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VOL. X., No. 10 HAMILTON, DECEMBER 16th, 1929 Price 10 Cents
A "FOUNDERS' DAY" ADDRESS.
17th NOVEMBER, 1929
Fifty-four years after the three Founders, H.P. Blavatsky, Col. H.S. Olcott and Wm. Q. Judge formed the Theosophical Society we are commemorating its inception.
What does that first inauguration day mean to us as members feebly attempting to follow the lines indicated by them at that time?
Have we stopped to think that by that act humanity was made aware of the over-shadowing protection and actual existence of a Mighty Brotherhood of Mankind that have deliberately chosen through their great "compassion" to renounce the "bliss" earned for themselves after lives of struggle on earth culminating in glorious attainment, to remain ever bound throughout the ages in order to keep in touch with us until we too shall have earned the like reward?
That this great body of Compassionate Ones are ever watching for opportunities to lift man's karmic load where'er the "law" allows, that They stand ready to respond to every earnest unselfish cry and plan new ways for shedding light and hastening the New Day, is known to most of you no doubt.
It may be well here to review the facts we have been privileged to glimpse, and so refreshed, renew our pledge within, to this Their Order.
In the thirteenth century it was decreed by this Great Brotherhood that at the last quarter of each century thereafter one from among them should go forth with his disciples to give a fresh impetus to man by lighting a new trail as it were and starting fresh currents of thought.
The names of, Roger Bacon, Tsong-ka-pa, Christian Rosenkreuz, John Picus Count of Mirandola, John Reuchlin, Robertus Fluctibus, Eugenius Philalethes, St. Germain, Mesmer and so on, ring forth down the centuries to the nineteenth.
And here we find the field being prepared, years before our Founders come upon the scene, for the hour has struck for the breaking down of caste and class barriers - brotherly love must be aroused in man.
Would it seem strange to find the fore-shadowing of this work started in India, Aryavarta, where so much of the Fifth Race History has its roots?
In Southern India then there was a great ascetic, Ramalingam Pillay by name, who gathered great crowds about him as he would perform miracles, so called, by magic in order to draw men to him. And when they had come in large numbers, he would talk to them of the restricting bonds of caste laws and regulations that, once established for divine purpose, now were but soul shackles binding them to lower-self, and physical customs that but cramped
the soul expression and prevented sympathetic understanding of brother for brother, man for man.
His Order was established reading much as does ours in its true object and end.
Many joined but soon the old habitual thought would become too strong and they would drop away. Funds as well were always low for much was given in alms to those in need.
That Great Teacher, at last, to a chosen few foretold the downfall of his work but prophesied the coming of strangers to his land from Russia and America who would revive the message and succeed where his first effort had but sown the seed.
Do you today, remember the story told in Hints on Esoteric Theosophy of how one evening in New York City, a small group gathered about H.P.B., who had offered to precipitate a portrait; and how Judge leaned forward and asked that the face be that of the holy yogi?
In 1847 Ramalingam Pillay left his followers and retired to a cave ordering his devoted ones to seal it up for one year at which time they might return to the place they were leaving him.
One of the faithful band tells how at the expiration of the time the few returned and broke into the cave to find the Master gone, leaving no sign.
A little later in Northern India a teacher is gathering pupils about him but he forms no order and will allow no following as such.
He teaches those who prove themselves ready. He welcomes all visitors of whatever religion and shows them the one spirit behind all.
The story of his life and method of training his disciples has been recently presented to the Western World in The Face of the Silence by Mukerji, who himself met and knew one of these, the Holy Man of Benares.
We in the West know best that one named Vivekananda, who spent so much time in teaching his Master's views in this land.
Think you it was but chance hat took Rama Krishna from that physical body the very year (1885) H.P.B. left India and her work there?
Weave the ends together and see how steadily the light was poured forth by wise teachers in preparation for the establishment of our Society in that land where this Great Race had its start.
To sum up: We find that early in the nineteenth century in the 1840's Ramalingam Pillay tried to attune men's minds to the idea of Brotherhood; then followed Rama Krishna who taught his Indian followers at approximately the same time that H.P.B. came trying to bring the same teachings to the Western World.
It should not be difficult to discover the great tolerance, brotherly spirit and strict observance of the truth, evident in all of H.P.B.'s and Judge's writings, and to readily see that it was the Spirit of the same Great Teacher who inspired the disciples of Rama Krishna and brought them to divine realization.
H.P.B.'s writings contain the all-embracing spiritual urge and the same is true of the writings received through Judge.
Think you the Masters take no heed for us?
Ah, rather, it is we ourselves who set up the barriers and make progress difficult.
Let each today take the Pledge of the early days, given by H.P.B. and W.Q. Judge to all earnest hearts.
Let each one everyday repeat those words
"I pledge myself to make Theosophy a living power in my life and to give all the time, money and thought, at my disposal, for the work of the Theosophical Movement.
"I pledge myself never to listen without protest to any evil thing said of a brother Theosophist.
"I pledge myself to obey the rules of the School, trustingly.
"I pledge myself to maintain a constant struggle against my lower nature and to constantly work far humanity, thus keeping within my heart the Light of the Self which is our Link with the Lodge and the radiation of the eternal spiritual Sun."
Thus pledging one's self to one's own Higher Self without an intermediary between him and Those he seeks to join on that New Day to come.
Think you a better, happier thing could be conceived by us as a memorial to Those who have opened the door for us to Them, than to inaugurate a School of Service in each heart today?
Send out an S.O.S. to all, that eager ones may know the need and respond to the call.
- A Student Messenger.
(All Theosophical publications are invited to copy this article.)
THE THREE TRUTHS
There are three truths which are absolute, and which cannot be lost, but yet may remain silent for lack of speech.
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 lawgiver, the dispenser of glory of 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.
THE STUDY OF " THE VOICE OF THE SILENCE."
By James Morgan Pryse.
(Concluded from Page 263.)
By thus taking up the cudgels for the Maha-yana, as against the Hina-yana, H.P. B. is led into a rather long digression, bringing in matters which should have been inserted in Fragment III. In this digression the candidate, the Shravaka, who is "in ignorance and darkness," not having taken the first step in Yoga, is given information relating to the final Initiation, "the thrice glorious state of Dharmakaya." The digression is so far afield, the subject so awkwardly out of place here, that a footnote is appended to "Dharmakaya" referring the reader to another footnote near the end of Fragment III. for a more detailed explanation of the Trikaya. Hence the digressive portion of Fragment II. should be studied in connection with the teaching contained in the following Fragment.
In the First Fragment the disciple's progress in Yoga is traced until he attains Samadhi, thereby becoming a Shramana, a doer of the sacred work, and a candidate for Initiation. In the Second Fragment he is represented as a compassionate teacher pointing out the way of attainment to a pupil, a Shravaka, one who knows the Occult by hearsay only. But the Shramana goes ahead of his subject, and, though he is only a candidate for Initiation, indoctrinates the Shravaka in matters relating to the final Initiation - things which he himself knows by hearsay only. Thus in this digression the Shramana is given a role he is not yet capable of playing; and so, by a singular slip, he is made to appear, in the Third Fragment, not as the candidate for Initiation, but as the Guru, the Initiator, while his pupil, the Shravaka, is the candidate who passes
through, the Seven Portals and becomes an Arhan.
Before examining the teaching in the Voice concerning the three stages of Buddhahood and the attainment of Nirvana, it will be well to take a glance at sectarian Buddhism. The two principal sects into which Buddhism is rent are: (1) Maha-yana, which is divided into Paramita-yana and Mantra-yana, the former being subdivided into Yogacharya and Madhya-mika; and (2) Hina-yana, which is split into Shravaka-yana and Pratyeka-yana, the latter being committed to the doctrine of "Pratyeka Buddhas," which is execrated by the followers of Maha-yana. There are also divers minor sects, tapering down to Tantra and sorcery.
The Maha-yana School teaches that when a man obtains Bodhi-knowledge, Omniscience, and is on the threshold of Nirvana, he should tarry awhile and extend a helping hand to humanity. But this noble doctrine is carried to the extreme of sentimentality by some sectarians, until it is a mere travesty, as when it is said that Avalokiteshvara has vowed not to enter Nirvana while a single sentient being is left unemancipated! Other Buddhists, of the Hina-yana School, maintain the more moderate opinion that not all Bodhisattvas who have qualified themselves for entering Nirvana are able to help others; these Buddhas are called Pratyekas, "Individual" Buddhas. Some of the Scriptures of the Maha-yana School deny the possibility of any one attaining Bodhi-knowledge or Nirvana as a Pratyeka. Thus the Ashtasahasrika Prajnaparamita, with untempered odium-theologicum, pronounces the doctrine of the Hina-yana School to be "the work of Mara" (the Devil), and re-iterates that the man who, instead of following the Prajnaparamita, "considers it desirable to investigate those Sutantras which speak of the Shravaka stage and the Pratyeka stage" does not "belong to the class of intellectual beings."
In a letter written by the Tibetan Maha-Chohan (published in Letters from the Masters o f the Wisdom) that great Initiate says:
"Buddhism, stripped of its superstitions, is eternal truth . . . . It is not the individual determined purpose of obtaining for oneself Nirvana (the culmination of all knowledge and absolute wisdom) - which is after all only an exalted and glorious selfishness - but the self-sacrificing pursuit of the best means to lead on to the right path our neighbour, to cause as many of our fellow-creatures as we possibly can to benefit by it, which constitutes the true Theosophist."
In the same letter is this passage, in which Rhys Davids is quoted approvingly:
" 'The incarnations of the Bodhisattva, Padma Pani, or Avalokiteshvara, and of Tsong-ka-pa and that of Amitabha, relinquish at their death the attainment of Buddhahood - i.e. the summum bonum of bliss and individual felicity - that they might be born again and again for the benefit of mankind' - in other words, that they might again and again be subjected to misery, imprisonment in the flesh, and all the sorrows of life, provided that by such a self-sacrifice, repeated throughout long and dreary centuries, they might become the means of securing salvation and bliss in the hereafter for a handful of men chosen among but one of the many races of mankind!"
Thus the "perfect Lamas," as the Maha-Chohan calls them, men who had won liberation from rebirth, deferred entering Nirvana and voluntarily reincarnated repeatedly in order to guide and assist a few other men of their nation, Tibetans (presumably their Chelas), who were striving to attain Nirvana. But the "misery, imprisonment in the flesh, and all the sorrows of life," could affect only the personality of a Buddha or Arhat assumed by him on thus voluntarily reincarnating; for, as said in the Voice; "An Arhat sees Nirvana during his life. For him it is no post
mortem state, but Samadhi, during which he experiences all Nirvanic bliss." The Immortal Self is not subject to pain and sorrow.
Now, the teachings in the Voice concerning the Buddhas may be summarized as follows: There is but one Path to Bodhi-knowledge or Nirvana, but it bifurcates: one branch is the direct way to Nirvana, and it is followed only by the Pratyekas, the utterly selfish Buddhas, who "care nothing for the woes of mankind or to help it, but only for their own bliss"; the other branch is the almost interminable way to Paranirvana, at the close of the Manvantara, when the Universe passes out of existence, and this Yana is followed by all the "Buddhas of Compassion," who, refusing to enter Nirvana, form themselves into an invisible "Guardian Wall'' of Nirmanakayas to protect mankind. Of the "two Paths in one" it is said that "the first Path is Liberation." The second is called "the Path of Woe," which "leads the Arhan to mental woe unspeakable, woe for the living Dead, and helpless pity for the men of karmic sorrow." The word "helpless" turns this passage from pathos into bathos. The stupendous self-sacrifice is made to small purpose; yet every prospective Buddha is enjoined to make that unreasonable sacrifice.
A Buddha is a man who has become one with his inner God, his Divine Monad. It follows, therefore, either that the Pratyeka, who in his "spiritual selfishness" cares nothing for the woes of others, is a theological scarecrow, or that the God within him is selfish and callous. So the selfish and unfeeling Pratyeka Buddha, when critically examined, proves to be only a bugaboo designed to excite repugnance to self-love and uncompassionateness.
The Nirmana Kaya, the subtile body, is free from all "the ills that flesh is heir to." In the preliminary discipline the Buddha of Compassion attained the "Titiksha state," defined in a footnote as "the becoming physically, mentally and morally indifferent and insensible to either pleasure or pain." And yet, mirabile dictu, it is said that he has crossed "the gate of final knowledge" (Bodhi) "only to wed woe," and must suffer sorrow and "mental woe unspeakable" through all the coming cycles, "Kalpas without number." All such fantastic doctrines, even when borrowed from exoteric Scriptures by H.P.B., must be rejected as being only the rant of mind-morbid theologians and priests. Contrast this one with the Maha-Chohan's dignified and impressive statement about the "perfect Lamas" who reincarnated again and again throughout long and dreary centuries for the benefit of a few chosen men, their disciples. And let it be remembered that H.P.B. herself afterward regretted that she had included among the authentic precepts in the Voice this spurious doctrine concerning the "selfish" Buddhas, and charged a personal pupil to correct the mistake. But that error of judgment, in setting forth certain sectarian dogmas that are repugnant to reason, may serve to teach the student an important lesson: he should not regard even so inspiring a work as the Voice as an "infallible" Scripture, but should cultivate his discrimination. If he is unable to discern the absurdities involved in the fallacious doctrines laid down in the Voice, it is more than likely that he is also unable to gain more than a feeble mental grasp of the invaluable instructions it contains. Fortunately, it is not an infallible book. The religionist who studies a supposedly "inspired" Scripture which he believes to be infallible is apt to assume that his own understanding of its meaning is likewise infallible, and thereupon consider himself to be an infallible exponent of its doctrines. Bigots of that sort are not unknown, sad to say, even in the T.S. Again, exoteric Buddhism has to be studied with discrimination, inasmuch as it is corrupted with superstitions and false doctrines: these must be stripped from it, in order to study intelligently the sublime teachings of the purest of the world-religions. As the Maha-Chohan says in his letter, "Even exoteric Buddhism is the
surest path to lead men toward the truth." But that is said, evidently, in reference to the intellectual apprehension of the truth. The inner planes can not be reached by merely studying the doctrines of Buddhism and practicing the virtues it inculcates. There is no "open Path" to Liberation, Nirvana: exoteric teachings can go no further than to point out the one and only Path that leads to esoteric knowledge; and Liberation is gained through initiation in the sacred Mysteries. Toward that distant goal Buddhism indeed paints the way, but it can be attained only after heroic efforts put forth during a series of incarnations.
With a medley of metaphors it is said that the Path, with "its foot in mire, its summit lost in glorious light Nirvanic," has "ever-narrowing Portals" which "lead the aspirant across the waters on `to the other shore'," and "each Portal hath a golden key that openeth its gate." The meaning, however, is sufficiently clear. The Keys are the Paramitas, the "transcendental virtues," and the Portals (though designated only metaphorically in the Voice) are the seven Lokas, world-divisions, and the corresponding states of consciousness.
Six Paramitas are enumerated by the Mahayana, the Northern School: (1) Dana, Charity; (2) Shila, Morality; (3) Kshanti, Patience; (4) Virya, Fortitude; (5) Dhyana, Meditation; (6) Prajna, Knowledge.
Some of the Sutras add to these the following Paramitas: (7) Upaya, Ways and Means; (8) Pranidhana, Firm Faith; ( 9 ) Bala, Fortitude, Moral Robustness; (10) Jnana, Knowledge. But these belong properly to the Hinayana, the Southern School. The Voice says that the ten Paramitas are "for the priests." As the four additional ones have no connection with the Portals, they signify nothing, and may be left to the priests exclusively. The Voice gives another Paramita, Vairagya, Stoicalness; Dispassion, placing it next after Kshanti, and renumerating the succeeding ones, thus making Prajna the seventh. This brings the number up to eleven, unless Vairagya is taken to be the same as Bala, one of the sacerdotal virtues.
The word "Virtue," if used for Paramita, must be taken to mean, not merely moral goodness, but any good quality, merit or accomplishment. These six supremely excellent Virtues may be considered as two triads. The first triad consists of three qualifications which the disciple must have. The Paramitas of the second triad are simply the three stages of Yoga-Dharana, Dhyana and Samadhi - thinly disguised. Vairagya, which the Voice inserts between the two triads, corresponds to Pratyahara, the fifth stage of Raja-yoga, and makes the transition from the three qualifications, the moral and mental virtues, to the three stages of transcendental Yoga. Thus the Paramitas are as follows
1. Dana, Almsgiving, Bestowing Gifts; the word "donation" comes from the same roots, da, "to give." Though Dana is properly translated as "Charity" in the eleemosynary sense of that word, the rendering "love immortal" is too far-fetched. As a "transcendental" virtue it is the willingness to part with all one's worldly possessions, and implies renunciation of things terrestrial. The disciple complies with the precept, "Give up thy life, if thou would'st live." He relinquishes the animal-human state of existence before attempting to rise to the God-human estate of true Being.
2. Shila, Morality. This signifies the purification of the psychic (passional and emotional) nature. The disciple obeys the precept, "Strangle thy sins, and make them dumb for ever."
3. Kshanti, Patience. This virtue, transcendentally, is the spiritual calmness which meets unmoved all the ills of life; it is a state of tranquillity and peace. The disciple puts into effect the precept, "Chafe not at Karma, nor at Nature's changeless laws." These three virtues, Dana, Shila and Kshanti, relate to the three departments of man's nature, physical, psychic, and spiritual, corresponding
to the three Gunas, or qualities, Tamas, Rajas and Sattva.
4. Vairagya, Stoicalness; Dispassion, philosophical indifference to all enjoyment derived from the physical or psychic senses. In the transcendental sense it is applied also to the mastery of "the thought-sensations that, subtle and insidious, creep unasked within the soul's bright shrine." It corresponds to Pratyahara, Abstraction, Insensibility, the fifth stage of Raja-yoga.
5. Virya, Firmness, Earnest Application. This Paramita, defined in the Voice as "the dauntless energy that fights its way to the eternal Truth," is the same as Dharana, Yoga-concentration.
6. Dhyana, Meditation; the seventh stage of Yoga.
7. Prajna, Knowledge, Wisdom; the eighth stage of Yoga, Samadhi.
Thus the disciple, having purified his threefold nature, passes through the three great stages of Yoga-meditation. But instead of passing quickly through the successive states of consciousness up to Samadhi, as he is shown to do in Fragment I, the disciple - now under the tutelage of a Guru - must make himself master of those states, and explore the corresponding Lokas, "worlds," or planes of existence. These Lokas, the "Portals" to Nirvana, and their "Keys," the Paramitas, are given below, together with descriptive comments quoted from the Voice:
1. Bhurloka, the Physical World. Key, Dana Paramita. The disciple, having renounced the vanities of this world, receives instructions concerning the higher worlds. At this stage, engaged in intellectual study of the sublime Occult Philosophy, he is indeed a "happy pilgrim." Very beautifully and graphically this Portal is described: "'Tis like a sunny glade in the dark forest depths, a spot on earth mirrored from Amitabha's paradise. There nightingales of hope and birds of radiant plumage sing, perched in green bowers, chanting success to fearless pilgrims. They sing of Bodhisattva's virtues five, the fivefold source of Bodhi power, and of the seven steps in Knowledge."
2. Bhuvarloka, the Mid-world, Sphere of the Astral Light and Kamaloka. Key, Shila Paramita. The disciple, as he purifies his psychic nature becomes sensitive to the influences of the Astral World. He is still inspirited by the glorious vista of the larger life, but now he glimpses some of the difficulties and perils of the Path, and is liable to doubt whether he has courage and stamina to go further "along the rocky Path." "As on he goes, the song of hope soundeth more feeble in the pilgrim's heart. The thrill of doubt is now upon him; his step less steady grows. Beware of this, O candidate; beware of fear that spreadeth, like the black and soundless wings of midnight bat, between the moonlight of thy Soul and thy great goal that loometh in the distance far away." The phrase "moonlight of thy Soul," applied to this psychic stage, is vividly descriptive of it.
3. Svarloka, Paradise, the Psycho-spiritual World, Key, Kshanti Paramita. The state of spiritual-mindedness is the final qualification of the disciple for the occult meditation. "The last great fight, the final war between the higher and the lower self, hath taken place." "Step the third is taken. Now for the fourth prepare, the Portal of temptations which ensnare the inner man." The italicized "inner man" is the psychic self, the "concealed man," whose body is the "permanent Astral," the Chhaya, or "Shadow," the projected Image of the Dhyani.
4. Maharloka, the World of Holy Men and Rupa-Devas. Key, Vairagya Paramita. At this stage the disciple is to begin the practice of transcendental Yoga. This first stage of it corresponds to Pratyahara, the fifth stage of Raja-yoga. To master it "thou must keep thy mind and thy perceptions far freer than before from killing action," that is, the mind must be stilled, and the action of the senses suspended, in order to pass on into the next stage, that of unflagging concentration.
5. Janaloka (jana, "man," individually or collectively), the World of Deified Mortals, the Noetic World. Key, Virya Paramita. During this stage, which corresponds to Dharana, the disciple passes through all the planes up to that of the Nous, encountering dangers and temptations; and he will almost certainly make repeated failures. "If thou halt tried and failed, O dauntless fighter, yet lose not courage: fight on, and to the charge return again and yet again." Hence it is called "the middle Portal, the gate of woe, with its ten thousand snares," and it is said, "Have mastery o'er thy Soul, O seeker after truths undying; if thou would'st reach the goal."
6. Tapaloka, the World of the Nirmanakayas. (See Theosophical Glossary, under "Vairagas".) Key, Dhyana Paramita. This is the first stage of Buddhahood. "The Dhyana gate is like an alabaster vase, white and transparent; within there burns a steady golden fire, the flame of Prajna that radiates from Atma."
7. Satyaloka, the Heaven of Truth. Key, Prajna Paramita. This is the highest state of Samadhi, and the second stage of Buddhahood, that of the Sambhoga-kaya; in the next stage the Initiate having "donned the Dharmakaya robe," passes into Nirvana. In the Voice, however, the Arhat is adjured to renounce the two higher stages of Buddhahood and remain in the Nirmanakaya stage until the end of the Manvantara, out of helpless pity for men on earth, with whose karmic evolution he must not meddle.
The word kaya means "body," but in the Voice it is given a wider meaning and applied to the Buddha as an individual; thus a Nirmanakaya is not simply the Nirmana-body, but is a Buddha who has evolved for himself that first of the three Buddhic bodies.
It is said, in a footnote, that on becoming a Dharmakaya (a Nirvani) a Buddha "leaves behind every possible relation with, or thought for, this earth." But does that imply that he is completely severed from mankind, and that the "immortal love" for all beings which his soul diffused while he was yet but a mortal has lost all potency in the manifested worlds? Most certainly it does not, according to H.P.B.'s own teachings, if analogy holds true. In the Key she makes it clear that the soul when in Devachan, between incarnations, is in a dreaming state, and is "entirely separated from the 'vale of tears';" it is blind to all that takes place on earth. And yet "love beyond the grave, illusion though you may call it, has a magic and divine potency which reacts on the living. A mother's Ego filled with love for the imaginary children it sees near itself, living a life of happiness, as real to it as when on earth - that love will always be felt by the children in the flesh. It will manifest in their dreams, and often in various events - in providential protections and escapes, for love is a strong shield, and is not limited by space and time." Again she says, "Pure divine love is not merely the blossom of a human heart, but has its roots in eternity." Here we have H.P.B. at her best, as a wise Initiate. But when in the Voice she says that the Initiation-robe "kills compassion," that the Dharmakayas, "the perfect Buddhas," can no longer "help man's salvation," that Nirvana is "selfish bliss," entered by the Dharmakayas who "care nothing for the woes of mankind or to help it, but only for their own selfish bliss," and that "the Buddhas of Compassion," rejecting Nirvana as being the acme of selfness, doom themselves to "mental woe unspeakable" for well nigh endless ages - she is speaking, not as an Occultist, but only as a Buddhist battologizing exoteric doctrines borrowed from dreary books penned by pessimistic theologians. Devachan is the period of rest after an incarnation; Nirvana is the corresponding period after a world-cycle. In H.P.B.'s own words, in the same passage in the Key, "Analogy will suggest to you the rest." So when she says in the Glossary (under "Nirvani'") that Nirvana is the "death of all compassion for the world
of suffering," and that for this reason "the Bodhisattvas who prefer the Nirmanakaya to the Dharmakaya vesture stand higher in the popular estimation than the Nirvanees," we are free to reject that "popular" opinion, and conclude, from analogy, that the Dharmakaya's divine compassion is not swallowed up by death when he enters Nirvana, but that his immortal love, which has its roots in eternity, and is not limited by space and time, continues to be more than ever a mighty potency in the world of mortals, mightier even than it would be if he had stayed his steps at the first stage of Buddhahood.
The method of producing the Trikaya is not alluded to in this third Fragment, save in the cryptic statement concerning the Initiate that "the living power made free in him, that power which is Himself, can raise the tabernacle of illusion high above the Gods." Idiomatically, to "raise the tabernacle" would be to erect or build it; but here the phrase is intended to signify that the tabernacle (the living body of man) is transformed into the first of the three Buddhic bodies. A tabernacle is a tent or pavilion, made of skins, green boughs, or other material, a temporary movable habitation. In Biblical language the word is used figuratively for the human body as the temporary habitation of the soul; and it is in this sense that it must be understood here: for "the living power" is Buddhi, which as an active force transmutes the impermanent body of illusion, the Linga Sharira, into the permanent body. Thus in the second Fragment, in the digressive portion, which should really form part of this third Fragment, it is said: "Out of the furnace of man's life and its black smoke, winged flames arise, flames purified, that, soaring onward, 'neath the karmic eye, weave in the end the fabric glorified of the three ventures of the Path."
Postlude, Paraphrased from Fragment III.
Know, when a mortal, one whose dreamful mind
Drowses through life 'neath Death's Lethean sway,
Wakens in Immortality to find
That he is Lord of the Aeonian Day,
Then all the realms of Nature glorify
Him thus arisen, freed from death and birth.
The twinkling stars, night-blossoms of the sky,
Now flash the tidings to the dark-robed earth;
The rivers hasting to the ocean take
The starry message; billows of the main
Roar it to rock-bound coasts whereon they break;
Scent-laden breezes sing the glad refrain
To hill and dale; and with awe-bated breath
The stately pine-trees whisper to the glen,
"A Master of the Day, dethroning Death,
Has risen from among the sons of men."
Like a majestic pillar, stainless, white,
Facing the Sun's glad Herald-Star, now stands
The Conqueror, who with resistless might
Has vanquished Sin's vast army, and whose hands
Lay hold of Life and Death, and wrest from them
The splendour of True' Being. Having won
The Star of Morning for his diadem,
He waits the coming of the flame-robed Sun.
Mighty is he: the living Power set free,
That Power which is his inmost being's flame,
Shall fashion, as with fiery filigree,
Three forms in likeness of his mortar frame,
Three ventures of the soul, and these combine;
And he, now risen from the living dead,
Shall then be robed in glories that outshine
The robes wherein the Gods are garmented.
Behold, the Eastern sky is brightening
With mellow light. A golden glory now,
The full effulgence of the risen King,
Shines on the Conqueror's crown
Yea, thus the Sun of Thought Eternal sends
The Light that haloes round the Victor's face:
His mind, wide as a shoreless sea, extends
O'er regions uttermost in heavenly space.
And now the Earth below and Heaven above
With signs of praise rejoice the jewelled hours,
While joyous paeans, chants of holy love,
Burst from the fourfold manifested Powers,
Alike from flaming Fire, the surging sea
And flowing Water, fragrant Earth and Air,
And from their Source, the Hidden Majesty;
All Nature's Powers in chorus thus declare
"Joy unto ye, O Earth-born sons of Sorrow!
One from among you has achieved today
The deathless bliss which ye may win tomorrow.
Hath he not shown you that ye need not stay
In your delusion-fabricated prison?
Going before you, lighting up the Way,
Unto the Realm Supernal he hath risen."
Compare the two Redeemers, the Hindu and the Christian, the one preceding the other by some thousands of years; place between them Siddartha Buddha, reflecting Christna, and projecting into the night of the future of his own luminous shadow, out of whose collected rays were shaped the outlines of the mythical Jesus, and from whose teachings were drawn those of the historical Christos; and we find that under one identical garment of poetical legend lived and breathed three real human figures. - Isis Unveiled, II. 536.
By Claude Falls Wright
(Concluded from Page 282.)
Some may wonder, perhaps, with only the above programme, why nearly all of the members of the Theosophical Society should also be Theosophists. An examination of the three objects will indicate the reason. The First must be subscribed to, otherwise admission cannot be gained to the Society. But any one desiring to be a worker in establishing such a Brotherhood must be a pioneer of his race. It is one and the same thing as saying that his spiritual perceptions are more awakened than those of the majority of his kind. Let him cry out against the statement as much as he will, he is not a materialist at heart. For there is nothing so opposed to materialistic science, nothing so mystical, nothing so founded on the internal evidence of the heart, as the Brotherhood of Humanity; and, sooner or later, men who believe in its existence, who work to help it on, will find that they draw their inspirations from the spiritual spheres, from their own Higher Ego, and not from an inspection of material things.
Then, religionists and mystics at heart, whether subscribing to a creed or not, let them study under the Second Object, and they will find that humanity has ever placed its hopes elsewhere than on this globe. They will find that from the dawn of the Aryan race down to the present time mystics and sages have always walked the earth and taught the peoples the one truth, Universal Brotherhood - the one doctrine, Theosophy. No wonder then that they are Theosophists. For once the keynote has been struck, once the Wisdom-Religion is shown to have existed ever, in all creeds, it takes very little to convince anyone with higher perceptions than those which look on clay, of its verity.
And if they wish to go further, and demonstrate its truth in their own lives,
there is still the Third Object, now embraced in a school founded by H.P. Blavatsky, which, under certain conditions, members of the Society can enter in its first degree. This they may join, and through it come to a real inner perception and knowledge of the truth of the ever occult philosophy.
Universal Brotherhood is the end as well as the beginning of the doctrines of Theosophy. Harmonious living is the direct heritage of Wisdom; without the latter we might as well try to "love our neighbour as ourselves" as to endeavor to run without possessing legs. So the true philosopher will not attempt to point out a possible Utopia without showing also the manner in which it may be reached. While the Theosophical Society, therefore, adopts the formation of a Universal Brotherhood as its main object, the theosophical philosophy is put forward as serving as a pointer, at least, to the solution of the problem of life, and to indicate the rationale of such Brotherhood.
Theosophy shows unity in its most complete sense to be the last expression of the Universe; the recognition of harmony in all things to be the final perfection of life. To reach the final, perfected state, therefore, it would be reasonable to conclude that co-operation with one's fellow men should be the first endeavor, so Theosophists are invariably found advocating work in the service of Humanity. But work for others is only a means to an end - that of raising those others -, is not the end itself, and it would be manifestly foolish to continue such work without learning from it the best methods of achieving success in this direction. And Theosophists strive more toward the altering of the minds of the people than their surroundings, the individual rather than his environment; considering the latter in regard to each person to be almost wholly the outcome of the vice or virtue which may have coloured his previous lives, or his past actions in this one. This is striking at the
root of the evil. All the vice, and wickedness of the world, no matter how we may regard it, has selfishness for its foundation-stone; has arisen out of thought for self, regardless of the necessities or troubles of others. If a complete change for good is to be made in the condition of the world, the mind of man must first be altered. Philanthropic associations are doubtless of value, but the good they have done has lain more in any effect they may have had in making people less selfish, than in the establishment of soup-kitchens and working-men's clubs. And while the untutored philanthropist rushes wildly about, struggling frantically to remove the effects of the evil, the Theosophist, versed in the laws of advancement, works silently at the cause.
The door by which the human soul goes out of itself, is the same by which it enters the understanding.
The door by which the human understanding goes out of itself, is the same by which it enters the spirit of the universe.
The door by which the spirit of the universe goes out of itself, is that by which it enters into the elements and matter.
This is the reason why the learned, who do not take these routes, never enter Nature. - Louie Claude de Saint-Martin.
The mission of Theosophy is, in the main, to broaden the thought of the age and to direct the minds of thinkers toward the contemplation of life from groundstands high enough to overlook all the different sciences and philosophies.
It seeks to reveal the true origin of our various religions, and to show that the same mysticism which inspired the founding of Christianity sowed the seed for the growth of all the creeds of the world. Religion, it teaches, is a part of man's own character, not simply a knowledge derived from whatever books he may have studied; and every creed represents but the external covering of Truth. Essentially, therefore, are the teachings of all the sages identical. Ex-
ternal differences are due merely to incidental causes - diversity in the methods of giving their wisdom among individual teachers, natural modifications and changes of the original philosophy after lapse of time, or the varied interpretations of it by the priests into whose keeping it was entrusted. Theosophy therefore in this sense is the Religion of religions.
But Theosophy is distinctly a science. It is religion with a philosophical basis. There is really no difference between its conclusions and those reached by the great thinkers of our civilization save in that it takes a broader view of life, and shows a more complete harmony throughout the manifestations of nature. Our physical sciences are concerned with nature in her last effect, - her outward manifestations or "garment"; the secret science of the Orient studies the whole of that concatenation of causes and effects which intervenes between this sphere of life and God or the "First Cause." That is almost the only difference between the two. Eventually will our western thinkers - perhaps through greater attention to the psychological fields of investigation - attain to a knowledge of life similar to that of the great nature - students of the East; the only thing needful to such being a development of the occult senses.
In Theosophy therefore science blends with religion. Religion, according to that theosophical view, being but a clearer perception of a deeper insight into life, by man freed from superstition and emotion and grounded in true philosophy, it must lead to wisdom. If the insight it gives be added to the practical and intellectual powers of our modern scientist we can set no limit to his advance in knowledge. It is indeed this ever deepening insight, by whatever name it be known, that alone permits scientific progress. The Romanes lecture for 1893 has been a surprise to many. [* "Evolution and Ethics " by T. R. Huxley, F.R.S.] In it the lecturer frankly admits that cosmic evolution does not explain everything, and that in particular it tells us nothing of the "soul" of man. "Cosmic evolution," he says, "may teach us how the good and the evil tendencies of man may have come about; but, in itself, it is incompetent to furnish any better reason why what we call good is preferable to what we call evil than we had before," in the religions and philosophies of the past and especially in those of India. "Fragile reed as he may be, man, as Pascal says, is a thinking reed: there lies within him a fund of energy, operating intelligently and so far akin to that which pervades the universe that it is competent to influence and modify the cosmic process. In virtue of his intelligence the dwarf bends the Titan to his will." Both the intelligence in man and his knowledge of good and evil are rooted in the same cause; that no science of mere physical nature can explain. Outside of occult science or religious philosophy, there has been no efficient reason given why man, as an animal the most degraded, and certainly by no means among the most powerful, can yet bring under his subjection all living things; why for instance the strongest and even the wildest animals are forced to answer to his will. The reason has been given by the occultists ages ago. Man is the temple of divinity. In each human being there is incarnated some of the divine essence, drawn from the plane of Mahat or Maha-Buddhi, by virtue of which incarnation he is endowed with intelligence and religious instinct. By permitting it to inspire his actions here he becomes the greatest of all beings; for Mahat is the finer, occult side of the universe, the realm of Divine Thought and of the higher law, and man as an actual vessel of its essence has no equal in power on this plane. Physical nature could produce a perfect animal; but soul had to be added, it could not be evolved in the ordinary way. Its first incarnation, by which man obtained the rulership of nature - referred to in
chap. iv of this volume, is allegorized in all the great religions and mythologies. The tempting by Wisdom of Man in the Garden of Eden; the story of Prometheus; the fall of the Gods; are examples.
The truth is that each of the world's great religions is but the remnant of an ancient science. As in the present day we receive our general knowledge concerning physics and biology from the personal experiments of our Stewarts and Huxleys, so in the past did the masses receive their instruction regarding nature from the information given them by the sages of that time. But the latter
- the scientists of that day - labored in fields of investigation different from those explored by the more advanced men of our civilization. We consider physical nature in all her aspects and are rarely carried into the psychic realms; their studies constituted what may be called an advanced psychology - acquaintance with the subtile essences of the universe and a practical knowledge of the Soul of man. This occult study has left perhaps but little that is applicable to the studies of our day, for as it appears in the garb of popular religion it is so cloaked in allegory and metaphor that its inner truths are not easily seen. But the "first principles" of today are identical with those of old; and the practical science of the soul is already in embryo in our civilization. The old philosophy was given out in turn to each nation on its arriving at maturity; and survived in the race as its religion. Greatly modified and altered as the ages have passed, changed into superstition in the minds of the majority, it is still to be found in almost all the exoteric scriptures of the world; the Theosophical Society has been established to try and resurrect it. When religion is fully comprehended and science entirely developed there will be found no essential difference between the two. The links in the chain of thought that brought the great thinkers of the past to their conclusions are scattered, the occult science is lost to the world at large; but it is the hope of the Trans-Himalayan Brotherhood that by the light of Theosophy the old wisdom may be restored.
"Well then," it will be said, "is the Theosophical Society a school of occultism; does it teach how to develop the hidden powers of man and enable him to practically investigate these questions?" The Theosophical Society itself is not a school of occultism; but it certainly seeks to educate man into knowledge of a possible growth in the occult sphere. The practical investigation of the occult and psychic side of nature is one of the most difficult things imaginable. It requires the development of senses and faculties not generally active in man. But before even these senses are developed, a certain philosophical balance - a complete self-reliance, must be attained. Until the soul is able to lean entirely on itself, on the god within - to draw its food, not from the opinions of friends or the fulfilment of the desires of the flesh, but from the spirit with which it is linked, it would be hazardous indeed to have intercourse with the denizens of the hidden spheres, many of whom are inimical to man. Everyone is surrounded, in the wise provision of nature, with an akasic wall that preserves the soul from conscious association with the astral world until it is sufficiently grown in power to be able to dominate and overcome the inhabitants of that world. To rush willfully into the occult spheres before that power is developed, to gain ability to associate with the elementals without first having entirely purified the nature, is to become what is technically termed a medium, - one who has permitted himself to become the agent of the transmission of occult forces, but who is entirely powerless to control them. In its final consequences such a condition is one of the most terrible imaginable. The power to control these forces is drawn only from the Higher Ego. Reliance on that, a total renunciation of self, and utter fearlessness of life, are the only talismans that can guard the soul from
danger when it attempts to fathom the mysteries of other worlds.
Absolute purity of mind, selflessness, and freedom from superstition, are therefore the preliminary necessaries to occult development, and it is with a desire to attain these that the Theosophical Society seeks first to inspire man; then later a school of practical occultism in the west may be developed. All the greater sages have instructed their pupils in these virtues before permitting them to practically study occultism; nearly every oriental philosophical treatise is based on them.
For this reason also very little information has been given regarding the subjective spheres. Beyond the fact of their existence, and the general laws governing them, scarcely anything definite has been told us by the Brotherhood. It would be of no value to us in the present state of development, for nothing could be really understood until occult powers were attained. The most meagre information has been given us concerning the fellow globes of our earth, their relations to the "seven mystery planets," the globe-rounds, elementals and the like. Humanity is not prepared for the knowledge; even what has been told us has given rise to no little misunderstanding. All the information regarding them that could be given us would not enable us any better to truly comprehend them unless gifted with psychic powers - and such would at once place us beyond the necessity for mere information.
Psychic powers will assuredly be an endowment of our race at no very distant time. Already many breathe who possess them in some slight degree. But the Theosophical Society was not established to hasten their development. It was formed to give men a conception of right philosophy; to awaken in them a knowledge of their possibilities, to point out the methods of advance, and to train each to conquer and dominate his own nature and thus diminish the evil of the day.
The Coils of Eliphas Levi's "Great Serpent," the Astral Light, reflected in which are the desires and passions of all past humanities - enfold our civilization; but the desire to be liberated from its oppression, to escape the influence of its corrupt magnetism and to break the enchantment of its eyes is growing among us and in an age when success may be achieved. Shall not each of us lend his aid to the deliverance of his kind! Slight is the exertion - a mere control of self - in comparison with the reward, the emancipation of a race. And the occult laws of advance and power set no out of the way task before us; they require only that each one shall do his best in that sphere into which it is his Karma to have been born or to have come. "Each man who conquers a single passion or fault raises the Karma of the whole world to that extent." Following the examples set us by the Great Ones of the past and the blessed Mahatmas of today - the example of self-sacrifice - we may be certain of success; drawing our inspiration from the knowledge that every drop of blood wrung from the heart through sacrifice out of genuine compassion for our brothers pays the ransom of ten thousand souls.
There is an old, old tradition that for the sin of one soul the whole world is dipped in suffering; and until that soul repents and atones, so will the world remain.
That soul incarnates among men in every age. Who is so acquainted with the mystic signs as to point out the forehead that bears the mark? It may be a brother, but, reader, - it may be YOU!
Matter is as indestructible and eternal as the immortal spirit itself, but only in its particles, and not as organized forms. - Isis Unveiled, I. 328.
"THE EVERLASTING MERCY."
The dim way winds and stretches on
Deep marked by feet of those long gone,
Deep furrowed by the painful tread
Of valiant hearts whose feet had bled,
While in their eyes the great hope shone
And kept their steadfast gaze ahead.
As I now tread Life's beaten way,
Through slanting rain, or sunlit day,
I pause awhile before some shrine
Rough hewn of stone or mountain pine;
Altars long crumbled into dust,
Whose names are blurr'd with moss or rust,
They mark the spot where some have stayed
And longed, - and yearned, where some have prayed
And toned some weird forgotten song
Of minor melodies that long
Have merged into that haunting strain
Which sings within the wind and rain.
Perchance before this shrine there stayed
Some soul who crossed himself and prayed
Unto the Christ, or like as not
Bowed to some name long since forgot.
Some knelt upon the dusty road
Before no Cross or Shrine, but strode
With eyes upraised to some strong sun
What long ere now its course has run,
A sun forgotten - cold - and dead,
Which gave them warmth, and daily bread.
Some before gentle Buddha stand
Crying aloud to understand
The aching, endless pain of life's
Incessant goad of bitter strife;
Goads that impelled them day by day
To drag their burdens o'er life's way.
Some tell strange beads along the way
Through slanting rain and sombre day
Whispering prayers that mighty Brahm
May ward away temptations' harm,
While some poor pain exhausted brother
Implores of patient Jesus Mother
Some little easement of his load;
A ray of sunlight on his road.
Here some have stayed who never heard
The voice of wise inspiring word
From any Christ, or any Saint
But dimly felt that inner taint
Of wrongs they had themselves imposed,
Whereby each heavy load enclosed
The strife of causes and effects
That tuned their songs to sad regrets.
So many crosses mark the way
Mankind must tread, as day by day
He wends Eternities high road, -
And at the foot of each - some load
Is lifted from a tired soul
Who passed thereby to seek his goal.
So many doors stand open wide
To welcome at life's eventide,
So many Christs hold them ajar
And beckon those who wander far.
Christs of the Cross - of Stake, - and jail
Christ Jesu, and Christ Nightingale,
Christs of the humble helping hand,
Saviors who smile, - and understand.
By Cross, - by Stake, by idol's shrine
Lay many a load of yours, - and mine.
What if it be a cross or stake?
'Tis little difference it can make
Who gave his life in pity's grace
To this or any ancient race,
Nor can God's gracious mercy shine
Through any soul but yours - and mine.
God's mercy builds each shrine and cross
With human tears, and human loss,
Through songs that cheer some neighbour soul
Towards life's radiant destined goal.
To pass it on - it doth suffice
To lend our aid - and sacrifice.
- Harold Hobson
THE CANADIAN THEOSOPHIST
- THE ORGAN OF THE THEOSOPHICAL SOCIETY IN CANADA
- Published on the 15th of every month.
- Editor - Albert E. S. Smythe.
- Entered at Hamilton General Post Office as Second-class matter.
- Subscription, One Dollar a Year.
OFFICERS OF THE T.S. IN CANADA
- GENERAL EXECUTIVE
- Felix A. Belcher, 250 North Lisgar St., Toronto.
- Walter R. Hick, 27 Balsam Ave. South, Hamilton, Ont.
- Fletcher Ruark, P.O. Box 518, Walkerville, Ont.
- Fredk. B. Housser, 10 Glen Gowan Ave., Toronto.
- George C. McIntyre, 20 Shannon Street, Toronto.
- Kartar Singh, 1664 Fourth Ave., Vancouver, B.C.
- Dr. Wash. Wilke, 805 Medical-Dental Bldg., Vancouver, B.C.
- Albert E. S, Smythe, 33 Forest Avenue, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada.
The Judge Lodge of London, England, has forwarded a resolution to the General Secretary of England to be forwarded in turn to Adyar in support of the Canadian resolution requesting the withdrawal of the statements about a World Religion from the T.S. records, and this has been done. The Montreal Lodge sent resolutions supporting all three of the Canadian resolutions.
Mr. Rogers, President of the American T.S. publishes a list of 73 unsaleable Theosophical books which are in stock at Wheaton. This is another indication of how things are going. There are only three of those mentioned that do not represent the Neo-Theosophy of the last 25 years. Those three are "Letters that Have Helped Me" at $1, Subba Row's Lectures on the Bhagavad Gita, 60c, and H.P.B.'s Practical Occultism, 50c.
The Melbourne Lodge is showing signs of independence which is the first step to real Brotherhood. Those who "give up to party what is meant for mankind" miss the breadth and comprehensiveness of the Theosophical idea as the Masters present it. They do not want a select clique. They want humanity.
We regret to see that Mr. Rogers has not gone to India for the General Council meeting on the 27th. Things may go by default there, but it was impossible for Canada to do more than send the resolutions that were considered at Chicago. The Karma of the Society may determine their fate, but we trust that the General Council will see the advantage of making that Karma all over again and making it consistent with the original principles of the Society.
Mr. Krishnamurti answers a question in the "International Star Bulletin" about the Masters in a passage which has reached us as we are going to press and must delay till next month. "Why are you bothering about the Masters?" he asks. It makes obvious that he has never studied the Secret Doctrine, or he would not misunderstand the position as he obviously does in some respects. And it confirms our impression which we have already expressed that the Adyar following do not believe in the Masters as H.P.B. taught them. Mr. Krishnamurti is quite right speaking as he does of the sort of Masters he has been told about, but it is a pity that he had not sought the truth regarding them. His assertion that one can never be free and strong as the pupil of another is natural in a young man who has always been under surveillance, but that is not the way of the Masters.
We reprint elsewhere the report from The Toronto Globe of the tribute paid to Dr. Augusta Stows Gullen, which appeared in that paper on the 4th inst. Dr. Stows Gullen and her mother, Dr. Stows were
charter members of the Toronto Theosophical Society, chartered by Madam Blavatsky and Col. H.S. Olcott, and issued by William Q. Judge on February 25, 1891. The other charter members were Algernon H. Blackwood, the now famous novelist, Mrs. Day Macpherson, who died years ago, and the present General Secretary of Canada. Dr. Stowe is honoured by a bust in the Toronto City Hall. Mr. Blackwood has raised his own monument, in his literary work. Dr. Stowe Gullen has filled many important positions in the medical institutions and hospitals of Toronto and her career is well covered in the article we copy.
Mrs. Hotchener writes from 6137 Temple Hill Drive, Hollywood, California, asking for the support of the members for The Theosophist, Mrs. Besant's magazine which is to be published hereafter in the United States. Almost all the service given, writes Mrs. Hotchener, is voluntary, and rooms are being given in the Hotchener home for the publication and editing of the magazine. Mrs. Hotchener asks the General Secretary to find some one to write an article for The Theosophist on the subject of "What Theosophy is doing and Can do for my Country." We might nominate Mr. Housser or Mr. Mitchell, but there is always a difficulty about the horse that is led to the water. Subscriptions are also requested at $4 per head, but if you live in the great United States you get off with $3.50. Why the discrimination?
Mr. Kartar Singh left Toronto on the 6th inst. for the west, expecting to call upon most of the Theosophical Lodges en route. His visit to Toronto was a most inspiring interlude, and the opportunity to meet Mr. C.F. Andrews which was the occasion of his visit made the event historic. Mr. Kartar Singh attended the meeting of the General Executive on December 1st, and the situation in the various Lodges he visited was fully discussed. Mr. Kartar was requested as a member of the Executive to do what he could to inspire the members to action and to bring before the Lodges the need for energetic work during the winter season, so that the National Society shall not fall away in members or in courage. Mr. Kartar carries a message of greeting and good will from the General Executive to all whom he may meet and he has the sympathy of the members generally in his own special mission to the Sikhs.
Mr. August Trath sends another article from the Student whose article we printed last month, the present one being an address given on Anniversary Day. We have pleasure in presenting it to our readers. Mr. Trath writes: Here, in New York we have actually formed a Theosophical Federation on a practical basis, as a few Lodges are now together under one roof. We have our own Lodge night activity, but open to all the other Lodges. Each Lodge's furniture and library is listed and labeled and used by all. In this way there is less duplication of work and greater financial strength to carry on lectures in a larger way. We are very keen on forging ahead and to work more intensely for Theosophy than before, and we are therefore very strong for anyone who has the courage to stand up for it regardless of petty opinions as your paper does, as we are all exceedingly interested in preserving our T.S. to the world."
The Canadian Theosophical Quarterly, organ of the Canadian Theosophical Federation, has come to hand in its fourth issue from 5112 Maple Street, Vancouver. There are articles by Krishnamurti, the editor, Professor Duckering, Natalie Johnson, Betty Hampton, James Taylor, Miss Elaine Simkin, George Weaver, A. J. Harrison. Mr. Taylor writes on The Individual and the Group, and we are entirely in accord with him as we have frequently written when he says: "Let it
be understood that we do not need new groups working within the T.S. Our members should more aid more identify themselves with those movements and organizations in our Civic, Provincial and National life that are working for new ideals, a more human social order, a wider expression of Brotherhood, for humanism and for humanitarianism, for liberty, for beauty, for tolerance, and for goodwill. With Faith, Courage, Energy and United Effort, we could theosophize all the great movements now working in Canada for the elevation of mankind." Now if we would but take this to heart and all act in this way, success would be within our grasp. But it is one thing to preach and another to practice.
Mr. J. M. Pryse announces another Parliament of the World's Religions. He states that: "Owing to the great (and even unexpected) success of the Parliament of Religions at the World's Exposition at Chicago in 1893, should not a similar effort be made for the coming Olympiad? As the ancient Greek Olympiads were associated with religion, would not this plan be a more complete revival of the ancient festival? Would it not be a notable and dignified accession to the Olympiad if representatives of all religions, many from distant lands, were to participate in such a Congress of Religions?" Some of the expected speakers are Dr. Oscar L. Triggs, formerly Professor of Literature in University of Chicago; Chief Standing-Bear, Rev. Edwin P. Ryland, Secretary Church Federation of Los Angeles; Swami Paramananda, Founder and Head of Ananda-Ashrama. Remarks by representatives of other religions, including: Dr. Louis G. Reynolds, Judaism; Rev. J. Izumida (Priest of Los Angeles Buddhist Temple), Buddhism; Rev. S. Sutro (Priest of North American Shinto Temple), Shintoism; Wa-rca-zi-win, American Indian religion; Spirituelle songs by colored quartet from the Wesley M. E. Church.
AMONG THE LODGES
On November 29, the Montreal Lodge held a Bridge Party and Social at the home of Mr. and Mrs. H. R. Mallison, 50 Cote des Neiges Road, where over 60 members and friends gathered for competitions in the game of Bridge and shared in the generous hospitality provided by Mr. and Mrs. Mallison on this occasion. The ladies' Social Committee, of whom Mrs. E.A. Griffiths is Convener, put considerable energy into this effort with the result that $65.00 was raised for Lodge purposes. Lecturers on the programme for the session ending January next include the names of Andrew Baldwin, E.E. Bridgen, Mrs. E.A. Griffiths, Mrs. C.M. Knowles, W.A. Griffiths, D.B. Thomas, R.A. Utley, Charles Fyfe, Mrs. E. Matthews, Miss C. Burroughs and H. W. Geadreau. The Lodge was privileged to have a visit from Mr. Kartar Singh - a well known member of the Canadian Executive of the T.S., and now residing in Vancouver on Tuesday, December 3, when he spoke to the Class emphasizing the value of devotion to a worthy cause and urged all members of the T.S. to stand loyally by the T.S. movement although they may have occasion at times to differ in opinion with others. Any difference in viewpoint or feelings should not lead to separation from the Movement but rather should be settled in council together where frank and honest criticisms of an impersonal nature can be made without any fear of offence. He urged that candor, strength and magnanimity should prevail in all our counsels as the most satisfactory way to deal with any problems that may arise. This visit of Mr. Kartar Singh was a real inspiration, and it is hoped to have him main next time he comes East.
Saith the Great Law: "In order to become the knower of ALL-SELF, thou hast first of Self to be the knower. - Voice of the Silence, 17.
FELLOWS AND FRIENDS
Mr. Phillips Thompson, who was at one time a member of the Toronto Theosophical Society, celebrated his eighty-sixth birthday on November 25. He was born at Newcastle in England, but came to Canada at an early age. Entering newspaper work he became prominent as a humorist, writing over the pen-name Jimuel Briggs of Coboconk University. He was associated with the mild radical politics of thirty years ago, but retired some years ago to Oakville where he still carries on journalistic correspondence with United States and other newspapers.
THE GENERAL EXECUTIVE
The General Executive met on Sunday, December 1, at 52 Isabella Street, Toronto. There were present Mr. Belcher, who left after the reading of the minutes, to give an address to the West End Lodge; Mr. McIntyre, who was appointed secretary pro tem.; Mr. Housser, Mr. Kartar Singh pro tem.; Mr. Hick who drove from Hamilton, and the General Secretary. Paid up members were reported at 327, exactly the same number as on the same date the year before. The Lodges are requested to send in the dues of their inactive members whose Magazines will be missing on this account. Canada has formed a rallying point for Lodges and members all over the world who wish to stand by the original programme of the Founders of the Society, and the members in Canada should be proud to take this honored position and do all in their power to form that nucleus which is so important in the formation period. Reports were considered of Lodge work, lecture tours, traveling library activity, the increasing circulation of the magazine, and the increase in new members over last year. It is earnestly hoped that the Lodges will take higher ground than has been reported in a number of cases with regard to little personal misunderstandings, grievances, complaints, suspicions, vexations, and alleged slights that are scarcely worthy of the consideration of school children. Yet such things are allowed to mount up into insults and offences when nothing of the sort was conceived of. It should be thoroughly understood that differences of opinion are to be expected and natural, and welcome in a Theosophical Lodge. The reason of the differences should be sought in a gentle and amiable manner with a view to understanding the differing viewpoint. Some members appear to think that no one else has a right to differ with an expressed opinion. It is not only a right but the difference should be welcomed as a new angle of truth, if it can be shown to be well grounded. If it can be shown to be baseless, then everyone should be pleased at the overthrow of a fallacy. Plans for new articles and serial matter for the magazine were discussed. News reports from the Lodges which have been frequently invited were reported as difficult to procure, the publicity secretaries which were to have been appointed having fallen down on their job. Those who respond are heartily thanked. Lodges whose proceedings are not reported have themselves to thank. The next meeting of the Executive will be held in time to arrange for the election of the new Executive, towards the end of February or beginning of March.
On page 283 of last month's, the November issue, in Mr. Pease's letter, column one, the second paragraph has had two lines dropped out in making up the page. It should read as follows:
Tolerance is a passive quality that may easily degenerate into acquiescence where there ought to be positive opposition, and from over-anxiety to be agreeable or to seem broad-minded into disloyalty to principles or beliefs. [[corrected - dig. ed.]]
SUCCESSION AND SUCCESSORS IN THE THEOSOPHICAL MOVEMENT.
Succession is a word which bears many and various meanings, such as following in an office or position, inheriting property, coming after in time. In the present paper, however, we are not concerned with the ordinary or the legal implications of the word, but only with those cases of its use where succession is supposed to involve the passing from one person to another of some occult or spiritual power or gift.
The belief in succession in this sense is almost as ancient as mankind. One of its many forms was the mediaeval doctrine of the Divine Right of Kings which proclaimed that the legitimate sovereign was appointed by God and was responsible for his actions to Him alone. The ceremony of anointing the king was imagined to have a quasi-sacramental value; and, in England at least, it was believed that the king inherited the power of healing certain diseases by touching the patient. The passing by succession of this supposed power of healing is closely analogous to the typical Christian doctrine of the Apostolical Succession which taught that certain spiritual powers had been handed down from bishop to bishop, and from bishop to priest - beginning with the apostles - by means of the sacrament of ordination. Among the gifts so received, the priest was credited with the power to forgive the sins of the faithful and to turn the bread and wine in the mass into the body and blood of Christ, while the bishop had these gifts and also the additional power of creating other priests and bishops. Thus in the doctrine of Apostolical Succession the passage of spiritual powers by succession from one man to another was dogmatically asserted.
The Roman Catholic Church professes another and special form of this doctrine in its belief in the succession of the popes from St. Peter. The duly elected pope is supposed, not only to inherit jurisdiction over the church, but also the power, under certain conditions, infallibly to define truth. It is interesting to note that, since Pius IX infallibly defined his own infallibility in 1870, this divine gift has never been exercised by any pope, which seems to show that the "Successors of St. Peter" are taking no unnecessary risks in this skeptical age. It would be awkward indeed if a "truth", after being infallibly defined, should be disproved!
Errors, which are widespread and persistent over long periods of time, are usually rather distortions of truth than mere fanciful inventions. That this was the case with regard to the various beliefs we have alluded to above, is indicated by what H.P. Blavatsky tells us in "Isis Unveiled" about the passing on of the "Word", (vide Vol. II, pp. 42-43, 564-5, 571.)
Thus, on page 571 of Volume II, she says:
"That there are fearful secrets in nature may well be believed when, as we have seen in the case of the Russian Znachar, the sorcerer cannot die until he has passed the word to another, and the hierophants of white magic rarely do. It seems as if the dread power of the `Word' could only be entrusted to one man of a certain district or body of people at a time . . . . . Like signal-fires of the olden times, which, lighted and extinguished by turns upon one hill-top after another, conveyed intelligence along a whole stretch of country, so we see a long line of `wise' men from the beginning of history down to our own times communicating the word of wisdom to their direct successors. Passing from seer to seer, the `Word' flashes out like lightning, and while carrying off the initiator from human sight for ever, brings the new initiate into view . . . . . ."
The mystery, hinted at, but not explained by H.P.B. in these words, is still a mystery at any rate to the uninitiated
mass of mankind, including the writer of these notes. What exactly is meant by the "Word" and its passing, we do not know, and from the very nature of the case, cannot from our present standpoint hope to guess.
The burning and immediate interest that these statements by H.P.B. have for Theosophists lies in their possible application to herself. (1) Was she a "hierophant of white magic" within the meaning of the quoted sentences"? (2) Did she, in that case, pass on the "Word" to a successor? (3) If so, who was that successor? There are some among us who are bold, or rash, enough to answer questions (1) and (2) in the affirmative, and to reply to ( 3 ) by acclaiming X, Y, or Z as H.P.B.'s successor. Others, more cautious, endeavour to interpret H.P.B.'s earlier and cryptic statements in the light of her later and more specific ones. Let us briefly examine some of these.
First of all it should be noted that H.P.B. never claimed to be an Adept or Hierophant, but rather said repeatedly that she was the Chela or pupil of one of these, working under his orders and direction. Of her mission she says
" . . . . I must tell you that during the last quarter of every hundred years an attempt is made by those `Masters', of whom I have spoken, to help on the spiritual progress of Humanity in a marked and definite way. Towards the close of each century you will invariably find that an outpouring or upheaval of spirituality - or call it mysticism if you prefer - has taken place. Some one or more persons have appeared in the world as their agents, and a greater or less amount of occult knowledge and teaching has been given out. If you care to do so, you can trace these movements back, century by century, as far as our detailed historical records extend . . . . If the present attempt in the form of our Society, succeeds better than its predecessors have done, then it will be in existence as an organized, living and healthy body when the time comes for the effort of the XXth century . . . . the next impulse will find a numerous and united body of people ready to welcome the new torch-bearer of Truth . . . . " ("Key to Theosophy", p. 306-7, 2nd Ed.).
It would appear from the foregoing that H.P.B. was sent by her Masters to do what other messengers had essayed to do during the last quarter of the several preceding centuries; and that she anticipated, not a continuous line of successors, but a gap of 75 years or so and then a new messenger about the year 1975. Again, if we are to believe that H.P.B. must have been followed by a line of occult successors, surely her predecessors of the 16th, 17th, 18th centuries must also have been followed by lines of successors. But of this there does not appear to be a scrap of evidence, either in history or in H.P.B.'s writings. Where are there any traces of the successors of Jacob Boehme, Eugenius Philalethes, or Saint Germain?
In her Preliminary Memorandum to the E.S.T. "Book of Rules," H.P.B. says:
"Let every member know, moreover, that the time for such priceless acquisition is limited; the writer of the present is old, her life is well-nigh worn out, and she may be summoned `home' any day and almost any hour. And if her place is even filled up, perchance by another worthier and more learned than herself, still there remain but a few years to the last hour of the term - namely, till December the 31st, 1899. Those who will not have profited by the opportunity (given to the world in every last quarter of a century), . . . . . No Master of Wisdom from the East will himself appear or send anyone to Europe or America after that period . . . . ."
The meaning of this seems to be clear beyond dispute: the limit of time for the work of the Masters' messenger was 1899; should H.P.B. die before that date, her place might be filled until that date; but after 1899 there would be no messenger until 1975, at any rate in Europe or America. Is it possible to twist H.P.B.'s words into any other meaning? If "no
Master of Wisdom from the East will himself appear or send anyone to Europe or America after that period" (1899), is it not impossible that there should be genuine occult successors of H.P.B. and messengers of the Masters working overtly in the West in 1929?
There are one or two places in her writings where H.P.B. speaks of successors, for example, referring to the future of the Society after the deaths of the Founders, she says:
" . . . . the great need which our successors in the guidance of the Society will have of unbiased and clear judgment." ("Key to Theosophy", pp. 304-5. ) .
Here the very fact that she speaks of our successors (her own and the other Founders'), shows that H.P.B. was using the word in the ordinary, and not in any occult, sense.
In a letter written by H.P.B. to W.Q. Judge, dated March 27th, 1891, (quoted in "H.P.B. and the Present Crisis in the Theos. Society", by C. Wachtmeister, London, 1894), H.P.B. wrote of Annie Besant:
"Judge, she is a most wonderful woman, my right hand, my successor, when I will be forced to leave you, my sole hope in England, as you are my sole hope in America."
In this passage the use of the word "successor" appears to have been purely rhetorical. Following the reference to Mrs. Besant as her "successor", H.P.B. uses an expression which distinctly places Mrs. Besant and Mr. Judge on an equal footing - the one is "sole hope" in England, the other "sole hope" in America. Could this have meant that they were to be joint occult successors? No, for not only does "Isis Unveiled" make it clear that when the "Word' 'is passed on, it is from one individual to one other individual, but the history of the subsequent split between Mrs. Besant and Mr. Judge absolutely precludes the possibility that both of them could have been initiates or hierophants. If H.P.B.'s words do not mean that Mrs. Besant and Mr. Judge were to be joint successors, they assuredly do not indicate that one rather than the other was destined to be such.
H.P.B. died only a few weeks after writing the letter we have just referred to, and a meeting of the E.S.T. Council was held in London to make arrangements for the future conduct of the School. The Minutes of that meeting tell a plain story there was no question of appointing, or recognizing, a successor to H.P.B.; but, after considering certain documents which H.P.B. had given respectively to Mrs. Besant and Mr. Judge, and also the letter of March 27th, above referred to, the Council "'resolved and recorded that the highest officials in the School for the present are Annie Besant and William Q. Judge", and that "the work of the School ought and shall be carried on along the lines laid down by her (H.P.B.), and with the matter left in writing or dictated by her before her departure".
Nothing here about "occult successors", "new messengers", power to teach, and so forth: merely "officials" appointed pro tem. to carry out specified duties.
Such was the position adopted by leading Theosophists in May, 1891. That they were of the same mind in the following year is proved by a letter written to the press by Mr. Judge in connection with the claims of Mr. H. B. Foulke to "succeed" H.P.B.. Mrs. Besant, by reprinting this letter in "Lucifer" for March, 1892, gave practical demonstration of her agreement with Mr. Judge's views. Mr. Judge said, inter alia:
"Madame Blavatsky has no `successor', could have none, never contemplated, selected, or notified one. Her work and her status were unique. . . all who enjoyed her confidence will unite with me in the assertion that she never even hinted at `succession' . . . . . ."
In July, 1894, after Mrs. Besant had brought her charges against Mr. Judge,
and it was found impossible to continue their joint headship of the E.S.T., they agreed by mutual consent to divide jurisdiction on the lines indicated by H.P.B.'s letters, referred to above, i.e., by Mr. Judge becoming sole head for America, and Mrs. Besant elsewhere. The E.S.T. circular, which announced this arrangement, shows that both parties recognized the other's status, and there is no hint that either claimed to be occult successor to H.P.B.
Under stress of the disturbance caused by the charges against Mr. Judge, however, the situation rapidly developed; and on November 3rd, 1894, Mr. Judge issued a circular, headed with the words "By Master's Direction", in which he wrote:
"I now proceed a step further than the E.S.T. decisions of 1894, and, solely for the good of the E.S.T., I resume in the E.S.T. in full all the functions and powers given me by H.P.B., and that came to me by orderly succession after her passing from this life, and declare myself the sole head of the E.S.T.". . . . .
The wording of this paragraph is somewhat ambiguous. It is clear that Mr. Judge believed that he had authority to depose Mrs. Besant, it is equally clear that no such authority was conferred upon him by any of H.P.B.'s known writings. The document on which the E.S.T. Council based their action as regards him in May, 1891, merely made him H.P.B.'s agent in E.S.T. matters in America with full powers; it did not confer any general jurisdiction, nor refer to conditions after her death. We can only suppose that Mr. Judge believed; in all good faith, that he had Master's orders to do what he did. Whether, or not, he was mistaken on this point is a matter for the individual judgment after conscientious study of the original documents.
When Mr. Judge spoke of the "functions and powers . . . . that came. . . . . by orderly succession" to him after H.P.B.'s death, did he intend to put forward a claim to occult successorship such as his friends were so soon to make on his behalf ? Inasmuch as the expressions he used are not sufficiently explicit to make us certain of his intention, one way or the other, we should try to elucidate his meaning by referring to his previous words on the same subject; and if we re-read what he said about succession in relation to the Foulke pretensions - quoted above - we shall have to conclude that Mr. Judge could not have intended to claim for himself an office, the very possibility of whose existence he had so vigorously scouted two years previously.
During 1895 the Theosophical situation continued to develop for the worse. The E.S.T. first, and then the exoteric Society were split. Mrs. Besant's friends discovered that, after all, H.P.B. had left a successor, and that Mrs. Besant was the genuine incumbent of the office. Mr. Judge's friends made vigorous counter-claims; and we find that the doctrine of Apostolical Succession as applied to the T.S. was being dogmatically held and taught by them within a very few weeks after his death which took place in March, 1896. Thus, Mr. C.F. Wright, who had been Mr. Judge's private secretary, writing in the magazine "Theosophy" for May, 1896, said
"It should be known by all that in order that a great occultist may die he must have an heir and successor to carry on his occult work. This is a law of nature and of the Lodge. A new centre must have been prepared to act as a vehicle to receive and transmit the life and power that is abandoning its present instrument . . . . That this was done in the case of W.Q. Judge, I know. . . . ."
Mr. Judge's will, which was dated March 12th, 1891, contained no mention of an occult successor; but there were other documents among his papers which convinced his leading supporters that he had intended the headship of his E.S.T. to
pass to Mrs. K.A. Tingley, whose leadership was for a time generally accepted by the members of the T.S.A. and the Judge E.S.T. In the course of time, however, came other splits and rival claims to successorship, some of which are still extant.
But all the claims to be H.P.B.'s successor break down when we trace their origins back to the period 1892-1894. A chain is no stronger than its weakest link; and during the three and a half years following H.P.B.'s death, there is no trace of any link at all. The documentary evidence indicates, as we have seen, that H.P.B. did not appoint an occult successor; that no claim to be such was made by any responsible person for at least 31/2 years after her death; and that, during that period, the view held by Theosophists generally, including Col. Olcott, Mr. Judge, and Mrs. Besant, was that no such appointment had been made or was possible. We are forced to conclude, then, that whatever the meaning of the paragraph quoted from "Isis Unveiled", it cannot be used to justify any of the existing claims to the office of occult successor of H.P.B.; and that all such claims are equally baseless.
- British Student.
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CONDITIONS FOR STUDENTS.
In 1884, Mohini Chatterji was sent from the Headquarters of the Theosophical Society at Adyar, to England. The purpose of his visit was to assist Mr. A.P. Sinnett in the operations of the London Lodge of the Theosophical Society, of which Mr. Sinnett was president. In June of that year, there was published the first volume of the transactions of the London Lodge of the T.S. The pamphlet contained questions suggested by members of the Lodge and Mr. Mohini's answers to those questions, and in the same pamphlet was published the following paper prepared by Mr. Mohini in amplification of some explanations he had previously given concerning the qualifications of Chelaship:
The power of the Adepts over forces of nature, not generally recognized, has been enlarged upon on various occasions, but no account of them can possibly be satisfactory without bringing into prominence their goodness and their solicitude for the welfare of the race, which an ordinary man can no more comprehend than the Polynesian savage measure the intellectual height of a Newton or a Galileo.
Surprise is often expressed that the philanthropy of the Mahatmas does not induce them to abandon their seclusion and work for men, among men. But the reason for such apparently strange conduct on the part of these god-like men is not very far to seek. The productive power of our energies varies in accordance with the plane on which they operate. A brick-layer labouring from sunrise to sunset produces work which, when estimated in money, will be found to be but a small fraction of the money value of an hour's work by a man of science. The difference in the effects generated by a given quantity of energy on the physical and intellectual planes is thus apparent. Those who are acquainted with the laws of spiritual dynamics know that the work produced by a given amount of energy on the intel-
lectual plane is in its turn immeasurably less than that produced by the same quantity of energy acting on the plane of spirit - the highest principle in man, according to our occult doctrine. It is more unreasonable, therefore, to expect an Adept to work with us on the ordinary plane than it would be to suggest to Sir William Thomson to turn shoemaker. The value of a scientific discovery as an intellectual triumph can be best estimated by a proper study of the various steps which have led up to it. Similarly, the excellence achieved by an Adept can only be appreciated, though in a very rough and incomplete manner no doubt, by a careful consideration of his preliminary training.
According to the most authoritative treatises on that occult science of which the Adept is a master, verified by the experience of its living students, none are admitted into the inner sanctuary for instruction until they reach a certain stage of spiritual development, characterized by the attainment of what in the Brahminical books, are called the four "Sadhanas" or accomplishments.
The first "accomplishment" which a neophyte must have is the right knowledge of the real and unreal. The object to be attained by the help of the "Great Science", as it is called, being the realization of the true, and Adeptship being but the mark of a certain stage of this realization, it is clear that the first step to be taken is to gain an intellectual apprehension of what the truth is. But what is the truth? It will not do for the neophyte to ask the question like the jesting proconsul, and refuse to wait for the answer. Had Pilate asked the question in Sanscrit he might have been answered out of his own mouth. For the Sanscrit word itself offers a clue to the nature of truth. In that language truth and reality bear the same name, and reality is defined to be that which is unaffected by time, or in the quaint phraseology of the original, remains witness of the three divisions of time, the past, the present, and the future. The first accomplishment, therefore, consists in an intimate intellectual conviction of the fact that all and everything which appears to have an existence separate from Parabrahm is merely illusion (Maya). Hence it is clear that at the present stage of the theosophical movement the duty that lies upon the Society and all its members is to disseminate the knowledge of the Esoteric doctrine, the true philosophy of the real and the unreal, as that alone is capable of laying the foundations of any progress whatsoever.
The second accomplishment marks the next step on the path, and is the permanent effect produced on the mind by the theoretical knowledge, which forms the preceding accomplishment. When the neophyte has once grasped the unreal character of the objects around him, he ceases to crave for them, and is thus prepared to acquire the second accomplishment, which is a perfect indifference to the enjoyment of the fruit of one's actions, both here and hereafter.
Exoteric students fall into a grievous error by their failure to catch the true spirit of the injunction against acting under the impulse of desire. They erroneously suppose that the best preparation for spiritual life is to forcibly repress all outward expression of desire, entirely losing sight of the fact that even the most rigid abstinence from physical acts does not produce inactivity on the higher planes of spiritual or mental existence.
Sankaracharya, in his commentaries on the Bhagavat Gita, one of the most authoritative of the Brahminical sacred writings, says that such a conclusion is simply delusive. A hasty supposition might here be made that these considerations will have the effect of sanctioning persistence in evil, but when the desire for improvement is constantly present in the mind and the character of the evil thoroughly realized, each failure to harmonize the inward with the outward nature will, by the revulsion of feeling thus produced, strengthen the
determination to such an extent that the evil desire will be speedily crushed. This is why Eliphas Levi so vehemently denounces the institution of forced celibacy among the Romish priests. The personality of a man at any one moment is the result of all his previous acts, thoughts and emotions, the energy of which constantly inclines the mind to act in a particular way. All attempts therefore to cure this mental bias by repressing its expression on the outer plane is as hurtful as to throw back into the circulation, unhealthy blood, seeking a natural outlet. The internal desire is always forging fresh links in the chain of material existence, even though denied outward manifestation. The only way to free oneself from the bonds of Karma, producing birth and death, is to let the stored-up energy exhaust itself merely as a portion of the great cosmic energy and not to color it with personality by referring it to self. The Bhagavat Gita itself speaks on this subject with no uncertain sound. The great teacher Krishna reproves his pupil Arjuna for having expressed a disinclination to perform the duties pertaining to his sphere of life. The reason is perfectly plain: in reference to the great reality everything of this world is unreal; therefore, to renounce the duties entailed upon us by our birth for something equally unreal only accentuates the ignorance which makes the unreal appear as the real. The wisest course, suggested by Krishna, is that Arjuna should perform all his duties unselfishly, "Thy right is only to the act", says the teacher, "it ends with the performance of the act and never extends to the result". We must perform our duty for its own sake and never allow the mind to dwell on the fruit of our actions, either with pleasure or with pain. Purified from the taint of selfishness, the act passes by like water over the lotus leaf, without wetting it. But if the act done as a means to the attainment of a personal end, the mind acquires a tendency to repeat the act, and this necessitates further incarnations to exhaust that tendency.
From the above consideration it is abundantly clear that occultism enjoins upon its votaries the necessity of an ardent and sleepless desire for the performance of duty, the sphere of which is enlarged by the first accomplishment, which requires a thorough recognition of the unity of the individual with the all. It is not enough to have sentimental perception of this great truth, but it must be realized in every act of life. The student therefore, to begin with, must do everything in his power to benefit all on the ordinary physical plane, transferring his activity, however, to the higher intellectual and spiritual planes as his development proceeds.
This leads us to the consideration of the third accomplishment which is the acquisition of the "six qualifications" in the order they are treated of here. The first of them is called in Sanscrit "Soma"; it consists in obtaining perfect mastery over the mind, (the seat of emotions and desires) and in forcing it to act in subordination to the intellect, which has already been purified and strengthened in attaining the two degrees of development already dwelt upon. This done, the mind is thoroughly cleansed of all evil and foolish desires.
The injunction to chasten our minds before purifying our acts might at first sight appear strange, but the practical utility of the course laid down will be obvious on reflection. We have already seen how varying effects are produced by a fixed amount of energy, according to the plane on which it is expended, and certainly the plane of the mind is superior to the plane of our senses. In the next, forced abstinence from physical evil goes but very little way towards the evolution of that energy which alone can give us the power of approaching the truth. Our thoughts, governed under ordinary circumstances by the law of association, make us contemplate incidents in our past life and thus produce as much mental disturbance and draw as much on our mental energy as if we had repeated the acts in question many times over.
"Sama" then is really the breaking up of the law of the association of ideas, which enslaves our imagination; when our imagination is purified the chief difficulty is removed.
The next qualification, the complete mastery over our bodily acts ("Dama" in Sanscrit), follows as a necessary consequence from the one already discussed and does not require much explanation.
The Third qualification, known by the Brahmins as "Uparati," is the renunciation of all formal religion and the power of contemplating objects without being in the least disturbed in the performance of the great task one has set before oneself. What is here expected of the aspirant for spiritual knowledge is that he should not allow his sympathies and usefulness to be narrowed by the domination of any particular ecclesiastical system, and that his renunciation of worldly objects should not proceed merely from an incapacity to appreciate their value. When this state is reached, danger from temptation is removed. They alone, the Hindu poet says, are possessed of true fortitude who preserve the equanimity of their minds in the presence of temptation.
Fourth in order comes the cessation of desire and a constant readiness to part with everything in the world (Titiksha). The typical illustration of this, given in our mystical literature, is the absence of resentment of wrong. When this qualification is completely attained there arises in the mind a perennial spring of cheerfulness, washing away every trace of solicitude and care.
Then is acquired the qualification called Samadhana, which renders the student constitutionally incapable of deviating from the right path. In one sense this qualification is the complement of the third as given above. First all egotistical motives tempting the man to travel out of his chosen path lose their hold over him, and finally he perfects himself to such an extent that, at the call of duty, he can unhesitatingly engage in any worldly occupation with the certainty of returning to his habitual life after completing his self imposed task.
One other qualification is necessary to crown the neophyte's work, and that is an implicit confidence in his master's power to teach and his own power to learn (Sraddha). The importance of this qualification is liable to be misunderstood. An unswerving confidence in the master is not required as a means to build up system of priestcraft, but for an entirely different reason. It will perhaps be readily granted that the capacity for receiving truth is not the same in every mind. There exists a saturation-point for truth in the human mind, as there is one for aqueous vapor in the atmosphere. When that point is reached in any mind fresh truth becomes to it undistinguishable from falsehood. Truth must by slow degrees grow in our minds, and a strict injunction is laid down in the Bhagavat Gita against "unsettling the faith of the multitude" by a too sudden revelation of esoteric knowledge. At the same time it must be remembered that no man can be expected to seek after a thing, the reality of which is improbable; the dream-land of an opium-eater will never be a subject of exploration to anyone else. The truth perceived by the higher faculties of the Adepts cannot be proved to one who has not developed those faculties, otherwise than by showing its consistency with known truths and by the assertion of those who claim to know. The sanction of a competent authority is a sufficient guarantee that the investigation will not be fruitless. But to accept any authority as final, and to dispense with the necessity of independent investigation is destructive of all progress. Nothing, in fact, should be taken upon blind, unquestioning faith. Indeed the Eastern sages go so far as to say that to rely solely on the authority of even the Scriptures is sinful. The wisdom of the course actually followed is almost self evident. Reason is the immediate perception of the fact that the eternal alone is true, and reasoning is the attempt to trace the
existence of a thing all through the scale of time; the longer the period over which this operation extends the more complete and satisfactory is the reasoning considered to be. But the moment any fact of knowledge is realized on the plane of eternity reason becomes changed into consciousness - the son is merged in the father, as the Christian mystic would say. Why, then, it may be asked, should confidence in the teaching of the master be a requisite qualification at all? The reply lies on the surface. No one takes the trouble to inquire about what he does not believe to be true. Such confidence in no way demands surrender of reason. The second part of this qualification, the confidence in one's own power to learn, is an indispensable basis of all endeavors to progress. The poet uttered a deeper truth than he was aware of when he sang;
"Yes, self-abasement leads the way
To villain bonds and despot's sway".
The moment a man thoroughly believes himself incapable of realizing the highest ideal he can conceive of, he becomes so; the conviction of weakness that apparently supports him; really robs him of his strength; none aspire for what they consider absolutely beyond their reach. Occultism teaches us that infinite perfection is the heritage of man. He must not blaspheme against his innermost divine self, the Augoeides of the Greeks and the Atma of the Brahmins, by self abasement, for that would be the unpardonable sin, the sin against the Holy Ghost. Christian doctors have tried in vain to identify this particular sin, the deadliest of all; its true significance lies far beyond the narrow horizon of their theology.
The last accomplishment required is an intense desire for liberation from conditioned existence and for transformation into the One Life (Mumukshatva). It may be thought at first sight that this qualification is a mere redundancy, being practically involved in the second. But such a supposition would be as erroneous as to conceive Nirvana as the annihilation of all
life. The second accomplishment is absence of desire for life as a means of selfish enjoyment; while the fourth is a positive and intense desire for a kind of life of which none but those who have attained the first three accomplishments can form any adequate conception. All that need here be stated is, that the neophyte is expected to know the real nature of his Ego, and to have a fixed determination to retain that knowledge permanently and thus get rid of the body, created by allowing the notion of "I" to fasten itself upon an illusory object.
We shall now pass to the consideration of the minimum amount of these accomplishments indispensable to a successful study of occultism. If the desire for liberation, which constitutes the last accomplishment, is only moderately strong, but the second, indifference to the fruits of one's action, is fully developed and the six qualifications well marked, success is attained by the help of the Master, who molds the future incarnations of the pupil and smooths his path to Adeptship. But if all the accomplishments are equally strong, Adeptship is reached by the pupil in the same incarnation. Without the second and fourth accomplishments however, the six qualifications "water but the desert". In recent Theosophical publications two classes of Mahatma's pupils are mentioned; accepted and probationary pupils (chelas). The first class consists of those who have acquired the four accomplishments up to a certain point and are being practically trained for Adeptship in this life; to the other class belong such pupils as are qualifying themselves, under the guidance of their Masters, for acceptance.
A few words may here be said regarding those who study occultism without any intention of aspiring for regular chelaship. It is evident that by theoretical study of the Esoteric Doctrine the first of the four accomplishments can be achieved; the effect of this in regulating a person's next incarnation cannot be over estimated. The spiritual energy thus generated will cause
him to be born under conditions favorable to the acquirement of the other qualifications and to spiritual progress in general.
One of the greatest of India's occult teachers says on this point that a theoretical study of the philosophy, though unaccompanied by the requisite accomplishments produces more merit than the performance of all the duties enjoined by the formalities of religion eighty times over.
Christos: The Religion of the Future, is the title of a new booklet by William Kingsland, whose Esoteric Basis of Christianity has for so long been a text book for real Christians. This is a modernization of Mr. Kingsland's ideas, which are those of the Secret Doctrine, and in this popular form it should not only be widely read but become endeared to all who desire to follow this Path and to share its wisdom with their fellows.
"For the purpose of this work," says the author, "I am defining Religion as the effort of the individual to realize his innate spiritual nature and powers. This is what I understand Religion to be at root. It applies to Mankind as a whole, to the Race as well as to the Individual. Anything that ministers to this must be considered to be an accessory to Religion, though not religion itself. The one is only too often mistaken for the other."
Mr. Kingsland has endeavored to show that certain modern beliefs, dogmas and creeds, carried over and surviving from a far less enlightened age, can no longer be valid in the light of our modern knowledge, but he also intends to indicate that even in the remotest past there was already a deeper knowledge, a real Gnosis which we are only now beginning to recover. The unprejudiced reader will surely admit that he succeeds in this endeavour.
The 120 pages of the essay proper are divided into 13 sections dealing with such subjects as Religions and Religion, The Concept of a Personal God, The God of Christendom, Astronomy, The Constitution of Matter, The Age of the Earth, The Evolution of Man, Spiritual Man, etc.
One advantage of such a system of thought as Mr. Kingsland's is that it cannot omit or ignore anything in nature or experience. A great many theological systems get along by leaving out of consideration everything that does not fit in. Christian Science gets along by ignoring pain and suffering. Christianity gets along by refusing to listen to science or any other religion. St. Augustine, who is still regarded as an authority, remarks, "It is impossible that there should be inhabitants on the opposite side of the earth, since no such race is recorded by Scripture among the descendants of Adam."
St. Paul quotes Jesus as having said, "It is more blessed to give than to receive," but this is not recorded in the Gospels. We cannot rely altogether upon the canonical records. Truth is truth wherever found, and Mr. Kingsland puts all this so simply and convincingly that his little book should be of the utmost help to those who find current orthodoxy unsatisfactory, and yet are unable to abandon it till they find what is really behind it. This book will show them; and that the real import of the Christian Scriptures is the inherent divine nature of Man through the indwelling Christos principle. (London: John W. Watkins, 21 Cecil Court, W.C. 2; price 2/6).
UNION WITH NATIONAL SOCIETY.
Editor Canadian Theosophist: - As I read in the C. T. for November that "the discussion of union with the National Society seems to have fallen through," I am led to presume that this opinion prevails generally, so I am possibly justified - as a Member of the Committee on Union - in making known what was done, or attempted, by this Committee, and why its work has "fallen through," for you can assure your many leaders in many lands
that Union of the Theosophical Societies in Canada is still a very live question and will be heard of again soon.
From the first the action of the Committee was hampered by the fact that at our first meeting, where, of course, the western nominees were unavoidably absent, one member insisted that, due to this circumstance, we were not meeting as a committee, but only for discussion, and so could make no report or recommendation; also we failed to elect a chairman who could rule on such matters; and we neglected to set a quorum. One can readily understand that our discussions were consequently very haphazard and sometimes pointless. However, we soon found out two very important facts. One, that there exists generally a strong disposition to get together and co-operate among all shades of Theosophic opinion; and second, that our ideas on organic union varied as widely as the poles.
After much discussion it seemed to be apparent that organic union was far in the future, but co-operation of some kind could be effected and made to work. On the evening of May 23rd, 1929, the following principles were adopted by vote of six members of the Committee present; one member not voting because he considered that this resolution was not according to the powers vested in the Committee.
Article 1. That the Canadian Section, the Canadian Federation and Unaffiliated Lodges send representatives to a General Council to be called the Canadian Theosophical Societies' Co-operative Council.
Article 2. That each group named shall elect or appoint one representative; the method of election or appointment shall be left to the group sending the representative.
(a) For the purpose of calling the first meeting, the representative of the Canadian Section shall be temporary chairman.
Article 3. The work of the Council shall be to develop the friendly co-operation of all Theosophists in Canada looking towards the unification of the respective groups.
(a) To devise rules of order for their own conduct and prepare an agenda.
(b) To elect a permanent Chairman, and to appoint a Secretary who shall have no vote unless he is a member of the Council.
Article 4. Co-operation may be through the distribution of literature, the arranging of lecture tours leading to a group of national lecturers, or any such other means as the council may see fit to recommend.
(a) Such co-operative propaganda shall be mutually agreeable to the groups co-operating.
Article 5. Meetings of the Council shall be at the call of the Chairman, but not more than twelve months shall elapse between each meeting.
Article 6. Expenses of representatives shall be arranged between the representative and the group electing him.
(a) Expenses of propaganda shall be arranged between the groups on recommendation of the council.
Article 7. Nothing contained herein shall be construed as preventing any lodge or group sending additional delegates to the council who may take part in the discussions but shall have no vote unless and until the various groups co-operating may amend these articles of agreement.
These principles were submitted to all the members of the Committee with the requested for an opinion yea or nay, but without replies being received from any one. Another copy was sent out to all, I myself undertaking to secure, if possible, an expression of opinion, but the only reply was from Mr. Lorimer of Winnipeg, who agreed with the principles, but suggested that the present General Secretaries be constituted the Super-Committee to arrange for co-operation between the sections. So the matter stands at present.
I would like, however, not as a member of the Union Committee, but as a private individual, and a member of the Canadian Section, to state my own opinion on this matter. It is quite unthinkable, and a
contradiction in terms, to consider such a thing as disunion when applied to Theosophists. Union is their natural element. Even as we see in the great universe about us unity in diversity. Union, Co-operation and Toleration are the watchwords of today, and the attempt to divert the forces of harmony and goodwill, whether in social, political, or philosophical matters, will only result in the opposition being left hopelessly (well not absolutely) in the rear.
I look forward hopefully and optimistically to the union of all Theosophical Societies on this North American continent; to the re-establishment of our headquarters in America, where it was at first and where it still belongs, and to a tremendous renaissance of the Wisdom Religion in the home of and by the reincarnated Atlantean Race.
- George C. McIntyre.
Toronto, Nov. 23rd.
THE INNER WEAKNESS
Editor Canadian Theosophist: - Harold Spices, secretary of the Edmonton branch of the Theosophical Society is pessimistic if his opinions as expressed in the issue of the Canadian Theosophist of November 15th form a criterion.
Mr. Spices is right in much he says, not in all, however. He is right when he tells us that in the case of sickness it is usual to diagnose the symptoms and then prescribe a cure. Now, this, I claim is just what the Canadian section of the Theosophical Society has been doing for years and what it is doing now.
One of the greatest needs of the movement not many years ago was that of shedding the veneer of romantic idealism and of getting down to rock bottom in carrying out the work of the Masters of the White Lodge. I recall the day when it was the vogue with some prominent members of the lodges to go into ecstasies over this or that great personality, and to consider themselves near the apex of spiritual perfection after having studied three or four years in some esoteric section. We have happily got rid of much of that sort of stuff, and those who may have studied in esoteric sections or schools or do so today are very careful to keep it to themselves instead of blabbing it to the whole world, realizing the sacredness of esotericism as something belonging alone to the holy of holies.
What has been the meaning of the innumerable arguments and apparent dissensions recorded within the pages of the Canadian Theosophist during the past two or three years if not this, that the Canadian section has undergone and is still under-going a process of spring cleaning?
The disease in the society has been diagnosed as an overplus of psychism of the wrong type. This was exemplified by hundreds of Theosophical leaders throughout the world, and most of all by the president, Mrs. Annie Besant and by Bishop Leadbeater of the Liberal Catholic Church. Today, happily, and largely, I believe, through the influence of the Canadian section, the blood-stream of this disease is gradually being drawn away from within the Society, even so great a personage as Annie Besant is today explaining how she came to teach psychism, and is drawing away from its tentacles. We well remember that within our own bailiwick of Toronto, Felix Belcher, one of Toronto's outstanding exponents of true theosophy and one of the society's most spiritual leaders, was at one time strongly entrenched in the aura of the Besant-Leadbeater school of psychism.
The disease has been located, the remedy has been suggested, and the society is now being slowly but surely cleansed of the poison.
It is doubtful if, as Mr. Spices suggests, materialism has captured the mind of the world. Had this been so, war would have gripped the world again ere this, for, Mars the god of wars has been busy for years bent on a search for victims, and, it was on occasion a question whether Mars would drag nations through the mire of the
trenches or the League of Nations would carry them through international courts of arbitration into the vales of ever living peace.
Ramsay MacDonald, prime minister of Great Britain and President Herbert Hoover of the United States carry with them in their search for lasting peace the weight of a great world opinion. True, there is materialism in the world. Human nature is naturally the world's greatest stumbling block. But, with the heads of the two greatest nations in the world meeting in amicable conference to visualize and concrete the idealism of world peace backed by a great mass of world feeling
can we honestly feel that the world is becoming steeped in materialism? The Theosophical Society will never become a world wide movement in the popular sense of the term - at least it is difficult to believe so. Those who have read the "Mahatma Letters" with sympathy can reach no other conclusion.
The principles for which Theosophy stands are more and more becoming the world ideal, and they permeate every nook and cranny of private enterprise and public and national endeavour, but the Theosophical Society like its renowned predecessors, the Rosicrucians, the Pythagoreans, the Platonists and Neo-Platonists and similar great bodies of advanced thought will pass out as an organization but will, so we may hope, leave behind it a breath of Ancient Wisdom which will remain through the centuries with the races of the world. No matter what we may say touching the three bases on which membership in the society rests its basic - shall we say, its fundamental - principles belong to a lore which harks back to the dim and distant ages, and it will never become a popular creedal denomination unless these fundamental principles are trampled in the dust and the society becomes the plaything of earthly feelings and ambitions.
There can be no proselytism with Theosophy. One can not force its idealism down the throats of those who don't want it. And, most people want anything but, either because they assume to think of it as idolatry, or because it doesn't fit in with their every day routine of life.
What can be done with Theosophy and, what is being done is influencing the world by means of vivid, strong and well diffused thought forms, all well centralized at various points such as say Toronto, New York, Washington, Winnipeg, Edmonton, Vancouver, and many parts of the Far East. Thoughts are things, and the centralization of thoughts of real brotherhood, (the realization of the oneness of all life from the amoeba to the greatest of all archangels though differing in form and intelligence), international, or shall we say, world peace, tolerance, and other Theosophic ideals as suggested, must of necessity in time permeate the aura of peoples, races and the entire world.
The thought-form influence of such men and women as Ramsay MacDonald, President Herbert Hoover, Dr. David Starr Jordan, Helena Petrovna Blavatsky and Annie Besant will do more for world stabilization than those of a thousand men of average routine idealism, and likewise the thought-form influence of the small centres of theosophic thought noted to say nothing of centres in other parts of the world will carry greater weight than can be imagined.
This, I think, should to a degree answer the pessimism of Mr. Spicer, Mr. Clark and other thinkers to all of whom the theosophic world owes a very real debt of gratitude.
- R. V. Garratt.
If you are a believer in the Brotherhood of Humanity you should belong to the only society that makes this the sole basis of membership. The dues are $2.50 a year, including subscription to the official Magazine. Will you not join?