Seven Jewels of Wisdom
By Pat Powell
Introduction to discussion given at the William Quan Judge Branch, Liverpool on Saturday 7th September 2002.
The Seven Jewels are perhaps the building blocks of all the teachings of whatever philosophy. Each one would require more than an entire lifetime to understand, and then some. In fact, I feel more comfortable in thinking about them as always being understood rather than understanding them. Each situation we encounter in our daily lives, because it is here that we play out these concepts, presents us with the tools with which we can exercise each of these Seven Jewels. The opportunities are limitless. I look to Theosophy to enable me to understand the patterns of life more fully. I don’t want it to tell me what I can’t or shouldn’t do, rather I use it to help me deal with whatever comes up. Not for it to give me an answer, but for it to give me a framework within which I can use my abilities to deal with the situation. Each situation is different, each framework is different. When it’s done its job, it’s time to leave it and move on. To be active in these situations is more important than to be passive. We should always be looking to “what can I do” rather than what someone else has done, will do or could do. Things don’t happen by themselves or resolve themselves, they happen because of…(whatever the situation is made up of).
Listening to a radio programme yesterday. A group of people were discussing “Obsessive Compulsion Disorder”. It came about, through the discussion, that although we perhaps immediately associate OCD with people rushing around cleaning things or singing or whistling nondescript tunes or incessantly tapping their fingers on the chair or whatever, what was more interesting to the panel of medical people on this programme was that the people who suffered from OCD thought they had to do these things. The actions that followed were of little consequence. What I’m getting at here is that we think that we are supposed to think about things in a particular way, a passive way, a ‘natural’ way. We could, if we tried, think differently but I know that it’s easier for some than others. So what has this to do with the Seven Jewels of Wisdom? Well maybe nothing, you might say but what I hope happens after this discussion is that we don’t think we understand these ideas, but that we think differently about situations that arise. Not to say; ‘well that was a good discussion’, or a bad one but one which we took an active part in, not necessarily by saying something but by thinking about it. Each of us is different, each situation we meet is different, how we deal with it is different. Today, tomorrow, next week, next year, in the next five minutes. There are no one-fit answers, however The Seven Jewels of Wisdom can provide us with the tools to help us understand. Let’s consider how they can help.
1) Reincarnation – The changing of the vehicle for the expression of the soul. In this sense, in our current state of evolution it means returning to a body of flesh. At other stages of our evolution the soul will use the most appropriate form. Look at nature and see how this happens and how adaptive it is.
2) Karma – Action and Reaction. We are what we think. Today is our inheritance from previous lives. Our tomorrows are being made now. There are no favours or shortcuts. We have to earn our way through it all. The sooner we take control of our destiny, consciously, the more influence we exert, and also is greater the responsibility. There are no chance occurrences. Everything is as it should be. If it wasn’t meant to be this way, it would be something else. If we want it to be something else, we have the means to make it so.
3) Hierarchies – Everything exists in everything else. No divisions. We have talked about man’s sevenfold nature in previous discussions. In order for us to understand this better, we separate them, but there really is no separation. No high, low, near, far, within, without, no right or wrong (there’s an interesting one). There just IS. Endless manifestations of life all at the right place at the right time. All functioning and evolving. We might not see them and, if we do, we may not understand them, but regardless of this, they are present. That we function on the physical plane for the vast majority of life does not mean that our other vehicles don’t exist. They do, and they are doing what is right for them in their place.
4) Swabhava – The essential characteristic of any entity, however that entity manifests itself. It means self-becoming or self-generation. And because of this it means being responsible. We can only become what we are, essentially. This fits in with our evolution and Evolution in total. What we are is what we become. This may, again, sound as if it implies passivity but we have the means to be greater than we are. There are no limits save those that we have imposed on ourselves and we can remove these with effort. Swabhava applies to individuals, families, groups (like ours), societies or organisations (like ours), countries, races, worlds, universes and so on. What this means to me is what I mentioned at the start of the discussion. We have an active part to play in what is happening. It does not mean that we have to, as Willian Quan Judge cautions against, to go out “To do, To do”. It means, to me anyway, being aware, conscious of each situation we find ourselves in and to understand the influence we can and do bring to that situation with whatever we do. Our Swabhava shapes life.
5) Evolution – The unfolding or unwrapping of Spirit; which is what we are. Spirit finds expression through myriad forms over endless duration. An ever-upward spiral which had no beginning and has no end. Constant motion and unfolding, with adjustments along the way.
6) Amrita-Yana (cf. Pratyeka Yana) – Apologies for using the Sanskrit word for this. It has no easy translation. It is the action or articulation of two processes. This Jewel and the next one are not widely discussed because of their complexity and tendency to be misunderstood. It involves what we would call the personality. It means that we initially pursue development for “ourselves”. This has always, perhaps, caused a problem for people. The desire to grow just for oneself but perhaps we should bear in mind that the personality is a necessary part of our make-up and it is through these parts of our make-up, by using them correctly and consciously, a well-rounded development takes place. Not many of us can become “Enlightened” instantly. Our personality has to become informed and we raise our personality through our individuality. We move from pursuing growth for the self to growth of the Self. The immortal vehicle, Amrita-Yana, is the path chosen for selflessness. This leads to….
7) Atma-Vidya – “Knowledge of the Self”. Going beyond Amrita-Yana. The state of existence which we find difficult to talk about. It is this that sends a ray of itself through all other parts of our composite makeup.It is this that we really are. It is this that we are trying to re-connect with. The way to do this is by working with all the other Jewels.
These Seven Jewels all hang together. None can exist without the others. None takes place in isolation. Each is working in its own way at its own pace and in its own place. We are the totality of them all. All we have to do is the ‘simple’ task of knowing it. As G de Purucker advises us in The Fundamentals of the Esoteric Philosophy, “…keep the mind fluid and open and plastic; hold fast to that which your soul, your conscience, tells you is good and if necessary, wait!”