[Studies in “Light on the Path” by Mabel Collins]


‘Light on the Path’, scribed by Mabel Collins (1851-1927) and published first in 1885, was described as “A Treatise written for the personal use of those who are ignorant of the Eastern Wisdom and who desire to enter within its influence”. It was also called “A Fragment from the Book of Golden Precepts”. This was the first of the three treatises which occupy a unique position in the Theosophical Literature. It has Precepts having several layers of meaning. While an understanding of the Precepts awakens the Consciousness to its right place, ‘Living the Teaching’ quickens the evolution of those who are on the Path.

The Study is made in 5 presentations:

1. What is The Path and What is Awakening?

Ancient Wisdom always suggests a Path and the need for the men and women of the world to awaken themselves to that Holy Path. Irrespective of our realizing this fact, Nature and its Laws – which are inseparable – work to advance the Human/Cosmic evolution, a process to the Gates of Gold, the Ultimate Reality. Preliminary work for getting ready to Awaken is Imperative.

Madame Blavatsky in her preface to the First Book “ISIS UNVEILED” says: Hermetic Philosophy, the anciently universal Wisdom Religion [Sanatana-Dharma] is the only key to the Absolute in science and theology.

She was also the first person to ‘synthesis’ Religion, Philosophy and Science and give out an integrated picture of the manner, method and evolution of Manifestation in her book “THE SECRET DOCTRINE”.[Rahsya-Grandha]

She brings out the Ideal which leads humanity to the TEMPLE OF DIVINE WISDOM;[this is a metaphorical statement for Parama-Pada = ultimate state of being] and added on to that the existence of Celestial Beings who guide, associate and process the Humanity through its course of Obligatory Journey.

She meticulously points the WAYS advocated by various religious and philosophical studies of the World and brings up the Unity in their essence and identity in their approach.

Her Key point is that Humanity is to Awaken itself for its Enlightenment and possible Advancement. There are various Paths in this endeavor but all become ONE when it comes down to the understanding of human  taking. The names and terms by which they are elaborately explained may differ, depending upon the contemporary necessity and levels of peoples’ understanding. When we bring up the Common factors in each of them, they are invariably the same.[Ekam Sat, Viprah bahudha vadanti, (Rig-veda)]

Yet, before attempting to know how they dovetail to become one, it would be necessary to have a preliminary idea of the constituent principles and the equipments [Tatwas and Koshas] that a human-being is composed of. Without a crisp  intake of this, it would not be possible to come know the human predicament, not to speak of its resolution.

Human-being has an undercurrent of ‘Consciousness’ [Chetana/Prajna] and is also endowed with Self-Consciousness, which makes him entitled to question, investigate and find out the Ultimate Source of existence.

The theosophical understanding is that the Human-being is a composition of Seven constituent Principles, out of which four are purely temporal and three are permanent factors. This makes him/her both impermanent and permanent (Mortal and Immortal).

Allowing the Consciousness, which we already stated to be the under-current, human-being has corresponding bodies (Kosha-s) built in suitably with the matter (material) available at different planes of Nature in the Globe (earth) one lives in. That we live, move and have our being in a Globe, in itself a part of a vast system of one of the Universes caused by the Absolute, is a common understanding.

When we speak of consciousness, we are also aware that we do not necessarily a ‘continuity’ of such a thing throughout our knowledge or memory. Consciousness is only ‘continual’ but not continuous with us, because of the nature of material with which we are made up. Will it be possible to make this consciousness be with us all the time, in other words, a ‘continuous consciousness’?

We live in ‘differentiated’ states of consciousness, though we may not be aware of that situation. Drawing attention to this central factor and placing before us the need to become aware of this – is the work of philosophy, by whatever name and adjective we may call it.

There is a Way to be ‘continuously’ conscious; and that way is the “Path”. Light needs to be shown on the Path. That is exactly what philosophy does: Awakening one to that state of consciousness. But it cannot be an easy or rosy path. It may appear to be full of thorns and pricks, but once we realize the ‘ultimate reality’ of it, we tend to move towards it in spite of odds and anomalies.

Nature and its Laws provide us the opportunity as we equip ourselves with the need for such realization. Light on the Path, we intend to explore in the series of the current study, is “A Treatise written for the personal use of those who are ignorant of the Eastern Wisdom and who desire to enter within its influence.” It was dictated by the Master Hilarion, who himself received it from another Great One called The Venetian, who translated from Sanskrit into Greek for his disciples.

The book contains Light on the Path in two parts, a short essay on Karma; and also a  long essay on Green Leaves (which part is not included in the editions now available). The scribe of the book is one Mabel Collins, a contemporary of Madame Blavatsky.

The book opens with the following remark:

“These rules are written for all disciples: Attend to them.”

The 4 injunctions, before the study, are given thus:

  1. Eyes must become incapable of tears.
  2. Ear must have lost its sensitiveness.
  3. Voice must have lost the power to wound.
  4. Feet must be washed in the blood of the heart.


  1. Deprivations and Acquisitions much needed.

Certain physical and psychological traits, inborn attributes need to be ‘shed’, such as Ambition. Desire for Life, for Comfort, Sense of separatedness, Sensation, hunger for Growth; and yet Stand Alone and Isolated. Similarly one has to desire only that which is within, beyond and Unattainable. The Light of the World is within each of us; and only that Light shows the Path Proper. We need to Seek Out the Way to become ‘unconditionally and absolutely Free’.

When we realize that as ‘units of consciousness’ that are inseparable with the whole of consciousness, the first effort is to make ourselves free from the extraneous material that has for historical and geographical reasons enters into ourselves. We are initially accustomed to a way of life that is totally ‘worldly’ and mechanical. As we sense that there is something beyond that and the real man is essaying to wake us up into that, There has to be a sincere advancement to uplift ourselves to that supreme splendor.

*  The whole idea is to  suggest that we are involved and absorbed in this world (Bhava-sagara), but there is a real one by name Kshira sagara, the ocean of Milky waters. Less (no) attention to this world and all (whole) attention to the other.

This list suggested as ‘depriving’ and getting free from the inhibitions that bind us to the bonds of worldliness. They are suggested as the following:


Desire of life

Desire of comfort

Sense of separatedness

Desire for sensation

Hunger for growth.

One may immediately think that our existence in the world will be totally meaningless and purposeless if we deprive any of them. This is because we look to things of the above from purely outer worldly point of view. We need to look at the physical things, events and circumstances from the spiritual point of view. It is this capacity to look to things ‘as they are’ but not as they appear to be to the physical eye. We have an eye, mental, buddhic and spiritual too, which we have not yet opened to operate and effectively function. This is the gradual opening or ‘awakening’ that is needed. Unless we see things with the spiritual eye, we would not be seeing them in their totality and entireness.

One may ask: How can I live without ambition? We cannot be ambitious in worldly pleasures, wants and the like. once they are ‘illusory’, temporary and ever-fleeting. Ambition is not to get the worldly positions and possessions. This brings into the picture as to what is generally called in terms as Discrimination and Desirelessness. (Viveka and Nishkama). Viveka alerts us to seek only those that are with us all through, such as virtues like Friendliness, Compassion, and Cheerfulness etc. It will decidedly tell us not to run after temporary, imaginary and ever-fleeting matters of life. Be ambitious but not be attached to those which you obtain through that attitude. We must work like those who are ambitious but not anchored to the fruits of such actions. Advancement or achieving  is the basic need. But this is not at the cost of loosing sense of ‘oneness’ with life.  But this not an outflow of Competition and Comparison with other persons and events in life. ‘Do I really want what I am aspiring for?’ should be an ever-relevant question before us. ‘Deserve and Desire’ is a popular statement. What we deserve will naturally come to us. This is the trust’ in Life and the Laws of Nature. Whatever comes to us in the course of life is what we have brought in through our actions, thoughts and feelings. We cannot escape from them, nor avoid them. Knowing that the results flow from ourselves through the energies put forth by us is the fact we should assimilate. We must have the respect and reverence for Life and brings the Trust needed in the Divine Justice. When the latter is working, there can be no scope for ‘personal injustice’. This trust makes us work like a person who is ambitious outwardly, but when we look into our own heart there is sort of attachment to that result of ambitiousness.  Cheerfulness comes in when we strictly aware that nothing happens to us unless we have invited that to happen. We create our own circumstances, nourish and live in them.

Then the question remains: what is it that must be desired?

Again a long list is provided for our detailed understanding.

Only that which is within you

Only that which is beyond you

Only that which is unattainable

Power ardently

Peace fervently

Possessions above all.

*Realization of reality; universal power and peace.

There is within each of us the “Inner Ruler Immortal” (Antaryami), who is the spark from the Divinity through the Monad.  The Divine Light is also spread over all the world and universe. Yet it is easily not attainable and a lot of sincere attention to the virtues like Discrimination and Desirelessness are practiced and made part of our being in daily behavior.

There is a Power that passes all things new and fresh in appearance. It lives and moves in the hearts of Those who know the Self as One.

There is a Peace that passes all Understanding. It lives and moves in the Hearts of Those who live in the Eternal.

That Peace must also brood over us all the time. That power must uplift us and allow us to see the New Light of Awakening.

Here the Awakening is from the world of illusion to that of Real. Before we aspire the Real World descend upon the Earth, each individual on Earth must rise himself to that state of  Ever-Being.

Man enlightens himself and touches the Universal Flame.

What we intend to ‘possess’ must belong to the Soul, but not to the common place world. Illusory character of all riches, properties, attainments etc. must be realized. The ‘Killing’ part of the Saadhana, as said in the above statements must ultimately lead us to Belief/Faith in the ‘real world’ spoken of.

The Peace now obtained is very sacred as it will not allow you to fall down. You will become an “Achyuta” at this stage.

The Power which is obtained may mean nothing in the popular world, where you will be ‘none’ but in the real world it is everything.

After enjoying the fruits of deprivation of the false positions and desiring the right things, the newer state of SEEKING starts.

What is it that must be sought?

The Way. The injunction here is that the Way must be sought for its own sake and not for any reward or award.

The way must be sought in the following method:

By retreating within.

By advancing boldly without.

The way is not found by 1. Devotion alone 2.Religious contemplation alone, 3.Ardent progress alone, 4. Self-sacrificing labor 5.Studious observation of life. All steps are necessary to make up the ladder. The vices, as they are surmounted, and virtues, as they are meticulously followed, create an atmosphere and a happy future. They are ‘useless’ when they are standing alone. *Truth is not to be obtained by one Virtue alone; all virtues when together make one True. Make a pth of your own. There is a similar statement in Bhagavad-gita too.

The whole nature of man must be used Wisely by one who desires to enter the way.

EACH MAN IS TO HIMSELF ABSOLUTELY THE WAY, THE TRUTH, AND THE LIFE. But he is so only when he grasps his whole individuality firmly, and by the force of his awakened spiritual will, recognizes this individuality as not himself, but the thing which he has created for his own use. Each of the steps is to be thoroughly understood, experimented and utilized.

Seeking should not be at the ‘mind’ level, it is only verbal or intellectual. Seeking has to be at a level beyond the mind. Mind may receive the Truth but the Spirit cannot receive it unless asked by the Buddhi (Intuition).

When the Seeking is thorough, properly exercised and Sincere, the Man will be able to bestow upon the world his own Peace.

  1. The Song of Life

The song of Life is the lesson of harmony and to way to ‘look intelligently into the hearts of living beings’. This makes way for listening to the Voice which is Soundless (Anaahata). All the lessons of Nature and its Laws are to be taken into the Soul.

As a consequence of deprivations and acquisitions arrived at, the Learner of Wisdom has arrived at a space of Peace. He is now, technically, a Disciple.

He is able to Stand on his own because of the Confidence he has put in.

He is able to hear because he has opened the doors of soul.

He is able to see because he attained perception.

He is able to speak because  he has attained the power of helping others.

He has conquered Desire and attained Self-knowledge.

He has seen his Soul in its bloom (Atma-Sakshatara) and is able to recognize it.

He has heard the Voice of Silence, where Peace alone is posited. This is the Hall of Learning.

Now he is in a position to see things ‘non-personally’ and impartially. The element of personality is not subjecting him  he has become his own Master, in a way.

This is one sort of achievement, not the full feature. The victory so far got must be preserved carefully and securely.

Now, the statement of hearing the’ Voice of the Silence’ is to be carefully examined.

True Guidance comes only from Within, that is the Heart – the seat of Antaryami. In entering this Hall, real Learning begins.

The advancement in Spiritual learning is always a manner of Proper preparedness by the student (Aspirant). When the student is ready, Master is always there to instruct him and give further lessons.

Learning, again, involves a Conflict and Confrontation.

One has to fight though he is not the Warrior. He should look at his warrior and let him fight in him (as he is already the Antaryami available; and is now made ready to take over things on behalf of this student. The Antaryami is the Higher-Self, which has had the lower-self truly and totally subdued to him).

This is action without the Do-er. Disciple is acting, no doubt, but he is acting upon the orders of the Higher-self, the Warrior. The aspirant is only a chariot, vehicle; the reach Hero is the Chakradhari, the man at the wheel. The student has to meticulously hear to the dictates of the man at the Wheel and follow. This is also a state where the lower and higher Selves have united perfectly. The Doer and the Dictator is truly One. Doer in his lower senses had thought that he himself is the dictator, but now he has realized that he is the follower of his Antaryami, who is under direction of The High-Power.

Here again is provided a caution. The Inner Ruler is ‘not one who him desert you’ when you have awakened him. But you must guard yourself from the position you have attained. You must be more alert that you do not desert him. Undivided devotion and undisturbed absorption with him must be the rule or diction for you.

‘Listen to the Song of life.’ Life needs to seen in deeper levels.

When you visit the ocean of life, first you see the Hoare of the water currents. Get into the waters and then alone you come across the still waters of the Peace. When you further proceed undaunted you will the diamonds and pearls of life, the emblem of ‘eternal peace’. This is also described as ‘eternal vigilance’ and ‘melody of heart’.

‘Living in desires’ appears to be a pleasurable and easy path, desires are only the ‘outer horror’ and illusive. Once this fact is learnt, effort should be to stick on the ‘real’ and ‘divine’.

‘Store in the memory of the melody you hear and learn from it the lessons of harmony,’ is the instruction.

Life will seem to be a struggle and conflict, but one must carry the fight (of seeking) firm as a rock. True seeker will never fall, never subject to defeat. He will ‘win’. This absorbing faith must lead you. The state of ‘Achyuta’ must enroll and encompass you.

Once you reach this state, you need no longer a Teacher. ‘Life itself has speech and is never silent’. It is a Song, harmony. Let the faculty of ‘hearing’ be clear and direct.

‘Learn to look intelligently into the hearts of men’.

Non-personal point of view must be absolute with you.

‘No man is your enemy; no man is your friend; all alike are your teachers. Standing ‘aside’ to all events and happenings in life is necessary. You must not be led away by them. Your heart must be pure, so that you can guide others. You will be able to use your powers of harmony and render ‘a worthy service’.

2. Weight of Responsibility

Responsibility that the Learning and Wisdom bestow upon us is very heavy and dear too. We become co-creators and aid the Nature in all its actions. We tend to understand the Laws of Karma and demand the Secrets of Nature that govern the Human life. Compassion and Love become       our weapons on the Path.

Wisdom is Jnana-deepa, the Light. Not only for you, but everyone around.

Light is  supported by the level of your understanding. Responsibility comes up with your realization that ‘all are to be helped’.

Scholarship (wisdom) is to be shared with others, the needy. Parables, anecdotes, ethical teachings are for the masses

For one who knows, there is no other Path, than Wisdom in daily living.

Learning has a great Responsibility. One’s acquiring knowledge and information about the inner laws of nature and life is not for personal pleasure and enjoyment. That Learning must be used in service to the whole of humanity.

Now, the entrance to the ‘Way in Reality’ or the ‘Path Proper’ is before you.

Inquiry into the Secrets that the Earth holds for you. Inquiry into the Holy Ones of the Earth. Inquiry into the inmost, the One, of the final secret, which hold to you through the ages — is the task before you now.

Here come in the laws of Karma, reincarnation and the life after the seeming death, which need to be well understood. Life is an ever-flowing current. You are part of it, but above it. ‘You are on the threshold of becoming more than man.’

Manushya is now reshaping himself to be a Manava. All the results of past lives and actions stand before you. You have only impassionately look at them. Be cheerful, never get depressed and go low. You are in a position to ‘advance’ further’.

You have put your trust (Viswasa) in the Most High (of the Powers of Nature and Divine Law).

If you betray that trust, misuse that knowledge, or neglect it, you may again fall into the pit.

This is the responsibility one must undertake: Not fall back.

The trust must become the greater and deeper trust. Viswasa  becomes Mahaviswasa.  This is the undaunted courage that must lead you. Once you have confided yourself in the Most High that will lead you to the other shore of the ocean of Life. This is ‘trusting the life.’ This is the ‘confidence’ in Him who is guiding you all the time. Earlier, you neglected him, not cared for him; but now ‘having placed your confidence in him and belief that he holds the truth within him – ready to bestow you with that, you cannot behave otherwise. Strict Obedience and Adherence to him is the spirit that carries you.

This is the great responsibility now opening before you. Be firm and faithful to that.

‘Hold fast to that which has neither substance nor existence.’

‘Listen only to the voice which is soundless.’

‘Look only on that which is invisible alike to the inner and the outer sense.’

These three are the final instructions on the Path.

Holding fast to that Spirit, which is neither subjective nor objective (Vastu and Vishaya), ever listening to the Anaahata voice, which comes from the Heart and rolling oneself in the  world of the Real — is the final word.

This is the doctrine of the Heart and not of the Eye.

When the heart gets filled in with the ‘Love’ for the real and true, your actions will be blissful to the entire nature you are surrounded in. this s the purpose of Life. You have become the Way and the Light. There need be no further seeking or inquiring.

‘The operations of the actual laws of Karma’ will not affect him any longer. He becomes ‘Karma-less’ or ‘Karma-atita’. He is only a Witness and co-creator to all those happenings. A state of ‘Bliss’ ever encloses him in his becoming that co-creator. Divine laws that are imbibed by him will become invariably operational laws in his behavior and manner.

Understanding is the perfect harmony of life. The verbal knowing becomes the practical/functional operation for him.

Compassion (replaced or consummated by personal passion) and Love for all Beings in nature becomes his normal, unobstructed virtue. It is his Armor. It is the Talisman (Raksha-kavacha).

This may be very heavy, weighty; but is inescapable. Continuing the journey in Spirit and Law is the enduring factor in Life.

The Spiritual Path, which the seeker (aspirant) has taken upon himself is self-supporting, endless and infinite. It is the eternal truth with which he has embraced.

Life is hidden, but is vibrant in every atom.

Light is hidden, but it is shining in every creature.

Love is hidden, but it is embracing all into Oneness. (A.B.)

1. Green Leaves of Love

Love is the fulfillment of Law. Feel the Power of Love, rather than the Love of Power. Love is the first and the last attribute of the Divine. Love is inseparable with Immortality. Let us remember that there are still buds in the springs and they need our care and nourishment.

Green Leaves, on its own, is a short piece stressing that Love is the most miraculous power in Life; and can be invoked by ending the notion of ‘separatedness’.

The importance of Love in life places it on equal status with Immortality. When we die down to the mortal portions of our being, we are Immortals. Body or No body we exist all the time of eternity. The divine qualities endure and culminate in Love.

Love, we are told, is the first and last virtue we need to possess.

We normally love power but do not know the power of love.

‘Love conquers all,’ is an ancient saying. There is nothing you cannot win over if you have the Love Immortal.

Love as any other quality is both inward and outward.

While Passion, Desire, Sensation are outward expressions of love, Compassion, Discrimination and unselfishness; touching and working with the Heart are the inward feelings.

Love (personal) includes periodical/seasonal fading out and withering away. But we must remember that we live in universe which is lively, lovely and lightening.

Opposite term for ‘Love’ is ‘Lazy’, not hatred as we commonly suppose.

The text is preceded by a short poem: Words from the Master in Love to the Disciple, which reads as below:

  1. Brave heart it is that sees the light!

Strong soul that scents the fragrant air!

None else can hope to scale the height:

None else can breathe the silent prayer.

  1. Put pleasure a back and let her laugh,

Bid peace turn her pale face from thee:

In them you find a changeling half

Of that great joy that lives in me.

  1. I bid my children look afar

To where I stand alone – and wait.

Push back the heavy iron bar

That clamps and holds the golden gate.

` 4. Yes, push it back; for in your hands

My strength lies waiting, for your will;

Enter with me the shining lands,

Climb thou with me the golden hill.

5.But know that slaves have here no place.

Pleasure or pride, or peace or pain,

These bring no changes on thy face;

As my power waxes – theirs must Wane.

“Love is the fulfilling of the law.”

“Remember, there are still the buds in Spring! “

The text proper is divided into 3 sections, 1.first explaining the Power of Love, 2. Iron bar that obstructs and 3. Five qualities needed to enter the Brotherhood of Love.

  1. Love is a miraculous thing, resembling that which is miraculous only to that. Love is the atmosphere, or ether, in which the spiritual spheres revolve, and until the soul is aware of it, and at home with it, spiritual life has not begun.

Never let your heart harden or grow dark because it is left empty. Water the barren place that the green may cover it quickly when the sun shines therein again.

These green leaves, the resurrection and glory of the heart, these passions of feeling and of emotion, may drive men to fever and from fever to madness. But this is because men are blind and ignorant, and do not know how to build up out of a man a divine creature.

Transform all feeling into power, all life into thought.

Take emotion and make it a purpose.

Take fever and make it force.

Take madness and make it divine confidence.

  1. The golden Gates are those portals which admit to spiritual life. They do not close on it – they admit to it.

The iron bar is that artificial and temporary consciousness which makes you into separate existence. That is the first thing which has to be put aside on the threshold of occultism, the one thing that must be surrendered as the mere fancy or phantasy of a passing form of experience.

The disciple becomes like a dove that is clothed in plumage. If in his person power be seen and forced be used, that power and that force come from the great brotherhood of love to which he belongs, and not from himself.

It is through your love you must learn. Dwell upon it, cultivate it, and study it.

Never lose sight of the brotherhood of humanity which surges and presses upon the brotherhood of love.


  • Five qualities that must be possessed for one who enters the brotherhood of love:
    1. Capacity for faith or unconscious knowledge.
    2. Divine Confidence or Hope Inextinguishable.
    3. Gift of charity, which makes forgiveness of offences a natural act, not an enforced one.
    4. Power of Pure Love, which gives without expectation of any return.
    5. Consciousness of the Unseen, or the knowledge of Super-nature.

The attributes are:

  1. Discernment
  2. Reason
  3. Justice
  4. Honor
  5. Vision of the inner eye
  6. Hearing of the inner ear
  7. Sense of spiritual touch.

Love is the first attribute of the Divine, and the last also. Immortality and love are therefore almost identical, for they cannot be separated. There is no death for those who live in love.

Awakening to the New Life of Light makes us Strong Pillars in the Temple of Divine Wisdom, that is no other than a figurative statement for the Living Universe.   ###