Extracts from B.P.Wadia Letters
© 2005 Online Teosofiska Kompaniet Malmö
This subject of test, trial and temptation is very important. In Isis HPB gave a significant hint. Look up Vol II, p 280: “Personal virtue could claim no merit, unless it had passed through the furnace of temptation.” It is time that you looked into this topic for personal self-examination and preparation for any and every temptation. At this hour you will not find much to worry about of a serious nature; but I ever believe in being ready to meet the devil and say “good morning”! Therefore it may be well for you to read HPB’s article on “Chelas and Lay Chelas”, especially pp 5-7 of the book Raja-Yoga. Then turn to Judge’s Gita Notes and read between the lines pp 18-20, about our two foes. Note what he says about why and how others in our vicinity attack us for achieving that which they know to be right but are not able to achieve themselves. This you have already experienced and are now experiencing. Watch your Karmic connections and psychic precipitations which cause what Judge calls a kind of heat, a psychic ailment. One very fundamental aspect of it has to do with our Theosophical affinities. Master KH in one place refers to “the converging lines of Karma” bringing us into this Esoteric Movement. Crosbie’s Friendly Philosopher puts it in his usual simple way on p 27 – the first paragraph of Letter 10.
Believe me, the Path of the aspirant has traps to ensnare the ego in numerous ways. One can never come to the height of devotion unless one remains true to one’s Inner Ruler and to the Lines laid down. Of course you will be assailed and tempted, but your earnestness and sincerity are there to guide you. You are preparing yourself by gathering within yourself spiritual stamina. If you calmly “search the scriptures” in an hour of test you will come through. Be confident. It is your good Karma that you are not ambitious and that your personal self does not want to shine in public. Along what particular line your attack will come and the form in which it will come is impossible for us to determine; only the Master knows.
It is good that you aspire to prepare yourself so as to have fortitude. Is it not said: “Let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall”? This very feeling which puts you on your guard is a good sign. There are people who never think that they are under trial! Do not be apprehensive about the future. You make use of the present; grow in strength and stamina; have peace established within and render service in the without; add to the quota of knowledge; love humanity by loving some members of it, but loving in a true sense – thus make yourself invulnerable. Just as the physical body grows to its full height, so also our astral body hasw to grow to its full stature, which does not mean perfection, but it does mean bringing out to the full all our Karmic possibilities. Once that is done the creative Brahma aspect changes and we have to sustain the Vishnu aspect. Use and enhance the spiritual stamina, i e knowledge and love. So you see, you have to grow; you have to bring forth what is slumbering. In doing so you will meet your natural, i e, prakritic tests and trials. So, you have nothing to fear; but you have to be watchful. “He who is humble need fear no fall”, says The Pilgrim’s Progress (did you ever read that? A wonderful book!). You have humility and you are working at your life in secrecy and silence. Your chosen line, thanks especially to ULT principles, enables you to serve in silence, to pour out your devotion in secret. Keep it up, dear neophyte. In the Movement of the Great Lodge of Masters there are struggles always and so also strifes. We have to learn to hold grimly on. Not tomorrow but today:
Lord, for tomorrow and its needs I do not pray:
Keep me, my God, from stain of sin, just for today;
Let me no wrong or idle word unthinking say:
Set thou a seal upon my lips, just for today.
So work on and watch – confident, hopeful, and banish apprehension. You will get through.
Faith and devotion to the Great and Blessed Holy Ones mean that we are unfolding strength and serenity of the mind. Our ideation of and about Them implies keeping company with Them, however indirectly. To forget Them from time to time, in the incidents of the day and the events which occur from hour to hour, means that we are weak to that extent. But we will be tried. Trials and tests must come and later temptations also. This force of temptation is another big subject. There are outer and inner aspects to all trials, tests and temptations. “Great Sifter is the name of the Heart Doctrine.” The sifting process of Karma takes new aspects as man aspires to be a chela, studies for self-improvement and says, “Let me be tried.” Unselfishness is the protector against temptation and we must resolve never to be overthrown by doubt or by despair. It is best to go on watchfully, hour by hour, and not have anxiety. If you read pp 68-69 of the Voice about every failure being a success, you will recognize that we know of no failure. We will fight on. Mother Nature is mercy incarnate and the Great Ones are ambodiments of Wisdom. Our service of Them and Their Cause will never be forgotten by Them. So go on with faith in the Inner Ruler and in Them.
People do not recognize tests and opportunities when they come. The preliminary step is a correct understanding of Karma. People’s scientific and religious training dies hard. Bias and prejudice and superstitions persist. Self-induction is not understood. In this as in all else one has to begin with one’s own self. We, each one of us, must live undaunted by our limitations or by adverse talk of friends and kin. We are nervous about added labour and especially a new responsibility. We have to make sure that the new line of activity is pure from the motive point of view and is executed unselfishly, with no axe of our personal nature to grind. A proper understanding of Karma would rid us of our fears. Especially for aspirants and practising aspirants like you there need be no nervousness about the future. You may not be able, at this hour, to act up to all you say, but you are saying it. Affirmation in words carries its own potentioal force. Our thoughts when articulated are objectivized. We see them and the incentive to act arises. Look at the definition of the Shila virtue with a penetrating gaze.
Well, this is your opportunity to face defeat, not only gracefully on the outer plane, but to turn the evil to good account, for your Ego’s real benefit. There is, of course, a lesson for you in this defeat or setback and that learnt the defeat must turn into victory. Look for the real reason of this event. It is a precipitation and will bring out of you real good if you calmly ponder over it in the silent sanctuary of your own heart. A greater humility will be born of a dispassionate meditation on this defeat. Humility is a grand Shakti, and, while greatly regretting your defeats, I for one hope that you will lead your personality to a deeper realization of the nature of this Shakti. Always count on the forces of test and trial to intervene. Do your duty, brighten your donscience, persist in feeling devotion to the Holy and Enlightened Lords, and things are bound to succeed though seeming failures show themselves.
So, do not be dejected. This is an Arjuna’s experience. Remember you are preparing yourself for the Service of the Blessed Masters. Nothing less than your very best in health of body, purity of mind, cleanliness in conduct, spiritual energization, all the time, has to be offered. Masters “try to make the best of the worst” and “we never whine over the inevitable.”
The Theosophical Movement,
November 1960, Vol 31, # 2, p 73.
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