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VOL. XVI, No. 10. HAMILTON, DECEMBER 15th, 1935 Price 10 Cents
" TO DO GOOD AND DISTRIBUTE - "
To read the lore of the heart one must have written some words in the Book of Life. We can imagine how the Wise Ones listen with grave and perhaps amused interest to our speeches, modestly meant to show that we are doing our lessons as well as we can. We take delight in the prattle of our children, and what is but infant prattle from our lips, in the ears of the All-hearing may be token to them of what we dare not dream of now. But we must become like little children, and to be good children calls for an innocent artlessness, which may well shame our more weighty achievements.
To do good is not, after all, merely the work of children. At this Christmas time we may specialize a little in this sentiment, since for too many it is nothing more than sentiment; but when we proceed to distribute, we enter a new realm where discrimination, judgment, taste, prudence and many other virtues, intellectual, practical, ethical and vital have their place and power. Andover all these at Christmas tim is poured out the blessed unction of love in fuller or lesser measure, as it wells up in the heart of the gift giver. here are givers who have no chrism to grace their offering, but if they keep on giving, the day will come when the sweet waters of kindness will gush up in their hearts and refresh every withered plant in the desert of their darkness. What a nation we should have if all men took it to heart to make Christmas an every day festival!
We would get rid of the economics of scarcity and its dismal science, and replace it with the economics of plenty, and learn that distribution is the lacking element in our trade and commerce. We would no longer calculate on returns, but figure large estimates of intangible values. To do good and distribute is perhaps too God-like a proposal for every day, but it is good to have a seed-sowing on one day of the year, and it is not by accident that the Lord and Giver of Life to our earthly system starts once more one his journey of beneficence and goodwill towards springtime and seedtime, summer warmth and brightness, with the fruits of autumn to follow. We are but units in that One Life, most of us in the tadpole stage, but when we begin to knows the joy of giving we begin to grow from within, and too lift up our hearts towards the Mount of Sacrifice.
Christmas is our time of blessing, of new birth, of larger hope, of diviner life. Dear friends are dearer; our enemies, if so we regard them, are only on the other side of our Christmas Tree, and their gifts would look as good to us as those that we are ready to receive. The Great Sun shines all round the world. We must write some words in the Book of Life before we can read the lore of the heart. To do good and distribute forget not. Some one may arise and call you blessed. And what if it be the Master?
FIDELITY TO H. P. B.'s MESSAGE.
A WHITE LOTUS DAY ADDRESS.
By Dr. G. de Purucker
To my Fellow Students in Theosophy, and to our Companions in Theosophical work.
The revolving months have once again brought around the anniversary of the passing to the "Home" which she loved so well, of our great H.P.B.
Once a year we meet together, in accordance with her request, to commemorate with due meed of respect and love the life ands labors of our Masters' first public Messenger to the modern world. It was not her request that we should pay homage or reverence to her, nor even to make a demonstration in her memory of the love and respect which we bear towards her in our hearts; these we do solely from the impulse of our own souls; her request rather was that her life and work should be commemorated, solely for their Theosophical value on each anniversary of her passing from the physical plane, and again solely that thereby the delicate spiritual and psychological factors involved in her mission should be kept ever present in our minds and hearts.
The writer of these lines receives each year requests from many places to write especial messages for White Lotus Day commemorative services to be held in these different places; and he would gladly do so had he the spare energy and the time to meet these many calls; but with the growing burden of his daily routine-work, which is steadily increasing from year to year, and indeed from month to month, and with his many other official occupations which need not here be mentioned, it has become physically impossible to comply with each such individual request for an especial Message of greeting containing at least a few lines of suggestive and constructive Theosophical thought. He has therefore decided to meet the situation in a manner which seems to him to be both practical and useful; and it is by writing the present Message, which will, he hopes, be read on each White Lotus Day anniversary, as the cycling years bring it around, by those who care so to do.
Many indeed are the thoughts which crowd the mind and press for written expression, when one inwardly visions our great H.P.B.'s life and her immortally beautiful labors; but there are two especially salient characteristics of both which to the present writer it seems profitable to us all and spiritually as well as intellectually helpful to emphasize. These two characteristics are, first, her great, her immense, her truly Buddha-like Charity; and second, her inflexible, her strong - her very strong - Fidelity.
It is not easy out of such a treasury of great virtues, and brilliant intellectual and psychical endowments such as she had, to choose which ones might be most helpful for us to aspire daily to follow; yet in view of circumstances, both of the past and in the present, and doubtless to be with us in the future, it has seemed to the undersigned that the two virtues above mentioned, while not the only ones needed in our Theosophical work, are the two which, practicing them faithfully, will help our beloved Work most, and fill our hearts and enlighten our minds in the greatest degree.
It should be evident do every thoughtful mind, that world history is but repeating itself in the history of the Theosophical Movement since H.P.B.'s passing; and by "history" in this instance is meant the course of events which have characterized every spiritual and intellectual and psychical movement formerly instituted for the betterment of mankind. In these Movements, always the Teacher comes, sent as a Messenger or Envoy by the Masters of
Wisdom and Compassion; the Messenger's life-work is done, success is achieved, and the Teacher passes; and then, because of the faults and weaknesses inherent in human nature, even in the best of us all, and in whatever part of the world, differences of opinion; differences of viewpoint, misunderstanding and intellectual contrarieties, rend the work in twain or in three parts or in four or in more, and each one such division thereafter is all too apt to pursue its own path in haughty isolation, forgetful of its common birth with its fellow portions, and often treating its fellow-fragments of the original Movement or Association with contempt and suspicion and dislike, evil offspring of the stupid but always fecund Mother, Ignorance, and of the prolific but shifty-eyed Father, Fear. Ignorance and Fear, and Hatred their child!
It is a saddening historic picture indeed when we see it as we may in our own beloved Theosophical Movement; yet there is something in the picture withal which saves us from foolish pessimism. The present writer is one who not only feels, but may say that he knows, and he says this with due reserve, that the breaking up of the original Theosophical Society into its present fragments was not only foreseen as something that would probably come to pass but, despite its unfortunate features nevertheless has elements in it which give us grounds of genuine hope that the original purposes of the Theosophical Movement have not been lost, but, on the contrary, will be preserved; and wild grow ever stronger as time passes, provided we all do our parts to that end. This objective we should unite and work for with unceasing energy, and with our eyes to the future.
However, let this be as it may. The present writer has no wish or intention here to labor the question, nor to elaborate its interesting philosophical and even spiritual factors. What concerns him most at the present time is the preserving of the nucleus such as H.P.B. formed it for us, gave it into our hands to cherish, and to pass on too our successors in the Work. We must remember that no such nucleus of a genuine Theosophical Brotherhood will be fit to endure and to perform its proper work in the world unless it is based on those spiritual qualities which the Masters have pointed out to us as the sine qua non of a successful Theosophical organization; and first among these qualities, and in the front rank, the present writer would place the two grand virtues of universal Charity and perfect Fidelity: Charity not only to those of our own family - our own T.S. - but Charity to all and to everyone without exception; as much to those who differ from us, and who may even go so far as to attempt to injure us, as we are charitable or try to be so to those with whom we feel most spiritual and intellectual sympathy, they of our own Household, of our own Family. Let our record in this respect be so clean, on so high and truly spiritual a plane, that the mere thought of losing it or abandoning it would cause us greater and more poignant grief than any other loss we could possibly incur.
Let me remind you, my Brothers and Fellow Students and Companions, of the words of the Christian Initiate Paul, as they are found in his First Letter too the Corinthians given in the Christian New Testament, in chapter xiii, verses 1, 3, 4, 5, 6, 13; and whatever Paul at times may have had in his somewhat paradoxical and somewhat devious mind, at other times he wrote some beautiful things, and none perhaps are more beautiful than these verses above mentioned, which run in their common English translation as follows:
Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become a sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal.
And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing.
Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not
itself, is not puffed up.
Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil;
Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth;
And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity.
Yea, verily, my Brothers, these are true words indeed.
Let us, however, turn to a far grander source than that of the Christian Paul to get an inspiring thought of the same kind, to one of our Master's own statements, which runs as follows:
Beware then, of an uncharitable spirit, for it will rise up like a hungry wolf in your path, and devour the better qualities of your nature which have been springing into life. Broaden instead of narrowing your sympathies; try to identify yourself with your fellows, rather than to contract your circle of affinity.... It is not the moment for reproaches or vindictive recriminations, but for united struggle. - The Mahatma Letters to A.P. Sinnett, p. 367
There is at the present time altogether too little of this sublime and truly spiritual Theosophical virtue, Charity, in the general Theosophical Movement; although the present writer will say, because the believes it to be true, that in our beloved T.S. this beautiful virtue is revered and aspired to, thanks be to the immortal gods. The reason is that we are so inwardly sure of our own field of effort, and of the justice of our Cause, and of the purity of our motives, that whatever mistakes we may make, it is precisely because we have malice towards none and good will towards all that we are able to open our hearts and minds to the benign influences of Charity, and thus are able to see good and at times much good, even in those who, because gravely misunderstanding us and our efforts, refuse our proffered hand of fellowship and even, at times may seek to injure us.
After all, it is the man who is uncertain of his own ground, who lacks the blessed virtue of Charity; who envieth and who therefore is not kind, and who is easily provoked, who delights in picking flaws or imaginary flaws, in the thoughts and acts and Theosophical labors of Brother Theosophists. Let use strive, I say, always to keep out of our hearts the "uncharitable spirit" of which the Master speaks.
There are not a few such uncharitable ones in the Theosophical Movement, in one or other of its different branches, at the present time; but towards these our mis-understanding Brothers, let us preserve unruffled the strong spirit of brotherly kindness and of unceasing Charity; for in this manner we shall be practicing our Masters' precepts, and thereby exercising the equally spiritual virtue of the Fidelity of which H.P.B. was so eminent an exemplar. Among the first of hers and of our Masters' teachings is the statement that in a heart filled with dislike and suspicion and fear and hatred of others, especially of Fellow-Theosophists, the Spirit of Truth dwelleth not; nor are such unfortunate victims of uncharity, followers in true fidelity either of H.P.B.'s teachings or of the broad platform of universal benevolence and sympathetic understanding which she laid down, and herself fought all her life long firmly to establish for us. We must at all cost to our own feelings keep this spiritual platform secure and safe for the future.
It is futile and entirely beside the mark to say, as some may perhaps say, that in pointing out the desperate wickedness of other Theosophists we are doing our Masters work in exposing wrong and fraud to the world. In no case would we be manifesting the true spirit of Charity and Fidelity to our Masters admonitions were we to call a Brother Theosophist by names suggesting ignominy, such as "traitor", "impostor", insincere", etc., etc. Outside of anything else, all this is very bad psychology, if not worse; and it certainly is not the way by which to reform any abuses that may have crept into the
Theosophical Movement. Arrogance in criticizing others shows clearly self-righteousness in the notion that the critics views are the only "holy ones," and that all who differ from him are on the "wrong path," or on the "downward path."
Let us pursue the contrary course to all this, my Brothers. Utterly true as we strive to be to our Masters' teachings, and to H.P.B.'s noble life, let us exemplify this Fidelity with which we follow them by practicing Charity and forgiveness. This is the quickest and best way by which to bring `wandering sheep' back to the folds; for by throwing mud at them, or stones, or missiles of any kind, we but drive them still farther away from us, and alienate them still more; and we certainly thereby do not exemplify in our lives the noble precepts which we profess.
The reference above is to mud-throwing, and the ascribing to Brother-Theosophists of unworthy and possibly evil motives. This is not only wrong, but is utterly contrary to the spirit of Charity. Obviously, however, it does not refer to the perfectly proper and indeed often beneficial results that follow from a candid, frank, generous but always courteous, discussion, or even criticism, of religious, philosophic, or scientific opinions or writings proffered by others. It is one thing too condemn the sin; another thing to condemn the sinner. The evils of orthodoxy can be avoided in our beloved Movement by faithfully retaining the platform of free and open discussion which H.P.B. founded, and which she and all her true followers have cherished; this likewise brings about the birth of keen intellectual and even spiritual interests in our teachings. Such open and frank discussion of doctrines and tenets therefore is not only permissible, but even to be encouraged; but the simplest minded should be able to see that a criticism of doctrines or tenets is quite different from the throwing of mud at those whose views we dislike, or the ascribing to them of motives either unworthy or evil or both.
The few cases which have come under the present writer's attention of such unkind aspersions of other Theosophists, seem to arise - and one is glad to state this for it appears to be true - in a mistaken feeling that because Theosophists differ among themselves - aud what can be more natural than that Theosophists should hold different opinions? - there is danger of standard Theosophical teachings being abandoned, and therefore X and Y who differ from, let us say Z, are on the wrong path. It is not right to hold this idea or feeling. As H.P.B. so forcibly points out in her First Message to the American Section of the Theosophical Society, written in 1888:
Orthodoxy in Theosophy is a thing neither possible nor desirable. It is diversity of opinion, within certain limits that keeps the Theosophical Society a living and a healthy body, its many other ugly features notwithstanding. Were it not, also, for the existence of a large amount of uncertainty in the minds of students of Theosophy, such healthy divergences would be impossible, and the Society would degenerate into a sect, in which a narrow and stereotyped creed would take the place of the living and breathing spirit of Truth and an ever growing Knowledge.
These are wise words, very wise words indeed!
Possibly there is no one in the entire Theosophical Movement who loves more greatly and who holds more strongly to the Original Message which H.P. Blavatsky brought to the modern world from the Masters, than does the writer of these lines. In fact, he is invariable, even rigid on the point; but just precisely because he realizes with intense keenness of conviction that to be utterly true in Fidelity to H.P.B.'s Message means being true all along the line crud throughout, not only in matters of teaching, but likewise in matters of charity of spirit, so does he realize with ethics and in brotherly kindness, and in equal intensity of conviction that healthy divergences of opinion, combined with fidelity to the Original Message, will do away with any possibility of the T.S.'s
degenerating into a mere sect in which bigoted and narrow minded views, however much of partial truth they may have, show that while the `word' has been kept, the `spirit,' with its softening and refining and benign influences, has been lost.
Those, therefore, who yearn to be alike in quality of life at least, in feeling and in devotion to that part of the character of the Great Theosophist, H.P. Blavatsky, which the writer of the present lines has called her "strong fidelity," will realize that Fidelity means fidelity in whole, and not in part. A Theosophist may know The Secret Doctrine of H.P.B. from cover-page to cover-page; he may be able to rattle off at will incidents innumerable in the history of her life; he may be able to cite volume and page and word, of the thoughts of our great H.P.B.; but if he have not her spirit of Charity living in his heart and enlightening his mind, he does not understand the Fidelity which was so eminently hers, and therefore himself is not faithful either to the Message which she brought, or to the Masters whom she pointed to as our noblest exemplars in life.
Let us then remain for ever faithful followers of the complete Fidelity, and of the immense Charity, which made H.P.B. not only the Messenger she truly was, but the chela she became because of them. On these White Lotus Day occasions, in commemoration of her great life, and of her even greater Work, let us once and all strive to become more alike unto her, and as best we can unto those glorious Examples of the Masters - Men whom she served so faithfully. Let these anniversaries which we call White Lotus Day, be unto us times when we enter into the arcanum of our own souls, and communing together, seek to expel from within us all unworthy things which should have no place in the Temple. Let us on each such anniversary-occasion strive to reform our lives each time a little more, taking a step forwards on each such occasion, and through the ensuing year hold fast to the progress thus achieved - at least in our hearts.
This is what would please our well-beloved H.P.B. most, and this is certain; for it is a following of the spirit of her wish that the date of her passing be held as a commemorative and inspiring anniversary.
With these words the present writer closes this, a heartfelt plea, with a final reminder that as we have been told in perfectly clear teams, the Theosophical Society will live into the future and progress, as it was intended to grow, exactly in proportion as we, its component elements, keep it where our Masters and our beloved H.P.B. left it when she left this Earth-plane.
I am, my Brothers, in trust and affection,
G. de Purucker.
The above is reprinted by special permission of Dr. G. de Purucker, leader of The Theosophical Society, Point Loma, from The Theosophical Forum of May 15.
INTRODUCTION TO THE PHILOSOPHY AND WRITINGS OF PLATO
By Thomas Taylor
(Continued from Page 290)
But it is now time to present the reader with a general view of the works of Plato, and, also to speak of the preambles, digressions, and style of their author, and of the following translation. In accomplishing the first of these, I shall avail myself of the synopsis of Mr. Sydenham, taking the liberty at the same time of correcting it where it appears to be erroneous, and of making additions to it where it appears to be deficient.
The dialogues of Plato are of various kinds; not only with regard to those different matters, which are the subjects of them; but in respect of the manner also in which they are composed or framed, and of the form under which they make their appearance to the reader. It Will therefore, as I imagine, be not improper, in pur-
suance of the admonition given us by Plato himself in his dialogue named Phaedrus, ** and in imitation of the example set us by the ancient Platonists to distinguish the several kinds; by dividing them, first, into the most general; and then, subdividing into the subordinate; till we come to those lower species, that particularly and precisely denote the nature of the several dialogues, and from which they ought to take their respective denominations.
** Whoever is unable to divide and distinguish things into their several sorts or species; and, on the other hand, referring every particular to its proper species, to comprehend them all in one general idea; will never understand any writings of which those things are the subject, like a true critic, upon those high principles of art to which the human understanding reaches. We have thought proper, here, to paraphrase this passage, for the sake of giving to every part of so important a sentence its full force, agreeably to the tenor of Plato's doctrine; and in order to initiate our readers into a way of thinking, that probably many of them are as yet unacquainted with.
The most general division of the writings of Plato, is into those of the Sceptical kind, and those of they Dogmatical. In the former sort, nothing is expressly either proved or asserted, some philosophical question only is considered and examined; and the reader is left to himself to draw such conclusions, and discover such truths as the philosopher means to insinuate. This is done, either in the way of inquiry, or in the way of controversy and dispute. In the way of controversy are carried on all such dialogues, as tend to eradicate false opinions; and that, either indirectly, by involving them in difficulties, and embarrassing the maintainers of them; or directly, by confuting them. In the way of inquiry proceed those whose tendency is to raise in the mind right opinions; and that either by exciting to the pursuit of some part of wisdom, and showing in what manner to investigate it; or by leading the way, and helping the mind forward in the search. And this is effected by a process through opposing arguments. **
** It is necessary to observe that Plato in the Parmenides calls all that part of his Dialectic, which proceeds through opposite arguments, an exercise and wandering.
The dialogues of the other kind, the Dogmatical or Didactic, teach explicitly some point of doctrine; and this they do either by laying it down in the authoritative way, or by proving it in the ways of reason and argument. In the authoritative way the doctrine is delivered, sometimes by the speaker himself magisterially, at other times as derived to him by tradition from wise men. The argumentative or demonstrative method of teaching, used by Plato, proceeds in all the dialectic ways, dividing, defining, demonstrating, and analysing; and the object of it consists in exploring truth alone.
According to this division is framed the following scheme, or table:
* We have, given us by Diogenes Laertius, another division of the characters, as he calls them, of Plato's writings, different from that exhibited in the scheme above. This we have thought proper to subjoin, on account of its antiquity and general reception.
The learned reader will observe the latter half of the dialogues, according to this scheme, to be described by metaphors taken from the gymnastic art: the dialogues, here termed gymnastic, being imagined to bear a similitude to that exercise; the agonistic, to the combat. In the lowest sub-division, indeed, the word maieutic is a metaphor of another kind, fully explained in Plato's Theaetetus: the maieutic dialogues, however, were supposed to resemble giving the rudiments of the art; as the peirastic were, to represent a-skirmish, or trial of proficiency: the endeietic were, it seems, likened to the exhibiting a specimen of skill; and the anatreptic, to presenting the spectacle of a thorough defeat, or sound drubbing.
The principal reason why we contented not ourselves with this account of the difference between the dialogues of Plato, was the capital error there committed in the first subdivision, of course extending itself through the latter. This error consists in dividing the Didactic dialogues with regard to their subject-matter; while those of the Inquisitive sort are divided with respect to the manner of their composition. So that the subdivisions fall not, with any propriety, under one and the same general head. Besides, a novice in the works of Plato might hence be led naturally to suppose, that the dogmatical or didactic dialogues are, all of them, written in the same manner; and that the others, those of the inquisitive kind, by us termed sceptical, have no particular subjects at all; or, if they have, that their subjects are different from those of the didactic dialogues, and are consequently unphilosophical. Now every one of the suppositions here mentioned is far from being true.
The philosopher, in thus varying his manner, and diversifying his writings into these several kinds, means not merely to entertain with their variety; not to teach, on different occasions, with more or less plainness and perspicuity; not yet to insinuate different degrees of certainty in the doctrines themselves: but he takes this method, as a consummate master of the art of composition in the dialogue-way of writing, from the different characters of the speakers, as from different elements in the frame of these dramatic dialogues, or different ingredients in their mixture, producing some peculiar genius and turn of temper, as it were, in each.
Socrates indeed is in almost all of them the principal speaker: but when he falls into the company of some arrogant sophist; when the modest wisdom, and clear science of the one, are contrasted with the confident ignorance and blind opinionativeness of the other; dispute and controversy must of course arise: where the false pretender cannot fail of being either puzzled or confuted. To puzzle him only is sufficient, if there be no other persons present; because such a man can never be confuted in his own opinion: but when there is an audience round them, in danger of being misled by sophistry into error, then is the true philosopher to exert his utmost, and the vain sophist to be convicted and exposed.
In some dialogues Plato represents his great master mixing in conversation with young men of the best families in the commonwealth. When these happen to have docile dispositions and fair min's, then is occasion given to the philosopher to call forth ** the latent seeds of wisdom, and to cultivate the noble plants with true doctrine, in the affable and familiar way of joint inquiry. To this is owing the inquisitive genius of such dialogues: where, by a seeming equality in the conversation, the curiosity or zeal of the mere stranger is excited; that of the disciple is encouraged; and, by proper questions, the mind is aided and forwarded in the search of truth.
** We require exhortation, that we may be led to true good; dissuasion, that we may be turned from things truly evil; obstetrication, that we may draw forth our unperverted conceptions; and confutation, that we may be purified from two-fold ignorance.
At other times, the philosophic hero of these dialogues is introduced in a higher character, engaged in discourse with men of more improved understandings and enlightened minds. At such seasons he has an opportunity of teaching in a more explicit manner, and of discovering the reasons of things: for to such an audience truth is due, and all demonstrations ** possible in the teaching it. Hence, in the dialogues composed of these persons, naturally arises the justly argumentative or demonstrative genius; and this, as we have before observed, according to all the dialectic methods.
** The Platonists rightly observe, that Socrates, in these cases, makes use of demonstrative and just reasoning, (apodeiktikou;) whereas to the novice he is contented with arguments only probable, (pithanois;) and against the litigious sophist often employs such as are eristikoi; puzzling and contentious.
But when the doctrine to be taught admits not of demonstration; of which kind is the doctrine of antiquities, being only traditional, and a matter of belief; and the doctrine of laws, being injunctional, and the matter of obedience; the air of authority is then assumed: in the former cases, the doctrine is traditionally handed down to others from the authority
of ancient sages; in the latter, is magisterially pronounced with the authority of a legislator. **
** It is necessary to observe, that in those dialogues in which Socrates is indeed introduced, but sustains an inferior part, he is presented to our view as a learner, and not as a teacher; and this is the case in the Parmenides and Timaeus. For by the former of these philosophers he is instructed in the most abtruse theological dogmas, and by the latter in the whole of physiology.
Thus much for the manner in which the dialogues of Plato are severally composed, and the cast of genius given them in their composition. The form under which they appear, or the external character that marks them, is of three sorts; either purely dramatic, like the dialogue of tragedy or comedy; or purely narrative, where a former conversation is supposed to be committed to writing, and communicated to some absent friend; or of the mixed kind, like a narration in dramatic poems, where is recited, to some person present, the story of things past.
Having thus divided the dialogues of Plato, in respect of that inward form or composition, which creates their genius; and again, with reference to that outward form, which marks them, like flowers and other vegetables, with a certain character; we are further to make a division of them, with regard to their subject and their design; beginning with their design, or end, because for the sake of this are all the subjects chosen. The end of all the writings of Plato is that, which is the end of all true philosophy or wisdom, the perfection and the happiness of man. Man therefore is the general subject; and the first business of philosophy must be to inquire what is that being called man, who is to be made happy; and what is his nature, in the perfection of which is placed his happiness. As however, in the preceding part of this Introduction, we have endeavored to give the outlines of Plato's doctrine concerning man, it is unnecessary in this place to say any thing further on that subject.
The dialogues of Plato, therefore, with respect to their subjects, may be divided into the speculative, the practical, and such as are of a mixed nature. The subjects of these last are either general, comprehending both the others; or differential, distinguishing them. The general subject are either fundamental, or final: those of the fundamental kind are philosophy, human nature, the soul of man; of the final kind are love, beauty, good. The differential regard knowledge, as it stands related to practice; in which are considered two questions: one of which is, whether virtue is to he taught; the other is, whether error in the will depends on error in the judgment. The subjects of the speculative dialogues relate either to words, or to things. Of the former sort are etymology, sophistry, rhetoric, poetry: of the latter sort are science, true being, the principles of mind, outward nature. The practical subjects relate either to private conduct, and the government of the mind over the whole man; or to his duty towards others in his several relations; or to the government of a civil state, and the public conduct of a whole people. Under these three heads rank in order the particular subjects practical; virtue in general, sanctity, temperance, fortitude, justice, friendship, patriotism, piety; the ruling mind in a civil government, the frame and order of a state, law in general, and lastly, those rules of government and of public conduct, the civil laws.
Thus, for the sake of giving the reader a scientific, that is a comprehensive, and at the same time a distinct view of Plato's writings, we have attempted to exhibit to him, their just and natural distinctions; whether he chooses to consider them with regard to their inward form or essence, their outward form or appearance, their matter; or their end: that is, in those more familiar terms, we have used in this Synopsis, their genius, their character, their subject, and their design.
And here it is requisite to observe, that as it is the characteristic of the highest good to be universally beneficial, though some things are benefitted by it more and
others less, in consequence of their greater or less aptitude to receive it; in like manner the dialogues of Plato are so largely stamped with the characters of sovereign good, that they are calculated to benefit in a certain degree even those who are incapable of penetrating their profundity. They can tame a savage sophist, like Thrasymachus in the Republic; humble the arrogance even of those who are ignorant of their ignorance; make those to become proficients in political, who will never arrive at theoretic virtue; and, in short, like the illuminations of deity, wherever there is any portion of aptitude in their recipients, they purify, irradiate, and exalt.
After this general view of the dialogues of Plato, let us in the next place consider their preambles, the digressions with which they abound, and the character of the style in which they are written. With respect to the first of these, the preambles, however superfluous they may at first sight appear, they will be found on a closer inspection necessary to the design of the dialogues which they accompany. Thus the prefatory part of the Timaeus unfolds, in images agreeably to the Pythagoric custom, the theory of the world; and the first part of the Parmenides, or the discussion of ideas, is in fact merely a preamble to the second pant, or the speculation of the one; to which however it is essentially preparatory. Hence, as Plutarch says, when he speaks of Plato's dialogue on the Atlantic island: These preambles are superb gates and magnificent courts with which he purposely embellishes his great edifices, that nothing may be wanting to their beauty, and that all may be equally splendid. He acts, as Dacier well observes, like a great prince, who, when he builds a sumptuous palace, adorns (in the language of Pindar) the vestibule with golden pillars. For it is fit that what is first seen should be splendid and magnificent, and should as it were perspicuously announce all that grandeur which afterwards presents itself to the view.
With respect to the frequent digressions in his dialogues, these also, when accurately examined, will be found to be no less subservient to the leading design of the dialogues in which they are introduced; at the same time that they afford a pleasing relaxation to the mind from the labor of severe investigation. Hence Plato, by the most happy and enchanting art, contrives to lead the reader to the temple of Truth through the delightful groves and valleys of the Graces. In short, this circuitous course, when attentively considered, will be found to be the shortest road by which he could conduct the reader to the desired end: for in accomplishing this it is necessary to regard not that road, which is most straight in the nature of things, or abstractedly considered, but that which is most direct in the progressions of human understanding.
With respect to the style of Plato, though it forms in reality the most inconsiderable part of the merit of his writings, style in all philosophical works being the last thing that should be attended to, yet even in this Plato may contend for the palm of excellence with the most renowned masters of diction. Hence we find that his style was the admiration of the finest writers of antiquity. According to Ammianus, Jupiter himself would not speak otherwise, if he were to converse in the Attic tongue. Aristotle considered his style as a medium between poetry and prose. Cicero no less praises him for the excellence of his diction than the profundity of his conceptions; and Longinus call's him with respect to his language, the rival of Homer. Hence he is considered by this prince of critics, as deriving into himself abundant streams from the Homeric fountain, and is compared by him, in his rivalship of Homer, to a new antagonist who enters the lists against one that is already the object of universal admiration.
Notwithstanding this praise, however, Plato has been accused, as Longinus informs us, of being frequently hurried away as by a certain Bacchic fury of words to
immoderate and unpleasant metaphors, and an allegoric magnificence of diction. Longinus excuses this by saying that whatever naturally excels in magnitude possesses very little of purity. For that, says he, which is in every respect accurate is in danger of littleness. He adds, "and may not this also be necessary, that those of an abject and moderate genius, because they never encounter danger, nor aspire after the summit of excellence, pare for the most part without error and remain in security; but that great things become insecure through their magnitude?" Indeed it appears to me, that whenever this exuberance, this Bacchic fury, occurs in the diction of Plato, it is owing to the magnitude of the inspiring influence of deity with which he is then replete. For that he sometimes wrote from divine inspiration is evident from his own confession in the Phaedrus, a great part of which is not so much like an orderly discourse as a dithyrambic poem. Such a style therefore, as it is the progeny of divine mania, which, as Plato justly observes, is better than all human prudence, spontaneously adapts itself to its producing cause, imitates a supernatural power as far as this can be effected by words, and thus necessarily becomes magnificent, vehement, and exuberant; for such are the characteristics of its source. All judges of composition however, both ancient and modern, are agreed that his style is in general graceful and pure; and that it is sublime without being impetuous and rapid. It is indeed no less harmonious than elevated, no less accurate ** than magnificent. It combines the force of the greatest orators with tho graces of the first of poets; and in short; is a river to which those justly celebrated lines of Denham may be most pertinently applied:
Tho' deep, yet clear; tho' gentle, yet not dull;
Strong without rage, without o'erfowing full.
** The reader will see, from the notes on Plato's dialogues, and particularly from the notes on the Parmenides and Timaeus, that the style of that philosopher possesses an accuracy which is not to be found in any modern writer; an accuracy of such a wonderful nature, that the words are exactly commensurate with the sense. Hence the reader who has happily penetrated his profundity finds, with astonishment, that another word could not have been added without being superfluous, nor one word taken away without injuring the sense. The same observation may also be applied to the style of Aristotle.
(To Be Continued.)
"A PIXIE'S ADVENTURES IN HUMANLAND."
This very charming story of a fairyland which is none the less attractive for having been newly discovered, should be a most welcome addition to the libraries of our Theosophical young folks. There are still many Mr. Gradgrinds in the world, and we have even met them in Theosophical Lodges, but for the most part, fairy tales are still in fashion, and are welcomed by all properly trained young people. They serve to eliminate priggishness, and to conserve and even increase the milk of human kindness in the world. Jean Delaire, (who is Mrs. Muirson Blake), writes with a fine sympathy for children and with a keen appreciation of the life of nature and its creatures of the lower creations. Those who read this narrative will find many truths illustrated that are obvious enough when understood, but have been forgotten in the materialism of our civilization. (Theosophical Publishing House, London, 3/6.)
One of the privileges of living in the Twentieth Century is the opportunity of allying oneself with the Theosophical Movement, originated by the Mahatmas and of making a link, however slender, with the Elder Brothers of Mankind. Join any Theosophical Society that follows the traditions of the Masters of Wisdom and study their Secret Doctrine. You can strengthen the link you make by doing service, by strong search, by questions, and by humility. We should be able to build the future on foundations of Wisdom, Love and Justice.
On the 18th inst. Toronto Lode celebrated both the 60th birthday of the parent T.S. and the 45th of its own founding, and the occasion was a great success with over a hundred members and friends present. Chief amongst these was Dr. Augusta Stowe Gullen who, with her mother Dr. Emily Stowe, were charter members of Toronto Lodge and the first ladies to practice medicine in Canada, after overcoming the strong resistance of medical authorities. Two other charter members are still living, Mr. Algernon Blackwood, the famous author, who resides in London, Eng., and Mr. A.E.S. Smythe, the General Secretary of they Canadian Society, who lives in Hamilton. Of members admitted before 1900, fifteen signed the roll of those present; this included Mrs. K. Moffatt, who had the privilege of meeting H.P.B. in England and told us about her; "wonderful eyes, which seemed to look right through me." Six more signatures were dated between 25 and 35 years ago, and forty-four gave dates less than 25 years.
Col. E.L. Thomson, First Vice-President, opened the proceedings and read from several letters of greeting which had been received from Montreal, Hamilton and Kitchener lodges, from the St. Catharines group, and from numerous non-resident members, several of whom are now in British Columbia. One of the latter merits special attention as it came from Mr. J. Gardner, who also had the privilege of spending an hour with H.P.B. and her associates in her flat in London. The Chairman of the Celebration Committee, Mr. N.W.J. Haydon, was then asked to carry on and began by drawing attention to the handsome replica of the Society seal, in gold and colors, which Col. Thomson had made for the evening and given to the Lodge. He first called upon Mr. Felix Belcher, who, next to Mr. F.E. Titus, held the longest membership among those present, to read an extract from The Mahatma Letters which explains the choice of Colonel H.S. Olcott as a co-worker with H.P.B. in founding the parent Society, and other extracts from the Colonel's "Old Diary Leaves" which gave the details of the manner in which the Society came into being. Mr. F.E. Titus was then asked to narrate the story of the founding of Toronto Lodge, in the regretted absence of Mr. Smythe, and he paid tribute to the grasp of our late President, Mr. A.G. Horwood, in explaining the complexities of the Rounds and Races. Dr. Gullen then recalled her early association with Theosophy and described some of the pioneer work in behalf of Women's welfare carried out by her mother and herself. Mrs. Moffatt described what she could remember of her visit to H.P.B. at a party in the home of Mr. and Mrs. Sharp (Fiona Macleod); Mrs. Horwood and Mrs. Belcher, as our senior lady members, spoke of early days in the Toronto Lodge; Mrs. Goddard, widow of our former Treasurer, who used to sing at our meetings when her mother, Mrs. Darwin, was Secretary; Mrs., Haydon who, as Miss Pritchard, had been Secretary; Mr. Elmer Ogilvie, who had followed her in that service and Mrs. Janet Cornwell, all recalled their memories of 25 to 35 years ago. As a happy conclusion to this part of the programme, souvenir medals from Adyar were presented to Mrs. Horwood, Mrs. Belcher and Mrs. Cornwell.
During the social hour following, refreshments were served including a Birthday cake, suitably inscribed in colored icing. A loan exhibition of some fifty books, all dating before 1900, with volumes of poems, published (two) by Mr. Smythe and one each by Mr. W.T. James and our late Vice-President, Mr. Hunt Stanford. There was also a large collection of framed photographs of H.P.B.'s "Masters", of early members in Toronto, of Mr. Judge and his associates, (in 1893), a group at Adyar in 1884, and several European members who had become famous for their scholarship, e.g. G.R.S. Mead, Mme. de Steiger, Dr. Alex Wilder, Countess Wachtmeister, Dr. Franz Hartmann, and others;
all of which will form part of the equipment of Toronto Lodge.
During the festivities, Mr. Geo. Kinman proposed the health of Mr. Haydon for his efforts, which was very cordially supported, and the meeting closed with the singing of Auld Lang Syne, hands clasped and arms crossed.
Assistance in transporting some elderly and infirm members was kindly supplied by Mr. R.J. Catteral, Mr. E. Ogilvie and Mr. R. Marks; the management of the refreshments was in the care of Mrs. H. Illingworth.
- N. W. J. H.
[[ photo here - Lt.-Col. Thomson, D.S.O. ]]
Lt.-Col. E.L. Thomson, D.S.O., who was recently elected first vice-president of the Toronto Theosophical Society, saw active service in the South African War in 1901-2 with his regiment, the York and Lancasters. He was in the Great War from the beginning and was in France for a year after the Armistice. He represented his regiment at the Coronation of King Edward and also of King George. He saw the final act and the curtain rung down on the Victorian Era, that is to say, he was at the funerals of Queen Victoria, President Kruger and Cecil Rhodes. Col. Thomson is settling down into his position, which is virtually that of Acting President, and has many ideas about active work. He also designs a new decoration for the Theosophical Hall.
[[ photo here - Miss Maud E. Crafter ]]
Miss maud E. Crafter, who was recently elected second vice-president of the Toronto Theosophical Society, has been interested in Theosophy for many years, having first studied it in London, England, of which city she is a native, and knows the city thoroughly as a resident of the city proper. She has been and is a business woman, from necessity, perhaps, rather than from choice, but her efficiency is unquestioned and for the fourteen years in which she has given her services freely to the routine office work of the Canadian National Society, she has proved her abil-
ity in dealing with detail and correspondence. By choice she is a physical educationist and remedial gymnast, of which subjects she has made long and arduous study.
AUTHENTICITY OF VOL. III. THE SECRET DOCTRINE
Editor, Canadian Theosophist: - When Mr. Felix A. Belcher was visiting Victoria last August he explained to me his very interesting plan for leading young people to the study of the Secret Doctrine through their interest in modern science. Mr. Belcher is to be congratulated on the success to which many group-meetings have attained through his advice, and for having hit upon is method of promoting a study of which the importance cannot be overestimated. No greater service can be rendered to mankind than that of bringing the rising generations to a realization of the value of H.P.B.'s message and of the irrefutable scientific evidence of its veracity.
But I think it is to be regretted that Mr. Belcher advises the use of the so-called "Third Volume" of the Secret Doctrine for it was not published by H.P.B. nor with her consent, nor with the consent or supervision of the Masters. The title-page of this volume is completely misleading - untruthful in fact. It surely ought to be well known among theosophical students that Annie Besant compiled this "Third Volume" after Mme. Blavatsky's death, from MSS that were scattered about and piled in great confusion in her room. Probably many of these papers had been discarded by their author as misleading or otherwise unfit for publication. A.B.'s selection certainly included "Instructions" that had been given only to "The Inner Group" under pledge of never revealing them. She has explained, however, after H.P.B.'s death that she was released from her pledge. Instructions were given, it seems, through a little girl whom A.B. regarded as H.P.B.'s reincarnation. This little girl was a daughter of Chakravarti, the Hindu under whose influence A.B. became a Brahmin. That this "Third Vol." is not the one spoken of by H.P.B. is shown by the following quotation from page 437 of Vol. II, of the first edition of the, "S.D.": "In Volume III. of this work (the said Volume and the fourth being almost ready) a brief history of all the great adepts known to the ancients and the moderns in their chronological order will be given, as also a birds-eye view of the Mysteries, . . . . . . "
The equivalent of page 437 of the original edition is 456 of the revised edition but it would be useless to look there for the passage quoted because the revisers have omitted it. (For further information on this point, see Mr. Leechman's pamphlet, "Besant - or Blavatsky?")
On page 416 of this "Vol. III." the statement is made that "One of the chief mistakes of the Orientalists when judging on `internal (?) evidence' as they express it, was that they assumed that the Pratyeka Buddhas, the Bodhisattvas, and the `Perfect' Buddhas were a later development of Buddhism." And A.B. remarks in a footnote "The Pratyeka Buddha stands on the level of the Buddha, but his work for the world has nothing to do with its teaching, and His office has always been surrounded with mystery. The preposterous view that He, at such superhuman height of power, wisdom and love could be selfish is found in the exoteric books, though it is hard to see how it can have arisen. H.P.B. charged me to correct the mistake, as she had in a careless moment, copied such a statement elsewhere." The charge was given presumably by Chakravarti's little girl, but however it was conveyed it is in direct contradiction to the far-reaching and deeply occult teaching, given to the world for the first time in "The Two Paths" and "The Seven Portals" of the "Voice of the Silence", with regard to the "Open Path" which ends in "Bliss Immediate" and the "Secret Path" that leads to "Self-Immolation". We are told that "He who becomes Pratyeka Buddha makes his obeisance but to
his Self. The Bodhisattva who has won the battle, who holds the prize within his palm, yet says in his divine compassion: `For others' sake this great reward I yield - accomplishes he greater Renunciation." And close to the end of "The Seven Portals": "Thou art enlightened - choose thy way." One of the most important passages relative to this doctrine together with a long note by H.P.B. is omitted in A.B.'s edition of "The Voice of the Silence". A student must be idiotic to imagine that all this teaching and the notes thereon in this small book that contains occult truth to the very limit of what H.P.B. was authorized to reveal, was "copied" and in a "careless moment." This teaching is of profound importance to each one of us today, for we are warned by it that it is possible to conquer all earthly desire and yet remain spiritually selfish to the very end of our earthly evolution. It is according to our choices and motives of today that we are moving towards becoming Pratyeka Buddhas "caring nothing for the woes of mankind or to help it . . . . ." or whether we shall become "Buddhas of Compassion".
It is implied, however, that the "Selfish Buddhas" will have to reincarnate in some future Manvantara when they will once more come under the law of Karma.
A great deal more might be written on this subject but I hope that I have said enough to warn classes to be very careful how they introduce this Third Volume to your students. H.P.B. must not be held responsible for the publication of a single word contained in it.
- W. B. Pease.
Christmas and New Year Gifts
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THE THREE TRUTHS
There are three truths which are absolute, and which cannot be lost, but yet may remain silent for lack of speech.
The soul of man is immortal, and its future is the future of a thing whose growth and splendour have no limit.
The principle which gives life dwells in us, and without us, is undying and eternally beneficent, is not heard or seen, or smelt, but is perceived by the man who desires perception.
Each man is his own absolute lawgiver, the dispenser of glory or gloom to himself; the decreer of his life, his reward, his punishment.
These truths, which are as great as is life itself, are as simple as the simplest mind of man. Feed the hungry with them. - Idyll of the White Lotus.
J. M. PRYSE'S BOOKS
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THE CANADIAN THEOSOPHIST
THE ORGAN OF THE THEOSOPHICAL SOCIETY IN CANADA
Published on the 15th of every month.
Editor - Albert E. S. Smythe.
Entered at Hamilton General Post Office as Second-class matter.
Subscription, One Dollar a Year.
OFFICERS OF THE T.S. IN CANADA
- Felix A. Belcher, 250 N. Liagar St., Toronto.
- Maud E. Crafter, 345 Church Street, Toronto.
- William A. Griffiths, 37 Stayner Street, Westmount, P.Q.
- Nath. W. J. Haydon, 564 Pape Avenue, Toronto.
- Frederick B. Housser, 10 Glen Gowan Ave., Toronto.
- Kartar Singh, 1720 Fourth Ave. W., Vancouver, B.C.
- Was. E. Wilks, 925 Georgia St. W., Vancouver
- Albert E. S. Smythe, 33 Forest Avenue, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada.
A friend, suggests, that Dr. Dafoe must be a Theosophist, because Madame Blavatsky says in chapter xii of The Key to Theosophy that "Theosophy is the quintessence of duty."
Mr. R.C. Bingham writes from Winnipeg in mid-October and is impressed, with the prairie cities. He has also imbibed the virus of Social Credit, so much so that he proposes to get a group together in Toronto for its more intimate study. He expects to return to Ontario next year.
The Adyar authorities kindly sent us a specimen of the phonograph record of Dr. Arundale's Jubilee address, and we went down to the Custom House and paid fifty five cents quite cheerfully to get it out of bond. The official did not open the parcel, and unsuspiciously we took it home, opened it up and found it in pieces, and instead of hearing the eloquence of the President there was no alternative but silence. We can only suppose the packing was inadequate.
The 1936 catalogue of Rider & Co. is to hand and covers a wide field in Spiritualism, Occultism, Mysticism, Psychology, Psychism, Freemasonry, Hygiene, Philosophy, Yoga and Astrology. In this kind they are probably unrivaled, and they control such books as Paul Brunton's "A Search in Secret India.," announcing also his new book, "A Search in Secret Egypt," and "The Secret Path." Last month we reviewed their books, Jean Delaire's "The Mystery Teaching in the West," and Capt. Bowen's, "The Sayings of the Ancient One," while Maurice Maeterlinck's latest book, "The Supreme Law", is also on their list. They also are the publishers of "The Mahatma Letters" and the new "Complete Works of H.P. Blavatsky" the third volume of which is now ready. A copy of the catalogue may be had from Paternoster House, London, E.C., 4, England.
"The Tibetan" puts a severe test on his readers in the October issue of The Beacon, Mrs. Alice Bailey's vehicle. There is really no limit to the "faith" required of those who follow the plan now being displayed, and which has been gradually becoming more definite for some time past. It may appear ungrateful to hesitate before an ideal venture, but it is exactly that initial difficulty that always presents itself when one has to decide whether one is to maintain one's freedom or surrender it to another. It is easy to trust those who have demonstrated their impersonality, but it becomes more and more difficult as one advances, to trust where personality is obviously involved. Blavatsky bound her pupils to absolute loyalty to their own Higher Self. Those who have come after her do not appear to be satisfied with this: they would apparently focus loyalty on a point on this side of the Noetic plane. The
Tibetan speaks of "the Christ and his great Brother, the Buddha." Is this the old snare of the Personal Christ, or do we misconceive what is intended?
The London Forum, whose name was formerly The Occult Review, announces that with the October issue it suspends monthly publication and will henceforth appear as a quarterly under its old name, The Occult Review, the next issue to appear in January. A more sympathetic support has been given to Theosophical conceptions of life by the Forum in recent months, and we trust this intelligent attitude will be maintained. The Review fills a place unoccupied by any other magazine, as it is outside the controversies of the various cults but is in touch with them all, and for the most part takes an eclectic view of their work. This is an attitude we should have liked to see in the chief Theosophical Magazine, but the sectarian spirit is too strong to have permitted the Blavatsky ideal to survive. The Forum has an article by William Kingsland, M.I.E.E., "The Light-Bringers," which is in this tradition, and illustrates the comprehending spirit and breadth of St. Paul. Nine pages are given to a study of the "Poetry of Krishnamurti" by Iqbal Singh, who holds that Krishnaji transcends personality.
Theosophy, organ of the United Lodge of Theosophists, as we have understood it, though it announces itself as "an Independent Journal, unconnected with any theosophical society, or other organization," has opened its 24th volume with the first of a series of articles on "Precursors of H.P.B.," the first being devoted to Ralph Waldo Emerson. Emerson is numbered with the threescore and ten others, who are celebrated in the Hall of Fame as the greatest of Americans. They have just added a Nova Scotian, and perhaps they will one day add that greatest of naturalized American citizens ,Helena Petrovna Blavatsky. Wheaton is not contributing to such a possibility by associating her with such books as "The Lives of Alcyone." But Theosophy is taking a good line, and following a suggestion we made in The Lamp, of more or less blessed memory, in which we were running a series of "Unenrollod Theosophists" when the vicissitudes of the time became too much for it. Theosophy, however, which associates itself with The Aryan Path and Asia, is doing very fine work and will continue to do much to lift the name and reputation of Theosophy and Theosophists out of the depths. The method of appreciation, after all, in the spirit of the paragraph from W.Q. Judge on page 10, is a powerful aid for the popular mind.
The September issue of The Theosophist continues to present a variety of articles and follow the fashion of flare for all tastes, and we are accordingly grateful for what agrees with us and trust that tastes will improve. Dr. Arundale has every desire to be friendly and we have every desire to meet him on that basis. He extends "A Hand of Friendship" in the "On the Watch-Tower" department, and says "I am sure, therefore, that behind even the most acute differences on either side there is honor and a spirit of devotion to our great Cause." This is as much as one can expect from anyone and much more than we can expect from the ordinary man. Dr. Arundale is not an ordinary man and fills an extraordinary position. He does not, we feel sure, expect any of us to sacrifice his personal integrity merely to be diplomatic, nor should we merely to be independent, fail to be diplomatic where it is possible. But all this does not alter the necessity of plain speech, when it becomes necessary for us to testify to what we believe to be true. We are always open to receive new evidence, and we must hope that when we possess evidence, which it is so unpleasant to others to receive that they will even refuse to examine it, they will extend as much consideration as they would expect for themselves if they could
imagine themselves being placed in similar circumstances. Great lawyers can bombard each other and even descend to levels of personal abuse in the pursuit of their profession; and yet go and lunch or dine together immediately after such displays. Surely we can be no less regardless of mere personal considerations when the great quest of Truth is the goal? There is a fine suggestion of deportment in the Epistle of Jude, verse 9, which is perhaps applicable here, though we refrain from any attempt to identify the complainant or defendant. The first of three biographical articles about Madame Blavatsky is given, for which Miss M.K. Neff was responsible. It supplies in its account of an early astral experience of H.P.B. herself, a complete explanation of how some of our later much admired literature has come into being. An article on Roger Bacon by J.L. Davidge is concluded, and J. W. Hamilton-Jones in his third article on What a Theosophist Ought to Know, writes "A Dissertation on Brotherhood" of which Dr. Arundale submits that he is unable to endorse some of Mr. Hamilton-Jones' views - "They are extreme, but they are provoking," he says. We should be grateful for this, and also for W. Whately Carington's first article on "Occultism and Language" which promises a useful series.
THE GENERAL EXECUTIVE
The General Executive met on the afternoon of December 1st at 52 Isabella Street, Toronto and transacted routine business. Those present were Miss Crafter and Messrs. Belcher, Haydon, Housser and the General Secretary. Mr. Belcher reported his visit to Montreal as having had an organically centralizing influence and he spoke of a possible visit to Ottawa, though conditions there depended on local activity. Funds were reported as about on a par with last year, and Mr. Belcher suggested that in the February meeting, the policy regarding the magazine would have to be considered. The membership is almost exactly the same as last year, both as to new members and renewals. It is hoped that the local officials will do their best to reinstate all lapsed members, and take advantage of the offer for indigent members of a half-payment to be supplemented by the Headquarters, which is open till December 31st.
MR. BELCHER AT ST. CATHARINES
How vibrant life is within even the densest, dumbest looking piece of a stick of wood, was the theme of an inspiring address given by Felix A. Belcher of Toronto, to the St. Catharines Group on Sunday, November 10th at the home of Mr. and Mrs. Bertram Taylor, Niagara-on-the-Lake. Life within this stick of wood is so vibrant, so rampant with motion that to the normal everyday vision of the human being it appears dead and motionless. And as with this stick of wood, so also with every other apparently "dumb" life-less thing in the world.
This was a teaching impressed upon those who would list to The Secret Doctrine half a century ago, and predictions of that Bible of Theosophists have been by now abundantly justified and proven, Mr. Belcher emphasized. He showed in many ways, reading copiously from The Secret Doctrine, what a truly valuable compendium of knowledge The Secret Doctrine is.
To members of the St. Catharines Group this is quite a familiar teaching. There was something else, however, which impressed members, certainly the secretary. It was the factor of personality, individuality. For many years Theosophists have in one way or another crammed themselves with facts and theories of Ancient Wisdom, and many have wondered what they could do to pass this gem along.
Only one thing can do it. Sincerity, personality, magnetism and true understanding. We were impressed, always have been impressed with the certainty that Mr. Belcher combines well all these
qualities. Hence, his success as a lecturer.
Some of us at least are continually up against this problem - how to impress theosophy upon others. More and more we are realizing it will be impossible unless we cleanse ourselves of mental, spiritual impurities, and combine cleanness of mind with breadth of vision and strength of outlook.
This, to me at least was the big problem, and still is. I still see in Mr. Belcher and other leaders of the movement just the very thing I know is the requisite of the true Theosophist, but how to attain it and become a truly useful member is quite another thing.
It might not be profitless to publish articles having in mind the practical application of such profound philosophies as those of the Sutras of Patanjali. We all know we should all be those things Patanjali suggests, but in the everyday life of this world with the illusory elements cling-ng about us everywhere within ourselves it seems nigh impossible. Many of us have tried set meditations and have read reams of Wisdom, but somewhere, some-how, at this point or that in our mental-spiritual compass something has been lacking. We realize there are very, very few real theosophists. Yet, unless one is a true theosophist he is liable to a risk of leading others astray because irrespective of anything he might presume to teach, the real self within him fails to reach those he addresses, and the latter see only his dismal second, third, and fourth selves, and forget he has a real SELF.
To summarize. Mr. Belcher enunciated what are now to theosophists time worn facts of Ancient Wisdom, but through the winning something within him which shone out to those about him, he seemed to bring new light on the time worn facts, and to enthuse his listeners.
It is not enthusiasm; it is not wisdom; it is not more saintliness that does all this. It is perhaps some elusive quality which combines all these factors. It is nevertheless a something which every would-be theosophist should study deeply. Wrongly directed enthusiasm can destroy that thing it seeks to protaganize. Wisdom can be very boring, so, I imagine, can saintliness.
- Ronald V. Garratt, Secretary
LECTURES AND BAZAAR
Toronto Lodge reports that the four Sunday evening lectures in November were given by Mr. A.E.S. Smythe, whose subject was, "Something better than religion"; Sadhu Singh Dhami spoke on "East and West, Some Cultural Contrasts"; Mr. D.W. Barr spoke on "The Masters of Wisdom"; and Dr. E.J. Norman on "Tuition and Intuition".
On Monday Nov. 18th, the lodge held Commemoration Day; the arrangements were made and carried out by Mr. N.W.J. Haydon in a very able manner; an account of the proceedings appears elsewhere.
The Radio Committee have announced that Broadcasts on Theosophy will be again given for the third consecutive season, commencing on Sunday, December 1st, at 1.45 p.m. to 2 p.m., over Station C.R.C.T., those speaking during the Sundays in December, being, Mr. A.E.S. Smythe, Alvin B. Kuhn, Ph.D. (2), Mr. D.W. Barr and Mr. F. Belcher. Those who wish to support this propaganda work can send their donations to the Treasurer, 52 Isabella St., Toronto, who will gratefully acknowledge the same.
On Friday and Saturday, Nov. 29th and 30th, the lodge held a Bazaar for the purpose of raising funds to carry on its various activities, the local members under the chairmanship of Mr. G.I. Kinman, worked hard and untiringly to make it a success, with the result that the proceeds were quite up to the amount we hoped to realize. The Hall was decorated to represent a Chinese village, and the stall holders were in corresponding costume. The Bazaar committee wish to thank their many supporters who contributed articles to the various
stals, and in other ways helped to make the Bazaar a success.
The Sunday morning and Friday evening Secret Doctrine classes are being well attended; also the Astrology class on Tuesday evenings and the Lotus circle on Sunday afternoons. On Saturday evenings a social evening has been started at which some person, well known in the literary world is invited to speak on some popular book of recent publication, this being followed by a discussion.
THE HERMETIC SOCIETY
11-12 Merrion Row, Dublin
At a General Meeting, of the Hermetic Society, held on Thursday November 21st, 1935, it was decided to resume activities which, since the death of our late President, Dr. George W. Russell, had been suspended.
A letter from Dr. Russell was read in which he expressed his views concerning the work of the Society, and the lines which Theosophical endeavor in Ireland should follow; and in which also he nominated unequivocally as his successor to carry on his work in those directions, Captain P.G. Bowen.
The meeting, without dissent, elected Captain Bowen as President of the Hermetic Society.
The names of ten persons were presented to the meeting as candidates for membership, and these were accepted and enrolled.
Mr. J. Alibert was elected Secretary in succession to Mr. J. De Poe.
It was decided to resume and continue the informal meetings formerly held on Thursday evenings at 8 p.m.
It was further decided that as the great majority of members of THE DRUID LODGE had now become members of the Hermetic Society, and furthermore are both presided over by Captain Bowen, the two institutions should merge into one, and be known henceforth as THE HERMETIC SOCIETY (Druid Lodge).
The activities heretofore carried on by THE DRUID LODGE will be continued by THE HERMETIC SOCIETY, and will be as listed below.
The preservation and dissemination of the Message brought to the West by H.P. Blavatsky, and devotion to the lines of thought and study initiated by her and her co-worker, W.Q. Judge, form the main objects of the Society, and no further formulation or elaboration of these is deemed necessary.
- Open meeting with lectures, Wednesdays at 8 p.m.
- Informal meeting (open), Thursdays, at 8 p.m.
- Members' study meeting, Saturdays at 4 p.m. (Members may invite friends).
- Special Members study meeting, Sundays at 11.30 a.m. and 8 p.m. on alternate Sundays. (Closed).
- J. Alibert, Hon. Sec.
INTERNATIONAL FELLOWSHIP OF ARTS AND CRAFTS
London, S. W. 19
November 1st, 1935.
General Secretary, The Theosophical Society in Canada.
Dear Mr. Smythe:
The Committee of the World Congress of The Theosophical Society, to be held at Geneva, 1936, has appointed Mr. M.J. Neervoort van de Poll to take charge of the artistic side of the Congress.
The Committee wishes to include an Art Exhibition in the Congress Programme and Mr. Neervoort van de Poll has suggested three lines on which an exhibition might be organized. They are: -
A. An exhibition of art in general, in which naturally Swiss art would predominate owing to shorter distance in transporting.
B. An exhibition of work by members of the Theosophical Society, sent at their own risk and for their own account.
C. An exhibition of art depicting Theosophical Truths, symbolical or otherwise.
Mr. Neervoort van de Poll would be pleased to receive: (a) Suggestions; (b) Definite contributions, works of art, etc.; (c) Names of musician delegates willing to collaborate; (d) Names of delegates willing to help with the exhibition.
Mr. C. Jinarajadasa has expressed the wish that a whole day of the Congress should be devoted to Arts and Crafts and the Committee is desirous that this should be done.
Please send your suggestions, etc., direct to: - Mr. M.J. Neervoort van de Poll, Villa Prana, La Rosiaz, Lausanne, Switzerland.
WILSON MACDONALD MARRIED
Meriden, Conn., Nov. 30 - Wilson MacDonald of Toronto, well-known Canadian poet and lecturer, and Miss Dorothy Ann Colomy of Vassalboro, Mass., were married here at noon yesterday by Rev. Charles S. Applegath formerly of Toronto and Hamilton, close friend of the poet. Announcement of the marriage was made by Rev. Mr. Applegath, who said the couple had left for a honeymoon in Maine. A marriage licence was secured just before the ceremony after Judge of Probate William M. Luby had waived the five-day posting of intentions under the state law.
Mr. MacDonald gave his age as 55 and his bride said she was 25.
Miss Colomy was connected with the faculty of Oakwood Girl's' school in Vassalboro. Mr. MacDonald is president of the Poetry Society of Canada.
The above announcement in The Toronto Daily Star will interest the many admirers of Canada's foremost poet as he is in the judgment of many critics. Our readers will remember his last great poem, "The Song of Empire," which appeared in our May number. His books include "Songs of the Prairie Land," with an introduction by Albert E.S. Smythe, "The Miracle Songs, of Jesus," "Ode on the Diamond Jubilee of Federation," "Out of the Wilderness," "Caw-Caw Ballads," "A Flagon of Beauty," and we understand, another new volume now in the press. It should include an Epithalamium of surpassing beauty.
LIGHT EXISTS AND MAY BE FOUND
(Some notes from an Orpheus Lodge meeting on "Laying the foundation for the spiritual life". Three things are necessary in the laying of a foundation for the spiritual life. Aspiration, a real impersonal interest in something outside oneself, the motive; Concentration, which is the means to power, and Sincerity, that inner sense of truth with oneself; a growing capacity at every step of the way to detect and face self-deception in its more and more subtle forms. This is the only safeguard on a difficult, and dangerous road. Each of these requirements is equally essential, and to neglect any one spells futility if nothing worse.
The following are some notes of a discussion on the first of these qualities.
Every individual who has a real interest in the welfare of Humanity has something in common with every other person who is working for the Race. This common interest in Humanity is the true basis, and provides real values in the approach to spiritual matters.
Two things are required, however, before an individual can take a step toward the true Path. He must realize as the result of his own examination and reflection that the life he knows is totally unsatisfactory as an ends in itself. And, he must have the conviction that Light exists; that it may be attained, and that when found it will justify itself.
Whatever true impersonal interest we
possess is the germ of spirituality within us. This is the one sound spot ins our being; the one link with the unawakened powers of our spiritual nature. We have to discover it, clarify and define it, and free it from sentimentality and self-deceiving illusions as far as we are able.
The starting point then is to look deep within ourselves, and discover what this impersonal interest is, which we value more than anything else in all life. We shall pass in review many fine and great qualities, some of which are so great that we and everybody else assent that there can be none greater, but we have to discover not what others may consider important, but what value makes the greatest appeal to us, and draws out our energy as nothing else can.
It will help to clarify this search if we ask ourselves this question; "If to-morrow I had to give my life in exchange for one of these qualities, which should I choose?" If we ask ourselves, "What quality in human life will I be fully satisfied to have lived and worked for when I come to the end of my life?" In this way we shall discover what in the deepest part of our nature we value the highest, the form which our link (however small) with the `Great Life of the Universe' takes the form of impersonal living to which we have given allegiance in the past. It will be seen that it becomes a matter of tremendous importance that we acquire a growing capacity to discriminate between self-interest, no matter how beautifully disguised, and true impersonality.
As a result of increasing awareness and clarity regarding our values, we shall seek for evidences of them in ourselves, in those about us, in literature, and history, and we shall discover as our perceptions become more acute that very much that passes for fineness and greatness in human life is but a tawdry imitation; it is not the power to give without asking, it is not the power of Self-Mastery, it is not the disinterested love of Truth, it is not compassion which we shall usually find, but subtly disguised barter masquerading as these things. We shall realize that Beauty, Truth, and true Greatness, even in a small way, are very rare indeed, and when we do discover them, as we certainly shall, if we look for them, our whole being will go out to them and feed on them, and the germ of spirituality awake in us will expand in their radiance. "Grow as the flower grows, unconsciously but eagerly anxious to open its soul to the air. So must you press forward to open your Soul to the Eternal."
All this is the first step, a negative one. The neophyte has discovered what those one or two things are which he values more than anything else in life, which he would gladly give his life for if he had the power. He has cleared away vagueness and obscurity, sentimentality and self-deception, so that his value stands out clear and well-defined in his mind, so that he could formulate it at any time, at a moment's notice.
The next step is to put oneself in training in order to get the power to dedicate whatever of his life he has made his own, to his chosen value. This preparatory work of self-discipline is to give him the power to take a positive and much more difficult step, to commit himself unreservedly, unconditionally and with all the force at his command, to his values. This must be done coolly and without dependence upon emotional enthusiasm, knowing as well as it is possible for him to know what it means and will mean to him. If he succeeds in doing this, he has thrown the challenge to his lower nature and the first battle in the long war for Self Conquest is on.
We shall not always know
Grey skies, November gloom;
Remember summer's glow,
We shall not always know
The winter and the snow,
The apple trees will bloom;
We shall not always know
Grey skies, November's gloom.
- A. E. S. S.
A STUDY OF TWO
The following is a tale of two person who set out through the portals of the Theosophical Society to make the world in their own image. The first was Mr. Watters (who had Neptune in the midheaven of his horoscope, square to Mars and opposition to Saturn), and the second, Mr. Land (who had Saturn rising and Uranus in the midheaven).
Mr. Watters had read and browsed amongst New Thought and semi
-occult literature before encountering Theosophy and joined the Society, not because he wanted to, but because of his personal respect for someone or other and a profound but quite erroneous respect for H.P.B. and the Adepts.
He entered the Society, not as a beginner, but with a mingled collection of knowledge and rubbish gleaned from his sporadic reading which had been disjointed and unprogressive. He could not be bothered with the Key or the Secret Doctrine except in a vague, semi-distracted way, owing to his irrelevant reading.
He had read somewhere that all knowledge is reminiscence and so regarded H.P.B.'s books as splendid tomes of occult data which an "occultist" or "mystic" did not require to read, it merely being necessary to reminisce and all knowledge would be available and infallible too! (Of course he had not discovered this most interesting secret.).
The lectures "interested" him, especially the question period. He would stand up and ruminate questioningly on symbolism and what he conceived to be Occultism - questions which were utterly beyond the experience of the lecturer and entirely out of place at a public lecture, and which he had no ability, or intention of putting into practice.
He would ask vaguely hopeful questions about the Pythagorean structures regarding beans, or the occult importance of honey in one's diet; or whether aether might be the spirit in air, as someone wrote somewhere; and just what constituted a lost soul? If it were actually possible to lose this rather ephemeral attribute, and if so, just how would one know whether one was a lost soul, or not? Was it really true that the Moon was the Earth, and the Earth the Moon, before the Moon became the Moon and the Earth ceased to be a Moon? And, just how did the insects and the wheat get here from Venus?
Speakers looked to the question period with apprehension, or replied to the ambiguous "questions" with equally ambiguous answers, which strange to say, seemed to appease the spiritual voracity of Mr. Watters.
He strictly avoided politics and controversial questions, not from cowardice, psychological neuroticism, or romantic emotionalism, but because H.P.B. somewhere counsels us to avoid politics and to be brotherly, which, of course makes controversy even of an intellectual sort, offensive.
H.P.B.'s and' the Adepts' statements he swallowed in toto with a solemnity due to such exalted beings. They constituted a sort of popery whose dicta were unquestionable.
Readings from the Voice of the Silence, the Gita, and, so on, filled his spiritual cup to the spilling point and soothed his susceptibilities, making him realize that the Adepts were in the White Lodge and that all was well with the world. Leave it to the Lords of Karma!
Mr. Watters liked to go into the silence, though he disparaged Occultism, indeed he spoke in awful accents of the dangers of this study and passed by on the other side when anyone brought up the subject.
Mysticism of the "misty" sort appealed to him. In such moments he would sigh ecstatically and let his mind wander into all sorts of chaotic notions which he could not, for the life of him, put into a logical sequence, or even into an intelligible theory.
When newcomers came to the Lodge he invariably regaled them with colorful stories of H.P.B.'s psychic ability in regard to flying tobacco pouches, roses and similar prestidigitations from thin air. Bear in mind, of course, that he had not reasoned about H.P.B., he merely believed in her!
Mr. Watters had collected a vast amount of data on the Bardo or after-death and pre-natal states of being. In a sort of chant, he would readily burst into a paean of solemn nonsense about Kumaras, lokas, talas and so on, utilizing to the full extent the sonority and tonal iridescence of the Sanskrit tongue. It was nonsense, because, if one interrupted his recitative and questioned any of his statements, he would shrug his shoulders coldly, and having read disjointedly, and not being able to verify his allusions by reference to any author of note, would refuse to discuss it any farther, murmuring something about intuition, or Atma-Buddhi-Manas, or something.
His lore regarding death caused him to regard Wars with dignified aplomb. It is true that he hated to see little boys fighting; thought boxing was brutal; spoke feelingly of our brothers the birds and animals; and was shocked beyond words by the horrors of vivisection; yet, irrelevant as it may seem, the sight or thought of accidents would nauseate him, he enjoyed a real old time roast of beef or pork, et al, liked his "brothers" fur in his wardrobe, and felt an old-maidish security when reading in the papers of the brutal treatment of police toward radicals and strikers!
He seldom voted in lodge meetings though he wasted much time in fruitless ruminating and irrelevant chattering about anything but the business in hand. He harbored a notion that one should always bring grievances to the lodge meeting and discuss them "in the open", although, like most repressed persons, of both sexes, who clutter up societies, which would otherwise be quite actively useful groups, he was wont to enlarge on his particular grievance to a clique, which for similar reasons, he found to be sympathetic.
Mr. Land, on the other hand, was rather impractically practical. He held that to gluttonously gorge oneself on knowledge or information which he was incapable of applying in his daily life was on a par with gluttony in food.
The Gita and similar books which enchanted Mr. Watters, made him realize the more his inability adequately to express what he conceived to be his real nature, and filled him with a sort of exasperation. He regarded H.P.B. and the Adepts with a friendly skepticism, accepting only those truths or statements which were consistent with his own intelligence and reason.
His gibes and witticisms offended the emotional Mr. Watters. The lectures interested him, not so much for their content, but because, by some subtle magnetism, they set up a chain of thought or intuition in him, analogous to the content of the lecture, so that he got more out of the lecture than the lecturer had orally given out.
He was keen on economics and frequented various radical groups, contributing his mite of idealism in that mostly otherwise materialistic fraternity. He could defend his ideals with reason and logic; instinctively find the weak points in Mr. Watters' and others' theories and dreams; and thrust the rapier of satire and irony with unerring aim.
It was with much effort and not a little "grousing" that he remained in the society since he held that actually it was in particular, merely a location for divergent and internecine squabbling between various coteries of emotionally repressed persons who nibbled warily at Theosophy and gabbled abominably, using Theosophical terms for a framework on which to hang their unoriginal and pseudo-scientific twaddle. He was convinced that whatever of Theosophy that got abroad through the Theosophical Society was not through the efforts of, so much as it was in spite of
the fatuosity of the various cliques who distort it to suit their petty minds.
Business meetings disgusted him as, it appeared, the assembly invariably quibbled about prices, rent, collections and verbal bouquets, and left the real business, the giving out of Theosophy, severely alone. They reminded him of the muckraker who was so busy raking up straws and rubbish that he failed to note the angel, holding the crown over his head.
He was tolerated in the Lodge because his skepticism and enthusiasm were a change from the ordinary run of "Theosophers"; also, his skepticism was co-trolled and the latter quality could be utilized occasionally.
One night, by some strange circumstance, while in a restaurant, they both encountered a man whose name they never discovered because it did not occur to either of them to ask it. The only vacant seats were on either side of the stranger who had a sort of fascinating repulsion about him. He was good looking, straight as an arrow, but with a decided coldness or reticence about him which he could dispel at will. They talked a bit and found him to be a veritable mine of information on philosophy and so on. Mr. Watters told him of his dreams and aspirations and was counseled to tabulate his knowledge and information into logical sequence, based on such verities as he might discover, to put these verified facts into practice in his own nature and mind, which, he said, would require Will, which would increase in proportion to his use of it; and to shut up about the results, if any, and let his own life bear witness to the truth or falsity of his studies.
Watters thought he had read this somewhere else and dismissed it all as unworthy of further notice. The stranger then invited Mr. Land to come to his hotel, where he was spending the night, that they might converse more freely. They left Mr. Watters reading his favorite passage from something or other - about a lotus growing out of mud, into something - or something.
Mr. Land had very little to say about his conversation while closeted with the stranger, except that, instead of instructing him (as the other appeared perfectly capable of doing), the stranger did little more than to ask a few searching questions, not so much in regard to morals or political views; but rather about the sincerity of his aspirations, his motives, and just what he expected to gain from Theosophy.
They were not easy to answer, but the result was one of clarification and Mr. Land ceased to be skeptical except in those cases (exceedingly numerous in the T.S. Alas!), when the cuticle seems to be so thick that nothing short of biting sarcasm will pierce their deplorable complacency and admit some light.
It is pitiful that in a Society,
"Which is more noble than the are;
And sigheth for a nobler war;
A finer strain its trumpet sings,
A brighter gleam its armor flings,"
calling for pioneers and adventurous spirits, and attracting largely a host of camp followers ready to give obedience to any poseur who has a plausible front, or, at best, giving a lip service to H.P.B. and Theosophy without actually devoting any vigor or effort by way of real mental, moral, or spiritual work.
Mr. Land's conviction was now, to wait, to work, and to will, in secret, without hope or desire for reward; heedless of praise or blame, working steadily for humanity in the most constructive and useful way possible, namely, to help only those who need your help, not with platitudes, but with wisdom, born of understanding, experience, and love.
- C. L. D.
The oppressor of man or nation is but preparing bondage for himself in an incarnation to come when he will learn the lessons of liberty, equality and fraternity.
THEOSOPHY AND THE MODERN WORLD
Conducted by F.B. Housser
THE DANCE OF DEATH
Kali the Terrible has begun her dance. The drums are throbbing faster and faster to a pulse raising tempo. Her ten hands grip new and more fearsome weapons. As she whirls, her long necklace of skulls and human heads swings out from her black, blood-drenched body to disclose the girdle of hissing serpents around her waist. She stamps upon the earth in ever widening circles; in her footprints the flowers and grass die. The music screams, the drumbeats quicken. Her eyes are maelstroms of frenzy. Kali is dancing.
"Germany", said Winston Churchill, according to an article in the Toronto Daily Star of Nov. 18th, "is spending, directly or indirectly, four billion dollars a year on armaments".
The new government of Britain was returned on post-election promises to rapidly increase the armaments of Britain and it is estimated that one billion dollars per annum will be spent.
Japan and Russia are clashing over border incidents; each is arming as rapidly as possible and observers are wondering just how long a final conflict can be postponed.
United States and smaller countries are infected by the phobia. Faster and more powerful battleships, more efficient airplanes, deadlier bombs, more frightful gases will from now on flow from every armament centre in the "civilized" world.
Where Will It End?
Where will it end? There is only one end - a world war so devastating upon civilization that the 1914-18 struggle will seem like the formal handshake in the boxing ring before they pugilists meet in combat.
The armament boom is "Good for business". The above mentioned article quotes John Strachey, author of "The Coming Struggle for Power". "An armament boom is essentially like any other capitalist boom. It can only be maintained by an ever-increasing acceleration; it must mount higher and higher, must become more and more feverish; more and more hundreds of millions of pounds must be spent, if the boom is not to collapse".
"Capitalism cannot demobilize," said Strachey, "Germany is now spending L800,000,000 a year on arms. A fantastic sum, but not as fantastic as it will be. That sum must inevitably grow. Any sane economist will tell you that you cannot stabilize that kind of boom. It must be pushed higher and higher, in an ever dizzier and more precarious pyramid, until inevitably the crash comes.
"In other words, once a capitalist state has embarked on armament building on the new scale; has embarked on this last and most desperate and most horrible device for the maintenance of the system, it cannot stop or even pause.
New Crisis Feared
"The vast mass of capital and of human labor which are sucked into the military machine must not only be maintained, but must be continually increased. If there is pause or hesitation, a new crisis will break out. That is why, for economic reasons alone, every such armaments race must end in war. The point comes when one or other of the rivals simply cannot stay the course. One dictator or another finds that he must crack within another month. He dare not throw his millions of munition workers out of work, or demobilize his millions of conscripts. Capitalism cannot demobilize. At that moment war must come."
Can It Be Stopped?
Will it come in 1936 or 1940? Perhaps 1936 is too soon. Sufficient armaments alone are not enough. The mass psychology of the nations must be prostituted and brutalized. Mercy, tolerance, forgiveness, justice, brotherhood must be subtly sub-
verted. Idealism must be corrupted. Young men and women must be threatened, coerced, and maddened. The idea of a "righteous war" must be put over by the powers of black magic, high pressure salesmanship. This takes time.
Is there still time to prevent this catastrophe? Under the law of Karma nothing is inevitable in human affairs until it actually happens - up to then there is the possibility of counteraction. But cause and effect are equal as well as opposite. Where is the counterbalance to come from? One inspired leader burning with the enthusiasm of sincerity could arouse men and women in every land against the spirit of war. How many would labor with self-forgetting zeal - and with Wisdom?
There perhaps is the point. We are moving along like dumb, driven cattle to the slaughter because racially, we do not know of anything better than war. War is the only way out - we may hate it, but what is the substitute? War is the clearing house of old debts - and the pawnshop of many new ones. If the problem were one of economics alone, we might find an answer. But greed, desire, lust for power, pride, egotism - how are these to be met - it is folly to say that they will disappear with the dawn of a new economic system, although this may help.
If these things are the causes of war, there is only one solution and that is "an old path stretching far away", the recognition of the Divinity within human beings - this and this alone will end the invasion of the rights of others. But how long have we waited and how long must we wait before the Ancient Wisdom of the race is remembered?
In the meantime, Kali is dancing and calling to us with a voice that we will soon not resist.
- D. W. B.
THE PLANET OF HELL
Italy's determination to occupy Abyssinia - by waging what the Abyssinian ambassador to Geneva called "a war of extermination" is only one of the outrages which are being committed today in the name of commerce and so-called civilization.
What Signor Mussolini may be starting was only too vividly suggested by the premier of South Africa, Mr. Hertzog, who believes that the world is entering one of "the bloodiest periods in its history".
Professor Gaston Jeze, Ethiopian representative at the League, said before the invasion, that if the Italians invaded his country, the name of Abyssinia would be on the lips of every colored man as the symbol of the injustice of the white race.
The Japanese Young Men's Association on September 6 signed a manifesto calling on the colored world to "slay the Mediterranean white wolf pouncing on the black lamb of East Africa. Do away with the white peril," and proposed the cooperation of the world's colored races to defend the Ethiopian cause. "The Italo-Abyssinian conflict," the manifesto is reported to have said, "is a racial issue between colored peoples and whites and seems to be a prelude to a racial war, possibly inciting another world war." Another wave of this tide may now be breaking in North China and Mongolia.
War And Drug Traffic
"Nearly a century ago England waged the famous opium war to force the inhabitants of China to become drug addicts for the greater glory and profit of British imperialism," says The Living Age. Today Japan pursues the identical policy. According to the Anti-Opium Information Bureau in Geneva, "the potential danger of Manchuokuo for the rest of the world as a source of supply for illicit traffic is plainly established."
Now Japan has succeeded in fomenting a revolt in North China thus widening the scope of the Manchuakuo opium menace. Great Britain calls for more drastic sanctions on Italy. Is it because of the injustice of Mussolini's attack on Abyssinia or as an object lesson of what the League of Nations may do to Japan under Britain's
urging if she goes too far in North China? Only the British foreign office knows.
The moral breakdown of western civilization is apparent in the political sphere as the above situation indicates. In the financial sphere the breakdown is notorious. An effort is now being made to ban the usurer racketeers from the State of New York. The New York Times recently reported that every year some $70,000,000 of illegal interest is collected in that state. The rate averages 175 per cent per annum. It is believed that 50,000 New Yorkers are continually in the clutches of underworld usurers. If the borrower falls behind in his interest payments he is pursued by thugs and bullies who on their first call threaten him and on the second beat him. The authorities can see "no economic reason for the existence of these sharks," but anyone who knows anything about the working of the present financial system and of the "respectable" usurers might suggest plenty of reasons.
In the commercial sphere such books as "One Hundred Million Guinea Pigs" and "Your Money's Worth", show that practically every well known household article - soaps, medicines, cosmetics, disinfectants, tooth pastes, etc., are in some degree "fakes and rackets", and that the claims in their advertising cannot be relied upon.
It is these and the many other evidences of moral and spiritual decay that have inspired post-war poems like Eliot's "'Waste Land' -
He who was living is now dead
We who were living are now dying
With a little patience.
Jerusalem, Athens, Alexandria,
London bridge is falling down, falling down, falling down.
The Way of Liberation
It is the realization of conditions like these that may finally cause more spiritually sensitive men in the west to seek out the path of liberation which the Buddha talked about and which men in the east have long embraced. It is this path which Madame Blavatsky and her Mahatmas pointed out to the west in the hope that a few souls might be found to follow it. Without the knowledge contained in the fragments of the ancient wisdom which the founders of the Theosophical Society gave to the western world, the spectacle which economics and politics present today would sour the soul of the greatest optimist. Many of the finest souls in the west, like the same T.S. Eliot who wrote the Waste Land, and Eric Gill the British sculptor, have sought escape by going in for holy orders and withdrawing from the world. This is understandable, since the protestant churches have nothing to offer such men, but it is not the way of the Buddha, nor the way that Madame Blavatsky urged us to go. They showed the way of liberation but urged us to take it not alone for our own salvation but that we might be able to come back and guide others along it, saying with Whitman, "Allons! the road is before us! It is safe - I have tried it - my own feet have tried it well - be not detained."
The Great Sacrifice
"This earth, disciple, is the hall of sorrow,"says the Voice of the Silence. The Secret Doctrine speaks of "This limitless desert of Illusion and Matter called Earth-Life." The ancients spoke of the earth as "The Planet of Hell." In the Secret Doctrine (II, p. 228) H.P.B. speaks of a "Wondrous Being" - a "Nameless One" - the "Initiator" - called the "Great Sacrifice". He, "sitting at the Threshold of Light, looks into it from within the circle of Darkness, which he will not cross: nor will he quit his post till the last Day of this Life-Cycle. Why does the Solitary Watcher remain at his self-chosen post? Why does he sit by the Fountain of Primeval Wisdom, of which he drinks no longer, for he has naught to learn which he does not know - aye, neither on this Earth nor in Heaven? Because the lonely, sore-footed
pilgrims, on their journey back to their home are never sure till the last moment of not losing their way, in this limitless desert of Illusion and Matter called Earth-Life. Because he would fain show the way to that region of freedom and light, from which he is a voluntary exile himself, to every prisoner who has succeeded in liberating himself from the bonds of flesh and illusion. Because, in short, he has sacrificed himself for the sake of Mankind, though but a few elect may profit by the Great Sacrifice."
The Hope In It All
To the average man or woman of the arrogant and ignorant modern world such a being as is described here seems fantastic and fabulous. He would sneer at the path of liberation as "an escape from life," not recognizing it as "the true life." To anyone who has studied the Secret Doctrine and thought deeply on the lives of the Buddhas and the Christs by the light of the ancient wisdom, the "Nameless One who waits" will have a meaning. Especially will this be true for those lovers of humanity who dedicate themselves, not to the gaining of power for themselves, but for Justice for its own sake and for poor, ignorant, blind humanity exploited by those who are not fit to rule it. The attitude for a lover of humanity to hold in the face of the debauch of the nations is not an attitude of condemnation but of pity - for they know not what they do. The ray of hope in the midst of the moral and spiritual carnage is that its awfulness may touch the hearts of some few intelligent souls, who, by their own secret efforts, may start a true order of brotherhood along the lines suggested by the founders of the Theosophical Society - a "White Lodge" of the west.
- F. B. H.
THE PINEAL GLAND
The Magazine Digest recently abstracted from Die Umschau, Frankfort, an article of much interest to Theosophists on the pituitary and pineal glands. Even a casual glance at the references to these two glands in the Secret Doctrine will convince the reader that Madame Blavatsky's opinions ran counter to the accepted medical knowledge of her day. In this respect she was as far ahead of her time, as she was in science generally. It is a source of satisfaction therefore to see that medical science is now substantiating statements made by her many years ago.
The Magazine abstract says of the pineal gland that: "This tiniest of organs, weighing but a fraction of a gram and seated in the very centre of the human brain, once of great importance in the hoary ages of antiquity, as a third eye on the summit of the cranium of vertebrate animals, has hitherto been regarded as deteriorated, and consequently unnecessary as far as the human body is concerned, although it is still developed to a certain extent in some of the fish species for the purpose of enabling them to adapt their color to that of the surroundings."
This has been the orthodox viewpoint prior to the time the Secret Doctrine was written and up to the present. Madame Blavatsky not only knew this, but cited chapter and verse, giving at the same time an occult interpretation as follows: "Many of the animals - especially among the lower orders of the vertebrates have a third eye, now atrophied but which was necessarily active in its origin. The Hatteria species, a lizard of the order of Lacertilia, recently discovered in New Zealand - a part of Ancient Lemuria so called, mark well - presents this peculiarity in a most extraordinary manner; and not only the Hatteria Punctata, but the chameleon, and certain reptiles and even fishes .. . . . . . There are Palaeontologists who to this day feel convinced that this Third Eye originally functioned, and they are certainly right." (S.D. II., 310) This reference should be read in extenso, for a marvelously complete anatomical description of the pineal gland.
Continuing with the Magazine Digest
articles: "Lately, however, important discoveries in the domain of pathology have tended to emphasize the dangerous fallacy of branding as superfluous and negligible the presence in the human body of certain organs whose functions have not yet been detected . . . . . . in the case of unfortunate babes being robbed of their childish innocence when still in the cradle, or of boys and girls under school age growing beards and developing sexually .. . . . . .It has been found that the cause . . . was directly traceable to a diseased condition of the Pineal gland."
Pituitary and Pineal
"Recent vivisectional experiments conducted at the University clinic in Vienna, whereby one of the various activities of a secretion in the pituitary gland of the brain-appendix known to be the cause of premature sexual development, has been successfully arrested by injecting an extract from the pineal gland . . . .have given conclusive proof of the aforementioned deductions.
"A further item in the functions of this tiny organ is that it is not only a powerful opponent of the pituitary gland hormone in its capacity of furthering premature development of the reproductive organs, but also in successfully arresting giant growth of the limbs originating from the same source. But by far the most important of the latest discoveries, made in connection with research work along the same lines is that by injecting the 'chastity hormone' from the pineal gland into animals in which cancer has been developed - whose growth is determined by the same source in the pituitary glands that causes giant development of the limbs, it has been possible not only to check further growth of these malignant tumors, but strange as it may seem, by combining this secretion from the pineal gland with its counterpart, the cause of premature puberty contained in the pituitary gland, the very forming of this mast baffling of all diseases has been prevented altogether."
"This seemingly contradicting circumstance is explained by the fact that the brain-appendix is known to produce no less than thirteen hormones, each of which has a different effect on either the development or growth of various parts and conditions of the body."
Sun and Moon Symbolism
It would not be difficult to find reference after reference in Theosophical literature in anticipation of the recently discovered relations of the pineal to the pituitary gland in the control, particularly, of sex activity. In myth and symbolism, the pituitary is associated with they moon - the pineal with the sun. The moon is, par excellence, the planet controlling bodily activities and particularly sex. It is the planet having most to do with psychic activities. The sun on the other hand, and all the solar deities in mythology represent the higher man - the ego - the spiritual aspect.
There are two aspects of the pineal pituitary relationship which are worth while looking into in comparison with the above. The higher may be considered first.
Speaking of the pineal and pituitary bodies, Madame Blavatsky says "we are told. . .not the slightest connection can be traced between the two centres. To this, however, Occultists take exception; they know there is a connection... In point of fact, as Professor Owen has shown, a connection as objective as a groove and tube exists in the crania of the human foetus and of certain fishes. When a man is in his normal condition, an Adept can see the golden Aura pulsating in both centres. This motion, however, under the abnormal condition of effort to develop clairvoyant faculties, becomes intensified, and the aura takes on a stronger vibratory or swinging action. The arc of the pulsation of the Pituitary body mounts upward, more and more, until just when, as the electric current strikes some solid object, the current finally strikes the Pineal gland, and the dormant organ is awakened, and set all
glowing with pure Akashic Fire. This is the psycho-physiological illustration of two organs on the physical plane, which are respectively, the concrete symbols of the metaphysical concepts called Manas and Buddhi. The latter, in order to become conscious on this, needs the more differentiated fire of Manas; but once the sixth sense has awakened the seventh, the light which radiates from this seventh sense illumines the fields of infinitude. For a brief space of time, man becomes omniscient .. . . . ." (S.D., III., 505).
"And again; The pineal gland corresponds with Divine Thought. The pituitary body is the organ of the psychic plane. Psychic vision its caused by the molecular motion of this body, which is directly connected with the optic nerve, and thus affects the sight and gives rise to hallucinations." (S.D., III., 548).
Eye of Shiva
Lastly, we might draw attention to the more physiological aspect of the pineal gland, again, however, from the Occult standpoint. Speaking in the Commentaries on the stanzas of Dzyan, Madame Blavatsky says: "The allegorical expression of the Hindu mystics, who speak of the "Eye of Shiva" . . . . . thus receives its justification and raison d’etre; the transference of the Pineal gland (once that `Third Eye') to the forehead, being an exoteric licence. This also throws a light on the mystery - incomprehensible, to some - of the connection between abnormal or spiritual Seership, and the physiological purity of the Seer. The question is often asked: Why should celibacy and chastity be a sine qua non rule and condition of regular chelaship, or the development of psychic and Occult powers? The answer is contained in the Commentary. When we learn that the `Third Eye' was once a physiological organ, and that later on, owing to the gradual disappearance of spirituality and increase of materiality, (Spiritual nature being a extinguished by the physical), it became an atrophied organ, as little understood now by Physiologists, as is the spleen - when we learn this, the connection becomes clear. During human life the greatest impediment in the way of spiritual development, and especially to the acquirement of Yoga powers, is the activity of our physiological senses. Sexual action also being closely connected, by interaction, with the spinal cord and the grey matter of the brain, it is useless to give any longer explanation. Of course, the normal and abnormal state of the brain, and the degree of active work in the Medulla Oblongata, reacts powerfully on the Pineal gland. . ." (S.D., II., 309-310).
- W. F. S.
AGE OF THE GREAT PYRAMID
The British Journal of Astrology, October, quotes "The Daily Sketch" of September 2nd, 1935, as giving an interesting article on the Great Pyramid from which it offers the following extracts: -
Mr. Paul Brunton, author and investigator of Eastern psychic mysteries, states that he was given permission to spend a night alone in the Great Pyramid. He writes "I sat in total darkness throughout the night, concentrating and making my mind receptive of the psychic vibrations.
"After about six hours I had a most extraordinary experience. I saw in a vision two ancient High Priests in the ceremonial robes of their religion, who showed me a hitherto undiscovered and secret passage inside the Pyramid - but the entrance to it I was unable to discover.
"I was told that the Chamber into which this passage led contained prehistoric records, describing the unknown history of an earlier mankind, an Atlantean race. I was able to confirm by personal experience, my theory that in this room the High Priests put their pupils into hypnotic trances wherein their spirits were released from their bodies and they were shown that the soul definitely survives death."
Atlantean in Origin
Mr. Brunton's long and detailed researches into the origins of the Pyramids and Sphinx have convinced him that these
monuments were originally put up by the Atlanteans - that is, by an emigrant colony from the now sunken continent of Atlantis.
He believes that the overwhelming of Atlantis caused the Sahara sea-beds to emerge as dry land. The editor of the British Journal of Astrology adds that Mr. Brunton's views are in agreement with his own, as he has long held the opinion that there is a secret passage in the Pyramid quite unknown to modern investigators, and he has also held for many years that the actual date of the building of the Pyramid was at least 80,000 if not more years ago, and that it was built by those who emigrated from Atlantis just before one of the great cataclysms, possibly that one which destroyed Ruta and Daitya.
- N. W. J. H.
Editor's Note on Pyramids
Madame Blavatsky brings proof that the foundations and architectural measurements of the Great Pyramids were esoteric (S.D., II., 487), as were those of Solomon's temple - whether mythical or real - Noah's Ark and the Ark of the Covenant. Speaking of the astronomical - or astrological-orientation of the pyramid, she writes (S.D., I., 333) "It is on this knowledge" - this astronomical knowledge - "that the programme of the mysteries and of the series of initiations was based, hence the construction of the Pyramid, the everlasting record and indestructible symbol of these Mysteries and Initiations on Earth, as the course of the stars are in Heaven."
- F. B. H.
"THE WHEEL OF REBIRTH."
Here is a really Theosophical novel or romance by H.K. Challoner with a Foreword by Cyril Scott which can be placed in the hands of almost anyone without fear of misleading them as to the real purport of Theosophy. It is the first novel of the kind we have read which does not encourage, but actually denounces the twin soul conception favored by some erotic students. Whether an actual account of a series of incarnations or not, it narrates with remarkable ingenuity and much literary and dramatic ability, the story of a group of egos from an early incarnation in Atlantis through Egypt, Persia, Greece, Germany, Italy and England, and this is the ingenious aspect of the book - it really articulates these incarnations karmically, so than the consequences of later lives are seen to be duly the results of earlier actions. Incidentally there is more definite philosophy of life and advice regarding the ordinary situations and affairs of life than one usually meets with in such books. That is to say, the events of life are taken up as they occur, and are shown to be logically and consistently the natural issue of each ego's own behavior, so that the reader gets a direct knowledge of how karma acts, and the full justice and at the same time the marvelous clemency arising out of the Law which embodies Love as well as Justice. As a consequence the interest of the narrative is maintained on every page, and the machinery of the Teacher and automatic writing and other details do not impede the progress of the story. We have noted about thirty passages for quotation, but space does not permit of such a bouquet. There is a novel theory of the cancer disease expounded in the later pages which will interest many. The book is nicely printed and published l by Rider & Co., London, 7/6. We note only one misprint on page 273.
EXPLAINS SOVIET PEACE
Moscow, Dec. 6. - Joseph Stalin, leader of the Soviet Union, said in a speech at the Kremlin today that internal peace has come to Russia largely because the old domination by Russians over other people's making up the nation had ended.
He called subordination of other peoples to the Russians "the wolfish policies of the Tsar" which brought dissension.
"We have made all peoples equal," he said. "There now is confidence, and a spirit of friendship is growing."