Theosophical literature, from the outset of the great movement it inaugurated, has been largely concerned with previously unknown laws governing the origin and destinies of humanity, the birth and progres of worlds, the coherent design of the Solar System and, in short, with the interpretation, in the light of knowledge till recently reserved for a very few, of the stupendous Divine purpose underlying physical manifestation. My own earlier books, The Occult World and Esoteric Buddhism, forecast rather than embodied teaching along such lines, revealing the existence of those whom I called "the Elder Brethren of Humanity," who had risen above the level of generally current civilization, and thus had touch with the wisdom of the Divine Hierarchy. An experiment was in progress to ascertain if ordinary culture had attained a stage at which it would appreciate a flood of new thought relating to a science loftier than any dealing exclusively with phenomena perceptible to the physical senses, and in connection with that experiment I was privileged to receive a considerable volume of information relating to the early history of mankind millions of years antedating the range of historical record; also to the concatenation of worlds and the ultimate destinies of our own.
Though crude and incomplete, this preliminary sketch of occult science and of the agency through which, though unknown to the multitude, the purpose of creation was being worked out on the physical plane, thrilled the readers of the message all over the civilized world to an ex-tent which gave rise to an organization, the Theosophical Society, which now covers Great Britain, Europe generally, and the United States of America with innumerable branches. Fresh teaching, and information relating to the great subjects enumerated above has meanwhile been flowing into my hands, and much has been embodied in my book, The Growth of the Soul; also, since the publication of that book, in a large number of articles in reviews, pamphlets, and "Transactions" of the London Lodge of the Theosophical Society over which I preside. The present volume collects these scattered contributions to our super-physical knowledge, still growing and expanding in its scope and value. At some later date the fundamental principles laid down in the earlier books, the illuminating interpretation of these in the essays now reproduced and further light on mysteries previously obscure, may constitute something resembling a complete spiritual science. But students need not wait for this result before assimilating the knowledge already acquired. During this life we are each of us "imprisoned in the five senses," and, though thought reaches out far beyond them, its range is limited by the capacity of the physical brain. In time that capacity will expand. Ideas easily grasped by the man of modern culture are beyond the comprehension of the say- age. The improved intellectual mechanism of future generations will no doubt deal freely with conceptions which present culture cannot appreciate. Spiritual science, how-ever, is an infinitude, and no attempt to interpret it in physical plane language will ever be more than suggestive and alluring.
But it is equally true that human faculty on this plane of life will develop as time goes on under the influence of effort to expand its range. Unconsciously in most cases students of the spiritual science within our reach will do more than profit by understanding it so far. They will have established a claim on Nature for improved vehicles of consciousness in later lives, and will have contributed to raise the level of human understanding. I am sure the experience of many theosophists will show that within the limits of the current life ideas can now be easily handled in thought, which could not have been held in the mind during earlier periods of study. These may still defeat the resources of physical plane speech, but they forecast intellectual conditions that will ultimately out-run those resources. That state of things should be a stimulus to theosophical study in whatever direction it may tend, and few of the essays in this volume will be found destitute of hints that will attract thought into some new channel of spiritual, or, at least, of super-physical enlightenment.
**Contents and Sample Pages**
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