THEOSOPHY, Vol. 32, No. 2, December, 1943
(Pages 56-58; Size: 10K)
(Number 3 of a 6-part series)



AT some point along the pathway of life, every human soul must master the mystery of dual mind. This is a task which extends invariably over several life-times of study and trial. For investigation of this kind is not the same as the intellectual methods pursued by science, where the mental functions and attributes of others are gathered and observed. It is a process taking place wholly within, a study of one's own consciousness, for purposes of understanding and control. It is an undertaking wherein the very intensity of the force used -- thought -- has the ability to awaken new and undreamed of powers. All these must be conquered, understood, used.

Is one short life sufficient for this task? Is it possible within the limits of a single incarnation to master the laws of mind, to command the powers of the inner man? And can this be done by any other than the man himself? The Third Object of the Theosophical Movement -- "The investigation of the unexplained laws of nature and the psychical powers latent in man" -- is a private undertaking, to be pursued by each within the sanctuary of his own soul. It is independent study of mind and heart, the beginning of which marks entry to the path of chelaship.

Of all the functions of the human mind, none are more necessary -- nor more dangerous -- than the power to receive impressions. Without it, no one could learn or grow in knowledge of the higher truths. Without it, no one could be misled. It is the power by which the chela rises to a higher plane and gains contact with wiser men. It is the power by which the psychic meets his doom. "It ought to be understood," says William Q. Judge, "that up to a certain point all students of magic, or occultism, journey together. By and by is reached a place where two roads meet, or where the common path divides." By one, a man goes to adeptship; by the other, to mediumship. Do we know which path we tread? Are we able to look within the recesses of our own minds and descry the course of the upper road?

The power to receive impressions is two-fold in its nature and function, corresponding to the two aspects of the dual mind. These are referred to in Theosophical literature as receptivity and passivity, terms thought by some to be identical. But they are not the same. Receptivity is a spiritual quality of Higher Manas, and flows from knowledge based upon right perception of all things. It is the power to receive impressions without being passive, an extremely active condition wherein the Perceiver weighs and chooses what he will admit. Passivity, on the other hand, is inactive, undiscriminating, bad. It is that characteristic of Lower Manas to consider naught, which, when abnormal, tends to insanity. While having the power, sponge-like, to receive impressions, it cannot and does not choose. It is the tool of the medium, by which he opens wide the door to every evil force. It is the pitfall of many an unwary disciple.

Exercise of the power of receptivity is not limited, however, to chelaship, nor is passivity the exclusive possession of the medium. At every moment of the day, all men are invisibly surrounded by surging waves of psychic impressions, and unknowing to themselves, are influenced by their force. The average man of the world, destitute as he is of philosophical basis, can no more resist the psychism of the age than he can see the need for study of the dual mind. Like ship without a rudder, he is swept to and fro by the prevailing currents of propaganda. Have we power to resist the sway? Do we possess such insight into principles, such control of mind, that we can steer our course through the changing winds of opinion, and pass undiverted to the chosen goal? The predominating characteristics of the age -- psychism and selfishness, with their long retinue of allied powers -- are too strong and subtle for those unschooled in the ways of dual mind. Have we the key, the knowledge, the power? Have we the courage to charge the tide of Kali Yuga, with its insidious currents of propaganda, its undertow of false religious thought?

Some there be, who out of fear of becoming passive, build around themselves an impervious wall. "I'll be independent," says one, "and think for myself. Never shall I be found among those taking impressions from other men." The man of pride thus closes fast his only avenue of growth. Can knowledge be gained without the help of others more advanced? Is it possible, in a universe of Brotherhood, to sever relations with our fellow men, to alienate one's self from the rhythmic interflow of impressions? The whole science of teaching, as of learning, is based upon the proper use of receptivity, the willingness of the pupil to receive impressions from his teacher's mind. But this is not passivity. It is that faculty by which the pupil's mind vibrates synchronously with the teacher's thought. Buddhi, or Wisdom, it is said, is latent on this plane, unless provided a focus in Manas. The Buddhi of the teacher can be no more impressed upon a closed or passive mind than can radio waves of high frequency be picked up by a static set. What is the Socratic method of questioning but the teacher's effort to induce thinking, to raise the pupil's Manas to an active state, whereby he may tune in to a higher vibration? The receptivity of the student must approximate the teacher's power to give.

The idea of receptivity carries with it the idea of ability to repel. For what possible use is one without the other? What is the value of a mind-power capable of receiving the desirable if, at the same time, it is unable to repel the undesirable? This is of the nature of mediumship and passivity -- is no power at all, but a mere function. Receptivity ever implies knowledge, awareness and control. It is a power fully developed only after long years or lives of effort and trial. The beginning of this period of mind-study and discipline marks the beginning of the path of Chelaship. The end is Adeptship, the mark and insignia of one who "has gone through the training and experience which have caused all the unseen powers to develop in him, and conferred gifts that look god-like to his struggling brother below." Such is the nature of the Master Mind.

COMPILER'S NOTE: The following is a separate item which followed the above article but was on the same page. I felt it was useful to include it here:


The occult science is not one, in which secrets can be communicated of a sudden, by a written or even a verbal communication. It is the common mistake of people that we willingly wrap ourselves and our powers in mystery -- that we wish to keep our knowledge to ourselves, and of our own will refuse -- "wantonly and deliberately" to communicate it. The truth is that till the neophyte attains to the condition necessary for that degree of Illumination to which, and for which, he is entitled and fitted, most, if not all, of the secrets are incommunicable. The receptivity must be equal to the desire to instruct. The illumination must come from within. 


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