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Through the Eyes of the Masters:
Meditations and Portraits

Introduction by the Author of 'The Initiate in the Dark Cycle,' etc. etc.

Introduction by the editor

Few texts express as clearly and as succinctly the basic theosophical notions about the Masters as does Cyril Scott's anonymous introduction to David Anrias' Through the Eyes of the Masters: Meditations and Portraits (London: George Routledge & Sons, 1932). 

With nine messages from, and nine pencil drawings of, different Masters (most importantly Maitreya), the book seems to have been intended as a counter weight to the iconoclastic statements Krishnamurti made around 1930 about theosophy and the existence of the Masters. (See for example pages 17-18 of this introduction).  It could be argued that the book in its entirety is a rebuttal of Krishnamurti's now well-known speech of August 3, 1929, when he dissolved The Order of the Star and took a firm stand against any theosophical notion of spiritual evolution and the possible, organized help one could get from souls significantly more advanced on the path then oneself. 

To make the presented theosophical critique of Krishnamurti accessible, Scott apparently endeavored to present the basic ideas of theosophy as a necessary background. He also gave many interesting theosophical notions about how unseen forces can shape historical events. His discussion about the strategies employed by the White Lodge in sponsoring different movements to further the “great Evolutionary Scheme” is of particular interest for theosophical students, because it puts the work of the Theosophical Society in the wider context of the history of metaphysical movements in the late 19th century.  (see pages 12-13).

The introduction is reproduced in its entirety, including original footnotes and italics.


 

Through the Eyes of the Masters:
Meditations and Portraits

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INTRODUCTION

By the Author of The Initiate in the Dark Cycle, etc. etc.

I FEEL it a great honour that I should be asked to write an introduction to a book which in many respects is unprecedented in the field of thoughtful literature. During the last fifty or sixty years a portion of the public may vaguely have heard of mysterious sages with alleged extraordinary powers who live somewhere in the Himalayas; those who sought to prove their existence were dismissed either as frauds or Theosophical cranks, or else as persons with highly fertile imaginations. In any event these sages were not regarded as of importance or as in any way taking part in affairs political, artistic, or other nonreligious branches of activity concerned with human progress.

That such an assumption is entirely wrong, this book may serve to demonstrate--at any rate to those whose minds are not darkened by a facile and everready scepticism towards all things of which they are

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ignorant. Yet if it does no more than cause people to reflect, enquire and investigate, it will not have been put forth in vain.

RE-DISCOVERY OF ANCIENT TRUTHS

The present is an age of bewildering contrasts and extremes, in which the most startling scientific discoveries in the Realm of Matter are coincident with equally, or even more startling ones in the Realm of Mind. But whereas the former, as far as we can judge, are new discoveries, the latter are merely re-discoveries of what was known to the ancients. We are, in fact, gradually coming to realize that much which was waved aside by rationalists as mere superstition cannot be disposed of in that high-handed fashion, and that supernormal phenomena, previously supposed to arise through some sporadic intervention on the part of the Deity, were but manifestations of natural forces in the hands of those who knew how to wield them, or of perceptive faculties not as yet operative in the generality of mankind.

Thus what at one time was emotionally termed a miracle, is now more level-headedly categorized as

 

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an instance of clairvoyance, clairaudience, hypnotic mesmerism, magnetic or metaphysical healing, as the case may be. Man has discovered that such faculties lie latent in the human organism, and may either be to some extent inherited, or scientifically cultivated under the tuition of a qualified teacher. In that event he is in a position to prove directly through his own perceptions the existence of super-physical planes, of higher states of consciousness, of countless disembodied entities and of manifold powers and potentialities to which he has heretofore been entirely oblivious. Meanwhile, until he has acquired those faculties himself, he is dependent for his knowledge upon the testimony of others who have acquired them, just as he is likewise dependent on the testimony of scientific men with regard to astronomical or other scientific knowledge or phenomena which he has neither the inclination nor the facilities to investigate for himself. In a word, occult science is every whit as scientific as material science, and the fact that there are bad, indifferent and even fraudulent occultists can in no measure militate against Truth itself.

 

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THE SCIENCE OF RÂJA YOGA

Those who are apt to sweep aside Occultism as fanciful nonsense--for I write this introduction less for Theosophists than for the lay reader--will find if they consult the dictionary that occult means existing but not immediately perceptible. Thus the occultist maintains that in and around us exist planes of being not immediately perceptible, but, as already stated, subject to perception by those who are prepared to develop the necessary faculties. The process of developing these has in India been reduced to an exact science known as R‚ja Yoga, of which slightly varying forms have been secretly taught in every civilization.(1)

Briefly stated the science of R‚ja Yoga (2) consists in a number of graduated processes calculated to bring about such an intense and specific concentration of mind that the practitioner, or Yogi, loses all consciousness of his body and becomes for the time-being super-conscious. Expressed in material language, he leaves the physical plane and enters a higher plane of

1  See E. Shurť, The Great Initiates.
2  See R‚ja Yoga, by Sw‚mi Vivekananda. (Various editions.)

 

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consciousness where he undergoes certain ecstatic experiences, and, what is highly important for this argument, brings back the memory of those experiences when he returns to his body. This condition is called Sam‚dhi or super-conscious trance.(1)
   To quote Sw‚mi Vivekan‚nda:

When the mind has been trained to remain fixed on a certain internal or external location, there comes to it the power, as it were, of flowing in an unbroken current towards that point. ... When this power has been so much intensified as to be able to reject the external part of perception and remain meditating only on the internal part, the meaning ... then it acquires knowledge of the finer manifestations of Nature. ...

and of what occultists call the Higher Planes. This knowledge, however, can be acquired by means other than that of entrancement, which is more suited and appeals more to the Oriental than to the Westerner, who is more active by nature and whose whole organism is differently constituted. Yet by whatever

1  This is not to be confounded with the sub-conscious trance of the spiritistic medium or hypnotic subject; the latter remembers nothing when the trance is concluded, or if he does remember anything, it is usually too unimportant to be termed Illumination.

 

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scientifically regulated process the finer manifestations are perceived, the practitioner comes to know once and for all that he is immortal, and that our physical plane is but the grossest of all planes of consciousness. If he so desires, he is enabled to contact disembodied entities who once lived on earth, and also the Devas, those hosts of Spiritual Intelligences who are treading a line of evolution different from our own, but who play an important part in carrying out the great scheme of Nature and the government of our Solar System. Further he knows that the doctrine of Reincarnation is a fact, and that the law of sequence and consequence, termed Karma,(1) is also a fact. He knows that he possesses not merely a physical body but other bodies of much rarer matter which envelop and interpenetrate that physical body and also interpenetrate each other.(2) Finally, if he persists and attains the goal of this age-old science of Yoga, he will reach the Nirvanic plane, the plane of complete, eternal and unconditional Bliss.

1 As expressed in the Biblical text "As a man sows, so shall he reap".
2 These subtler bodies he can see around his fellow-men in the form of auras which vary in size and colour according to the development and character of each individual.

 

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When a man has reached Nirvana (1) or Liberation he is not compelled to retain his physical body or to re-incarnate in another. The choice is open to him either to live a disembodied existence for all eternity or to remain as a Master of Wisdom for a considerable time, at any rate, on the earth. In the latter case he holds some Office in the occult Hierarchy, and helps in a large variety of ways the development of humanity. Those who attain Liberation (or Adeptship, in Western terminology) yet who remain on earth, are of course not subject to the limitations of ordinary men. They have attained the goal, therefore all the Higher Planes are open to them. Moreover their consciousness is one of perpetual Joy. In whatever work they may be engaged, this joy-consciousness never leaves them. Being Adepts in Yoga they can perform miracles,' but seldom choose to do so, because except in very rare circumstances they regard all miracle-working as a form of exhibitionism. Indeed

1  Nirvana is not annihilation, as uninitiated Orientalists have supposed.  On the contrary it is the very opposite; it is one-ness with Life Itself, yet without loss of individuality.  The only annihilation involved is that of all limitation, all human weaknesses and selfishness.
2  The modus operandi by which all miracles are performed is to be found in the Aphorisms of Patanjali.

 

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their lack of vanity is so complete, that despite their nobility and great powers, they have been modest enough to term themselves the Elder Brothers and Servants of Humanity, since, in their own words, they live to serve as well as to guide, for those who guide do but serve.

Yet in their guidance they never interfere with the workings of free-will, for that is against the Law. They suggest but they never coerce; they inspire but never command. Their activities, in fact, are so numerous and varied, and have been so eloquently delineated by that great orator and disciple, Dr Annie Besant, that I cannot do better than quote from her pamphlet on The Masters.

They aid, in countless ways, the progress of humanity. From the highest sphere They shed down light and life on all the world, that may be taken up and assimilated as freely as the sunshine, by all who are receptive enough to take it in. ... Next, the Masters specially connected with religions use these religions as reservoirs into which They pour spiritual energy, to be distributed to the faithful in each religion through the duly appointed " means of grace". Next comes the great intellectual work, wherein the Masters send out thought-forms of high intellectual power to be caught up by men of genius, assimilated by them and given out to the world; on this level

 

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also They send out Their wishes to Their disciples, notifying them of the tasks to which they should set their hands. Then comes the work in the lower mental world, the generation of the thought-forms which influence the concrete mind and guide it along useful lines of activity in this world, and the teaching of those who are living in the heavenly world. Then the large activities of the intermediate world, the helping of the so-called dead, the general direction and supervision of the teaching of the younger pupils and the sending of aid in numberless cases of need. In the physical world the watching of the tendencies of events, the correction and neutralizing, as far as law permits, of evil currents, the constant balancing of the forces that work for and against evolution, the strengthening of the good, the weakening of the evil. (1)

It will be seen from this that although the Masters may have their heads in Heaven, their feet walk the earth, which is another way of saying that they are no vague dreamers but eminently practical men. They have shed all the vices and weaknesses of ordinary mortals, it is true, but they have plodded through those vices and weaknesses themselves on the way towards Adeptship. Therefore their attitude is one of complete understanding and tolerance, combined

1  The recent benefic aspect of Jupiter to Uranus, early in July 1932, was thus utilised by them to bring the Lausanne Conference to an unexpected successful issue after the preliminary discussions had threatened to prove abortive.

 

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with a great sympathy and what is equally important, as they say themselves--a pronounced sense of humour. This latter, among their many other qualities, was engagingly apparent when that remarkable woman and initiate, H. P. Blavatsky, towards the end of last century founded the Theosophical Society, and first brought the Masters Koot Hoomi and Morya to the notice of an unreceptive world. Since that time, however, a certain element of sacerdotalism has crept into the Society, and the Masters have come to be looked upon rather as glorified parsons: a distinction to which they prefer not to lay claim. It is always difficult to dissociate any form of ecclesiasticism from sectarian points of view, and as one of the great ideals which the Masters seek to inculcate is Unity in Diversity, this attitude is to be deprecated. And even more to be deprecated is the policy to which Alice Bailey draws attention in her admirable book, Initiations Human and Solar. She writes:

Certain schools of occultism and of theosophical endeavour have claimed to be the sole repository of Their teaching, and the sole outlet for Their efforts, thereby limiting that which

 

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They do, and formulating premises which time and circumstance will fail to substantiate. They work most assuredly through such groups of thinkers, and throw much of Their force into the work of such organizations, yet, nevertheless, They have Their disciples and Their followers everywhere, and work through many bodies and many aspects of teaching. Throughout the world, these Masters have come into incarnation at this time with the sole intent of participating in the activities and occupations and truth-dissemination of the various churches, sciences and philosophies, and thus producing within the organization itself an expansion, a widening, and a disintegration where necessary, which might otherwise be impossible. It might be wise for occult students everywhere to recognize these facts, and to cultivate the ability to recognize the hierarchical vibration as it demonstrates through the medium of disciples in the most unlikely places and groups.

Nevertheless even if some members of the Theosophical Society have been inclined to fall into the sectarian error mentioned of arrogating to the Society the sole right to receive and give forth the Masters' teachings, let us not forget how much we are indebted to that Society and its leaders for the wealth of occult knowledge which it has offered to the world. It is merely regrettable that the vast output of Theosophical literature does not circulate as freely as could be desired.

 

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PERFECT CO-OPERATION BETWEEN THE MASTERS

The ideal of Unity in Diversity to which I have referred, is so completely realized by the Masters that although on the surface they may sometimes appear to be working in opposition, in reality they are working in perfect accord, their manifold branches of activity blending with one another as do the colours of the spectrum.

Thus last century when Victorian bigotry and religious narrow-mindedness had reached a climax, one of the Masters, in order to counteract this, inspired the Agnostic Movement. This in its turn showed signs of becoming over-emphasized, so to adjust the balance another of the Masters inspired the Spiritualistic Movement. A little later Master Koot Hoomi and Master Morya sponsored the Theosophical Society through their much-maligned disciple, Madame Blavatsky. Then yet another Master inspired Christian Science. All these Movements were operative simultaneously, and each in opposition to the other. Haeckel swept aside belief in the soul as pure superstition, Madame Blavatsky informed the spiritualists that their spirits were but empty shells, while

 

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Mrs. Eddy pronounced Theosophy to be an " error of mortal mind", and Victorian bigots condemned each and all of these Movements as anti-christian machinations of the devil. Meanwhile the Masters, although they deplored these intolerant denunciations, patiently watched each Movement to gauge its effect on the great Evolutionary Scheme, towards the carrying out of which they work so harmoniously together.

MASTERS AND PUPILS

It will be inferred from what has been previously said that the Masters take pupils, but it is essential to state unequivocally that any successful attempt to set up a rapport with these Super-men entails a life of self-abnegation and rigorous self-discipline. The indulgence in cocktail drinking and immoderate sexuality, to which many people are addicted at the present time, is entirely hostile to Occult Science: the former poisons the organism, the latter wastes force. Again, people whose minds are sullied by jealousies and spites and other forms of uncharitableness cannot hope to become receptive to the finer

 

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vibrations until drastic steps have been taken to overcome these weaknesses. It may be objected that many cases are extant where the possession of Psychic faculties is coincident with imperfections of character. True, but such faculties are seldom reliable and are usually of the lower type known as astral psychism.(1) As a rule they are faculties brought over from a past incarnation, in which some form of Yoga or some kind of magic has been practised. Unfortunately a large number of such psychics have "rushed into print " and made asseverations claimed to be based on some high authority who is nothing but a figment of their own imagination or some spook masquerading as a sage. Scores of such books have been published within the last thirty years, the result being a mass of confusion, baffling to the sincere seeker, and bringing occultism into bad repute. Rightly did that great exponent of Vedanta Philosophy, Sw‚mi Vivekanda, say to his pupils: "Reject everything that does not appeal to your reason, no matter who says it."

1  Such as crystal-gazing, fortune-telling and other clap-trap manifestations.

 

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THE AUTHOR OF THE BOOK

And now to give a few biographical details regarding him who elects to write under the pseudonym of David Anrias, thus retaining the name under which he figured in my recent book, The Initiate in the Dark Cycle.

Coming from a Celtic stock, already as a child he was of a distinctly meditative disposition and much prone to solitary wanderings and day-dreaming. In early manhood, between 1908-14 he came into contact with books on occult science and particularly on astrology which aroused his keen interest and prompted him to make a serious study of the subject. Previous to this he had had an artistic training, and showed remarkable aptitude for pencil portraiture.

Then the war came. Two years he spent in the trenches and was awarded the Military Medal for running messages under fire. Later on he received a commission in the field and was transferred to the Flying Corps. After the termination of hostilities, he felt a strong inner urge to go out to India, where he worked under Dr Annie Besant, of whom he speaks with great admiration. During that time

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he spent many months together in the Nilgiri Hills, and it was there that with untiring patience, self-sacrifice and perseverance he applied himself to that laborious process of "stilling the modifications of the mind", to which I have previously alluded. After years of effort he succeeded in establishing a rapport with the Adept known as the Rishi of the Nilgiri Hills, to whom he acquired the capacity of mentally "tuning in".(1) This venerable Sage specializes in Astrology, and it is to his tuition that Anrias owes his really remarkable proficiency in that most difficult and misunderstood science. He it was who urged him to publish some astrological prognostications in The Theosophist, which, although they provoked a certain scepticism at the time, have since been fulfilled.

Towards the end of the seven years which Anrias spent in India, he finally acquired the power to "tune in" to several of the other Masters of Wisdom, to which fact we are indebted for the utterances and portraits contained in this book.

Anrias returned to England in I927 in order to make a study of the psychic conditions over here,

1  See The Initiate in the Dark Cycle, Chapter VII.

 

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and to perform certain work in conjunction with other pupils of the Adepts. This book is one such piece of work, for I should point out all that discoveries or pronouncements on the part of one individual should permit of verification by others; or, more colloquially expressed, in order to arrive at the truth, the "findings" of one man should be "checked up" by others capable of so doing. This rule applies in material Science, it also applies in Occult Science. That none of the pronouncements from the Masters published in this book have suffered through faulty transmission has been verified by the other pupils mentioned previously.

THE PORTRAITS AND THE TEXT

Finally we come to the reason why some of the Masters have permitted their portraits to be given to the world, a matter which will be of special interest to Theosophists.

Within the last year or two Mr. Krishnamurti, now of world-wide reputation, has been preaching a form of philosophy in which he has depreciated the

 

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value of the Masters as Teachers and Guides.(1) The result is that many erstwhile devotees are no longer such, and have, as they imagine, embraced Mr. Krishnamurti's philosophy while all the time they have not been in a position to comprehend it. Although Mr. Krishnamurti himself is fully persuaded that he has attained Liberation and consequently unconditional Joy, many of his devotees show all too clearly by their mien and other insignia that they have failed to follow his example. In fact they were much more at peace when they believed in the Masters than they are now ; for a miscomprehension of a philosophy is almost worse than no philosophy at all.

In view of this, and other considerations too elaborate to be dealt with here, the Masters mentally impressed their portraits on David Anrias for reproduction in this book, so that they may serve as a focus for meditation on the part of those who are struggling in the waters of spiritual uncertainty, and for others as well.

I as the writer of this introduction who have enjoyed the great felicity of contact with three or

1  This matter has been fully dealt with in The Initiate in the Dark Cycle.

 

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four of the Masters, appreciate to the full their value as an ideal to be aspired towards by the seriousminded. Yet how is this aspiration possible unless they provide us with some convincing indication that they exist as realities? Hitherto the Theosophical Society has jealously guarded such few portraits of them as it possessed; and although this policy is excusable because actuated by motives of reverence, the Masters themselves now wish it to be discontinued : hence this book. But even so there are certain reservations. Unlike parsons who, in accordance with custom, draw attention to their calling by "the cut of their cloth", the Masters endeavour on the contrary to deflect all attention from themselves on the physical plane, so that no one shall obtain an inkling as to their true identity. They even have recourse on occasions to adopting some trifling characteristic which almost looks like a fault - a fact which reminds us, by the way, that in order to be perfect, it is sometimes necessary to appear imperfect. For instance, in my book, The Initiate in the Dark Cycle, one of the English Masters is correctly portrayed as talking in short clipped sentences, a matter which

 

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has aroused criticism. But as he has since explained, he deliberately adopted that particular mannerism because it is the custom to talk like that in the rural district which he inhabits, and in which he desires to remain inconspicuous. Were he to let it be known that he is a High Initiate, inroads on his valuable time, selflessly used in the service of humanity, be it remembered, would prevent him from pursuing his work. Therefore only those Masters who live in the to us inaccessible fastnesses of Thibet or other secluded regions have permitted their portraits to appear. Masters who move in the world of men, such as those portrayed in The Initiate in the New World and The Initiate in the Dark Cycle, have been obliged to withhold theirs, lest they be recognized. Master Hilarion, however, has made a compromise by giving one portrait of himself as a youth, and another in a previous incarnation as St Paul. Also I should mention that the portrait of the Master Serapis conveys an impression of him taking a Devic form.(1)

1  It should likewise be conveyed that those of the Mahachohan and the venetian Master are as they appear to certain Western students in their meditations.

 

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With regard to the language in which the Meditations are clothed, it is largely that of the transmitter, though often flavoured by turns of phrase characteristic of the individual Master concerned. To those who have never studied Occultism, the notion of planes on which thoughts can be expressed and transmitted without the clumsy medium of words may appear baffling and incomprehensible. And yet such planes undoubtedly exist, as may be inferred by the asseverations of many mystics throughout all ages, who have declared that it is well-nigh impossible to describe their experiences. Even in every-day life we know that words often distort ideas rather than convey them accurately to the mind of another. It is therefore to be looked upon as an advantage rather than otherwise that faculties may be developed by means of which thoughts can be flashed in an instant of time from one mind to another without the retarding vesture of words. And it is in this manner that the Masters communicate through space one with another, and also with those of their pupils who are advanced enough to respond to their particular vibrations.

 

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In conclusion I may point out that although only nine of the Masters feature in this book, there are about sixty at the present time who are incarnate in bodies of various nationalities. In addition to the other powers they possess, they have that of retaining their physical body far beyond the usual span of three score years and ten, and moreover of prolonging its efficiency, and even its appearance of comparative youthfulness, in some cases for several hundred years.

Yet it is not for this prolongation of youthfulness --which is merely incidental--that they seek to guide others to the Path, but because they wish that others should participate in that greater Power, greater Utility and unconditional Joy which they experience themselves.

 

 

 

 

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