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The Imitation of Christ

A Theosophical Approach to the
Classic Work of Christian Mystic Tradition
 
 
Carlos Cardoso Aveline
 
 
 
 
 
Theosophy has its own particular ways to identify the eternal wisdom present in Christian teachings and to rescue it from the dead letter of ritualism and blind belief. 

As an instance of that, we present below 34 fragments from the classical book “The Imitation of Christ” [1]. Commentaries are added which aim at decoding these passages, liberating them from the outer garb and revealing their inner ideas as part of the theosophical view of life.
 
The author of “The Imitation of Christ”, Tomas À Kempis (1380-1471), was educated by the Brotherhood of the Common Life and later became a member of it. To this Brotherhood Nicholas of Cusa (1400-1464) also belonged. [2] According to H. P. Blavatsky, Cusa was an adept and a forerunner of the modern theosophical movement. [3] 

The first three parts of “The Imitation of the Christ” are mainly a treatise on Stoic philosophy under Christian garb: hence its importance in theosophy. The fourth part of the book does not quite belong to its contents. It may have been added to the book in order to avoid persecution from the Vatican.
 
There are some “reading keys” to “Imitation”.  Normally one must read the word “God” as meaning “universal Law”, but in some cases the term may refer to one’s own higher self, whose substance is universal. 
 
The term “cross” means “Karma”. The words “Christ” and “Jesus” are legendary symbols for one’s own sixth principle of consciousness, also known as higher self or spiritual soul
 
The 34 fragments are presented in italics, with bold type. At the end of each one, the number of page is given in parenthesis.

One: The Highest Source

“The teachings of Christ are superior to all the teachings of the saints.” (p. 03)

Commentary:

The first sentence by Kempis means that one must go to the highest source possible.
 
The Gospels constitute a true guiding light, if properly read. They contain a number of Pythagorean, Jewish, Confucian and Buddhist teachings and many tenets taken from other religions.
 
However, the teachings of “Christ” are also beyond literature. They symbolically correspond to “the voice of the silence”, the wordless mantra of one’s own soul, in its universal, divine aspect.

Two: A Hidden Manna

“In his [Christ’s] teachings we find, as it were, a hidden manna.” (p. 03) 

Commentary:

No dead letter reading can be efficient in philosophy or religion. The real meaning is hidden from the world of appearances. Therefore one’s study must combine several levels of consciousness. It is necessary to decode the wording, in order to see the teachings as a living, creative process.

Three: A Model for Our Lives

“So if we are to hear the words of Christ with new ears, we need to try to make his life a model for our lives.” (p. 03)

Commentary:

In order to truly understand theosophy one must test and apply its teachings in everyday life. Sacredness is potentially present in every situation. The lives of H.P. Blavatsky and other sages of all times constitute self-renewing sources of guidance and inspiration.

Four: Not Just Talk

“If you are one of those who can talk learnedly about the Holy Trinity, but lack the virtue of humility, how have you done yourself any service by displeasing the Trinity? As you know, it is not your skill at talking that makes you holy or just; only the virtues of your life endear you to God. It is far better to be repentant than to know what repentance is in so many words.” (pp. 3-4)

Commentary:
 

“God” is the universal law; or, it is Nature, in its absolute totality and diversity. The Trinity symbolizes the mystery of inner unity and outward contrast and difference.

No speech can be more valuable than the intention that moves it, or than the daily practice which constitutes its magnetic basis and foundation. 

Five: The Love and Grace
 

“Even if you knew the entire Bible by heart, and also the teachings of all the philosophers, what good would that do you if you lacked the love and grace of God?”
(p. 04)


Commentary:

Even if you knew the religious scriptures of all nations by heart, and the teachings of every philosopher, Eastern and Western, what good would that do you, if you lacked the perception of the unity of all beings and of your own duty towards the One Life of which you are part?

Six: True Wisdom


“Yes, vanity of vanities: all is vanity except one thing, and that is loving God and serving him alone. That is the best wisdom - to strive first for the heavenly kingdom, rather than for any earthly prize.” (p.04)

Commentary:

All is vanity, except one thing, and that is fulfilling our duty to our higher selves and to the universal Law.

Seven: An Everlasting Joy

“To seek after riches, to base one’s whole life on that goal, is surely vain. To seek worldly honors, to wish to be held in high esteem, to pamper the desires of the flesh, to covet what we have no right to, to become overly concerned about how long we shall live, to give little thought to the moral character of our lives - all these are rightly called vanities. To be exclusively concerned about the things of this life on earth, and to neglect the future life that God has prepared for us - that too is vanity. It is vanity to devote one’s life to passing pleasures rather than to the promise of everlasting joy.”
(p. 04)


Commentary:

To be mainly concerned about short term things, and to neglect the long term future that we ourselves are in part preparing during the present lifetime - that too is vanity.

Eight: The Invisible Goods
 
“There is a true proverb that applies here: The eye is not satisfied to see, nor the ear to hear. We may take this to mean that we are wise to fix our heart’s affections on invisible goods, rather than limit our love to visible things. The alternative is to become blind to our own consciences and lose God’s grace.” (p. 04)

Commentary:


Our conscience is the wordless voice of our higher self or spiritual soul.
 
 “God’s grace” is a symbolic expression, meaning the subtle, impersonal energy of universal love. It corresponds to the sixth principle of human consciousness. It reveals the transcendent unity of all beings in spite of their apparent diversity. Such grace is everywhere: it belongs to no specific deity, much less a “personal” one.

Nine: The Value of Knowledge
 
“Each of us has a natural curiosity about the world we live in. But we need to ask ourselves what our knowledge is worth if we do not know our true relationship to the Creator. It is clear that the lowly peasant who lives as a child of God is more to be admired than the learned astronomer who can plot the movements of the stars but who completely neglects his spiritual life.” (p. 05)

Commentary:
 
Our Creator is our higher self, who made us be born in the present incarnation. It can also be described as the Universal Law. A conscious “child of God” is he who lives in harmony with his spiritual soul. In theosophy, the astronomer and the humble peasant must be one and the same. There is no opposition between them. Real knowledge is inseparable from purity of heart.

Ten: Self-knowledge


“If a man knows himself well and truly, he sees and admits his weaknesses and faults; and he does not glory in any praise that others may give him. So I must consider, for example, that if I am very learned but not charitable, my knowledge will be of precious little use to me when I come to stand before the God who will judge my life.” (p. 05)

Commentary:

This is pure theosophy. Its technical correctness is precise. The “god” who will judge me is of course my own higher self. At the end of the present incarnation, it will revise every action of mine and establish the karmic lines of both my after-death states, and my next birth
.

Eleven: Avoid Distractions

 
“It is possible to desire to know too much; in that desire lie many idle distractions and much foolishness. Some persons are learned and enjoy displaying their knowledge so that they will be thought wise. There are many things we each could know, but would bring us no spiritual benefit. It is simply not wisdom to be distracted by anything that does not assist our spiritual progress. The display of our knowledge does not satisfy our souls. Rather, it is the goodness of our lives that brings a comfort to our minds. An upright conscience enables us to place our trust in God.” (p.05)

Commentary:
 
 
The display of sanctity or knowledge does not satisfy the soul. Indeed, “the goodness of our lives brings a comfort to our minds”, and Helena Blavatsky wrote:

“…The Ethics of Theosophy are even more necessary to mankind than the scientific aspects of the psychic facts of nature and man.” [4]

Twelve: A Holy Life 
 
“We may even go so far as to say that the more knowledge we possess, and the more surely we possess it, the more surely that knowledge will be questioned on the Day of Judgment unless our lives are also holy. We have no reason to puff ourselves up because of any of our talents; rather, we need to concern ourselves about the use we make of them.” (pp. 05-06)

Commentary:

The “Day of Judgment” is also individual and not necessarily collective, as Portuguese thinker Antônio Vieira explained in the year 1652 in one of his Sermons. [5]
 
The individual “Judgment” is made by our own higher self and the karmic Law at the end of each incarnation. Collective “judgments” are karmic points of no return in human and planetary evolution. They are examined in the book “The Secret Doctrine”, by Helena Blavatsky.
 
What we do with our would-be knowledge, is the key question in authentic theosophy. Knowledge is only confirmed by the corresponding action, and this will be necessarily imperfect. Right action consists of sincere Attempts to do one’s best. These must be corrected and renewed over and over again, under each and every circumstance. Gradually one learns to learn from mistakes and to concentrate mind and heart on the freely chosen, noble goal.

Thirteen: A Way to Spiritual Perfection

“No matter how much you or I have come to know, we can be sure that there are a great many more things about which we are wholly ignorant. When we are tempted to think highly of ourselves, we should remember not only how ignorant we are, but that many others are more learned, more expert, than we. The one thing we do need to learn is to prefer to be unknown and unappreciated. That is a very difficult, but a spiritually profitable, lesson. Not to think highly of oneself, always to think highly of others, is not only wise counsel, but a way to spiritual perfection.” (p. 06)

Commentary:

Our thoughts must be sincere and truthful. Whatever they say, those who do not even try to act with ethics, or have no respect for truth, are far away from the right path. Yet they deserve our impersonal respect and in the future they will have a chance to learn. 
 
We must aim at learning from those who are wiser than us, whether our contact with them is outward or inward, and takes place through written words, or is wordless. [6] To this, one must give a priority at all times.  Once we are ready to attain to some real learning, we try “to help the helping hands” of those sages who preserve mankind’s evolution.

Fourteen: Be Vigilant
 
“If you should see someone commit a fault or even a crime, do not use that as an occasion to think you are a better person; for how long will it be before you lapse into unholiness?” (p.06)
 
Commentary:
 
Fight crime and selfishness. Fight even more their seeds and their sources. Don’t wash your hands before injustice of any kind. Take injustice to any being as an injustice to your own father, your mother, your spiritual teacher and yourself. Have mercy and compassion for selfish people, without joining or accepting their harmful actions. They are part of human family just as you are.

Fifteen: No Comparison

“Each of us is spiritually weak;  we have no  reason to think that we are less  weak  than  others.”
  (p. 06)
 
Commentary:
 
We must follow the example of those stronger and wiser than us, and above all keep a constant eye to the ideal of human progression and perfection.
 
If we seem to be stronger than anyone else, it is something totally unimportant; unless it is a sign of our own weakness and self-delusion.

Sixteen: Knowing Esoteric Things

“Lucky is that person who has been taught not by words and signs but by studying Truth as it is in itself. Our opinions about the truth of things are often mistaken; for our senses help us see the truth only partially and imperfectly. And yet so often we find ourselves arguing about matters concerning which we know little or nothing. On the Day of Judgment, our ignorance about esoteric things [7] is not what will be held against us.” (p. 06)
 
Commentary:
 
“The Day of Judgment” mentioned here is individual and takes place at the end of each incarnation. 
 
Acting in accordance with the Law of Equilibrium is better than merely knowing the rationale of esotericism. However, combining the two things is of decisive importance, as long as one has the eyes to see and can go beyond dead letter. The motto of the theosophical movement is “There is No Religion Higher than Truth”. While Truth transcends all its worded descriptions, partial approaches to it are useful if they point to that which is beyond words.

Seventeen: Our Priorities

“Having ‘eyes that do not see’, we tend to interest ourselves in this or that out of curiosity and sometimes actually harm ourselves as a result; while at the same time neglecting other aspects of our lives that we should attend to for our own good.” (p. 07)
 
Commentary:
 
The fulfilment of our duty is our best defence and asset in life. Attaining to a sane understanding of life depends on looking at it from a correct viewpoint, and only the practice of altruism can grant us that. Selfish minds distort everything they look at: true intelligence is both impartial and universal.

Eighteen: The Heart Knows Peace

“The person who listens to the eternal Word is not likely to pose as an opinion-maker. From that one Word, all created things have their existence; and only through that Word do all things ‘speak’. Apart from that Word - that Beginning of true speaking - none of us can understand or judge anything rightly. On the other hand, if we can learn to see all creation in relation to that One, our hearts will be able to know the peace that comes to those who place their trust in him.” (p. 07)
 
Commentary:
 
The whole paragraph resonates with the writings of H. P. Blavatsky. The Word is the primordial “Sound”, the Mantram of Manifestation, the Music of the Spheres. 
 
Symbolic personalization of the universe and its laws must be accepted as cultural processes belonging to nations all over the world, and as forms to encode and record the ineffable Mystery. Esoteric tradition will teach how to “read” the legends related to Zeus and Saturn, to the Christian god, to the Hindu Brahman and Parabraham, to the Taoist Immortals,  and so on.

Nineteen: Silence and Truth

“O God of Truth,

   may my love for you last forever.

The knowledge that comes to me

   through seeing and hearing

seldom satisfies my desire to know the Truth;

   only you can satisfy that desire.
All human creatures, all earthly creatures,
   stand silent before your Truth,

  
so that you alone can speak to me.” (p. 07)

Commentary:
 
In blind belief, something is considered true because “god”, or the Christ, or someone else says so. In philosophy, it is the other way around. Something is not true because a sage says so, but the sage says that it is true because it is so. A true master never puts himself above law or truth. After attaining to truth, he becomes its disciple.

Twenty:  Freedom and Understanding

“If a person is free from internal contradictions and conflicts, the more easily does he or she understand the truth of things; for such a person is enlightened by heavenly Truth.” (p. 07)
 
Commentary:
 
This is the teaching of the original theosophy as taught by Helena Blavatsky and the Eastern Masters of the Wisdom.

Twenty-One: Simplicity of Heart
 
“The person who keeps from becoming enmeshed in numerous kinds of busy-ness remains free to serve the honor of God with a steadfast spirit and with simplicity of heart. The best way for us to find internal peace of mind is by freeing ourselves from all forms of self-seeking.” (pp. 07-08)
 
Commentary:
 
Our “Lord”, or “God”, is anonymous. It is our higher self. To it we owe loyalty.

Twenty-Two: Seeing Our Weaknesses

“The good person thinks carefully before following any inclinations of the heart. In that way, evil inclinations are put to the test of a well-formed judgment.


“The hardest obstacle any of us has to overcome is our self. So your main effort should be to take charge of your inclinations. Your goal is to become each day a better master of your life.


“In this life, just as we never see anything with total clarity, so too we find some imperfection in even the best works of human skill. The way to find God is not through advanced studies, but through humility of heart and through a sure knowledge of our own weaknesses.”
(p. 08)
 
Commentary:
 
Church-centered Christianity offers no guidance to enlightenment. Dead letter approach to scriptures cannot be taken seriously, and this includes theosophical writings.  The way to find Truth needs advanced research and studies, but this must be practiced on the solid foundation of a humbleness of heart and a calm observation of our own weaknesses.

Twenty-Three: A Virtuous Life
 
“There is nothing wrong with knowledge as such, nor can anyone be blamed for wishing to learn about a subject. Knowledge is a good thing; God made us for knowing. But compared to knowledge, a good conscience and a virtuous life are far better and more admirable. History shows us many examples of persons who loved and sought after knowledge but neglected their spiritual lives; they not only fell into evil ways but have left us little if  anything of value as a fruit of  their  learning.” (p. 08)
 
Commentary:
 
The whole purpose of life is learning. Yet every portion of knowledge we attain comes to us with its share of unavoidable ethical duties.
 
One must examine what knowledge is actually used for. Because only an honest heart and an ability to aim at noble goals can allow us to use knowledge in correct ways and to deserve obtaining better information about life.

Twenty-Four: What Have You Done?

“Would that more people worked as hard at weeding out vices and planting virtues in themselves as they do at fueling heated arguments about what is or is not true in human knowledge. All this one-sided interest has resulted in scandalous moral evil in people’s lives and laxity among the clergy. On the Day of Judgment, we, like they, will not be asked what tomes we have read or how well we have spoken, but what we have done and how devoutly we have lived.”
(pp. 08-09)
 
Commentary:
 
Mystical Christianity has always had a difficult relation with top-down Churches.  It was not an isolated fact that the founder of the Brethren of the Common Life, to which Thomas À Kempis belonged, warned and preached against clerical abuses.[8]

Twenty-Five: True Learning

“Think of all those once-famous scholars and experts: even their immediate successors do not remember them. Their fame was not worth remembering.
 
“And that reminds us that the glory of the world passes quickly. If a person’s life is equal in excellence to his or her learning, at least that person has studied well and with good effects. On the other hand, those who search for worldly glory have no true greatness in them, and their ambition dooms them to be soon forgotten. Truly great are the charitable, kindly persons who do not boast of their accomplishments. It is spiritual wisdom to seek the highest prize - Christ - and to look upon earthly goods as of little value by comparison. To be truly learned is to seek always to do God’s will and to put one’s own will in second place.” (p.09)

Commentary:

“God’s will” is the purpose of our own spiritual soul: “Christ” is a symbol for universal consciousness.

Twenty-Six: Independence and Self-responsibility
 
“As a rule, we should be cautious about accepting whatever another person says or recommends to us. In each case, weigh what is told you by considering what God’s will may be.” (p. 09)
 
Commentary:
 
Apart from the word “god”, the idea literally belongs to every profound philosophy around the world, including Buddhism, Pythagorism and Theosophy.

Twenty-Seven: Avoid Malicious Gossip

“We need to be on guard especially against being quick to accept malicious gossip; for we are more likely to believe something evil than something good about another person. Human nature is weak and prone to evil, and talebearers are prone to exaggerate - so a prudent person avoids listening to idle reports about the faults of others.


“Similarly, if we would be wise, we will not jump to any conclusions or make any rash decisions about what we ought to do. Nor will we be obstinate in promoting our own opinions. And just as we should not lend our ears to gossip, so too should we refrain from passing it on to others.” (pp. 9-10)
 
Commentary:
 
This is strictly theosophical, and H. P. Blavatsky wrote along these lines.

Twenty-Eight: Humbleness and Prudence


“It is often the wisest course to get advice from a conscientious person and to follow it rather from one’s own inclinations. A holy person shares in God’s own wisdom and has more useful ‘experience’ to draw on - and to share with others. The more humble a person is, the more inclined toward God, the more prudent in decision-making, and the more at peace.”
(p. 10)
 
Commentary:
 
Among the steps in the Golden Stairs of theosophical teachings, one finds these:
 
“A brotherliness for one’s co-disciple, a readiness to give and receive advice and instruction, a loyal sense of duty to the Teacher…”.[9]
 
Indeed, mutual help is of the essence in the search for truth.

Twenty-Nine: The Love of Truth

“When you read from Sacred Scripture, seek for religious truth, not literary elegance. In that way, you will be reading it in the same spirit in which it was written. One should approach Scripture as a source of spiritual profit, not as a collection of scientific documents. So too, one ought to read both the simpler and the more profound books of the Bible, without letting the ‘authority’ of the various authors sway one’s interests. Let your love of God’s truth lead you to read every part of Scripture.” (p. 10)
 
Commentary:
 
“God’s truth” is the divine wisdom or “godly truth”. The idea of Sacred Scriptures includes classical books belonging to religions and philosophies of all time and every nation, from the “Huarochiri”, in the Andes,  to the Central American “Popol Vuh” and “The Secret Doctrine”. One must read them from the point of view of one’s heart, and according to inner affinity.

Thirty: Truth Speaks in Many Ways

“As you read, pay more attention to what is said than to who is saying it. The human authors of Scripture have all passed away; but the truth of God remains available to us through their words. As you know, God speaks to us in many ways, through all kinds of persons.” (p. 10)
 
Commentary:
 
“God”, or Anonymous Universal Law, speaks to us through many means. A Master of the Wisdom wrote to a female lay disciple: “Learn, child, to catch a hint through whatever agency it may be given. ‘Sermons may be preached even through stones’.” [10]   And the Buddha taught:
 
“Do not be misled by report or tradition or hearsay. Do not be misled by proficiency in the Collections (of Scriptures), nor by mere logic and inference, nor after considering reasons, nor after reflection on some view and approval of it, nor because it fits becoming, nor because the recluse (who holds it) is your teacher. But when you know for yourselves: ‘These things are not good, these things are faulty, these things are censured by the intelligent, these things, when performed and undertaken, conduce to loss and sorrow’ - then do you reject them.” [11]

Thirty-One: Reading With Sincerity

“You may find that your own curiosity gets in the way of your profiting from reading Scripture, because you find yourself stopping over various passages, seeking to know more and to enter into debate, when you should simply read farther. To profit from Scripture, you should read with humility, sincerity, and faith, and, of course, not so as to become regarded as an expert.


“Do not hesitate to read also the writings of the saints; and listen attentively to those who have a responsibility for your spiritual welfare - for what they say to you is not said without a good reason.” (p. 11)
 
Commentary:
 
Read the writings of wise men and women of all time.
 
Listen to your co-disciples, for they are co-responsible for your spiritual welfare, and the responsibility is mutual. You can learn from their right actions and from their mistakes as well, just as they may learn from yours.

Thirty-Two: Finding Peace of Heart


“The person who desires anything (except God) too much is not at peace. The proud or envious person is never satisfied. Only those who live humbly and simply are entirely at peace in their souls.


“Persons who have not mastered themselves soon ‘give in’ to themselves in small things. Those who are spiritually weak and who have not won control of the body’s appetites are not able to free themselves from slavery to earthly things. If they do succeed in denying themselves some earthly good, they are then unhappy and tend to react crossly to anyone who annoys them. Yet if they give in to their appetites, they find that their conscience will not let them be happy - and they are none the closer to the peace and contentment they are seeking.


“They have not yet discovered that it is by resisting passions and regulating appetites that one becomes no longer a slave to them and finds peace of heart. The earth-bound person, whose life is one of searching for new amusements and distractions, does not have that peace. The devout person alone has it.”
(pp. 11-12)
 
Commentary:
 
Each student must keep a constant eye to the ideal of human progression and perfection, and make practical experiments in detachment towards earthly things.
 
It is necessary to avoid two extremes. One must not blindly obey to lower appetites; on the other hand, there is no use in following a sort of self-discipline that generates too much of a neurotic conflict.  Balance is of the essence. The effort is long-term, and one must be one’s own master and disciple. There are also karmic tides to observe and to understand in this lifelong effort. Once one grasps universal truths, lower self desires are gradually uprooted. The daily discipline, the study and contemplation of universal law silently destroy the Roots of self-centeredness in one’s lower self. 
 
The foundations of a winning self-discipline are in realizing our personal interconnectedness to the whole Cosmos. When our mental horizon includes that of our galaxy, it becomes easier for us to have a humble and orderly life on the physical plane.

Thirty-Three: A Life of Poverty

“It hardly needs saying that anyone who puts trust in other people or in created things is likely to know disappointment. There is no shame, of course, in our serving others for the love of Jesus Christ, or in adopting a life of poverty.” (p. 12)
 
Commentary:
 
The idea that there is no shame in our serving others for the sake of spiritual soul is present in older religions than Christianity. In the Vedas, for example, the Brhad-aranyaka Upanishad says: 
 
“Verily, not for the sake of the husband is the husband dear, but a husband is dear for the sake of the [supreme] Self. Verily, not for the sake of the wife is the wife dear, but a wife is dear for the sake of the [supreme] Self. Verily, not for the sake of the sons are the sons dear, but the sons are dear for the sake of the [supreme] Self.” [12]
 
There is an impersonal, divine dimension in human affections which we can learn to develop, and of which we may become fully conscious in due time.

Thirty-Four: Follow Your Sense of Duty


“Those who do such things place their hope in God [the Law], not in themselves. If each of us does the good that it is in our power to perform, God [the Law] will use us as his [its] instruments. God [the Law] helps the humble, and humbles those who think they don’t need God [the Law].”
(p. 12)
 
Commentary:
 
Renunciation to personal desire leads to a life of voluntary simplicity, in which ethics and wisdom are possible. Justice is impartial, and one of the Mahatmas of the Himalayas wrote:
 
“… In our sight an honest boot-black [is] as good as an honest king, and an immoral sweeper far higher and more excusable than an immoral Emperor…”. [13] 
 
The sentence “if each of us does the good that it is in our power to perform…” expresses the main idea of Epictetus’ teachings. By fulfilling our inner spiritual duty, we learn to cooperate with our own higher selves, and with other, more advanced beings.
 
NOTES:

[1] “The Imitation of Christ”, by Thomas À Kempis, translated by P.G. Zomber, Dunstan Press, Maine, USA, copyright 1984, 250 pp. Number of the page of each quotation is mentioned in parenthesis at its end.  Another English language version is “Of the Imitation of Christ”, by Tomas à Kempis, Whitaker House, USA, 1981, 256 pp.

[2] “A Concise Encyclopedia of Christianity”, Geoffrey Parrinder, entries “Brethren of the Common Life”, “Tomas À Kempis” and “Nicholas of Cusa”.

[3] See “Collected Writings”, H. P. Blavatsky, TPH, vol. XIV, pp. 377-378. For further independent evidence and research, examine the entries “Nicholas of Cusa” and “Brethren of the Common Life”, according to Note 2, above.
 
[4] “Five Messages”, H. P. Blavatsky, Theosophy Co., Los Angeles, 1922, Second message, p. 12. The pamphlet is available at our associated websites.
 
[5] Padre Antônio Vieira, “Sermões”, Editora das Américas, SP, volume IV, 1957, 441 pp., see for instance pp. 28-40.
 
[6] Such a contact usually includes the written words of classical teachings and a silent inspiration on the higher, wordless levels of perception.
 
[7] One of the best-known among Brazilian editions, also a direct translation from the Latin original, does not use the phrase “esoteric things”. It has instead “mysterious and obscure questions”. (“Imitação de Cristo”, Tomás de Kempis, Ed. Vozes, Petrópolis, RJ, Brazil, 1993, p. 17.)

[8] “A Concise Encyclopedia of Christianity”, Geoffrey Parrinder, entry “Brethren of the Common Life”, p. 48.
 
[9] See the article “Commentaries to the Golden Stairs”, by Carlos Cardoso Aveline, in our associated websites.
 
[10]  “Letters from the Masters of the Wisdom”, edited by C. Jinarajadasa, TPH, India, 1973, First Series, p. 150, Second Letter to L. C. Holloway.
 
[11] “The Wisdom of Buddhism”, Edited by Christmas Humphreys, Curzon-Humanities, London, UK, 1987, 280 pp., p. 71. 
 
[12] “The Principal Upanisads”, Edited with Notes by S. Radhakrishnan, London: George Allen & Unwin Ltd; New York: Humanities Press Inc., 1974, 958 pp., see p. 197.
 
[13] “The Mahatma Letters”, TUP, Pasadena, California, 1992, Letter XXIX, p. 223.
 
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