(From "Om -- The Secret of Ahbor Valley"  by Talbot Mundy )

We should ascend out of perversity, even as we ascend a mountain that we do not know, with the aid of guides who do know. None who sets forth on an unknown voyage stipulates that the pilot must agree with him as to the course, since manifestly that would be absurd; the pilot is presumed to know; the piloted does not know. None who climbs a mountain bargains that the guide shall keep to this or that direction; it is the business of the guide to lead. And yet, men hire guides for the Spiritual Journey, of which they know less than they know of land and sea, and stipulate that the guide shall lead them thus and so, according to their own imaginings; and instead of obeying him, they desert and denounce him should he lead them otherwise. I find this of the essence of perversity.

(Chapter 4, Om---)

He who puts his hand into the fire knows what he may expect. Nor may the fire be blamed.

He who intrudes on a neighbor may receive what he does not expect. Nor may the neighbor be blamed.

The fire will not be harmed; but the neighbor may be. And every deed of every kind bears corresponding consequences to the doer. You may spend a thousand lives repaying wrong done to a neighbor.

Therefore, of the two indiscretions prefer thrusting your own hand into the fire.

But there is a Middle Way, which avoids all trespassing.

(Chapter 5, Om---)

A certain poet, who was no fool, bade men take the cash and let the credit go. I find this good advice, albeit difficult to follow. Nevertheless, it is easier than what most men attempt. They seek to take the cash and let the debit go, and that is utterly impossible; for as we sow, we reap.

(Chapter 6, Om---)

It is the teaching of financiers and statesmen, and of them who make Laws, and of most religionists, that of all things a man should first seek safety -- for his own skin -- for his own money -- for his own soul. Yet I find this teaching strange; because of all the dangers in the universe, the greatest lies in self-preferment.

(Chapter 7, Om---)

We live in the eternal Now, and it is Now that we create our

destiny. It follows, that to grieve over the past is useless

and to make plans for the future is a waste of time. There

is only one ambition that is good, and that is: so to live

Now that none may weary of life's emptiness and none may have to do the task we leave undone.

(Chapter 8, Om---)

When the actor, having thrown aside the costume and the wig, departs -- is he a villain? Shall we take, stones and murder him because for our amusement he enacted villainy? If he should act death in the play because decency demands that, do we therefore burn him afterward and curse his memory? And is his wife a widow? And is life not like the play? The gods who watch the drama know, that somebody must play the villain's part, and somebody the pauper's. They reward men for the acting. He who acts a poor part well receives for his reward a more important part when his turn shall come to be born again into the world. He, therefore, who is wise plays pauper, king or villain with the gods in mind.

(Chapter 9, Om---)

Men agree that prostitution is an evil, and they who know

more than I do have assured me this opinion is right. But

there are many forms of prostitution, and it may be that

among the least of them is that of women, bad though that is.

I have seen men sell their souls more inexcusably than women

sell their bodies -- and with more disastrous consequences --

to themselves and to the buyer.

(Chapter 10, Om---)

The most important thing is Silence. In the Silence Wisdom speaks, and they whose hearts are open understand her. The brave man is at the mercy of cowards, and the honest man at the mercy of thieves, unless he keep silence. But if he keep silence he is safe, because, they will fail to understand him; and then he may do them good without their knowing it, which is a source of true humor and contentment.

(Chapter 11, Om---)

The man who knows he is ignorant is at no disadvantage if he permits a wise man to do the thinking; because the wise man knows that neither advantage to one or disadvantage to another comes at all within the scope of wisdom, and he will govern himself accordingly. But he who seeks to outwit wisdom adds to ignorance presumption; and that is a combination that the gods do not love.

(Chapter 12, Om---)


Lords of evolving night and day!

Ye spirits of the spaceless dreams!

O Souls of the reflected hills

Embosomed in pellucid streams!

Magicians of the morning haze

Who weave anew the virgin veil

That dews the blush of waking days

With innocence! Ye Rishis (1), hail!

I charge that whosoe'er may view

This talisman, shall greet the dawn

Degreed, arrayed and ranked anew,

As he may wish to have been born!

Prevail desire! A day and night

Prevail ambition! Till they see

They can not set the world aright

By being what they crave to be!

Be, time and space, and all save Karma (2) stilled!

Grant that each secret wish may be fulfilled!

(Chapter 13, Om---)

The ways of the gods are natural, the ways of men unnatural, and there is nothing supernatural, except this: that if a man does a useless thing, none reproves him; if he does a harmful thing, few seek to restrain him; but if he seeks to imitate the gods and to encourage others, all those in authority accuse him of corruption. So it is more dangerous to teach truth than to enter a powder magazine with a lighted torch.

(Chapter 14, Om---)

To him who truly seeks the Middle Way, the Middle Way will open, One step forward is enough.

(Chapter 15, Om---)

Treason, as between men, is considered worse than theft; for even thieves despise it. He who betrays his country is considered fit for death. But I tell you: he who betrays his own soul has no longer any link with honesty, and there is nothing sure concerning him, except that he will go from bad to worse. And evil grows little by little; he who is faithless in small things will ultimately lose all honor. Therefore, strive eternally to keep faith, not telling secrets nor inquiring uninvited into those of others; for the Great Offense is grounded on an infinite variety of little ones -- exactly as Great Merit is the total of innumerable acts of self-control.

(Chapter 16, Om---)


O ye who look to enter in through Discipline to Bliss,

Ye shall not stray from out the way, if ye remember this:

Ye shall not waste a weary hour, nor hope for Hope in vain,

If ye persist with will until self-righteousness is slain.

If through the mist of mortal eyes, deluded, ye discern

That ye are holier than these, ye have the whole to learn!

If ye are tied with tangled pride because ye learn the Law,

Know then, your purest thoughts deny the Truth ye never saw!

If ye resent in discontent the searchlight of reproof,

Preferring praise, ye waste your days at sin's not Soul's behoof!

Each gain for self denies the Self that knows the self is vain.

Who crowns accomplishment with pride must build the whole again!

But if, at each ascending step, more clearly ye perceive

That he must kill the lower will, who would the world relieve

And they are last who would be first, their effort thrown away;

Be patient then and persevere. Ye tread the Middle Way!

(Chapter 17, Om---)

He who would reform the world must first reform himself; and that, if he do it honestly, will keep him so employed that he will have no time to criticize his neighbor. Nevertheless, his neighbor will be benefited -- even as a man without a candle, who at last discerns another's light.

(Chapter 18, Om---)

He who is wise is careful not to seem too virtuous, lest they who dislike virtue should exert unceasing energy to demonstrate that he is viler than themselves. True virtue suffers from advertisement.

(Chapter 19, Om---)

This much I know: that it is easy to cause offense and easy to give pleasure, but difficult to ignore all considerations except justice, and much more difficult to judge rightly whoever, ignoring both offense and pleasure, leaves the outcome of his actions to the Higher Law. Therefore, judge yourself alone, for that is difficult enough; and, depend on it, the Higher Law will judge you also.

(Chapter 20, Om---)

Sooner or later we must learn all knowledge. It is therefore necessary to begin. And for a beginning much may be learned from this: that men in pain and men in anger are diverted from either sensation by a song -- and very readily.

(Chapter 21, Om---)

The secret of the charm of the lotus is that none can say wherein its beauty lies; for some say this, and some say that, but all agree that it is beautiful. And so indeed it is with woman. Her influence is mystery; her power is concealment. For that which men have uncovered and explained, whether rightly or wrongly, they despise. But that which they discern, although its underlying essence is concealed from them, they wonder at and worship.

(Chapter 22, Om---)

If a vain man should value your virtue, beware! For he will steal it in the name of God, and he will sell your reputation in the market-place.

(Chapter 23, Om---)

My son, the wise, are few; for Wisdom very seldom pleases, so that they are few who seek her. Wisdom will compel whoever entertains her to avoid all selfishness and to escape from praise. But Wisdom seeks them who are worthy, discovering some here and there, unstupified and uncorrupted by the slime of cant, with whom thereafter it is a privilege to other men to tread the self-same earth, whether or not they know it.

(Chapter 24, Om---)

And this I know: that when the gods have use for us they blindfold us, because if we should see and comprehend the outcome we should grow so vain that not even the gods could preserve us from destruction.

Vanity, self-righteousness and sin, these three are one, whose complements are meekness, self-will and indifference.

Meekness is not modesty. Meekness is an insult to the Soul. But out of modesty comes wisdom, because in modesty the gods can find expression.

The wise gods do not corrupt modesty with wealth or fame, but its reward is in well-doing and in a satisfying inner vision.

(Chapter 25, Om---)

Oh, I went where the Gods are, and I have seen the Dawn

Where Beauty and the Muses and the Seven Reasons dwell,

And I saw Hope accoutered with a lantern and a horn

Whose clarion and rays reach the inner rings of hell.

Oh, I was in the storehouse of the jewels of the dew

And the laughter of the motion of the windblown grass,

The mystery of morning and its music, and the hue

Of the petals of the roses when the rain-clouds pass.

And so I know who Hope is and why she never sleeps,

And seven of the secrets that are jewels on her breast;

I stood within the silence of the Garden that she keeps,

Where flowers fill the footprints that her sandals pressed;

And I know the springs of laughter, for I trod the Middle


Where sympathies are sign-posts and the merry Gods the


I have been where Hope is Ruler and evolving realms


I know the Secret Nearness where the Ancient Wisdom


(Chapter 26, Om---)


When that caressing light forgets the hills

That change their hue in its evolving grace;

When, harmony of swaying reeds and tills,

The breeze, forgets her music and the face

Of Nature smiles no longer in the pond,

Divinity revealed! When morning peeps

Above earth's rim, and no bird notes respond;

When half a world in mellow moonlight sleeps

And no peace pours along the silver'd air;

When dew brings no wet wonder of delight

On jeweled spider-web and scented lair

Of drone and hue and honey; when the night

No longer shadows the retreating day,

Nor purple dawn pursues the graying dark;

And no child laughs; and no wind bears away

The bursting glory of the meadow-lark;

Then -- then it may be -- never until then

May death be dreadful or assurance wane,

That we shall die a while, to waken when

New morning summons us to earth again.

(Chapter 27, Om---)

In this sense we are our brothers' keepers: that if we injure them we are responsible. Therefore, our duty is, so vigilantly to control ourselves that we may injure none; and for this there is no substitute; all other duties take a lower place and are dependent on it.

(Chapter 28, Om---)

I have conversed with many Priests; and some were honest men, and some were not, but three things none of them could answer: if their God is all-wise, what does it matter if men are foolish? And if they can imagine and define their God, must he not be smaller than their own imaginations? Furthermore, if their God is omnipotent, why does he need priests and ritual?

(Chapter 29, Om---)

And I have asked this of the priests, but though they answered with a multitude of words, their words were emptiness: If it is true that a priest can pacify and coax God, or by meditation can relieve another from the consequences of his own sin, why should any one be troubled and why do the priests not put an end for ever to all sin and suffering? If they can, and do not, they are criminals. If they can not, but pretend that they can, they are liars. Nevertheless, there is a middle judgment, and it seems to me that SOME of them may be mistaken.

(Chapter 30, Om---)

A man is what he is. He starts from where he is. He may progress, or he may retrogress. All effort in his own behalf is dead weight in the scale against him. All effort in behalf of others is a profit to himself; notwithstanding which, unless he first improve himself he can do nothing except harm to others. There is no power in the universe, nor any form of intercession that can separate a cause from its effect, action from reaction, or a man from retribution for his deeds.

(Chapter 31, Om---)

"HE who knows, is unafraid and is therefore too wise to threaten; because a threat is an admission that the cause he has at heart is unjust. He who knows not, threatens; and accordingly the knowing are forewarned. Justice has a sharp sword, and its sheath is Silence."

(From Essays from "The Theosophical Path" by Talbot Mundy)

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