Helena Petrovna von Hahn, more popularly known as Madame Blavatsky or H.P.B., came from a noble family in Ukraine.

Her father, Peter von Hahn was a descendant of German nobility; while her mother, Helena Andreyevna Hahn, came from one of the oldest families of Russian nobility and was also a celebrated novelist. As a child she would often have visions and displayed clairvoyance as well as other metaphysical phenomena.

Years later, she traveled through Europe and the Middle East studying under various teachers and Sufi saints. She met her teacher, an Indian yogi named Master Morya, in London who later directed her to go to New York in the United States. Once there, she founded the Theosophical Society. In 1885, she started to write “The Secret Doctrine” which was finally published three years later in 1888. “The Secret Doctrine” has been acknowledged by many as one of the most remarkable books in the world.

It is considered to be the Bible of Theosophy, a sourcebook of the esoteric tradition that outlines the fundamental tenets of the secret doctrine of the past ages. Published as two volumes during her lifetime – “The Cosmogenesis” and “Anthropogenesis” - “The Secret Doctrine” explains the origin and evolution of the universe and of humanity through an account of "Root Races" dating back millions of years. Although the writer of “The Secret Doctrine,” Madame Blavatsky often expressed that she was only the compiler of ancient wisdom that was passed on to her. The true authors of the work were her teachers, the Mahatmas, or Great Souls, who were the guardians of the Secret Wisdom of the ages. Today on Between Master and Disciples, we invite you to listen to excerpts of Madame Blavatksy’s book, “Gems from the East: A Birthday Book of Precepts and Axioms.”

We thank you for your kind presence for today’s episode of Between Master and Disciples. Join us again next Thursday for part 2 of excerpts from Madame Blavatsky’s book, “Gems from the East: A Birthday Book of Precepts and Axioms.” Now, please stay tuned to Supreme Master Television for Animal World: Our Co-Inhabitants, coming up next right after Noteworthy News. May Providence guide you in wisdom and love.

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GEMS FROM THE EAST A Birthday Book of Precepts and Axioms

JANUARY "Uttishat! – Rise! Awake! Seek the great Teachers, and attend! The road Is narrow as a knife-edge! Hard to tread!" "But whoso once perceiveth Him that IS; -- Without a name, Unseen, Impalpable, Bodiless, Undiminished, Unenlarged, To senses undeclared, without an end, Without beginning, Timeless, Higher than height, Deeper than depth! Lo! Such an one is saved! Death hath not power upon him!" – The Secret of Death (from The Katha Upanishad) The first duty taught in Theosophy, is to do one's duty unflinchingly by every duty. The heart which follows the rambling senses leads away his judgment as the wind leads a boat astray upon the waters.

He who casts off all desires, living free from attachments, and free from egoism, obtains bliss. To every man that is born, an axe is born in his mouth, by which the fool cuts himself, when speaking bad language. As all earthen vessels made by the potter end in being broken, so is the life of mortals. Wise men are light-bringers. A just life, a religious life, this is the best gem. Having tasted the sweetness of illusion and tranquility, one becomes free from fear, and free from sin, drinking in the sweetness of Dhamma (law). False friendship is like a parasitic plant, it kills the tree it embraces. Cut out the love of self, like an autumn lotus, with thy hand! Cherish the road of peace.

As the bee collects nectar, and departs without injuring the flower, or its color or scent, so let a Sage dwell in his village. As rain does not break through a well-thatched house, passion will not break through a well-reflecting mind. He who hath too many friends, hath as many candidates for enemies. That man alone is wise, who keeps the mastery of himself. Seek refuge in thy soul; have there thy Heaven! Scorn them that follow virtue for her gifts! All our dignity consists in thought, therefore let us contrive to think well; for that is the principle of morals. Flattery is a false coin which circulates only because of our vanity. Narrowness of mind causes stubbornness; we do not easily believe what is beyond that which we see. The soul ripens in tears. This is truth the poet sings – That a sorrow's crown of sorrows Is remembering happier things. Musk is musk because of its own fragrance, and not from being called a perfume by the druggist. Not everyone ready for a dispute is as quick in transacting business. It is not every graceful form that contains as graceful a disposition. If every pebble became a priceless ruby, then pebble and ruby would become equal in value.

Every man thinks his own wisdom faultless, and every mother her own child beautiful. If wisdom were to vanish suddenly from the universe, no one yet would suspect himself a fool. A narrow stomach may be filled to its satisfaction, but a narrow mind will never be satisfied, not even with all the riches of the world. He who neglects his duty to his conscience, will neglect to pay his debt to his neighbor. Mite added to mite becomes a great heap; the heap in the barn consists of small grains. He who tasteth not thy bread during thy lifetime, will not mention thy name when thou art dead.

FEBRUARY "Behold, we know not anything; I can but trust that good shall fall At last – far off – at last, to all, And every winter change to spring. "So runs my dream: but what am I? An infant crying in the night: An infant crying for the light: And with no language but a cry." – Tennyson (In Memoriam) Two things are impossible in this world of Maya: to enjoy more than Karma (retribution) hath allotted; to die before one's hour hath struck. A student without inclination for work is like a squirrel on its wheel; he makes no progress. A traveler without observation is a bird without wings. A learned man without pupils, is a tree which bears no fruit; a devotee without good works, is a dwelling without a door. When Fate overtakes us, the eye of Wisdom becomes blind.

Keep thine eyes open, or Fate will open them for thee. He who kisses the hand he cannot cut off, will have his head cut off by the hand he now kisses in the next rebirth. He who keeps to his business, he who loves his companions, he who does his duty, will never be poor. A thousand regrets will not pay thy debts. Fallen flowers do not return to their stems, nor departed friends to their houses. To feel one's ignorance is to be wise; to feel sure of one's wisdom is to be a fool. One proof is better than ten arguments. Rain in the morn brings the sun after noon. He who weeps today, may laugh tomorrow. The soothsayer for evil never knows his own fate. Like oil, truth often floats on the surface of the lie. Like clear water, truth often underlies the seeming falsehood.

Every tree hath its shadow, every sorrow its joy. The fields are damaged by weeds, mankind by passion. Blessed are the patient, and the passionless. The virtuous man who is happy in this life, is sure to be still happier in his next. What ought to be done is neglected, what ought not to be done is done. The sins of the unruly are ever increasing.

Let every man first become himself that which he teaches others to be. He who hath subdued himself, may hope to subdue others. One's own self is the most difficult to master. Hatred is never quenched by hatred; hatred ceases by showing love; this is an old rule. The path of virtue lies in the renunciation of the seven great sins. The best possession of the man of clay is health; the highest virtue of the man of spirit is truthfulness. Man walks on, and Karma (retribution) follows him along with his shadow. Daily practical wisdom consists of four things: To know the root of Truth, the branches of Truth, the limit of Truth, and the opposite of Truth.

MARCH "Say not 'I am,' 'I was,' or 'I shall be,' Think not ye pass from house to house of flesh Like travelers who remember and forget, Ill-lodged or well-lodged. Fresh Issues upon the universe that sum Which is the lattermost of lives. It makes Its habitation as the worm spins silk And dwells therein." – Light of Asia, Book 8 Four things increase by use: Health, wealth, perseverance, and credulity. To enjoy the day of plenty, you must be patient in the day of want. Expel avarice from your heart, so shall you loosen the chains from off your neck. Let a man overcome anger by love, evil by good, greediness by liberality, lie by truth. Do not speak harshly to anybody; those who are so spoken to will answer thee in the same way.

This life is in the world of work and retributive justice; the life that follows is in the world of great reward. Excuse is better than disputation; delay is better than rashness; unwillingness of strife is better than eagerness in seeking it. Cut down the whole forest of lust, not the tree. When thou hast cut down every tree and every shrub, then thou wilt be free. The avaricious go not to the world of the gods (Devas), for the fool commands no charity. He who holds back rising anger like a rolling chariot, is called a real driver; other people are but holders of the reins. The fool who is angered, and who thinks to triumph by using abusive language, is always vanquished by him whose words are patient. The best of medicines is death; the worst of diseases is vain anticipation.

An easy temper is a good counselor, and a pleasant tongue is an excellent leader. A good word in time is better than a sweet pie after meals. Foolish pride is an incurable malady; a bad wife is a chronic disease; and a wrathful disposition is a lifelong burden. Truth is brighter than the sun; truth is the sunny day of Reason, and falsehood the mind's dark night. All has an end, and will away. Truth alone is immortal, and lives forever. The light of all flesh is the sun; the light of the soul – truth everlasting. The road to sin is a wide highway; the way out of it, a steep and rugged hill. The fault of others is easily perceived, but that of oneself is difficult to perceive. Good people shine from afar like the snowy mountains; bad people are not seen, like arrows shot at night. Where two women meet, there a market springs; where three congregate, a bazaar is opened; and where seven talk, there begins a fair.

Extensive knowledge and science, well-regulated discipline and well-spoken speech, this is the greatest blessing. The subtle self is to be known by thought alone; for every thought of men is interwoven with the senses, and when thought is purified, then the self arises. Lead me from the unreal to the real! Lead me from darkness to light! Lead me from death to immortality! The Sage who knows Brahman moves on; on the small, old path that stretches far away, rests in the heavenly place, and thence moves higher on. Neither by the eyes, nor by spirit, nor by the sensuous organs, nor by austerity, nor by sacrifices, can we see Brahma. Only the pure, by the light of wisdom and meditation, can see the pure Deity.

By perfection in study and meditation the Supreme Spirit becomes manifest; study is one eye to behold it, and meditation is the other. Alas! We reap what seed we sow; the hands that smite us are our own. Thoughts alone cause the round of rebirths in this world; let a man strive to purify his thoughts, what a man thinks, that he is: this is the old secret. "My sons are mine; this wealth is mine": with such thoughts is a fool tormented. He himself does not belong to himself, much less sons and wealth.
APRIL "The untouched soul, Greater than all the worlds (because the worlds By it subsist); smaller than subtleties Of things minutest; last of ultimates; Sits in the hollow heart of all that lives! Whoso hath laid aside desire and fear, His senses mastered, and his spirit still, Sees in the quiet light of verity Eternal, safe, majestical – HIS SOUL!" – The Secret of Death (from The Katha Upanishad) He who leaves the society of fools, cleaves unto the wise. The self is hidden in all beings, and does not shine forth; but it is seen by subtle seers, through their sharp and subtle intellect.

Patience leads to power; but eagerness in greed leads to loss. Three things make a poor man rich: courtesy, consideration for others, and the avoidance of suspicion. When trust is gone, misfortune comes in; when confidence is dead, revenge is born; and when treachery appears, all blessings fly away. The world exists by cause; all things exist by cause; and beings are bound by cause, even as the rolling cart-wheel by the pin of an axle-tree. The living soul is not woman, nor man, nor neuter; whatever body it takes, with that it is joined only.

He who wishes to reach Buddhahood, and aspires to the knowledge of the Self-born, must honor those who keep this doctrine. As the spider moving upward by his thread gains free space, thus also he who undertakes moving upward by the known word OM, gains independence. The wheel of sacrifice has Love for its nave, Action for its tire, and Brotherhood for its spokes. Man consists of desires. And as is his desire, so is his will; and as is his will, so is his deed; and whatever deed he does, that he will reap. A stone becomes a plant; a plant a beast; the beast a man; a man a Spirit; and the Spirit – GOD. There exists no spot on the earth, or in the sky, or in the sea, neither is there any in the mountain-clefts, where an evil deed does not bring trouble to the doer.

Whoever, not being a sanctified person, pretends to be a Saint, he is indeed the lowest of all men, the thief in all worlds, including that of Brahma. If a man consorting with me (Buddha) does not conform his life to my commandments, what benefit will ten thousand precepts be to him? He who smites will be smitten; he who shows rancor will find rancor; so, from reviling cometh reviling, and to him who is angered comes anger. "He abused me, he reviled me, he beat me, he subdued me"; he who keeps this in mind, and who feels resentment, will find no peace. Like a beautiful flower, full of color, but without scent, are the fine but fruitless words of him who does not act accordingly.

When your mind shall have crossed beyond the taint of delusion, then will you become indifferent to all that you have heard or will hear. The wise guard the home of nature's order; they assume excellent forms in secret. If thou losest all, and gettest wisdom by it, thy loss is thy gain. Empty thy mind of evil, but fill it with good. Great works need no great strength, but perseverance. Sleep is but birth into the land of Memory; birth but a sleep in the oblivion of the Past. To forgive without forgetting, is again to reproach the wrongdoer every time the act comes back to us.

Every man contains within himself the potentiality of immortality, equilibrated by the power of choice. He who lives in one color of the rainbow is blind to the rest. Live in the light diffused through the entire arc, and you will know it all. Every time the believer pronounces the word OM, he renews the allegiance to the divine potentiality enshrined within the Soul. People talk of the Devil. Every man has seen him; he is in every sinful heart. The Higher Self knows that highest home of Brahman, which contains all and shines so bright. The wise who without desiring happiness worship that SELF, are not born again.

MAY I'm weary of conjectures – this must end 'em. Thus am I doubly armed: my death and life, My bane and antidote, are both before me: This in a moment brings me to an end; But this informs me I shall never die. The Soul, secured in her existence, smiles At the drawn dagger, and defies its point. The stars shall fade away, the sun himself Grow dim with age, and nature sink in years; But thou shalt flourish in immortal youth, Unhurt amidst the war of elements, The wrecks of matter, and the crush of worlds. – Addison The eternal Spirit is everywhere.

It stands encompassing the whole world. He who feeds the hungry before he has assuaged his own hunger, prepares for himself eternal food. He who renounces that food for the sake of a weaker brother is – a god. The altar on which the sacrifice is offered is Man; the fuel is speech itself, the smoke the breath, the light the tongue, the coals the eye, the sparks the ear. One moment in eternity is as important as another moment, for eternity changeth not, neither is one part better than another part. Better it would be that a man should eat a lump of flaming iron than that one should break his vows. Even a good man sees evil days, as long as his good deeds have not ripened; but when they have ripened, then does the good man see happy days.

By oneself the evil is done, by oneself one suffers; by oneself the evil is left undone, by oneself one is purified. Purity and impurity belong to oneself; no one can purify another. Self is the lord of Self: who else could be the lord! With self well subdued, a man finds a master such as few can find. If one man conquer in battle a thousand times a thousand men, and if another conquer himself, he is the greater of the two conquerors. Who is the great man? He who is strongest in patience. He who patiently endures injury, and maintains a blameless life – he is a man indeed! If thou hast done evil deeds, or if thou wouldst do them, thou mayest arise and run where'er thou wilt, but thou canst not free thyself of thy suffering.

There is a road that leads to Wealth; there is another road that leads to Nirvana (the highest paradise). An evil deed does not turn on a sudden; it is like fire smoldering in the ashes, which burns the fool. An evil deed kills not instantly, as does a sword, but it follows the evil-doer into his next and still next rebirth. The calumniator is like one who flings dirt at another when the wind is contrary, the dirt does but return on him who threw it. The virtuous man cannot be hurt, the misery that his enemy would inflict comes back on himself.

If a man understands the self saying "I am He," what could he wish or desire that he should pine after the body? That word which all the Vedas record, which all penances proclaim, which men desire when they live as religious disciples, that word I tell thee briefly, it is OM. As a person having seen one in a dream, recognizes him afterwards; so does one who has achieved proper concentration of mind perceive the SELF. It is better to do one's own duty, even though imperfectly, than to perform another's duty well. The wise who knows the Self as bodiless within the bodies, as unchanging among changing things, as great and omnipresent, does never grieve. The path of virtue lies in the renunciation of arrogance and pride.

He who wrongs another unjustly will regret it, though men may applaud him; but he who is wronged is safe from regret, though the world may blame him. There is more courage in facing the world with undisguised truth, than in descending into a wild beast's den. True clemency is in foregoing revenge, when it is in one's power; true patience is in bearing up against disappointments. The happy man must prepare ere the evil day comes; and when it does, let the thought that every good and great man has been made to suffer at some time console him. Wealth in the hands of one who thinks not of helping mankind with it, is sure to turn one day into dry leaves. Like as the night follows the day, so misfortune is the shadow of joy; Karma (retribution) bestowing her lots with both hands.