Divine Wisdom - Brotherhood - Occult Science
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VOL. XXX., No. 2 TORONTO, APRIL 15th, 1949 Price 20 cents
THE GREAT PROBLEM
The Science of the Soul
Until quite recently Psychology has been studied as a branch of Philosophy, and as such it has been sadly neglected in the Western world for lack of an understanding of the true nature of the soul. The word itself has been borrowed from the great philosophers antedating our so-called Christian Era, by translating the Greek psyche as soul, which seems correct enough. While the great thinkers, such as Plato in particular, had, no doubt, a true understanding of what they meant by psyche, its true meaning was later lost. Due to the misguided influence of medieval theology, the anima of the Latins, or soul, acquired a confused, if not altogether a perverted meaning making it appear rather as the "human ego", by ascribing to it such main attributes as intelligence, understanding and will. Passion, emotion and desire which in its crudest form, together with the concrete or lower portion of the manasic principle, form the real components of the soul or psyche, were left out of the picture. These were classed as outside influences or powers emanating from the enemies of the soul, that is, "the devil, the flesh and the world". It would appear from this description that the "soul", apart from the stain caused by the "original sin" inherited from Adam and Eve, which could be washed clean by the baptismal waters of the Church, was a pure, angelical "creation" of God at birth. Attachment to these outside powers, the devil, the flesh and the world, would prevent the "soul" from making its grade into the heavenly abode, earning instead eternal damnation.
The influence exerted upon the thought of the Western world by this neat and clear-cut picture regarding the soul had for centuries prevented Psychology from becoming a true Science of the Soul. It left practically no room for research and investigation of the soul's component elements, wherein are rooted the emotional dislocations and mental quirks, not to speak of the nervous disorders which very often are the cause of many physical ailments.
Those who were seriously afflicted mentally were looked upon as possessed of the devil or of a malefic spirit of some sort, and subjected accordingly to the ritual of exorcism.
However, within recent times, thanks to the observations and efforts of some investigators, Psychology is gradually emerging as a practical and applied science with many ramifications, good and bad, as the case may be. After the dross has been washed out and the mis-
conceptions corrected, it will emerge as the Science of the Soul, so much needed in the West.
An Ancient Science
Modern psychology in its application deals with the nature of the soul, even if many of its students and practitioners fail to acknowledge its existence. The methods vary in accordance with the different schools of which there seem to be several; unfortunately most of them are of a purely materialistic character. It could not be expected otherwise since we lack a sound philosophy of life which would explain the true origin and destiny of man. Consequently, the emotions, passions and desires, together with the concrete or lower mind, i.e., the main constituents of the human soul, as we understand them in Theosophy, are, to the average psychologist, little more than expressions of the biological and physiological mechanism of the individual. There is much that cannot, nor ever will, be explained from these premises, and the psychologists themselves will readily admit that very little is as yet known of this "novel" science which is being built by the tedious process of trial and error. In spite of this handicap, a certain amount of success has been achieved, in its application to mental - emotional cases; this warrants further research. A new branch, named psychosomatic medicine, is being born for the study and treatment of many physical ailments whose origin is rooted in the mental-emotional part - the soul of the patient.
To the Western world Psychology may be a new science, but in the Orient this science is as old as man. Since remote antiquity, it constituted the basic training of the occult and mystical schools of the Orient. There psychology falls within the province of true religion and philosophy. This is something which our Western world cannot as yet comprehend. However, a few wide-awake Western psychologists, aware of the fact that a complete knowledge of this science exists in the world, are turning their eyes toward the Orient and are digging into the "Yoga Sutras" of Patanjali and their extensive Commentaries, by far the most complete treatise on psychology reaching up to the very science of the Spirit. In due time, psychology, like all other sciences in the West, will come to the realization that it must evolve within the framework of Philosophy and Religion, for one cannot study and treat the constituent parts of man or the universe as merely things in themselves, apart from the rest. The whole comprises an interrelated and integral unit. Developed along this channel, Psychology can become a blessing to humanity. Otherwise it would become a double-edged sword, an instrument in the hands of unscrupulous individuals, for the exploitation of human ignorance, and for the satisfaction of their own egotistical and ambitious desires. Psychology has its sordid aspect, already too apparent among the more civilized nations, where it is being used in no small measure to foster the emotions, desires and appetites of the masses. If this aspect is not successfully checked it is bound to produce in time a catastrophic reaction which will explode in the very face of its promoters.
An Age of Transition
The constant strife and conflict among nations, the intense desire for recognition and power, the mad rush for wealth and possessions going on all over the world today are nothing more than a reflection of the inner struggle being waged within the soul of each in-
dividual. Nations, governments, systems and institutions are not higher than the masses they represent, for in each case they are but a reflection of the collective character and state of evolution of the individuals composing that mass. Looking at it from a dispassionate point of view, the whole world presents a sad though not a hopeless picture. It is something else besides past karma. The blame is not altogether with the people, for they are unconsciously victims of a constitutional ailment. This is the great problem affecting the whole human race. There is little hope for a true spiritual peace in the world, as we sink, as a race, deeper and deeper, into the Kali - yuga, known in the Orient and among theosophical students as the age of conflict and struggle.
Theosophists are fond of saying that we are now in the age of transition. This must be substantiated by adding that we are at the transition point between the concrete or lower and the superior or abstract mind, in the evolution of the human race. It is a dangerous point which we must pass, and it will be accentuated as we proceed deeper into the Kali-yuga. At no time more than at present are spiritual guides and teachers needed to awaken humanity, and immunize, so to say, the individuals against the tremendous out-pouring of psychic energies emanating from their own souls. It is an age in which a deeper knowledge of true psychology is sorely needed, not only for the treatment and correction of mental-emotional ailments which are increasing at an alarming rate, but also to serve as a background to education and character building among the masses.
Present humanity as a whole, particularly in the more civilized nations, is an ailing humanity; it suffers from a constitutional disequilibrium. It is a natural unbalance of soul energies corresponding to this particular stage of man's evolution. Though natural, it is nevertheless the great problem of which most human beings are unaware, and therefore unprepared to meet it. It can be in this manner explained: Man's evolution is slightly beyond its middle point. This is the Kamic Round which, in its own septenate, is now at the stage of Kama-kama, slightly touching the fringes of its lower manasic aspect. As for the manasic principle itself, the great event of the dawning of the mind took place towards the end of the third Root Race. Thus, in its septenate, the manasic principle is now slightly touching the fringes of its kamic aspect.
Humanity finds itself at the middle point of the fifth Root Race. This means that whereas the Kamic principle, that is the emotions, passions and desires, is fully developed in all its lower aspects, the manasic principle is reaching at the most towards its kamic aspect. We are still within the lower mind. The higher mind is but a feeble ray as yet among a few. This makes us lopsided for the present: too much emotional energy, and not enough light from the mind, nor awareness of the true self, to discriminate, guide and control those psychic energies gushing from the soul.
As theosophists, we are not free from this anomaly, but being fortunate enough to know a little of the doctrine, we are in a better position to meet our own personal psychological problem, recognizing at the same time that it is our duty to unite, in order to contribute our mite towards the amelioration of these evils, and the uplifting of the race by spreading in a concerted effort the soothing waters of the Spiritual Wisdom.
- F. Arteche.
Los Angeles, Feb. 28th, 1949.
THE WEIGHTIER MATTERS OF THE LAW
by Clara M. Codd
This may sound like a sermon because I know you will recognize where my title came from. It is a text in the Bible, and I should like to take it as a basis of all I am going to talk about. "Ye pay," said the Christ, "tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have omitted the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy and faith." (Matt. XXIII, 23.)
What I really want to talk about are certain little tendencies in the Society that I think we could improve. I will tell you what I think myself, so none of you will mind what I may say, and you may very heartily disagree with me. I have noticed, having been about in The Theosophical Society for forty - five years and in many different countries, that we have similar problems all over the world. At Conventions, we nearly always discuss the question of improving matters. Then we go away and do nothing about it until the next Convention when we again discuss the problem.
Of course, our greatest interest and our greatest work is concerned with what some people call the imponderables. But quite often people get a little bewildered or twisted with things that do not really matter on the form side. Theosophy is like a two-edged sword; it either makes us or it breaks us. It either makes us much nobler, more efficient people (and there are many amongst us to whom that has happened) or it hardens us in our little grooves. The Oxford Group speak of "life-changers." Now, I have never met in all my life such an extraordinary life-changer as Theosophy. I have seen the most marvelous effects, but it all depends upon ourselves. If we let Theosophy expand us and do things to us, it will work miracles. But sometimes people appropriate it; they set it into their own little moulds. They will take the wonderful truths of Theosophy and make them fit into a kind of character, into a way of talking, that would have fitted some nice little church in a small country place. Quite a number of our members do that with the concept of Karma. Having given up the idea of a devil with horns and a tail, they invent a new sort of devil and that is the law of Karma. Karma is not a devil; it is an angel and our friend. But quite a number of members misunderstand it. Theosophy is a wonderful influence, but it is not a creed and it is not a set of dogmas.
I often hear members saying to inquirers: "Theosophy says so and so." Now Theosophy does not say so and so about anything. Sometimes they even go a step further and say, "Mrs. Besant said, and Bishop Leadbeater said . . ." and occasionally I hear them say, "Miss Codd says . . ." That again is a frightful thing to do, because there is no authority. H.P.B. said in The Secret Doctrine that no statement in The Theosophical Society acquires any value from supposed authority. Please do not have any such authorities, especially about little things.
The members of a little Lodge that I visited were all horrified with me for drinking tea. They came up to me as a kind of committee and asked if I not realize what Bishop Leadbeater had said about tea and how it injures the centers in your head. Now and then
members come up to me because I like to wear black. Since one of the Great Ones said that black was not at all a good colour to wear, many in the Society now condemn black. So I was asked if I did not know that in wearing black the dark powers would get hold of me. "Well, my dears," I answered, "if you've got a black heart, the dark powers will get hold of you; I don't see what they can do with a black dress."
One of the best descriptions of Theosophy I have ever seen was written by Mr. Albert Smythe of Canada: "Theosophy is not a creed: it is the grace of God in one's life, the power of God in one's work, the joy of God in one's play, the peace of God in one's rest, the wisdom of God in one's thought, the love of God in one's heart, and the beauty of God in one's dealings with others."
We sometimes call the general pubic, those who are outside the Society, the "outsiders," but I do not like that term. I do not think there are any outsiders. If we do not call them outsiders, we sometimes call them young souls, which is a worse term still. There are just as many young souls within The Theosophical Society as there are outside it. I know, an Initiate, a member of the Great Brotherhood, who is not a member of The Theosophical Society. He leads a very noble life. He has a marvelous influence over boys, and takes great emigration parties to Canada, Australia and South Africa. Though he has never been a member of the Society, he is a member of the Brotherhood.
Sometimes we have the idea that since we have found the Wisdom of the ages (as indeed we have), we must tell everybody. I remember I got that passion myself.
It is a good thing to have a "passion for souls," as the Christian Church calls it. But it is better to have a passion for souls than to have a passion for imposing ideas, if you can see the difference. This is the Master's attitude:
"The only object to be striven for is the amelioration of the condition of man by the spread of truth suited to the various stages of his development a
n d that of the country he inhabits and belongs to." The Master evidently wants us to spread the truths of the Ancient Wisdom in a way that is suited to the people to whom we are taking it and suited to the various countries.
Let us take our standpoint and begin with vegetarianism. I have been a vegetarian for forty-five years. But I think we ought not to inflict this on other people. We ought not, when new members come into the Society, tell them that it is awful to eat meat. I think it is awful to eat meat, but I think we should be very tactful and wise in imposing our convictions on others. It is not our chief business to make other people vegetarians; that is what we might call a secondary issue. It is the great truths and principles of Theosophy that matter; whether you are a vegetarian or not is a secondary matter. A person becomes a vegetarian because the truth of the unity of all life and his responsibility to the lower kingdoms dawns on him. We cannot make him one, and we should not insist on it.
Please be wise. Remember the words of At the Feet of the Master: "Study deeply the hidden laws of Nature and when you know them, arrange your life according to them, using always reason and common-sense."
We talk often about Occultism. Madame Blavatsky said that most of us were not occultists, but preparing to be occultists in another life. Yet one would think from the way some of our members and some of the public talk about Yoga that they had already mounted the heights and that the Siddhis were just about to blossom. I feel very sorry for some people when husbands or wives get very taken with the idea of Yoga. Sometimes the husband and sometimes the wife comes and
tells me about it. Not seeing that point of view themselves, they suddenly find their partner engaged in scaling the heights, no longer having any use for them. So they acquire a horrid dislike for Theosophy, and that is such a pity. The Master tells us in At the Feet of the Master: "You should undertake no new worldly duties; but those which you have already taken upon you, you must perfectly fulfil." He also once said, "He who breaks a single human tie to come to us cannot be our disciple." Madame Blavatsky says, "The first duty taught in Occultism is to do his duty unflinchingly by every duty." It is a kind of selfishness to do otherwise. We must think of the other person.
Then about churches. Occasionally I come across members who rather look down on churches and on Christianity in general. It is not necessary to go to a church, but to some people it is a very great help. One little lady came to me not so long ago and said, "I wish you would tell me what you think. I love my church; it does me so much good, but all the Lodge members tell me that it is very primitive of me to want to go to church." Mrs. Besant, in her address to new members, says: "Your first duty is to your own religion (if you belong to one), and by helping to vivify that, to illumine its obscurities and to explain its teachings by the light gained amongst us, you will do your highest duty as a Theosophist." We can all be very wise about that. We need not expand the door too much. Just open it a little, so that the minds of others get a little expanded and then you can go on expanding by degrees, very discreetly. But in doing this, remember the words of the Lord Sri Krishna to Arjuna, "Let no wise man unsettle the mind of ignorant people attached to action; but acting in harmony with Me, let him render all action attractive." I think it is rather cruel to unsettle the minds of people, if they are perfectly happy where they are. We can help them to live beautiful and inspired lives.
It is very easy in our Society to get superstitious. One of our superstitions is that we must always have music before a lecture. Now it is lovely to have beautiful music, if it is short and played by someone whose soul is in it. I do not think it ought ever to take more than three minutes. Sometimes our Lodges will invite public singers to come, who are not members. I would not advise you to do that, because public singers are sometimes very sensitive people, and we have to let them sing at least two songs and often an encore. That detracts from the purpose of the meeting, which is to hear the speaker on Theosophy. Occasionally there is a piano in the Lodge that really should be discarded. I think it is better to have no music than an out-of-tune piano played by someone who cannot play correctly.
Then I would like to say a word about meditation and invocations. I think we should never have meditation before a public meeting. The public just does not understand. Nor should we have invocations. I am not very fond of invocations all said together, not even at Lodge meetings, for too often it sounds like school children singing that two plus two makes four. If we recite an invocation because it means something to us and say it beautifully, that is fine. The things that make an atmosphere in a Lodge are the sincerity, the real depth of feeling and the devotion of the members, not just because there is music or because all say something together.
We must be very careful with people starting a movement. In England, a certain movement would never have gained any hold except that we gave them our platforms, and finally they absorbed quite a proportion of the membership in the English Section. If people are happier there, they should (Continued on Page 27)
NOTES AND COMMENTS BY THE GENERAL SECRETARY
At long last the sending of diplomas to new members, which has been in abeyance since 1939 owing to the outbreak of the Second Great War, has now been resumed and the back - log is well in hand, consequently those members who joined the Society since that date will now be receiving their diplomas in due course. Recipients will probably note with some surprise that the diplomas are "Registered and Delivered" on a date in some cases several years back - the reason is obvious, for each one should have been "delivered" when the General Secretary registered the application for membership, and no other date could now be stated thereon.
We were very happy to receive a letter from Mr. Martin Boyken informing us of his election as General Secretary of the German Section at the Annual Convention held in Hamburg in July 1948. We offer Mr. Boyken our sincerest congratulations and will watch with the keenest interest the rebuilding of what was an important section of the Society in Europe before the war, and feel sure that under his guidance it will soon regain and surpass its former place in our organization.
The following letter in connection with War Distress Relief speaks for itself: "Dear Colleague, As the general situation on the Continent has much improved lately, it was decided last year to discontinue the work of the General War Distress Relief Fund (under the auspices of the Theosophical Society in Europe). Will individual Sections, who desire to continue this work, do so directly through the General Secretary of the country concerned and no longer through Miss Eunice Petrie. May I thank members from all over the world once more for the help they have given so generously and which brought relief to so many of the European Sections. Yours sincerely and fraternally, J. E. van Dissel, General Secretary, Theosophical Society in Europe."
In response to my appeal to members on behalf of the, T. S. Lodge in Medan, Sumatra, I am happy to announce that I have received several letters from Mr. Gimberg, the Secretary, stating that owing to the publicity given much literature of all kinds has been received as well as very welcome letters from friends in all parts of the world. For this he sends us the deepest gratitude and brotherly feelings from his lodge and adds he cannot adequately express their thanks. It is good to know we have been instrumental even in a small way in assuaging the terrible privations and aftermath some of our fellow members have undergone in their endeavour to keep Theosophy alive in that part of the world.
The beginning of this month marked the amalgamation of the ancient Crown Colony of Newfoundland with the Dominion of Canada. This is an outstanding event in the history of our country, not only in its national affairs but in its relationship with other nations, and coming nearer home it enlarges the sphere of the Theosophical Society in Canada. To my knowledge there are no lodges there but I do know that students of Theosophy write from Newfoundland and also receive books through the Traveling Library of the Toronto Lodge. To all these and to Newfoundland in general we extend our heartiest greetings and best wishes.
- E. L. T.
THE CANADIAN THEOSOPHIST
- The Organ of the Theosophical Society in Canada
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- OFFICERS OF THE T. S. IN CANADA
- GENERAL EXECUTIVE
Dudley W. Barr, 18 Rowanwood Ave., Toronto, Ont.
N. W. J. Haydon, 564 Pape Ave., Toronto, Ont.
Miss M. Hindsley, 745 Bloor St. W., Toronto, Ont.
George I. Kinman, 46 Rawlinson Ave., Toronto, Ont.
Peter Sinclair, 4941 Wellington St., Verdun, Quebec.
Washington E. Wilks, 925 Georgia St. W., Vancouver, B.C.
Emory P. Wood, 12207 Stony Plain Road, Edmonton, Alta.
- GENERAL SECRETARY
Lt. Col. E. L. Thomson, D.S.O., 52 Isabella St., Toronto, Ont. To whom all payments should be made, and all official communications addressed.
- EDITORIAL BOARD, CANADIAN THEOSOPHIST
All Letters to the Editor, Articles and Reports for Publication should be sent to The Editor: Dudley W. Barr, 52 Isabella St., Toronto 5, Ont.
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Isolated students and those unable to have access to Theosophical literature should avail themselves of the Traveling Library conducted by the Toronto Theosophical Society. There are no charges except for postage on the volumes loaned. For particulars write to the Traveling Librarian, 52 Isabella Street, Toronto, Ont.
The article, "The Weightier Matters of the Law" by Miss Clara Codd was sent to the General Secretary by the President, Mr. C. Jinarajadasa, with a strong recommendation that it be published in the magazine - the President stating that Miss Codd "points out certain radical failings among our members" and that he himself had noted these matters "and would make practically the same criticisms". Miss Codd's warning against establishing "authorities" in our Theosophical studies is timely. Our Canadian readers will doubtless find the article of interest, but may consider that Miss Codd's gentle criticisms do not touch upon some of the more fundamental failings in Theosophical affairs. We were glad to note that Miss Codd included in her article the definition of Theosophy as given by the late Mr. A. E. S. Smythe, describing it as one of the best she had even seen. The article is a transcription of an address by Miss Codd to the Summer School at the headquarters of the American Theosophical Society at Wheaton in July 1947. The author lectured in the United States in 1947 and 1948 and has now returned to South Africa.
We acknowledge with many thanks the receipt from John M. Watkins of London a copy of a new edition of The Yoga of the Bhagavad Gita by Sri Krishna Prem (12s. 6d.) published eleven years after the first edition of 1938. The new volume follows very closely the form of the earlier one. This work has become almost a classic and it is very well known to Theosophical students. The author sets out clearly the inner significance of the symbolism of the Gita story and his intuitive awareness of this is expressed though a scholarly mind, well trained in direct and positive thinking. To those who have not yet read the book a couple of quotations from the introduction will give its tone: "To anyone who has eyes to see, the Gita is based on direct know - leads to that Reality, [sic] and it is of little moment who wrote it or to what school he was outwardly affiliated. Those who know Reality belong to a Race apart, the Race that never dies, as Hermes Trismegistus puts it, and neither they
nor those who seek to be born into that Race concern themselves with the flummeries of sects and schools . . . The point of view from which this book has been written is that the Gita is a text - book of Yoga, a guide to the treading of the Path. By Yoga is here meant not any special system called by that name, not jhana yoga, nor karma yoga, nor bhakti yoga, nor the eightfold yoga of Patanjali, but just the path by which a man unites his finite self with Infinite Being . . . If a man has a healthy mind, a worthy aspiration, sincerity (including what is less common, intellectual sincerity) courage and tenacity of purpose he need fear no serious danger on this Path . . . Those who seek after strange experiences, psychic powers, or the sweet-sounding consolations of religion had far better leave the whole thing alone or they will wreck their lives, and perhaps those of others as well. The path of Truth is a hard one and the inner Ruler will exact the last of Karmic payment for dallying with error." This is a strong, vital book and students will be grateful to John M. Watkins for republishing it.
An announcement has just reached us telling of a World Religions' Congress on March 20th-22nd at Vrindaban, U. P., India. The notice is brief but apparently one of the aims is to cultivate a spirit of tolerance and understanding among religious bodies by having representatives of different religious organizations meet together to hear lectures on different religions. Any effort to break down sectarianism is to be encouraged, but the further suggestion of making up a "plan of Spiritual World Revolution" evokes curiosity.
A few weeks ago the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation broadcast Edna St. Vincent Millay's poem The Epitaph to Man - the story "Of Man who when his destiny was high, strode like the sun into the middle sky, and shone an hour, and who so bright as he, and like the sun went down into the sea, leaving no spark to be remembered by." Man in his long sojourn on earth meets the disasters of flood, famine, drought, earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, and though broken time after time by these catastrophes, rises again and again, unconquered and unconquerable. But "Alas for Man, so stealthily betrayed, bearing the bad cell in him from the start"; in him there is the corroding germ of selfishness which finds expression in greed and in animosity towards his fellows. And as "Only the diamond and the diamond's dust can render up the diamond unto man" so man, when his powers are turned against man, can bring final and complete disaster upon the race. Man cannot survive the racial suicide of War. The eighteen sonnets were read excellently but unfortunately the music between the sonnets was overwhelming - broadcasters do not seem to appreciate the significant beauty of little pools of silence.
THE THREE TRUTHS
The soul of man is immortal, and its future is the future of a thing whose growth and splendour have no limit.
The Principle which gives life dwells in us, and without us, is undying and eternally beneficent, is not heard or seen, or smelt, but is perceived by the man who desires perception.
Each man is his own absolute law-giver, the dispenser of glory or gloom to himself; the decreer of his life, his reward, his punishment.
These truths, which are as great as is life itself, are as simple as the simplest mind of man. Feed the hungry with them. - Idyll of the White Lotus.
A meeting of the General Executive was held on Sunday, March 6, with the following members present: Miss M. Hindsley, Messrs. Dudley W. Barr, George I. Kinman and the General Secretary. The business was routine with the exception of arrangements in connection with the forthcoming visit of the President which were discussed and approved; also arrangements for the election of officers for the coming year. The next meeting is to be held on Sunday, May 1.
Nominations for the office of General Secretary and members of the General Executive have now been received from the Lodges and as there is no change involved there will be no necessity for an election to be held, therefore the present General Secretary and the present Members of the General Executive will continue in office for the ensuing year. On behalf of all concerned I take this opportunity of thanking the Membership for this expression of their continued confidence in our work.
- E. L. T.
AMONG THE LODGES
The Annual Meeting of the Montreal Lodge took place on January 11th, when the following officers were elected for 1949:
President - Miss Helena Burke.
Vice-President - Mrs. R. Ovenden.
Treasurer - Mr. R. Leclerc.
Assistant Treasurer - Miss R. R. Desrochers.
Secretary - Mrs. H. Lorimer.
Librarian - Mrs. Wm. Matthews.
Mrs. Leclerc consented to act as Social Gonvenor and Mrs. E. Goosseus as Auditor. Six new members were admitted during the year and an interesting and active year was reported.
Under the general heading of "The Genius of Theosophy", Mr. G. Rupert Lesch of Erie, Pa., gave six interesting and stimulating lectures for Toronto Theosophical Society from Sunday, March 20th to Sunday, March 27th. "Universal Brotherhood" and "The Sermon on the Mount", the subjects on these two Sunday evenings, drew splendid audiences and most of those present were anxious to meet the speaker. An opportunity was afforded them at an informal reception held in the social rooms after Mr. Lesch's first lecture, when Miss Madeline Hindsley, President, welcomed the guests and Mrs. W. G. Hyland, Chairman of the Social Activity Committee, was the convener. The weeknight talks, entitled "Theosophy and Religion"; "Theosophy and Philosophy"; "Theosophy and Science"; "Theosophy and Mysticism"; were very well attended and the informal discussion period at the conclusion of Mr. Lesch's talk was fully taken advantage of by our members and friends.
In April, from the 24th to May 1st, Toronto Lodge is to have a "lecture-visit" from Professor Ernest E. Wood who will be accompanied by Mrs. Wood, and everyone is looking forward to seeing them once again.
Mr. C. Jinarajadasa, the President of the Theosophical Society, will be welcomed by the Toronto Theosophical Society in June. He will give three lectures, the titles being: "The Artist in You"; "The New Man and the New World", and "Death Opens Strange Doorways". It is over twenty years since Mr. Jinarajadasa visited our city and Toronto Lodge hopes that all members and friends in Toronto and in the vicinity will attend these meetings and avail themselves of the opportunity of meeting Mr. Jinarajadasa.
- Mrs. G. I. Kinman. Corresponding Secretary.
THE WEIGHTIER MATTERS OF THE LAW
(Continued from Page 22)
go, but why should we give our platform to people who only exploit us and then leave us? Not only that, but it makes our members themselves very puzzled. They do not know what to think or read next, when we give them too much of a mixed fare. I think that our Lodges exist for teaching Theosophy. Perhaps you will think I am narrow-minded, but it does confuse new members when we present so many different movements.
The last thing I should like to talk about is the subject of the so-called "occult arts." This is what Madame Blavatsky says about this: "Occultism is not magic, though magic is one of its tools. Occultism is not the acquirement of powers whether psychic or intellectual, though both are its servants. Neither is Occultism the pursuit of happiness, as man understands the word. For the first step is sacrifice and the second, renunciation." And then she tells us what Occultism is. "Occultism is the science of life and the art of living."
I would ask all of you to see what you can do with life, minute by minute. The man who becomes the most useful pupil of the Master is he who lives ordinary life very beautifully. And, you know, if we do that, we shall be of tremendous, potent, unseen influence in the town and in the lodge.
I want to read you a letter that the Master Kuthumi once wrote to Mr. W. Q. Judge. Mr. Judge was all alone in America for a long time. I always think we owe him a great debt, because he was the one who held the banner aloft almost all by himself for many years in this country. I think he used to get disheartened and he used to write to Colonel Olcott and ask why Madame Blavatsky did not write to him. But one day she wrote him a letter, and on the back of it there was the blue script of the Master Kuthumi. This is what the Master wrote: "The whole busy continent of America is eaten up by materialism and when an effort is made towards psychic life, it results only in dragging that psychic life down into matter where it dies as a volatile gas escapes in the hands of one who is not expert. You know that any school founded amongst you would at once become a school of practical magic, working in order to produce results in matter. The reason is that even those who are most in earnest among you have no true psychic aspirations. Remedy this in yourself and endeavour to remedy it in others by word and example."
Then the Master proceeds to tell Mr. Judge how we may do that. "Desire no results which are the forms of power. Desire only in your efforts to reach nearer to the center of life which is the same in the universe and in yourself, which makes you careless whether you are strong or weak, learned or unlearned. It is your divinity, it is the divinity we all share. But its existence is not credited by those who look only for money or power or success in material effort. Lean, I pray you, in thought and feeling away from these external problems which you have written down in your letter. Draw on the breath of the Great Life throbbing in us all, and let faith (which is unlearned knowledge) carry you through your life as a bird flies in the air - undoubtingly. Only remember one thing, - when once you fling yourself on the great life of Nature, the force that keeps the world in motion and our pulses beating and which has within it, in its heart, a supreme and awful power, - once having done that, you can never again claim back your life. You must let yourself swing with the motion of the spheres. And you must live for other
men and with them, not for or with yourself. You will do this, I am sure,"
Now that is true spirituality. That is the thing that matters. That is the "weightier matter of the law." All the other things are useful and interesting, but they do not matter so much as that. That is the one thing that matters to all of us in our influence upon the world and in our ability to help other people.
I would like to close by reminding you again of the last steps of the Golden Stairs. You know the Golden Stairs so well; you have heard them so often. They begin: "A clean life, an open mind, a pure heart, an eager intellect." Do you notice that the Master does not decry an eager intellect? He likes us to think for ourselves. The Master Kuthumi once wrote to Mr. Sinnett: "I like that ring of honest doubt in your letters." Then I must read that other step, "a courageous endurance of personal injustice." The more we become useful in this work and the further we reach towards the Master's world, there is one thing we may be perfectly sure of: that we will have a great deal of personal injustice. We shall be reaping, paying karmic debts, from the past. We shall be living more and more in a world that other people do not quite understand. And what does the Master tell us to do? "A courageous endurance of personal injustice." The saints did exactly as Christ when He was accused; He answered nothing.
Then there is the lovely phrase: "A constant eye" - until it becomes habitual and you cannot think of looking anywhere else - "a constant eye to the ideal of human progression and perfection which the Secret Science depicts - these are the Golden Stairs, up the steps of which the learner may climb to the Temple of Divine Wisdom." And in another letter, the Master Kuthumi wrote: "He who does not put the good of humanity before his own good is not worthy to be our disciple."
We acknowledge with many thanks the receipt of the following Exchange
- The Aryan Path, Jan., 1949.
- Theosophical News and Notes (London), Nov.-Dec., 1948.
- The Path (Australia), Oct.-Dec., 1948.
- Lucifer (Covina), Dec. 1948, Jan., Feb., 1949.
- The American Theosophist, Feb., March 1949.
- Devenir (Uruguay), Dec., 1948.
- The Golden Lotus, Dec., 1948.
- The Kalpaka (Coimbatore, S. India), July-Aug.-Sept., 1948.
- The Young Citizen (Adyar), Nov., Dec. 1948; Jan., 1949.
- The Sun (Belgaum Lodge), Nov., 1948.
- The Theosophical Movement (Bombay), Jan., Feb., 1949.
- Bulletin United Lodge of Theosophists (London), Feb., 1949.
- Revista Teosofica Cubana, Nov., 1948; Jan., Feb., 1949.
- The Bombay Theosophical Bulletin, Dec., 1948; Jan., 1949.
- Norsk Teosofisk Tiddskrift (Norway), Jan.-Feb., 1949.
- Teosofia (Cuba), Feb., 1949.
- Theosophia (Los Angeles), Jan.-Feb., 1949.
- Bulletin of the Mexican Theosophical Society, Nov.-Dec., 1948.
- The Indian Theosophist, March-Sept., 1948.
- Theosophia (Holland), Jan., Feb., 1949.
We also acknowledge receipt of the 25th Anniversary Edition of Canadian Welfare containing many interesting articles. The opening article is by the
Right Honorable W. L. Mackenzie King, O.M., M.P.; other articles on Health, Housing, Child Welfare, Mental Hygiene, Community Centres, etc., give a well - balanced picture of the work which is being carried on in Canada. Canada's Penal System by Dr. Stuart K. Jaffray is a vigorous and outspoken article containing many thought-provoking items, including the reopening of a Borstal-type institute for youths in British Columbia, the sharp decline of juvenile delinquency - this reached its peak in 1942 - recent figures show a one-third decline from that peak. Canada spends $25,000 per man merely to convict and detain serious criminals and this the author states "is more than a profligate waste of millions of money; it is a piece of gross social stupidity by an intelligent nation." The author strongly criticizes conditions in penal institutions for women.
THE FULLNESS OF TIME
On a rusty iron throne,
Past the furthest star of space,
I saw Satan sit alone,
Old and haggard was his face;
For his work was done, and he
Rested in eternity.
And to him from out the sun,
Came his father and his friend,
Saying - Now the work is done
Enmity is at an end -
And he guided Satan to
Paradises that He knew.
Gabriel, without a frown
Uriel, without a spear;
Raphael came singing down,
Welcoming their ancient peer;
And they seated him beside
One who had been crucified!
- James Stephens
WAS FREUD MISTAKEN ABOUT THE OEDIPUS MYTH?
The interpretation of myths, dreams, parables, etc., may be varied considerably merely by emphasizing one feature of the story and slurring over what is not of immediate use. Anyone can come up with a different solution (even an opposite one) by featuring the slurred-over event or idea and ignoring what had formerly been stressed. We are inclined to read into a myth just what we wish it to signify.
I heard Erich Fromm on the radio program Invitation To Learning today discussing Nietzsche and the ideal of morality. I hope Nietzsche meant what Dr. Fromm thinks he meant. If Nietzsche's idea of a superman was an individual - so evolved that his higher self manifested in all his thinking, then surely we want to encourage the concept of supermen, and if this were actually Nietzsche's premise, certain it is that he has been misunderstood these many years. Given that interpretation, this theory of supermen would be not unlike Plato's philosopher-statesmen who were men of super-ethics and principles, possessing the understanding and wisdom necessary for the proper administration of a state. They were dedicated, in other words, by their superior ability and education to so rule the proletariat that the latter would live in peace and contentment.
Is it possible that Plato also has been misunderstood by his enthusiastic followers? In The Platonic Legend, by Warner Fite, the author has no illusions about Plato (or Socrates, either) as a Master of Morals. Moral ideas in our sense, he says, were far from the Platonic mind. Although prejudiced against the beloved Master, some things pointed out by Professor Fite are well taken. It does not seem to occur to him,
however, that Plato's writings may be considered other than literally but Plato himself has suggested that there is an esoteric interpretation for the few.
The thing I want to emphasize is not whether Dr. Fromm or Professor Fite are right or wrong, but the necessity at all times of maintaining that Fortean "suspension of judgment" wherever there is room for doubt.
Dr. Fromm's conclusions on the Oedipus myth are certainly worth our careful analysis. He has investigated with considerable thoroughness the myth from the Freudian point of view and upon further probing and analyzing the symbology, he has come up with a different interpretation. The author's conclusion is that the Oedipus myth is not centered on the crime of incest, but on the conflict between patriarchal and matriarchal principles. He understands Sophocles' trilogy as "an attack against the victorious patriarchal order by the representatives of the defeated matriarchal system . . . ."
Considering the trilogy as a whole, the struggle seems to Dr. Fromm to be one of opposition to paternal authority, having its roots in a preference for a matriarchal system of government which he believes may have preceded the reign of gods on Mt. Olympus. The matriarchal system stressed equality of all men, and had for its goal the happiness of men. It emphasized the ties of blood, ties to the soil, and a passive acceptance of all natural phenomena, whereas the patriarchal form recognized obedience to authority as its main factor and was characterized by respect for man - made law, by the predominance of rational thought and by man's effort to change natural phenomena.
All this is brought out in an article "The Oedipus Myth" by Erich Fromm in the January issue of Scientific American. Fromm cites the Swiss scholar J. J. Bachofen whose theory is the basis for Dr. Fromm's interpretation of the ill-starred Oedipus. The theories of both Fromm and Freud were based on practically the same fundamentals. The difference lay in the inference these men drew as to the relation these theses bore to each other. In his Mutterrecht (published in 1861) he suggests that (and I am quoting Fromm) " . . . in the beginning of human history sexual relations were promiscuous; as a result only the mother's parenthood was unquestionable. To her alone could consanguinity be traced. She was, therefore, the authority and lawgiver - in the family group, in society and in religion. On the basis of his analysis of religious documents in Greek and Roman antiquity, Bachofen came to the conclusion that the religion of the Olympian gods was preceded by a religion in which goddesses, motherlike figures, were the supreme deities." (Goethe mentioned in reading Plutarch he found that "in Grecian antiquity the Mothers are spoken of as Goddesses.")
And to quote Bachofen himself: "The relationship through which mankind has first grown into civilization, which is the beginning of the development of every virtue and of the formation of the nobler aspects of human existence is the matriarchal principle, which becomes effective as the principle of love, unity, and peace . . . Its principle is that of universality, whereas the patriarchal principle is that of restrictions . . . . The idea of the universal brotherhood of man is rooted in the principle of motherhood, and this idea vanishes with the development of patriarchal society."
The Oedipus complex (wrongly supposed by Freud to be a boy's incestuous strivings toward his mother and his resulting hostility against his father) is, in Dr. Fromm's eyes, a complex concerned with the rebellion of the son against the pressure of the father's authority - an authority rooted in the patriarchal, authoritarian structure of
society. ". . . this kind of authority tends to break his will, his spontaneity, his independence. But since man is not born to be broken, the child fights against the authority represented by his parents; he fights not only for his freedom from pressure but also for his freedom to be himself, a full - fledged human being and not an automaton. In this struggle some children are more successful than others; most of them are defeated to some extent in their fight for freedom. The ways in which the defeat is brought about are manifold, but whatever they are, the scars left in the child's unsuccessful fight against irrational authority are to be found at the bottom of every neurosis. Such a scar is represented in a syndrome of which the most important features are a weakening or paralysis of the individual's originality and spontaneity, a weakening of the self and the substitution of a pseudo self in which the feeling of "I am" is dulled and replaced by the experience of self as the sum total of expectations others have about the self, and finally a substitution of heteronomy for autonomy.
"Does our interpretation of the Oedipus myth and of the Oedipus complex imply that Freud's theory was without foundation?
"Freud observed three facts follows:
FIRST: He noted the presence of sexual strivings in children.
SECOND: Freud observed that the ties by which children are bound to their parents are often not severed at a time when, in the normal development, they should be. He concluded this irrational 'fixation' to be found in all neuroses.
THIRD: Freud recognized that the conflict between father and son is characteristic of patriarchal cultures, and he demonstrated particularly how an unsuccessful rebellion against the father's authority and the fears resulting from the defeat form the basis for a neurotic development.
"These observations he synthesized into his theory. He assumed the second phenomenon (attachment or fixation to the mother) was rooted in the first, and the third, a result of this sexual rivalry."
Fromm shows that the tie to the mother is not essentially a sexual tie, and the conflict between father and son has little to do with sexual rivalry, but is characteristic of patriarchal society and family life.
There is nothing in ISIS UNVEILED or THE SECRET DOCTRINE anent the occult symbology of this myth but I am sure we could read one into it if we tried.
- Mrs. Olive Oltcher.
187 Belonda St.,
Pittsburgh 11, Pa.
The Story of the Soul in East and West by Jean Delaire, published by The Philosophical Publishing House, Ltd., London, 99 Pages, Paper bound, six shillings.
The theme of this book, enunciated in Chapter One and repeated throughout in different words, is "Remember, O Man, that Thou are God and to God thou shalt return". The stories of Isis and Osiris, Ishtar and Tammuz, Demeter and Kore, Dionysos, Mithra and of other symbolic figures tell of the Journey of the Soul, her wanderings and tribulations, her rescue by her divine counterpart and her return to the "Father in Heaven", the God within, at the end of the long pilgrimage. The author draws upon re-
ligion, myth, legend, folklore and fairy tales to indicate the universality of the tradition. One chapter is devoted to "The Mysteries of Jesus" and another to Gnosticism, with abundant quotations from Apocryphal and Gnostic literature and from the Church Fathers and Neo-Platonic writers.
The last chapter is entitled "The Story of the Soul in the Light of Modern Psychology" but there seems to be little modern psychology in it. Two contrasting methods are spoken of respecting the attainment of knowledge of "the inner bodies of man"; "the first method of approach to the mystery of man demands . . . clairvoyance, natural or induced"; the second is the ancient analytical process of detachment of the Self from the Non-self, which the author holds, "is in a sense theoretical and belongs to the realm of pure Philosophy". The author believes that modern Psychophysiologists "have discovered the ancient paths of approach to the Mysteries of man". An account is given of experiments in hypnosis and magnetic passes by which "the inner bodies - etheric, astral, mental - are drawn out of the physical body 'as stalk from grass'." The trance is deepened to the fourth hypnotic state when the emerging 'etheric double . . . definitely takes on the likeness of the physical body". The efforts of the experimenter are then devoted to the etheric double from which he seeks to draw out the astral and mental bodies, but "This emergence, however, usually brings about such nervous reactions to the sensitive that the experiment has often had to be suddenly discontinued."
Many students will not agree with the author's statement that "Hypnotism, in particular, is seen to be merely the forcible ejection by the operator of the sensitive's etheric double, and with it also, in the deeper trances, of the astral and mental vehicles . . . " H.P.B. wrote an important article on this subject, Black Magic in Science, which appeared in Lucifer of June 15th 1890. Mesmerism and hypnotism are contrasted by H.P.B. and one quotation reads, "The hypnotic lowers himself to the level of the animal. From a physiological standpoint, magnetism ('Mesmerism') is comforting and curative, and hypnotism, which is but the result of an unbalanced state, is most dangerous."
The experiments are being carried on "by medical men assisted by trained clairvoyants", who are, presumably, members of the: Theosophical Society. But even the authority of "trained" clairvoyants does not reassure us. However, the experiments are proceeding and it is just as well that students of Theosophy should know of them, even if they thoroughly disagree with the method of astral vivisection which is employed. The last chapter in this book may cause students to turn back to Lucifer, the Secret Doctrine and other writings of H.P.B. to examine her views on the subject. H.P.B. predicted that in this age "psychology will have some extra work to do and the psychic idiosyncrasies of humanity will enter upon a great change."
We were glad to receive the book this month in time to mention it, as in next month's issue we had planned on running an article written by a medical doctor entitled Hypnotism - A Psychological Degradation. In this article there are quotations from modern writers on psychology as well as from H.P.B. and William Q. Judge.
- D. W. B.