Theosophy Cardiff’s

Instant Guide

To Theosophy

Return to Homepage


Masters and Men


Ernest Egerton Wood








THE 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.


No 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.


Those who 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.


Therefore no 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.


The 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.


Consider 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 thought.


What would 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.


Consider in 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.


Carrying 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.


Similarly, 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 !”


From that 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.






If people 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.


The Masters 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 yourself ?


“ 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.


They are 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







What then 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.


The Master's 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.


There is 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 sun.


True devotion 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.


However 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.


There is 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 robe”.


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.


Then again, 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.


And Master's 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.


You cannot 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.



The 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


Return to Homepage


Cardiff Theosophical Society,

206 Newport Road, Cardiff, Wales, UK, CF24 – 1DL

Events Information Line 029 2049 6017





Find out more about

Theosophy with these links



Cardiff Theosophical Society meetings are informal

and there’s always a cup of tea afterwards




The Cardiff Theosophical Society Website




The National Wales Theosophy Website


Wales! Wales! Theosophy Wales

The All Wales Guide to

 Getting Started in Theosophy

This is for everybody not just people in Wales


Hey Look!

Theosophy in Cardiff


Theosophy in Wales

The Grand Tour


Theosophy Avalon

The Theosophy Wales

King Arthur Pages


Cardiff Theosophical Archive


Cardiff Blavatsky Archive

Life & Work of H P Blavatsky

A Theosophy Study Resource


Blavatsky Blogger

Independent Theosophy Blog


Quick Blasts of Theosophy

One liners and quick explanations

About aspects of Theosophy


Great Theosophists

The Big Names of Theosophy

H P Blavatsky is usually the only

Theosophist that most people have ever

heard of. Let’s put that right


The Blavatsky Blogger’s

Instant Guide To

Death & The Afterlife


Blavatsky Calling

The Voice of the Silence Website


Dave’s Streetwise Theosophy Boards

The Theosophy Website that

welcomes Absolute Beginners

If you run a Theosophy Study Group,

please feel free to use any material on this site


The Key to Theosophy


The Most Basic Theosophy Website in the Universe

If you run a Theosophy Study Group you can use

this as an introductory handout


Cardiff Theosophy Start-Up

A Free Intro to Theosophy


The Blavatsky Free State

An Independent Theosophical Republic

Links to Free Online Theosophy 

Study Resources; Courses, Writings, 

Commentaries, Forums, Blogs







Visit the Feelgood Lodge

The main criteria for the inclusion of

links on this site is that they have some

relationship (however tenuous) to Theosophy

and are lightweight, amusing or entertaining.

Topics include Quantum Theory and Socks,

Dick Dastardly and Legendary Blues Singers.



The New Rock ‘n Roll


Wales! Wales! Theosophy Wales

The All Wales Guide to

getting started in Theosophy


The South of Heaven Guide

To Theosophy and Devachan


The South of Heaven Guide

To Theosophy and Dreams


The South of Heaven Guide

To Theosophy and Angels




No Aardvarks were harmed in the

preparation of this Website

Includes stuff about Marlon Brando, Old cars, 

Odeon Cinema Burnley, Heavy Metal, Wales, 

Cups of Tea, Mrs Trellis of North Wales.




Heavy Metal Overview




Rock ‘n Roll Chronology


Theosophy Avalon

The Theosophy Wales

King Arthur Pages


The Tooting Broadway

Underground Theosophy Website

The Spiritual Home of Urban Theosophy


The Mornington Crescent

Underground Theosophy Website

The Earth Base for Evolutionary Theosophy



Theosophy Cardiff’s

Instant Guide to Theosophy

Quick Explanations with Links to More Detailed Info


What is Theosophy ? Theosophy Defined (More Detail)


Three Fundamental Propositions Key Concepts of Theosophy


Cosmogenesis  Anthropogenesis  Root Races


Ascended Masters  After Death States


The Seven Principles of Man  Karma  Reincarnation


Helena Petrovna Blavatsky  Colonel Henry Steel Olcott


William Quan Judge


The Start of the Theosophical Society


History of the Theosophical Society


Theosophical Society Presidents


History of the Theosophical Society in Wales


The Three Objectives of the Theosophical Society


Explanation of the Theosophical Society Emblem


The Theosophical Order of Service (TOS)


Ocean of Theosophy

William Quan Judge


Glossaries of Theosophical Terms





Quotes from the Writings of

Helena Petrovna Blavatsky


Blavatsky Quotation


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.

Practical Occultism, Page 87


Blavatsky Quotation


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

The Secret Doctrine , Volume 2, Page 100


Blavatsky Quotation


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.

The Secret Doctrine , Volume 2, Page 108


Blavatsky Quotation


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.

Practical Occultism, Page 67


Blavatsky Quotation


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.

Practical Occultism, Page 7


Blavatsky Quotation


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.

Isis Unveiled, Volume 1, Page 36


Blavatsky Quotation


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.

Modern Panarion Page 70


Blavatsky Quotation


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 physical progress.

Modern Panarion Page 78


Blavatsky Quotation


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.

The Secret Doctrine , Volume 3, Page 14


Blavatsky Quotation


Even ignorance is better than Head-learning with no Soul-wisdom to illuminate and guide it.

The Voice of the Silence, Page 43


Blavatsky Quotation


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


Blavatsky Quotation


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.

The Secret Doctrine , Proem [Volume 1], Page 35


Blavatsky Quotation


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 others.

Isis, Volume 1, Page 275


Blavatsky Quotation


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.

Practical Occultism, Page 67


Blavatsky Quotation


There are two kinds of magnetic attraction: sympathy and fascination; the one holy and natural, the other evil and unnatural.

Isis Unveiled, Volume 1, Page 210


Blavatsky Quotation


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.

The Secret Doctrine , Volume 1, Page 134


Blavatsky Quotation


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.

Isis Unveiled, Volume 2, Page 374


Blavatsky Quotation


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.

Practical Occultism, Page 7


Blavatsky Quotation


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?

The Secret Doctrine , Volume 2, Page 498


Blavatsky Quotation


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.

Lucifer, December, 1888


Blavatsky Quotation


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.

Isis Unveiled, Volume 1, Page 36


Blavatsky Quotation


Our voice is raised for spiritual freedom, and our plea made for enfranchisement  from all tyranny, whether of Science of Theology.

Isis Unveiled, Volume 1, I2.


Blavatsky Quotation


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


Blavatsky Quotation


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


Blavatsky Quotation


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.

Lucifer, November, 1888


Blavatsky Quotation


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

The Secret Doctrine , Volume 1, Page 69


Blavatsky Quotation


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.

Isis Unveiled, Volume 1, Page 311


Blavatsky Quotation


 “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


Blavatsky Quotation


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.

Modern Panarion Page 137







Classic Introductory Theosophy Text

A Text Book of Theosophy By C W Leadbeater


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 Theosophy

William Quan Judge


Preface    Theosophy and the Masters    General Principles


The Earth Chain    Body and Astral Body    Kama – Desire


Manas    Of Reincarnation    Reincarnation Continued


Karma    Kama Loka    Devachan    Cycles


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

Annie Besant


Karma  Fundamental Principles  Laws: Natural and Man-Made  The Law of Laws 


The Eternal Now  Succession  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 Environment  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


Old Friendships  We Grow By Giving  Collective Karma  Family Karma


National Karma  India’s Karma  National Disasters




Try these if you are looking for a local group


UK Listing of Theosophical Groups


Worldwide Directory of 

Theosophical Links


International Directory of 

Theosophical Societies





Pages about Wales

General pages about Wales, Welsh History

and The History of Theosophy in Wales


Wales is a Principality within the United Kingdom

and has an eastern border with England. The land

area is just over 8,000 square miles. Snowdon in

North Wales is the highest mountain at 3,650 feet.

The coastline is almost 750 miles long. The population

of Wales as at the 2001 census is 2,946,200.



Theosophy Wales






DMOZ Open Directory Project

Theosophy Links


Link Exchange Web & Blog Directory of Top Sites
SEO friendly web directory of top sites & blogs organized by topic

into categories and presented according to relevance of website.

Submit your website free.