As we entered the portals of the monastery, we entered first into a vestibule which was beautifully paved. In the middle of the room was a sculpture of Gautama Buddha. On the walls were gold inscriptions of the important doctrines of the ancient sages.
To the right and left of the entrance doors were long corridors leading to the living quarters of the Brothers. And opposite to the entrance was an archway to a beautiful garden containing tropical plants which were certainly not in accordance with the area where we were. Back of this garden was a building of white marble, whose walls supported the dome which I had seen upon emerging from the tunnel into this paradise. At the apex of the dome was a silver dragon resting on a golden globe.
The Master noticed that I was centering my attention on this building and said:
"This is our temple which you are not permitted to enter. If you were to attempt it, immediate death of your personality would occur. In fact, it would serve you no purpose to be able to enter and live, for, in that sanctuary, all is dark to those who do not bring with them their own spiritual light, the unextinguishable lamp of divine intelligence to illuminate their way.
We walked into one of the corridors of the main building. On our left, there were numerous doors leading into the cells or apartments of the Brothers. To the right was a wall, occasion- ally opening into the tropical garden, and the spaces between these openings were filled with beautifully painted landscapes. One of the landscapes represented Indian scenery, with the snow-covered Himalayan Mountains in the background. The forepart depicted what appeared to be a Chinese pagoda with a small lake and wooded hills in the distance.
The Master said, "Look about you and you'll see pictures of various lamaseries and monasteries of our Order.
Pointing to one in front of us he said, "This one is in the interior of Tibet, and only the highest order of Adepts are allowed there.
"Not only do the pictures show the lamaseries or monasteries, but also a part of the country in which they are located, giving the general character of it in the sunny areas. Each one has a distinct occult quality which would become apparent if you were to concentrate your mind on some part of the picture."
"Master," I asked, "may I try?" He answered by saying he thought I had enough power of concentration for it to work. So I concentrated on the grand portal of the entrance to the lamasery. When I had my mind totally centered on it, with no interfering thoughts, to my amazement the door in the picture opened and a tall Indian dressed in all white robes with a turban of pale yellow stepped out of the door.
I recognized this man, for I had seen him in my waking dreams. And he recognized me, smiled and nodded his head, as I bowed reverently before him. A fine looking mount, a white horse, was brought by an attendant, and he rode away.
The Master noticed my astonishment and smiled. As he drew me away from the picture, he quoted from Shakespeare with a little modification:
"There are many things in heaven and earth which are not understood by your philosophers."
There were convents in Egypt, monasteries in the Cordillera of South America, and a Moslem temple with the half moon at its top. I expressed surprise at seeing so many orders represented by a Christian order and remarked:
"I take it from this that a spiritually enlightened man may become a member of your order if he does not believe in any of the Christian dogmas?"
I was answered quickly by the Master:
"No man may become a member of the Order of the Golden Cross if his knowledge is based on dogmas, beliefs, creeds or opinions which are taught by others or which may have come from hearsay or books.
"Such imaginary knowledge is not real knowledge. One can only know that which he himself knows because he sees, feels and understands. Conventional knowledge is but memory. Our memory is crowded with things that may be true or false. But even if they are true, they are not knowledge.
"Knowing cannot be imparted, one man to another. You can only guide a student to where he can attain it and grasp the truth himself. That is not merely experiencing it with his brain, but intuitively experiencing it with his heart and Self.
"Real truth comes from spiritual experience and from the Self, which is in contact with the Mind of God. To believe in the truth of anything without having real knowledge is mere superstition. This is the fertile ground in which dogma is grown.
"Therefore, all scientific, philosophic and theological speculations are based on superstition and not on real knowledge. The theologian is in constant danger of having his theories overthrown, by some new discovery of Nature's truth which will not amalgamate with the artificial system of dogma, because the latter is built upon sensual perceptions and logical arguments, based upon sense perceptions.
"TRUTH CANNOT BE OVERTHROWN. ONE DOES NOT NEED TO ARGUE OR DEFEND IT.
"If perceived by a spiritual power of perception and understood through the spiritual intelligence of man, it conveys real know- ledge to him and may not be disputed away. The true Adept has nothing to do with creeds, beliefs or opinions. We only want real knowledge.
"If we were all sufficiently perfect to recognize truth by direct perception of the Self, we should not need our books or teachers or spiritual exercises. And, if we were in such a perfect state, we would not be in school studying. We would either be here to teach the masses or we would be in another world.
"We here are still men, although far above the intellectual animal which is usually called man, but which is not regenerated. We still use books and have a library, and we still study the opinions of thinkers. But we do not use books or opinions as though they came from Buddha himself as our infallible guide
unless they are venerated by our reason and understanding. The books serve us; we do not serve them."
We walked into the library where thousands of books were on the shelves, many of which I had heard of but not seen. Many which had been destroyed by fire and many books of Hermes Trismegistus, or which only one was believed to exist, were priceless beyond the conception of antiquity.
The Master looked at me and smiled.
"Yes, I don't doubt that you are surprised at seeing the collection of literature which exists here, but it is quite simple to explain. Every book which has existed leaves its impression on the Mind of the Father. By certain spiritual practices, these impressions may be reproduced from the universal storehouse of knowledge of Nature and be put into a visible, tangible shape or book. And some of our Brothers devote their time to this purpose."
I was overjoyed to hear this, because it seemed to confirm my belief that solitary life was not necessarily a life of uselessness and that ideas were real things which may be grasped more easily in a tranquil place than in one where a scholar is surrounded by the turmoil of petty society.
"Our Order and our monastery were formed by enlightened people who had the same thought which is in your mind. They selected this valley because it is little known. And, making use of certain forces of Nature unknown to you, they created an illusion which rendered it safe against unwelcome intruders.
"If you had not had the determination to walk through the invisible wall and did not possess the reason to know that anyone who had this knowledge would not injure a brother man, you would not have been able to pass through so that the dwarf could find you and lead you here.
"The germ of divinity lies dormant, or latent, in the heart of every man. But those who become conscious of it require this type of life and conditions for the further development of that germ. Here we live in peace, separated by a barrier from the outer world.
"For even if our existence, the existence of our retreat became known, it would be an easy enough thing for us to create other illusions to prevent others who attempted to force entry.
"The Brothers in the Order, the Masters, Adepts and so forth, are not excluded from the outer world, although we do not enter it physically. But, through the exercise of our clairvoyant and clairaudient powers, we may at any moment know what is going on in the world if we need to come into personal contact with it. Then we leave our physical forms and travel in our spiritual and astral bodies. We visit whatever we want, witness everything without being perceived.
"Therefore, we may visit the statesmen, ministers, philosophers and discoursers, we place thoughts in their minds which are useful, but which they do not know from whence they come. If their perception is very strong, they may reject the thoughts. But if they are reasonable people and know how to discriminate, they will follow the silent advice and profit by it.
"If is quite true that if we desired and set a great amount of will power into motion, we might handle mankind as though they were automatons. We could cause them to do what we pleased while they would still imagine that they were following their own ideas. But to do so would be against the rule of our Order and the great Law. For this has decided that each man should be the creator of his own karma.
"We can advise people, but we are not permitted to interfere with their freedom, be it right or wrong.
"Anyone is acceptable in the Order who has the necessary qualifications to enter, no matter what religion, what belief he adheres to. But one cannot be confirmed by favor. It is a well known saying, even among the lowers grades of occultists or initiates: "MASTERS CANNOT BE MADE, BUT GROW TO BECOME."