Gottfried de Purucker

Author, Theosophist
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Gottfried de Purucker (January 15, 1874, Suffern, New York – September 27, 1942) was a Theosophist and author of several publications, including elucidations of the writings of Helena Blavatsky.


The Esoteric Tradition (1935)Edit

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  • There can be but one truth, and if we can find a formulation of that truth in logical, coherent, and consistent form, obviously we then can understand those portions of it equal to our capacity of comprehension. (Chapter 1)
  • Indeed, this wisdom-religion was delivered to the first thinking human beings on this earth by highly-intelligent spiritual entities from superior spheres; and it has been passed down from guardians to guardians thereof until our own time. Furthermore, portions of this original and majestic system have been given out from time to time to various races in different parts of the world by those guardians when humanity stood in need of some new extension and cyclical renewal of spiritual verities. (Chapter 1)
  • Who are these guardians? They are those whom we call the elder brothers of the human race, and are men in all senses of the word and not excarnate spirits. They are, relatively speaking, fully evolved or perfected men, who have successfully run the evolutionary race and are therefore now in point of spiritual and intellectual grandeur where we shall be many ages hence. (Chapter 1)
  • Man himself in former lives set in action the causes which later, by rigid karmic justice, bring about the effects which he in the present life complains of and calls unmerited. This same mistake in misunderstanding the logic and delicate and subtle reasoning of the teaching caused in early Christianity that first fatal departure from the recognition of infinite and automatic justice in the world, to the idea that because man's sufferings seemed inexplicable they were therefore unmerited and due to the inscrutable wisdom of Almighty God — whose decrees man should accept in humility without questioning the wisdom of the providence thus erected in explanation. (Chapter 2)
  • Reincarnation comes under the more general doctrine of reimbodiment. It is the teaching that the human ego returns to earth at some future time after the change men call death... in order that the ego may learn new lessons on earth, in new times, in new environments; taking up again on this earth the old links of sympathy and of friendship, of hatred and dislike, which were apparently ruptured by the hand of death when the ego-soul left our spheres. (Chapter 2)
  • These two teachings once held secret, or openly promulgated in a more or less imperfect form, are examples of the manner in which from age to age when the need arises for so doing, esoteric teachings are openly developed by the Brotherhood of sages and seers. Such teachings profoundly modify civilization because they profoundly change human psychology and the spiritual and intellectual vision of mankind. (Chapter 2)
  • Few people realize the enormous but always invisible and quiet psychological leverage that new ideas have upon human consciousness; and this is especially so with teachings of a spiritual or intellectual type. All these teachings are replete with the divine conceptions of the gods who first gave Truth to men; and this is the secret of the immense sway that Religion per se (apart from mere degenerate religions) has upon human intellect. (Chapter 2)
  • Eternity stretches in one direction behind and in another direction in front of us, and along and within this eternity numberless multitudes of beings and entities have been evolving — and will evolve — forever. This progressive growth is continuously in action throughout universal nature — nebula or comet, star or planet, atom or electron, all exemplify it on one side of the picture; and, on the other side, gods, cosmic spirits or dhyani-chohans, men, the beasts, and all so-called animate entities. (Chapter 6)
  • The urge behind evolution, and the objective which this urge is impelling us toward, is simply the divine hunger in the universe to grow greater. It is innate in the universe. Why this is so, no one can say. Perhaps the gods do not know. All we men can aver is that it is so. (Chapter 6)
  • What we may call a blind struggle for betterment in the atoms, becomes in man a self-conscious yearning to grow, to become ever more the divinity within himself, arising in a recognition, now quasi-conscious, that man is a son of the gods. This same urge becomes in the gods a divine knowledge that they are inseparable parts of the universe, and are growing to take a vaster self-conscious part in the universal labor. (Chapter 6)
  • It is true that some of the teachings of these ancient religions or philosophies which by many ages preceded the respective eras of Mohammedanism and Christianity are now more or less degenerate. In addition, they have been grossly misunderstood and misinterpreted by Occidental scholars. (Chapter 11)
  • But Christianity in its doctrines has wandered widely indeed from the original thought of its great founder, for the reason that inferior men became its propagandists after the time of Jesus. While many of them undoubtedly were thoroughly sincere, some probably were intellectually insincere in the sense of attempting to impart as universal truths of nature what were the more or less vagrant ideas of their own minds — misunderstood and misinterpreted hints and flashes which they had received from the great source.(Chapter 11)
  • Our own globe earth, in fact is technically a "hell" because it is a relatively dense material sphere and the states of consciousness of the beings inhabiting it are relatively heavily involved in the webs of maya — illusion. For this reason H. P. Blavatsky in The Voice of the Silence speaks of "Men of Myalba" — Myalba being a Tibetan term used for one of the hells in the philosophy of Northern Buddhism, and Myalba is our earth. (Chapter 11)
  • It will be impossible to understand death and its mysteries as long as one concentrates attention on the mere bodies or sheaths in which this ray or flame of consciousness periodically enwraps itself. It is necessary to follow the peregrinations of the consciousness per se, if a man desire to know his postmortem destiny. When a man can do this he will no longer fear death, because he will see its non-existence except as a phase of life opening into peregrinations through inner worlds and spheres, till the devachan is reached; and he will recognize death exactly for what it is, the gentlest helper and friend that a man has. (Chapter 16)
  • For of death, that blessed angel of mercy should not be feared. It is nature's most blessed relief and rest, for it is sleep, perfect and complete, and filled with ineffably lovely dreams. The man who has died sleeps in peace; and his spiritual soul, the peregrinating monad, gaudet in astris — rejoices in the stars. (Chapter 16)
  • Probably there is no single doctrine of the Esoteric Tradition which makes so instant an appeal as does the idea of the present existence in the world of great sages or seers. In most minds there lies an intuition that there must be in the world human beings of far loftier spiritual capacity and of immensely more developed intellectual power than the ordinary run of men. Those who hear of this for the first time instantly turn to those luminous figures, such as Gautama the Buddha, Jesus the Syrian avatara, Apollonius of Tyana, Lao-Tse, Krishna, Sankaracharya, etc. and, among many, the first reaction is: if such great figures have already existed in the world, why should they not exist again? (Chapter 19)
  • The Brotherhood of great seers and sages, united in a common purpose and governed by common ideals and esoteric knowledge, has existed as an association of high adepts under the direct inspiration and guidance of their hierarch, or mahaguru, for many millions of years — certainly for not less than twelve million; in other words, since the appearance on earth of the root-race which preceded our own present fifth root-race. (Chapter 22)
  • The cause of the disappearance of the Mysteries has always been degeneracy, faithlessness on the part of the students, and their lack of an imperative and heart-reaching call for light. Where there is a genuine spiritual and intellectual call issuing from both heart and mind, there invariably comes the response by way of a new installment of teaching from the Brotherhood. (Chapter 22)
  • It was pointed out that a messenger or envoy is sent from the Brotherhood into the world for the purpose of striking anew a keynote of spiritual truth when a sincere call comes from the heart of mankind; but it must likewise be stated that, just as Krishna points out in the Bhagavad-Gita (4:7-8), an avatara comes in times of great spiritual barrenness, when the waves of materialism are rising high. (Chapter 22)
  • Concerning the nature of the cyclical times when the great teachers either appear personally in the world of men or send a messenger, it may be stated that the greatest teachers come at the opening or close of the longest cyclical periods; the messengers or envoys are sent forth at the opening or closing of the short cycles, and the teachers or messengers of intermediate power come at the beginnings or endings of time-periods of intermediate length. (Chapter 22)
  • The members of the Brotherhood are eternally alert and watchful, and are continuously acting as a Guardian Wall (to adopt the phrase of H. P. Blavatsky), around mankind, shielding it against dangers both of a cosmic and terrestrial character. Mankind little knows what it owes to the great sages and seers. (Chapter 22)
  • These great sages or masters have never been discouraged in their work for humanity by the fact that the body of truths which at cyclical intervals they promulgate anew would have to undergo periods of degeneration. Directed by spiritual beings even greater than they, they do this sublime work and without intermission throughout the whirling cycles of time. (Chapter 22)
  • With each step forwards we become ever more aware that we are not alone on this pathway to the gods. Others have been over the path before us: a long procession of the greatest spirits and minds of the past ages; yet they are still our companions, because joined to us by interior spiritual bonds. They are watching over us even now. (Chapter 22)

The Story of Jesus (1938)Edit

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  • The Gospel-story is merely an idealized fiction, written by Christian mystics in imitation of esoteric mysteries of the Pagans, showing the initiation-trials and tests of the candidates for initiation; and it is not very well done, there being much error and many mistakes in the Gospels. (Chapter 1)
  • Within a short time after the alleged crucifixion of the Master Jesus - at any rate from the time when the Christian Scriptures began to have circulation in the Mediterranean world - and all through the Middle Ages and till nearly our own days, men quarreled and fought about the documents composing the Christian New Testament, not only with regard to just what these documents had to say, but about mere words and phrases, and also as regards their age, and as regards who wrote these various Christian Scriptures. (Chapter 1)
  • Even as the Christ-child, in the beautiful Christian legend, is said to have been born on December 25th, so likewise was the Mithraic divinity said to have been born into human form on that same day of the year, which was the winter solstice. This day, or one a few days thereafter, has been commemorated as the birthday of other religious type-figures also. (Chapter 2)
  • The Christmas-Festival is in one sense only, a Christian festival. It is based upon something belonging to the Greek and Roman paganism which the Christians took over. It is therefore older than Christianity. It is 'pagan,' to use the popular word. (Chapter 2)
  • The Theosophist looks upon this season with reverence and awe, for he knows that in the proper quarter some human being is undergoing the supreme test, and that if successful, if he is 'raised,' if he can raise his own personal being into communion with his inner god and hold it there... (Chapter 2)
  • Jesus the Syrian Avatara did not teach anything new. What he did was to point once again to the old, old Pathway to the spiritual life: the Pathway to wisdom and spiritual power. And he told his followers how and what they might achieve by following this Pathway, so that ultimately they could become such as he was - such as he was so far as wisdom and power went; for in the heart of the heart of every human being there is a divinity, his own inner god, which the Christians of a mystical turn of mind today call the immanent Christ. (Chapter 3)
  • Every one of these great Sages and Seers, whether he was the Buddha-Gautama of India, or Lao-Tse of China, or Sankaracharya of India again, or Jesus, or Empedocles, or Pythagoras, or Apollonius of Tyana: any one of the numerous host of them all taught the same fundamental doctrines which therefore were identical. (Chapter 3)
  • What were some of these teachings? "Man, Know thyself!" For self knowledge - the knowledge of the higher spiritual Self - is the pathway of wisdom, of understanding, of light, of peace, of power; and it comes to man through self-forgetfulness, and self-forgetfulness is the knocking, the mystic knocking, at the door of the initiation-chamber of the temple. (Chapter 3)
  • You cannot express universal powers, you cannot manifest the divinity within you (because that divinity is entirely impersonal) if your mind and heart are restricted and imprisoned by your personal desires. You must expand your nature and open it in order to let the sunlight of the spirit stream in to you. Therefore self-forgetfulness and impersonality mean the gaining of wisdom and great and holy power. (Chapter 3)
Theosophical Society Seal

The Masters and the Path of Occultism (1939)Edit

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  • There is a hunger in the human heart for beauty; there is a longing in the human soul for harmony and for peace; there is an unceasing aspiration in the human mind for an understanding of the problems of the Universe; and all these qualities of heart and soul and mind are fundamentally one, arising out of that amazing spiritual fire which dwells in the inmost of the inmost of every human being, and which is a reflection in his human character of the Divine Flame which is fundamentally the Spiritual Man; and this flame is the core of his being.
  • There is light to be had, because there is system and order in the Universe, the results of flaming intelligences and cosmic compassion, and anyone whose heart impels him to carry on the search indefatigably and with a mental refusal to take discouragement at any time, but to carry on, will receive that light.
  • They were not so created by any extra-cosmic Deity, but they are men who have become what they are by means of inward spiritual striving, by spiritual and intellectual yearning, by aspiration to be greater and better, nobler and higher. They are not what they are by any favoritism either of a god or of Fate, but have merely run ahead of the great multitude of men. There they stand; they are Helpers, they are Seers, they are Sages.
  • All that they have - which means all that they are - all that they have evolved to, all that they have become, they have gained by self-devised efforts in individual evolutionary growth.
  • Occultism, let us understand clearly, is the science and the study of the things which are invisible, secret, sacred - the study of the inner structure, operations, powers, and so-called laws, of the Universe; and Theosophy as presented today is its theoretic presentation.
  • Would you like to know by personal experience of these things? You can, if you will obey the law and follow the rules. Ah, yes, the same old stumbling-blocks - laws and rules! But such is Nature's way. There's the rub: obeying rules and following studies. And yet is it not everywhere the same in life? You can't even run an automobile without learning how to do it. How can you work a problem without learning the rules for its solution? How can you practise chemistry without having studied the science?
  • Here then is the secret: You must give yourself, if you desire to find yourself. "Give up thy life if thou wouldst live." Give up the small life, the petty life, the mean life, the restricted life, the little personal life which shuts you in - give it up and follow the light of the Star within you.
  • It is one of our Theosophical duties to show men the way to wisdom, to peace, to happiness, to strength, and to spiritual power - the real powers, the powers which are safe and clean and sweet, which make a man lovable, which make him compassionate, which guarantee that power put into his hands will be wielded never for self but always in order to benefit others.
  • Every Theosophical movement throughout the ages has been founded in order to bring back to man the realization of that which is essentially man's, to awaken in his heart his spiritual instincts, to light the divine fire anew in his soul, so that, inflamed with its glory, he may press onwards, find this pathway, and in following it to its end -which is indeed no end, for it is endless - may reach the realization by individual experience of his complete oneness with the Universe of which he is a child. That Universe is you. Every part of it is yours. It is your eternal Home and your everlasting Dwelling-place. There you are native; and not only are you, each one of you, the heart of the Universe, but that Universe itself verily is you yourself in your inmost. p. 48
  • Now there are two ways for a man to achieve his destiny, two ways for a human soul to reach its own inner powers, the full expansion of its own god-like genius. The first is that followed by the majority, drifting along like flotsam on the ceaselessly moving ebb and flow of the Ocean of Time; and this is the path of natural evolution, of natural growth. But oh! how slow, how slow, how slow it is! Ages will pass before the expansion of inner faculties and powers reaches even a modicum of a larger greatness.
    The other pathway is Initiation. This means a quicker growth, a more rapid evolution, a more speedy emergence from the chrysalis of humanhood into possessing the wings of the spirit - into becoming the bird of eternity, to change the metaphor somewhat. p. 70
  • You can gain wonderfully just by cultivating a few simple rules of mental and practical conduct. Be kindly; refuse to hate. Learn to love; learn to forgive. Let your heart expand. Be yourself, and expand your sympathies; touch with the tendrils of your consciousness the hearts of other human beings. Oh! what a delight to feel, as it were, the inner spiritually electrical quiver that your own soul experiences when you have touched the heart of a fellow human being! Practising these rules of morals and of noble ethics, you begin a short cut to a comprehension of yourself, and ultimately you touch the mysteries of the Universe. p. 73
  • Before the lower 'occult powers' of any kind are cultivated, man must learn the first lesson of the Higher Occultism, the mystic knowledge, which is to control himself; and all powers that later he gains must be laid on the altar of impersonal service - on the altar of service to mankind.
  • The Pathway of Beauty, the Pathway of Peace and Strength, the Pathway of the Great Quiet, is within. This is the Pathway that the great Sages and Seers of all the ages have taught. Follow that Pathway. It will lead you to the heart of the Sun, the Master and Guide of our Solar System. And later, if you follow it, it will conduct you to a destiny still more sublime. Yet that sublime destiny is only the beginning, only the beginning of something grander; for evolution, growth, expansion of consciousness, go on for ever...

Man in Evolution (1941)Edit

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  • Among the most momentous questions that every thinking person asks are: Where do we come from? Who are we? And where do we go at death?...It is questions like these that occur to the thinking mind when it also reflects upon the nature, origin, and destiny of the worlds which bestrew the spaces of infinitude. Whence came they? What are they? What is their destiny? They are questions which must have answers. The mere fact that these things are, shows that there are answers to be had somewhere. (Chapter 1)
  • Man is a mystery, a mystery to the investigating mind of the researcher into nature; but more so indeed is man a mystery to himself. Yet there is a solution of this mystery — a solution which is not new, which is older than the enduring hills. (Ch 2)
  • Yet the majestic philosophy-science-religion of the ages teaches us that there are beings so much greater and higher than man is, and beings so much smaller and less than he, that in reality he himself in turn stands in his world and cosmos as the one or the other of these extremes to such greater or smaller entities. (Ch 2)
  • It is a question of relativity. In order to understand it more clearly we must cleanse our minds of old ideas instilled into us by false education, both religious and scientific, and philosophic too (Ch 2)
  • The psychology of the times following the publication of Darwin's works was so strong that most thinking men could not then be brought to admit that there were any alternative explanations of the phenomena of progressive development in life — human, animal, or plant life — to the scheme of transformism which he set forth. (Ch 3)
  • This psychological phenomenon was brought about mainly by the efforts of two men... Thomas Henry Huxley and Ernst Heinrich Haeckel. Both were fervent Darwinists... These two men were exceedingly able; but they spoke with the voice of authority on subjects which they themselves, in many particulars, were merely guessing at. These conclusions are not mine alone. They are also the conclusions of many scientific researchers and thinkers of today. (Ch 3)
  • Evolution proceeds on three general lines: the spiritual, the mental-emotional,and the astral-vital; and the physical body is the channel through which all these in wrapped capacities, tendencies, and powers, express themselves on the physical plane, if the environment at any particular moment or at any particular passage of time be appropriate and fit for the expression of this or that or of some other such attribute, power, or faculty. (Ch 10)
  • The combination of these two — the inner urge, the drive, and a fit and appropriate environment or field— means the evolving, the coming out into manifestation, the expression, of those inner forces or powers.
    As is evident, this includes a far wider and vaster conception of evolution than any that has hitherto been entertained in the ranks of scientific researchers.(Chapter 10)
  • The strength of the doctrine of reincarnation lies in itself, in its appeal to our intellectual and logical faculties, in its own persuasiveness, in the manner in which it answers problems, in the hope that it gives, in the light that it sheds upon collateral questions of human life, and indirectly upon the problems of the physical world surrounding us. It is through and by reincarnation as a natural fact, that we learn the beauty of the inner life and thereby grow, developing a larger comprehension, not only of ourselves, but of the loveliness inherent in the harmony of the universal laws. For there is back of all things beauty, and bliss, and truth. (Chapter 10)

See alsoEdit

Theosophical Teachers & TeachingsEdit


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