Spiritual powers are the result of application of spiritual knowledge. "Lead the life necessary for the acquisition of such knowledge and powers, and Wisdom will come to you naturally" (S.D., I, 167). H.P.B. mentions two kinds of powers—Spiritual and psychic—in a footnote in The Voice of the Silence:
The Voice of the Silence, being chosen fragments from the Book of the Golden Precepts, is meant for the daily use of Lanoos (disciples). At the outset, H.P.B. warns us of the dangers of the lower Iddhis, i.e., psychic powers. Spiritual powers, described as Rajavidya or Kingly Knowledge, are acquired only by Raja Yogis. The Ninth Chapter of the Gita is entitled "Devotion by Means of the Kingly Knowledge and the Kingly Mystery." In this chapter, Sri Krishna talks about a certain stage in the development of the disciple's life and mentions a necessary condition to be fulfilled for the acquirement of this knowledge. Thus:
The condition is "Anusuyave" which has been translated by Mr. Judge as "one who findeth no fault." It refers to the definite stage in the disciple's life, when he ceases to doubt the teachings and the Teacher. One cannot be a doubting Thomas or a carping critic, if one wants to gain spiritual wisdom, which has been described as "the royal knowledge, the royal mystery, the most excellent purifier, clearly comprehensible, not opposed to sacred law, easy to perform, and inexhaustible." Doubt in one's own ability, or in the Guru, or in the teaching, can be a hindrance to the acquirement of knowledge. Doubt hinders spiritual progress. Some commentators have translated the Sanskrit "Anusuyave" as "one who is not jealous," i.e., not jealous of others, especially those ho have perfected themselves. If doubt lurks in the mind, one cannot be attentive. A disciple should not doubt the unerring nature of the law of Karma, as suggested in one of the qualifications for chelaship:
"Accept the woes of birth." In The Key to Theosophy, H.P.B. advises: "Our duty is to drink without a murmur to the last drop, whatever contents the cup of life may have in store for us." (p. 227)
An aspirant for spiritual wisdom must have undeviating devotion and faith in his Guru. The word "Guru" is the compound of "Gu" and "ru." "Gu" is derived from Guhya, Gupta, i.e., secret, hidden, darkness or ignorance. "Ru" comes from "Ra," meaning Sun or Light. Thus, Guru is one who throws light on secrets, one who dispels the darkness of ignorance and illuminates the mind. In Arjuna's case, the Guru is none other than Yogeshwara—Master of devotion, the very Logoic Consciousness, or Krishna. Hence, doubt can have no place when one reaches a certain stage in spiritual evolution. The first condition to become a disciple is to be a shravaka—a listener.
In Brihadaranyaka Upanishad, Sage Yajnavalkya in his instructions to his wife, tells her that the Vedanta system recognizes three stages in the path of self-realization—Shravana, Manana, and Nidhiyasana. Shravana means listening or studying the scriptures under a qualified Guru, Manana means constant reflection upon what is learnt, and Nidhiyasana implies meditation that helps to bring about a direct realization of the unity of all things.
The same idea is reflected in the Declaration of the United Lodge of Theosophists, in terms of study, application and promulgation of the assimilated teachings. Krishna says: "unto thee who findeth no fault I will now make known this most mysterious knowledge, coupled with a realization of it, which having known thou shalt be delivered from evil" (Gita, IX). Krishna's emphasis is on "becoming" by the application of knowledge gained.
Throughout the Gita, from the very first chapter, Arjuna asks several questions to Krishna. Having entered the field of battle he requests Krishna, his charioteer, to place his chariot between the two armies. On seeing all his kith and kin—grandsires, preceptors, etc., as his opponents, he is overcome by despondency and throws down his bow and arrows, refusing to fight. He asks Krishna: "I ask thee which is it better to do? Tell me that distinctly! I am thy disciple; wherefore instruct in my duty me who am under thy tuition; for my understanding is confounded..." (Gita, II). Then again he asks: "If...knowledge is superior to the practice of deeds, why then dost thou urge me to engage in an undertaking so dreadful as this? Thou, as it were with doubtful speech, confusest my reason..." (Gita, III). In chapter V, Arjuna asks: "At one time, O Krishna, thou praisest the renunciation of action, and yet again its right performance. Tell me with certainty which of the two is better." Krishna's reply is that children only and not the wise speak of them as being different. In Chapter VIII, Arjuna asks metaphysical questions, such as "What is Brahman, what is Adhyatma, what is Karma and who is Adhiyajna?" Krishna answers these questions and advises Arjuna to give up all doubts, as only then can he be fit enough to receive the Kingly Knowledge and Kingly Mystery. In Chapters X, XI and XII, Arjuna is desirous of knowing Krishna's divine manifestations and which of the two it is better to worship—the formless or the manifested aspect. Krishna explains that the difficulty in worshipping the formless and the unmanifested is caused by the personality, with which we identify ourselves, and hence see the Supreme as different and separate from ourselves.
Arjuna's questioning ceases only in chapter XVIII, when he realizes the unity of all and that Krishna is not separate from him. Then he says: "My delusion is destroyed, I am collected once more; I am free from doubt, firm, and will act according to thy bidding."
As long as we function from the plane of duality, we shall not arrive at the truth that we have a commong divine origin and we are sustained by THAT and will return to THAT, after the great cycle. We shall continue to be "Cains and Abels." The greatest impediment to acquiring Spiritual knowledge is the great heresy of separateness, i.e., selfishness. H.P.B. states: "In reality, there is no such thing as 'Separateness'." The culprit is our lower mind caught in the webs of Kama or personal desires. As we are preoccupied with our personality and its sensual desires, we are unable to see clearly, i.e., unable to grasp the real nature of things. The first step is to become aware of our ignorance. The second step is to see the evanescent aspect of the personality with which we identify ourselves. Self-knowledge can be obtained not through mere intellect but only by a conviction that knowledge exists and can be had only through the Higher Manas, which unfortunately cannot function on this plane, except through its alter ego—the lower Manas.
(To be concluded)