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 ”The White Lotus Day

H.P.B. – The World Reformer


© 2007 Online Teosofiska Kompaniet Malmö 

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”...To change the Manas and the Buddhi of the race...”

May the 8th – White Lotus Day – commemorates the great event of the passing out of our physical world of a noble soul, whose devotion and sacrifice have enabled us to become what we are now.

In her will [1], no monument was asked for – instead, she asked her friends, and her students, if they wished to remember her, to gather and simply read from her two favorite books: The Bhagavad Gita, and The Light of Asia – from the Wisdom of Krishna, and that of the Great Enlightened One. Students meeting in India on the first anniversary of her death, decided to add to these two readings, one from The Voice of the Silence, wisdom learned by her at the feet of the Great Gurus.

The White lotus [2] is a symbol and conveys certain great ideas. It enshrines mighty truths which mortal man, aspiring to immortality, should learn. Great in purity, it springs from the mud and mire of the Earth, passes through the water and resting on its surface, watches the Sun. A mighty flower, perfect in loveliness of shape, wonderful in color emerges. In the center germinate the seeds to be. These, perfect replicas in miniature of the plants of the future, carry nourishment for the lotus' reembodiment after its own death. This is the symbol of the Great Passing of that mighty Being known to the world as ”Helena Petrovna Blavatsky;” her students who know her and think of her as the beloved Teacher, as ”H.P.B.,” and the Great Mahatmas went on record that she ”was otherwise known to us.”


 [1] “I desire that yearly, on the anniversary of my death some of my friends should assemble at the Headquarters of the Theosophical Society and read a chapter of Edwin Arnold’s Light of Asia and Bhagavad Gita.”

[2] In April 1892, on the approach of the first anniversary of H.P.B.’s passing, May 8, 1891, Colonel Olcott instituted “White Lotus Day”. This name was suggested to him because the white lotuses at Adyar grew “with unusual profusion” on this first anniversary. (Cranston, ‘The Extraordinary Life and Influence of Helena Blavatsky”, Putnam’s Sons, NY, p 429).

Did she teach anything new ? No one ever teaches anything new. Krishna, the primeval Teacher saw mankind gradually lose the ”mighty art.” He taught his devotee Arjuna (who is called Nara-man) again. He did this he said ”because thou art my devotee and my friend.” We, H.P.B.'s students, must become her devotees and her friends. We must see and learn the great ideas she put forward. Theosophy is Divine Wisdom, the Bodhi Dharma of the Buddha, the Brahma Vidya of the Upanishads and the Rishis. It was not invented by those ancient Sages, and certainly not by Krishna, the Maha-Vishnu. It is a wisdom that is as old as thinking man. The Vedas are an ancient expression of that perennial wisdom, known down the ages in India as the Sanatana Dharma – the Eternal Devotion-Duty – that, which antedates the Vedas, and is now repromulgated for our consideration and use.

What has H.P.B. emphasized for us who live in these modern 20th-21st Centuries? There are two that are important and significant. The first is the actual existence of a great body of Teachers: Sages, Rishis, Munis, Dhyanis – meditators in the ”infinitudes of space.” Although today we are in Kali Yuga (the dark age of iron), They are living, these Great Men who represent the ideals of Perfection we may all attain.

In the world at large there exist false ideas of what a guru is. The great original inspiration has been subverted and debased. The Gracious Ones have been forgotten, and many claimants have arisen, who have been followed to the detriment of those who followed. H.P.B. proclaimed the existence of the Great Chain of Gurus, the Guruparampara. The idea needs serious reconsideration. The guruvada – the Path to the Gurus – has been distorted in the minds of modern man. The physical plane gurus are but shadows compared to Them. True Gurus cannot be found in the world of moha – ignorance, and the mayavic – illusory fascinations of our ”excited” lives. To find the true Siddhas – the Wise Gnyanis [or Dhyanis], we have to learn how to reach the world of  Truth. There They live their lives of Universality. The true Guru, will never take away our present karmic teachers, which we know of as our limitations and illnesses, and perform false miracles for us. No! No miracles! If that were possible, then Krishna would have said to Arjuna: ”Arjuna! I will do your fighting for you!” No! Instead he offered the universal example of the work of the true Guru. He began to teach the great ancient philosophy, and when ending, in the 18th Chapter of that magnificent discourse on living, he closes with the injunction: ”Act, as seemeth best unto thee.”But, today, that is not the kind of Guru, that people are looking for.

H.P.B. did not conclude with this declaration. She did not stop there. She showed us on this side of life that the Masters exist. And second, that there is aWay to reach Them. ”Seek this wisdom by doing service, by strong search, by questions, and by humility,” [Gita, p. 25] sang Krishna in the Great Song. And the Great Ones, the Tattwa-Gnyanis – Those who know the secrets of Nature – will teach you. It is we who have to learn to serve. It is we who have to search, inquire, and this means: humility. These are the traits that we have to build into our character. Then only, we may hope to see the Great Gurus. But we need not look ”outside;” for our own Teacher lies always waiting our recognition – He lies patiently watching – in our own heart, on the inner planes of our being. ”In dreams and visions of the night, are we instructed,” said Job; and this we must seek to learn from and to understand.

The Masters need ”companions.” This teaching, and these true practices form the ”boat,” that enables us to cross the ”Ocean of Samsara” – rebirth. Then, we will find that ”Spiritual Knowledge” springs up spontaneously in us, as time progresses and if our efforts do not slacken. In nature, the fruit of a tree indicates the nature of that tree. Look through any teaching for its source, just as we seek the source of a light through a window in a dark room.

H.P.B. showed us the secret, the old Path – she showed us again how we may approach the Gurus. ”Surrender” is mentioned in the Bhagavad Gita, but not in the beginning of that book. First there is the teaching and the learning. Then in the 18th Chapter at the last, it is mentioned. The disciple is not ready for ”surrender,” until he has assured himself of everything else, and of the coherence of the facts that Krishna presents. But his curiosity has to be changed into devotion. A deeper chord is touched in his own heart and to this his mind responds, and with diligence he seeks the old Path of self-study that leads to self-control and true growth in wisdom. It is not merely knowledge, that H.P.B. provides, but the wisdom of right action. Of this we are the selectors, the choosers and the directors.

If brotherhood is an ideal, then, because of its universality in Spirit, it is made by us into those self-sacrificing and compassionate acts of giving, which unite us on this plane of living.

What have we to offer to the Gurus ? At present, mostly our weaknesses, and some good feelings. So our first duties will be to fill the empty heart, and the empty head we own. To do this well, we have first to empty them of falsity: false kindness, selfishness, and false knowledge. This process is to be done by using the wisdom embodied in the first seventeen Chapters of the Gita. Then only do we have something of value that we may offer as ”surrender.”

Gautama, the Buddha, chose to use the title of  Tathagata – he who follows in the footsteps of his Predecessors. He was a follower of the Race of Buddhas. Then, He taught the source and the method of achieving that which He had accomplished. This Source is in the permanent ”now” of our daily lives, and in the many small affairs of our duties. It is everywhere. It is in the home, in the school, at work and at play, it is our waking active life. Becoming is a continuous process. Our activities in our world should be made to enshrine and harbor a consciousness of the great and hope-giving Teaching. That Great Fraternity of Adepts, referred to by Krishna, Buddha, Sankaracharya and H.P.B., exists. It is with us now – today! It is this practical teaching, now, almost forgotten in the various sections of our world, that H.P.B. came to reveal again.

Then, the second great teaching: The Lodge of Adepts, exists. It works everywhere. It is the Home of the Great Adepts, where together, in a spiritual Family, they dwell. Many sense this. Many wish to make pilgrimage to such a place. Many wish to learn more of this. But, for most, the knowledge we have is unclear, as it is of the senses. The aspirations most of us have are for selfish benefits and powers to be enjoyed and used and retained by ourselves alone. We are living in the plane of the lower heart, the lower mind. Such knowledge as we acquire brings light only to the body and the senses.

It makes for pride, so that some say: ”Behold, I know!” It does not engender the humility of compassion which would enable them to say:

”Thus have I heard.”

The ”physical body” of this body of Adepts is their sangha – assembly. It should not be viewed as though far off, for it is near at hand. Where thought can pass, They can manifest. A knowledge of this Presence may be acquired by anyone, who employs the injunction: ”Man, know thyself!” This is not a veil to wisdom, but is, in fact, the one true test of the mettle of the devotee. It is through the study of what we have and what we are, and what we may become, that we learn to make progress towards the Gurus. It is much more than a perfect physical body, free of ailing. Much more than our feelings, good, or bad. Much more than an acute and argumentative mind. We can begin to clarify our thinking, by looking at our situation. We form a vast assembly.

We are a ”host,” a ”hierarchy” of mind beings. We have in embryo, the germs of those spiritual forces and powers that will enable us, when refined and focused, to see the Teachers, everywhere. These assurances come to each of us. They stem from the Ishwara – the Higher Self, within. They are enshrined in the idea of the logos – the ”word.” It is a word-idea, a perception of the similarity of potential, of the Life, in all beings, as in ourselves. It was known in ancient India as Shabda-Brahma – the word of wisdom that sustains the whole of manifestation. In another way, H.P.B. taught that we are made up of the powers and potencies of the many hierarchies of living beings that are the Life of our World and the Universe. We borrow from them, we bathe in them, they support and penetrate us – their cooperation enables our living. Ideally, all the many sheaths that envelop our Souls are the manifested portion of the ever uninvolved, but Universal Krishna. It is from him and in him that all the Sages and the whole of Nature, and every ”being,” dwells. He is that Great Secret One, the Great Sacrifice, who presides over Manvantaras and Pralayas, and is never disturbed. The Rishis and the Dhyanis work under the guidance of this Mystical Personage, and yet, Krishna is not a ”being” in his universality. To Arjuna he appears as a wise companion, and then as a Sage to be revered. Speaking of manifestation which is entrusted to the supervision of the great Gnyanis, we find that Krishna refers to those Sages, saying that They are embodied in Himself (p. 108). He is the Uttampurusha – the Universal Man – the Eternal Self of all Creatures. Arjuna secures a vision of Him as the Cause of the embodied Universe in the eleventh Chapter of the Gita, and is overwhelmed. And yet, Krishna declares that among men, he is Arjuna, the devoted disciple and friend! And Mr. Judge, in one places, declares that we are all Arjunas.

 Here on Earth, this Assembly, the Lodge, exists, and those who work in and through it are the Great Nurses of mankind. There is to be found the ”nursery of future human adepts.” That has existed since the day when man in form became man in mind.

Most of us, on hearing this will feel compelled to say: ”If I am also this, shall I not take the first steps on that Path whereby I may reach to Them?” The Buddha preached the ”Noble Eight-fold Path.” Sankaracharya showed the various ”steps,” which a devotee could take. The eighteen chapters of the Bhagavad Gita are offered by Krishna, we have the ”beatitudes” of Jesus, and the Voice of the Silence, of  H.P.B. All point to a single truth: ”Look inward. Thou art Buddha!” We have our choices: shall we espouse that Way, or take the way of wealth, friends, family, and finally – death and nothingness for our personality? This great challenge is always thrown across the path of the prospective disciple. Choosing is the right of the soul. It is free at all times, though we have bound ourselves to past limitations; the future is what we make of it.

H.P.B. disclosed the nature of the Gurus. It needs to be grasped. First. No one who is a true guru, will ever claim that position. Anyone who makes, or allows such a claim to be made about him, is a false guru. Krishna called the True Guru ”hidden, difficult to find.” They find it difficult to find chelas. We would, at this stage, be unable to recognize a true guru because we could not recognize his hidden powers. He does not display them.

Symbols are concealed in the great religious observances of our world, but those are not grasped, because they are not meditated on. There are great religious fairs, held periodically here and there. Their meaning has become lost. Blind faith in the event (coincident with certain cycles), brings great tragedies. In India there is the Kumbha Mela, where at the Triveni (where the Ganges, Jumna, and the invisible Saraswati rivers meet in confluence at Prayag-Allahabad) a fair, that is said to purify the participants, is held every 11 years. It symbolizes the beating of the great heart of the Sun.
What is the meaning of such a symbol ? The first ”river,” symbolizes wisdom and power; the second – mighty compassion; and, the third – the silence and secrecy of the Great Gurus. Their meeting at a point denotes the opportunity that all have, to learn that silence and secrecy are necessary for learning, for absorbing the wisdom and compassion outpouring at that cyclic time. This is one of the symbols showing the existence of the Great Lodge. Each one carries his own Prayag (confluence) within – it is that secret nerve that joins the heart and the head.

In The Voice of the Silence, H.P.B. wrote: ”Of teachers there are many; the Master-Soul is one, Alaya, the Universal Soul. Live in that Master as Its ray in thee.” The Great Self is in us all. It is only a ray here, but that ray, the Higher Self, leads us along the path of our many lives, to the Source of Life, and we can become as the Sun. The path for us is slow or rapid, as we make it. The unbrotherly concept of uniqueness delays. It is of many kinds, and divides us from our companions, preventing us from ”living in our fellows, as they live in It.” If we turn to the Tenth Chapter of the Bhagavad Gita we hear Krishna declaring: ”I am the Ego which is seated in the hearts of all beings.” (p. 73), and in the Thirteenth he says: ”The spirit in the body is called Maheshwara, the Great Lord, the spectator, the admonisher, the sustainer, the enjoyer, and also the Paramatma, the Highest soul.” (p. 96) This brings those who listen and reflect, up out of the circle of false religions. Then true Brotherhood may be discerned and used. All differences, of any kind: castes, creeds, nations sexes, religions, cease thereafter to exist. It is that place where man is Man – the Thinker.

This is the first step towards the true Gurus, if we make their company our aim. Otherwise, let a man be honest enough and say: ”I do not want them.” No one in his sane moment can doubt that the spiritual life is not needed. In spite of present limitations, we can all achieve it, one step at a time. The Buddha spoke of Upali, the barber, his disciple – a simple man with a heart full of devotion. We owe Upali a great deal, as it was he, as the Senior Bhikku, who convened the first Great Council, which served to record the Dhammapada. If he, an apparently unlettered man could do that much, then, why not we?

A devotee aspires to follow the inner Path. This is done step by simple step. Ever forward. If we see a limitation in our character, then it has to ”killed beyond reanimation.” It is only then that we may proceed with confidence. To conceal in our breast any ”fond offense,” is to cause our fall sooner or later, and what is more, disturb and delay others. Procrastination is a dangerous and insidious vice.

How will we acquire that knowledge which will bring us to the Guruparampara ? Not one link may be missed. All around us stand our teachers – the men and women of our family and of our town, and country. Nature is our teacher, and we can draw inspiration from Shankaracharya's great hymn:

Lo the wonder of the banyan tree:
There sits the Guru-Deva – a youth,
And the disciples are elders.

The teaching is silence, and yet –
The chelas' doubts are dispelled.

Wisdom is ever young, and men grow old till they become wise.

The lower kingdoms of nature have secrets to teach us: vegetable, mineral, elemental kingdoms contain great mysteries. If we have established true humility within, we can learn from them.

All of us here, owe our spiritual awakening to the words of H.P.B. Her Buddha-like, her Christlike heart opens to us the wisdom and the compassion of the Great Path. Like the Pelican – feeding its young from its heart – she offers us her life, her knowledge, her effort and her hopes for humanity. She did not work for herself, but for the Mahatmas, who are the great Servants of Humanity. We all need nourishment, spiritual and psychic which will elevate our minds and aspirations. She pointed always to the Great Teachers, her Masters, the Mahatmas, those who are Great of Soul. They, she said were our inspirers. Their words are embodied in all of her great work.
Their bodies are reputed to cast no shadows. This is explained by the fact that they have purged by spiritual transmutation all gross matter from the forms they use. ”Arise, Awake, Seek the Great Ones, and Learn!” – is the trumpet call that H.P.B. has sounded for this cycle. Those who are heedless, not vigilant, inattentive, as the Buddha says in the Dhammapada, are ”already dead” – in heart force, in heart life. We need to rise, to make ourselves ready for that great journey, whose door, our karma opens now before us. Inspired by this great example, our future choices may lead us far along the Path the Great Ones show. The memory of those life-giving words have to be made an active reverberation in our minds and hearts, and then those works that we can pledge ourselves to sustain, become evident. The path is an inner one. Its disciplines keep us ever expectant. We do not know when the Great Ones will appear, but, we should be ready and willing to meet Them – as H.P.B. did, and carry out their work for Mankind. The charge that she has left us is: to learn, to practice, and to pass on unaltered, those great ideas to all who will listen. In this way we honor her, and we honor Them.

B. P. Wadia (1956)

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