Divine Wisdom Brotherhood Occult Science
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Vol. XXV, No. 9 Hamilton, November 15th, 1944 Price 20 Cents
OUR CYCLE AND ITS FATE
By Alberta Jean Rowell
Individualism in the Middle Ages
The value of human personality has been the cornerstone of Christianity, both Catholic and Protestant, down through the centuries. Mediaeval man as a member of the Christian Commonwealth (for the fragmentation of Europe into national states had not yet arrived) focussed his attention on his immortal soul and directed his attention heavenwards.
How easy this was. There were no patriotic fervors to distract him; no cut-throat competition to unnerve him, no scientific method to explore the realm of his beliefs and denounce them as the essence of fairy-tale and myth.
He was introspective rather than outward-looking. St. Augustine, for instance, had no secular interest in outward occurrences, as in the case of the more volatile Montaigne, late humanist of the sixteenth century. As no mood was too evanescent, no nuance of feeling too delicate for recording by Montaigne's reportorial pen, so no incident was too trivial. In his passionate eagerness to embrace the whole of life even the robbing of a pear-tree had its romantic interest. But in the saint's moral consciousness it could only be the occasion for solemn introspection and self-examination. To what extent did such an act jeopardize his soul's salvation?
It cannot be denied that mediaeval man functioned in a restricted theological atmosphere. He was intellectually dominated by dogma that derived much of its content from the writings of St. Augustine, Thomas Aquinas, and Aristotle as interpreted by the schoolmen anxious to confirm certain traditional assumptions. In fact, the geocentric world scheme based on Aristotle's Physics and the Ptolemaic astronomy persisted to as late a date as the fifteenth century. Aristotle's theory of natural development, however, was not permitted to impugn the Christian doctrine of special creation, nor was it * permitted to rule out the possibility of supernatural intervention, periodically, in the affairs of the world. [* St. Thomas Aquinas, acknowledged as one of the world's greatest systematizers, did not scruple to twist Aristotelian ideas to conform to the demands of a fixed theology. In the monistic philosophy of Aristotle we are presented with an ascending scale of life. St. Thomas glossed over this concept of natural continuity supplanting it by the Christian and Platonic dualism of separate soul and body. From this dualism developed the idea of two powers - temporal and spiritual - set forth in Dante's De monarchia.]
Nevertheless, the pattern of uniformity, the goal of totalitarian states, could
not be said to be, in the Middle Ages, the established order of things. The ascetic, absorbed in his sins of omission and commission, or lost in mystical rapture was not less egocentric than those two contrasting Renaissance individuals - Montaigne and Machiavelli. The solitary religious, it is true, disdained the poet's world of phantasy and all sensuous appearance, and unlike Montaigne, and any modern for the matter of that, he was preoccupied with every stray fancy and thought as it invaded the current of his blood bearing tidings of good or ill. Indeed the saint's extreme individualism in his quest for the jewel beyond all price awoke the jealous suspicion of an ever-vigilant church. Suppose that he should attain salvation independent of ritual or sacrament? What then became of the authority of the church? How then was its existence justified?
Although well-known mediaevalists like M. de Wulf are inclined to equate the Middle Ages with individualism, since the church regarded the human soul as sacred, eccentricity was frowned upon. In consequence, though mediaeval authorities applauded a variety of individual gifts, singularity of conduct that ran amuck the conventions was not condoned, as during the Renaissance period. Natural instincts were repressed for fear of future punishment. Also, why develop faculties or encourage impulses that contributed nothing to the major objective life beyond the grave.
Hence on the whole we are bound to deny to the Middle Ages the type of subjective individualism that we find, for instance, in Petrarch's portrayal of individual sentiment and passion without abstraction or allegorical veils. Yet an occasional lyric bore evidence that this period was not barren of "individual" feeling. In the Latin songs of wandering scholars known as Carmina Burana we have an acceptance of pagan love, and a naturalism as vigorous as that found in the Decameron.
In the religious sphere individualism expressed itself in "difference" to a limited extent. Individual traits flourished within the forms imposed by religious decorum and the feudal order of occupational castes. The church, then, was not just a huge octopus extending its tentacles over the half mythical Roman Empire, thereby strangling all life and movement. The saints were picturesque figures. If some trembled on the brink of ecstasy there were others fallen from grace, who performed their acts of penance without ado. Colorful pageants or morality plays, depicted realistically the torments of Hell. Ungoverned by an artistic canon of restraint the actors' piercing shrieks satisfied mediaeval man's cravings for imaginative excitement.
There was also a certain amount of individualism in the economic as well as the religious sphere. In feudal times there was no submergence of the individual in mass production. There was a group loyalty and a group consciousness that expressed itself in devotion to craft and guild. But not withstanding group activity there were opportunities for individual peculiarities. The Gothic cathedral, whose passing out of fashion Ruskin lamented in the nineteenth century, was the florescence of a cooperative group consciousness, which preserved the anonymity of the artisan while emphasizing his individual accents in many a grotesque gargoyle.
The medieval serf never thought of concocting self-assertive schemes of social betterment. Why should he grumble if his toil was difficult or the day was long? Did not his real life begin as did that of Dante's Beatrice when he passed beyond the portals' of this world of Shadows? Even Martin Luther did not encourage his votaries
to be dissatisfied with the station of life into which they were born. The Puritan attitude from Luther and Calvin on did not differ from that of the mediaeval Catholic. That society was divided into haves and have-nots was due to the wise decrees of Providence. This was fatalism as paralyzing as astrological determinism or heredity.
It cannot be emphasized too much that in the Middle Ages there existed an impassioned sense of the individual's importance long before the humanistic * trend was born. When the Averroist ** heresy implied that only the universal intelligence was real and immortal, to which all men have access when they think, St. Thomas protested vehemently. In the opinion of that august scholastic the personality is not an obstacle to knowledge but an indispensable condition of its acquisition. For according to medieval theory, while matter or body separates one human being from another as Aristotle had averred, yet differentiation in human nature is ascribed to individuality conferred by God who created the soul. [* Although humanism was a revival of classical studies it is noteworthy that the Greek had "ego", "personality", "self-consciousness ", nothing in his language to correspond to "individual". His religion was extrovert.] [** Averrhoes had amplified Aristotle's doctrine of the active intellect. Although in a general way Aristotle had denied individual immortality since soul was but a function of the body, he distinguishes between two kinds of intellect: the passive or understanding intellect and the active creative intelligence. Only the latter was immaterial, he said, returning to its source at the death of the body.]
In this connection, it might be recalled that, because the church would not abandon her pivotal doctrine of the soul's individual value, astrology * was severely checked. [* The astrologers taught the principle of harmonic sympathy, which was diametrically opposed to the mechanical law of cause and effect.] The ancient science of the stars, so the theologians reasoned, relieved man of moral responsibility * for his actions.
[* Marsilio Ficino, an astrologer and Platonist of the Florentine Academy, asserted that every man possessed a degree of liberty, despite planetary influence. Every planet has a beneficent and maleficent aspect. For example, Saturn is both the planet of genius and melancholy. It is within the range of man's choice to decide with which tendency he will ally himself, said Ficino.
Pietro Pomponazzi believed in planetary influence which to him was law and not caprice. Yet he believed, modern that he was, that all knowledge in the ultimate analysis is derived from sense experience.
Ficino had foretold that Lorenzo the Magnificant would be pope.]
The church insistence on ultimate individual responsibility * implied freedom of moral choice. St. Thomas had asserted that it was man's prerogative to choose the eternal. Overshadowing the choice, however, was the single standard of spiritual perfection as embodied in Christ. Therefore a certain collective solidarity was realized by acceptance of one aim. [* Although the twentieth century still maintains a loyalty to the individualistic doctrine (if we exclude mass production) the generality of men equate success with monetary rewards. But according to Peter Drucker the age no longer belongs to economic man.]
How do we reconcile "freedom of choice" with renunciation of will, which was the special endeavor of the saint. It was not so much will that the mediaeval man was called upon to surrender as personal desire and natural inclination, that militated against the ideal of selflessness and pure love. To suppress the urge of nature no small effort of will, fortified by religious precepts and the esthetic ritual of the church, was required. Catherine of Siena lascerated her flesh with merciless rigour. Surely this required uncommon resolution of spirit.
The will, in fact, is a colorless force. It may achieve honor, power or revenge according to the strength of the passion that moves it or the perspicacity of intelligence that directs it. The mediaeval ascetic who marshalled his
inner powers and harnessed them to the star of an austere purpose had conquered lower proclivities as completely as any Stoic of the fourteenth century. It is true the Renaissance permitted a wider latitude of aims. But who is to say that the Italian despot, of awakened will, who sacked cities and mounted thrones of power, had conquered more than he who had subdued self?
RHYTHM AND HARMONY
"I must state that the badge with which you have now been invested, is intended to point out to you that, as a Craftsman, you are expected to make the Liberal Arts and Sciences your future study, that you may be the better enabled to discharge your duty as a Mason, and estimate the wonderful works of the Almighty Creator." And, "You are now permitted to extend your researches into the more hidden paths of Nature and Science." These words are spoken to each Fellow Craft Freemason, by the R.W.M., after the Bro. has been invested with the distinguishing badge, in the Ceremony of Passing to the Second Degree.
In modern Speculative Masonry it is not insisted upon that the Fellow Craft Freemason study the seven Liberal Arts and Sciences, before he can be raised to the 3o, for those who offer themselves to be made Masons at all nowadays, are already educated to some extent. As Craftsmen or Master Masons, however, we can lose nothing by giving a little time to the study of some aspects of the seven Liberal Arts and Sciences, which are: - Grammar, Rhetoric, Logic, Arithmetic, Geometry, Music and Astronomy. The aspects to be considered here are rhythm and harmony.
In its fundamental sense the term "rhythm" is applied to an ordered sequence of similar events, governed by universal law. For example, the rhythm of day and night is an ordered procession of alternate light and darkness, caused by the rotation of the earth on its axis, the earth making approximately one complete turn in twenty-four hours, and being held in its proper place in space by the gravitational pull of the sun. There are many natural rhythms, such as the ebb and flow of the tide, the rhythm of the seasons, the rhythm of birth, growth and death, which is common to plants, trees and animals, as well as to people.
One characteristic of all these rhythms is movement; but in every example it is regulated movement, which may differ in tempo or kind, but nevertheless is regulated. Therefore, rhythm in its fundamental sense may be said to be the expression in the universe of the unseen but omnipotent power of the law and order of movement, without which all would be chaos.
Another characteristic of rhythm is regularity. One might almost say that regularity is rhythm. This can be seen by the fact that if the regularity of a natural rhythm is upset, then a chaotic state becomes evident. For instance, the human body needs sleep in its rhythmic way of existence. If this is denied over a prolonged period, the body breaks down, so that it cannot perform the actions of the waking life normally - in fact, the rhythm is irregular, and until the regular rhythm of sleep and waking is restored, the body is ill, and does not work normally.
The normal continued movement of any rhythm in life supplies balance, a third characteristic of rhythm, and with balance is the thought of poise, and the idea of a pivot or central point, upon which rhythm is supported to give the quality of perfect balance. This fact of balance, or symmetry, has abundant expressions in nature. For example, as well as the alternation of in-breathing and out-breathing, there is the symmetry of form to be seen in the forma-
tion of leaves, flowers and in the human body.
Poise cannot be separated from balance, because in balanced movement there is poise, and again poise and balance have a pivot. This idea of poise is based on the law of gravity. It is the law of equilibrium. The earth itself is held in space by the gravitational pull of the sun; everything on the earth is kept in place by the gravitational pull of the earth. A child learns to walk by gradually adjusting himself to the law of gravity, thus discovering the facts of balance. Perfection of poise is a fundamental part of all natural rhythmic movements in the universe. For instance, "a wave advancing up the shore gathers the force in a rhythmic sweep, till, at the top of its curve, for an infinitesimal moment it is still; then it trembles and falls, rushes to its finish, and there again pauses for a second before it recedes." Daybreak and evening are suggested times of meditation and a withdrawing into the stillness of one's inner self. This is because at these times there is that moment of poise - or perfect balance in the universe - and then the movement continues and light, or day, advances, or darkness increases in intensity.
Movement, regularity in the perceptible divisions of movement, balance and poise, are the chief fundamental attributes of rhythm. And harmony, in the general sense, seems to be any number of rhythms, working simultaneously, but in perfect accord with one another.
Now in considering these thoughts of rhythm and harmony with the seven Liberal Arts and Sciences, it is not very difficult to see that each subject has rhythm and harmony as parts of its foundation and structure.
Music, however, seems to have a very close affinity to rhythm and harmony.
Plato says of music "Music is a moral law . . . It is the essence of order, and leads to all that is good, just and beautiful, of which it is the invisible but nevertheless dazzling, passionate and eternal form."
If music is the essence of order, it is rhythm which is the essence of music.
Rhythm is one of the fundamental factors of our life; it is manifest in the most unconscious of our actions, in breathing, in the relation of the times we devote to sleeping and waking, in the beating of our hearts, and it should control our willed actions. It surrounds us in the world, in the movements of the earth, causing day and night; in the tides, the moon and stars, and in the progress of the seasons.
So it is that music, which in the beginning was expressed solely through the human body, has rhythm as its foundation. The earliest music was pure rhythm, as is the primitive music of African peoples today.
These rhythms can be very complicated, but below the fast-moving groups of notes a slower regular beat is felt, as the small rhythmic periods of our lives are measured by the rhythms of Nature.
Although in our music rhythm is now linked with melody and harmony, it still bears these and other characteristics of natural rhythm. The short rhythmic groups of a note form part of a rhythmic bar, several bars combine to make a phrase, and phrases grow into a theme, perhaps by repetition, as the small happenings of our daily life, repeated and added to, form part of the theme of our whole lives, and of our selves.
The rhythmic pattern determines to a very large extent the whole structure of music. A gay tripping dance measure, such as an English Country Dance, demands a gay melody and light harmonies, quite different from those required for a slow, grave march rhythm. The harmonies which Bach used for the Gigues and Gavottes in his English and French Suites are very
different from those of the Sarabandes, or of his Preludes.
Most people can recognize the rhythmic pattern of a well-known tune when it is tapped out - the rhythm alone divested of melody and harmony. But if the rhythm is changed the whole thing becomes unrecognizable. It is the rhythmic pattern which is the basis of the whole composition.
At some early period, with the help of the human voice, melody was allied to rhythm. Music had been till now like the beginnings of Geometry - a series of isolated points; now these points were linked by melody into a line. For a very long time music stayed so; in fact, it is only music having its roots in Europe which has been clothed in harmony. African and Asiatic music is still a line of melody, either vocal, or of a string or wind instrument, accompanied by percussion instruments, but not harmonized as we understand harmony.
In Western Europe the growth of harmony was fostered by the Church, and this fact is of especial interest to members of this Lodge, where Plain-Song music is so much used.
The rhythm of Plainsong is based on the rhythm of prose. Plainsong is a passage of prose set to music; an example we all know is `Fountain of Light.' The rhythm is free, it follows the pattern of the words, and so the music, when written, cannot be divided into regular bars, as we are accustomed to doing. We tend to give it a regular measure, as we do to any Plainsong when we use it as a Processional hymn.
It was not until the beginning of the 17th century that music was written in regular bars, and now, after three hundred years of regularity, it is tending towards freedom again, and it is not uncommon to find bars of varying length in one piece of music. Plainsong in the early Church was sung in Unison, but the melody was doubled an octave higher when boys or women joined in the singing. Later these two groups divided, the men into tenors and basses, and the boys into sopranos and contraltos. Then the basses sang a fourth or fifth below the tenors, the altos an octave above the basses, and the sopranos an octave above the tenors, making four strands of melody, all moving parallel. Gradually slight divergences crept in, as a close to a phrase, or to the whole tune, to give a feeling of finality. The next development came when the tenors (literally the holders) held on to the tune while the other singers wove free and independent melodies around it (somewhat like the descant-singing we hear today). Here were the beginnings of the harmony which has existed, unaltered, until very recently. There were moments, the melodies being free, when discords and not concords were being made. Gradually laws of harmony were evolved; certain musical intervals, such as the third, fifth, and fourth, were considered pleasing. Some might follow one another; others must never be heard together, and so on, but these laws were elastic, and like all good laws, they made for accuracy without being pedantic, and, gave liberty within the law. Major and minor scales were built up, superseding the old modes, and harmonics were experimented with.
J. S. Bach, for example, harmonized one simple melody in eleven different ways, all pleasing and all good. Harmony has always proved a fruitful field for experiment. Beethoven shocked his contemporaries with chords which we accept without a thought, and doubtless future generations will listen without any unpleasant shock, perhaps even with deep content, to the music of Stravinsky and Schonberg. I have consciously `grown into' the chords of the whole tone scale which give Debussy's music so much of its magic.
We cannot hear the music of the past
as it sounded to its composers' inward ear, or even as it sounded to its first hearers; we hear with the experience of former generations molding our hearing; they have grown used to a strange harmony; we accept it. But we are rarely pleased with modern music - musicians' thoughts seem to run in advance of human capacity to hear and understand; it seems certain that many of the sounds which their experiments are producing today cannot last, as they are not harmonious; others, after patient, knowledgeable and listening will be understood, and become part of our store of music.
To return to the growth of music.
Most music, at any rate until very recently, has been built up as the first harmonized music, as strands of melody combining to make a series of chords. In choral music the principal melody is generally taken by the highest voice, but all the parts have a melodic line, and these lines are woven together to make a harmonic whole. Instrumental music is often built up on the same pattern, though quite a lot is composed of a series of chords whose separate notes have no horizontal connection.
Orchestral music, whether it is chamber music or music for a large orchestra, very often has as one of its strands a principal theme which is passed from one instrument or group of instruments to another, being accompanied all the time by subsidiary themes, forming varying harmonies. Whether we listen to the music horizontally or vertically it is pleasing and good. Horizontally we notice the rhythmic and melodic shape of the theme, its beauty of form and symmetry, its purpose of movement, and the harmonious way in which the different themes combine. Vertically we perceive the depth and beauty of the harmonies, and realize how the various parts, moving together, form the harmonious whole.
Dancing is another art in which rhythm and harmony play very important parts, and is closely allied to music. It is the art by which control of the bodily movements are learnt, so that the heart can express its feelings, through the body, controlled by the mind, i.e. a perfect coordination of soul, mind and body.
Movement is a very natural expression of the emotions. If a child sees something which gives a feeling of pleasure, what does she do but skip with delight and clap her hands? In fact, her body expresses the feeling. Different feelings are expressed by different gestures and movements, but a spontaneous movement such as the child's, is delightful, because the expression is from the heart, mind and body. In the same way "Rhythm is a natural expression of the temperament of man, as well as that of society and the race." Do not simple folk songs and national dances express the spirit and soul of a country? Popular rhythmic motifs form a quite natural crystallization of the intellectual standard of the environment. Their form depends upon the influence of the physical and psychological life of the individual, and upon the general condition of his nervous system. Also upon the climatic conditions and upon his family and social surroundings, as well as upon his general culture." In fact, there are unmistakable characteristics in folk dance forms, styles and rhythms.
From the earliest times the dance has been connected with all the important events in the life of people, such as at birth, initiation, marriage and death. It was considered a sacred mode of expression, and it is true to say that the ritual dance or worship dance is the source of all others. As one example of this, the Maypole Dance, sometimes felt to be truly English, has its origins far back in time, when the people worshipped the spirit of the tree, and danced around it. This was the dance common to a great part of Europe. It
has been suggested that the origin of the ritual dance was the desire of early man to imitate what he conceived to be the characteristics of supernatural powers - which are universal rhythms. This would not be a dance in the generally accepted sense of the word, but merely a movement, perhaps in the form of the swaying of the body in imitation of trees, or a single file running in imitation of a stream. The innate tendency to rhythmic motion asserted itself and primitive dance in the more usual sense resulted. But this was still a sacred dance, in so far as it was performed in imitation of some supernatural power, for to honor such by imitative dance denotes sacred intention. Later the fundamental motive was forgotten, and the tradition remained when the original spirit was gone. However, in these imitative dances earliest man made his attempt to come into communion with the unseen, by imitating the outward expressions of rhythm in the universe, in the movements of his own body.
Another purpose of imitative dance, of course, was to induce crops to grow. Again the remnants of a very early ritual may be seen in the survival of Plough Sunday, when, in some country places, a plough is taken into the Church to be blessed. Originally, men danced round the village, taking a plough with them, knocking at every door to receive some recognition. Their dance consisted of high leaps - the higher the better, as the height they jumped was believed to be the height to which the corn would grow that year!
At the peak of the Greek Civilization, the race had arrived at a perfect balance of its physical and intellectual qualities, we are told, and the people were guided by a sincere faith in their gods, which was the centre or pivot of their lives. The Greek temples built at this period were an expression of this inner balance and sense of proportion. They were very beautiful and expressed the rhythm and harmony the builders felt in themselves. The dance was here again a form of worship, an interpretation of divine truths and a means of acquiring direct control with their deities. In their form of dancing, which reached a high state of perfection, they held that exact adjustment of every part of the body in relation to the whole, was necessary. There was a perfect balance and sense of proportion. However violent the action or emotion to be expressed, the proportion and equilibrium of the dancers were always there. They believed that restraint was the balancing of emotions, and that reasonable restraint imposed upon natural tendencies produced noble results. This control produced in conjunction with fine mental poise, the perfection of balance in the individual. Poise, they believed, was the finest point of balance possible to attain, both mentally and physically. The various parts of the physique having been adjusted truly to the centre of gravity, poise lifted the whole body to a point so delicate that it almost defied definition. They believed that the coordinated mind could rise to the same point of serene equilibrium. In Greek Dancing, however, music was just an accompaniment.
In Indian Dancing, the rhythm is given on the drums and is the foundation of the movement. Part of the body, usually the feet, and more particularly the ankles, moves very closely with the actual rhythm, while the Dancer enacts a mime by gestures, and movements expressive of emotions and impulses, and of the story to be enacted. The music is entirely melodic and inspires more than being used for direct interpretation. These expressive gestures and movements are astoundingly realistic at times, but a very strong impression of perfect coordination and harmony is given by Indian Dancing.
At the present day music is interpret-
ed by the body in some forms of rhythmic movement, and the same fundamentals of rhythm and harmony, balance and poise are expressed. M. Dalcroze says that music possesses the gift of being able to enable the living body, in such a way that noble and beautiful ideas can be lodged therein, and of making the bodily organism an interpreter of cerebral wishes and aspirations. In fact, Plato said that rhythm, i.e. the expression of order and symmetry, penetrates by way of the body into the soul, and into the entire man, revealing to him the harmony of his whole personality.
However, everyone cannot become a dancer, a musician or a sculptor, but anyone can study the arts and discover what they have in themselves, which can be developed in appreciation of the works of the masters in music, dancing, etc.
The motto of the Masonic Order is `Order out of Chaos,' and in this very limited consideration of rhythm and harmony made today, I wanted to give a new light on the most important - and final - aim of Freemasonry the return from chaos, pain and suffering, disharmony, disease and unhappiness, to order, harmony and happiness, concord and peace. For harmony means happiness, harmony means peace, and Masonry shows a way of return from darkness to the light of perfect harmony. Each of us have our part to play in the making of the New World, or the building of the City, by working on ourselves now, towards the realization of rhythm and harmony that is in the universe, and the affinity we have with them. The Temple and its ornaments, and the Masonic ritual, hold a means of discovering that rhythm and harmony in ourselves and in the universe. Once the harmony has been realized, in however small an extent, it becomes evident, and that person immediately becomes a means of the building of harmony on earth and among men. This is a sure and true means of building the New World and a lasting one.
There are two quotations I feel express more adequately than I can the idea I am endeavoring to impart. The first is from R.W. Trine's `In tune with the Infinite,' and is: -
"The finding of the kingdom of God is the recognition of the indwelling Divine Life as the source and therefore the essence of our own lives. It is the bringing of men's minds, and therefore their acts, into Harmony with the Divine will and purpose.
"To come into the conscious vital realization of our oneness with the infinite Life and Power, is to come into the current of divine sequence. Coming thus into harmony with the Infinite, brings us in turn into harmony with all about us, into harmony with the life of the heavens, into harmony with all the universe. And, above all, it brings us into harmony with ourselves, so that body, soul and mind become perfectly harmonized, and when this is so, life becomes full and complete.
"The sense life then no longer masters or enslaves us. The physical is subordinated to and ruled by the mental, this in turn is subordinated to and illumined by the spiritual. Life is then no longer one-sided; but the threefold, the all-round life with all its beauties is entered upon. Thus we are brought to realize that the middle path is the great solution of life; neither asceticism on the one hand, nor license and perverted use on the other. Everything is for use, but all must be wisely used in order to be fully enjoyed."
The second quotation is from Max Plowman's `The Right to Live,' and is:
"Happiness is the gift of Harmony. There is between man and the earth which bears him a perfect equation: a spiritual law of gravity. Upon his recognition and acceptance of that
equation depends all the happiness he can ever know. This globe on which we find ourselves, this palace of wonder and delight, itself moves in obedience to laws of harmony with the earth. The beauty of earth's harmony as it revolves in concord with the spheres is beyond our power to increase or destroy, but through the wonder of self-consciousness man has acquired the power either to enhance or detract from the beauty of his harmony with the earth.
"As yet he is but little aware of that harmony and even his highest conceptions of it are but shadows of reality. He has not yet even learnt to express adequately the intense happiness which hearing of that harmony (imperfect though it be) always gives to him. But while the degrees of harmony between man and earth remain almost infinite to our perceptions, there are limits of earth's endurance of discord.
"Western Europe today seems bent on finding them and what does our partial knowledge of them teach? That active disregard for our concord with the earth brings weariness - that very movement which expresses our defiance of its brings upon man earth's retribution - let the ugliness and misery under which men groan today attest.
"The reader may object. `If you contend that the relationship of man and the earth is of primary importance, how can you consistently speak evil of an age whose scientific discoveries have increased the intimacy of that union, more rapidly than all the sentient learning of any former period?' The question betrays a fetish of modern thought, for the harmony of which I speak is a spiritual understanding, and no mere mental acquisitiveness.
"By all means let us increase our knowledge. Knowledge is Power. But Power without Wisdom is a curse; the fruit of the tree of knowledge. We can live only upon the fruit of the tree of life. Instead of marrying us to the earth, this scientific business is really designed to impale the angels dancing upon the metaphysicians' needlepoint. It craves for material exactness in a world of infinity. It promises to give us mastery over the earth: to make us masters of our own mother!! It fills us with intellectual pride, desolating the heart, and closing up the senses, those chief inlets of the soul in this age.
"We feel our way into the world: let us continue to feel it through the world. Thought without feeling is worthless and indeed predatory."
Finally, Brn., it is for harmony we must work. "Let all that is harsh and dissonant in life melt into sweet harmony."
- E. R. Tompsett, P.M., & N. Peters, in
The Speculative Mason, January, 1944.
THEOSOPHY UP TO DATE!
- EVOLUTION: As Outlined in The Archaic Eastern Records
Compiled and Annotated by Basil Crump.
- H. P. BLAVATSAY: A GREAT BETRAYAL A protest against the policy and teachings of The Theosophical society introduced since the death of Madame Blavatsky.
- H. P. BLAVATSKY: HER LIFE AND WORK FOR HUMANITY
A vindication. and a brief exposition of her mission and teachings.
- H. P. BLAVATSHY AS I KNEW HER Consisting of personal experiences with that great Soul.
- BUDDHISM: The Science of Life. By Alice Leighton Cleather and Basil Crump. This book shows that the Esoteric philosophy of H. P. Blavatsky is identical with the Esoteric Mahayana Buddhism of China, Japan and Tibet.
- THE VOICE of THE SILENCE. Translated and Annotated by H. P. Blavatsky. A faithful reprint of the original edition with an autograph foreword by H.S.H. The Tashi Lama of Tibet. Notes and Comments by Alice L. Cleather and Basil Crump. H.P.B. Centenary Edition, Peking, 1931. Third Impression.
The above may be had from The H. P. B. Library, 348 Foul Bay Road, Victoria, B.C., or from The Blavatsky Association, 26 Bedford Gardens, Campden Hill, London, W.8, England.
JACK MINER DIES
Kingsville, Ont., Nov. 4.- (CP) - The man who started Canada's first bird sanctuary, silver-haired Jack Miner, outspoken friend of the wild bird, is dead.
The 79 year-old internationally famous Canadian naturalist suffered two heart attacks shortly after lunch yesterday and died at 3 p.m. Until a few hours before his death, he had been with the wild ducks and geese on his sanctuary.
Known to thousands, Jack Miner spent the last 50 years in bird-life research, lecturing and writing on wild
[[Photo of Jack Miner here]]
life conservation. His work earned the praise and tribute of outstanding figures in all walks of life and made this southwestern Ontario town famous as the home of Jack Miner.
He was born at Dover Centre, Ohio, a suburb of Cleveland, and came to Canada at the age of 13. At 29, he started his sanctuary around the mud ponds near his home.
Besides being a friend of the wild birds, Miner wrote several books on their life, among them Jack Miner and the Birds, Jack Miner on Current Topics and Jack Miner, His Life and Religion.
As a boy, he and his brothers got great delight - as well as benefitting financially - from trapping, and soon after the Miner family settled in Canada he became the proud owner of a dog and 15 skunk traps. His first catch earned him five dollars, which he said "changed his odor into financial fragrance."
It was in 1904 that Mr. Miner suddenly decided he preferred to be the friend of the wild bird, rather than their enemy. He stopped shooting wild geese and started to build a sanctuary around the mud ponds near his home.
In Ohio, his father had been a drain tile manufacturer, and Jack Miner followed his father's profession. He started what he called a "one-horse tile yard," which he and his sons continued to operate to the present day. As the clay was excavated, the cavity was made into an artificial pond for the ducks and geese to find havens of rest.
His first visitors were 11 geese, but it was not many years later that the number swelled to thousands. He caught and banded more than 32,000 wild Canada geese. The band contained a postoffice address and a selected verse of Scripture. Thus he was able to study their route of migration and gave to the world facts hitherto unknown.
Highest among the honors he received in his lifetime was the Order of the British Empire given to him in June, 1943, in the King's birthday honors list. An act introduced in Commons asked for the creation of Jack Miner National Wild Life day to impress love of wild life and its conservation.
Across Canada's prairies homes are protected by windbreaks of trees called "Jack Miner windbreaks." On one of his lecture tours he spent much time
advocating such tree planting and the west today is grateful for what his wild life and tree planting has meant to the people there.
On his 64th birthday he said he was "going to live to be 100 or die in the attempt." He said he would not want to carry on if it were not for birds, music, flowers and children. Once asked why he did not play golf, he replied: "Golf is an old man's game. I'm too busy living to think of dying."
He is survived by his widow, Leona; three sons, Jasper, Manley and William, and two grandchildren.
Kingsville, Ont., Nov. 4. - (CP) - Funeral services for Jack Miner, O.B.E., internationally famous naturalist, who died yesterday at his home here, will be held at 3 p.m. on Monday at Epworth United Church, and will be conducted by Rev. J.T. Fleming. A private service will be held Monday morning.
Burial of the 79 year-old bird lover, who started Canada's first wild bird sanctuary, will take place in the sanctuary where he spent so much of his life studying the way of birds. The plot in which he is to be buried was selected and arranged by him.
To All Interested in The New Interpretation of Christianity
THE CHRISTIAN THEOSOPHIST
offers valuable hints for the study of the Gospels in the light of ancient tradition and modern science. For specimen copy apply to the Editor, Won Abri, Chorley Wood, Herts, England.
J. M. PRYSE'S BOOKS
may be had, including: The Magical Message of Oannes; The Apocalypse Unsealed; Prometheus Bound; Adorers of Dionysus; and The Restored New Testament: from John Pryse, 919 South Bernal Ave., Los Angeles, Calif.
THE LORD'S PRAYER
Rev. Dr. Dickey calls attention in The United Church Observer to three difficulties in the use of the Lord's Prayer, the petition for daily bread in evening worship after eating three hearty meals, asking not to be led into temptation, and the use of the words debts or trespasses, and he quotes the translation from the Aramaic by George M. Lamas: "Give us bread for our needs from day to day. And forgive us our offences, as we have forgiven our offenders. And do not let us enter into temptation, but deliver us from error." Whatever may be thought of these or their Aramaic originals, these verses do not represent the Greek text, which the late Ivan Panin of Aldershot, Ontario, demonstrated was of simply miraculous construction verbally, the words and letters of the text and special names occurring in multiples of seven. It is a laborious task to prove this, and skeptics make this an excuse not to take the trouble. If it be true at all, I reasoned it must be true of such a passage as the Lord's Prayer. I took the pains to count and check the count of the words and letters and sure enough there are 63 words (9 x 7) and 315 letters (45 x 7). To appreciate what this means let the doubter write a passage in English containing 63 words and 315 letters, making any kind of reasonable sense at all, not to speak of such lofty significance as the Lord's Prayer. Judged by this standard the New Testament is a magical book, to be read and understood in Greek by those instructed in the Greek mysteries. The English translation does not convey the sense of the Greek at all as I have frequently shown in these pages. The late James Morgan Pryse, when he was a child of five or six, had been taught Greek by his father and in repeating the Lord's Prayer to himself he discovered that the Greek version was a
mantram, a magical invocation which had the effect of raising his consciousness to a higher level. Mr. Pryse translated the prayer as follows:
Our Father who art in the Over-world, thy Name be intoned, thy Realm return, thy WILL arise.
As in the Firmament, so on the Earth.
That Bread of the coming day give us today: and free us from our obligations, as we also have freed those under obligation to us; and bring us not to the test, but deliver us from uselessness.
For thine is the Realm, the Force and the Radiance, throughout the Life-cycles. Amen.
This incantation involves esoteric knowledge, and those who seek it seriously will find it. Those who are satisfied with exoteric statements will get nowhere.
Mr. Pryse explains that the Greek epiousion, is a coined word found nowhere except in this prayer; it clearly does not mean "daily", but evidently "which is coming" or "of the future." The Bread is the "Bread of Life", of which the Christos says: "I am that Living Bread that came down out of the Firmament. If anyone eats of this Bread he shall live throughout the Life-cycle (aion) " (John vi. 51) .
WORTH WHILE BOOKS
- Isis Unveiled and The Secret Doctrine by Madame Blavatsky;
- The Key to Theosophy and The Voice of the Silence by H.P.B.
- Magic White and Black by Franz Hartmann;
- The Perfect Way, by Anna B. Kingsford;
- The Ocean of Theosophy and Notes on the Bhagavad Gita by Wm. Q. Judge;
- Reincarnation by E. D. Walker;
- The Light of Asia, by Edwin Arnold;
- Light on the Path and Through the Gates of Gold, by Mabel Collins;
- Letters that Have Helped Me, by Wm. Q. Judge;
- Raja Yoga, a collection of articles by H.P.B.;
- The Mahatma Letters, by Two Masters.
DEATH OF THE PRIMATE
Well may Karma be regarded as the most mysterious of all Nature's laws. What may justly be looked upon as the premature death of Dr. William Temple, Archbishop of Canterbury and Primate of all England, has been described by Dr. Owen, Archbishop of Toronto, as "a terrible shock" which, he thought, the "whole Christian world will share with us." Apart altogether from his eminence as a Churchman, he was one of the great men of his time. His interest in public affairs marked him as more of a philosopher than a theologian. If he had had more of the international outlook of the Pope his influence in world affairs might have become effective in the five continents as well as in England, but the genius of Protestantism is too democratic to permit the development in its high officials of dogmatic tyranny. He could, however, have wielded a mighty influence through his personal amiability and cheerful personality. He showed by his participation in the Malvern convention that his sympathies were with the masses, and his expressed advocacy of state control of bank credit was as shocking to business circles as perhaps his death has been to the Church. But the fact that he gave his sanction to economic thought on such advanced or radical directions will unquestionably release the minds of many to turn their attention to subjects that otherwise would be strictly avoided. Incidentally it may also arouse a more practical interest in the Church which has always left such matters to the Dissenters.
BOOKS ON THEOSOPHICAL SUBJECTS
which have passed the tests of time and use Supplied on request. Forty years' experience at your service. Let me know your wishes.
N. W. J. HAYDON, 564 PAPE AVE., TORONTO
MICE AND MEN
The many correspondents who are interested more actively in mice than they are in men, was intimated by the publication of some of their letters last month, more numerous about mice than all we have received all year about the awful slaughter of innocent civilians by German troops who appear to take delight in destroying utterly villages and towns and their inhabitants.
Some of those who refrain from comment on such brutality say frankly that they do not think it is any part of their duty to interfere, as they do not believe in war in any case. Why, then, are they not consistent, and disbelieving in vivisection, refrain from concern about its victims?
The Gita assures us that there is danger in the duty of another; there is safety only in one's own duty. Of course this text has been seized upon by the shirkers who are glad of any excuse to escape right action. For the rest we must never forget that we are in an uninstructed part of the globe, and that our people do not act in accordance with natural Law, of which for the most part they have no knowledge, but according to their feelings, which operate according to their limited experience and which often mislead their judgment.
Under the circumstances they should not judge at all, but they have not been sufficiently trained for that.
Of course no instructed Theosophist would for a moment think of conducting a vivisectionist operation, any more than he would think of cutting off the hand of a native in the Belgian Congo for not bringing in a bufficient quantity of rubber.
But we all use rubber, irrespective of where it comes from, as we all use medicaments, whether sanctioned by vivisection experiments or not.
Our mixed up civilization and its products are the result of material science, material philosophy and material religion, and when a gleam of spiritual light happens to strike into the heart of some awakening disciple, he hastens to condemn what he does not like, in entire ignorance of the motive behind the act of those he condemns. To know all is to forgive all, is to forgive all, and this old saying should not be forgotten.
The results gained by the sincere vivisectionist seeking knowledge and remedies for the ills of humanity, could be achieved with far greater success by the development of the powers latent in man. But who among the critics of vivisection are devoting themselves to the development of these powers?
We suffer from our ignorance, and we violate the laws of Brotherhood in denouncing those we disagree with, without showing them the true paths of action.
The medical arts should not be confined to materia medica, nor should surgery ignore what the osteopaths learned from the arts of the ancients as well as from some moderns.
The Masters of Wisdom have no need to resort to vivisection to understand the human or any other living organism. But few indeed are the medical men who are willing to make themselves acquainted with even what has been put on record for them by Madame Blavatsky, and those who have, like the late Dr. Jerome A. Anderson or Dr. J.D. Buck, have borne testimony to the value of such study.
Let us never forget, either, that Nature, "red in tooth and claw," is hostile to us because we are hostile to Nature, and seek to compel her, rather than try to cooperate with her.
What we call civilization is an organized rebellion against Nature. What can we expect?
THE COMING RACE
A highly sensible and instructive article under this title appeared in the June issue of Theosophy, with a note stating that it was from a stenographic report of a talk by the late Robert Crosbie: We specially commend it to Adyar students and others impatient of the unhasting unresting order of Nature. We extract a few sentences from these five fruitful pages to illustrate. "Many planets and solar systems before this have brought into existence through evolution - `the ever-becoming' - beings so much higher than man that our highest conception of a deity would not give us an understanding of their nature." "This planet like every other planet is made up of the beings concerned in it." "Evolution is not something outside ourselves, but an unfolding from within outward." "Every man is septenary in form, and every man is connected with every other being and every other element in the universe." "Each man Is Spirit; each has all the acquired intelligence of the past . . ." "Our planet, like man, has its seven `principles' and its seven states. Evolution has proceeded three and one half times through the seven states." "We are now in the fifth sub-race of the fifth great Root Race, although there are still existing on the earth today remnants of the fourth, and even of the third sub-race. Nature does not proceed by leaps and bounds. While one race is ending another is beginning, and so we also have among us now the pioneers of the sixth sub-race." "The power of seeing through absolutely opaque substance, as now does the X-Ray, exists latent in every one of us." "There is, no power outside of man that will make the race any different, that will make conditions any different. The power to make the conditions, to make the race, lies latent in the spirit and soul of man. As he thinks and acts will results be." "No being is guiding this evolution. It is all beings. No being is sending it in this, that, or the other direction nor turning aside the results of our own individual wrong doings." "We have to forget personality, selfishness, separateness, and realize that each one of us must work for the good of all, must see all beings as one great whole - all beings of every kind working together from the same nature in the same direction but differing in their degree." "So long as racial doubt and hatred exist, there will be wars among the nations. Peace lies in the realization of what evolution means, of what is the purpose of life. When that realization becomes general in the world, all the circumstances which now hinder us - whether they be earthquakes, cyclones, diseases, or wars - will disappear because if no man will hurt another, then there is nothing for evil to work upon." "The great Teachers of all time are waiting and preparing for Their actual appearance among us, but `the coming saviour' of whom we have heard will not be in our generation, nor are we ready for him. Such a being could do us no good now - and not until we have taken the Message that those Beings have already left us, and used it, could Their actual coming be of benefit to us."
One of the privileges of living in the Twentieth century is the opportunity of allying oneself with the Theosophical Movement originated by the Elder Brothers of the Race, and of making a conscious link, however slender, with them. Join any Theosophical Society which maintains the tradition 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
- The Organ of the Theosophical Society in Canada
- Published on the 15th of every month.
- Editor - Albert E.S. Smythe.
- Entered at Hamilton General Post Office as Second-class matter.
- Subscription: Two Dollars a Year
OFFICERS OF THE T.S. IN CANADA
Wash. E. Wilks, 925 Georgia St. W., Vancouver.
Maud E. Crafter, 57 Sherwood Avenue, Toronto, Ont.
Felix A. Belcher, 250 N. Lisgar St., Toronto, Ont.
Edw. L. Thomson, 163 Crescent Road, Toronto, Ont.
William A. Griffiths, 37 Stayner Street, Weatmount, P.Q. George I. Kinman, 46 Rawlinson Avenue, Toronto, Ont.
N.W.J. Haydon, 564 Pape Avenue, Toronto, 6
Albert E.S. Smythe, 5 Rockwood Place, Hamilton. Ontario, Canada.
To whom all communications should be addressed.
Printed by the Griffin & Richmond Printing Co., Ltd., 29 Rebecca Street, Hamilton, Ontario
It is related of General Jan Smutz that during the Boer war he carried in his saddle bags, along with his biltong and coffee, a Greek Testament and Kant's Critique of Pure Reason. Study of these books would make any man a theosophist, and Smutz besides is one of the men of real genius among the Allies.
Theosophists who are theosophic in their thinking do not regard national boundary lines as affecting natural phenomena. Theosophy for November reports the earthquake of September 5 as "very severe." But "no lives were lost, and property damage was slight except for the region in and around Malone, N.Y. which was the centre of the quake." Canadian observers reported the centre as at Cornwall, Ontario, where the damage amounted to $200,000, and Government assistance was promised the sufferers.
We gather from an article in The American Theosophist that Mr. S. Cook, national president of the T.S. in America has been spending a holiday in Quebec. Our members will regret that he did not give them an opportunity to welcome him personally. We hope our French-Canadian cousins in their usual hospitable manner made him feel at home. He records his realization afresh the meaning of freedom under a common flag - peoples different but one - children different in their speech but alike in their play, different in their words but alike in their song. The lights had come on, as they are coming on in Europe and the time has come for open vision, eyes to see the light and hearts that welcome it in true revelation.
The Aryan Path in its high-brow fashion is doing useful work among the intellectuals, but occasionally drops a hint for the man who runs to read. In a brief review of The Meaning of Pakistan, there is a quotation from the book with this sentence: "Our ultimate ideal should be the unification of India, spiritually as well as politically, under the banner of Islam." The reviewer adds that "the idea is shared by thousands of fanatically inspired young Muslims who interpret Mr. Jinnah's Pakistan demand as but the stepping-stone to 'the re-conquest of India' and the establishment of an Islamic Empire. No wonder Jinnah and Gandhi could not agree. Their religious ideals are irreconcilable. Islam is wholly democratic. Brahmanism is the aristocracy of dogmatic faith. If the Junker Germans could find another Hitler to set the Muslim heather on fire, the Asia of the next generation could easily present a parallel to the Europe of the present.
Unquestionably cremation will have received a great impetus in Britain from this disposal of the dead body of the late Archbishop of Canterbury and Primate of All England. In many devout minds, whose intelligence is not brought to bear on religious matters, there lurks the fear that their resurrection might be endangered if their bodies were reduced to ashes. If they had studied the matter and understood that resurrection really meant reincarnation their misgivings would be ended. They would abandon their worn-out bodies readily as they send their worn-out clothes to the Red Cross or the rag-man. But authority means so much more than reason to many people, that when an Archbishop takes this course it will dispel the doubts of thousands and help to give cremation its proper place in civilzation. Admiral Sir Dudley Pound who died recently left instructions that his body be cremated and his ashes scattered at sea. The late premier Neville Chamberlain was another prominent cremationist.
We have been favored with a copy of a new pamphlet issued by The Theosophical Society in America from their Press at Headquarters at Olcott, Wheaton, Ills., entitled An Approach to the Study of The Secret Doctrine. It contains thirteen pages, finely printed, with stiff cover, and should serve beginners well to enable them to take their first steps in this enchanted land, and older students to remind them of the glorious truths which were revealed to them in their early excursions through its ancient but novel territory. The author is Joy Mills who writes both a Preface and Introduction each commendably brief but impressive. We quote a paragraph from the Preface:
"Though the mind cannot at first grasp the fulness of the Esoteric Philosophy, the heart still answers, `I know.' The reason is cautious in venturing forth, but the intuition darts like the quick tongue of the serpent, always the symbol of Eternal Wisdom, and understands the synthesis of knowledge the intellect cannot sustain. Within the inner recesses of every being's heart lies the only true Educator: The Immortal Self. Though we doubt and shout abroad our ignorance and insufficiency, a voice within still leads us on." The outline given is compiled of H.P.B.'s own statements regarding the method of studying The Secret Doctrine. Other hints and suggestions are included. May we hope that this is an indication of a renaissance of the primal impulse that inspired the Theosophical Movement, and that as we enter the 70th year of its work lesser interests may be abandoned in favor of its initial tasks.
We greatly deplore the death of Mrs. W.J.M. Taylor, a regular attendant of the Toronto Society's meetings and mother of Jocelyn, widow of Roy Mitchell, to whom we tender our sym-pathies. Mrs. Taylor was a sweet and amiable lady, full of good counsels, a real gentlewoman. We also regret the death at the age of 94 of Mrs. M.S. Budd, mother of Miss Eva Budd and her sister, Mrs. Jackson, to whom this is a very real bereavement. Another old student has passed away in Mr. W. Musson who was one of the oldest and most regular attendants at the Society's meetings, as well as being a devoted student of theosophical literature. He had been paralyzed in recent years. His brother gave his collection of books to the Lodge library. To all these the joyful hope of a real resurrection bears them to the spheres of rest and preparation for the new incarnation in which they may reach the fulness of the stature and wisdom of the Master.
The Theosophist, organ of The President, T.S., in its August issue has been
reduced to ten pages. The reduction in size, it is explained, is "owing to an acute paper shortage throughout India, we are required substantially to reduce the size of our various journals, including The Theosophist." Here is a paragraph to justify the ten pages: "Hitherto there has been too much content to know, and largely of oneself. In The Theosophical Society we are on the whole more concerned with study classes than with service classes, and we have not yet been able to identify our Theosophical Order of Service with The Society itself. Our Lodges are meeting grounds more for the delivery of lectures, less for the application of Theosophy to service, and on the truths of Theosophy and their general illumination of the pathway of growth." If Dr Arundale would transfer his enthusiasm for The Lives of Alcyone and The Liberal Catholic Church and devote it to The Order of Service, most of us could get behind him.
During the month of October the following magazines have been received: Bulletin of the T.S. in Mexico, July-August; The Christian Theosophist, Sept.-December; The Middle Way, Sept.-October; East-West, Oct.-Nov. December; Canada at War, Sept.; The Theosophical Forum, Covina, October; Devenir, Montevideo, June; Theosophy, Los Angeles, October; The Golden Lotus, October; The Speculative Mason Quarterly, January, April and July; U.L.T. English Bulletin, No. 191, September; The Federation Quarterly, July; The Theosophist, Adyar, Sept.; The American Theosophist, October; Ancient Wisdom, October; The Theosophical Worker, August; The Aryan Path, August; U.L.T. Bulletin No 192, London, England, October; The Link, Johannesburg, S. Africa, August; Theosophy in Ireland, July-September; Eirenicon, Hyde, Cheshire, England, Sept.-October; O Teosofista, Brazil, March-May; The Theosophical Forum, Covina, November.
THE THEOSOPHIC LIFE
We are setting going at your International Headquarters a little nucleus of activity which, for the moment, we are naming "The New World Calls."
Above all others, whom does it call? Theosophists, for they are citizens of all new worlds - they are the ever-young.
For what does it call? For the Theosophy the new world needs.
What Theosophy does the new world need? The Theosophy of Happiness.
What is the heart of Happiness? Understanding, friendship, and eager discontent.
What then must Theosophists do? They must build wide bridges across all yawning gulfs of suspicion, distrust and misunderstanding. They must help all to have unconquerable incentives to triumph over obstacles of every kind, so that living becomes increasingly worth while. Theosophists have the best material for bridge-making. Theosophists know where to look to find such incentives.
The New World Calls for these. Let alert Theosophists bring them to the New World's Service.
In all probability the urgent needs of this emerging new world will demand a carefully adjusted Theosophy so that it can help people:
To more happiness.
To more comfort.
To be less lonely.
To look with more confidence into the future.
To be sure they have not lost those who are near and dear to them.
To be sure that their suffering is not in vain.
To understand each other better.
To be more brotherly to all faiths and nations.
To be more brotherly to the animal kingdom.
We feel that the post-War problems and the innumerable personal problems which engage the hearts and minds of the new world, call for a presentation of Theosophy which will give a simple, vivid picture appealing to each person where he is. We need not ask him to join The Theosophical Society, or even to become a student of Theosophy. But we want to tell him the things which are likely to interest him, and then let him feel that these really come from Theosophy and The Theosophical Society. We must try to contact the spirit of the new age, and supply it with food.
Obviously at Headquarters we want ideas. Equally obviously, you have them. Perhaps here at Headquarters we have ideas. Perhaps you want them. For what do we all want ideas? The better to fit Theosophy and The Theosophical Society to serve the needs of a world radically changed both by the War and by the Peace. Fraternally,
-George E. Arundale,
Adyar, 15th July.
AMONG THE LODGES
The Hamilton Theosophical Society meets at Main and Walnut Street, in the upper hall of the Temple Building, and Lectures at 7:15 p.m. on Sunday evening are given. The program till the end of the year is as follows: Nov. 19, Mrs. Kathleen Marks, As a Man Thinketh; Nov. 26, Mr. G.I. Kinman, The Realm of Ideas; Dec. 3, Mr. Leslie Floyd, B.A., The Angelic Host; Dec. 10, Mr. Martin S. Stewart, Theosophic Expression; Dec. 17, Dr. E.J. Norman, Divine Discontent; Dec. 24, Discussion, Christmas Ideas and Ideals; Dec. 31, Discussion, "Ring Out the Old, Ring in the New."
SOVIET WONDER DRUG
Moscow, Oct. 6 - (AP) - A growth-promoting medicine which doubled the weight of a mature dog, restored an 80-year-old man to health and now is being used for treatment of hemorrhage and bone infections among Red army wounded was reported by the Communist youth newspaper, Komsomolskaya Pravda.
The preparation, sympatometin, was deevloped 15 years ago by Prof. Ivan S. Chukichev from a mixture of albumen and sulphuric acid, the article said, giving this account:
In his original experiments, Chukichev found sympatometin was beneficial in cases of rheumatism, asthma, and some nervous diseases. Its effect in spurring growth was discovered accidently when a weak solution spilled on some flowering plants and they grew to three times their normal size.
Chukichev poured some liquid sympatometin into a bowl of water containing frog embryos, and the embryos developed at twice their average rate.
A dog given four injections of sympatometin in his stomach doubled its weight in four months. Its appetite was increased several fold.
Sympatometin given to an 80-year-old man who was extremely underweight and too weak to work restored him to such health that he was able to work six or eight hours daily, and his parchment yellow skin became a smooth pink.
In tests with a cow, Chukichev found that the milk output stayed at a constant high level for seven months.
Sympatometin is called "mushroom drops" because of a faint odor similar to that of muchrooms.
Chukichev now is using it for some wounded soldiers, claiming it checks hemorrhage and bone infections, the newspaper said.
THE TWELVE SIGNS OF THE ZODIAC
The division of the Zodiac into different signs dates from immemorial antiquity. It has acquired a worldwide celebrity and is to be found in the astrological systems of several nations. The invention of the Zodiac and its signs has been assigned to different nations by different antiquarians. It is stated by some that, at first, there were only ten signs, that one of these signs was subsequently split up into two separate signs, and that a new sign was added to the number to render the esoteric significance of the division more profound, and at the same time to conceal it more perfectly from the uninitiated public. It is very probable that the real philosophical conception of the division owes its origin to some particular nation, and the names given to the various signs might have been translated into the languages of other nations. The principal object of this article, however, is not to decide which nation had the honor of inventing the signs in question, but to indicate to some extent the real philosophical meaning involved therein, and the way to discover the rest of the meaning which yet remains undisclosed. But from what is herein stated, an inference may fairly be drawn that, like so many other philosophical myths and allegories, the invention of the Zodiac and its signs owes its origin to ancient India.
What then is its real origin, what is the philosophical conception which the Zodiac and its signs are intended to represent? Do the various signs merely indicate the shape or configuration of the different constellations included in the divisions, or, are they simply masks designed to veil some hidden meaning? The former supposition is altogether untenable for two reasons, viz.: -
I. The Hindus were acquainted with the precession of the equinoxes, as may be easily seen from their work on Astronomy, and from the almanacs published by Hindu astronomers. Consequently they were fully aware of the fact that the constellations in the various Zodiacal divisions were not fixed. They could not, therefore, have assigned particular shapes to these shifting groups of fixed stars with reference to the divisions of the Zodiac. But the names indicating the Zodiacal signs have all along remained unaltered. It is to be inferred, therefore, that the names given to the various signs have no connection whatever with the configurations of the constellations included in them.
II. The names assigned to these signs by the ancient Sanskrit writers and their exoteric or literal meanings are as follows: -
Names of The Signs Their Exoteric or Literal Meanings
1 Mesha - Ram, or Aries.
2 Rishabha - Bull, or Taurus.
3 Mithunam - Twins, or Gemini (male and female).
4 Karkataka - Crab, or Cancer.
5 Simha - Lion, or Leo.
6 Kanya - Virgin, or Virgo*
7 Tula - Balance, or Libra.
8 Vrischika - Scorpion, or Scorpio.
9 Dhanus - Archer, or Sagittarius.
10 Makara - The Goat or Capricornus
(Crocodile, in Sanskrit)**
11 Kumbha - Water-bearer, or Aquarius.
12 Meenam - Fishes, or Pisces.
* Virgo-Scorpio, when none but the initiates knew there were twelve signs. Virgo-Scorpio was then followed for the profane by Sagittarius. At the middle or junction-point where now stands Libra and at the sign now called Virgo, two mystical signs were inserted which remained unintelligible to the profane. - Ed. Theo.
** This constellation was never called Crocodile by the ancient Western astronomers, who described it as a horned goat and called it so - Capri-cornus. - Ed. Theos.
The figures of the constellations included in the signs at the time the division was first made do not at all resemble the shapes of the animals, reptiles and other objects denoted by the names given them. The truth of this assertion can be ascertained by examining the configurations of the various constellations. Unless the shape of the crocodiles or crab is called up by the observer's imagination, there is very little chance of the stars themselves suggesting to his idea that figure, upon the blue canopy of the starry firmament.
If, then, the constellations have nothing to do with the origin of the names by which the Zodiacal divisions are indicated, we have to seek for some other source which might have given rise to these appellations. It becomes my object to unravel a portion of the mystery connected with these Zodiacal signs, as also to disclose a portion of the sublime conception of the ancient Hindu philosophy which gave rise to them. The signs of the Zodiac have more than one meaning. From one point of view they represent the different stages of evolution up to the time the present material universe with the five elements came into phenomenal existence. As the author of "Isis Unveiled" has stated in the second volume of her admirable work, "The key should be turned seven times" to understand the whole philosophy underlying these signs. But I shall wind it only once and give the contents of the first chapter of the History of Evolution. It is very fortunate that the Sanskrit names assigned to the various divisions by Aryan philosophers contain within themselves the key to the solution of the problem. Those of my readers who have studied to some extent the ancient "Mantra" and the "Tantra Sastras" * [* Works on Incantation and Magic]
of India, would have seen that very often Sanskrit words are made to convey a certain hidden meaning by means of well-known pre-arranged methods and a tacit convention, while their literal significance is something quite different from the implied meaning. The following are some of the rules which may help an inquirer in ferreting out the deep significance of ancient Sanskrit nomenclature to be found in the old Aryan myths and allegories: -
1. Find out the synonyms of the word used which have other meanings.
2. Find out the numerical value of the letters composing the word according to the methods given in ancient Tantrika works.
3. Examine the ancient myths or allegories, if there are any, which have any special connection with the word in question.
4. Permute the different syllables composing the word and examine the new combinations that will thus be formed and their meanings, &c. &c.
I shall now apply some of the above given rules to the names of the twelve signs of the Zodiac.
1. Mesha. - One of the synonyms of this word is Aja. Now, Aja literally means that which has no birth, and is applied to the Eternal Brahma in certain portions of the Upanishads. So, the first sign is intended to represent Parabrahma, the self-existent, eternal, self-sufficient cause of all.
II. Rishabham. - This word is used in several places in the Upanishads and the Veda to mean Pranava (Aum). Sankaracharya has so interpreted it in several portions of his commentary.* [* Example, "Rishabhasya - Chandasam Rishabhasya Pradhanasya Pranavasya."]
III. Mithuna. - As the word plainly indicates, this sign is intended to represent the first androgyne, the Ardhanareeswara, the bisexual Sephira-Adam Kadmon.
IV. Karkataka. - When the syllables
are converted into the corresponding numbers, according to the general mode of transmutation so often alluded to in Mantra Shastra, the word in question will be represented by ////. This sign then is evidently intended to represent the sacred Tetragram; the Parabrahma-dharaka; the Pranava resolved into four separate entities corresponding to its four Matras; the four Avasthos indicated by Jagrata (waking) Avastha, Swapna (dreaming) Avastha, Sushupti (deep sleep) Avastha, and Turiya (the last stage, i.e., Nirvana) Avastha (as yet in potentiality); the four states of Brahma called Vaiswanara, Taijasa (or Hiranyagarbha), Pragna, and Iswara, and represented by Brahma, Vishna, Maheswara, and Sadasiva; the four aspects of Parabrahma, as Sthula (gross), Sukshma (subtle), Vija (seed), and Sakshi (witness); the four stages or conditions of the Sacred Word, named Para, Pasyanti, Madhyama and Vaikhari; Nadam, Bindu, Sakti and Kola. This sign completes the first quaternary.
V. Simha. - This word contains a world of occult meaning within itself; and it may not be prudent on my part to disclose the whole of its meaning now. It will be sufficient for the present purpose to give a general indication of its significance.
Two of its synonymous terms are Panchasyam and Hari, and its number in the order of the Zodiacal divisions (being the fifth sign) points clearly to the former synonym. This synonym - Panchasyam - shows that the sign is intended to represent the five Brahmas -viz., Isanam, Aghoram, Tatpurusham, Vamadevam, and Sadyojatam; - the five Buddhas. The second synonym shows it to be Nirayana, the Jivatma or Pratyagatma. The Sukarahasy Upanishad will show that the ancient Aryan philosophers looked upon Narayana as the Jivatma.* [* In its lowest or most material state, as the life-principle which animates the material bodies of the animal and vegetable worlds, &c. - Ed. Theos.] The Vaishnavites may not admit it. But as an Advaiti, I look upon Jivatma as identical with Paramatma in its real essence when stripped of its illusory attributes created by Agnanam or Avidya - ignorance. The Jivatma is correctly placed in the fifth sign counting from Mesham, as the fifth sign is the putrasthanam or the son's house according to the rules of Hindu Astrology. The sign in question represents Jivatma - the son of Paramatma as it were. (I may also add that it represents the real Christ, the anointed pure spirit, though many Christians may frown at this interpretation.) * [* Nevertheless it is a true one. The Jivatma in the Microcosm (man) is the same spiritual essence which animates the Macrocosm (universe), the differentiation, or specific difference between the two Jivatmas presenting itself but in the two states or conditions itself but in the two states or conditions of the same and one Force. Hence, "this son of Paramatma" is an eternal correlation of the Father-Cause. Purusha, manifesting himself as Brahma of the "golden egg" and becoming Viradja - the universe. We are "all born of Aditi from the water" (Hymns of the Maruts, X. 63, 2), and "Being was born from not-being" (Rig-Veda, Mandala 1, Sukta 166). - Ed. Theos.] I will only add here that unless the nature of this sign is fully comprehended it will be impossible to understand the real order of the next three signs and their full significance. The elements or entities that have merely a potential existence in this sign become distinct separate entities in the next three signs. Their union into a single entity leads to the destruction of the phenomenal universe, and the recognition of the
pure Spirit and their separation has the contrary effect. It leads to material earth-bound existence and brings into view the picture gallery of Avidya (Ignorance) or Maya (Illusion). If the real orthography of the name by which the sign in question is indicated is properly understood, it will readily be seen that the next three signs are not what they ought to be. Kanya or Virgo and Vrischika or Scorpio should form one single sign, and Thula must follow the said sign if it is at all necessary to have a separate sign of that name. But a separation between Kanya and Vrischika was effected by interposing the sign Tula between the two. The object of this separation will be understood on examining the meaning of the three signs.
VI. Kanya. - Means a virgin and represents Sakti or Mahamaya. The sign in question is the sixth Rasi or division, and indicates that there are six primary forces in Nature. These forces have different sets of names in Sanskrit philosophy. According to one system of nomenclature, they are called by the following names:* [* Parasakti: - Literally the great or supreme force or power. It means and includes the powers of light and heat. Gnanasakti : - Literally the power of intellect or the power of real wisdom or knowledge. It has two aspects.] - (1) Parasakty;
I. The following are some of its manifestations when placed under the influence or control of material conditions.
(a) The power of the mind in interpreting our sensations. (b) Its power in recalling past ideas (memory) and raising future expectation. (c) Its power as exhibited in what are called by modern psychologists "the laws of association," which enables it to form persisting connections between various groups of sensations and possibilities of sensations, and thus generate the notion or idea of an external object. (d) Its power in connecting our ideas together by the mysterious link of memory, and thus generating the notion of self or individuality.
II. The following are some of its manifestations when liberated from the bonds of matter: -
(a) Clairvoyance, (b) Pyschometry.
Itchasakti: - Literally the power of the will. Its most ordinary manifestation is the generation of certain nerve currents which set in motion such muscles as are required for the accomplishment of the desired object.
Kriyasakti: - The mysterious power of thought which enables it to produce external, perceptible, phenomenal results by its own inherent energy. The ancients held that any idea will manifest itself externally if one's attention is deeply concentrated upon it. Similarly an intense volition will be followed by the desired result.
A Yogi generally performs his wonders by means of Itchasakti and Kriyasakti -
Kundalinisakti: - Literally the power or force which moves in a serpentine or curved path. It is the universal life-principle which everywhere manifests itself in Nature. This force includes in itself the two great forces of attraction and repulsion. Electricity and magnetism are but manifestations of it. This is the power or force which brings about that "continuous adjustment of internal relations to external relations" which is the essence of life according to Herbert Spencer, and that "continuous adjustment of external relations to internal relations" which is the basis of transmigration of souls or punarjanmam (rebirth) according to the doctrines of the ancient Hindu philosophers.
A Yogi must thoroughly subjugate this power or force before he can attain moksham. This force is, in fact, the great serpent of the Bible.
Matrikasakti: - Literally the force or
power of letters or speech or music. The whole of the ancient Mantra Shastra has this force or power in all its manifestations for its subject-matter. The power of The Word which Jesus Christ speaks of is a manifestation of this Sakti. The influence of its music is one of its ordinary manifestations. The power of the mirific ineffable name is the crown of this Sakti.
Modern science has but party investigated the first, second and fifth of the forces or powers above named, but it is altogether in the dark as regards the remaining powers.
(2) Gnanasakti; (3) Itchasakti (will-power); (4) Kriyasakti; (5) Kundalinisakti; and (6) Matrikasakti. The six forces are in their unity represented by the Astral Light.* [* Even the very name of Kanya (Virgin) shows how all the ancient esoteric systems agreed in all their fundamental doctrines. The Kabalists and the Hermetic philosophers call the Astral Light the "heavenly or celestial Virgin." The Astral Light in its unity is the 7th. Hence the seven principles diffused in every unity or the 6 and one - two tri-angles and a crown. - Ed. Theos.]
VII. Tula. - When represented by numbers according to the method above alluded to, this word will be converted into 36. This sign, therefore, is evidently intended to represent the 36 Tatwams. (The number of Tatwams is different according to the views of different philosophers; but by Sakteyas generally and by several of the ancient Rishis, such as Agastya, Dvrasa and Parasurama, &c., the number of Tatwams has been stated to be 36). Jivatma differs from Paramatma, or to state the same thing in other words, "Baddha" differs from "Mukta"* in being encased as it were within these 36 Tatwams, while the other is free. This sign prepares the way to earthly Adam to Nara. As the emblem of Nara it is properly placed as the seventh sign.
[* As the Infinite differs from the Finite and the Unconditioned from the Conditioned. - Ed. Theos.]
VIII. Vrischika. - It is stated by ancient philosophers that the sun when located in this Rasi or sign is called by the name of Vishnu (see the 12th Skandha of Bhagavata). This sign is intended to represent Vishnu. Vishnu literally means that which is expanded - expanded as Viswam or Universe. Properly speaking, Viswam itself is Vishnu (see Sankaracharya's commentary on Vishnusahasranamam). I have already intimated that Vishnu represents the Swapnavastha or the Dreaming State. The sign in question properly signifies the universe in thought or the universe in the divine conception.
It is properly placed as the sign opposite to Rishabham or Pranava. Analysis from Pranava downwards leads to the Universe of Thought, and synthesis from the latter upwards leads to Pranava (Aum). We have now arrived at the ideal state of the universe previous to its coming into material existence. The expansion of the Vija or primitive germ into the universe is only possible when the 36 "Tatwams" * are interposed between the Maya and Jivatma. [* 36 is three times 12, or 9 Tetraktis, or 12 Triads, the most sacred number in the Kabalistic and Pythagorean numerals. - Ed. Theos.] The dreaming state is induced through the instrumentality of these "Tatwams." It is the existence of these Tatwams that brings Hamsa into existence. The elimination of these Tatwams marks the beginning of the synthesis towards Pranava and Brahmam and converts Hamsa into Soham. As it is intended to represent the different stages of evolution from Brahmam downwards to the material universe, the three signs
Kanya, Tula, and Vrischika are placed in the order in which they now stand as three separate signs.
IX. Dhanus (Sagittarius). - When represented in numbers the name is equivalent to 9, and the division in question is the 9th division counting from Mesha. The sign, therefore, clearly indicates the 9 Brahmas - the 9 Para-japatis who assisted the Demiurgus in constructing the material universe.
X. Makara. - There is some difficulty in interpreting this word; nevertheless it contains within itself the clue to its correct interpretation. The letter Ma is equivalent to number 5, and Kara means hand. Now in Sanskrit Thribhujam means a triangle, bhujam or karam (both are synonymous) being understood to mean a side. So, Makaram or Panchakaram means a Pentagon.* [* The five-pointed star or pentagram represented the five limbs of man. - Ed. Theos.]
Now, Makaram is the tenth sign, and the term "Dasadisa" is generally used by Sanskrit writers to denote the faces or sides of the universe. The sign in question is intended to represent the faces of the universe, and indicates that the figure of the universe is bounded by Pentagons. If we take the pentagons as regular pentagons (on the symmetrically constructed) the figure of the material universe will, of course, be a Dodecahedron, the geometrical model imitated by the Demiurgus in constructing the material universe. If Tula was subsequently invented, and if instead of the three signs "Kanya," "Tula," and "Vrischikam," there had existed formerly only one sign combining in itself Kanya and Vrischika, the sign under consideration was the eighth sign under the old system, and it is a significant fact that Sanskrit writers generally speak also of "Ashtadisa" or eight faces bounding space. It is quite possible that the number of disa might have been altered from 8 to 10 when the formerly existing Virgo-Scorpio was split up into three separate signs.
Again, Kara may be taken to represent the projecting triangles of the five-pointed star. This figure may also be called a kind of regular pentagon (see Todhunter's "Spherical Trigonometry," P. 143). If this interpretation is accepted, the Rasi or sign in question represents the "microcosm." But the "microcosm" or the world of thought is really represented by Vrischika. From an objective point of view the "microcosm" is represented by the human body. Makaram may be taken to represent simultaneously both the microcosm and the macrocosm, as external objects of perception.
In connection with this sign I shall state a few important facts which I beg to submit for the consideration of those who are interested in examining the ancient occult sciences of India. It is generally held by the ancient philosophers that the macrocosm is similar to the microcosm in having a Sthula Sariram and a Suksma Sariram. The visible universe is the Sthula Sariram of Viswam; the ancient philosophers held that as a subtratum for this visible universe, there is another universe - perhaps we may call it the universe of Astral Light - the real universe of Noumena, the soul as it were of this visible universe. It is darkly hinted in certain passages of the Veda and the Upanishads that this hidden universe of Astral Light is to be represented by an Icosahedron. The connection between an Icosahedron and a Dodecahedron is something very peculiar and interesting, though the figures seem to be so very dissimilar to each other. The connection may be understood by the undermentioned geometrical construction. Describe a Sphere about an Icosahedron; let perpendiculars be drawn from the centre of the Sphere on its faces
and produced to meet the surface of the Sphere. Now, if the points of intersection be joined, a Dodecahedron is formed within the Sphere. By a similar process an Icosahedron may be constructed from a Dodecahedron. (See Todhunter's "Spherical Trigonometry," p. 141, art. 193). The figures constructed as above described will represent the universe of matter and the universe of Astral Light as they actually exist. I shall not now, however, proceed to show how the universe of Astral Light may be considered under the symbol of an Icosahedron. I shall only state that this conception of the Aryan philosophers is not to be looked upon as mere "theological twaddle" or as the outcome of wild fancy. The real significance of the conception in question can, I believe, be explained by reference to the psychology and the physical science of the ancients. But I must stop here and proceed to consider the meaning of the remaining two signs.
XI. Kumbha (or Aquarius). - When represented by numbers, the word is equivalent to 14. It can be easily perceived then that the division in question is intended to represent the "Chaturdasa Bhuvanam," or the 14 lokas spoken of in Sanskrit writings.
XII. Mina (or Pisces). - This word again is represented by 5 when written in numbers, and is evidently intended to convey the idea of Panchamahabhutams or the 5 elements. The sign also suggests that water (not the ordinary water, but the universal solvent of the ancient alchemists) is the most important amongst the said elements.
I have now finished the task which I have set to myself in this article. My purpose is not to explain the ancient theory of evolution itself, but to show the connection between that theory and the Zodiacal divisions. I have herein brought to light but a very small portion of the philosophy imbedded in these signs. The veil that was dexterously thrown over certain portions of
the mystery connected with these signs by the ancient philosophers will never be lifted up for the amusement or edification of the uninitiated public.
Now to summarize the facts stated in this article, the contents of the first chapter of the history of this universe are as follows: -
1. The self-existent, eternal Brahman.
2. Pranava (Aum).
3. The androgyne Brahma, or the bisexual Sephira-Adam Kadmon.
4. The Sacred Tetragram - the four matras of Pranava - the four avasthas - the four states of Brahma - the Sacred Dharaka.
5. The five Brahmas - the five Buddhas representing in their totality the Jivatma.
6. The Astral Light - the holy Virgin - the six forces of Nature.
7. The thirty-six Tatwams born of Avidya.
8. The universe in thought - the Swapna Avastha - the microcosm looked at from a subjective point of view.
9. The nine Prajapatis - the assistants of the Demiurgus.*
[* The nine Kabalistic Sephiroths emanated from Sephira the 10th and the head Sephiroth are identical. Three trinities or triads with their emanative principle form the Pythagorean mystic Decad, the sum of all which represents the whole Kosmos. - Ed. Theos.]
10. The shape of the material universe in the mind of the Demiurgus - the DODECAHEDRON.
11. The fourteen lokas.
12. The five elements.
The history of creation and of this world from its beginning up to the present time is composed of seven chapters. The seventh chapter is not yet completed. - T. Subba Row.
September 14, 1881.
WHEN GHOST MEETS GHOST
Editor, The Canadian Theosophist: - Referring to a remark by A.E.S.S. that astrologers predicted his death in 1941, "but it is now 1944," - perhaps he is really dead and does not know it. That might account for the impression one gets of mental rigor mortis when reading his comments in the Canadian Theosophist.
I make no apologies for the unbrotherly language, as I am exercizing the same right of "frank speech" which A.E.S.S. himself claims. Faithfully,
- L. Furze-Morrish.
33 Somers Avenue, Malvern,
Melbourne, SE4, Australia.
25th September. 1944.
"PEAKS AND LAMAS"
In this age of epoch-making books one must be careful what one lists, not as the best sellers, but as the best dwellers, those that remain to live with you, to nourish and inspire you with their truth and beauty. Such a book is Peaks and Lamas, by Marco Pallis, a Greek domiciled in England where his book was printed, though the copy generously sent me by a friend bears the imprint of Alfred A. Knopf, New York, 1940. I have seen no reviews of the book that I recollect, nor have I met anyone else who has read it, but such books are for the few, and not for all of the few either. The book is "reverently dedicated" to four Lamas who are named, "who for my benefit and for the good of all creatures set in motion the Wheel of the Doctrine." There are about 100 illustrations all of them interesting, many quite wonderful and few lacking in artistic excellence. In his introductory notes the author gives good and sufficient reason for rejecting the terms religion and philosophy in dealing with the teaching he had come in contact with, and he adopts the term Tradition, as it embraces the whole of
a civilization. "A truly traditional civilization has its roots fixed in a doctrine of the purely metaphysical order, beyond the limitation even of Personality." The freedom of thought thus indicated pervades the book.
There are four parts in the volume. The first deals with the author's explorations by the Ganges and Satlej in 1933, including the ascent of Riwo Pargyul, a peak of 22,210 feet. All this is picturesque and graphic and full of human interest. The Tibetan people and their immediate southern neighbors have traditions, habits, customs so different from those of our west that even a recital of them opens a new world to the reader. Here is a note on diet, page 66:
"The basic food of the people in this land of Khunu is barley, first parched, and then ground into flour; in this form it is consumed. It is called tsamba, and takes the place of bread in all countries of the Tibetan group. Frequently it is eaten with buttered tea to form a kind of stiff porridge; when dry it is not unlike sweetened sawdust - an acquired taste! Along the Satlej excellent potatoes are also grown and a sort of white radish, the size of a turnip. Rice is imported and a little sugar. Very little meat seems to be eaten: the chief, and almost the only source of fat, is the butter melted into the tea. To this list must be added apricots fresh or dried. On this diet both men and women maintain a magnificent physique. They have lovely teeth in spite of the fact that they do not often chew hard substances. Children are not weaned early and it, has been suggested by a distinguished dental surgeon that sucking up to the age of two years or more may be a factor favoring a perfect development of the jaws."
"Without being quite sure of the lie of the land, we thought of the Karakoram to the northwest and our own Gangotri to the south. But most of all, we were
looking forward to our first sight of Tibet; our recent contact with its people, their culture, their fine sturdy character and their philosophy of life had forged a bond between us and Tibet which was destined to influence us in the future more profoundly than we dreamed. A longing to pass within its closed gates had taken possession of our hearts; already it would be a milestone in our pilgrimage to look into the promised land. With such thoughts to urge us on, we advanced towards the foot of the ridge."
Chapter XI is entitled The Round of Existence. Only a perusal of these pages can give the reader a proper idea of the clarity and simplicity with which Mr. Pallis sets forth his "adventures of the mind." We can only quote a few paragraphs.
"None of the great Traditions can be disclosed within the narrow framework of a school of philosophy. Nor ought an explanation be over-simplified in the vain hope of bringing it within the effortless comprehension of all men: facile diffusion of an idea can only be achieved to the detriment of its purity. It is not for the Doctrine to abase itself to the common level, but for those who can, to exalt themselves to its height. That is why a doctrine spread by organized propaganda is liable to be reduced to a hollow shell, empty of the essentials." p. 143.
The Round of Existence is figured in a Wheel in which are gathered a series of symbols, much more elaborate than our Wheel of Life, the Zodiac, but serving a similar purpose. In this round of life there is constant action, continual Becoming. All this action takes place under the law of karma, Karman in Sanscrit, which includes cosmic activity, localized activity in our Universe, and racial and personal action. All this action is attended by a certain degree of Ignorance. "Everything can be changed by real knowledge." And "obstinate attempts to cure disastrous Activity by still more Activity, Desire by fresh Desire, are as futile as the babblings of those who would make War to end War or cast out devils in the name of Zeelzebub." The cause of Suffering is Ignorance.
"Ignorance is much more than mere lack of information on this or that subject. It includes every kind of sin against the light, not only false beliefs, but unawareness, loose thinking, woolly-mindedness, obscurantism, and above all, indifference to knowledge, neglect of the duty of trying to be truthful and intelligent; a life organized in such a manner as to hinder contact with Reality, dishonest stifling of doubts, doubt as to the necessity of seeking knowledge at all, neglect of opportunities of listening to those who have a doctrine to teach, all these things fall within the scope of Ignorance. The pursuit of Truth must not be left to chance." p.157.
One could quote page after page descriptive of the habits and customs of the gentle, amiable people whom Mr. Pallis found so interesting and so intelligent with that other-worldliness which to the average western savors of lunacy. But one must leave the fortunate reader to enjoy the spiritual atmosphere which contrasts so strangely with the psalm and hymn-singing and prayer-beseeching modes of religion in the western world. To say that one is better than the other would be to miss altogether the spirit of sincerity and truth which we are bound to believe inspires all forms of genuine religion.
The closing chapters of the book are occupied with an account of Tibetan art and the danger of its decadence under the influence of western superficiality and shallow thinking. In view of the strictures following my articles on Dr. Evans-Wentz's books, I am attempted to quote the remarks of a correspondent in the United States after reading Mrs.
Roger's letter. "As to her statement regarding the uninstructed reader, do you think that the average reader, even of our type of literature, would be interested in a book of such depth as Dr. Evans-Wentz has produced? I for one do not. Speaking of the uninstructed reader, it is my opinion that nine out of a possible ten would not find lasting interest in the greater portion of Buddhist writings, whether they originated in Lhassa or Bhutan. She is quite right in saying that the student must learn to separate the wheat from the chaff - not alone in that type of literature but in all writings. All Buddhist writings are rather difficult, and I have little fear that uninstructed persons will be much harmed, for the simple reason that they probably would not be interested to the extent of wading through the collective mass."
To the uninstructed we can recommend Edwin Arnold's Song Celestial and The Light of Asia, and by the time they have digested The Key to Theosophy they will be in little danger from as honest and sincere a book as Peaks and Lamas.
Mrs. Maltwood has collected her recent articles on the celebrated Somerset Zodiac from our pages and has had them finely printed with a copious Index in a 104 page quarto with the title The Enchantments of Britain. The original illustrations have also been used with a few artistic and appropriate additions. The title page quotes from the report on the effigies by Harold Trew, F.F.R.I.B.A., who examined them in detail on many occasions: "They reveal the fact that we have in England one of the most important monuments of prehistoric days, surpassing in grandeur of conception and skill those of Stonehenge and Avebury, and ranking in interest with the wonders of the ancient world." Included also is the article which will be remembered from the Journal of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada, and An Appreciation by Philip S. Wellby from The London Forum. So this extraordinary record, of man's ancient knowledge of his origin and destiny is slowly winning recognition from a world reluctant to assume the responsibility which man's latent divine nature thus testified to would impose upon him. To admit that 5000 years ago humanity was able to register its knowledge of divine law and divine life in symbols which are obviously the basis of modern Church doctrine and dogma is perhaps too much to expect from an academic and ecclesiasticized scholarship. But the evidence is too papable to be ignored and as only an earthquake could obliterate it, even the highest authorities will have ample time to revise their views and accommodate their beliefs to actual facts. We are not aware how far or how widely Mrs. Maltwood desires her work to be circulated but those who come into possession of this knowledge have a duty with their privilege, and should do their utmost to let the world know what is of vital import in the destiny of the race. The wise men of the east who traced these symbols on the ten-mile breast of Somerset knew that the time would come when knowledge and not belief would be necessary for the salvation of the race.
BOOKS BY CHARLES JOHNSTON
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- Crest Jewel of Wisdom ............ cloth $1.25
- Great Upanishads, vol. I. ..........cloth $1.50,
- Parables of the Kingdom ............ paper .50
- Patanjali's Yoga Sutras .......... cloth $1.25
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May be had from JOHN WATKINS 21 Cecil Court, Charing Cross Road, London, W.C., 2, England.
The last faint hope that Hitler or his gangsters had of getting better terms from the Allies than unconditional surrender, must have vanished when the result of the presidential election showed the return of Mr. Roosevelt for a fourth term in office. It was a close election in everybody's mind up till the last. The Republican campaign was bitter and in many respects unscrupulous. When Mr. Dewey declared that the incompetence of Mr. Roosevelt had resulted in the prolonging of the War, he must either have meant that Mr. Roosevelt had not arranged for the proper kind of weather in Europe, or else he lacked the international outlook ,which would have assured him that Mr. Churchill and Mr. Stalin shared any incompetence which he attributed to Mr. Roosevelt, since they were all in constant communication with each other, besides having several personal consultations together. Mr. Dewey for the most part talked like a District Attorney, and gave the public credit for no more intelligence than is possessed by the usual police court audience. Any one who heard Miss Dorothy Thompson's address on the eve of the election must have felt that the intelligence of the United States was bound to give the verdict for which she pleaded. Mr. Roosevelt did not extend himself in any of his few addresses, but he furnished facts in reply to Mr. Dewey's misstatements about the preparation of the Navy which certainly left the impression of the unreliability of his opponent. Mr. Dewey's plea on one occasion that the United States must he saved from Communism, and on another occasion that it must be protected from the danger of becoming a monarchy, betrayed childish mentality.
The one issue that caused anxiety was the isolationist policy that led the Republican party to scuttle the League of Nations after the last war. To fight this monstrous fight and have to contemplate such another fiasco as a possibility was asking too much. The people of the United States, or enough of them to settle this point, are resolved that further war planning in Germany must be nipped in the bud. Whether the war spirit can be definitely repressed or transformed remains to be seen by the next generation. Theosophists must not forget - that the incarnation of millions of egoes in all stages of development is constantly going on, and that our civilization does not yet appreciate this fact, while the effort of theosophists is so slight in comparison to the immensity of the task of enlightenment that so far it may almost be said to have failed. The difficulty in increased by the peculiar tendency in human nature to pose as a priest or a bishop or some such superior being rather than remain undistinguished from the multitude except by service and good counsel. The priests are so busy with their artificial duties that the real work of the world of thought is neglected, and as long as organized religion remains people will be distracted from the application of the real truths of religion in their own lives by themselves. No man can "save" another. Men must learn to save themselves. This puts the priest out of court and he acts accordingly. It is one of the war-generating factors, as 2000 years of Church history amply testifies. Instead of baptizing and vaccinating an infant, if he were fed and cleaned and clothed and instructed as a denizen of the Universe in the laws of life and the wisdom of the soul the world would soon be a better place to live in and to cultivate peace and prosperity.
Meanwhile the War goes on. It has unquestionably been prolonged beyond the expectations of most people. In Canada the Government had not counted on such a long drawn out effort, and embarrassment has resulted in finding
adequate reinforcements for the troops at the front. Germany is not less embarrassed than Canada for lack of men, but Germany does not hesitate to draft all and sundry, and send them to the front whether that be in the Reich or outside it. That is one of the things that is prolonging the war, and it may be as important as the weather in doing so.
The Siegfried West Wall, as they called it, has been a real problem. To out-flank it the Allies undertook to turn the Rhine at its Dutch estuaries, and this has been done, while also clearing the way to the great port of Antwerp. The use of this port will hasten the delivery of supplies to the Allied armies, so that we may expect faster progress in reaching Berlin from the west than has been possible hitherto. The weather in Italy has been foul beyond description and the war there has been slow in advance but deadly in casualties. Only in Burma has generalship defied the weather and succeeded.
While some of the neutrals are reviving their views of neutrality Spain remains one of the problems of the situation. The civil war in Spain was not really what it pretended to be, but a rehearsal by Germany and Italy of what they expected to do to the rest of Europe. Franco, the Spanish premier, gave them right of way, and now the time is approaching when he must give an account of his stewardship.
Japan, as we have always expected, is not so terrible a foe as some thought would be the case. With a less powerful opponent the Japanese might have accomplished something like their victory over Russia years ago. But with the United States, fully armed in land, sea and air, Japan has no more chance than a mouse with a cat.
The great problem in Asia is China, and Chiang Kai-Shek is losing some of the glory he has acquired through his religious professions. He refuses to ally himself with the Chinese Communist troops who are fighting the Japanese with the result that the Japanese are winning battles in his territory, and he has been so stubborn about it that the United States has recalled the best equipped general in the field, nominally at the request of the Christian Chiang who is said to have alleged that for personal reasons, said to be personal antipathy, he could not get along with General Stilwell. So much the worse for China, is the expert verdict.
Another problem has been happily solved in the recognition by the Big Three of the Government headed by General de Gaulle in France. That nation has thus been numbered with the Big Three, making the Big Four, and securing its place at the council table when the Peace comes up for settlement. Winston Churchill in a speech in Paris declared for a perpetual alliance between France and Britain.
The War itself at time of writing may be put among the indeterminate problems. Those who think it might be over for Germany by Christmas have almost as good grounds as those who say Easter or Midsummer. Tremendous forces are being lined up on the east, the west and the south for an attack on all these fronts simultaneously on Hitler's Doubting Castle. Once the break through across the German border is effected German morale will be subjected to a new test about which there is a fairly unanimous opinion. Robot bombs and flying telegraph poles are no match for household siege and hostile armies in the market place. Peaceful surrender is a welcome alternative to ruthless destruction.
What has all this War talk to do with Theosophy? I have been asked. As well ask what any other phase of life has to do with Theosophy. We are here to learn the lessons Life has to teach and if we did not need them, and if we did not create them, we would not be
here to learn. The men, young or elderly, who abandon their fleshly bodies for the sake of noble and intangible ideals have earned more glorious bodies in other spheres and have gained an impersonal relationship to life which will greatly avail them when they return to birth again to complete the perfection of character and purpose which is the real object of human evolution.
Several correspondents have asked me if there will be any more wars after the present one. This question may be answered by another. Do you think that the human race will all be changed into saints by the Peace Treaty? Wars will continue as long as the present competitive system is permitted to govern our business transactions. War will continue as long as our present economic theory of supply and demand is allowed to rule our activities. Wars will continue as long as our present banking system with all its dishonest practices is allowed to handle our finances. How many people, for example, are aware that buying war bonds is simply a way of putting a mortgage on their property, or if they have no property, on their life and work? How many people who are told that the Government will repay their bonds in so many years with interest every year, are aware that the Government is themselves and that they must repay themselves through their taxes? How many sympathetic people who buy bonds to arm the soldiers and supply them with comforts, are aware that these soldiers who survive when they come home must join the rest of us paying taxes to pay off the bonds and the interest upon them? It is true that their tax-free pensions and allowances help to balance this, but it does not relieve the soldier of the indirect taxation of tariffs and domestic levies. When you sell your bond to the bank you make the bank the owner of the mortgage it represents on your property, and you pay the interest on the bond to the bank instead of to yourself. Suppose some one proposed that legislation be passed barring the sale of any bond to a bank, the Government alone being permitted to buy war bonds from the people, who would object? One guess is enough. Why is this not all explained to the people? Because if they knew all about it, they might not buy bonds so readily. Why does the Government not issue money itself to pay for war supplies? Because the people are not honest enough to pay their taxes to meet such expenditures, and the buying of bonds compels them to honor their obligations. When we have intelligent honest people who would scorn to take advantage of each other, and no arch-rascals like Hitler ready to organize all the lesser rascals into a Rascal Reich or Realm, we may begin to think of ending war.
THE THREE TRUTHS
There are three truths which are absolute, and which cannot be lost, but yet may remain silent for lack of speech.
The soul of man is immortal, and its future is the future of a thing whose growth and splendour have no limit.
The principle which gives life dwells in us, and without us, is undying and eternally beneficent, is not heard or seen, or smelt, but is perceived by the man who desires perception.
Each man is his own absolute law-giver, 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.