Resende I - Nurturing the Divine Seed
Nurturing the Divine Seed
Published in "Modern Theosophical Thought", 2020-2 (10)
This article is enlarged version of talk that was givven on Kemerovo Theosophical Conference in October 18, 2020, Russia
in Russian: Хэзэнджи И. - Развитие Божественного Начала в человеке
It implies that we have a Divine Seed. Or better saying, that we are a Divine Seed.
We have to think: what is a seed for? A seed is a tree in potential, a seed has a tree inside itself, but a seed is not a tree, it has to be developed, it has to grow, it has to flourish.
Geoffrey Hodson, in his book Meditations on Occult Life, has a very interesting quote comparing our self-development to taking care of a garden. This quote has many interesting elements to think about them.
We, as human beings are self-conscious … The seeds of the plants are not …
The seeds of the plants grow according to nature. But, even so, laterally, we can make our garden grow a lot faster than nature just left by itself would do.
With proper care, of course. If we plough the soil, give nutrients to it (fertilizers), give the proper amount of water and specially take out the weeds! Because the weeds will grow much faster than the plants we want to cultivate with the “add” we give to the soil. The seed we plant may become a bush in two years and a grown up as tree in five years. On the other hand, if we leave it “just like that”, or as we say in Brazil, as “God will give”, maybe it will become a bush in twelve years or so, if the weeds do not suffocate it completely.
If that happens with nature, that is not self-conscious, what can happen to us is much more palpable, visible.
As the quote says, we have the power of submitting ourselves to a process of stimulation to a spiritual ripening, to accelerate our development.
The quote goes on saying that we, human beings, can speed the realization of our goal through the deliberate application, in an intensified manner, of the principles that rule the normal growth.
I think this is exactly “Nurturing the Divine Seed”! It will grow anyway, evolution, karma and reincarnation will put it forward one way or another.
As self-conscious being we may act intelligently and nurture the divine seed in a way that it will grow faster and safer.
This “Nurturing the Divine Seed” can be called Spiritual Path, Spiritual Insight, seizing the reins of our own destiny, living intelligently and making use of the tools that Ancient Wisdom furnish us.
To the best of my understanding, the Theosophical Society was founded for that, to help us with the means or at least the knowledge of the means we have available to nurture the Divine Seed.
I have been studying especially the Mahatma Letters and HPB’s writings. There is a lot of reference of these tools of self-development within this literature.
The Mahatmas present in their letters several tips about this subject for Sinnett and others to use those tips and go beyond the surface.
It was stated in Letter № 10 that the way Hume adopted to work or to deal with situations would never bring him beyond theoretical considerations about the subject.
That means that the way we deal with situations may keep us only into the circle of intellectual knowledge OR might lead us to insight and to the possibility of the application of our knowledge.
There is a well-known formula about how to deal with our lives that emphasizes the importance of Study, Meditation and Service. Kriya Yoga talks about Tapas, Svadhyaya and Ishvara-Pranidhana.
Study is extremely important. Study enlarges our world’s view, opens up a broader panorama of life and increases our understanding of it.
Another important aspect of it is to acquire familiarity with the teachings of Ancient Wisdom.
When talking about Science, in Letter № 1, the Mahatma says that facts must be first demonstrated to the scientists. Facts must first become their own property, before they get ready to admit them as facts.
It is not different with US; we must acquire familiarity with the teachings of Ancient Wisdom before we are able to apply them in our own lives. It is studying books that we acquire familiarity with these teachings.
In relation to humanity in general we may say that we – and also the other 7.000.000.000 people that are on the planet today – we are very much tied up by the mentality of our time.
If we wish the teachings of Theosophy to be a tool of self transformation, to facilitate insight for humanity in general, we need to study these teachings deeply and popularize a knowledge of it, as the Maha Chohan said. Doing so, certain notions of it may get impregnated in the collective mentality of our time and people could then become ready to accept them as facts of Nature. The acceptance is the first step, before they develop the ability to put them in practice.
We can see in Isabel Cooper-Oakley’s book, the Count of ''Saint Germain''',' that people from the 18th century considered some of the Count’s doings as magical or diabolical. They were not familiar with the possibility to develop the inner powers in man; they were not familiar with our 3rd Object.
We can find a very interesting quote in Letter 15. There the Mahatma confesses His inability to make Sinnett understand His explanations about physical phenomena and spiritual rationale. He says that it is like a child asking Him to teach the highest problems of math BEFORE he had even begun studying the elementary rules of arithmetic. And He keeps on saying:
Only the progress one makes in the study of Arcane knowledge, from its rudimental elements, can bring him or her gradually to understand Their meaning.
“Only thus (making progress in the STUDY of the ARCANE KNOWLEDGE), and not otherwise, does it, strengthening and refining those mysterious links of sympathy between intelligent men — the temporarily isolated fragments of the universal Soul and the cosmic Soul itself — bring them into full rapport.”
He is saying the progress we make studying deeply the Arcane Knowledge puts us in full rapport with Them, strengthening and refining those mysterious links of sympathy between us. He says more:
Once this is established (the full rapport), only then will these awakened sympathies serve, indeed, to connect MAN with … that chain of energy which binds together the material and Immaterial Kosmos, Past, Present, and Future, and quicken his perceptions so as to clearly grasp, not only all things relating matter, but to Spirit too.
TO QUICKEN OUR PERCEPTIONS SO AS TO CLEARLY GRASP, NOT MERELY ALL THINGS RELATING TO MATTER, BUT TO SPIRIT TOO. I believe He is talking about Insight, a comprehension that allows us to put into practice the teachings that will allow our Divine Seed to grow faster.
This quote makes us think! They can only help connecting us to that chain called Past, Present and Future, so that we can grasp the results of our actions, physical and spiritual!
At the moment the Letters were written there was not a vast Theosophical literature to be studied so that humanity could understand better these universal ideas, even for those who were mostly interested in helping Them.
“How shall I teach you to read and write or even comprehend a language of which no alphabet palpable, or words audible to you have yet been invented”, says the Mahatma.
In a way the Theosophical literature, the various generations of it, has created this alphabet as part of the mission of the TS. But the TS can do nothing, we are the ones that must put into practice the teachings available in order to fulfill the objective for what the TS was created to provide to humanity.
It is very interesting what HPB said in her first “Occult Shot”. That was an article called “Hiraf”. It was published in the Boston magazine called Spiritual Scientist in July 15th and 22nd, 1875, a few months before the foundation of the Theosophical Society. She says that
“book learning, vast as it may be, will always prove insufficient even to the analytical mind, unless supported by personal experience and practice".
Study means talking about Svadhyaya, self-study. We need to relate what we read in books with our own lives especially through observation. The consequence will be that what we study will help us to improve our understanding of our own life and our life will help us to understand better what we study in books.
How can these very elevated spiritual beings help us to connect ourselves with that energy chain that unites the material and immaterial Cosmos called Past, Present and Future and accelerate our perceptions so that we may clearly grasp not only the material things, but also the spiritual ones if our study is not based on personal experience and practice? How can They help us if we are just like parrots repeating what we don’t know, not realizing the flux of our lives?
It is interesting to realize that it is not only the study, but the progress we make in the study of Arcane knowledge. That progress involves the changing of ourselves, overcoming our limitations and shortcomings.
In the first Letter received by Sinnett it is clearly stated that there is little use in acquiring new positions until those that we have already reached are secured, and our enemies are fully aware of our right to their possession.
We find a similar statement in Letter № 92, when the Mahatma says:
"He positively refuses to teach any further before we (Sinnett, in the letter) have understood and learned all that was already given."
Letter № 2 says:
"He who would lift up high the banner of mysticism and proclaim its reign near at hand, must give the example to others. He must be the first to change his way of living regarding the study of the occult mysteries as the upper step in the ladder of Knowledge."
It is not enough to study, we must change ourselves accordingly. That brings us to Tapas.
Tapas is the first quality to deal with to get to insight according to Kriya''' Yoga. It implies that we should change our way of living, creating the appropriate conditions so that spiritual insights may occur.
Sinnett wanted direct contact with the Mahatma but he didn’t want to change his life and the Mahatma told him in a very humorous way:
"You seek all this, and yet, as you say yourself, hitherto you have not found “sufficient reasons” to even give up your “modes of life” directly hostile to such modes of communications."
I believe this is a great RISK FOR US THEOSOPHIST. We, the members of the Theosophical Society, are by and large idealistic people. We want a better world, we want perceptions and we want to be happy, we want to grow our Divine Seed. But many times we are “caught” in several ways that are in direct opposition to our ideals. The consequence can be that we may consider us as sinners, not fit for the ideal we have embraced in life.
There is a popular saying that states: if you don’t change, nothing changes. We must be the change we want to see in the world. SVADHYAYA WITHOUT TAPAS WILL NOT BE EFFICIENT. As HPB said
“book learning, vast as it may be, will always prove insufficient even to the analytical mind, unless supported by personal experience and practice.”
It is also important to notice that it is not enough to observe certain habits as a ROUTINE. That most probably will also not lead us grow our Divine Seed. They say in Letter № 5,
“it is men not ceremony-masters, we seek, devotion, not mere observances.”
Krishnamurti in his book Towards Discipleship (a result of a Congress in Italy), says that we must TAKE OFF OUR JACKET and THROW OURSELVES into this work. It should not only remain a theory for us to repeat.
HPB suggest that we should read 10 minutes and meditate for 2 hours. From Study we must go deeper into MEDITATION.
The letters Laura Holloway received are good examples of this process of study and meditation together. These LCH’s letters are extremely useful as personal advices. She was a person with some psychic development, but with some very specific difficulties related to her spiritual life. The pieces of advice the Mahatma gave her are perfectly fit to us, as means that could lead us from knowledge to insight., to a better comprehension of how to put into practice the teachings.
Letter № 4, received by Francesca Arundale at Elberfeld, Germany, in October 1884, also published in this 1st Series, says about LCH:
“Intention and kind words count for little with us. Deeds are what we want and demand. LCH, poor child, has done more in that direction during 2 months than the best of your members in these 5 years!
The intense work carried out by Laura in 2 months, far more than what the best members did in 5 years, made her deserve to receive personal counsels coming from these elevated beings.
HPB received a Letter, also published in the 1st Series as Letter nº 33, talking about LCH, saying that spiritual faculties demand instruction and regulation even more than our mental gifts, for intellect imbibes wrong far more easily than good.
The Mahatma further adds that Laura should overcome her difficulties,
“Let her obtain self-control over self-will and a too great sensibility, and thus she may become as perfect as the strongest pillar of the Theosophical Society.”
The first counsel she received was very simple,
“try to learn to stand firm on your legs, child, before you venture walking.”
The Mahatma goes on to explain that
“the lake in the mountain heights of your being is one day a tossing waste of waters, as the gust of CAPRICE or temper sweeps through your soul; the next a mirror as they subside and PEACE REIGNS in the ‘house of life’. One day you win a step forward; the next you fall two back.”
The need to develop a clear and calm mental state, balanced, contemplative, fit to receive impressions from outside and transmit one’s own inner perception is clearly marked, because
“The mind can be made to work with electric swiftness in a high excitement; but Buddhi—never.”
Last but not least, the Mahatma told her:
“You cannot acquire psychic power until the causes of psychic debility are removed.”
This is certainly OUR HOMEWORK, to remove the causes of our psychic fragilities, acquiring a clear mental state, balanced, contemplative, fit to receive external impressions and to transmit our own perceptions.
Letter 31st, JN, 1st Series is very specific about meditation. The Letter begins with a question, “how can you know the REAL from the unreal, the true from the false?” The answer is strait: ONLY BY SELF-DEVELOPMENT.
WE ALL KNOW that we should develop ourselves spiritually in order to remove the weaknesses of our personality, so that we can know the real from the unreal, the true from the false. The question that arises is HOW. The Mahatma is very specific about that:
By first carefully guarding ourselves against the causes of self-deception.
P. Krishna told us about the FIRE IN THE FOREST. Suppose we are walking in the woods and we see a very small fire. We can stop it with our feet, of even with our hands. But if we are not aware of it, the fire will burn and several trucks of water or even helicopters will be needed to stop the fire.
To bind ourselves with that chain called past, present and future is related to that. By deep perception and meditation, we may be able to realize that the situations we are passing through are the result of some past actions and if we do so and so, such and such results will follow, for good and for bad. And, of course, WE MAY BE ABLE TO PREVENT SOME FUTURE DISASTERS, guarding ourselves against the causes of self-deception.
It is very interesting the way the Mahatma describes this deep thought and this prevention from self-deception,
“you can do by spending a certain fixed hour or hours each day all alone in self-contemplation, writing, reading, the purification of your motives, the study and correction of your faults, the planning of your work in the external life. These hours should be sacredly reserved for this purpose …
Little by little your sight will clear, you will find the mists pass away, your interior faculties strengthen, your attraction towards us gain force, and certainty replace doubts.”
That is it for study and Meditation, for Tapas, Svadhyaya.
And for Service and Ishvara-Pranidana?
Sinnett witnessed several phenomena and received instructions. It was for him to share the information he received. In the 1st Letter he received (October, 17th, 1880) it was already stated:
“It imposes upon you the sacred duty to instruct the public and prepare them for future possibilities by gradually opening their eyes to the truth.”
In the second Letter (October 19th, 1880), talking about the TS, the Mahatma makes it clear that
“the chief object of the T.S. is not so much to gratify individual aspirations as to serve our fellow men.”
Sinnett was told, in Letter № 15 (February, 20th, 1881), that he was certainly
“on the right path, the path of deed and actions, not mere words” — “may you live long and keep on!”
Laura Holloway did more in 2 months than the best members in 5 years! But she didn’t persevere! Hume also did a lot, but he got mad and became an enemy of the TS.
In 1881, when the Simla Ecletic Theosophical Society was about to be formed as a new branch of the TS, the Mahatma said:
"THEIR CORRESPONDENCE WAS ESTABLISHED FOR THE GOOD OF THE MANY. It would prove very little profitable to the world at large unless Sinnett could recast the teachings and ideas contained therein “in the form of an essay,”
I would say, the Theosophical Society was founded for the good of the many. Sinnett, as a journalist, was fit to write a book. What about we? What can we do for the good of the many?
In February, 1882, when the Mahatma returned from His retreat, He wrote Letter № 47. He asks Sinnett to
"LOOK AROUND, in order to see the “three poisons” raging within the heart of men — anger, greed, delusion, and the five obscurities: envy, passion, vacillation, sloth, and unbelief — ever preventing them seeing truth. He explains further that “They will never get rid of the pollution of their vain, wicked hearts, nor perceive the spiritual portion of themselves.”
Why they (humanity in general) will not perceive the spiritual portion of themselves? Because they lack Tapas and Svadhyaya.
The next phrase will show that:
“Will you not try — for the sake of shortening the distance between us — to disentangle yourself from the net of life and death in which they are all caught, to cherish less — lust and desire?”
We must first convince ourselves that anger, greed and delusions are the three poisons and envy, passion, vacillation, sloth and unbelief are obscurities. We do so by studying deeply.
When we get convinced, WE SHOULD DO SOMETHING to get rid of these obstacles that prevent us from getting spiritual insights in order to put into practice the teachings.
We should disentangle us from the web of life and death in which we are caught. How to begin? Cherish less lust and desire! The tip is there!
He states further:
“I can come nearer to you, but you must draw me by a purified heart and a gradually developing will. … M. spoke well and truthfully when saying that a love of collective humanity is his increasing inspiration; and if any one individual should wish to divert his regards to himself, he must overpower the diffusive tendency by a stronger force.”
Sinnett, was corresponding the Mahatmas’ wish:
“In thought and deed, by day, in soul-struggles by nights, you have been writing the story of your desires and your spiritual development. This, every one does who approaches us with any earnestness of desire to become our co-worker;”
But Sinnett was not ready to be a Disciple, to formally link himself with the Master in a permanent way. Even though there was something else to be done.
“There below, lies your long-cherished field of enterprise and usefulness.”
Others will not get rid of their vain and wicked hearts, but Sinnett was somehow different,
“if your case be in some degree exceptional, it is because your nature has deeper inspirations than those of others, who are still more “business-like,” and the fountainhead of whose eloquence is in the brain not in the heart, which never was in contact with the mysteriously effulgent, and pure heart of Tathagata."
That is a VERY IMPORTANT TIP, the source of our eloquence to be in the heart, not in the brain.
We must see with our hearts and feel with our brains, becoming gradually aware of humanity’s sorrow and putting our hand to work to diminish it. But no one can give what he or she does not have. We must work outwardly and inwardly.
The Voice of the Silence, written by HPB, in the 307th aphorism asks us:
"Can there be bliss when all that lives must suffer? Shalt thou be saved and hear the whole world cry?"
Aphorism 309 answers:
If thou would'st be Tathagata, follow upon thy predecessor's steps, REMAIN UNSELFISH TILL THE ENDLESS END.
I finish this presentation with an anecdote from Mother Teresa of Calcuta.
There was a rich man observing Mother Teresa’s dealing with lepers. He said: No money in the world could make me do what you are doing. She said: the same with me. She was not doing that for money, she would never do it for money. It was her way of practicing Ishvara-Pranidana;
We serve god by serving our fellow man, showing them that through study, meditation and service we can solve our difficulties and pass from knowledge to insight.