- The Voice of the Silence
- The Two Paths
- The Seven Portals
The Voice of the Silence
Before the soul can see, the Harmony within must be attained, and fleshly eyes be rendered blind to all illusion.
If thy soul smiles while bathing in the Sunlight of thy Life; if thy soul sings within her chrysalis of flesh and matter; if thy soul weeps inside her castle of illusion; if thy soul struggles to break the silver thread that binds her to the master (1); know, o Disciple, thy soul is of the earth.
When to the World's turmoil thy budding soul (2) lends ear; when to the roaring voice of the great illusion thy Soul responds (3); when frightened at the sight of the hot tears of pain, when deafened by the cries of distress, thy soul withdraws like the shy turtle within the carapace of selfhood, learn, O Disciple, or her Silent "God," thy Soul is an unworthy shrine.
When waxing stronger, thy Soul glides forth from her secure retreat: and breaking loose from the protecting shrine, extends her silver thread and rushes onward: when beholding her image on the waves of Space she whispers, "This is I," - declare, O Disciple, that thy soul is caught in the webs of delusion (4).
Saith the Great Law: - "In order to become the knower of ALL SELF thou hast first of self to be the knower." To reach the knowledge of that self, thou hast to give up Self to Non-Self, Being to Non-Being, ...
Strive with thy thoughts unclean before they overpower thee. Use them as they will thee, for if thou sparest them and they take root and grow, know well, these thoughts will overpower and kill thee. Beware, Disciple, suffer not, e'en though it be their shadow, to approach. For it will grow, increase in size and power, and then this thing of darkness will absorb thy being before thou hast well realized the black foul monster's presence.
Ere thy Soul's mind can understand, the bud of personality must be crushed out, the worm of sense destroyed past resurrection.
Thou canst not travel on the Path before thou hast become that Path itself.
Let thy Soul lend its ear to every cry of pain like as the lotus bares its heart to drink the morning sun.
Let not the fierce Sun dry one tear of pain before thyself hast wiped it from the sufferer's eye.
But let each burning human tear drop on thy heart and there remain, nor ever brush it off, until the pain that caused it is removed.
These tears, O thou of heart most merciful, these are the streams that irrigate the fields of charity immortal. 'Tis on such soil that grows the midnight blossom of Buddha more difficult to find, more rare to view than is the flower of the Vogay tree. It is the seed of freedom from rebirth. It isolates the Arhat both from strife and lust, it leads him through the fields of Being unto the peace and bliss know only in the land of Silence and Non-Being.
Desire nothing. Chafe not at Karma, nor at Nature's changeless laws. But struggle only with the personal, the transitory, the evanescent and the perishable.
Help Nature and work on with her; and Nature will regard thee as one of her creators and make obeisance.
And she will open wide before thee the portals of her secret chambers, lay bare before thy gaze the treasures hidden in the very depths of her pure virgin bosom. Unsullied by the hand of matter she shows her treasures only to the eye of Spirit - the eye which never closes, the eye for which their is no veil in all her kingdoms.
Long and weary is the way before thee, O Disciple, One single thought about the past that thou hast left behind, will drag thee down and thou wilt have to start the climb anew.
Kill in thyself all memory of past experiences. Look not behind or thou art lost.
Do not believe that lust can ever be killed out if gratified or satiated, for this is an abomination inspired by Mara. It is by feeding vice that it expands and waxes strong, like to the worm that fattens on the blossom's heart.
The pupil must regain the child-state he has lost 'ere the first sound can fall upon his ear.
The Two Paths
Search for the Paths. But, O Lanoo, by of clean heart before thou startest on thy journey. Before thou takest thy first step learn to discern the real from the false, the ever-fleeting from the everlasting. Learn above all to separate Head-learning from Soul-Wisdom, the "Eye" from the "Heart" doctrine.
...mind is like a mirror; it gathers dust while it reflects. It needs the gentle breezes of Soul-Wisdom to brush away the dust of our illusions.
Shun praise, O Devotee. Praise leads to self-delusion. Thy body is not self, thy self is in itself without a body, and either praise or blame affects it not.
Self-gratulation, O Disciple, is like unto a lofty tower, up which a haughty fool has climbed. Thereon he sits in prideful solitude and unperceived by any but himself.
Sow kindly acts and thou shalt reap their fruition. Inaction in a deed of mercy becomes an action in a deadly sin.
Shalt thou abstain from action? Not so shall gain thy soul her freedom. To reach Nirvâna one must reach Self-Knowledge, and Self-Knowledge is of loving deeds the child.
Have patience, Candidate, as one who fears no failure, courts no success.
If thou would'st reap sweet peace and rest, Disciple, sow with the seeds of merit the fields of future harvests. Accept the woes of birth.
Step out from the sunlight into shade, to make more room for others.
Yet, if the "Doctrine of the Heart" is too high-winged for thee; if thou need'st help thyself and fearest to offer help to others,- then, thou of timid heart, be warned in time: remain content with the "Eye Doctrine" of the Law. Hope still. For if the "Secret Path" is unattainable this "day," it is within thy reach "to-morrow." (5) Learn that no efforts, not the smallest- whether in right or in wrong direction - can vanish from the world of causes.
Thou canst create this "day" thy chances for thy "morrow." In the "Great Journey," causes sown each hour bear each its harvest of effects, for rigid Justice rules the World. With mighty sweep of never erring action, it brings to mortals lives of weal or woe, the Karmic progeny of all our former thoughts and deeds.
Take then as much as merit hath in store for thee, O thou of patient heart. Be of good cheer and rest content with fate. Such is thy Karma, the Karma of the cycle of thy births, the destiny of those, who, in their pain and sorrow, are born along with thee, rejoice and weep from life to life, chained to thy previous actions.
To perish doomed is he, who out of fear of Mara refrains from helping man, lest he should act for Self. 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. Inaction based on selfish fear can bear but evil fruit.
The Selfish devotee lives to no purpose. The man who does not go through his appointed work in life - has lived in vain.
Follow the wheel of life; follow the wheel of duty to race and kin, to friend and foe, and close thy mind to pleasure as to pain.
Give light and comfort to the toiling pilgrim, and seek out him who knows still less than thou; who in his wretched desolation sits starving for the bread of Wisdom and the bread which feeds the shadow, without a Teacher, hope of consolation, and - let him hear the Law.
Tell him, O Candidate, that he who makes of pride and self-regard bond-maidens to devotion; that he, who cleaving to existence, still lays his patience and submission to the Law, as a sweet flower at the feet of [Buddha] (6) , becomes a Srôtâpatti (7) in this birth. The Siddhis of perfection may loom far, the stream is entered, and he may gain the eye-sight of the mountain eagle, the hearing of the timid doe.
Tell him, O Aspirant, that true devotion may bring him back the knowledge, that knowledge which was his in former births. The deva-sight and deva-hearing ore not obtained in one short birth.
Be humble, if thou would'st attain to Wisdom.
Be humbler still, when wisdom thou hast mastered.
Be like the Ocean which receives all streams and rivers. The Ocean's mighty calm remains unmoved; it feels them not.
Restrain by the Divine thy lower Self.
Restrain by the Eternal the Divine.
Aye, great is he, who is the slayer of desire.
Still greater he, in whom the Self Divine has slain the very knowledge of desire.
Guard thou the Lower lest it soil the Higher.
The way to final freedom is within thy self.
That way begins and ends outside of [the lower personal] Self.
... not one recruit can ever be refused the right to enter on the Path that leads toward the field of Battle.
For either he shall win, or he shall fall.
Yea, if he conquers, Nirvâna shall be his. Before he casts his shadow off his mortal coil that pregnant cause of anguish and illimitable pain - in him will men a great and holy Buddha honour.
And if he falls, e'en then he does not fall in vain; the enemies he slew in the last battle will not return to life in the next birth that will be his.
But if thou would'st Nirvâna reach ... let not the fruit of action or inaction be thy motive, thou of dauntless heart.
The Seven Portals
The Teacher can but point the way. The path is one for all, the means to reach the goal must vary with the Pilgrims.
... [the following is a dialogue between Teacher and disciple, compiler]
Look on. What see'st thou before thine eye, O aspirant to god-like Wisdom?
"The cloak of darkness is upon the deep of matter; within its folds I struggle. Beneath my gaze it deepens, Lord; it is dispelled be beneath the waving of thy hand. A shadow moveth, creeping like the stretching serpent coils. ... It grows, swells out and disappears in darkness."
It is the shadow of thyself outside the Path, cast on the darkness of thy sins.
"Yea, Lord; I see the PATH; its foot in mire, its summits lost in glorious light Nirvanic. And now I see the ever narrowing Portals on the hard and thorny way to Gnyana" [Knowledge, wisdom].
Thou seest well, Lanoo. These Portals lead the aspirant across the waters on "to the other shore" (8) . Each Portal hath a golden key that openeth the gate; and these keys are: -
Dâna, the key of charity and love immortal.
Shîla, the key of Harmony in word and act, the key that counterbalances the cause and the effect, and leaves no further room for Karmic action.
Kshanti, patience sweet, that nought can ruffle.
Virag', indifference to pleasure and to pain, illusion conquered, truth alone perceived.
Virya, the dauntless energy that fights its way to the supernal TRUTH, out of the mire of lies terrestrial.
Dhyâna, whose golden gate once opened leads the Naljor [saint, adept] toward the realm of Sat eternal and its ceaseless contemplation.
Prajna, the key to which makes of a man a god, creating him a Bôdhisattva, son of the Dhyânis.
Before thou canst approach the foremost gate thou hast to learn to part thy body from thy mind, to dissipate the shadow, and to live in the eternal. For this, thou hast to live and breathe in all, as all that thou perceivest breathes in thee; to feel thyself abiding in all things, all things in SELF.
Thou shalt not let thy senses make a playground of thy mind.
Thou shalt not separate thy being from BEING, and the rest, but merge the Ocean in the drop, the drop within the Ocean.
So shalt thou be in full accord with all that lives; bear love to men as though they were thy brother-pupils, disciples of one Teacher, the sons of one sweet mother.
Thou hast to be prepared to answer Dharma, the stern law, whose voice will ask thee at thy first, at thy initial step:
"Hast thou complied with all the rules, O thou of lofty hopes?"
"Hast thou attuned thy heart and mind to the great mind and heart of all mankind? For as the sacred River's roaring voice whereby all Nature-sounds are echoed back, so must the heart of him 'who in the stream would enter,' thrill in response to every sigh and thought of all that lives and breathes."
"Armed with the key of Charity, of love and tender mercy, thou art secure before the gate of Dâna, the gate that standeth at the entrance of the Path.
Behold, O happy Pilgrim! The portal that faceth thee is high and wide, seems easy of access. The road that leads there-through is straight and smooth and green. 'Tis like a sunny glade in the dark forest depths, a spot on earth mirrored from Amitabha's paradise. There, nightingales of hope and birds of radiant plumage sing perched in green bowers, chanting success to fearless Pilgrims. They sing of Bôdhisattva's virtues five, the fivefold source of Bodhi power, and of the seven steps in Knowledge.
Pass on! For thou hast brought the key; thou art secure.
And to the second gate the way is verdant too. But it is steep and winds up hill; yea, to its rocky top. Grey mists will over-hang its rough and stony height, and so all be dark beyond. As on he goes, the song of hope soundeth more feeble in the pilgrim's heart. The thrill of doubt is now upon him; his step less steady grows.
Beware of this, O candidate! Beware of fear that spreadeth, like the black and soundless wings of midnight bat, between the moonlight of thy Soul and thy great goal that loometh in the distance far away.
Fear, O disciple, kills the will and stays all action. If lacking in the Shîla virtue, - the pilgrim trips, and Karmic pebbles bruise his feet along the rocky path.
Be of sure foot, O candidate. In Kshanti's essence bathe thy Soul; for now thou dost approach the portal of that name, the gate of fortitude and patience.
Beware of trembling. 'Neath the breath of fear the key of Kshanti rusty grows: the rusty key refuseth to unlock.
The more thou dost advance, the more thy feet pitfalls will meet. The path that leadeth on, is lighted by one fire - the light of daring, burning in the heart. The more one dares, the more he shall obtain. The more he fears, the more that light shall pale - and that alone can guide.
No light that shines from Spirit can dispel the darkness of the nether Soul, unless all selfish thought has fled therefrom, and that the pilgrim saith: "I have renounced this passing frame; I have destroyed the cause: the shadow cast can, as effects, no longer be." For now the last great fight, the final war between the Higher and the Lower Self, hath taken place. Behold, the very battlefield is now engulfed in the great war, and is no more.
But once that thou hast passed the gate of Kshanti, step the third is taken. Thy body is thy slave. Now, for the fourth prepare, the Portal of temptations which do ensnare the inner man.
Ere thou canst near that goal, before thine hand is lifted to upraise the fourth gate's latch, thou must have mustered all the mental changes in thy Self and slain the army of the thought sensations that, subtle and insidious, creep unasked within the Soul's bright shrine.
If thou would'st not be slain by them, then must thou harmless make thy own creations, the children of thy thoughts, unseen, impalpable, that swarm round humankind, the progeny and heirs to man and his terrestrial spoils. Thou hast to study the voidness of the seeming full, the fullness of the seeming void. O fearless Aspirant, look deep within the well of thine own heart, and answer. Knowest thou of Self the powers, O thou perceiver of external shadows?
If thou dost not - then art thou lost.
For, on Path fourth, the slightest breeze of passion or desire will stir the steady light upon the pure white walls of Soul. The smallest wave of longing or regret for Maya's gifts illusive, along Antaskarana - the path that lies between thy Spirit and thy self, the highway of sensations, the rude arousers of Ahankara I (9) - a thought as fleeting as that of a lightning flash will make thee thy three prizes forfeit - the prizes thou hast won.
Be of good cheer, O daring pilgrim "to the other shore." Heed not the whisperings of Mara's hosts; wave off the tempters, those ill-natured Spirits, the jealous Lha-Mayin (10) in endless space.
Hold firm! Thou nearest now the middle portal, the gate of Woe, with its ten thousand snares.
Have mastery o'er thy thoughts, O striver for perfection, if thou would'st cross its threshold.
Have mastery o'er thy Soul, O seeker after truths undying, if thou would'st reach the goal.
Thy Soul-gaze centre on the One Pure Light, the Light that is free from affection, and use thy golden Key.
Build high, lanoo, the wall that shall hedge in the Holy Isle [The Higher Ego, or Thinking Self], the dam that will protect thy mind from pride and satisfaction at thoughts of the great feat achieved.
A sense of pride would mar the work. Aye, build it strong, lest the fierce rush of battling waves, that mount and beat its shore from out the great World Maya's Ocean, swallow up the pilgrim and the isle - yea, even when the victory's achieved.
Ere thou canst settle in Dhyan Mârga (11) and call it thine, thy Soul has to become as the ripe mango fruit: as soft and sweet as its bright golden pulp for others' woes, as hard as that fruit's stone for thine own throes and sorrows, O Conqueror of Weal and Woe.
Till then, a task still harder awaits thee: thou hast to feel thyself ALL-THOUGHT, and yet exile all thoughts from out thy Soul.
Behold it written:
"Ere the gold flame can burn with steady light, the lamp must stand well guarded in a spot free from all wind." (12) Exposed to shifting breeze, the jet will flicker and the quivering flame cast shades deceptive, dark and ever-changing, on the Soul's white shrine.
If thou hast tried and failed, O dauntless fighter, yet lose not courage: fight on and to the charge return again, and yet again.
Remember, thou that fightest for man's liberation, each failure is success, and each sincere attempt wins its reward in time. The holy germs that sprout and grow unseen in the disciple's soul, their stalks wax strong at each new trial, they bend like reeds but never break, nor can they e're be lost. But when the hour has struck they blossom forth.
Know, Conqueror of Sins, once that a Sowanee (13) hath crossed the seventh Path, all Nature thrills with joyous awe and feels subdued. The silver star now twinkles out the news to the night-blossoms, the streamlet to the pebbles ripples out the tale; dark ocean-waves will roar it to the rocks surf-bound, scent-laden breezes sing it to the vales, and stately pines mysteriously whisper: "A master has arisen, a master of the day".
He standeth now like a white pillar to the west, upon whose face the rising Sun of thought eternal poureth forth its first most glorious waves. His mind, like a becalmed and boundless ocean, spreadeth out in shoreless space. He holdeth life and death in his glorious hand.
Yea, He is mighty. The living power made free in him, that power which is himself, can raise the tabernacle of illusion high above the gods, above great Brahm and Indra. Now he shall surely reach his great reward!
Shall he not use the gifts which it confers for his own rest and bliss, his wellearn'd weal and glory - he, the subduer of the great Delusion?
Nay, O thou candidate for Nature's hidden lore! If one would follow in the steps of holy Tathâgate, those gifts and powers are not for Self.
Would'st thou thus dam the waters born on Sumeru (14) ? Shalt thou divert the stream for thine own sake, or send it back to its prime source along the crests of cycles?
If thou would'st have that stream of hard-earn'd knowledge, of Wisdom heaven-born, remain sweet running waters, thou should'st not leave it to become a stagnant pond.
Alas! when once thou hast become like the fix'd star in highest heaven, that bright celectial orb must shine from out the spatial depths for all - save for itself; give light to all, but take from none.
Alas! when once thou hast become like the pure snow in mountain vales, cold and unfeeling to the touch, warm and protective to the seed that sleepeth deep beneath its bosom - 'tis now that snow which must receive the biting frost, the northern blasts, thus shielding from their sharp and cruel tooth the earth that holds the promised harvest, the harvest that will feed the hungry.
Self-doomed to live through future Kalpas [Cycles of ages], unthanked and unperceived by man; wedged as a stone with countless other stones which form the "Guardian Wall"(15), such is thy future if the seventh gate thou passest. Built by the hands of many Masters of Compassion, raised by their tortures, by their blood cemented, it shields mankind, since man is man, protecting it from further and far greater misery and sorrow.
There Klesha (16) is destroyed for ever, Tanha's (17) roots torn out. But stay, Disciple . . . Yet, one word. Canst thou destroy divine compassion? Compassion is no attribute. It is the LAW of laws - eternal Harmony, Alaya's SELF; a shoreless universal essence, the light of everlasting Right, and fitness of all things, the law of love eternal.
The more thou dost become at one with it, thy being melted in its BEING, the more thy Soul unites with that which IS, the more thou wilt become Compassion Absolute.
Now bend thy head and listen well, O Bôdhisattva - Compassion speaks and saith: "Can there be bliss when all that lives must suffer? Shalt thou be saved and hear the whole world cry?"
Thou shalt attain the seventh step and cross the gate of final knowledge but only to wed woe - if thou would'st be Tathâgata, follow upon thy predecessor's steps, remain unselfish till the endless end.
Thou art enlightened - Choose thy way.
Hark! . . . from the deep unfathomable vortex of that golden light in which the Victor bathes, ALL NATURE'S wordless voice in thousand tones ariseth to proclaim:
Joy unto ye, O men of Myalba. (18)
A Pilgrim hath returned back "from the other shore."
A new Arhan (19) is born. . .
Peace to all beings. (20)
(1) The "Great Master" is the term used by lanoos or chelas to indicate one's "Higher Self"
(2) Soul is used here for the Human Ego or Manas, that which is referred to in our Occult Septenary division as the "Human Soul" (Vide the Secret Doctrine) in contradistinction to the Spiritual and Animal Souls.
(3) Maha Maya "Great Illusion," the objective Universe.
(4) Sakkâyaditthi "delusion" of personality.
(5) "To-morrow" means the following rebirth or reincarnation.
(6) [ ]: mean in these fragments from the Voice of the Silence, that I have inserted some of HPB's comments into the main text in order to facilitate comprehension. Compiler.
(7) Srôtâpatti or "he who enters in the stream" of Nirvâna, unless he reaches the goal owing to some exceptional reasons, can rarely attain Nirvâna in one birth. Usually a Chela is said to begin the ascending effort in one life and end or reach it only in his seventh succeeding birth.
(8) "Arrival at the shore" is with the Northern Buddhists synonymous with reaching Nirvana through the exercise of the six and the ten Paramitas (virtues).
(9) Ahankara - the "I" or feeling of one's personality, the "I-am-ness."
(10) Lhamayin are elementals and evil spirits adverse to men and their enemies.
(11) Dhyân Mârga is the "Path of Dhyâna," literally; or the Path of pure knowledge, of Paramârtha or (Sanscrit) Svasamvedana "the self-evident or self-analyzing reflection."
(12) Bhagavad Gita
(13) Sowanee is one who practices Sowan, the first path in Dhyan, a Srôtâpatti.
(14) Mount Meru, the sacred mountain of the Gods.
(15) The "Guardian Wall" or the Wall of Protection." It is taught that the accumulated efforts of long generations of Yogis, Saints and Adepts, especially of the Nirmanâkayas - have created, so to say, a wall of protection around mankind, which wall shields mankind invisibly from still worse evils.
(16) Klesha is the love of pleasure or of worldly enjoyment, evil or good.
(17) Tanha, the will to live, that which causes rebirth.
(18) Myalba is our earth - pertinently called "Hell," and the greatest of all Hells, by the esoteric school. The esoteric doctrine knows of no hell or place of punishment other than on a man-bearing planet or earth. Avitchi is a state and not a locality.
(19) Meaning that a new and additional Saviour of mankind is born, who will lead men to final Nirvâna i.e., after the end of the life-cycle.
(20) This is one of the variations of the formula that invariably follows every treatise, invocation or Instruction. "Peace to all beings," "Blessing on all that Lives," etc.