Copyright © 1997 by Theosophical University Press. All rights reserved.
THEOSOPHICAL SOCIETY PASADENA - US
A Mahatma endowed with power over space, time, mind, and matter, is a possibility just because he is a perfected man. Every human being has the germ of all the powers attributed to these great Initiates, the difference lying solely in the fact that we have in general not developed what we possess the germ of, while the Mahatma has gone through the training and experience which have caused all the unseen human powers to develop in him, and conferred gifts that look god-like to his struggling brother below. — W. Q. JUDGE: The Ocean of Theosophy, pp. 11-12
Two things are involved in the development of spiritual powers. First, we must understand ourselves, then comprehend the universe of which we are a part. It is the same with any student. He who would research in a scientific laboratory must begin by learning the theory and then how to use the equipment with which to conduct experiments.
No door opens without the right key. The knowledge of our own constitution, of our own capacities and powers, is the key which will unlock the door to the inner worlds of being lying within and behind and beyond the physical world. Here is the meaning of the expression "self-directed evolution." The world lags in its evolution, suffering and confusion prevail, because for so long we have been taught to look outside ourselves for strength and spiritual wisdom. Religion tells us to rely on a vague and distant God, while science offers the barren idea of a ruthless nature as the great evolutionary force.
But theosophy says: know thyself, for within lie all the wisdom and potencies of the universe. The urge to evolution through self-expression and experience does not come from blind physical nature. It comes from our own higher spiritual self, so only within ourselves can we find the knowledge and the power to achieve the aims of evolution. Without our own vision, willpower, and courage we could never get anywhere. A child can be helped and guided by parents and teachers. But only it can make itself walk, eat, study, or use its physical and mental faculties.
So one of the passwords of theosophy is self-directed evolution, which puts into our own hands the science of self-knowledge. It teaches what the seven basic elements of our constitution are, giving us the spiritual laws by which we can understand, control, and direct these elements. Only we ourselves can apply this knowledge in our daily lives to bring about a higher and quicker evolution of our own natures. Therefore the student no longer looks outside of himself for the strength to accomplish this, but becomes his own savior, powerful enough at last to make of himself a god in human form. Did not Jesus say: "Know ye not that ye are gods?"; "Greater things than these shall ye do"; and "the kingdom of God is within you" — thus pointing the way to the spiritual basis of self-directed evolution?
It is this kind of self-directed evolution that a mahatma has been practicing for many lives on earth. When we too grasp its importance and start to apply it practically to ourselves, we shall be putting our feet on the path that leads to the goal of human evolution, mahatmaship.
Some of the highest forms of mahatmic powers exist even now in all of us. There is the creative imagination, the power to visualize what we want or need or wish to do, and then give it mental form and direction. Successful business people inevitably possess this power, as do artists and scientists. All are highly gifted with creative imagination, yet everyone has it in some degree, and it can be developed in ourselves. Katherine Tingley wrote:
Visualize! Visualize! You touch a mystic law when you create in imagination the picture of mighty things, for you open a door to new powers within yourself. . . . If you aspire, visualize your aspirations. Make a mind-picture of your spiritual ideals, a picture of the spiritual life as you know it to be, and carry that picture with you day by day. — Theosophy: The Path of the Mystic, p. 49
Copyright © 1997 by Theosophical University Press. All rights reserved