“Mastery” – A Highly Mystical Poem


I, at last, have reached the Goal,

And solved the mystery of my Soul;

I am that to which I prayed,

That to which I looked for aid;

I am that which I did seek,

I am my own mountain peak;

I upon creation look

As a leaf in my own book;

For I, THE ONE, “the many” make

Of substance which from me I take;

For all is me, there are no two;

Creation is myself, all through;

What I grant unto myself,

I take down from my own shelf,

And give to me – THE ONLY ONE –

For I’M the Father and the Son.

When I want, I do but see,

My wishes coming forth in me;

For I’m the Knower, and the Known,

Ruler, Subject, and The Throne;

The “Three in One” is what I am,

Hell itself is but my dam,

which I did put in my own stream,

When in a nightmare I did dream

That I was not “THE ONLY ONE.”

Thus by me was pain begun,

which ran its course till I awoke,

And found that I with me did joke,

So now that I do stand awake,

I, my throne, do wisely take,

And rule my kingdom, which is me,

A Master through Eternity.

~ * ~

The above poem was first published in Los Angeles, California, USA, in 1928 in a small hardback book of just 26 pages. The book was titled “Mastery,” taking its name from this poem, which is by far the most profound in the book. The author’s name is simply given as Retsama but this is clearly a pseudonym, since “Retsama” equals the words “A Master” in reverse. The book opened with a Dedication – “Dedicated to all Seekers after Truth and Reality” – and then a “Warning,” which read:

This very book will you confuse,
If you its theme deride,
For a clever code the Masters use,
The Ancient Truth to hide.

So read it close and try to know
The message that it bears,
And you will find it doesn’t sow
Truth’s harvest full of tares.

The copyright information at the start of the book actually disclosed, in very small print, that the author’s name was really Earl G. Barr.

Unfortunately very little is known nowadays about him, although the content of his poems and also of the advertisements which he quite regularly placed in Los Angeles newspapers indicated that he was inspired by Theosophical, New Thought, Hindu Vedanta, and esoteric Christian ideas and teachings. His newspaper adverts, which used very Theosophical language, were frequently placed in the “Theosophy” section and often alongside those that had been placed by the United Lodge of Theosophists, whose Parent Lodge is in Los Angeles.

The advertisement on the right is from the 15th November 1930 issue of the Los Angeles Daily News. It announced Barr’s upcoming talk titled “Conquer Death – Here and Now!” and was accompanied by a paragraph which read: “EARL BARR LECTURES ON MASTERS’ WISDOM. Earl G. Barr lectures on the teachings of the “Masters of Wisdom” every Sunday at 11 a.m. in the Trinity auditorium. These free lectures are given with the purpose of establishing a renaissance of culture, as Barr’s work is intended primarily as an introduction to the more rational standards of living and thinking which, if applied to twentieth century problems, would result in a re-establishment of truth, order and beauty as the criteria of human procedure.”

He and his wife Alma E. Barr are known to have also published something titled “Sacred-Wisdom-Science: The Key to Immortality” which was also known as “The Holy Tarot Series.” There was also a series of lessons which he titled “The School of Wisdom: Essential Wisdom in Principle and Practice” and books titled “Liberation: What It Means” and “The Grand Reconciliation.” These were apparently never widely known and all are completely inaccessible today and not available even second hand from any source.

The 27th August 1932 issue of “The Los Angeles Times” announced that “Earl G. Barr will lecture at 8 p.m. tomorrow at the Woman’s Club of Hollywood on “Adepts, Masters and Mahatmas.” Next Tuesday evening he will speak on “If a Master Were President.””

As for the actual poem “Mastery” which we have shared above, it is a masterpiece of non-duality or non-dualism – Advaita in Sanskrit – the teaching that each one of us – and not just the writer of the poem – IS God or the Divine, the Absolute, the Infinite, the ONE Supreme Reality, in the innermost, highermost, eternal, unchanging core of our being.

The “Mastery” poem uses the phrase “THE ONLY ONE.” As Barr was clearly familiar with Theosophy, he may well have read the extract from the Rig Veda’s Nasadiya Sukta or “Hymn of Creation” which H. P. Blavatsky (the main founder of the Theosophical Movement at the end of the 19th century) included towards the start of the first volume of her book “The Secret Doctrine.” The Rig Veda, the most ancient Hindu scripture and most ancient book currently known to man, says that before this Universe came into being – “The Only One breathed breathless by Itself. Other than It there nothing since has been.” There has never been anything or anyone other than IT, or other than THAT, the Only One. And since THAT is the Only One, you are That, all is equally That, and That is all there is. All life is the ONE LIFE.

There are numerous articles on this site explaining and elaborating on this most profound theme and subject, from the Theosophical, Hindu, Buddhist, and other perspectives, such as Atman – The Higher Self, Sakshi: The Unchanging Inner Witness, Tat Tvam Asi – “Thou Art That!”, The Upanishads, Vedanta & The Mahavakyas, Buddha Nature, Self, Non-Self, Emptiness & Voidness in Buddhism & Theosophy, The Impersonal Divine, The “God” Question, and What Does Theosophy Say About God?

~ * ~

If you would like to discover more about Theosophy and what it teaches, please also take a look at the articles titled 12 Things Theosophy TeachesGolden Keys to The Secret DoctrineA Right Understanding of KarmaA Right Understanding of ReincarnationThe Sevenfold Nature of ManDeath and The AfterlifeLiving Consciously, and Universal Theosophy and Universal Theosophists, or visit the complete list on our Articles page.

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~ BlavatskyTheosophy.com ~

“Behold! thou hast become the light, thou hast become the Sound, thou art thy Master and thy God. Thou art THYSELF the object of thy search: the VOICE unbroken, that resounds throughout eternities, exempt from change, from sin exempt, the seven sounds in one, the VOICE OF THE SILENCE.”
(“The Voice of The Silence” p. 21-22, original edition,
translated by H. P. Blavatsky from the Book of the Golden Precepts)