The Compass


The ordinary man has for his horizon his street; his insight is surface- deep and the points of his magnetic compass draw him to his appetites. He lives in his sense-created state, which looks to him like a real world but which is not any of the seven Worlds of Rest Eternal. His mind made subservient to his senses, and his senses to his appetites, he goes from death to death. The man who has begun to live, who recognizes that life being probationary, afflictions are opportunities, looks beyond his street. Modern education does give him some breadth of vision, but not the depth, and therefore the gap between his knowledge and his practice, between his mental and his moral life, between his sacred beliefs and his secular deeds. Theosophy educates the human mind to gain depth, to see below the surface, to penetrate into the very kernel of form. When the horizon of the student is broadened, when the insight of the practitioner has deepened, and therefore he has begun to live, he must secure the magnetic compass of the higher life.

In navigation, by means of the magnetic compass the directive force of Earth, the great magnet, upon a freely-suspended needle is used and it is indispensable. Equally indispensable, nay more so, is the corresponding instrument to navigate the ocean of Samsara.* The depth of insight develops Viveka — discrimination, and for the learning soul, that aspect of it which enables him to select ideas and aphorisms which, under Karma and for his particular stage, are necessary. The points of his magnetic compass show him the way to Sat — Truth. It is for the human mind to maintain the breadth and the depth gained by not allowing desires and fancies to exert their power of suggestion and to draw him away to Maya’s realm.** This has to be achieved by the mind blending itself with the Soul.

*Samsara — recurring cycles of embodied existences
**Maya – illusion


The Theosophical Movement, September 1940

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