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Masters and Men
Ernest Egerton Wood
theosophical world seems to be dividing itself on the old question: which is more
important for educative purposes, environment or character? Nobody of any
consequence has ever suggested that character can be implanted by environment.
Theosophist proposes the method of the builder, which assumes that a man evolves
as a house is built, that he is a vacant site to which you bring various
materials and there build them up into a house. Nor the method of the sculptor,
which assumes that human character is crude stone and someone must from the
outside chip away the unwanted portions, just as a sculptor takes a block of
stone and leaves a statue, which in a sense was in the stone all the time.
Thousands of forms were in that stone; the sculptor chooses one. But every man
is a living being with a character of his own.
By Masters we
mean those men who have realized the goal of human life and are no longer in
bondage to things. They know the world of life. So they regard the temporary
creations as merely a shadow-world. They may remain in that world, using human
bodies, but they are interested as teachers in calling people to enter their
world, which is the world of life.
recognize the life never become builders or sculptors of men, but may be
gardeners or teachers, who know that every seed will grow according to its
kind, that both the pattern that is to be made and the power with which it is
to be built come from within the seed itself.
thoughtful writer has ever suggested that Masters can give life to anybody or
can evolve anybody or can help anybody to evolve themselves. They can give
money, and have been known to do so. And they can give thought-forms. But they
cannot give growth or evolution, understanding or love or power.
Theosophical Society has the same function as the Masters. Its purpose is not
to attempt to feed the people, but to call their attention to great truths with
which they can feed, clothe, shelter, amuse and educate themselves as men,
without the suffering which they have been bringing upon themselves so long,
Its first object — brotherhood — is to be understood in this deep and essential
way. Greater than any material gift is the offering of wisdom.
understanding. It is one of the powers of our life. It is tested by power, for
if I have made a machine, and it will not work, that tells me that my
understanding was wrong, Let me tell a story about thought-power, which is
vouched for by some good and honorable friends. In a certain city in America there was over a deep gully a bridge which came
popularly to be known as “suicide bridge”, because from it a number of people
threw themselves to destruction every year. A group of friends who were
accustomed to experimenting with thought-power decided to meet once a week, fix
their attention upon that bridge, and think thoughts of cheerfulness, strength
and hope. They told me that since they had begun the practice, which was about
two years before, there had not been a single suicide from that bridge. I
cannot personally vouch for their accuracy, but I can easily believe in such an
occurrence, because I have had other striking experiences of the power of
happen in this case ? The thought-form acts as one speaking. It says: “Come
now, things are not as bad as they have appeared, and besides there is a
possibility of happy life, which you really want. Please do not lose your
balance, but consider the facts.” Reason prevails, and the would-be suicide
changes his mind. The thought-form reminds him at a critical moment of ideas
which had been obscured in his troubled mind.
This is good
work, of course, in the way of lifting a lame dog over a stile, but now there
is life to be lived and it must live in its own strength. Every teacher
recognizes that, however simple may be the idea which he is putting before his
class, no student will grasp it until he has made some effort of attention and
of thought. There is a moment between the hearing of his words or the seeing of
the experiment that he is doing, and the student's understanding. In that
moment the student thinks, and nobody can do it for him.
the same way the work of an artist. With skill he produces beauty. Beauty is
the test of skill, as power is the test of knowledge, and both these come from
inward effort alone. Painting pictures for a man who has no hands will not make
him into a painter — or even for a man who has hands.
babies does not teach them to walk. On the contrary, I knew a naughty little
boy who when about four years old would insist upon being carried up hill when
out for a walk. He had been carried too much.
the guiding lines given to us when we are learning to write prevent us from
writing straight, because they teach us to think that they are necessary. Only
a few days ago I was writing a letter on an unruled writing block. Suddenly I
said to myself: “Why, I am writing straight, without lines !”
moment my writing became crooked. Such is the power of suggestion. Crutches are
only for cripples. You do not teach a baby to walk with crutches.
think they need a personal Master, by that thought they destroy their own power
and delay their own progress. If they think they could do better with a personal
Master than without one, it is the same thing. If they could, he would be
there. There are two kinds of persons to whom the Masters cannot communicate
their contribution to the common brotherhood — those who cannot get on with
them, and those who cannot get on without them. But really there is no need to
search for a teacher, because when we start learning he is always there. The
entire galaxy of all who have attained liberation or entered into the world of
life is always at hand, for they are the one life, which is also our essential
life. No one can shut that open door.
work behind the scenes, and are not out of touch with any part of life. Some
one wrote to Madame Blavatsky and asked to be put in connection with the
Brothers. Her reply was: “ Do you know so little of the laws of their order as
not to understand that by this very act of yours — which was entirely
unsolicited and a spontaneous proof of your loyalty — you have drawn their
attention to you already, and that you have established relations with them
“ It is not
within our power to do anything for you more. Occultism is not like
Christianity, which holds out to you the false promise of mediatorial
interference and vicarious merit. Every one of us must work his own way up
towards the Brothers. If you want to see them, act so as to compel them to let
you do so.
equally with all of us subject to the laws of attraction and repulsion; those
who most deserve their companionship get it. Take a half hour each morning upon
first rising, and in an undisturbed place free from all noises and bad
influences concentrate your thoughts upon them and upon your own higher self,
and will that you shall become wise, and illuminated and
does a Master do? He is a witness to the life beyond all appearances, even his
own. As fire tells us not to burn ourselves, so does the Master tell us not to
forget ourselves. People forget themselves not only in anger sometimes, but in
a thousand things and nearly always.
human form is beautiful because his life is true. Consider the beautiful limbs
of a race horse They have been produced quite naturally by life trying to run.
What would be the use of a small horse worshiping that beauty of limb ? He must
run. So the Master says to us: “ Do not worship me. Know that there is life
which can be fulfilled in full living, and from which all beauty, truth and
love will flow.”
I can realize
that the Masters see benefit wherever people are trying to express their life,
even though there be grave attendant defects. Let me take a crude and rather
painful example — that of the old practice of foot-binding in China.
This was not
done, .as some have suggested, to keep women in subjection to men, but, as
Chinese poets have explained, as an assertion of human superiority to earth,
that women might not be gross and earthly, like men, but delicate as a flower
that sways lightly upon its slender stem. It was an attempt to express beauty
and spirituality, somewhat similar to the old Western custom of tight-lacing
the figure. They have now recognized the folly and harmfulness of these
external means, that small and beautiful feet belong to those who balance
themselves and walk well, and that the shapely waist is produced by healthy
activity, so that if we have it not in our age as well as in our youth it is
entirely our own fault.
Yet the main
point of all this, the abiding good of it, is that they show an effort. However
ignorant they were, they were well-meant, and were therefore in their degree
expressions of life. Whenever mankind puts itself to some trouble for an idea,
however stupid, it is good, for there will then be progress. There is no room
for ridicule, and little for interference or correction.
great danger in what is usually called devotion. True devotion is respect for
the beautiful, the good and the true, wherever it may be seen. It is respect
for life. But most devotion implies disrespect for life, inasmuch as it singles
out one expression of life for its fervent admiration, and almost equally
despises the rest. So is God shut away, as people go into caves to worship the
has nothing to do with that self-abasement which makes a man think that because
he is inferior to another he must not rely on his own judgment.
evolved or unevolved he may be, that is exactly what he must do. The man who
does not make his own vision of the goal for himself does not awaken to the
full his own life in the present moment of living, and therefore does not make
the most use possible for him of that moment.
always some danger even when virtues are extolled. Such praise implies or
suggests that they are beyond ordinary life, and the feeling arises; “It would be
uncommonly good of us if we did this. We are not quite expected to do it”. In India I find when some attainment is mooted, there
will be someone to say; “O, but that is for those who have taken the yellow
I have come
across some cases of partial mental paralysis due to misuse of the idea of
Masters. I have heard one say; “This work has failed; that shows that the
Masters did not want it.” It was perfectly clear to me that the cause of the
failure was that he had not used his brains in the work under reference.
when the thought was habitually turned to the Master as if he were a separate
entity, in moments of difficulty, for example, when there was a blank in
conversation, the man would find himself able to think only of the Master's name.
And also in danger, or in any crisis, do you pray or do you keep your head ?
You cannot do both. Every occasion is a crisis, did people but recognize it.
But what of
Master's authority ?
Does he not
know more than we? The Master is a witness of the light, but it is the light
that lighteth every man that cometh into the world. His form is only an
illusion; it is not our goal, but our life, which is also his life, is our
goal. There cannot be a form of a Master. There is nothing unusual in this. In
a chemistry class the professor is not our goal, but chemistry is our goal.
Leaf whispers to leaf, and tells rejoicingly of the life it feels, like lovers
hand in hand looking at the same moon. It is the power of love that with it we
thus at last come to look with all eyes at all things.
work and orders ?
I see no use
in them unless they are our own work and orders at the same time. If a man does
his honest best he will be doing what the Master wants to have done. If our
understanding rises to what the Masters call their mind-plane their ideas
become our ideas, we think their thoughts with them, and there is nothing to be
gained by insisting that the ideas or purposes are theirs, not ours, which is a
mode of separation of the Masters and ourselves, and tends to prevent our union
in the one life.
have this separation in fact. You cannot have men gradually making their own
noses perfect according to their own thoughts, feelings and actions, and at the
same time the Masters moulding those noses according to some external plan.
Masters' work and orders are surely a question of our being attuned to their
spirit and their law, which is our own true spirit and law, In that service (if
such it can be called) is perfect freedom, Their teaching is an intuition, but
not usually peculiar and distinguishable from what we call our own thought.
There is no necessity to import into the idea of our relation to Masters the
dramatic and separative characteristics of human domination or interference by
man with man. Masters are masters of life not masters of men.
Existence of The Masters
The Concept of "The Masters"
The Mahatmas as Ideals and Facts
By W Q Judge
The Masters as Ideals and Facts
By Annie Besant
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the Writings of
That which is to be
shunned is pain not yet come. The past cannot be changed or amended; that which
belongs to the experience of the present cannot and should not be shunned; but alike to be shunned are
disturbing anticipations or fears of the
future, and every act or impulse that may cause present or future pain to
ourselves or others.
Occultism, Page 87
Perfection, to be fully
such, must be born out of imperfection, the incorruptible must grow out of the
corruptible, having the latter as its vehicle and basis and contrast
Doctrine , Volume 2, Page 100
It is only by the
attractive force of the contrasts that the two opposites — Spirit and Matter — can be cemented together on
Earth, and, smelted in the fire of self-conscious experience and suffering, find
themselves wedded in Eternity.
Doctrine , Volume 2, Page 108
Strength to step
forward is the primary need of him who has chosen his path. Where is this to be
found? Looking round, it is not hard to see where other men find their
strength. Its source is profound conviction.
Occultism, Page 67
It is the motive, and
the motive alone, which makes any exercise of power become black, malignant, or white, beneficent Magic. It is
impossible to employ spiritual forces if there is the slightest tinge of
selfishness remaining in the operator .... The powers and forces of animal
nature can equally be used by the selfish and revengeful, as by the unselfish
and the all-forgiving; the powers and forces of spirit lend themselves only to
the perfectly pure in heart — and this is Divine Magic.
Occultism, Page 7
Finite reason agrees
with science, and says: “There is no God”. But, on the other hand, our Ego,
that which lives and thinks and feels independently of us in our mortal casket,
does more than believe. It knows that there exists a God in nature, for the
sole and invincible Artificer of all lives in us as we live in Him. No dogmatic
faith or exact science is able to uproot that intuitional feeling inherent in
man, when he has once fully realised it in himself.
Volume 1, Page 36
It may be a
pleasant dream to attempt to conceive of the beauties of the spirit world; but
the time can be spent more profitably in a study of the spirit itself, and it
is not necessary that the subject for study should be in the spirit world.
Physical existence is
subservient to the spiritual, and all physical improvement and progress are
only the auxiliaries of spiritual progress, without which there could be no
Mankind — the
majority at any rate — hates to think for itself. It resents as an insult the humblest
invitation to step for a moment outside the old well-beaten tracks and, judging
for itself, to enter into a new path in some fresh direction.
Doctrine , Volume 3, Page 14
is better than Head-learning with no Soul-wisdom to illuminate and guide it.
Voice of the Silence, Page 43
Many theosophists have had slight conscious relations with elementals,
but always without their will acting, and upon trying to make elementals see,
hear or act for them, a total indifference on the part of the nature spirit is
all they have got in return. These failures are due to the fact that the
elemental cannot understand the thought of the person; it can only be reached
when the exact scale of being to which it belongs is vibrated, whether it be
that of colour, form, sound, or whatever else
Annotation - The
Path, May, 1888
Parabrahman is not “God” because It is not a God. “It is that which is
supreme, and not supreme”. ....It is supreme as cause, not supreme as effect.
Doctrine , Proem [Volume 1], Page 35
The ancients ..... fully realised the fact that the reciprocal relations
between the planetary bodies is as perfect as those between the corpuscles of
the blood, which float in a common fluid; and that each one is affected by the
combined influence of all the rest, as each in its turn affects each of the
Isis, Volume 1,
Strength to step forward is the primary need of him who has chosen his
path. Where is this to be found? Looking round, it is not hard to see where
other men find their strength. Its source is profound conviction.
Occultism, Page 67
There are two kinds of magnetic attraction: sympathy and fascination; the
one holy and natural, the other evil and unnatural.
Volume 1, Page 210
In the phenomenal and Cosmic World Fohat is that occult, electric, vital
power, which, under the Will of the Creative Logos, unites and brings together
all forms, giving them the first impulse, which in time becomes law.
Doctrine , Volume 1, Page 134
Oaths will never be binding till each man will fully understand that
humanity is the highest manifestation on earth of the Unseen Supreme Deity, and
each man anincarnation of
his God; and when the sense of personal responsibility will be so developed in him
that he will consider forswearing the greatest possible insult to himself, as
well as to humanity. No oath is now binding, unless taken by one who, without
any oath at all, would solemnly keep his simple promise of honour.
Volume 2, Page 374
It is the motive, and the motive alone, which makes any exercise of power
malignant, or white, beneficent Magic. It is impossible to employ spiritual
forces if there is the slightest tinge of selfishness remaining in the operator
.... The powers and forces of animal nature can equally be used by the selfish
and revengeful, as by the unselfish and the all-forgiving; the powers and
forces of spirit lend themselves only to the perfectly pure in heart — and this
is Divine Magic.
Occultism, Page 7
Woe to those who live without suffering. Stagnation and death is the
future of all that vegetates without change. And how can there be any change
for the better without proportionate suffering during the preceding stage?
Doctrine , Volume 2, Page 498
The person who is endowed with this faculty of thinking about even the
most trifling things from the higher plane of thought has, by virtue of that
gift which he possesses, a plastic power of formation, so to say, in his very
imagination. Whatever such a person may think about, his thought will be so far
more intense than the thought of an ordinary person, that by this very
intensity it obtains the power of creation.
Finite reason agrees with science, and says: “There is no God”. But, on
the other hand, our Ego, that which lives and thinks and feels independently of
us in our mortal casket, does more than believe. It knows that there exists a
God in nature, for the sole and invincible Artificer of all lives in us as we
live in Him. No dogmatic faith or exact science is able to uproot that
intuitional feeling inherent in man, when he has once fully realised it in
Volume 1, Page 36
Our voice is raised for spiritual freedom, and our plea made for
enfranchisement from all tyranny,
whether of Science of Theology.
Volume 1, I2.
If through the Hall of Wisdom thou wouldst reach the Vale of Bliss,
Disciple, close fast thy senses against the great dire heresy of Separateness
that weans thee from the rest.
Voice of the
Silence, Page 23
From strength to strength, from the beauty and perfection of one plane to
the greater beauty
and perfection of another, with accessions of new glory, of fresh knowledge and
power in each cycle, such is the destiny of every Ego, which thus becomes its own
saviour in each world and incarnation.
The Key to
Theosophy, Page 105
The assertion that “Theosophy is not a Religion” , by no means excludes
the fact that “Theosophy is Religion” itself. A religion in the true and only
correct sense is a bond uniting men together — not a particular set of dogmas
and beliefs. Now Religion, per se, in its widest meaning is that which binds
not only all Men but also all Beings and all things in the entire Universe into
one grand whole.
The Present is only a mathematical line which divides that part of
Eternal Duration which we call the Future from that part which we call the Past
Doctrine , Volume 1, Page 69
The mind receives indelible impressions even from chance acquaintance or
persons encountered but
once. As a few seconds' exposure of the sensitized photographic plate is all
that is requisite to preserve indefinitely the image of the sitter, so is it
with the mind.
Volume 1, Page 311
“Beneficent Magic” , so called, is divine
magic, devoid of selfishness, love of power, of ambition or lucre, and bent only
on doing good, to the world in general and one's neighbour in particular. The
smallest attempt to use one's abnormal powers for the gratification of self
makes of these powers sorcery or black magic.
The Key to Theosophy, Page 228
Believing in a spiritual and invisible Universe, we cannot conceive of it
in any other way than as completely dovetailing and corresponding with the
material, objective Universe; for logic and observation alike teach us that the
latter is the outcome and visible manifestation of the former, and that the
laws governing both are immutable.
Introductory Theosophy Text
Text Book of Theosophy By C W
What Theosophy Is From the Absolute to Man
The Formation of a Solar System The Evolution of Life
The Constitution of Man After Death Reincarnation
The Purpose of Life The Planetary Chains
The Result of Theosophical Study
The Ocean of
William Quan Judge
Theosophy and the Masters General Principles
The Earth Chain Body and Astral Body Kama – Desire
Manas Of Reincarnation Reincarnation Continued
Karma Kama Loka
Septenary Constitution Of Man
Arguments Supporting Reincarnation
Differentiation Of Species Missing Links
Psychic Laws, Forces, and Phenomena
Psychic Phenomena and Spiritualism
A Study in Karma
Karma Fundamental Principles Laws: Natural and Man-Made The Law of Laws
The Eternal Now
Causation The Laws of Nature A Lesson of The Law
Karma Does Not Crush Apply This Law
Man in The Three Worlds Understand The Truth
Man and His Surroundings The Three Fates
The Pair of Triplets Thought, The Builder
Practical Meditation Will and Desire
The Mastery of Desire Two Other Points
The Third Thread Perfect Justice
Our Kith and Kin Our Nation
The Light for a Good Man Knowledge of Law The Opposing Schools
The More Modern View Self-Examination Out of the Past
We Grow By Giving Collective Karma Family Karma
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