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VOL. X., No. 8 HAMILTON, OCTOBER 15th, 1929 Price 10 Cents
Now that the Theosophical World Congress is a thing of the past and it does not yet appear what shall be as the result of the General Council meeting in December at Adyar, it behooves all earnest and sincere Theosophical students to bethink themselves what they mean by their Theosophy, what they aim to do with it, what they owe to it, and what they must repay. We have dinned into the minds of our readers for ten years past that Theosophy is not to be learned from another. We must create our own Theosophy out of the life we live.
Patanjali tells us that the Universe exists for the experience of the soul. What is each of us getting from this experience - from the Universe? Whatever it may be we must pay for it, and it all depends upon what our desires are whether we pay in blood and tears or in the songs and ever-lasting joy that enraptured the old prophets.
One might think that no member of the Theosophical Society who takes a lead before the public had ever heard of Madam Blavatsky for all the word that is spoken of her. We are directed to world teachers who tell us the old story in its elementary principles and quite rightly throw us back on ourselves but without science or philosophy to assist us. Some say we do not need science and philosophy, and perhaps some of us don't, or, if we did, would not know what to do with them. But the fact is that the world where it had the opportunity to study the writings of Madam Blavatsky was greatly helped, and said so, and there continue to be students of The Secret Doctrine who have no scorn for that marvelous book, but delight in its laws which are the laws of perfect freedom.
The world has had a great example set it lately in the success of the Labour Party in the British Parliament and its administration of government generally. This success has been attained by the hard steady work since 1884 when the Fabian Society was founded, of a group of workers who applied themselves on scientific principles to study and understand history, politics, economics and sociology generally. If our students had been as keen in the study of the anthropology and the cosmology of The Secret Doctrine, so that they could have explained it to other people, and made themselves such masters of it that they could not have been tempted away from it by false gods and the folly of astral seers, the world would have had in religion and philosophy, a body of men as successful in their knowledge and practice as the Fabian Society has turned out in politics.
Let us not despair, however; there are many who have not bowed the knee to Baal or any other image, and if they will only touch each other's hands and look in each other's eyes in brotherly greeting the situation may still be saved. It must be a demo-
cratic and friendly spirit that draws such students together, and the sense of "holier than thou" or of superior wisdom or rank must have no place in the fellowship of our Lodges.
We set out to bring joy and peace to the world; to relieve the distresses of mind of those who found the problems of life insoluble; to teach people contentedness and serenity; to emancipate them from the snares of the world and the flesh. What have we done? We have made little or no impression on the selfishness of the world which is the cause of all the trouble; we have added to its ignorance by a flood of literature which has not only darkened council but deceived; we have set men and women following in the old foolish way after leaders and teachers outside themselves, instead of pointing the way to the only Master in our own hearts; and we have given Theosophy a reputation which has made it offensive to the majority who have heard of it.
Never mind! There is no karma that cannot be surmounted by effort and patience; there is no darkness that will not disappear before the Light; there is no selfishness that will not yield to the Spirit of Love. Let us take heart and rejoice in what we have learned, in the opportunities that lie before us, and in the Great Life to which we belong. We have been human and therefore fallible and erring. Let us week the Divine in ourselves and leave the false and the transient to pass as the night passes before the dawn. All men are our brothers. Our courage is equal to the task.
There is nothing that makes a man suspect much, more than to know little: and therefore men should remedy suspicion, by procuring to know more, and not to keep their suspicions in another. What would men have? Do they think those they employ and deal with are saints? Do they not think they will have their own ends, and be truer to themselves than to them? - Bacon.
THE EXILE OF THE SOUL
VII. THE MYTHOLOGICAL PROBLEM.
In the preceding article I have offered a brief version of an ancient formula as an approximation to the truth underlying Christian theological distortions of the tradition of the fall and redemption. I have claimed for the formula that it is a key, not only to the understanding of the Christian mythos, but to the interpretation of all other mythological systems. I am now under obligation to demonstrate that it is as I have said.
It should require no great space to prove that Christianity, however bitterly theologians argue for its historicity, is a mythos like all the others. It is true that for many centuries, during which there was a poverty of comparative data, the theologian had little difficulty in persuading men that the miraculous birth, the escape from slaughter in infancy, the baptism by the forerunner, the transfiguration on the mount, the temptation, the crucifixion, and ascension of Jesus were unique in religion, and were celebrations on the part of God of His special paternity of the Judean redeemer. Neither was it difficult in those days to argue that the sayings of Jesus embody a truth and ethic previously unattained by any sage or prophet among men.
A better informed generation knows now, from archaeological research and the inflow of Eastern scriptural writings, that every religion has had its virgin mothers, most religions several of them, Virgin birth is now recognized to be much more a spiritual than a physical fact. Better philosophers than ours find something ridiculous in our Christian insistence on a foolish and unnecessary trick by which a God would distinguish this unique Son from
the multitude if other ordinary sons. The slaughter of the innocents by Herod has never been taken as fact except by the credulous. So wholesale a massacre would have been corroborated by a dozen classical historians. Now we know that an identical legend forms part of the symbolic story of every avatar in his infancy. Buddhist Gautama, Hindu Krishna, Egyptian Horus, all had similar escapes from the powers of evil, and in the Egyptian mythos, the jealous ruler was actually called Her-rut, the "slayer of the youngling in the egg". Even Herod seems to have been used mythically. All religions have the illustration as a symbol of the passing under the waters, or plunging in the waters of desire. Most religions have a transfiguration on the mount, and of some of these other transfigurations, notably the Buddhist and Egyptian, ours is only an attenuated shadow. Even our cherished cross is a universal glyph of the process by which a superman sacrifices himself for an erring race, and is the symbol of the means by which, having done it, he rejoins the Oversoul. Gautama Buddha is marked with a cross on his fore-head; Krishna is transfixed to a tree by an arrow in a cruciform attitude; Horus is crucified on an orb between two trees or "breathers"; Bacab in ancient Yucatan is crucified between two revilers in Tzonpantli, the place of the skill. All redeemers ascend to heaven after their work is done and take their place with the Father. The husband of the Virgin of the world is always an artificer, Vulcan, mate of Venus Urania; Joseph of Mary; Seb of Isis; Prihaspati of Soma. The secret teaching is invariably given on mounts of vision; the twelve apostles have their parallels in the twelve labors, the twelve adversaries of Buddha, twelve initiations, twelve Zodiacal signs and the twelve powers in the body along the girdle of the beast. The avatars are always fishers of men, or shepherds of men, or both. There is always an adversary who has been cast out in some fabulous war in heaven.
Even the Logia or sayings of Jesus, clung to so desperately by men whose business it is to prove that they are selling an exclusive line of goods, are not original with the Christian scriptures. They all have their earlier parallels, often richer and fuller than the fragments which survived our era of patristic bigotry. The Sermon on the Mount is age-old and was never spoken extemporaneously. It was obviously written. The Lord's Prayer has earlier parallels for every phrase, so also have the parables. The whole story of Jesus from Gethsemane to the end is not a historical narrative. It is a scenario for the secret mystery drama of the early Christians, that drama to which St. Paul refers when he says: "O foolish Galatians, who hath bewitched you, that ye should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ hath been evidently set forth, crucified among you?"
To the kind of man for whom there is more virtue in a story if it be given time and place, and if all the events in it are actual, this passing of the treasured marvels of the historical life of Jesus into spiritual myth is a desecration. To the thinking man such a spiritualization opens a door into wisdom. History, he knows, is shadow; myth is the effort of the creative mind to explain the truth behind shadow. A historical event is over and done with; a myth is ongoing and eternal. Sallustius, the Neoplatonists said of Greek myths - and of all myths: "These things never were; they always are."
As the Christian fable resumes its place among the cosmic stories of the world, it takes on dignity. The tradition, once frankly allegorical, then reduced for so many centuries to the imbecility of unrelated fact, stands again abreast of the great spiritual dramas of the race, and may be interpreted by means of its parallels.
There are three kinds of modern writers about mythology. The first are the few who see in it a secret tradition passing from generation to generation, kept always
in the world for returning and returning souls as they become in time pure and intuitive enough to receive it. They interpret the parallels of religion and myth as meaning that all systems emanate from the one body of truth available to all sages. These myth-interpreters have their reward in the wisdom that comes of discerning similarities and in the power that comes of teaching.
The second are the mythologists who with a great parade of scholarship and scientific method, but with a definite intention, none the less, to bring in a verdict for the uniqueness of Christianity, plunge into the subject and emerge presently with a book that proves, by disparaging all other faiths, that Christianity is the sole and effulgent light of the world. These get their reward in professorships, curatorships of museums, editorships of safe books and occasionally a bishopric. They produce many books but are not extensively read. Their celebrity arises chiefly from the fact that they quote each other approvingly. It is very doubtful, for instance, if you have ever read a book by J. Estlin Carpenter, or Professor Grant Showerman or Dr. Pfleiderer, but if you have ever read any book in this class, you are sure they are great men.
Third are the mythologists who, having observed the success in our time of the materialistic doctrine of evolution, have endeavored to interpret mythology along lines parallel to it. They decide that myths evolved with man. All religious fables, they say, arose out of primitive misapprehension and superstition, and all religion is the philosophization of the errors of savage belief. These mythologists try, according to various formulae, to probe the benighted mind for the influences - hunger, fear, cruelty, and lust - that were the first parents of religious belief. If they are consistent in their theory, of course, they have to find that Christianity is similarly a collection of rationalized outcroppings of savagery, but their art and usually their fame is in the measure of their skill in not saying so in a manner that will give offence. Most of them make a slight, but still discernible, genuflexion as they pass the altar. They have their reward in being acclaimed as very scientific and uncompromising, and are said to be abreast of modern culture. They produce many books and are most widely read of the three classes. None the less they are a puzzled lot.
Their first difficulty arises out of the fact that none of them has ever succeeded in proving that a religion evolves, or even improves as time goes by. Like the Christian apologist whose business requires him to demonstrate the superiority of Christianity, they have carried a partial conclusion into their impartial enquiry.
Every datum of religion indicates that a religious system does not evolve. It always degenerates. It is never born of human ignorance, but of human vision. The normal habit of mankind is not to enrich the lucubrations of the village idiot, but to cheapen and miss the point of the sentences of the village wise man. The best Christian to date has been the inspirer, whoever he was, of the Christian renewal of the wisdom tradition. No Christian would contend for a moment that the founder of Christianity had been surpassed or improved on. The best Buddhist so far, and the wisest, has been Gautama Buddha. The best exponent of Bhagavad Gita has been the teacher who uttered it. There has been no Platonist greater than Plato, no teacher of Yoga greater than Patanjali, no exponent of Veda greater than Veda Vyasa, no Hermetist greater than Hermes, no Zoroastrian greater than Zoroaster, nor any Vedantin greater than Sankara. A stream does not rise higher than its source. What student would be so foolish as to read the five thousand words of Lao-Tsze and then examining modern Taoism with its devils and its shamanism, declare that the present form had evolved? A garment evolves? It evolves tatters and filth.
We have no trouble demonstrating the
degeneration of living religions, where we can find something of the personality of the prophetic founder and his apostles. Why then should we suppose that a different law supervenes when the personalities of the founders are missing? Or why should we, having a system, refuse to believe there was a founder? Whatever is true of religions whose whole duration falls within the historical period is true also of those whose start was prehistoric. Why accept a Jesus or a Lao-Tsze or a Buddha and reject an Orpheus or a Hermes? And finding the degraded fragments of an older faith why should we suppose them to have had an origin different from that of the degraded fragments of a younger one?
If the older forms are more corrupt it is not because they have had a different kind of origin, but, obviously, because they are older, and more thousands of misunderstanders of the first ideal have had a chance to corrupt them. One selfish or stupid man can defile a whole sect; he can disgust the more intelligent members of it with his distortions of truth until, when they go elsewhere, he can have only the people foolish enough to perpetuate his follies. How great then can be the destructive effect on a religion of the entry into it of thousands of self-seeking and inferior men who make filthy its first intent. With such a destructive process in mind it is not hard to foresee the time, for instance, when the selfishness and bigotry of the followers of Christianity encrusting it with their dogmas of papal infallibility, of sacraments that are pure whether the priest is or not, of plenary absolutions, of indulgences, of extreme unctions, of assumptions of Mary; their fetichism of sacred hearts, of charms and amulets and scapulars, of magical waters, of reproduced stigmata, and bones and nails and bits of wood, of Veronica's napkins, will make Christianity no longer fit for the use of the higher kind of intelligent humans and will hasten it down the long road to voodoo and tribal magic.
In the meantime thinking souls will have enlisted under other and newer teachers, no more inspired than the Christian and no less Sons of the God, but with a restored and cleaner magic. If in lives to come one of our present Christians happen on broken shards of the Christian vessel and thinks of them as born of the mistakes of savage minds, he will be making the same error about the Nazarene that our mythologists make about the forgotten northern sage whose wisdom remains to us in the Elder Edda, or about that Thoth-Hermes whose vision became the hocus-pocus of a thousand Egyptian cemeteries.
This is the prime reason why the evolutionary mythologists are puzzled. If you are quite sure that nine-tenths of the material of your study is nonsense, it will be fatally easy for reasons of mental laziness alone - to give up your effort to understand a difficult problem, and assign the whole thing to the nonsense division. The man who is satisfied that the earth is flat and that the sun goes over and under it, can never become a distinguished interpreter of Copernicus, nor will any man who thinks compassion a waste of time make much of the sayings of Gautama Buddha. Neither will anyone who is sure the science of philology was invented yesterday have the patience to unriddle the Cratylus of Plato. Instead you will find him saying, "Plato, so intelligent about other matters, was ignorant and credulous in his tracing of the origins of Greek words, and his Cratylus has no scientific value." Which is to say that the clear-eyed Plato, in spite of the strictest habit of examination of any philosopher we have ever known, in spite of a lifetime in the use of Greek, in spite of association with the greatest trained minds of the golden age of Athens, in spite of an intimate knowledge of the several dialects and related languages, the possession of dictionaries that have disappeared, for all he pondered words and was the greatest classical user of them, for all he was the avowed continuer of the then-extant lore of
Orpheus, Onomacritus, Pherecydes, Aglaophamus, Homer, Pythagoras and Pindar, word makers and users, knew less of these things than a foggy-minded English or German curate.
Similarly you will find such a Grad-grind writing, "The Greek mind, of course, was incapable of understanding such and such a thing" or, "It never occurred to the ancient Egyptian that -", or "The Hindu could not conceive of -", or when Homer does not specifically mention something, saying "It is certain that Homer knew nothing of -". Sometimes you will find one of these omniscient gentlemen writing this kind of nonsense: "The figure of the infant Horus with his finger upon his lips was long considered a symbol of secrecy, and was used as such by Egyptian, Greek, and Roman secret societies. Modern research shows that it meant nothing of the sort; that it was merely a sign of childish innocence." That is to say, the societies that used it and the sculptors who made it with such a use in mind, as a sign of the inviolability of a mystery cult did not know why they used it or why they made it. What is one to do with minds like these? Yet such are the constant processes of argument brought to bear on the modern interpretation of myth. These are the absurdities inseparable from an evolutionary theory of religion.
With this habit to defeat their best endeavors it is easy to see why our interpreters of religious fable do penetrate far into the mystery. They have in recent years worked out a definition of myth on which most of them agree. In the version of W. Sherwood Fox it is as follows:
"A myth is a statement, or virtual statement as implied in a symbol, an attribute, or an epithet, accepted as true by its original maker and his hearers, and referring to the eternal nature and past acts of beings greater than man, and frequently to circumstances which to us are improbable or impossible."
It is the requirement of this school of thinking that the phrase "accepted as true by its original maker and his hearers," should mean that it was accepted as literally true, or if some element of symbol did enter in it must be such a symbol as could be easily grasped by child-like minds. If one suggests that it may have been offered as philosophical or mystical allegory, these mythologists reply that being born of savagery it could have had only a trifling interpretation. Under no circumstances must you attribute a high meaning to it although it is permissible to attribute ever so far-fetched a low one. Their dogma is that because it originated early in the history it must have a less profound value than if it had appeared later. Which is the same as saying that all later poets must be superior to all earlier ones, that all later philosophers must be wiser than all earlier philosophers and all later teachers more profound than all earlier ones. Which of course is nonsense.
The outstanding fact about human thought is that wisdom is where you find it and you are more likely to find it in a document of tradition that has had the power to move many persons over a long period of time. The great myths may easily have been - indeed the mass of evidence is in favour of their having been - the symbolical expressions of ideas from which we are excluded because of materialistic prejudices. The same Sallustius I quoted before had another wise saying about which is a key to the art of myth reading. It was that when the events of a myth become improbable or impossible as literal fact it became the duty of the student to look for a spiritual fact. Only an evolutionary mythologist can assume that these early poets and seers must have been fools offering impossibilities to credulous listeners. By the rules of his game he must think Keats a fool for telling people that jocund day ever stood tiptoe upon a misty mountain-top.
The central clause is valid enough but it is insufficient to account for the facts. He says that myth refers to "the eternal nature and past acts of beings greater than
man." What it needs to complete it is an idea, as easily available to Dr. Fox as it is to any other reader. It is to be found throughout the pages of the best and wisest teachers of the various systems
- that most of the beings greater than man, whose eternal nature and past acts form the body of myth, are none other than man himself. The rest are man's adversaries here upon earth.
Pythagoras is clear upon the point so far as Greek myth is concerned. So is Empedocles and so is Plato. So also are Plotinus, Plutarch, Iamblichus and Proclus. Hermes Trismegistus, the Egyptian, leaves no doubt of his belief that men are fallen divinities. The Hindu sages, Krishna, Gautama, and Sankara, taught it. So did the Chinese Lao Tsze, Lich Tsze, Chuang Tsze, Confucius, Chu Hse, and Wang Yang Ming. No one can read the Gathas without recognizing it as fundamental in Zoroastrian belief; the Sufis taught it, and so did the Christian Gnostics. It is in the Eddas, the Quran, and the Kabalah. It is in our Christian tradition.
Why then, if it is so evident that all the myths deal with a golden age before the descent of the Divine Egoes, a bondage or enchantment here in the hands of the adversaries, and a return again to our earlier home, do not modern mythologists accept it?
Because they do not want it. And honest use of their scientific method would dictate that they report the phenomena as they find them saying, these are the beliefs and although we do not hold them, these foolish and credulous people did. They are not so honest, they repudiate the philosophy that accompanies the stories and assign meanings they themselves can believe. The only reason for thinking an ancient Mayan could possibly believe the ocean swallowed the sun at night and disgorged it in the morning is that Sir Bertram Windle had the kind of mind that permitted him to believe the Mayan could.
Just as surely as the Christian apologists are pledged to the belief that Christianity is the true light, so the evolutionary mythologists are pledged to the idea that evolution is the only true theory of man on earth, and no matter what the facts, they will bring in their predetermined verdict. That man was once higher than he is and is now below his true place is a defiance of Darwin and Haeckel and although you may say what you please about God, Darwin and Haeckel are sacred. Too many men have invested their reputations in them.
Meanwhile, the contradictions involved in the life, let us say of Dionysos, the heights from which he has come, the degradations to which he has fallen and the heights to which he will again ascend, clear enough as Proclus explains him, must be modernly interpreted as the sap in the grapevine. Prometheus, the god who fell into the bondage of the earth forces, so revealing a figure in Aeschylus, must remain a primitive savage who discovered fire; the Kumaras or celibate youths who descended into half animal bodies to redeem them, must have their interpretation in sex magic and taboo; the Chinese men of old time who knew the Tao and lost it, must be understood as skin-clad Barbarians of a pastoral age. The key that would reconcile the contradictions and thus lead to a useful conclusion these mythologists reject because they do not want the conclusion.
The fables of redeemers, understood in all the older faiths as types and exemplars of man himself, of the ego of each of us, are "culture-heroes" and no more. The fables of Orpheus who came down into the place of shades for Eurydice, of Persephone drawn down into the realm of Pluto, of Herakles who toiled for the liberation of men, of Perseus who freed Andromeda from the sea-monster, of Theseus who defeated the minotaur, of Apollo who slew Typhoeus, of dismembered Osiris assembled and raised again, of the Greek Sons of the Sun besieging the stronghold of the Sons of the Moon to free Helen, Rama the Son of the Sun freeing Sita from the
moon host, Arjuna and his four brothers all the Sons of the Sun defeating the Kurus or Sons of the Moon. Vainamoinen defeating the evil magician Lemminkainen, the Volsungs toiling to save a lower race, are nothing but childish efforts of the dawn of human intellect to celebrate their tribal strong men? It doesn't seem reasonable. There is too much power in the stories. They have moved too many wise men to vision. If they do not move mythologists to vision the implication is plain.
(To Be Continued)
It is the most momentous question a woman is ever called upon to decide - whether the faults of the man she loves are beyond remedy, or whether she is competent to be the earthly redeemer, and lift him to her own level. - Oliver Wendell Holmes.
BOOKS WORTH WHILE
- ANCIENT AND MODERN PHYSICS, Thos. A. Willson $1.00
Invaluable for the beginner in the knowledge of Theosophy.
- THE EVIDENCE OF IMMORTALITY, Dr. Jerome A. Anderson, $1.00 Unexcelled in the clearness of its statements.
- ESOTERIC CHARACTER OF THE GOSPELS, H.P. Blavatsky $1.00
- COURSE IN PUBLIC SPEAKING, Roy Mitchell, $3.00 Written specially for Theosophical Students.
- HINTS ON THE STUDY OF THE S D, Roy Mitchell 10c
ONLY A FEW OF THE ABOVE NOW LEFT.
THE BLAVATSKY INSTITUTE
52 ISABELLA STREET TORONTO
THE STUDY OF " THE VOICE OF THE SILENCE."
By James Morgan Pryse.
THE VALUE OF THE " VOICE."
(Continued from Page 221.)
Taking the Voice into consideration as a whole, what is the especial excellence that makes it so valuable to students of Theosophy, particularly to those who aspire to become proficient in occult Meditation? Its worth is not due to any new disclosures of things esoteric; for, in fact, it gives out little, if anything, that is not to be found in earlier works printed in English and easily accessible. Written in semi-poetic style, which is its chief literary charm, it lapses into many stylistic inelegancies and even actual solecisms. Its figurative language abounds in tropes that are catachrestic and metaphors that are very badly mixed. These, however, are merely literary blemishes, which, although they detract from the beauty of the work, do not affect its teaching, and are therefore of little moment. Very impressively, often in sublime terms, H.P.B. has set forth, in brief compass, though not very systematically, the essential instructions for the aspirant who, having by intelligent study and intuitive perception become convinced of the actuality of the Sacred Science, yearns to enter the Light and ascend by "the small old path" to the divine world where his immortal Self has for ages awaited him. And these instructions are given him, not formally and scholastically, but in the form of glowing, soul-stirring precepts. Eloquently he is exhorted to make the sublimely heroic "flight of the alone to the Alone." The Way is pointed out with positive certainty by one who has ascended by it and knows from experience all that may be encountered in following it. So the aspirant is heartened to make the attempt; and even before he takes the first step upon the Path he gains assurance and strength, absorbing them, as it were, from
the psychic and spiritual energy that vitalizes the instruction given in the Voice.
According to the title-page, the three Fragments which make up the Voice are from the Book of the Golden Precepts. In the Preface H.P.B. states that the "maxims and ideas" in that book "are often found under different forms in Sanskrit works." She says that she had "learned by heart, years ago," thirty-nine of the treatises contained in the Book of the Golden Precepts, and so her translation was made from memory. That much is clear; but what follows it is rather ambiguous. After stating that "such ethics fill volumes upon volumes in Eastern literature," and proving that statement by quotations, she goes on to say, in the next paragraph, "Therefore it has been thought better to make a judicious selection only from those treatises which will best suit the few real mystics in the Theosophical Society." If the word "treatises" here harks back to the "thirty-nine treatises," then it must be understood that the Voice is derived wholly from them; but if it refers to treatises found in the volumes of Eastern literature, then the statement should be taken as a blanket acknowledgment of indebtedness to other Eastern Scriptures. The wording of the statement seems to favour the former conclusion; but the latter, though it may appear a bit strained, fits the facts, while the other does not, inasmuch as the Voice does contain selections from divers Eastern Scriptures. It is really anthological, though the bulk of it is derived from the Book of the Golden Precepts.
The Three Fragments
Fragment I. of the Voice treats of Occult Meditation, the mental discipline by which the Shaktis (Buddhic forces) are brought into play, conferring seership and culminating in Samadhi, the state in which the lower mind, the Phren, becomes, for the time being, one with the Higher Mind, the Nous. Glorious as is the achievement of the disciple who can thus come into direct communication with his own Nous, "his Master and his God," it is only the first step in his occult progress. For the physical body is too gross, tainted and short-lived to serve the purpose of the soul in the higher stages of its progress. The material form must, therefore, be replaced by a purer and more permanent body. This regenerative process is the theme of Fragment Ill.; it is referred to only digressively in Fragment II, which is merely an interlude.
Fragment III., accordingly, takes up the subject of the Trikaya, the three Buddhic bodies, so called because they are formed by Buddhi, the passive, quiescent spiritual principle which by the motivity of Manas becomes the magical creative Power, whence radiate the fiery Fohatic forces. Employing these Buddhic (Fohatic) "fires," the initiate solidifies and strengthens his subtile inner body, the Linga Sharira, at the same time gradually dissipating the atoms composing the physical body, until, at the end of the process, the latter ceases to exist, its place being taken by the perfected inner body. Thus the initiate defies death, and "gives birth to himself" while yet living. He causes the forces of dissolution and of generation to work simultaneously, so that the outer body dies, not as a unit by the failure of its organic functions, but only by the slowly progressive dispersion of its atoms, while coincidently the inner body is strengthened and made permanent. This perfective work of euthanasia and regeneration can not be carried out by the disciple while he is living in the outer world; the necessary conditions for the perfective work can be found only in one or another of the secret retreats of the Adepts; there the disciple, when admitted, must reside permanently while he is in the flesh, and there only can he "pass over to the other shore."
Fragment II. may be considered as a sort of epilogue to Fragment I, or an interlude between Fragments I. and III. The disciple who has by the successful practice of the occult meditation restored
to his "third eye" its function of spiritual vision, by means of the Sushumna Ray, and has become entitled to enter a school of initiation, must, before he passes its threshold communicate to others who may be searching for the path some clear intimation as to how it may be found. This being the subject of Fragment II, the instructions given in it would, if kept within proper bounds, merely cover the same ground as those in the preceding Fragment, thus involving needless repetition. But, unfortunately, H.P.B. here introduces certain fallacious exoteric dogmas, and in expatiating upon them treats digressively and prematurely of subjects that are altogether out of place in this connection and should have been included in Fragment III.
Interspersed among the Yoga-instructions given in this section of the Voice are many moral maxims and precepts, also elementary teachings, and statements of the qualifications which the disciple must have before taking up the practice of meditation. All these materials are thrown together with but little regard to orderly arrangement. It is therefore advisable for the student to take into consideration first the precepts dealing with morals and the qualifications for discipleship, and then the instructions in the practice of meditation. For the latter apply only to the efforts put forth during the hours set apart for occult meditation, whereas morality should be striven for at all times.
The moral precepts are so clearly and forcefully presented that comments on them would be superfluous. But the special excellencies of character which the aspirant must acquire in order to qualify for Yoga are depicted rather sketchily. For instance, one of the indispensable qualifications for discipleship is dealt with very unsatisfactorily in the following precept:
"If through the Hall of Wisdom thou wouldst reach the Vale of Bliss, disciple, close fast thy senses against the great dire heresy of Separateness that weans thee from the rest."
Here the word "senses" must be taken to mean, not perception by means of the physical organs of sense, but apprehension through the intellect, perception by the mind. But the "heresy of separateness" is not something assailing the mind from without, and against which the mind should be closed; on the contrary, the assumption, by the individual, of his separateness from others is due to ignorance, false egotism and narrow-mindedness. His mind, thus constricted and closed, needs to be opened. An open, receptive mind is the first requisite for one who would comprehend the teaching of Theosophy, which enjoins him to realize the truth that he and all his fellow-men are alike "fragments of the Divine." If he fails to understand this cardinal doctrine of Theosophy, and adheres to the "dire heresy of Separateness," he must inevitably fail in every attempt, by occult meditation or by any other method, to attain realization of the Divine within himself. No matter how virtuous and intellectual a man may be, if he is egotistic, bigoted, intolerant, fanatical or self-righteous he is utterly unfit to take the first step on the path of Yoga; for by such an attitude he not only disassociates himself from his fellows but also insulates himself from the spiritual, poetic forces by means of which the truly esoteric teaching is received.
In studying the Yoga-instructions it should be borne in mind that the eternal Monad, Atma-Buddhi-Manas, is One, the three principles being inseparable. Manas is the Divine Intellect, Buddhi is the hypostatic medium through which it energizes, and Atma is the individualizing expression of the universal One Life, which may be regarded as the Unmanifested Logos, since nothing can be predicated of the Absolute, not even that it is One. The three may be said to correspond to the Unmanifested Logos, the Manifested Logos, and the Light of the Logos. All the lower principles and elements of man, on all
planes, even down to the atoms composing his physical body, are derivatives from his MonadicTriad. Thus the three primary capacities of the lower Mind, i.e., intellect, will and emotion, correspond to the powers of the Nous, "the Lord of the Light."
Not until the fourth stage of Dharana is attained can the "Voice" (Buddhi-Manas, the Nous) of the "Silence" (Atma) be heard. As a mere literary device, H.P.B., after briefly stating that when the lower Manas has been united with the Higher "the Soul will hear," gives the further instructions as coming from the Voice itself. The device is infelicitous and tends to mislead students who have only a superficial knowledge of the subject.
The Yoga-instructions in the Voice begin with Dharana; the preceding stage, Pratyahara, is referred to in a footnote as "a preliminary training, in order to control one's mind and thoughts." It is said that whoever would hear the Voice must "learn the nature of Dharana" (Concentration). Now, the "nature" of Dharana, its modus operandi, is simplicity itself: the mind, after centering upon a single concept or subjective entity, must cease to think and maintain a condition of perfect blankness. But to attain that state is supremely difficult. It can be reached only by a sustained effort of the will during meditation, which must be practiced regularly, and not desultorily, per saltum.
The word "meditation" conveys very imperfectly the meaning intended when it is applied to the occult mental exercise; for to meditate is to think on a subject, pondering or revolving it in the mind, whereas in the occult practice all thinking must be suspended, after the mind has been polarized so as to preserve a positive attitude. If the aspirant merely makes his mind vacant, without polarity, then in that negative state he can only drift into mediumship, and thereupon become the prey of so-called "spirits," entities in the inferior psychic regions. The subject chosen for meditation should be sufficiently exalted and inspiring; otherwise no high plane can be reached. Adoration, in the sense of intense veneration for things divine, more nearly expresses the idea than does the word concentration, which signifies centering the thoughts on a single subject. Instead, the mind should, after being fixed on the subject chosen, cease to think about it as well as everything else. It thus awaits the thoughts proceeding from the Higher Mind, the Nous, when the consciousness, having traversed the psychic planes, reaches the Noetic.
Having made the mind blank and impervious to all impressions from the physical senses, the disciple is then in Dharana, the stage in which the psychic senses successively come into play in the following order: sight, hearing, smell, taste and touch. It is correctly held by modern biologists that the "special senses, sight, hearing, smell and taste are highly specialized forms of touch, which is the "mother of all the senses." Moreover, the psychic senses of sight and hearing are closely associated, as also are smell and taste. Therefore it is said:
"Unless thou hearest, thou canst not see. Unless thou seest, thou canst not hear. To hear and see, this is the second stage."
The next aphorism, which is omitted in the Voice (apparently because smell and taste are commonly regarded as inferior senses), the omission being indicated by a dotted line, would read
"Unless thou tastest, thou canst not smell. Unless thou smellest, thou canst not taste. To taste and smell, this is the fourth stage."
In the fifth stage the four senses blend and are merged into the "mother sense," touch. When the disciple has reached this final stage of Dharana the five psychic senses are to be laid aside, for the period of meditation (but not "killed beyond reanimation," as said, hyperbolically, in the Voice), even as the functions of the physical senses were suspended in the first stage. The disciple must shut out from the mind everything psychic, even as he excluded everything physical. He is then ready to
pass into the seventh Yoga-stage, Dhyana, in which the consciousness is on the plane of the Nous.
In the first stage of Dharana the light is seen as if prismatically of seven colours, of which, the lower seven pertain to the psychic planes and the higher seven to the psycho-spiritual ones.
Not until the Kundalini Shakti comes into play can "the mystic sounds of the akashic heights reach the ear." This is stated elliptically; the sounds are heard in the aura when the disciple has reached "the akashic heights," the latter phrase probably referring to the culmination of the Kundalini, of which the Sushumna is the akashic (Buddhic) force that awakens the "third eye" and also gives the inner hearing. The colours due to the activity of the pituitary precede this; and when the aura of the pituitary impinges upon that of the pineal the circuit of the annular force (Kundalini) is completed and the current starts, the same as when an electric current is turned on by making contact between the charged wires. The seven higher colours -of indescribable delicacy and beauty - thereupon become visible, and the radiance is reflected by the aura of the heart, illuminating its seven centres. The pituitary is the organ of psychic perception, and corresponds to Antaskarana-Manas; the pineal, when put in action by Sushumna, corresponds to the Higher Manas and Buddhi.
The Kundalini, which acts to restore the occult functions of the pineal gland and other brain-centres, is one of the six Shaktis, the modes in which Buddhi (itself a purely passive, inactive principle, devoid of qualities of its own) operates when its potential energies are rendered dynamic by Manas. Pneuma, the Spirit-principle of the Nous (pneuma tou noos), becomes Dynameis, the magical creative and regenerative Powers. In the Key to Theosophy H.P.B. says that Buddhi "conceals a mystery, which is never given to any one, with the exception of irrevocably pledged chelas, or those, at any rate, who can be safely trusted," and that "this is directly concerned with the power of projecting one's double consciously and at will." Hence it relates to Kriya Shakti, not to Kundalini Shakti. Therefore for purposes of meditation the student does not need to know this mystery; and it is unnecessary, even inadvisable, for him to attempt, at this stage, to "rouse Kundalini" or even to take into consideration any of the Chakras and Nadis through which the Shaktis work. If he meditates rightly, his own Nous, "the Lord of the Light," will bring this Buddhic force into play and control the whole process of illumination.
In the Theosophist, Vol. I, p. 87 (Jan., 1880), appears the following quotation, credited to the Ouphnekhat (Upanishad), describing the sounds heard by the "Kechara, or Sky-goer":
"Draw the lower air upwards by the right side, make it turn thrice round the second region of the body, thence bring it to the navel, thence to the middle of the heart, then to the throat, then to the sixth region, which is the interior of the nose, between the eyelids, there retain it, it is become the breath of the universal soul. Then meditate on the great Om, the universal voice which fills all, the voice of God; it makes itself heard to the ecstatic in ten manners.
"The first is like the voice of a sparrow, the second is twice as loud as the first, the third like the sound of a cymbal, the fourth like the murmur of a great shell, the fifth like the chant of the Vina, the sixth like the sound of the `tal,' the seventh like the sound of a bamboo flute placed near the ear, the eighth like the sound of the instrument pahaoujd struck with the hand, the ninth like the sound of a small trumpet, the tenth like the rumble of a thundercloud. At each of these sounds the ecstatic passes through various states until the tenth when he becomes God.
"At the first all the hairs on his body stand up.
"At the second his limbs are benumbed.
"At the third he feels in all his members the exhaustion of excess.
"At the fourth his head turns, he is as it were intoxicated.
"At the fifth the water of life flows back into his brain.
"At the sixth this water descends into and nourishes him.
"At the seventh he becomes master of the vision, he sees into men's hearts, he hears the most distant voices.
(Eighth not given.)
"At the ninth he feels himself to be so subtile that he can transport himself where he will, and, like the Devas, see all without being seen.
"At the tenth he becomes the universal and indivisible voice, he is the creator, the eternal, exempt from change; and becomes perfect repose, he distributes repose to the world."
Portions of the above quotation from the Upanishad are reproduced, somewhat poetized, in the Voice, as follows:
"Let the fiery power retire into the inmost chamber, the chamber of the Heart, and the abode of the World's Mother.
"Then from the heart that Power shall rise into the sixth, the middle region, the place between thine eyes, when it becomes the breath of the One-Soul, the voice which filleth all, thy Master's voice.
" 'Tis only then thou canst become a `Walker of the Sky,' who treads the winds above the waves, whose step touches not the waters.
"Before thou set'st thy foot upon the ladder's upper rung, the ladder of the mystic sounds, thou hast to hear the voice of thy inner God in seven manners.
"The first is like the nightingale's sweet voice chanting a song of parting to its mate.
"The second comes as the sound of a silver cymbal of the Dhyanis, awakening the twinkling stars.
"The next is as the plaint melodious of the ocean-sprite imprisoned in its shell.
"And this is followed by the chant of Vina.
"The fifth like sound of bamboo flute shrills in thine ear.
"It changes next into a trumpet-blast.
"The last vibrates like the dull rumbling of a thunder-cloud.
"The seventh swallows all the other sounds. They die, and then are heard no more.
"When the six are slain and at the Master's feet are laid, then is the pupil merged into the One, becomes that One and lives therein."
The two descriptions of the sounds may be placed side by side thus:
The Upanishad The Voice
(1) 1 Sparrow 1 Nightingale
2 Ditto .............
(2) 3 Cymbal 2 Cymbal
(3) 4 Shell 3 Shell
(4) 5 Vina 4 Vina
(5) 6 Tal ............
(6) 7 Flute 5 Flute
(7) 8 Pahaoujd ...............
(8) 9 Trumpet 6 Trumpet
(9) 10 Thunder 7 Thunder
Described more in detail the sounds are as follows:
(1) The first sound is a faint twittering, as if a sparrow were chirping at a distance; the second is much louder and clearer, as if the chirping sparrow had drawn near. In the Voice the sparrow is metamorphosed into a nightingale; the latter may be a more aristocratic bird than the sparrow, but his "sweet song" can not be likened correctly to this sound heard by the ecstatic. Since the second sound is the same as the first, though "twice as loud," the two are correctly given as one in the Voice.
(2) The second sound is like that made by gently clashing together a pair of cymbals. The inaccurate expression in the Upanishad, "sound of a cymbal," is copied in the Voice and expanded to the sound of "a silver cymbal of the Dhyanis, awakening the twinkling stars." Silver is a much less sonorous metal than the bronze of which cymbals are usually made. There
is nothing in the sound to suggest Dhyanis or stars.
(3) The third sound is like the murmur of a large sea
-shell. "The ocean-sprite imprisoned in its shell" is, of course, merely a flight of fancy.
(4) The fourth sound is like that produced by drawing a finger repeatedly across the strings of a guitar or similar stringed instrument, and is heard as if the instrument were held close to the ear. It is caused by the current entering at the base of the brain. The Vina is an Indian guitar.
(5) The fifth sound resembles that of a small bell gently tapped with a stick.
(6) The sixth sound is flute-like; it is clear and mellow, not at all a sound that "shrills in thine ear."
(7) The seventh sound is like that given out by a kettle-drum when struck with the knuckles instead of a drumstick.
(8) The eighth sound is like a clear-toned trumpet-call.
(9) The ninth sound is not really like "the dull rumbling of a thunder-cloud." Rather it is like the loud roaring noise produced by the instrument called the Bull-roarer, a piece of thin, flat wood, tied to a thong, so that it can be whirled in the air. It is employed in religious rites by the natives of Australia (where it is called the Turndun), and by certain tribes in New Zealand, Mexico, South Africa, and elsewhere. It was used by the ancient Greeks in the mystic rites of Dionysos, and called by them the Rhombos.
The sounds come in consecutive waves; and, as the Druids said, the "ninth wave" is the greatest. Each sound dies out before the one following it begins. The statement in the Voice that "the seventh swallows all the other sounds" is, therefore, erroneous, as is also the further statement that the sounds "die and then are heard no more"; for "no more" implies, idiomatically, "never again," whereas the sounds may be heard again whenever the ascetic is meditating.
(To be continued.)
FROM THE LETTER OF AN OCCULTIST
I wholly disagree with the theory of Mr. -- which you give in your letter. Higher Manas is not "expiating" anything or "redeeming" animal-man or anybody else, nor is his "God" Atma-Buddhi. On the contrary, Atma, Buddhi and Manas are One, the "Trinity in Unity," corresponding to the Unmanifested Logos, the Manifested Logos, and the Light of the Logos. In other words, Manas is the God, the Divine Intellect, the True Individuality; Buddhi is the colorless Force employed by the God; and Atma is its contact with the Universal Self.
This Self is also Triune. The "animal man" is not a separate being from his own Higher Self. The latter manifests in each of the three worlds, Noetic, Psychic and Physical, thus participating in three streams of evolution. He is at the same time the Solar Man, the lunar man and the earthly man. With the completion of the cycle of evolution the three become one.
If you regard each incarnation on earth, by the reincarnating Ego, as a "self," then you may say that the Higher Self has innumerable successive "selves," during the Manvantara. But in reality they are all one and are all retained in the eternal memory of the Higher Self. Each of these three "men", the physical, the psychic and the Divine, has in himself all the "seven principles." Hence the horrible confusion in the teachings, made worse by the intentional omission of almost everything concerning the psychic man, his permanent body, and the rupa loka in which he lives.
Devachan is below the Noetic plane, and the Nous (Manas) does not go into Devachan. Only the lower mind (vaguely termed "the soul") enters that state. But that which in the lower man corresponds to Atma-Buddhi-Manas, its derivative or reflection, so to say, does go into Devachan. However, this is a letter, and not a treatise on Theosophy.
MR. L. W. ROGERS [[photo]]
Mr. L.W. Rogers, president of the American Theosophical Society, distinguished himself at the recent Theosophical World Congress in Chicago. He had evidently detected some of the fallacies in the practice of the various Lodges, and sounded the feeling of the members, which as head of his national society, he was perfectly right and justified in doing. There can be no disloyalty to anything but to Truth, and we judge that Mr. Rogers, whatever may have been his views from time to time, has been loyal to Truth as he perceived it. Such loyalty always has its consistent consequence. He felt and saw the danger to the Society and his courageous speech at the Congress in which he quite simply put the case of the encroachments of the Liberal Catholic Church upon the Theosophical Society before the meeting had a telling effect. We copy elsewhere from The Messenger the report of his speech dealing with this point. What is needed is a follow
-up on the argument, for no direct action was taken in Chicago either by the Congress which had no legislative power, nor by the General Council, which by the President's ruling was deprived of executive power also. Under the circumstances it will be most unfortunate if Mr. Rogers cannot go to Adyar to press his argument, and to support the other resolutions that arise out of or bear on the situation that exists. Mr. Rogers has proven himself a good organizer and executive head, and his weight and experience would be of great valve at Adyar, where we do not think the affairs of the western world are very clearly understood. Mr. Rogers has published several books on Theosophy for propaganda purposes and is a well-known and popular lecturer in the cause.
"My Beloved is mine and I am his".
And who is my Beloved? Is he not my lowly self on the one hand in whom I live and move and have my Being. In and through whom the desires and emotions are gratified, which must be used but controlled, while I the Ego, gain the necessary experience and unfoldment.
Or is my Beloved - the one who gazes with watchful eye from above, waiting with loving tender care till I shall have, like the Prodigal Son, come home to rest in Himself, the Father, the Watcher, who while patiently waiting, sends His brilliant Ray on to my soul to guide my stumbling feet? And who am I but the Ego, the wanderer, the child, who, though blind is learning to see through the apparent darkness, the Light shining in the distance, which after all is no distance but close at hand, here. And in the last analysis are we not all three just One, the Tetragrammaton absorbed in the Dot within the Triangle?
"Why go ye out for to seek, the Kingdom of Heaven is within you."
Om Mani Padme Hum.
- Lilian A. Wisdom.
THE CANADIAN THEOSOPHIST
- THE ORGAN OF THE THEOSOPHICAL SOCIETY IN CANADA
- Published on the 15th of every month.
- Editor - Albert E. S. Smythe.
- Entered at Hamilton General Post Office as Second-class matter.
- Subscription, One Dollar a Year.
OFFICERS OF THE T.S. IN CANADA
- GENERAL EXECUTIVE
- Felix A. Belcher, 250 North Lisgar St., Toronto.
- Walter R. Hick, 27 Balsam Ave. South, Hamilton, Ont.
- Fletcher Ruark, P.O. Box 518, Walkerville, Ont.
- Fredk. B. Housser, 10 Glen Gowan Ave., Toronto.
- George C. McIntyre, 20 Shannon Street, Toronto.
- Kartar Singh, 1664 Fourth Ave., Vancouver, B.C.
- Dr. Wash. Wilke, 805 Medical-Dental Bldg., Vancouver, B.C.
- Albert E. S, Smythe, 33 Forest Avenue, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada.
33 Forest Avenue, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. Correspondents please note this change of address. Letters and communications should no longer be sent to 26 Glen Grove Avenue, Toronto, nor to 71 Sanford Avenue South, Hamilton, but to this new address. This applies to all correspondence addressed to Albert E.S. Smythe, personally, or for The Canadian Theosophist, or for The General Secretary, The Theosophical Society in Canada.
In last month's issue there were several typographical errors to which attention may be called. In Mr. Pryse's Prelude to "The Study of The Voice of the Silence" on page 220 fleshy should be fleshly, and in the preceding column "being" should be "beings". [[Corrected - dig ed.]] On page 205, first column, the word "expunged" should be "withdrawn". Other errors will probably be obvious.
Mr. G.E. Sutcliffe announces the discovery of two unknown planets beyond Neptune, the first on May 19, 1928, the second on June 30 of a still more distant planet. This has been given the name Osiris and the nearer one Isis. "They are both large planets and are in an early stage of evolution," he states in an article in The Theosophist for September. "The observer does not feel sure that the planets will reflect ordinary light in sufficient quantity to be viewed in the telescope, and with regard to the more distant one (Osiris), doubts it. This is the only uncertain feature of the discovery, apart from which it may turn out to be an excellent test of the reliability of the observations, not only to the group, but to the public in general."
The Canadian Theosophist is fortunate in having a new series of articles by Mr. James Morgan Pryse, an old friend and student of Madam Blavatsky, and one of the few able and competent writers left of that group who were selected by her to assist in the work of the Theosophical Movement. No doubt we shall have many objections to statements made for we all have preconceptions and few are able to reconsider their conclusions once they have decided a point for themselves, but what Mr. Pryse writes is valuable to all, and those who give it care and attention and where they disagree, take the pains to lookup authorities for their disagreement, will learn much. It should never be forgotten that H.P.B.'s writings were never set down as infallible. She wrote in her last article, "My Books" of the mistakes that had been made. Yet still we have students going back to the old "fundamentalist" position of the theologians, which she had spent her life to overthrow, and trying to establish the dogma of infallibility all over again. "To ignore H.P.B.'s overdrawn statements and the erroneous exoteric doctrines it contains world not be honest," and if we cannot be honest of what use are we to the world? There are no radical errors, that is, errors that would lead people off the
track altogether, as the errors in some of Mr. Sinnett's later books would and in other books that need not be specified written with the same inspiration. This corrupt literature of the last thirty years has been the work of Asura-dugpas who were "quick to take advantage" of the opening made after H.P.B.'s death. "It is they who are back of all the corruption of the teachings and the sectarian viciousness shown by so many Theosophists. Just now their grip seems to be loosening. They could be shaken off entirely if only a small minority of the Theosophists would really study the authentic teachings and earnestly practice the ethics of Theosophy. But they must study intelligently. It is painful to see how superficially they read the books and how little they get out of them. How many, professing to study the Voice, know what the Paramitas really are? How many of them have noticed that in Fragment III. H.P.B. inadvertently initiates the `wrong man' - the Shravaka, the mere `listener', the theorist, instead of the Shramana, the `doer' of the work?" In a private letter from which these quotations are made, the writer adds: "Just what will be the fate of the Society as it is now constituted I do not know, but I do know from an authentic source, that when the Masters revive the Movement towards the close of this century there will be much better conditions than when the T.S. was started; there will be a literature derived from the T.S.; the public will have some general knowledge of reincarnation, karma, etc.; and there will be a few real students, of Theosophy to form a nucleus for a new organization if the existing T.S. fails to meet the requirements.'."
According to the newspapers, Mrs. Besant is going to compete with the late Mrs. Tingley's settlement at Point Loma and start a new race nursery in Ojai. As the Vancouver Star reports: "Dr. Besant has no intention of beginning the new race herself. But she is going to give evolution a Luther Burbanks push to the extent of organizing a colony of super-beings on her ranch, Happy Valley, in Ventura County, near Los Angeles." Happy Valley we are informed in the same article, will be a
fruit and nut ranch. Particularly nuts, we presume. Peaches also are being set out as part of "the means for supporting the experiment." With respect to the parentage of the new race "she will employ the same scientific principles as Burbank - breeding from selected stock and crossing the most desirable grains. Of course there will be nothing crude or arbitrary about this. She will merely provide the opportunity for bringing together the right mates - and possibly the council of the farm community may discuss the advisability of particular matings and use moral suasion. But there will be no pressure other than community sentiment." Mrs. Tingley did all this or something "just as good?" thirty years ago, and no geniuses have appeared yet as a result. Mrs. Besant should have been fertile enough to strike out a new line of effort, and directed it on higher and less material courses. We regret that all this appears to be significant of an abandonment of the Theosophical propaganda from which we have all been hoping so much, and looking for an inspiring revival after the enthusiasm of Chicago. Is all this to end in another Brook Farm or Brocton? These experiments have been made ad nauseam, and none of them has succeeded. Ruskin, Tennessee and Fairhope, Alabama had better foundations and failed. There are a dozen similar efforts being made on the Pacific coast, and what do they amount to? Has Adyar taught nothing? Did no one learn anything from Krotona, Cal.? What the world is crying out for is reasonable, sane, intelligible Theosophical instruction. Who is to give it? The members seem deplorably inert in many places. Dr. von Purucker of the Universal Brotherhood announces a revival of Lodge work, suppressed under Mrs. Tingley. Advertisements appeared in the Vancouver papers lately of meetings held by the Uni-
versal Brotherhood and of the Hermes Lodge, of our own Federation, but there was no mention of either of our two National Society Lodges. Advertisement is the breath of life of Lodge work as it is of business. Those who do not advertise announce their lack of desire to reach the public. What we have received we must pass on or get no virtue from it. We only keep what we give away. Can our members not be stirred up with a little gratitude for the great gift they have received and seek the means of transmitting it to others?
THE GENERAL EXECUTIVE
The General Executive met on Sunday, September 22, all the members present except Messrs. Ruark, Singh and Wilks, all in British Columbia at the time. The report of the Congress in Chicago was discussed and a resolution endorsing the action of the General Secretary adopted. It was also agreed to send forward a resolution to Adyar pressing for the adoption of the three resolutions proposed by the General Secretary as follows:
RESOLVED, That the resolution affirming the existence of a World Religion and stating "The Basic Truths of Religion" as declared by "The Fellowship of Faiths" be withdrawn from the records of the Theosophical Society, such a statement, apart from any question of its correctness or authority, being inconsistent with the non-dogmatic character and professions of the Theosophical Society.
RESOLVED, That rule 44 of the General Constitution be replaced by the following: That when differences of opinion arise among the members of a lodge or National Society which lead to a desire for withdrawal from or separation in the lodge or the National Society on the part of one-third or more of such members in good standing, the property belonging to such lodge or National Society shall be divided pro rata among the two groups of members, the Charter to remain with the original
RESOLVED, That Rule 30 be abrogated so that persons desiring to join the Theosophical Society may attach themselves to any lodge to which their nationality, language or principles may render them sympathetic and without reference to the jurisdiction of the National Society under which they reside.
It was also decided to oppose further, the change of objects of the Society as proposed by Mr. Peter Freeman, and the changes suggested by Mr. Ernest Wood in the terms of membership, but to approve of the last clause K, in his resolution, forbidding the operation of subsidiary movements in connection with the Society.
Questions of propaganda were discussed and it was stated that Miss Clara Codd was to lecture in Toronto; that Dr. Cousins, the Irish poet and professor, would be available next year and Mr. Ernest Wood the following year. The necessity of advertising Lodge meetings was spoken of, and proposals for increasing the membership were talked over. As a result a letter was sent out by the General Secretary to the Lodge presidents.
AMONG THE LODGES
The West End Lodge, Toronto, has prepared a syllabus for the fall season which includes Sunday afternoon lectures by Messrs. Roy Mitchell, Leslie Floyd, B.A., Felix Belcher, N.W.J. Haydon, Geo. McIntyre, Dudley Barr, and the Misses Mary Roebuck, Agnes Wood and Elaine Simkin. These lectures were to be given at the West End Veterans' Club House, 722 College Street, Toronto.
A correspondent from Belfast, Ireland, writes: I have much pleasure in forwarding Dollar in continuation of my subscription for your Magazine. I much admire your independent line of thought, and the absence of adjectives when you have occasion to speak of the President of the T. S."
It is not necessary to gush about one's loyalty. That is best expressed in action. The temperamental character of the American People apparently requires imperative adjectives in order to make themselves believe that they believe. The late Mrs. Tingley excelled or exceeded, as you please, in this form of adulation. Every article in her Magazines had to mention her name at least once, and of course the oftener the better. Usually every page had her name sprinkled over it. Mrs Eddy was also the subject of such indecorous flattery. The Masters are so opposed to it that they will not even let us know their real names. Lip service is of slight value.
The St. Catharines' branch, after a month's vacation through August, renewed activities on Sept. 8, and were addressed on that date by Mr. A.E.S. Smythe. He developed the subject of the "Three Truths", so well expressed in that extract from the "Idyll of the White Lotus," which is familiar to all who read the Canadian Theosophist. This was an exceptionally fine exposition of theosophical fundamentals. The next week an unusual treat in the nature of an illustrated lantern lecture on the subject of the Lost Atlantis was given through the kind generosity, of Mr. Kinman and Mr. Linton Cole of Toronto. On Wednesday evening of the same week the group made their first essay in the line of public meetings. On this date a notable address on "Our Hidden Powers or Practical Occultism" by Roy Mitchell of New York drew an audience of about fifty to an apartment house hall at Niagara Falls. All present listened spellbound to his fluent originality and one young man was heard to remark afterwards, that he didn't even hear the mantel clock strike, so rapt was his attention. The West End lodge next favored the group by lending Miss Roebuck for Sept. 22. This trained professional woman developed her theme "'Living the Life" along very practical lines and drew from her and audience much spirited discussion. The last Sunday in the month Mr. F. Barber of Toronto spoke on "Some Experiments in Meditation". His exceptional knowledge of mathematics made this a very rational and clear-cut theme in his hands. - Gertrude Knapp, Secretary.
Dr. Wilks transmits the following: The Orpheus Lodge was extremely fortunate last month in having a visit from Mr. Nojogen Lenzaki, a Japanese Buddhist of the Zen school. Mr. Lenzaki lectured twice to the Lodge on Buddhism and in the nature and origin of the Zen Sect. His interpretation of Buddhism carried conviction, he has that rare thing, a serene sane view of life which the Buddhist teaching brings to those who have the courage to follow it unconditionally. The Orpheus Lodge holds itself doubly fortunate to have gained the friendship of two such Buddhists as Mr. Ruh and Mr. Lenzaki.
THE L. C. C. AND THE T. S.
The interest felt in the discussion of Mrs. Jinarajadasa's letter anent the Liberal Catholic Church in the Theosophical Congress at Chicago in August warrants us in reprinting from The Messenger the verbatim remarks of Mrs. Besant and Mr. Rogers. Mrs. Jinarajadasa's suggestion was that no prominent member of the L.C.C. should be permitted to hold office in the T.S. This, of course, is contrary to the spirit of the T.S. and was unacceptable to all who desire to maintain the original breadth and tolerance of the Society. Dr. Arundale had remarked that he "would far rather that the Liberal Catholic Church disappear altogether than that we stand in the way of the Theosophical Society fulfilling its supreme mission of being a nucleus of Universal Brotherhood." He was followed by Mrs. Besant who spoke as follows:
Brethren, we shall not keep an open door by passing a motion which closes that
door. Now I happen to be in favour of the open door. To make a change in our constitution which would bar brothers from the Society because they occupy leading positions in their particular circles, this seems to me to be a very curious way of opening the door to anyone. You cannot keep an open door by shutting out those who are trusted to hold positions of leadership in other organizations. To make a recommendation for a fundamental change in the Constitution of The Theosophical Society seems to be a matter which ought to be very thoroughly discussed in the National Sessions before it is presented to the General Council. To bring it up for the first time before the World Congress without having the approval of the National Societies seems to be too hasty a procedure when it deals with the fundamental basis of equality of membership in our Society. We have no right to bar a human being who has received a trust from others by making that trust a reason for distrusting him. If such resolution were passed, we would shut out some of the most valuable leaders we have had in the past and may have in the future. Let me take an example which is my own and nobody can therefore say I am speaking without authority for that particular question, considering the fact that I take a very active part in politics as an individual, not as President of the Society. To shut out a person because he is interested and active in a certain direction would mean to erect a barrier we have never had before. Practically to place outside the sphere of election those who have shown by holding other offices that they possess the trust of a considerable number of people outside of the Society would mean to keep away members who are in any way efficient in their work in the outer world. I am not sure, in fact, that such a resolution ought not to be considered out of order on the ground that it touches the very basis of our Constitution. That would not be a very satisfactory way of disposing of it; far better discuss this question as impersonally as possible by dealing with the general principle. Personally I am not a member of the Liberal Catholic Church against which this resolution is aimed. I think there is a certain danger I have spoken of in The Theosophist, that the general public identifies us with the Liberal Catholic Church. I do not blame the Liberal Catholic Church for that; I blame the members of our Society. It is not the fault of the Liberal Catholic Church, it is our fault - the fault of all of us who do not belong to that Church and who do not make our Theosophical views clear enough. On the continent of Europe the Liberal Catholic Church is very frequently identified with the Theosophical Society. We can remedy this by asking our members to be more active, because it is their indifference which is the real danger to the Theosophical Society, and not the activity of another body. We have been identified with various religions. First, we were thought of as Buddhists, because Col. Olcott and H.P. Blavatsky had joined that particular religion; then we became identified with Hinduism, because I, myself, was largely identified with that creed. Now there is certain danger of being identified with Christianity. Let us help all religions as ways to God; let us look upon religion as the search for God. It is truth we want, and with our motto: "There is no religion higher than Truth," we should not make any difference between any particular form of belief, but guard the freedom of the Society. I hold with John Milton that truth is never put to the worse. I f you believe a thing really, you are not afraid of discussion. Therefore, uphold the truth, study it, keep your own judgment clear. The freedom of opinion is in our own hands and only our cowardice will make us afraid of discussion.
Mr. Rogers, president of the American Theosophical Society, followed Mr. Irving Cooper and Mr. Wm. J. Heyting, of New
Zealand. Our lack of space prohibits a report of what these gentlemen said, but the importance of the position occupied by Mr. Rogers, as well as the weight of his thought, demands that we should give the greater part of his words, as follows:
First, let me say that I have among the members of the Liberal Catholic Church some of the best friends that I possess, men of splendid ability and devotion, of great breadth of view, and if I shall say something when talking on this subject which seems critical, remember that I am referring solely to what I consider to be the mistaken zeal of some of the members of the Liberal Catholic Church, and not to the Church or its teachings. It is simply idle to deny, however much we may gloss it over, that there is within the American Section of the Theosophical society a widespread hostility toward the Liberal Catholic Church. Now let us be candid enough to face the facts. We are not dealing with a theory, but with a condition. I believe it arises solely from the too close association of the Theosophical Society and the Liberal Catholic Church. As to Mrs. Jinarajadasa's letter, I totally disagree with her as to the remedy, but as to the condition there can be no question.
Now I ask you this question - for what reason is there widespread hostility, in the United States at least, against the Liberal Catholic Church on the part of Theosophists? We do not dislike Churches. You do not find our members talking against the Unitarians, the Universalists; on the contrary they are widely commended. We love them for their breadth of view, we love them because they are philosophical and scientific, in close harmony with the teachings of the Theosophical Society. And the Liberal Catholic Church is even broader and is made up largely of our members. From platforms of the Liberal Catholic Church, I have heard fine lectures on reincarnation, life after death, etc. How do you account for that hostility against the Liberal Catholic Church except by the fear that it is compromising us in the public mind? We have got to deal with that. We cannot dismiss it with generalities. We have got to deal with the condition as it exists, and I am certain there is trouble ahead for us, in this part of the world at least, unless we settle this thing right.
What should be the relationship between the Theosophical Society and the Liberal Catholic Church? It should be precisely the same relationship that exists between the Theosophical Society and any other church. That and absolutely nothing else. If you would not rent your Lodge rooms to the Methodist or to the Roman Catholic Church you should not rent them to the Liberal Catholic Church. Dr. Besant made that proposition perfectly clear in her magazine, The Theosophist, in 1920, in which she touched upon that particular subject. Too long to read here, but the gist of it is that she wished to put before us this fact: Unless your Lodge is in the habit of having association with other Churches, unless it is actually known to the public that these different organizations may use your Lodge room, then it is injudicious to have it used by only a particular religious denomination. . . .
It seems that another thing which ought not to be ignored by us is the relationship between the Theosophical Society and the movement that is shaping, which some of our friends have called "The New Theosophy." I do not know precisely what they mean by the "New Theosophy," but some of our official lecturers have said that we are now going into a new dispensation and that our lecturers should not waste time speaking about karma, reincarnation, etc. I do not quite understand that kind of new Theosophy. Some of my friends have come to me to explain it. It seems to me they are only trying to explain why it is nobody can explain! We are beginning to hear about higher metaphysics, and I will use a story to get the idea quickly to you. There is a certain problem. Two Professors are speaking about it. When Professor A. is talking and Professor B.
cannot understand him - that is metaphysics. When Professor B. is talking and Professor A. cannot understand him, and Professor B. himself does not know what he means, that is the higher metaphysics! Now that will very briefly illustrate the attempts of my friends to put across to me the New Theosophy. Let me say, for fear you may misunderstand me, that I have the profoundest respect for Mr. Krishnamurti. If we had nothing else to thank him for we would owe him a debt of deepest gratitude for his declaration that Theosophists must learn to think for themselves, that they must not believe a thing merely because that thing has been said. I know of no place where that is more needed than among Theosophists, and if he never gave us another thing we would be under eternal obligation to him for that. But I confess that I do not understand very much. I am willing to wait and try to understand more, but don't hurry me. There may be, for ought I know, an intuitional road by which man can rise swiftly from savagery to illumination. But if that road is not available to people who are so far along in evolution as our venerable President, I am afraid that as for me I shall have to get along with the old Theosophy as best I can. I do not understand any new Theosophy that does not take into account the law of sacrifice. No Theosophy that tells me that I must look out for myself and leave the world to its fate. I want a Theosophy that I can give to others and that will do for those others what Theosophy has done for me. Let those who can go on. As for me, I will plod along with the crowd and light the way as best I can with the old Theosophy. I heard somebody in the corridor say that we need not worry - it didn't make any difference whether we could understand it or not, the Masters were on the job. No doubt they are, but my friends, there is a tremendously more important question for you and me, and that is whether we are on the job! Are we on the job with full mental and moral power? Are we on the job with full willingness to serve harmoniously as best we can? Are we on the job with both feet on the ground, using that good common sense which alone means success in physical plane work? It does not matter how much you can get from the new Theosophy. It does matter how confident you are that it is just what the world needs. It does not matter how good a Theosophist you are, you will be a better Theosophist if you help to pass on to others the old Theosophy that has helped you to the understanding you have attained.
BUDDHAISM AND BUDDHISM
Although the above terms are very closely related to one another, a careful reading of the Secret Doctrine and other works of H.P. Blavatsky will show the student that they are not identical.
To the superficial reader the distinction may not be apparent but to one who has attempted to study the writings of H.P.B. with but a slight degree of intuitional perception, there will be found this difference, that while the one is used to designate a particular religious system of ethics, the other is spoken of in reference to a universal religion.
That the word "Buddhism" was the term used to describe the age-old teaching long before the time of Gautama, the Buddha, and before the word "Brahma" was mentioned, may not be generally known even by conscientious students, but the following quotations will surely make this clear.
In "Isis Unveiled" Vol. II, p. 123, H.P.B. speaks of "The once universal religion which antedated the Vedic ages. . . that prehistoric Buddhism (italics mine, E.F.) which merged later into Brahminism." This is of course, the ancient Wisdom Religion, which was "carried to perfection by the last of the Buddhas, Gautama."
And again on Page 321 "We know that the Jaina sect, claims . . . . that Buddhism existed before Siddartha, better known as Gautama-Buddha. . . the Brahmanas, we
say, have authentic records. And these show the incarnation from the Virgin Avany of the first Buddha - divine light - as having taken place more than some thousands of years B.C., on the island of Ceylon."
But granted that the word "Buddhism" used many times in place of "Bud-dhaism", as explained by H.P.B., it is not because of certain doctrines taught by Gautama, but is derived from the word "Buddhi", the "spiritual, omniscient and omnipotent root of divine intelligence". (S. D. I, 572).
Those who are inclined to be confused as to the various spellings, the one "d" or two "d's" should turn to the S.D., Vol. I, page xix. It is there stated that "Adhi Budha" is "the one (or the First) and Supreme Wisdom. . . Bodha means the innate possession of divine intellect or 'understanding'; `Buddha', the acquirement of it by personal efforts and merit; while Buddhi, is the faculty of cognizing the channel through which divine knowledge roaches the `Ego' . . . and Spiritual Soul".
Gautama Buddha won his right to that title because he had reached `divine understanding', had opened that channel between Buddhi and the Ego; and as Buddhi is a universal principle, (being without and around man, potential until final initiation), so that divine understanding is the Universal Soul Wisdom or Buddhism.
It is most essential that the student approach this subject in the true occult manner, by a thorough cleansing of the lower nature from all prejudice and preconceived ideas. Also, it is absolutely necessary that there should be a certain degree of familiarity with the fundamental groundwork of all study, the constitution of man.
Owing to the inherent prejudice of Western people against Eastern manners, and particularly against Eastern religions, it would have been most detrimental to the cause if H.P.B. had used the term "Buddhism" exclusively: indeed, when writing of A.P. Sinnett's "Esoteric Buddhism" she purposively throws people off the scent in order to counteract the prejudice and protests that the title of that book had aroused. And she goes on to say (S.D. I, xviii.) that the teaching given out by the Lord Buddha should be called "Bud-dhaism."
But that there was no misunderstanding as to the real meaning of the word "Buddhism" by the early group of students who were in touch with the Masters will be evident from the following quotation from a letter written by the Master K.H. to the members of the London Lodge. On page 399 of the Mahatma Letters will be found these illuminating sentences: "Many prefer to call themselves Buddhists not because the word attaches itself to the ecclesiastical system built upon the basic ideas of our Lord Gautama Buddha's philosophy, but because of the Sanskrit word `Buddhi' - wisdom, enlightenment; and a silent protest to the vain ritual and empty ceremonial which have in too many cases been productive of the greatest calamities."
This quotation is from a most important letter addressed to the London Lodge, to be read before a general meeting of that lodge. Of the letter itself the Master says: "It contains and carries within its folds and characters a certain occult influence that ought to reach as many theosophists as possible." It is therefore certain that every word of it was of supreme importance, and who knows but what the quotation given had something of prophecy in it? At all events, it most certainly expresses the feeling of many people at the present time. It should also be remembered that for each root race there has been a Buddha who has given these truths to the world; and perhaps the fact that the words "Bodhisatva", "Bhodhisatva" and "Buddha" are used by H.P.B. as interchangeable terms may throw some light on this subject. Interested students may derive much profit from reading the passages contained under such headings in the Secret Doctrine.
The following words of H.P.B. might fittingly conclude these brief notes
"Unwise are those who, in their blind
and in our age, untimely hatred of Buddhism, and, by reaction of `Buddhism', deny its esoteric teachings (which are those also of the Brahmins), simply because the name suggests what to them as Monotheists, are noxious doctrines. Unwise is the correct term to use in their case. For the Esoteric philosophy is alone calculated to withstand, in this age of crass and illogical materialism, the repeated attacks on all and everything man holds most dear and sacred in his inner spiritual life." S.D. I, xix.
- Edith Fielding.
THE MEHER MESSAGE
The Meher Message for September is as interesting as any little magazine we have seen for years. It represents a mystical development through Zoroastrianism and is all the more welcome on this account since so little of inner Parsi doctrine comes to the west. The Divine Lord, whose sayings the Message reports, is Shri Meher Baba, and those who have been reading the statements by Krishnaji will recognize the same vein of thought and teaching. Here are five of the sayings:
"The miracles performed by yogis (spiritually semi-advanced persons) are essentially selfish, as they are invariably based on personal motives; whereas the miracles of Sadgurus or perfect Masters are absolutely selfless, as they are based on the principle of giving a spiritual push to humanity.
"God-realized personages, whether conscious or unconscious of the gross world, are above sanskaras and so they have no egoism whatsoever. No sanskaras, no egoism. The cause of egoism is sanskaras, whether good or bad. Egoism disappears forever when all sanskaras are wiped out.
"High spiritual truth has nothing to do with creeds, or religions as they are called. It is far beyond the limited dogmas and dogmas of every creed. You will attain to this Truth if you give up worldly maya - kama, krodha and kanchana (lust, anger and wealth).
"If a so-called religious leader comes forth and proclaims that marriages between brothers and sisters are quite lawful, he will immediately have a large following; but if a God-realized personage proclaims that renunciation is indispensable to the attainment of Truth, only a few will care to follow him.
"To pray to God for material prosperity is not prayer, but farce."
Following this in an editorial article, we read: "One of the great principles of the Zoroastrian creed is to preserve health, and another great one is to promote the happiness of others." And so again: "Religion is no more the observance of customs than the acceptance of dogmas. Rendering unselfish service to others, leading a chaste life, regarding all things and all persons as forms of God, booming spiritually minded and trying to realize the Self, constitute religion. Dogmas and doctrines, customs and conventionalities, should not be confused with it. People may be wrapped in the swaddling clothes of customs and prejudices, but it is the duty of those who claim to be their leaders to disabuse their minds of false notions and to set them on the right path."
An account is given of a tour taken by the Holy Master during the period between July 10 and August 28. He left Meherabad and visited Ahmednagar, Nasik, Dhulia, Palmer, Khalghat, Bhopal and Guna. At this place, great as the sensation created at the other places it was greater here. A great Government officer, catching sight of him, was so wonderstruck, that he went out of his way to order his peon to go immediately and make enquiries as to who "that handsome Gentleman with awe-inspiring face, was." On July 20 the Holy Master reached Gwalior, and two days later Agra, where flying visits were paid to the Taj Mahal, The Fort, and people at these places found the personality of the Master so magnetic that, instead of the tomb of Noorjehan's father. "The
beholding what they had come to see, they gazed with awe at His luminous face, as long as they could." The journey was continued to Delhi, Ludhiana, Amritsar, Lahore, Srinagar, Hervan, whence he returned to Ahmednagar. At Dhulia land has been offered the Master for the foundation of an Academy, for which a special building is to be erected, and will constitute the abode of the Meherashram Institute and the office of The Meher Message. Perhaps this narration will help our western people to understand that Holy Men are not so rare in India and World Teachers are not an uncommon occurrence. The important thing is that the real teachers all agree on one doctrine and it has no foolish fads about it. Success in following it depends upon the purification of life and character and not belief on authorities however high and sacred, and whether of one religion or order or another. Mr. Meredith Starr, the author and critic, writes to the Holy Master: "I want to help every one and anyone, as you said I should do, to the very utmost of my capacity - to bring love and truth to all around me, and to do this fully, I must be fully conscious of the Creative power. But I know this will come. I have tremendous faith in you, and this faith increases daily." This is the western tendency, and it is difficult to overcome. It is not faith in another that is needed but faith in the Divine and Spiritual power within oneself, which is One with the same Power in all others, that we require. "Of Teachers there are many; the Master-Soul is One."
When the Reverend Mr. Cauvin and his associates burned my distinguished scientific brother - he was burned with green fagots, which made it rather slow and painful - it appears to me they were in a state of religious barbarism. The dogmas of such people about the Father of Mankind and His creatures are of no more account in my opinion than those of a council of Aztecs. - Oliver Wendell Holmes.
By Claude Falls Wright
(Continued from Page 224.)
CHAPTER V. MASTERS OF WISDOM
But the Brotherhood has always existed. Some in ages past had discovered how to the eye of Spirit all the workings of Nature might be revealed; they caught glimpses of a steadier lore, and sought to baffle the grave. But freedom from the chilling ties of earth was found only possible in fulfillment of the Law - the Law of Harmony and Brotherhood. Hence, etc.
- Letters on the Rosicrucian Fraternity.
As for what thou hearest others say, who persuade the many that the soul, when once freed from the body, neither suffers. . . evil nor is conscious, I know that thou art better grounded in the doctrines received by us from our ancestors, and in the sacred orgies of Dionysus, than to believe them; for the mystic symbols are well known to us who belong to the "Brotherhood. " - Plutarch.
So far this work has dealt only with the outline of the more important theosophical teachings at present before the world. Some acquaintance with the oriental esoteric doctrine was necessary before anything could be said at length concerning the Masters of Wisdom claimed by Theosophists to exist, and before the reader could have understood correctly the relationship of the Society to its unseen but true Founders.
It is reasonable to expect from the ordinary reader, who, perhaps may have had no experience of a nature sufficient to justify a belief in any higher evolution than that of a man as he now is, incredulity in regard to a possible greater development of the latter than is to be found among the best and most cultured individuals of his own particular nation. But the existence of degrees in nature is easily discernible; and the fact of orders of beings of less degree of intelligence and power than man, argues for the possibility of the existence of men presently developed to the highest point. For aught we can say there may be many orders of beings higher than the human, bearing the same relation to
man as the latter does to the animal or plant, although we may not be able to perceive them with the aid of our five senses. The animal, if it thinks at all, probably looks upon the human being as an animal like itself. It has no Mind to enable it to perceive that faculty in man, and although it obeys him, yet it understands not why, but only that it is acting in obedience to some law which has the mastery over it for the moment. Similarly, who can say that when we find ourselves forced to yield to some greater energy than our own, we are not obeying the commands of some more complete intelligence? Who can say that the cyclones, earthquakes, floods, avalanches, are not the result of forces directed against us by greater beings than ourselves - greater, that is to say, in the sense of being more matured, - while we ascribe it till to natural law? Who can say? The conception is not untenable; it is not unscientific.
But although the author himself believes in the existence of very many higher kingdoms of nature than the human, though perhaps not quite in the way suggested, he does not call upon the reader just now to give credence to their existence; all he asks, judging by analogy, in the observation of differing degrees in the human family, is belief in the possibility of a race of men who have evolved very much higher in mental and spiritual perception than the scientist, the theologian, or the ordinary man of the XIXth century. Let us suppose the reader to be sufficiently large-minded to grant such a possibility, then may we proceed to prosecute our inquiries along lines best calculated to at once interest and convince.
The task of inquiry would have been a much more difficult one some years ago than it is now, on account of the absence of evidence then; nearly all that could be obtained at the time of founding the Theosophical Society being the statements of the one solitary individual who acted as the messenger from the Brotherhood. But some seventeen years having passed, and more than one person of high position in the intellectual world having received communications from the members of the eastern School, it remains for us now to place before our reader for his consideration some of these facts. It might, however, be well to see first the position of affairs in the early days of the Theosophical Society's history.
Madame Helena P. Blavatsky,* a high pupil of the trans-Himalayan School of Adepts, was sent by that college in 1875 to give out to the world knowledge in respect to certain important points that had been concealed from it as a whole for ages. Two or three thousand years ago, when everybody believed in "Messengers from God," in Sages, in Prophets, such an
* Probably no one of her time has been more traduced and slandered, unfairly criticized, or suffered more from misrepresentation, than this extraordinary woman. But this, as she said herself, was all that could be expected of a materialistic world, for one who strove to implant therein a few seeds of a high philosophy. The author lived with her during the last three years of her life, and his unhesitating criticism of her is that few purer in mind, nobler, or more self-sacrificing have ever existed. Nearly all who knew her have said the same. The evil reports about her and they are all reports - were originated by selfish and ambitious persons who strove by ruining her reputation, to place themselves in power. Toward the end of her life, however, the greater number of the charges against her were withdrawn, yet since the public do not seem generally aware of this the following retraction of the famous New York Sun article of July, 1890 - a full sheet of slander - which appeared in the editorial column of that paper's issue of Monday, September 26th, 1892, may well be added here:
"We print on another page an article in which Mr. William Q. Judge deals with the romantic and extraordinary career of the late Madame Helena P. Blavatsky, the Theosophist. We take occasion to observe that on July 20, 1890, we were misled into admitting to The Sun's columns an article by Dr. E.F. Coues of Washington, in which allegations were made against Madame Blavatsky's character, and also against her followers, which appear to have been without solid foundation. Mr. Judge's article disposes of all questions relating to Madame Blavatsky as represented by Dr. Coues, and we desire to say that his allegations respecting the Theosophical Society and Mr. Judge personally are not sustained by evidence, and should not have been printed." The only regret is that Madame Blavatsky never lived to see this retraction.
ambassador would have only to state his or her position and claims, to secure at once a large following; but in this age slightly different tactics had to be employed. It was well seen that whereas, at first, belief in the philosophy depended almost wholly on the credit given to Madame Blavatsky's declaration of the existence of the Brotherhood, yet afterwards, when the truth of the doctrine was proven, both by the evidence of science and by its being shown as existing in all past ages, then belief in a Humanity higher than our own - in "Masters of Wisdom" - would be the natural outcome. Hence the necessity at first of proof of the existence of the Brotherhood.
Now it is clear that to permit every enquirer to visit the School in order to prove its existence, would be an impossibility, not only because visitations of this nature would be contrary to the most time-honored roles of the institution - which demands for good reason that none save persons of the greatest purity and of high development shall enter their precincts, - but also as a matter of policy, identical with that which makes us legislate against the random invasion of our own public and private buildings by the curious. Nor, on the other hand, could it be expected that the whole array of adepts and occultists should turn out to prove themselves to a few possible converts, who might as easily as not be found quite unfitted to understand the sacred sciences. Proof for the few in that way would be difficult, and for the many it would be impossible. Curiosity in the multitude would have arisen, and were the masses convinced by ocular demonstration a new dogmatism would result.
Hence other methods had to be resorted to in order to prove the claim. Occultists claim that their study, as a secondary effect, gives power over many forces in nature not generally known to the world; it goes without saying, therefore, that one coming directly from the eastern School should be endowed marvelously in this respect. Hence if Madame Blavatsky showed herself to be possessed of ability to control the elements, to produce or make things visible by the power of her will, and in other ways to indicate her power over hidden forces of nature, much necessary evidence would have been given, and the philosophy could then be placed before the whole world backed up by some semblance, at any rate, of truth. While directly the attention of thinkers was turned to the philosophies of the past, every desired object would have been accomplished.
Therefore we find the early days of the Theosophical Society's history pregnant with stories about the powers of this wonderful woman, powers which were exhibited even up to the time of her death, though in a lesser degree once the first point was gained.
Having proved her endowments in these particulars to some, she at once set about her work of piecing together all the older philosophies of the world and showing that an identical teaching (Theosophy) ran throughout all. That she succeeded in this, probably beyond the most sanguine expectations of any, must be manifest from an examination of her work, "Isis Unveiled," comprising two volumes of between six and seven hundred pages each, every chapter of which is filled with citations from and references to the ancient and modern philosophies in defense of her statements.
This was in the earlier days. People began to believe what was said, and very soon many showed a desire to go out to the eastern Brotherhood and become pupils of these sages. And now the wisdom of not localizing the college was shown. A stampede to Thibet* such as might then have followed would have completely frustrated the attempts of the Adepts to give their philosophy to the world, and to establish the nucleus of a Universal Brotherhood;
* It was given out that the headquarters of the school were somewhere in Thibet.
not a worker would have remained in the ordinary haunts of men.
But some years later, in 1880, the veil was partially withdrawn, and several of the Thibetan Brothers made themselves known to members of the Theosophical Society in Simla and Allahabad, India. Mr. Sinnett in the "Occult World," recites a number of very interesting experiences of this period, afterwards publishing letters he received from the Mahatmas at that time, and these, annotated and explained, were swollen into a volume of considerable bulk and presented under the title of "Esoteric Buddhism" - the first attempt to present Theosophy to the West in an orderly and comprehensive manner. The value of the testimony in the "Occult World" consists chiefly in that many of the experiences recorded, which, as is natural, might be readily open to skeptical judgment, were properly witnessed by persons, a number of whom bore high standing in the social and literary world, and we recommend the perusal of this work to all who would critically examine the question. Space forbids our quoting from it here.
Of course most of the people of India, who are born and brought up in an atmosphere redolent with occult tradition, believe in the existence of adepts. Dotted all over as the country is with fakirs of every kind and holy men, it would be hard indeed for the native not to believe in masters in the occult sciences. This holds in every ancient eastern land. And from Americans and Europeans many letters could be quoted giving accounts of interviews with such men, of exhibitions made of their powers, and of other proofs of their existence, such as that through correspondence, letters received and the like. But what necessity is there for such? If the philosophy be a true one, then there must be some where on earth the Elder Brothers of the race. And the demonstration of its general truth proceeds yearly in all departments of thought.
"Looking at the matter from the most rigidly scientific point of view," says Prof. Huxley, "the assumption that, amidst the myriads of worlds scattered through endless space there can be no intelligence as much greater than man's as his is greater than the black beetle's; no being endowed with powers of influencing the course of nature as much greater than his, as his is merely baseless, but impertinent. . . If our intelligence can in some matters surely reproduce the past of thousands of years ago, and anticipate the future thousands of years hence, it is clearly within the greater than a snail's, [sic] seems to me not limits of possibility that some greater intellect, even of the same order, may be able to mirror the whole past and the whole future." * [* Essays upon some Controverted Questions. The italics are ours.]
In the opening chapter, and several times subsequently, we have briefly referred to the work of the Adepts, but the time seems now to have come when the matter can be more fully treated. The Theosophical Society, founded with the object, among others, of forming the nucleus of a Universal Brotherhood of Humanity, may be considered as the general outside work of the Adepts at the present time, and must, therefore, in its endeavour and methods of work, follow along the same lines as the more select body. It may, indeed, be said to be the outward and visible sign of the inner esoteric school. Therefore an examination of the work attempted and achieved by its members would be perhaps the most fitting way of demonstrating the work of the Brothers; but as this is largely treated of in the next chapter, "The Theosophical Society," the question must be dealt with just now from a more general position.
The first question that one would naturally be expected to ask is, "Why a Brotherhood - if Theosophy sketches an immense scheme of evolution, and names this latter in its widest sense as the great object of existence, such can be nothing
but a protracted selfishness - as evolution is now generally understood, it means the raising and improving of certain individuals who survive at the expense of the weaker, and Universal Brotherhood is certainly not possible in company with the doctrine of the `survival of the fittest'?" But, with the Occultists, evolution has not for its keynote the pushing ahead of the individual to the detriment and destruction of his fellows, but precisely the opposite, the Fraternity holding that the only way possible of raising one's self is by raising those with whom one is associated in earth-life - the nation either into which one is born, or with which it is one's Karma to dwell. This must be the case if the hypotheses of the philosophy are correct. Unity is, as has by this time been clearly shown, the basis of the whole doctrine - from this have all things sprung, to it they all tend, and he would therefore best help forward the race to its final emancipation, its Nirvana, who makes for unity instead of for discord. Again, as in each planet and race a soul is associated with other individuals for incalculable ages, its work lies in lifting these, and by such means raising itself also; all being chained together, in effect of past acts. The work of the Brothers, then, lies in the improvement of mankind, the oldest traditions of the schools holding that in this way alone can any advance be made in the spiritual sciences.
The question that naturally follows in the reader's mind from this, is how, since one has to descend into material life, to pass through planetary existence, through Rounds and races - how it can in any way be said to be possible to advance men? Would not this be a getting ahead of the "Great Law?" By no means, for such Law itself includes the factor of individual development. Although all have to pass through certain cycles of existence, to experience material as well as psychic, mental and spiritual life, yet there is no actual obligation which forces anyone to keep merely abreast of the times. The most casual inspection of humanity will show how varying are the degrees of progress, how it is possible for any one man by dint of exertion to outdo his fellows, and the same possibility must hold good in the general as well as in the more limited sense. It is thus, from one point of view, that have arisen the many classes of monads referred to, roughly divided into minerals, vegetables, animals and humans. The calculations deal with the general bulk, not with individual units.
The writer once addressed a similar question to Mme. Blavatsky, asking her why, since it was the law that we had to pass through material existence, we should have to suffer so in getting out of it? "Well," she said, "we should not have had all this pain and suffering if we had not bound ourselves in chains when on the road. If part of one's journey lies through a boggy swamp, it is bad policy to stop and sit down in the mud. But this is just what we have done. We might have walked through on stilts."
This settles the question concerning the work of these individuals, which is solely with the object of benefitting the race to which they belong; next concerning themselves. Upon first being told that persons endowed with great power and learning, living apart from ordinary humanity, unknown and almost unheard of, and apparently refusing to disclose their knowledge, our western sense of openness and freedom receives a shock and we at once feel inclined either to discredit the whole statement, or, if finding it to be true, to exclaim: "How selfish! these men ought to be forced to reveal their knowledge!" But until we fully comprehend the nature of the lore, the conditions of its successful study, we are hardly justified in ascribing to its possessors the attribute of selfishness if they do not happen to scatter their wisdom broadcast. Occult science is at one with modern philosophy at least in this, that, on the one hand, it is not advisable
to cast pearls before swine, nor, on the other, is it wise to allow explosives to be handled by the uninitiated. For these two reasons its possessors prefer to keep their science as much as may be to themselves, and, what is necessary to this, themselves to remain as far as possible in the background.
As to the first reason: So great is the ignorance of the masses concerning the spiritual side of nature, that, save at certain epochs, the wisdom is not so jealously guarded, for the simple reason that the scepticism of the "wise men" of the age, generally prevents its abuse, - "disbelief being as the Magic Casket in which it is locked." But at other times the reins are very closely drawn. This is a period for more or less of secrecy. Although we have not yet more than touched the borderline, still we are, according to the traditions, approaching one of those periods when belief in "nature's finer forces," in "magicians," "fairies," "ghosts," "spells," and indeed all the so-called superstitions of the past ages, will once more become general, and what is more, will be scientifically proven to be well-founded. "Coming events cast their shadows before." Already several of the greatest minds of the age have publicly stated their belief in an unseen world; the ancient superstitions of Mesmer and de Puysegur have lately transformed themselves into the scientific discoveries of hypnotism and catalepsy; spiritualism is not without its adherents amongst men of letters, - although perhaps the "fourth dimension of space" may one day prove itself an inadequate explanation; and the writer can state on excellent authority that many of the first physicians in London do not withhold from practicing astrology!
Yes; many who would fain pin their faith to a materialistic conception of the universe have been forced, nolens volens, to a belief in its occult side. But they have no explanation to offer. Theosophy is the only philosophy, we affirm, which has afforded any solution of the phenomena which are taking place on all sides and among all classes of men. The intelligent reader will see in this more than a mere result of chance. The occult sciences, little as has yet been given out, have not been even so far advanced without the definite object of benefitting the race by offering light and truth in explanation of what must, without it, very soon plunge humanity deeper than ever into darkness and ignorance. The state of matter called astral, the anima mundi, elemental forces, Linga Sharira, and the like, can, we hold, of themselves give full explanation of all psychic phenomena, including clairvoyance, clairaudience, even to the extent of explaining the rationale of the remarkable "Double Ego" of hypnotism, where, by careful experiment many times repeated, men are proved to be possessed of two (or even more) selves. Reincarnation again, new to the West, but by no means new to the world, and the law of Karma, will serve as solutions to many, if not all, of the mysteries of life; and, if not complete ones, yet quite full enough to be appreciated by our race as a whole. "The Adepts," it should be remembered, "do not undertake to give any one the key to the final mysteries until he is prepared to receive and understand it" - which we Westerns certainly are not. Before we can hold and use that key we must be properly trained. But few as yet have fully escaped from the influence of old dogmatic doctrines respecting cosmogenesis; we are not yet as a whole free enough from prejudice rightly to comprehend or properly to use such knowledge.
And as in other days argument against a six-day creation, based perhaps on geological investigations, or more unaffected "common sense," would have been misunderstood, probably to the extent of sending the perpetrator of such heresy to the stake, so now, if more of the philosophy than could be assimilated by mankind in its present era of evolution were scattered
broadcast, no benefit could accrue to the race.
As to the other reason: We referred to the undesirability of giving explosives into the hands of persons uninitiated in the methods of handling them, and have now to say that the study of certain branches of Occultism is held to invest its disciples with powers not normally possessed by man. A correct understanding of the conditions of matter, and of the methods of directing its hidden forces, will easily be seen to be the stepping -stone to great power, and in this connection it may some day be found that the "Vril" of Bulwer Lytton's "Coming Race" is not altogether a fable. The same force which stirs the summer zephyr, intensified, may pick up a locomotive and hurl it many yards distant. The subtile agent that warms our houses may likewise devastate our towns. Electricity is equally efficacious in tickling the palate, or in blasting the rock. And we may readily conceive regarding any of the multitudinous hidden forces which must play through us, that, were we able to hold and control them, to make out of the human body a veritable storage-battery, then would we be invested with the power to work apparent miracles. There is, indeed, said to be one force of terrible effect, which, raised to its highest power on this plane, comes only under the control of man. Electricity is its lowest aspect, but it is many million times more potent than this. Happily, however, it is only as man rids himself of his passions and terrestrial desires that he gains ability to handle this terrible agent; the two are not compatible. Therefore will it only be the inheritance of mankind as a whole in the purified coming seventh race.
Yet, even in our own time, in a lower degree, it is not entirely without its manipulators. In the majority of persons these powers lie entirely dormant; but in some, physical and psychical idiosyncrasies more or less awaken them, and they require only very slight stimuli to call them into potent action. So that "individuals born with such a capacity as not very rare. That they are not heard of more frequently is due to the fact that they live and die, in almost every case, in utter ignorance of being possessed of abnormal power at all."
But mankind has now as a whole commenced its ascent along the upward cycle which leads back to unity; consequently spirituality is on the increase, materiality on the decline, and year by year our race will become less animal, more human, possessed of greater and greater powers over matter. Yet, as such gifts may be possessed by the unrighteous as by the righteous - esoteric science recognizing spiritual evil as well as spiritual good - perhaps it is well that those who have them do not always discover their power.
For these and like reasons the practical study of Occultism is denied to any, who have not proven themselves sincerely, desirous of benefitting their race. It is therefore the province of the very few. The theoretic study, on the other hand, is within certain limits, the province of all, such limitation being expressed by the boundary line of the spiritual possibilities of humanity in any given epoch. In other words: the Great Law withholds no one individual from becoming a pioneer of his family, tribe or race, provided he has the strength to do so; if he has not the innate daring which alone can achieve this, then he must only wind his way slowly around the circle of progression with his brethren.
"The firm soul hasten; the feeble tarries,
Will reach the sunlit snows.*
* Arnold, The Light of Asia.
(To be continued.)
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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.
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