Man ought to be ever striving to help the divine evolution of Ideas, by becoming to the best of his ability a co-worker with nature in the cyclic task. The ever unknowable and incognizable Karana alone, the Causeless Cause of all causes, should have its shrine and altar on the holy and ever untrodden ground of our heart – invisible, intangible, unmentioned, save through "the still small voice" of our spiritual consciousness. Those who worship before it, ought to do so in the silence and the sanctified solitude of their Souls; making their spirit the sole mediator between them and the Universal Spirit, their good actions the only priests, and their sinful intentions the only visible and objective sacrificial victims to the Presence.

The Secret Doctrine, i 280

 The ceaseless Ideation of the Universal Mind has its most pristine reflect ion in Dhyan Chohanic thought within the nucleus of the concealed Sun, wherein the most holy and highest self-existent beings initiate the seven rays, the sacred Hierarchies that work throughout the cosmos. Anyone who invokes the Gayatri for the sake of universal enlightenment brings his entire being into alignment with benedictory ideation at the most causal and cosmic level. Exempt from the lesser cycles of time, these exalted Logoi are the paradigm of the invulnerable gods, as opposed to lesser genii, venerated in every ancient tradition. They represent universal self-consciousness, the most beneficent power in the universe, and the fullest perfection a human being can attain. In the daily act of consecration to the Spiritual Sun, a disciple is not merely honouring cosmic plenitude, but also solemnly affirming the sacredness of breath, every hint of feeling, thought and word, every atom that makes up the invisible and visible vestures, reaching down and through the physical. All life has the sacred purpose of making the whole of one's being fully available to the highest forces of ideation in the universe for the sake of kindling the spiritual faculties in all human beings.

 Anyone who aspires to this holy self-consecration will even initially recognize that it is too sacred to articulate. It seeks to establish a living link between the mind that thinks and the heart that feels on the plane of manifestation, in association with the lesser vestures, bringing these totally into alignment with the inmost core and rootless root in every human being. Therein is the Buddhic essence of the Dhyan Chohanic radiation, corresponding to, consubstantial with, and also analogous to, for the purposes of all spiritual sanctification, the Atman. One who calmly contemplates in inward silence can release the immense strength and intense potency of the highest Itcha connected with Itchasakti, the purest, most profound desire. This is so abstract, holy and selfless in the ordinary sense that it can arise only from the universal Self. But it is recorded, registered and reverberates in each atom of every vesture. A consummate musician knows that he is only an imperfect instrument of a creative, noetic activity in the supersensuous spheres of the universe. As with music, so with thought and feeling; invocation lends enormous strength and power to any sacred vow. But to realize this latent strength one must repeatedly reaffirm the vow, despite the strain upon the lower mind with its discontinuities and distortions. One must refuse to surrender one's attention and consciousness into the clutches of that parasitic, inefficient and wayward instrument if one is to take hold of one's true nature and become truly worthy of the privilege of incarnation as a human being fit for divine work. As this theurgy is transcendental, as it cannot be expressed in the coinage of conventional speech and thought, it must be nourished and renewed again and again in silence and secrecy. Thus, all the Dhyanis, all the devas and the higher potencies, are entitled to the grateful reverence of humanity, and man ought to be ever striving to help the divine evolution of ideas by becoming to the best of his ability a co-worker with Nature in the cyclic task of augmenting self-consciousness.

 Philosophically, this work is consonant with the intrinsic logic of manifestation. Patanjali, the great teacher of yoga, declared that the entire universe exists for the sake of the human soul. It is part of the programme of evolution, cosmic and human, that there should be universal enlightenment. Hence, the point and force of taking a vow lies in an individual's becoming fully aware of the inmost purpose of evolution and the privilege of being incarnated. An individual who does this becomes a living link on earth with wise beings who constitute a mighty Fraternity, who are ideating at a level that is sufficiently homogeneous to reach all humanity on the subtlest plane in deep sleep and in deep meditation. But for beings below that level, even to attempt to do this is to help to make possible the percolation into the consciousness of human beings of that universal current which is the impulse of life itself from the standpoint of the immortal soul. If enough people do this, in due course language and thought will change, and, at some point, the modes of human interaction must also change. Human beings must be able to create patterns of life relevant to those future races that will enact at a high level of deliberation and control what was felt intuitively by the earliest races, especially the Third Root Race.

 To take a vow is to assist in the divine evolution of ideas. It is to recognize that there is a great deal in oneself which – by atavism, abuse and misuse, the karma of other lives and the karma attached to whole classes of life-atoms over long periods of time – does not want to cooperate intelligently. To overcome these obstructions requires proper attention, the potent power of thought, the spiritual force of the will and the universal energy of feeling. These have become appropriated and dissipated, concretized and wasted, and also, on occasion, badly abused. It is to offset deliberately this downward tendency of the lunar nature that one self-consciously reorients one's attitude of mind, state of being and sphere of magnetic influence around the supernal light of the solar ray which is Atma-Buddhi. Thus a vow is made holy. And hence, the ever-unknowable and incognizable Karana alone has its shrine and altar on the holy and ever-untrodden ground of the heart. In spiritually developed cultures sacred truths simply could not be uttered indiscriminately by anyone.

 Speakers, not speech, bring words to life. For a number of complex reasons connected with the larger purpose of evolution, as against the long-standing exploitation through corrupt and ignorant priestcraft alienated from the true source of wisdom, there is in Kali Yuga the necessary process of widespread access to spiritual teachings. This can give rise to the illusion that one need simply utter certain words to enter into the current of potent ideation. In reality, if one is unfamiliar with the arcane properties of light and sound that are inextricably connected with great ideas, one may actually release a strong force which works as an agent of disintegration, disruption, delusion, decay and death. So one must spend much time in silence, making a repeated and sincere regular effort to enter this state of communion – "invisible, intangible, unmentioned, save through "the still small voice" of our spiritual consciousness". Only so can one activate the voice of conscience, which in time becomes the voice of spiritual consciousness. At a further stage this becomes the voice of the daimon and at its highest level it is the chitkala, the voice which is infallibly and constantly available to the individual. Before one can reach that stage, one must silence other voices. One must draw within; one must "give Nature time to speak". It is a veritable tragedy that when people assemble, they fear silence and ceaselessly transmit to one another mundane, meaningless detail. This needlessly reduces the length of life and restricts the power of the spiritual will. The most crucial training involves deliberate speech and creative silence, that true reverential silence in which all the faculties are at once alert and relaxed, free from any rush to manifest. This is the decisive difference between the sacred and the profane, the holy and the polluted.

 One must first learn to listen to that still, small voice of one's spiritual consciousness and the integral teaching of the Gupta Vidya directed towards Buddhi, the voice of spiritual intuition in every human being. Because that voice is not initially available, a person may begin by calmly reading and reading again, aloud but also silently, some of the great passages in spiritual texts. This can begin to arouse Buddhi. The ordinary mind is in a rush; but Buddhi is calm, gentle and assured, like a living spring that flows from the ground. Many people cannot begin this, however, because of a false lower Manasic identification of vitality and wakefulness with manifestation. When they do not manifest, they become drowsy and fall asleep. Unable to keep spiritually awake and Manasically active, they become mediumistic and are taken over by every kind of lower astral force in the elemental universe. They fall prey to a corruption of the faculties because the lunar mind becomes mixed and mingled with anything lurking in the astral light. Many people are imprisoned in a false dichotomy between a loud but weak manifesting tendency and an equally feeble mediumistic tendency. The aim of true meditation, of developing the mind but also, in time, unfolding the intuition, is to rise above this dichotomy to a relaxed yet heightened awareness that flows in a continuous and steady stream. To be able to do this one has to loosen the hold exercised by the illusion – through ignorance, association of ideas and habits of speech – that there is some entity called the personality. In fact, there is only a vast collection of tendencies. All attempts on the personal plane to gain continuity are only shadowy reflections, a kind of imitative activity that draws fitfully from the true light of awareness of the immortal soul, but which has no chance to manifest continuously because of the overactive personal consciousness. One must see through this illusion at the core to dissociate from it. One must learn through asceticism in speech how one tends to use the personal pronoun, the "I"; one must see that most of what one views as oneself is merely a set of tendencies, and that by identifying with them one has created a false "I". After a point, this aggregate becomes so ossified that one cannot show reverence, be grateful, be calm, or meditate, and hence one cannot withdraw into the inmost sanctuary. One cannot get away from pessimism – a sure sign of corruption of truly human consciousness, which is always marked in its pure form by an inward optimism that is the Buddhic light of awareness of the inner joy of life, behind the veil of manifestation.

 The dispelling of the illusion of separateness needs both a preliminary toughness and, ultimately, a readiness to plunge into the stream. The Voice of the Silence says, "The pilgrim who would cool his weary limbs in running waters, yet dares not plunge for terror of the stream, risks to succumb from heat." One has to try to withdraw into oneself for the purpose of communion and quiet contemplation, for the purpose of surrender, as many mystics have put it, but also for the purpose of a pure consecration of all energies to this invisible, intangible, unmentioned ground of the altar upon which will shine the flame of the Karana. To honour the soul, making one's spirit the sole mediator between oneself and the Universal Spirit, one's good actions the only priests, and one's sinful intentions the only sacrificial victims to the Presence, means having no doubts about the undertaking. Doubts must be thrown into the sacrificial fire of surrender and contemplation. All worries and hesitations are like vermin. They are the encrusted mental deposits made by lower thoughts and emotions that consolidate greedy, hungry, bitter and sour elementals, all of which must be thrown into the fire. In this light one can understand the therapeutic teaching and wise instruction of Jesus, which has to do with authentic initiation, and not with hypocritical public prayer or the mumbo-jumbo of exclusive claims.

 "When thou prayest thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are...but enter into thine inner chamber and having shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret." (Matt. vi) Our Father is within us, "in Secret", our 7th principle, in the "inner chamber" of our Soul perception. "The Kingdom of Heaven" and of God "is within us" says Jesus, not outside.

The Secret Doctrine, i 280

 There is a direct analogy between the light that shines in the "inner chamber" and the subtle creative light of the first twilight at the dawn of the Maha-Manvantara. This Initial Existence is a conscious spiritual quality which, in the manifested solar world, resembles the film of divine breath to the gaze of the entranced seer. A reflection of the Absolute, it is designated the One Life, and is a film for creative or formative purposes. Manifesting in seven states, each with seven subdivisions, it is the basis of the six shaktis, the highest powers available to the initiated seer, which exist in germ in every single human being. These six shaktis are in their unity represented by the Light of the Logos, Daiviprakriti, the noumenal light of the dawn of manifestation, also called Vach, Kwan Yin, Sarasvati, Isis and, in some alchemical texts, the Virgin of the World. This Initial Existence has an intimate correspondence with the twin twilights that enclose each terrestrial day. In both the potent hour of readiness before the dawn and the hour of memory at dusk, human beings can withdraw from the external physical plane of manifestation and approach their true spiritual state of being. The universal and cosmic resonances of these timeless moments remind the soul of forgotten truths that pertain to the largest cycles and are a permanent presence in the innermost chambers of the soul. Ancient wisdom has always taught the use of certain periods of time through which, by analogy and correspondence, one can come more easily into the subtle luminous vestures, into the karana sharira, and, ultimately, into the anandamaya kosha.

 The hidden light-energy and noumenal matter of the highest principles persist throughout an evolutionary period as the true raiment of the immortal soul that comes through a vast course of collective monadic life and over eighteen million years of self-consciousness and human existence. It is easier to experience this light through meditation upon the whole host of perfected beings during certain times because these beings have entered the creative light of which Jesus spoke. To understand this philosophically, it is important to think through the metaphysical distinction between the brute energy inherent in matter and the intelligence which guides and directs that energy.

... what is called "unconscious Nature" is in reality an aggregate of forces manipulated by semi-intelligent beings (Elementals) guided by High Planetary Spirits, (Dhyan Chohans), whose collective aggregate forms the manifested verbum of the unmanifested LOGOS, and constitutes at one and the same time the MIND of the Universe and its immutable LAW.
 Three distinct representations of the Universe in its three distinct aspects are impressed upon our thought by the esoteric philosophy: the PRE-EXISTING (evolved from) the EVER-EXISTING; and the PHENOMENAL – the world of illusion, the reflection, and shadow thereof.

The Secret Doctrine, i 277-278

The Ever-Existing is the eternal divine ground of all being. The Pre-Existing is the most subtle, primary, luminous emanation which is totally unmanifest from the point of view of what is called the world, but which is the most potent manifestation. A human being truly concerned to acquire Demiurgic control over the power of thought will deliberate and hold back expression, not in frustration but in order to dwell upon each thought and let it settle. The unmanifest reality of an idea becomes evident only when one can hold an idea for the benefit of others and see that this power of retention truly helps. It will help others far more if silent than if verbalized without having been assimilated through contemplation. Many people sincerely and mistakenly think that by making a slogan out of this they can do it; genuinely to curb the desire to manifest is to have a profound sense of reality in the unmanifest. To live in the causal realm, and in the karana sharira, one must see the ideas behind words, and also behind one's own mind. Profound ideas take shape when dwelt upon in the silence and solitude of the immovable mind, far from the noisy speech of the manifesting movable mind. That which is supernally true spontaneously subsists in silence.

 Human beings have difficulty realizing this because of mental and moral cowardice. Cheating oneself through life, never really wanting to learn a lesson out of the fear that there is no guarantee of success at the end, they lapse into the habit of never learning anything from life, let alone from the immortal souls within other human beings. This sad but self-inflicted wretchedness comes to those who cannot make proper use of their vast prerogatives as human souls. One must see this in the small, but one can only correct it by comprehension and contemplation in the large. Pythagoras and Paracelsus taught that the great healer is the Spiritual Sun, and that the best therapy lies in the earnest attempt at universal meditation. One must encounter the seeming dark if one would discover the true light. One must enter the realm of the non-manifest and begin to experience a sense of reality in relation to subliminal states of matter, to root-ideas, but also to the continuity of existence that is untinctured and untrammelled by divisions normally made between past, present and future. The real universe is the invisible, pre-existing reflection of the Ever-Existing, the Dhyan Chohanic thought reflecting the ideation of the Universal Mind; the phenomenal world of brute energies is the world of illusion.

 During the great mystery and drama of life known as the Manvantara, real Kosmos is like the object placed behind the white screen upon which are thrown the Chinese shadows, called forth by the magic lantern. The actual figures and things remain invisible, while the wires of evolution are pulled by the unseen hands; and men and things are thus but the reflections, on the white field, of the realities behind the snares of Mahamaya, or the great Illusion.

The Secret Doctrine, i 278

 This teaching about the primal triune nature of the universe is connected with the standpoint of the seventh principle, the omnipresent, ever-existing Atman. One who reflects this in Buddhi and focusses it through Manas has truly entered his or her spiritual inheritance. Everything below these three principles – and the highest is really not a principle because it is so universal – should serve merely as a field for calm, deliberate and wise mirroring. Before one can get to that, one must cultivate the power of self-correction in reference to all one's habits and tendencies; one must awaken the capacity to sift within the heart, within the mind, and even within the senses. Those who do this will find that their attitude towards time during the day will change from a linear sequential view to one of subtle cycles of manifestation and withdrawal. This will alter their rates of mental and moral absorption, assimilation and elimination. Most of the blockage to Buddhic illumination comes from retaining unnecessary and irrelevant detail. This atavistic propensity towards the lower realms of manifestation obscures the finer channels of awareness, and compounds itself through a noisy fear of spiritual incapacity. It is like going into a spiritual supermarket, where one is inundated with so many sights, through elemental attraction and repulsion, that one forgets one's original purpose. This happens with the eyes, the ears and all the senses, but it is aggravated when it recoils outward in the form of unregulated speech. If, however, the mind reposes upon elevating concepts, one can take in detail quietly and quickly without becoming embroiled in the habitual, inattentive reactions of the wandering mind.

 One can heighten one's power of comprehension significantly as one eschews the wastage of fragmentary consciousness addicted to futile manifestation. But paradoxically, the more one is still, the more one is withdrawn into one's inmost chamber, the more effectively one can consecrate and use all one's instruments on behalf of universal good. Because there is no excess, there is also no overload or wastage. Many beneficent consequences flow from the basic teaching about entering into the stream of uninterrupted consciousness, but one must recognize that every human being is essentially capable of doing this. Each human being is imprisoned by a mass of worn out and corrupted instruments which, although they look difficult to correct, can be corrected fundamentally by first rooting out and replacing the false sense of selfhood. It is a tragedy that many people drawn to the spiritual life do everything else, but forget to do the main thing – to rethink who they are. They specialize in walking backwards. To receive in abundance what is in the universe one must rethink both intellectually and in the deepest and fullest way possible; one must examine oneself and one's relationship to one's instruments. Centering the consciousness correctly will show itself by a heightened power of attention, by greater relaxation and noetic detachment. Drawing inward into the Presence, one will begin to withdraw from excessive allegiance to the manifested. Blending one's will with the universal invocation of the Gayatri, one will become an initiator most concerned with the initiating impulse, the ensouling idea behind manifestation. Becoming an alchemical apprentice in the divine evolution of Ideas, one may become truly worthy of the benediction of the Brotherhood of Bodhisattvas.

Hermes, May 1981
by Raghavan Iyer