Why the Perception of Inner
Duty is a Major Source of Inspiration
Carlos Cardoso Aveline
While studying esoteric philosophy, the researcher comes to know this little principle:
“There can be no real knowledge of the laws of life, unless one is aware of its corresponding duties and fulfils them to the best of his ability.”
To each degree of verbal knowledge there is a corresponding level of ethical obligation. This is the key that opens the karmic door to higher levels of understanding.
The price to pay for an individual disconnection between intellectual knowledge and ethical duty depends on the circumstances. One of its possible results is the transformation of students and scholars in philosophical parrots. From a collective point of view, an entire civilization, from the moment it becomes based on hypocrisy, does not deserve to last any longer.
In more than one sense, the study of theosophy is akin to the study of Law. Theosophists do not mainly try to understand the socially created or formal Law. The challenge is to study above all the Natural Law as it is “written” in human consciousness. The pilgrim must observe the laws of life as they regulate Evolution. Theosophy is the natural law itself. It is the Dharma of Nature.
Life invites us to work in harmony with our inner nature. Having respect for the laws of one’s country makes it easier for us to follow the laws and rules that are recorded in a non-verbal way in our own heart. Russian philosopher Ivan Il’in writes:
“Law in its original, ‘natural’ sense is nothing other than a necessary form of the spiritual being of a human.”
And he adds:
“Natural law as a necessary form of spiritual being is the most precious possession of humanity. Outside of this form there is no path either to wisdom, to virtue, to Divinity, or to the ultimate and highest satisfactions of spirit. Every diminution of natural law degrades human worth; each violation of it is spiritually contrary to nature. Therefore it is essential to guard and to uphold it against those who violate it and don’t recognize it; it is essential to protect it, affirming it through collective, organized recognition, proclamation and realization.” [1]
The word “law” is closely associated to the concepts of “Dharma”, divine potentiality, wisdom, duty and ethics. In order to understand the trajectory of human destiny, one must examine the way people look at the ideas of law and duty.
While pseudo-esotericism suffers from wishful thinking and imagines a world free from every challenge, real theosophy studies the Universal Law. The truth-seeker has no dreams about a better world that emerges of its own. He works instead to create the karmic conditions necessary for a more correct world. He possesses a first-hand knowledge of the fact that the whole Nature pulsates every minute according to Eternal law. The pilgrim who possesses common sense expands his sense of unity with the Law. He knows he is not powerless. He gradually finds out and develops that special power that makes him appear as nothing in the eyes of others. [2]
Renouncing personal power is necessary for theosophists to understand and partake of the power of the One Law. And such strength is present in every aspect of daily life. The renunciation to the world of selfishness is inner and not outward. A theosophist does not give up action or responsibility: he renounces personal gain. He sees himself as a passing visitor to the physical aspect of life. His power is greater than the power of visible leaders or heads of state. A Master of the Wisdom wrote:  
“Nature is destitute of goodness or malice; she follows only immutable laws when she either gives life and joy, or sends suffering [and] death, and destroys what she has created. Nature has an antidote for every poison and her laws a reward for every suffering. The butterfly devoured by a bird becomes that bird, and the little bird killed by an animal goes into a higher form. It is the blind law of necessity and the eternal fitness of things, and hence cannot be called Evil in Nature.” [3]
In the same document, the Teacher defines Parabrahm as “absolute immutable law”. [4]
Natural Law is the Law of Justice. The “essential nature” (to use a Taoist term) of every human soul is in direct unity with the universal law. Harmony with natural law is the source of strength and legitimacy for human legislation. Inner law is above appearances. According to the Mahatmas of the Himalayas, “an honest boot-black [is] as good as an honest king, and an immoral sweeper far higher and more excusable than an immoral Emperor”.[5]
Consciousness of the omnipresent law inspires a correct life and leads individuals to right action at every level of existence. Thanks to it they walk along the road from powerlessness to real power, and choose to be consciously self-responsible before life.
China and Greece
In ancient religion, science and philosophy, the search of the sacred was inseparable from the concept of Law. And that included both Eastern and Western nations. 
For centuries now, political theocracy has led to tyranny, corruption and violence. On the other hand, the inner substance and higher inspiration of human law flows from a radically democratic fact: that every human being can observe the presence of law and order in the universe around him, as well as in his own soul.
Social order results from peace of mind and heart. Collective disharmony emerges from conflicting desires in human souls. Confused minds and insincerity result from organized ignorance. Complicated laws are made as soon as truthfulness and trustworthiness become scarce.  The classic Chinese Taoist scripture “Wen-tzu” says:
“When laws are intricate and punishments severe, then the people become devious. When those above have many interests, those below do a lot of posturing. When much is sought, little is gained. When prohibitions are many, little gets done.” [6]
And in ancient Greece, Heraclitus, the philosopher, taught:
“Those who speak with sense rely on what is universal, as a city must rely on its law, and with much greater reliance. For all human laws are nourished by one divine law; for it has as much power as it wishes and is sufficient for all with more left over.”
According to Richard Geldard, “in this fragment human laws refer to those laws (nomoi) derived from the Logos, which in turn reflect wisdom in the expressive human soul.” [7]
The Logos relates to the Sun.
Cosmic divinities manifest as Law and as laws, and one’s consciousness and understanding of Law is more important than devotional acts and feelings regarding this or that deity. To search for personal teachers who would protect us from the results of our own mistakes is part of human delusion. By observing the laws of life we come to know how to act in correct ways and deliver ourselves from spiritual ignorance. Then a devotion is felt that does not renders our soul blind.  Free from attachment to appearance, higher forms of devotion are felt for Truth itself, for Life, and for the sources of Wisdom.
The Mahatma Letters
The vast universe and every individual life are never the children of mere chance. All that exists is ruled by the One Law.
While the omnipresent rule works as if it were many different “Laws”, it includes, inspires and transcends them. They are partial aspects of it.  One of the Teachers who inspire the theosophical effort wrote:
“Immutable laws cannot arise, since they are eternal and uncreated, propelled in the Eternity and (…) God himself if such a thing existed, could never have the power of stopping them. (…) We recognise but one law in the Universe, the law of harmony, of perfect EQUILIBRIUM.”[8]
In theosophy, there is no personal God from whom to ask favors. One must deserve, before desiring. Only fake Masters and their disciples can pretend that spirituality liberates one from the rule of Law. Blind teachers look for blind followers by posing as saviours. True masters prefer unmasking “spiritual fraud”. They teach us the truth:
“…Law is LAW with us, and no power can make us abate one jot or tittle of our duty.”[9]
Writing to a Western lay disciple, a Raja-Yogi said: 
“Your Ethnographers and anthropologists would do well to ever keep in their minds [the] unvarying septenary law which runs throughout the works of nature.” [10]
The ideal of the Masters of the Wisdom is impersonal and includes self-responsibility:
“Every Western Theosophist should learn and remember, especially those of them who would be our followers – that in our Brotherhood, all personalities sink into one idea – abstract right and absolute practical justice for all.” [11]
If one wishes to attain to spiritual knowledge, it is worse than useless trying to propitiate any god, saint or sage. Devotional bribery does not work. It is the duty of every pilgrim to share with others the sober fact that the universe is ruled by law and the Law takes no bribes. No one can liberate a devotee from his own ignorance, except himself. He will be helped along the way in accordance with his merit. He must learn to act according to the Rules of Nature.
A Challenge Before Theosophical Associations
The more “consciousness of the law” we have, the greater our efficiency in removing the origins of unnecessary suffering. The real leaders of a theosophical association are not necessarily its formal directors. Associates should avoid being neutralized by short term politics and attachment to appearances. The main activity in opening a path ahead for the movement consists in investigating, sharing and showing the common duty, the common “law” (dharma), and the common task, short term and long term.
The structure of the esoteric movement must act as the prototype of a better and wiser civilization, which is right now almost invisibly taking shape before our eyes. [12] And it is the experience of many that a simple family can operate as a true theosophical lodge, producing wisdom, mutual respect, a higher view of life, and silently irradiating them to the world around.
Ivan A. Il’in wrote:
“Humanity will have to experience a profound renewal in the understanding of the law and the State. It must definitively reject the fatal prejudice of the ‘external’ nature of the law and the State; their ‘inner’ psychic-spiritual essence must be seen and assimilated. Law merely ‘manifests itself’ in the external, spatio-corporeal world; the sphere of its real life and activity remains the human soul, in which it appears with the force of objective value. The State in its realization ‘presupposes’ the presence of a multitude of corporeally-disunited people, territories and external things; but the human soul remains precisely that sphere within which there arises, matures, and proceeds both the political life of the individual and the life of the State, as a unified whole. Outside of the spiritual condition of the multitude of individual souls there is no State, nor can there be one: the political condition of people is above all, and most importantly of all, their spiritual condition.”[13]
Outward contrast must accept, and political democracy ought to express, the inner unity of human souls, and of the souls of all beings.
We must become ourselves the change we want to see taking place in the world. We are invited by theosophy to abandon the easy path of mental routine, and reinvent life every day according to the ideal of human progression and perfection.
If we are indignant about the fact that there is falsehood in the world around us, it is a good idea to examine the degree of sincerity and truthfulness present in our own words and actions.
We must give the example. The golden rule of the Christian Gospels (Matthew, 7: 12) expresses a central aspect of the Natural Law:
“Act as you would expect others to act”.
German philosopher Immanuel Kant described in these words the “fundamental law of the pure practical reason”:
“Act so that the maxim of thy will can always at the same time hold good as a principle of universal legislation.”
This unconditional tenet, says Kant, is “a law for all rational beings”. And he adds:
“The autonomy of the will is the sole principle of all moral laws and of all duties which conform to them”. [14]
The idea belongs to esoteric philosophy. According to a popular saying in theosophical circles, “Each man is his own absolute lawgiver, the dispenser of glory or gloom to himself; the decreer of his life, his reward, his punishment.” [15]
And this is so only because every individual is inseparable from the One Law. His life expresses that law, in one way or another.  Each injustice he suffers will be compensated sooner or later. Every mistake he makes will have to be healed in due time. In “Light on the Path” we find the statement that the natural rules of right conduct must be “engraved on the man’s heart and on his life”, so that other rules and aspects of the One Truth can be seen by him and be parts of his life. [16]
To Be a Servant of Impartial Justice
Among the illusions circulating in semi-esoteric circles, there is one according to which a wise man gets “above the law of Karma” or attains “liberty from it”. Jiddu Krishnamurti and Carl G. Jung are among the sources of such unfortunate misinformation, which often circulates in disguise.
The belief that “karmalessness” or “freedom from the law” exists and is the possession of “wise souls” opens the path to falsehood and to the road to despair. The perception of the law – or “legal consciousness” in the expression used by Ivan Il’in -, protects both groups and individuals from such trap.
It is unavoidable to give up attachment to subconscious selfishness. The pilgrim must learn to act correctly in the world, while remembering he does not quite belong to it. Every level of the universe is symmetrical. Justice and Equilibrium are the sole source of bliss. Regarding the authentic masters of the wisdom, Helena Blavatsky clarifies:
“The Mahatmas are the servants, not the arbiters of the Law of Karma.” [17]
Even the flow of Pralayas and Manvantaras (the immense periods of universal rest and universal manifestation) are strictly regulated by the One Law of Rhythm and Equilibrium. The Law of Karma is absolutely omnipresent. Understanding its unfoldment and cooperating with it open to us an experience of supreme enlightenment and liberty.
While a Mahatma can be said to be “karmaless” regarding the lower levels of action and reaction, all of his action is in strict harmony with the Law and obeys to it in every aspect. Karma is only restrictive in the lower levels of consciousness: it is a constant blessing in its true and higher nature.
A Master of the Wisdom wrote:
“…You can do nothing better than to study the two doctrines – of Karma and Nirvana – as profoundly as you can. Unless you are thoroughly well acquainted with the two tenets – the double key to the metaphysics of Abidharma – you will always find yourself at sea in trying to comprehend the rest. We have several sorts of Karma and Nirvana in their various applications –  to the Universe, the world, Devas, Buddhas, Bodhisatwas, men and animals – the second including its seven kingdoms. Karma and Nirvana are but two of the seven great MYSTERIES of Buddhist metaphysics; and but four of the seven are known to the best orientalists, and that very imperfectly.” [18]
The strengthening of human will is not made therefore against the Law. It is also not “indifferent” to the Law. It consists in learning to better cooperate with it, so that life can unfold in a way that is fully conscious and naturally harmonious.  
Science, it must be remembered, does not consist in trespassing the laws of ethics or the laws of nature, but in studying them, understanding them and working in accordance with them. 
Just as lesser laws are part of the great Law, every strong will renounces separateness and obtains strength as it becomes a part of the universal will. H. P. Blavatsky wrote:
“… Man as the microcosmos is gifted with freewill; but is limited by the action of other free wills under the law of universal harmony which is Karma. The real function of willpower is to produce harmony between the law and man.” [19]
As a result, we have that:
“… Will is the manifestation of an eternal law which is appreciable only in its effects…”. [20]
Accordingly the Jesus of the Gospels says to his “Father”, or his Atma, his seventh principle which is One with the Eternal Law:
“Father, if You are willing, remove this cup from Me; yet not My will, but Yours be done.” (Luke, 22: 42)
The strengthening of individual will consists of elevating such will to the level of the universal volition and Life.  It is easy to conclude that devotion to Law is not extraneous to theosophists, and Helena Blavatsky wrote in “The Key to Theosophy”:
“What we believe in, is strict and impartial justice. Our idea of the unknown Universal Deity, represented by Karma, is that it is a Power which cannot fail, and can, therefore, have neither wrath nor mercy, only absolute Equity, which leaves every cause, great or small, to work out its inevitable effects.” [21]
Symmetry is unavoidable.
In order to be one with all life, we must be in unity with our own essence: and in the process of unifying ourselves with our essence, we have to forget ourselves in observing the unity of life.
[1] Ivan Il’in, in his book “On the Essence of Legal Consciousness”, Wildy, Simmonds & Hill Publishing, 2014, UK, 391 pp., see p. 158.
[2] “Light on the Path”, MC, Theosophy Co., p. 4.
[3] “The Mahatma Letters”, TUP edition, Pasadena, see Letter X, pp. 56-57.
[4] “The Mahatma Letters”, Letter X, p. 52.
[5] “The Mahatma Letters”, Letter XXIX, p. 223.
[6] “Wen-tzu, Understanding the Mysteries”, translated by Thomas Cleary, Shambhala Editions, Boston & London, 1992, 184 pp., see Chapter 87, p. 75.
[7] “Remembering Heraclitus, the philosopher of riddles”, by Richard Geldard, Floris Books and Lindisfarne Books,  2000, Edinburgh, 163 pp., see p. 106, fragment 57. In the Penguin Classics version of “Heraclitus-Fragments”, translated by Brooks Haxton, see Fragment 91, p. 59. Geldard’s commentary is at the same page.
[8] “The Mahatma Letters”, TUP, Pasadena, CA, USA, Letter XXII, p. 141.
[9] “The Mahatma Letters”, TUP, Letter XXIX, p. 226.
[10] “The Mahatma Letters”, Letter XVIII, p. 120.
[11] “The Mahatma Letters”, Letter LXXXV, p. 401.
[12] Helena Blavatsky clarifies the point in the last lines of her book “The Key to Theosophy” and in other writings as well.
[13] “On the Essence of Legal Consciousness”, Ivan Aleksandrovich Il’in, Wildy, Simmonds & Hill Publishing, UK, 2014, 391 pp., see Chapter 21, p. 318.
[14] “Critique of Practical Reason”, Immanuel Kant, First Part, Book I, Chapter I, Item VII, in the volume “The Critique of Pure Reason, the Critique of Practical Reason, and other Ethical Treatises”, by Immanuel Kant, Encyclopaedia Britannica, Inc., 1952, 613 pp., see pp. 302-303-304.
[15] “The Idyll of the White Lotus”, Mabel Collins, Quest Books, Wheaton, Illinois, EUA, 1952 / 1974, 142 pp., see p. 114.
[16] “Light on the Path”, M. C., Theosophy Co., p. 45. (First paragraph of the Commentary on the second rule in part I, “Before the ear can hear, it must have lost its sensitivity.”)
[17] See the text “Chelas and Lay Chelas”, Helena P. Blavatsky. The article is available at our associated websites.
[18] “The Mahatma Letters”, TUP edition, Pasadena, CA, USA, see p. 110, Letter XVI. In the Chronological edition, it’s Letter 68.
[19] See in our websites the article “The Aura or Individual Magnetism” (Report of a Theosophical Meeting in London), by H. P. Blavatsky. Also available under the title “Blavatsky Lodge Minutes” at “Collected Writings”, Helena P. Blavatsky, TPH, USA, 1982, volume XIII, p. 365.
[20] Same source as the previous quotation.
[21] “The Key to Theosophy”, H. P. Blavatsky, Theosophy Co., Los Angeles, 1987, pp. 199-200.
Readers will find in our associated websites the article “The Law of Symmetry”, by Carlos Cardoso Aveline.
In September 2016, after a careful analysis of the state of the esoteric movement worldwide, a group of students decided to form the Independent Lodge of Theosophists, whose priorities include the building of a better future in the different dimensions of life.