 'Everyone of us militant Theosophists has got to become a Leader himself,' in the sense that we must find the key within our own hearts that will literally make us leaders of the thought-life of our age.

I have often thought of the illustration of the man who was compelled by a peculiar will of a deceased relative to go down on to the Thames Embankment in London, without a penny in his pocket, and not having eaten anything for a long number of hours. He was struck with his total inability to relieve the dire distress and misery that he found on that river-bank. Any individual who wants to labor in the illimitably vast field of the Theosophical Movement to bring spiritual light to men is in the position of that man, if he has not himself made a certain amount at least of the Theosophical truths and principles a part of his life and a part of his being; for that is the spiritual gold with which alone be can relieve the suffering of others.

Therefore it is our first job, and not our last, to go into the work-shop of our own Nature, and take up the tools which belong to our craft. You know what they are: the material in which we have to labor is the sevenfold constitution of man and of nature of which he is a part, and the tools of his craft are placed in his hands by the Great Teachers of the human race. They are the sublime teachings of the archaic Wisdom-Religion of mankind, the rules of life and conduct. It is these things that we have to take up, and not merely gaze on them from afar like a famished man gazing upon a spread banquet which he dare not eat. But we must walk to the feast that is laid upon the Masters' table and ourselves partake of it; go to work on the battlefield of our own being, like Arjuna, on the field of Kurukshetra. First, we must slay the armies and hosts of those lower forces that course through our own lower nature; for each of us has to learn to vanquish himself, however many times we ourselves may be vanquished in the process.

But the Theosophist takes as his shield and buckler the saying of the great Buddha: "Greater than the conqueror of armies is the disciple (the man, the student, the neophyte), the aspirant, in every age, who learns to conquer himself." After all, that is the entrance door, into the Theosophical life. The Theosophical Movement, Brothers and Friends, means nothing at all if it has not the power to awaken the divine fire in our own hearts, and in the hearts of all who come into the Movement. Why is it that the Theosophical Movement right down the ages has had and does have today the power to change men's lives? Have you ever reflected upon it? Why is it? It is a fundamental that lies right at the basis of the whole of our work, and it is something that, alas, is very little understood even among the ranks of Theosophists. Many people believe that a mere concourse of students, all more or less of the same level of development, makes a Theosophical Society, and the truth is that it does not. Why? This is the reason, as I understand it: The Theosophical Society itself is the outer court of the inner circles, the esoteric circles, of the human race; the outer court-way, through which we may enter into direct touch and communion with the Great Teachers. And the point that I want to make at this moment is that in order for us to leave the ranks of what in old times they called "the profane," the living dead, the spiritually unawakened portion of humanity, we need the help of conscious beings. I mean fully conscious in comparison with us ordinary men and women who are most of the time semi-conscious or unconscious, because of the mechanical way in which our consciousness works. It is nothing but that spiritual stream of conscious energy that flows into the world through the Theosophical Movement itself, through individual envoys, agents, and messengers, conscious envoys who are capable of becoming the channels of that spiritual power, which has the capacity to awaken the sleeping germ in the hearts of those who have it only potentially. As H. P. B. once herself said or wrote —

"If Sun thou canst not be, then be the humble Planet," says the Book of the Golden Precepts. And if even that is beyond our reach, then let us at least endeavour to keep within the ray of some lesser star, so that its silvery light may penetrate the murky darkness, through which the stony path of life trends onward; for without this divine radiance we risk losing more than we imagines.
And she meant just that, that if you enter into a Fellowship in which the very life-blood flows in a stream from the asramas of the holy Masters, then you will have something which if you yourselves work in the right way will help you to change your whole nature from the ground up, and make you leaders of men in your turn.



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