[Cover photo: The Richardson Cottage. Temporarily occupied by Professor Hiram Corson and his wife in 1875, when H.P.B. visited them. Part of Isis Unveiled was written here. (From E.R. Corson's Some Unpublished Letters of Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, London, 1929.)]
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The first necessity for obtaining self-knowledge is to become profoundly conscious of ignorance; to feel with every fiber of the heart that one is ceaselessly self-deceived.
The second requisite is the still deeper conviction that such knowledge - such intuitive and certain knowledge - can be obtained by effort.
The third and most important is an indomitable determination to obtain and face that knowledge.
Self-knowledge of this kind is unattainable by what men usually call "self-analysis." It is not reached by reasoning or any brain process; for it is the awakening to consciousness of the Divine nature of man.
To obtain this knowledge is a greater achievement than to command the elements or to know the future.
The eyes of wisdom are like the ocean depths; there is neither joy nor sorrow in them; therefore the soul of the occultist must become stronger than joy, and greater than sorrow. - Lucifer, London, Vol. 1, September and October, 1887. 
Authorship of "Isis Unveiled"
From the ordinary worldly standpoint, Isis Unveiled was of course written by H. P. Blavatsky, and on that, exoterically, nothing more needs to be said. From the viewpoint of occult fact and doctrine, however, the authorship of this remarkable work is not so easily determined, and requires careful consideration of little known and rather abstruse teachings of the Esoteric Philosophy.
Actually, Isis Unveiled was a production in collaboration between H. P. Blavatsky herself and several Initiates or Adepts of the Occult Brotherhood, one or two of whom are known to some extent, the others practically unknown.
Portions of this work were written by the ordinary conscious mind of its acknowledged author. Others were dictated to her by one or another Initiate, for whom she served as an amanuensis, along lines of clairaudient communication. Still other portions of her MSS. were written when one or another of these Initiates temporarily overshadowed her outer form and used it. And there were also portions which were precipitated for her, in her own handwriting, while she was asleep.
At no time, however, was there any ordinary mediumism involved in the process, nor was it in any way akin to automatic writing. It is of primary importance to realize that. Otherwise endless confusion and misunderstanding will result.
In order to understand the situation, the student must bear in mind the doctrine of Tulku, a technical Tibetan term which is one of the most comprehensive and mystically significant in the entire range of the many important words used in Tibetan Buddhism. The term, in one of its applications, describes the condition when a living Initiate or high Occultist sends a part of his consciousness to take embodiment, for a longer or shorter period of time, in a neophyte-messenger whom that Initiate sends into the outer world to perform a duty or to teach. The Messenger acts as a transmitter of the spiritual and divine powers of the Initiate. H. P. Blavatsky acted frequently throughout her public career as the temporary tulku of one or another Initiate. This transference of consciousness from one occultist to the constitution of another is also known in Tibetan esotericism under the term of hpho-wa and is a fact far better known in the Orient than in the West.  The doctrine of Tulku is intimately connected with the doctrine of Avataras, of which there are several distinct kinds.* (* When transliterated from Tibetan characters, the term tulku appears as sprul-sku. The dictionary form of it is sprul-pa. The final pa is a frequently used suffix. When used along with a noun the intent of pa is to represent a given root as a noun. When used in connection with a verb, it indicates the infinitive form of the verb, or also a participial form. In the case of sprul-pa, it indicates an infinitive and the term means "to appear," "to change," "to transform one's self." The second component, sku, signifies "body." Hence the compound may be rendered: "to appear in a body," or "the appearance in a body." Also "to change a body," or "a changing of the body." The Sanskrit equivalent for tulku is avesa. The prefix a in connection with verbs of motion means "in," "into"; vesa is derived from the verbal root vis, meaning "to enter," "to possess." Hence the compound may be rendered: "the entrance into, the taking possession of - a vehicle (an upadhi)." Col. Olcott defines this term at some length in his Old Diary Leaves, I, 269-76, and gives several interesting cases from Eastern sources.)
Ordinary mediumship, so prominent in modern Spiritualistic circles, and known under other names throughout the history of the human race, is at the opposite pole of the condition of tulku. Mediumship is intimately connected with various conditions of trance, or temporary cessation or loss of personal consciousness. Tulku is performed without loss of personal consciousness and with definite and complete knowledge of what is taking place. The phenomena performed by ordinary mediums are accomplished either during the condition of trance and with no subsequent memory whatever of what has taken place, or out of trance but nevertheless without control over, or specific knowledge about, what has occurred. In the condition of tulku, however, the occultist maintains his self-conscious awareness at all times and merely lends his astro-physical organism to the temporary usage of another and higher consciousness, by mutual consent. The ordinary medium is usually acting under the influence of various types of ex-human and elemental entities in the lower sub-planes of the astral world, while the occultist transmits the power, knowledge and influence of living men who have learned by means of arduous occult training how to withdraw temporarily from their own outer constitution and enter another, for the performance of a specific task.
An ordinary medium can never hope to become an occultist unless and until he achieves complete and final control over his mediumistic tendencies, which are psychically-pathological and disorderly, and brings his entire astro-physical constitution under the dominance of his Spiritual Will ...
What should be carefully borne in mind in connection with this entire subject is the difference between an ordinary medium - especially a trance-medium - and what might be termed, for lack of a better word, a mediator, if we limit the latter term to an occultist able to perform tulku.
The opinion of those critics who have ascribed to H. P. Blavatsky the condition of ordinary mediums, and interpreted her occult phenomena as  trance-mediumship, is based upon ignorance of the factors involved and on superficial judgment of mere appearances. It is perfectly true that certain phenomena performed by H. P. Blavatsky were similar to those performed by genuine mediums, but their similarity of appearance may be likened to the similarity which exists between two people, one of whom is walking on the street by self-directed will and intention, while the other is sleep-walking without the slightest knowledge of what is going on. Both are nevertheless walking!
There is, therefore, a sharp distinction made in Occultism between a mere medium - often a hapless and helpless tool of erratic and vagrant astral forces - and a mediator, who is a wholly voluntary and fully acquiescent, willing, and self-conscious, intermediary between the Brotherhood of Adepts and ordinary humanity. A mediator is thus a highly evolved and trained human being possessing a strong and vigorously active, spiritually-intellectual individuality, usually working through a forceful and positive personality, which was certainly the case with H. P. Blavatsky. Such a mediator may be termed a transmitter - one might almost say, a transformer, in the sense used in electrical science - and stands at the opposite pole from an ordinary medium who is a human being with a more or less dislocated psychological apparatus, the unconscious, or at best half-conscious, prey or victim of every astral current or energy that may happen to flow towards him or her. A medium, in fact, is one the principles of whose constitution are not under the control of the higher spiritual will and mind, or only partially so. This renders the lower parts of his constitution more or less erratic, easily swayed by the thoughts and feelings of others.
The mediator, on the other hand, is a free agent so far as his will is concerned, and is one in whom the spiritual stream from the inner god is more or less constantly at work. Therefore, and on the basis of the definition itself, a mediator is an individual of high occult training who is not servile or subject to the will of any other, and is not suffering from either psychologization or self-psychologization, which would unfit him for being a mediator. Whatever a mediator does, he does as a result of self-determination and free choice, and his acting as a mediator is in itself the grandest and most sublime part of this willing service to a highly spiritual Cause.
In addition to being at times tulku for one or another Adept, there were times when, because of her training to this specific end, H.P.B. could by a supreme effort of the will, ally her own psychological or psycho-mental or intermediate nature with the inner Ray from her own divinity or Spiritual Monad, the effect being similar, but not identical to the other cases of "inspiration" as explained above. The difference between her personality and that source of inner inspiration has been frequently - but  unfortunately not with much consistency - indicated by speaking of H. P. Blavatsky on the one hand, and of "H.P.B." on the other.* (* The only work on the subject of tulku in connection with H. P. Blavatsky is the one by Geoffrey A. Barborka entitled H. P. Blavatsky, Tibet and Tulku, published by The Theosophical Publishing House, Adyar, Madras, India, in 1966 (xxiv, 476 pp. ill. and with copious Index.). This outstanding work is from the pen of one of the finest scholars of the Theosophical Movement who was raised and worked for many years at the Headquarters of the Point Loma Theosophical Society, both under Katherine Tingley and Dr. G. de Purucker. It includes a great deal of valuable information about Tibetan Buddhism and the Lamaic Hierarchy and should prove of great help to the serious student of the Esoteric Philosophy.)
[Vol. II, pp. 402-03]
But truth is stranger than fiction; and this world-old adage finds its application in the case in hand. The "wisdom" of the archaic ages or the "secret doctrine" embodied in the Oriental Kabala, of which, as we have said, the Rabbinical is but an abridgment, did not die out with the Philaletheians of the last Eclectic school. The Gnosis lingers still on earth, and its votaries are many, albeit unknown. Such secret brotherhoods have been mentioned before MacKenzie's time, by more than one great author. If they have been regarded as mere fictions of the novelist, that fact has only helped the "brother-adepts" to keep their incognito the more easily. We have personally known several of them who, to their great merriment had the story of their lodges, the communities in which they lived, and the wondrous powers which they had exercised for many long years, laughed at and denied by unsuspecting skeptics to their very faces. Some of these brothers belong to the small groups of "travelers" ...
But there are numbers of these mystic brotherhoods which have naught to do with "civilized" countries; and it is in their unknown communities that are concealed the skeletons of the past. These "adepts" could, if they chose, lay claim to strange ancestry, and exhibit verifiable documents that would explain many a mysterious page on both sacred and profane history. Had the keys to the hieratic writings and the secret Egyptian and Hindu symbolism been known to the Christian Fathers, they would not have allowed a single monument of old to stand unmutilated. And yet, if we are well informed - and we think we are there was not one such in all Egypt, but that the secret records of its hieroglyphics were carefully registered by the sacerdotal caste. These records still exist, even if "not extant" for the general public, though perhaps the monuments may have passed away forever out of human sight ...
* * *
[Vol. 11, p. 404]
"The Kingdom of heaven suffereth violence, and the violent take it by force." Many are the candidates at the doors of those who are  supposed to know the path that leads to the secret brotherhoods. The great majority are refused admittance, and these turn away interpreting the refusal as an evidence of the non-existence of any such secret society. Of the minority accepted, more than two-thirds fail upon trial. The seventh rule of the ancient Rosicrucian brotherhoods, which is universal among all true secret societies: "the Rosy-Crux becomes and is not made," is more than the generality of men can bear to have applied to them. But let no one suppose that of the candidates who fail, any will divulge to the world even the trifle they may have learned, as some Masons do. None know better than themselves how unlikely it is that a neophyte should ever talk of what was imparted to him. Thus these societies will go on and hear themselves denied without uttering a word until the day shall come for them to throw off their reserve and show how completely they are masters of the situation.
* * *
[Vol. 11, p. 593]
From the remotest antiquity, mankind as a whole have always been convinced of the existence of a personal spiritual entity within the personal physical man. This inner entity was more or less divine, according to its proximity to the crown - Christos. The closer the union, the more serene man's destiny, the less dangerous the external conditions. This belief is neither bigotry nor superstition, only an ever-present, instinctive feeling of the proximity of another spiritual and invisible world, which, though it be subjective to the senses of the outward man, is perfectly objective to the inner ego. Furthermore, they believed that there are external and internal conditions which affect the determination of our will upon our actions. They rejected fatalism, for fatalism implies a blind course of some still blinder power. But they believed in destiny, which from birth to death every man is weaving thread by thread around himself, as a spider does his web; and this destiny is guided either by that presence termed by some the guardian angel, or our more intimate astral inner man, who is but too often the evil genius of the man of flesh. Both these lead on the outward man, but one of them must prevail; and from the very beginning of the invisible affray, the stern and implacable law of compensation steps in and takes its course, following faithfully the fluctuations. When the last strand is woven, and man is seemingly enwrapped in the network of his own doing, then he finds himself completely under the empire of this self-made destiny. It then either fixes him like the inert shell against the immovable rock, or like a feather carries him away in a whirlwind raised by his own actions. 
The air is still, time suspended as if nature were holding her breath. No color is visible, neither is darkness there. The light is the grey void between dark and light. The smell is the acrid smell of birth, for it is at this moment that we stand. It is dawn; the dawn of a new day.
In that moment before the sun stimulates the world to activity, we are able to glimpse into the timeless world of those who have pierced the veil of maya. In this instant of neither light nor dark, neither day nor night, we can for an instant tumble into the formless world of spiritual reality.
The mind, ever searching, ever busy, constantly sorting, labeling, classifying and selecting, is unable to attach tags to a moment as transient as this; our higher self is for this moment free of the fetters of that mind; that mind which constantly struggles to maintain a reality which exists only because that mind itself does.
In this moment comes a glimmer of a true light, imperceptible to the physical eye, that first light of true knowledge, of a knowledge unintelligible to the lower mind.
This dawn of a reality undefinable to the lower self is a first step to experiencing the one great Reality of life. The self is for that moment free to face directly its own divinity. The self sees its own power, and the potential for rejoining its own divine glory. As the minute passes, the sun's rays pierce the moment, beginning the day with its worldly concerns and lessons.
On this day, however, one goes forth with a new knowledge in one's inner self. This sunrise has brought with it a very real dawn of awareness. The mind can no longer completely rule when the consciousness has once pierced the veil of maya. That first ray of illumination can no more be called back than can the first ray of the rising sun.
Yes, once we have seen this particular dawn, no dawn will ever again be the same. The awareness is a permanent part of each self. Yet dawn comes and is gone quickly. We must live many more minutes than those few that constitute a dawn. The awareness that this dawn has brought can be carried through the entire day. The knowledge of the Reality, and of the illusory nature of the world the eye sees, can be maintained in each consciousness as a reality from moment to moment. The mind will continue to function in the world, but the self carries with it always that same clear awareness, that same piercing certainty of what is indeed the Source, the true Reality.
In this way each one of us can live in a perpetual dawn, dwelling in an ever-growing presence of an ever-brightening light. 
How uplifting the inspiration just to know that there are highly evolved Spiritual men living in the world, who although far ahead of the main stream of humanity in their evolutionary unfoldment, still belong in the human kingdom, and so remain close to us. These Great Souls, known variously as The Great White Brotherhood, Mahatmas, Teachers, Adepts, Masters or Bodhisattvas, are the Custodians of the Ancient Wisdom, and they stand to us as our Elder Brothers who watch over us, protecting and guiding our faltering steps through the deceptive illusion of the material world, as we grope to find our way toward their stage of perfected humanhood. How sublime the aspiration in our hearts when we strive to learn their teachings. How noble our lives IF we will become a living example of them. And yet, we only begin so to live when we heed The Voice of the Silence that says: "To live to benefit mankind is the first step. To practice the six glorious virtues is the second." If we think upon all that this unmistakable direction to live for others, not for ourselves, really means, noting carefully that this is but the very first step on the path upward, we must surely come to realize that we are merely the custodians of whatever we "own," that we must use what we "own" selflessly for the benefit of our fellow man; that our character is the only thing we really "own"; it is our total net worth, the balance sheet of our assets and liabilities whose spiritual or material values determine how we use or abuse our custodianship of the resources that are temporarily in our keeping. We must do more than meditate on the ideal of selflessness or dream of doing great things "one day," while perhaps ignoring the small, uneventful duties glaring at us for attention now. Our intentions are only valid when we make the investment; for until we use whatever may be the resources, knowledge, talent or capabilities held in our Karmic account, no spiritual interest will accrue. And if we invest our holdings in selfishness and baseness, we will become spiritually and morally bankrupt, the Karmic debt incurring an exact scale of diminishing capacity for whatever faculty has been misused.
Duty - Selflessness - Self-Abnegation - merely the first steps on the path upward! But what a big order to accomplish in this selfish world and against the pulse of Kali-yuga that quickens the pace of material existence! Yet these very conditions are the proving ground through which we must transmute self-seeking into self-sacrifice, and we begin to do this through devotion to duty, as Master K.H. points out in the following passage from The Mahatma Letters (No. 68, p. 366) :
"... what better discipline, than the daily and hourly performance of duty? ... the man or woman  who is placed by Karma in the midst of small plain duties and sacrifices and loving-kindness, will through these faithfully fulfilled rise to the larger measure of Duty, Sacrifice and Charity to all Humanity - what better path towards the enlightenment you are striving after than the daily conquest of Self, the perseverance in spite of want of visible psychic progress, the bearing of ill-fortune with that serene fortitude which turns it to spiritual advantage - since good and evil are not to be measured by events on the lower or physical plane ..."
There is no "crash course" for Spiritual growth on the path of occultism. Unfoldment is earned, inch by inch, by living the life; there is no other way! The (]angers of selfishness in the lower and higher principles are discussed in the pertinent excerpt taken from Letter No. 64 (pp. 333-4):
"... unless possessed of spiritual, as well as of physical unselfishness a chela whether selected or not, must perish, as a chela in the long run. Self personality, vanity and conceit harbored in the higher principles are enormously more dangerous than the same defects inherent only in the lower physical nature of man. They are the breakers against which the cause of chelaship, in its probationary stage, is sure to be dashed to pieces unless the would-be disciple carries with him the white shield of perfect confidence and trust in those he would seek out through mount and vale to guide him safely toward the light of Knowledge. The world moves and lives under the shadow of the deadly upas-tree of Evil; yet its dripping is dangerous to, and can reach only those whose higher and middle natures are as much susceptible of infection as their lower one. Its venomous seed can germinate but in a willing, well prepared soil ... The mass of human sin and frailty is distributed throughout the life of man who is content to remain an average mortal. It is gathered in and centered, so to say within one period of the life of a chela - the period of probation. That which is generally accumulating to find its legitimate issue only in the next rebirth of an ordinary man, is quickened and fanned into existence in the chela - especially in the presumptuous and selfish candidate who rushes in without having calculated his forces There are persons, who, without ever showing any external sign of selfishness, are intensely selfish in their inner spiritual aspirations. These will follow the path once chosen by them with their eyes closed to the interests of all but themselves, and see nothing outside the narrow pathway filled with their own personality. They are so intensely absorbed in the contemplation of their own supposed righteousness that nothing can ever appear right to them outside the focus of their own vision distorted by their self-complacent contemplation, and their judgment of the right and wrong ..."
Today, the world is engulfed by the psychic epidemic, that H. P. Blavatsky warned about, and we see the accelerated eruption of "astral  intoxication" which now, as in her day, is mistaken for spiritual enlightenment. Since her time, however, the problem has grown in scope and confusion, due largely to the avalanche of books authorized as Theosophical, but which are in fact directly in opposition to the genuine teachings of the Ancient Wisdom as given out under the custodianship of the Mahatmas. The following material quoted from letter No. 16 (pp. 109-110) leaves no room for confusion about Spiritualism and mediumship:
"... Happy ... are those disembodied entities who sleep their long slumber and live in dream in the bosom of space! And woe to those whose Trishna will attract them to mediums, and woe to the latter, who tempt them with such an easy Upadana. For in grasping them, and satisfying their thirst for life, the medium helps to develop in them - is in fact the cause of - a new set of Skandhas, a new body, with far worse tendencies and passions than was the one they lost. All the future of this new body will be determined thus, not only by the Karma of demerit of the previous set or group but also by that of the new set of the future being. Were the mediums and Spiritualists but to know, as I said, that with every new 'angel guide' they welcome with rapture, they entice the latter into an Upadana which will be productive of a series of untold evils for the new Ego that will be born under its nefarious shadow, and that with every seance - especially for materialization - they multiply the causes for misery, causes that will make the unfortunate Ego fail in his spiritual birth, or be reborn into a worse existence than ever - they would, perhaps, be less lavish in their hospitality.
And now you may understand why we oppose so strongly Spiritualism and mediumship."
As we move onward into the last quarter of this century amid the flurry of expectation and hysterical excitement regarding the messenger who may come, does it not occur to ask ourselves what are we doing to deserve it? We must surmount the euphoric tide of wishful thinking; to be less concerned about whether or not we are in the "precincts of the Mahatmas" and more concerned with DUTY - SELFLESSNESS - SELF-ABNEGATION or, in Their words (No. 49, p. 279): "Let those who really desire to learn abandon all and come to us instead of asking or expecting us to go to them." Perhaps we can come a little closer to their "precincts" by becoming worthy custodians of what we "own"; and then when we hear the Voice of the Silence asking: "Hast thou attuned thy being to Humanity's great pain, 0 candidate for light?" - our intuition will hear also the assurance of the Great Ones: "He who does all he can with all his heart does enough for us." 
"He who does his best does enough for us." - Master K. H. in The Mahatma Letters.
It is probable that most people at one time or another feel that they have reached the limits of their endurance. At such times it may be that some will wonder if it is worth the struggle. Can they cope with life? Most of us do, and we learn eventually to accept the fact that so long as we have put our best efforts into the solution of our problems, we can put our anxieties behind us and move on to the next thing with renewed confidence.
This preamble is leading to a consideration of one aspect of this subject that may be of interest to all who are seriously striving toward spiritual development along the lines that have been enunciated by the Mahatmas through their most prominent agent H. P. Blavatsky. She set forth certain ideals and goals in a number of her writings, such as "Occultism and the Occult Arts" and in shorter articles. The trials and dangers confronting those who aspire to tread the path of Occultism are clearly set forth, and one may be sure that she did so in order to deter all who do not have within themselves the elements of success in these matters. And we have no reason to take issue with any of her warnings.
It seems nonetheless that we should not overlook the other side of the coin. In the words related to us by G. de Purucker, "I am a servant of the servants of the Law," we have a hint of the immense joy or service; a joy that is not fleeting, but grows with the progress of the student who attains to some awareness of his place at the heart of the work to which he is dedicated. Why the warnings then? Well, we can draw many lessons from Nature, and for this one, we might turn to astronomy.
At the present time much interest has been aroused by the discovery of rings around the planet Uranus, similar to Saturn's. This is held to be one of the most important discoveries of the century, and it seems that the existence of rings associated with any planet will provide a lesson which might be applied to the matter in hand.
Why do we observe rings associated with Saturn, and now Uranus? Here is one explanation as given by modern astronomy.
Every heavenly body has a gravitational field. In the case of out own moon, its gravitational field is about one sixth that of the Earth. This is because the Moon is only one sixth as massive as is the Earth. The Moon, at a distance of approximately 240,000 miles, is likewise affected by the Earth's gravitational field, just as we are affected by the moon's gravitation. Hence we have the tides. At the distance of the  Moon from the Earth, our gravitation is far greater than is the pull of the Moon. If it were not so, things would be very different on our planet from what they are today. It has been calculated that at the time when the Earth was young, the moon was much closer to us, so close in fact, that the tides rose to a height of a mile instead of a few feet as they do today! It is equally true that the Moon feels the gravitational pull of the Earth, but to a less degree than the strength of its own gravitational field.
Now, there is a critical distance between any planet and its satellite known as the Roche Limit. At this distance, the gravitation on the satellite would be equaled by the gravitational pull of the planet, and if the satellite were to come any closer matters would become very serious indeed. The greater pull of the planet's gravitation could tear the moon apart. It is believed by some astronomers that this is what happened in the cases of three of Saturn's moons. They were so close to the planet that they broke into small pieces which continued to orbit the planet in the form of rings.
Now, what has all of this to do with the subject at hand? For the sake of clarifying our thinking, we might say that each of us has his "Roche Limit." In the case of our problems with living, this would be the point at which our own vitality and endurance are in danger of being overcome by life's pressures. We can avoid being crushed by stopping short of our own individual "Roche Limit," and keep ourselves from being swept off our feet by taking a more relaxed attitude of mind, knowing that when we have done our best, even though we fall short of our goals, we need the time to pause and reflect. We cannot change the world; we can only change ourselves; since the world is made up of individuals with their own karmic destinies, it changes very slowly.
Turning now to the more specific subject of this article, in the treading of the path of genuine Occultism, each student has his own "Roche Limit" as it were. And in this case, we are not referring to gravitational fields, obviously. We are now speaking of spirituality. The path of Occultism cannot be disassociated from those who exemplify it in their own lives and work. Their existence is no secret. We have only to study The Mahatma Letters in order to come to some understanding of the Hierarchy of Compassion. Since the very nature of this Hierarchy is spirituality to a vastly greater degree than is exemplified in any individual student, any of us has his own "Roche Limit." As we are in our present state of inner development, we could not tolerate the full force of the spiritual energy that we would inevitably feel were we to come too close to the real heart of the work that is being accomplished. Such close proximity might well disrupt our psychological natures, and  none of the Teachers would allow this to happen. If it seems that we are kept at a distance, regardless of our aspirations, we may rest assured that it is for our own protection.
However, let us not think that we have been abandoned. Far from it. Each one receives all the light that he can safely use. Fortunately, this "Roche Limit" is not a fixed irrevocable thing. It changes with our growth, and it is only ourselves who set up a seeming barrier. Actually there is really none, and in the final analysis, it is all a matter of growth. This comes about in its own time, and is fostered by our own dedication to the high principles that have been so amply given to us. Only work in the Cause that we love will hasten the growth of those spiritual qualities that we have already in potency, and in time the "Roche Limit" will disappear altogether.
It would appear then that undue striving is not the answer. We have no reason to worry about it. As we learn to give of our best, we discover that these things are not so remote as we had thought. The spiritual life is with us always, and as we grow, we find new opportunities for service. And that is all that matters.
"Mysticism aims at direct experience of reality. The true mystic is one who is not satisfied with secondhand information about God, the human soul and its destiny, as found in various philosophies and traditional religions. Having assimilated within himself the best and the Most salient part of all this knowledge and having distilled it into pure essence, he takes a bold jump into the vast ocean of reality, to see and experience it himself. This needs tremendous effort and courage, the kind of heroism of a warrior engaged in the supreme and final battle of conquering his own self, putting the higher faculties of the soul into operation and, thereby, wresting from nature her innermost secrets. The Ancient Mysteries and the Mystical Schools prevailing at the present time are meant to provide training for such earnest seekers of the light. Since the earliest times these 'lighthouses' have been guiding the spiritual adventurers of all lands, and have been associated with various ancient and modern religions and philosophies." - B. R. Mullik, The Theosophist, May, 1977.
"HE WHO DOES NOT PRACTICE ALTRUISM; HE WHO IS NOT PREPARED TO SHARE HIS LAST MORSEL WITH A WEAKER OR POORER THAN HIMSELF; HE WHO NEGLECTS TO HELP HIS BROTHER MAN, OF WHATEVER RACE, NATION, OR CREED, WHENEVER AND WHEREVER HE MEETS SUFFERING, AND WHO TURNS A DEAF EAR TO THE CRY OF HUMAN MISERY; HE WHO HEARS AN INNOCENT PERSON SLANDERED, WHETHER A BROTHER THEOSOPHIST OR NOT, AND DOES NOT UNDERTAKE HIS DEFENSE AS HE WOULD UNDERTAKE HIS OWN - IS NO THEOSOPHIST." - From a Teacher, as quoted by H. P. Blavatsky in Lucifer, Vol. I, November, 1887, p. 169. 
Just as a fruit's ripeness provides its best flavor, when a man reaches maturity he should demonstrate his best work. Since this does not always seem to be the case, due to Karmic confusions in his inner structure, modern man must stress mental abilities and moral foundation as opposed to psychic tendencies and powers. This will place our civilization where it could be today. At the blooming of mental capacity, say between the ages of fourteen or earlier, and up through the twenties and thirties, a youth terms new ideas what are often but opinions. These opinions bring in trends from the past, both commendable and regrettable. [[sic]] Regrettable if the inner blooming which might be ongoing through man's entire life does not develop with it the discerning light of the Heart, intuition and understanding.
The Taoists would describe this discernment as a consciousness that our own faculties are part of the operations of Nature. Nature herself is seven-principled, but acts as a Whole, harmoniously, unless upset by man. It is man's greatest gift to be able to exert the influence of his Highest thinking over nature. Yet he has not even stopped to appreciate his dependence on other forms of life until their disappearance has caused his personal suffering.
The blooming in this age has been witnessed in man's return to an awesome respect for nature. He sees earthquakes making toothpicks out of freeways and supposedly impermeable man-made structures washed away by floods. Many are willing to blame "evil entities" and psychic forces as if these existed outside man's own nature, or try to exorcize them. Recently a reviewer of a book called The Powers of Evil (by Richard Cavendish) wrote:
"Is our current willingness to entertain more seriously the possibility of demoniac possession, the influence of astral bodies or birth months on character, or the transmission of healing energies from person to person merely a symptom of trendy obscurantism and fuzzy mysticism? ..."
"Where did we go wrong? Where did our present habit of seeing the psychic isolation from what Teilhard de Chardin called 'the divine milieu' begin to appear? Some locate the mistaken turn at the period of the Renaissance and the Reformation. Renaissance art and letters, in what was advertised as a reclaiming of the Greek ideal, placed the human person squarely on center stage. But the larger macrocosmic setting, which was always vital for the Greeks, soon began to recede to the periphery. Man alone became the measure of all things, including the heavens. Luther turned the focus of theology toward the Christ who lived in the human heart, but could scarcely have foreseen a time when God would disappear and faith would be reduced to warm inner  feelings. Neither the reformers nor the men of the Renaissance can be blamed for our present spiritual poverty. How could they have known that their concentration on the place of the person in the great cosmic drama would one day lead to a time when the soul's wider setting would be declared irrelevant or nonexistent." - N.Y. Times, Book Review, Oct. 1975, p. 8.
At the blooming of our nation some 200 years ago the Jeffersonian ideal that an educated citizenry meant enlightened leadership seemed realizable. Those early leaders were well-rounded men, had scientific interests and cultivated reading tastes. But the one driving power they possessed, a yearning for freedom of the mind - real freedom - is not present today. For, although we do have a broadly educated citizenry, its goals have been tied to material prosperity. The mental life is totally taken up by worldly pursuits. Since all moral elevation consists in being weaned from the momentary, we can see the exact opposite promoted by a daily press which inflates the passing moment!
Shamkaracharya teaches in The Crest Jewel of Wisdom that a relentless struggle for Freedom is the only way to raise the Self out of the "Ocean of the World" to which it has been in bondage. The country of the Soul is our last frontier! Not Alaska, Atomic energy or desalinated ocean water! Soberly responsible for all life, we must replace the grabbing for personal rights with a love for the Laws which bind men in practical harmony. Then will the deserts truly bloom and men's lives become as nectar for the Gods.
Several previous commitments by the Editor of Theosophia, connected with the growth and expansion of our work, may necessitate the cancellation of the Winter issue of our magazine. The next issue to be published would then be the Spring, 1978. It would be a double issue of 32 pages. In this manner, the subscribers would receive the usual number of pages for their yearly subscription. Editor, Theosophia.