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VOL. X., No. 3 HAMILTON, MAY 15th, 1929 Price 10 Cents
THE EXILE OF THE SOUL
(Continued from Page 40)
We come now upon another phase of the same problem of consciousness - that presented by the phenomena of mystical experience. I use the word mystical in its modern sense as describing an interior revelation that can be had independently of the senses and of the reasoning processes.
Needless to say, this idea that there can be a transcendental knowledge superior to ordinary processes is one of the most ancient in the history of mankind. It is be found at the origin of all religious systems, and indeed, as we shall see, all religion is to a lesser or greater degree
distortion of it. The possibility of this interior experience has been asserted by the greatest philosophers, by the saints and sages, and is in a sense the one ever-present and enduring thought in religion. It is also the idea around which the fiercest struggles have raged and against which the bitterest persecution has been directed.
Although an enormous literature has arisen out of mysticism, only recently - in this era at least - have we had a comparative examination of its phenomena. The first notable one is by the Canadian psychologist Richard Maurice Bucke who in his Cosmic Consciousness assembled and examined a large number of cases of the direct illumination commonly described as mystical.
It is outside of my purpose in this article to make a complete examination of Dr. Bucke's material and results, but to deal with certain special aspects of it. Drawing largely from biography and autobiography, he cites many remarkable cases of illumination in the lives of Jesus, Buddha, Walt Whitman, Jacob Boehme, Francis Bacon, Plotinus and other historical figures. These he supplements with modern cases of interior experience drawn from among his friends and patients.
The records thus gathered present certain common factors. One is a more or less definite sense of "lighting up" and is frequently accompanied by an objective luminosity, when the subject finds himself bathed in light. Another is the descent upon the subject of an ineffable peace likened to the "peace that passeth all understanding" in the Christian Testament. A third is that of possessing a direct apprehension of fact, a means of knowledge that is best described as the mystics described it, as transcending reasoning processes altogether. A less common, though no less marked, experience, in the cases where it is recorded is the modification or complete elimination of the sense of time, as if time were merged
or lost in another way in space. The German Theosophist, Jacob Boehme, says he saw the "signatures of things" and that he saw the grass growing.
More important than any of these is the realization by the subject of a communion between the members of the human race and an actual sense of being in a realm of consciousness where all separation and longing are at an end. It is an entry into a one-consciousness, seemingly without loss of individuality, and a kind of all inclusiveness in which the person experiencing the new state takes the rest of the race into his being.
Walt Whitman in Song of Myself describes it thus:
"Swiftly arose and spread around me the peace and knowledge that pass all argument of the earth,
And I know that the hand of God is the promise of my own,
And I know that the spirit of God is the brother of my own,
And that all the men ever born are also my brothers, and the women my sisters and lovers,
And that a kelson of the creation is love,
And limitless are leaves stiff or drooping in the fields,
And brown ants in the little wells beneath them,
And mossy scabs of the worm fence, heap'd stones, elder, mullein and pokeweed."
Dr. Bucke in his analysis of the cases came to several interesting conclusions which, while they will not satisfy all the demands of occult philosophy, represent nevertheless a great advance in the scientific study of mystical experience. He divides consciousness into three great grades or successive divisions. The lowest of these, representing sub-human levels, as of the animal, he calls "Simple Consciousness". The reasoning consciousness of men and women, limited as it is by a sense of separateness, he calls "self consciousness". The illuminated state, in which separateness disappears, he calls cosmic consciousness, a level transcending the mental state as much as mind transcends the instinctual consciousness of the animal. Issue has been taken with him on the use of the word "cosmic" as describing too high a level, but nobody has yet suggested a more satisfactory term.
Since Dr. Bucke's time there have been numerous other inquiries and, although it is not a popular subject with academic psychologists because it makes trouble with theologians with whom they have to live, it has had a considerable share of attention from the more independent writers. The general disposition has been to regard the superior consciousness as one into which the human race will eventually evolve, and to look on those who have had intimations of it as forerunners of the rest of mankind.
When this theory goes hand in hand with the idea of physical evolution or race-evolution, as it sometimes does, and there is no element of the immortality of the individual soul implied in it, it means that succeeding generations of men and women begotten of the present ones will have an increasing number of cosmically conscious persons among them, cosmic consciousness becomes the general and finally the universal condition.
This is a cold idea. It offers the present generation the comfortless theory that all our striving and suffering is for the purpose of transmitting to other entities in a distant future powers and blessings they have not earned. To complete the anomaly, experimental science has now reached a position where it declares that all our striving will not and cannot transmit its fruit anyway. So poorly do the facts of interior illumination consort with the Darwinian theory of evolution that it is little wonder the psychologists are not fond of the subject.
When the theory of cosmic consciousness goes hand in hand with the idea of the survival of the soul of man after death and the passage of the soul into higher
realms of consciousness, a heaven -world or whatever, the disposition of writers - mostly theologians - is to treat the experience as a passing intimation of the after-death states, a sort of foretaste of heaven vouchsafed by God to saintly persons during their earth life. The exponents of this theory are in grave difficulties. The chief one arises out of the fact that the experience is not confined to saintly persons but sometimes happens to persons whose lives are to say the least heretical and sometimes markedly irreligious in any sense that would please the orthodox God. Conversely many persons of saintly conduct do not achieve any such foretaste of the hereafter. The ironical commentary on this theory is that the cosmic vision has been frequent among those whom the Church found necessary to burn at the stake. In fact the church has had a definite antipathy to persons who had a foretaste of its own Heaven. It may have feared that some visionary would blurt out the truth.
A much better theory of it is the Hindu one - that the soul is engaged in a pilgrimage of experience which requires a long series of lives on this earth, in the course of which it evolves successive powers. Having passed through an arc of descent from spirit to matter and having turned at the mineral on its way back to a vastly enriched spiritual existence, the soul, they teach, has had successively the consciousness of the mineral, the plant and the animal, and is now passing through the mental state of consciousness as man. Beyond the mental state is a state of direct cognition or awakening into reality, which they call Buddhi. This has been attained by the leaders of mankind and into it all men will in due time enter. Those who have experienced it partially are our vanguard on the long path of the evolution of the soul. This is the opinion commonly offered today as Theosophy. In point of fact it is orthodox Brahminism and is, in its own way, scarcely less a distortion of Theosophy than is orthodox Christianity.
The fatal defect of the Brahmin explanation of the data of cosmic consciousness is identical with the defect of the Christian explanation of the ecstasies of the saints as an advance knowledge of the hereafter. Both religions assume that those who have a touch of cosmic consciousness are of great mental and spiritual stature.
The facts show that they are not. While many who experience the higher vision are, like Jesus and Buddha, beings of transcendent spirituality, and some, like Bacon, are giants of intellect, many of the recorded cases are of very simple, often ignorant and frequently anything but blameless people. The experience is nothing if not sporadic and obeys a law of its own nature. The Christian finding no rule for it attributes the whole thing to the pleasure of God. The Brahmin, whose theory of gradual advance would require that before going on with a realm above mind, a man should have exhausted the development of mind, has no adequate explanation to offer.
This curious illumination strikes like lightning. While it does favour the saint, it does not neglect the sinner. It comes very often to the sick, to the drunkard and to the epileptic. Remarkable cases of conversion (literally, together-turning) as in the cases of Raymond Lully, John Bunyan and others, show that it can come even to men plunged in vice.
The learned, the ignorant, the devoted, the austere, the sodden, the well, the sick, the vicious, the nearly mad - these are not categories of leadership. Half of them give the lie to the other self. Nor did Jesus seem to expect that leaders would be the readiest to receive his message of liberation. He tended to pass over acknowledged leaders and to devote himself to those who by reason of misery and suffering on earth were best able to understand a doctrine of transcending earth and entering into a Kingdom of Heaven that he declared awaited them. Gautama did not confine himself to leaders among men. He found great men as did Jesus but his doctrine
was as readily applicable to the vicious as to the austere. The Dhammapada shows him going to young men mired in their vices and bidding them turn. When they did they became Arhats.
That the manifestation in man of a power above the level of mind is the experience of men and women whose intellectual powers are not equal to the task of explaining it, is evidenced by the fact that mystics themselves differ widely in their explanations.
Mystics with an inclination for orthodox Christianity, for example, say the illumination flows into the soul by a supernatural channel. For the Roman Catholic Church the Church itself is such a channel. So are the sacraments. For mystics of Protestant sects, the Bible is a magical channel.
Quietistic cults like the Friends and the followers of the Abbe Fenelon and Madame Guyon ascribe the results to direct Divine intervention. They say that, in answer to aspiration, God himself acts immediately upon the mind of the devotee. Jacob Boehme held this theory of his own remarkable experiences. He declared that in his vision he saw God. H.P. Blavatsky remarks drily that what he saw was his Divine Ego, as all aspirants eventually see it.
More valid than either of these is the Platonist theory maintained by the most philosophical of the mystics. They say that the illumination comes by faith or intuition resident in the higher consciousness of the soul itself, and that there can be direct attainment of truth by virtue of the fact that man possesses from a previous world-period an inheritance of wisdom which he now neglects, but which he may at any time recover. A momentary return of it may be experienced under special conditions.
Obviously the cosmic consciousness is not, then, a latent thing, in the sense that it is still to be developed. It is a dormant thing in the sense that it has been developed and lost temporarily. It is not a potentiality to be realized in a distant future. It is an ever-present knowledge which the vast majority of men cannot use because it is overlaid by mental and emotional confusions. When such a power can be aroused by aspiration, the following of intuitions, or by austerity, it is sufficiently explained as an intimation of a new power. When, however, it comes direct out of intense suffering, out of turning from vice, or out of disturbed physical conditions, we need a wider formula than either the Brahmin or Christian one. We need a formula that will reconcile the contradictions. The old occult formula, the only one that will serve the unbiased inquirer, is that cosmic consciousness is an old, hard-earned power, lost and in these cases for a brief time recovered. The Christian formula for it, as the words were originally understood, is that in the parable of the prodigal, "This my son was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found."
The implication in the highest mystical and occult schools - indeed the explicit statement many times repeated - is that we thinking souls are all prodigals, alienated from a divine unified consciousness which the New Testament calls ho theos, the god. That consciousness we have as a dim, flickering, inward light.
This aspect of it as a unified whole is important for purposes of the present study. The universal characteristic of all true experiences of cosmic consciousness is an immeasurably quickened sense of unity with the rest of mankind. This is variously described. Sometimes it is a flooding of the nature of the subject with a great love. Sometimes it presents itself as a sense of peace resultant on the passing away of the sense of separateness. It has also been described as an attainment of the centre of a wheel where stillness prevails and the stress of earth life, even of mental life, vanishes. It is the place of stillness that the Chinese called Tao, and the Buddhists call Alaya. "Alas, alas, that all men should possess Alaya," says The Voice of
the Silence, "and that possessing it Alaya should so little avail them."
All these descriptions bear out the old idea that the world above mind is the Oneness, towards which At-one-ment tends, and that we only lose our way in a too far removed and unserviceable notion when we talk of being merged in Ultimate Deity. The Unity to which we are now returning is the rest of our race - the divine exiles here on earth.
This seems to be the reason why persons who have had a touch of cosmic consciousness show a prevailing impulse for the rest of their lives to make mankind the object of their devotion, to see God as it were in their brothers' faces. All true humanism has arisen primarily out of this mystical vision and has taken its stand against the worship of a personal God. The older humanists called the Divine Communion, in whose body we are all atoms, Osiris, and symbolized the present partition of mankind into scattered and confused souls as the dismemberment of Osiris, the fragments of whose body must again be assembled. It is to the assembling of the fragments that the Masters are pledged.
Damascius says of this resurrection of the dismembered Osiris, or return to the higher consciousness, that it "should be a mingling with the God, an all-perfect at-one-ment, a return upwards of our souls to the divine".
So we have again, in another problem of modern science which is compelling the attention of students, a picture of the soul of man which can transcend mind under conditions so contradictory as to preclude the idea that the soul is slowly evolving into the transcendent state. We must decide whether we will take our stand with the Church mystics and the Quietists and say it is the fantastic gift of a personal God, or with H.P. Blavatsky and the occultists who say it is the renewal brief
or enduring of an ancient power of entering a common consciousness we have forgotten.
(To be continued.)
REMINISCENCES OF EARLY DAYS OF THEOSOPHICAL SOCIETY.
By John W. Lovell, F.T.S.
(Continued from Page 36)
On returning to New York to live, in 1875, Mrs. Britten tells us she occupied herself in translating and editing a work, since widely known under the title of "Art Magic." She says: "The author of this book being a lifelong and highly honoured friend, but a foreigner not qualified to produce a work in the English language, had induced her to undertake the task of preparing it for the Press. One of the features of the work was indicated in its second title, namely: Mundane, Sub-Mundane and Super-Mundane Spiritualism. It professed to explain the origin of Creation; of all religious systems, tracing them out from Solar and sex worship to Sects and Modern Creeds. It defined the occultist's belief in sub-mundane or elementary spirits, the next step in the great Spiritualistic movement and the first openly recognized dawning of a movement which has generally obtained the name of "Occultism," in super-mundane or planetary spirits and ranged between them the realm of humanity with its spheres of communicating human spirits revealed through the beneficent spiritual outpourings of the 19th Century.
Amongst illustrious Europeans who sought and succeeded in obtaining possession of this book were the late unfortunate Czar of Russia and his noble Aide-de-Camp, the much beloved friend of Spiritualism, Prince Emil de Sayn Wittgenstein. The latter wrote to Mrs. Britten that he regarded the book as his Bible, carried it with him wherever he went and had often derived consolation and harmony of spirit from its noble teachings in moments embittered by the fever of war and the cares of state.
Note: Prince Emil de Sayn Wittgenstein was, I might say, a friend of Mme. Blavatsky. In 1890 H.P.B. wrote: "He, Prince Wittgenstein, now dead, was an old friend of my family, whom I saw for the last time when I was 18 years old, i.e., in 1849 and he and his wife remained in close correspondence with me. He was a cousin of the late Empress of Russia." "Mrs. Britten did not know this at the time she wrote of him as above as `the much beloved friend of Spiritualism.' " Continuing Mrs. Britten's statement: "It maybe stated that Spiritualists generally were greatly opposed to the publication of `Art Magic' " and she, Mrs. Britten, was bitterly attacked even in its commencement and without waiting for its appearance. In strict justice to Col. Olcott and Mme. Blavatsky she says, "I emphatically protest that they have nothing to do with it. That the two movements, namely the publication of the advertisement and the formation of the Theosophical Society most strangely took place at or about the same time, is a truth which I admit but cannot account for." "About twelve hours after I had posted the advertisement in `The Banner of Light' announcing that a book, `Art Magic' was to be published, Col. Olcott and I met for the first time in several years. An old acquaintance was renewed, an introduction to Mme. Blavatsky took place and then, but not till then, did I learn the views of these friends respecting a concerted effort to study faithfully the Science which underlies the principles of spirit communication. So amazed and struck was I with the coincidence of purposes expressed in the inauguration of the Theosophical Society, at which I was present, with some of the ideas put forth in `Art Magic', my friend's work, that I felt it to be my duty to write to the President of that Society, enclose a copy of the advertisement, and explain to him that the publication of the work in question anticipated without consort or advice, or even personal acquaintance with the parties concerned, whatever of Cabbalistic Lore or revelation the said Theosophical Society might hereafter evolve. The author of `Art Magic' prepared the material for his work many years ago in Europe and is a total stranger to Col. Olcott and Mme. Blavatsky."
As to the great differences that came between Mme. Blavatsky and the Spiritualists, I refer anyone interested, to the October 1881 number of "The Theosophist" for Mme. Blavatsky's statement in answer to a letter received from one whom she calls; "Our esteemed brother Theosophist W.H. Terry." Mr. Terry was the editor of the Australian "Harbinger of Light" the organ of the Spiritualists in that Country. He complained that being like a very large number of Spiritualists in different parts of the World, a member of the Theosophical Society and a reader of the Society's Magazine, "The Theosophist," he finds the agency of disembodied human spirits ignored as factors in the production of modern Spiritual manifestations by the leading writers of "The Theosophist," and the phenomena which Spiritualists are accustomed to attribute to the agency of Spirit friends, who present the most conclusive tokens of their identity, referred to as "Elementaries," "shells," etc. He cites a number of cases occurring in his own experience, all tending to prove the agency of intelligent human individualities. In an answer to the article in "The Theosophist" Mrs. Britten wrote as follows in her work "Nineteenth Century Miracles," page 297. "The author of this volume claims to be an occultist and that with as good a right to the cognomen as the Editor of "The Theosophist" and yet she insists that the entire mass of theory presented in these extracts (that is, H.P.B.'s answer to Mr. Terry in "The Theosophist.") is theory only, and remains wholly undemonstrated, whilst the facts of Spirit Communion, the identity of the Spirit, the full preservation of that identity, continued progress is Sphere life and all the tokens of individuality that made the man,
woman or child of earth, are testified to and corroborated by tens of thousands of independent and reliable communications given in every Country of civilization."
Mrs. Britten was a great friend of The Countess of Caithness, The Duchess de Pomar, with whom she spent several months running over many years. The Countess wrote several interesting books and joined the T.S., in its early days and was a friend of H.P.B.'s, who visited her when in Paris. At the time of H.P.B.'s death it was given out that she was H.P.B.'s successor and was so accepted by the French Theosophists. But, as Mr. Judge said at the time, H.P.B. was sui generis and could have no successor.
Mrs. Britten later returned to England where she edited a paper called "The Two Worlds" and corresponded with me up to the time when she, too, passed over.
Mr. Henry J. Newton, whom I have mentioned as the first Treasurer of the T.S., was also President of the Spiritualistic Society, and I saw much of him for many years in investigations we carried on, especially for full form materializations. One day Mr. Newton showed me the minute book of the first meeting of the Society on September 8, in which all those present had signed their names. For some personal reason he refused to deliver this to Mr. Judge, who would have forwarded it to Adyar. It has always been a matter of great regret that I had not at that time asked Mr. Newton to let me have it, or at least to leave it to me in his will, for he was killed a short time after by being struck by a street car while crossing the street at 23rd Street and Broadway.
A very interesting and charming person I met at this time was Mrs. Mary Hollis Billing, to whom I was introduced by Mrs. Britten. She had joined the Society in London and I bring her name in now because it was at her house in London when, on her first visit after leaving here, H.P.B. stayed. The Master K.H. mentions her name several times in his letters to Mr. Sinnett in "The Mahatma Letters" and in one place, (pp. 416-7) says of her "Mrs. Billing is a medium and when that is said, all is said, except this, that among mediums she is the most honest, if not the best . . . . The woman has more sterling virtues and honesty in her little finger than many of the never distrusted mediums put together. She has been a loyal member of the Society from the time she joined it and her rooms in New York are the rallying centre where our Theosophists meet. Her loyalty, moreover, is one that cost her the regard of many patrons. She also, unless closely watched by "Ski," can turn a traitor, precisely because she is a medium though it is not likely she would do it. Withal she is incapable of either falsehood or deceit in her normal state." (see also page 306, Mahatma Letters).
The "Ski" the Master speaks of was her control and at meetings in her home I have often spoken to "Ski". I have also heard Mr. Judge say in speaking of Spiritualism, of his high respect for "Ski" from whom he often received messages from the other side.
Mrs. Billing was born in Louisville, Kentucky, and came before the public first as the medium through whom most remarkable manifestations occurred. These are described in a book called "Startling Facts in Modern Spiritualism" by a Dr. Wolfe. When I met her she had given up her public mediumship and was living in the city with her two daughters. The eldest, Mrs. Stockell, later married Mr. John H. Judge, the brother of William Q. Judge. Both she and her daughters were very close friends of Mrs. Lovell and myself, and often visited us at our home. She had one son, Lieut. Hollis, a U.S. Army officer who, at that time, had been assigned to Harvard University in Cambridge, Mass., as Military Instructor.
Another of the early members was Mr. James Morgan Pryse whose works "The Restored New Testament" and "Reincarnation in the New Testament" and others I think are well known to you. As I have said Mr. Pryse became interested in the
Colony I spoke of in the beginning that we started in Mexico. Both he and his brother John, were practical printers and at the time H.P.B. decided upon the Esoteric Section, she sent for Mr. James Pryse to take charge of and do printing of the various papers connected with it. He became a member of her household and was devoted to her up to the day of her death. Mrs. Besant speaks of him as one who was there when she, too, joined the household. His brother John joined the Society here and, at Mr. Judge's request, occupied the same position in connection with the E.S., at 144 Madison Avenue.
(To be Continued.)
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 or gloom to himself; the decreer of his life, his reward, his punishment.
These truths, which are as great as is life itself, are as simple as the simplest mind of man. Feed the hungry with them. - Idyll of the. White Lotus.
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?
By Claude Falls Wright
(Continued front Page 45.)
The great cause of pain and sorrow to the human being on earth arises out of his severance, during lifetime, from the spiritual half of his nature - the Higher Manas. The half-remembrance of that blissful state of completeness and purity is ever before him, and while this is so there is little rest. Filled eternally with an indefinable longing, an indescribable yearning for a something unknown, he seeks here and there, laying hold of this or that thing, in the everlasting search after happiness; but not until his higher consciousness is fully known to him can there be any bliss for mortal man.
Union of the Higher and Lower Egos may take place either during earth-life, at the time of an Initiation, or afterwards in the devachanic state - and sometimes during sleep, as before spoken of. Evolution or progress, as we understand the term, is only possible during earth-life, and it will therefore be seen that in the instance of this union being effected before the separation of the four lower principles, or at death, the experiencing possibilities and consequent progression of the individual are not thereby hindered, but enormously increased; whereas after death nothing new can be added, and in Devachan he simply lives over and over again his past life, only with a blissful unconsciousness of sorrow or sadness, and a conscious realization of all his spiritual hopes and longings.
To the ordinary mortal his bliss in Devachan is complete. "The Devachanee lives its intermediate cycle between two incarnations surrounded by everything it had aspired to in vain, and in the companionship of everyone it loved on earth. It has reached the fulfillment of all its soul-yearnings. And thus it lives throughout long centuries an existence of unalloyed happiness, which is the reward fir its suf-
ferings in earth-life. In short, it bathes in a sea of uninterrupted felicity spanned only by events of still greater felicity in degree." * [ * Key to Theosophy, p. 148. ]
Readers, however; unacquainted with the harmony of the esoteric doctrine, will doubtless offer ready objections to a heaven such as that depicted above. It may be urged that such a "fool's paradise" can be of no real benefit as a rest, since the shock of waking to the terrible realities of life must be increased proportionately to the intensity of the blissful illusion.
But waking means nothing other than rebirth. Once we have passed the threshold leading into earth-life, the draught of Lethe has been taken, and no shock whatever is encountered, since the soul has no more recollection of its devachanic experiences than we have of what our consciousness has been during a night spent in deep sleep. Only we rise with a sense of refreshment and revivification.
Again, "It is such a waste of time." Yet nature does not consider it waste of time to sleep. Nothing more lawful or necessary can be conceived of, and this period of rest between two earth-lives, in the theosophical system, is really but one more tribute to the harmony of the whole. Devachan, though a rest, is not altogether the waste of time one might at first suppose. It is a period of spiritual gestation, when all the ideal qualities of the mind, of which the hurried and busy everyday life of civilized man permits but little or no expansion, find opportunity to grow and develop. "For that dream-life is but the fruitage, the harvest time, of those spiritual seed-germs dropped from the tree of physical existence in our moments of dream and hope - fancy-glimpses of bliss and happiness, stifled in an ungrateful social soil, blooming in the rosy dawn of Devachan and ripening under its ever-fructifying sky. If man had but one single moment of ideal experience, not even then could it be, as erroneously supposed, the indefinite prolongation of that `Single moment.' That one note; struck from the lyre of life, would form the key-note of the being's subjective state, and work out into numberless harmonic tones and semi-tones of the spiritual phantasmagoria. There, all unrealized hopes, aspirations, dreams, become fully realized, and the dreams of the objective become the realities of the subjective existence . . . . ."
But enough has been said to explain the nature of the devachanic state, which is one of rest and spiritual enjoyment. We must pass on to consider its antithesis - that of Avitchi.
Like Devachan, Avitchi is a state, not a locality, and is one of the most "ideal Spiritual wickedness, something akin to the state of Lucifer, so superbly described by Milton." But true Avitchi is not possible to the humanity of this globe; only the black magician, and perhaps to some extent the most absolutely depraved among soulless men, can reach anything approaching this condition. All others receive whatever punishment may be their due, on earth. As will be seen in the section "Karma and Reincarnation," the good and evil deeds of one earth-life entitle the doer to a just reward or punishment in the next, or in succeeding incarnations, and all our suffering here is, according to the esoteric philosophy, the direct outcome of our previous misdeeds. So that the only hell known is on earth. "There are no hells but the man-bearing worlds." Few indeed are those who are so absolutely without a single high thought during an incarnation as to render a devachanic rest impossible after death, and far, far fewer are those who are so spiritually depraved as to merit a condition of Avitchi. "Not many are there who can reach it . . . . And if it be urged that since there is Devachan for nearly all, for the good, the bad, and the indifferent, the ends of harmony and equilibrium are frustrated and the law of retribution and of impartial, implacable justice, hardly met and satisfied by such a comparative scarcity if not absence of its antithesis, then the answer will show that it
is not so. `Evil is the dark son of Earth (matter), and Good - the fair daughter of Heaven' (or Spirit), says the Chinese philosopher; hence the place of punishment for most of our sins is the earth - their birth-place and play-ground. There is more apparent and relative than actual evil even on earth, and it is not given to the hoi polloi to reach the fatal grandeur and eminence of a `Satan' every day." * [ * Letter from an Adept, quoted in Esoteric Buddhism, p. 143. ]
Definition of the state of the normal individual between the two earth-lives - the devachanic - having been accomplished, further elucidation of the after-death conditions will be best carried on along illustrative lines. Let us fancy a man to be dying; then, as the soul wings its flight to other spheres, let us see what becomes of it, and of the body and the remaining principles thus freed and separated from each other and their lord.
No idle speculation is it that the dying recalls every detail of his life. As at the moment of birth the child is said to prospect its future, so at death the ego looks back over the road it has come and notes all the incidents that have befallen along the way. Anyone of mature age, reviewing his past, will find that he has lived out his whole span of years to learn but one great lesson. Throughout all the vicissitudes, changes and experiences; embedded in the tangled maze of thoughts and ideals, of unfulfilled soul-yearnings, unrealized desires; and finding its way out from under the rare glossing of felicity which shows out here and there, there runs a long dark vein, an unsolved problem, which seems to carry in it also the key to the whole life. Just above it, appearing and reappearing simultaneously with it, is a line of thought which may be said to embody the sum-total of the highest aspirations, the individual's idea of the grand purpose of life. At the moment of death, as each deed and event rush through the brain, these lines stand out brighter than the rest; all other thoughts, the aroma of every past deed, fall in harmony with them, and the vibrating organ sounds as it were but one prolonged note. And upon the final emission of the soul it carries with it this thought-summation which shall determine the nature of its future birth.
"At the last moment the whole life is reflected in our memory and emerges from all the forgotten nooks and corners, picture after picture, one event after another. The dying brain dislodges memory with a strong, supreme impulse; and memory restores faithfully every impression that has been entrusted to it during the period of the brain's activity. That impression and thought which was the strongest, naturally becomes the most vivid, and survives, so to say, all the rest, which now vanish and disappear forever, to reappear but in Devachan. No man dies insane or unconscious, as some physiologists assert. Even a madman, or one in a fit of delirium tremens, will have his instant of perfect lucidity at the moment of death, though unable to say so to those present. The man may often appear dead, yet from , the last pulsation, and between the last throbbing of the heart and the moment when the last spark of animal heat leaves the body, the brain thinks, and the ego lives in those few brief seconds his whole life over again. Speak in whispers, ye who assist at a death-bed, and find yourselves in the solemn presence of Death! Especially have ye to keep quiet just after Death has laid her clammy hand upon the body. Speak in whispers, I say, lest you disturb the quiet ripple of thought, and hinder the busy work of the Past casting its reflection upon the veil of the Future! . . . ."
The Hindus hold that if a man pronounces the name of Rama at the moment of death he will go to the Supreme. And the writer has been assured by travelers in India, that the more ignorant of the people may be often seen lying on their backs at certain hours of the day, crying constantly "Rama, Rama, Rama, . . . ." hoping that death might come upon them while they pronounced the sacred name. But what is
really meant by this mystic teaching is that he who at the moment of death has in his brain only the one dominant thought of aspiration to unity with the Supreme, will have such aspirations realized. In other words, such bliss is only for him who has held no other thought during his whole life.
The link which binds the ego to the physical body having snapped at the moment of death, the Linga Sharira separates from it, and its parts straightway commence to fall asunder, only a few months being required for it to decompose and return to its mother element, the earth. This decomposition sets free the Prana or life-essence which it has held, and this is one reason perhaps why dead substances often impart to living organisms such life-giving properties; why, for instance, the grass is always greenest on the grave.
Immediately after the dying individual has separated from the body he finds himself in the state called Kama Loka, where he is compelled to remain until he has freed himself from all the gross desires which chain him down to earth. This period, in the case of the majority of men, is one of semi-consciousness, or like a drowsy, drunken sleep; it may last a few days, or it may last hundreds of years, according to the life the individual has led, and according to the effort he has made to rid himself of his lower tendencies while alive. Having cast off the gross elements, the soul or Lower Manas is freed, and presently rejoins its spiritual half, being born into the devachanic state, and here it remains until the time comes for it to again take up the thread of destiny on earth, to suffer reincarnation.
(To be Continued.)
Restrain by the Divine thy lower self. Restrain by the Eternal the Divine. Aye, great is he, who is the slayer of desire. Still greater he, in whom the Self Divine has slain the very knowledge of desire. - Voice of the Silence.
It is just three weeks since I had an interview with Sir Rabindranath Tagore in his private suite at the Hotel Vancouver. Of that meeting, I have set down nothing in writing, and did not intend to do so, until the Editor of the Canadian Theosophist suggested that I might prepare something for the perusal of the readers of his magazine.
I approach the subject with some reluctance, for the reason that I regard certain statements that the poet made as being more or less private and personal. However, I feel that particular observations can be made which may be of interest and can be recognized as no violation of confidence.
First impressions sometimes entirely fade away. At other times they develop into fixed convictions. It is always safer in dealing with matters of this kind to reach conclusions leisurely. Tagore himself is a believer, in some degree, in the doctrine of leisure.
A sentence culled from his Victoria speech indicates that, when he said: "Compressed and crowded time has its use when dealing with the material things, but living truths must have for their significance, the full accommodation of leisure. Cramped time produces deformities and degeneracy, and the mind constantly pursued by a frenzied haste, develops a chronic dyspepsia; busy day and night, exploring work which is non human, solely for gains that are non spiritual, his sense of the human reality shrinks into utter insignificance, in a world whose pride is in vastness and in which all manifestations are predetermined in detail."
Tagore was the resplendent, towering figure at the Fourth Triennial Conference of the National Council of Education, at which world wide celebrities were present. He carried with him the atmosphere of the Orient, with the subtleties and elusiveness of the cultured Asiatic. On the occasion when he was billed to give his addresses,
thousands stood in the rain for hours on the chance of gaining admittance to the auditorium. A glamour attended his activities which no other character in the Conference was able to produce. His first address in Vancouver was on "The Meaning of Art." The other speaker on that occasion was Ernest Raymond, who is best known as being the author of "Tell England." His subject was "Through Literature to Life."
A change had been made in the programme. It had been arranged that Tagore should be the first speaker, but Raymond was first introduced, and Tagore sat in a box, while the Englishman delivered his oration, for oratory it was and very little else. The address was a masterpiece of brilliant English, given with the authority, the assurance and precision, of the highly cultured Englishman. There was in it however, no sympathy for anything but the materialistic conceptions of life. The speaker had undertaken the hopeless task of attempting to unlock the great mysteries of the absolute with an anthropomorphic key. It was an appeal solely to the intellect, from an unusual intellectual. To the intuitive, it was disappointing to feel that a splendid instrument had been lost in an orator of this calibre, who could not rise to the heights of true spiritual insight, from which alone that theme could properly be discussed.
A greater contrast between two speakers could hardly be found, in personality, in method, and in subject. Raymond, the immaculate, polished gentleman, in conventional evening dress, buoyant, on terms of complete familiarity with his audience; Tagore, stately in his robes, subdued, even gentle, he stood as one discussing with himself rather than with an audience. His fascinating personality held the attention of those to whom his words were incomprehensible. Tagore does not trade upon his wonderful personal magnetism. He gives one the impression of being shy and that he feels out of place upon a public rostrum. His voice, for so big a man; for he stands six feet in height, is a light tenor, of excellent carrying power and pleasingly penetrating.
His subject was difficult to follow, because of its unusual treatment. It was the understanding, the interpretation of one immersed in ancient, oriental conceptions, which are far removed from Western treatment of such themes. When he descended to some quaint illustration, to make his meaning clearer, his treatment was delightful in its simplicity. "A child comes to me," he said, "and commands me to tell her a story. I tell her of a tiger which is disgusted with the black stripes on its body and comes to my frightened servant, demanding a piece of soap. It gives my little audience immense pleasure, the pleasure of disinterested vision, and her mind cries out 'it is there, for I see'. She knows the tiger in the book of natural history, but she sees the tiger in this story of mine. We know a thing because it belongs to a class, we see a thing because it belongs to itself, because of its distinct individuality."
In this story, he explained his belief that an immediate consciousness or awareness of reality is an end in itself, and gives us joy. He said "This joy has its expression in the arts; the joy which we have in beauty, in love, in greatness, self-forgetfulness, and in higher degree, self-sacrifice; our acknowledgment of our experience with the infinite. This is the philosophy which explains our joy in all arts; the arts that in their creation give us an intense touch of the unity of truth which we carry within ourselves. It is love for others which reveals the reality of its object. Only in the fact that we are aware that everything else exists, do we exist."
He took one decisive slap at the books of the day when he said: "The pungency of indecency and the tingling touch of intemperance are symptoms of old age in modern literature."
Tagore made no reference either to the exoteric or esoteric side of Eastern phil-
osophy, but in the interview that I had with him, subsequently, he pointed out that the subject he was dealing with did not lend itself to any such references. He is a believer in both the doctrines of reincarnation and Karma. He is not a Theosophist in the sense that he is a member of the Theosophical Society, but, unquestionably H.P.B. would pronounce him a Theosophist in the same way as she proclaimed Count Tolstoi as being a real, practical Theosophist.
He made a kindly reference to the "Russian noblewoman" who had founded the Society, but had nothing definite to say to this question: "Do you believe that there are superior embodied mortals, known in the East as Mahatmas, arhats or adepts"? He commented on the subject of reincarnation. His conclusions, while being more speculative than definite, conveyed the impression that such is his belief.
He is a great humanitarian. Altruism and unselfishness are outstanding qualities in his life's work. He has conveyed to this, however, refined and delicate touches that can emanate only from the mind of the poet and philosopher, interested in the mysteries of occultism and mysticism. He is not influenced by the frightened prayer of a poet he quoted in one of his addresses: "Doom me not to the futility of offering eternal gifts of joy to the callous". He said, "The realm of this joy has been known to the dwellers in the land of leisure and they have said `covet not, do not nourish a longing for an acquisition which is solely for thee; for the supreme lord dwells in the all, and therefore have thy joy in him through sacrifice of self'. This is the divine spirit, the great soul who is active in the world's activities, who dwelleth in the hearts of all people. Those who realize him with a sure comprehension, in their heart and their mind, reach immortality."
Surely no more Theosophic utterance could be desired.
Hamilton, May 1, 1929.
Sir Rabindranath paid Canada a very great honour in visiting the Educational Conference in Vancouver, April 8-13. He was the bright oriental star of the occasion, and when it is remembered that he had declined to visit the Dominion on a former occasion, we believe through a misapprehension, we may take it that this visit was one of reconciliation and appreciation. The great poet did us the compliment of addressing the Conference on a high level of spiritual thought. One woman journalist in Vancouver wrote in a comic vein about the speech, and she will live to regret it. But the sensible people were deeply impressed and the Conference was evidently profoundly moved by the character and inspiration of the poet. Mr. G.R. Dolan, the principal of the Regina Collegiate said that "Dr. Rabindranath Tagore was easily the most outstanding educationist at the Conference. On the nights that he lectured there were queues for blocks waiting to get in the building and thousands were turned away. On the platform he wore long flowing robes and sandals. He has very flashing eyes and quite fair skin. He speaks perfect English, but in a peculiar high thin voice. He represented the meditative culture of the East, showing always the contrast of mediator against the thinker." We are fortunate to have a contribution which appears elsewhere from a valued Hamilton member who was present, and who said he had been greatly assisted by Mr. Kartar Singh, who had charge of most of the arrangements connected with Tagore's visit. An unfortunate incident was the mislaying of the pass-ports which gave the United States immigration officer at Vancouver an opportunity to make himself officially obnoxious. Later Sir Rabindranath said that the questions asked him, "absurd questions in the rudest manner", caused the feeling that "we are undesirable and must be treated with suspicion and discourtesy." Protests were sent to President Hoover by
the India-America Association of San Francisco, but they will be ignored. Mrs. H.P. Plumptre, wife of Canon Plumptre of Toronto, described Tagore as "simple, easy to talk to, yet aloof, the predominating figure at the National Council of Education Conference." He spoke four times, she said, and an interesting phase of his message was that Canadians should strain every effort to bring themselves into touch with the best British thought.
Before leaving Vancouver Tagore issued a message of farewell to the Canadian people through the Southam newspapers which we reproduce as follows:
"The time I have spent in Canada has been all too short, and I greatly wish I might have been able to stay longer to see your beautiful country, especially in its grand mountain ranges and where its lakes empty their waters into the mighty river St. Lawrence in your eastern provinces. I have learned to feel a great admiration for your pioneer people with their warm-hearted enthusiasm and their fresh minds. They are still so close to nature as to love her open spaces and her wide prairie lands. The invigorating climate of the cold north has kept their blood warm with human affection and I welcome with hopefulness their eager efforts to fashion a new world.
"Your forefathers have been able to win their way into the heart of wild nature as pioneers taming the savage wilderness and forest, facing fearful odds with amazing heroism and with undying energy of purpose, searching out lonely tracks along the banks of unknown rivers as they have flowed toward the Arctic north. They have threaded their railways across mountains which were once thought to be inaccessible, they have thrown their bridges over mighty chasms, thus linking the whole continent. Now has come to Canada in this generation a still greater pioneer work in human progress. For the debris of the dead past has to be cleared away in human life, the wild, untamed forces in human nature have yet to be overcome, the moral progress of humanity itself has to be pioneered by cutting down all social inequalities and, by bridging over the gulfs between rich and poor and also between the different races of mankind. To this higher service of humanity I would venture to beckon this present generation in Canada before I leave her shores. For she has that unbounded moral energy and high enthusiasm of purpose which are most deeply felt when the heart of a people is young.
"We in the older world are facing a grave breakdown in the ancient props of our civilization. From the heart of humanity rises a cry which is often a cry of despair. Knights errant of idealism are needed to take up forlorn hopes. I believe that such knights errant will be found in this nation which has not become either sophisticated or cynical, but has continued to retain the freshness of its youthful spirit."
AFTER MEDITATION - II.
In thy progression refrain from variance. The periods of one-pointedness are necessary. It is when you reach a plateau that you look around. In going to a goal of your aspiration, look neither to the right nor the left and particularly never look backwards. Learn the time of your cycle by experience, be it short or long, and in that cycle move steadily towards the aim that is before you.
The plateau is a place in consciousness for rest and digestion. The view from there must become one with you - part of you - and so in the living of an incarnation your ego creates a gallery of pictures, or you may call them milestones if you prefer it, and in the passing of earth-time you will have formed a book, the leaves of which you may turn and realize the road you have come.
It is not necessary that you either regret or appreciate these to the detriment of future progress. The importance of them is past. The emotions of the experiences
that caused them to be recorded, have done their work in the growth of your soul and when that soul is as a lamp, see to it that it is ever supplied with the oil that carries within it the mystery of Light. Wherefore should there be sorrow on this plane of earth existence? It is delusion that earth must be a vale of tears. It is a place of Caesar the King and we must render our tithes according to our capacity, never shirking our debts.
That Caesar the King has his place filled by usurpers is the mistake of the ignorant. We choose our rulers and must learn by freedom of choice. Within each ego - the limitation of perfection - is Caesar the ruler, and over Caesar is the One who deputes, the maker of kings and slaves. That One serves the many in its distribution but its essence is ever of the One. The Source fills many rivers and many seas, but their substance is the same.
Humanity is that substance; that water which manifests in movement.
Movement is the expression of the One in the many, and on the plateau we may realize the stillness of the heights and aspire in the silence and the solitude towards that ever-becoming which is the way of return to the One.
THE GENERAL EXECUTIVE
The meeting of the General Executive on Sunday afternoon, May 5, was attended by Miss Gates and Messrs. Belcher, Bridges, Housser, McIntyre and Smythe. Mr. Belcher reported that his proposed visit to London had been canceled after Mr. Wright's attendance at the last meeting, and that he had heard nothing about the London situation since. Mr. Bridges, who had been indisposed, had not been able to visit Ottawa, but undertook to arrange for Mr. Clark's visit there. Mr. Clark's tour was discussed. He was expected in Toronto and Hamilton about the middle of the month, and in London, St. Thomas, Ottawa and Montreal subsequently to the 19th. The question of funds was left over for the new Executive. It was resolved that a letter he sent to Mr. George I. Kinman in acknowledgment of his action in connection with the election, and the consequent saving of expense. It was reported that the Committee on Union had appointed a sub-committee, in view of the fact that it was not at present thought advisable to proceed with organic union, that being too large a proposal for the moment, to prepare suggestions for co-operation with a view to future organic union, and to report to the Committee. Indiscreet editorial policies on the part of the editor of the Canadian Theosophist were discussed. It was pointed out that the platform of the magazine was an open one and contributors were not numerous; that the columns were open to all sides of opinion, but that objections arose from people who could not bear to hear any side but their own; and that contributions were welcomed from all who represented Theosophical study and experience. The matter was left over for the incoming Executive. The visit of Tagore to Vancouver was reported and the valuable work clone by Mr. Kartar Singh. The thanks and appreciation of the Executive for the work and assistance rendered by Miss Gates and Mr. Bridges daring the past two years were embodied in a resolution. The new Executive will meet on Sunday, at 2 p.m., July 7. Members will please notify the General Secretary if this date suits.
The division of the history of mankind into Golden, Silver, Copper and Iron ages, is not a fiction. We say the same thing in the literature of peoples. An age of great inspiration and unconscious productiveness is invariably followed by an age of criticism and consciousness. The one affords material for the analyzing and critical intellect of the other. - Isis I. 34.
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.
- Edwin E. Bridges, 276 Prud'homme Ave., Notre Dame de Grace, Montreal.
- Miss Nellie Gates, 96 Rothsay Ave., Hamilton.
- Fredk. B. Housser, 10 Glen Gowan Ave., Toronto.
- George C. McIntyre, 20 Shannon Street, Toronto.
- Kartar Singh, 9 Toronto Street, Toronto.
- Dr. Wash. Wilke, 314 Vancouver Block, Vancouver, B.C.
- Albert E. S, Smythe, 71 Sanford Avenue South, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada.
Once more we call attention to the loss to which we are put by our subscribers who send us cheques for one dollar, which is only worth about eighty cents to us when it comes from a distance. A dollar bill is surely as easily placed in an envelope as a cheque. A postal order, if safety is considered, is the proper method of sending small sums.
The big Theosophical Convention at Chicago in August is attracting considerable attention. Mrs. Besant expects to be present and this will undoubtedly draw many members of the T.S. to the assembly. Mr. Jinarajadasa who is much the most scholarly of those in the immediate circle of the president, will also attend. Mr. Krishnamurti writes Mr. Rogers his sincere regrets at being unable to be present as his meetings in Holland prevent him.
There is just space to call attention to the letter from Mr. Arthur Hawkes which appears elsewhere. He appears to be labouring under the misapprehension that The Canadian Theosophist does not admit articles giving the other side of debatable questions. It was because of doing this that so many members withdrew, unable, apparently, to bear to listen to the other side of an argument. Our columns are always open, and contributions are always welcome.
Signora Luisa Gamberini Cavaltini writes from Via Masaccio 109, Florence, Italy, that "Col Boggiani having been compelled by the rather unsatisfactory state of his health to resign his post as General Secretary for Italy which he had filled for more than 10 years, I have been elected at the Theosophical Convention at Genoa to take his place. I must ask of all their spiritual help in order to assist me to fill effectively such a weighty post. With brotherly greetings and great best wishes."
Mary K. Neff records a miracle in the April Theosophist, which was worked for the benefit of the Master K.H. as the story alleges. "This journalist work of the Kashmiri Master explains his need of a roll-top desk and the typewriter which his great pupil, C.W. Leadbeater, long ago succeeded in placing on it, by disintegrating the machine to atoms as it stood on his own table, and re-integrating it on the Master's desk in the Himalayas. His work, however, was not always carried on in such favorable conditions."
The latest Adyar idea is to buy a padlock, open it, and repeat the following pledge in the presence of three witnesses: "I promise to try my utmost never to say an unkind thing about anyone, whether true or untrue." It is stated, reports Mrs. Besant in "On the Watch-Tower," that there are many thousands of members, scattered over fifteen countries. The padlock is to be closed after the pledge is
taken, and if it be broken the padlock is to be worn open for 24 hours. Where the padlock is to be worn is not stated. Jesus Christ would have had to open his padlock after some of his interviews with the Pharisees.
The Link for April 15 has an excellent article on "Maya Chronology and Plato's Atlantis". The corroborations of these different accounts are brought to bear upon each other, and Dr. Jowett of Balliol is shown to have known less than Plato whom he discredited. W.R. Coode Adams, Ph.D., contributes an article on "The Structure of the Atom." Langmuir's theory of the atom which "may at present be said to hold the field in the scientific world" is described. It is a cube with a negative electron at the corners and a positive electron accompanied by two negative electrons in the centre.
Members who are in arrears are unfortunately prevented from seeing the Magazine, and Secretaries and other officials of Lodges should take steps to see that this is in some way provided for, either by the loan of the Magazine, or as the Constitution expects the Lodges to do, by the payment of the dues of all those who desire to remain in membership. We are always anxious to have all members placed in good standing before the close of the year at the end of next month, so that our reports to Headquarters in India should not indicate a falling off in our numbers. Unless the Lodges and officials exert themselves during the next month this result we fear is to be looked for
"Theosophy in South Africa" announces that the General Secretary, Mrs. Annie M. Lowland, has to give up active work on account of her health. Miss Murchie will be proposed for General Secretary, but also "we understand that Captain Ransome is on his way to South Africa, and that he is to be nominated for General Secretary, with Headquarters in the Transvaal." Mr. Ernest Wood's article, asserting that Mr. Krishnamurti is a Theosophist, is reproduced, with the following editorial comment: "We feel that in view of Krishnaji's express dissociation of himself from any existing organization, such an attempt to `place' him is unnecessary and undesirable. It would be surprising indeed if, after the years of Krishnaji's training on Theosophical lines, and his close connection with our leaders, his attitude and ideals were other than Theosophical. He is a Theosophist through and through, but we feel that no good purpose can be served either to Krishnamurti or the Theosophical Society by endeavors to stress this point. There are many eminent Theosophists outside of the Theosophical Society, and we can surely leave it at that. While recognizing that the author nowhere mentions the Theosophical Society, we feel that the connection in terms is so close between the Society and the word `Theosophist' that it would be wiser not to invite from Krishnamurti an express dissociation of himself from the organization which more than any other represents Theosophy to the world."
Life, give me no apocalyptic power
To know the sombre caverns of the soul,
Or read man's destiny secure and whole
Traced in the ordered petals of a flower.
Withhold foreknowledge of the ultimate hour
When all the worlds win their supernal goal
And the unfettered floods of chaos roll
Over the rubble of our crumbled tower.
But grant me, life, capacity to see
All beauty - upstart weed or hoary elm -
Along the glamorous road by which we fare.
Grant joy and loving fellowship to me,
The raptures which all living creatures share,
And no foreboding gloom to overwhelm.
- Lionel Stevenson.
MR. CLARK'S TOUR
Beginning my tour at Victoria, B.C., on April 1st, I have now reached Edmonton, Alta., I will give you a brief summary of my impressions.
Victoria, Theosophically speaking, has been in a rather quiescent state for some time. But we have two well-instructed, staunch members in the President and Secretary of the Victoria Lodge. Regular meetings of the small band of students and members have now been started. Small in number, they are perfectly clear on the subject of the basic values of Theosophy, and in these days, this is saying much. Of the several meetings held in Victoria, one was a joint meeting of the Federation and Victoria Lodges. We had a very interesting and thoroughly fraternal discussion; but my strong impression as the result of the discussion is that between the two Lodges any hope of useful cooperation is, to say the least, highly improbable. The point of view and the attitude to life seem to me to be irreconcilable.
On the other hand, that there should be no active cooperation between the Victoria Lodge and the Independent Lodge of Victoria is a thousand pities. I met and discussed the Theosophical situation and Theosophical values with two of the most prominent members of the Victoria Independent Lodge, and it became abundantly clear that in all essential things the outlook and attitude of the two Lodges are identical.
At Summerland, B.C., owing to the serious illness of Mrs. Bentley - one of the oldest and staunchest Theosophical students in the whole Section - I was only able to spend a day with the little group there. I hope to make a more extended visit on my return journey. It would be well with Theosophy if all our Lodges were animated with the same resolute will to seek truth and follow it whithersoever it may lead as animates this little band of students in their small rural community.
Theosophy is represented in Kelowna, B.C. by Mrs. Stanley Gore, a keen student of the Secret Doctrine for many years, and a lady of unusual energy and intelligence. A study class is being organized at her home, and I shall be surprised indeed if Kelowna with its large proportion of cultured, thoughtful people should not give a good account of itself in the never-ceasing Theosophical warfare against the world's ignorance, blindness and superstition.
At Salmon Arm, B.C., there is a fairly large group of students who meet regularly and study Theosophical principles. This little group is fortunate in having at their head, Mr. Joseph Gardiner, a very old S.D. student and, in the early days was a member of H.P.B.'s esoteric group. There are also two or three students who have been studying Theosophy for upwards of 20 years. I think this group of students in Salmon Arm could do a far more foolish thing than to definitely organize themselves and throw in their lot with the Canadian Section. Their aims and ours are identical, and "unity" - the proverb is somewhat musty!
Banff is an entrancingly beautiful town in the heart of the mountains. Surely no one who has seen it can ever forget the grandeur of its setting. The memory of those soaring peaks will be to me a permanent possession. And something of the strength of the mountains seem to have passed into the lives of the inhabitants of this small town, for Theosophy is represented by a small group of the most refreshingly vigorous, sane, shrewd and intelligent men I have met with for many a day. We sat in a small office and in an atmosphere thick with tobacco smoke and quaint profanities, we discussed long and earnestly some of the deep things of life. There is hope for the rehabilitation of the Theosophical Society so long as it can attract men of this type into its Lodges.
Surely the people of Calgary are the kindest and most amiable people in all the
world. We held several very interesting meetings there which were attended by members of both the Calgary and the Federation Lodges. The meetings were characterized by an entirely fraternal spirit, and although the discussions were distinctly animated, they never degenerated into acrimonious or unfraternal wrangling. The dominating interest in the Calgary Lodge at present is Astrology.
Vulcan, Alta., is a small town to the south of Calgary. It is the greatest wheat
-distributing centre in the world, I am told. But Vulcan has other than material gifts to boast of. The Lodge there, although small, is such that I would that there were many more like it in the T.S. The refreshing directness and transparent sincerity of the members was good to see. There, in their small town, this small group of students, far from the stimulus of any large centre of population, meet regularly, and by their energy and devotion, maintain a centre of spiritual life which many a large city cannot boast of. I was not at all surprised to learn that the students there have literally saturated their minds with the ``Mahatma Letters". They have certainly caught something of the atmosphere and quality of that remarkable book, which is, I am inclined to think, the most valuable book in the language for the ordinary student. The students in Vulcan and those in Banff should be sworn brothers, and should keep in close touch with each other. In both places there is the same forthright directness, the same masculine energy which seems so pitifully lacking in the T.S. today.
And here I must be allowed a digression as I simply haven't the time to deal with the matter separately, and it really should be dealt with by someone.
I notice in the current (April) Number of the magazine a doleful plaint by an old and valued member of the Section, against an article by "W.M.W." which appeared in the March Number. Now I should have thought that the youngest and least discriminating of our members would have been aware that the all-too infrequent articles by "W.M.W." are one of the most valuable features of our magazine. I would advise all such to look up and carefully read the articles by this anonymous contributor - they will amply repay the trouble. Are we becoming utterly effeminate in the T.S.? Is the language of sincere and strong conviction become an offence to our hyper-sensitive souls? Perhaps some of our oldest members can tell me for how many long months Mme. Blavatsky ran in her magazine Dr. Hartmann's clever story "The Talking Image of Urur" - a story in which H.P.B. herself and all the prominent members of the Society were cleverly and mercilessly lampooned? There seems to have been both humour and virility in the Society in those days. But let us not despair! A way can surely be found to suit all tastes. Let us not be too proud to learn from the Anglican Church. Let us establish in the T.S. a Ladies' Auxiliary, and let membership be eligible to all mature ladies (of either sex), and let the rules be strict and appropriate. Rude people who hold that the preservation for the rising generation of vital Theosophical truths is of more importance by far than anybody's feelings, shall be rigidly excluded and confined to the gloomier and harsher sphere of the T.S. Into this new wing of the Theosophical Movement nothing that is not strictly lady-like and aesthetic shall be allowed to enter.
I contrived to draw this useful and harmless plan for the solution of our troubles down from the Buddhic plane, which, as Mr. Leadbeater assures us, is the most lady-like of all the planes; so let it not be lightly rejected.
Next month I shall tell you of my visit to Edmonton, Saskatoon, Regina and Winnipeg. I shall then possess a fairly clear picture of the manner in which western Canada responds to the Theosophy of H.P.B.
- Wm. C. Clark.
Edmonton, April 23.
AMONG THE LODGES
Hamilton Lodge had a fine address on "Art and Life" from Mr. Arthur Lismer on Sunday evening, April 28.
Toronto Theosophical Society observed White Lotus Day on May 5 by special addresses at the evening meeting by Mr. F.A. Belcher and the General Secretary; readings from the Gita by Mr. Huxtable and from "The Light of Asia" by Mr. Barr, and music by Miss Buckingham. Mr. McIntyre, vice-president, occupied the chair.
The Executive Committee of the Montreal Lodge, at its last executive meeting, passed a resolution heartily supporting the principle of a united Theosophical movement in Canada and appreciating any efforts put forth to achieve such a consummation on an equitable basis and in harmony with the motto that "There is no religion higher than Truth". The Montreal Lodge, therefore, earnestly hopes that any misunderstandings which may exist shall be cleared away and that all Theosophists in Canada may unite together for the common purpose of vindicating before the world the great principles of Theosophy and assist as best they can in proclaiming the same.
The Vancouver Lodge having found it necessary again to change its quarters, has thought to notify members and friends of the new address. We are now back on Hastings St. West, centrally located in a pleasant room at No. 337. After much thought and deliberation we have decided to divide our membership into "Inactive Members" and "Active Members". The former are to be responsible for their Section Dues ($2.50 annually). They will be eligible for attendance at all T.S. meetings, classes, etc., but will have no voice in the management of Lodge affairs. Active members will be responsible for Section Dues and for Lodge dues as well (at present 5Oc per month). In addition to privileges quoted, Active members will have voice and vote in all matters pertaining to the Lodge. We feel this is a wise move as many are debarred by absence from the city, by ill-health or other causes from participating in our activities. But by becoming Inactive members, they can for a small sum retain membership not only in the local body, but of greater importance, retain their membership in the Canadian Section and receive monthly the Sectional Magazine, the "Canadian Theosophist". Some of those Inactive members will recognize the importance and the cost of maintaining quarters where classes are held to study Blavatsky, the "Mahatma Letters," etc., and where Theosophical classics may be bought or loaned. They will, we feel sure, contribute as they can to the maintenance of our room and our library, and so lighten the burden on others. - M. D. Buchanan, Sec.
FELLOWS AND FRIENDS
Richard H. Cronyn, of the London Lodge, has been re-elected to the presidency of the London Drama League. He gave a comprehensive report of the year's productions, outlining the policy of the League, and asking the continued co-operation of the members.
Mr. Kartar Singh who was very busily occupied during the visit of Sir Rabindranath Tagore to Vancouver, in arranging, interpreting, making appointments and generally supervising, had a break-down after the strenuous time, but is now recovered. His assistance was of the greatest help to the great Indian poet and philosopher and to Mr. C.F. Andrews, who was present at the Educational Conference.
Dr. Lionel Stevenson won the first prize in a sonnet competition conducted by The Oakland Tribune, California, in which 196 sonnets were sent in. The judges
reduced these to twenty and finally awarded Dr. Stevenson's work the prize. No one knew who the authors were till the prizes were awarded and the envelopes with the names opened. We print the sonnet elsewhere. Dr. Stevenson and his mother are going to spend the summer in Great Britain and Ireland.
The West End Lodge, Toronto, has suffered a severe loss in the death on April 19th of Mr. Walter Cotton, who had been President of the Lodge for many years. His sunny disposition, which endeared him to all, and his unobtrusive enthusiasm for Theosophy sustained him until he lost consciousness. By request of Mrs. Cotton a funeral service under the auspices of the Lodge was conducted by Messrs. F.E. Titus and F. Belcher at the home on Sunday afternoon, the 21st. His body was interred in Peterborough the following day, but "his soul keeps marching on".
Mrs. Edrol Morton and her daughter Jacqueline, members of the Toronto Theosophical Society, have sustained the greatest possible loss in the death of Mrs. Morton's father, General Otter. It is a loss which the whole Canadian nation bears with them, and his long and distinguished career is a part of the national history. He was the first Canadian to become a Major-
General, and his service includes the expeditions of 1866 and 1870 and the Riel affair of 1885 when he led the famous
Battleford column. He headed the Canadian contingent to South Africa and in spite of his age volunteered for the world
war. He was given a post of much responsibility having charge of all the internment camps, the duties of which he fulfilled with his accustomed thoroughness. He died on the 6th inst. at the age of 85.
Mediumship is the opposite of adeptship; the medium is the passive instrument of foreign influences, the adept actively controls himself and all inferior [[sic]]
THE IMMORTALITY OF THE SOUL
B. - Having reached the conclusion that mind or the soul is immortal in the past and that it does not cease to be during sleep. I am curious to know if it can be shown that it does not cease to exist after physical death. You say, mind itself provides the answer?
A. - I do. And let us look into it. Mind, we have agreed, ceases to be mind if it loses the power to remember, to forget, to anticipate, to non-anticipate, to will, to attend, or to create images. All are essential to make it what it is - a something which thinks.
B. - Yes.
A. - We have also agreed that mind in sleep is still existent and, it would seem from the vividness of its mental images, that in sleep its powers are not lessened but merely transferred, in part at any rate, from the physical to the mental reality.
B. - That is so.
A. - Now the problem of death, it appears to me, is this: Does mind pass out of existence with the physical body, or does it remain with its attention turned elsewhere, say, to its stream of thought? We have agreed that certain qualities are essential to its existence. Can you point out any of those qualities which depend also upon the physical.
B. - Well, memory does not seem dependent upon it, for we can remember without a physical object. But forgetfulness may be due to a physical defect.
A. - Only, you mean?
B. - Yes.
A. - But Freud has shown by psycho-analysis (a mental process which applies the principle of association of ideas) that forgetfulness is frequently due to a mental cause.
B. - That is so; and the same arguments apply to anticipation and non-anticipation. Attention too, and will and ideation are not always dependent upon the physical. No, none of the qualities you
name are tied to the physical. But there may be other factors which make a physical brain essential to the continuance of mind. The brain is not injured in sleep, you know, and in death it is destroyed.
A. - Quite. That is the crux of our immediate problem. Let us look at death closely. When we call a man dead we mean that something called life has left the body?
B. - Yes.
A. - But mind as we have observed and described it - that is, will, attention, and so on - has also gone.
B. - That is obvious.
A. - Now does mind die with the body? It cannot be said that it does for mind it is plain to see does not disintegrate with the body.
B. - The suggestion reminds me of Edgar Allan Poe's gruesomely imaginative tales. No, at death mind must part from the body if it is not instantaneously destroyed. It may, however, disintegrate slowly apart from the body.
A. - But is mind destroyed? It is a physical infirmity which destroys the body.
B. - A mental shock has caused death.
A. - Caused the heart to stop - say. The direct cause of death is physical.
B. - That is so.
A. - We have no evidence that mind ceases at the death of the physical body, unless its existence depends upon the living body.
B. - Consciousness, or mind as we call it, may be dependent upon the functioning of the brain.
A. - But mind existed before birth, we have agreed, therefore it is not dependent upon the brain, for it must have existed before the brain was formed. Moreover mind exists apart from physical reality. In sleep or in deep thought we perceive things which have no physical reality. Again, such abstract perceptions as love and truth have no physical reality, can not have.
B. - I agree.
A. - Without memory mind could not be, without anticipation mind could not be. If anticipation is essential to mind now mustn't it always have been essential?
B. - It must. The mind could not have existed without it.
A. - Duration, one of the four faces of Brahma (S.D. I. 55, 1888 edition) seems to be indissolubly linked to mind.
B. - It does; but anticipation is not always realized.
A. - Not in the particular. I might anticipate catching a train, and not catch it. But anticipation of the future is not dependent upon particular events. Mind cannot anticipate something - the future - which does not exist.
B. - We can think of nothing.
A. - Not in reality. The idea of nothing is the idea of vacancy, of "no-thing", but the "thing" is always present in that thought. We think of the "no-thing" as in contrast with the "something".
B. - Quite true. When I fail to remember a name I am conscious of a blank but at the same time of the idea that the blank should not be there.
A. - Exactly. The future must exist for mind, and the power of cognizing the future, or anticipation, as we call it, is essential to mind's existence. We cannot think of mind as beginning. We cannot think of mind as not indissolubly linked to the future. In other words, it is unthinkable that mind should have started and it is unthinkable that it should end. Therefore mind is immortal.
B. - I cannot think of mind at any moment ceasing to be. Its essence is immortality.
A. - Memory links it indissolubly to the past, anticipation links it indissolubly to the future. Look at this idea. Think about it.
B. - I am.
A. - At what point did you come to birth?
B. - I cannot find any beginning.
A. - At what point will you cease to be?
B. - I cannot see any ending. I only know I stand before a mystery, the mystery of myself.
A. - Away back in the deep abyss of time you were; away in the long, long corridor of the future you still will be, undying, unending.
B. - I am awed. I can only - remain silent.
- Cecil Williams.
Some Quotations compiled by Edith Fielding.
I. "Pratyeka-Buddha (Sk). The same a, "Pasi-Buddha". The Pratyeka Buddha is a degree which belongs exclusively to the Yogacharya school, yet it is only one of high intellectual development with no true spirituality. It is the dead-letter of the Yoga laws, in which intellect and comprehension play the greatest part, added to the strict carrying out of the rules of the inner development. It is one of the three paths to Nirvana, and the lowest, in which a Yogi - `without teacher and without saving others' - by the mere force of will and technical observances, attains to a kind of nominal Buddhaship individually; doing no good to anyone, but working selfishly for his own salvation and himself alone. The Pratyekas are respected outwardly but are despised inwardly by those of keen or spiritual appreciation. A Pratyeka is generally compared to a `Khadga' or solitary rhinoceros and called Ekashringa Rishi, a selfish solitary Rishi (or saint). `As crossing Sansara (`the ocean of birth and death' or the series of incarnations), suppressing errors, and yet not attaining to absolute perfection, the Pratyeka Buddha is compared with a horse which crosses a river swimming, without touching the ground,' (Sanskrit - Chinese Dict.). He is far below a true `Buddha of Compassion.' He strives only for the reaching of Nirvana." - "Theosophical Glossary", H.P. Blavatsky.
II. "Pratyeka Buddhas are those Bodhisattvas who strive after and often reach the Dharmakaya robe after a series of lives. Caring nothing for the woes of mankind or to help it, but only for their own bliss, they enter Nirvana and - disappear from the sight and the hearts of men. In Northern Buddhism a `Pratyeka Buddha' is a synonym of spiritual Selfishness. - " -"The Voice of the Silence". H.P. Blavatsky.
III. (a) "In Hinayana a distinction in kind was made between the Arhat, he who has merely attained Nirvana or salvation, and the Buddha who had also attained supreme enlightenment, or, more correctly, three stages were enunciated - (1) Arhatship, or mere salvation; (2) Pratyeka Buddhahood, or private Buddhahood, supreme enlightenment for oneself alone; and (3) Buddhahood proper, supreme enlightenment gained in order to teach the world.
According to Hinayana not only is there an immense difference between each stage, but for the average man the only possible goal is Arhatship; only one out of many millions may aspire to Pratyeka Buddhahood, and only one in many cycles may attain Buddhahood. In primitive Buddhism, on the other hand, little distinction save one of degree, is made between the Buddha and his illuminated disciples, and the highest goal is open to all . . . . . . Mahayana. . . . . regarded the Arhat ideal as selfish . . . . and proclaimed that those who were content with self-salvation or self-enlightenment might aim only at Arhatship or Pratyeka Buddhahood, but insisted that its own followers preferred to abandon these lower aspirations in order that they might become all-saving Buddhas . . . . . Accordingly in early Mahayana all its own followers were called Bodhisattvas, Buddhas-to-be, as opposed to the adherents of Hinayana, who were termed Cravakas, or aspirants only after Arhatship."
(b) "The Bodhisattvas are sufficiently enlightened to be able to receive their instruction directly from the Sambhogakaya,
while the Sho-ojin is for Pratyeka Buddhas, those who aim at enlightenment for themselves alone, selfish yet capable of deep theoretical understanding . . . . . " - "An Introduction to Mahayana Buddhism", William Montgomery McGovern, Ph.D.
IV. "There is a lower order of saints called Arhats, or pratyekabuddhas. These pratyekabuddha saints are said to be of a lower order because they live alone . . . . By their spiritual endeavors, they obtain a logical understanding of the way in which all worldly things originate and pass away; and by meditation on the essence-less of all things, they attain perfect knowledge of Nirvana. They are not instructed by anybody . . . . and the instruction of others does not interest them . . . . . . . The higher Buddhas are those who aim not only at the vision of truth for destroying their inner notion of self or ego and all desires of existence and non-existence, but also at doing good to all living beings and constantly practicing the great virtues. Their enlightenment includes not only the possession of the truth indispensable to salvation, but also omniscience, universal knowledge of all details of things, and omnipotence. The perfect Buddha attains these powers not only through his prolonged meditations but also through his infinite merits of constantly performing the great virtues of charity, patience, etc. The man who aims at this superior Buddhahood is called a Bodhisattva (one who is on the way to the attainment of perfect knowledge). His superior aim consists in this that, at the cost of personal sufferings, he wishes the temporal happiness of others. He continually desires for others a temporal happiness, and for himself the Buddhahood as a means of realizing this service to others." - "Hindu Mysticism," S.N. Dasgupta, M.A., Ph.D. (Cal), Ph.D. (Cantab.)
V. (a) "Though European writers usually talk of two Yanas or Vehicles - the great and the little - and though this is clearly the important distinction for historical purposes, yet Indian and Chinese Buddhists frequently enumerate three. These are the Sravavkayana, the vehicle of the ordinary Bhikshu who hopes to become an Arhat, the Pratyekabuddhayana for the rare beings who are able to become Buddhas but do not preach the law to others, and in contrast to both of these the Mahayana or vehicle of Buddhas and Bodhisattvas."
(b) "In the Pali-Canon we hear of Arhats, Paccekas Buddhas, and perfect Buddhas. For all these the ultimate goal is the same, namely Nirvana, but a Pacceka Buddha is greater than an Arhat, because he has greater intellectual powers though he is not omniscient, and a perfect Buddha is greater still, partly because he is omniscient and partly because he saves others. - "Hinduism and Buddhism", Sir Charles Eliot.
VI. (a) ". . . . . according to the Buddhist view of sentient beings, there are four classes constituting the enlightened
or holy, and six the unenlightened . . . . . the former are the holy ones who have been partly or wholly awakened. The first two
of the enlightened four are called Sravakas (hearers of the Buddha's teaching) and Pratyeka-buddhas (self-enlightened). The two are called nijo or those who ride on the `Lesser Vehicle'. The one class is responsive to the four noble truths as set forth in the Buddha's sermons, while the other is in the process of being convinced of the truth regarding `the twelve links of causation', through their experience of things in nature. The last two are the Buddhas (fully enlightened ones) and
Boddhisattvas (due to become Buddhas), who are alive to the reality of the Universe and their duties to their fellow-creatures".
(b) ". . . . Human beings are distinctly different, so we may classify them under the following heads:
(1) Musho-ujo (Sk. agotrakah), those who have no Buddha nature;
(2) Shomonjo-josho (Sk. sravaka-yanabhisamaya-g), those who have definite sravaka nature;
(3) Engakujo-josho (Sk. pratyekabud-
dha-yanabhisamaya-g), those who have definite Pratyeka-Buddha nature;
(4) Bosotsujo-josho (Sk. tathagata-yan-abhisamaya-g), those who have definite Bodisattva nature;
(5) Fujo-shujo (Sk. aniyata-g), those whose nature is indeterminate . . . . The third (Pratyeka-buddhas E.F.) without instruction, merely by meditation on natural phenomena, may attain Nirvana, but do not become Buddhas." - "Honen's Life and Teaching". Translated by Rev. Harper Havelock Coates, MA., D.D., and Rev. Ryuyaki Ishizuka.
VII. "The Bodhisattvas are specially distinguished from the Sravakas (Arhats) and Pacceka-Buddhas or `Private Buddhas' who have become followers of the Buddha `for the sake of their own complete Nirvana': for the Bodhisattvas enter upon their course `out of compassion for the world, for the benefit, wealth and happiness of the world at large, both gods and men, for the sake of the complete Nirvana of all beings. . . Therefore they are called Bodhisattva Mahasattva.' " - "Buddha and the Gospel of Buddhism", Ananda Coomaraswamy.
VIII. (1) The Paccika Yana - (in Sanskrit "Pratyeka") means literally; the `personal vehicle' or personal Ego, a combination of the five lower principles. While - (2) the Amita-Yana - (in Sanskrit `Amrita') is translated: - `The immortal vehicle', or the Individuality, the Spiritual Soul, or the Immortal monad - a combination of the fifth, sixth and seventh." - "Mahatma Letters".
News and Notes announces that Mrs. Besant will deliver a course of Lectures in June in Queen's Hall, London, the course being that which her illness so unfortunately postponed last year, on "The Life after Death." On Sunday evenings at 7, on June 9 the subject will be "Not all of Me shall Die;" 16th, "The Facts of the Intermediate World"; 23rd, "The Facts of the Heavenly World"; 30th, "The Return to the School of Life".
THE PRATYEKA BUDDHAS
Editor, Canadian Theosophist: - Adverting to the recent correspondence in your columns on the subject of Pratyeka-Buddhas, the following extract from The Pilgrimage of Buddhism, by James Bissett Pratt, Ph.D., Professor of Philosophy in Williams College, may be of interest to your readers. In his chapter on "The Rise of the Mahayana" (p. 225), Mr. Pratt writes:
"A Pratyeka-Buddha is one who had been a learner and follower of some Buddha in a previous incarnation, yet did not succeed during the life of that Buddha in attaining arhatship, and who in a later birth, while no Buddha exists in the flesh, succeeds by solitary meditation in attaining complete enlightenment and who thereupon enters Nirvana without attempting, as the perfect Buddhas or Buddha saviors do, to pass on the enlightenment to others. The Pratyeka-Buddha is therefore contrasted with the Bodhisattva in much the same way as is the ordinary Arhat: both are thought of as relatively self-centred. The Pratyeka-Buddha is a lonely and solitary, meditative figure who emphatically `wanders alone like a rhinoceros'. He differs from the Arhat, however, in that he attains to enlightenment not through the direct teaching of a Buddha but by the ripening of much accumulated merit, and by his own meditation which develops a seed planted long ago by some ancient Buddha."
Mr. Pratt refers his readers to an article on "Pratyeka-Buddha", by La Vallee Poussin in "H.E.R.E.", which presumably is an Encyclopedia, that you will possibly be able to identify.
- R. A. V. Morris.
376 New Church Road,
Hove, Sussex, England.
12th April, 1929.
"AN IDEAL CHANNEL"
Editor Canadian Theosophist: - A strange fate brings a Theosophical infant into the movement for unifying the sundered elements of a spiritual body. No problem of separated brethren was ever solved by anyone offering advice - it is often more adventurous to give than it is to take counsel. But when a great many people, scattered over an immense territory are interested in an effort at rapprochement by a composite committee, only portions of which can meet in the flesh, it may be worth while to give a few impressions of the progress, not of the battle for there is none - but of the chances of achieving the sort of cordiality everybody desires. During the war some of us tried to bring Ontario and Quebec closer together. We found that the primary job was to develop, if we could, a friendlier atmosphere than that in which differences thrive. One or two very well-meaning men thought certain things should be laid down as indispensable to a borne entente. A zealous Ontarion at the start wished to draw a line about language beyond which, under no circumstances Ontario would go. He was like a lover asking for a kiss and showing a revolver.
Nothing like that has appeared in the communications between representatives of the three bodies which are seeking a way of unison. Nobody is eager to thresh old straw. Everybody wishes to recognize conditions for what they are. As a neophyte, one may have an advantage through not knowing anything of the causes of division. But this isn't a case of ignorance being bliss and wisdom folly. It makes one wish for friendly contact with sentiment on two matters about which he would gladly be well-informed. The first is the extent to which there are really divergent schools of Theosophic thought in Canada. The second is as to the desirability of being satisfied with a loose co-operation before we try for an organic fusion.
As less than the least of all saints, I am perfectly satisfied to try to find good fellowships on the basis of the Society's three objects, and the exposition of them found in official literature - surely the finest incentive to brotherhood and the freest freedom in the search for truth ever written. Our very freedom may be our danger - I don't know. But it will take a great deal to convince a simple member like me that there is any irremovable reason why we shouldn't have the widest difference of opinion with the cordialest co-operation in public activity. It seems to me that The Canadian Theosophist could easily be the ideal channel through which views could be exchanged. The idea occurs only as this number is almost ready for press, so it can only now be barely mentioned.
Mrs. Hampton's tour last winter showed that there are fine possibilities in following a method of co-operation that, because it does not begin with organic fusion, is likely to develop the best possibilities of fusion when the time is ripe - which I hope won't be far distant. If - but space forbids.
248 Beach Ave., Toronto, 8, May 5.
DID THE MASTERS FAIL?
Editor, Canadian Theosophist: - We world like briefly to draw your attention to a few facts, concerning your query: - "Is it true as is stated in `On the Screen of Time' (Theos. Quarterly) that the leaders of the so-called Back to Blavatsky movement believe that the Masters failed in their work through H.P.B. and that the Society which they founded no longer represents them?"
First of all, who are to be regarded as the "leaders" of the "Back to Blavatsky" movement? We suppose Dr. H.N. Stokes, the able Editor of the Critic, Mrs. Alice Leighton Cleather-Basil Crump. Mr. W. Kingsland, and The Blavatsky Assoc.; Mr. Prentice of Australia, and the Editors of
Dawn. We therefore refer your readers of the Can. Theo. to some of the written statements of the above persons, i.e. Mrs. Cleather's "Life and Work" (p. 27) "from that hour, . . . . the T.S. `failed' - failed completely as a living, spiritual Force in the World." (p. 47, p. 48) ". . . the T.S. had `failed as a living spiritual Force in the world." Her followers of the B.A. voice these same opinions of course.
The outstanding necessity today would seem to be that those same "leaders" go yet farther "Back to Blavatsky" as their own personal notions still seem to be of paramount importance, under cover of an explanation of what H.P. Blavatsky taught, as witness the Mrs. Alice Leighton Cleather-Basil Crump, Chinese Mahayana Buddhism phase, loudly applauded by Dr. H.N. Stokes, the B.A., and others. It is interesting to note in this connection that Mrs. Alice Leighton Cleather wrote less than four years previous to the publication of her "Buddhism the Science of Life", "All exoteric Buddhism is almost as misleading as other exoteric religions - though not quite." (see B.A. Proceedings No. I).
It was not "that the Masters failed in their work through H.P.B.", assuredly no, but that the people were not ready to grasp the great opportunity, and that the few of the specially instructed Inner Group "failed" - the chief failure.
The cyclic work of the Masters, however, was greater and more far-reaching than the establishing of the T.S., and if some regard the Adyar Society as a dead failure so far as it could serve as a "nucleus", yet the T.S. still flourishes in New York, U.S.A., and we venture to think there are many real Theosophists today who belong to no Theosophical Society.
-(Mrs.) J. A. Crampton-Chalk.
Victoria, B.C., April 24, 1929.
It is impossible to let Mrs. Crampton Chalk's letter pass without pointing out that she omitted to quote a very important additional comment of Mrs. Cleather's, on the same page that Mrs. Crampton Chalk cites, on this very question of the undoubted failure of the T.S. as a living spiritual force in the world. What Mrs. Cleather adds is this: "But this `dead failure' does not necessarily imply an equal failure on the part of individuals, to prove themselves such a 'Force'; nor does it mean that help is no longer extended by the Masters to `those who' as H.P.B. wrote to the Hindus, `act up to Their teaching and live the life of which They are the best exemplars (and who) will never be abandoned by Them and will always find Their beneficent help whenever needed, whether obviously or invisibly.' " - Editor.
H.P.B. LIBRARY ADDRESS
Editor, Canadian Theosophist: - Regarding a letter in the April number of your magazine signed "J.A. Crampton Clark", with address given as "The H.P.B. Lending Library, 1613 Elgin Road, Victoria, B.C." I should like to state that the Victoria H.P.B. Lending Library has never been at that address, nor in charge of the person named. The said Library is and always has been in the care of Mrs. H. Henderson, 348 Foul Bay Road, Victoria.
- Edith Fielding.
206, 27th St East,
North Vancouver, B.C.
THE H.P.B. LENDING LIBRARY.
Editor Canadian Theosophist: - The above Library, founded by Mrs. A.L. Cleather in 1917, is situated at 348 Foul Bay Road, Victoria, and is managed by the undersigned. As confusion upon this head is caused by a letter which appeared in your April issue, dated as from the H.P.B. Lending Library for which, however, another address is given, I must beg for space for a brief correction of the mistake.
Some years ago the writer of the letter referred to, being then a resident in California, asked and obtained permission to call her Library, which I had helped to
build up, a Branch "H.P.B." Lending Library. Upon the owner's removal of it to Victoria, however (where, incidentally, no branch is required), all affiliation with our Library was severed, and, as the terms agreed upon in the use of our Library's name are no longer observed it is a breach of ethics to employ the exact title of the Library founded by Mrs. Cleather to describe a defunct Branch thereof, in a letter which is a far -fetched attempt to discredit her work.
Mrs. Chalk's letter gives excellent and profitable quotations from H.P. Blavatsky, which are all in line with the book, "Buddhism, The Science of Life", cited by Mrs. Chalk in a sadly labored effort to make a "Mahayana Buddhist Church" (never mentioned in the book) loom up as a bogey! The question put, as to what need have Theosophists for a Church and creed, is so wide of the mark that discussion thereon would be a mere beating of the air so far as the book referred to is concerned - the question actually applies to the setting up of a Theosophical Church and creed on a worldwide platform in the very heart of the Theosophical Society, which is accountable for the use of the term Buddhism by the author of the book, as being now more accurate, than is the term Theosophy, to convey the original message of the Founders of the Theosophical Movement, who were all - the Masters and their Messenger, H.P.B. followers of the esoteric doctrine of the Buddha ("the patron of all the adepts", Mahatma Letters, p. 43) which is the Northern Mahayana so often given by H.P.B. as authority for her Notes in The Voice of the Silence, and they were all avowed Buddhists, whilst far beyond the fetters of any creed or Church.
Why, then, assign a deep design to impose these fetters, to a clear exposition of the Founder's teachings, when given by a devoted and faithful pupil of H.P. Blavatsky? The hunt for a peg upon which to hang a disguised personal animus is obvious. To prove it I will lend "Buddhism, the Science of Life" post paid to anyone who applies to me for it - there is nothing like first-hand judgement. The book is sold by me, by The O.E. Critic, 1207 Q Street, Washington, D.C., and by various book stores.
- H. Henderson.
The "H.P.B." Lending Library,
EVADING THE ISSUE
In the Canadian Theosophist for April, appears a letter signed by Mr. Felix A. Belcher, adverting to a contribution of mine which appeared in the March number of the same magazine. It is evident from the extracts selected for censure by Mr. Belcher, from my contribution, that he is not seriously interested in the chief theme which I was discussing. The purpose of my article was to elevate the importance of the original teachings of Theosophy. My chief contention was that much of the material appearing in Theosophical publications at present, was petty and fault finding, and, that "satirical thrusts at misguided but well-meaning personalities are indulged in too freely and with a vicious tone that hurts and wounds." I asked why it was necessary to drag personalities into the columns of the Theosophical magazine, and further inquired "why not keep these columns pure and wholesome for the writings of H.P.B. and her masters ?" My thought was that too much space was being wasted on articles that did not reflect the true Theosophical teachings and that such space should be given over to publish precious articles still available, from the pen of H.P.B. and her masters.
Mr. Belcher accuses me of violating my own canon of ethics and he is supported in this by the editor himself. The editor goes so far as to accuse "leaders" in the Society as being the first to set the example of creating dissension, and accusing and charging each other, of various breaches, of ethical and other standards.
To this accusation, I do not plead guilty. I am not interested in discussing personalities, and the only personality I referred to was the present president of the society, in connection with a warning issued by H.P.B. to American Theosophists, which applies not only to Mrs. Besant, but to each one of us, for the warning appertains to a universal weakness.
The leaders I accept are H.P.B. and her masters. All other leaders, so called, I rank as merely officers or officials. I have yet to come across an instance of any such conduct emanating from H.P.B. and the Mahatmas. In 1877, very little was known, in the Western world, at all events, of the teachings of Theosophy. For more than 25 years before that period, the Masters had been preparing the only available Messenger, (H.P.B.), for her mission in the world. In September of that year, there appeared the first outpouring of information on Theosophy, in the publication known as Isis Unveiled. Both H.P.B. and her masters, anticipated something of the duality of reception the book would be accorded. They foresaw that the orthodox would question the evidences of the genuineness of their faith. Scientists and pseudo scientists would denounce them. They would be opposed by men of letters, and various authorities, who would conceal their real belief in deference to popular prejudice.
But, in spite of this, they gave assurance that the book was written in all sincerity. It was meant to do even justice and to speak the truth alike, without malice or prejudice, and "showed neither mercy for enthroned error, nor reverence for usurped authority."
It seems to me that Theosophy must ever contend against "usurped authority and enthroned error". The proponents of these seemingly do not want to know the truth. They are not seeking it and would not recognize it, when it presented itself. This because they have shut their minds, either wilfully or unconsciously, to its recognition.
When the subject arises as to what is Theosophy as contrasted with neo or p
seudo Theosophy, the advocates of the latter are never in doubt. They accept, unquestioningly, and unreservedly, the interpretations of self appointed leaders and teachers. They are not interested in going to the fountain source of information, namely, the writings of H.P. Blavatsky and the Mahatmas. These works are now available, in their original form, and any earnest student seeking exact and untrammeled information on the subject, can find it if he will only put forth the mental effort necessary.
Theosophia, or divine wisdom, is a synonym of eternal truth. Neo theosophy and pseudo theosophy are but malignant and corrupt distortions.
I have no desire to enter into controversy with any member of the Theosophical Society. I have reached certain conclusions which I would humbly ask students who are becoming interested in Theosophy, to seriously consider.
This pretense of toleration of anything and everything connected with Theosophical activities, is entirely wrong. No man has the right to stand on a Theosophical platform and enunciate as true Theosophy what may be merely a conception of his own. The very word Theosophy had dropped out of public ken for many, many years until it was revived by Colonel Olcott, the president-founder of the Society. The same obtains to the word Occultism, which was unknown in its present sense, in the Western world, before the writing of Isis Unveiled.
While it might have been necessary in the earlier days, when H.P.B. was concerned in what a master calls "the popularizing of a knowledge of Theosophy", to seek the aid of contributors to her magazine, that need is not with us today. We have in abundance all that was written by her and her Teachers, from the seat of instruction, from 1875 to 1891. There is material enough there to fill the magazines
for years to come, and it is being largely neglected.
Many of the articles that are now appearing as interpretations of Theosophy, in my opinion, are dangerously misleading and should not be published by any conscientious editor without a footnote, stressing that such interpretations are merely the outpourings of a particular individual understanding.
My attitude of mind on this subject, I recognize, is not acceptable to my critics. I am pleading for no personal recognition. It has been my Karma to contact the sources from which all present leaders, prophets, apostles, interpreters, evangelists of Theosophy could have gained their knowledge. I have my own convictions as to the accuracy of my conceptions, but I am not suggesting that others should accept them without severe examination.
I do not thrust them on any one. I do not ask you to take what I accept. I merely point out to you the source where you can find instruction from advanced brothers. Seek there for guidance and direction; establish your own conclusions and convictions from such source and no other.
I am simply and earnestly asking that the interpretations of the incompetent, which may be specious, be not accorded the prominence that those who control Theosophical magazines in the present day, feel they are entitled to command.
To be denied access to the columns of a magazine on the pretext of a violation of the canon of non-discussion of personalities, is not Theosophical. In the first place, so far as I am concerned, I insist there has been no violation.
The chief purpose of the writer, is to implore sincere students to take advantage of the opportunity that now presents itself of studying the doctrines of Theosophy as they were originally given out and by those who were competent to teach: and to waste not precious time on the unworthy.
"BUDDHISM, THE SCIENCE OF LIFE"
This most valuable little book has entered its second edition. I am sorry I did not see the first edition, but better late than never. Mrs. Alice Leighton Cleather and Mr. Basil Crump who are the authors and compilers, have laid us all under a debt of gratitude for the concise way in which they have brought together a large number of the more essential things that Madam Blavatsky set before us, along with some corroborative material and testimony from the highest authority available in Asia. Both the authors belong to the Blavatsky tradition of Theosophy, and they have been through their baptism of fire, having been assailed and being still assailed by envious and ill-natured persons who cannot see the wood on account of the trees. There is much in the book that may puzzle the beginner, but it is quite the best thing for him that he should puzzle a little, and find out some things for himself, instead of having a panada made for him which he learns to think of as a sacrament. The one thing that is healthy for us about our food, whether mental or physical, is to know that we have to chew it for ourselves. There has been much dispute over whether Theosophy is Christian or Buddhist or Hindu. It is none of these. But each of them is based on Theosophy. I have used Christianity as a medium for Theosophy because most people in this land are familiar with the Christian speech and symbols. Mrs. Besant and her friends are devotees of the Hindu forms and language. Mrs. Cleather follows Madam Blavatsky and Col. Olcott in choosing Buddhism as the vehicle in which Theosophy may find clearest expression. The absence of ritual observance and the reliance on Karma and Reincarnation are great helps in this respect. Still more interesting is the actual relationship shown to exist between the present Buddhist Hierarchy and the Elder Brothers. Vexed questions as to authority of the Hinayana and the Mahayana
will no doubt raise argument and dispute, but the earnest and truth-seeking student should have little difficulty in finding his way with the assistance which this book provides. Remarkable as the book is, perhaps the most striking thing about it for many readers will be the illustrations and fac similes. There are a dozen of these and they include portraits of His Serene Holiness The Tashi Lama and Madam Blavatsky, and a number of other interesting matters. However, it is to the substance of the book that one turns with real satisfaction. "In these pages," states the Foreword, "we endeavour to show that Buddhism, especially the Esoteric Mahayana, is not only deeply philosophical, but also possesses a system of Evolution far more comprehensive than the Darwinian, from which it differs radically concerning the antiquity and origin of Man." These writings have been so acceptable to the Buddhist authorities that a translation has been made into Chinese by Mr. B.T. Chang, of the Bureau of Economic Information, Chinese Government, and Governor Jui-lin expressed strong approval of the views embodied in the book, considering them "a correct exposition of the Mahayana doctrine as taught in China." It is interesting to find the following statement thus endorsed: "The Western world has always scoffed at H.P. Blavatsky's statements that the Adepts or Arhats exist as living men, that she was taught by them, and that they are the custodians of an archaic Esoteric Doctrine which was taught by the Buddha to `the select circle of his Arhats' (The Secret Doctrine, Introd. xx. 1888 Edn.). They belong to the Order of the bodhisattvas or Nirmanakayas, who renounce Nirvana in order to remain with and help humanity. In China I find that a careful distinction is drawn between the self-sacrificing Bodhisattva (Ch. Puti-sato, abbreviated to Pusa) and Arahant `who has aimed at and attained self-realization' (Buddhist China by R.F. Johnston, p. 81). This distinction was first made clear to the Western world by H.P. Blavatsky (See The Voice of the Silence, note 43 on `The Buddhas of Compassion')." The Hinayana Buddhists, it is pointed out, "with a, few exceptions, deny that Buddha had an esoteric doctrine, maintaining that the whole of his teachings are contained in the Pali Canon." The Chinese Buddhists assert that "formerly there was an Esoteric Doctrine (Ch. Pi-mi-chih-tao-li) in China, but it was suppressed by one of the Ming emperors on account of dangerous applications of its teachings, and now they have to seek esoteric instruction in Tibet." Mrs. Cleather quotes from an article by Rev. Zitsuzen Ashitsu (of the Tendai School in Japan): "Without deep meditation and a full understanding of the doctrine of Enlightenment, no one can attain to onement with the Master within. He that would know the spirit of the Good Law should not idle away his time in books and scriptures, nor fatten upon the thoughts of others, but should meditate upon his own state of life and conduct, closely guard his mind and senses, and learn who, in himself, it is that thinks and feels; this being the key that opens the gate which leads into the Path of Buddha." We have been hearing this teaching lately from an unexpected source, and it all corroborates H.P.B.'s inmost teaching, sweeping aside all the psychic revelations and the voluminous lucubrations in the endless volumes of recent years. Mrs. Cleather emphasizes four points that the west should be acquainted with - "Man is potentially immortal; every man is born on earth again and again; the Law of cause and effect; men are one in essence." Mr. Crump writes luminously on "Tibetan Initiates on the Buddha," and follows it with a most compact and lucid account of the leading facts of the Secret Doctrine and its Teachers, covering about fifty pages. The whole book is a contribution not only to the enlightenment of the West but also to the formation of a wise and well-based Asiatic union of the Buddhist peoples. As Ossen-
dowski has written: "This great continent of mysterious Pontiffs, Living Gods, Mahatmas, and readers of the terrible book of Karma, is awakening; and the ocean of hundreds of millions of human lives is lashed with monstrous waves." One feels that this little book is capable of doing much for the vast continent as it may do much for any individual who will make it his study. The Peace of the Buddha, that passes understanding, dwells in it, and the Love of the Master, and the Fellowship of Life Eternal.
[[Photo]] Mr. Fletcher Ruark Nominated by Montreal Lodge and elected recently to the General Executive for 1929-30.
THE TROUBLE OF THE BODY
Do not let the trouble of the body eat into the mind. Keep your mind free. Sometimes this courage and this happiness will cure the ill. The body is not always master of the mind; it should be the servant. The mind should be the master. The will should dominate. It can control in many things the body; it can make cures of illness. The West has suddenly discovered this as a new thing; the East knew it always . . . . If there was no evil, only good, how could the will be strengthened? If his way was always clear before him he would degenerate to a machine that runs on rails. Evil is necessary, and the same power that made the good made the evil also, for its own righteous purpose. Therefore this world is not the Devil's world, but God's. It is full of beautiful things made for our happiness; it is full of evil things to make us strong. - H. Fielding Hall, The Inward Light.
The only decree of Karma, an eternal and immutable decree, is absolute Harmony in the world of Matter as it is in the world of Spirit. It is not, therefore, Karma that rewards or punishes, but it is we, who reward or punish ourselves, according to whether we work with, through and along with Nature, abiding by the laws on which that Harmony depends, or - break them. - S. D., I. 643.
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