“There are several ways of acquiring knowledge:
(a) by accepting blindly the dicta of the church or modern science;
(b) by rejecting both and starting to find the truth for oneself.
The first method is easy and leads to social respectability and the praise of men; the other is difficult and requires more than ordinary devotion to truth, a disregard for direct personal benefits and an unwavering perseverance. Thus it was in the days of old and so it is now, except perhaps, that such devotion to truth has been more rare in our own day than it was of yore. Indeed, the modern Eastern student’s unwillingness to think for himself is now as great as Western exactions and criticism of other people’ s thoughts.
He demands and expects that his “Path” shall be engineered with all the selfish craft of modern comfort, macadamized, laid out with swift railways and telegraphs, and even telescopes, through which he may, while sitting at his ease, survey the works of other people; and while criticising them, look out for the easiest, in order to play at the Occultist and Amateur Student of Theosophy. The real “Path” to esoteric knowledge is very different. Its entrance is overgrown with the brambles of neglect, the travesties of truth during long ages block the way, and it is obscured by the proud contempt of self-sufficiency and with every verity distorted out of all focus. To push over the threshold alone, demands an incessant, often unrequited labour of years, and once on the other side of the entrance, the weary pilgrim has to toil up on foot, for the narrow way leads to forbidding mountain heights, unmeasured and unknown, save to those who have reached the cloud-capped summit before. Thus must he mount, step by step, having to conquer every inch of ground before him by his own exertions; moving onward, guided by strange landmarks the nature of which he can ascertain only by deciphering the weather-beaten, half-defaced inscriptions as he treads along, for woe to him, if, instead of studying them, he sits by coolly pronouncing them “indecipherable.” The “Doctrine of the Eye” is māyā; that of the “Heart” alone, can make of him an elect.
Is it to be wondered that so few reach the goal, that so many are called, but so few are chosen? Is not the reason for this explained in three lines on page 27 of The Voice of the Silence?
These say that while
The first repeat in pride: “Behold, I know,” the last, they who in humbleness have garnered, low confess, “thus have I heard”;
— and hence, become the only “chosen.”
— Helena P. Blavatsky, Lucifer, Vol. VI, No. 34, June 1890, pg. 333.