RE: TRUTH and EVOLUTION
Nov 24, 2004 05:01 PM
by W.Dallas TenBroeck
Nov 24 2004
Perhaps this might help clear up what THEOSOPHY means by "truth."
What is Truth? Is it an endless quest ?
If you wish to look at this metaphysically, then indeed you have an almost
If you take Karma and Reincarnation into account, and add to that the
concept that the REAL MAN is an eternal Monad which continually reincarnates
under the impulse inherent in himself and to all the many types and kinds of
beings that make up surrounding Nature -- and its many forms and substances
(also made up of immortal monads) the paradox unravels:
An immortal being is not concerned with time as he uses many bodies in which
to become "perfect." He is however concerned with his present position and
with his motives for future work and direction. So, I would consider those
to be important.
But what does "perfect" mean? Let us assume it means to become thoroughly
conversant with all aspects of life and the ways and methods it uses to
organize and nurture its many forms and creatures - all living together --
and continually interacting. It is, as one might suggest, a "path" to
wisdom. It might be surmised that all great teachers / reformers have used
To me, it also implies that of the utmost importance is a knowledge of that
which is righteous, compassionate, generous, altruistic and legitimate from
that which is selfish, vicious in any way, and isolationist.
Let us say that an individual resolves not only to learn all Nature can
teach, (that is obvious, as it lies all around him, and his own life
depends on Nature's generosity) but that his response will be an attempt to
help Nature in her many works.
How can he do this effectively? How can he avoid interfering in Nature's
works? Both of these views need t be studied and it has to be seen if they
form a part of the greater study: "to become thoroughly conversant with all
aspects of life and its many forms and creatures - all living together and
Would this not imply an effort gently but continuously applied to so govern
his own life and responses as to equilibrate all existence around him, and
assist in the process of general evolution? This may be called "brotherhood
in action." It is also service.
An example of this kind of sublime SERVICE is offered to us to consider in
SECRET DOCTRINE, Vol. I, pp. 207-210. There the nature, function and
devotion of a Planetary Spirit is described.
The SPIRIT (ATMAN) which is universal (as MAHATMA) already exists as a
basis in every smallest aspect of Nature, and also in Man, as the ATMA is
the base for the 6 other principles which extend between that SPIRIT and the
MATTER of which our physical body is the grossest representative.
Our Consciousness is ONE, and it pierces up and down the 7 planes of being
and serves to uphold the memory of the Souls' experience on any plane and in
The vehicle for the consciousness on any plane or any state of matter
depends on the
effort made by the Individual to refine and purify the matter that he uses
there in each state or plane. This effort marks the evolution and progress
of Nature and the important service that each human performs in this
process. It is the process of
lifting the whole mass of "matter" up to the condition, nature and stature
of CONSCIOUS GOD-HOOD. This is done gradually and over an immense period of
time. There is neither rush, nor hurry in this work. All beings have to be
given an equal chance. The Intelligence that animates as a "monad" the
grain of sand (figuratively) of today will aeons hence, become through
evolution and assistance, then by self-effort (our stage) a full Mahatma.
The problem is now identified. How does an embodied Mind, forced to use a
brain of matter, view the period and condition of living beyond the birth
and death of this personality it is now living in.? It becomes clear that
the Personality of this present
existence has limits to its present views, but no limits to its potentials.
It is also clear that theoretically the INDIVIDUALITY (ATMA-BUDDHI-MANAS)
periodically illuminates with its wisdom the Personality when this latter
seeks for DIVINE WISDOM. All true wisdom comes from within. It is one with
the UNIVERSAL WISDOM or the great LAWS OF KARMA, EVOLUTION AND ETERNAL LIFE.
H.P.Blavatsky wrote an article WHAT IS TRUTH ? in which she makes clear many
things. Let me extract a few quotations from that to illustrate:
WHAT IS TRUTH ?
Truth is the Voice of Nature and of Time--
Truth is the startling monitor within us--
Naught is without it, it comes from the stars,
The golden sun, and every breeze that blows. . . .
--W. THOMPSON BACON
WHAT is Truth?" asked Pilate of one who, if the claims of the
Christian Church are even approximately correct, must have known
it. But He kept silent... But the same question stands open from
the days of Socrates and Pilate down to our own age of wholesale
negation: is there such a thing as absolute truth in the hands of
any one party or man? Reason answers, "there cannot be."
There is no room for absolute truth upon any subject whatsoever,
in a world as finite and conditioned as man is himself. But there
are relative truths, and we have to make the best we can of them.
In every age there have been Sages who had mastered the absolute
and yet could teach but relative truths. For none yet...has, or
could have given out, the whole and the final truth to another
man, for every one of us has to find that (to him) final
knowledge in himself. As no two minds can be absolutely alike,
each has to receive the supreme illumination through itself,
according to its capacity, and from no human light.
The greatest adept living can reveal of the Universal Truth only
so much as the mind he is impressing it upon can assimilate, and
no more... The sun is one, but its beams are numberless; and the
effects produced are beneficent or maleficent, according to the
nature and constitution of the objects they shine upon.
Polarity is universal, but the polarizer lies in our own
consciousness. In proportion as our consciousness is elevated
towards absolute truth, so do we men assimilate it more or less
absolutely. But man's consciousness again, is only the sunflower
of the earth. Longing for the warm ray, the plant can only turn
to the sun, and move round and round in following the course of
the unreachable luminary: its roots keep it fast to the soil, and
half its life is passed in the shadow. . . .
Still each of us can relatively reach the Sun of Truth even on
this earth, and assimilate its warmest and most direct rays,
however differentiated they may become after their long journey
through the physical particles in space. To achieve this, there
are two methods. On the physical plane we may use our mental
polariscope; and, analyzing the properties of each ray, choose
On the plane of spirituality, to reach the Sun of Truth we must
work in dead earnest for the development of our higher nature. We
know that by paralyzing gradually within ourselves the appetites
of the lower personality, and thereby deadening the voice of the
purely physiological mind--that mind which depends upon, and is
inseparable from, its medium or vehicle, the organic brain--the
animal man in us may make room for the spiritual; and once
aroused from its latent state, the highest spiritual senses and
perceptions grow in us in proportion, and develop pari passu with
the "divine man." This is what the great adepts, the Yogis in the
East and the Mystics in the West, have always done and are still
But we also know, that with a few exceptions, no man of the
world, no materialist, will ever believe in the existence of such
adepts, or even in the possibility of such a spiritual or psychic
development. "The (ancient) fool hath said in his heart, There is
no God"; the modern says, "There are no adepts on earth, they are
figments of your diseased fancy." ...
Such articles as our editorials, ...are not intended for
Materialists. They are addressed to Theosophists, or readers who
know in their hearts that Masters of Wisdom do exist: and, though
absolute truth is not on earth and has to be searched for in
higher regions, that there still are, ...some things that are not
even dreamt of in Western philosophy.
It thus follows that, though "general abstract truth is the most
precious of all blessings" for many of us, as it was for
Rousseau, we have, meanwhile, to be satisfied with relative
truths. In sober fact, we are a poor set of mortals at best, ever
in dread before the face of even a relative truth, lest it should
devour ourselves and our petty little preconceptions along with
As for an absolute truth, most of us are as incapable of seeing
it as of reaching the moon on a bicycle.
Firstly, because absolute truth is as immovable as the mountain
of Mahomet, which refused to disturb itself for the prophet, so
that he had to go to it himself. And we have to follow his
example if we would approach it even at a distance.
Secondly, because the kingdom of absolute truth is not of this
world, while we are too much of it. And thirdly, because
notwithstanding that in the poet's fancy man is ... in reality a
sorry bundle of anomalies and paradoxes, an empty wind bag
inflated with his own importance, with contradictory and easily
influenced opinions. He is at once an arrogant and a weak
creature, which, though in constant dread of some authority,
terrestrial or celestial, will yet...
. . . like an angry ape,
Play such fantastic tricks before high Heaven
As make the angels weep.
Now, since truth is a multifaced jewel, the facets of which it is
impossible to perceive all at once; and since, again, no two men,
however anxious to discern truth, can see even one of those
facets alike, what can be done to help them to perceive it?
As physical man, limited and trammeled from every side by
illusions, cannot reach truth by the light of his terrestrial
perceptions, we say--develop in you the inner knowledge. From the
time when the Delphic oracle said to the enquirer "Man, know
thyself," no greater or more important truth was ever taught.
Without such perception, man will remain ever blind to even many
a relative, let alone absolute, truth. Man has to know himself,
i.e., acquire the inner perceptions which never deceive, before
he can master any absolute truth.
Absolute truth is the symbol of Eternity, and no finite mind can
ever grasp the eternal, hence, no truth in its fullness can ever
dawn upon it. To reach the state during which man sees and senses
it, we have to paralyze the senses of the external man of clay.
This is a difficult task, we may be told, and most people will,
at this rate, prefer to remain satisfied with relative truths, no
doubt. But to approach even terrestrial truths requires, first of
all, love of truth for its own sake, for otherwise no recognition
of it will follow.
And who loves truth in this age for its own sake? How many of us
are prepared to search for, accept, and carry it out, in the
midst of a society in which anything that would achieve success
has to be built on appearances, not on reality, on
self-assertion, not on intrinsic value? We are fully aware of the
difficulties in the way of receiving truth. The fair heavenly
maiden descends only on ...the soil of an impartial, unprejudiced
mind, illuminated by pure Spiritual Consciousness; and both are
truly rare dwellers in civilized lands...
How profound the remark made by Byron, that "truth is a gem that
is found at a great depth; whilst on the surface of this world
all things are weighed by the false scales of custom," is best
known to those who are forced to live in the stifling atmosphere
of such social conventionalism, and who, even when willing and
anxious to learn, dare not accept the truths they long for, for
fear of the ferocious Moloch called Society...
And now, having passed in review all this, pause and reflect, and
then name... that exceptional spot on the globe, where TRUTH is
the honoured guest, and LIE and SHAM the ostracized outcasts? YOU
CANNOT. Nor can any one else, unless he is prepared and
determined to add his mite to the mass of falsehood that reigns
supreme in every department of national and social life.
"Truth!" cried Carlyle, "truth, though the heavens crush me for
following her, no falsehood, though a whole celestial Lubberland
were the prize of Apostasy." Noble words, these. But how many
think, and how many will dare to speak as Carlyle did...? Does
not the gigantic appalling majority prefer to a man the "paradise
of Do-nothings,"... of heartless selfishness? It is this
majority that recoils terror-stricken before the most shadowy
outline of every new and unpopular truth...
SELFISHNESS, the first-born of Ignorance, and the fruit of the
teaching which asserts that for every newly-born infant a new
soul, separate and distinct from the Universal Soul, is
"created"--this Selfishness is the impassable wall between the
personal Self and Truth. It is the prolific mother of all human
vices, Lie being born out of the necessity for dissembling, and
Hypocrisy out of the desire to mask Lie. ...SELFISHNESS kills
every noble impulse in our natures, and is the one deity, fearing
no faithlessness or desertion from its votaries. Hence, we see it
reign supreme in the world and in so-called fashionable society.
As a result, we live...in this god of darkness under his
trinitarian aspect of Sham, Humbug, and Falsehood, called
RESPECTABILITY. Is this Truth and Fact, or is it slander? Turn
whichever way you will, and you find, from the top of the social
ladder to the bottom, deceit and hypocrisy at work for dear
Self's sake, in every nation as in every individual.
But nations, by tacit agreement, have decided that selfish
motives in politics shall be called "noble national aspiration,
patriotism," etc.; and the citizen views it in his family circle
as "domestic virtue."
Nevertheless, Selfishness, whether it breeds desire for
aggrandizement of territory, or competition in commerce at the
expense of one's neighbour, can never be regarded as a virtue.
We see smooth-tongued DECEIT and BRUTE FORCE... called Diplomacy,
and we call it by its right name. Because the diplomat bows low
before these two pillars of national glory and politics, and
...gets by deceit what he cannot obtain by force--shall we
applaud him? A diplomat's qualification--"dexterity or skill in
securing advantages"--for one's own country at the expense of
other countries, can hardly be achieved by speaking truth, but
verily by a wily and deceitful tongue; and, therefore...a living,
and an evident LIE...Every class of Society lives on LIE, and
would fall to pieces without it...
Society of the middle classes is honeycombed with false smiles,
false talk, and mutual treachery. For the majority religion has
become a thin tinsel veil thrown over the corpse of spiritual
Even Science, once the anchor of the salvation of Truth, has
ceased to be the temple of naked Fact. Almost to a man the
Scientists strive now only to force upon their colleagues and the
public the acceptance of some personal hobby, of some new-fangled
theory, which will shed lustre on their name and fame. A
Scientist is as ready to suppress damaging evidence against a
current scientific hypothesis in our times, as a missionary in
heathen-land, or a preacher at home, to persuade his congregation
that modern geology is a lie, and evolution but vanity and
vexation of spirit....
Lie has spread to such extent--supported as it is by custom and
conventionalities--that even chronology forces people to lie...
Where then is even relative truth to be found? If, so far back as
...Democritus, she appeared to him under the form of a goddess
lying at the very bottom of a well, so deep that it gave but
little hope for her release... This is why, perhaps, all the
votaries of hidden truths are forthwith set down as lunatics.
However it may be, [the theosophist] will hold to fact, pure and
simple, trying to proclaim truth whensoever found, and under no
cowardly mask. Bigotry and intolerance may be regarded as
orthodox and sound policy, and the encouraging of social
prejudices and personal hobbies at the cost of truth, as a wise
course to pursue in order to secure success ...
...Theosophy is divine knowledge, and knowledge is truth; every
true fact, every sincere word are thus part and parcel of
Theosophy. One who is skilled in divine alchemy, or even
approximately blessed with the gift of the perception of truth,
will find and extract it from an erroneous as much as from a
correct statement. However small the particle of gold lost in a
ton of rubbish, it is the noble metal still, and worthy of being
dug out even at the price of some extra trouble. As has been
said, it is often as useful to know what a thing is not, as to
learn what it is.
[The theosophical philosophy] offers as many facets of the One
universal jewel ...and says...: "Choose you this day whom ye will
serve: whether the gods that were on the other side of the flood
which submerged man's reasoning powers and divine knowledge, or
the gods ...of custom and social falsehood, or again, the Lord of
(the highest) Self--the bright destroyer of the dark power of
illusion?" Surely it is that philosophy that tends to diminish,
instead of adding to, the sum of human misery, which is the
Theosophy allows a hearing and a fair chance to all. It deems no
views--if sincere--entirely destitute of truth. It respects
thinking men, to whatever class of thought they may belong. Ever
ready to oppose ideas and views which can only create confusion
without benefiting philosophy, it leaves their expounders
personally to believe in whatever they please, and does justice
to their ideas when they are good...
To sum up the idea, with regard to absolute and relative
truth...Outside a certain highly spiritual and elevated state of
mind, during which Man is at one with the UNIVERSAL MIND--he can
get nought on earth but relative truth, or truths, from
whatsoever philosophy or religion.
Were even the goddess who dwells at the bottom of the well to
issue from her place of confinement, she could give man no more
than he can assimilate. Meanwhile, every one can sit near that
well--the name of which is KNOWLEDGE--and gaze into its depths in
the hope of seeing Truth's fair image reflected, at least, on the
dark waters. This, however, as remarked by Richter, presents a
certain danger. Some truth, to be sure, may be occasionally
reflected as in a mirror on the spot we gaze upon, and thus
reward the patient student. But, adds the German thinker, "I have
heard that some philosophers in seeking for Truth, to pay homage
to her, have seen their own image in the water and adored it
instead." ...It is to avoid such a calamity--one that has
befallen every founder of a religious or philosophical
school--that [Theosophy] offers...only those truths which they
find reflected in their own personal brains. They offer the
public a wide choice, and refuse to show bigotry and intolerance,
which are the chief landmarks on the path of Sectarianism...
This, however, only ...as regards the merely intellectual aspect
of philosophical truths. Concerning the deeper spiritual, and one
may almost say religious, beliefs, no true Theosophist ought to
degrade these by subjecting them to public discussion, but ought
rather to treasure and hide them deep within the sanctuary of his
innermost soul. Such beliefs and doctrines should never be rashly
given out, as they risk unavoidable profanation by the rough
handling of the indifferent and the critical.
Nor ought they to be embodied in any publication except as
hypotheses offered to the consideration of the thinking portion
of the public. Theosophical truths, when they transcend a certain
limit of speculation, had better remain concealed from public
view, for the "evidence of things not seen" is no evidence save
to him who sees, hears, and senses it.
It is not to be dragged outside the 'Holy of Holies," the temple
of the impersonal divine Ego, or the indwelling SELF. For, while
every fact outside its perception can, as we have shown, be, at
best, only a relative truth, a ray from the absolute truth can
reflect itself only in the pure mirror of its own flame--our
highest SPIRITUAL CONSCIOUSNESS. And how can the darkness (of
illusion) comprehend the LIGHT that shineth in it?
[ Extracted from H P B'S article: WHAT IS TRUTH ? "Lucifer"
Feb 1888 ]
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