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VOL. XIV., No. 2 HAMILTON, APRIL 15th, 1933 Price 10 Cents
By Madame B.P. Wadia
It is a well-known fact that in the modern East, from Angora to Tokyo, a dislike and suspicion for the whole West exists. The feeling is almost a hatred. Deserved or undeserved - it is there.
Political domination, economical pressure, and differences of culture are generally said to be the cause. Some hold, and we believe there is a great deal of truth in the opinion, that missionaries of various church denominations have contributed substantially to that hatred by their uncalled for interference with religious beliefs of peoples; and especially by their ignorance or crude and distorted understanding of the religious lore of the ancient races.
On the other hand, it is also acknowledged that the fusion of cultures, mainly through the penetration of the Westerner, has been of some advantage to all concerned. Our western scientific, hygienic and material knowledge, our social institutions, our history and literature have wrought a mighty change in the habits and customs of the East. We must shoulder the responsibility for causing great injury to their moral well-being, for we have introduced in their midst many evils and many diseases. But they will all agree, unless biased by strong passion, that the West has been instrumental in opening their eyes to spiritual corruption, to intellectual dishonesty, to moral lapses, to lethargy in action, which had overtaken them, which had already killed some of the finest spirits and were killing the souls of others.
There has been a universal renaissance. Both hemispheres and their innumerable races have come under its influence; and if we of the West have been instrumental in rousing the East, forgetful of its mighty and honorable past, the Orient has been a splendid agent to tear the veil of our religious superstition and bigotry, our race pride and, insularity, our ignorance and hypocrisy. We often wonder if from the events of the last 50 years, the East has not taken better advantage of the spiritual renaissance which has touched us all, and that we have still to absorb the force that upwells from spiritual spheres of the world within.
But what of that hatred of which we spoke? Will it not precipitate a war between the many coloured races of Asia on the one hand and the many proud peoples of Europe and America? We hope not. But hopes are hollow, and if they are to be realized in a tangible fashion, we have to work for them.
As it seems easy to look at the faults of others than our own, let us glance at our
Asiatic neighbours. It is difficult to find out in whom distrust for the west is absent. Dislike for us is everywhere and not silent either. Perhaps if we ask in what classes of the Eastern peoples is there least resentment, we might be able to get some basis for consideration. Those who are thorough- going materialists in the East are most vociferous against the West. Asiatic students of European and American Universities distrust and dislike us the most. They do not hate our ways and our institutions in thernselves; most of them adopt European costume and ideas, their outlook is mainly western. But they certainly are all wrath and contempt for us. The way in which they are received in Western countries, the treatment meted out to then, etc., etc., all go to build up their attitude toward us. We do not altogether blame them, we must be prepared to take the consequence of our sneering, snobbish, and superior attitude. On their return home these students beat us at our own games, lash us with the whips bought in Paris or London or Washington, shoot us with the guns of Sorboune, of Oxford, of Yale. They quote our Holy Bible to prove how unchristian we are; they apply the lessons of our histories, the rebellions of our masses against our tyrants, and compose and sing their own Marseillaise; they imitate our orators, recite our poets, and kindle the fire in their countrymen and make them shout Liberty, Equality, Fraternity. They are assisted by the products of modern model schools and colleges in every Asiatic country. This factor has been recognized, but not to the extent it ought to.
At the opposite pole, is to be found another class which hates Westerners profoundly. If the student drunk with the wine of the West is vociferous, the priest full of his creedal hashish wars against us in silence. He does not fail to see that our western education has ruined his professional prospects, has shorn him of his powers, and has brought disregard and even contempt on his gods. We doubt very much if even the western officers of state really are aware of the subtle influence of the priest on the hearts of the masses? Our missionaries could know better, if they were really Christian in their brotherly contact with their own converts; but they are busy otherwise!
Thus two giant forces are working on millions of men and women of ancient and honorable Asia, and both are working up a frenzy of anti-western description. For many years this has been going on and now the results are visible.
Who are the friends of peace and universal good-will? Who are there who are likely to free themselves from the devil of hatred? What will cast out that devil? The western salesmen and shop-keepers are suspect as economic exploiters and they cannot work the miracle of peace. Our missionaries are the "enemies" of the religious natives - priest-shepherds and their flock alike; they have neither Christ-like straightforwardness, nor tactful diplomacy to work with. The officials, military and civil, are, precluded by their position, their heavy work during their temporary stay in "heathendom," to become real friends of the people. They are not regarded as co-citizens, and there are important and vast tracts like Japan, China, Tibet, Persia where this official class even does not exist.
Who then? The spiritually minded in the West have a splendid chance to fraternize with the spiritually minded masses of Asia. Not Church-tied Christians, but those who have freed themselves from that narrow influence and who are not in Asia either for making money or to rule superciliously - such individuals are in demand. They can do world's work as harbingers of peace and good-will. But where are such men to be found?
We say, let them prepare themselves. Surely, the enthusiasm and endurance which under religious influence produced missionaries, catholic and protestant, who
navigated oceans and penetrated forests, are not incapable of begetting souls who will pierce the hearts of their brothers in Eastern countries. Nature supplies demand. It seems to us if we in the West and our colleagues in Asia plan to exchange ambassadors of Wisdom and Love, who will teach while they learn, and are willing to give and receive advice and instruction, a great forward step will be taken. The Poet Tagore has already done this in a measure and all homage to him, but a more universal planning seems necessary. Who is there in this beautiful Paris, in this land of France, who is prepared to join hands with us? We shall be glad to hear from them.*
*Translated from an article in Theosopie.
THE THEOSOPHY OF THE UPANISHADS.
(Continued from Page 12.)
THE BEGINNING OF THE WAY.
The small old path stretching far away.
- Brhadaranyaka Upanishad
The dawn grows out of the darkness, a darkness unbroken even by the light of the stars.
The beginning of the small old path lies in hopelessness and weariness; in the hopelessness of desires that can never be fulfilled; in the weariness of desires that. fulfilled to the utmost, yet bring with their fulfilment, no lasting joy.
In an age like this we are all very near the beginning of the way. The heaven of old that lay before us, a sunny harbor of refuge after the disastrous storms of life, has been growing dimmer and dimmer, the sunlight of hope dying out of it, until nothing is left for us but the grey cloud wrack of evening twilight, fading before the chill winds of night.
Cut off from the hope of a heaven where the gods no longer listen to our prayers, we are thrown back to earth, to slake if we can our perpetual thirst for happiness. We are incessantly tormented by a longing for joy, for repose, for a firm resting place wherein we may secure to ourselves a little well-being; safely guarded against the mutability of things that incessantly breaks down whatever we have built up, and pitilessly takes from us the fruit wherewith we had hoped at last to satisfy our desires.
We are thrown back to earth for happiness; to earth, where sickness and sorrow and death unfailingly wait on us, grimly assuring us that our longing for happiness will be frustrated; that the little refuges we have made for ourselves, to dream a while in the sunshine, will be swept away almost before we have grown used to them; that our sunshine will pass, and leave us to the darkness of night.
Hoping against hope, we try to evade these grim watchers; try once again to build our sand fortresses on the shores of the ocean; only to receive once more the relentless demonstration that only more lasting than our longing for joy is the ever-present fatality that destroys our foundations of hope. Whatever we built is broken down; whatever we would secure and shelter is again laid open to the storms; the grim counselors, sickness, sorrow, death, though hidden for a little while, are not long to be forgotten.
We hope against hope, only through terror of hopelessness. Even when one after another, the resting places and shelters we have made for ourselves have all been destroyed and passed, away into nothingness, we must still be busy with something; must still, shutting our eyes to old invariable experience, begin again to build new shelters and refuges, only not to be alone with despair. With every new generation, the children of men begin the lesson afresh, sunny eyed in the morning of hope, and eager with new vigour to be up and doing; they at least will find this long-sought-for joy, and make for themselves a secure rest in the midst of muta-
bilities; the old men are still hoping for heaven, or hiding from themselves and from each other their sad secret that hope is dead; and so with closed, lips, they go down into night.
Their children are still flushed with the joy of the morning; dazzled by the young light on the horizon, they pass unnoticed the old men's faces; and thus from year to year the secret remains untold; the secret that this joy we have all set our hearts on is not to be won; that the grim companions, sickness and sorrow and death, can mar more than we can make, can destroy faster than we can build.
To keep our eyes off despair, we set ourselves endless tasks; we begin to count the sands of the sea, or the water drops in the rivers, knowing well that we shall still be busy when the last grim counselor overtakes us, so that his coming may in some sort be unawares.
We have nearly guessed the secret, but we too shall presently go down into night without revealing it; and a new generation will rise up in our places to continue the search for that joy which we know already they cannot find. Well, let us leave them to their hope; let us wish them well, as they rise up in the joy of the morning.
We know now what we would not have believed before, that their best friend is necessity, which keeps them continually moving, continually busy with efforts and expedients; so pre- occupied that they will never lift their eyes to see what we have seen; we know now that their best riches are poverty, which always leaves them something to hope for; if poor in all else, at least rich in hope.
So they will go on, pre-occupied ; fighting a brave fight against relentless destiny that seems to single them out from all others for misfortune, that seems to frustrate their efforts while allowing others to succeed, that seems to dog their steps alone vitiating all their best calculations, bringing some mortifying accident that robs them in the hour of harvest; yet letting them still imagine sunshine, and joy in the lives of others. These others know better, but they will not undeceive them. Or perhaps they too are victims of the same illusion that throws a romance for us over all lives but our own.
The others are so busy with their search for joy, in whole-hearted faith, that we may well believe our ill-fate singular, and unfailing disappointment attendant on us alone. And thus after every failure, we gather courage to try again, and repeat once more the old experiment of desire, as if no use could make us familiar with its inevitable result.
For this seems to be the deepest reality in the nature of desire: that it can never be satisfied, that there is no such thing as its fulfilment. Its only satisfaction, the only delight of desire, lies in its pursuit. With incredible toil and unwearying exertion, we follow after the almost unattainable fruit; at last it is within sight, within reach, within our grasp. At last we have actually reached the moment of enjoying; but, by some incredible fate, the joy escapes from us the moment the fruit is in our hands; we have only a bitterness in the mouth, and must instantly renew the pursuit to escape the bitterness, a little less confident that with the fruit of desire we shall gain joy too.
At last convinced that our joy cannot be reached, that our desire cannot be fulfilled or can only have a fugitive, evasive fulfilment, we seek a new, strange way to escape from despair. Led on by that gracious illusion which paints romance for us attendant on all lives but our own, we try to enrich others with what we now know to be no riches for ourselves. Finding our own happiness eluding us in every case, we devote ourselves to the happiness of others, hoping that they will have a better appetite for the feast of shadows.
Or we come to the beginning of the path in another way. The relentless destiny that mocks at others' efforts, the restless change that sweeps away the resting-places
of others, seems to spare us awhile and to forget us. The goals we set before us are reached, the walls we built to shelter us are firm against the storm, our harvests are well saved and securely housed, our utmost desires are gratified, our highest hopes fulfilled. And yet when all is won, we are to find that all is lost; that although the joy- bringers are with us, the joy that should have given life to them is missing, when it comes to counting up our wealth; our thirst of happiness is still burning thirst unquenched.
This the fiery longing for joy burns in us always, casting in front of us its shadow, hope. We assure ourselves that unaccountable failure: this time may be accounted for and guarded against the next. If not today, then tomorrow; if not in this, then in that object of desire; if not soon, then later, at the end, joy will be found; and so the pursuit goes on.
We build ourselves houses and plant gardens for ourselves; hiding from ourselves our certainty that some day we shall not be there to secure our houses against decay, to keep the weeds from over-running our gardens; all the time knowing that in a few years or a few decades, our well-built walls will be bare to the sky, our gardens over-grown and returning to the waste of the wilderness.
Or we seek to be repaid for our work, not by our own enjoyment, but by the admiration of others; we try to find our happiness in others' assurances that we are happy. Yet if we look well at it we are convinced beforehand that this admiration will never reach us; or that it will fade even before we fade into the darkness, and pass where no admiration can reach us.
Or we shut our eyes to these things, and still the voices in our hearts, feeding our-selves on dreams.
Yet the mutation of things is incessant, the grim associates death and sorrow, never absent long; and sooner or later we shall reach the ripe experience that there is no resting-place to be found; no firm standing ground at all; no secure shelter where we can taste secret joy, hidden safely from the stern law that overtakes us. Sooner or later, we shall reach this conviction; shall admit to ourselves our hopelessness, or the weariness that never leaves us even when hope has been fulfilled. We shall acknowledge hopeless and weary that there is no satisfaction of desire. We shall admit our defeat in the battle with outward things.
Besides the battle with outward things, our thirst for joy will urge us into another battle, the battle with other personalities. Surrounded on all sides with other natures like our own, we are impelled by the necessity of our lives to make our personalities triumph over theirs; to prove to ourselves and them, but most to ourselves, that our own personalities are wiser and better and stronger than theirs.
This impulse of self-assertion, this necessity to triumph, finds one of its causes in that first hunger of ours, the hunger to satisfy our desires. Desire in us has no limit; the things by which we seek to satisfy it are very limited; and they are not less eagerly pursued by all others, who are as full of longing as ourselves for satisfaction.
But besides this cause, there is in us a longing to triumph over other personalities, a necessity for self-assertion, quite independent of the struggle to satisfy our desires, to outstrip the others in running to the stream that is to quench our thirst. We feel a necessity to triumph, not to feed our desires, but to feed our personalities themselves. We have within us a necessity of self-assertion for self-assertion's sake.
Here again there is a relentless destiny that is not less inflexible than that eternal changefulness of things which robs us of the secure satisfying of our desires. A relentless destiny that always frustrates our self-assertion, or robs it of all sweetness and satisfaction. If our triumph over other personalities is almost assured, if we have almost compelled them to testify to
our superiority, we have still misgivings that there may be one dissident voice of blame, which all voices of praise will not keep us from hearing; or that though we may hear open praise, there may still be secret blame eating out the sweetness of praise; or that though we are strong and our strength is assured, the stronger than us is already on the way, and will presently arrive to dispute our supremacy.
Even in the fullest satisfaction of our personalities we shall find no rest; for we are surrounded by other personalities not less restlessly desiring satisfaction; and any lack of alertness on our parts will be a signal to them that their opportunity has come, that our supremacy may be questioned, that our self- assertion may give place to theirs.
No satisfaction of desire, no firm resting-place anywhere, no complacency for our personalities. These are the laws of life that we are daily verifying, that we are convincing ourselves of by endless experiment, with one unvariable result. And once we look the result of our experiments clearly in the face, once we become quite conscious of our firmly established conviction, there is nothing possible for us but hopelessness and weariness, the hopelessness and weariness that are to lead us to the beginning of the small old, path stretching far away.
We must in truth convince ourselves that these are really the laws of life, that there is in very deed no satisfaction for desire, no sure resting-place, no complacency for our personalities, before we can enter on the beginning of the way.
For only when we have worn out all hope and belief in the joy of our habitual lives and our habitual selves are we ready to turn away from our habitual lives and our habitual selves, to seek our well-being where well-being is really to be found, in a new life, and a new self above and behind our habitual selves; a new life and a new self far away, to which the small old path will lead.
Our experience and conviction must have grown perfectly ripe and perfectly unshakeable before we are ready for the beginning of the way; for otherwise, having put our hands to the plough, we may be led to look back, may be shown unfit to enter the divine kingdom of real joy.
No satisfaction, no resting-place, no complacency; in the Upanishads the lesson is taught thus: -
"This doubt that there is when a man has gone forth, - some say 'he is,' and some say 'he is not,' - this I would know, taught by thee; of my wishes this is the third wish."
"By the gods even it was doubted about this of old, nor easily knowable is this subtle law; choose another wish, Nachiketas; hold me not to it, spare me this."
"By the gods even the gods even it was doubted about this truly, and thou, Death, sayest it is not easily knowable. Another voicer of this like thee may not be found; no other wish at all is equal to this."
"Choose sons, grandsons, of a hundred years, much cattle, elephants, gold, horses; choose the wide abode of the earth, and live thyself as many autumns as thou wilt.
"If thou thinkest this an equal wish, choose wealth and long life; be thou great on earth, Nachiketas, I make thee a possessor of desires according to thy desire.
"Whatever desires are hard to gain in the world of mortals, ask all desires according to thy will; these beauties with their chariots, with their lutes, not such as these are to be obtained by men; be served by them, given by me - ask not about dying, Nachiketas.
"As tomorrow, thou Ender, these things of mortality, and this radiance of all the powers, wear themselves out; the whole of life also is in truth little, thine truly are chariots, thine dance and song.
"Not by wealth is man to be satisfied; shall we accept wealth if we have seen thee? Shall we live as long as thou art
master? But the wish, to be chosen by me is truly that.
"Coming near to the unfading immortals, what fading mortal here below, understanding and thinking closely on the delights of beauty and pleasure, would rejoice in long life?
"But this that they have doubted about, Death, what is in the great Beyond, speak that to us. This wish that enters into the secret Nachiketas chooses nothing else but this."
(To Be Continued.)
In The Mahatma Letters, page 200, there is a reply to a question by Mr. A.P. Sinnett on the effect of Karma on the Social position of men. It contains enough to solve most of the problems of this kind that are raised in ordinary discussion. Let us quote it.
"The 'reward provided by nature for men who are benevolent in a large systematic way' and who have not focused their affections upon an individuality or speciality, is that - if pure - they pass the quicker for that through the Kama and Rupa Lokas into the higher sphere of Tribuvana, since it is one where the formation of abstract ideas and the consideration of general principles fill the thought of its occupants. Personality is the synonym for limitation, and the more contracted the person's ideas, the closer will he cling to the lower spheres of being, the longer loiter on the plane of selfish social intercourse. The social status of a being is, of course, a result of Karma; the law being that 'like attracts like.' The renascent being is drawn into the gestative current with which the preponderating attractions coming over from the last birth make him assimilate. Thus one who died a ryot may be reborn a king, and the dead sovereign may next see the light in a coolie's tent. This law of attraction asserts itself in a thousand 'accidents of birth' - than which there could be no more flagrant misnomer.
"When you, realize, at least, the following - that the skandas are the elements of limited existence then will you have realized also one of the conditions of devachan which has now such a profoundly unsatisfactory outlook for you. Nor are your inferences ( as regards the well-being and enjoyment of the upper classes being due to a better Karma) quite correct in their general application. They have a eudaemonistic ring about them which is hardly reconcilable with Karmic Law, since those 'well-being and enjoyment' are oftener the causes of a new and overloaded Karma than the production or effects of the latter. Even as a 'broad rule' poverty and humble condition in life are less a cause of sorrow than wealth and high birth, but of that... later on."
In this as in all else, circumstances alter cases. It is just as easy and just as difficult to be kind and generous and helpful in a position of affluence as in a position of poverty. It is the nature of the Ego himself or herself to be generous and helpful or the reverse. And here stands one of the stumbling-blocks for the social reformer. We are all desirous of having better social conditions, everything better than it is. When everything is perfect and every one has all he wants, there will be room for anyone to help anyone else on the physical plane anyway, and it is to be feared that our benevolent impulses would thus soon become atrophied, and die out altogether for want of exercise.
We constantly forget that our faculties are gained by struggle and that as soon as we cease to struggle, or think we are so fortunate as to possess conditions which make struggle unnecessary, and have gained the summit of existence; right then and there we begin to lose what we have gained, and the sooner we are thrown back
into the toilsome world the better for us. Too many people associate struggle with pain. There need be no pain in healthy struggle or effort, as long as our aims are unselfish.
Nor can it be wrong to strive to raise the conditions of society in general so that the standard of thought and aspiration should be raised among men. But there must continue to be struggle on the mental plane if physical conditions are made utterly pleasant and free from effort. This is why it is that no model settlement or colony, or anything of that kind has ever given prolonged satisfaction to intelligent people. Brook Farm, Fairhope, and all the rest of them become intolerable sooner or later to the best minds! Even Robinson Crusoe would never have been able to "stick it," had he not kept himself perpetually busy improving his home and planting and reaping and planning and executing, as all rational beings must if they would remain sane and capable.
It may be observed how often men when they retire, though in perfect health, drop off as though life had lost its grip for them. Those who do not know the joy of work must always remain among the most miserable and discontented of beings. "I have known joy," said Robert Louis Stevenson, "for I have done good work." It is in the nature of things that we should always be building and rebuilding and that nature should always be pulling down and destroying. Every time we come back into reincarnation in the ordinary course of things we come into a new world. It is no wonder we remember little of our past lives. After a few centuries little is left to be recognized.
Mutability is the keynote of life. Christians accuse the easterners of pessimism for recognizing this, but the New Testament is full of it. An, so are our hymns and sermons, and they are not seldom the most popular hymns we sing. Take Lyte's fine hymn, "Abide with me," and study its lines. There is no greater exposition of pessimism, and congregations actually revel in it. They "seek a city which is for to come." Buddhists are logical enough to realize that no permanent condition can be established in a world of change, so they aspire to the changeless Nirvana, not extinction, as some would have it, but the extinction of change, which can only mean something akin to the Absolute.
We can only find that Absoluteness in the Self. Hence, the whole race of Man draws onward towards that "far-off divine event." St. Paul assures us that God shall be all and in all, and many Christians shrink from such a fate. It is the Nirvana of the Buddhists, no matter what the theologians may say. So the whole Race passes on through Round after Round, race after race, aeon after aeon, till the Great Day Be-With-Us, the climax of the ages of the ages.
Are we inclined to slacken in our petty tasks, when these things are brought to our contemplation? Then, assuredly, we have not yet learned the lesson of action in inaction, and inaction in action. We still need to know how to act and to be detached from the results of action. To stand aside and let the Warrior fight for us. To become conscious that the Self has given us the whole world and that we may peacefully lose it for the sake of that which lies behind.
It irks me that my restless mind
In such a prison is confined,
That only five small lights are found
Through which to view the world around.
Yet sometimes in my inner soul,
Beyond my asking or control,
Some secret presence brings to me
Knowledge of worlds I cannot see.
- Frederick George Scott.
CYCLES OF CIVILIZATION.
By R. A. V. Morris
(Continued front Page 7.)
I do not for one moment believe that a healthy civilization can be brought into existence by legislation, by the re- distribution of wealth, or indeed, by any material changes: only the growth of the race in wisdom and unselfishness can create it; and it is to be feared that we have much experience to go through and many bitter lessons to learn before we can hope to see it.
When a civilization breaks down, then, after long or short fallow period, life begins to stir either in the same race or nation or in another. Among the people thus springing into activity, men of unusual ability or even genius, begin to appear under whose leadership the eager and vigorous rank and file push forward on the ascending are of a new historic cycle.
It is interesting to note in passing how men of genius come in groups in such rising civilizations. Consider, for example, the extraordinary brilliant group of great men who lived in the fifth century B.C. at Athens, a town almost certainly smaller than Brighton. To name only a few of them, there were Plato, Socrates, Aristotle, Aeschylus, Euripides, and many others whose names have been household words for more than two thousand years. Then Elizabethan London - a tiny town compared with its enormous successor, counted among its citizens Shakspere, Bacon, Spencer, and a host of other brilliant writers and men of action. Goethe and Schiller lived in the same small town and at the same time, while contemporary with them in Germany were Kant, Beethoven, Haydn and Mozart.
In considering the causes of the decline and fall of civilizations, we are badly handicapped by the paucity of the data at our disposal. Downfall usually involves a wholesale destruction of records; and the degenerate descendants of a great people are apt to care little or nothing for the history of their ancestors. Sometimes the barbarian conquerors of a civilized people have wantonly destroyed the literature of the conquered. Civil wars too have played their part. Not one of the great libraries of the classical era survived the ruin of the Roman Empire. Christian zealots burnt the writings of pagans and heretics in the fourth and fifth centuries, they burnt their bodies in the sixteenth and seventeenth. The Arab soldiers of Amru are reputed to have utilized the remnants of the magnificent library of Alexandria as fuel for the public baths. After the conquest of Mexico by Cortez, the Spanish clergy were so conscientious in searching out and burning Aztec and Maya manuscripts that scarcely any have survived. The result of this sort of thing is that we have but scanty data in respect of the classical civilization, and practically none for the cultures that preceded it.
Let us, however, attempt on the basis of the information we have, to enumerate at least some of the causes for the decline of a civilization.
1. Most obvious of all is the fact that mechanical progress, especially as applied to means of communication and transportation, enabled civilized man to wage war on a vastly larger scale and more destructively than was formerly possible. The Romans were great road makers: they covered their empire with an elaborate network of excellent highways over which their armies could march and food and equipment be carried rapidly anywhere between the Wall of Hadrian and the Euphrates. The splendid road system and the business-like administration of the Empire thus made it easy to recruit, equip and convey great armies to be used - and destroyed - in the long series of civil wars; and the legions, which might have held the outside barbarians at bay, were exhausted in fratricidal conflict. The population from which they were recruited were thinned out by losses in war and demoral-
ized by luxury. The native Roman peasantry were the first to disappear or be corrupted, then their Latin and Italian allies, and finally the provincials Gauls, Britains, Illyrians, and so on. In the course of time, all the healthy and vigorous elements in the Empire were thus used up.
To hark back a few centuries, it was the skill of the Athenians as ship builders and sailors that enabled them to concentrate the whole power of their small state in the famous expedition against Syracuse, in B.C. 414/3, the result being an over- whelming disaster in which at least half the adult male citizens of Athens perished, and the most brilliant of the Greek states received a blow from which it never recovered.
The mechanical mastery of the Greeks and Romans was as nothing when compared to what we moderns have developed during the last hundred, years; and we have evolved a system of communication by railroads, steamships, and automobiles, which is enormously more efficient than anything the Caesars ever dreamed of. By its means we can bring into the field and supply with food and munitions, ten, or even more men for every one that could be used effectively before about 1820. Moreover, we have got over the difficulty of fighting in winter, when all ancient armies were compelled to rest in winter quarters. We can thus carry on war on an immense scale, continuously, up to the point of utter exhaustion. The conquest of the air too gives us an added "superiority" over our predecessors. They could destroy only where their armies actually were, but we can rain bombs and poison gas on the towns for hundreds of miles behind the lines. So efficient have we become in the art of war, that one other conflict like the last would involve irretrievable disaster for Europe, even if, as we hope, she has enough vitality to recover from the effects, of 1914-18.
It is a curious point that improvements in the actual weapons of war do not appear to make fighting any more deadly, for the art of defense seems to advance pari passu with that of attack. Indeed, it is probable that in proportion to their duration and numbers engaged, ancient battles were the more bloody than modern ones. The increased deadliness of war seems to be wholly due to the perversion to anti-social ends of the improved means of communication, which are an essential element in civilization, and might be an unmixed advantage to mankind.
2. In a very primitive community virtually the whole of the population is engaged in agriculture and such manufactures as pottery and weaving are carried on by the farmers and their wives as secondary occupations. Advancing civilization always involves an increasing specialization or division of labour. Towns begin to spring up and manufactures to be carried on by the skilled artisans who live in them. So far, so good for both agriculturalists and artisans have jobs that require considerable and varied skill. The agricultural worker has very unjustly acquired a reputation for stupidity, perhaps because he is slow in speech, but actually he has to know how to do a whole series of operations, and to do them with judgment. His life is no doubt a hard one, but at least he has plenty of exercise for body and mind - it is not only by reading books that the mind is exercised and the ever-changing needs of the farm as the year moves through its seasons ensure him constant variety of work. The townsman too in the days before the industrial revolution, was a skilled craftsman who had learned all branches of his job in the course of his apprenticeship. He, too, had variety in his work. But with the continual advance of civilization, the proportion of agricultural workers to the general population is constantly decreasing, and at the same time the status of the town worker is altered. The factory system tends to oust all earlier methods of manufacture, and men specialize more and more, until their whole work-
ing life is spent in performing a single operation over and over again. Some years ago, in Glasgow, I was shown a small piece of shaped steel, destined to form part of a sewing machine, and was told that in its manufacture, it had gone through 74 distinct processes, each applied to it by a different man, who did nothing else. Mr. Henry Ford, in his motor works at Detroit, has brought this sort of thing to absolute perfection. In his factory the various parts of a car pass slowly on a moving platform before a long line of mechanics, each of whom applies one special action - a touch with a file, or the tightening of a nut. Think of it! Day after day, as hard as you can go, with the same wrench in hand, tightening the same kind of nut. What deadly monotony!
Inasmuch as competition between manufacturers, forces each one of them to copy the methods of cheapening production introduced by his rivals, the division of labour tends all the time to become more pronounced; and the effect of it on the minds and nerves of its victims increases. After the tense monotony of their day's work, they will seek escape in anything that promises excitement, e.g., revolutionary politics, cinemas, watching games played by paid athletes - I almost said gladiators, gambling, and so on.
The effect of the division of labour on women has also to be taken into account. Not so long ago the housewife was a highly skilled if hard worked person. She made and mended clothing for herself and her family; she prepared and cooked food. But the tendency for many years has been to reduce her duties in the home. Clothing is almost entirely made in factories nowadays, ready cooked dinner, can be bought in tins, while various labour-saving devices reduce house work to a minimum. The result is that more and more women are set free to take up work in factories and offices, where they are subject to the same alternation between monotonous toil and artificial excitements as are their husbands and brothers. As a consequence we find that nervous diseases are increasing, while there is a decrease in the number of children born and general weakening of family life.
3. As the result of inventions, foreign conquests, better facilities for trade, and the increasing division of labour, wealth multiplies rapidly in a rising civilization. Up to a certain point this would be to the good, if the wealth were used wisely. But this never happens. Impelled by an unslackable desire for personal advantage, practically everyone joins in a scramble to seize as much as possible for himself. In this process, some become too rich, while others get nothing; and the community becomes divided by an economic cleavage. Personal ambition and competition, and the consequent division of society into economic classes doubtless contribute to the development of civilization, but they also in time make for its decay.
The greatness of the Roman state was founded by a hardy race of farmers, and seems to have been but little retarded by the early struggles for political power between patricians and, plebs. The rivalry between these classes became modified as the state became richer, and in time gave place to a purely economic division of the citizens into rich and poor. The rich families soon became corrupted by luxury, and for the most part died out; while the poorer farmers, of whom a large proportion must have perished in the wars with Hannibal, drifted more and more into the capital, where they became what Lenin called a "slum proletariat", living on doles at the expense of the provinces. The land of Italy fell into the possession of a few immensely rich capitalist farmers, who lived in Rome while their vast estates were cultivated by slave labour. It was only a question of time before the remnants of the original Romans became utterly worthless. There was probably not a single born Roman in the legions after the first century; and of the emperors from Trajan
onwards, hardly one here and there was a native Roman or even an Italian.
We moderns, too have accumulated great wealth, and its corrupting influence, both on those who have too much and on those who have too little, is obvious. We have, moreover, gone a long way in allowing the rural population to migrate into our great and unsavory towns. If we have avoided introducing slave labour as the Romans did, we have at least developed a class struggle, so violent and so bitter that it may, if it continues unchecked, bring the whole edifice of society crashing down in ruin.
4. As the social organism develops it becomes more complex; and to administer it increasing numbers of persons of superior ability are required. They are not forth
- coming; and we have to carry on with members and officials of public bodies, and with teachers who in very many cases are inadequate to their jobs. Cumbersome machinery in the hands of the inexpert is notoriously liable to break down.
5. Civilization means a complex social structure, and that implies instability. Our over elaborate credit system is apt to get out of gear periodically, and commercial crises like the present are the result. Booms, which make some men rich, are succeeded by slumps which make many men poor. Overend-Gurneys, Whittaker-Wrights, Jabez Balfours, Hatrys and Krengers drag thousands to ruin with them in their colossal bankruptcies. Even for the wealthy there is an element of uncertainty about the future lest their treasure prove to be but "goblin gold". Despite all this we have an ever-growing demand from all classes for incomes that shall at once be larger and more secure. We ask more and more from life, better houses, motor cars, amusements, ad lib., foreign travel, social status. Every social grade apes the one immediately above it and tries to overtake it. The perfectly legitimate wish to give their children the best possible start in life only too often takes the unwise form of sending them to an unduly expensive public school. Ambitious parents require so much for themselves and their offspring that they cannot afford to have more than one child. As their wealth grows, people become more afraid of losing it; as they become more secure, they become fearful of risking anything. They become afraid, and by their fears they invite the very disasters from which they shrink. Such a condition is only too often the fate of the ultra civilized man and woman.
Statistics show that in every European country and colony there has been a continuous fall in the birthrate for several decades past; and some of the most advanced nations, our own among them, are very near the point when the population will show an actual decline. Even now the apparent increase is only in the number of the old and elderly; and every year there is a fall in the number of persons at ages from one to about twenty-five; and this will apply to all ages as the older generations die out. Be it noted that this is not due to over population, for exactly the same fall is taking place in empty lands like New Zealand and Canada as in England, France and Germany. In the later days of the Roman Empire, so few were the children born that it was exceptional for rich people to have any natural heirs, and legacy hunting became a recognized profession for genteel parasites.
6. In my enumeration of the causes for the fall of the classical civilization, I have left to the last the one that is usually considered most important of all, namely the invasions by barbarians from North an, East Europe and Central Asia. My reason for so doing is that I do not believe that these would have ever overwhelmed the Empire but for its internal decay. The real causes for the downfall were to be found in and not outside; and given the internal weakening and corruption that I have attempted to outline, the Empire would have broken up even though no
single hostile barbarian bad attacked its frontiers from without. To apply this to ourselves: we have no external enemies such as Rome had; and, if our civilization is to perish, it will be by the morbid growth of its own tissues, as it were. It will not be murdered, but will die of disease.
The conclusion that all civilization, including our own, is cyclic and must come to an end, is not pessimism. Death implies rebirth, and that on a somewhat higher level, for humanity is slowly - very slowly learning wisdom from its mistakes.
When night with quiet hand enshadows Earth
My body sleeps, Beloved,
But I am free with Thee.
When with day my body wakens and with happy eyes
Looks out upon the flowers,
The children, tell me, -
"All night thou wast asleep, O Son of Song,
The hours, of dark were lost to thee;
Thy memory hath naught to shew for those night hours."
This is not true, O my Beloved,
But I conceal the truth
Because, they would not understand.
Yet this is true. When most my body sleeps,
Then most I am awake, for Thou art with me:
The night with all her stars
Is a fair country traveled by my wings,
For Thou dost take me with Thee
Into mysteries that are not mysteries to Thee.
By day I walk the Earth and learn her fields,
By night I walk the Universe and learn of Thee, Beloved.
- Ernest Fewster.
THE MURMUR OF TIBETAN DRUMS
By M. M. Salanave
(Continued from Page 23.)
A monk ushered us into the reception room of Yi-ga-choo-ling monastery, a Laden La boy and his sister Phurba La-hamo - goddess of Thursday - leading the way. The Abbot, Trom-Geshe Rimpoche, was seated before a small table at the far end of the room on a dais piled with cushions or bol-den. Next to him was a large cabinet, the shelves filled with sacred objects. The visitors sat along the two sides of the room on seats slightly raised above floor level and also piled with cushions.
We entered single file and bowed low, rather I did. My two young companions prostrated themselves in true Eastern fashions but owing to stiff Occidental knees it was permissible for me to bow only as low as such physical handicaps permitted. The high Lama was dressed, in a deep maroon wool dress over which was draped a yellow priestly, garment, insignia of the Yellow Cap Order to which he belongs. When we reached the table we saluted him with the rite of "three bows", customary mark of respect accorded high Buddhist priests, then kneeling presented him with our white silk ceremonial scarves, or ka-ta. This exchange of complimentary scarves is a charming Tibetan custom observed by all classes. Touching our bowed heads with his dorje he gave us his blessing after which we rose and took seats. The Lama then held quite a lively conversation with the Laden La children about his strange guest, the goddess of Thursday confiding to me later bow pleased he was to learn I was a Buddhist pilgrim, not just an inquisitive foreign sight-seer. Then, after inviting us to remain after the ceremony for dinner, he turned to receive other guests while we turned to tea drinking.
Having heard of this strange concoction called Tibetan tea I was curious to taste it. Drinking tea as a beverage by the way, is of Buddhist origin. Until Buddhist monks discovered it kept them awake during long periods of meditation it had been used as a medicine not a beverage. So far at the Laden La home I had been served only with tea from the famous Darjeeling tea gardens. But Tibetan tea is made of brick tea - the leaves and twigs of the tea plant being pressed into brick-shaped blocks. The tea is boiled for a long time, often all night, soda, salt, yak butter and sometimes yak milk and often parched barley flour being added, so that it resembles a cream soup more than a drink.
Tibetan etiquette demands that just as soon as a sip of tea is taken the servant shall fill the cup again to the brim. When I took my first mouthful of this tea I thought I must flee from the room but knowing my reputation for good manners was at stake I closed my eyes and forced it down. After this trying ordeal had occurred a number of times I whispered to the goddess of Thursday imploring to be excused from drinking more. But not being the goddess of Mercy she coldly ignored my entreaty. Relenting later, however, she whispered that I had behaved very nicely and might place the lid on my cup signifying "no more". Tibetan tea cups have pretty silver lids with a coral, turquoise or other stone for a handle.
By then it was time to go over to the temple to see the decorations before the place was crowded. Hundreds of small butter lamps, - chome or sacred fire - gleaming like jewels, burned in front of the great golden Buddha. These lamps have shallow bowls with slender hollow stems into which the wicks are placed before filling the bowls with clarified butter. Garlands of "good-luck" flowers festooned the place - not really flowers, just silken covered seeds that come from an immense pod of a tree whose identity I did not learn. Tibetan banners bearing prayers and sacred characters floated everywhere while butter images either guilded or brightly coloured added to the exotic oriental scene. Around the sides of the temple stood great cylinder prayer wheels which we set in motion. One must always walk around prayer wheels or indeed any sacred object or wall on the side of honour - clockwise, the sacred object always on one's right side.
Although, the day was auspicious the heavens positively sulked. There was a taste of snow in the air and the Himalayas were shrouded in a winding sheet of sinister grey fog. It was hard to imagine that the Eternal Hills were just beyond that impenetrable veil with majestic Kinchinjunga opposite.
The friendly crowd sat good-naturedly on the ground but a bench had been brought out for my comfort and placed near the temple so that I could watch the people and later see and hear the Lama. Every person in that crowd of several thousand excepting babes in arms incessantly whirled small prayer wheels, monotonously intoning the sacred formula "Om mani padme, hum." Through the heavy air Tibetan drums droned interrupted at intervals by loud blasts from th, long monastic trumpets reminding one of the fog horns of ships at sea.
Before the ceremony the multitude was fed, not with loaves and fishes, but sweet rice, a Tibetan delicacy. Priests came from the kitchen in pairs bearing enormous bowls of rice cooked with raisins and honey. Cups filled with this rice were then thrown here and there among the people, each man, woman and child catching as catch can, either in their hands, caps, hats or clothing. An extraordinarly expeditious way of serving a great multitude and delightfully informal. After that pots of the thick tea were passed around, each one furnishing his own cup as every Tibetan always has a tea cup concealed somewhere on his person.
Suddenly extra loud trumpet blasts
silenced the murmuring crowd. Down the steps of the building we had recently quitted slowly came the Abbot escorted by several priests walking ahead according to rank. He wore a yellow brocaded robe over the maroon garment and on his head a huge boat
- shaped yellow hat, insignia of the Yellow Cap sect, in one hand he carried a dorje, in the other a rosary or pabo. Walking with great dignity up the temple steps he ascended his throne near the entrance, and at once proceeded with the usual Buddhist ritual at the end of which he addressed the crowd outside for perhaps two hours. The people sat immobile every eye riveted on the Lama. When he had finished came the business of blessing them all. During this part of the ceremony I was invited to go inside and stand quite close to the Lama thus missing nothing of interest. At a signal from the attendant priests the crowd rose and forming a long queue - alert priests watching to see that none crowded - passed slowly before the Abbot who touched each one on the head with his dorje. Not a head did he miss, not even that of a tiny dog one woman carried in her arms. Buddhism teaches kindness to animals.
When it was all over we returned to the other building for our dinner of rice and vegetables and - naturally - Tibetan tea. During the meal we would leave and go outside on the balcony to watch a dance going on in the courtyard below, a sort of religious drama in which the very skillful dancers also took the part of actors.
So pass the days of "Wong." But, interesting as it was to me, something of still greater interest was to take place. I was to return to Yi-ga-choo-ling early next morning to take the first vows required of a novice in the Yellow Cap sect. Sometimes when reading H.P.B.'s references to the Order I may have dreamt of belonging to it, but not expecting to ever be gipsying in India, I never really believed such a thing would or even could, actually happen. Now, in less than twenty-four hours I was to actually take my first vows. Thus, strangely enough, even incredulous Americans may sometimes dream true.
(To Be Continued.)
SEVENTEEN REASONS FOR REINCARNATION
1 Eight hundred million people believe in it.
2 The greatest of philosophers, of world-teachers, and poets have, in every age taught it.
3 The Bible contains numerous allusions to it.
4 The eminent Fathers of the Christian Church believed and strenuously advocated it.
5 The world's great religious and philosophical literature abound with its teachings.
6 It ensures equal chances to all.
7 Apart from it there can be no immortality for man.
8 It is strictly scientific.
9 Recourse to analogy confirms it.
10 It alone affords a satisfactory explanation of human misery and inequality.
11 It is agreeable to a rational concept of the Soul.
12 It explains many experiences that were heretofore unaccountable and mysterious.
13 It explains what heredity is unable to account for.
14 It gives a reason for our innate likes and dislikes.
15 It is more in harmony with reason than the unphilosophical and unscientific doctrines of predestination, original sin and future punishment.
16 It proves that man is the maker of his own destiny and that he is alone responsible for his sufferings and enjoyments.
17 It offers the most potent inducement to honesty, morality, religious aspiration, humanitarianism, and a just regard for the rights of others.
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.
- Wash. E. Wilks, F.R.C.S., 925 Georgia St. W., Vancouver.
- Cecil Williams, 49 East 7th Street, Hamilton. Ont.
- Miss Agnes Wood, 135 Yorkville Ave., Toronto.
- Albert E. S. Smythe, 33 Forest Avenue, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada.
Buddhism in England (March-April) chronicles the visit of John Hutton, a Canadian Buddhist from Winnipeg, at a meeting of the Buddhist Lodge in London, England. This magazine is in its seventh volume and may be had from Mr. A. C. March, St. John's Lodge, St. Peter's Fort, Guernsey, Channel Islands.
Senor Alvaro A. Araujo, Casilla de Correo 595, Montevideo, Uruguay, South America, writes sending the greetings of all the members of his National Society of which he has recently been elected General Secretary, to all theosophical friends in Canada. We heartily reciprocate these fraternal salutations and wish him much success in his important office.
Last month we spoke of the Special Notice as appearing for the last time. Unfortunately it got left out altogether in that issue. So to give our members an opportunity to take advantage of it we present it once more. Dr. Kuhn's book, "Theosophy" is a real study of the subject and is so impersonal that all who desire to read of the original Theosophy which brought so many to the standard of the Society, cannot do better than possess it.
We review two books this month which should appeal to all students of Theosophy. They represent the first beginnings of its presentation to a world only very slightly prepared to receive, it, and the presentation to a later and in some ways a more deeply experienced world of the same truths from the understanding of a student who has had the opportunity to sift and weigh several different and more or less authoritative interpretations of it. The prudent and intuitive student will find a valuable exercise in comparing the two volumes and consulting his own soul and its experience in judging them together.
The U.L.T. magazine "Theosophy" has a fine and useful article on "Plain Theosophical Traces in Poetry", the subject being Gabriel Rossetti's alliance with Occultism and the Rosicrucians. The same influence was traceable in his family in the works of his daughters Maria and Cristina and his famous son Dante Gabriel. He had the opposition of all the destructive elements ruling this world, led by the Roman Catholic Church and all the "orthodox" who not only "obtained the condemnation of Rossetti's most famous book, but obliged his widow to burn the copies of the 'Mystery of Platonic Love', a work full of precious documentation, copies of which are rare." This article should be widely read, and merits a generous circulation.
The Theosophist (March) has 5 ½ pages of the first draft of The Secret Doctrine, written in 1885, the seventh instalment of this most interesting relic. A second article on Mrs. Besant's occult life, purports to be
her account of an initiation on December 1909, in which six Masters participated and the King of the world also put in an appearance. Mr. Leadbeater is quoted in confirmation, and this will assist astute readers in forming their own judgement. Evidently the old rule has been revoked - Know, Will, Dare, and be Silent. Heroic efforts are being made to reconcile the teachings of Krishnamurti with Theosophy, with Neo-Theosophy, and with anything else that is available. Another instalment of Occult Chemistry is given with a description of two kinds of ozone.
A correspondent from the Western States writes: "Thank you very much for the extra copies of The Canadian Theosophist. I received them a short time ago. I have the magazine numbers for the last four years and in reading them over always find thoughts I had not noticed before". This is a pleasant tribute from one who realizes that the magazine is not merely a conventional affair to be thrown aside, without perhaps, even being looked at, but carefully built up as a means of education in the Theosophical life. We hear often enough of those who have found nothing in it to interest them. This is their own admission that they have nothing to bring to the Magazine. No book is inspired except by the reader who brings his mind to bear upon it. When we have no mind there is no inspiration in the book. Others find "sermons in stones, books in the running brooks, tongues in the trees," and theosophy in everything.
Adyar Pamphlets, Nos. 154-169, are to hand from The Theosophical Publishing House as follows: Public Spirit, Ideal and Practical, by Annie Besant; Racial Problem in South Africa, by Josephine Ransom; The, Use of Evil, by Annie Besant; The Bearing of Religious Ideals on Social Reorganization, by Annie Besant, The Meaning and the Use of Pain, by Annie Besant; Eastern Magic and Western Spiritualism, by H. S. Olcott. Also "The Convention of the Indian Constitution", by C. Jinarajadasa, which points out the conventions of the unwritten law of the British Constitution and its implications; and India's Struggle to Achieve Dominion Status, by Annie Besant. The latter is a holograph, facsimiled, from Mrs. Besant's copy, which had been intended for her "Watch Tower" pages, and which concludes: "But we shall win Home Rule ere I die, though I am 82"; and now she is in her 86th year. Home Rule for India has long been granted in principle, and but for the disturbing contributions of Gandhi and his friends, its actual operation would have
been much nearer.
In the Rosicrucian Magazine established by Max Heindel, the March issue contains the following statement: "Regarding mis-statements concerning Max Heindel and the Rosicrucian Fellowship, appearing in a recent issue of another magazine, we only wish to repeat the words of the Christ: 'By their works ye shall know them.' The Rosicrucian Fellowship is strictly a religious organization striving to acquaint humanity with the New Age religion of the great Initiate Christ Jesus. We ask nothing in return for our efforts. It is not our policy to decry nor disparage the teachings of other societies. Max Heindel wrote in the 'Echoes' of September, 1914 as follows: 'It takes all our time to spread our own teachings, and if our literature is studied, the reason for these teachings will always be found. There is no statement made by the Rosicrucian Fellowship that is not backed up by reason and logic. We have not the time nor inclination either to explain or controvert the teachings of other societies'." It was not, of course, to this magazine, nor the body it represents, that our recent correspondence referred. It is well known that Spencer Lewis has nothing to do with the Heindel Society.
The Theosophical World University, under Principal J. Emile Marcault, has issued a pamphlet on Law Research by Judge Bristowe, the leader of the Law Research Group, which suggests lines for study and methods of work which jurists and students of law in the T.S. might well undertake. "If Theosophy is to play a part in the spiritual development of mankind, constructive work of the kind therein suggested is urgently need." The work falls naturally under two heads, historical and constructive, and much has already been done. We have not seen the Bulletin mentioned in the pamphlet but it contains an article on Law and Morals which is referred to as a sample of the work of the Group. "The Theosophical Movement is not a movement for the pedantic study of religious philosophic and, scientific questions. It has its practical application to the needs and problems of the present day". It is in this spirit that the University is organized and we commend the present work to our legal readers. Application should be made to the Principal, at 22 Harcourt Terrace, London, SW, 10, England.
Attention is called to Mr. Cecil William’s account of the arrangements so far made regarding the proposed Niagara Convention. This was endorsed by all the members of the Executive Council at its last meeting and they will look for cooperation among the members to make it a success. Many letters have been received and the reception so far gives reason for expecting a fair attendance. Niagara is a splendid place for a holiday, and those who have not seen the great Falls might pleasantly combine a visit there with attendance at the Convention. Some few correspondents are afraid that there will be less Theosophy than other matters discussed at the Convention. If it is to be a Theosophical Convention every subject must b, discussed by Theosophists from a Theosophical standpoint. It is hoped that the public will attend and get a better conception of the breadth and inclusiveness of Theosophy from what they hear. It is hardly expected to be a huge affair, but if it serves as a beginning, another may be held in the United States next year and another in Toronto in the following year. The addresses of course should have no tinge of personality about them, but discuss the subjects dealt with as scientific associations discuss their subjects on their merits, recognizing only the fundamental principles of Theosophical thinking.
Robert Bernays, M.P., writing in "John O' London's Weekly" on Vienna society and its prodigality before the Great War, recalls how "with remarkable prescience Mr. Wickham Steed foretold that the end was near. Lord Winterton recalls a conversation in which Steed~said: Whether war comes or not, the present system of government cannot continue. All the outward gaiety and charm of this country rests on a quaking bog. You have recently been going into Viennese society. I tell you that the people, with whom you have dined and danced, will one day be begging their bread in the streets'." When in England on a walking tour in 1912, I was struck with the resemblance between the state of affairs there at that time and those described by Charles Dickens in "'A Tale of Two Cities" which I had bought in a second-hand store to replace a copy which I had lent from my set, and then re-read in idle moments. Dickens' chariots were replaced by motor-cars and other wealthy vanities of the French by corresponding extravagances in England of the later day. A long talk with an old railway man at Symond's Yard gave me an insight of the oppression which the poor suffered from under the big corporations. He had been maimed in an accident and was given a small job at a crossing, but the way the wages were pared, and the miserable pittances on which workmen's families had to live, in order to provide dividends for the
well- to-do, paralleled in every respect the French conditions before the Revolution. I wrote an article for the Sunday World of Toronto at that time calling attention to these things, but it was no surprise to hear that "sudden destruction had come upon them." National karma cannot be evaded, and this continent is not trying very hard to make the necessary adjustments. The way in which the proposals of Technocracy have been received is sufficient to indicate the temper of the people, both rich and poor, the latter quite willing to believe that any such attempt to benefit them has ulterior motives.
It is a matter of profound interest to all who are engaged in the Theosophical Movement and its kindred and allied preoccupations to hear that the World's Parliament of Religions of the World's Fair of 1893 is to be in some sort revived in connection with Chicago's second World's Fair, June to November this year. It is to continue the traditions of that great gathering and its purpose is "To unite the inspiration of ALL FAITHS upon the solution of men's PRESENT PROBLEMS." Strangely enough this is what the proposed Theosophical Conference at Niagara on June 10 has in mind Theosophically - to unite all Theosophists upon the solution of men's present problems. The Fellowship of Faiths was organized in England, in 1910 as the "Union of East and West," in the United States in 1920 as the "League of Neighbours," and in 1924 as the "Fellowship of Faiths". This WORLD FELLOWSHIP idea, says the prospectus, "for more than twenty years has demonstrated its power to 'build bridges of understanding across the chasms of prejudice'." A suggestion of the topics to be discussed is made. "The Depression what light can, my Faith shed upon it? Disarmament, Poverty amidst Plenty - how cure it? Non-Violence - a key to World peace. Ideals for a new World order. Men and Machines - which shall be master? How can Man conquer Fear? Race and Religious prejudices - how overcome them? How expand Patriotism into World consciousness? Youth and the future. Peace and Brotherhood as taught by the World's great Religions. How Faiths in Fellowship can save Civilization." Obviously these topics offer a rich field for the dissemination of broad and fruitful thought. Throughout the time of the World's Fair, to quote the prospectus again, from June 1 till November 1, occasional presentations of the World's Fellowship of Faiths will be organized as appropriate speakers become available. During three weeks, August 27 - September 17, the World Fellowship of Faiths will reach its climax in daily sessions of national and international representatives of the Faiths of the World. There is a Chicago Committee of 200, a New York Committee of 100 and a London, Committee of 100. We select ten names from each: Chicago, Miss Jane Addams, Professor James H. Breasted, Dean Frederick Grant, Dr. W. D. Schermerhorn, Mrs. John V. Farwell, Professor Chas. S. Braden, chairman Executive Committee, Rev. Edmund W. Sheehan, secretary; Dr. Edward Scribner Ames, Mrs. A. Starr Best, Dr. Douglas Horton; New York, Bishop Francis McConnell, chairman; Professor E. R. A. Seligman, Rabbi Stephen S. Wise, vice-chairmen William H. Short, chairman Executive Committee, Dr. Russell W. Bowie, Mr. George Gordon Battle,, Rabbi Israel Goldstein, Dr. Ralph W. Sockman, Dr. S. Parkes Cadman, President Henry Sloane Coffin; London, Sir Francis Younghusband, chairman; Sir Frank Benson, vice-chairman; Sir Albion Banerji, Dr. F. W. Norwood, Sir E. Denison Ross, Sir Johnston. Forbes-Robertson, Miss Sybil Thorndike, Mr. Laurence Housman, Sir Oliver Lodge, Rt. Hon. the Marquess of Zetland. The Theosophical Society had a great place in the World's Parliament of Religions forty years ago. It remains to be seen how far the original principle of the Society has been followed in the meantime and what efflorescence may come of it now.
AMONG THE LODGES
St. Catharines Group of the Toronto Theosophical Society at the meeting held on Sunday, April 2nd at the home of Mr. and Mrs. Bertram Taylor, Niagara- on-the-Lake, passed a resolution to protest against injustices of Governments wherever perpetrated, and specifically against the cruelty and injustice practiced at the present moment by the Adolph Hitler regime in Germany. Incorporated in this resolution were instructions to the secretary to send the resolution on to the general executive of the Theosophical Society in Canada
and to the branches in the Dominion to the end that the protest may be finally passed by the general executive to the League of Nations at Geneva as the condensed opinion of the Theosophical movement in Canada. The resolution was proposed by the group president, Mrs. Gertrude Knapp of DeCew House, Thorold township, and seconded by the secretary, Ronald V. Garratt, Welland. It read as follows: "We, the St. Catharines Group of the Toronto Theosophical Society in Canada do most emphatically express ourselves as protesting with all the force at our command against injustices of Governments wherever perpetrated and specifically at the most recent outrage, the injustices now being prosecuted against the Jews in Germany by the Nazis under the Adolph Hitler regime in Germany. Be it further resolved to instruct the group secretary to send on the resolution to all the branches of the society in Canada and to the general executive of the Canadian Section with a view to having the general executive send the resolution on to the League of Nations at Geneva as a condensed and concrete opinion of the Canadian Section of the Theosophical Society." Ronald V. Garratt, secretary.
White Lotus Day falls on May 8 this year on a Monday. It will naturally be celebrated on Sunday. All Theosophical Lodges should make it an occasion of remembrance.
THE NIAGARA CONVENTION
Arrangements for the inter-Theosophical and international convention at Niagara Falls on June 10 and 11 have now reached the point where the place of meeting has been decided on. This will be the Fox Head Inn, just behind the old Clifton Hotel, close to the Falls, and providing good accommodation for visitors and a convention. The gatherings will be held in the ball room, and every facility will be accorded delegates. Those who do not wish to stop at the hotel can find accommodation in tourist camps and apartments.
It is hoped that some members of the United Lodge of Theosophists will be present. The headquarters of this organization has very courteously offered every facility for the invitation of its members. A letter has been received from the United Lodge of Theosophists in New York, which says in part: "If any of our individual members should happen to accept your invitation and attend the proposed convention... Let us express our hearty accord with the purposes of the convention as you set them forth in your letter."
A very interesting letter has been received from Mr. J. Emory Clapp, president of the American section of the Point Loma society. As a personal contribution to the conventions, so far he has submitted a list of suggested topics which display careful thought and insight, and which are considered worthy of reproduction here:
"Is a spiritual union of Theosophical organizations possible, and if so, how may it be brought about.
"What Theosophical doctrines are most needed by the world today?
"How may we show that the practice of brotherhood is essential to human welfare?
"Is true brotherhood based upon sentiment and emotion? If not, what is its basis?
"Is the ideal of brotherhood possible of practical application?
"The relation of ethics to Theosophy.
"In what way have our great scientists of today helped to prove some of the truths of Theosophy."
It may be advisable to give the convention two aspects, one dealing with inter-Theosophical problems along the lines suggested by Mr. J. Emory Clapp and the other with topics which may appeal to the public.
As regards the latter, arrangements are being made with the Canadian Press to have reports of the convention distributed to various points in Canada and the United States. In this connection it will be as well if secretaries of Lodges write to the newspapers in their localities asking the editors to give space to the reports. Editors like to know what people want. Secretaries might find it advisable to send a notice to the local papers of those attending the convention.
A tentative program follows:
Saturday, 10 a.m. Election of chairman and other officers for the convention.
11 a.m. The Basis of Spiritual Union of Theosophical Organizations, lecture perhaps by Mr. J. Emory Clapp, and discussion.
12.15 a.m. Luncheon and addresses of welcome.
2 p.m. The Practical Application of Theosophy to Life Today, address and discussion.
3 p.m. Theosophy and Education, possibly by Cecil Williams, and discussion.
4 p.m. Theosophy and Art, lecture and discussion.
8 p.m. Theosophy and Economics, lecture by Mr. A.E.S. Smythe, and discussion.
Sunday, a.m. Sightseeing trip round the Falls.
2 p.m. Theosophy and the Theatre.
3 P.M. Theosophy and Science.
4 p.m. Arrangements for next convention, which it is suggested should be held in the United States in 1934.
7 p.m. Address: Theosophy for Everybody.
- Cecil Williams.
THE GENERAL EXECUTIVE
The suggestion made at the last General Executive meeting, that the Lodges might consider the question of retaining a similar representation to that of last year has evidently impressed the members. All the Lodges appear to have fallen in line and while one or two sent forward a resolution to continue the same Executive, we have taken the liberty of interpreting that to mean that they are satisfied with their own representative. In the case of Toronto, three members were elected, but not the same three as last year. Miss Agnes, Wood being replaced by Mr. Reginald Thornton, whose long-standing membership and devoted interest rightly warrants his selection. There will, therefore, be no election this year, the seven members nominated going in by acclamation. The next meeting of the Executive will be held on May 7 at 52 Isabella Street. This is, of course, the old Executive. The Executive just elected will have its first meeting in July.
By special arrangement with the publishers we are able to offer a copy free to friends who will send us four new subscriptions to The Canadian Theosophist, of Dr. Alvin Kuhn's fine book, "Theosophy", written as a thesis for his Ph.D. degree at Columbia University, New York. This, convincing book is regarded by competent students as the, best outside summary of the Secret Doctrine and Madame Blavatsky's views that has been written, and its independent note will appeal to all who are interested in occult science. The Four Dollars must be sent to us in Canadian or U.S. currency with the addresses of the new subscribers. Only a limited number are available.
White Lotus Day, whenever celebrated, should be made an occasion of fraternization among the Lodges or Branches of the various Theosophical Societies.
FREE LENDING LIBRARY
Books on Reincarnation, Theosophy, Occultism, Comparative Religion. For catalogue, etc., address the Librarian, Toronto Theosophical Society, 52 Isabella St., Toronto, Ont.
The above is the advertisement that has been appearing in one of the widely circulated Montreal newspapers with remarkable results. Mrs. Bailey has furnished us with some of the many replies and other letters from the correspondence thus originated. This Library work is regarded as equal to that of the Magazine itself and to the lectures that we have had so little of in recent months. Here are some of these tributes.
"Six years ago I lost my husband, so I do look forward to reading your books for comfort and further knowledge."
"It is refreshing to know of persons or organization bent on giving instead of getting. As you say, your books do not appeal to everyone. As it happens, I am able to devour and revel in the type of literature your Library makes available. But it needs digesting and the books should be read and re- read to gain lasting knowledge, and a little rest from them has not done me any harm. I thoroughly enjoyed them, though enjoyed is not the right word."
"I have read many religious books but yours are the best, as they are higher in thought and experience, just the kind of books I was wishing for. It always seems that as soon as I progress and desire higher reading the way always opens for me to obtain it."
"I should like them for beginners, so as I can learn as I go along. I did enjoy the small book by C.W. Christie. It is written so as one can do right as one goes along, and it has made me feel a lot better since I have read it, for I have had a very unhappy life, but, as it says, it is my own fault, but I didn’t know it before; but as I learn about Theosophy I hope to be happy and make my husband and baby daughter also. I would like to have that book to keep so as she gets older - she is 19 months now - she can learn all about Theosophy and have a far happier life. It is just what I have been looking for, for Church services are very nice, but what do we learn from them? I have learned far more since I have had that little book than I ever have in my forty years of life, but it is not too late to learn how to be
good, and I am really going to try."
"I have long believed that Reincarnation was the only way to reconcile the facts of life with eternal justice. But as I am 72 years old, I shall soon know more about it. I have up till the last twelve months belonged to the Rosicrucian Society whose headquarters is in California, but I had to drop out, as I could no longer pay membership fee of two dollars per month."
These are only a few of the many letters that Mrs. Bailey receives and it is fortunate that the society has one who can devote the time and attention necessary to keep this activity going. There is really an immense amount of work entailed, but the fruits of such a sowing no one can estimate. "They that turn many to righteousness shall shine like the stars for ever and ever."
H. P. B.'s COMPLETE WORKS
That exceedingly inaccurate "Ephesian", Mr. C.E. Bechhofer Roberts, failed to anticipate "The Complete Works of H.P. Blavatsky, edited by A. Trevor Barker, covering the Period 1874-1879, Volume One." which has just been published by Rider & Co. Whatever lies may be circulated about her the great world will finally judge her by her writings, and she herself, putting aside any personal merit for these, declares she is merely the transmitter of what she had been given by those far greater than she. There is no theory so satisfactory as that advanced by herself to account for these writings, which have done so much to advance the thought of
the times and to influence the great discoveries of science during the last fifty years.
What will first strike the modern 20th century student of Theosophy is the large place given to Spiritualism in these early writings. But it is almost invariably Spiritualism with a qualification - Eastern Spiritualism, and the like, and with warnings, quite early in the volume, page 69, in the Boston Spiritualist Scientist regarding its abuse.
"Magic is but a science, a profound knowledge of the Occult forces in Nature, and of the laws governing the visible or the invisible world. Spiritualism in the hands of an adept, becomes Magic, for he is learned in the art of blending together the laws of the Universe without breaking any of them and thereby violating Nature. In the hands of an experienced medium, Spiritualism becomes unconscious sorcery, for by allowing himself to become the helpless tool of a variety of spirits, of whom he knows nothing save what the latter permit him to know, he opens unknown to himself, a door of communication between the two worlds, through which emerge the blind forces of Nature lurking in the astral light, as well as good and bad spirits."
Spiritualists may not like this dictum, but they can learn more about Spiritualism from this volume than from their own literature. It is sufficient to mention the investigations of Wallace, Crooks, Flammarion, Lodge and others of equal or nearly equal importance in science who have verified the experiments in psychic science on which most Spiritualists rely for their authority. But the explanations are a different matter, and this volume will help materially in giving students a direction in their enquiries.
An article like that on page 242, "Erroneous Ideas concerning the Teachings of the Theosophists", translated from La Revue Spirite, Paris, is invaluable testimony to the early authority which Blavatsky displayed in propounding Theosophy. In the volume will be found a number of valuable articles already reprinted in "A Modern Panarion," but little known to the present generation. These are indispensable to the student. Pages 27 to 74 contain a number of them.
Such articles as "Views of Theosophists" set forth the identity of the Pauline psychology with that of Theosophy or vice versa. The volume is well printed and contains 358 pages as against 500 in "A Modern Panarion". We note some typographical errors, the most serious on page 242 where quaternity appears as maternity. We cannot speak too highly of the enterprise and devotion that has produced this volume and we trust it will be widely supported, not only for itself but as the first of the fifteen or so projected volumes containing Madame Blavatsky's complete works.
- A. E. S. S.
" NATURAL THEOSOPHY."
"Natural Theosophy" was published in December, 1930 but has only just come to hand by the kindness of the author, Mr. Ernest Wood. It is the best book of its kind since Dr. Franz Hartmann's "Magic White and Black," a book which is written in a similar impersonal vein, intent upon principles and practical experience of life, and little concerned with phenomena and wonders such as the psychically and weaker minded run after.
This is a book which every student of real Theosophy will be glad to have in his library. It avoids the cliches and banality of so many of the modern exponents of Theosophy and can be put into the hands of any common sense person with the certainty of a welcome. It is almost impossible to convey to the apathetic how eagerly the world at large is longing for the understanding of life which Theosophy presents, and the reason why it is so seldom received is the method of its presentation.
The standard books have been associated in the public mind with all kinds of fakes
and misrepresentations with the consequence that the mere mention of Theosophy is enough to make many shy of the subject. But when it comes in an impersonal and attractive way it is like the proverbial well of water springing in the desert. Mr. Wood's book is of this order, and should be in every Lodge Library and in as many public libraries as members of the Society can afford to place it in. It is attractive as a piece of printing, with its Indian pictures and its good, clear type.
If space were sufficient one would like to quote largely, particularly the chapter on reincarnation, which gives the real reason and need of rebirth in a way that will most quickly convince the maturing mind. Nothing could be finer either than the way in which the subject of the Masters is treated. "The orthodox Guru is too external a thing, like the orthodox God."
The use of the word God is a concession to popular language, says Mr. Wood. "We must not think of a ruler or Master of the world. A source, yes, but that is the life which is also our life." Elsewhere Mr. Wood writes: "If the 'Third Logos' planned the worlds in which we live, we planned them. The Logos is not other than the collectivity of monads. So there is no Being working upon us externally, that is, through forms which be has made and we have not made." Then as to aspiration: "Every one of us would like to be everything at once, but we have to be content with the next best thing, which is love, the recognition in others of other parts of the all - embracing divine life, which has not been vouchsafed to us."
"There is much more genuine spiritual quality in the consideration for others, which gives rise to natural courtesy than to many of these much larger efforts." "What is our Master's authority? Does he not know more than we? The Master is a witness of the light, but it is the light that lighteth every man that cometh into the world. His form is only an illusion; it is not our goal but our life, which is also his life, is our goal."
There is an excellent chapter opening the Second Part - "The Meaning of Theosophy." The last chapter tempts one to quote it as a whole - "Are there Two Theosophies?" The difference between knowing God, or the divine, and knowing about God is insisted upon. "It is an easy step from the definition of theosophy as 'divine wisdom' to the wrong conception that theosophy is 'a body of truths' which are in the special custody of groups of people who place a vision of higher planes of nature. I am not, of course, decrying such knowledge, but am simply pointing out that is not what is meant by theosophy, but belongs to the same department of human activity as physics, chemistry, physiology and astronomy."
"The main point of theosophy is that we regard our power as fundamental, and therefore to us small things and particular things, are just as spiritual as big things. On one side of the vertical line there is the material, and on the other the divine. It is knowledge of this divine which is theosophy, and it is acting according to this divine which is the theosophic life in the world, and this may be achieved on any plane...... Therefore a human being having a very small and humble position in the world, who puts into that position the new efforts which are involved in thought and love, is generally far more advanced than other persons, who may be making a great success in the world."
So Mr. Wood concludes of those who "would go so far as to say exactly which truths are theosophy and which are not, they have missed the point ... .. The theosophic life stands for whatever promotes understanding love and freedom. It is not subject to the blinding effects of materialism."
The book is published by Ganesh & Co., Madras, India.
THE ATLANTIS QUARTERLY
The third issue of this interesting magazine has been out for some weeks and we regret not to have had an opportunity to read it earlier. "Was Atlantis the Birthplace of the Mysteries?" is the first important article. The question admits but of one answer to those to whom it would be much the same as asking Does Italian Opera owe its existence to Europe? Atlantis is the answer to so many problems that when our learned men once get the clue: they will talk of nothing else and be more dogmatic about it than they now are about America. An article which should attract much attention is the "Outline History of the Brothers of the Rose Cross." As always, it is stated that "membership in the Order of the Rose Cross is not founded upon any certificates, diplomas, ceremonies or secret signs, but that the members are a class of illuminated persons who have become conscious of their higher existence." There is also an article by Charles Richard Cammell, "The Magical Studies of Bulwer Lytton". It is stated that "he was himself a member of the Society of Rosicrucians and Grand Patron of the Order. As this was a secret Society, it is not surprising that among Bulwer's papers there should be no documents which throw any light on his connection with it, nor any mention of it in his correspondence." There exists a letter by Bulwer, written in 1870 to Hargrave Jennings, in which he says: There are reasons why I cannot enter into the subject of the 'Rosicrucian Brotherhood,' a society still existing, but not under any name by which it can be recognized by those without its pale. But you have, with much learning and acuteness, traced its connection with early and symbolical religions, and no better book upon such a theme has been written, or indeed could be written, unless a member of the Fraternity were to break the vow which binds him to secrecy. .....Some time ago a sect pretending to style itself 'Rosicrucians' and arrogating full knowledge of the mysteries of the craft, communicated with me, and in reply I sent them the cipher sign of the 'initiate' - not one of them could construe it." "Dragons of Fire" is a good article and there are stories and interesting notes. Address 14 Howard Place, Edinburgh, Scotland.
Correspondents will please note that the Editor has been instructed by the General Executive to limit letters of a controversial character to not more than 300 words, and to eliminate offensive language in such correspondence. Readers and writers are also requested to recognize that criticism of opinions is not to be confused with criticism of persons holding them.
Editor Canadian, Theosophist: - Since you said you had met and had a long talk once with Mrs. Adams Beck, I thought the enclosed clipping I just found among other clippings might interest you. She wrote much of Zen and other Buddhism but had never herself lived the life of the Zen monks as I had. Her experiences came from what she learned through others and not from actual personal experiences. I meditated with the monks, followed their rules and customs, etc., which made my life in the East considerably out of the usual. In India I lived also the life of the Hindus just as I did in Japan. Before I left the U.S. everyone said it would be impossible for me to do so - but I proved nothing is really impossible.
- M. M. Salanave. August 15, 1932.
RICE AND TEA IN A BUDDHIST TEMPLE
Editor The Chronicle - Sir: Mrs. L. Adams Beck's own story about herself appeared in the magazines about 1927-28. One can find them probably in the Public
Library. Previously no one, not even publishers had suspected the two names - Beck and Barrington - belonged to one person. Her home was in Victoria, B.C., but she had lived long in different Oriental lands. Returning to Japan from Ceylon in the summer of 1929, after an absence of seven years - already a Buddhist - she devoted herself to study of and writing about the Zen school.
At that time I myself was living in Kyoto at Daitokuji temple and later at Enpukuji, the very first foreigner ever to have studied in either of those famous ancient temples. She was deeply interested in my experiences, living as I was the austere life of the monks, rising at 3 a.m., eating their poor food, mostly rice, salt pickle, and tea. There were many real hardships that made it difficult for me, a woman, especially, and since many friends were writing to her about going there to study she took up the matter with some of the temples there about establishing a hospice especially for foreigners, where they could live and study philosophy or art and have some of the comforts to which they were accustomed in the West. Temple life in those ancient places is so unlike anything in this country that it is even hard to imagine. This was very near to her heart and plans had already been drawn, but now that she is dead it is problematical whether such a hospice will ever be established solely for foreigners or not. Some one else may take her work up.
Oakland, Feb. 3, 1931.
Editor Canadian Theosophist: Why am I against Dictatorship in any shape or form? Because it is absolutely against my religion. When I came to this country, I became 13 years old; under the Jewish Law, when a boy becomes 13 years old his parents are no longer responsible for his business, or money affairs, therefore he is recognized as a responsible man. So my father held for me a nice party and presented me with a gold watch. I got it, yet, I sure had a wonderful time that day, but it ended up so that I got hurt badly. But, if you think that I had a fight, far from it. After the party, all guests went home. Right after that my father called me out on the street, "now," he said, "Sonny, I want you to go up on the roof and as soon as you get up there I will give you the next order". So I walked up the ladder. "Now," he says, "jump down on the sidewalk". I started to plead and cry, but my dad talked and told me that ever since he ordered or dictated to me it was always for my benefit. So finally he said to me, "Sonny don't cry, you jump down and I will catch you, so you won't get hurt." So down I jumped, and what do you think my father did? Why, he jumped away too. Oi, Oi! that darned old sidewalk. I think it hurts me yet, but what a lesson I had I sure will never forget. I had to stay in bed all the next day. When my father picked me off the sidewalk he quieted me down with soothing words, and what do you think he was telling me? That from now on I must not trust even my own father, and that is a fact. How can anyone expect justice the world over under the present gold system. As a base for currency? It does not pay taxes; it is insane to tax this currency; you may just as well try to catch a greased pig, than tax this money. The only way to prosperity is not to wait for it.
It is just like time, it waits for no man, but we must go for it to catch it up and stick right to it on the way to progress and everlasting peace. A lot of people think that the cause for this depression is machinery. Of course there is a little bit of truth in that, but picture yourself in a wilderness, although among people like yourself, no tools of any kind; instead stones, bows and arrows. But just the same you would have a leader with a strong arm that can dictate and that is against my religion. Oh, no my friends you are welcome to it; progress and civilization
On the present system with gold as a base for currency, our civilization has no chance whatsoever to survive. In order to go forward we must have currency that can be taxed similar to real estate property, these two, money and property must work or be taxed evenly more or less. If not, our civilization will get stuck in a deep hole. Money that cannot be taxed is the kind we have now, that only serves a few; therefore it must be wiped off the face of the earth for the benefit of all. If not, dictatorship business will increase by leaps and bounds, and cause blood shed. The whip and the gun will rule. So let's get busy before it's too late.
122 Cathcart Street, Hamilton.
THE BIBLE OF HUMANITY
By Robert A. Hughes
If we would explore the origins of religion we must study the Vedas of the Hindus. It was H.P.B. that made the strong statement that the Rig-Veda is "the mother-fount and source of all subsequent religions". (Secret Doctrine, III, page 384). If this be true, then all religions: the, religions of the ancient Mediterranean World, of Egypt, Persia, Chaldea, and of Asia in general, must be off-shoots of the Vedic Philosophy that flourished during the Golden Age of India. The Vedas then would be the last symbolical teachings of that primeval Wisdom-Religion which in prehistoric times was the universal religion of mankind. So to deserve the title of the Bible of Humanity, they must contain the fundamental teachings of the Wisdom-Religion.
In those glorious days of old, the Aryan mind was more akin to nature than it is today. Dwelling in the primeval forests along the banks of the Indus, and the Ganges, they lived in an atmosphere of natural magic and co-existence with the Gods. In such surroundings the Rishis committed to writing the Vedic Hymns, which had been passed down to them by oral tradition through many generations of wise men. As Aryan India boasts of an antiquity far older than any civilization in the world, the Vedas as the oldest work of the Indo-Aryans must be of an immense antiquity. A fragment from the mighty teachings of that ancient Universal Dharma, they are the last inheritance of a day when one language and one religion was common to mankind. H.P.B. points out in her Theosophical Glossary that there is astronomical evidence to prove "that the Vedas must have been taught at least 25,000 years ago".
To claim a vast antiquity and an esoteric interpretation to the Vedic Hymns is to make oneself ridiculous in the eyes of the "learned," Western Orientalist. They who know little or nothing of the vast cycles that govern the race of man, have always tended to minimize the age of the sacred writings of the non-Christian peoples. No less a scholar than Professor Max Muller himself believed them to be the ff-spring of the imagination, or primitive fear of the elements, of the simpleminded Indo-Aryan bards during the great migration of the Aryan peoples into India. He considered the Rig-Veda to be nothing more "than poetical allegories of ordinary natural phenomena of every-day occurrence, such as dawn, sunrise, twilight, night, frost, etc.". Other Orientalists have considered them to be but prayers to the deified elements of nature. The Hindu, however, considers them to contain the true wisdom of the sages of old India, and to be the unfailing repository of the esoteric knowledge of nature.
To prove their great antiquity, one should consider the teachings contained within them. The Secret Doctrine says: "The Vedas countenance no idols; all the modern Hindu writings do". (II, page 763). In other words they breathe a spirit that is different from later idolatrous brahmanical writings; their origin
being in Indian prehistory, before the rise to power of the Brahmin. In favor of their esotericism, it is said that the Vedic gods are the "personifications of Powers divine and cosmic, primary and secondary, and historical personages of all the now- existing as well as of extinct religions are to be found in the seven chief Deities, and their 330,000,000 correlations of the Rig-Veda, and those seven, with the odd millions, are the Rays of the one boundless Unity". (S.D. III., page 229).
The bulk of Max Muller's translation of the Rig-Veda, is made up of the Hymns (or petitions) to the Maruts, or as he interprets them to mean - the Storm-Gods. Yet if we accept H.P.B. to be the great authority on Indian Philosophy which the great Orientalist, Thibaut considered her, and so knew the real inner meaning of the great systems, it is worth while to consider her opinion. She claims in the Glossary that the Maruts are something more than "Storm-Gods", and had a mystical meaning, "In the esoteric teachings as they (the Maruts) incarnate, in every round, they are simply identical with some of the Agnishwatta Pitris, the Human intelligent Egos. Hence the allegory of Siva transforming the lumps of flesh into boys, and calling them Maruts, to show senseless men transformed by becoming the Vehicles of the Pitris, or Fire Maruts, and thus rational beings". Thus the inference is that the Vedas deal with the age-old science of the true SELF of man.
In all Vedic philosophy I do not think there is anything more important than the conception of the Atman that it teaches. By the Atman they meant that within the deep recess of the self of every man resided a timeless, spaceless, changeless reality; the divine monad or Supreme Soul of all men. They also taught that by turning from the outside world of the senses to the study of the deepest secrets of our own natures, we would come to this God, and through the Atman reach Brahma.
The philosophical doctrine of the Atman is, I believe, the greatest inheritance, coming to us through the focus of the Vedas, of that primeval Wisdom-Religion. Critics may point out that the Vedas taught of many gods; but there is evidence to prove that multitude of gods to be but the various aspects of the One God. The following verse from the Rig-Veda (1.164.46) well illustrates this. "They call I, Indra, Mitra, Varuna, and Agni, or the heavenly bird Garutmant (the Sun). The sages call the One Being in many ways; they call it Agni, Yama, Matarievan".
The development of this central truth of Aryan Theosophy can be traced from early Vedic times. Considering the development of Aryan theosophical thought, there has been in its growth three stages; a beginning, a middle, and the end, or final perfection. The doctrine of the Atman in other words, had its apparent beginning in the Vedic Hymns; its Middle in those Vedic commentaries - the Upanishads; and its final development in the six great schools of Indian philosophy, especially that of the Yoga and Vedantic school.
The Rig-Veda speaks of man's immortal Self in these words: "That One breathed without breath, by inner power; than it, truly, nothing whatever else existed besides," (10.129.2). The Atharva Veda (10.8.44) speaks of those who have attained union with their own God, in these words: "Free from desire, true, eternal, self-begotten, full of joy, subject to none, he no longer fears death who knows the wise ageless Atman".
Indeed as Guignault characterized the Rig-Veda, it "is the most sublime conception of the great highways of humanity", and well deserves the title H.P.B. gave them - THE BIBLE OF HUMANITY. And if she is right and they are the last remnants of the Bible of a religion that was truly universal, then "The Vedas are, and will remain forever in the Esotericism of the Vedanta and the Upanishads, 'the mirror of the Eternal Wisdom'." (S.D. II, 508). Let us then, if we would see the
light, reflected from the inner mirror of wisdom - the Atman, repeat with the sage writer of the Rig-Veda: "Agni, lead us along the right path unto the sovereignty of the Self. Thou of deathless lustre knowest all the ways of progress. Kill out of us the forces of sin which would propel us along the winding ways of the world. So may we surrender ourselves unto thy guidance for evermore".
"THE EXPANDING UNIVERSE."
Sir Arthur Eddington's new volume, "The Expanding Universe," (Macmillans) presents the latest views of cosmology in harmony with the most recent theories of scientific men. It was only in 1917 that Professor W. de Sitter gave the first hint in the west of this view.
It had been noted that the spiral nebulae appeared to be receding farther and farther away from our solar system, and for fifteen years past observations have been directed towards this phenomenon. These nebulae are the most distant objects known, being from one million to 150 million light-years away. This is only the limit of scientific survey, and better means of observation will undoubtedly widen the area to be scanned.
These nebulae lie beyond the limits of the Milky Way, which is the system to which our sun belongs, and constitute other universes separated from ours by wide gulfs of empty space. They are usually found in spiral coils and it is believed that our Milky Way, if observed from outside, would present a similar appearance. In this little book, Sir Arthur has gathered together all that is known on these subjects and put it in readable form for the layman. He is careful to note what is accepted and what is still theory among the scientists.
The speeds of these nebulae in retiring from our range is inconceivable. One of a faint cluster in the constellation Gemini has a speed of 15,000 miles per second, and this is about the speed of an Alpha particle. We can perhaps imagine the speed of anything at 15 miles a second, but a thousand times faster staggers us. With such speeds and distances new standards of measurement have to be created, and so we have the megaparsec, which s 3.26 million light years, a light year being the distance light can travel in one year at the rate of l86,000 miles a second. This is also the speed of electricity.
The nebulae are receding so fast that by and by they will be out of reach of our present telescopes. Sir Arthur finds that an observer "will have to double the aperture of his telescope every 1300 million years merely to keep up with their recession." The nebulae are not really running away from us, any more than we are running away from them. Sir Arthur illustrates: "If this lecture room were to expand to twice its present size, the seats all separating from each other in proportion, you would notice that everyone had moved away from you ... Everyone is having the same experience." The movement, then, is a general scattering apart.
"The picture is the picture of an expanding universe. The super-system of the galaxies is dispersing as a puff of smoke disperses. Sometimes I wonder whether there may not be a greater scale of existence of things in which it is no more than a puff of smoke." He remarks also that while immutability was not looked for "we had certainly expected to find a permanence greater than earthly conditions.... This is a rude awakening from our dream of leisured evolution through billions of years." This is the English billion, not the American.
Then he remarks: "After Professor Weyl's famous extension of the relativity theory I became convinced that the scale of structure of atoms and electrons is determined by the same physical agent that was concerned in de Sitter's, prediction. So that hope of progress of a really fundamental kind in our understanding of electrons, protons and quanta is bound up
with this investigation of the motions of remote galaxies."
It is strange but nevertheless true, that this conclusion brings modern science into harmony with the oldest science of the East. The Hermetic Axioms declare: "As in the outer, so is the inner; as is the small, so is the great; there is but One Law, and He that worketh is One. Nothing is small and nothing is great in the Divine Economy."
In 1888 a statement was given to the public of the Secret Doctrine which anticipated all these recent conclusions of science. The Law of the Universe was represented as the result of what is called the Inbreathing and the Outbreathing of Brahma. We are in a period of Outbreathing, the expansion which has been noted by science. The period of this manifestation to be 311,040,000,000,000 years, when the Inbreathing takes place and everything in manifestation dissolves, as Prospero suggests and "leaves not a rack behind" until the next Outbreathing brings a new Dawn.
Basil Crump, a barrister of the Middle Temple, has dealt with these ideas fully in a little book on "Evolution", published by Luzac &, Co., London.
The force which governs these outer movements is known as Fohat, or cosmic electricity. Sir Arthur is in substantial agreement with this when be says of this theory of a cosmical constant, "not only does it unify the gravitational and electromagnetic fields, but it renders the theory of gravitation and its relation to space- time measurement so much more illuminating, and indeed self-evident, that return to the earlier view is unthinkable." - The Hamilton Herald, March 24.
NEGLECT NOT THE GIFT
It is taken for granted that members of the Theosophical Society are in the society because of certain needs, intellectual and spiritual, which no other religion or philosophy had satisfied. The multitudinous experiences of life wear on the physical man, changing and re-molding him in every - atom of his being. The time comes, finally, perhaps suddenly, when he stands shorn of everything previously held as truth. In his darkness and uncertainty, from some unexpected quarter and in some strange way, a gleam of light falls upon him. Ever after he follows the ancient quest, the quest for Truth.
Many have found rest for their souls within the gracious confines of the Theosophical Society. They have learned, understood and accepted its great twin principles: Karma and Reincarnation. By effort, conscious and directed, they have made progress on the way of knowledge. After a while they rested from their labour.
But is it enough to belong to the Theosophical Society, even to be an active and helpful member interested in the teaching of the philosophy? Is there not something more, a higher duty, to be shouldered by each member for his or her self?
Throughout the life of H.P. Blavatsky, one trait stands forth impressively: her absolute and untiring devotion to Theosophy and the Theosophical movement, even over and above the Theosophical Society. Her letters cannot be read without this fact being driven home again and again - an many of her letters have been written in the very blood of her heart - that it was Theosophy as it had been taught to her by her Masters, and the Theosophical Movement, which she had been sent to inaugurate - which lay at the core of her work.
Theosophy does present many fascinating aspects for the purely intellectual adventurer, he who is looking for strange, new fields in which to wander, with mental enlargement for himself as result. But, Theosophy is more than an intellectual stimulant, exercise or recreation. It is a serious, vital force, which taken into the life holds within itself power to change the entire entity - physically,
entally and spiritually. It demands sacrifice: the bringing of the gift to the altar, the immolation of self, and then the going away to serve one's fellows. Here the failures begin. Mental laziness enwraps most folk, that comfortable lethargy which turns the individual away from hard concentrated thinking. Even when the mental torpor has been shaken off, and contact made with the great, hidden truths, these are accepted too often in a more or less easy-going fashion, as something to be talked about even thoughtfully, and then laid aside like other affairs of the day.
What would be the result in the community if every Theosophist, honestly, simply, and whole-heartedly, sought as far as he was able according to the light given him, to put into practice the principles of the Ancient Wisdom Religion as enunciated by H.P. Blavatsky on behalf of the Masters? Yet, this was the ideal which led to the founding of the T.S., and it was the great hope to which she clung through so many disheartening years. What a tremendous stream of energy, of inspiration, of unselfishness, and of service would flow out, like an ever-widening river, from each society! Is the ideal impossible of achievement? "Neglect not the gift that is in thee....... Meditate upon these things." -E.J.R., Hamilton Theosophical Scroll.
From deep clay and from my bone,
From the structure of my brain,
Come the thoughts I once had known -
All desires that once had lain
Dead and finished, put aside
In the dust of some past grave;
And because they lived and died
They arise and wave on wave
Flood my being, and in pain
Make the utmost claim of me;
So I pay the price - remain
Nailed to an ancient tree.
Let my body be, until
All this fear from out the dust
Vanquished is, till heart and Will
Know that such return is just.
Then, in clay and in my bone,
In the structure of my brain,
Where the light of Love has grown
Let me incarnate again.
- H. L. Huxtable.
THE AKRON DISASTER
The, morning of April the fourth was very unfortunate for aviation. Uranus, the ruler of air travel, was afflicted by the Moon during the early hours of the fourth. A chart cast for the time of the disaster to the Akron shows the Moon in its own sign - Cancer, and Uranus in Aries. This aspect, of the Moon to Uranus well shows a sudden accident over water. Mars, in conjunction with Neptune in the Eighth house (the House of Death) well indicates the violent death by water suffered by the crew of the Akron. Considering the inauspicious grouping of the planets no astrologer would have advised this unfortunate trip - that is to say, if the advice of a competent astrologer had been asked! - R. A. H.
THE THREE TRUTHS
The soul of man is immortal, and its future is the future of a thing whose growth and splendour have no limit.
The principle which gives life dwells in us, and without us, is undying and eternally beneficent, is not heard or seen, or smelt, but is perceived by the man who desires perception.
Each man is his own absolute lawgiver, the dispenser of glory or gloom to himself; the decreer of his life, his reward, his punishment.
These truths, which are as great as is life itself, are as simple as the simplest mind of man. Feed the hungry with them. - Idyll of the White Lotus.
J. M. PRYSE'S BOOKS
may be had, including: The Magical Message of Oannes; The Apocalypse Unsealed; Prometheus Bound; Adorers of Dionysus; from John Pryse,
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BOOKS BY CHARLES JOHNSTON
Bhagavad Gita ...........................cloth $1.25 leather $1.75
Crest Jewel of Wisdom ..................... cloth $1.25
Great Upanishads, vol. I ..................... cloth $1.50
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THEOSOPHY UP TO DATE!
EVOLUTION: As Outlined in The Archaic Eastern Records
Compiled and Annotated by Basil Crump.
S. Morgan Powell says in Montreal Star: "It is a great pity that there are not available more books such as this one by the Oriental scholar, Basil Crump.... Man is shown to be (and scientifically, not merely through philosophical dissertation) the highly complex product of thee streams of evolution - spiritual, mental and physical."
BUDDHISM: The Science of Life.
By Alice Leighton Cleather and Basil Crump.
This book shows that the Esoteric philosophy of H. P. Blavatsky is identical with the Esoteric Mahayana Buddhism of China, Tapan and Tibet.
THE VOICE OF THE SILENCE.
Translated and Annotated by H. P. Blavatsky.
A faithful reprint of the original edition with an autograph foreword by H.S.H. The Tashi Lama of Tibet.
THE BLAVATSKY PAMPHLETS.
There are ten of these already published and they deal with various aspects of The Secret Doctrine, several of them being reprints of articles by H. P. Blavatsky.
The above may be had from The H.P.B. Library, 348 Foul Bay Road, Victoria, B.C., or The O. E. Library, 1207 Q Street N.W., Washington, D.C., or from The Blavatsky Association, 26 Bedford Gardens, Campden Hill, London, W. 8, England.
A PRESENT FROM THE EDITOR
This is the kind way in which Dr. K.S. Launfal Guthrie, 1177 Warburton Avenue, Yonkers, N.Y., voices his free offer of a copy of any one of his books mentioned below, on sending him the portion of the envelope covering the Magazine with its title, The Canadian Theosophist, etc. The books Dr. Guthrie suggest are most desirable for students. They are:
Apollonius of Tyana
Philosophy of Plotinus
Ten cents in stamps should be enclosed to cover postage.
Books by Wm. Kingsland
The Mystic Quest.
The Esoteric Basis of Christianity.
The Physics of the Secret Doctrine.
Our Infinite Life.
An Anthology of Mysticism.
The Real H. P. Blavatsky.
Christos: The Religion of the Future.
May be had from John M. Watkins, , 21 Cecil Court, Charing Cross Road, London, W. C. 2, England.
"The Secret of the GOLDEN FLOWER"
or the Chinese BOOK of LIFE:
- showing a METHOD of ATTAINING FREEDOM through MEDITATION and PHYSICAL DISCIPLINE; a NEW EXPOSITION of THE TAO.
English translation by C.F. Baynes, with eleven half-tone plates, four illustrations in the text and two diagrams.
Demy, 8vo., pp. ix., 151. postpaid $3.50
by Mrs. D. Fortune.
being PRACTICAL INSTRUCTIONS for detecting Psychic Attacks and Defense against them.
New edition, 218 pages, postpaid $1.00
Other books supplied on request.
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