Cardiff Theosophical Society in Wales

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Writings of H P Blavatsky


Cardiff Theosophical Society in Wales

Theosophy House

206 Newport Road, Cardiff, Wales, UK. CF24 -1DL




Helena Petrovna Blavatsky  (1831 – 1891)

The Founder of Modern Theosophy


Is The Desire

To Live Selfish?


H P Blavatsky


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THE passage, "to Live, to Live, TO LIVE must be the unswerving resolve," occurring in the article on the Elixir of Life, published in the March and April Numbers of Vol. III of the Theosophist, is often quoted, by superficial readers unsympathetic with the Theosophical Society, as an argument that the above teaching, of occultism is the most concentrated form of selfishness. In order to determine whether the critics are right or wrong, the meaning of the word "selfishness" must first be ascertained.


According to an established authority, selfishness is that "exclusive regard to one's own interest or happiness; that supreme self-love or self-preference which leads a person to direct his purposes to the advancement of his own interest, power, or happiness, without regarding those of others."


In short, an absolutely selfish individual is one who cares for himself and none else, or, in other words, one who is so strongly imbued with a sense of importance of his own personality that to him it is the acme of all his thoughts, desires and aspirations and beyond that all is a perfect blank. Now, can an occultist be then said to be "selfish" when he desires to live in the sense in which that word is used by the writer of the article on the Elixir of Life? It has been said over and over again that the ultimate end of every aspirant after occult knowledge is Nirvana or Mukti, when the individual, freed from all Mayavic Upadhi, becomes one with Paramatma, or the Son identifies himself with the Father in Christian phraseology. For that purpose, every veil of illusion which creates a sense of personal isolation, a feeling of separateness from THE ALL, must be torn asunder, or, in other words, the aspirant must gradually discard all sense of selfishness with which we are all more or less affected. A study of the Law of Cosmic Evolution teaches us that the higher the evolution, the more does it tend towards Unity. In fact, Unity is the ultimate possibility of Nature, and those who through vanity and selfishness go against her purposes, cannot but incur the punishment of total annihilation. The Occultist thus recognises that unselfishness and a feeling of universal philanthropy are the inherent law of our being, and all he does is to attempt to destroy the chains of selfishness forged upon us by Maya. The struggle then between Good and Evil, God and Satan, Suras and Asuras, Devas and Daityas, which is mentioned in the sacred books of all the nations and races, symbolizes the battle between unselfishness and the selfish impulses, which takes place in a man, who tries to follow the higher purposes of Nature, until the lower animal tendencies, created by selfishness, are completely conquered, and the enemy thoroughly routed and annihilated. It has also been often put forth in various theosophical and other occult writings that the only difference between an ordinary man who works along with Nature during the course of cosmic evolution and an occultist, is that the latter, by his superior knowledge, adopts such methods of training and discipline as will hurry on that process of evolution, and he thus reaches in a comparatively very short time that apex to ascend to which the ordinary individual may take perhaps billions of years. In short, in a few thousand years he approaches that form of evolution which ordinary humanity will attain to perhaps in the sixth or the seventh round during the process of Manvantara, i.e., cyclic progression. It is evident that the average man cannot become a MAHATMA in one life, or rather in one incarnation. Now those, who have studied the occult teachings concerning Devachan and our after-states, will remember that between two incarnations there is a considerable period of subjective existence. The greater the number of such Devachanic periods, the greater is the number of years over which this evolution is extended. The chief aim of the occultist is therefore to so control himself as to be able to control his future states, and thereby gradually shorten the duration of his Devachanic states between his two incarnations. In his progress, there comes a time when, between one physical death and his next re-birth, there is no Devachan but a kind of spiritual sleep, the shock of death, having, so to say, stunned him into a state of unconsciousness from which he gradually recovers to find himself reborn, to continue his purpose. The period of this sleep may vary from twenty-five to two hundred years, depending upon the degree of his advancement. But even this period may be said to be a waste of time, and hence all his exertions are directed to shorten its duration so as to gradually come to a point when the passage from one state of existence into another is almost imperceptible. This is his last incarnation, as it were, for the shock of death no more stuns him. This is the idea the writer of the article on the Elixir of Life means to convey, when he says:--


By or about the time when the Death-limit of his race is passed HE IS ACTUALLY DEAD, in the ordinary sense, that is to say, that he has relieved himself of all or nearly all such material particles as would have necessitated in disruption the agony of dying. He has been dying gradually the whole period of his Initiation. The catastrophe cannot happen twice over. He has only spread over a number of years the mild process of dissolution which others endure from a brief moment to a few hours. The highest Adept is in fact dead to, and absolutely unconscious of, the World--he is oblivious of its pleasures, careless of its miseries--in so far as sentimentalism goes, for the stern sense of DUTY never leaves him blind to its very existence. . . .

The process of the emission and attraction of atoms, which the occultist controls, has been discussed at length in that article and in other writings. It is by these means that he gets rid gradually of all the old gross particles of his body, substituting for them finer and more ethereal ones, till at last the former sthula sarira is completely dead and disintegrated and he lives in a body entirely of his own creation, suited to his work. That body is essential for his purposes, for, as the Elixir of Life says:--


But to do good, as in every thing else, a man must have time and materials to work with, and this is a necessary means to the acquirement of powers by which infinitely more good can be done than without them. When these are once mastered, the opportunities to use them will arrive. . . .

In another place, in giving the practical instructions for that purpose, the same article says:


The physical man must be rendered more ethereal and sensitive; the mental man more penetrating and profound; the moral man more self-denying and philosophical.

The above important considerations are lost sight of by those who snatch away from the context the following passage in the same article:--


And from this account too, it will be perceptible how foolish it is for people to ask the Theosophists "to procure for them communication with the highest Adepts." It is with the utmost difficulty that one or two can be induced, even by the throes of a world, to injure their own progress by meddling with mundane affairs. The ordinary reader will say--"This is not God-1ike. This is the acme of selfishness" . . . . But let him realise that a very high Adept, undertaking to reform the world, would necessarily have to once more submit to Incarnation. And is the result of all that have gone before in that line sufficiently encouraging to prompt a renewal of the attempt?

Now, in condemning the above passage as inculcating selfishness, superficial readers and thinkers lose sight of various important considerations. In the first place, they forget the other extracts already quoted which impose self-denial as a necessary condition of success, and which say that, with progress, new senses and new powers are acquired with which infinitely more good can be done than without them. The more spiritual the Adept becomes, the less can he meddle with mundane, gross affairs and the more he has to confine himself to a spiritual work. It has been repeated, time out of number, that the work on a spiritual plane is as superior to the work on an intellectual plane as the one on the latter plane is superior to that on a physical plane. The very high Adepts, therefore, do help humanity, but only spiritually: they are constitutionally incapable of meddling with worldly affairs. But this applies only to very high Adepts. There are various degrees of Adeptship, and those of each degree work for humanity on the planes to which they may have risen. It is only the chelas that can live in the world, until they rise to a certain degree. And it is because the Adepts do care for the world that they make their chelas live in and work for it, as many of those who study the subject are aware. Each cycle produces its own occultists who will be able to work for the humanity of those times on all the different planes; but when the Adepts foresee that at a particular period the then humanity will be incapable of producing occultists for work on particular planes, for such occasions they do provide by either giving up voluntarily their further progress and waiting in those particular degrees until humanity reaches that period, or by refusing to enter into Nirvana and submitting to re-incarnation in time to reach those degrees when humanity will require their assistance at that stage. And although the world may not be aware of the fact, yet there are even now certain Adepts who have preferred to remain statu quo and refuse to take the higher degrees, for the benefit of the future generations of humanity. In short, as the Adepts work harmoniously, since unity is the fundamental law of their being, they have as it were made a division of labour, according to which each works on the plane at the time allotted to him, for the spiritual elevation of us all--and the process of longevity mentioned in the Elixir of Life is only the means to the end which, far from being selfish, is the most unselfish purpose for which a human being can labour.


Theosophist, July, 1884






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H P Blavatsky’s Heavy Duty

Theosophical Glossary

Published 1892



Complete Theosophical Glossary in Plain Text Format




The Ocean of Theosophy

William Quan Judge


Preface    Theosophy and the Masters    General Principles


The Earth Chain    Body and Astral Body    Kama – Desire


Manas    Of Reincarnation    Reincarnation Continued


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Septenary Constitution Of Man


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Differentiation Of Species Missing Links


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What is Theosophy ?  Theosophy Defined (More Detail)


Three Fundamental Propositions  Key Concepts of Theosophy


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Colonel Henry Steel Olcott  William Quan Judge


The Start of the Theosophical Society


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Ocean of Theosophy

William Quan Judge


Glossaries of Theosophical Terms


Worldwide Theosophical Links




Index of Searchable

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Theosophical Works



H P Blavatsky’s Secret Doctrine


Isis Unveiled by H P Blavatsky


H P Blavatsky’s Esoteric Glossary


Mahatma Letters to A P Sinnett 1 - 25


A Modern Revival of Ancient Wisdom

Alvin Boyd Kuhn


Studies in Occultism

(Selection of Articles by H P Blavatsky)


The Conquest of Illusion

J J van der Leeuw


The Secret Doctrine – Volume 3

A compilation of H P Blavatsky’s

writings published after her death


Esoteric Christianity or the Lesser Mysteries

Annie Besant


The Ancient Wisdom

Annie Besant



Annie Besant


The Early Teachings of The Masters


Edited by

C. Jinarajadasa


Study in Consciousness

Annie Besant



A Textbook of Theosophy

C W Leadbeater


A Modern Panarion

A Collection of Fugitive Fragments

From the Pen of

H P Blavatsky


The Perfect Way or,

The Finding of Christ

Anna Bonus Kingsford

& Edward Maitland



The Perfect Way or,

The Finding of Christ

Anna Bonus Kingsford

& Edward Maitland



Pistis Sophia

A Gnostic Gospel

Foreword by G R S Mead


The Devachanic Plane.

Its Characteristics

and Inhabitants

C. W. Leadbeater



Annie Besant



Bhagavad Gita

Translated from the Sanskrit


William Quan Judge


Psychic Glossary


Sanskrit Dictionary


Fundamentals of the Esoteric Philosophy

G de Purucker


In The Outer Court

Annie Besant


Dreams and


Anna Kingsford


My Path to Atheism

Annie Besant


From the Caves and

Jungles of Hindostan

H P Blavatsky


The Hidden Side

Of Things

C W Leadbeater


Glimpses of

Masonic History

C W Leadbeater


Five Years Of


Various Theosophical


Mystical, Philosophical, Theosophical, Historical

and Scientific Essays Selected from "The Theosophist"

Edited by George Robert Stow Mead


Spiritualism and Theosophy

C W Leadbeater


Commentary on

The Voice of the Silence

Annie Besant and

C W Leadbeater

From Talks on the Path of Occultism - Vol. II


Is This Theosophy?

Ernest Egerton Wood


In The Twilight

Annie Besant

In the Twilight” Series of Articles

The In the Twilight” series appeared during

1898 in The Theosophical Review and

from 1909-1913 in The Theosophist.


Incidents in the Life

of Madame Blavatsky

compiled from information supplied by

her relatives and friends and edited by A P Sinnett


The Friendly Philosopher

Robert Crosbie

Letters and Talks on Theosophy and the Theosophical Life



Obras Teosoficas En Espanol


La Sabiduria Antigua

Annie Besant


Glosario Teosofico


H P Blavatsky



Theosophische Schriften Auf Deutsch


Die Geheimlehre


H P Blavatsky




Elementary Theosophy

An Outstanding Introduction to Theosophy

By a student of Katherine Tingley


Elementary Theosophy Who is the Man?  Body and Soul   


Body, Soul and Spirit  Reincarnation  Karma


The Seven in Man and Nature


The Meaning of Death




Theosophy Avalon

Guide to the

Theosophy Wales King Arthur Pages



Arthur draws the Sword from the Stone


King Arthur

Fact or Myth


King Arthur &

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Arthur’s Table

The Roman Amphitheatre at Caerleon,

Gwent, South Wales.


Kings Arthur’s Round Table

Eamont Bridge, Nr Penrith, Cumbria, England.


King Arthur’s Round Table

At Winchester


Isle of Avalon


The Holy Grail

A Brief Overview


The Holy Grail and

the Celtic Tradition


The Lady of the Lake


Geoffrey of Monmouth

(?- 1155)

Historia Regum Britanniae

(History of the Kings of Britain)

The reliabilty of this work has long been a subject of

debate but it is the first definitive account of Arthur’s Reign

and one which puts Arthur in a historcal context.


The Arthur Story according to

Geoffrey of Monmouth

and his version’s political agenda


Geoffrey of Monmouth

His Life & Works


King Arthur’s Family Tree

According to Geoffrey of Monmouth



Historia Brittanum

History of the Britons

800 CE

The first written mention of Arthur as a heroic figure

The British leader who fought twelve battles

against the Anglo Saxons


Where were Arthur’s Twelve

Victories against the Saxons?


King Arthur’s ninth victory at

The Battle of the City of the Legion



The Battle of Badon Hill

King Arthur ambushes an advancing Saxon

army then defeats them at Liddington Castle,

Badbury, Near Swindon, Wiltshire, England.

King Arthur’s twelfth and last victory against the Saxons


The Battle of Camlann

Traditionally Arthur’s last battle in which he was

mortally wounded although his side went on to win



The 6th century Welsh bard

No contemporary writings or accounts of his life

but he is placed 50 to 100 years after the accepted

King Arthur period. He refers to Arthur in his inspiring

poems but the earliest written record of these dates

from over three hundred years after Taliesin’s death.


The Elegy of Uther Pendragon

From the Book of Taliesin


Pendragon Castle

Mallerstang Valley, Nr Kirkby Stephen,

Cumbria, England.

A 12th Century Norman ruin on the site of what is

reputed to have been a stronghold of Uther Pendragon



His origins and development

over centuries

From wise child with no earthly father to

Megastar of Arthurian Legend


The Prophecy of Merlin

From Geoffrey of Monmouth’s

History of the Kings of Britain


Merlin’s Vision

on Pendle Hill

Near Burnley Lancashire



Drawn from the Stone or received from the Lady of the Lake.

Sir Thomas Malory’s Le Morte d’Arthur has both versions

with both swords called Excalibur. Other versions

have two different swords.


Chronology of Britain

in the 5th Century CE


Celtic Kingdoms Prior to the

Anglo – Saxon invasion


The Saxon Invasion of Britain


Where did the 

Angles, Saxons & Jutes

Come from?


5th & 6th Century Timeline of Britain

From the departure of the Romans from

Britain to the establishment of sizeable

Anglo-Saxon Kingdoms

Glossary of

Arthurian Legend



Arthur’s uncle:- The puppet ruler of the Britons

controlled and eventually killed by Vortigern

Circa 440 -445CE


Hengist & Horsa


The Massacre of Amesbury

Amesbury, Wiltshire, England. Circa 450CE

An alleged massacre of Celtic Nobility by the Saxons

at a “Peace” conference


Caer-Anderida (Pevensey)

Falls to the Saxons 491 CE


King Arthur is Crowned

at Silchester

From Geoffrey of Monmouth’s

History of the Kings of Britain


King Arthwys of the Pennines

Born Circa 455 CE

Ruled the Kingdom of Ebrauc

(North Yorkshire)


Athrwys / Arthrwys
King of Ergyng

Circa  618 - 655 CE
Latin: Artorius; English: Arthur

A warrior King born in Gwent and associated with

Caerleon, a possible Camelot. Although over 100 years

later that the accepted Arthur period, the exploits of

Athrwys may have contributed to the King Arthur Legend.

He became King of Ergyng, a kingdom between

Gwent and Brycheiniog (Brecon)


King Morgan Bulc of Bernaccia

Angles under Ida seized the Celtic Kingdom of

Bernaccia in North East England in 547 CE forcing

King Morgan Bulc into exile.

Although much later than the accepted King Arthur

period, the events of Morgan Bulc’s 50 year campaign

to regain his kingdom may have contributed to

the King Arthur Legend.




Old Welsh: Guorthigirn; Anglo-Saxon: Wyrtgeorn;

Breton: Gurthiern; Modern Welsh; Gwrtheyrn;

Latin; Vertigernus:


An earlier ruler than King Arthur and not a heroic figure.

He is credited with policies that weakened Celtic Britain

to a point from which it never recovered.

Although there are no contemporary accounts of

his rule, there is more written evidence for his

existence than of King Arthur.


How Sir Lancelot slew two giants,

And made a castle free.

From Sir Thomas Malory’s Le Morte d’Arthur

Published 1485


How Sir Lancelot rode disguised

in Sir Kay's harness, and how he

smote down a knight.

From Sir Thomas Malory’s Le Morte d’Arthur

Published 1485


How Sir Lancelot jousted against

four knights of the Round Table,

and overthrew them.

From Sir Thomas Malory’s Le Morte d’Arthur

Published 1485


The Passing of Arthur

Alfred, Lord Tennyson





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