BN-basic Course Syllabus
The Ancient Wisdom Tradition
VI-Who are We? Immortal and Mortal Man
- 3) Becoming Self-Evolvers / The Quest For Perfection
"Among thousands of mortals a single one perhaps strives for perfection, and among those so striving perhaps a single one knows me as I am." (Wm. Q. Judge, Bhagavad Gita p.53)
Perfection Reflected In The Macrocosm
(HPB, Secret Doctrine Vol. II p. 736)
Biology and palæontology find their province here in investigating the many physical agencies which contribute so largely, as shown by Darwin, Spencer and others, to the segregation of species. But even in this domain the sub-conscious workings of the Dhyan-Chohanic wisdom are at the root of all the "ceaseless striving towards perfection,"
(HPB, Secret Doctrine, Vol. II p. 649)
The underlying physiological variation in species-one to which all other laws are subordinate and secondary-is a sub-conscious intelligence pervading matter, ultimately traceable to a REFLECTION of the Divine and Dhyan-Chohanic wisdom.*
* The "principle of perfectibility" of Nägeli; von de Baer's "striving towards the purpose"; Braun's "Divine breath as the inward impulse in the evolutionary history of Nature"; Professor Owen's "tendency to perfectibility, etc.," are all veiled manifestations of the universal guiding FOHAT, rich with the Divine and Dhyan-Chohanic thought.
(HPB, Secret Doctrine, Vol II p.95)
Each class of Creators endows man with what it has to give: the one builds his external form; the other gives him its essence, which later on becomes the Human Higher Self owing to the personal exertion of the individual; but they could not make men as they were themselves-perfect, because sinless; sinless, because having only the first, pale shadowy outlines of attributes, and these all perfect-from the human standpoint-white, pure and cold as the virgin snow. Where there is no struggle, there is no merit....Subservient to eternal law, the pure gods could only project out of themselves shadowy men, a little less ethereal and spiritual, less divine and perfect than themselves-shadows still. The first humanity, therefore, was a pale copy of its progenitors; too material, even in its ethereality, to be a hierarchy of gods; too spiritual and pure to be MEN, endowed as it is with every negative (Nirguna) perfection. 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.
(HPB, Secret Doctrine Vol II p.243)
No spiritual and psychic evolution is possible on earth-the lowest and most material plane-for one who on that plane, at all events, is inherently perfect and cannot accumulate either merit or demerit. Man remaining the pale shadow of the inert, immutable, and motionless perfection, the one negative and passive attribute of the real I am that I am, would have been doomed to pass through life on earth as in a heavy dreamless sleep; hence a failure on this plane.
(HPB, Secret Doctrine, Vol I p. 186)
...Rounds are spoken of in general, while here only the Fourth, or our present Round, is meant. Then it was the work of formation; now it is that of reformation and evolutionary perfection.
Perfection Reflected In The Microcosm
(Wm. Q. Judge, Articles "Three Great Ideas")
AMONG many ideas brought forward through the theosophical movement there are three which should never be lost sight of. Not speech, but thought, really rules the world; so, if these three ideas are good let them be rescued again and again from oblivion.
The first idea is, that there is a great Cause - in the sense of an enterprise - called the Cause of Sublime Perfection and Human Brotherhood. This rests upon the essential unity of the whole human family, and is a possibility because sublimity in perfectness and actual realization of brotherhood on every plane of being are one and the same thing. All efforts by Rosicrucian, Mystic, Mason and Initiate are efforts toward the convocation in the hearts and minds of men of the Order of Sublime Perfection.
The second idea is, that man is a being Who may be raised up to perfection, to the stature of the Godhead, because he himself is God incarnate. This noble doctrine was in the mind of Jesus, no doubt, when he said that we must be perfect even as is the father in heaven. This is the idea of human perfectibility. It will destroy the awful theory of inherent original sin which has held and ground down the western Christian nations for centuries.
The third idea is the illustration, the proof, the high result of the others. It is, that the Masters those who have reached up to what perfection this period of evolution and this solar system will allow are living, veritable facts, and not abstractions cold and distant. They are, as our old H. P. B. so often said, living men. And she said, too, that a shadow of woe would come to those who should say they were not living facts, who should assert that "the Masters descend not to this plane of ours." The Masters as living facts and high ideals will fill the soul with hope, will themselves help all who wish to raise the human race.
Let us not forget these three great ideas.
(Wm. Q. Judge Articles, "Synthesis Of Occult Science" P.29)
The Manasic, or mind principle, is cosmic and universal. It is the creator of all forms, and the basis of all law in nature. Not so with consciousness. Consciousness is a condition of the monad as the result of embodiment in matter and the dwelling in a physical form. Self-consciousness, which from the animal plane looking upward is the beginning of perfection, from the divine plane looking downward is the perfection of selfishness and the curse of separateness. It is the "world of illusion" that man has created for himself. "Maya is the perceptive faculty of every Ego which considers itself a Unit, separate from and independent of the One Infinite and Eternal Sat or 'be-ness." The "eternal pilgrim" must therefore mount higher, and flee from the plane of self-consciousness it has struggled so hard to reach.
(Wm. Q. Judge Articles, "Points Of Agreement in All Religions" p. 254)
Jesus teaches that we must be as perfect as the Father, and that the kingdom of heaven is within each. To be perfect as the Father we must be equal with him, and hence here we have the ancient doctrine taught of old by the Brahmins that each man is God and a part of God. That the universe is spiritual in essence, that man is a spirit and immortal, and that man may rise to perfection, are universal doctrines. The perfectibility of man destroys the doctrine of original sin, and it was taught by Jesus.
(Robert Crosbie, Answers To Questions On The Ocean of Theosophy P. 14,15)
Q. Where does perfection come in? Is the Self not perfect and are we not the Self?
A. As said before, "perfection" is relative to "imperfection"; the ideal of "perfection" that we may have held and finally attained to, would only disclose further "perfections" to be striven for. "Perfection" is an ever-receding goal; "we can always approach the light, but we can never touch the flame", because
It is our very Self, the Perceiver and Knower. The Self is neither perfect nor imperfect for It includes all perceptions; there could be no knowledge of any degree of perfection or imperfection unless the Perceiver could see both and distinguish between them.
Q. But it is said that Man is inherently perfect?
A. The inherency is the illimitable power of ever-becoming. Whether the becoming is small or great, the power of "becoming" remains ever the same. Man, as the Self, is beyond change, and in that sense alone may be called "perfect"; only that which is exhaustless, unchangeable, unimprovable, can be called perfect. When we speak of "perfection" we mean wisdom, understanding, power, all of them acquisitions, not inherencies; we therefore confuse unconditioned potentiality with conditioned, yet ever-increasing potency and are thus led into mental confusion. Metaphysically and philosophically, it is incorrect to apply terms that indicate a "state" or "condition" to the Unconditioned One Reality, the Self of All.
(Wm. Q. Judge, Theosophical Articles And Notes P.44,45 Excerpts From Correspondence On "Contemplation")
Any reader, who has intuition enough to be a practical student of occultism, will at once see that to work up to perfection is the highest ideal that a man can have before him. That is not the work of a day nor of a few years. "The Adept becomes; he is NOT MADE" - is a teaching which the student must first realize. The aspirant works up to his goal through a series of lives. Countless generations are required to develop man into a Buddha, and the iron will to become one runs throughout all the successive births."
That "iron will" to become perfect must be incessantly operating, without a single moment's relaxation, as will be apparent to one who reads carefully the article as a whole...By perfection, which should be his highest ideal, I mean that divine manhood which the Occult Philosophy contemplates the seventh race of the seventh Round will attain to. This depends greatly upon a cultivation of the feeling of Universal Love, and hence an earnest desire to do some practical philanthropic work is the first requisite. Even this state, I admit, is not absolute perfection: but that maximum limit of ultimate Spiritual perfection is beyond our comprehension at present.
(Robert Crosbie, Answers To Questions On The Ocean of Theosophy, P. 6,7)
Q. Is not the thing for which man is striving what we would call perfection? Is that not the goal, or to become a Mahatma?
A. The object of all evolution is not individual salvation, but that the whole shall be lifted up, raised to higher and higher degrees. A Master is One far, far ahead of the rest. He became a Master by doing service, and now remains with all His glorious powers devoted to the service of not only Humanity, but all the kingdoms of Nature. Those of us who have in us the possibility of becoming Masters in time, should imitate Their example.