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VOL. XVI, No. 11 HAMILTON, JANUARY 15th, 1936 Price 10 Cents
THE MESSAGE OF H. P. BLAVATSKY.
By Captain P.G. Bowen.
Every student of The Ancient Wisdom regards H.P.B., or professes to regard her as a Messenger who brought Light and Freedom to a generation buried in materialism, or fettered by lifeless orthodoxies. Not because her Message was one hitherto unknown, but because she restated it with a degree, of force and completeness which gave it much of the character of a revelation. To those who became awakened to its real meaning it was a true revelation, but it is questionable if one in five hundred who have given it lip-acceptance understood or understand what that real meaning was.
H.P.B. gave the name of Theosophy to the doctrines she taught, and she called the society which she founded, to help in the work she had undertaken, The Theosophical Society. Her Theosophy lives, as it always did and always will live, but her Theosophical Society is dead - not dead as is a body that grows senile, parts with its life-force, and crumbles to dust, but non-existent as is the primary cell which by subdivision, and subdivision of its subdivisions gives rise to a living body of immense complexity. The body of which H.P.B.'s T.S. was the parent cell is the Theosophical Movement of today. No single one of the many societies calling themselves Theosophical Society, or any variant of that name, is the Parent T.S. of H.P.B., any more than is any single cell in a living body the original cell from whence the body grew.
This is a simple, logical fact, and though it may be one not palatable to many who call themselves Theosophists, it nevertheless has to be fully recognized if the real Message of H.P.B. is to be understood and put into practice. No serious student of Theosophy will refuse to admit as his ideal the vision of the whole Theosophical Movement working as a united body with all its parts cooperating harmoniously. But how can we have a coordinated body when the hand, or the stomach, or the heart, or even the brain each claims to be the body itself, and refuses to work in harmony with the other parts, or even to recognize their existence?
The original Theosophical Society had three formulated OBJECTS:
1. To form the nucleus of a Universal Brotherhood of humanity, without distinction of race, creed, sex, caste, or color.
2. To promote the study of Aryan and other Eastern literatures, religions, and sciences.
3. A third object - pursued by a portion only of the members of they Society - is to investigate the unexplained laws of nature and the psychical powers of man.
Careful consideration of those objects will give a sound basis upon which to do-
velop a true understanding of the nature of H.P.B.'s message. The first object is obviously not placed first at haphazard. Its appeal is to all, whereas that of the second object, and still more the third, is to a strictly limited number. Every man, every thinking man at least, is potentially capable of exhibiting a brotherly spirit towards his fellowmen. Comparatively few are capable of real study of the kind indicated in the second object, even if they are sufficiently interested to attempt it. As for the third object, it is expressly stated that it is for but a few: the number capable of pursuing it usefully is exceeding limited. Yet, observation and experience of the various Theosophical bodies and study of the literature published and read by their members shows beyond all question that their main preoccupation is with the third object, or with things which appertain to it rather than to the first, or even the second. Why this is so it is not difficult to understand. The reason is that the Desire for Sensation in all its protean forms, is the strongest force ruling common human nature. The third object appears to promise to gratify that desire in certain directions, very attractive to persons newly emancipated from the prison of religious orthodoxy. On the other hand, the first object receives but lip-service, if that, because its true meaning is by no means easy to realize, even intellectually, while to put it into practice entails so many sacrifices of personal inclinations that the majority regard it as a beautiful ideal impossible of realization.
Nevertheless, Universal Brotherhood was the thing for which H.P.B. lived, and labored, and died. Her supreme literary achievement, The Secret Doctrine, is before anything else a philosophic demonstration that UNITY is the basic law of universal nature. The First Fundamental Proposition established by The Secret Doctrine is:
"An omnipresent, eternal, boundless and immutable principle . . . . which is the rootless root of all that was, is, or ever shall be".
If that is accepted - and every Theosophist does profess to accept it - it means that the fact of Universal Brotherhood is accepted also. To accept this, and yet to fail to strive to exemplify one's faith in one's life means to be but as "sounding brass and tinkling cymbal".
We Theosophists, as a body, have failed most lamentably to understand, much less to practice, the thing for which our acknowledged leader and teacher lived and died. It matters not what our affiliations may be, we are all in the same boat. No section of us and no individual among us has any right to regard itself or himself as essentially better than others. Let us honestly admit our failure and turn and try to discover its reason and its remedy. Its reason is simple and obvious: it is that in our nature we are exceedingly limited and imperfect beings. But how to remedy our condition? The first step towards better things is to do that already said, to turn and look at ourselves, and recognize our weakness and imperfection; and having done that to admit in the depths of our hearts the truth of our recognition. To recognize a failing means that one has stepped away from it to some little extent, for recognition is impossible while identified with it. But recognition without the inward, spiritual acceptance of the truth of that which is perceived is but a step half taken which may, and usually does lead into another snare, that of finding excuses for the state one is seeking to leave, and so subtly becoming reconciled to it. Weakness and ignorance are excused in one way only by recognizing them, and then quitting them with whole-hearted determination .
The reality of brotherhood is shrouded by illusions which are numerous and complex. A great teacher has said that the unbrotherly spirit is the true Satan, and he maintains his kingdom by greeting his victims in the guise of brotherhood, thus holding them his willing slaves. We find in many, and may perhaps find in our-
seves strange contradictions such as worship of the words of the teacher whose message was brotherhood, on the one hand, and on the other excuses for our failings on the score that the teacher herself was not always brotherly. There are those who allege that H.P.B. was no model, since she often attacked the ways and works of others. So did Jesus, and every other great teacher, but in doing so they were not unbrotherly, but the reverse. The Man is not his ways and works, any more than is the prisoner the dungeon which confines him. To attack his limitations is not to attack him. Jesus condemned theft and adultery, but he forgave the thief and the harlot. Similarly, did H.P.B. remember that it was only upon Satan, that Jesus ever turned his back. Upon the slaves of Satan he called down the forgiveness of the Father.
It may not be easy to understand the attitude above indicated, much less to adapt it, but all who call themselves Theosophists with the least knowledge of what that name implies may at least begin to struggle towards it. The path which leads to it is not that which is trodden by those who pursue what they imagine to be the Third Object of the T.S. It may be begun by genuine devotion to the Second Object, for does not H.P.B. tell us in her neglected, but most illuminating article, "Occultism vs. The Occult Arts" to begin by studying "The Philosophy and the Science of the Soul?" It is not the Wisdom of the East that will ever lead us into Ways of Shadow.
How subtle and varied are the snares which "Satan" sets for the unwary may be realized when it is found that numbers of Theosophists doubt that Universal Brotherhood was really the Gospel which H.P.B. was commissioned to spread. Fortunately we have not to depend upon hearsay or speculation to tell us what the chief concern of the Masters of H.P.B. was. Their letters exist, and can be studied by all who desire to know the truth. Yet, amazingly, there are those who can read them, and fail to see the real purpose of the writers, because they come to the study with perceptions blinded by innate or acquired prejudices and preconceptions. Beyond all else the Masters insist on brotherhood, and this can be demonstrated by turning over at random the pages of the volume, Mahatma Letters to A. P. Sinnett, thus :-
On page 8 we read: -
".......you have ever discussed but to
put down the idea of a universal Brotherhood, questioned its usefulness, and advised to remodel the T.S. on the principle of a college for the special study of occultism. This, my respected and esteemed friend and Brother - will never do."
On page 9, referring to an Anglo-Indian branch of the T.S: -
". . . . .the new society. . .must (though bearing a distinctive title of its own,) be. . a Branch of the Parent body... and contribute to its vitality by promoting its leading idea of a Universal Brotherhood".
On page 17: -
"The term `Universal Brotherhood' is no idle phrase. Humanity in the mass has a paramount claim upon us. . .It is the only secure foundation for universal morality. If it is a dream it is at least a noble one for mankind; and it is the aspiration of the true adept".
On page 20: -
". . . . . in Europe more than anywhere else, a Universal Brotherhood... is necessary for successful achievements in occult sciences".
On, page 24:-
"'The Chiefs want a `Brotherhood of Humanity', a real Universal Fraternity started; an institution which would make itself known throughout the world and arrest the attention of the highest minds".
Over fifty years have passed since the CHIEFS of the Adept Fraternity expressed that desire, but how has the Theosophical Movement "arrested the attention of the highest minds"? As a "real Universal Fraternity"? No, but rather as a pitiful congeries of warring sects.
Again, on page 209, referring to the Anglo-Indian Branch: -
"Finally she (H.P.B.), through my mediation got the consent of our highest CHIEF, to whom I submitted the first letter you honored me with, but this consent, you will please bear in mind, was obtained solely under the express and unalterable condition that the new Society should be founded as a Branch of the Universal Brotherhood".
Page 210, speaking of the British T.S.:
"They are of the Universal Brotherhood but in name, and gravitate at best towards Quietism - that utter paralysis of the Soul. They are intensely selfish in their aspirations, and will get but the reward of their selfishness".
(Italics in all quotations are the Masters')
The Letters abound in passages, similar to those quoted, but these are enough to show beyond all question what the intentions of the teachers and inspirers of H.P.B. and the true Founders of the T.S. were.
The WAY has not been hidden from us by those who know it. Again and again and again in a myriad forms of words, they direct us how to walk towards our own regeneration, and for the salvation of mankind. We have remained deaf to the words of the Messenger, or have twisted them to suit our narrow purposes. In three words, WE HAVE FAILED.
For our failure, one more reason worth considering may be given. It lies in the societies which we have built up, which should be instruments to be used to aid us in regenerating our lives, and serving mankind, but which we have made the special objects of our devotion and loyalty. Loyalty is acclaimed by many as highest virtue, but in truth it is in itself neither virtue nor vice. It becomes either indifferently according as its object is lofty or low. Only a child or a savage would seriously put loyal devotion to an instrument above the work which the instrument is designed to do. Yet that is the attitude of those Theosophists, perhaps the majority, who think first and foremost of aggrandizing their particular society, and consider little what the society was intended to do. On this point H.P.B.'s own words remain to furnish us with an object lesson. They appear in her magazine Lucifer in reply to certain statements emanating from the headquarters of the T.S. at Adyar: -
"It is pure nonsense to say that `H.P.B. . . . . is loyal to the Theosophical Society and to Adyar' (?). H.P.B. is loyal to the death to the Theosophical CAUSE, and to those great Teachers whose Philosophy alone can bind the whole of humanity into one Brotherhood . . . . . . She is the chief Founder and Builder of the Society which was and is meant to represent that CAUSE . . . . Therefore the degree of her sympathies with the Theosophical Society and Adyar depends upon the degree of loyalty of that Society to the CAUSE. Lest it break away from the original lines and show disloyalty in its policy to the CAUSE, and the original programme of the Society, and H.P.B. calling the T.S. disloyal will shake it off like dust from her feet".
Could anything show the true attitude of the true Theosophist in clearer light than those words of the teacher to whom modern Theosophy owes its existence? Ought they not clear the way for the many sincere students who stifle their consciences with the false idea of loyalty to persons and to man-made institutions. They show the only true spirit, that which cares for a worthy instrument, but which casts aside an unserviceable one without hesitation
Having written the foregoing paragraph it remains to elevate a warning signal to those who may see in my words advice to leave their society. I advise no such thing, except in special and extreme cases in which the individual's own power of discrimination must be his guide. H.P.B.'s words are indicative of an attitude, not of a line of conduct to be pursued unthinkingly by all. For the vast majority the attitude will be assumed by turning and using the society, or such fragment of it as can be grasped for the purpose for which
its own stated "Objects" show that it exists. A society is what its members make it. What the individual member makes of it depends upon his power and circumstances. If he makes a determined effort to use it instead of letting it dominate him, his example may stimulate many to like effort with the result that what was once an unwieldy tool becomes easy and serviceable to the hand. But if all such efforts fail, and a handier instrument offers, or can be fashioned, then no false "loyalty" should prevent him from availing himself of it.
To honor the memory of H.P.B. while we fail to carry on the work for which she lived and dies is to prove ourselves whited sepulchres. If we honor her in our hearts, then from our heart's we should register a vow to pay her the utmost tribute in our power, namely that of imitation.
INTRODUCTION TO THE PHILOSOPHY AND WRITINGS OF PLATO
By Thomas Taylor
(Continued from Page 331.)
Having thus considered the philosophy of Plato, given a general view of his writings, and made some observations on his style, it only now remains to speak of the following arrangement of his dialogues and translation of his works, and then, with a few appropriate observations, to close this Introduction.
As no accurate and scientific arrangement then of these dialogues has been transmitted to us from the ancients, I was under the necessity of adopting an arrangement of my own, which I trust is not unscientific, however inferior it may be to that which was doubtless made, though unfortunately lost, by the latter interpreters of Plato. In my arrangement, therefore, I have imitated the order of the universe in which, as I have already observed, wholes precede parts, and universals particulars. Hence I have placed those dialogues first which rank as wholes, or have the relation of a system, and afterwards those in which these systems are branch out into particulars. Thus, after the First Alcibiades, which may be called, and appears to have been generally considered by the ancients an introduction to the whole of Plato's philosophy, I have placed the Republic and the Laws, which may be said to comprehend systematically the morals and politics of Plato. After these I have ranked the Timaeus, which contains the whole of his physiology, and together with it the Critias, because of its connection with the Timaeus. The next in order is the Parmenides, which contains a system of his theology. Thus far this arrangement is conformable to the natural progress of the human mind in the acquisition of the sublimest knowledge; the subsequent arrangement principally regards the order of things. After the Parmenides then, the Sophista, Phaedrus, Greater Hippias, and Banquet, follow, which may be considered as so many lesser wholes subordinate to and comprehended in the Parmenides, which, like the universe itself, is a whole of wholes. For in the Sophista being itself is investigated, in the Banquet love itself, and in the Phaedrus beauty itself; all which are intelligible forms, and are consequently contained in the Parmenides, in which the whole extent of the intelligible is unfolded. The Greater Hippias is classed wit, the Phaedrus, because in the latter the whole series of the beautiful is discussed, and in the former that which subsists in soul. After these follows the Theaetetus, in which science considered as subsisting in soul is investigated; science itself, according to its first subsistence, having been previously celebrated by Socrates in one part of the Phaedrus. The Politicus and Minos, which follow next, may be considered as ramifications from the Laws; and, in short, all the following dialogues either consider more particularly the dogmas which are systematically comprehended in those already enumerated, or naturally flow
from them as their original source. As it did not however appear possible to arrange these dialogues which rank as parts in the same accurate order as those which we considered as whole, it was thought better to class them either according to their agreement in one particular circumstance, as the Phaedo, Apology, and Crito, all which relate to the death of Socrates, and as the Meno and Protagoras, which relate to the question whether virtue can be taught; or according to their agreement in character, as the Lesser Hippias and Euthydemus, which are anatreptic, and the Theages, Laches, and Lysis, which are maieutic dialogues. The Cratylus is ranked in the last place, not so much because the subject of it is etymology, as because a great part of it is deeply theological; for by this arrangement, after having ascended to all the divine orders and their ineffable principle in the Parmenides, and thence descended in a regular series to the human soul in the subsequent dialogues, the reader is again led back to deity in this dialogue, and thus imitates the order which all beings observe, that of incessantly, returning to the principles whence they flew.
After the dialogues** follow the Epistles of Plato, which are in every respect worthy that prince of all true philosophers. They are not only written with great elegance, and occasionally with magnificence of diction, but with all the becoming dignity of a mind conscious of its superior endowments, and all the authority of a master in philosophy. They are likewise replete with many admirable political observations, and contain some of his most abstruse dogmas, which though delivered enigmatically, yet the manner in which they are delivered, elucidates at the same time that it is elucidated by what is said of these dogmas in his more theological dialogues.
* As I profess to give the reader a translation of the genuine works of Plato only, I have not translated the Axiochus, Demodoeus, Sisyphus, &c. as these are evidently spurious dialogues.
With respect, to the following translation, it is necessary to observe, in the first place, than the numbers of legitimate dialogues of Plato is fifty-five; for though the Republic forms but one treatise, and the Laws another, yet the former consists of ten, and the latter of twelve books, and each of these books is a dialogue. Hence, as there are thirty-three dialogues, besides the Laws and the Republic, fifty-five will, as we have said, be the amount of the whole. Of these fifty-five, the nine following have been translated by Mr. Sydenham; viz. the First and Second Alcibiades, the Greater an' Lesser Hippias, the Banquet (except the speech of Alcibiades), the Philebus, the Meno, the Io, and the Rivals. ** [ ** In the notes on the above-mentioned nine dialogues, those written by Mr. Sydenham are signed S., and those by myself T. ] I have already observed, and with deep regret, that this excellent though unfortunate scholar died before he had made that proficiency in the philosophy of Plato which might have been reasonably expected from so fair a beginning. I personally knew him only in the decline of life, when his mental powers were not only considerably impaired by age, but greatly injured by calamity. His life had been very stormy; his circumstances, for many years preceding his death, were indigent; his patrons were by no means liberal; and his real friends were neither numerous nor affluent. He began the study of Plato, as he himself informed me, when he had considerably passed the meridian of life, and with most unfortunate prejudices against his best disciples, which I attempted to remove during my acquaintance with him, and partly succeeded in the attempt; but infirmity and death prevented its completion. Under such circumstances it was not to be expected that he would fathom the profundity of Plato's conceptions, and arrive at the summit of philosophic attainments. I saw, however, that his talents and his natural disposition were such as might have ranked him among the best of Plato's interpreters, if he had not yielded to the pressure of calamity, if he had not
nourished such baneful prejudices, and if he had not neglected philosophy in the early part of life. Had this happened, my labors would have been considerably lessened, or perhaps rendered entirely unnecessary, and his name would have been transmitted to posterity with undecaying renown. As this unfortunately did not happen, I have been under the necessity of diligently examining and comparing with the original all those parts of the dialogues which he translated, that are more deeply philosophical, or that contain any thing of the theology of Plato. In these, as might be expected, I found him greatly deficient; I found him sometimes mistaking the meaning through ignorance of Plato's more sublime tenets, and at other times perverting it, in order to favor some opinions of his own. His translation however of other parts which are not so abstruse is excellent. In these he not only presents the reader faithfully with the matter, but likewise with the genuine manner of Plato. The notes too which accompany the translation of these parts generally exhibit just criticism and extensive learning, an elegant taste, and a genius naturally philosophic. Of these notes I have preserved as much as was consistent with the limits and design of the following work.
Of the translation of the Republic by Dr. Spens, it is necessary to observe that a considerable part of it is very faithfully executed; but that in the more abstruse parts it is inaccurate; and that it every where abounds with Scotticisms which offend an English ear, and vulgarisms which are no less disgraceful to the translator than disgusting to the reader. Suffice it therefore to say of this version, that I have adopted it wherever I found it could with propriety be adopted, and given my own translation where it was otherwise.
Of the ten dialogues translated by Dacier, I can say nothing with accuracy, because I have no knowledge whatever of the French language; but if any judgment may be formed of this work, from a translation of it into English, I will be bold to say that it is by no means literal, and that he very frequently mistakes the sense of the original. From this translation therefore I could derive but little assistance; some however I have derived, and that little I willingly acknowledge. In translating the rest of Plato's works, an' this, as the reader may easily see, form by far the greatest part of them, I have had no assistance from any translation except that of Ficinus, the general excellency of which is well known to every student of Plato, arising not only from his possessing a knowledge of Platonism superior to that of any translators that have followed him, but likewise from his having made this translation from a very valuable manuscript in the Medicean library, which is now no longer to be found. I have, however, availed myself of the learned labors of the editors of various dialogues of Plato; such as the edition of the Rivals, Euthyphro, Apology, Crito, and Phaedo, by Forster; of the First and Second Alcibiades and Hipparchus, by Etwall; of the Meno, First Alcibiades, Phaedo and Phaedrus, printed at Vienna, 1784; of the Cratylus and Theaetetus, by Fischer; of the Republic, by Massey; and of the Euthydemus and Gorgias, by Dr. Routh, president of Magdalen College, Oxford. This last editor has enriched his edition of these two dialogues with very valuable and copious philological and critical notes, in which he has displayed no less learning than judgment, no less acuteness than taste. He appears indeed to me to be one of the best and most modest of philologists; and it is to be hoped that he will be imitated in what he has done by succeeding editors of Plato's text.
If my translation had been made with an eye to the judgment of the many, it would have been necessary to apologize for its literal exactness. Had I been anxious to gratify false taste with respect to composition, I should doubtless have attended less to the precise meaning of the original, have omitted almost all connective Particles, have divided long periods into a
number of short ones, and branched out the strong and deep river of Plato's language into smooth-gliding, shallow, and feeble streams; but as the present work was composed with the hope indeed of benefitting all, but with an eye to the criticism solely of men of elevated souls, I have endeavored not to lose a word of the original; and yet at the same time have attempted to give the translation as much elegance as such verbal accuracy can be supposed capable of admitting. I have also endeavored to preserve the manner as well as the matter of my author, being fully persuaded that no translation deserves applause, in which both these are not as much as possible preserved.
My principal object in this arduous undertaking has been to unfold all the abstruse and sublime dogmas of Plato, as they are found dispersed in his works. Minutely to unravel the art which he employs in the composition of all his dialogues, and to do full justice to his meaning in every particular, must be the task of some one who has more leisure, and who is able to give the works of Plato to the public on a more extensive plan. In accomplishing this great object, I have presented the reader in my notes with nearly the substance in English of all the following manuscript Greek Commentaries and Scholia on Plato; viz. of the Commentaries of Proclus on the Parmenides and First Alcibiades; and of his Scholia on the Cratylus; of the Scholia of Olympiodorus on the Phaedo, Gorgias, and Philebus; and of Hermeas on the Phoedrus. To these are added very copious extracts from the manuscript of Damascius,** Peri Archon, and from the published works of Proclus on the Timeus, Republic, and Theology of Plato. Of the four first of these manuscripts, three of which are folio volumes, I have complete copies taken with my own hand; and of the copious extracts from the others, those from Olympiodorus on the Gorgias were taken by me from the copy preserved in the British Museum; those from the same philosopher on the Philebus, and those from Hermeas on the Phaedrus, and Damascius Peri Archon, from the copies in the Bodleian library.
** Patricius was one of the very few in modern times who have been sensible of the great merit of these writings, as is evident from the extract from the preface to his translation of Proclus's Theological Elements. (Ferrar. 4to. 1583.) Patricius, prior to this, enumerates the writings of Proclus, and they are included in his wish that all the manuscript Greek commentaries on Plato were made public.
And here gratitude demands that I should publicly acknowledge the very handsome and liberal manner in which I was received by the University of Oxford, and by the principal librarian and sub-librarians of the Bodleian library, during the time that I made the above mentioned extracts. In the first place I have to acknowledge the very polite attention which was paid to me by Dr. Jackson **, dean of Christ-church. In the second place, the liberty of attendance at the Bodleian library, and the accommodation which was there afforded me, by the librarians of that excellent collection, demand from me no small tribute of praise. And, above all, the very liberal manner in which I was received by the fellows of New College, with whom I resided for three weeks, and from whom I experienced even Grecian hospitality, will, I trust, be as difficult a task for time to obliterate from my memory, as it would be for men to express it as it deserves.
** I was much pleased to find that this very respectable prelate is a great admirer of Aristotle, and that extracts from the Commentaries of Simplicius and Ammonius on the Categories of that philosopher, are read by his orders in the college of which he is the head.
With respect to the faults which I may have committed in this translation (for I am not vain enough to suppose it is without fault), I might plead as an excuse, that the whole of it has been executed amidst severe endurance from bodily infirmity and indigent circumstances; and that a very considerable part of it was accomplished amidst other ills of no common magnitude, and other labors inimical to such
an undertaking. But whatever may be my errors, I will not fly to calamity for an apology. Let it be my excuse that the mistakes I may have committed in lesser particulars, have arisen from my eagerness to seize and promulgate those great truths in the philosophy and theology of Plato, which though they have been concealed for ages in oblivion, have a subsistence coeval with the universe, and will again be restored, and flourish for very extended periods, through all the infinite revolutions of time.
In the next place, it is necessary to speak concerning the qualifications requisite in a legitimate student of the philosophy of Plato, previous to which I shall just notice the absurdity of supposing that a mere knowledge of the Greek tongue, however great that knowledge may be, is alone sufficient to the understanding the sublime doctrines of Plato; for a man might as well think that he can understand Archimedes without a knowledge of the elements of geometry, merely because he can read him in the original. Those who entertain such an idle opinion, would do well to meditate on the profound observation of Heraclitus, "that polymathy does not teach intellect," (Polymathic noon ou didaskei).
By a legitimate student, then, of the Platonic philosophy, I mean one who, both from nature and education, is properly qualified for such an arduous undertaking; that is one who possesses a naturally good disposition; is sagacious and acute, and is inflamed with an ardent desire for the acquisition of wisdom and truth; who from his childhood has been well instructed in the mathematical disciplines; who, besides this, has spent whole days, and frequently the greater part of the night, in profound meditation; and, like one triumphantly sailing over a raging sea, or skillfully piercing through an army of foes, has successfully encountered an hostile multitude of doubts; - in short, who has never considered wisdom as a thing of trifling estimation and easy access, but as that which cannot be obtained without the most generous and severe endurance, and the intrinsic worth of which surpasses all corporeal good, far more than the ocean the fleeting bubble which floats on its surface. To such as are destitute of these requisites, who make the study of words their sole employment, and the pursuit of wisdom but at best a secondary thing, who expect to be wise by desultory application for an hour or two in a day, after the fatigues of business, after mixing with the base multitude of mankind, laughing with the gay affecting airs of gravity with the serious, tacitly assenting to every man's opinion, however absurd, and winking at folly however shameful and base - to such as these - and, alas! the world is full of such - the sublimest truths must appear to be nothing more than jargon and reverie, the dreams of a distempered imagination, or the ebullitions of fanatical faith.
But all this is by no means wonderful, if we consider that two-fold ignorance is the disease of the many. For they are not only ignorant with respect to the sublimest knowledge, but they are even ignorant of their ignorance. Hence they never suspect their want of understanding, but immediately reject a doctrine which appears at first sight absurd, because it is too splendid for their bat-like eyes to behold. Or if they even yield their assent to its truth, their very assent is the result of the same most dreadful disease of the soul. For they will fancy, says Plato, that they understand the highest truths, when the very contrary is really the case. I earnestly therefore entreat men of this description, not to meddle with any of the profound speculations of the Platonic philosophy, for it is more dangerous to urge them to such an employment, than to advise them to follow their sordid avocations with unwearied assiduity, and toil for wealth with increasing alacrity and vigor; as they will by this means give free scope to the base habits of their soul, and sooner suffer that punishment which in such as these must always precede mental illumination, and be the inevitable consequence of guilt.
It is well said indeed by Lysis, the Pythagorean, that to inculcate liberal speculations and discourses to those whose morals are turbid and confused, is just as absurd as to pour pure and transparent water into a deep well full of mire and clay; for he who does this will only disturb the mud, and cause the pure water to become defiled. The woods of such, as the same author beautifully observes, (that is the irrational or corporeal life), in which these dire passions are nourished, must first be purified with fire and sword, and every kind of instrument (that is, through preparatory disciplines, and the political virtues), and reason must be freed from its slavery to the affections, before any thing useful can be planted in these savage haunts. Let not such then presume to explore the regions of Platonic philosophy. The land is too pure to admit the sordid and the base. The road which conducts to it is too intricate to be discovered by the unskillful and stupid, and the journey is too long and laborious to be accomplished by the effeminate and the timid, by the slave of passion and the dime of opinion, by the lover of sense and the despiser of truth. The dangers and difficulties in the undertaking are such as can be sustained by none but the most hardy and accomplished adventurers; and he who begins the journey without the strength of Hercules, or the wisdom and patience of Ulysses, must be destroyed by the wild beasts of the forest, or perish in the storms of the ocean; must suffer transmutation into a beast through the magic power of Circe, or be exiled for life by the detaining charm of Calypso; and in short must descend into Hades, and wander in its darkness, without emerging from thence to the bright regions of the morning, or be ruined by the deadly melody of the Syren's song. To the most skillful traveler, who pursues the right road with an ardor which no toils can abate, with a vigilance which no weariness can surprise into negligence, and with virtue which no temptations can seduce, it exhibits for many years the appearance of the Ithaca of Ulysses, or the flying Italy of AEneas; for we no sooner gain a glimpse of the pleasing land which is to be the end of our journey, than it is suddenly ravished from our view, and we still find ourselves at a distance from the beloved coast, exposed to the fury of a stormy sea of doubts.
Abandon then, ye groveling souls, the fruitless design! Pursue with avidity the beaten road which leads to popular honors and sordid gain, but relinquish all thoughts of a voyage for which you are totally unprepared. Do you not perceive what a length of sea separates you from the royal coast? A sea,
Huge, horrid, vast, where scarce in safety sails
The best built ship, though Jove inspire the gales.
And may we not very justly ask you, similar to the interrogation of Calypso,
What ships have you, what sailors to convey,
What oars to cut the long laborious way?
I shall only observe further, that the life of Plato, by Olympiodorus, was prefixed to this translation, in preference to that by Diogenes Laertius, because the former is the production of a most eminent Platonist, and the latter of a mere historian, who indiscriminately gave to the public whatever anecdotes he found in other authors. If the reader combines this short sketch of the life of Plato with what that philosopher says of himself in his 7th Epistle, he will be in possession of the most important particulars about him that can be obtained at present.
(To Be Continued.)
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MR. WOOD'S NEW BOOK
Mr. Ernest Egerton Wood, who has been living at Ootacamund in Southern India, and recruiting his health, has been preparing a book to be entitled "Is This Theosophy?", it is to be published by Rider in London this month, and is a large book to cost 16/-. It will be as book of memories, and considering Mr. Wood's experiences in the thick of all the 'hurley-burley' of the Theosophical Society for 25 years past it should be of intense interest. Moreover, Mr. Wood, being a careful student of The Secret Doctrine it should prove to be an important work of illumination to students. Mr. Wood's general attitude towards the subject is demonstrated in an article in the current December Theosophist, in which he sets forth in moderate term the natural position of those who, as Madame Blavatsky says in The Key, would not join the Society unless they were interested in Theosophy. Mr. Hamerster has been called upon by the President to reply to Mr. Wood, which occurs to us as suggestive of Col. Olcott calling on some one to reply to Madame Blavatsky. There is only one way to do that and Mr. Hamerster adopts it. Obviously it is not a successful one.
The Occult Review, the new quarterly issue of which has just come to hand, has a preview of Mr. Wood's volume, and we venture to make the two following extracts from it. It will be seen that the volume may be expected to corroborate all those things which The Canadian Theosophist has been censored for daring to assert, and that our policy during the last fifteen or sixteen years has been fully justified. We look forward with keen interest to a perusal of the volume. Meanwhile The Occult Review informs us that Mr. Wood's record is of many years' self-sacrificing work in close touch with the leaders of the Besant-Leadbeater section of the Theosophical Movement. As a consequence he has much of vital interest to reveal to those for whom 'There is no religion higher than Truth.'
"Heavy of heart and disillusioned in later days, Mr. Wood nevertheless cherishes a warm regard for the Annie Besant of earlier years; and his literary work in connection with the Vasanta Press has left its mark . . . .
"With the coming to Adyar, in 1909, of Mr. Leadbeater and young Krishnamurti (then a boy of about thirteen years), influences which were destined to figure largely in the later life of Mr. Wood came into operation. He had much confidence in C.W.L. and `grew to like him very much.' But although satisfied of the sincerity of Mr. Leadbeater, there was no satisfactory evidence to be found in support of his clairvoyance. In fact the time came when Mr. Wood was convinced that `The Lives of Alcyone,' as the clairvoyant investigations into the past lives of Krishnamurti were entitled, could not bear the searchlight of analysis. Nor was Mr. Wood at ease in face of the manner in which apparently A.B. and C.W.L. fostered the credulity of their followers in the omniscience of their clairvoyant powers. The clairvoyance of C.W.L., upon which Dr. Besant appears to have relied too much, ultimately brought the whole `World Saviour' project into ridicule and disrepute.
"The reader will be surprised to find the extent to which Mr. Leadbeater was indebted in his books to information supplied by Mr. Wood. Of his efforts to establish within the Theosophical Society a free platform, `so that no party could use the organization for its own purpose'; of his candidacy for election as President of the Society after the passing of Dr. Besant; of his handicaps, and his defeat - all this must be left to the reader himself to follow. Suffice it to say that `the election which ought to have been a courtly record of policy and opinion . . . . degenerated into something worse than any political election I have ever known . . . . It was a victory for Bishop Leadbeater, who at last attained practically full control
during Dr. Besant's illness, though he himself, then at the age of eighty-seven, did not live to see the result of the election.....
"It says much for the sincerity and devotion to the Theosophical Movement of the subject of this autobiography that little or no trace of bitterness or rancor mars the pages of this book. It stands as a living testimony to the reality of the spiritual powers which, given opportunity, would work as they have worked in the past, through the organization established by Madame Blavatsky for that purpose. It is difficult to believe that her efforts were made in vain. What does the future hold in store?"
We understand that Mr. Wood expects to visit New York before long, and it would certainly be a welcome visit should he be able to come to Canada when on this continent. We who proposed him for the Presidency would be glad to acknowledge to him personally our regard and esteem for the gentlemanly fashion in which he conducted his campaign in the face of much misrepresentation and political trickery.
DR. de PURUCKER'S "FUNDAMENTALS"
It may seem rather late in the day to speak of a book published in 1932 and reviewed in our columns in June of that year, but I have felt for some time since reading Dr. G. de Purucker's "Fundamentals of the Esoteric Philosophy" that I would like to say a word of my own impressions. I am so constituted that it is very rare I can swallow a book wholesale without any reservation whatever, and I have no impulse to swallow the Fundamentals in that style. But I am bound to say that I found the book thought-provoking, suggestive, novel in its new emphases, and a valuable adjunct to a student of The Secret Doctrine.
Of course students - real students - of the Secret Doctrine, are as critical as any other readers can be, and statements made by whomsoever have to be analyzed and weighed and balanced with experience and reason and intuition. I am a slow reader and on a large book have to take my time, and so have no apology to make about delay, whatever may be due for incapacity. No book is infallible, and if it were it would take an infallible reader to appreciate its merits. Consequently reviewers may very courteously agree to differ on many points, and yet feel no alarm because they cannot see eye to eye. I am always ready to admit I am wrong, if may error is pointed out, and I never was foolish enough to think I knew more than anyone else.
We are told that there are at least seven methods of interpretation, and it is rarely that the proper method is indicated by the author. Indeed, one may feel that many authors are unaware of the correct method of dealing with their own works. When the true key is metaphysical or transcendental, or idealistic or purely Divine or Spiritual, one may be forgiven if he stumbles in his interpretations. In any case a good book, whoever may write it, is one that stirs the imagination ands inner faculties of the student, and inspires him to greater effort of mind and action. I believe this book of Dr. de Purucker's will do this if read in anything like an approach to the true spirit.
There have been suggestions that this book has been dictated by a Master. The author himself states that "the Teacher has told me almost nothing" (page 158) . But whether he was told little or much, the book should be read by the student as we were advised to read the Secret Doctrine, without any thought of authority, to question every statement, to judge it from experience and the evidence of others, and to give it the final test of reason and common sense on its value as a guide to Life.
I found the book acutely stimulating. Whether one agrees or not with some of its propositions, there can be no doubt that it is on the side of the angels, and those
who read it will be compelled to go to The Secret Doctrine to settle any difficulties they may meet. Dr. de Purucker suffers as an author from the form of the book, which really consists of a series of lectures, in which he irritates one reader at least, if one be permitted the liberty, by references to "the Teacher" who had told him almost nothing, as he says, and who, to judge by such early dicta as that the Bhagavad Gita was a book not suited to the Nineteenth Century, or that the clay bank of Point Loma was the oldest part of our Earth, was certainly not capable of instructing as clever and learned a man as Dr. de Purucker undoubtedly is. Now that he is "on his own" so to speak, one feels much more confidence in his own reliability.
Much fault was found with his use of the term "absolute" to cover the perfection or completeness of lesser manifestations of Consciousness and Power than The ABSOLUTE. It does not appear that Dr. de Purucker had tried in any way to take away from the Unknown Root any phase of its uniquity, but used it in the Dictionary sense "perfect in itself;" or as we say colloquially in the last few years, Absolutely, when absoluteness is the last thing in our minds.
I would more seriously differ with him when he says there is no Law of Karma, but simply the working of various consciousnesses, or to put it as he does, "the various workings of consciousnesses in Nature." I should say that if we are in touch with anything absolute it is the Law of Karma, otherwise, as Walt Whitman says, "Alarum! Then indeed we are betrayed!" Perhaps the new karman which he preaches is different from what H.P.B. had in mind, for Karma gives us a "foothold, tenon'd and mortis'd in granite;" but this idea that Karma may be the "habit" or "will" or mayhap the whim of a being to whom we are subject, is subversive of all standards and principles.
The Secret Doctrine teaches that Consciousness and Matter are the two facets or aspects of the Absolute which constitute the basis of conditioned Being whether subjective or objective; and that we acquire individuality, first by natural impulse, and then by self-induced and self-devised efforts, checked by Karma, thus ascending from the lowest to the highest Manas up to the holiest archangel. It is the Law of Karma that guarantees the integrity of the ascending entity and if there be no Law on which it can depend, what are we to think?
This theory of Dr. de Purucker's will suit the sacerdotalists and the ecclesiastics generally, but it is not the teaching we had from H.P.B. Still, none of us is infallible, and I am willing to be shown, if that can be. The chief value of Dr. de Purucker's book is the importance he attaches to the revelations regarding the Hierarchies. It is true that little attention has been paid, comparatively, to this subject. We venture to make some quotations from The Secret Doctrine under this head, and commend Dr. de Purucker's remarks about it to the student. It illuminates many aspects of the teaching, but nowhere that I can discover is it suggested that the Hierarchies or their component Beings are in any way exempt from the general Law of Karma that operates up to the Throne of the Invisible itself. For directing attention to this point alone the book is well worth study, but there are many other virtues which we need not dilate upon, and which the student will perceive for himself, while gaining perspicacity in considering the detail and embellishments of the writer's treatment. The volume has a fine Index and runs to 555 pages. (London: Rider & Co., 25/-).
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Everything in the Universe, throughout all its Kingdoms, is conscious . . . . . The Universe is worked and guided from within outwards. (S.D., I. 274).
Karana - eternal cause - is alone during the "Nights of Brahma". The previous objective Universe has dissolved into its one primal and eternal cause, and it is, so to say, held in solution in Space, to differentiate again and crystallize out anew at the following Manvantaric Dawn. (S. D., I. 411) .
The Mystery in the Hierarchy of the Anupadaka is great, its apex being the universal Spirit-Soul, and the lower rung the Manushi-Buddha; and even every Soul-endowed Man is an Anupadaka in a latent state. (S.D., I. 54).
The Primary Breath informs the higher Hierarchies; the secondary, the lower, in the constantly descending planes. (S.D. II. 492).
The Monads circling around any septenary chain are divided into seven classes or hierarchies according to their respective stages of evolution, consciousness and merit. (S.D., I. 171).
Stanza Four shows the differentiation of the Germ of the Universe into the Septenary Hierarchies of conscious Divine Powers, who are the active manifestation of the One Supreme Energy. They are the framers, shapers and ultimately the creators of all the manifested Universe in the only sense in which the name "Creators" is intelligible; they inform and guide it; they are the intelligent Beings who adjust and control evolution; embodying in themselves those manifestations of the ONE LAW, which we know as "The Laws of Nature." (S.D., I. 21-2).
Stanza Five proceeds with a minute classification of the Orders of the Angelic Hierarchy - an endless enumeration of the celestial hosts and beings, each having its distinct task in the ruling of the visible kosmos during its existence. These are the AH-HI (Dhyan Chohans), the collective hosts of spiritual beings - the Angelic Hosts of Christianity . . . . . . . The Hierarchy of spiritual beings through which the Universal Mind comes into action, is like an army - a "Host", truly . . . .composed of army corps, divisions, brigades, regiments, and so forth, each with its separate individuality or life, and its limited freedom of action and limited responsibilities; each contained in a large individuality to which its own interests are subservient and each containing lesser individualities in itself. (S. D., I. 38).
Fire, Flame, Day, the Bright Fortnight, Smoke, Night, are all names of various deities which preside over the Cosmo-psychic Powers. (S.D., I. 86).
The Pitris are Lunar deities, and our ancestors because they created physical man. (S.D., I. 86).
The Hierarchy of Creative Powers is divided into Seven (or 4 and 3) esoteric, within the twelve great Orders, recorded in the Twelve Signs of the Zodiac ..... The highest group is composed of the divine Flames, so-called, also spoken of as the "Fiery Lions" and the "Lions of Life" whose esotericism is securely hidden in the Zodiacal sign of Leo. (S.D., I. 213).
The Kumaras are called the Four (though in reality Seven in number) because Sanaka, Sananda, Sanatana, and Sanat-Kumara are the chief Vaidhata. (S.D., I, 89).
Parasakti, Jnanasakti, Itchasakti, Kriyasakti, Kundalinisakti, Mantrikasakti - These six forces are in their unity represented by the "Daiviprakriti," the Seventh, the light of the Logos. These six names are those of the six Hierarchies synthesized by their Primary, the Seventh, who personify the Fifth Principle of Cosmic Nature. Each has a Conscious Entity at its head. (S.D., I. 293).
In the Esoteric system the Dhyanis watch successively over one of the Rounds and the great Root Races of the planetary chain. They send their Bodhisatvas, the human correspondences of the Dhyani
Buddhas, during every Round and Race . . . . .Of the Seven Truths and Revelations only Four have been handed to us of the Fourth Round. (S.D., I. 42).
In the world of Forces the Sun, and the Seven chief Planets constitute the visible and active Potencies, the latter Hierarchy being, so to speak, the visible and objective Logos, of the invisible and ever subjective Angels. (S.D., II. 23).
It becomes the task of the Fifth Hierarchy - the mysterious beings that preside over the constellation Capricornus, Makara, or the "Crocodile" in India as in Egypt - to inform the empty and ethereal animal form and make of it Rational Man. (S. D., I. 233).
Many are those among the Spiritual Entities who have incarnated bodily in man, since the beginning of his appearance, and who, for all that, still exist as independently as they did before, in the infinitudes of space .. ... (S.D., I. 233).
As a fact insisted upon by generations of Seers, none of these Beings, high or low, have either individuality or personality as separate Entities, i.e., they have no individuality in the sense in which a man says, "I am myself and no one else;" in other words, they are conscious of no such distinct separateness as men and things have on earth. Individuality is the characteristic of their respective hierarchies, not of their units; and these characteristics vary only with the degree of the plane to which those hierarchies belong: the nearer to the region of Homogeneity and the One Divine, the purer and the less accentuated that individuality in the Hierarchy. (S.D., I. 275).
A Dhyan Chohan has to become one: he must be born or appear suddenly on the plane of life as a full-blown angel. The Celestial Hierarchy of the present Manvantara will find itself transferred in the next cycle of life into higher superior worlds, and will make room for a new hierarchy, composed of the elect ones of our mankind. (S.D., I. 221).
The Gnostic's serpent with the Seven Vowels over its head, being the emblem of the Sun Hierarchies of the Septenary or Planetary Creators. (S.D., I. 73).
Every mortal has his immortal counterpart, or rather his Archetype, in heaven. This means that the former is indissolubly united to the latter, in each of his incarnations, and for the duration of the cycle of births; only it is the spiritual and intellectual Principle in him, entirely distinct from the lower self, never through the earthly personality. (S.D., III. 59).
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 splendor 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.
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.
THE CANADIAN THEOSOPHIST
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OFFICERS OF THE T.S. IN CANADA
- Felix A. Belcher, 250 N. Liagar St., Toronto.
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- 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.
It is practically impossible for the General Secretary to acknowledge personally all the kind messages and Christmas, and New Year greetings sent to him and his wife, but if any should be missed it will not be through lack of consideration but for sheer lack of time, though the most hearty appreciation of such widespread kindness calls for direct response.
The English Theosophical News and Notes, like Theosophy in India, has also taken on a new phase and prints several attractive articles by contributors, in which some of the old independence of thought of H.P.B.'s time, and an absence of adulatory slobber is to be commended. We are inclined to think that in spite of Adyar the innate virility of those who seek Theosophy and seek it truly is beginning to manifest itself.
Theosophy in India presents an improved bill of fare, but the General Secretary announces his resignation on account of ill health. The lengthy article on "Deification of Man in the Yogavasistha" is concluded with the present instalment. Man's difficulty is, "according to Vasistha, an individual, on whatever plane of manifestation he may feel his being, is a mode or differentiation of the Whole with which he is ever identical, although he does not realize this fact. The reason why he does not realize is that he is too much occupied with a portion of the Whole, which he calls his body or personality."
We have a few prospectuses, with the form of application for membership in the Fellowship of Faiths whose Second International Congress is to be held at University College, London, England, July 6-17. The objects of the Congress are to work for Fellowship; to welcome the necessary differences among members of any fellowship; and to unite the inspiration of all Faiths upon the solution of man's present problems. This is all so very much in line with the original conception of the Theosophical Society that we can heartily commend it to all whose aspirations seek the highest in human evolution. The forms mentioned may be had on application.
Adyar, or, we presume, Dr. Arundale, has decided to issue another Magazine. It is to take the place of the Adyar News sheet now in its second volume. The new Journal is for members of the Society and will be called The Theosophical World. The subscription will be $1.50 a year, or with The Theosophist, $5.50. An American donor has supplied the money to enable this enterprise. At this dead season of the year, when our funds are low and the future has little promise, we fully understand the value of support of this kind, and if any kind friend wishes to emulate the "American friend" on our behalf, we shall endeavor to live up to the responsibility.
Theosophy for January has an excellent though brief article on "Trends in Education," in which one of our most flagrant faults is noted. "Especially, as in H.P.B.'s day, is history the subject most liable to misinterpretation. Children are taught that `their' country has been, and still is, always in the right - that others have been the aggressors, and where we have warred, there has been justice in it. If only history could be taught impersonally, with a recognition of the binding ties of Karma!" There is also an excellent article on "Science and the Secret Doctrine." But all articles on Science and the S.D. are comparatively futile as long as Science insists that Consciousness plays no part in Life or Evolution.
Dr. H.N. Stokes in his October-November O.E. Library Critic delivers himself with great freedom and validity on the subject of Esoteric Societies and Sections. There has never been a more complete example of a good thing being ruined than the operation of the E.S. in the Theosophical Society. It began under the happiest auspices, but as soon as Madame Blavatsky died, the moles began to work upon it, and it wound up in a modern idolatry. Nor was it an intelligent idolatry, but a worship of Mumbo-Jumbo of the worst description. Truth, conscience, common sense, decency fled from the organization, and it became a test of sanity to abandon it. Its present status appears to require the most bitter intolerance, if we may judge by the attitude of those who represent its local authority. But this is nothing to what Dr. Stokes has to say of it ----
The American Theosophist for January records the investiture of Dr. James H. Cousins, whose brother recently visited Canada, by His Highness the Maharaja of Travancore, with the ancient decoration of veera srinkhala, or bracelet of heroism, and ceremonial robe, on the occasion of His Highness's birthday. Dr. Cousins has been honored on account of his organization of the State Gallery of Indian Painting, recently opened. Dr. Cousins, who is Principal of Madanapalle College, Madras Presidency, is believed to be the first Westerner to have received the distinction. The bracelet, formerly conferred on warriors, is made by the hereditary palace goldsmiths after a traditional model of patterned gold in short over-lapping sections, an inch in diameter, one-third of the bracelet being encrusted with precious stones in traditional patterns. The robe is of scarlet Kashmir cloth with heavy gold embroidered borders. This is usually given to scholar. The two together symbolize high cultural achievement.
The Theosophical Movement for December, has a valuable note on the Bhagavad Gita, which it terms "The Book of Discipline." "It is fashionable nowadays to speak of the decline and death of democracy. Dictators flourish not only in churches and temples but also in states. The citizens in Russia, Italy and Germany are supposed to be undergoing a discipline under powerful leaders. It should be recognized that the masses are being enslaved, people will become excellent machines, soulless automata whose thinking is done for them. This is the false, non-spiritual discipline. The Gita creates the warrior-soul of free-will, of free-thought but responsive to his own duty and not clamorous for personal rights. The Gita teaches self-discipline - the individual has to fight his own weaknesses and unfold his own virtues." I had prepared an address for The Fellowship of Faiths in Chicago which did not come off, and its subject was the two virtues - the only two - Discipline and Cooperation. With these we can enter the New Age.
Additional Agenda for the Adyar Council Meeting included a proposal to form a Correspondence School with headquarters at Adyar, which any member could join on entering the Society. The course is to
comprise graded studies and instruction in meditation for three years. Then, if the member does not wish to join the E.S., a further two years of more advanced instruction. A proposal to place International lecturing on an International basis, administered and organized from Adyar, so that no country is left without help, and lecturers of repute do not overlap each other, but circulate round the world, is also suggested. This policy of centering everything at Adyar of course appeals to those located there, but it is altogether contrary to the original idea of the Society which was to foster autonomous groups. Col. Olcott was against this, being an American, and believing in central government. To standardize the Movement on an Adyar basis would be fatal to its value, and suffocating to individual freedom.
Dr. Arundale's Presidential address at the Adyar annual meeting runs to about 4000 words, and if we wished to be ill-natured we might say it was illogical and inconsistent. But Dr. Arundale apparently is trying to reconcile irreconcilable objects, and with this initial straying it is of course impossible for him to arrive at consistency. The Masters do not ask that the Society should include all the unbrotherly elements that would seek to enter and vitiate its efforts. They wish to establish a real Brotherhood whose consecration to Truth above all things, should make it a Beacon Star in a world of darkness. But when it seeks to bolster up fiction and romance under the guise of psychic revelation, inconsistencies are inevitable. The following paragraph, for example, does not harmonize with the laudations to be found elsewhere in the address: "Theosophy is the eternal and universal Science of Life. It must never be exclusively identified with any faith, with any teaching, with any movement, with any person." Let us all pray for discrimination. There are fine ands noble sentiments in the address, but we need to discern what is good and what is worthless in such an utterance and endeavor to live up to the highest in its suggestions.
One of the most delightful experiences one can have if he has any love of nature, and especially Canadian nature, is to see Mr. Dan McCowan's pictures of the Rocky Mountains and hear him describe his adventures in obtaining them. Nothing more beautiful could be imagined than these photographs, of flowers, birds, animals, scenery, exquisitely colored by Mrs. McCowan, and showing a phase of the world that few people comparatively have any knowledge of, so that when one sees these marvels it is little wonder that the triumphs of civilization sink considerably in one's estimation. The majesty of the Rocky Mountain peaks and their sublime beauty were displayed in a selection of views that included all the great peaks in the Banff region. Mr. McCowan spoke of them with awe and likened them, as he thought, to "the skirts of God." He said he knew Mr. George Paris of Banff very well, and one imagines men who live in these exalted and exalting regions must draw peculiar strength from the soaring heights to which their attention is continually directed.
The new Point Loma magazine, combining three previous ones as The Theosophical Forum, has reached us as No. 1, volume viii, for January. It contains 80 pages with cover and is a handsome journal costing $2 a year. Among the articles which impress us is C.J. Ryan's study of Tibetan Yoga, based on Dr. Evans-Wentz's "Tibetan Yoga and Secret Doctrine." This article will be continued. Dr. H.T. Edge opens a series on "The Universal Mystery Language and its Interpretation." Dr. H.A. Fussell continues his studies of "Theosophy and Christianity." Various departments are maintained at their usual high level and embrace an article on the recent performance of Fire-Walking in England, questions and answers, and a letter from W. Q.
Judge on Mental Healing; Dr. de Purucker opens the contents with his 18th General Letter for New Year. He points out that "it is the worst possible psychology to lie under the delusion that we can convince others, that our ways are the better ones, if we choose the method of criticizing them or of throwing mud at them; for this foolishness simply alienates them from us instantly, and in addition arouses in their hearts a feeling of probable injustice, and in any case of antagonism and dislike. Sympathy, kindliness, frank confession of our own failings where such confession will lead to a better mutual understanding; purity of motive and of life, and the self- dedication of the heart without thought of reward, to our blessed Cause - all without criticism of others: this I do believe is the Way which we should follow."
The Aryan Path continues to be one of the finest of the magazines that have been published in support of the Theosophical Movement. It is equal in literary and intellectual force to The Theosophical Quarterly at its best. If it has not the outstanding authority of H.P.B.'s own periodicals or Mr. Judge's Path, at least it follows these traditions, and very worthily. Its sister periodical, The Theosophical Movement, gives the objects of The Aryan Path in its December issue. "To penetrate the mind of the race with Theosophical ideas and principles of the Esoteric philosophy. To present teachings about the Aryan or Noble Path which can be practiced. To bring to the Westerner the Light of the East, and to present to the Oriental whatever there is - and there is a great deal - of beauty and worth in Occidental culture; at the same time to attempt to spiritualize the mind and to deepen the insight of many kinds of Free Thinkers, among whom are students of Theosophy with different affiliations. The management has been able to induce such writers as Middleton Murry, J.S. Collis, Hugh l'A Fausset, L.A.G. Strong, A.E. Waite, Frederick Soddy, A.N. Monkhouse, Humbert Wolfe, J.D. Beresford and others of similar calibre to contribute to its pages. Capt. P.G. Bowen pays tribute to AE in the December issue, and to his devotion to H.P.B. and William Q. Judge. W.Q.J., he said, "was one of the great revealers of all time." The price of The Aryan Path has been reduced to $3. a year for this continent.
At the last International Theosophical convention held in Toronto a committee was elected to work for fraternization the year round. This committee has been busy, in a quiet way, and is now in a position to make a few definite announcements.
The place of the 1936 convention was not decided upon at Toronto and it was left to the committee to fix a suitable location. After careful consideration of the situation, Buffalo was selected and arrangements about the hall, accommodations, etc., are now under way. Buffalo is convenient to U.S. and Canadian Theosophists.
Acting under powers given it by the Toronto convention the committee co-opted Mr. Robert Marks, 875 St. Clair Avenue, West Toronto, as a member. Mr. Marks, who has done much organization work, has been persuaded to look after the convention arrangements in conjunction with Mr. E.L.T. Schaub, 510 Produce Exchanges Building, Toledo, Ohio. Enquiries about the convention should be sent to Mr. Marks or Mr. Schaub, at the addresses given above.
The committee hopes to make this convention the most successful of all as regards attendance and interest, and invites suggestions for improvement.
The interest shown in Lotus Circle work at the last convention has led to the appointment of a group, composed of Mrs. G. Cunningham, St. Catharines; Miss Mayme-Lee Ogden, Buffalo; and Miss Eva Budd, Toronto, who are jointly planning an item for the programme which
promises to be most stimulating.
The committee has also decided to ask each lodge to appoint a representative who will act as cooperating member of the committee and whose duties will be to keep fraternization before his or her lodge, to endeavor to keep local fraternization alive, to forward any suggestions for advancing the cause to the committee, and to keep it notified of fraternization work. A personal letter has been sent to the secretaries of all Canadian society lodges, and Point Loma lodges will be advised by Mr. J. Emory Clapp, 30 Huntington Avenue, Boston, in due course. Mr. B.S. Ames, has been elected by Toronto Lodge, and Mr. G.H. Paris will act in Banff.
The committee is getting out a little mimeographed magazine, entitled Fraternization News, the first number being issued on December 1. Members who wish to receive copies are requested to send in their names, while donations to keep the work going, will be heartily welcomed.
- Cecil Williams, Convener.
49 East Seventh Street,
MR. ROBERT A. HUGHES
At the recent annual meeting of the Hamilton Theosophical Society Mr. Robert Anderson Hughes was elected president, Mrs. Lilian Currie, who had held the office for two years, having retired. Mr. Hughes is one of the younger members, having been born June 6, 1906, the three sixes being suggestive. He was first interested in Theosophy after hearing a lecture by Professor Roy Mitchell, and joined the Society in 1927. He became at once an eager and careful student and is at present one of the best equipped students in the Lodge. Theosophy led him to Astrology of which he has also become an acute student, and he contributes articles on this subject to some of the popular magazines in the United States. His articles on Theosophy are familiar to readers of The Canadian Theosophist. He writes tersely and well, and is both aggressive in his thinking and practical in his application of Theosophy to prevailing problems. He has planned some progressive moves for Hamilton Theosophical work, among them the change of the meeting night from Saturday to Sunday at
7.15. The other members of the Hamilton Executive are Miss A.E.V. Putnam, secretary-treasurer; H.D. Potter, director of publicity; C.L. Donald, Librarian; and H. Lewis.
AN EPOCHAL LECTURE SERIES
It is an editorial pleasure to report the series of public lectures given in Kitchener, Hamilton and Toronto in the second week in December by Dr. Alvin Boyd Kuhn, of Elizabeth, N.J., making his fourth visit to Canada in two years. The eight lectures in Canada were the last of fifty given in a tour of 3500 miles, beginning in early October and taking the lecturer into twenty-four states of the U.S. and Canada.
It is an evidence of the special place which the Toronto Lodge holds in the
Theosophic world that Dr. Kuhn reserved for delivery in Toronto a group of lectures which he has given nowhere else, counting, as he stated, upon that full breadth of liberality and readiness to follow the implications of facts and scholarship which mark the true spirit of Theosophy. The members of an organization whose motto is "There is no religion higher than truth.," may expect now and again to find that the fundamentals of the Arcane Science fall with the force of sharp contradiction across the path of many of the renditions of exotericized religion, which have been ingrained in their mental makeup by indoctrination in childhood.
The force of this observation was made strikingly evident by the material of Dr. Kuhn's three Toronto lectures under the title: The Truth About The Bible. For the lecturer presented a volume of data assembled in his searching study of Christian origins which discloses the unwelcome truth that in the main the conceptions held in the common mind about the Bible are as far from true as could well be imagined. All that is popularly "known" about this revered volume oaf "God's Holy Word" is wrong, declared the speaker, basing his assertion on startling evidence which he adduced. The world's ideas about the divine inspiration of this book, its alleged authors, the dates of the composition of the several constituent "books", the nature of the material' embodied in them, the purpose back of their publication, and finally their selection to make up a canon of established divine authorship, were all sadly awry of truth.
Dr. Kuhn asserted that the endless controversies among "higher critics" as to when the books of both Old and' New Testaments, were written could be choked off at once and forever by his own blank declaration that "they were never written at all"! It was explained that they had never been written in the sense of being the compositions of any man writing his own thoughts into a book, as for instance H.G. Wells would write, i.e., compose a book now. They were, on the contrary, the final deposit in written form of portions or fragments of the ageless, or immemorial oral tradition of the occult schools of antiquity, and had been in existence, like the 30,000 lines of Homer's poems, for no one knows how many centuries, in verbal memory. They were finally transcribed from motives of preservation, perhaps, but were no mere human's compositions in the general sense of "writings".
Then the lecturer massed data to prove conclusively the point upon which all sane interpretation of ancient wisdom literature - still the world's moral guide - hinges, viz., that the Bible is from cover to cover nothing but a collection of allegories, myths, parables, fables, dramatizations, astrological and numerological constructions, wholly fictitious in outward verity, but nothing less than mighty in the recondite truth they involve for man's spiritual instruction and guidance. They are in no sense narratives of objective history, not events or actions on the historic plane; still they are the picturizations of that which is always happening to man!
To put it most laconically, the myths of the Bible are not true as occurrence, yet they are true to life! Or again, they are true, yet they never happened! For they are a true picture of that which is happening to all men. Next it was shown with unforgettable vigor and directness how grievously the mind of the West has been duped and starved by the mistaking - ever since the third century of the Christian era - of these myths for alleged history. How sorely the West, therefore, needs the hidden esoteric sense of Scripture could vividly be seen in the light of the lecturer's data.
Hardly less than astounding, also, to the uninformed was Dr. Kuhn's amassing of Christian testimony to the effect that the transcription, translation and other handling of the ancient material of the Bible books was attended with an unbelievable degree of fraud, imposture and
knavery of all sorts, to which scholars have given the designation of "pious frauds." The speaker adduced these data "with profound regret," but stated that these things would have to be frankly faced by truth seekers.
The lecture on Sunday, Dec. 8, in Toronto, "Born in the Stable," elucidated for the first time in all likelihood the true significance of the stable and the manger in the Christmas story, to the obvious astonishment of the audience. And the final lecture of the series, on Dec. 15 to a large audience, perhaps struck a climactic note in the presentation to the modern world what the lecturer claimed was the first true expounding of the hidden significance of the great mysterious practice of Egyptian mummification. Dr. Kuhn first eliminated from consideration the prevalent assumptions as to the reason for this ancient practice by a reductio ad absurdum, and then, on the basis of material from the Book of the Dead, unfolded his constructive theory of the real motive, which, he stated, had for centuries eluded the savants and archaeologists. The latter have missed what a Theosophic student can see, because they still attribute child-mindedness to the sages of old and "primitive crudity" to a people who had inherited ageless wisdom.
In Kitchener on Friday, Dec. 13, Dr. Kuhn addressed a fine audience of forty people in the auditorium of the City Hall, giving his memorable lecture on The Lost Meaning of Death. This lecture was repeated in Hamilton on the following evening to a good attendance. At Kitchener it was a matter of comment by the lecturer that perhaps for the first time in his platform career his audience showed nearly a four to one preponderance of men. Mr. Alexander Watt, President of the Kitchener Lodge, presiding, presented the Rev. George Taylor-Munro, local Presbyterian minister, who introduced the lecturer.
On the two Sundays of his visit in Toronto Dr. Kuhn gave the second and third broadcasts of the season, his title for Dec. 8 being The Tree Teaches Immortality, and that for Dec. 15 being The Tree Teaches Reincarnation. These addresses were designed to illustrate how the truths of Theosophy can be vividly portrayed on the basis of natural symbolism, or how natural law confirms Theosophic fundamentals.
BLACK AND WHITE IN POLITICS
Editor Canadian Theosophist: - In reading Edith Fielding's reply to my letter, I feel that she has misunderstood my attitude, and I would therefore like to make it a little clearer. The political question was broached in two anonymous articles published in the May number of the C.T., and I felt compelled to point out that the line advocated therein was not one to which "all Theosophists" could subscribe, as assumed by the writers, as it appeared to be straight Fascism. Hence the necessity for those students of Theosophy, who feel that they can no longer stay out of politics, to study their subject thoroughly, so that they may not be deceived by the black forces which are working so obviously in politics today. My reference to the King and the Pope was merely to illustrate the inconsistency of Mr. Lansbury's Jubilee attitude with his everyday political principles.
I heartily agree with H.P.B.'s sentiments as expressed in "Let Every Man prove his own Work", which certainly should be read very carefully. She states, for instance: "Mere physical philanthropy, apart from the infusion of new influences and ennobling conception of life into the minds of the masses, is worthless. "The gradual assimilation by mankind of great spiritual truths will alone revolutionize the face of civilization, and ultimately result in far more effective panacea for evil, than mere tinkering of superficial misery." (italics mine). She is here warning against the danger of reforms, which only
serve as supports to a rotten structure, and so prolong the agony. Charities are the principal rackets of the capitalist system, which never tires of appeals in the press, and over the radio, to "keep up the good work" of distributing sops to the starving masses in order to keep them a little longer in submission. The greatest "spiritual truth" to be assimilated by the masses is that of universal brotherhood in its physical aspect, and only a more just and equable social system can perform this service.
In the, "Key", as the quotations show, H.P.B. plainly distinguishes between the Society and the individual. The Society does not, and never will, participate in political activities, but the individual is free to make his own choice, and it seems reasonable to assume that every "true effort" towards a better and juster social system is helping evolution, rather than hindering it.
Those who concentrate entirely on "changing hearts" are doing the work for which they feel that they are best fitted, and those who experience this change of heart and as a consequence, feel the urge to change the system, are also working towards the desired end - the uplift of humanity, physically, mentally and spiritually. The change of heart comes by slow degrees to the whole of humanity, but as each "changed heart" joins the ranks of those who are fighting for submerged humanity - in various forms of activity - evolution is speeded up.
There is a black and white side to everything touching human life, and in politics this is becoming more apparent every day In whatever aspect they present themselves, there is no neutrality possible in the final struggle between these two great forces.
- E.K. Middleton.
2873 Inlet Avenue, Victoria, B.C.
ERROR IN SUBBA ROW BOOK
Editor, Canadian Theosophist" - In reading the Point Loma edition of Subba Row's Lectures on the Bhagavad Gita, I was astonished to see, as coming from such a meticulous source, not only the perpetuation of what was originally an obvious printer's error, but actually a deliberate accentuation of the same, where in the third Lecture, p. 63, the reader is referred to Chapter xii instead of to Chapter xiii. In a footnote on this page a translation of the verses referred to (verses 13-17) by Dr. de Purucker is given, and these also are headed as from chapter xii., although actually taken from Chapter xiii., and one thinks that the translator could hardly have failed to know it. At best it is a careless oversight which would mislead students for whom this translation is supposed to be a guide.
The Adyar edition of these lectures, entitled "Philosophy of the Bhagavad Gita", also repeats this misprint of the number of the chapter, but following the original publication of these Notes in "The Theosophist", does not attempt to quote the verses thernselves.
It may interest students to know that when these Lectures were first printed in "The Theosophist" in 1887, this misprint occurred in the April issue on, p. 432, but from the context of the subject matter one cannot doubt that it is Chapter xiii. to which reference is made.
- Edith Fielding.
235 Irving Rd.,
FROM AN OLD TIMER
To the Editor Canadian Theosophist: - Dear Brother Smythe: I found my old certificate of admission as one of the Fellows of the Theosophical Society the other day - signed by H.P.B. and William Q. Judge as Secretary of the American section dated in 1887, this I found after cleaning up the house after the funeral of my dear wife on Nov. 12 of this year, which ways conducted by Brother Fussell and others - of the Point Loma Society, of which Mrs. Willard and I had so long been members. I found a new sense of Brotherhood exhibited there and I can see
that the spirit of fraternization which Brother de Purucker advocated is prompted by a sincere spirit of brotherhood, which is the basis of the Theosophical movement. In fact this old diploma of mine bore the words "THEOSOPHICAL SOCIETY AND UNIVERSAL BROTHERHOOD, and underneath were the signatures of H.P. Blavatsky and William Q. Judge.
In fact I have found such a genuine spirit of Brotherhood among the Point Loma Theosophists that I am making application for readmission to that Society, which I joined almost 50 years ago when but a young man of 27. It is this spirit of brotherly love as manifested in the Point Loma organization, that is going to make it the leading Theosophical organization of the world. It is right and proper to have the sentiment of brotherly love and other organizations also show it, but only in Theosophy do we find a rational and scientific basis for such a sentiment, not only a basis, but also a reason. H.P.B. always insisted on the Universal Brotherhood phase of this movement, and today it is more needed than ever before.
It is going to be the force that will draw the people to Theosophy. It is not that we seek more proselytes, but that we may seek out those who know less than we do, so we may expound to them the sweet law. From now on there will be a constant increase ins the rank of the Point Loma Society, because they deserve it.
I live in San Diego across the bay from Point Loma and know what is going on there and I can say now with the joy that comes from added hope that we shall not have worked in vain and the conviction that, when the Messenger comes in 1975, we shall have a good strong organization ready to his hand through which he can work.
There are some things of which we do not speak, but I was strongly impressed to write to Mrs. Alice Cleather and Basil Crump, both of whom I have known and highly respected, "that the Theosophical movement has not failed." I have also known Annie Besant personally. My certificate of membership in thm E.S.T. was signed by H.P.B. personally, before Annie was a member. While the shadows are still around us yet the dawn is coming fast. Let us all throw out of our minds all sentiments save those of brotherly love for all Theosophists as well as love for all who breathe. So shall we do the Masters' work and succeed where we failed in other incarnations, due to lack of this active force of brotherly love which is the real kundalini at work.
- Cyrus Field Willard.
I hope. you can print this. - C.F.W.
VOL. III SECRET DOCTRINE
Editor, Canadian Theosophist: - Criticism of this volume in Study Classes by Mr. W.B. Pease, that genial faithful defender of the teachings given to the world by the Masters of Wisdom, calls for a reply. Opinions differ as to the authority for publishing the material in the third volume of the Secret Doctrine. But this is unimportant for the reading public. The point is that it is published; and is read by those who deplore its publication. Why should it not be read and studied by all lovers of H.P.B.'s literary output? Is it that it is not constructive and inspiring? That is not and cannot be justly claimed. The material has the same vitalizing, illuminating quality of the other volumes. And that is sufficient reason for its use in Secret Doctrine Study Classes.
- Felix A. Belcher.
BOOKS BY THE LATE GEORGE R.S. MEAD
Fragments of a Faith Forgotten; The Gospels and the Gospel; Thrice-Greatest Hermes, 3 vols.; Apollonius of Tyana; Did Jesus Live 100 B.C.?; The World-Mystery; The Upanishads, 2 vols.; Plotinus; Echoes from the Gnosis, II vols.; Some Mystical Adventures; Quests Old and New; Orpheus; Simon Magus; The Pistis Sophia.
May be had from JOHN WATKINS
21 Cecil Court, Charing Cross Road, London, W.C., 2, England.
THEOSOPHY AND THE
- MODERN WORLD
Conducted by F. B. Housser
An article entitled "Can Life be Produced Artificially" which was condensed from an article written by F. Scheminxki in the Revista de Occident, Madrid, is published in the current issue of the Magazine Digest. This deals with the question of spontaneous generation and surveys the problem as to whether there are in nature any living entities that originate, so to speak, by themselves, that is to say, from non-living substances, or whether life springs only from living beings. If spontaneous generation of life is to be found in nature, it would be possible, given the conditions of this spontaneous generation, for life to be produced at the hands of the researcher.
The article deals with early beliefs that some of the lower forms of life are produced from nonliving matter, such for example, that frogs emerge from mud, that putrid meat produces larvae, etc. One of the long-dying superstitions of folklore was that horse hairs dropped into pools and drinking troughs, developed into slender water snakes.
The discovery of the microscope and the subsequent knowledge of the minutiae of life forms did away with these ideas but not until comparatively recent times did science definitely determine that a sterilized medium in a sterilized and sealed container does not produce bacteria. As early as 1651, however, the English physiologist, Harvey, expressed the idea that `a living being can be produced only from a living being.'
The writer of the article above referred to concludes that Harvey's proposition is valid and applies to all organisms, without exception. "There is no such thing as spontaneous generation of life from inanimate matter".
The same conclusion was reached by an English scientist, Sir Henry Dale in discussing this problem at the Imperial College of Science, London. He was dealing with viruses, units much smaller than bacteria, about the nature of which very little is known. His conclusion was that the virus may be a stage in the life of a larger and more complex organism and has the power to reconstitute itself into a larger body. He believes they are living forms generated from previous living forms - which was Harvey's theory 300 years ago,.
However, Dr. Oscar Riddle of the Carnegie Institute of Washington, in his vice-presidential address to the American Association of the Advancement of Science, now in session, suggests that a newly discovered virus shows evidence of a spontaneous change of inanimate matter into a living thing and that this virus is apparently a link between living and non-living things. By itself this virus is a protein apparently as non-living as a piece of rock but when brought into contact with a proper piece of living tissue, it is able to grow and propagate itself. "Life may have begun in some such manner by the simple addition of just one element not previously present in inanimate things," Dr. Riddle said. However, in the experiment of which he was speaking, the 'one simple element' was a piece of living tissue and if a living element is required to bring life to inanimate matter, are we really any nearer to the `beginning of life'?
But, asks the Theosophist, what is inanimate matter? In the Secret Doctrine, Vol. l, page 268, it is stated: "Occultism does not accept anything inorganic in the Kosmos. The expression employed by Science, `inorganic substance' means simply that the latent life slumbering in the molecule of so-called`inert matter' is in-
cognizable. ALL is Life and every atom of even mineral dust is a LIFE, though beyond our comprehension and perception, because it is outside the range of the laws known to those who reject Occultism .... To the conception of an Arhat, these Elements are themselves, collectively, a Divine Life; distributively, on the plane of manifestation, the numberless and countless crores of Lives . . . . . Every visible thing in this Universe was built by such Lives, from conscious and divine primordial man down to the unconscious agents that construct matter."
And again on page 281, "Chemistry and Physiology are the two great magicians of the future, which are destined to open the eyes of mankind to great physical truths .... But, the Occult doctrine is far more explicit. It says not only are the chemical compounds the same, but the same infinitesimal invisible Lives compose the atoms of the bodies of the mountain and the daisy; of man and the ant, of this elephant and the tree which shelters it from the sun. Each particle - whether you call it organic or inorganic - is a Life. Every atom and molecule in the Universe is both life-giving and death-giving .... it creates and kills; it is self generating and self destroying." And on Page 283; "It might be supposed that these Fiery Lives and the microbes of Science are identical. This is not true. The Fiery Lives are the seventh and highest subdivision of the plane of matter . . . . . The microbes of Science are the first and lowest sub-division on the second plane - that of material Prana, or life."
Mahatma Letters Quoted
What proof is there that "a sterilized medium in a sterilized container" is dead? It may only be in is state of anaesthesia and will awake to life when it is reintroduced to conditions, suitable for its normal living.
In Letter xxiiib of the Mahatma Letters (pages 158 and 159) it is stated: "Life, after all, the greatest problem within the ken of human conception, is a mystery, that the greatest of your men of Science will never solve . . . . . It can never be grasped so, long as it is studied separately and apart from universal life . . . . The greatest, the most scientific minds on earth, have been keenly pressing forwards toward a solution of the mystery . . . . and all had to come to the same conclusion - that of the Occultist when given only partially - namely that life in its concrete manifestations is the legitimate result and consequence of chemical affinity .... If as, I hope, in a few years, I am entirely my own master - I may have the pleasure of demonstrating to you on your own writing table that life as life is not only transformable into other aspects or phases of the all-pervading Force, but that it can be actually infused into an artificial man. Frankenstein is a myth only so far as he is the hero of a mystic tale; in nature - he is a possibility; and the physicists and physicians of the last sub-race of the sixth Race will innoculate life and revive corpses, as they now innoculate small-pox."
The expression `spontaneous generation of life' its not a happy one, neither for the scientist nor the religionist. Scientists are apparently content to use it as a term until more is known of the phenomena, but, religionists feel that `spontaneous generation' is crowding just a little bit too close on the heels of the Deity. Perhaps the Theosophical attitude might offer a solution namely; that LIFE, 'the Universal Life, pervades all things, that there is no `dead' Matter, but "that life in its concrete manifestations is the legitimate result and consequence of chemical affinity.'
- D. W. B.
THEORIES ABOUT THE EARTH
A recent pamphlet called "Science and Gold" by John I.N. Bolton of Toronto, contains some theories of the earth which should prove of interest to students of the Secret Doctrine.
"The hollow earth theory is now generally accepted in advanced science." Dr. Landsberg of Pennsylvania State College is quoted as saying. It is no longer be-
lieved that the earth is a cooling, contracting mass. Mr. Bolton claims the credit for publishing this theory back in 1918.
The existence of the periodic appearance and disappearance of continents upon the earth's surface is, as every student of Theosophy knows, one of the fundamental tenets advanced in the Secret Doctrine. For some time scientists have recognized its validity. Mr. Bolton's scientific theory of how and why it happens, is ingenious and suggestive, though it may not have the entire approval of orthodox scientists; or agree entirely with the Secret Doctrine of the Ancients.
Old Matter Regenerated
The influence of the centrifugal force due to the earth's spin has a relation to the earth's character and formation according to Mr. Bolton. "Land that has become chemically disorganized with age moves up towards the north pole," he writes. "Under the snow and water there it slowly disintegrates to slime. The magnetic currents passing from north to south which create the magnetic poles; draw this matter within the earth where it goes through the process of regeneration outlined."
The process of regeneration occurs, Mr Bolton believes, by this chemically disorganized matter passing through a molten state in the fires beneath the earth's crust. It is then forced again to the surface by centrifugal force. "The great planets," he says, "are in reality manifesting of an active life not unlike in character to the animal state . . ... . Old lands enter at the north and go through a process of heat purging before gradually being forced to the surface by centrifugal force."
Earth A Living Organism
"The earth is not a cooling and dying mass but an object full of life and activity and behind all the activity can be observed a multitude of different movements which, it can plainly be seen, are necessary to the earth in the process of birth, age, death and the regeneration of matter, which process in the past enables us to live today sustained and protected in life by the
earth's chemistry, and the continuation of these activities, which we can all observe to be in progress, will sustain and provide for future generations."
"Land is slowly rising between North and South America," . . . . . . .."There was land connection between Australia and the east coast of Africa and another continent extending from the African west coast to South America. At the present time the shores of Norway are rising progressively above the level of the ocean ....At some future time land connection between Norway, Iceland and Canada will be continuous as they are considered to have been at some time in the past . . . . . . There is a sunken continent off the west coast of Africa."
What Doctrine Says
The Secret Doctrine speaks of "the periodical renovations of the earth with regard to its continents." (ii: 829) which may refer to what Mr. Bolton calls the regeneration of chemically disorganized continental matter. H.P.B.'s occasional references to the mystery of the poles might possibly refer, among other things, to same process, similar to that described by Mr. Bolton. The periodical renovations are due, according to the Doctrine, to a change in the velocity of the earth's rotation and a tilting of the axis. The moon, which controls tide, is also said to have something to do with it. At the time of a major cataclysm, it or rather its rectors, are said too exert such a pull on the earth that it crumples the equatorial belt causing a sucking in at the earths ends (see S.D. ii: 339 ).
Mr. Bolton says something not unlike this. "Magnetic forces are carrier forces", he writes, "They attach and carry moisture. This is how the magnetic forces cause tides as they pass from the earth to the moon. The water clings to the rising magnetic forces until gravitation and weight confine it within bounds."
H.P.B. quotes an ancient commentary on page 339, volume 2 of the Secret Doctrine. "When the wheel runs at its usual
rate, its extremities (the poles) agree with its middle circle (the equator). When it runs slower and tilts in every direction, there is a great disturbance on the face of the earth. The waters flow towards the ends, and new lands arise in the middle belt (equatorial lands), while those at the ends are subject to Pralayas by submersion."
This is the description of what happens at the end of a major geological period. There is no reason to think that it is not going on in a lesser degree continuously.
BEYOND THE VEIL
The above title has been chosen by Sir Oliver Lodge for his first, and last announcement about his beliefs concerning life beyond the grave. "For many years," he says, "I have refused to publish the results of my fifty odd years' research into the Occult. But, now - when I feel that the time has come when I may pass over any day it is meet that I should leave behind me an expression of my views on spiritualism and what I have found during my long years of psychical investigation."
His views concerning spiritualism have long been known; his findings in psychical research are perhaps the more interesting since they are presented for the first time. And they are meagre enough, in all truth, as representing the results of fifty years' research.
Lodge first of all discusses the post-humous letter, that device which those believing in spiritualism have devised in the hope that it might afford certain proof of immortality. "By posthumous letter is meant one that has been sealed and deposited by the writer, with the intention of deciphering it after death, and giving its contents through a medium before it has been opened. Anyone without experience would consider this a conclusive proof of survival, but a control has shown that such a letter can be read and the contents given without the agency of the writer at all, and therefore, that it is no proof of survival."
In the instance which Lodge cites, the writer of the letter stated in it that he would endeavor to communicate symbols concerning the number seven. Shortly after seven mediums in different parts of the world were successful in bringing through statements which agreed in general with the letter, one of them even mentioning the writer's name. The spirit of the departed, obviously had no part in the proceedings since it was still clothed in the physical body.
Lodge, however, uses this instance to substantiate the claim that the "control" of the mediums must obviously be a disembodied spirit, and claims that these so-called cross-correspondences are valid manifestations of the other world. Yet there are two other alternatives. One is telepathy, unconscious and unpremeditated, on the part of the writer of the letter and the recipients of the messages. The other is that, according to Theosophical teachings all actions and thoughts are impressed on the Astral Light there to remain for any to read who can consciously or unconsciously. This realm of the Astral, by the way, would seem to, correspond to Jung's realm of the "Unconscious Mind." Apparently it is from some such realm also that the forecasts of future events in dreams and waking states that Dunne describes in his Experiment in Time also come.
The above paragraph is not to be read in the sense of denying postmortem existence to the ego or as Lodge calls it the spirit of man. It simply points out that this spirit is not essential to the phenomena he observes. Actually, in Theosophy, spiritualistic phenomena are not denied, they are conceded to be very real and also dangerous to experiment with. It is denied, however, that such, phenomena are genuine manifestations of the departed ego; rather, it is said they come from Kama rupic forms left behind, and from Elementals possessed of a fugitive intelli-
gence which simulates the real. Madame Blavatsky's Isis Unveiled should be read in this connection.
The Soul's Transition
Lodge quotes the Bishop of London, who has remarked that dying makes no difference to a man's character, so that five minutes after death he is the same person in every way as he was five minutes before, except that he has got rid of the pain and disability associated with his previous body.
Continuing, Lodge says that: "After life is extinct experience of earth does not suddenly withdraw. There is no suddenness or thoughtlessness about the transition. It has been testified that for a time the things of this earth still make their appeal; only gradually do they fade away, and give place to a consciousness of other surroundings, more representative of and more harmonious with the new conditions under which he finds himself."
The evidence is that for a short time he is aware even of the room which he is in the act of leaving, is still conscious of the mourners about the bed, and is aware of what seems like himself lying on it . . . ."
Lodge believes that progress after death its possible: "And still it will be only gradually revealed to effort, and we shall have the joy of discovery prolonged for centuries. For not even to Isaac Newton is it yet complete. He still has the joy of going on in the perception of a future beyond his grasp."
Is this true? Where then did Sir Isaac derive his genius which won him fame on earth. Did he not bring this with him? And does not reincarnation offer a more acceptable theory, for with it, learning - not necessarily book-learning - begins and ends with the physical life, each life in a long series of such, adding to the sum-total; the in-between death state offering only a period for assimilation and enjoyment, and being highly valuable in consequence. Devachan is not for learning but for assimilation.
There Is No Death
One gains the impression, in reading Sir Oliver Lodge, that there is a most curious intermingling of living and dead, of occurrences which seem to indicate communications from the shells of the dead, and of other occurrences, or of features in supposedly mediumistic phenomena, wherein the living themselves act as if they themselves were discarnate entities.
Returning again to the problem of the existence of disembodied entities, one feels that its importance diminishes greatly with the growing importance of another problem - that of the constitution of man as a living being embodied in physical flesh. For, no matter whether mediumistic phenomena be genuine indications of survival or not, the whole gamut of such phenomena is indicative of a much more than physical constitution for the living man. Telepathy is now well substantiated both by such instances as Lodge cites and by recent work at Duke University, and whether telepathy be from dead to living or from living to living, its importance in overthrowing materialistic conceptions is enormous. Man inevitably then must possess vehicles other than the physical, and the survival of these after the death of the latter becomes a scientific possibility.
THE CHURCH AND THE AGE
We live in tremendous times. Forces at one and the same time disintegrative and creative are playing ruthlessly upon the modern world. It becomes more apparent daily to the student of the ancient wisdom why the founders of the Theosophical Society launched their campaign of enlightenment in the last quarter of the 19th century giving out information, as one of them said, hitherto only imparted to initiates. All established authority is being challenged - morals, aesthetics, science, religion, finance, economics, even the supreme authority to which Christendom has paid lip service for 2,000 years - the
authority, yea even the existence of God. The old order is changing.
It is fitting at Christmas - the great annual festival of the Christian churches, now little more than a festival of commerce, that we should hear what the so-called spiritual leaders of the people have to say about the spiritual and moral life of the age in which we live. The statements this year were significant. In the United States twenty-nine leaders of the movement to unite the Protestant Episcopal Churches in America with the Roman Catholic Church issued an appeal to Episcopal clergymen for support of the proposal on the grounds that "Protestantism has become bankrupt ethically, culturally, moral-y and religiously."
"The forces of the day have proved too strong for Protestantism and it is disintegrating rapidly," says the committee which issued the appeal. "It is time for all Christians to see what the enemy sees so clearly, and to be prepared to rally around Rome as a centre of resistance against the anti-Christian attack. The utter futility of the Protestant position is more and more apparent . . . . . Youth is being organized throughout the world to break down all belief in God and the Church and, to destroy the whole civilization and moral code. The 16th century breach with Rome was never desired by the Anglican church and the desire for reunion has been kept alive through four centuries." Rev. Dr. A.Z. Conrad, 30 years pastor of one of the great fashionable Protestant churches in New York, while not in favor of union with Rome, says, "all churches of Christ should solidly smite to combat atheism, rationalism and communism."
Sins of Protestantism
No informed observer can deny the justice of the charge here made of the ethical, cultural, religious and moral bankruptcy of Protestantism, nor can anyone deny "the utter futility of the Protestant position" in the face of what is described as an "anti-Christian" world. T he futility is apparent because the Protestant churches within are almost as anti-Christian as the world without. There has probably never been a war since the days of Martin Luther that the Protestant church has not blessed or been passively acquiescent about. Its foreign missionaries have done little to combat the ruthless exploitation of non-Christian countries by so-called Christian ones. At home in the main it has closed its eyes to social injustice caused by trickery and greed in high places. It has pretty much recognized worldly success as the reward of a good life while, to the poor, it has promised everything in the hereafter.
It has become culturally bankrupt because it has made dogmas of mysteries it does not understand and driven the best minds out of the church by doctrines which violate mind, conscience and intuition. It is religiously bankrupt, because it has degraded the conception of God to the level of a fickle, jealous earthly tyrant.
All this may be seen and admitted. What is harder to see is what Protestantism has to gain by turning to Roman Catholicism. To do so is to swallow whole the Pope's statement the day before Christmas to the Sacred College of Cardinals in Vatican City. "Outside of the only true Christianity, which is Catholicism," said his Holiness, "what remains of Christianity, of Christ's self, of his divine person, of his doctrine? Nothing but adulterations which assume various names... These are all monstrous Christianities, in which almost nothing remains of true Christianity, mere spectres of Christianity which badly hide and badly dissimulate their will of persecution of the only true Christianity - Catholicism, Catholicism, Catholicism."
What Is An Atheist?
Again, with reservations, it is possible to agree with much that the Pope says, but again the history of Roman Catholicism shows it to be guilty of most of the sins recorded against Protestantism and some others as well. The fact is that one does
not have to be either a Protestant or a Catholic to be a Christian and be a member of the spiritual church of Christ. Much of the atheism which the Protestant and Catholic leaders condemn is no more atheism than Protestantism and Catholicism is Christianity. When Madame Blavatsky was asked "Do you believe in God?" her answer was, "That depends on what you mean by the term." (Key to Theosophy p. 42). In the God of the Christians she did not believe. "We reject the idea of a personal or extra-cosmic and anthropomorphic God who is but the gigantic shadow of man, and not even of man at his best," she wrote. "The Gods of theology, we say, is a bundle of contradictions and a logical impossibility. Therefore we will have nothing to do with Him." To the Church - Protestant or Catholic - this is Atheism yet Theosophists know that the last thing one could call Madame Blavatsky is an Atheist.
The Idea of God
"The idea of God is not an innate, but an acquired notion," said an eastern Mahatma (Mahatma Letters p. 52) - and again - "The God of the Theologians is simply an imaginary power, un loup garou as d'Holbach expressed it - a power which has never yet manifested itself. Our chief aim is to deliver humanity of this nightmare, to teach man virtue for its own sake, and to walk in life relying on himself instead of leaning on a theological crutch, that for countless ages was the direct cause of nearly all human misery. Pantheistic we may be called - agnostic never. If people are willing to accept and to regard as God our one Life immutable and unconscious in its eternity, they may do so and thus keep to one more gigantic misnomer." The Mahatma K.H. then goes on to say (Letters, p. 54) that there is no God apart from man himself - man as Parabrahm and "identical in every respect with the universal life and soul."
Religion A Cause of Evil
As for the evil which we see around us and about which the Churches complain, K.H. says (p. 57), "I will point out the greatest, the chief cause of nearly two-thirds of the evils that pursue Humanity ever since that cause became a power. It is religion in whatever form and in whatever nation. It is the sacerdotal caste, the priesthood and the churches. It is in those illusions that man looks upon as sacred that he has to search out the source of the multitude of evils which is the great curse of humanity, and that almost overwhelms mankind. Ignorance created Gods and cunning took advantage of the opportunity."
As for the Catholic Church itself, Madame Blavatsky wrote in Isis Unveiled (p. 120 - I) "The divine law of compensation was nevermore strikingly exemplified than in the fact that by her own act she" (the Roman Catholic Church) - "deprived herself of the only possible key to her own religious mysteries. . ... In burning the works of the theurgists; in proscribing those who affect their study; in affixing the stigma of idolatry to magic in general, Rome has left her exoteric worship and Bible to be helplessly riddled by every free-thinker, her sexual emblems to be identified with coarseness, and her priests to unwittingly turn magicians and even sorcerers in their exorcisms, which are but necromantic evocations."
THE CARNEGIE TRUST
Andrew Carnegie was born on November 25th, 1835 and before his death in 1919, he accumulated a fortune of $360,000,000.
This in itself will hardly cause a ripple of excitement among the readers of this magazine, but his attitude towards his fortune and his method of disposing of it, are of great importance.
When he was 33 years of age and then in possession of an income of $50,000 he formed this resolve: "Beyond this never earn; - make no effort to increase fortune, but spend the surplus each year for benevolent purposes. Cast aside business forever except for others." He denounced the
amassing of wealth as the worst species of idolatry.
What happened to him in his early thirties that such a resolve should come to him? What stirred within him and awoke to active life? There are cycles in a man's life which are critical and out of which come either a great awakening of consciousness or a greater bondage if the opportunity is lost. One of these does come in the late twenties. It is written of Jesus that `he began to be about thirty years of age' when he retired to the wilderness before beginning his ministry.
Perhaps we will never know the outer contacts that prompted Carnegie in his decision. Altruism comes of the soul and while he did not strip himself entirely of his wealth to give to others, nevertheless he stepped far ahead of the thought of his day in doing what he did. Possessions are a great temptation and a million dollars must be an awful load to carry and still go forward. Not money alone but all things which lead to an increase of personal power require careful handling. Talbot Mundy deals with this in one of the sayings from Tsiang Samdup in his occult novel "Om", "All effort on his own behalf is a dead weight in the scale against him. All effort on behalf of others is a profit to himself; notwithstanding which, unless he first improve himself he can do nothing except harm to others."
During Carnegie's lifetime he labored to put his wealth to practical use in ameliorating human misery and by his will left the fund in trust to carry on the work. His charge to his Trustees is a remarkable document:
"The Trustees will please then consider what is the next most degrading evil or evils whose banishment - or what new elevating element or elements if introduced, or fostered, or both combined - would most advance the progress, elevation and happiness of man, and so on from century to century without end, my Trustees of each age shall determine how they can best aid man in his upward march to higher and higher stages of development unceasingly; for now we know that man was created, not with an instinct for his own degradation, but imbued with the desire and the power for improvement to which perchance there may be no limit, short of perfection even here in this life upon earth.
"Let my Trustees therefore, ask themselves from time to time, from age to age, how they can best help man in his glorious ascent onward and upward, and to this end devote this fund."
What a great Theosophical statement - `for now we know that man was created, not with an instinct for his own degradation but imbued with the desire and the power for improvement to which perchance there may be no limit, short of perfection even here in this life upon earth.' And what a far-reaching Karma there is attached to the work, not only to Carnegie himself in his subsequent lives upon earth, but to the Trustees to whose guidance the correct use of the fund is given.
The writer of a contributed article in the Toronto Mail and Empire (W.S. Dingman) from which article the facts quoted here are taken, ends with these words, "The good flowing from Carnegie's endowments promises to be incalculable and to adorn with a real aura the brow of the poor Scottish lad, to whom it has been given to prove that the making of a great fortune was wholly subordinate to his magnificent use of it."
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