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VOL. XIV., No. 11 HAMILTON, JANUARY 15th, 1934 Price 10 Cents
IF I WERE PRESIDENT
The Election Manifesto of Ernest Wood.
As I have consented to accept nomination as a candidate for the office of President of the Theosophical Society, the voters have a right to expect from me a Declaration of Policy. First, then, to be quite formal, if elected, I would preserve the Constitution of the Society in spirit and letter. Regarding the office of President as a purely executive position, I should try to preserve a just and even attitude to teachers and students holding different views of Theosophy. I should make it very publicly and clearly known that the Society (in common, it may be said, with all progressive scientific societies) commits itself to none of them, either temporarily or permanently, although it is profoundly, even fundamentally, committed to a policy of brotherhood. My idea on this point is that the Society is not a brotherhood of creeds or a chorus of orthodoxies, but, a brotherhood of seekers for ever more and more perfect expressions of love and truth. I would maintain also that the Society does not need the aid of other organizations to fulfill its purposes, and that any activities which it may deem necessary or useful to that end should be incorporated into its constitution and carried on under its control. The greatest object of my solicitude would be that golden step on the stairway of the temple of wisdom, an open mind. What to the individual is an opens mind, to the Society is the open platform, where the white dove of truth may halt and place her weary and generally unwelcome foot. A clean life, an open mind ands a pure heart will surely lead on to brotherliness for all and an unveiled spiritual perception. Even those who believe in the Masters must not try to make them into a belief; rather let us say with H.P.B. that "the pure element in the Society" is "love and devotion to the truth, whether abstract or concreted in the 'Masters'." (see. Mahatma Letters, page 484).
So much for policy. As to material matters, I should like to lay much emphasis an making The Theosophist a very modern magazine, likely to attract the attention of the best, minds; I should like to cultivate our membership among reading people in addition to those more disposed to attend meetings and lectures; I should like to have more frequent official Conventions or Congresses of the Society in different countries (somewhat on the model of the British Association for the Advancement of Science); and I should like to see Adyar a busy and happy community of workers and students, with a corner for the old and more than a corner for the young, and a welcome for visitors from far and near.
My opinions as to the Society's functions are, in fact, much the same as those
expressed by Colonel Olcott with great lucidity in his last important lecture (see The Theosophist for August 1906). I will therefore quote from him: -
Col. Olcott's View
"The secret of the persistent vigour of the Society is that its platform is so drafted as to exclude all dogmas, all social contests, all causes of strife and dissension such as are begotten of questions of sex, colour, religion, and fortune, and make altruism, tolerance, peace and brotherliness the cornerstones upon which it rests . . . . .
"One objection which has been rather persistently urged... is that while we profess to make fraternity our chief ideal we do nothing to practically illustrate it . . . . These views are based upon a total misapprehension of the constitutional character of our Society. Its aim is to float ideas which are likely to benefit the whole world, to give clear ands just conceptions of the duty of man to man, of the way to secure peace and goodwill between nations, to show how the individual can secure happiness for himself and spread it around him by pursuing a certain line of conduct, and how ignorance, which has been declared by that great adept, the Buddha, to be the source of all human miseries, can be dispelled. One of its chief objects is to discover and expound the fundamental basis on which stands all religious systems and to make men divest themselves of every shadow of dogma so as to become tolerant and forbearing towards all men of other faiths than one's own. It was never even dreamt that we should amass capital as a Society to organize societies of any kind, whether socialistic, religious or commercial, and I have set my face from the first against every attempt to make it responsible for the private preferences and prejudices of its members, repudiating in toto every procedure, however seemingly innocent in itself, which could be construed into a breach of our constitutional neutrality. The members of the French Section will recollect that quite recently I had to officially reprobate the passage of a resolution expressing the Society's sympathy for the work of a Peace Society. Should we once begin this ill-advised departure from the neutral ground upon which we have grown and flourished, and express our collective sympathy with socialistic, temperance, vegetarian, anti-slavery, esoteric, masonic, political and charitable societies, we should soon fall into chaos; our resolutions of sympathy would soon become a drug in the market and all our present dignity would be sacrificed in gushes of uncontrolled sentimentality. It is hard for me to have to utter this word of warning, but I would rather a hundred times sacrifice the friendly opinion of my colleagues than keep silent while they, in their inexperience, are trying to drag our car to the crest of the slope at whose foot lies the chasm of ruin.
"I hope you all understand that while I am defending the rights of the Society as a body, I have not the remotest wish or thought of interfering in the least degree with the liberty of the individual. Quite the contrary. I sympathize with and encourage every tendency in my colleagues to ally themselves in movements tending towards the public good. I even go further in setting the example of working for the promotion of education among the Buddhists of Ceylon and the Pariahs of Southern India; I am also a Trustee and friend of the Central Hindu College managed by Mrs. Besant at Benares, without either she or I, in our work among the Hindus and the Buddhists respectively, attempting to throw the responsibility for it on the Society.
No Evidence of Character
"Another complaint made is that we are responsible for the whole litter of little occult societies ...Needless to tell any of you older members, the Society is not only not responsible for these little centres of selfishness and superstition but they are abhorrent to its ideal . ... . The psychic faculty, like a sharp sword standing in the corner of a room, may be used for a good or an evil purpose. The possession of clair-
voyance - whether retrospective or prophetic - clairaudience, the power to speak or write in unlearned languages, to move ponderable objects without touch, to read thought, to travel in the astral body, to precipitate pictures or writings upon paper or other material, to see and describe absent persons, etc., are no evidence whatever of purity or elevation of character or spiritual evolution. I have known persons rarely gifted in one or other of these respects who were immoral in habit and false in statement. Patanjali specially warns us to avoid at all costs the following of these perverting psychical powers into the side paths which lead the pilgrim away from the straight road that runs towards the top of the mountain of spiritual development. They are but the spawn floating on the surface of the water over which we must propel the bark of our higher self to arrive at the port of adeptship . . . .
"I wish to impress upon your minds, that no more dangerous obstacle lies in the Upward Path than credulity. The first great lesson taught by the Adept Master to his pupil is to use his reason and common sense in all things; no teaching is to be taken as inspired, no teacher to be infallible. "Act" wrote a Master to me in the beginning of my pupilage, "as though we had no existence. Do your duty as you see it and leave the results to take care of themselves. Expect nothing from us, yet be ready for anything." This was a life lasting lesson to me and I have acted upon it to best of my ability ever since. In the very early days I had the tendency of taking as almost unquestionable the teachings that I got through Madame Blavatsky: I was afraid not to follow blindly her instructions lest I might unwittingly be disobedient to the wishes of the Masters. But experience cured me of that and threw me back upon the exercise of my common sense, since which time I have had nothing to regret. I pass this lesson on to you beginners, in the hope that in the early stages of your career you may be willing to listen to the advice of an elder brother whose experience in psychical matters already dates back fifty-five years..."
Left The Other Undone
These are my views, but I feel that I must also explain my position with regard to other bodies whose protagonists desire to propagate and practice their systems of organized access to the Masters power and blessing wherever Theosophists foregather or establish themselves. This is a question to be considered practically as well as theoretically, so I shall open the subject with two typical experiences from among many within my direct knowledge: -
One is the case of a Lodge. At the time of which I am speaking it showed a deficit of #9 in its accounts, and there was much discussion about it - various proposals including a reduction of the already small expenditure on advertising lectures and the removal of the Lodge to a smaller room, comparatively obscure and inconvenient. Scarcely had the removal taken place when up came the question of starting a Co-Masonic Lodge. All the leading members were canvassed on the subject; it was whispered round that the Masters were keenly anxious to have the new movement promoted, and would give of their power and force to or through those who joined it. In a trice the members hustled to ransack their monetary resources, and very soon hundreds of pounds we're forthcoming.
It may be argued that this proves that the Theosophical Society was not really wanted by the members and that the CoMasonic Lodge was what they really cared for. Truly, it is difficult to find many people who care for mere truth and the power of truth for which the Theosophical Society stands. Even those who were struggling towards it, fell before the concreteness and the pomp of a ceremonial movement backed by the statement of an organized access to the Masters' power. The love and brotherhood of the members were beautiful and touching, but the Theosophical Society was no longer the highest thing. The more presentable new members after that were very soon drawn
into the arcanum; and presently no one was really "one of us" unless within the more intimate brotherhood. No longer did we hear the words: "Seek us through the Theosophical Society" and "It is our law to approach every such an one (natural allies) even if there be but the feeblest glimmer of the true 'Tathagata' light within him," for organized access took the foremost place.
The Second Visitor
My second example is that of a Theosophical Federation. It had invited for its President an old and well-known member who had left the E.S. when Dr. Besant closed it in 1928 and had not rejoined when it was reopened; also, although he had occupied a high position in Co-Masonry he had left that too in order to devote himself more fully to the work of the Society. All preliminaries were settled, but the question soon arose: "Who will satisfy the Masonic and E.S. part of the programme, and bring to the occasion the blessing of the Masters?" So a second visitor must be invited for that. That being settled, it was next hinted to the original invitee that perhaps as he was an important person and very busy he would prefer not to come. He, replied that he would be disappointed not to meet his old friends, as arranged, so it was decided that both should come. But it was painfully clear who was to be the unnecessary President of the occasion, and who the Indispensable Visitor.
Approximately this has come within my notice three times lately. How many hundreds, even thousands, of decisions as to Presidents, Secretaries, etc., have been made on non-Theosophical-Society grounds, who can tell? And can it then be said that the decisions are made "without distinction of creed"? If not, in such cases they are no longer fundamentally Theosophical Society gatherings, and no mere words can mend the break. In such ways the Theosophical Society has in many places become a mere subsidiary of other organizations, and, its own natural leaders are nipped off in the very bud.
To Protect The Society
I have no fault to find with the weakness of human nature; it is a fact. And I have no fault to find with leaders, who try to prevent the effect I have cited, but cannot do so because followers are so often "more royalist than the king." But because of this effect upon the Society I am among those who - while admiring these movements in their proper and dignified places - want to find some way to protect the Society from their influence. I submit that we cannot settle this question without taking into consideration the frailty of human nature, with its consequent effect upon the Theosophical Society, and I would request the Societies concerned to devote their energies to the establishment of their own platform and their own gatherings, such as the Theosophical Society achieved after many years of hard work. From my side, I could, of course, allow these organizations no official place in the Society's activities, on its platform or in its programs, except that which is accorded to all religions as subjects of earnest and reverent study and investigation.
I suppose I must not leave out reference to Mr. Krishnamurti, especially as it is known than I greatly value his ideas. To his movement I would accord the same position as the others, although I recognize that he is more parallel to the Theosophical Society than they are, when he emphasizes the importance of an unresting search for truth, absolutely untrammeled by any creed, or when he attempts, as Colonel
Olcott put it, "to make men divest themselves of every shadow of dogma." It would have been silly to form the Theosophical Society with its non-dogmatic constitution (see The Original Programme of the Theosophical Society, by H. P. B.)
had there not been the thought which Krishnamurti now emphasizes that to make any move towards spiritual realization men must rely fundamentally upon themselves, and allow the flower of their own life to unfold itself from within, with no alien
hand trying to open the petals of the rose by external force. Organizations which bring in formularies of belief in dogmas, in persons and in systems, are repugnant to his method, and it is only because those have overgrown the Theosophical Society that he speaks disapprovingly of Theosophy in the same breath as the other organizations.
Society Has No Teachers
Admiring his clear-sightedness, Dr. Besant hailed him as the veritable incarnation of her conception of the Supreme Teacher of the Occult Hierarchy, which constituted a great recommendation to us to study him. Some, however, wish to exclude his movement from the Headquarters at Adyar, while admitting others "because they are Theosophical." However, the Society has no teachers. It should unquestionably extend to Krishnamurti the reverent attention given to other teachers of past and present, even though he disapproves of views and practices called "Theosophical" by some. The Society is bound by neither side, and cannot label some teachers, Theosophical and others not; so if it extends courtesies and conveniences to one it must do the same to the other. If any member of the Theosophical Society becomes a spiritual teacher, in that capacity he is simply a private individual, for our Society has none, just as the Chemical Society does not maintain a soap factory.
Our late President, Dr. Besant, recognized something of these dangers, and spoke about them in reference to the E.S. in an important lecture just before her election (see The Theosophist, October 1907, page 33). She said:
"In the T.S. we have a curious mixture. The Exoteric Society is purely democratic - it is only fair to admit this fully. On the other side we have an Esoteric body which is practically autocratic in its constitution. . . The existence of a secret body to rule the outer Society made the constitution of the T.S. a mere farce, for it was wholly at the mercy of the inner . . . .
All the differences that arose between the Colonel and myself were really on this point; he could not believe that I was serious in saying that I would not use the E.S. against him, but slowly he came to understand it. . . The greatest power will always be in the hands of the E.S., and not in the head of the Society... I know that I exercise a quite unwarrantable power. This is what makes some people say there should not be an E.S.T. But you cannot help its existence; you cannot say to members that they shall not join a secret Society, so there is no power in the society to say it shall not be; we must recognize the danger and try to neutralize it. At any time during the last fifteen years I could have checkmated the Colonel an any point if I had chosen, and I do not see how the Society can guard itself against that danger; it is impossible to neutralize the authority of one to whom thousands look up as to a spiritual teacher."
School For Discipline
My view of the E.S. is that it is a purely private organization for following a particular spiritual teacher (now Bishop Leadbeater), and I should take care to leave no room for misunderstanding on this point. I regard it as a school for discipline, not as a holy of holier for the Society (E.S. members, please read again Dr. Besant's circular on the reopening of the E.S. in 1929), and I do not regard those members of the Society who are outside it as having less access to the Masters than those who are within it. The Christians set up proprietary shrines rounds Christ; we need not repeat that error.
As regards the Liberal Catholic Church, Co-Masonry and similar organizations, it may be argued that my attitude implies non-belief in the statements made by prominent clairvoyants as to the Masters' interest in those movements. To this I would reply that the Masters have said that the Theosophical Society is only a fragment of their interest, and have also said that they du not usually try to prevent mistakes. If, however, they founded the Theosophical
Society with a certain purpose, I cannot believe that after many decades in which they gave no hint of it, they suddenly wanted to permeate the Society with these other organizations, having other methods which do differ from that of the Theosophical Society in that they are all sects with creeds, and the Theosophical Society is a great attempt to establish a Society in which no creed shall influence any appointment of any officer or any activity of any branch.
At the same time it is only fair that I should let my own views be known; that I do not consider the psychic experiences of any person whatever (and I have had much experience while working for the Society in a variety of responsible ways for over thirty years) so constantly and completely reliable as to justify any approach towards an autocracy (even if established on "confidence") in the Theosophical Society -unless it openly gives up its old position, as, of course, it may choose to do.
Dr. Besant's letters
I have received a circular containing two private letters of Dr. Besant's, dated in 1926, now made public in order to show the electors that Dr. Besant and the Master want Bishop Arundale to be elected. If, however, Dr. Besant had wanted to make a nomination she could have done so, and no doubt the Master also could have made his will known; they having abstained, we have this unfortunate attempt to correct their deficiency by publishing old letters. The Society has now in force a new system of election of President which has ultimately resulted from a suggestion made by Dr. Besant. Wishing to avoid some of the faults of the old method, she wrote: "why should not two or more names be submitted, and an absolute majority of the votes cast be sufficient for election?" (The Theosophist, September 1907, page 882). This being so, the fact that she did not use her right to give a nomination seems to me to show that she desired the members to vote with absolutely free judgment, not influenced by her as a spiritual teacher.
Early in 1929, on my return to Adyar from travel, she appointed me Recording Secretary, and about that time gave me her views and what many would call "orders" with regard to the movements associating themselves with the Theosophical Society. She spoke of the danger of crystallization in the Society and the growing influence of other organizations; she reminded me of her decision not to appear again in the Liberal Catholic Church; she gave great praise to the enthusiasm which had brought various movements into prominence in connection with the Society; then she spoke of the difficulty, which she felt on account of their pressure on one side, and finally said: "I wish some of you would push equally hard on the other side. It would make it much easier for me." I must go further, and let it be known that she told me that she had scarcely used her own psychic powers for years, but had been relying upon others.
Set Aside Personal Appeals
I am still carrying out her wishes, as well as the principles which I believe to be right. I should, however, feel it much harder to stand against the powerful combination of Bishop Leadbeater (my greatest and most honoured friend and benefactor for many years) and his two distinguished pupils, were I not confident of my position with regard to the real Annie Besant and her Master. In any case, I could not admit any injunctive value in Dr. Besant's private letters of 1926. Nor could I expect her or the Master to respect me if I did. Further, they belong to a period of mistaken confidence. It is curious that they should now be used (after Dr. Besant kept the matter private to the end) to implement the prophecy which they themselves mention. As to personal affection (alas that such sacred matters should come into print), I also have in my box some letters, scattered over nearly thirty years, with "My dear son" and, "Affectionately, yours", and mentioning "great gifts" and great expectations, but let them remain there as unsuit-
able for election propaganda, or indeed, for general consumption at any time.
But, fellow-members, I implore you to set aside all these personal appeals for pour vote. Gather up, my friends, your intuition and your knowledge, with resolve to do what is best for the integrity and usefulness of the Theosophical Society and without regard to occult fear, or favour, cast your vote as a stone into the sea of fate - not a little stone, but possibly the stone which may decide much of the future history of the Society. Take your stand on the old declaration: "He who does his best does enough for us;" but if you have not yet the courage for this, stay your hand, I say, and do not vote at all.
- Ernest Wood.
1st November, 1933.
THE THEOSOPHY OF THE UPANISHADS.
(Continued from Page 297.)
This is the teaching, this the counsel, this the hidden wisdom, this the instruction, this, verily, is to be followed.
- Taittiriya Upanishad.
Though it is above all things the purpose of the Upanishads to establish in us a true and high relation to the universe, by awakening in us a free and flowing life, by awakening our spirits; yet, this full benediction and inspiration being still far from us, it may be well to point to one or two principles of living, good to follow and wholesome to obey, in the period of transition that lies between our hard and narrow personal life and the free and flowing life of the Self that is the Eternal.
This period of transition, the Upanishads tell us, and its visible outer manifestation - the mid-world - are hard to cross as the sharp edge of a razor; the bridge is narrow, and difficult to find, and many there are who, failing to find it, fall again and again into the widespread net of death.
We may linger a moment over this somewhat relentless sentence - the path of life as hard to cross as a keen razor's edge. It is vain to soften it with sentimental phrases; life is very relentless; has a hard and savage way with us; offers no gratification of our desires; allows no complacency to our personalities. Yet we must pluck up courage to look this stern way of life's in the face; nay, more, we must think ourselves into harmony with it, and make it our own way, in dealing with ourselves and our weakness; we must come to see that this sharp way of life's is only the best mercy, the most sanative dealing with unrealities that bring abundant misery and meanness in their train. The path of life is hard to cross as a razor's edge - because it is the path of perfect freedom, and we are so enamored of bondage that we will by no means be persuaded to be perfectly free, but make this and that reservation of meanness and misery; cling to this or that fetter and bond and imperfection. And this folly of ours can only be cured by the grim treatment spoken of - by falling again and again into the widespread net of death. It is not we, not our real selves, who thus pass under death's dominion, for the real Self can never die. It is but the crystallized forms, the husks of life, that we have gathered round us - these must be dissolved and broken up and cast away.
Therefore one sanative truth we world do well to lay to heart, when setting out on this small old path, is that life is in no sense sentimental, has no tears for folly, will have, for our sensibilities and sentimentalities, absolutely no pity at all. For life is in earnest, and sentimentality is not in earnest, therefore there can be no truce between sentimentality and life.
Life is in earnest. This small old path, stretching far away, is not some curiously elaborate training of curious powers and capacities of our being; it is not this or anything like this; it is rather the estab-
lishing of real life, the grave and earnest science of reality. If, therefore, when thinking that it were well for us to set forth on this small old path, we still cherish illusions about reality and unreality, still hope to smuggle a cherished remnant of unrealities along with us, to carry them with us to the world of the real, it were better for us to think the matter over again. Life is in earnest; the path of life is the path of the real; the penalty of cherishing unrealities is to fall again and again into the wide-spread net of death, the king of unrealities. The aim of real life is to establish perfect freedom, to confirm the real Self in its own reality, its own endless and boundless life; and in this work our cherished remnant of unrealities will fare badly, if we will persist in taking them along with us.
Our progress along the narrow path will consist in our becoming, at each step, a larger and more real self; in substituting for a lower, baser, more limited self, a new self, higher, more excellent, fuller of life. And, it is almost a truism to say it, we cannot substitute for the old self a new self, and yet retain cherished elements of the old self at the same time. If the hour is ripe for us to have done with the animal self that absorbs most of us, almost entirely, and to enter the truly human self we have so long claimed to be, with so little right; if we would be done with the animal self, then let us be done with it, and especially with its two great and dominant instincts - the preservation of self through lust of possession, the preservation of the race through lust of flesh. We must neither be so foolish to believe that the real self within us requires our frantic struggle after outward things for its preservation, nor fatuous enough to think that lust of flesh, - even divorced from its first purpose of race-preservation, which redeems it in healthy, bestial life, and thus become a double unreality, can really be a part of the wider life of that truer self, which we must realize in rounded and harmonious completeness, as our first step onward. If we do not care to take a step onward towards the world of the real, we are perfectly at liberty to accept nature's sane alternative, to fall again ands again into the wide net of death, king of unrealities. Here, at any rate, is a certain grim freedom of will.
It would be well to get this thought quite clearly realized, that each step onwards means a total substitution for the old self of a new self, in rounded and harmonious completeness; that, therefore, there will be no residue of the old self in the new, nothing common to them but the pure selfhood that is really the representative of the Self supreme.
This tendency to substitute for the old self a larger and more excellent self is the tendency of real life, working towards fullest reality; and real life, in its abundant and even almost profligate richness, will always assure to us the possibility and possession of a new self stronger and wider than the old; our conscious and voluntary part consists hardly in more than in willingly giving up the old, - in loosing our frantic graspings after the old; the rebirth within use is not so much our work as the work of the splendid generosity of life; the quiet self-establishing of the higher Self not newly come into being, or to be built up by us, but existing already before the eternities. We should do well to let this thought and power of the higher Self take such hold on us as to develop within us, gradually a certain high courage and endurance, of the temper and mettle of the immortals; for thus it will be well with us in the darkness and silence that fill our hours of transition from lower to higher Self.
There is so much grave earnestness, so little sentimentality in life, that we shall have much need of this high temper and daring of the immortals, much need of endurance, as our unrealities are torn to shreds, as the great, broad pathway to the real opens out before us.
One opponent we have, whose force outweighs all others, who is far more formid-
able than the lust of the flesh, far more dangerous than the lust of the eyes, the lust of possession; this enemy above all enemies is the instinct of preservation of our personal selves. Every falsehood as to self-annihilation, every pitiful and sentimental consideration as to the old self doomed to destruction, every strategy and artifice and subterfuge will this Proteus personality employ, before we succeed in bursting its bonds, and, as the Upanishads say, with that exquisite skill in words that so heightens their power, - in untying the knot of the heart.
This Proteus personality is the real atheist in us, who combats belief in the divine, because belief in the divine infallibly means that the end of personality is at hand. This is the real sensualist, using the healthy and blameless instincts of bestial life to batten and draw fat upon, in self-conscious self-indulgence. This is the real coward, who trembles before every whisper of change and onward progress, knowing well that onward progress must leave him behind, or rather that his dissolution and disappearance are indispensable before onward progress can rein. Atheism, sensuality, cowardice, are so admirable attributes of our so admirable personality, - our king of all the world.
The supreme effort of will is needed before we can consent to they death within us of this most admirable sovereign and worthy ruler; and before our effort succeeds, we shall have had to meet and resist every claim of vested rights and constitutional privilege that the fierce, wild instinct, of self-preservation can suggest.
So that, seeing clearly life's earnestness and entire freedom from sentimentality, we shall clearly apprehend and firmly grasp these two facts; first, that, in the life of the higher Self, the lusts of the flesh will assuredly not have a place; secondly, that the life of the higher Self, before it can be ours in the fulness of free and flowing power, demands one condition, the death of the lower self, - a death, free, perfect, unconditional, and as willing as formerly was our most willing self-indulgence. The assent of the will to the dissolution and disappearance of the lower self must be absolute, before the life of the higher Self can be ours. This is the path to reality; and, along the path of reality, subterfuges and reservations will not greatly help us.
But of the laws of conduct we have said nothing until we have said this, - the supreme reason for the dissolution and disappearance of our lower selves is not so much in the interest of our own higher selves as in the interest of our other selves, the men and women around us, who are as much a part of the supreme Self as we are. The instinct of self-preservation in our Proteus-like personality is far more a struggle against our other selves, the men and women who surround our life, than against the higher Self, the divine newcomer who begins to brood over our life. And this truth can never be too often repeated, too insistently brought forward to the light: we sin more against the essential truth of things, we more deeply offend the lasting realities, by giving way to this struggle of our personal selves against the lives of others, our other selves, than by indulgence in the lusts of the flesh and the lusts of the eyes. Selfishness is worse than drunkenness and evil-living. The Self is for unity and completed, rounded totality; and selfishness is a greater sin against rounded totality than any self-indulgence.
(To Be Concluded.)
"H. P. Blavatsky and The Secret Doctrine" is a new book by the late Max Meindel, of the Rosicrucian Cosmo Conception, published at Oceanside, California. It is an excellent sketch of the great Theosophist. Manly P. Hall, in an introduction, says that it "in a few brief and simple words sums up Cosmogenesis, the creation of the world, and Anthropogenesis, the creation of man."
THE PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION
CONSCIENCE OR AUTHORITY?
By Dorothy Jinarajadasa.
Since my letters of 1929 and 1930 I have not wanted to enter any arena of controversy in the T.S., particularly now as I am fully occupied in my own work in the Children's Aid Society and as a Magistrate of the Children's Court here in Madras. But lately I have received a circular copy of two personal letters, written by Dr. Besant to Bishop Arundale and I feel that for the true import of these letters to be understood, the circumstances under which she wrote them should be told.
Those letters were written by Dr. Besant in 1926, after Bishop Arundale had told her hat he had received the impression of a message from the Master Morya to himself relating to his standing for election as President in the 1928 election. As is shown in these two letters, Dr. Besant was willing to stand aside if the Master wished. But in the bottom of her heart she was not quite happy about it. However, Bishop Leadbeater cabled to Bishop Arundale suggesting that the matter be dropped, which was done.
Dr. Besant herself told me all the above facts. I repeat them now so that the background of her published letters may be "true". In these letters she is referring to a particular incident occurring in 1926, not to her final successor as President of the T.S.
I am convinced from personal knowledge that Dr. Besant had no desire or intention to influence the freedom of judgment of members in choosing their new President. In the Theosophist of July 1928 there is an article by Bishop Arundale which, on page 437, discusses the future and the work of Dr. Besant's successor. In the following month, Dr. Besant and I were traveling back to India together, and we had many talks about the Theosophical Society, past, present and future; and one day I referred to this article and asked Dr. Besant if she had any idea of nominating a successor, or of making any suggestions, as did Colonel Olcott. She answered, "Certainly not; that would be against the constitution of the Theosophical Society. It is for members to elect whom they wish." That was her real and true opinion, and I do not think her name should now be used for propaganda purposes for any "political" matter. Her message and influence in the future of the Society is her magnificent spiritual and practical teaching and the example of her wonderful dynamic life.
A new day is breaking for the Society and it has now in the cold, dawn light to face itself and its future frankly. One relevant point to consider may well be the cause of the loss of so many good members in the last few years. This is not due merely to the "depression"' or to Krishnaji's teaching, but also to the fact that unless a member has acquiesced with and followed the line of teaching expounded by the leaders, that member has - if not in theory, very frequently in fact - (particularly at the chief centres of the Society) been characterized as disloyal and unworthy, so he soon feels that he has no place in the T.S. and leaves it.
It is the actual, real, shining freedom in the Society that is growing dim, and the recognition that all members are free to follow their own inner leading, honorably, without having "the conscience of a fool" attached to them.
A further serious consideration for the members is the Objects and Policy of the T.S. Colonel Olcott once speaking of the Theosophical Society said: "Its object is to enquire, not to teach. Theology meant the revealed knowledge of God, and Theosophy the direct knowledge of God. The one asked us to believe what someone else had seen and heard, and the other told us to see and hear what we can for ourselves."
This to me represents the essence of the
Objects of the Society I joined in 1912. Unhappily it seems today that the declaration has reversed itself and now Theosophy (as I often hear it expounded) means revealed knowledge and "believing what someone else has seen and heard."
Since 1925 and the Huizen revelations, the Society has been drawing round and into itself (in fact if not in theory) creed and dogma and unproved assertions; the panoply of prophets, priests, and apostles, surrounds us, and in the forms and personalities we lose the Truth we seek. An Indian Prince, the Aga Khan, said the other day, "Theosophy has remembered the messengers, and forgotten the message" - a poignant criticism from one outside of our ranks.
Some members may, but others certainly do not, want to be guided by "Authority" (of which we have heard rather much lately) other than the "Authority" of the still small voice speaking in the "mysterious and glorious depths of their own inmost being".
I suggest that the coming era maybe ushered in by members doing their own thinking, and voting for their new President because they want him and his point of view and not for any other reason, and that each candidate for the Presidentship will stand only on his own merits and platform of policy for the future.
Our chief aim may be that enunciated by the Master K.H. (Mahatma Letters, page 53): "To teach man virtue for its own sake, and to walk in life relying on himself instead of leaning on a theological crutch, that for countless ages was the direct cause of nearly all human misery."
"ln completeness there are no opposites. A mind that is caught up in duality cannot understand life. In freedom from opposites there is enduring action. We create the opposites, because we live continually in choice, and since all choice is based on like and dislike, there is no direct discernment." - J. Krishnamurti at Ommen.
REGARDING THE ELECTION
Editor Canadian Theosophist: - I had the opportunity of reading a communication, sent far publication by Mr. B. Shiva Rao, regarding the election to the Presidentship of the Theosophical Society. I think it may not be out of place now to state what I know about this matter.
About the early part of 1932, when Dr. Besant was not very weak, though ill, and could be seen and spoken to, she said she had to continue in that body, though it had become practically unfit for active work, because of they difficulty of finding a proper person to take up her work as President of the T.S.
Whatever she might have said should not weigh with us now. Those put up for election by the General Secretaries of Sections and other members of the General Council should be considered as the best to choose from. What is wanted now for the Presidentship is a person capable of good administrative work; lecturers and speakers are not needed at present; enough has been said and written on Theosophical work to serve as food for thinking and acting far half a century more.
Rao Saheb G. Soobbiah Chetty,
Adyar, Nov. 11th, 1933.
GENERAL SECRETARY'S COMMENT
When I wrote last month of "Two Letters from Mrs. Besant", I took Mr. Jinarajadasa's note in good faith. But Mrs. Jinarajadasa's letter now puts a different face an the whole matter. There is a word that has come into the dictionaries in recent years, and I can think of nothing better to describe the dealings which we have to meet in connection with the Adyar policies, than the verb to spoof.
It now turns out that these two letters produced at the psychological moment by Dr. Arundale, and, effectively used by Mr. Jinarajadasa, were replies to a letter from Dr. Arundale to Mrs. Besant, in which he told her he had an impression that he was
to be the next president, the election then being about two years away in 1928.
Mrs. Besant replied diplomatically, accepting his statement as one "Arhat" to another, that Master had told him he was going to be the next president. However the election came off, and it was proven that Dr. Arundale's impression was entirely wrong, Mrs. Besant succeeded herself, and she became the next president.
Then we have testimony from various witnesses, that during the next five years Mrs. Besant, although she had the right to do so, declined to nominate a successor, and left it to the members to make their own choice. She knew of no one she felt she could conscientiously nominate, and Dr. Arundale's production of these two letters, ands Mr. Jinarajadasa's uses of them, was just a bit of spoofing. We can leave it at that.
Mrs. Jinarajadasa's letter, under the circumstance's, is a courageous and timely reminder that coercion has been practice in the Theosophical Society. We know only too well in Canada what that means. Our Society here was disrupted and scattered to the winds by the influence and orders of members of the E.S., the L.C.C. and the Co-Masonic order. If these bodies are of more importance to the members of the Theosophical Society than the Society itself there is nothing to be done or said that can avail anything. But if the Theosophical Society and its aims and objects are to be a paramount consideration, then it's officers should not be controlled and animated by the desire to make these extraneous societies their chief interest in life and purpose.
As Mrs. Jinarajadasa observes: "It is the actual, real, shining freedom in the Society that is growing dim, and the recognition that all members are free to follow their own inner leading honorable, without having 'the conscience of a fool' attached to them."
Mr. Telang's Correction
The spoofing does not stop with the production of Mrs. Besant's letters. Mr. Leadbeater has his part to play also and this has been fully deal. with in Mr. D.K. Telang's supplement to the Special Memorial Volume of "Theosophy in India" for October. This is an eight-page pamphlet which we have not, of course, space to reproduce. But the import of it can be given.
He begins by saying: "I was to speak quite frankly, shocked at the 'message' that Mr. C. Jinarajadasa has thought fit to publish to 'various countries', as he puts it in one of his wires to me, with a statement as to 'How it Happened,' through the agencies of the Associated Press and Reuter abroad. I should personally have preferred to leave Mr. Jinarajadasa in the fullest enjoyment of his little joke, at my cost, without any intervention, for, again, quite frankly, I have no reputation to lose as a trafficker in psychic arts, and my friends and others for whose opinion I care, know very well what I have made of and in what precise manner I have employed or 'exploited' 'the close association which had existed between Dr. Besant and Mr. Telang.' But I am proclaimed to the 'various countries' as 'the head of the Indian Theosophists', and this moves this matter from the purely personal plane to a considerably higher plane, where my reputation for sobriety and rationality becomes a matter of some slight concern to me.
"I cannot therefore, allow my case against the 'message' and the statement to go by default and remain, in the eyes of some friends in these 'countries' a trafficker in psychism, a kind of sub-agent - a reputation I abhor, a reputation I can lay no claim to, and which I have avoided in all my sane moments. There are, further, wide and serious gaps in the sequence of events, as adduced by Mr. Jinarajadasa, and many will, undoubtedly, to my mind, consider a part of his statement as absolutely unwarrantable in the light even of his own wires to me, before I had reached Bombay on my way to Benares. I therefore, hold it now my duty to tell the 'various countries' so far as I can, facts as I know them."
Not A Psychist
It will be clear from what Mr. Telang says - he being the General Secretary for India, that he is not a psychist and has no sympathy with the bogus revelations which we summarized in the article, "The Great Illusion"' in our October issue. He had the Memorial Number of "Theosophy in India" - which is now published, in mind as a tribute to Mrs. Besant for her birthday on October 1st, and wrote about the end of August when he decided to bring it out to various persons asking for articles on Mrs. Besant. Mr. Leadbeater being included in letter on September 5th, among them. Mrs. Besant, it will be remembered, died on September 20.
When Mr. Telang arrived in Adyar on September 26, he called on Mr. Leadbeater, and the "Bishop" greeted him by saying that he was sorry he had not been able to write the article asked for, and why should Mr. Telang not publish what Mr. Leadbeater had said at the cremation. Mr. Telang replied he would publish that, of course, but he wanted a special and exclusive contribution for "Theosophy in India."
"I am utterly sure," writes Mr. Telang, "that I said nothing during this talk that could suggest, even by implication, that I wanted a message from Dr. Besant. I had no other talk with Bishop Leadbeater till I went to him on Wednesday afternoon, 27th September, at Mr. Jinarajadasa's advice, to get the now famous message." Mr. Telang gives a full account of all the details of the affair, by which it was sought to leave the impression that he had asked for a message from Mrs. Besant, when as a matter of fact, he was a Theosophist and did not believe in anything of the kind.
The cable message sent out by Mr. Jinarajadasa was published all over the world and remains, and will remain, uncontradicted as something that the Theosophical Society will have to live down, as it has to live down all the rest of the humbug and spoofing that has been going on at Adyar for the last thirty years or so.
Mr. Telang specifically asked Mr. Leadbeater for an article on Mrs. Besant on September 5, and as he says, "I cannot conceive myself asking the Bishop for an article or even a message 'on India' with my personal knowledge of his views on India in general."
The fact is that Mr. Leadbeater produced an alleged message from Mrs. Besant which he said Mr. Telang had asked for, which Mr. Telang denies, declaring he never believed in such messages and therefore could not have asked for one; that Mr. Jinarajadasa, without Mr. Telang's permission, cabled the message overseas, implicating Mr. Telang, as though he were in some way responsible; and the whole world is asked to believe that the Theosophical Society, through prominent members, accepts such messages as though the members expected them ands put faith in them. The whole business reeks of spoofery as well as spookism, and it is about time for members to ask themselves if they think it right to support the nominee of those who can descend to such methods and practice such deception on those who have been depending upon them far guidance.
We shall probably be accused, as we have been in the past, of unbrotherly conduct for showing up the facts. But whether is it more unbrotherly to expose these deceptions which mislead the majority of the members of the Society, or to practice such deceptions and leave the members to find the truth without assistance?
The policy has prevailed for years, until the exponents of it have grown careless in their methods and leave themselves more open to exposure than usual. Do we want such men and such methods at the head of the Society, and in charge of the Headquarters at Adyar? It is certainly time to vote for a change.
The opportunity is before us. The manifesto which we present this month from Professor Ernest Wood should appeal
to all who desire to return towards those early conceptions of the Theosophical Society which are so well expressed in the passage of Col. Olcott's speech which Mr. Wood quotes. He would free the Society also from the stranglehold that subsidiary bodies, of one kind and another have been allowed to clutch it with, so that its revenues, its energies, its traditions and its influence have been diverted to such an extent that its progress has been stayed, its membership, depleted, and its ideals entirely misrepresented to the public at large.
Mr. Wood has analyzed some of the effects of these "little centres of selfishness and superstition", as Col. Olcott calls them, which have led to thousands of decisions in the Society being made on grounds which have nothing to do with the Theosophical Society. He makes clear one point that very many members have never got straight. "I do not regard those members who are outside it (the E.S.) as having less access to the Masters than those who are within it." He emphasizes the impersonal and impartial policy of the Theosophical Society in all its relations, and by implication rejects that policy of playing favorites which has disgusted so many sensible people and made the Society unwelcome as a herald of Truth to the masses.
It is not necessary to labour the points made in this exhaustive manifesto. Members of the Society can judge of their own Theosophical attitude by the reluctance with which they peruse it, or the open minded welcome they give it. It represents in the largest measure in which any similar statement has for a long period of years presented them the original conceptions of the Theosophical Movement. A resumption of these ideas, with the election of Mr. Wood would mean the immediate resuscitation of the Society, the recovery of its waning influence, and the spread of its principles throughout the world which so badly needs its inspiration and illumination.
AS IN A LOOKING GLASS.
By Mrs. Walter Tibbits
(Continued from Page 299.)
THE FOREMOST WOMAN OF THE AGE.
"I pray that you may keep close, very close, to those Holy ones who have you in charge, forerunners of what all shall be in a more glorious age."
Your sister wandering in Southern India. - Annie Besant.
30 Hyde. Park Gate, S.W.
Dec. 11th, 1920.
I have read the second part of your book I. with great interest. But I can't help feeling that such utter submission to Teachers, Guides and Masters is spiritually a mistake, and that Gautama's injunction was right; "Be a lamp unto thyself."
7 Cities Seen.
This will be one of the strangest stories ever unfolded in a book. It concerns a woman described by "The Times" as the foremost of her day. Only lately a Gallipoli hero told me of what small account he felt when traveling in Annie Besant's train. Even in Italy expectant crowds offered fruit and flowers at every stop. Even at midnight eager worshipers denied her sleep at wayside stations.
It concerns a man who had the molding of her at her meridian. Those were the days of the "Outer Court" and' "The Path of Discipleship". Before the money flowed in in tens of thousands. But when the Power of her Master behinds her rolled over the whole World of Thought. When from the golden lips of her, whom the late Lord Coleridge called the finest orator of the age, flowed living waters, to men and women starved by Huxley and famished by Lankester.
It concerns one of the two great life-giving movements of our time. Strangely it has been my Karma to know the core of
both the Salvation Army and the Theosophical Society. I now write of this latter as I have known it.
Poona was the first Indian city of my intimacy, and a most interesting new friend she was. It was the time of the plague and I volunteered to go with the plague parties simply and solely to have a better opportunity of knowing those narrow streets, those carved temples, which had such an unaccountable fascination for me that I was newer tired of wandering among the tortuous bye-ways, undeterred by dirt or smells or plague. I can see them now, the rather broader thoroughfare of the Aitwar Peth where Govind the brass seller had such a splendid selection from all the country round, the piles of bright new brass in the shops all down the streets, and the dark carvings of the old, wooden balconies above from which sweet little brown faces called dawn salaams to the mem. The richly ornamented temples possessed such a strong allurement that on one occasion, I boldly entered' in to be surrounded by an excited crowd. Once Hindoo temples were open to all, but when the images were spat upon by Westerners they were forbidden to enter.
In the centre of the city there is an old world mansion, owned by a family who, under the rule of the Peishwas, was at the head of the Poona aristocracy. It is often amusing in India to notice a strong facial resemblance between some Hindu and a Western acquaintance, to see an exact replica in chocolate of a white friend. So it was startling to see in the widow lady who owned the mansion a double of my own mother! She also was a religious fanatic, a strict Brahmani of the orthodox type, fasting each alternate day. So that she often looked wasted and worn. The first friendship with a Hindu lady was interesting to me, and when the big barred gates shut behind and we passed through the courtyard and two rows of red coated retainers into the halls with their peculiar pillars, the fountains splashing on the plantain trees, and the dim stained light of the family temple, one did indeed feel thousands of years and miles away from the cantonment gossip of the gymkhana club. Umabai Raste, you were the first Hindu to welcome me back to, the East, to what warmer welcomes were you but the prelude!
That was a terrible year for Poona. Famine and plague stalked arm in arm through the city while enteric fever ravaged the cantonment. The deaths among the natives were often 100 a day while again and again the dread fever singled out one and another from amongst the youngest ands gayest. Ever the wails from the instruments in the temples resounded and the Dead March in Saul preceded a European cortege. It would be difficult to imagine a rare grim state of affairs than obtained in Poona that autumn. There appeared to be running a Ghastly race between Gaiety and Death. People had hardly time to lay aside their mourning for a funeral before dressing for a ball. The Poona season is one of the carnivals of India. War, pestilence, and famine were all raging at the same time. But gaiety was not going to be defrauded of her revels. On one occasion it was not until 4 p.m. in the afternoon when the breath finally left the body of the General's daughter, who had been hovering in the shadow for weeks, that Death, coming in at a canter, defrauded gaiety by the postponement of a Regimental Ball that night. On another occasion, the burial of another General only preceded by a few hours a large entertainment at the Government House. It was on the return journey from the State Ball that Death, determined to be the victor, claimed after a foul murder, the souls of Mr. Rand and Mr. Ayers. Even the mad gaiety of the Poona season was stopped for a few days by this peremptory knock at their doors. No one knew who would be the next he would summon. Few who were present at that historic funeral could fail to be stilled for a moment, by the ominous procession through (Continued on. Page 388.)
THE CANADIAN THEOSOPHIST
The Organ of the Theosophical Society in Canada
- Published on the 15th of every month.
- Editor - Albert A. S. Smythe.
- Entered at Hamilton General Post Office as Second-class matter.
- Subscription, One Dollar a Year.
OFFICERS OF THE T.S. IN CANADA
- Dudley W. Barr, Apt. 34, 42 Hubbard Blvd., Toronto.
- Felix A. Belcher, 250 N. Lisgar St., Toronto.
- James E. Dobbs, Apt 14, 1251 St. Mark St., Montreal.
- Frederick B. Housser, 10 Glen Gowan Ave., Toronto.
- Reginal Thornton, 83 Isabella Street, Toronto
- Wash. E. Wilks, F.R.C.S., 925 Georgia St. W., Vancouver.
- Cecil Williams, 49 East 7th Street, Hamilton. Ont.
- Albert E. S. Smythe, 33 Forest Avenue, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada.
Lodge Secretaries please note that the offer made to pay half the dues of certain inactive members only holds good till the 31st inst.
Armando Hamel sends us greetings on his election as General Secretary of Chile for the term 1933-36, and we cordially reciprocate his fraternal salutation, and wish him and his national society every success.
Many articles and letters await space in our crowded columns, and we trust contributors will be patient while the campaign is on for the presidential election. It is hoped to print the several articles that were broadcasted during the past three months from Toronto
We have to thank many kind friends for the beautiful Christmas cards and friendly greetings that have come in such numbers it is impossible to answer them all separately. Please accept the best wishes of the General Secretary and his wife and of all workers at headquarters for the New Year.
Title page and Index to Volume xiii of The Canadian Theosophist may now be had by those who wish to bind their copies, by enclosing a stamp. Bound volumes may be had for Two Dollars each. A few sets of the Thirteen volumes may be had, and separate volumes of the later issues at the same rate.
We are glad to see that The American Theosophist has reprinted! Mr. Wood's manifesto, "If I were President." We trust the organ of the T.S. in England will follow this excellent example. It is due to the members throughout the world that the General Secretaries should permit them to read this pronouncement.
A correspondent in Britain writes: "I have just been dipping into James M. Pryse's "Prometheus Bound" and am delighted with it. His translation is real poetry and he is never guilty of a false note or bad line. He is certainly one of the very few writers of real genius we have had in the Movement, and yet has received no general recognition, while the trashy works of the psychics and superficial journalists have had enormous, circulation."
We suggested that some help was necessary for the support of this magazine in a financial way last month, but there has been only the slightest response, just about enough to print two pages of the magazine. We wish our friend's to understand, explicitly, that if no help is forthcoming the close of the present volume, next month will see the end of our work. We had hoped to continue at least till the presidential election had been decided, but we are entirely in the hands of our members and friends. A hundred dollars a month is required, from now till June to carry on till the new term dues begin to come in.
Our members in Canada have been heavily hit by the Depression, and in consequence there have been many lapses from the active list. We are deeply grateful for all the help hitherto rendered and have no complaint to make if it be decided that our labours are ended.
Well, well, well! Here is a letter from the great Imperator himself, evidently deeply wounded and grieved in spirit, and addressed to Fort Hamilton, which indicates how confused an idea of mundane things these great beings often have. However, he is to be pardoned, for he reports that some theosophical rosicrucians have alleged that ex parte statements were made about him and his organization, the A.M.O.R.C. in a public meeting in Toronto and without further enquiry he assumes that the allegations are true. He also describes the statement or statements, made an page 27 3 of our November issue ridiculous, although they were made from a pamphlet issued by one of his A.M.O.R.C. agencies. There is a reference to "statements made by Mr. Clymer in his new book" but as we have not seen this we cannot be guilty of quoting him. The Imperator informs us that a resolution is "being formed by the Canadian Theosophists, and of which we have received several copies" and that "perhaps after the resolution is passed," for it has evidently been circulated before it has been passed, "you will realize the sad predicament in which you have been placed." Perhaps. We have a letter almost by the same mail from Mr. John Crooks of Boston requesting "some information as to what is the only and true organization that is giving out I suppose what one would call regular Theosophy." Now, the Imperator of the A.M.O.R.C. is the only one in his own opinion and according to his own publications who fills that position. But, I hesitate to recommend any one to those who make transcendent claims. There is the group which issues the Theosophical Quarterly in New York, P.O. Box 64, Station O, New York City. They announce that they "have no connection whatever with any other organization calling itself Theosophical" and undoubtedly would claim to be the only true propagators of real Theosophy. Next to them in the intensity of their certitude is the United Lodge of Theosophy, 245 West 33rd Street, Los Angeles, Calif. Then there is the Point Loma Theosophical Society, and' the Adyar Theosophical Societies, and others too numerous to mention. But the best source is a man's own heart and soul and mind and spirit, purified by study, and sanctified with aspirations towards the highest in himself and others, and consecrated by service to his fellows. Every man has to create his own Theosophy, and we humble workers in Canada have no idea of setting ourselves up as authorities, but only hope to point the way, however dimly, to others. "Prepare thyself, for thou wilt have to travel on alone. The teacher can but point the way. The Path is one for all, the means to reach the goal must vary with every pilgrim."
AMONG THE LODGES
Notes of an Orpheus Lodge discussion on the 6th Principle: - Both the 5th and the 6th principles came from the Divine Triad, but whilst the 5th, the mind, actually incarnates and for long is enslaved by the emotional egocentric tendencies, the 6th principle, Buddhi, is too subtle to manifest itself directly drown here and can only reach the normal consciousness through the mind and emotions. It is the essentially spiritual principle and perceives the inter-relation of things through all appearances, the underlying Unity of life. The most natural and healthy development is to have the 6th principle playing through the 5th. Contact with this spiritual energy whilst the mind is yet undeveloped gives an immense stimulus to the emotional nature leading inevitably to fanaticism and idolatry. The lives of all the lesser Christian mystics many of whom
were responsible for starting freak religious sects exemplify this. Lacking development of the mind, with its balanced outlook, the Buddhic energy stimulates the emotional nature to intense unreasoning enthusiasm (fanaticism) whilst the egocentric tendencies of the individual are satisfied by his worshiping a projection of himself into his ideal - his God, or whatever it may be, (idolatry). A great wise toleration perfectly willing to be considered one among others is the mark of the 6th Principle playing through the personal consciousness. It manifests as a magnanimous timeless attitude which smiles tolerantly at suspicion and distrust, seeing how natural that people should suspect his motive, human nature by and large being what it is. Spiritually then, the manifestation of the Buddhic principle playing through a trained and disciplined mind, has nothing necessarily to do with religion; it is a direct perception, an insight which sees, for instance, that no man can gain advantage at the cost of another. This is not a belief which could be argued about, but to him a self-evident fact, much as a harmonious blend of colour tones is perceived by the artist. How can we tell whether our aspiration is due to the 6th Principle, or is just emotional, an extension of our personality? The degree to which we give way to resentment or self-pity when, for instance, our efforts are not noticed, or we are passed over and our job is given to someone else, is an exact measure of the personal element in our motives; if we feel sore, but decide this is not good enough and carry on undeterred, it is proof that it was not ourselves alone that we were working for. The Buddhic principle wishes no special privileges, but is willing to be regarded as one among others. It is not interested in oneself more than another and sees things in terms of the whole. We all think too much about ourselves; to be really willing to estimate ourselves impartially without desiring to make ourselves out better or worse than we are is a rarer achievement. The Ego in us, if it cannot make us out better than others, gets satisfaction by making us out to be worse, exceptional in some way we must be, anything but recognize that we are much like other people. The manifestation of the Buddhic principle shows itself as an attitude, the fundamental note of which is that it has the growth of the human Spirit at heart - always and anywhere. This attitude is only possible as our all-absorbing obsession with ourselves is overcome and destroyed, which is the reason why it is such a rare element in human life.
AS IN A LOOKING GLASS
(Continued front Page 335.)
the Cemetery. It was headed by Bishop Milne of Bombay, reciting those tremendous words, "I am the Resurrection and the Life. He that believeth in Me, though he were dead yet shall he live..."
After a year of preliminary study at Poona a succession of fortuitous "chances" brought me to Holy Kashi.
I was one of three pupils in the family of a Hindu guru at Benares, the other two being Mrs. Besant and a Cambridge man. She once said to the Hindu in my presence, "All the knowledge in my books comes from you." Such is the mysterious figure of Mr. X., a man who, from his quiet bungalow beside the Ganges, pulled the spiritual wires for five Continents.
The latter day mistakes of Annie Besant have been caused simply and solely because she broke the one law which Hinduism exacts as binding on a woman. Annie Besant made herself negative to other influences, and worshiped at shrines other than those of her guru and her husband. These should, in the Hindu ideal, be one and the same person. This ideal is considered by the White Lodge of the Himalayas so important for a woman, that to keep it intact is in itself enough for her to reach the Godhead. Annie Besant once wired to our mutual teacher, "Were knowledge ignorance, were darkness light, I still
would trust"! Had she done so, none of the Hadrasttigh Court catastrophes which brought her the censure of "The Times" and the world, would have happened, for he warned her faithfully. But she did not.
In the British Cemetery at Rome, near together, there are three graves, two of them over the mortal soil of immortals; Keats, Shelley, and Severn. United in Life, united in Death, in the sap of the profuse violets above their graves. The Egyptian Pyramid, seen by Paul, the scarlet robes of the Austrian Clericetti complete one of the loveliest scenes in Rome. Keats chose his inscription as "writ in water". But Shelly chose
Nothing in him that doth change
But has suffered a sea change
Into something new and strange.
When one becomes a pupil of occultism everything looks different, past, present and future. When one grasps only those two great doctrines of Reincarnation and Karma, what an enormous difference it makes! Those truths enunciated for all time in the Song of Songs, the Song of the Supreme, in His Incarnation of Shri Krishna.
As a man, casting off worn out garments;
Taketh new ones, so the dweller in the body,
Casting off worn out bodies,
Entereth into others that are new.
The feeling of sullen resentment for my childish sufferings and hatred of my persecutors of my early days turned into feelings of peace and pity. Gladness that the Karmic debt to my own past of bigotry and hatred had been duly discharged and would trouble me no more. Pity for those who had injured me, knowing that they too would be called upon to pay, even to the uttermost farthing.
This came to pass. Mrs. Booth died of the prolonged agonies of cancer. To avoid more "family prayers" than are necessary, I shall not relate the prolonged suffering which came upon my mother for her too great infatuation for the Salvation Army.
Mr. X. said it was the custom for each young pupil to be affiliated with an older one and he wished me to be affiliated with Mrs. Besant on my impending return to England. I expressed doubt as to whether a woman of world-wide repute would wish to be troubled with a stranger. "Oh! she will be willing," he replied, and read an extract from a letter lately received from her in which this passage occurred, "You know I would go to the ends of the earth to do your bidding!"
When I arrived in London amid February snows it was cheering to be greeted by a letter from Mrs. Besant, signed "cordially yours", inviting me to go to see her the very next day. When I arrived at Avenue Road I was shown into the ordinary room for visitors. It was very tastefully furnished in tones of restful greens. Mrs. Besant came in to greet me with great warmth and led me to her private sanctum, putting a ticket on the outside door that we might be absolutely undisturbed. Mrs. Besant was particularly anxious to hear the minutest details of Mr. and Mrs. X. She said, "You know they are both wonderful people". I replied "Yes, the most wonderful there are in the outer life of the world, I suppose". She said, "I don't know of any others like them." She then asked far particulars of Mrs. X's baby, six weeks old when I had seen it three months previously.
"It is the ordinary little brown baby," I said.
"But is it a bright little thing," she persisted, "she is a big woman when she is out of her body." The subject of babies made me ask if it was true that Madame Blavatsky had reincarnated again? of which I had heard a rumor but had not asked the X.s who did not encourage promiscuous questions.
"Yes!" replied Mrs. Besant, with her eyes on the garden, in a tone that admitted of nothing further.
She then sent for Mr. Bertram Keightly. This was the beginning of a life-long association between us two, for until Mrs. Besant's defection from Mr. X. and ensuing disasters, we three were the
closest friends and pupils together.
Thus was formed the trio of friendship. One of the three has remained constantly unswervingly true to his faith. Another has recently modified her views with regard to the Xs. The third and greatest has fallen away from her allegiance altogether and will mot return for this incarnation.
Mrs. Besant asked me to dine next day with the Avenue Road party. She herself was not present, for at this period she would not eat with Europeans if she could help it, but had her meals served in her own room. One of the party told me that Mrs.. Besant had the power of seeing people's auras in the waking state, so that she read their thoughts and it is only for the last four years that these extended powers had come to her, that is from the time she met Mr. X., to whom she wrote an inscription on a book, "to you who opened the gate."
I saw Mrs. Besant once more before she left for India as she arranged that I should have a meditation on her strongly magnetized portrait of the Master before it left with her luggage. It was on this occasion that the magnetism of the room moved me to tears.
"The atmosphere is so beautiful," I sobbed.
"It is because They come here," she replied. Then turning to me affectionately, "What do you do with your little self all day? Your aura is grey and sad."
When Mrs. X.'s eldest son was born at Kashi and during the T.S. Convention, in the compounds in fact, Mrs. Besant officiated as her nurse. They were visited by a Kashmiri Brahmin, one of her greatest friends. "Do you know why I am acting as a servant?" asked Mrs. Besant. "It is because this boy just born will be the future leader of the T.S. and there," pointing to their first-born little girl, "is H.P.B." I also was told that this boy was Guru Govind Singh come back to earth. Mrs. Besant published this to her Eastern School of Theosophy, that potent private Society over which she presides. It penetrated to every quarter of the globe. Then she sneered at me in "The Theosophist" for publishing it in "Cities Seen!" Events have shown that hope to be a fallacy. It is evident from the photo published in Veiled Mysteries of India that H.P.B. did at one time overshadow the girl. As to the boy, he has not shown signs of being as we were told, "a Great One whose advent made the world ever so much richer." I am certain the Xs, believed this themselves, at the time. I can offer no solution to these strange mysteries other than this.
Suddenly they obtained three western pupils who, between us, could place at their disposal almost all that the West could give. I have sometimes wondered if the Dark Powers used the penchant of Mr. and Mrs. X. for the luxuries of Western civilization to limit their usefulness? Whether the slow, insidious, temptation succeeded where sudden and violent trials had failed? Whether it was this that caused the Great Ones who, as we all three believed, did incarnate in their family, to go elsewhere?
Our natures were not sympathetic and Mrs. Besant rather curtly refused me admission to the E.S.T. because I had not been for a year a member of the Theosophical Society.
My aura did not remain sad for long. Within a week of Mrs. Besant's departure, on March 17th, 1898, the day of Shivrathmi, or the Initiation of Shiv candidates, I had definitely crossed the Rubicon which is the crowning goal of the E.S.T., and of all the occult life. This step was taken through the intermediation of. Mrs. X., who remained in the physical body in India. Mrs.. Besant heard of this on her arrival and thereupon wrote me the letter.
On account of certain misleading statements, re so-called initiations, let me state that this step though taken in the sleep of the body was taken in full waking consciousness of which the memory was distinct and clear next morning and has remained the most important event of a lifetime.
On Shivrathri the snow was thick on the ground. Possibly the pure, keen air facilitated the transmission of the Influence of the Great Initiator known to all yogis.
(To Be Continued.)
LIFE AFTER LIFE
or The Theory of Reincarnation
By Euatace Miles, M.A., Formerly Scholar of King's College, Cambridge
(Continued from Page 298.)
Schopenhauer: "Taught already in the 'Vedas' as in all the sacred books of India, metempsychosis is well known to be the kernel of Brahmanism and Buddhism. It accordingly prevails at the present day in the whole of non-Mohammedan Asia, thus among more than half the whole human race, as the firmest conviction, and with an incredibly strong practical influence. It was also the belief of the Egyptians, from whom it was received with enthusiasm by Orpheus, Pythagoras, and Plato. The Pythagoreans, however, specially retained it. That it was also taught in the mysteries of the Greeks undeniably follows from the ninth book of Plato's Laws. The 'Edda' also, especially in the 'Voluspa', teaches metempsychosis. Not less was it the foundation of the religion of the Druids. Even a Mohammedan sect in Hindustan, the Bohrahs, of which Colebrook gives a full account in the Asiatic Researches, believes in metempsychosis, and accordingly refrains from all animal food. Also among American Indians and Negro tribes, nay, even among the natives of Australia, traces of this belief are found.
"These constant new births, then, constitute the succession of the life-dreams, of a will which in itself is indestructible, until, instructed and improved by so much and so various successive knowledge in a constantly new form, it abolishes or abrogates itself - becomes in perfect harmony with the Infinite.
"In the succession of births, and by virtue of metempsychosis or palingenesis, the persons who now stand in close connection or contact with us will also be born again with us at the next birth, and will have the same or analogous relations and sentiments towards us as now, whether these are of a friendly or a hostile description. Recognition is certainly here limited to an obscure intimation, - a reminiscence, which cannot be brought to distinct consciousness, and refers to an infinitely distant time; with the exception, however, of Buddha himself, who has the prerogative of distinctly knowing his own earlier births and those of others as this is described in the 'Jataka.' But in fact, if at a favorable moment one contemplates, in a purely objective manner, the action of men in reality, the intuitive conviction is forced upon one that it not only is and remains constantly the same, according in the Platonic Idea; but also that the present generation, in its true, inner nature, is precisely and substantially identical with every generation that has been before it.
"What resists this belief in Judaism, together with the two religions which have sprung from it, because they teach the creation of man out of nothing, and they have the hard task of linking on to this belief and endless existence, a parte post. They certainly have succeeded with fire and sword, in driving out of Europe and part of Asia that consoling primitive belief of mankind; it is still doubtful for how long. Yet how difficult this was is shown by the oldest Church histories. Most of the heretics were attached to this belief; for example, Simonists, Basilidians, Valentinians, Marcionists, Gnostics, and Manicheans. The Jews themselves have in part fallen into it, as Tertullian and Justinus inform us. In the Talmud it is related that Abel's soul passed into the body of Seth, and, then into that of Moses. Even the passage of the Bible (Matt. xvi. 13-15) only obtains a rational meaning if we understand it as spoken under the assumption of the dogma of metempsychosis . . . . In Christianity, however, the doctrine of original sin, i.e. the doctrine of punishment
for the sins of another individual, has taken the place of the transmigration of souls, and the expiation in this way of all the sins committed in an earlier life. Both identify the existing man with one who has existed before: the transmigration of souls does so directly, original sin indirectly."
Southey: "The system of progressive existence seems, of all others, the most benevolent; and all that we do understand is so wise and so good, and all we do or do not, so perfectly and overwhelmingly wonderful, that the most benevolent system is the most probable."
Among the modern authorities, one cannot omit four writers, - Professor Bowen (of Harvard University), James Freeman Clarke (the author of Ten Great Religions), Professor Frederick Henry Hedge, and Professor William Knight (of St. Andrews University).
Professor Francis Bowen: "Our life upon earth is rightly held to be a discipline and a preparation for a higher and eternal life hereafter. But if limited to the duration of a single mortal body, it is so brief as to seem hardly sufficient for so grand a purpose. Three-score years and ten must surely be an inadequate preparation for eternity. But, what assurance have we that the probation of the soul is confined within so narrow limits? Why may it not be continued, or repeated, through a long series of successive generations, the same personality animating one after another an indefinite number of tenements of flesh, and carrying forward unto each the training it has received, the character it has farmed, the temper and dispositions it has indulged, in the stage of existence immediately preceding? It need not remember its past history, even while bearing the fruits and the consequences of that history deeply ingrained into his present nature. How many long passages of any one life are now completely lost to memory, though they may have contributed lamely to build up the heart and the intellect which distinguish one man from another! Our responsibility surely is not lessened by such forgetfulness. We are still accountable for the misuse of time, though we have forgotten how or on what we wasted it. We are even now reaping the bitter fruits, through enfeebled health and vitiated desires and capacities, of many forgotten acts of self-indulgence, wilfulness, and sin forgotten just because they were so numerous. Then a future life even in another frail body upon this earth may well be a fate of just and fearful retribution.
"But no one can complain of the dispositions and endowments which he has inherited, so to speak, from himself; that is, from his former self in a previous stage of existence. If, for instance, he has neglected his opportunities and fostered his lower appetites in his childhood, if he was then wayward and self-indulgent, indolent, deceitful, and vicious, it is right and just that in his manhood and old age, he should experience the bitter consequences of his youthful follies. If he has voluntarily made himself a brute, a brute he must remain. The child is father of the man, who often inherits from him a sad patrimony.
"All the inequalities in the lot of mankind, which have prompted what are perhaps the bitterest of all complaints, and have served skeptics like Hume and J.S. Mill as a reason for the darker imputations upon divine justice in the government of the world, disappear from the picture altogether. Excepting only what we have just considered the retributive consequences of more or less sin, there are no inequalities. All part from the same point, and journey through the same vicissitudes of existence, exhausting sooner or later all varieties of conditions. Prince and peasant, bond an, free, barbarian and cultured, all share alike whatever weal or woe there is in the world, because all must at some future time change places with each other. But, after these two large deductions from the amount complained of, what remains? Very little, certainly, which we cannot even now see through; that is, which we cannot assign an adequate reason for; and to the eye of faith nothing remains."
(To Be Continued.)
THEOSOPHY AND THE MODERN WORLD
Conducted by F. B. Housser
ART AND BROTHERHOOD
Rarely do we free ourselves from our own particular lives and our own peculiar way of looking at things. We look through a persistent atmosphere of the person we have made from our reaction to experience and environment. But there are occasions when this drops away. At such times limitations fade and the consciousness slips into an acceleration that is a new dimension of perception and moves untrammeled and free into a fresh sphere of awareness and experience. This state maybe self induced or it may come about by some sudden happening, or event which for a time lifts us beyond our common selves.
When it happens in the midst of a collection of the art of the ages such as that which was gathered together at Chicago this summer, an expansion and exhilaration of the spirit takes place in which Beauty is apprehended as a living power, a divine energy, - positive and perpetual as only a divine force can be, reforming and creating in its emanation. There is seen to be One Beauty, just as in reality there is only One Life, - an eternal power, one in itself, projecting itself into the apparently fragmentary spectacle that we look upon. So the Beauty that is a living presence in any work of art has power to summon forth the soul regardless of the age, the land, the material from which it springs, and a new comprehension is gained of the unity and the oneness of mankind.
The Exoteric Artist
To any student of theosophy the study of art is full of significant suggestion. Art is seen to be through and through analogous with life. It is seen as man's enmeshment with, and his endeavour to make statements regarding his apprehension of life. Artists and their work can be, broadly speaking, divided into two types, - those who are aware of the inner life and those whose interest is taken up with the exoteric. There is, of course, a wide gamut of grades and development within these two divisions, just as there is in life. The exoteric painter is interested in the values of the outer life. His work will deal with realism and imitation. It will appeal to the interest of the personal man. It will often disclose a fine feeling for things and people, for the trees, animals and such, that he finds with him on the earth. He will mostly tell what they look like. He has the general public for his audience and can only judge of the worth of his work by its recognition and the reputation it bestows.
The Esoteric Artist
The other type of artist feels the play of an intangible something through the objects, thoughts, feelings, and the people that he finds himself amongst. He is aware in all that he contacts, of an inner activity that can be neither seen, heard, nor touched. Perhaps he feels himself as a part of this vast aliveness and a spectator within it as well, but he does seem to be only concerned with relating what he apprehends, through the objects and experiences of life. He seems to be working to bring clarification to his inner being. It is this inner man whom he seeks first to satisfy and to whom he endeavors first to bring realization. He is his initial audience. He engages the soul.
It is surely because of unity in the life of soul that if we are able to let our separate sense of self fall away as we stand before a painting or a piece of sculpture, we enter the experience and perception of the artist who made it. Differences of time and nationality are wiped out. It is one of the most complete ways to move into fellowship and understanding of our fellow man, - to learn brotherhood.
Every soul, every age, every land has its own way of releasing the spirit, but the beauty of the spirit once disclosed is seen to be the same living power that expands the heart into love, humility and boundless gratitude whether it be instilled in a piece of Egyptian sculpture dated 5000 B.C. or in a "modern" canvas of 1933.
- B. L. H. [[[L. Harris]]]
DON MARQUIS ARGUES IMMORTALITY
The reply of Don Marquis to the question, "Do you Believe in a Future Life?" sent in by a reader of the American Magazine, was published in the November issue of that periodical, is made like a true Theosophist. Mr. Marquis takes up many of the so-called unanswerable arguments against immortality which the modern world thinks it has found.
"Belief," he writes, "in any sort of future life for man is merely a 'wish-fulfillment,' so they say, and if you cling to the antique superstition after that, why, you are a goof ... you haven't got any more sense than, for instance, Saint Paul.
"But these current philosophers seem to overlook one important fact - that one may wish for a reality as well as for an unreality.
"The term 'wish-fulfillment' is acceptable to me not only in my own personal case, but as a definition of the manner in which all the millions of men through all the ages have attained their faith in a future life. They wished for one. There was something in them that made them wish for one. One may wish to grasp a truth, and grasp it, as well as wish to become the flattered victim of a pleasant illusion. And one line of continuing inquiry is: What is it in man, and in the rest of the universe, which makes man wish for this?"
Problem Stated is Not Solved
In this approach to the problem Mr. Marquis has, as the saying goes, hit it where the chicken got the axe. The inner yearnings of man for truth, beauty, goodness and immortality are, many modern psychologists say - indicative of nothing but frustrated wishes. They coin a phrase - "wish fulfillment" - and think that is the final answer to the problem whereas it is no more than the statement of it.
Why does Einstein like to work? Why does the artist like to paint? Why does the writer like to write? Why does man dream of immortality? Western psychology does not know the answer. Theosophy says it is because in man there is a breath or a spark of the universal, immortal, creative spirit. What other possible answer can there be?
Who is the Thinker?
Mr. Marquis poses three questions.
First: Has man any attributes except the obviously physical ones, which are readily susceptible of sensory tests?
Second: Do these extra-physical attributes continue to exist after the death of the material body?
Third: Does the individual man, the characteristic personality, continue to exist as an individual personality after the disintegration of the body?
"My answer to the first question is 'Yes'," says Mr. Marquis. "I believe that, beyond the physical, man has a mind, or spirit, or soul, or call it what you like. And it is this attribute which makes him wish to grasp the truth of a future life."
"There is a school which holds, in effect, that nothing exists but matter, or phenomena originating in the interplay of physical forces. These physicists hold, unless I mistake them, that thought, idea, mind, soul, spirit, is the result of the processes of matter, and inseparable from them."
"Very well, I don't, believe it. But I don't care where it comes from; my interest is in the fact that it exists, that there does dwell within every man this element which he thinks with. I've got it, and I know I've got it by the simple fact that I am at the present moment using it to write with.
"This is essential Man, this element,
"It seems to me impossible to speculate upon the precise manner in which it came into existence. Myself, I prefer to grab
one apparent fact, and hold tight to it: The spiritual element in humanity does exist, for here it is; and it runs the human show."
Is Death the End?
Madame Blavatsky lays down as one of three fundamental propositions of the Secret Doctrine (Vol. I:45) "The fundamental identity of all Souls with the Universal Oversoul, the latter being an aspect of the Unknown Root; and the obligatory pilgrimage for every soul - a spark of the former - through the cycle of incarnation or Necessity in accordance with Cyclic and Karmic Law, during the whole term." This, according to the Secret Doctrine, is the spiritual element in humanity.
Now for the second question: Does this spiritual or mental element exist after the death of the material body?
"Whether it disturbs us to acknowledge it or not," writes Mr. Marquis, "we shall have to recognize that it is the spiritual element in man - the element which thinks and acts, independently of the salts and gases which constitute his physical body - which is the seat and centre of his life. Wherever it came from, it has command of the body. It decides his destiny and justifies his existence. It is the motion of this part of him, and this part of him alone, which triumph over time, outlive the passage of long years, and stamp the outlines of his personality upon the pages of the future."
Arguments for Reincarnation
The writer then goes on to say that the molecules which composed the physical body of Caesar or Laotze or Moses, have undergone a thousand chemical transmutations and if we had their mummies we should still have nothing of the essential man themselves. "The vital principle of these men, and of all men," he says, "escapes the destruction of the material; and probably during the physical life of their bodies the physical particles which constituted their bodies were replaced half a dozen times or more.... At least, I am assured by physical scientists that a man has many physical bodies, which he wears out in this fashion during the ordinary period of physical existence. But none of these physical bodies was the man himself; not the first one he had in infancy, nor the last one which was buried; nor any of the ten or twelve others which he wore out in the period between. The man himself was the spiritual element which existed independently of these several dying bodies, persisted after their death, was unaffected by their death."
Identity the Essence of Life
In this and what follows, Mr. Marquis accepts the principle of reincarnation though not its modus operendi in toto, as Theosophists understand it. A Theosophist would say that if "the essential man" can change his physical body several times in seventy years, then is it not likely that he changes it any number of times in seventy million years which is a relatively short periods in the life of only one stage of universal time? This is what Mr. Marquis thinks, for - "Since the essential man has progressed through so many changes, I do not see why the final abandonment of his physical body - the abandonment of the last of his several successive physical bodies - might not be merely the prelude to many continuing changes; but I do not see how anyone could have the remotest guess as to the period of duration of such changes, if they do come.
"Nor do I see how anyone could be sure that the spirit which is man will carry the memory of one state and circumstance of existence into the next one - not yet how anyone could be sure that he would not!
"As a matter of personal preference, I should like many changes in my states of existence, many periods of development; and I should not care greatly whether I remembered in one state the circumstances and events of another, so long as I had in each phase that consciousness of myself as can individual which is the essence of life."
Identity Not Personality
Mr. Marquis believes that the mind of man will continue to exist as an entity after the death of the physical body but he cannot understand why people worry whether they will meet "Susie Jones" in the hereafter, "wearing the same checked gingham dress she wore the morning forty years ago when I carried her books to school, and gave her along with my undying devotion two sticks of chewing gum." He is "extremely chary" of committing himself "to the theory that Susie will go along just like that forever, through all eternity, with the same china blue eyes and blond curls." "But," - he concludes -
"I believe that the essential part of man, of the individual man and of the race - the mind, the spirit, the soul, the essential being - is of the same 'stuff' as the central and animating spirit of the universe, that in each one of us it is a part of that central force, and that therefore (no matter what changes of circumstance and environment it may experience or what phases of development it may endure) this essential part of man could not perish if it wanted to. It could only perish if we could conceive of the universe itself, and whatever force makes it 'go,' suddenly ceasing to exist, and Everything-Which-Is becoming Nothing-At-All. You have to prove to me that it is possible for Nothing-At-All to be a sane conception and a possible ending for Everything-Which-Is, before I can conceive that any part of Everything-Which-Is may become Nothing.
"The mind, the spirit, the soul, the dominant intelligence of man, being a part of the animating spirit of the universe, cannot perish unless the thing of which it is a part perishes.
"I can conceive of there being in the universe something like a vast reservoir of this 'stuff' which is mind or spirit; and that the essential part of each one of us men, is a tiny jet from this great central reservoir; the same kind and quality of thing. This ocean of mind or spirit fills all space, the way I think of it; and only if it could cease to be, could the trickles, jets, and rivulets which spurt out from it and return to it cease to be."
EINSTEIN AND THE MOB
In this present period of transition through which the western world seems to be passing, more than the dollar needs to be revalued. Among the many things awaiting revaluation is the too popular idea of greatness. Probably one of the greatest individuals of our time is Professor Albert Einstein, not because he has become famous for the discovery of the Einstein theory, but because of his own intrinsic worth.
Like many other great men Einstein has been persecuted by the church and the state. While the rest of the world was at war he was completing his famous theory, fraternizing, it was said, with the enemy, the British astronomers. After the war a movement was started to bar him from the United States as a "red". Today he is exiled from Germany and his home has been confiscated because he is a Jew. When his theory was announced it was declared by certain piously-minded people, who probably were incapable of understanding it, that it was atheistic.
A still more impressive illustration of how little The Mob is equipped to appreciate greatness is the attitude with which the press and the populace regard Mr. Einstein. Because he is a man without a guard and completely naive concerning the ways of fame, the press, and the public delight to laugh at his absent-mindedness and lack of sophistication. To ignorant moderns, fine feeling and a one-pointed mind are just funny. When one reads of the behavior of Einstein under the attempts of his entertainers and admirers to lionize him and disclose his "queer ways" one sees that his questioners and entertainers are as unsophisticated in the creative world of Einstein as he is in the conforming, imitative world that is theirs.
An article, written from this latter point
of view, appeared in the December 2nd number of the New Yorker. The writer is human enough to show amusement at the detachment of the professor from the mob world, into which his fame has thrown him. He also knows enough about the creative attitude to be equally amused at the men who think the professor queer.
The writer in the New Yorker introduces the scientist by a few anecdotes. When Einstein visited the King of Belgium, he was met at the station by a royal equipage prepared to roll him instate through the palace gates, but Einstein failed to see them, by accident or on purpose, and arrived at the palace on foot carrying his own grip. "The professor and his wife", says the writer, "were overwhelmed by the barbaric hospitality on their early visits to this country (United States). They agreed that they must blindly accept whatever occurred to them in this bizarre republic. At a dinner in Cleveland, Mrs. Einstein, shrugging her shoulders at what appeared to be an elegant American eccentricity, ate a bouquet of orchids which she found on what seemed to be a salad plate. Einstein knew things that everybody else was ignorant of, and was ignorant of things that everybody else knew. The name of the richest man in the world meant nothing to him. He used a $1500 check from the Rockefeller Foundation as a bookmark, lost the book and could not remember who had sent the check. It took Mrs. Einstein some weeks to clear up the affair and to obtain a duplicate check which was needed to pay the salary of an assistant."
The Creative Attitude
As an example of the creative individual's attitude towards his work, a speech of Einstein's at a banquet is cited by the New Yorker. A preceding speaker had talked of the "agonizing toil" and "superhuman will" required of a great scientist like Einstein. The latter in replying to this, said "This toiling is dictated by no principle or programme, but arisen from immediate personal need. The emotional condition which renders possible such achievements is like that of the religious devotee or the lover." On another occasion, Einstein described the impulse to grapple with his problems as "a demoniac possession," needing no stimulation from conscious effort of the will".
This is the statement of the attitude of a creative person, whether artist, scientist or anything else. In it is contained the only real answer to the so-called problem of leisure about which the world is talking. To the individual with an active inner life, such as Theosophy above all things is designed to provide, leisure is not a problem because leisure hours are opportunities to work. Leisure is one of those ideas that needs to be revalued, along with the dollar.
The rest of the article in the New Yorker shows the attitude of the creative individual to the world in which he lives. It is that of a true Theosophist.
"For a time," says the New Yorker, "Einstein refused to play the violin for charity because of his modest estimate of his own ability, and because he thought it unfair to professionals; under pressure, however, he gave many recitals. He declined a deluxe cabin on a trip to America because of his scruples against luxury, but accepted when informed that he was hurting the feelings of the steamship line. On his trip to India, he refused to travel in a rickshaw because he thought it degrading to use a human being as a draught animal; he reconsidered, however, on the ground that rickshaw boys must live, and patronized them - extensively. Hating fuss and feathers, he has been induced to make triumphal progresses on four continents. He has compared mass newspaper interviews to being bitten by wolves and to being hanged, but nevertheless he is frequently gang interviewed.
"This easy yielding to pressure would lead another man to cheapen himself, but Einstein is saved by his aesthetic sense and his unworldliness. He could not do anything sordid. He doesn't want anything; there is nothing about the man for tempta-
tion to work on. When he received the Nobel Prize in 1921, he gave it to charity. When a magazine offered him an amazing sum for an article, he rejected it contemptuously. 'What?' he exclaimed. 'Do they think I am a prize-fighter?' But he finally wrote the article after arguing the magazine into cutting the price in half. It is said that he declined his present post at the Institute for Advanced Study at Princeton on the ground that the salary was preposterously munificent, and was persuaded to accept only by the promise of an enormous pay cut. He objected to gifts, but his 1930 trip to this country netted him five violins and other valuable booty. His backbone stiffened, however, when an admirer sought to press on him a Guarnerius valued at $33,000; this he firmly refused, saying that he was not enough of a musician to do justice to the instrument. Probably no man has been more plagued than Einstein by offers of money for testimonials, for toothpaste, pimple-eradicators, corn plasters, and cigarettes. He brushed all this aside as 'corruption' and would have no compromise. Einstein regards money as something to give away; ins 1927, he was aiding one hundred and fifty poor families in Berlin."
(and the Voynitch Manuscript)
In the Canadian Theosophist for December, a brief account of the life and writings of Roger Bacon was given. One if these latter - the "Voynitch" manuscript, is of such interest to Theosophists as to be deserving of a note by itself. As mentioned previously, this manuscript came into the possession of a Mr. Voynitch, being now identified by his name, and was loaned to William Romaine Newbold, who partially deciphered it.
In the front of the volume a letter was found by which some of its history has been traced. The letter was written by one Johannes Marcus Marci of Cronland to Athanasius Kircher making a gift of the volume. The letter was written in 1685 and the subsequent history of the volume is unknown. But its prior history has been traced with same certainty. It is believed to have been in the library of the Emperor Rudolph (of the Holy Roman Empire) in 1611 and was removed or purloined therefrom by one Tepenecz, a Bohemian scientist, about the time of the Emperor's abdication. Marci is supposed to have obtained it from Tepenecz.
A few facts may not be out of place in passing, concerning the Emperor Rudolph. From the time of his election as Emperor in 1576, his passion for art and science, especially alchemy and metallurgy, steadily grew until shortly his court was the European Mecca for scientists, alchemists, astrologers, and charlatans as well. Some of these the Emperor rewarded magnificently, others he removed by the surest way - death. As the years went by, Rudolph spent most of his time in the alchemical laboratory or in the museum.
Dr. John Dee
Someone, of course, had brought the manuscript to the Emperor and had convinced him of its tremendous importance. Voynitch examined the biographies of several hundred persons who had visited or lived at Rudolph's court, to find that only one of them might have been the generous donor. He was Dr. John Dee and of him Shakspere says that he had volumes which he prized more than his Dukedom and calls him Prospero. Volumes have been written about him, representing him as a great mathematician, astrologer and necromancer. His life is a fascinating study for any Theosophist to pursue, for he was undoubtedly one of the great minds and forces behind the moving drama of the Elizabethan era, that period during which England began to assume her place amongst the nations of the modern world.
Bacon Influences Dee
"In following the career of Dee the impression goes that Bacon's influence on him was overwhelming. While he was still a student at Cambridge, he began even to
imitate Bacon's mode of life by working eighteen hours a day and sleeping only four. Dee asserted to queen Elizabeth in a memorial on the Calendar that he was a descendant of Roger Bacon. While at Cambridge he was already the owner of an enormous collection of Bacon manuscripts. It is said of him that he talked for hours to Emperor Rudolph on the secrets and inventions of Roger Bacon."
"Most of the Bacon manuscripts definitely known to have been in Dee's collection passed comparatively early into collections which have become public. It is also worthy of note that very few of the known manuscripts of the work of Roger Bacon were of the 13th century. Many of them were written during the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries, and often with copious annotations, which are evidence of the existence of groups of students, who during this time were working that the teachings of Roger Bacon might be transmitted to their contemporaries."
This paragraph in Newbold's commentary on the manuscript substantiates the position held by Manley Hall, who contends that throughout the years of the Elizabethan era and prior to it, a great secret society, great in influence if not in numbers, or a band of occult workers labored behind the scenes, the fruit of the work taking form in the advances made in the arts, literature and sciences of the period.
The Manuscript Itself
The Voynitch manuscript is a small quarto volume with originally about 262 pages of which 246 remain. The last page contains the key and of the remaining pages only thirty-three contain text alone, the others being illustrated with pen, drawings, frequently touched up with water-colour. The manuscript roughly falls into five divisions. The first and largest section contains the equivalent of 130 pages, 125 of which contain drawings of plants with accompanying text. The next or second division contains 26 drawings of an astrological character. The third section is still more strikingly original in character; it contains 4 pages of text and 28 of drawings made up for the most part of nude little female figures. The fourth division contains 34 pages of flowers, fruits, leaves and receptacles used by pharmacists for their drugs.
Newbold seems to think that the second and third divisions are the most important and links them with the esoteric truths concerning the soul. The present reviewer is inclined to agree with him with the reservation that Newbold misconceives the true nature of these esoteric truths. He refers to the soul as coming from the stars, performing its work on earth, and if this be well done, returning once more to its astral origin. The idea of reincarnation never seems to have occurred to Newbold although he realizes that Bacon drew heavily on the teachings of Orpheus, Pythagoras, Plato, and others, of that glorious band of philosophers and sages who have kept the fire of secret wisdom alight throughout the ages. He says:
"The soul dwelt originally in the stars, thence it descends to suffer temporary imprisonment in a material body. If it there obeys the law of its being it will be emancipated by death and return to its blessed life on high. Bacon never refers to this doctrine in his printed works."
The Theosophist would say undoubtedly, in common with the beliefs of Bacon, that the Great Work, the emancipation, had to be done and gained in this life prior to death or other lives would follow.
The Astrological Section
"The manuscript originally contained all twelve signs of the zodiac; two are missing, but two of the remaining ten which are preserved occupy two pages each, so that twelve pages are devoted to the signs. The drawings all follow the same general design. In the central circle is the symbol of the sign and the Latin name of the month dining which the sun is in that sign. Around it are two or three concentric circular bands containing human figures, clothed or unclothed, each of which
grasps a star. The stars in each drawing are those contained in the lune of the celestial sphere formed by passing great circles through the poles of the ecliptic and the boundaries of the sign in question. The figures represent the spirits dwelling in the stars; a legend is attached to each. The few that I (Newbold) have read give the names of the soul and that of the star, together with some characteristic circumstance. E.S. [[sic]] the figure in the first circle below and left of the centre (of the sign Pisces) is labeled: "Penicles occupies the centre of the planet Saturn, whose chariot Jupiter hinders because he is the swifter". (This is quite evidently a device for particularizing the horoscopes of individuals - U.T.S.).
"Some of the souls are ensconced in barrel-like objects, representing the body, the figure being taken from Plato's Gorgias in which he compares the body to a "leaky cask" which the soul occupying it must continuously labour to keep full of food, drink, warmth, etc. The symbol of the body is also attached to some souls in heaven, probably also to indicate that they are not yet purified of carnal desires and are therefore still attached to their bodies on earth." (Are subject to reincarnation).
"Bacon gives us here nothing but a Paradiso in pictures.
The Biological Section
Considered purely from a scientific standpoint, the biological section is positively amazing. In picture form, simply and with reserve, Bacon depicts such facts concerning the biological nature of the reproductive process as are now known only to the most highly skilled in their profession; facts which can only be verified by the aid of the modern high power microscope. Throughout the section the male and female principles are represented as little lives. In one plate ova are shown in which nuclei are visible. A later plate shows the ovum in an early stage of its division, paralleling present-day knowledge of the subject, even to the seven membranes (which have an esoteric significance) of the umbilical card. Other elements of the same drawing clearly point to a knowledge of the united influence of the heavenly bodies on the developing being. Bacon says, "Hence the father is the particular cause of the child but the sun is the universal cause." Esoterically the sun has always stood for the Divine Ego - the immortal part of the individual man.
The Remainder of the Text
The botanical and pharmaceutical divisions are undoubtedly related to the remainder of the text, since the vegetable world and the art of healing have always had profound significances. They and the textual part have not as yet been deciphered.
A passing reference was made in the previous article to the difficulty encountered in decipherment. Very little more can here be added, owing to this difficulty. Suffice it to say that the letters of the text, which do not make sense, nor even letters as ordinarily understood at times, have all been built up out of many strokes. These strokes are the same as in the mediaeval Greek short-hand. So that the first task is to take text, drawings and even blots of ink, and to break then down into these individual characters. This done, twenty-two of the twenty-three letters of the Latin alphabet are taken, corresponding to the twenty-two letters of the Sacred Hebrew alphabet.
Newbold, having done this took his alphabet and combining the letters two by two, obtained a truly colossal number of possible combinations of letters. (The text must be read to appreciate the nature of the problem). These when substituted into a sentence of the cipher gave a series of meaningless letters, which had to be pieced together into a Latin text, with no letters left over. The 102 characters in the key sentence, when broken down, give rise to 1300 separate chart-hand elements, and the underlying text contains two hundred words.
Newbold died before his task had been fairly started and by far the greater por-
tion of the text remains undeciphered. It has been said that Bacon spent the twenty years or so of his monastic life in writing the manuscript. It had been estimated that there is a lifetime's work for some eminent scholar in its decipherment.
- F. S.
PRESIDENT ROOSEVELT'S EXPERIMENT
As President Roosevelt's effort to give the American people a new deal materializes, it becomes more and more apparent that the social and economic future he envisages for the United States cannot live side by side with capitalism. One or the other will have to go and it is for the American people to decide which.
A writer in the Canadian Theosophist ventured this opinion some months ago and the recent annual report of the Secretary of Agriculture tends to confirm one the more in this belief. Secretary Wallace who, by the way, is said to be a Theosophist - says in effect in this report that the A.A.A. or Argicultural Adjustment Act, under which Mr. Roosevelt wields most of his special administrative powers, cannot continue to function unless profits are regulated.
Now profits are regulated, already by the A.A.A. and its twin piece of legislation, the N.R.A. or National Recovery Act, which applies to industry in the same way as the A.A.A. applies to agriculture. Reading between the lines then, it seems evident that what Mr. Wallace is talking about, is not regulation but elimination of profit, and if profits are eliminated capitalism will be eliminated with it because, under capitalism, profit is income and as neither industry nor individuals can live without income, something will have to be substituted for it if profit is no longer legally allowed.
No Cause For Alarm
This sort of talk is alarming to most people, but it should not alarm a Theosophist. He knows, - or should know - that social systems are only the personalities of an age or a civilization and that their passing is no more the end of all things than the passing of the human personality is for the individual. Mr. Roosevelt's ad visors have said on more than one occasion
that if big business and big finance will not govern themselves, then their political government is inevitable. This therefore may be considered the last chance for big business and big finance to work uncontrolled from without, within the bounds of social decency.
Mr. Roosevelt considers that he has a social contract to fulfill with the American people. Under his plan for the fulfilling of this contract he contemplates the changing of the social and physical environment of the nation. Among other things he aims to remove somewhere around 50 million acres from food production and transform them into national parks. His plan calls for the removal of numerous industries from large centres to rural districts; to make the country a pleasanter, more attractive place to live in and work, and to change great watersheds, into cheap power for the people.
"True evolution teaches us," says H.P.B. (Key to Theosophy, page 158) "that by altering the surroundings of the organism we can alter and improve the organism; and in the strictest sense this is true with regard to man. Every Theosophist, therefore, is bound to do his utmost to help on, by all the means in his power, every wise and well-considered social effort which has for its object the amelioration of the condition of the poor. Such efforts should be made with a view to their ultimate social emancipation, or the development of the sense of the duty in those who now so often neglect it in nearly every relation in life."
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