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VOL. XVI, No. 1 HAMILTON, MARCH 15th, 1935 Price 10 Cents
MEMORABILIA OF H. P. BLAVATSKY
By James Morgan Pryse
When the editor of the Canadian Theosophist asked me, several years ago, to write my memoirs of H.P.B., I declined to do so, explaining that an account of my personal experiences with H.P.B. would necessarily be a tale of two worlds. Since then other friends have kept urging me to write the memoirs, and, finally I have reluctantly consented to write them.
As a personality "the Old Lady", as we affectionately called her, was like a mother to me; but if my reminiscences were to be confined to that personality, dealing only with happenings and doings in the physical world, they would be of little interest and would convey an utterly false impression of the real H.P.B. with whom I was acquainted. So I must tell this tale of two worlds, however strange and incredible it may seem to many, if not most theoretical Theosophists. It is a true narrative, but those who are unable to accept it as such are at perfect liberty to regard it as a romance or a fairy tale, and let it go at that. Whether they believe it or not is no concern of mine. But there are some Theosophists, who have passed beyond the stage of theoretical study, and my story is especially for them.
In narrating my experiences with H.P.B. it is of course necessary to include myself in the narrative, when I would greatly prefer to say nothing whatever about myself. That is one of the reasons why I have hitherto refused to write any memoirs.
During the most impressionable years of childhood I lived in a Welsh community in Minnesota, among a people who believed in fairies, saw ghosts occasionally and had other psychic experiences, of which they spoke freely. Being of the same race myself, I had similar experiences. Few Theosophists realize how inseparably the psychic and they physical worlds are conjoined. hen a child it was sometimes difficult for me to distinguish the one from the other.
In those days, while yet but a small boy, I first came into mental contact, vaguely, with H.P.B. n my father's library there was an old "Dictionary of Biography", Goodrich's, if I remember correctly. It gave brief biographical sketches, of ancient worthies and unworthies, and was illustrated with many small woodcut portraits. There was one of Paracelsus, the great Swiss Occultist, and it fascinated me so that I gazed at it, long ands often. The text characterized him as a charlatan or impostor; but as I read it I knew that it was false, and that he was one of the best men that ever lived. This was not merely a psychometric impression such as I received from some of the other portraits in the book: it was a haunting sense of
familiarity, a conviction that I had known him when he was on earth and would meet him again, incarnated. Years afterward, while doing newspaper work in Nebraska, I ready a brief despatch from New York, stating that Mdme Blavatsky and Col. Olcott had started a society for the study of Oriental literature. Again came that haunting sense of familiarity, and I wanted to write to than Mdme. Blavatsky (whose name I then read far the first time); but the despatch gave no address. Later, in Philadelphia, I meet Mrs. Verplanck, ("Jasper Niemand"), who was closely associated with Mr. Judge in making the Path an intensely interesting and instructive magazine. She told me of the T.S. and set me to studying Isis, Esoteric Buddhism and the other Theosophical literature then obtainable. For years I cor-responded constantly with her, and occasionally with Mr. Judge, with whom I came to be well acquainted "in the astral," after I had settled in Los Angeles, in 1886.
In those days many Theosophists were ambitious to become "chelas" or "lay chelas" by getting into communication with the Masters, whom H.P.B. represented. Having no doubt that the Masters were being pestered by so many applicants, I refrained from any attempt to reach H.P.B. or her Master, or to attract her attention to my unimportant self. But my mind kept dwelling on Paracelsus, with a distinct impression that he was again incarnated; so I resolved to find him, if possible, and in my daily meditation concentrated my mind on him. One evening while I was thus meditating the face of H.P.B. flashed before me. I recognized it from her portrait in Isis, though it appeared much older. Thinking that the astral picture, as I took it to be, was due to some vagary of fancy, I tried to exclude it; but at that the face showed a look of impatience, and instantly I was drawn out of my body and immediately was standing "in the astral" beside H.P.B. in London. It was along toward morning there, but she was still seated at her writing desk. While she was speaking to me, very kindly, I could not help thinking how odd it was that an apparently fleshy old lady should be an Adept. I tried to put that impolite thought out of my mind, but she read it, and as if in answer to it her physical body became translucent, revealing a marvelous inner body that looked as if it were formed of molten gold. Then suddenly the Master M. appeared before us, in his mayavi-rupa. To him I made profound obeisance, for he seemed to me more like a God than a man. Somehow I knew who he was, though this was the first time I had seen him. He spoke to me graciously and said, "I shall have work for you in six months." He walked to the further side of the room, waved his hand in farewell and departed. Then H.P.B. dismissed me with the parting words, "God bless you," and, directly I saw the waves of the Atlantic beneath me; I floated down and dipped my feet in their crests. Then with a rush I crossed the continent till I saw the lights of Los Angeles and returned to my body, seated in the chair where I had left it. Thus by looking for Paracelsus, while resolved not to intrude on H.P.B., and the Master M., I found them all. For H.P.B. simply was Paracelsus, and in my ignorance of that fact I had blundered, happily stumbling upon a triumphant outcome vastly beyond anything I had expected.
Six months afterward the Master's promise was made good. My brother John and I, returning from a trip to South America, landed in New York City. We found Mr. Judge perplexed by a difficult problem: H.P.B. had directed him to send her Instructions to all the American members of the E.S., but had sent him only one copy, and he had no facilities for making the many copies needed. We solved that problem for him by establishing the Aryan Press and printing the Instructions in book-form. Then, in response to a cable from H.P.B., I went to London to do the same work there, and started the H.P.B. Press. When I met H. P. B.
we did not need to "become acquainted." It was as if we had known each other always. She invited Dr. Keightley and myself to eat Christmas dinner with her; and after dinner we played whist, H.P.B. taking the dummy. But these unimportant events in the outer world are not memorabilia.
At lunch one day Mrs. Besant became a bit angry because same stationery had been delivered at a side door instead of at the back door, for which she blamed Mr. Mead. I explained that I had ordered the stationery for Mr. Mead and therefore was to blame for its being delivered at the wrong door; I had not known that it made any difference. Mrs. Besant immediately became pleasant again, and all was serene. But that afternoon it passed through my mind that as a successor to H.P.B. Mrs. Besant was too immature to be entrusted with the guidance of the T.S. The thought was not tinged with the slightest ill-will, and I dismissed it quickly, without dwelling upon it. When I awoke next morning and sat up preparatory to jumping out of bed I saw a written page in the air in front of me. I recognized H.P.B.'s writing and guessed that she meant to reprove me for doubting Mrs. Besant's fitness to become her successor; so I refused to read the writing. At that she sent a powerful electric current up my spine to compel me to read the writing. Then, as I obstinately refused to read it, she spoke to me audibly, saying that I was wrong in my estimate of Mrs. Besant, who was her "personal pupil" and would do great things for the Society. I held to my original opinion, but said nothing. Immediately after dressing I went to Mr. Mead's office, and right afterward H.P.B. came in from an adjoining room. After greeting us, she said to me, "Well, Pryse, have you seen any more visions lately?" My scalp was still sore from the current she had sent up my spine, but I ignored her covert reference to than morning's little tilt between us and said, "O yes, as usual." She then asked me why I had not been in the drawing-room for several evenings past, but when I started to explain that I had been doing night work on the Instructions, she threw out her arms and gazed fixedly into space. Her face took on a look of horror and she uttered a half-suppressed scream and cried, "No! no!" She was seeing a vision, and standing beside her I saw it too, not visually, but as a series, of vivid mental pictures. That vision foreshowed the fate of the T.S. after her death: the dismemberment of the Society, the deplorable doings of its misguided members, and the fakery, falsification and folly of the various factions. When the vision ended she let her arms fall and looked at me to see if I had shared it. My gaze met hers and she knew from the look on my face that I also had seen the harrowing vision. Without a word she turned and with bowed head tottered back to her room. I take it that until them she had not been permitted to foresee the future of the T.S.; but when she tried to impose on me an optimistic view of it the actual future was revealed to her, and incidentally to me. Who showed her the vision I do not know.
One evening at the dinner-table gloom was cast aver the Headquarters' staff by the announcement that H.P.B. was so ill that the doctor did not expect her to live till morning. Pondering sadly on this when I had retired to my room, I decided to try a certain experiment. In years past I had made hundreds of mesmeric experiments, with different subjects, sometimes using my prana as a healing force. As H.P.B. was dying for lack of this vital force, while I, a young man, had plenty of it, I determined to transfer, by a mesmeric process, half my prana to H.P.B. It is analogous psychically to the transfusion of blood physically. As soon as I began concentrating to make the transfer H.P.B. called to me, psychically but audibly, "Don't do it; it's black magic." Undeterred, I called back to her, "Very well, Old Lady, black magic are not, I'm going to do it anyway" - and I did. Next
morning I felt decidedly feeble; but that was a matter of no lasting consequence, as it took but a few days to renew my strength. At the breakfast table we had good news; H.P.B. was recovering, having made a sudden remarkable improvement which nonplused the doctor. I relate this incident only because it led to a very significant one several years later.
H.P.B. passed away suddenly, seated in a chair. As I helped carry the body over to a lounge I had a distinct impression that she had, not "died", but had deserted the body instantly for a set purpose. She had told Claude Wright that she did not want to come back as a baby, and so the chelas were looking for a body which she could appropriate, at the moment it was vacated, by the soul, though still organically in good condition. Several years afterward, however, Mrs. Besant and Mr. Judge gave out a statement that H.P.B. had reincarnated. One day Mrs. Besant said to me, "James, since H.P.B. has reincarnated, wouldn't it be a good plan for you to meditate and try to find her?" I said that I was willing to try. She suggested that I should meditate in H.P.B.'s room evenings; and as the room was kept locked the gave me the key. The first evening I meditated there, seated on the lounge, I saw nothing but irrelevant pictures in the astral light, and it was the same the second evening. When I meditated the third evening I had the unusual experience of seeing nothing whatever, though I concentrated on H.P.B., for about two hours. Convinced that she had not reincarnated, I got up and started to leave the room. The lounge on which I had been seated was on the side of the room opposite the door. It was midnight and the room was totally dark. But when I had walked about halfway to the door the room was suddenly lighted up, and I saw a young man standing about three feet from me. He was of medium height, strongly built, and his face was attractive and forceful. I took him to be a university student. Surprised at his sudden appearance, for apparently he was a man in the flesh, and wondering how he had entered the room noiselessly while the door was securely locked, I for the moment overlooked the phenomenal lighting up of the room. I was about to speak to him, but just then a brilliant aura flashed around him, and a series of pictures appeared in it revealing that he was H.P.B. He was in the mayavi-rupa, which faithfully reproduced his outer form. He said not a word, but suddenly vanished, and I stood alone in the darkness. I kept the matter secret, as he evidently expected me to do so.
At one time during the well-known "Judge row," which justified my secrecy, I was completely worn out with overwork and the strain of those dreadful days. I would crawl into bed late at night, sleep like a log, and awake in the morning unrefreshed and utterly weary. One night as I was retiring I thought, "A week or two more of this will be the end of me." I awoke in the morning feeling half dead and uncertain whether I had strength to get up. It was broad daylight and the sun was shining through the windows. Then I saw the young man whom I had seen in H.P.B.'s room. Standing at the foot of my bed, he stretched out his arms above my feet. A powerful electric current, shock after shock, went all through my body for several minutes. Then he drew back his arms and vanished. I sprang out of bed with all my strength and energy renewed. Thus H.P.B. repaid my loan of prana. With the assistance of Mrs. Lloyd, a good amateur artist and quite clairvoyant, I obtained an excellent oil portrait of the re-embodied H.P.B., but I gave his face the Rajput coloring, to match that of his Guru, the Master M. This is the portrait which Mr. Judge said was that of his "Higher Self" (his imaginary Hindu double). With my permission Mr. Judge had a copy of it made, which he ands his followers exploited as that of "the Rajah". Of the real man, H.P.B. re-embodied, known to me in this life as the "Old Lady" and long ago as Para-
celsus, whom I followed and still follow, I shall for the present say no more. My tale of two worlds is finished.
INTRODUCTION TO THE PHILOSOPHY AND WRITINGS OF PLATO
By Thomas Taylor
"Philosophy," says Hierocles, "is the purification and perfection of human life. It is the purification, indeed, from material irrationality, and the mortal body; but the perfection, in consequence of being the resumption of our proper felicity, and a reascent to the divine likeness. To effect these two is the province of Virtue and Truth; the former exterminating the immoderation of the passions; and the latter introducing the divine form to those who are naturally adapted to its reception."
Of philosophy thus defined, which may be compared to a luminous pyramid, terminating in Deity, and having for its basis the rational soul of man and its spontaneous unperverted conceptions, - of this philosophy, August, magnificent, and divine, Plato may be justly called the primary leader and hierophant, through whom, like the mystic light in the inmost recesses of same sacred temple, it first shone forth with occult and venerable splendour. * It may indeed be truly said of the whole of this philosophy, that it is the greatest good which man can participate: for if it purifies us from the defilements of the passions and assimilates us to Divinity, it confers on us the proper felicity of our nature. Hence it is easy to collect its pre-eminence to all other philosophies; to show that where they oppose it, they are erroneous; that so far as they contain any thing scientific they are allied to it; and that at best they are but rivulets derived from this vast ocean of truth.
* In the mysteries a light of this kind shone forth from the adytum of the temple in which they were exhibited.
To evince that the philosophy of Plato possesses this preeminence; that its dignity and sublimity are unrivaled; that it is the parent of all that ennobles man; and, that it is founded on principles, which neither time can obliterate, nor sophistry subvert, is the principal design of this Introduction.
To effect this design, I shall in the first place present the reader with the outlines of the principal dogmas of Plato's philosophy. The undertaking is indeed no less novel than arduous, since the author of it has to tread in paths which have been untrodden for upwards of a thousand years, and to bring to light truths which for that extended period have been concealed in Greek. Let not the reader, therefore, be surprised at the solitariness of the paths through which I shall attempt to conduct him, or at the novelty of the objects which will present themselves in the journey: for perhaps he may fortunately recollect that he has traveled the same road before, that the scenes were once familiar to him, and that the country through which he is passing is his native land. At, least, if his sight should be dim, and his memory oblivious, (for the objects which he will meet with can only be seen by the most piercing eyes,) and his absence from them has been lamentably long, let him implore the power of wisdom,
From mortal mists to purify his eyes,
That God and man he may distinctly see.
Let us also, imploring the assistance of the same illuminating power, begin the solitary journey.
Of all the dogmas of Plato, that concerning the first principle of things as far transcends in sublimity the doctrine of other philosophers of a different sect, on this subject, as this supreme cause of all transcends other causes. For, according to Plato, the highest God, whom in the Republic he calls the good, and in the Parmenides the one, is not only above soul and intellect, but is even superior to being itself. Hence, since every thing which can in any respect be known, or of which any thing can be asserted, must be connected with the universality of things, but the first cause is above all things, it is very properly said by Plato to be perfectly in-
effable. The first hypothesis therefore of his, Parmenides, in which all things are denied of this immense principle, concludes as follows: "The one therefore is in no respect. So it seems. Hence it is not in such a manner as to be one, for thus it would be being, and participate of essence; but as it appears, the one neither is one, nor is, if it be proper to believe in reasoning of this kind. It appears so. But can any thing either belong to, or be affirmed of that, which is not? How can it? Neither therefore does any name belong to it, nor discourse, nor any science, nor sense, nor opinion. It does not appear that there can. Hence it can neither be named, nor spoken of, nor conceived by opinion, nor be known, nor perceived by any being. So it seems." And here it must be observed that this conclusion respecting the highest principle of things, that he is perfectly ineffable and inconceivable, is the result of a most scientific series of negations, in which not only all sensible and intellectual beings are denied of him, but even natures the most transcendently allied to him, his first and most divine progeny. For that which so eminently distinguishes the philosophy of Plato from others is this, that every part of it is stamped with the character of science. The vulgar indeed proclaim the Deity to be ineffable; but as they have no scientific knowledge that he is so, this is nothing more than a confused and indistinct perception of the most sublime of all truths, like that of a thing seen between sleeping and waking, like Phaeacia to Ulysses when sailing to his native land,
That lay before him indistinct and vast,
Like a broad shield amid the watr'y waste.
In short, an unscientific perception of the ineffable nature of the Divinity resembles that of a man, who on surveying the heavens, should assert of the altitude of its highest part, that it surpasses that of the loftiest tree, and is therefore immeasurable. But to see this scientifically, is like a survey of this highest part of the heavens by the astronomer; for he by knowing the height of the media between us and it, knows also scientifically that it transcends in altitude not only the loftiest tree; but the summits of air and aether, the moon, and even the sun itself.
Let us therefore investigate what is the ascent to the ineffably, and after what manner it is accomplished, according to Plato, from the last of things, following the profound and most inquisitive Damascius as our leader in this arduous investigation. Let our discourse also be common to other principles, and to things proceeding from them to that which is last, and let us, beginning from that which is perfectly effable and known to sense, ascend too the ineffable, and establish in silence, as in a port, the parturitions of truth concerning it. Let us then assume the following axiom, in which as in a secure vehicle we may safely pass from hence thither. I say, therefore, that the unindigent is naturally prior to the indigent. For that which is in want of another is naturally adapted from necessity to be subservient to that of which it is indigent. But if they are mutually in want of each other, each being indigent of the other in a different respect, neither of them will be the principle. For the unindigent is most adapted to that which is truly the principle. And if it is in want of any thing, according to this it will not be the principle. It is however necessary that the principles should be this very thing, the principle alone. The unindigent therefore pertains to this, nor must it by any means be acknowledged that there is any thing prior to it. This however, would be acknowledged if it had any connection with the indigent.
Let us then consider body, (that is, a triply extended substance,) endued with quality; for this is the first thing effable by us, and is, sensible. Is this then the principle of things? But it is two things, body, and quality which is in body as a subject. Which of these therefore is by nature prior? For both are indigent of their-proper parts; and that also which is in a subject is indigent of the subject.
Shall we say then that body itself is the principle of the first essence? But this is impossible. For, in the first place, the principle will not receive any thing from that which is posterior to itself. But body, we say is the recipient of quality. Hence quality, and a subsistence in conjunction with it, are not derived from body, since quality is present with body as something different. And, in the second place, body is every way, divisible; its several parts are indigent of each other, and the whole is indigent of all the parts. As it is indigent, therefore, and receives its completion from things which are indigent, it will not be entirely unindigent.
Further still, if it is not one but united, it will require, as Plato says, the connecting one. It is likewise something common and formless, being as it were a certain matter. It requires, therefore, ornament and the possession of form, that it may not be merely body, but a body with a certain particular quality; as for instance, a fiery, or earthly, body, and, in short, body adorned and invested with a particular quality. Hence the things which accede to it, finish and adorn it. Is then that which accedes the principle? But this is impossible. For it does not abide in itself, nor does it subsist alone, but is in a subject of which also it is indigent. If, however, some one should assert that body is not a subject, but one of the elements in each, as for instance, animal in horses and man, thus also each will be indigent of the other, viz. this subject, and that which is in the subject; or rather the common element, animal, and the peculiarities, as the rational and irrational, will be indigent. For elements are always, indigent of each other, and that which is composed from elements is indigent of the elements. In short, this sensible nature, and which is so manifest to us, is neither body, for this does not of itself move the senses, nor quality; for this does not possess an interval commensurate with sense. Hence, that which is the abject of sight, is neither body nor color; but colored body, or color corporalized, is that which is motive of the sight. And universally, that which its sensible, which is body with a particular quality, is motive of sense. From hence it is evident that the thing which excites the sense is something incorporeal. For if it was body, it would not yet be the object of sense. Body therefore requires that which is incorporeal, and that which is incorporeal, body. For an incorporeal nature, is not of itself sensible. It is, however, different from body, because these two possess prerogatives different from each other, and neither of these subsists prior to the other; but being elements of one sensible thing, they are present with each other; the one imparting interval to that which is void of interval, but the other introducing to that which is formless, sensible variety invested with form. In the third place, neither are both these together the principles; since they are not unindigent. For they stand in need of their proper elements, and of that which conducts them to the generation of one form. For body cannot effect this, since it is of itself impotent; nor quality, since it is not able to subsist separate from the body in which it is, or together with which it has its being. The composite therefore either produces itself, which is impossible, for it does not converge to itself, but the whole of it is multifariously dispersed, or it is not produced by itself, and there is some other principle prior to it.
Let it then be supposed to be that which is called nature, being a principle of motion and rest, in that which is moved and at rest, essentially and not according to accident. For this is something more simple, and is fabricative of composite forms. If, however, it is in the things fabricated, and does not subsist separate from nor prior to them, but stands in need of them for its being, it will not be unindigent; though its possesses something transcendent with respect to them, viz. the power of fashioning and fabricating them. For it has its being together with them, and has in them an inseparable subsistence; so
that, when they are it is, and is not when they are not, and this in consequence of perfectly verging to them, and not being able to sustain that which is appropriate. For the power of increasing, nourishing, and generating similars, and the one prior to these three, viz. nature, is not wholly incorporeal, but is nearly a certain quality of body, from which it alone differs, in that it imparts to the composite to be inwardly moved and at rest. For the quality of that which is sensible imparts that which is apparent in matter, and that which falls on sense. But body imparts interval every way extended; and nature, an inwardly proceeding natural energy, whether according to place only, or according to nourishing, increasing, and generating things similar. Nature, however, is inseparable from a subject, and is indigent, so that it will not be in short the principle, since it is indigent of that which is subordinate. For it will not be wonderful, if being a certain principle, it is indigent of the principle above it; but it would be wonderful if it were indigent of things posterior to itself, and of which it is supposed to be the principle.
By the like arguments we may show that the principle cannot be irrational soul, whether sensitive, or orectic. For if it appears that it has something separate, together with impulsive and Gnostic enemies, yet at the same time it is bound in body, and has something inseparable from it; since it is notable to convert itself to itself, but its enemy is mingled with its subject. For it is evident that its essence is something of this kind; since if it were liberated and in itself free, it would also evince a certain independent enemy, and would not always be converted to body; but sometimes it would be converted to itself; or though it were always converted to body, yet it would judge and explore itself. The energies, therefore, of the multitude of mankind, (though they are conversant with externals, yet, at the same time they exhibit that which is separate about them. For they consult how they should engage in them, and observe that deliberation is necessary, in order to effect or be passive to apparent good, or to decline something of the contrary. But the impulses of other animals are uniform and spontaneous, are moved together with the sensible organs, and require the senses alone that they may obtain from sensibles the pleasurable, and avoid the painful. If, therefore, the body communicates in pleasure and pain, and is affected in a certain respect by them, it is evident that the psychical energies, (i.e. energies belonging to the soul) are exerted, mingled with bodies, and are not purely psychical, but are also corporeal; for perception is of the animated body, or of the soul corporalized, though in such perception the psychical idiom predominates over the corporeal; just as in bodies, the corporeal idiom has dominion according to interval and subsistence. As the irrational soul, therefore, has its being in something different from itself, so far it is indigent of the subordinate: but a thing of this kind will not be the principle.
Prior them to this essence, we see a certain form separate from a subject, and converted to itself, such as is the rational nature. Our soul, therefore, presides over its proper energies and corrects itself. This, however, would not be the case, unless it was converted to itself; and it would not be converted, to itself unless it had a separate essence. It is not therefore indigent of the subordinate. Shall we then say that it is the most perfect principle? But, it does not at once exert all its energies, but is always indigent of the greater part. The principle, however, wishes to have nothing indigent: but the rational nature is an essence in want of its own energies. Some one, however, may say that it is an eternal essence, and has never-failing essential energies, always concurring with its essence, according to the self-moved and ever vital, and that it is therefore unindigent; but the principle is perfectly unindigent. Soul therefore, and which exerts mutable energies, will not be the most
proper principle. Hence it is necessary that there should be something prior to this, which is in every respect immutable, according to nature, life, and knowledge, and according to all powers and enemies, such as we assert an eternal and immutable essence to be, and such as is much honoured intellect, to which Aristotle having ascended, thought he had discovered the first principle. For what can be wanting to that which perfectly comprehends in itself its own plenitudes (oleromata), and of which neither addition nor ablation changes any thing belonging to it? Or is not this also, one and many, whole and parts, containing in itself, things first, middle, and last? The subordinate plenitudes also stand in need of the more excellent, and the more excellent of the subordinate, and the whole of the parts. For the things related are indigent of each other, and what are first of what are last, through the same cause; for it is not of itself that which is first. Besides, the one here is indigent of the many, because it has its subsistence in the many. Or it may be said, that this one is collective of the many, and this not by itself, but in conjunction with them. Hence there is much of the indigent in this principle. For since intellect generates in itself its proper plenitudes from which the whole at once receives its completion, it will be itself indigent of itself, not only that which is generated of that which generates, but also that which generates, of that which is generated, in order to the whole completion of that which wholly generates itself. Further still, intellect understands and is understood, is intellective of and intelligible to itself, and both these. Hence the intellectual is indigent of the intelligible, as of its proper object of desire; and the intelligible is in want of the intellectual, because it wishes to be the intelligible of it. Both also are indigent of either, since the possession is always accompanied with indigence, in the same manner as the world is always present with matter. Hence a certain indigence is naturally coessentiallized with intellect, so that it cannot be the most proper principle. Shall we, therefore, in the next place, direct our attention to the most simple of beings, which Plato calls the one being, en on? For as there is no separation there throughout the Whole, nor any multitude, or order, or duplicity, or conversion to itself, what indigence will there appear to me, in the perfectly united? And especially what indigence will there be of that which is subordinate? Hence the great Parmenides ascended to this most safe principle, as that which is most unindigent. Is it not, however, here necessary to attend to the conception of Plato, that the united is not the one itself, but that which is passive * to it? And this being the case, it is evident that it ranks after the one; for it is supposed to be the united and not the one itself. If also being is composed from the elements bound and infinity, as appears from the Philebus of Plato, where he calls it that which is mixt, it will be indigent of its elements. Besides, if the conception of being is different from that of being united, and that which is a whole is both united and being, these will be indigent of each other, and the whole which is called one being is indigent of the two. And though the one in this is better than being, yet this is indigent of being, in order to the subsistence of one being. But if being here supervenes the one, as it were, form in that which is mixt and united, just as the idiom of man in that which is collectively rational-mortal-animal, thus also the one will be indigent of being. If, however, to speak more properly, the one is two-fold; this being the cause of the mixture, and subsisting prior to being, but that conferring rectitude, on being, - if this be the case, neither will the indigent perfectly desert this nature. After all these, it may be said that the one will be perfectly unindigent. For neither is it indigent of that which is posterior to itself for its subsistence, since the truly one is by itself separated from all things; nor is
* See the Sophista of Plato, where this is asserted.
it indigent of that which is inferior or more excellent in itself; for there is nothing in it besides itself; nor is it in want of itself. But it is one, because neither has it any duplicity with respect to itself. For not even the relation of itself to itself must be asserted of the truly one; since it is perfectly simple. This, therefore, is the most unindigent of all things. Hence this is the principle and the cause of all; and this is at once the first of all things. If these qualities, however, are present with it, it will not be the one. Or may we not say that all things subsist in the one according to the one? And that both these subsist in it, and such other things as we predicate of it, as, for instance, the most simple, the most excellent, the most powerful, the preserver of all things, and the good itself? If these things, however, are thus true of the one, it will thus also be indigent of things posterior to itself, according to those very things which we add to it. For the principle is, and is said to be the principle of things proceeding from it, and the cause is the cause of things caused, and the first is the first of things arranged, posterior to it. * [* For a thing cannot be said to be a principle or cause without the subsistence of the things of which it is the principle or cause. Hence, so far as it is a principle or cause, it will be indigent of the subsistence of these.] Further still, the simple subsists according to a transcendency of other things, the most powerful according to power with relation to the subjects of it; and the good, the desirable, and the preserving, are so called with reference to things benefitted, preserved, and desiring. And if it should be said to be all things according to the preassumption of all things in itself, it will indeed be said to be so according to the one alone, and will at the same time be the one cause of all things prior to all, and will be thus, and no other according to the one. So far, therefore, as it is the one alone, it will be unindigent; but so far as unindigent, it will be the first principle, and stable roan of all principles. So far, however, as it is the principle and the first cause of all things, and is pre-established as the object of desire to all things, so far it appears to be in a certain respect indigent of the things to which it is related. It has therefore, if it be lawful so to speak, an ultimate vestige of indigence, just as on the contrary matter has an ultimate echo of the unindigent, or a most obscure and debile impression of the one. And language indeed appears to be here subverted. For so far as it is the one, it is also unindigent, since the principle has appeared to subsist according to the most unindigent and the one. At the same time, however, so far as it is the one, it is also the principle; and so far as it is the one it is unindigent, but so far as the principle, indigent. Hence so far as it is unindigent, it is also indigent, though not according to the same; but with respect to being that which it is, it is undigent; but as producing and comprehending other things in itself, it is indigent. This, however, is the peculiarity of the one; so that it is both unindigent and indigent according to the one. Not indeed than it is each of these, in such a manner as we divide it in speaking of it, but it is one alone; and according to this is both other things, and that which is indigent. For how is it possible, it should not be indigent also so far as it is the one? Just as it is all other things which proceed from it. For the indigent also is, something belonging to all things. Something else, therefore, must be investigated which in no respect has any kind of indigence. But of a thing of this kind it cannot with truth be asserted that it is the principle, nor can it even be said of it that it is most unindigent, though this appears to be the most venerable of all assertions. * [* See the extracts from Damascius in the additional notes to the third volume, which contain an inestimable treasury of the most profound conceptions concerning the ineffable.] For this signifies transcendency, and an exemption from the indigent. We do not, however, think it proper to call this even the perfectly exempt; but that which is in every respect incapable of being apprehended,
and about which we must be perfectly silent, will be the most, just axiom of our conception in the present investigation; nor yet this as uttering any thing, but as rejoicing in not uttering, and by this venerating that immense unknown. This then is the.= mode of ascent to that which is called the first, or rather to that which is beyond every thing which can be conceived, or become the subject of hypothesis.
There is also another mode, which does not place the unindigent before the indigent, but considers that which is indigent of a more excellent nature, as subsisting secondary to that which is more excellent. Every where then, that which is in capacity is secondary to that which is in energy. For that it may proceed into energy, and that it may not remain in capacity in vain, it requires that which is in energy. For the more excellent never blossoms from the subordinate nature. Let this then be defined by us according to common unperverted conceptions. Matter therefore has prior to itself material form; because all matter is form in capacity, whether it be the first matter which is perfectly formless, or the second which subsists according to body void of quality, or in other words mere triple extension, to which it is likely those directed their attention who first investigated sensibles, and which at first appeared to be the only thing that had a subsistence. For the existence of that which is common in the different elements, persuaded them that there is a certain body void of quality. But since, among bodies of this kind, some possess the governing principle inwardly, and others externally, such as things artificial, it is necessary besides quality to direct our attention to nature, as being something better than qualities, and which is prearranged in the order of cause, as art is, of things artificial. Of things, however, which are inwardly governed, some appear to possess being alone, but others to be nourished and increased, and to generate things similar too thernselves. There is therefore another certain cause prior to the above-mentioned nature, viz. a vegetable power itself. But it is evident that all such things as are ingenerated in body as in a subject, are of themselves incorporeal, though they become corporeal by the participation of that in which they subsist, so that they are said to be and are material in consequence of what they suffer from matter. Qualities therefore, and still more natures, and in a still greater degree the vegetable life, preserve the incorporeal in themselves. Since however, sense exhibits another more conspicuous life, pertaining to beings which are moved according to impulse and place, this mush be established prior to that, as being a more proper principle, and as the supplier of a certain better form, that of a self-moved animal, and which naturally precedes plants rooted in the earth. The animal however, is not accurately self-moved. For the whole is not such throughout they whole; but a part moves and a part is moved. This therefore is the apparent self-moved. Hence, prior to this it is necessary there should be that which is truly self-moved, and which according to the whole of itself moves ands is moved, that the apparently self-moved may be the image of this. And indeed the soul which moves the body must be considered as a more proper self-moved essence. This, however, is twofold, the one rational, the other irrational. For that there is a rational soul is evident: or has not every one a cosensation of himself, more clear or more obscure, when converted to himself in the attentions to and investigations of himself, and in the vital and Gnostic animadversions of himself? For the essence which is capable af this, and which can collect universals by reasoning, will very justly be rational. The irrational soul also, though it does not appear to investigate these things, and to reason with itself, yet at the same time it moves bodies from place to place, being itself previously moved from itself; for at different times it exerts a different impulse. Does it therefore move itself from one impulse to another? or it is moved by
something else, as, for instance, by the whole rational soul in the universe? But it would be absurd to say that the energies of every irrational soul are not the energies of that soul, but of our more divine; since they are infinite, and mingled with much of the base and imperfect. For this would be just the same as to say that the irrational enemies are the energies of the rational soul. I omit to mention the absurdity of supposing that the whole essence is not generative of its proper energies. For if the irrational soul is a certain essence, it will have peculiar energies of its own, not imparted from something else, but proceeding from itself. This irrational soul, therefore, will also move itself at different times to different impulses. But if it moves itself, it will be converted to itself. If, however, this be the case, it will have a separate subsistence, and will not be in a subject. It is therefore rational, if it looks to itself: for in being converted to, it surveys itself. For when extended to things external, it looks to externals, or rather it looks to colored body, but does not see itself, because sight itself is neither body nor that which is colored. Hence it does not revert to itself. Neither therefore is this the case with any other irrational nature. For neither does the phantasy project a type of itself, but of that which is sensible, as for instance of colored body. Nor does irrational appetite desire itself, but aspires after a certain object of desire, such as honor, or pleasure, or riches. It does not therefore move itself.
(To Be Continued.)
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THROUGH THE GATES OF GOLD
A FRAGMENT OF THOUGHT
By Mabel Collins
Dutifully inscribed to the Sovereign Grand Master, and Companions of the Most Exalted Order of the Star of India by The Author.
Once as I sat alone writing, a mysterious Visitor entered my study, unannounced, and stood beside me. I forgot to ask who he was or why he entered so unceremoniously, for he began to tell me of the Gates of Gold. He spoke from knowledge, and from the fire of his speech I caught faith. I have written down his words; but, alas, I cannot hope that the fire shall burn so brightly in my writing as in his speech.
- M. C.
Every man has a philosophy of life of his own, except the true philosopher. The most ignorant boor has some conception of his object in living, and definite ideas as to the easiest and wisest way of attaining that object. The man of the world is often, unconsciously to himself, a philosopher of the first rank. He deals with his life on principles of the clearest character, and refuses to let his position be shattered by chance disaster. The man of thought and imagination has less certainty, and finds himself continually unable to formulate his ideas on that subject most profoundly interesting to human nature, - human life itself. The true philosopher is the one who would lay no claim to the name whatever, who has discovered that the mystery of life is unapproachable by ordinary thought, just as the true scientist confesses his complete ignorance of the principles which lie behind science.
Whether there is any mode of thought or any effort of the mind which will enable a man to gasp the great principles that evidently exist as causes in human life, is a question no ordinary thinker can determine.
Yet the dim consciousness that there is cause behind the effects we see, that there is order ruling the chaos and sublime harmony pervading the discords, haunts the eager souls of the earth, and makes them long for vision of the unseen and knowledge of the unknowable.
Why long and look for that which is beyond all hope until the inner eyes are opened? Why not piece together the fragments that we have at hand, and see whether from then some shape cannot be given to the vast puzzle?
The Search For Pleasure.
We are all acquainted, with that stern thing called misery, which pursues man, and strangely enough, as it seems at first, pursues him with no vague or uncertain method, but with a positive and unbroken pertinacity. Its presence is not absolutely continuous, else man must cease to live; but its pertinacity is without any break. There is always the shadowy form of despair standing behind man ready to touch him with its terrible finger if for too long he finds himself content. What has given this ghastly shape the right to haunt us from the hour we are born until the hour we die? What has given it the right to stand always at our door, keeping that door ajar with its impalpable yet plainly horrible hand, ready to enter at the moment it sees fit? The greatest philosopher that ever lived succumbs before it at last; and he only is a philosopher, in any sane sense, who recognizes the fact that it is irresistible, and knows that like all other men he must suffer soon or late. It is part of the heritage of men, this pain and distress; and he who determines that nothing shall make him suffer, does but cloak himself in a profound and chilly selfishness. This cloak may protect him from pain; it will also separate him from pleasure. If peace is to be found on earth, or any joy in life, it cannot be by closing up the gates of feeling, which admit us to the loftiest and most vivid part of our existence. Sensation, as we obtain it through the physical body, affords us all that induces us to live in that shape. It is inconceivable that any man would care to take the trouble of breathing, unless the act brought with it a sense of satisfaction. So it is with every deed of every instant of our life. We live because it is pleasant even to have the sensation of pain. It is sensation we desire, else we would with one accord taste of the deep waters of oblivion, and the human race would become extinct. If this is the case in the physical life, it is evidently the case with the life of the emotions, - the imagination, the sensibilities, all those fine and delicate formations which, with the marvelous recording mechanism of the brain, make up the inner or subtile man. Sensation is that which makes their pleasure; an infinite series of sensations is life to them. Destroy the sensation which makes them wish to persevere in the experiment of living, and there is nothing left. Therefore the man who attempts to obliterate the sense of pain, and who proposes to maintain an equal state whether he is pleased or hurt, strikes at the very root of life, and destroys the object of his own existence. And that must apply, so far as our present reasoning or intuitive powers can show us, to every state, even to that of the Oriental's longed-for Nirvana. This condition can only be one of infinitely subtiler and more exquisite sensation, if it is a state at all, and not annihilation; and according to the experience of life from which we are at present able to judge, increased subtility of sensation means increased vividness, - as, for instance, a man of sensibility and imagination feels more in consequence of the unfaithfulness or faithfulness of a friend than can a man of even the grossest physical nature feel through the medium of the senses. Thus it is clear that the philosopher who refuses to feel, leaves himself no place to retreat to, not even the distant and unattainable Nirvanic goal. He can only deny himself his heritage of life, which is
in other words the right of sensation. If he chooses to sacrifice that which makes him man, he must be content with mere idleness of consciousness, - a condition compared to which the oyster's is a life of excitement.
But no man is able to accomplish such a feat. The fact of his continued existence proves plainly that he still desires sensation, and desires it in such positive and active form that the desire must be gratified in physical life. It would seem more practical not to deceive one's self by the sham of stoicism, not to attempt renunciation of that with which nothing would induce one to part. Would it not be a bolder policy, a more promising mode of solving the great enigma of existence, to grasp it, to take hold firmly and to demand of it the mystery of itself? If men will but pause and consider what lessons they have learned from pleasure and pain, much might be guessed of that strange thing which causes these effects. But men are prone to turn away hastily from self-study, or from any close analysis of human nature. Yet there must be a science of life as intelligible as any of the methods of the schools. The science is unknown, it is true, and its existence is merely guessed, merely hinted at, by one or two of our more advanced thinkers. The development of a science is only the discovery of what is already in existence; and chemistry is as magical, and incredible, now to the plough-boy as the science of life is to the man of ordinary perceptions. Yet there may be, and there must be, a seer who perceives the growth of the new knowledge as the earliest dabblers in the experiments of the laboratory saw the system of knowledge now attained evolving itself out of nature for man's use and benefit.
Doubtless many more would experiment in suicide, as many now do, in order to escape from the burden of life, if they could be convinced that in that manner oblivion might be found. But he who hesitates before drinking the poison from the fear of only inviting change of mode of existence, and perhaps a more active form of misery, is a man of more knowledge than the rash souls who fling themselves wildly an the unknown, trusting to its kindliness. The waters of oblivion are something very different from the waters of death, and the human race cannot become extinct by means of death while the law of birth still operates. Man returns to physical life as the drunkard returns to the flagon of wine; he knows not why, except that he desires the sensation produced by life as the drunkard desires the sensation produced by wine. The true waters of oblivion lie far behind our consciousness, and can only be reached by ceasing to exert the will which makes us full of senses and sensibilities.
Why does not the creature man return into that great womb of silence whence he came, and remain in peace, as the unborn child is at peace before the impetus of life has reached it? He doe's not do so because he hungers for pleasure and pain, joy and grief, anger and love. The unfortunate man will maintain that he has no desire for life; and yet he proves his words false by living. None can compel him to live; the galley-slave may be chained to his oar, but his life cannot be chained to his body. The superb mechanism of the human body is as useless as an engine whose fires are not lit, if the will to live ceases, - that will which we maintain resolutely and without pause, and which enables us to perform the tasks which otherwise would fill us with dismay, as, for instance, the momently drawing in and giving out of the breath. Such herculean efforts as this we carry on without complaint, and indeed with pleasure, in order that we may exist in the midst of innumerable sensations.
And more; we are content, for the most part, to go without object or aim, without any idea of a goal or understanding of which way we are going. When the man first becomes aware of this aimlessness,
and is dimly conscious that he is working with great and constant efforts, and without any idea toward what end these efforts are directed, then descends on him the misery of nineteenth-century thought. He is lost and bewildered, and without hope. He becomes skeptical, disillusioned, weary, and asks the apparently unanswerable question whether it is indeed worth while to draw his breath for such unknown and seemingly unknowable results. But are these results unknowable? At least, to ask a lesser question, is it impossible to make a guess as to the direction in which our goal lies?
(To Be Continued.)
BAD HABITS AND LONGEVITY
One of the problems that puzzle observers is the survival to advanced ages of men and women who ignore all the ordinary laws of life in diet, in the use of alcohol and tobacco, and in various other ways, while other men and women who faithfully observe all the known rules of health and diet die prematurely, or suffer so sorely from ailments and pains that their life is often a misery.
It is an easy way to dismiss the problems and declare it to be Karma, but one may well ask what kind of Karma? The question is more readily answered and understood if the second volume of The Secret Doctrine is taken up and the first pages of the Preliminary Notes considered. It is stated there that: "As regards the evolution of mankind, the Secret Doctrine Postulates threes new propositions, which stand in direct antagonism to modern science as well as to current religious dogmas: it teaches (a) the simultaneous evolution of seven human groups, on seven different portions of our globe; (b) the birth of the astral, before the physical body: the former being a model for the latter; and (c) that man, in this Round, preceded every, mammalian - the anthropoids included - in the animal kingdom."
The point to be emphasized here is the fact that the astral body is born before the physical, which is modeled on the astral. We can understand then that a man who had lived a good physical life, observing all the physical laws of health, in any incarnation, would have developed a strong physical karma, the result of which would be a body healthy and strong beyond the ordinary, this being modeled on the astral body which presented this foundation and in which the strength and health inhered.
But such a man might have been careless of higher ethics and principles, and with such a mental or moral looseness, his life might degenerate and the man might fall into bad habits of gluttony, intoxication, drug-addiction, lechery, and other evils to the great detriment of hiss character, though his physical body, based on a sound and powerful astral body, would continue to function for its natural term, in spite of the life-wrecking habits of the man himself. He would have in the frequent phrase a strong constitution.
The converse of this might be true, either for this man in later incarnations, or for individuals who had been struggling towards higher levels of living, but being weak morally and ethically, would fall into evil habits, and unable through moral weakness to resist temptation would continue to play ducks and drakes with the body, though striving again and again to overcome the weaknesses cultivated previously. Such a man would generate a bad physical karma, so that when he was born again his physical body would be weak and subject to disease, the result of such habits as those to which he had succumbed, but which after repeated efforts he had in some measure conquered.
No, man can be judged by his present life. His past may be entirely unworthy, but at the last, he may have determined on reform. Another may have a glorious record, but some slip may have given him a disastrous start now.
THE CANADIAN THEOSOPHIST
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- Frederick B. Housser, 10 Glen Gowan Ave., Toronto.
- Kartar Singh, 1720 Fourth Ave. W., Vancouver, B.C.
- Albert E. S. Smythe, 33 Forest Avenue, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada.
A Western correspondent suggests, that no election is necessary this year, and that if the Lodes will merely refrain from nominating anyone the present General Executive will continue in office for another year. The Lodges, however, must make their own decisions in such a matter.
Some of our English friends have been sending their subscriptions in British Postal Notes. The Canadian Government refuses to cash these for some reason connected with Exchange. We shall be obliged if remittances from Great Britain in future are sent by Post Office Order. Cheques are difficult to negotiate.
The Kitchener study group, which has been very active during the winter, have issued a four-page leaflet, which in addition to notices of meetings, and other routine, gives short articles with useful information and advice. The second issue deals with Karma, the third with Brotherhood. The Pathfinder may be had from the Secretary, Mr. Alex. Watt, 58 King Street, West, Kitchener, Ont.
Attention is directed to "The Young Theosophist", the official organ of the All-India Federation of Young Theosophists, which is devoted to Youth and Theosophy. The articles are not of the goody-goody type, but practical and appealing to the intelligence rather than the curiosity of the reader. It is a sign of the times that one article is a contrast of the "Two Systems of Economics," Capitalism and Socialism.
The splendid article, "The Way Towards Discipleship," by Captain P.G. Bowen, which has already~ attracted much attention, has been reprinted in pamphlet form, and may be had for Ten cents a copy, or in larger numbers at a reduced rate. Those who really wish to devote themselves to the Higher Life should secure this valuable instruction.
We regret to learn of the death of Irving S. Cooper, an outstanding speaker on Theosophy, and one who took a fine stand at the Chicago Convention of 1929 on the necessary independence of the Theosophical Society and its neutrality with regard to subsidiary organizations, which had arisen among its membership. Mr. Cooper had attained eminence in the Liberal Catholic Church, and gave that organization a reputation through his abilities. He was born in California, March 16, 1882, and died on January 17, the news reaching us through the American Theosophist, too late for our February issue.
Mr. S.H. Daines informs us that he has been appointed to represent the Lord Abbot of the Ch'An Cheng Lob' World Buddhic Centre (Sanctuary), Sin-Kiang, Northern Tibet, in an effort to halt the absurd and charlatanic claims advanced by
various persons, chiefly under the banner of the AMORC, whose fraudulent pretensions have frequently come under notice. Their last assertion that they are endorsed by the Great White Lodge is, of course, ridiculous to those who have any knowledge of the facts. "By their fruits ye shall know them." Mr. Daines' address, is 1927 6th Street South East, Calgary, Alta.
An unfortunate slip, which has called for correction from two other quarters and also from Mr. James M. Pryse, himself, occurred in our reference last month to his article on Madame Blavatsky. He was spoken of as H.P.B.'s Secretary, and this is incorrect. He was her intimate assistant and trusted friend. But his duties were chiefly the printing of the Esoteric Instructions, which she had prepared for her students and which only an esoteric student could be entrusted with. Mr. Pryse sailed for England from New York on September 4, 1890, so that he was only in England about eight months before Madame Blavatsky's death. The "some years" of our paragraph only applies to his stay in England and, Ireland.
As we go to press a letter has been received from the Recording Secretary, Adyar, to the effect that an application had been received from the Lodges of the Canadian Federation, T.S., asking for a Charter for a second Canadian Section. The letter stated that the General Council had referred the matter to the General Secretary for comment, but it was added that the present Canadian Section "need not feel embarrassed by anything the President might do which he believed to be for the good of the Society." It does not appear that the "application" for a Charter has been generally endorsed, if indeed it has been made at all. A confidential letter has been received, implying as much, but the General Secretary does not feel that he can say more at the moment. It has been the hope of the Canadian National Society that a way might be found to reunite all the Lodes, but Adyar does not seem to favor anything of that kind, and this step, if the President insists upon it, will make it more difficult than ever.
In an article in the French Bulletin Theosophique, the General Secretary of the French National Society, Dr. J.E. Marcault, writes of Theosophic orthodoxy, insisting on liberty of thought and speech, and in the course of his remarks says that a word is necessary on the subject of the message of Mr. Krishnamurti and his connection with Theosophy. "For the writer of these lines," he remarks, "Mr. Krishnamurti is the founder of a civilization higher than the present." He considers that if the Theosophical Society has received his message with the veneration and love due to a call from the divine, it has not less considered as divine the other forms of appeal addressed to men by Christians, Buddhists, Hindus, Mussulmans, Parsees and others. This, we think, is to be regarded as the personal view of M. Marcault and his friends, and as such we have no objection to it, but think it somewhat out of proportion, though of course those who wish to place Mr. Krishnamurti on a par with Buddha, Jesus, Krishna, Zoroaster and Mahomet have a perfect right to do so. If Mr. Krishnamurti had only given us a more original and forceful message than Walt Whitman, or a more scientific and philosophic one than, say Julian Huxley, or Edward Carpenter, or had conceived a new sociological structure equal to the work of the Fabians or of Major Douglas, or Havelock Ellis, or George W. Russell! It is with no desire to knock Mr. Krishnamurti, but with a full appreciation of the beauty and earnestness of his "enseignments" that this stricture is written. His views are accepted as a reaction from Leadbeaterism by those who found themselves unnourished at the Adyar shrines. They may gain a little more, but not enough from Ommen or Ojai. Mr. Krish-
namurti is not synthetic. He has only one string to his lyre. He has never comprehended The Secret Doctrine or its vastness and fullness and freedom would have enchanted him, for he has a mind capable of greater expansion than he has given it. But until he recognizes the need for synthesis as the note of the new era, he will find that his appeal can only reach those with a narrower outlook than that which distinguishes the Masters of Compassion.
AMONG THE LODGES
The Montreal Lodge held their Annual Meeting on Jan. 8th. According to the secretary's report there are three more members than last year. At present the Lodge is continuing the study of the "Ancient Wisdom" on Tuesdays. Miss Burroughs has a class on Wednesday afternoons, and Mr. Lorimer has a class for beginners on Thursday evenings which is very well attended. The following officers were elected: Mr. Thomas, as President; Mr. Lorimer as Vice-President; Mr. Griffiths, re-elected Treasurer, Mrs. Griffiths as Assist-Treasurer, Mrs. C. Erbert as Secretary, Miss Burroughs, re-elected Librarian, Miss Benoit as Assists Librarian, Mrs. Goossens as Publicity Convener, and Mrs. D.B. Thomas as Auditor. Mr. Carsells has started a class at the Y.M.C.A. There are ten members and they are very enthusiastic. We wish him every success in his undertaking. - Caroline M Erbert, Secretary.
PRESIDENT ARUNDALE'S REPORT
President Arundale's report at the Adyar Convention meetings in December fills 45 pages of The February Theosophist. He begins by invoking a blessing from the Masters in a prayer which certainly suggests the sacerdotalism of which they are such steady opponents. But to balance this he directs us to the light of Theosophy, "the Light that ever shines, even in our darkness, and as to which there is neither variableness nor shadow of turning." He continues: "This Light is Theosophy, not the Theosophy of Blavatsky, nor the Theosophy of Olcott; nor the Theosophy of Besant; nor of Subba Row, nor of Sinnett, nor of Leadbeater; nor the Theosophy of any one of us. All these great Theosophies though they may be, are yet but the lesser Theosophies which come and go impermanent. For they are reflections of that greater Theosophy which knows no persons, no books, no interpreters, no orthodoxies, but is eternal and universal, the heart and being of life and the immortality of the soul."
Are the Mahatma Letters to be included among the negligible books? We can have no quarrel with Universalism in Theosophy, but to class all the best and worst representatives of Modern Theosophy together cannot but be misleading to new students. However, we must give Dr. Arundale a little more time to develop his thesis, for these disquisitions may mean anything in their embarrassing generalities.
He gives a paragraph to Mr. Ernest Wood. "I should like to mention the services rendered to the Society by Mr. Wood. In certain quarters it has been assumed that Mr. Wood and I are enemies in the most inimical sense of the word. On the contrary, we are good friends, as a couple of letters which have passed between us will show when I publish them in The Theosophist, with Mr. Wood's permission."
The Adyar Library, which is probably the most important activity at Adyar, receives well-merited attention. There are 18,004 manuscripts in it, many of them priceless and irreplaceable. Other works in the Eastern Section number 4,010, and 1830 manuscripts and other works have been added during the past year. The Western Section numbers 29,964. It is planned to have an independent structure for the Library, which of course should, be
in fire-proof quarters.
The question of neutrality in the Society is dealt with at considerable length, and one can heartily endorse all he says in this connection, though it does seem rather a contradiction that he should class Madame Blavatsky's message upon which all the tolerance and neutrality of the Society is based, with the writings of those who have chiefly encroached upon that standard of freedom. Dr. Arundale says, "I deplore the laying down in any dogmatic manner of a Theosophic Creed." It was in the Toronto Lodge programme that first appeared the sentences beginning: "Theosophy is not a creed," &c., sentences which Dr. Arundale once more includes (page 426), following the New Zealand example, and attributes to Mrs. Besant. We presume that had it not been supposed Mrs. Besant had written these sentences they would never have been reproduced; but that is just the kind of orthodoxy and dogmatism to which we object. Theosophy in Canada is not to be despised, but unless it is given over the signature of Mrs. Besant it cannot be recognized.
"God forbid," says Dr. Arundale, "that any of us should insist that there is only one Theosophy, the Theosophy of The Secret Doctrine, or any other, and only one prophet, H.P. Blavatsky, or any other; and that he is no true member of our Society who is not prepared to subscribe to such declarations. Nor should any interpretation of Theosophy, or any so-called authority, be erected by any one of us into an acid test of orthodoxy. Remember that as some are with respect to Blavatsky others will be with respect to Besant, or to Leadbeater, or to any other prominent members of the Society whose presentation happens to appeal in special measure."
There is much more in this line, though with the admission that "Blavatsky was the fons et origo of the descent of Theosophy in its modern garb into the outer world." Here is 'the subject of Canadian ostracism, and the split of the Canadian membership into the National Society and the Federation, simply because the majority of the Canadian members held to the views thus expressed by Dr. Arundale in the last 150 words or so. If Dr. Arundale sticks to this demand for "Theosophy straight, Theosophy impersonal, Theosophy free to the understanding and interpretation of all" - we shall have no quarrel with him.
For the rest of his address the President is occupied, largely with routine matters. The Recording Secretary and the Treasurer recently acting have been unable to continue their duties, and in their places have been appointed respectively Dr. Srinivasa Murti and Captain E.M. Sellon, the latter for many years treasurer of the New York Theosophical Federation.
A curious error has been made in interpreting our complimentary reference to the Theosophical Publishing House at Adyar, both on page 488 and page 498, as a reference to some imaginary Adyar Press in Canada. Was it inconceivable that we could appreciate good work done anywhere?
Editor, Canadian Theosophist: - The article in your December issue by Cecil Williams cannot but evoke the hearty approval of every F.T.S. The frankness, courage and sincerity with which he advocates practical fraternization are beyond praise indeed. How would he show his willingness to associate with those whose views he dislikes in the case of the "Fraternity" known as A.M.O.R.C., I wonder? Perhaps, Mr. Williams, would enlarge upon the point involved in this problem?
Editor, Canadian Theosophist: - Many of your subscribers will be grateful to Mrs. Henderson for supplying that "serious omission" from the U.L.T. version of Robert Bowen's Notes on the Study of the S.D. The original publication in The-
osophy in Ireland had several typographical errors, but was complete. A full and accurate reprint appears also in the Theosophical Forum of 15 Aug., 1932, and copies of it might perhaps be obtainable from Point Loma. That issue of the Forum also contains 7 or 8 pages by Dr. de Purucker on the Esoteric School and an interesting article by Robert Crosbie, as well. If that issue is not already out of print it would be worth getting.
- E. M.
RACES ARE CONTEMPORARY
Editor, The Canadian Theosophist: - Your correspondent, Mrs. Henderson, in the December Canadian Theosophist has descended upon us with much vehemence for not printing in our small Bulletin, which contains but four pages, a complete article which would occupy six pages. Her remarks on our racial shortcomings are therefore, far fetched. Having perforce to be content, at present, with what our fourth race (page) development will give us, we must be pardoned for entirely failing to understand the inferences Mrs. Henderson draws from her discovery. Let her assure herself that we take our stand upon the entire teachings of H.P.B., and have no desire to re-edit them to suit our own ends. The passages quoted by us from the "Notes" of Mr. Bowen, were entirely relevant to our series of studies entitled, "Of Studying Theosophy," of which these formed No. 13. This series deals with the principles of study chiefly, and not with the details of the teachings. So far we have not printed anything on races. We believe that the real unity among all Theosophists wherever and however situated can only be brought about by similarity of aim, purpose and teaching; that is, Theosophy is a definite body of knowledge and when Theosophists do study and practice it as it was presented by H.P.B., then unity of thought within will produce naturally the much-needed harmony and co-operation without. We believe Mrs. Henderson to be sincere in her desire not to see H.P.B.'s teachings twisted or whittled down. Let her therefore, give to others the same charity of thought she would like for herself! Mr. Bowen has himself written to us saying, "I am entirely satisfied that the extracts you have made in no way deprive the "Notes" of their meaning and value."
Yours sincerely and, fraternally,
The United Lodge of Theosophists, London.
20 Grosvenor Place.
Capt. Bowen's letter follows:
Jan. 22, 1935.
Editor, The Canadian Theosophist: - Dear Brother, My attention has been drawn to a letter from Mrs. H. Henderson (referring to "'Extracts from `Notes by Mr. Bowen' of oral teachings given by H.P.B. on the study of The Secret Doctrine" (published in U.L.T. Bulletin No. lxxii, London, Oct. 15th, 1934), which appears in the Canadian Theosophist, November number (I think).
Mrs. Henderson objects that "The Bulletin" fails to publish the "Notes" in full, and suspects that the reason may be a desire to uphold the idea that America is to be the birthplace of the coming (material) Subrace - (the 6th?), an idea which H.P.B.'s words, as quoted in the "Notes", asserts to be a delusion, since these "races" mean inner, not material states. Now I have just been in communication with the Bulletin on the subject of my father's notes, and am perfectly satisfied with the extracts they have printed, albeit without my knowledge. The Bulletin is too small to admit of printing the "Notes" in full, and therefore only those portions dealing specifically with methods of studying the S.D. were chosen. The portions omitted concerned the teachings on the "races" rather than how to study the S.D. as a whole. In fairness to brother Theosophists whose aim is one with her own, even if their methods may differ slightly from hers, Mrs. Henderson should honorably acquit the Editors of the
Bulletin of any intention to suppress passages which she conceives may not be to their liking. I, the compiler of the notes, am wholly satisfied that no such motive existed; and there is no one so insistent upon having H.P.B. unexpurgated than myself. If Mrs. Henderson will look up my article, "The New Age" in The Theosophical Forum of October 1933, she will get an idea of my own purely individual ideas regarding "races". I do not know what special doctrines or dogmas any of the various societies may have on the subject, nor do I care. I am however, anxious to prevent any and every Theosophist from either meting out, or receiving injustice.
Sincerely and fraternally,
P. G. Bowen.
11 Grantham Street,
Draw nearer Artist-soul, be not afraid, - !
I long to clothe thee with my perfect beauty,
Woven strand by strand, thro' age-long suffering.
Once I was Aphrodite, foam of life's
Surging-Sea, cast up to heaven, upon
A tidal wave of passion - passion, pure
As, is the deep red-rose of sunset.
'Twas there that Eros came; - pouring the wine
Of true compassion into my fragile cup
He bade me drink, e'en to the bitter dregs,
Drinking, as I was bidden by my Lord
I became the Venus-Aphrodite
A Fount of Love, and inspiration
In the Artist-Soul of man.
Therefore it is I love thee with that divine
Compassion, which is eternal justice.
Thou art Prometheus - Foreseer
And Foreknower, prophet, priest, and king
Of this wide universe, which is thy home.
I hold life's living water to thy lips,
Drink deep beloved, this is thy heritage.
- Freida Dunlop.
Among the works that have come into existence either on account of the Theosophical Movement, or contemporary with it, none has more intrinsic interest than the "Progressive Creation" of Rev. Holden E. Sampson. A second edition with index to each of the two volumes brings one's attention once more to the exhaustive studies he has made in connection with his theories of reincarnation, which he defines "as the return to the flesh of living creatures after periods of intermediate existence beyond the Earth-plane after death". He postulates, "at the outset, that the fundamental and original purpose in Divine Creation is the Creation or evolution of God." Mr. Sampson speaks of the Theosophical Movement generally on page 286 of his second volume, unaware, he remarks, how far his explanation is in harmony with Theosophical views. Of course that is not the point in a society where there is no orthodoxy, ands Mr. Sampson's views, so far as they are reasonable, may appeal to many who might not be satisfied with the views of other Theosophical writers. We are quite sure, however, that no earnest student of the Jewish and Christian scriptures can fail to find most suggestive and valuable material in these volumes. The independent thinker is always ready to welcome new light, and where so much is obscure in esoteric teaching, the reflections of a writer who has taken his own course with out the assistance of the standard Theosophical writers are always to be considered. We cannot follow Mr. Sampson in his theory of twin souls, a theory that has fascination and lure for many, but which is really a distortion of the teaching symbolized in the Book of Revelation by the Spirit and the Bride. The value of Mr. Sampson's book to many as we see it, is in the exhaustive research conducted by Mr. Sampson in they Scriptures, and the selection of texts in support of his theories, which may be accepted by some as he proposes, but which may appeal to others,
now that they are presented to them, as evidence of another description. In any case we can devoutly join Mr. Sampson in the concluding words of his second volume: "And it is our desire and hope that the Truths we have endeavored to convey in these pages, will stir up the Church, and the world to the comprehension of this lost and forgotten rationale of human life, in comparison with which every other kind of pursuit is vanity." (Rider & Co., 12/6).
THOMAS TAYLOR, THE PLATONIST
Thomas Taylor, known as "The Platonist," was born on May 15, 1758, and died November 1, 1835. It is fitting therefore that in this centenary year of his death we should mark his memory as fas as it is in our power, by recognition of his great contribution to our knowledge of the Greek mysteries, through his translation of Plato's works and those of other ancient mystics. Madame Blavatsky quotes him, and recalls the answer given by one of Taylor's admirers, to those scholars who criticized his translations of Plato. "Thomas Taylor may have had less knowledge of the Greek than his critics have, but he understood Plato far better than they do."
Taylor was born in London and lived there all his life. He was sent to St Paul's school, but was soon removed to Sheerness, where he spent several years with a relative who was engaged in the dockyard. He then bean to study for the dissenting ministry, but an imprudent marriage and pecuniary difficulties compelled him to abandon the idea. He became a schoolmaster, a clerk in Lubbock's banking house, and from 1798-1806 was assistant secretary to the society for the encouragement of arts, manufactures, and, commerce, which post he resigned to devote himself to the study of philosophy.
He had the good fortune to obtain the patronage of the Duke of Norfolk and of a Mr. Meredith, a retired tradesman of literary tastes, who assisted, him to publish several of his works. These mainly consisted of translations of the whole or part of the writing of Aristotle, Plato, Plotinus, Proclus, Pausanias, Porphyry, Ocellus Lucanus, and the Orphic Hymns. "His efforts were unfavorably - almost contemptuously received," says the Encyclopedia Britannica, "but, in spite of defects of scholarship and lack of critical faculty, due recognition must be awarded to the indomitable industry with which he overcame early difficulties."
He figures as the "modern Pletho" in Isaac Disraeli's Curiosities of Literature, and in his novel Vaurien, and as "England's gentile priest" in Mathias's Pursuits of Literature. Disraeli's reference to Pletho is of interest. He quotes what George of Trebizond said of him, of which a part may interest those who care to know what is thought of students of the mysteries by those who accept their religion at second-hand.
"He has written with no vulgar art, and with no common elegance. He has given new rules for the conduct of life, and for the regulation of human affairs; and at the same time has vomited forth a great number of blasphemies against the Catholic religion. He was so zealous a platonist that he entertained no other sentiments than those of Plato, concerning the nature of the gods, souls, sacrifices, &c. I have heard him myself, when we were together at Florence, say that in a few years all men on the face of the earth would embrace with one common consent, and with one mind, a single preaching. And when I asked him if it would be the religion of Jesus Christ, or that of Mahomet? he answered `Neither the one nor the other, but a third, which will not greatly differ from paganism.' These words I heard with so much indignation, that since that time I have always hated him. I look upon him as a dangerous viper, and I cannot think of him without abhorrence."
On this, Disraeli remarks: "The pious writer of this account is too violently agitated: he might, perhaps, have bestowed a
smile of pity or contempt; but the bigots and fanatics are not less insane than the impious themselves." He proceeds: "It was when Pletho died full of years and honours that the malice of his enemies collected all its venom. A circumstance that seems to prove that his abilities must have been great indeed to have kept such crowds silent; and it is not improbably that this scheme of impiety was less impious than was imagined. Not a few Catholic writers lament that his book was burnt, and greatly regret the loss of Pletho's work; which, they say, was not meant to subvert the Christian religion, but only to unfold the system of Plato, and to collect what he and other philosophers had written on religion and politics."
Yet Disraeli himself appears to have forgotten his clemency towards Pletho when he turns to Taylor, of whom he writes:
"To strain human curiosity to the utmost limits of human credibility, a modern Pletho has arisen in Mr. Thomas Taylor, who, consonant to the platonic philosophy, in the present day religiously professes polytheism! At the close of the eighteenth century, be it recorded, were published many volumes in which the author affects to avow himself a zealous Platonist, and asserts he can prove that the Christian religion is a 'bastardized and barbarized Platonism!' The divinities of Plato are the divinities to be adored, and we are to be taught to call God Jupiter; the Virgin, Venus; and Christ, Cupid! And the Iliad of Homer allegorized, is converted into a Greek bible of the arcana of nature! Extraordinary as this literary lunacy may appear, we must observe that it stands not singular in the annals of the history of the human mind."
All this helps us to understand the attitude of our modern pedants towards Madame Blavatsky and men like Thomas Taylor. Taylor's Plato was published in five great Quarto volumes in 1804 through the assistance of the Duke of Norfolk of that period. The book is difficult to obtain at present and a high value is set upon it. Mr. Fred B. Housser has the good fortune to possess a copy, and has generously consented to lend a volume occasionally for reproduction in The Canadian Theosophist. Accordingly we are presenting, to begin with, Taylor's Introduction to Plato's writings. This will not be the work of a few months, but we hope to continue it till it is concluded and then proceed to give those parts of Plato's writings that chiefly concern and interest students of occultism. These will include the Phaedo, the Phaedrus, the Banquet, Philebus, Sophista, Politicus, Cratylus, Timaeus, Gorgias, Protagoras, Providences of the Gods in The Laws, Book X of The Republic, some of the Epistles, The Three Kings, Apology for the Fables of Homer, etc.
It is of immediate interest to Theosophists that the National Gallery at Ottawa not long ago secured the portrait of Thomas Taylor painted by Sir Thomas Lawrence. This is a fine work of art, as well as being one of the most interesting memorials of the great Platonist in existence. And it links Canada with a great tradition.
THE THREE TRUTHS
There are three truths which are absolute, and which cannot be lost, but yet may remain silent for lack of speech.
The soul of man is immortal, and its future is the future of a thing whose growth and splendour have no limit.
The principle which gives life dwells in us, and without us, is undying and eternally beneficent, is not heard or seen, or smelt, but is perceived by the man who desires perception.
Each man is his own absolute lawgiver, the dispenser of glory or gloom to himself; the decreer of his life, his reward, his punishment.
These truths, which are as great as is life itself, are as simple as the simplest mind of man. Feed the hungry with them. - Idyll of the White Lotus.
THEOSOPHY AND THE MODERN WORLD
Conducted by F.B. Housser
THE OLD ORDER CHANGETH
That we have definitely come to the end of an economic ands social era
- in other words of a civilization - is admitted by more people daily. The early founders of the Theosophical Society said that a cycle ended in 1898 when the first 5,000 years of Kali Yuga or the dark age came to a conclusion. Theosophists are justified in supposing that the great effort made in the closing quarter of the last century to restate the fundamental teachings of the ancient wisdom through the Theosophical Society was made with the full knowledge that the crisis which now appears to be upon us would come during the twentieth century.
The latest prominent person to publicly recognize the close of a cycle is Henry A. Wallace, United States Secretary of Agriculture - a Theosophist, by the way. Speaking recently at the annual meeting of the National Educational Association in Atlantic City, Wallace is reported by the New York Times to have said - "the end of the road for individualism, capitalism and the laissez-faire policy in economics is rapidly being approached, if it has not already been reached . . . . . . Once the conquest of new areas comes to an end, we come to the point of fighting between regions and classes, each for its own maximum profit. Then the disintegrating forces come in."
This is what is taking place in the United States and in the world at large where nations are competing for foreign markets with a ruthlessness that can only end in war unless some sort of economic system is found which will end forever the necessity of such competition. "We are caught," said Wallace, "on the horns of a most terrible dilemma. There is no painless way out."
Wallace himself does not seem to have accepted any of the alternatives offered for the solution of the "most terrible dilemma". "My, criticism is exactly the same against capitalism as against communism and fascism", he said. "They are all shot through and through with the same fundamental errors of materialism which eventually brings material destruction. They are all materialistic and godless."
Any one who has been a close student of financial and economic affairs for the past ten or fifteen years cannot help but be aware of the materialism, unmorality and greed with which capitalism has become imbued. It is so frightful right here in Canada that if the people could be told the truth they would scarcely believe it. No more than bare trickles of it have been allowed to leak out so far but it is beginning to come. It may well be doubted whether there is enough moral stamina and sufficiently high inner standards left among the governing class to save society from what Wallace calls "chaos and disintegration."
People Must Save Themselves
All of this is not to say that the people at large are unable, if they have the will, to save themselves. It is a Theosophical axiom that people get the kind of government they deserve. This is true today mainly in the fact that the people are too ignorant and, too indifferent, to be enlightened. If the people will rises to the occasion the transition period may still be navigated without disaster. The stupidity of it all is evident to any one who thinks. While our best brains have been working for a century and a half to put men out of work by labor-saving devices, our politicians shout that the most important problem we have is unemployment. "The solu-
tion of the difficulty is easy," Major Douglas, the apostle of social credit once said, "if you will only divest it of preconceived ideas of social morality and turn your back on such ideas as `if a man will not work, neither shall he eat', a sentiment which, in my opinion, was merely a statement of fact in the condition under which it was written, and not intended to be a canon of ethics."
Douglas has suggested what he thinks would be one solution of our economic impasse. Some of his books have been reviewed in this magazine. The simple changes he suggests would in time completely alter the face of our civilization. It would not destroy us in the process, unless we are so morally corrupt that we are incapable of any sort of cooperation or any large amount of leisure. For that there is no solution except the discipline of the self, enunciated by the teachers of the ancient wisdom to which Theosophy has the key.
Secretary Wallace thinks that in the future we shall have much more need for people trained in "culture and recreation" rather than in underpaid work. "We know," he says, "we can produce all we need to eat and wear with one
-half or two-thirds of our working population. With our country filled up, factories built and good schools provided we finally will have to live, and is it criminal to enjoy ourselves? There is no reason why the most humble of us, should not have the opportunity in the future to spend several weeks of each year in the Tennessee mountains or Arizona." No ned at all if we can stand it. [sic]
The Problem of Leisure
It is not the function of Theosophy and the ancient wisdom to give the world a new economic system except in so far as its teachings may bring this about by introducing the old doctrines of karma, reincarnation, and the divinity of man, to the western world. Once men and, women become convinced of the truth of these, they will automatically search out a better economic and social order.
If the races of the western world survive the present world crisis without disintegration and chaos, the man of the new order that emerges is likely, as Wallace and Douglas point out, to have much more leisure than he had in the past. What Theosophy is able to do is to determine what the nature of that leisure shall be. Men and women are more themselves in their leisure than in their work, and, as men are, so shall their leisure be. To any real Theosophist leisure is not a problem. When the problem of existence is not merely to keep alive, Theosophy stands ready to show what it really is, and the answer.
EASTER ISLAND EXPEDITION
One Easter Sunday in the 18th century a Dutch admiral discovered a small island situated about 2400 miles off the coast of Chile, under the Tropic of Capricorn. Ever since, this isolated Easter Island, or Pascua, as it is called by the Spanish, has attracted worldwide interest.
Last year a Franco-Belgian expedition of geologists, geographers, anthropologists, archeologists, etc., embarked for the Pacific, intent upon clearing up the mystery of the island. During the voyage, however, the leader Dr. C. Watelin, a distinguished scientist, was suddenly taken ill and died. It was supposed by certain people that the dark powers of this island may have wreaked vengeance upon him for daring to penetrate its secrets. No harm came to the remainder of the party however, and it is assumed generally that he died a natural death. This speck of land so intrigues the minds of men that it would take more than superstition to stop their explorations.
On the island were found 425 inhabitants, among whom were 12 lepers. There was no evidence of drinking water and little of vegetation; no technicians, architects and few laborers - yet there stood the 200 colossal statues, monstrous human effigies 60 to 80 times normal size. A French writer who visited the island in 1879 was impressed with the fact that the sculptors had evidently striven to give them
an expression - "For", he wrote, "they definitely inspire fear".
It is believed that the production of these statues must have extended over centuries ands that the titanic building ground was abandoned in great haste as the quarries are still full of semi-finished and unfinished' statues. It is presumed that a terrible catastrophe took place and this is substantiated by vestiges of paved roads, similar to those built by the Romans, which slope down to the sea, there to lose themselves.
Appearing, in the February issue of the "Magazine Digest" is an article called "The Bewildering, Secret of Easter Island," in which an incident is described, one which led many scientists to the conclusion that the Polynesia are continental debris.
In 1865, a missionary residing on Easter Island was presented with a wooden tablet on which were rows of hieroglyphic characters traced from left to right and from right to left uninterruptedly. For 50 years this was declared to be undecipherable.
It was the Hungarian Hevesy who finally deciphered the tablet. At the same time he was deciphering a script belonging to a pre-Aryan civilization. He discovered that 130 signs of the two scripts presented such striking analogies as to be almost identical, but the Easter Island one appeared much older. "It takes an effort to imagine its age," writes the author of the article, "for even pre-Aryan Indian civilization is held to be about 4800 years old".
It is interesting here to note that until about the year 1927 India was considered by science to be one of the "youngest" countries on the globe - H.P. Blavatsky wrote the Secret Doctrine during the 19th century, yet here is what she said (S.D. II., 493). "The Aryan Hindu belongs to one of the oldest races now on earth: the Semitic Hebrew to the latest. The former is nearly 1,000,000 years old; the latter as a small sub-race 8,000 years of age."
The similarity of the scripts with various other discoveries have led many scientists to accept the hypothesis that the bottoms of the oceans are ancient continents which were originally one homogeneous mass and that before certain cataclysms, India, Africa, Madagascar and Australia were also one, so that Easter Island is but a scrap of continental debris.
Science however remains mystified concerning the super-statues found on the island and has yet to answer how were such formidable blocks of stone carved from the walls of volcanos and hauled over rough and hilly ground, to the opposite end of the island? - What purpose could these symbolic effigies have served? - Were they monuments or idols?
Madame Blavatsky, in The Secret Doctrine, says that these statues represent the descendants of the Lemurians, who, it is said, were the first PHYSICAL race born of Father and Mother. These are the "Giants" of antiquity, the ante- and post-diluvian Gibborim of the "Bible". It is postulated that they lived and flourished 1,000,000 years ago on a continent now submerged. Little wonder these relics definitely inspire fear, for according to the Secret Doctrine, they are eloquent memorials of a brood of sorcerers.
The symbol of the Cross was used by the peoples of the submerged continent, for on the backs of the Cyclopean statues is to be found the "Ansated Cross" and the same modified to the outline of the human form. Identical glyphs, numbers and esoteric symbols were found in Egypt, Peru, Mexico, India, Chaldaea, Central Asia and, Easter Island. Crucified men and symbols of the evolution of races from gods, "and yet", says the Ancient Wisdom, "behold science repudiating the idea of a human race other than one made in OUR image."
On The 'Track of Something
The author of the previously mentioned article in the "Digest", believes that Easter Island will perhaps one day furnish the
clue to the puzzle of the origin of man and thus revolutionize what we imagine to be knowledge of the history of our planet.
H.P. Blavatsky was of the same opinion and this doubtless was her reason for writing at each length about it. "Easter Island belongs to the earliest civilization of the Third Race. It was volcanic and sudden uplifting of the ocean
-floor which raised this small relic of the Archaic ages - after it had been submerged with the rest untouched with its volcano and statues during the epoch of north polar submersion - as a standing witness to the existence of Lemuria." The submerging of the vast continent, according to the "Doctrine" took place approximately - a mere - 4,000,000 years ago (S.D. II. 342).
Theosophy, believes that Science in its search for knowledge is following one of the paths to Wisdom. It therefore anticipates a day when Easter Island will cease to be a mystery. When that day arrives there will indeed be a revolutionizing of the theories concerning man and the history of our planet. For then science may seek elsewhere for an explanation of the origin of man, than from this temporary abode and comparatively recent little globe we call our Earth.
- R. S.
THE SCIENTIFIC APPROACH TO LIFE
Mention has been made before of the work that Dr. George W. Grile of Cleveland has been doing in creating forms which imitate the living cell to a high degree. According to recent reports he has achieved quite a measure of success in his latest efforts.
These strange entities, - "Auto-synthetic Cells", Crile calls them, the nearest imitation of life forms which have ever been created in the laboratory, - are formed by mixing lipoids or fats extracted from the brain with proteins from any organ or tissue, in a salt solution which contains the same salts in the same proportion as are found in the brain. As soon as this mixture is made, the cell-like structures appear. They are similar in size and appearance to certain protozoa. They take the stains that living substances take; they show an active metabolism as is shown by the absorption of oxygen and the excretion of carbon dioxide and ammonia. The respiratory quotient averages 0:81, similar to the respiration of living cells.
These cells divide by direct division and budding. (readers of the Secret Doctrine please note). The form of the cells and the manner of division depends upon the acid-base equilibrium of the fluid in which they are suspended.
One is tempted to speculate on the problem of whether Crile and his associates have created life-forms de novo or have only brought about certain configurations of matter in which perhaps the life-force can manifest itself. The strictly materialistically-minded scientist might say the former. The scientist of a more mystical turn of mind, whose number are continually increasing, and the Theosophist would say the latter. If one premises other worlds of being within and beyond the world of the physical in which life and mind and spirit move and have their form, then the exact arrangement or method by which life manifests itself becomes of secondary importance. Life being more fundamental than matter will eventually clothe itself in the latter, either in the laboratory of the scientist or the infinitely greater laboratory of Nature herself.
- W. F. S.
SCIENCE AND INDUSTRY
One encouraging aspect of "the depression" is that it is making people think with some degree of intelligence, particularly on the subject of economics. With the great majority who do not habitually do any independent thinking, the effect has been mainly to shake their minds loose from blind acceptance of certain hoary old fallacies and render them open for the reception and weighing of fresh and logical concepts, which, in turn are the product
of the minority who are willing and able to think independently and from basic principles.
One of the symptoms of this ferment of thought is seen in the increasingly large number of articles on economic topics in the current issues of the better class of periodicals. In the February number of Harpers Magazine the subject is approached from a rather novel angle in an article by Mr. J.D. Bernal, of Cambridge University under the title "If Industry Gave Science a Chance".
The author is evidently quite familiar with the application of science to industry, and sets forth much extremely interesting information concerning what has actually been accomplished, but more particularly as to new and improved materials and processes which science could now, and would in the future, be able to place at the disposal of industry if anything like cooperation existed, but, to quote from the article:
"The first need which must be satisfied if science is to be continued is that it should be financed, and the financing of science is grossly inadequate. A certain amount, a very small amount, of scientific research is endowed, but most of its funds must come from the industry or Government, in both of which there are very strong forces which limit the supplies available to science while they hinder and distort its application."
"ln the first place there is competition between individual firms, between industries, and between groups of industries bonded together as national and imperial sovereignties. Inside industry, scientific research is necessarily valued only in so far as it reduces cost." As long as it leads to a steady simplification of technic, well and good, but "the danger of obsolescence is a great preventive of fundamental application of science."
"The application of new discoveries would lead to continual fluidity of production - which means heavy loss on plant and overhead - so that fundamental inventions are not welcome. It is not so much that fundamental discoveries are hushed up by large firms. This does actually happen, but the same result can be got far more easily by merely failing to support research in a particular direction."
"Large scale support to scientific research by Government need not be expected. It would need to have whole-hearted support from all industries in the country, and this is unlikely to be forth-coming."
"By far the greatest perversion of science is found in the activities of Governments themselves. The function of a modern Government, particularly in recent years, is no longer to represent communal as against particular interests inside the country, but has more and more turned outward to support by political and ultimately economic military methods the interests of its own producers against those of other countries also marshaled under their own Governments. Such a policy offers the least encouragement to science as used for welfare, but war is an ultimate necessity, and scientists will always be needed for war. Consequently, although there is no real danger of scientific technic disappearing, there is a real danger that science used for those purposes will not produce anything fundamentally new but will lose its character as a foremost factor in the change and betterment of the human race, and at the same time its attraction for the most intelligent and capable minds of the time".
The article concludes: "The present direction of economic and political forces holds out no hope that physical science can realize its possibilities, or even escape from being used for the destruction of the world that it has helped to create. If science is to help humanity, it must find a new master."
Some Theosophical Axioms
Whether or not we follow Mr. Bernal all the way in his conclusions, it nevertheless remains that the evidence he brings
out, - as does so much more from different standpoints that has come to light of late, - all goes to show that we have built up a system for the production and distribution of wealth which, instead of being our willing servant has become, by some means or other, our very tyrannical master, and the situation has now assumed the proportions of a major crisis in the affairs of the race.
From a Theosophical standpoint there are a few observations that are axiomatic: We have no one to blame but ourselves for the mess we find ourselves in, and the responsibility devolves on each and every one of us or we would not have been incarnated in the midst of it. It seems almost equally obvious that there is no deeply mysterious "occult" way out of our predicament; it is simply a matter of getting the whole thing, pro and con out into the light of day and arriving at a decision on the facts of the case.
It is not enough that we say, "Oh, it is the result of human greed and stupidity, and Karma will adjust it in the long run." Certainly it boils down to individual responsibility finally, but there is also a group responsibility which reflects itself in the social organization and how it functions, and we must readjust it by our joint effort now - or have it put up to us again at some future time.
The Theosophical Society of course cannot identify itself with any political party, but there is no such ban on individual members, and as students of Theosophy, they should be particularly well fitted to judge dispassionately the various solutions that are being offered, and decide which is the best, or most suitable for our country at the present time, and then use whatever influence they may have to make known its merits and advocate its adoption. The greater our understanding, the greater our responsibility to the group.
- E. B. D.
A NEW THEORY OF ENERGY
On December the twenty eighth of last year, Dr. Einstein the famous physicist, addressed a body of four hundred American scientists in Pittsburgh. The main feature of his address was the development of an equation which gave the relationships between three factors of modern science. These three factors are, Mass, Energy and the Speed of Light. The latter being the only absolute unit of the universe in their eyes. The exposition of this energy formula stated in words is as follows: "The, potential energy present in any body is equal to the mass of that body multiplied by the speed of light squared." There already exists in the field of electricity an equation similar to this latest one. The power (energy) of any circuit is equal to the resistance (mass) times the current or rate of flow (speed of light) squared.
The implications of this theory are extremely important. Up to now our idea of available energy had been measured by chemical or molecular action, such as the union of carbon and oxygen molecules (burning of coal). It can now be seen that the intra-atomic energy is many million times that of our former acceptance, and may be said to be infinitely greater. With the acceptance of this latest theory the life-span of the sun has been added to, so that instead of being a failing aged body it now becomes a mere youngster. It is also a demonstration of the fact that mass may be a form in which energy appears.
Speed of Light Again
This increase of potential energy as outlined, is certainly a step forward, but not as yet acceptable to students of Occultism. Fohat, creative energy, as defined by Madame Blavatsky in the Secret Doctrine, cannot be limited in potentiality, and is limited in actuality, only by necessity. The sun will probably be present as long as there is any need for it, as long as there is one human being on earth. True there may be limitations placed upon energy as it appears on this globe, but to imagine that the same restrictions exist at every point in the Universe is a ridiculous idea.
The reconciliation of the statements of Science with those of the Secret Doctrine
seem to depend upon the arbitrary figure set upon the speed of light by Science. They believe that at any point of reference taken, the speed of light is constant, three hundred million meters per second, which figure has been established by laboratory measurements. With this in mind, the potential energy of any body is a definite figure no matter where its location or constituents, and Dr. Einstein's equation is a rigid statement.
The Secret Doctrine states very emphatically that the speed of light is by no means such an arbitrary figure, true though it may be for this globe. Once outside the atmospheric confines of our world a very different result might be obtained. Were this to be accepted by Science, the equation could be accepted by Theosophy and given a ruling intelligence behind the action, the idea would be perfectly reconcilable to the needs of this or any other world. In the meantime it must be admitted that it is a step forward, and again a reminder that any of the statements outlined in the Secret Doctrine have yet to be disproved.
- J. K. L.
That the state should subsidize marriages of the highly intelligent members of its population to produce a race of supermen, is a suggestion put forward by Dr. Eugene L. Swan, a New York psychiatrist.
The suggestion opens up the whole question of heredity in the light of Theosophical teachings. Of course, such marriages cannot "produce" supermen, but the parents might provide suitable bodies into which supermen could incarnate.
However, the mating of humans for specific types is a very uncertain proceeding. Frederick the Great discovered this when he tried to found a race of giants by mating his six and seven-foot Prussian Guards with tall women.
If there were no continuing entity in the human composition, if reincarnation were not true, if Karma did not link subtle and gross causes and effects over countless rebirths, then humans might breed as true to type as animals.
But they do not, so perhaps the supermen of the race will continue to be produced by the time-honoured occult method of attaining mastery over self.
- D. W. B.
LIFE ON THE PLANETS
The Astronomer just can't help being a pessimist. First he says our solar system is just an accident, and that there can be but very, very few such in the infinitude of space. Next he says that of all the planets, the earth is the only one on which conditions suitable for life are present. Either alternative of course is absurd. And both have their rise in the fundamental fallacy that life is emergent out of the physical, that it is just an efflorescence on the face of nature.
The Status of Life
It is otherwise when life is considered to be something transcending the physical, something present in all manifestation, something emerging into objectivity whenever and wherever conditions are suitable for any of its myriad forms. There has been a great deal of speculation of late in scientific circles, respecting life on the other planets. This speculation has been the result of recent discoveries on the part of science, concerning the physical condition of the planets. These discoveries, the conclusions of science, and criticisms thereof can best be considered by taking each planet in turn.
Jupiter and Saturn
It is supposed that these two planets are much alike in atmosphere for on both are immense quantities of methane, a gas composed of hydrogen, carbon, and ammonia. A compound composed of hydrogen and nitrogen is also present. Their presence has actually been demonstrated by spectroscopic methods. Temperatures much below any encountered on the earth, ranging from between 200 to 300 degrees below zero have been recorded by the aid of delicate thermocouples attached to telescopes. It has fur-
ther been noted that the true surface of these two planets is unobservable. It is supposed that the disc seen in the telescope is only the image of immense clouds of ammonia crystals in the atmosphere of the planets whirling around in stormy winds, blowing with velocities exceeding 500 miles an hour. All of which, says the scientist, renders life impossible.
But, wait - he admits that the surface of the planets are invisible, so that the bitterly cold temperatures he measures are only those of the outer atmosphere. Our own, several hundred miles up, is probably just as cold. Further, while the sun to an inhabitant of these planets, would appear as just a particularly bright star, and thus would afford little heat, still there are other sources of heat besides that of the sun, radioactivity in the rocks for example. Our earth is growing warmer year by year from this cause. The immense blanket of clouds surrounding these outer planets would effectively keep such internal heat as these planets might possess from radiating itself away into space.
And again, the proportion of surface area to volume of these planets is much less than that which obtains for the earth (surface area varying as the square of the diameter, volume as the cube), so that again their surface temperature would have to be greater than that of the earth, provided it received no sunlight, for the heat generated by radioactivity to escape.
It is conceivable then, that temperatures within the range of suitability for the living organism might be encountered. The presence of ammonia and methane is not altogether a detriment to life, ammonia even might be considered as a by-product of life. For, on the earth, with the exception of those formed by lighting discharges in the atmosphere, nitrogen compounds result only from the action of the living vegetable organism, whether it be the single-celled bacterium or the lordly tree.
And it is said of Venus, that we also do not observe the true planet but only its cloudy atmosphere. Further, it is said of it, that its atmosphere contains immense quantities of carbon dioxide which again is supposed to be inimical to life. And yet other scientists have supposed that early in the history of the earth, in the Cretaceous Age particularly, its atmosphere was extremely cloudy, and filled also with carbon dioxide vapor. It was during this age, the Cretaceous, that our coal-beds were laid down by vegetable growth far more abundant than we have ever had since. It is said even that vegetable life was responsible for the clearing out of the atmosphere of this carbon dioxide, so rendering the animal life which followed possible.
For all Science knows, Venus may be in its Cretaceous Age, though the Secret Doctrine says it is in its seventh round. The proximity of Venus to the sun may be no hindrance to the manifestation of life, for the carbon-dioxide blanket would reflect rays in the infra-red portion of the spectrum, - while the clouds of aqueous-vapor would do the same for the visible spectrum. Further, Venus being smaller than the earth, and having less surface area per unit of volume, could reasonably be expected to have a lower surface emissivity of radioactive generated heat, and so consequently a lower intrinsic surface temperature.
Mars has the appearance of a dying planet, and science now concedes the possibility of life on it, but of a low-grade form only. For while Mars has polar ice-caps, clouds like our own of aqueous vapor, an atmosphere which might support life, and a temperature range not greatly different from our own; yet, so it is said, extremes are greater and water-vapor less abundant. Skepticism is voiced as to the creation of its so-called canals by intelligent beings and the only form of life possible on its surface is said to be that of low-grade grasses and the like.
Perhaps little criticism of this viewpoint can be advanced beyond pointing out
that it may be due to unwillingness to concede a point. One statement made by a recent writer is open to criticism however. It is said that the reddish color of the Martian surface is due to the oxidation of the iron in its crust, and that in consequence, little oxygen can remain in its atmosphere. The statement is further made, that our own earth is pursuing the same course.
To expose this fallacy, one need merely ask oneself if there is anything on the surface of our earth, in the waters thereof, or in the rocks beneath, save only the forms of life, coal -deposits, oil and natural gas, which is not as thoroughly oxidized as it can well be. Incidentally, practically all of our thoroughly oxidized iron ores (haematite as distinct from magnetite), have been formed and concentrated by living organisms, iron-fixing bacteria.
The Scottish Verdict
It is safer by far to give the Scottish verdict of "Not Proven" in respect of the possibility of life on other planets, than dogmatically to assert that it does or does not exist. For even if conditions vary as between the planets, as must be conceded, this in itself is no criterion of the absence of life. Life is an ubiquitous thing and assumes many forms even on earth. It is even in the case of the bacteria, able to use in the maintenance of their life processes things other than the air we breath and the food we eat. There are bacteria which use iron for fuel much as we do carbon; others use sulphur, others calcium. And it is conceivably possible that some unknown form of life might build up a world of its own through the use of silicon instead of carbon. The two are somewhat alike in the variety of their compounds.
The assumption is that the planets exhibit in one present time, various stages through which the earth may at least in part have passed, or stages (including the burnt-out moon) to which it will in future come. And along with this we can assume that wherever and whenever possible, life will manifest itself, and life being protean-like in nature, the limits of its manifestation are not those presented by our earth. This is the common-sense view and this is the view taken in The Secret Doctrine.
- W. F. S.
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