THEOSOPHY, Vol. 26, No. 4, February, 1938
(Pages 165-167; Size: 10K)

As we rise in the scale of development we perceive that during the stages through which we have passed we mistook shadows for realities, and the upward passage of the Ego is a series of progressive awakenings, each advance bringing with it the idea that now, at last, we have reached "reality"; but only when we shall have reached the absolute Consciousness, and blended our own with it, shall we be free from the delusions produced by Maya(2). (The Secret Doctrine, I, 40.)

That Ego, progressing in an arc of ascending subjectivity, must exhaust the experience of every plane. (I, 330.)

FROM the viewpoint of the evolving ego, life consists of passing from one level of relative reality to another, as the experiences of each are progressively exhausted. Similarly a race, as a collection of egos, moves forward in the same fashion, its common idea of reality being determined by the average intelligence of the beings which go to make it up.

Of necessity, therefore, one who begins the pursuit of truth in this life starts out with the measure of reality and technique of approach afforded by his civilization. Usually the search begins with an attempt to find out the causes of things, to see the springs of action in nature and in man and to understand them. There is born, or "reborn," a love of the quest, a hunger to know, and with the enthusiasm found in worthy occupation the business of fact-finding starts in earnest. One by one Nature yields up her secrets: her wonderful processes become familiar, the vast analogy of her functions grows into a coherent unity. The Seeker explores the objective world in every direction, finds everywhere the rule of law "inherent in the whole." Mayhap even a satiety of knowledge is reached. It gives him pause.

Consider the book, The Secret Doctrine. Consider the knowledge of natural law concentrated therein: the history of Man, of the Universe; the laws governing their evolution and their destiny! An active mind, if fortunate enough to be free from the prejudiced opinions graced by the name of modern learning, can by a careful study of this book gain a knowledge of things in general and often in particular far superior to that of any of the world's leading students or all of them together. And this at the relatively small price of some hard mental effort. As a matter of fact, students who make The Secret Doctrine their "text" for only a few years cannot help but acquire a high degree of perspective as to all the phenomena of life which the world of science finds so confusing.

Arrived at this eminence of understanding, the Seeker looks beyond. Scanning the metaphysical horizon he perceives other and loftier heights of knowledge. There is, for example, much about the lighting up of Manas(3) that he does not know. Indeed, there is no end to all this knowledge!

Truth lies all about, for the asking. Scientists have grown bent and gray in the laboratory, patiently and laboriously wresting from nature one little fact which, if only had they known, or would listen, we could have told them long ago. Theosophists are as rich as Croesus in truth of this kind -- it is a commodity of which they have an inexhaustible store.

The Seeker wonders to what end all this truth will lead. He ponders. There comes finally a dawning perception of the infinitude of truth as he has known it. It has hands and feet in all directions; eyes, heads, mouths, and ears in every direction. And yet, he has an innate feeling that there is something lacking in all this fulness, an all-important factor omitted from his calculations. It is himself.

There grows the realization that knowledge, the learning which he and others have acquired, is the same for all men. But that each man brings to knowledge the coefficient of himself -- his own relation to it -- a new relation in all this complex of relations, a great Unknown to end all others!

Musing thus, the Seeker perceives the vast modifying power of this factor, an "absolute" in its bearing upon the intrinsic worth of human intellection. If, among the darkened minds of the Middle Ages, when there was almost complete lack of what we now hold as knowledge, Buddha could have lived, He still would have been Buddha. His wisdom would have shone forth undimmed. Let Buddha today step before a convention of the world's most serious and well-intentioned men -- men considering with all their might of understanding the woes of human kind: the same light would shine forth; the universal syllables of Buddhic light will brook no casual form. He knows the answers to all questions of every age; yet, does here lie Buddha's wisdom? The wisdom of a Buddha has naught to do with knowledge, yet all knowledge all the Buddhas have.

So, the Seeker finds, there is Truth and TRUTH; there is the lesser and the greater knowledge. The latter contains all the fundamental elements of the former, yet the converse is not true.

The observer who from a moving vehicle measures the movements of other bodies while ignorant that his own position is a changing value, fails to correct his observations for his own motion and cannot therefore ever measure rightly. Realizing this, the Seeker essays the long task of computing his own position on the wheel of change. Looking inward he finds an alarming eccentricity from the motionless center of life. Assuredly, he knows nothing, but that his "knowledge" is but a series of illusions cast on the magic screen of time by a projector which is itself a prism of erratic planes and angles.

Follows an adjustment of internal relations to external relations. From the world of Facts the Seeker has passed into the world of Attitudes. A fleeting glimpse is obtained of that eternal central position at the heart of all; only a glimpse, yet enough that the memory of that moment is a ceaseless spur to the tiring mind, the dully responding perceptive powers. But there can be no discharge. The Soul has taken up the guerdon; the Warrior has entered the lists. The Seeker knows he does not fight alone.

But what of all the facts -- the knowledge of the relationships of forms as comprehended by the world? What, O Arjuna, hast thou to do with so much knowledge as this?

Well might we ask, What did H.P.B. do with it? She used it to meet the Race(4) where she found it. Where is that? At intellectual and moral grips with the conflict of science and theology; in the throes of exhausting the experience of the plane where such conflict is possible, if not inevitable. To the world she brought a master key for this, its problem. It is even thus, by taking her key and using it, that the Seeker comes to the place where he is -- where he can understand that other key brought by H.P.B. to her disciples, a key implicit in all her writings:

And having learnt thine own Ajnyana(5), flee from the Hall of Learning. This Hall is dangerous in its perfidious beauty, is needed but for thy probation. Beware, Lanoo(6), lest dazzled by illusive radiance thy Soul should linger and be caught in its deceptive light.
What is truth? Truth is vision of the Self-dependent reality of whatever its object may be, expressed in the terms of the eternal divine proportions relating to the cycle in which the object is considered. Truth is That; Truth is the Law governing the manifesting aspect of That; Truth is the transcendental paradox which describes the relation of the forms of That to That which is out of all relation, on their journey back to the Sacred Seat.

Next article:
Science and Truth


COMPILER'S NOTE: I added these footnotes; they were not in the article. If any of them don't paint an accurate enough picture, or are incorrect, I hope the Editors of THEOSOPHY magazine will spot them and point the inaccuracies out to me, so that I can make the necessary corrections.

(1) "Samvriti" means False conception -- the origin of illusion.
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(2) "Maya" means Illusion.
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(3) "Manas" means Mind.
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(4) "Race" means the whole Human Race here (and I'm fairly certain the same goes for when "race" was used near the beginning of the article).
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(5) "Ajnyana" means Ignorance.
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(6) "Lanoo" means a Disciple.
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