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“He Who Would Lift Up High the Banner of Mysticism”

The solitary ascetic, H.P. Blavatsky implores is the embodiment of cowardice and egotism, alluding to Hatha-Yogis and Chrisitan mortification practice. She further explains that “a hermit who flees from his brothers instead of helping them to carry the burden of life, to work for others, and to put their shoulders to the wheel of social life, is a coward who hides himself when the battle is on, and goes to sleep drunk on an opiate.” In relation to this, K.H. addresses A.P. Sinnett, a Theosophist in a letter from Kashmir, regarding his motives in furthering communication with the Adepts for instruction in the study of the occult mysteries. This urgency and sense of of the mission being of vital importance is similarly expressed in another letter (Mahatma Papers MS. about the Truth and Mission of Modern Theosophists).

“The mysteries never were, never can be, put within the reach of the general public, not, at least, until that longed for day when our religious philosophy becomes universal. At no time have more than a scarcely appreciable minority of men possessed nature’s secret, though multitudes have witnessed the practical evidences of the possibility of their possession. The adept is the rare efflorescence of a generation of enquirers. (…) He who would lift up high the banner of mysticism and proclaim its reign near at hand, must give the example to others. He must be the first to change his modes of life; and, regarding the study of the occult mysteries as the upper step in the ladder of Knowledge must loudly proclaim it such despite exact science and the opposition of society. “The Kingdom of Heaven is obtained by force” say the Christian mystics. It is but with armed hand, and ready to either conquer or perish that the modern mystic can hope to achieve his object.” (K.H., The Mahatma Letters to A.P. Sinnett, Simla, October 19th, 1880)

Richard King on the Subjective Escapism of Modern Mysticism

“The privatisation of mysticism – that is, the increasing tendency to locate the mystical in the psychological realm of personal experiences – serves to exclude it from political issues as social justice. Mysticism thus becomes seen as a personal matter of cultivating inner states of tranquility and equanimity, which, rather than seeking to transform the world, serve to accommodate the individual to the status quo through the alleviation of anxiety and stress.”

Richard King. 2002. Orientalism and Religion: Post-Colonial Theory, India and “The Mystic East”

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