Divine Wisdom - Brotherhood - Occult Science
The Theosophical Society is not responsible for any statement in this Magazine, unless made in an official document
VOL. XXX., No. 5 TORONTO, JULY 15th, 1949 Price 20 Cents.
THE WAY OF TRUTH IN THEOSOPHY
by C. Jinarajadasa
President, Theosophical Society
In the earliest work in Theosophical literature dealing with spiritual progress, Light on the Path, the following instructions are given by an Adept Teacher to the soul who is preparing himself for the final Initiation before reaching Adeptship:
"Inquire of the earth, the air and the water, of the secrets they hold for you."
"Inquire of the Holy Ones of the earth of the secrets they hold for you."
"Inquire of the inmost, the One, of its final secret, which it holds for you through the ages."
These instructions for the final stages of preparation for Adeptship are implied in the first stages of the seeker who alms to understand the problems of life and of himself in the light of Theosophy. If Theosophy could be formulated completely in a series of manuals, the work of the seeker for truth would be simple, for he would have before him a creed, to accept or reject. But the fact that no creed, nor all the creeds past or present, can ever formulate what Theosophy, the Divine Wisdom, is, makes the seeker's work both harder and more fascinating. For, that Wisdom resides in all aspects of creation; what ancient and modern science has discovered, and has yet to discover of matter (the earth, the air and the water of Light on the Path) contains a revelation of Truth.
Then, truth exists in all the religions and mysticisms throughout the ages. Every "Holy One" who has founded a religion with a gospel of Salvation throws one beam of light to chase away life's darknesses. True, as we examine the many beams, each carries with it a colour, and no beam is the pure unrefracted white ray of the complete truth. Yet in that very diversity lies the greatest fascination for him who desires to see "things-as-they-are", to use a Socratic phrase. The old philosophers of India were wise, when they proclaimed that six systems of philosophy are all of them orthodox and within the pale of Hinduism, even though the first principles of one contradict those of another. And one of these six systems upholds the modern gospel of Materialism, for it denies the existence of God, declares man has no soul and, strangest of all, that the Vedas, the "Secret Doctrine" of the Hindus, contain no revelation and have no validity at all as a criterion of truth.
To the seeker of truth, when all is said and done, the validity of truth is not a matter of the authority of any
revealer. There is for him no certainty that he knows the truth, not in time but in eternity, until from within him rises either a clear intellectual conception or an unchanging intuition which states, "It is so, it cannot by any possibility of thought be otherwise."
Now, it is an axiom in all mysticisms that the "One", call it by what name we will
- Brahman, God, the Good Law, Tao - exists in man also. Hinduism states it positively in the precept, "TAD BRAHMA, TAD ASMI", That Brahman, That am I; or briefer and terser still "SO 'HAM", I am He. It is not different in Buddhism, where the great world saviors, the Buddhas, come one after another to open to men a path to Salvation, and every human being is a potential Buddha, and can become a Buddha if he will make the necessary renunciations of self and develop an indomitable will. If only Christians understood St. Paul's "Christ in you the hope of glory", and that Jesus Christ is the "first fruits of them that slept", they would find the same truth in Christianity also.
If what all the mysticisms proclaim is indeed a fact, then every aspect of truth resides in ourselves. When we discover a truth we discover ourselves. For, as says Light on the Path, there is an "inmost, the One," that holds throughout the ages the final secret for each and everyone.
It is because Truth has many facets, like those in a large diamond, that modern Theosophical literature is so multiform. All the works so far written on Cosmogenesis and Anthropogenesis, on the comparative study of the religions, on the many philosophies, on the basic structure of race cultures, on "Occult Chemistry", on the relation of Art to life, all these can but reveal a few of the aspects of the Eternal Wisdom. Since the universe is changing from moment to moment, and is growing from more to most, the truths as to the universe must also grow. It was with a deep penetration into the problem of truth that Newton said:
"I do not know what I may appear to the world; but to myself I seem to have been only like a boy playing on the sea-shore, and diverting myself in now and then finding a smoother pebble or a prettier shell than ordinary, while the great ocean of truth lay all undiscovered before me".
"The great ocean of truth". It is to that ocean that Theosophical studies lead. That ocean touches the shores of all the continents of the knowable, for no activity of man, not only in mental and spiritual spheres but also in emotional and physical spheres, is outside Theosophical investigation and discovery. It is utterly impossible to draw a "ring pass-not" to bar the way to the expansion of Theosophical discoveries as the ages pass.
It is this very universality in a correct presentation of Theosophy, not to the mind alone but to the heart as well, that has made many a soul leap forward to receive Theosophy with heart and soul. Such is the nature of the Totality of truth which we call Theosophy that we can say of it what they said in India in the days of the Upanishads about the nature of Brahman, the Supreme Reality: "If you were to tell this to a dried stick, it will put forth branches and leaves".
The proof of Theosophy lies in the power of regeneration which each truth of Theosophy gives to the individual. For he and Truth have become one. From that moment he, as says Light on the Path, "is to himself the Way, the Truth, and the Life".
(This article was, written by the President for the magazine following his visit to Toronto. )
Life continually presents problems and all walks of life and endeavors are confronted with seeming mysteries. It may be said that many of them, perhaps a majority, do get solved in the process of time.
No two persons meet quite the same problems, because no two minds are exactly alike. Each of us has two educations - that which is given to us and that which we give to ourselves through the experience we live. Of the two kinds the latter is by the far the most valuable. All that is most worthy in us we must work out and conquer for ourselves. What we are merely taught seldom nourishes the mind like that which we teach ourselves. Lack of knowledge and understanding is a stumbling block to all great ideals and efforts, closely related to which is the lack of interest which is a subtle and insidious influence. Such a lack expresses itself in indifference and breeds insincerity.
Life affords no higher pleasure than that of surmounting difficulties, passing from one step of success to another, forming new wishes and seeing them gratified. "No man can produce great things who is not thoroughly sincere in dealing with himself; who would not exchange the finest show for the poorest reality." - J. Russell Lowell.
There is no defeat except from within ourselves; there is no barrier but our own inherent weakness of purpose. Let no one imagine that he can conquer the world until he has conquered himself. Knowledge of the self, knowledge of the laws of life and knowledge of the purpose of human existence - these are the keys to the age and the open sesame to the great portal of the future; these are the ideas that must become potent in the world of tomorrow.
In this great age of science, the hour has struck for man to rise up and assume the prerogatives of self conscious individual. This is the time for building slowly and surely, the foundations of great things. We must learn by perception and example that principles are stronger than armies. H. P. Blavatsky says, "Today we live at the end of an age of criticism; it is the prenatal stage of the coming age of great inspiration. Today we are men of little faith, only our longings and our apprehensions are great." Thomas Carlyle says, "The goal of yesterday will be the starting point of tomorrow."
Man is and always will be a creator and for him the seed time never passes; each day opens fresh ground to his hand and the seed is for his selecting. He need not stand blindly in yesterday's harvest nor spend fear for tomorrow's reaping; these are and will be effects, and today is for sowing new causes, for nurturing a better harvest in a future unlimited.
A writer has said, "an attitude of mind must be attained as will enable us all to look into the realities of things." The mind must escape from the mere formalities and conventions of life, even though outwardly we seem to obey all of them, and should be firmly established on the truth that man is a copy of the Universe and has in himself a portion of a Supreme Being.
We live in an increasingly regimented world and no one can hope to be happy or mentally healthy unless he develops and lives by his own philosophic principles. Security has a far higher modern rating today than courage or integrity; material values have been for a long time in the ascendancy over moral values. In this day of great educational advantages, people must reorient them-
selves - not only to changing conditions but to be able to throw away crutches of the past that hinder all progress. The evolution of man goes on in spite of differences of race and creeds; evolution is the gradual unfolding of the powers within, both spiritual and intellectual. In all ages the dictum "man know thyself," has been expressed in some way or other by various philosophers. Poets have used it as a theme for their poetry; teachers have made it the subject of their writings, yet we know little or nothing about our real selves and the latent powers within ourselves.
It is for each of us to clear away any obstruction that may hinder us to reach a higher spiritual and intellectual growth in which to develop and manifest the latent power within us all. We are what we are and what we want to be through the power of transforming our lives through the benefits of human experiences; the result of these experiences show our mental and moral characters. Knowledge of ourselves, our existence, knowledge of the Unity of all Life with the one Great Universal Life, knowledge of the Universe with its immutable laws and their relationships to ourselves; only thus can we step through the open door of future unlimited.
The mind of man holds the key to a future without limitation. Many are the trials that assail the minds of those who set forth on a voyage of knowledge and wisdom. There will be many moments of darkness, doubt and uncertainty. Obstacles will present themselves at every change of the wind and the mind will seem to flounder in a troubled sea of thought. When the obstacles are seen for what they are, we pass them by to continue the search for Truth and Wisdom, into deeper, less familiar and tangible realms. Striving with all one's might and focusing the mind upon a steadfast purpose - then the mind becomes steady and true. This is the fulfilment of effort - the end towards which all purposeful endeavour aims.
In Theosophical teaching, Manas or mind is the fifth principle of the real man; the thinking principle and not the product of the brain. The brain is only its instrument. W. Q. Judge in "The Ocean of Theosophy" states that "mind is the link between the spirit of God above and the personal below".
Mind, the conscious principle of Spirit, is also the conscious principle of matter. The mind of man can embrace the Universe or be rooted in the grossest form of matter.
The mystery of the mind is for each man his own mystery. What makes reason reasonable, a belief believable, a knowledge knowable - these are the questions to be answered as mind yields its mysteries to us one by one. Each mind has its own methods. In every man's mind some images, words and facts remain without effort on his part to imprint them and afterwards these illustrate to him the important laws under which the mind works. All our progress is a gradual development of inward standards and a slowly emerging manasic perception.
There is everywhere a deep felt need of a rational explanation of things and as students of the Wisdom Religion, we must learn to bring application of its teachings into close range with life; to express in practical terms these timeless verities as an unfailing light in the flux of change and so lay the foundation for a future unlimited.
- Winifred Tiplin.
"No man understands any goodness or greatness save his own, or the intimations of his own." - Whitman.
THE PRESIDENT AT TORONTO
On June 11th Toronto Lodge welcomed the President, Mr. C. Jinarajadasa, on his long expected trip to Toronto, his first visit here since October, 1924. A meeting for members only was arranged for the evening of the 11th and this was attended by members of the three Toronto groups, Toronto Lodge, The West - End Lodge and the H.P.B. Lodge and also by members from Hamilton, Kitchener, St. Catharines, Kingston, Chatham and Ottawa.
Although the President is under orders to conserve his energies, he spoke for about an hour on many Theosophical matters. He stated that while no one is required to believe in the Masters, tangible evidence of their existence is to be found in their letters, some of the originals of which are in the British Museum and others in the archives at Adyar. He quoted from the Maha Chohan's Letter, The Mahatma Letters to A. P. Sinnett and from Letters from the Masters of Wisdom, on the first object of the Society, the formation of a nucleus of Universal Brotherhood.
The President gave a brief outline of the early days of the Movement. H.P.B.'s preliminary period of training in Tibet he considered as one which "transformed naturally mediumistic powers into genuine psychic powers". He spoke of H.P.B.'s work with the Spiritualistic movement and of her use of her psychic powers to prove the genuineness of psychic phenomena, a matter which had been questioned due to the exposure of some mediums. In the course of the story of the early days in New York he mentioned H.P.B.'s second marriage. Before H.P.B. and Colonel Olcott landed in India there were only three Theosophical Lodges, the first in New York, the second in London and the third in Greece, where the travelers stopped over on their journey to India.
Mr. Jinarajadasa was convinced that the spread of the idea of universal brotherhood since 1875 was due to the influence of the Society and pointed out that the Society is a 'United Nations' in that Theosophists are of every race and nation.
He counseled the members to remember H.P.B.'s admonition to be loyal to the ideal, 'not to my poor self'. The Theosophical ideal brings a cessation from impatience and striving for power and place. In connection with the development of psychic powers, the President stated that there is a great danger of developing a hard core of selfishness if those seeking these powers are motivated by a desire to acquire power and liberation for themselves alone. All Theosophical work should be for the whole race.
The Theosophical life is a going inward and a going outward - going inward to the divine centre and going outward into the world of human activities and experiences, the world of economics, sociology, statesmanship, the world of the arts, literature, painting, the drama, music - and carrying into the outer world the inner truths of Theosophy. Each man who truly seeks and who works for humanity will surely find wisdom. The Society can face the future with a confidence born of the basic reality of the truths for which it stands.
In closing, the President mentioned the difficulty of defining Theosophy in a short sentence and he quoted the reply of a member in South America who, when unexpectedly was asked 'What is 'Theosophy?' replied, "Theosophy is something exquisite that I have in my heart."
At the conclusion of his address, Mr. Jinarajadasa said that due to his doctor's orders to rest as much as possible while on tour, he regretted his inability to stay on for the 'tea-party' which had
been arranged. Miss M. Hindsley, President of Toronto Lodge, received the guests, assisted by the officers of the Lodge, Mr. G. I. Kinman, Mr. C. Weaver, Mrs. G. I. Kinman, Miss Laura Gaunt, Major L. Anderton, and Mrs. W. G. Hyland, Chairman of the Social Activity Committee. Attractively arranged baskets of pink and white peonies, mauve iris and yellow lilies from the members' gardens were used throughout the rooms where the reception was held. Mrs. J. W. Gaunt and Mrs. Neil Fergusson presided at the long tea table. Assisting in looking after the guests were Mrs. A. McPhee, Mrs. F. Carmichael, Mrs. R. Illingworth, Mrs. E. Cunningham, Mrs. H. J. Cable, Mrs. L. Anderton, Miss Ruth Playle, Miss de Lancey Robinson, Miss Elizabeth Robinson.
A couple, of verses by Edgar A. Guest caught my eye the other day, perhaps because of the idea of pre-existence which is implicit in the first line, "Suppose the good Lord told you on the day before your birth". The little poem told of the Lord offering the incoming soul a special task to do on earth, "a task some one should do."
Suppose - just suppose - something like that could happen. Suppose as we move along our karmic way, we come to the point where we have the power of choice, within certain limits, of the kind of character, the environment and the nature of the work we would have in our next incarnation. Suppose there were some knot which could be untangled, some strained situation in human relationships which could be relieved by the incarnation in the middle of it of a person who, above all other qualifications for the work, had an unshakeable awareness of the spiritual nature of man and an abiding compassion for others.
It might be the kind of job, which for its duration, would require laying aside any accumulated 'good' Karma; it might mean a lonely, obscure life in restricted surroundings, unlit by the consolation of the company of understanding hearts and minds, with few, if any, compensations - not even the compensation of knowing the nature of the work and of one's place in it. It might require only a plain, simple, wholesome life, a life which could be an 'expansion chamber' for the surging hopes, fears, disappointments, despairs, tragedies, of those among whom it was cast, a life which could be a well down which a thousand confidences and secrets might be spoken freely. It might be the life of a cobbler, a blacksmith, a weaver, a carpenter; a life facing Life, with no fever of personal ambitions, no desire for 'self expression', no thought of 'rights', not a 'detached' life but a life which would be entangled in other lives, a life that would yearn, fight, strive, feel, hope and pray.
Suppose this might be - would we accept it as is - or would we impose conditions and reservations?
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.
NOTES AND COMMENTS BY THE GENERAL SECRETARY
For the third year in succession I attended the Annual Convention of the Theosophical Society in America which was held at the Sherman Hotel in Chicago, and was warmly welcomed, everybody seemingly delighted at having the General Secretary of the Canadian Section present. To my great pleasure I was not alone, for accompanying me was our Editor, Mr. Dudley W. Barr who was also enthusiastically greeted. At the Opening Ceremony I conveyed to the large gathering the greetings and best wishes from the Canadian National Society which were greatly appreciated. On the following day I spoke on "Art and Philosophy" in the Symposium "Real Progress in the Light of Theosophy" in which Mr. James Perkins and Mr. John Coats also took part. In a little ceremony at the close I presented one of my paintings "Toward the Light" to the American Section which was accepted by Mr. Perkins their General Secretary on behalf of the Theosophical Society in America. In thanking me he stated it was a very fine gesture and would cement the good feeling existing between the two countries, and that it would have an honoured place in the headquarters at Olcott. The appreciation of the gift displayed by all present was most sincere and very gratifying. I feel that this action of mine was well worthwhile. The Convention was the great success it has always been, and the presence of Mr. Jinarajadasa attracted a large number of visitors. Our President, in spite of his recent illness, was remarkably active and spirited, and that, I believe, was a reflection of the vitality, efficiency, enthusiasm and energy which are characteristics of the American Section.
It is with sincere regret I announce the demise of three members who have passed on to vaster fields of endeavour. One of our oldest, Mrs. Anna Fox, eighty - five years of age, passed away in Ottawa, where she has been residing for some time past. She was a member of the Toronto Lodge which she joined thirty years ago, and will be remembered by many as a prime mover amongst a group of devoted souls promulgating our Philosophy at that time. She sustained her interest until old age curtailed her activities and she has now gone to a well deserved rest.
Mrs. Gertrude Slater, also a member of the Toronto Lodge, passed away after a long illness in the West Indies where she used to spend a great deal of her time. She was until the last an active and generous member, keenly interested in all things theosophical both here and in those far off isles. Another old member was Miss Elizabeth Morris, eighty-nine years of age, joined the Society in 1920 and was a Charter Member of the Hamilton Lodge. Both she and her sister Miss Annie Morris who survives her, have been most faithful workers in their community and the deceased especially exercised a beneficent influence in the lodge and possessed characteristics of sterling qualities which endeared her to all with whom she came in contact. "Time and Tide waits for no man" - this brings the total up to nine members who have passed to the Great Beyond during the past year.
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THE CANADIAN THEOSOPHIST
- The Organ of the Theosophical Society in Canada
- Published on the 15th day of every month.
- Authorized as second class mail, Post Office Department, Ottawa.
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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 cause of human Brotherhood has many supporters these days. The Baptist Convention held in Toronto on June 11th passed a resolution condemning racism in all its forms, "We believe in the equality of all men before God and hold the doctrine of the Universal Brotherhood of men."
A criticism of the 'mass production' methods of modern university training was voiced by the Reverend W. H. Grant, 84 year old graduate of 1899, when he spoke at the 1949 graduation day exercises at the University of Toronto on June 10th. "They're teaching men how to make a living. In our day, that was only a fraction of it. Then, the main thing was teaching men how to live. The University may become a super-vocational school."
The remark of a young boy who pleaded with his parents that he be sent to a military, rather than a non-military school, may reflect a wide-spread tendency among adults; he said, "I'm tired of having to decide for myself what I want to do!" Humanity is tired - tired from two world wars, tired from the failure of the enthusiastic dreams of the 'new age' which were to follow each war, tired from the ever-mounting demands of our economic system, tired and frustrated from the sense of being caught in a trap. Surrendering control of our lives to a state, a religion or an economic system is not the way out - but regimentation does appeal to many persons. If one system of regimentation fails they turn hopefully to another - for example note the number of prominent Communists who after becoming dissatisfied with the party, immediately joined the Roman Catholic Church, notably, the editor of the Worker and his wife, Miss Bentley and most recently, Mrs. O. Kasenkina.
We were glad to note among the many books and pamphlets displayed at the Convention of the Theosophical Society in America in Chicago, June 25th to 28th, was The Mahatma Letters to A. P. Sinnett in the especially fine binding and slip case of the Theosophical University Press (Covina). The University Press is the sole agent for
the publishers, Rider and Company, in the United States.
That the world has moved since 'the good old days' of 1849 was revealed in the discovery recently of a report prepared in that year on conditions in the Kingston (Ontario) Penitentiary. It contains an incredible tale of cruelty, corruption and sinister politics at the Penitentiary - for example, a child of 8 was sentenced to three years and during his first nine months of imprisonment was lashed with the cat and rawhide 47 times! Three persons, including one woman went mad under punishment, and the flogging of women prisoners was part of the routine.
New Outlook arrives infrequently but we recently received the May issue, containing many interesting articles including one titled "What is Truth" by Mme. H. P. Blavatsky, condensed from Lucifer. The story of William Ellery Channing, 'the Martin Luther of America' tells of Channing's revolt against Calvinism and its doctrine of the depravity of man, and of predestination. "Comic Books are no joke" by Albert Croissant points out the degenerative effects of the flood of so-called 'Comic Books', 15,000,000 are sold each week. A review of Charles A. Lindbergh's book Of Flight and Life ends with a quotation from the book, "Eastern mystics say, 'Thou canst not travel on the Path before thou hast become that Path itself'."
An enquiry as to the status of the work started by the late Mrs. Beatrice Hastings, has brought the following reply: "The Hastings collection and notes have been turned over to an independent historian for analysis, and a report can be given that the work is progressing and will be accomplished with what already look like vast and momentous implications."
We had the pleasure recently of reading a couple of letters from Germany received by a Canadian member. The writer, Mrs. E. Steinmeyer, seems to be a 'born' Theosophist and her comments indicate a compassionate heart and an understanding mind. In one letter she wrote, "There are still coming refugees from the Eastern Zones with only that what they wear on their bodies. They need help in clothes and shoes ... there are girls in rags who never had in 10 years or more a good dress." In acknowledging the receipt of parcels which had been sent to her, Mrs. Steinmeyer offered to distribute to needy persons, all clothing and supplies 'Sent to her'. Doubtless some of our members will be glad to help her in this work. Mrs. Steinmeyer's address is, Hanover, Kornstrasse 38, Br. Zone, Germany.
God sends his teachers unto every age,
To every clime, and every race of men,
With revelations fitted to their growth
And shape of mind, nor gives the realm of truth
Into the selfish rule of one sole race.
Therefore each form of worship that hath swayed
The life of man, and given it to grasp
The master-key of knowledge, reverence,
Enfolds some germs of goodness and of right;
Else never had the eager soul which loathes
The slothful down of pampered ignorance
Found in it even a moment's fitful rest.
- James Russell Lowell
THE UNITED LODGE OF THEOSOPHISTS
We extend best wishes and congratulations to The United Lodge of Theosophists which celebrates its fortieth anniversary this year. The United Lodge since its inception has consistently presented the Secret Doctrine Teachings, carefully avoiding all those externalized hallucinations which now pass for 'psychism' and which were introduced after the death of H.P.B. The magazine Theosophy, which was founded in November 1912, has contributed greatly to the growth of the Theosophical Movement. Over the years the magazine was increased in size and its format was changed but the 'tone' established in Vol. 1, No. 1 has not altered. The important section "On the Lookout", which contains Theosophical comment on modern science, philosophy and current events, appeared in the first number and this section continues to be one of the very interesting and constructive features of the magazine.
The United Lodge has nine centres in the United States as well as centres in England, France, Holland, India, Australia and Canada, where a Lodge was established in London, Ontario, about four years ago.
The Declaration of the United Lodge reads in part:
"It holds that the unassailable Basis for Union among Theosophists, wherever and however situated, is 'similarity of aim, purpose and teachings' and therefore has neither Constitution, By-Laws nor Officers, the sole bond between its Associates being that basis. And it aims to disseminate this idea among Theosophists in the furtherance of Unity.
"It regards as Theosophists all who are engaged in the true service of Humanity, without distinction of race, creed sex, condition or organization, and
"It welcomes to its association all those who are in accord with its declared purposes and who desire to fit themselves, by study and otherwise, to be the better able to help and teach others."
"The true Theosophist belongs to no cult or sect, yet belongs to all."
SIR WILLIAM OSLER
Physician and Humanist
July 12th, 1949, is the Centenary of a great Canadian, Sir William Osler, who was described by Dr. L. F. Barker at a joint meeting a few years ago of the Canadian and American Medical Societies, as first among the great physicians of the world. This, Dr. Barker said, "after passing in review all other great physicians who by their lives, their practice, their teachings, their writings and their influence over the greatest number of their fellows were outstanding." A recent tribute to his memory ends with these words, "If there were a greater character than Osler the teacher and scientist, Osler the Man realized the ideal. Students adored him for his charm and culture, his humour and unobtrusive knowledge. For him, kindliness became a religion. Toward old men and women, to ailing children, and to all who needed his guidance or ministrations, he was the embodiment of grace, tenderness and consideration. A lack of tact or gentleness in the treatment of sufferers always aroused his indignation."
The Sir William Osler Library in Montreal is a memorial to his memory and contains his valuable collection of books, including his own writings and the writings of Sir Thomas Browne. Written in his own handwriting on the flyleaf of his paper on Science and Immortality is the passage from the Kalidas, known as "Salutation of the Dawn"; he left instructions that if the paper were re-published this poem
should appear at the front:
Look to this Day, for it is Life.
The very Life of Life.
Within its brief span lie all the Verities
And Realities of your existence;
The Bliss of Growth,
The Glory of Action,
The Splendour of Beauty.
Yesterday is but a Dream,
Tomorrow is but a Vision,
But Today well lived makes every
Yesterday a dream of Happiness
And every Tomorrow a Vision of Hope.
Look well therefore to this Day.
This is the Salutation of the Dawn.
We are indebted to the Saturday Night and to Miss Blodwen Davies for permission to reprint the following portions of Miss Davies' article on Osler which appeared on May 24th, 1949.
"Osler was one of the first to make a conscious effort to unite the sciences and the humanities into a scientific humanism adequate for the modern age. He was deeply imbued with the consciousness of the possibilities, of science in our democratic way of life and yet also fully aware of the danger which scientific thinking created for humanity. For many years, in his talks to medical and other learned societies, to graduating classes of young physicians and nurses, he dwelt on this theme of protecting human personality against the hardening and specializing effects of scientific life on the individual and on society. He ceaselessly counseled the counteracting of this crystallizing process by the 'yeast' of cultural interests and experiences, which are our heritage quite as much as are the experimental and analytical factors of the scientific tradition."
"Progress, he once said, is the outcome of a never-ending struggle of the third and fourth decades against the fifth, sixth and seventh." 'Conservatism and old-fogeyism are totally different things; the motto of the one is "prove all things and hold fast to that which is good'; and of the other 'prove nothing and hold fast to that which is old.' He urged time for the cultivation of good literature for 'many of you will need a strong leaven to raise you above the dough in which it will be your lot to labour.' He was aware of what young people faced in 'uncongenial surroundings and ever present dissonance between aspirations within and actualities without' and urged upon them 'an inner education'. It was as though every young personality he encountered was precious to him and he regarded as real tragedy the settling down into drab decadence of a potentially vital and promising life."
Always the Bubbles Break by Irene H. Moody, The Macmillan Company of Canada Limited, 39 Pages, price, $1.50.
This interesting collection of poems by a Canadian member of the Theosophical Society takes its title from a line in the first poem, 'Waves' wherein the author uses the timeless symbol of the ceaseless breaking of foam-tipped waves along the sea-shore, to speculate upon the purpose of the great 'waves of life from the deep centre of the imponderable All'. A saying of Socrates in Phaedrus 'But whosoever without the madness of the Muses comes to knock at the door of poesy', came to mind in reading "Be mad" - ' . . . be mad to suffer for others, and cleave a way to the glad deep joy of the soul. . . .' Lines on "A Lawren Harris Drawing" and "Two Emily Carr Charcoal Sketches" are in interesting contrast, and I would judge that the Lawren Harris item came easily, freely and spontaneously, so well does it capture the spirit of his abstract paintings; the Emily Carr hardly does this. The subject of death is sensitively presented in three poems, "Minute Supreme", "Is It
The Soul?" and "He Is Released From Bondage". Reincarnation is suggested in "Contact"
- a lovely short poem containing the line, 'We are a part of all that we have met'. "Rejected" deals with experiences common to many who 'sought for truth' and to whom 'search brought deeper pain.'
These poems of Mrs. Moody's touch upon a variety of subjects, but one is at all times aware that here is a mind which is sensitive to the one Life behind all forms and which, while it is entirely capable of subtle depiction, is always concerned with what lies beyond form.
The Mystery of Birth by Josiah Oldfield, M.D., Rider and Company, London, price in Canada about $2.50.
This is a manual on courtship, marriage and parentage written by a doctor with many, many years of experience on the surging sea of human hopes, fears, aspirations, and sufferings and who has watched the gates of birth and death open and close thousands of times. He asks such questions as, Have we lived before? Can we influence our own birth? How can a woman prepare herself to be the mother of supermen? etc., etc.
The book has a spiritual overtone, but the author appears to over spiritualize the sex element in human life.
Regarding the letter from K.H. quoted in a recent article by Clara Codd referring to the materialism of the American continent and the danger of establishing an occult school here, as it stands, this quotation sounds rather disheartening for today's American Theosophists. Should we not remind our readers and especially newcomers that in 1888 H.P.B. wrote:
"Night before last I was shown a bird's eye view of the theosophical societies. I saw a few earnest reliable theosophists in a death struggle with the world in general and with other - nominal and ambitious - theosophists. The former are greater in number than you may think, and THEY PREVAILED - and you in America WILL PREVAIL, if you only remain staunch to the Master's programme and true to yourselves. And last night I saw... The defending forces have to be judiciously - so scanty are they - distributed over the globe wherever theosophy is struggling with the powers of darkness."
This admonition of H.P.B. should make it clear, that the Society was never intended as "a school for occultism" and that, wherever in the T.S. movement the search for psychic phenomena and authority was dominant, it caused disruption and ended in meaningless side corridors.
- A Student.
REALISM IN SANKARA
- Dr. C. Kunhan Raja,
Reader in Sanskrit, Madras University
The MITTHYATVAVADA (doctrine of illusoriness) regarding the universe, propounded by Sankara, is usually understood as a denial of reality to the Universe. This led to neglect of the affairs of the world and to confining man's attention to what is spiritual, among the Indians. But one has to consider carefully what it is that Sankara has actually denied in regard to the Universe. To understand Sankara correctly, one has to examine the Buddhistic doctrine, which it is really that Sankara was refuting. The Buddhists denied reality to the positive world; to them there is reality only in the void, sunya. Thus the nature of a thing is, as a consequence, not expressed as a positive factor, but as a negative factor,
namely, difference from other things. This is what is called apohavada. And the Buddhists relied on dry logic to establish their position.
Now, according to the Buddhists, a cow is what is different from things other than cows (GAVETARABHINNA). The positive existence of the cow is not its real nature, but its difference. What Sankara proves is that what the Buddhists deny; namely, the positive factor is the only reality and what they call the real nature, namely, the difference, is devoid of absolute reality. We experience a thing as an existence, and also as a difference. Sankara denies reality to the difference aspect in our experience. He denies only absolute reality to difference; in so far as it is experienced, there is some sort of reality in it. According to the scriptural statement of the identity of the individual and the supreme selves, the notion of difference is what is sublated at the time of the realization of Truth. Thus this experience of difference has as content something which is not absolutely unreal in so far as it is experienced; nor is it absolutely real in so far as it is sublated at a future time at the stage of the realization of Truth. This is what Sankara terms MITTHYA, what cannot be determined either as absolutely real or as absolutely unreal.
To show that difference is something which will be sublated at the stage of the realization of Truth, one has to depend on scriptural statements. If the position is to be acceptable to the Buddhists, he has to prove his position on the authority of reason. So he shows that the experience of difference is a psychological impossibility. Things cannot have difference as their nature, in so far as the difference abiding in one of any pair of differents depends for its cognition on the cognition of the difference abiding in the other and the latter depends on the former. Thus what is called difference is not a limitation abiding in the content of the cognition; it is rather a limitation in the cognition itself.
The Buddhist s have shown on the authority of reason that the differents are unreal and only difference is real; Sankara has shown on the strength of reason itself that the difference is unreal. Now, is it that both the differences and the differents are unreal, thus arriving at the unreality of everything? All that the Buddhists have been able to prove is that a different is unreal as a different; but they have not shown that a thing free from difference is unreal. The Buddhistic position when closely analyzed comes to this that what is unreal is not the thing, but the difference experienced in the thing. Thus there are two elements, the illusoriness of the difference (DVAITAMITTHYATVA) and the reality of the thing free from difference (ADVAITASATTA). By accepting the logic of the Buddhists, Sankara shows that DVAITA is MITTHYA. The reality of the THING is only in realization; and scripture is the only authority in our empirical experience for the positive nature of this THING devoid of difference. Without scripture, possibly the only conclusion which the intellect can arrive at is the unreality of difference and consequently to a state of blank. Sankara's real contribution is not in denying reality to the Universe of difference, BUT IN RESTRICTING THE DENIAL OF REALITY TO THE DIFFERENCE ELEMENT IN THE UNIVERSE OF DIFFERENCES and in asserting, on the authority of the scripture, the absolute reality of the Universe. Another great contribution of Sankara is the doctrine of the absolute identity of the Universe with the spirit, thus doing away with the antithesis between matter and spirit. Sankara is the greatest realist, to whom there is only reality as absolute in the Universe.
- From Wisdom, January, 1948.
A CATECHISM OF THE SPIRITUAL LIFE
Chapter III: ON THE SPIRITUAL LIFE
1. Q. How does the Spiritual Man deal with the activities of daily life?
A. By doing the right things at the right time.
2. Q. What are the right things?
A. The right things are those prescribed by the duties pertaining to his personality as well as to his Divine Ego.
3. Q. What is duty?
A . Duty is what one owes to Humanity.
4. Q. What is the criterion of duty?
A. The criterion of duty is the fact of being appropriate, in harmony with one's innermost nature (one's dharma), timely, and in accordance with previously assumed, acquired, or accepted obligations. On the invisible plane there are the vasanas (mental deposits) existing as indicators of the duty of the present personality.
5. Q. What is the nature of the vasanas?
A. The vasanas are potentialities for mental actions and therefore, indirectly, for every physical act, inasmuch as behind every deed stands a thought.
6. Q. What happens to the vasana when the corresponding duty is done?
A. The performance of duty cancels that vasana, resulting in a lighter karmic burden for the Ego. It is a step towards the Ego's final emancipation.
7. Q. Have the vasanas also to do with the duties of the Divine Ego?
A. No, the duties of the Divine Ego are prescribed by its Spiritual Prototype, and are not karmic.
8. Q. What is the correct way to do one's duty?
A. One should do one's duty cheerfully and with the utmost skill at one's disposal. Says the Bhagavad Gita: Yogah karmasu kausalam, yoga is skill in actions. Remember that the most insignificant act, if it is one's duty, is worth to be done with all one's skill.
9. Q. How does the Spiritual Man deal with his fellow men?
A. With benevolence does he deal with them, regarding them always as souls, not as bodies.
10. Q. Which are the various relations between souls?
A. Souls are related either as pupil and teacher, or as co
- students. There are no other direct relations.
11. Q. What is the Spiritual Man's pleasure?
A. To teach and acquire knowledge.
12. Q. What is the Spiritual Man's pain?
A. His inability to alleviate the sufferings of the Great Orphan, Humanity.
13. Q. Who are the aspirants to the Spiritual Life?
A. Those who have sensed the illusory nature of the manifested Universe, and who have, in consequence, a longing for the Eternal.
14. Q. What are the first three conscious steps towards the Spiritual Life?
A. First must come the mental recognition of the reality of the Spiritual Life. Next must come the conviction of the absolute superiority of the Spiritual Life. The third step is the determination of making the Spiritual Life one's final goal.
15. Q. What is next to be done?
A. Next a threefold task must
begin, to wit: (1) Service to the ONE LIFE, (2) Search for TRUTH, (3) Battle against the Transitory.
16. Q. What is Service to the ONE LIFE?
A. Service to the ONE LIFE consists of: (1) Constant application of the
GOLDEN RULE, (2) Making the interests of all living creatures one's own, (3) Making oneself an example unto others.
17. Q. What constitutes the Search for TRUTH?
A. The study of oneself and of Occultism.
18. Q. How is one to battle against the Transitory?
A. The battle against the Transitory is done by: (1) Cultivating a preference for the Permanent and Eternal, (2) Trusting with an unshakable faith in the Law of Karma, (3) Purifying one's desires, (4) Meditating upon the Eternal Verities.
19. Q. How is one to prepare oneself for "Conscious life in Spirit"?
A. By assimilating thoroughly the Spiritual aspects of the various planes of existence, starting from the lowest upwards, and realizing the various devachanic planes.
20. Q. How is this assimilation to be achieved?
A. By studying in appropriate order the abstract sciences relating to these planes.
21. Q. Which are the abstract sciences related to the physical plane?
A. They are (1) mathematics, (2) theoretical mechanics, (3) logic, (4) certain sections of physics and chemistry.
22. Q. Which are the abstract sciences related to the plane of Prana?
A. The sciences which deal with the abstract aspects of LIFE are (1) Generalized physiology of plants and animals, and (2) Generalized science of Genetics.
23. Q. And which are the abstract sciences related to the Kamaloka?
A. Little is known about the abstract side of this plane, at any rate by the exoteric investigators. The following sciences may be mentioned: (1) Hedonics, (2) Esthetics, (3) Dynamics and Statics of Desires. But the latter science is, not known in the West.
24. Q. Which are the abstract sciences related to the plane of MANAS, or Mind?
A. There are quite a number of abstract sciences related to the mental plane as its subjects lend themselves most eas
i ly to abstraction. But being still less known in the West they have no name, by which to call them. Some could be described as follows: (1) The science of the generation and dissipation of vasanas, (2) The fundamentals of memory (not mnemonics though), (3) The dynamics of mental vibrations (Occult dynamics proper), (4) The Manifestation of Intelligence.
25. Q. Are there still sciences related to higher planes and yet within the reach of man's mind?
A. With the help of analogy and correspondence some subjects related to the monadic plane can still be grasped by man's mind, but no enumeration of subjects related to the plane of Absoluteness is possible, as the latter is the plane of UNITY. With regards to the former the following subjects may serve as examples: (1) The Evolution of Ideas,
(2) The Fountain
- heads of Monads, (3) Dhyan-chohanic Wisdom, (4) The manifestation of TANHA.
26. Q. How are the various planes of Devachan realized?
A. By a spiritual transformation of the events in the lives of people typical to the planes in question.
27. Q. How are the devachanic planes classified?
A. First we have the two main divisions of Rupa Dhatu and Arupa Dhatu. The Rupa Dhatu can be divided into four Dhyana planes, while the Arupa Dhatu consists of three ayatanas.
28. Q. How do these planes correspond with lives on earth?
A. The Dhyana planes correspond successively to: (1) A purely physical life - like that of hunters, savages, the lowest manual laborers, etc. (2) A pranic life - like that of agricultural and pastoral people, who make use of the life forces of nature for their livelihood; also that of certain types of physicians, etc. (3) A karmic life - like that of artisans and artists and all those who dedicate their life to what is pleasing to the senses. (4) A material-mental life - like that of bureaucrats, officials, school-teachers, most of the scientists and technical people, etc., whose mental activities are principally related to the physical plane.
The ayatanas correspond successively to: (5) A spiritual-mental life - like that of inventors; creative teachers, scientists and builders; certain great artists, etc.; whose mental activities are sustained by a stream of intuition from the spiritual realms. (6) A spiritual life-like that of great sages and thinkers, real metaphysicians, who, although living in the world are not of the world. (7) Life ABSOLUTE - of Mahatmas and Avatars.
29. Q. How is the spiritual transformation of the events in all these various lives to be achieved?
A. By idealizing these events, using their underlying principles and sub-principles as a guidance.
30. Q. What is "Conscious life in Spirit"?
A. Conscious life in Spirit means to be active, and to know it, on the more spiritual planes, specifically the higher mental and the divine monadic planes.
31. Q. What is the nature of the activities on these spiritual planes?
A. It is impossible to describe these activities in words, as words can never describe satisfactorily such highly spiritual matters.
32. Q. But could not some indication be given?
A. Well, the activities are those pertaining to the Dhyan Chohanic Host, whose duty it is to give Spiritual Guidance to the lesser hosts, and who are the evolvers of ideas as first causes.
33. Q. What is the object of a "Conscious life in Spirit"?
A. The object is to work as a POWER FOR GOOD, to be a CO-WORKER with DIVINE NATURE, but a start must be made on the lower planes first as preparatory for greater bliss and glory which is the natural condition of the Spiritual Man.
Peace unto all Beings