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Apr 19, 2002 05:44 PM
by dalval14

POST II [ Part I -- What is Truth ? -- H P B

Extracts from THE FALL OF IDEALS



Article by H. P. Blavatsky

ALAS, whether we turn East, West, North or South, it is but a
contrast of externals; whether one observes life among Christians
or Pagans, worldly or religious men, everywhere one finds oneself
dealing with man, masked man--only MAN.

Though centuries lapse and decades of ages drop out of the lap of
time, great reforms take place, empires rise and fall and rise
again, and even whole races disappear before the triumphant march
of civilization, in his terrific selfishness the "man" that was
is the "man" that is -- judged by its representative element the
public, and especially society.

But have we the right to judge man by the utterly artificial
standard of the latter? A century ago we would have answered in
the negative. Today, owing to the rapid strides of mankind toward
civilization, generating selfishness and making it (mankind) keep
pace with it, we answer decidedly, Yes.

Today everyone, especially in England and America, is that public
and that society, and exceptions but prove and reinforce the
rule. The progress of mankind cannot be summed up by counting
units especially on the basis of internal and not external
growth. Therefore, we have the right to judge of that progress by
the public standard of morality in the majority; leaving the
minority to bewail the fall of its ideals.

And what do we find? First of all Society -- Church, State and
Law -- in conventional conspiracy, leagued against the public
exposure of the results of the application of such a test. They
wish the said minority to take Society and the rest en bloc, in
its fine clothes, and not pry into the social rottenness beneath.
By common consent they pretend to worship an IDEAL, one at any
rate, the Founder of their State Christianity; but they also
combine to put down and martyrise any unit belonging to the
minority who has the audacity, in this time of social abasement
and corruption, to live up to it.
* * * *

Do we not all know such self-devoting men and women in our midst?
Have we not all of us followed the career of certain individuals,
Christ-like in aspirations and practical charity, though,
perhaps, Christ-denying and Church-defying in intellect and
words, who were tabooed for years by bigoted society, insolent
clergy, and persecuted by both to the last limits of law?

How many of such victims have found justice and the recognition
they merit? After doing the noblest work among the poor for
years, embellishing our cold and conventional age by their
altruistic charity, making themselves blessed by old and young,
beloved by all who suffer, the reward they found was to hear
themselves traduced and denounced, slandered and secretly defamed
by those unworthy to unloosen the latchets of their shoes--the
Church-going hypocrites and Pharisees, the Sanhedrim of the World
of Cant! . . .


Thus, out of the many noble ideals trampled practically in the
mud by modern society, the one held by the Western World as the
highest and grandest of all, is, after all, the most ill-treated.
The life preached in the Sermon on the Mount, and the
commandments left to the Church by her MASTER, are precisely
those ideals that have fallen the lowest in our day. All these
are trampled under the heel of the caitiffs of the canting caste
de facto--though sub rosa of course, cant preventing that they
should do so de jure--and shams are substituted in their place. .
. .

The great scandal of modern religion as a rule of life is, that
taking modern Society all around in a broad way, it does not
command any attention at all. It has failed not so much to show
what ought to be done and left undone -- for of course even the
maxims of the church as far as words go, cover a great deal of
ground -- as it has failed to show with any adequate force why
this or that should be a guiding principle. The modern church, in
fact, has broken down as a practical agency governing the acts of
its followers -- i.e., of the millions who are content to be
called its followers, but who never dream of listening to a word
it says.

Fully conscious that a great deal it says is very good, its
exponents (blandly ignorant how bad is a great deal of the rest)
think it is owing to the perversity of mankind that people at
large are not better than they are. They never realize that they
themselves--the Dry Monopole of social wines--are primarily to
blame for having divorced the good codes of morals bequeathed to
them from the religions of all time, from the fundamental
sanctions which a correct appreciation of true spiritual science
would attach to them.


They have converted the divine teaching which is the Theosophy of
all ages into a barbarous caricature, and they expect to find
their parrot echoes of preposterous creeds, a cry that will draw
the worldlings to their fold, an appeal which will stir them up
to the sublime task of spiritualizing their own natures.

They fail to see that the command to love one another must be
ineffective in the case of people whose whole conceptions of
futurity turn upon their chances of drawing a lucky number in the
lottery of the elect, or of dodging the punishment that would
naturally be their due, at a happy moment when the divine mind
may be thrown off its balance by reflecting on the beauty of the
Christian sacrifice.

The teachers of modern religion, in fact, have lost touch with
the wisdom underlying their own perverted doctrines, and the
blind followers of these blind leaders have lost touch even with
the elementary principles of physical morality which the churches
still continue to repeat, without understanding their purpose,
and from mere force of habit. The ministers of religion, in
short, of the Nineteenth Century, have eaten the sour grapes of
ignorance, and the teeth of their unfortunate children are set on
edge. . . .

Of all the beautiful ideals of the Past, the true religious
feeling that manifests in the worship of the spiritually
beautiful alone, and the love of plain truth, are those that have
been the most roughly handled in this age of obligatory
dissembling. We are surrounded on all sides by Hypocrisy, and
those of its followers of whom Pollock has said that they were

Who stole the livery
of the court of heaven,
To serve the devil in.


Oh, the unspeakable hypocrisy of our age! The age when everything
under the Sun and Moon is for sale and bought. The age when all
that is honest, just, noble-minded, is held up to the derision of
the public, sneered at, and deprecated; when every truth-loving
and fearlessly truth-speaking man is hooted out of polite
Society, as a transgressor of cultured traditions which demand
that every member of it should accept that in which he does not
believe, say what he does not think, and lie to his own soul!

The age, when the open pursuit of any of the grand ideals of the
Past is treated as almost insane eccentricity or fraud; and the
rejection of empty form -- the dead letter that killeth -- and
preference for the Spirit "that giveth life" -- is called
infidelity, and forthwith the cry is started, "Stone him to

No sooner is the sacrifice of empty conventionalities, that yield
reward and benefit but to self, made for the sake of practically
working out some grand humanitarian idea that will help the
masses, than a howl of indignation and pious horror is raised:
the doors of fashionable Society are shut on the transgressor,
and the mouths of slanderous gossips opened to dishonour his very

Yet, we are daily served with sanctimonious discourses upon the
blessings conferred by Christian civilization and the advantages
offered by both, as contrasted with the curses of "heathenism"
and the superstitions and horrors of say--the Middle Ages.

The Inquisition with its burning of heretics and witches, its
tortures at the stake and on the rack, is contrasted with the
great freedom of modern thought, on one hand, and the security of
human life and property now, as compared with their insecurity in
days of old. "Is it not civilization that abolished the
Inquisition and now affords the beggar the same protection of law
as the wealthy duke?" we are asked. "We do not know," we say.
History would make us rather think that it was Napoleon the
First, the Attila whose iniquitous wars stripped France and
Europe of their lustiest manhood, who abolished the Inquisition,
and this not at all for the sake of civilization, but rather
because he was not prepared to allow the Church to burn and
torture those who could serve him as "chair à canon."

As to the second proposition with regard to the beggar and the
duke, we have to qualify it before accepting it as true. The
beggar, however right, will hardly find as full justice as the
duke will; and if he happens to be unpopular, or an heretic, ten
to one he will find the reverse of justice. And this proves that
if Church and State were un-christian then, they are still
un-christian, if not more so, now.

True Christianity and true civilization both ought to be opposed
to murder, however legal. And yet we find, in the last half of
our departing century more human lives sacrificed -- because of
the improved system and weapons of warfare, thanks to the
progress of science and civilization -- than there were in its
first half. "Christian civilization," indeed!

Civilization, perhaps; but why "Christian"? Did Pope Leo XIII
personify it when in an agony of despair he shut himself up on
the day when Bruno's monument was unveiled, and marked it as a
dies iræ in Church History? But may we not turn to civilization,
pure and simple?

"Our manners, our civilization," says Burke, "and all the good
things connected with manners . . . have in this European world
of ours, depended for ages upon two principles. . . . I mean the
spirit of a gentleman and the spirit of religion." We are quite
willing to test the character of the age by these ideals. Only,
it has always been hard to say just what definition to give to
the term "gentleman"; while as to religion, ninety-nine out of
every hundred people one meets would, if asked, reply in such a
fashion as to make it plain that they had confounded religion
with theology. * * * *

But perhaps we have to look for true Christianity and true
civilization and culture in the modern higher courts of Law?
Alas, there are modern judges of whom their Lord (our Karma)
would say, "Hear what the unjust judge sayeth." For, in our day,
the decree of justice is sometimes uttered in the voice of the
bigots who sit in Solomon's seat and judge as the Inquisitors of
old did. In our century of Christian civilization, judges
emulating their predecessors of the tribunal of the sons of
Loyola, employ the more exquisite instruments of moral torture,
to insult and goad to desperation a helpless plaintiff or
defendant. In this they are aided by advocates, often the type of
the ancient headsman, who, metaphorically, break the bones of the
wretch seeking justice; or worse yet, defile his good name and
stab him to the heart with the vilest innuendoes, false
suppositions concocted for the occasion, but, which the victim
knows will henceforth become actual truths in the mouth of foul
gossip and slander. Between the defunct brutal tortures of the
unchristian Inquisition of old, and the more refined mental
tortures of its as unchristian but more civilized copy--our Court
and truculent cross-examiners, the palm of "gentleness" and
charity might almost be given to the former.

Thus we find every ideal of old, moral and spiritual, abased to
correspond with the present low moral and unspiritual conceptions
of the public.

Brutalized by a psychical famine which has lasted through
generations, they are ready to give every ideal spiritual
Regenerator as food for the dogs, while, like their debauched
prototypes, the Roman populace under Nero, Caligula, and
Heliogabalus, they crowd to see bull-fights in Paris, where the
wretched horses drag their bleeding bowels around the arena,
imported Almehs dancing their loathsome "danse du ventre," {belly
dancing} black and white pugilists bruising each other's features
into bloody pulp, and "raise the roof" with their cheers when the
Samsons and Sandows burst chains and snap wires by expanding
their preter-natural muscles. Why keep up the old farce any
longer? Why not change the Christmas carol thus:

Gladiator natus hodie.

Or change the well-known anthem after this fashion:

* * * *


In a world of illusion in which the law of evolution operates,
nothing could be more natural than that the ideals of MAN--as a
unit of total, or mankind--should be forever shifting. A part of
the Nature around him, that Protean, ever-changing Nature, every
particle of which is incessantly transformed, while the
harmonious body remains as a whole ever the same, like these
particles man is continually changing, physically,
intellectually, morally, spiritually. At one time he is at the
topmost point of the circle of development; at another, at the
lowest. And, as he thus alternately rises and sinks, and his
moral nature responsively expands or contracts, so will his moral
code at one time embody the noblest altruistic and aspirational
ideals, while at the other, the ruling conscience will be but the
reflection of selfishness, brutality and faithlessness. But this,
however, is so only on the external, illusionary plane.

In their internal, or rather essential constitution, both nature
and man are at one, as their essence is identical. All grows and
develops and strives toward perfection on the former planes of
externality or, as well said by a philosopher, is--"ever
becoming"; but on the ultimate plane of the spiritual essence all
Is, and remains therefore immutable. It is toward this eternal
Esse that every thing, as every being, is gravitating, gradually,
almost imperceptibly, but as surely as the Universe of stars and
worlds moves towards a mysterious point known to, yet still
unnamed by, astronomy, and called by the Occultists--the central
Spiritual Sun.


Hitherto, it was remarked in almost every historical age that a
wide interval, almost a chasm, lay between practical and ideal
perfection. Yet, as from time to time certain great characters
appeared on earth who taught mankind to look beyond the veil of
illusion, man learnt that the gulf was not an impassable one;
that it is the province of mankind through its higher and more
spiritual races to fill the great gap more and more with every
coming cycle; for every man, as a unit, has it in his power to
add his mite toward filling it. Yes; there are still men, who,
notwithstanding the present chaotic condition of the moral world,
and the sorry débris of the best human ideals, still persist in
believing and teaching that the now ideal human perfection is no
dream, but a law of divine nature; and that, had Mankind to wait
even millions of years, still it must some day reach it and
rebecome a race of gods.


Meanwhile, the periodical rise and fall of human character on the
external planes takes place now, as it did before, and the
ordinary average perception of man is too weak to see that both
processes occur each time on a higher plane than the preceding.
But as such changes are not always the work of centuries, for
often extreme changes are wrought by swift acting forces -- e.g.
by wars, speculations, epidemics, the devastation of famines or
religious fanaticism -- therefore, do the blind masses imagine
that man was, is, and will be the same. To the eyes of us, moles,
mankind is like our globe -- seemingly stationary. And yet, both
move in space and time with an equal velocity, around themselves

Moreover, at whatever end of his evolution, from the birth of his
consciousness, in fact, man was, and still is, the vehicle of a
dual spirit in him -- good and evil. Like the twin sisters of
Victor Hugo's grand, posthumous poem "Satan" -- the progeny
issued respectively from Light and Darkness -- the angel
"Liberty" and the angel "Isis-Lilith" have chosen man as their
dwelling on earth, and these are at eternal strife in him.


The Churches tell the world that "man is born in sin," and John
(1st Epist.iii.,8) adds that "He that committeth sin is of the
devil, for the devil sinneth from the beginning." Those who still
believe in the rib-and-apple fable and in the rebellious angel
"Satan," believe, as a matter of course, in a personal Devil--as
a contrast in a dualistic religion--to a personal God.

We, Theosophists of the Eastern school, believe in neither. Yet
we go, perhaps, further still than the Biblical dead letter. For
we say that while as extra-cosmic Entities there is neither god
nor devil, that both exist, nevertheless. And we add that both
dwell on earth in man, being, in truth, the very man himself, who
is, as a physical being, the devil, the true vehicle of evil, and
as a spiritual entity--god, or good. Hence, to say to mankind,
"thou hast the devil," is to utter as metaphysical a truth as
when saying to all its men, "Know ye not that god dwelleth in
you?" Both statements are true. But, we are at the turning point
of the great social cycle, and it is the former fact which has
the upper hand at present. Yet, as--to paraphrase a Pauline
text--"there be devils many . . . yet there is but one Satan," so
while we have a great variety of devils constituting collectively
mankind, of such grandiose Satanic characters as are painted by
Milton, Byron and recently by Victor Hugo, there are few, if any.
Hence, owing to such mediocrity, are the human ideals falling, to
remain unreplaced; a prose-life as spiritually dead as the London
November fog, and as alive with brutal materialism and vices, the
seven capital sins forming but a portion of these, as that fog is
with deadly microbes. Now we rarely find aspirations toward the
eternal ideal in the human heart, but instead of it every thought
tending toward the one central idea of our century, the great
"I," self being for each the one mighty center around which the
whole Universe is made to revolve and turn.

When the Emperor Julian -- called the Apostate because, believing
in the grand ideals of his forefathers, the Initiates, he would
not accept the human anthropomorphic form thereof -- saw for the
last time his beloved gods appear to him, he wept. Alas, they
were no longer the bright spiritual beings he had worshipped, but
only the decrepit, pale and worn out shades of the gods he had so
loved. Perchance they were the prophetic vision of the departing
ideals of his age, as also of our own cycle.

These "gods" are now regarded by the Church as demons and called
so; while he who has preserved a poetical, lingering love for
them, is forthwith branded as an Anti-Christ and a modern Satan.

Well, Satan is an elastic term, and no one has yet ever given
even an approximately logical definition of the symbolical
meaning of the name. The first to anthropomorphize it was John
Milton; he is his true putative intellectual father, as it is
widely conceded that the theological Satan of the Fall is the
"mind-born Son" of the blind poet.

Bereft of his theological and dogmatic attributes Satan is simply
an adversary,--not necessarily an "arch fiend" or a "persecutor
of men," but possibly also a foe of evil. He may thus become a
Saviour of the oppressed, a champion of the weak and poor,
crushed by the minor devils (men), the demons of avarice,
selfishness and hypocrisy. Michelet calls him the "great
Disinherited" and takes him to his heart. The giant Satan of
poetical concept is, in reality, but the compound of all the
dissatisfied and noble intellectuality of the age.

But Victor Hugo was the first to intuitively grasp the occult
truth. Satan, in his poem of that time, is a truly grandiose
Entity, with enough human in him to bring it within the grasp of
average intellects. To realize the Satans of Milton and of Byron
is like trying to grasp a handful of the morning mist: there is
nothing human in them. Milton's Satan wars with angels who are a
sort of flying puppets, without spontaneity, pulled into the
stage of being and of action by the invisible string of
theological predestination; Hugo's Lucifer fights a fearful
battle with his own terrible passions and again becomes an
Archangel of Light, after the awfulest agonies ever conceived by
mortal mind and recorded by human pen.

All other Satanic ideals pale before his splendour. The Mephisto
of Goethe is a true devil of theology; the Ahriman of Byron's
"Manfred" -- a too supernatural character, and even Manfred has
little akin to the human element, great as was the genius of his
creator. All these images pale before Hugo's SATAN, who loves as
strongly as he hates.

Manfred and Cain are the incarnate Protests of downtrodden,
wronged and persecuted individuality against the "World" and
"Society"--those giant fiends and savage monsters of collective
injustice. Manfred is the type of an indomitable will, proud,
yielding to no influence earthly or divine, valuing his full
absolute freedom of action above any personal feeling or social
consideration, higher than Nature and all in it. But, with
Manfred as with Cain, the Self, the "I" is ever foremost; and
there is not a spark of the all-redeeming love in them, no more
than of fear. Manfred will not submit even to the universal
Spirit of Evil; alone, face to face with the dark opponent of
Ahura-Mazda -- Universal Light -- Ahriman and his countless hosts
of Darkness, he still holds his own.

These types arouse in one intense wonder, awe-struck amazement by
their all-defiant daring, but arouse no human feeling: they are
too supernatural ideals. Byron never thought of vivifying his
Archangel with that undying spark of love which forms--nay, must
form the essence of the "First-Born" out of the homogeneous
essence of eternal Harmony and Light, and is the element of
forgiving reconciliation, even in its (according to our
philosophy) last terrestrial offspring -- Humanity.

Discord is the concomitant of differentiation, and Satan being an
evolution, must in that sense, be an adversary, a contrast, being
a type of Chaotic matter. The loving essence cannot be
extinguished but only perverted. Without this saving redemptive
power, embodied in Satan, he simply appears the nonsensical
failure of omnipotent and omniscient imbecility which the
opponents of theological Christianity sneeringly and very justly
make him: with it he becomes a thinkable Entity, the Asuras of
the Puranic myths, the first breaths of Brahma, who, after
fighting the gods and defeating them are finally themselves
defeated and then hurled on to the earth where they incarnate in

Thus Satanic Humanity becomes comprehensible. After moving around
his cycle of obstacles he may, with accumulated experiences,
after all the throes of Humanity, emerge again into the light --
as Eastern philosophy teaches.

If Hugo had lived to complete his poem, possibly with
strengthened insight, he would have blended his Satanic concept
with that of the Aryan races which makes all minor powers, good
or evil, born at the beginning and dying at the close of each
"Divine Age."

As human nature is ever the same, and sociological, spiritual and
intellectual evolution is a question of step by step, it is quite
possible that instead of catching one half of the Satanic ideal
as Hugo did, the next great poet may get it wholly: thus voicing
for his generation the eternal idea of Cosmic equilibrium so
nobly emphasized in the Aryan mythology.

The first half of that ideal approaches sufficiently to the human
ideal to make the moral tortures of Hugo's Satan entirely
comprehensible to the Eastern Theosophist. What is the chief
torment of this great Cosmic Anarchist? It is the moral agony
caused by such a duality of nature -- the tearing asunder of the
Spirit of Evil and Opposition from the undying element of
primeval love in the Archangel.

That spark of divine love for Light and Harmony, that no HATE can
wholly smother, causes him a torture far more unbearable than his
Fall and exile for protest and Rebellion. This bright, heavenly
spark, shining from Satan in the black darkness of his kingdom of
moral night, makes him visible to the intuitive reader.

It made Victor Hugo see him sobbing in superhuman despair, each
mighty sob shaking the earth from pole to pole; sobs first of
baffled rage that he cannot extirpate love for divine Goodness
(God) from his nature; then changing into a wail of despair at
being cut off from that divine love he so much yearns for. All
this is intensely human.

This abyss of despair is Satan's salvation. In his Fall, a
feather drops from his white and once immaculate wing, is lighted
up by a ray of divine radiance and forthwith transformed into a
bright Being, the Angel LIBERTY. Thus, she is Satan's daughter,
the child jointly of God and the Fallen Archangel, the progeny of
Good and Evil, of Light and Darkness, and God acknowledges this
common and "sublime paternity" that unites them.

It is Satan's daughter who saves him. At the acme of despair at
feeling himself hated by LIGHT, Satan hears the divine words "No;
I hate thee not." Saith the Voice, "An angel is between us, and
her deeds go to thy credit. Man, bound by thee, by her is now

-- H P B (The Unpopular Philosopher)



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